I teach English immersion lessons in Toronto, and the number one request I receive from my students is to include more speaking practice into my lessons, as the majority of my students have difficulties conversing with native speakers.
When I tell my students that a conversation is like a simple activity of passing the ball, the thought of conversing in English becomes much easier. When someone speaks, they are “passing a ball” to the person they are having a dialogue with. So when it’s their turn to reply, they are “passing the ball back” and they relate their own experience with what they understood from their partner. Then it’s their partner’s turn to do the same, and the activity continues.
This activity encourages full participation in the conversation. If students really challenge themselves, they eventually lead the conversation.
About the Author: Melissa Alvia is an experienced ESL and public school teacher, who completed OnTESOL’s 120-hour TESOL course. All combined, Melissa has 7 years of TESOL experience in Canada and abroad.