ESL Conversation Circles Toolkit | (2023)


Queen’s University, International Student Centre

(Video) Teacher Toolkit: Inside Outside Circles (Elementary)


Conversation circles can be challenging. On the one hand, they can be interesting, fun and a wonderful learning experience. However, they can also easily turn into an unnatural, forced and boring conversation. Because there is no pre-set curriculum or a checklist of grammar structures in a conversation circle, some believe that it doesn’t require a lot of preparation. This isn’t true. Even the most experienced facilitators need to prepare a little. The main idea is to care about your group and to be prepared. This toolkit is developed forEnglish Conversation Circles(ECC) volunteer facilitators and offers ideas, resources, helpful tips, session plans and sample activities to make conversation circles a success.

(Video) Teacher Toolkit: Inside Outside Circles (Secondary)

Working with Adult Newcomers

The purpose of ECCs is to support newcomers as they practice and enrich their English language skills in a welcoming and comfortable environment. ECCs are important tools for newcomers to gain more confidence in general communication and to make informed decisions in job search and settlement in their new country. Hence, you will become very important in their lives. You will be faced with the stark reality of newcomers’ lives and the challenges they have to face day by day. Don’t forget that settlement is a very stressful and long process and because of cultural differences what seems perfectly natural to you may not be to the participants, and vice versa. This can lead to misunderstanding and it is important that you know how to address miscommunication in a sensitive and appropriate manner. Because you will be working with adults, some key principles of adult learning will help you shape your attitude, practice and behavior in working with the participants.

Here are some key principles<ref>See Shawn Conway, The E.S.L. Tutor’s Handbook (Toronto: Frontier College Press, 1996)

  • Respecting the experience of adult learners is one of the cornerstones of adult education.
  • Learning is an exchange between adults who trust and respect one another as equals.
  • Learning must be relevant to the learner's life.
  • Adults learn best when they are actively involved in choosing and organizing what they will learn.
  • Adult learners respond to positive reinforcement and a physically and emotionally comfortable environment.
  • Learning begins with attention to the learner’s strengths and successes rather than deficiencies and failures.

Session Planning and Preparation

Funded by:

First off, you need to decide what the participants should learn or practice in each session, in other words, you need to set a focus. Your focus can be one of the five skills development areas:confidence building, improvement of pronunciation and emphasis, vocabulary builders, life skills and gaining cross-cultural competency. Each area also includes several topics. After choosing a skill area you can start with deciding on what kinds of supporting activities will be appropriate for learning on the selected topic as well as for levels of the participants. When preparing for a speaking activity, you should:

  • Discuss the purpose of the activity and introduce any new vocabulary
  • Introduce and review relevant grammar points
  • Discuss any peculiar cultural points relevant to the activity or what the activity is simulating.

The following skills development tables have been adopted from Queen’s University, International Student Centre’s web site resources.

(Video) Conversation Circles

Confidence Building

TopicSample Activities

Small Talk

how to start conversation with strangers

Ask the participants if talking to strangers is common in their culture (when is it okay/what would you talk about?).
Simulate situations in which the participants would engage in small talk.
With the group, come up with a list of topics that would be considered "small talk."
Discuss how small talk is different from other forms of conversation.

Speaking in Public

how to express opinions in class setting

how to explain an idea/a topic

how to find help if needed

Choose a mildly controversial topic (but not something that would offend anyone) and have a mock discussion about it- e.g. violence on television.
Ask the participants to explain something to each other that is important to them or about which they have expertise (it can be a skill, tradition, a cuisine, anything).
Post a picture or series of pictures (from magazines, newspapers etc.) Divide participants into groups and send them to a designated wall to discuss the meaning behind the picture. After designating a certain amount of time, have participant groups report back to the group about the pictures.
Discuss with the group the different ways they can find help if they are lost or having trouble with their landlord.


how to give a seminar presentation

how to explain something in different ways so that other people can understand

Ask participants to write scripts that would teach you a skill, have them read it out loud (word for word) as if they are presenting/teaching you.

Divide participants into groups and ask each group to choose a topic which you must guess, but they can only describe it to you (e.g. topic: Things you do in the morning; Hints; "You get up….., ", "shave" etc.).
Choose a short story suitable for your group’s language level. However, delete/cut the ending of the story. Participants discuss how they think the story ends then present to the group.

