The primary focus of this book is to promote conversational fluency
for all students studying English. However, Conversation Inspirations
can be used in many other situations where the primary focus is on facilitating
language acquisition or understanding modern American culture. It may
also be adapted for teaching other languages. This can raise interesting
cultural issues; therefore, you should think about these before assigning
a topic. You will also find that these topics easily lend themselves
to writing assignments. After role plays, for example, you can have
your students write a dialogue. When using discussion topics, you can
have students write essays. The possibilities are endless.
Grouped into five kinds of conversational activities, Conversation Inspirations
is a collection of overt 2,400 topics. For each activity there is a
description of suggested procedures for the teacher.
A very effective way of using the topics listed in this book is to write
them on 3 X 5 index cards and then give the cards to the students to
hold and refer to as they engage in the activity. This very simple device
not only creates the effect of playing a kind of card game, it also
allows the teacher to build a collection of cards that can be used over
and over. The cards can be retained after each activity and stored in
a small file box for future use.
Although you may choose to use and store these cards in different ways,
their day-to-day use can be facilitated by following the simple classification
system presented in the book. The book then becomes a quick and easy
index to what is contained in the file box. Each section is coded according
to the name of the activity, and the topical area. Thus, R-ad means
role play (activity) advice (topic area). The code is given after each
topic - see page xii for further explanation of the code system.
The number of topics presented in this book is finite, but it is obvious
that the potential list is endless. Many of the topics can be modified
by switching the characters. For example, "Ask your roommate" can be
changed to "Ask your friend" or "Ask your child." The gender pronouns
are also interchangeable. In the text, there are approximately as many
masculine pronouns as feminine in an attempt to distribute them evenly.
Most topics can be adapted to fit either gender. Additionally, topics
listed under one activity, such as "Interviews," may be used in another
kind of activity, for example, in "Discussions." You are limited only
by your ingenuity.
These topics can be used in a variety of ways, from totally free conversation
to carefully monitored conversation. The general procedure and mistake
correction techniques outlined in the next few pages will help your
students increase their cultural awareness and social skills as well
as the accuracy of their spoken English.
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