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...]

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...]

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...]

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...]

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...]

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...]