Thinking and Speaking Spontaneously

how to engage in a conversation in which justification is needed and arguments/ explanations must be convincing and quick

"Government Priority Activity"- give the participants - or group of participants- cards with different roles of the government on them (e.g. health care, defence, education, welfare, etc.) and ask them to prioritize the roles as if they were the government. Then ask them to explain their reasons for the order of priorities.
Split the group into teams. Each participant must talk about a certain topic for one minute. If they can do this without hesitation, they win a point for their team. If they hesitate, another team can challenge and continue for the rest of the minute. If the challenging team finishes the minute, they get a point. The team with the most points wins.

Improvement of Pronunciation and Emphasis Topic Sample Activities

TopicSample Activities

Pauses & Meanings

speed and rhythm

how different pauses help create meanings

Read an article in the group and ask the participants to identify the pauses.
Give the participants a series of sentences (without punctuations), ask them to read them aloud and explain what the sentences mean, then explore the different ways in which the sentence can be punctuated.
Give a list of "th" and "t" words: tin, thin, tank, thank, taught, thought. Demonstrate correct pronunciation by saying the list out loud for the participants. Practice in sentences containing both sounds. For example: The thin child thanked his grandmother for the tin toys.
From the alphabet, randomly sound out a consonant/ a vowel. Ask the group to guess which letter you are saying.

Reading & Flow
how to read aloud clearly so others can understand
how to identify the intonations in a paragraph

Bring in a short article. Ask the participants to read the article out loud (you may choose to write down words that they have trouble with) and discuss and correct as needed.

Bring in a short article. Ask the participants to read the article out loud (you may choose to write down words that they have trouble with) and discuss and correct as needed.

Vocabulary Builders

TopicSample Activities

General Vocabulary
buildinga larger vocabulary
learning synonyms to avoid repetition and enhance language

"The Dictionary Game". One participant chooses a word from the dictionary and reads the word aloud to the rest of the group. He or she then writes the definition from the dictionary on a slip of paper while everyone else writes down what they think the definition may be. Then mix up all the definitions and have each player draw a slip and read out the definition. Players then try to guess the correct definition after hearing all the slips.

Come up with as many synonyms for adjectives as you can. Then ask the participants to consult a thesaurus to confirm that your list is correct and to expand your list.

Idioms/Slang/Phrasal Verbs
how to incorporate idioms into daily conversations
using phrasal verbs correctly
Write down idioms on slips of paper and ask the participants to draw one out. Ask them to illustrate or describe what the idiom says (i.e. as plain as day, to get along together). Then use it in a sentence and ask them to guess the meaning of the idiom.
Choose a common word (e.g. think) and together brainstorm phrasal verbs that are connected with your word (i.e. think about, think through, think up), and compare their meanings.Look at different uses of the word "get." Look at uses of word "up."
Practicing descriptive abilities
Make up a list of descriptive terms used in varying situations. Then ask the participants to describe and critique a recent experience (film, dinner, holiday etc.) using as mush descriptive language as possible.
Bring a picture or pictures from a magazine or a newspaper and ask the participants to describe what is happening and to discuss the people and places in the picture.

Life Skills

When planning life skills topics, you should consider newcomers’ key survival themes such as health, transportation, housing, family, food and clothing, banking, jobs, house-hunting, telephone, education and citizenship and government issues. These themes relate to various situations such as taking phone messages, arranging appointments, dealing with emergencies, looking for a job, applying for a job, using transportation, dealing with merchants and looking after housing needs. The examples are endless. Hence, the following table includes only few selected samples.

TopicSample Activities

where to find job openings and how to apply
typical components of a resume
how to prepare for an interview
where to get help

Find a mock resume and discuss the different components of a typical Canadian resume with the group. How is it different from the resumes the participants are used to writing? What components are excluded and included?

Introduce job searching tools to class such as Career Directory, list of online sources and a few job ads. Brainstorm where to find job ads and other alternative job searching techniques. Discuss job ads together (what are the skills required?).

