timing concerns - first conversation class

Teaching ESL to adults

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timing concerns - first conversation class

Unread postby ayrbv » 07 Jul 2007, 03:01

Hi There
I am teaching my first task based conversation class in a couple of days. I am having a bit of difficulty preparing and would really appreciate any help.

I have been given an outline of the task based unit they will follow - this is all very new to me as I have only used lesson plans with lots of supplements and handouts.

Any advice at all on how to pace a two hour lesson that is simply;

Warmer - describe your hometown to a partner.

Read and Discuss the task (to design & plan a town).

Put students into pairs/small groups - work on group answer.

Report findings to the class.

Any suggestions would be great, thank you.

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Unread postby VenusEnvy » 14 Jul 2007, 14:48

It's a bit difficult to say because I don't know the level of the students, I haven't actually seen the material you are going to use, and I haven't seen what the "task" actually consists of.

But, I used to have problems with organzing my time. Some activities would go over the time I thought they would need, and we would get off track and lose time, etc.

Now, I break down my lesson plans into estimated time increments, like this:

10 mins - warm up; "Describe hometown to partner"
5 mins - Explain directions
5 mins - Discussion of task
10 mins - Ss brainstorm in pairs
5-10 mins - regather and discuss as group

Right there you have about half an hour!

I always overestimate by a few minutes because (for me) it's better to have extra time then to run OUT of time. After you write it out, take a look at it. Did you schedule everything? Can you add some minutes to some activities? Can you take away some minutes in another? Keep an eye on the clock, and really time the class.

It may not go "by the schedule" the first couple of days. You may have to take a couple of classes to find out the pace of your students.

Things go so much more smoothly now. This is a good way to keep the students on task and active.

I hope to have helped in some way. I can't wait to hear more suggestions. :D Good luck!

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Unread postby ayrbv » 15 Jul 2007, 06:34

Thanks so much for your response, the tips are great, just what I was looking for!

It is a two hour class, the students are upper intermediate. The first few classes went okay but I have now been told the DOS is observing my next one!!

The topic is "raising a child" - getting the students to design a manual for child raising. I thought I will follow your tips and see if I can expand on them. Also I thought I would try and bring in some realia - parent magazines etc. any other tips would be wonderful.

You have definitely helped :-)

Thanks again!

Peter Easton
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Joined: 02 Mar 2007, 14:06

Unread postby Peter Easton » 16 Jul 2007, 07:32

Every class should have a role play. Remember to make it realistic, role plays are a bit like acting class.

For the 'town planning' class the role play could involve a tourist asking for directions around the town.

For the 'raising a child' class it could be a dialogue between a troublesoime teenager who wants to borrow the car / stay out all night / has just been arrested and his or her parents.

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