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HI everyone

After a year of teaching mainly business English in fairly formal settings in France I'm about to start a conversational class. My group seem to want a 'club' kind of feel, where the learning is invisible ie no obvious grammar, no nasty I dont know moments etc. I'm not usually hugely strict but they say my style of teaching sounds too formal.

Does anyone have any tips on how I can get an hour's session (beginners, middle (about pre-int) and their advanced (about intermediate pet standard) flowing smoothly. I have minimal French so my 'classes' will be in English. I'm really stuck!!

Thanks heaps.
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If you are the chatty type, just do so. Weather, news, gossip. Act like a moderator and a fellow gossip as much as possible, but encourage them to speak to each other more, instead of just to you ('What do you think about that, Ms. LeFevre?'). Spend your first class finding out what they are interested in-- hobbies, pastimes, current events, sports-- and then you can augment your 'free conversation' with authentic materials of any kind on those topics. Before those dead spots develop, have in mind a simple word game which 'you just thought of' (I have a Scrabble board on a top shelf that occasionally comes down when my patience and imagination are exhausted-- and they love it). Having copies of a daily comic strip in your file is always handy for trying to teach some humour. No formal teaching required-- but they will be grateful if you slip in a pronciation drill on some minimal-pair that they are having trouble with, or supplement their vocabulary in a field of interest.
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Thanks for that. Huge help. And a good excuse to read my magazines again!

Will let you all know how it goes.