Teaching Ideas for the ESL Classroom
Teaching is one of the easiest jobs in the world...
...Teaching WELL is one of the most difficult!

Return to
Joe's Home

Return to
Teachers Page

Read Teacher Joe's Blog Here!

Teaching ESL Students
How to Control a Conversation

Do your students ever have trouble keeping a conversation going? Do they sometimes run into difficulties when speaking? Teacher Joe has identified three skills ESL students need to use when speaking:

1. Students must ask for repetition.

2. Students must ask their partner to speak more slowly.

3. Students must ask about vocabulary or meaning.

Unless the students are complete beginners, the teacher should help students learn these skills from the very first lesson.

First, students need to remember the following phrases:

- Excuse me...
- Could you repeat that please?
- Could you speak more slowly please?
- What does ... mean?
- Do you mean ... ... ...?

After students repeat these out loud a few times, using natural English rhythm, Teacher Joe gives them a chance to practice by mumbling, by intentionally using words students don't know, or by speaking too fast. He keeps on being incomprehensible until students finally ask for clarification.

At the beginning of a term, it is important to continue giving students this kind of practice. Push students until they can ask and answer these questions easily.