“Talk More!” English

“Talk More!” classes are full, 50-minute communication classes. We realized that although students knew a lot of vocabulary and expressions in English, they didn’t know how to use them in normal conversation. This fact led me to the false conclusion that most students couldn’t speak English. However, when we gave students the resources and the opportunity to have real conversations, they proved me totally wrong. Students can speak if you show them how.

In our experience, communication requires:

  • Preparation time for students to think of what they will say
  • Structured conversation time
  • Model dialogues to guide the conversation
  • Team-teaching (both JTE and ALT are needed!)
  • Teacher advice on how to enjoy speaking
  • Time to try speaking (because why prepare if you’re not going to use it, right?)

Using a guiding worksheet that prepares students step-by-step for their conversation time, students are able to freely express themselves in English and enjoy, perhaps for the first time, communicating in a foreign language.

This class was taught as a 5 part series to 3rd grade junior high school students (one class per week). Each class examines a target sentence which is useful in conversation. While students explore how they can use that expression to have a fun conversation, they learn important techniques for making their conversations more comfortable and natural. Using examples from the worksheet, I will guide you through the 5 classes. Feel free to use all the materials directly or make a communication series of your own.

Class 1: Where have you been?

Communication Technique: Students will learn how to extend their conversation and make them more fun by using follow-up questions.

Worksheet

Test

The first activity gives students a chance to think of what follow up questions they will ask when they interview their classmates. Examples include, “What did you see?”, “What did you eat?” and so on. The checkeed box gives students a space to write down reaction words they would like to use (e.g. “Oh really?”, “Cool!” and so on).

Click here to download the “Where have you been?” worksheet (Word)

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The main activity of the class is for students to use the questions and reaction words they prepared above to interview their classmates about where they have traveled to before. Each conversation will last about 1-2 minutes and when students are finished they can collect a signature from their friend. Repeat signatures are okay.

Basic Lesson Plan for this worksheet:

Intro: Teachers introduce the topic, check student understanding and introduce the main goal: to interview 8 of their classmates about where they have traveled to.

Preparation time: Students will prepare 3-4 follow-up questions to ask their classmates and choose some reaction words to use during their conversations. Teachers will give students advice about both.

Practice time: teachers will introduce and demonstrate a model dialogue for the students. Students will practice the dialogue with a partner.

Speaking Time: Using sushi lines or another pair-making system, students will interview about 8 classmates and collect their signatures. Teachers can give students a 2 minute time limit or allow students to rotate freely.

Conclusion: Teachers can do several things with the remaining time: for example, interview individual students about where they have gone; have pairs demonstrate their conversation for the class; and/or give students final advice about their conversations.

Class 2: What are you interested in?

Communication Technique: Students will continue to learn how to extend their conversation and make them more fun by using follow-up questions and reaction words.

Worksheet

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Like the previous worksheet, the first activity gives students a chance to brainstorm the follow-up questions they will ask when interviewing their classmates. Examples may include, “What~ do you like?”, “What’s your favorite~” and so on. A space for student to write their favorite reaction words is also included.

Click to download the “What are you interested in?” worksheet (Word)

wksht 2 bottom

As before, students will use the questions and reaction words they prepared to interview their classmates. After each 1-2 minute conversation, students will collect a signature from their classmate, depending on their interest. The goal is to collect a signature for each category (if possible). Repeat signatures are okay.

Basic Lesson Plan for this worksheet:

Intro: Teachers introduce the topic, check student understanding and introduce the main goal: to interview about 8 of their classmates about what they are interested in.

Preparation time: Students will prepare 3-4 follow-up questions to ask their classmates and choose some reaction words to use during their conversations. Teachers will give students advice about both.

Practice time: teachers will introduce and demonstrate a model dialogue for the students. Students will practice the dialogue with a partner.

Speaking Time: Using sushi lines or another pair-making system, students will interview about 8 classmates and collect their signatures. Teachers can give students a 2 minute time limit or allow students to rotate freely.

Conclusion: Teachers can do several things with the remaining time: for example, interview individual students about where they have gone; have pairs demonstrate their conversation for the class; and/or give students final advice about their conversations.

Class 3: What did you do yesterday?

Communication Technique: Students will learn how to make an impact by giving more information when they respond to questions.

Worksheet

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If students only respond to this question by saying “I studied~” that is boring and it has no impact. The first activity asks students to think about saying something more interesting. Using the model, students will prepare longer answers to this question by 1) saying what they did, 2) giving more information, 3)Telling about how it was (e.g. fun, good. boring, etc.) and 4) any other information.

Click here to download the “What did you do yesterday?” worksheet (Word)

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Students can use the model dialogue above to talk with about 8 friends and ask them about what they did yesterday. The last activity has students consolidate the information they learned from their friends by writing sentences about what their friends did. As a bonus activity, students are asked to write a star next to the sentences they especially like.

Basic Lesson Plan for this worksheet:

Intro: Teachers introduce the topic, check student understanding and introduce the main goal: to prepare more detailed answers about what they did yesterday and to share that information with their friends.

Preparation time: Students will prepare longer answers to the question of what they did yesterday by answering the 4 prompts written at the top of the page.

Practice time: teachers will introduce and demonstrate a model dialogue for the students. Students will practice the dialogue with a partner.

Speaking Time: Using sushi lines or another pair-making system, students will talk with about 8 classmates about what they did yesterday. Teachers can give students a 2 minute time limit or allow students to rotate freely.

Conclusion: Students will write sentences about the things their friends did yesterday. If they can’t remember what their friends did, they can ask them again in English or Japanese. Students can select some sentences they like and share them with their friends.

Class 4: What are your plans this weekend?

Communication Technique: Students will practice how to give more information about their plans by preparing answers about what they will do this weekend.

Worksheet

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The first activity asks students to prepare answers about what their plans are this weekend. The questions ask students to say what they will do, where, who with, and what else they will do. They will share these answers in a short dialogue with their classmates.

Click to download the “What are your plans this weekend?” worksheet (Word)

wkst 4 bottom

Using the model dialogue, students will talk with about 8 of their classmates and share lots of information about their plans this weekend. When speaking time is finished, students can write sentences about what their friends will do to consolidate the information they learned from them. Sentences that students like can be marked with a star.

Basic Lesson Plan for this worksheet:

Intro: Teachers introduce the topic, check student understanding and introduce the main goal: to prepare more detailed answers about what they will do this weekend.

Preparation time: Students will prepare longer answers to the question of what they will do by answering the 4 prompts written at the top of the page.

Practice time: teachers will introduce and demonstrate a model dialogue for the students. Students will practice the dialogue with a partner.

Speaking Time: Using sushi lines or another pair-making system, students will talk with about 8 classmates about what they will do this weekend. Teachers can give students a 2 minute time limit or allow students to rotate freely.

Conclusion: Students will write sentences about the things they learned from their friends. If they can’t remember what their friends will do, they can ask them again in English or Japanese. Students can select some sentences they like and share them with their friends.

Class 5: Consolidation Lesson

Coming soon…

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