Discuss the purpose of a cover letter. Come up with questions that an employer may ask in an interview. Simulate the interview and discuss.


how to seek medical attention
what vocabulary to use when seeing a doctor
who to go see if there are special needs

Ask the participants to describe the medical system in their home countries (i.e. how does one make an appointment to see the doctor? How much would it cost? Where would one get medication? ). How is this system different from the Canadian system?
Create a list of ailments (i.e. coughing, sneezing, sinus congestion, headache, dislocated ankle, etc.) and define these symptoms. This will equip the participants with a vocabulary that would be useful when seeing a doctor.
Prepare a list of specialists’ titles and ask the participants to guess at what they do. Discuss the answers. (A list of common specialists may include chiropodist, paediatrician, gynaecologist, obstetrician, neurologist, urologist, orthodontist, anaesthesiologist, internist, orthopaedist, plastic surgeon, etc.)
Different telephone etiquettes
How to leave voice messages on the telephone
Using the phone book
Simulate situations in which a participant has dialed the wrong phone number (you are the person who answered the phone call). Discuss how he or she might handle the situation and how the person who received the call (you) might react. Then simulate situations in which you are the caller.
Prepare scenarios in which the participants might have to leave you a message on the phone (she is ill and cannot meet). Rehearse what the message may sound like and the essential information they should leave.
Simulate a telephone conversation that may take place if someone is trying to order food over the telephone. You will be the one taking the order. You may want to distribute pamphlets of restaurants or pizza places, etc., before you begin. Ask the participants to decide on what they would order and don’t forget to ask them for all the necessary information such as address, phone number, details of order.

Gaining Cross-Cultural Competency

TopicSample Activities

Sharing Cultural Backgrounds, Beliefs and Preferences

looking at similarities/differences between home country and Canada
facilitate understanding of different cultural practices, attitudes and concerns through conversation
looking at rights and responsibilities
folklores, fables, superstitions

What do the participants think is better or worse in Canada compared to their home countries (you might want to give some pointers such as weather, food, travel, education, etc.)
Consider the list of traits below. Ask the participants to consider the five most important when they are choosing (1) a friend, (2) a friend of the opposite sex, and (3) your future partner or husband/wife? Discuss the expectations and differences in opinions:
A good conversationalistTrustworthy
Respects other peopleWorks hard
Has my parents’ approvalLikes to do the things I do
Well educatedHas a good job/income
PolitePhysically attractive
Ask the participants what kind of rights they have as citizens of their home countries. Is there a charter of rights and freedoms? What is the most important right that a citizen possesses?
Ask the participants to tell the class about the different fables/fairy tales they read in their childhood. There are many variations on the classic fairy tales (Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Little Red Riding Hood, etc.) Talk about the differences and tell them about the versions popular in Canada.
Tell the participants about the different superstitions that Canadians typically believe in (i.e. broken mirror, throwing salt over your shoulder, the number 13, etc.) Discuss the superstitions that the participants believe in.
What different holidays are celebrated in Canada?
How do people celebrate holidays in Canada?
What happens during certain holidays (i.e. what businesses/services are closed?)
Give blank calendars to the participants and ask them to circle all the dates (in the year) where they would celebrate a holiday in one colour, have them circle all the Canadian holidays they know of in another colour; compare the holidays circled: how many dates are overlapped? What are the different celebrations that take place? What is the significance behind them?

Write down, on slips of paper, the different ways people typically celebrate each holiday in Canada. Have the participants draw them out and match it to the holidays they observe. Here is a list of holidays:

New Year’s EveCivic Holiday
New Year’s DayLabour Day
Valentine’s DayRosh Hashanah
St. Patrick’s DayYom Kippur
April Fool’s DayColombus Day
EasterThanksgiving Day
RamadanChristmas Day
Victoria dayRemembrance Day
Boxing DayCanada Day
St. Jean Baptiste DayMother’s Day
Father’s DayOthers

The Dos and Don’ts of Conversation


Always keep broad goals in mind. It is easy for you or the participants to become preoccupied with smaller details of English and to lose sight of the main goals of the sessions. When you get sidetracked or when you lose your focus, think of the big picture.

