Being paid to talk (and listen) can make you feel like you’re skanking someone. Communication based lessons are common in TEFL, and many students prefer this method of learning to traditional textbook-based methods.
What’s it good for?
Conversation classes are particularly effective for students who have a good knowledge of English (grammar, vocabulary etc.) but who have little opportunity to practice speaking. These students are all too numerous in places like Japan where years of high school education have filled the head with words that have yet to come out of the mouth.
The teacher’s role
For the teacher also it can be enjoyable. It does require work and preparation, though.
As the teacher of a conversation class you must:
1. Plan topics for conversation that are interesting and relevant
2. Increase the student’s fluency (such as follow-up questions, tact, and other mannerisms of English)
3. Monitor for error correction
4. Keep the conversation moving
Planning a conversation
One of the biggest challenges is coming up with relevant topics for discussion. Fortunately, the internet is a never-ending supply of activities. Failing that, some allow the students to choose what they talk about – be it current affairs, hobbies or whatever.
Role-plays are another way to teach specific language sets. Your role-play could be as simple as two friends deciding what film to watch at the cinema, or as complicated as two politicians debating a hot topic.