Ideas for learning communicative phrases with dialogues
What’s the best recipe to teach your students new phrases? Is it just by making them write down all you want them to gain, translating and asking students to learn the communicative phrases by heart? In the long run, I don’t think it can be efficient.
The best way is to give students a chance to have fun, play and absorb the language at the same time. Here are some ideas I use when I teach target language using dialogues:
- the teacher writes a model dialogue (with language structures that are planned to be taught) on the board (blackboard or the interactive board depending on your classroom facilities); two students are asked to read the dialogue aloud; next the teacher erases short, single words for each student; two other students read the dialogue; the teacher keeps erasing the words while students go on reading until there is nothing left written; the last two students in fact have to act the dialogue out themselves
- the teacher shows his students a model dialogue (in the textbook, on the board or written down by the teacher) and two students read it out; next the teacher explains that they will have to read the same dialogue but they will choose different roles for themselves; the teacher has some strips of paper with the roles for students to choose from (eg. read your part as if you needed to go to the toilet, as if you were a sports commentator; as if you were very tired and sleepy; as if you were reading a fairytale for goodnight and so on…)
- the teacher writes the parts of the dialogue on different colored paper and cuts it into strips; the messed up dialogues are distributed to students; the teacher can add a competition element with a prize for the fastest students to motivate them to put the dialogue in the correct order quickly,
- he teacher distributes the dialogues but with some mistakes in them and students try to focus while listening to the dialogue and correct the mistakes
- to practise paraphrasing the teacher underlines some words and expressions in the model dialogue and asks students to rewrite it but using other words; students practise saying the same thing in different ways (f.eg. the teacher underlines the phrase “I’m keen on” and students can write “I’m fond of” or instead of underlined “How about watching a comedy” they should think of “Why don’t we watch a comedy”
- you can use “from text to picture” technique and ask students to transform the model dialogue into a comic strip (students can use their artistic skills); the teacher may encourage students to use some websites to make creative projects such as www.pizap.com for example
There is a wide variety of creative things we can do with a dialogue in our classroom and the main rule is to try to engage students’ activity. Hope some of these tips are useful.