How can we get our students to talk more in class? Here's my first two days of materials for my advanced ESL classes designed to set a tolerant, open, and rigorous approach. The lesson comes from the book called "Compelling Conversations: Questions and Quotations on Timeless Topics" that I recently wrote from my experiences teaching at Santa Monica College. Enjoy!
GOING BEYOND HELLO
“Accept me as I am – only then will we discover each other.”
Federico Fellini (1920-1993), Italian director/screenwriter
Telling Your Story: Please interview the person sitting next to you. Feel free to add or skip any questions that you want. Take turns talking, jot down some notes, and prepare to introduce your partner to our class. Let’s begin!
1. What’s your full name? How do you spell that?
2. Who chose your name? Why?
3. Where were you born? Were you the first child? Second? Fifth?
4. Do you have any older brothers? Sisters? Younger siblings?
5. Where did you grow up? Is that a city, village, or suburb?
6. How would you describe yourself as a child? Why?
7. When did you decide to move to California? Why?
8. How long have you been in the United States?
9. Did you move here by yourself? How was the trip?
10. What possessions did you bring with you? Why did you choose these objects?
11. Can you share some of first impressions of California?
12. Do you have a favorite color? Number? Season? Why?
13. What kind of music do you listen to? Do you have a favorite singer? Group?
14. What’s your favorite radio station or television channel? Why?
15. Can you recommend any movies to rent or see? Why do you like those films?
16. What do you like to do outside? Why?
17. Where do you walk, hike, jog, or bike on the weekends?
18. What’s your favorite sport? Why?
19. How do you like to spend your free time? What interests you?
20. Do you have a hobby? How long have you enjoyed it?
21. How long have you studied English? Where?
22. Where do you usually speak English? Who do you usually talk with?
23. What’s your best language? Where do you usually speak it? Why?
24. What makes you smile? Where do you feel most comfortable?
25. What are some things that might cause you to frown?
26. How do you express enthusiasm in a word or sound in your native language?
27. Do you have a favorite English word or expression? Why?
28. What are your goals for this year? Why? What’s your plan?
29. How would your friends describe you? What would you add?
30. What are three things that you appreciate about living in Los Angeles?
Vocabulary: Please circle the words that you know. Ask your partner or teacher for the meanings of the other words.
interview sibling suburb possession impression
hobby smile frown enthusiasm goals
Proverbs: Read the proverbs below. Can you add another saying?
Strangers are just friends you haven’t met yet. – American proverb.
Beauty is a good letter of recommendation. – German proverb
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. - American proverb.
You’re never too old to learn. – Latin proverb
A single conversation across the table with a wise person
is worth a month’s study of books. – Chinese proverb
Sharing Views: Which quotation is your favorite? Why?
1. “I never met a man I didn’t like.”
Will Rogers (1879-1935), American humorist
2. “I am free of all prejudices. I hate every one equally.”
W. C. Fields (1880-1946), comedian
3. “There is no such thing as a worthless conversation, provided you know what to listen for. And questions are the breath of life for a conversation.”
James Nathan Miller, contemporary journalist
4. “He’s the sort of guy if you say, ‘Hi ya, Clark, how are you?’ he’s stuck for an answer.”
Ava Gardner, film star, describing her ex-lover, the film star Clark Gable.
5. “Conversation is an art in which a man has all mankind for his competitors, for it is that which all are practicing every day while they live.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), American essayist/philosopher
6. “Don’t tell your friends about your indigestion.
‘How are you’ is a greeting, not a question.”
Arthur Guiterman (1871-1943), American poet
7. “The true spirit of conversation consists in building on another man’s observation, not overturning it.”
Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873), British novelist/politician
8. “Confidence contributes more to conversation than wit.”
Francois de La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680), French writer
9. “It takes two to speak truth – one to speak and another to hear.”
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), American philosopher
10. “There is no such thing as conversation. It is an illusion. There are interesting monologues, that’s all.”
Rebecca West (1892-1983), English writer
11. “I am simple, complex, generous, selfish, unattractive, beautiful, lazy and driven.”
Barbara Streisand (1942-), American singer, actress, director, producer
12. “Everything becomes a little different as soon as it spoken out loud.”
Hermann Hesse (1877-1962), novelist
13. “Never let your fear of striking out get in your way.”
Babe Ruth (1895-1948), American baseball legend
14. “It was impossible to get a conversation going; everybody was talking too much.”
Yogi Berra (1925- ) legendary baseball manager/catcher
EXTENSION: Before next class, compliment three people. Tell your class partner what happened. URL Removed by Admin
Eric firstname.lastname@example.org URL Removed by Admin
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