  • Use your imagination and experiment. There is no single curriculum that will suit all the participants. So you will have to learn through trial and error no matter how many books you consult.
  • Provide suggestions and resources that will assist the participants to improve their English language skills.
  • If concerned about shy or overpowering participants in a group, assign each participant certain key points to discuss. Alternatively, you could establish a turn taking system.
  • Provide continual encouragement and constructive feedback that will encourage the participants to use English in everyday life.
  • Include participants as much as possible when planning future conversation activities.
  • Be patient with yourself and the participants.
  • Trust yourself and your common sense.
  • Be positive, attentive and easy going.


  • Do not introduce a conversation activity that requires a higher level of vocabulary that most of the participants are not comfortable with.
  • Do not interrupt participants mid-conversation. Even though you may hear mistakes, let them speak freely. Just make note of mistakes to discuss later. You could alter the errors in such a way that do not identify particular participants.
  • Do not assume that you have to be a grammarian or linguist.
  • Avoid sensitive subjects about participants’ culture, religion, race and political views. Although some of the participants may seem open, you cannot guarantee that you won’t possibly offend other participants or make them feel uncomfortable..

Discussing Cultural Diversity

Cultural difference is an extremely complex and sometimes highly personal and emotive subject. When facilitators bring this issue into their sessions, they can easily create as many problems as they solve. You may find the following "core values" and "guidelines" sections useful when dealing with cultural diversity.

Core Values

  • A positive, constructive and optimistic approach to differences.
  • Commitment to relationship, mutual respect and integrity.
  • Tolerance, openness and flexibility.
  • Belief in the uniqueness of individuals, their strengths and capability to achieve their goals.
  • Attention to principles of cross-cultural communication.


  • Link the question of cultural differences to the main themes of your sessions: small talk, presentations, vocabulary building, life skills, etc.
  • Emphasize how differences can complement and benefit each other and don’t single out particular groups.
  • Focus on positives, such as the benefits of cultural differences rather than negatives such as racism and prejudice.
  • Accommodate points of view of others and explain your own in an appropriate manner.
  • Beware of your body language and non-verbal cues.
  • Given the informal nature of ECCs, expect the participants to ask you questions about Canada. Try to answer all questions the best you can.
  • Set personal boundaries with the participants and respect those boundaries.

Potential Conversation Topics

  • Canadian culture/climate/landmarks/traditions/heritage
  • Career choices/job searching/employment
  • Childhood memories/experiences/education
  • Computers/technology/space
  • Cultural norms/social conventions
  • Current events/news
  • Daily problems
  • Dreams
  • Family/traditions/homesickness
  • Globalization
  • Government
  • Have you ever…..?
  • Health/medicine
  • History
  • Hobbies/interests
  • Holidays
  • House-hunting
  • If you were……
  • Industry/agriculture
  • Literature/comics/magazines
  • Local history/attractions
  • Manners/etiquettes
  • Movies/music/TV shows/pop culture
  • Natural disasters
  • Nature/environment/animals
  • Nightlife
  • Seasonal topics/activities associated with different times in the year
  • Shopping/dining/sales
  • Sports/recreation
  • Stories/jokes/fables
  • Superstitions/home remedies
  • The arts (paintings, sculptures, museums, galleries etc.)
  • Travel/transportation
  • Vacations
  • Volunteering/charity
  • Who is the greatest….?
  • Would you ever……?

Sample Session Plan and Useful On-line Resources for ESL Conversation Learners and Facilitators

Small Talk- Session Plan<ref>By Kenneth Beare, About. Com Guide</ref>

Aim: Improving 'small talk' skills

Activity: Discussion of appropriate small talk subjects followed by a game to be played in small groups>Level: Intermediate to Advanced

(Video) Learning Circles in Libraries Toolkit: intro (Poland's team, in English)


  • Write "Small Talk" on the board (if there is one). Ask the participants to brainstorm as a class to define small talk.
  • Discuss the importance of small talk skills with the participants.
  • Divide participants into groups of 3-5.
  • Give participants the small talk work sheet. Ask them to complete the first section:Small Talk- Appropriate?
  • Once participants have discussed the various situations, solicit responses on the various subjects from the group as a whole. Feel free to let participants debate the issue.
  • Have participants get back into their groups and play the small talk game. Circulate around the room helping the participants when they run into difficulties.
  • Take notes on subjects that participants find difficult and brainstorm on appropriate comments for those subjects after the game has finished.

