Saturday, January 22, 2011

Pro-Social Small Talk Lesson Summaries

The long intro and essay would be useless to my students. We would pick up at the starters page and just use that as an opener to generating dialogues practicing small talk. The bus stop/office/party dialogues would be quite long for my folks but good examples for generating their own in class and performing them in front of the group. Difficulties include: the first set of essays as I would just chop that right out and ask eliciting questions about the purposes of small talk and focus on polite questions to ask strangers because sometimes Koreans can appear a little invasive of privacy issues to English speakers but usually they are just curious or being what they think is being polite. The small talk quiz would make a good exit evaluation followed by general discussion.

This small talk provides many more options than the English Club does and I like the short easy to print out and complete worksheet style. This would perhaps be a good closer activity over several consecutive and perhaps unrelated lessons however there is a lot of reading and it might be better as a take home exercise to allow them to prepare their answers. My students have good reading and writing skills and I would not want to waste class time with too much of that. These topics could be discussed in class following home preparation and might be good for outside class group meetings as well.

I recognize this as a topic of some of my students’ homework from international trade English communication this past semester. I instruct them to listen to the six minute English broadcast and then freely choose one or two other BBC general learner/business English activities. Some form of this article is available to students I can’t find it but I remember some of them discussing it. On aside I have over 5000 student homework emails in my gmail box so just please take my word for it. Some of them liked this topic because it is so foreign to them the concept of kissing for greetings is a rare public display in Korea reserved for elders to babies. But they find these cultural differences fascinating.

Yes, I have actually used “Cindy C’s” videos previously and found them through random online search. Some of my students enjoy these kinds of prescriptive descriptions of culture and etiquette. I assign it as optional home study and/or hyperlink it into homework assignments. I would never test knowledge on this stuff though. Since there are no accompanying transcripts what they pick up could be fairly minimal to nada. Seems geared to typical housewives crowd as it is uncontroversial and fairly fluffy.

I would use this as a reading assignment if I was teaching a lesson on meeting and greeting people. The question I would ask would be something like, “In your words what are the three most important tips that Glenn Ebersole gives for meeting and greeting people? Why do you think these are the most important? Are any of these tips less important to you? Why? Etc.” But this would not form the core of my lesson. I like to give them many opinions and ask them to reason with their own opinions. It is fairly uncommon I think in the Korean educational system to do so.

As it is intermediate level it would be more challenging for my students to do this. I might assign the listening and questions as homework reviewed in group discussion in class. Prepare the questions and answers in advance and then perform in class activities. It is a little too reading and writing focused for an in class activity of mine. So it would take more home prep before putting it to work in class.

This is a standard listening and information gap filling exercise that most of the books I use come with and I rarely if ever use them in class more likely assign it as homework or as optional home study depending on how important it is to generating speaking practice. I really try to avoid a lot of listening or reading and writing in class as I want that to be the speaking practice time.

This is quite realistically the simple level of elicitation, generation of options and choices, large and small group discussions and in class generation of ideas and dialogues practice which would work for me and the students I teach best out of these activities choices. I would use this. I would anticipate very few difficulties and as it has elements of play and games approach I know they would enjoy it. They would substitute dice with “scissors, paper, and rock” as I have found this is as decisive and equitable as group decision-making seems to get in Korea from my experience.

A very good example of a six minute English BBC broadcast. While it challenges my students with the accents and expressions (bloke-ish!) as a homework assignment I have had mixed feedback. Most Korean students are taught very simple dialogue listening without any real language conversation listening in terms of speed, syntax or vocabulary. For those who have complained to me about these issues I simply suggest it is good for them to have the transcripts and review a few times to get general gist rather than word for word understanding. Also when they complain that it is difficult I sometimes direct them to another listening site in California which is much more sedate and "American" (urbane?) in its presentation.

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