Photographs are a great resource to use on an English Conversation Course. As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words”. A striking image compels us to want to know more (who,when,why,where,etc.)
When an image has historical or cultural significance it’s easy to provide learners with interesting background information. Articles from specialised publications and websites are highly engaging because they are competing for the attention of native speakers. Moreover, they provide authentic material for reading, comprehension and vocabulary exercises.
In addition, expanding upon the themes suggested in an image (exploration,1950s,etc.) opens up the possibility of providing up to date material–especially authentic video.
However, as most teachers know, class-time is limited, making it difficult to incorporate authentic material. The solution is to provide students with exercises in advance. Not only does that provide learners with more time to fully engage authentic language, it transforms the classroom into an active learning space.
It means that almost all of the 90 minutes can be dedicated to paired discussions–justifying the title “English Language Conversation Course”
The attached lesson contains
27 comprehension questions (reading/listening)
600 words of authentic reading
18 minutes of authentic listening (students will need to listen more than once)
22 word gap-fill exercise
self generated discussion questions
The first 20-30 minutes in class is used for checking homework. Pairs discuss answers to specific exercises (3-5 mins) before changing to a new partner. Consequently, students quickly realise that homework is a key component of the classroom, and that talking English is unavoidable. The teacher’s role is to manage classroom activities: allocation of pairs, feedback, monitoring the group to ensure that everyone is engaged in conversation and keeping exercises to defined times. In a 90 minute session each student will speak with at least five others in bursts of 5-10 mins
Why not try the lesson on your conversation course? Email students the link (5/6 days advance)and listen as fluency soars in your classroom. (DM me for Teachers’ Notes/Answers)