Small Talk- Appropriate?

Which topics are appropriate for small talk discussions? For those topics which are appropriate, think of one interesting comment to make when the teacher calls on you. For those topics which are not appropriate, be able to explain why they are not appropriate for small talk.

  • The latest films
  • The One True Path to Eternal Life
  • The local basketball team
  • Cars
  • A product you would like sell to everyone
  • The Death Penalty
  • Your home town
  • How much you make
  • Your last holiday
  • Your favorite movie-star
  • The correct political party
  • The weather
  • Gardening
  • Your health problems
  • Your family
Name/URL AddressUseful Activities
English Daily

common mistakes in English, conversation, idioms, proverbs, English Comprehension, exercises, etc.
English Learning Fun

visit guest section

"humour me"- English jokes

"mouth manglers"- tongue twisters with similar consonant sounds

"say what"- listening activities

"movie talk"- many interactive activities involving movie stars


links to various categories

"conversation &pronunciation"-different activities "idioms"- quizzes "dictionaries"- different types of words/phrases arranged in alphabetical order

many ideas on group activities

most activities suitable for large classes but may be adapted for smaller groups and pairs ESL Lesson Plans

activities for all ESL levels and for different skills

ESL games and classroom activities

Dave’s ESL Café

"hint of the day"- very useful information

comprehensive list of phrasal verbs, their usages and definitions "idea cookbook"- great resource for teachers extensive list of idioms "quotes"- always fun & something to talk about- good for discussion and conversation

ESL Party Land

sample lesson plans

conversation questions quizzes and games

ESL Games, Quizzes and Activities

different games quizzes for different topics
The Internet TESL Journal

conversation topics, questions and lesson plans

games and activities tips for teachers


conversation topics, questions and lesson plans
Resouce Categories

Language Training

(Video) Teacher Toolkit: Turn and Talk (Secondary)


How do you facilitate an English conversation circle? ›

Provide continual encouragement and constructive feedback that will encourage the participants to use English in everyday life. Include participants as much as possible when planning future conversation activities. Be patient with yourself and the participants. Trust yourself and your common sense.

How do you practice conversation in ESL? ›

18 Ideas for ESL Speaking Activities for Adults
  1. Short Talks. Create a stack of topic cards for your students, so that each student will have their own card. ...
  2. Show and Tell. ...
  3. Video Dictionary. ...
  4. PechaKucha. ...
  5. Bingo. ...
  6. Two Texts. ...
  7. Running Dictation. ...
  8. Surveys and Interviews.
May 17, 2021

What are some ESL conversation questions for intermediate? ›

- If you could be another person for one day, who would you choose to be? - If you could be invisible for one day, what would like to do? - If you could live without sleeping, how would you spend your nights? - If you could change ONE thing in the world, what would it be?

How do you teach ESL conversations to adults? ›

How to teach conversational English online
  1. Prepare lists of questions. ...
  2. Answer your own questions. ...
  3. Talk slowly, but don't treat them like they're a kid. ...
  4. Have topics that are common, but ask for the student's opinion. ...
  5. Let silence hang, but know when to prompt. ...
  6. Use the chat box or a white board to spell things out. ...
  7. Take notes.
Feb 2, 2021

How do you teach conversational skills? ›

You can help children develop conversation skills by talking and listening with them every day. Role-modelling, prompting, guiding and practising help children learn conversation skills. Rules about polite conversations and consequences for rudeness can help you manage interrupting and talking back.

How do I make my ESL class more engaging? ›

17 Fun and Creative Ways To Make ESL Lessons Interesting
  1. Use Real Life Stories For ESL. ...
  2. What Happens Next? ...
  3. ESL Grammar Auctions. ...
  4. ESL Online Games. ...
  5. Teach English/ESL With Songs. ...
  6. Throw The Seating Plan Out The Window! ...
  7. ESL Movie Review Challenge. ...
  8. ESL Realia Teaching Strategies.

