I'm the NS on a Pratom EP. Next year it looks as if I'll be charged with teaching much more conversation; one of the Ss' main weakpoints (unsurprisingly) is their ability to understand/respond to 'free-form' questions.
Obviously, I'm aware their productive capacities can only develop in the lea (so to speak) of their absorption of SL form and structure, but can anybody offer me any guidance as to how best to approach the task of encouraging ambition and building skills? Is it just repetition, or is there a more structured method I can employ?
The school will buy me a book/textbook if I can find one to recommend.
Any help greatly appreciated.
"I'm the NS on a Pratom EP."
Does that mean you are the only Native speaker in an "English" program. Perhaps that is the main problem right there. Really can't suggest too much without knowing class size and how many times you meet a week.
There's around 5-8 in each class, of wildly varying abilities (Ss sometimes accepted from normal Program mid-way through and not able to catch up).
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I've found an excellent little three book series, I'll send you a P.M.
That being sid I sure hope the students have some good phonics background .
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With those small classes there are a whole lot of things you can do. For motivation I find a bit of healthy competition is quite effective. Give a weekly quiz and post the results or better yet teach them to keep track and graph their own results. My students seem to enjoy measuring themselves with their classmates. A bit of reward is a great motivator as well. Sticker boards for the young ones work well. Have a chance each class to win a sticker or two and post them in the classroom. You can take them away for bad behavior as well. It's a good deterent as they're protective of their stickers. As for books, it sounds like you teach all prathom grade levels so get a series of books. (English Time, Get Set Go, Let's Go) all have levels 1-6. It will be less prep work for you, givethe program continuity, and look more professional to the parents. Those books all work better with CDs, Posters, and flashcards so convince the school to purchase the whole lot. Best of luck.
Write your own mate and and make something that kids are really interested in... the latest cartoons and movies for example. Write some stuff about food too, both Thai falang.
what I need are structured speaking tasks that don't just give it to them on a plate; information gap are great but I find kids, obsessed as they are with completing written tasks and getting their 'tick' tend to just copy each other's info when you aren't looking.
Use more pictures then and have lively discussions to describe them.
Present the vocab., model the language, and off you go.
Using pictures is a good tip - I need to get more visual stimuli into my lessons.
I haven't used Let's Go - is it good? This year I Used English Time and My Pals are Here. Neither (surprise, surprise) was purchased with the supporting materials. This was particularly frustrating with the ET, which offers loads of games/activities in the back, nearly all of which require their flashcards.
"Let's Go" is an excellent book. I've used it, along with the CD that comes with.
"Gogo Loves English" is also a good workbook that focuses on speaking, phonics, and vocabulary. The series also has a CD, with many songs that are included in each theme.
Teaching English to Children: Gogo Loves English
Oxford University Press | Let's Go Third Edition Let's Go (focuses more on phonics)
I am currently teaching English conversation to prathom level in Korea. The difference is I teach certain themes each month, and build a conversation based on each theme. Right now, I am looking at the Airline theme. I have a dialogue, or a few sentences with the youngest grades. I get them to read the sentences, but also use props, visuals, and have 4-5 vocabulary words for them to learn first. They can them swap words in the dialogue.
For grade 2. I start with, "What's this?"
"It's an airplane."
For vocabulary I use; passport (pictures on board, and a real passport), boarding pass (I have passes so all the children can have one), bags (picture and a real bag), and check-in counter (pictures).
Introducing the topic, I will have an airplane (Korean air), show them the airplane, and ask them if they have ever been on an airplane? Then it gets their interest. Then I have pictures of different airlines, and ask them if they have ever been on this airline, and where. I make a tally on the board of places they have been (it gets them interested). I do this all before the dialogue. After I introduce the dialogue, I get them to practice using teacher-student, student-student role-play, and then get them to expand using the other vocabulary or vocabulary that they already know.
For the younger grades, it is good to keep it structured, but also ask them for what they know. Then after, they have the basic meaning, and vocabulary, they can practice until perfect. In this way, I include grammar, speaking, and vocabulary. I hope this helps.