Conversation prompts about moving overseas

Having moved overseas myself, now twice, I get asked a lot of questions, mostly about why I decided to move and how I organized the move. Some people ask me what I miss about my homeland, and they always enjoy hearing what I love about their city and country. I wish we had had such a class when I was studying basic German - there were so many … [Read more...]

50 Travel conversation prompts

The most requested topics in a conversation class with my older students is travel. I usually schedule two classes per conversation course on this topic, focusing on different tenses or grammar. Making the second or third lesson in a course about travel helps the students feel more comfortable with each other and improves speaking … [Read more...]

How to massively improve speaking confidence in conversation classes

What's the one thing most students are afraid of? Making mistakes. Looking silly in front of the other students. Being corrected a lot by the teacher, or by the other students. This drains their speaking confidence and can ruin a conversation class. I was that student, deathly afraid of speaking When I was in high school, I would … [Read more...]

Choosing conversation topics

Conversation language courses are considered difficult to plan for - there is no textbook to follow, no grammar that must be covered, no vocabulary list that must be learned. Apart from the focus of each class to improve speaking and listening skills, the possibilities for topics, lesson progression, grammar, and vocabulary are endless. So … [Read more...]

Starting a new conversation class

If you are anything like me, as both a teacher and a student, starting a new conversation class is terribly scary. Will the group work well together? What will we talk about? Will I have the confidence to talk, or be too scared about making mistakes? Will someone dominate the class, or someone never talk? These are all common worries … [Read more...]

Illness and treatments

Most of us have been ill. We've all done things to 'fix' our illness, even if it's just the common cold. Most of use have been to a doctor or specialist, had tests, and been prescribed medications or therapies. Unfortunately, this also happens when you are traveling, on holiday or for work. In the worst case, you'll need to attend a … [Read more...]

What if you won a medieval village?

I've been running this mini 'project' in both my business and conversation classes. Each group's suggestions are completely different to all other groups and fascinating! It's a great chance to practice conjunctions, if-conditionals, modal verbs, and to get everyone talking, debating, negotiating, and even arguing heatedly! In the business … [Read more...]

Natural pests

The lion fish is becoming a pest in waters around the world - there are too many of them! Lion fish have venomous spines and do not have many natural predators (apart from the occasional shark). They are aggressive fish, and actively protect their territories. These fish are even dangerous to humans, although not deadly. However, when … [Read more...]

Moving house conversation prompts

If you are anything like me, you will have moved house many times. In fact, I'm moving house right now - it's my 20th move! I'm the expert in the family when it comes to moving. I can pack and unpack everything quickly and safely, and can easily pull apart and put together flat-packed furniture. But I'm not so good at the carrying, especially … [Read more...]

Solving tricky problems

A speaking or writing exercise to propose solutions to tricky problems. This uses both modal verbs (could, should, would), and conditional sentences, so is better for intermediate classes and above. What would you do in these situations? 1. Unpaid bill You are on a business trip by yourself, and in a country and city where you have no … [Read more...]