How do EFL ESL teachers teach conversation to beginners? ›

In class, keep your talk time down and aim to have the student(s) do 70% of the speaking. Ask open-ended questions instead of Yes/No questions. Use a "Tell me more" approach. In group settings, have students talk together, while you play the role of a moderator.

How to teach conversational English 9 best practices? ›

9 Basic Principles of Teaching Conversation Classes
  1. Focus on communication and fluency, not correctness. ...
  2. Lay the groundwork. ...
  3. Student directed: student choice of topics. ...
  4. Small group/pair work. ...
  5. Encourage students to rotate partners. ...
  6. Teach students strategies. ...
  7. Teach vocabulary. ...
  8. Teach both formal and informal conversation skills.

How do you structure an English conversation class? ›

Follow the guidelines below to deliver a stand-out conversational class that helps each learner grow.
  1. Prepare questions. ...
  2. Set expectations for your discussion. ...
  3. Talk naturally. ...
  4. Let students guide your topics. ...
  5. Write out words when necessary.

How do you play 20 questions on ESL? ›

The students have to guess of what thing the person who is it is thinking by asking him or her at most 20 yes/no type questions. If no one guesses the answer after 20 tries, the answer is revealed. A "yes" answer earns the questioner another chance to ask, a "no" passes the asking on to the next player.

What are the conversation questions in ESL success? ›

(1)What is your biggest success in life?
(2)What small successes do you have every day?
(3)How would you define success?
(4)Is success a journey or a destination?
(5)What is your formula or recipe for success?
5 more rows

What makes a good ESL teacher for adults? ›

The GREATEST ESL teachers understand are able to put themselves in their students' shoes. They believe in their students and the students know it. They model a growth mindset so students understand that learning takes time and patience. These teachers love their students.

How do you teach small talk to ESL students? ›

Teaching 'Small Talk'
  1. Acquiring fixed expressions and routines used in small talk.
  2. Using formal or casual speech depending on the situation.
  3. Developing fluency is making small talk around predictable topics.
  4. Using opening and closing strategies.
  5. Using back-channeling.
Jan 9, 2014

What is the 1 1 teaching method? ›

What is One-to-One Teaching? One-on-one teaching takes place directly between a single student and one teacher. Rather than being in a group setting with other students around, one-on-one instruction provides a setting for more interaction with less distractions.

What should I teach first in spoken English? ›

Focus on easy lessons, like pronunciation and phonics skills, basic vocabulary, simple verb tenses (past/present/future), and easy sentence structure (simple and compound sentences). Don't pick topics that are overly complicated.

What are the speaking questions for ESL A1? ›

  • A1 level Speaking Questions: ...
  • What are your goals for the future? ...
  • Which one do you prefer: writing a text message or calling? ...
  • 1) Do you think smartphones have improved people's lives? ...
  • family? ...
  • 11) Would you like to go abroad in the future? ...
  • What things would you do for young people if you were the President of Turkey?

What are the 4 core conversational skills? ›

When we say that someone 'speaks' a language fluently, we usually mean that they have a high level in all four skills – listening, speaking, reading and writing.

What are the 5 parts of a conversation? ›

These include the opening (or greeting and small talk), feedforward (or transition to and preview of the main message of the conversation), business (or the main topic of conversation), feedback (or reflection and summary of the conversation), and closing (or ending of the conversation).

What do most ESL students struggle with? ›

Here are some of the most common challenges ESL learners face and how to overcome them:
  • The Most Common Challenge ESL Learners Face: Learning the Language without a Goal. ...
  • Bored by Traditional Learning Methods. ...
  • Feelings of Embarrassment. ...
  • Not Enough Time. ...
  • Lack of Interaction with Native Speakers.
Dec 28, 2020

What makes a successful ESL teacher? ›

A good ESL teacher should be able to relate freely with the students, should be lively, active, positive and have a welcoming attitude towards the students. This will foster a good learning atmosphere in the classroom. A good ESL teacher must also be good at expressing ideas, values and beliefs about teaching.

What do ESL students struggle with? ›

Many students need to move around to learn, and others crave direct interaction with their peers. Others struggle with attention deficiency already, and learning on the computer just aggravates this difficulty.

