Discussional English Lessons
English for Elementary to Advanced Level Students
‘Engaging Activities for Elementary, Intermediate and Advanced Levels’
There are nine lesson plans in this book. Below is a short description of each. The focus of the lessons should be on getting students talking.
- Lesson 1 Keyword Discussions
This lesson is a brainstorming session as students think of words, including adjectives to describe a topic. Students need to understand keywords connected with a topic.
- Lesson 2 Conversation Starters
This lesson introduces ways to begin and continue a conversation. The lesson is designed to help guide students in a structured way of generating conversation ideas.
- Lesson 3 Expanding Vocabulary
This lesson focuses on expanding vocabulary with synonyms and antonyms. This is a fun lesson that encourages open speaking and explores the use of verbs in depth. This is then used to build dialogue with simple questions and answers.
- Lesson 4 Follow-up Questions
This lesson is based on asking an initial question to prompt further questions. The topics are simple to engage familiarity and confidence. The hardest part is how to keep the conversation going.
- Lesson 5 Informal Sayings
This lesson focuses on short and simple informal expressions. The informal words used in this lesson include colloquialisms, slang and euphemisms.
- Lesson 6 Developing Conversations
This lesson encourages descriptions of a familiar topic using adjectives in the proper order.
- Lesson 7 Topic Debating
This is a basic introduction to debating. Students will discuss a statement and examine credible arguments for and against.
- Lesson 8 Informal Phrases
This lesson evaluates students’ skill in language creativity. Students will often look for the literal meaning of a proverb or cliché, but sometimes this does not lead to understanding.
- Lesson 9 Moral Discussions
Students consider different situations and reflect on their own moral choices. With each situation, you should ask, “What would you do?” This lesson more than any other will show what makes students who they are.
- Conversation Topics
This book comes complete with a bonus list of over 100 conversation topics. If you’re simply browsing for inspiration, then this list will help with so many varied subjects.
The lessons that follow can be adapted to run from 30 to 90 minutes. They often start with about 5-10 minutes of free talking. This can cover how the students are, what they have been doing or plan to do, as well as contributions from the teacher.
The structure of the lessons is modular, with clear and obvious steps to take. Everything starts with the teacher’s preparation work. Depending on the students’ ability, topics might need a quick worksheet or short classroom activity at the start of the lesson, and you will need to set aside time to devise this.
The purpose of each lesson is for students to gain confidence and increase their vocabulary by talking about different topics. If they are unsure about what to do, this might mean introductory work is needed first.
There is a list of reference materials to be used with each lesson. Please note that both British and US spellings of words are given, for example, “favourite/favorite.”
I have taught classes with anything up to twenty students using these materials. The lessons are easy to adapt depending on your classroom size and level. With a large class, you can encourage smaller groups to discuss topics together and then ask students to share their ideas with the whole class.
Be aware of students’ sensitivities. Some students may be a little nervous about expressing their opinions and emotions in front of the class. However, over time, they will come to realize that everyone else feels the same and their confidence will improve.
If you would like a certain section from the book then have a look blow. There are three levels available: Elementary, Intermediate and Advanced.
One day I looked at the teaching materials I'd accumulated as an ESL teacher in South Korea and realized what a great resource they'd make for other teachers.
The lessons collected in this book encouraged my students to speak English without causing the students to feel embarrassed about making mistakes. They were so much fun that I thought it would be great to share them with others.
This book helps build students’ confidence by developing their English skills and increasing their vocabulary using a range of fun and motivating activities.
What is an ESL Teacher?
Over time, the traditional term ESL teacher has been replaced by the term experienced speaker. For students, ESL teachers are people with whom they can practice speaking and who can boost their confidence. The traditional form of teaching has evolved into edutainment.
When a student takes a lesson, they want to walk away with an enjoyable time. For this to happen, they need to be immersed in an English environment that is both comfortable and informal.
A more relaxed learning environment helps soften the rigid boundaries between using English in and outside the classroom. This can be further improved by building trust and friendship in the lessons.
Control the Flow
When a lesson goes well, students will be doing most of the talking. The ESL teacher acts as a referee to share speaking roles and control the balance of speakers within the room.
Encourage open questions only, with no yes or no answers. It’s OK to ignore students’ mistakes if they are minor, but major errors should be corrected. For me, this would include errors in tenses and pronouns.
If the students are from various countries, then there may be some cultural differences and educational methods to deal with.
In theory, this situation can create a positive and supportive learning environment in which everyone listens to and tries to understand other people’s languages and perspectives.
Students have many personal experiences and abilities that they can bring to the lesson. Teachers can make use of these experiences to develop and enhance classroom interactions.
When I was teaching English in South Korea, I saw many spontaneous interactions between students develop during lessons. If students speak together in English, I encourage the students to talk even if they are not keeping to the topic.
Don't Forget Other ESL Teachers
It can be tough for ESL speakers to go to another country and to adapt to a different culture. It can take many years to understand the language and customs of the local people. I have known some ESL teachers who expected too much and were overly controlling as they were back home. This only resulted in losing the attention of a classroom of students as well as alienating the country’s native teachers.
Understanding Students' Needs
Lessons must be highly productive, especially for demanding students. To achieve that productivity, teachers must find individual students’ level of ability. Knowing what they can and cannot do gives the teacher control over how far to push students and in which directions.
This can be much harder as class size increases, so don’t worry if getting to know students takes time. Eventually, you will become familiar with individual students’ backgrounds and preferences. Teachers need to appeal to students’ learning styles as this will help develop trust and bonding within the group.
Many English-language learners see the teacher and other class members as friends. Sometimes that can mean studying takes second place. If that is their goal, so be it. Remember, though, that the teacher can be moderated by students’ grades and percentage of passes. So keep an eye on the main focus of the lessons; it’s not only about establishing friendships.
I am a qualified ESL teacher with TESOL certifications. I taught in South Korea for eight years before returning to Manchester, UK, where I have continued teaching ESL to students including Spanish and Arabic speakers.
English for Elementary to Advanced Level Students
I hope the methods and materials presented here give you as much fun and insight as they gave me and my students. I learned so much from the students’ diverse backgrounds that I would never have experienced without the opportunity of teaching abroad.
I would love to know about your experiences with these lessons. It would be great if you could give a review on Amazon and share the good vibes.