Teaching English Conversation Skills: Passing the Ball Activity

Teaching English Conversation lessons in Toronto 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 ballto the person they are having a dialogue with. So when its their turn to reply, they are passing the ball back” and they relate their own experience with what they understood from their partner. Then its their partners 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. 

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5 Quick Ways to Start an English Conversation Class

Teaching English Conversation - strategies for teaching English ConversationWhile the best English conversation lessons are always those that you give planning and consideration to, sometimes you might sense the need to incorporate impromptu discussion activities into your classes. When you are looking to set up some spontaneous conversation, here are five techniques that work well.

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How to Encourage a Great Discussion in an English Conversation Class

Teaching English Conversation Class with great discussionsTeaching an English Conversation class is about teaching interpersonal communication skills.  English Conversation teachers can incorporate the following steps to encourage a great class discussion that helps students develop their skills and feel confident during a conversation:

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Discussing Taboo Topics In An English Conversation Class

Teaching an English Conversation lesson using taboo topics Taboos can bring up some interesting problems in an English conversation class. One of the major complaints that teachers have with ready-made materials is that there is a strong tendency to play it safe and avoid the typical topics we actually talk about in everyday settings. There is a good reason for this: certain issues will be more controversial for our learners than they are for us. This can lead to friction, anger and embarrassment in the classroom and can also do irreparable damage to the classroom dynamic. As new teachers, it is natural to be hesitant when broaching ‘dangerous’ topics in class. However, more experienced teachers are able to recognize the motivational value of subjects which better reflect real world issues.

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