How do you introduce yourself as a teacher in ESL? ›

Your full name, nationality, educational background, and TEFL certifications are some of the most important details you should mention in your introduction video. You can also add something interesting about yourself, like your hobbies or interests.

What are conversation strategies? ›

Conversation strategies are techniques that help the speaker and listener keep a conversation going to its natural and desired conclusion. These skills supplement the linguistic and sociolinguistic skills most texts focus on: grammar, vocabulary, and usage.

What are the 7 rules for excellent English speaking PDF? ›

The seven rules are: studying phrases nor single words, do not study grammar rules, study grammar from speeches unconsciously, learn from the real English, study through listening rather than reading, repeat more to gain deep understanding, and learn from question-answer stories.

What are the effective methods to improve English speaking? ›

By Reshmi VM
  • Listen. The first step in improving your speaking skills is actually working on your listening. ...
  • Imitate. Now that you have listened to lots of English conversations, it's time for some imitation. ...
  • Read. Reading is yet another important skill to have when learning a language. ...
  • Reflect. ...
  • Prepare. ...
  • Speak. ...
  • Practise.
Oct 18, 2021

How do you start the first session of an English class? ›

You should introduce yourself and give some background information about who you are. This helps the students relate to you and begins building the student-teacher relationship that's so important on the first day. Your introduction is also an opportunity to establish your own credibility.

How can I be a fun ESL teacher? ›

13 Rules: How to Be a Good ESL Teacher
  1. Don't Be a Dictator When Teaching ESL.
  2. Maximize Your Students' Talk Time.
  3. Be a Coach and Provide Feedback.
  4. Use Humor in the Classroom.
  5. Be a Creative ESL Teacher and Make Lessons Fun.
  6. Keep Students Busy.
  7. Try Out New Things.
  8. Reflect and Seek Out Feedback.

What are the aging questions in ESL? ›

(1)Do people respect the aged in your country?
(2)How have you aged in the past ten years?
(3)Do you mind being asked your age?
(4)What do you think your old age will be like (or what is it like)?
(5)Do you agree that you can never be too old to start something new?
5 more rows

What are ESL rules? ›

10 Simple ESL Rules to Breeze Through Your Lessons
  • Do Your Homework! ...
  • Don't Point. ...
  • Don't Be an Echo. ...
  • Correct the Grammar Point, Not the Sentence. ...
  • Be Consistent. ...
  • Get to the Point. ...
  • Stay Relevant. ...
  • Don't Let Students Hide, But Don't Put Them in the Spotlight.
Feb 8, 2022

What are the conversation questions with first conditional in ESL? ›

(1)What will you do if you miss your family & friends?
(2)What will you do if you have problems with the English language?
(3)What will you do if you can't stand the heat?
(4)What will you do if you want to move back to your home country?
(5)What will you do if you fall ill?
5 more rows

What are the three questions one needs to ask before speaking *? ›

He told me that if I'm ever concerned about speaking up, I should ask myself three questions:
  • Does something need to be said?
  • Does something need to be said now?
  • Does something need to be said by me?
Jun 9, 2020

What is the average age of ESL teachers? ›

Age category
School type and main teaching assignmentAverage age of teachers30-49 years
ESL or bilingual education43.955.1
Foreign languages42.658.4
Health education42.858.8
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Is being an ESL teacher hard? ›

Teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) is an experience that can be both rewarding and challenging. If you think teaching a class of more than 20 students at the 5th grade level is easy, you may be mistaken. Needless to say, it can serve up a few challenges.

What is the most important role of an ESL teacher? ›

The main purpose of an ESL teacher is to help provide non-native English speakers the opportunity to acquire fluency in the English language, both in the written and spoken word.

How can I help weak ESL students? ›

How to improve weak students in English
  1. Teach strategies that the students can use in every class. ...
  2. Encourage your students every step of the way. ...
  3. Increase your student's motivation by helping them set goals and discover reasons for learning. ...
  4. Encourage your students to take control of their own learning.

How do you motivate ESL students to speak English? ›

Here are three strategies for motivating ESL students.
  1. Trigger Their Interests. Make English learning personal. ...
  2. Integrate Fun Activities and Technology. Games and fun activities offer several benefits to students. ...
  3. Encourage Language Experiences Outside of the Classroom.

