Lessons & Classroom Games for Teachers

Tools for ESL Conversation Class for Beginners
By:Maggie Gebremichael

ESL conversational classes should help beginner students gain speaking confidence and improve their English comprehension. Essential tools include creativity with lesson planning and audio speakers accessible by an entire class. For example, an easy lesson plan is to play a song and then have students discuss the lyrics and their music preferences either in pairs or as a class. Even conversational only ESL classes should reinforce lessons with written information that students can use later.

Brainstorm with students about different ways to describe people and their personalities. Leave the adjectives and phrases on the blackboard, and then ask students to describe themselves orally. Next, find pictures in magazines that depict annoyed or irritated people. Pass out the pictures to your class, and ask them to explain what they see. Also ask students to describe what they like and dislike, such as about other people's behavior, food or television shows. Have students describe their favorite dishes after you explain what a dish can mean in the United States. Occasionally correct grammatical mistakes so that students can realize their errors while continuing to contribute during class.

ESL students often come from different backgrounds and usually are familiar with American traditions and culture. When discussing employment, have students describe jobs that they or their family members have had. Introduce rare types of employment, such as video game tester or dolphin trainer. Practice speaking in the future and using conditional tense by asking students about where they see themselves in five and 10 years. Another topic that fits well along with employment involves hobbies and interests. Lesson plans might include asking students to bring examples of their hobbies to class so that students can share their activities with peers.

Popular culture
Find appropriate newspaper articles that students can read. Either block or white out certain words and have students guess the missing words. Another teaching method with newspapers is to select students to read articles aloud. Afterward, discuss the articles' content. Also take a survey of celebrities that students are familiar with and ask for their opinions about celebrity talents, lifestyle and salaries. To improve pronunciation skills, develop tongue twisters; for instance, use movie titles and character names.

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