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ESL Conversation Questions About Crime

Instructor: Amanda Wiesner-Groff

Amanda has created and taught English/ESL curricula worldwide, has an M.Ed, and is the current ESOL Coordinator for the Saint Louis Public School District.

A crucial aspect of teaching English as a second language students is encouraging frequent conversation in the classroom. This lesson will go over some questions and ideas to get your ESL students talking about the topic of crime. Read on to learn more.

Is Anybody Out There?

As a teacher, you've probably been in the situation where you're the only one talking, despite your best efforts to get your ESL students engaged in conversation. The more you try to lighten the mood, the more embarrassed they become (for you), which then leads you further away from the goal of class discussion. This lesson will go over some ideas to get your students talking, then explore some questions to spark class discussion on the topic of crime.

Getting ESL Students Talking

Are you having trouble getting your ESL students to talk in class? It's important to create environments where students don't feel self-conscious or worried about making mistakes while speaking. After all, it can be very intimidating to speak a second language, so make sure your classroom environment is one that:

  • encourages students to try without being mocked for their mistakes
  • respects and supports one another's differences, interests, and abilities
  • praises efforts and accomplishments, no matter how small
  • fosters a sense of peer support and teamwork

When students feel they can speak up, make mistakes, and still receive support, they will be more likely to engage in conversation or classroom discussions. Consider including personal references and relevance into classroom discussions. You might use questionnaires or whole-group general questions to find ways to relate discussions to your students' personal lives. This can help students see how the conversations really matter and mean something to them.

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