What is the chit chat method? ›

Small talk or chit chat is a way to assess the emotional mood, gauge how others are and, importantly, their wellbeing generally, and to put others at ease or even at a deeper level have the other person confide in us their feelings or mindset.

How do I host an English conversation group? ›

How to Start an English Club
  1. Use what you learn. An English Club is a place for language learners to use English in a casual setting. ...
  2. Make English-speaking friends. ...
  3. Post a sign-up sheet. ...
  4. Seek help. ...
  5. Hold an introductory meeting. ...
  6. Create rules and routines. ...
  7. Who will join my English Club? ...
  8. At an English School.

What is an English conversation circle? ›

Conversation Circles are informal gatherings where people come together to practice speaking English. They are an excellent way to practice your English in a variety of situations while networking in the community.

What is the circle method of facilitation? ›

The Circle Way gathers people into a circular shape with participants at the rim and the purpose in the centre. Each person has a voice and everyone can see and hear one another. Social agreements and practices help facilitate respectful conversation. Circle supports a leader in every chair.

How do you lead a conversation club? ›

To maximize speaking time, divide the members up into pairs: Partner A and Partner B or at the most, small tables of four people. I like to form random pairs so members have the opportunity to speak with a different person each time. I wouldn't try to have a big group discussion.

How do you get people to talk in a group setting? ›

Contribute, Avoid being Quiet, and Be Heard in Group Conversations
  1. Look at who's talking, smile, and nod. ...
  2. Do Some Back Channelling. ...
  3. Contribute to The Group Conversation in Small Bursts. ...
  4. Participate Fully in Group Conversations. ...
  5. Hold the Attention, Jointly With Another Person in the Group. ...
  6. Hold All The Attention By Yourself.
Oct 25, 2021

How do you get people to talk in a group? ›

Simple Tactics To Encourage Your Members To Talk More
  1. Ask them generically about themselves. ...
  2. Ask about likes/dislikes. ...
  3. Get people to agree/re-affirmation their beliefs. ...
  4. Discuss seasonal stories. ...
  5. Anxieties. ...
  6. Ask for advice. ...
  7. BREAKING News/Gossip. ...
  8. Reminisce.
Jan 25, 2010

What do you talk about in an English conversation class? ›

Questions to get to know your student better
  • What makes you feel the happiest?
  • How would your friends and family describe you? ...
  • What is the best advice you have ever received?
  • What is an unusual habit that you have or an unusual thing that you own?
  • How have your goals changed as you've gotten older?
Jul 12, 2021

How to do a talking circle with class? ›

The talking piece is passed clockwise around the circle with each participant having a turn to share their authentic personal stories and have them respectfully heard and acknowledged without judgment, condemnation, nor advice (unless advice is solicited).

What are the benefits of conversation circles? ›

The talking circle prevents reactive communication and directly responsive communication, and it fosters deeper listening and reflection in conversation.

What is the purpose of English Conversation Club? ›

What is a Conversation Club? A Conversation Club is one of the best ways to improve spoken English. English clubs allow English language learners to practice speaking in an informal, relaxed environment. English speaking clubs primarily help participants improve 2 skills – speaking and listening.

What are the 4 C's of facilitation? ›

The 4C framework (Collect, Choose, Create, Commit)

What are the 5 P's of facilitation? ›

They make sure they understand the 5 Ps of preparation: purpose, product, participants, probable issues and process.

What are the 6 P's of facilitation? ›

In fact, it is important to decide the six Ps in order: purpose, product, participants, probable issues, process, and place. PURPOSE ALWAYS PRECEDES PROCESS.


1. Adult ESL Activities: Concentric Circles (short version)
(MN Adult Education Professional Development)
2. English Conversation Circles @GTBurlington
(Glad Tidings Burlington)
3. English Speaking Circle
(UNE Life)
4. Content-Based ESL Instruction Video - Inside/Outside Circles
(Alejandra Segura)
5. Teacher Toolkit: Time Pair Share
(ESC Region 13)
6. Teacher Toolkit: Find Someone Who (Elementary)
(ESC Region 13)


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