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Conversation activities need greater presence in classrooms
“Speech is civilization itself. It is silence which isolates.”
Conversation remains a vital social skill for our English students. Naturally, immigrants and international students want to fully participate in their schools, their jobs, and their communities. Speaking clearly in English allows individuals to express their life experiences, insights, and perceptions in fluent conversations – both inside and outside classrooms. Limited English fluency, in contrast, often causes additional stress.
Therefore, conversation skills deserve far greater attention in English language classrooms for academic, social, and cultural reasons. Conversation skills also require practice, practice, and more practice. So let’s give our students more chances to express themselves, share their experiences, and develop their discussion skills in our English language classrooms – especially our high intermediate and advanced students. Teachers need to create encouraging, yet rigorous, classroom atmospheres where students can learn by doing.
Speaking skills, I’d suggest, deserve at least as much attention as grammar in our classrooms. Do students who know grammar, but can’t hold a conversation really speak English?
Conversation skills often matter more at work, at school, at parties, and at home. Whether ESL students seek better work opportunities, higher grades, or closer relations with native English speakers, our students also want to become fluent in English. So let’s meet both our students needs and wishes, and add more conversation activities and allocate more time to speaking skills in our ESL classes.