Do you want to know how to teach effectively conversational English to adult learners?   8 comments

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Teaching conversational English is not as easy as it seems. It is not a question of just getting ESL/EFL students to talk. That way they don’t learn the nuts and bolts of  how people actually engage in a conversation.

It is a matter of teaching them how conversation actually works, how it is structured and its orderliness. It’s making them aware that language and culture are entertwined.

Conversation Analysis gives ESL/EFL teachers/lecturers great tools to uncover what underlies ordinary conversation and institutional talk (talk conducted for an institutional purpose like teaching, workplace, medical encounters, service encounters etc.).

To see an example of how Conversation Analysis is used in the ESL class, have a look at this abstract below  – if you’re interested in getting a copy email me:

teaching.with.ca@gmail.com

http://ltr.sagepub.com/content/early/2011/05/31/1362168811412878.abstract

One of my colleagues at a tertiary institution confessed to me at the time when I was developing  materials for teaching conversational English: “I don’t want to teach conversation, I wouldn’t know where to start” (Barraja-Rohan, 1997, reprinted 2000, p67). Does this sound familiar?

I, Anne-Marie Barraja-Rohan and my co-author, C. Ruth Pritchard, have devised an innnovative teaching methodology based on Conversation Analysis and elements of Politeness Pragmatics to teach oral communication skills. This metholodogy has been encapsulated in a course book titled Beyond Talk: A course in communication and conversation for intermediate adult learners of English published in 1997.

It has been written in plain English with a lay audience in mind. Key concepts are clearly explained. You don’t need to have a degree in Conversation Analysis to use it!

The course book Beyond Talk is a kit that contains a student’s book, teacher’s book, a DVD (with unscripted/naturally occurring videoed conversations with various Englishes – Australian, British and American) and a CD Rom with exercises on intonation etc. The course can only be taught with the DVD and CD. Interacting is not just verbal, it’s also visual and auditory.

Beyond Talk has been used for various purposes to teach oral communication skills to adult ESL/EFL students, in SLA for its use of authentic language, in intercultural studies for its focus on socialcultural norms of interaction, in applied linguistics as an application of Conversation Analysis and Politeness Pragmatics for the teaching and learning a second or foreign language.

At the moment there is no course book of this kind available on the market despite having been published in 1997!

This course book has been out of print shortly after its publication and is not commercially available. I have no financial interest in this publication, I’m not trying to sell anything here because I provide it for free! You can download it from this site if you go to the page Information on Beyond Talk. I simply want to make it widely available because I’ve had  such wonderful feedback on it from both students and teachers – see the pages on Comments by Academics and My Profile and Students’ Comments. Unfortunately no funds have been made available from the university to reprint it despite repeated requests from multiple parties including Emmanuel A. Schegloff, Johannes Wagner, Rod Gardner, Eva Alcón Soler, Numa Markee, Jean Wong, etc.. There is no legal implications for using this course book, the only requirement is to acknowledge the authors and publication.

Please feel free to browse through this site and read Beyond Talk‘s reviews, comments made by internationally acclaimed academics, practitioners (add your own too!) and other pages which give various information on Beyond Talk and myself.

Note that spam will be reported and automatically deleted.

©Anne-Marie Barraja-Rohan and “Teaching ESL or EFL with CA”, 1997 to present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Anne-Marie Barraja-Rohan and “Teaching ESL or EFL with CA” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

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8 responses to “Do you want to know how to teach effectively conversational English to adult learners?

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  1. Great site–how can we get copies of your book????

    • you can get free copies of the book on the page “Information on Beyond Talk” by clicking on the links at the bottom of the page and downloading the pdf files.

  2. Hi,Anna Maria,

    I feel really happy to come across such nice material. I´m a Brazilian English teacher and main interest and concern is to find ways to develop students´oral ability. In the past being in touch with the English language was just for the rich minority who had the chance to travel, but nowadays with the advent of the internet the acess to the language is much easier. But that that oral exposition is not enough, I do feel we need to find effective ways of actually teaching the oral ability. For many years, I´ve been adopting books that use the communicative approach, but basically the oral activities involve pairing students up and encouraging them to talk… I do feel that something is missing, and I´managed to find this something in your material. Thanks a lot.. Isn´t the technology something out of this world…who could have imagined that I in such a far place would be in touch with you and your expertise….
    Thanks a lot. Loved your blog.

    Monica Birchall
    • Thanks a lot Monica for your very positive comment. I have loved teaching this methodology as it encourages students to spontaneously talk about their own learning experiences and before you know it they’re telling each other stories and learning from each other’s experiences.

      eslandcateaching
  3. Dear Madam

    I am interested in teaching conversations and would like to have an access to the dvd and cd for the course ´Beyond Talk`. Is it possible? Thank you.

    Jowita

  4. Dear Anne-Marie,

    Thankyou for the material! It’s exactly what I have been searching for.

    Can you please send me the CD & DVD?

    Cheers, Amy

  5. Hello,

    This is a wonderful webcite. I have just started teaching conversational English. Could you please send me the CD and the DVD?

    Thanks,

    Tamaca

  6. Hello Magdalena,
    Please send me an email at:
    teaching.with.ca@gmail.com
    so I can send you the links to the audio and video files.
    Thanks,
    Anne-Marie

    ESLandCAteaching

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