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:
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.
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©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