ESL Learners

Cultural Bridges

Teaching ESL

English skills

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Conversation Partners

As a conversation partner, your main role is to facilitate conversation practice. Although you may occasionally find yourself explaining English language points, you aren't expected to function as an ESL teacher. Your aim should be to give your student ample speaking practice. Help your student build confidence in expressing his or her own thoughts. A flowing communication of ideas is more important than accurate English usage.

Your student's personality will affect the kind of preparation you need to do before your session. It's often helpful to prepare a list of questions or conversation ideas ahead of time if one is not provided for you, and you will obviously need more ideas for shy students than for talkative ones. Think about ways to extend a topic if your student appears to have little to say. You may want to ask your student what kinds of topics would be of interest for future sessions.

Consider these tips to become an effective conversation partner.

Here are some conversation questions to help you get started. Most of them are suitable for low intermediate and above. You can adapt the complexity of the questions to your student's level.

Conversation Groups

You may be a leader of a conversation group or perhaps a classroom assistant assigned to a few students for a classroom activity. Again, your role is more of a facilitator than a teacher. The main goal is conversational English practice.