Cheat sheets for English conversation classes

Someone has asked to see examples of my grammar cheat sheets from when I taught larger EFL conversation classes. That's why I'm posting a few and hoping that they will help conversation class teachers everywhere. It's been a while since I have taught any large classes. I've been focusing more on my private students, as well as a few freelance … [Read more...]

Why you must prepare to teach a conversation class

I've been teaching English conversation classes for nearly 7 years now. My students have been a varied bunch. From teenagers to seniors over 90 years old. Students, job seekers, employees and retirees. Travelers, immigrants, artists, doctors and engineers. Even a handful of language teachers (no pressure!) At first I thought I could wing … [Read more...]

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...]

Memorable moments

This is a great exercise to get students talking. They walk around the room, switching partners regularly and spend a good amount of time talking about one or two of the questions with each person. These questions practice superlative adjectives - happiest, strangest, most disgusting - and two tenses, past and present perfect. This is a good … [Read more...]

Switching from Evernote to OneNote

I take a lot of notes all the time, as I find I remember things much better when I write them down. There are notes on language learning, teaching, the books I read, webinars and courses I attend, recipes, gardening and crochet advice, and much more. Several years ago, I invested in Evernote premium - it allowed me to attach slides and course … [Read more...]

Written homework is important for conversation classes

You've reached a certain level of ability and confidence, and now want to join a conversation class. Great choice! One conversation class per week is recommended by the local language school. Enrolled! You are nervous at the beginning of the conversation course (who isn't), but muster courage and turn up each week. In class, you speak as … [Read more...]

30 Travel Idioms

Idioms are used regularly in every-day spoken language. Even beginners are faced with idioms if they travel to an English speaking country for a holiday. That's why it's important to include idioms in all levels of language courses. Plus they are fun, and help with vocabulary learning and recall because they paint bold pictures in our … [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...]

Dealing with language learning burnout

Does working through that textbook seem like an awful drag? Or perhaps a conversation class fills you with dread? Do you prioritize cleaning the toilet or do other unappealing tasks above cracking open your flash cards and drilling? Do you want to throw the towel in on your language learning journey and just give up? If you said yes, … [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...]