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Adult Lessons and Free Conversation

If you teach adults, chances are you’ve been told:    “We want free conversation.   No texts please.”
At Dave and Amy English School, we don’t do free conversation.
These are the reasons why:
1.   In conversation, students will use the same vocabulary and grammar that they always use.     I know from personal experience:   My Japanese is NOT that great.   But my CONVERSATION skills are pretty good.     I’m good at speaking about family, soccer, school…. because those topics come up again and again.
2.   We want ALL our students progressing.    With a text, students learn new grammar, vocabulary, have homework and hear different voices in the listenings. They WILL improve. (****The exception might be older students. Retaining the same level is actually ‘progress’ for older students.****)
3. Conversation has a tendency to   revisit the same topics   every week. Students will talk about what they know.    A lack of variety in topics can make the lesson boring for student and teacher. 
4. A  GOOD text provides interesting conversation  starting points.   Look for a text book with readings, listenings, discussion points— around interesting topics.   And grammar/ vocabulary banks and homework to further solidify learning.
5. How about bringing in newspaper clippings to discuss???    This COULD work—but to work well is often a lot more work for the teacher. And is often too difficult for most learners.
In case you’re wondering, our adult lessons DO focus on speaking (and listenings) in the class.
But we insist on using a textbook (for all of the above reasons).Without the text, our students’ progress would stagnate and boredom would prevail.
How about your lessons?

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