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ESL forum > Techniques and methods in Language Teaching > Right approach to teach Spoken English    

Right approach to teach Spoken English


Right approach to teach Spoken English
I am teaching adult students who come for a short term course (say 3-4 months or sometimes even less) to improve/ learn Spoken English.
The students are all mixed levels. Some of them familiar with the language but cant speak, others do not know the language at all...
I have a dual responsibility in my institute...i teach and design the course contents as well...the difficulty Im facing is in choosing the right approach....
Ive read a lot of books and material online and there are many different ideas...thinking of all those ive following options
(Ive divided the course into 4 levels 0,A,B,C)
1/ Start the lesson with a short warm up as in askng about the day or anything related to the topic.
2/ Introduce a short conversation (preset) to introduce the grammar points for the day.
3/ Read the dialogue myself and ask students to copy the pronunciation.
4/ Let them do the dialogue in pairs
5/ Discuss difficult word meanings
6/ Do the related grammar points
7/ Exercises
8/ Speaking Activity
Now Ive a confusion in point 6. If im focusing on conversational English should I just introduce one rule and let them practise a lot or should I give all the rules (For eg:- in future tense) and practise for a short while. Right now Im trying to mix both these approaches and as a result my lessons are going on for good 4-5 days which I believe is too long.
Pls accept my apologies for such a long note but i really need to know your opinion....thanks

15 Jan 2009      

United States

I use a slightly different method. I work off the concept that if its "converstaional", they should be conversing. As a result, I tend to not necessarily focus onany given rules; I plan certain conversational situations and correct/teach the rules as they occur.  This can be  a rather dificult way to teach because you have to be ready for almost anything.  It works for teaching adults because you can tell them, "I need to do a little more preparation before we discuss that, so I dont confuse all of you."  and then I discuss the rule at the beginning of our next lesson together.  Dont get me wrong, I do have a plan of where I am going and what I want to cover in each lesson.  I just try to come up with conversational activities that will trigger the topics I want to discuss.  Sometimes I do say: "Heres something I think you might find interesting" or "you may need in the future" and then I bring up the topic I want to discuss.  It tends to work for me, but I currently only teach adults and can imagine you have to have a more structured format if teaching children.  Key for me is to always remind my self the course is called "conversational", we should be conversing.

16 Jan 2009