Hello, there. This post was written to share my favourite resources aimed at conversational lessons – both online and face-to-face. I hope you find it useful.
1. SET THE SCENE FOR THE TASK
The first minutes of the lesson are meant to arouse your students’ interest. You want to ‘hook them’ into conversing with you. Setting the scene can be done through a short fascinating video or an interesting image.
2. PREPARE YOUR STUDENT FOR THE TASK
In order to maintain your students’ interests, attempt to pick topics or situations that appeal to their age and if possible interests. Set the language and content of the task at this stage, for example, ask them what their favourite films are or the genre of music they enjoy.
3. GIVE STUDENTS TIME TO REHEARSE
After a topic is selected it is important to ensure that your student(s) do not write down their ideas. Their options at this stage are to either rehearse it orally or in their minds. At this stage, the teacher should listen to students carefully.
At this stage the teacher should monitor the student’s production, taking into account the content and form. This is also the time to assess the effectiveness of your lesson and identify gaps in your student’s knowledge. Take notes if possible.
5. WRAP-UP THE ACTIVITY
At this stage focus on the content and probe your student’s comprehension and new language discovery. For example use questions such as, What did you find out today? What did you learn from each other? ( if there is more than one student). Attempt to make this conversation as spontaneous and natural as possible.
6. GIVE FEEDBACK
Give feedback – It is crucial to provide feedback that is oriented to the student’s goals. Focus on the new language that emerged. Systematise the emergent language to make it memorable to your student. Highlight the sub-skills they have used that make them good communicators, for instance, the use of pauses or fillers to gain time. By the end of this stage, students should feel a sense of accomplishment.
Give the opportunity for your student to do the speaking task again or do a similar task.
And the sub-skills? Don’t forget them!
- False starts
- Back-channelling devices
- Pronunciation (rhythm, intonation, pace etc)
- Body language ( yes, it is possible via the computer!)
- Adjacency pairs
Ready-made speaking lesson plans
1. Viralelt is excellent for listening and speaking practice. All Viralelt posts consist of three parts: an embedded viral video, 10 conversation questions (Question time) and a listening activity (Sitting comfortably?). The only drawback is that it is aimed at intermediate and advanced students.
2. Cristina Cabal is a talented and creative teacher from Spain. You can find lessons for all ages and levels.
3. One Stop English offers Guardian news lessons, Life from London videos among other lesson plans. Most of them are freely available, but some might require a paid subscription login.
4. If you enjoy Videotelling, you will certainly love Jamie Keddie‘s lesson plans.
5. Rachael Roberts offers excellent lesson plans, some covering controversial topics.
6. Film English won a British Council ELTons Award for Innovation in Teacher Resources, and the most prestigious European media in education prize, the MEDEA Award, in 2013, and an English Speaking Union Award in 2014.
7. Teaching English British Council offers a wide range of lesson plans for adult language classes.7.
8. Ricardo Barros offers a great collection of lesson plans on different levels and topics. Ricardo also designs lesson plans on controversial topics.
9. Cecilia Nobre ( yours truly!)designs lesson plans for her online lessons focusing on speaking skills.
10. Off2class is a comprehensive platform of ready-made lesson plans divided into levels, topics and skills.
Speaking lesson ideas
1. Elllo has an array of audio and video activities with transcripts, quizzes and fill-in-the-blanks exercises that work well as a warm-up activity.
2. Guess the story. Give students a set of pictures of a real article/story and they have to come up with the story. You can give hints, ask questions or challenge them. Display the pictures on a powerpoint presentation, Canva or Google drawing.
3. Audio recordings such as SoundCloud or Vocaroo for several purposes, given a time limit. Upload it directly to their Google Drive Folder and save its link. Ask your students to:
● To explain their favourite recipe
● To talk about their least/ favourite group, hobby, mobile phone, outfit
● To describe traditional games, unusual customs…etc.
● To give a book/film review
● To talk about the latest picture or status they posted on their social media. Or the latest picture they took with their phones.
Other ideas using audios
● Give them a set of pictures and ask them to create a story ( use drawings.google.com, https://www.canva.com/ or ppt to display the pictures and download it as a file)
● Give feedback on their writing
● Set up an oral diary
● Give them some words and expressions and ask them to create a story
● Give them some pictures of a given text ( without giving the text) and ask them to guess what the story/text is about. It’s great for controversial or unusual stories.
4. Speakout Youtube channel on different topics and levels. Ask your student which speaker(s) they agree with, which speaker they disagree with, ask them the same questions the reporter asked.
5. British Council sites
● With different tones of voices and intonations ● With a few blanks to be filled
● Jumbled up and they have to reconstruct the dialogue ● Finish the dialogue