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Hi,

I've just started teaching an adult one to one English conversational classes. Could anyone give me some ideas for interesting topics and lessons to use for one hour a day. This gentleman is a high-ranking police officer, but very shy when it comes to using his English in conversation.

Many thanks,

Mike Ellis
Comments  
What level is his English?
I would say at least upper-intermediate.
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For upper intermediate businessmen I use almost exclusively found news articles from the newspaper or magazine. If you let him choose the article from his newspaper or magazine, it ensures that outside of class, he (1) buys and reads or at least browses through one English language periodical per week, and (2) does a little thinking in English about it. It also ensures (3) a topic he is interested in.

You probably know the standard techniques for working with periodical articles: have the student read through the article and/or you read and he listens then answers your questions about the content; correct his pronunciation and ensure he knows the vocabulary; ask related questions about it, initiate conversation. The main problem is that with careless teachers this becomes rote, with the teacher sitting chin-on-hand while the student plods through a reading, both nodding in their seats. But if you are alert to the possibilities-- introducing topic-associated vocabulary, bringing to notice grammar points as they occur, constantly intercalating invitations to discussion-- you will find current periodicals a perfect renewable resource. Use the unique clues in each article to lead you to what needs to be taught that day-- points of grammar, structure, vocabulary, listening, or pronunciation.

As you learn the student's interests, you can begin selecting your own articles on those topics from periodicals or the internet-- and these have the advantage that you can develop them ahead of time, creating gapping activities (delete every tenth word of the first paragraph and have the student insert them after listening to your reading of it), matching activities (separate the captions from the maps), and a number of other tasks available in most ESL teacher resource and guide texts.
Hi MrM.
In my city there aren't newspapers nor magazines in English available. So, how can a person who works as a teacher avoid printing and printing material form Internet? Would it be more efficient to use a datashow and a computer and let the students/teacher read from this screen? How would the students react to this?
Frankly, I've never set my students in front of a computer screen, Latin, but I suppose it would be fine. Still, you cannot scribble notes in the margins of the screen. Why do you wish to avoid internet sources? I print out webpages all the time to use with students, just like other periodicals.
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Mister MicawberWhy do you wish to avoid internet sources? I print out webpages all the time to use with students, just like other periodicals.
Not at all, MrM. I think Internet is great to get exercises and resources. It's just that printing out so many pages makes me think that, after a couple of days, the students will put all these sheets in a lost drawer. So I was thinking in a way to avoid so much paper. Or is it necessary that they can take those pages to their homes for further analysis?
I can't know your whole situation, Latin, but just my experience:

1. All my classes are private, so I don't generate too much paper and destroy too many trees.
2. My students do like to write notes all over their articles (vocabulary, pronunciation, etc) and most of them seem to keep the papers accessible (if a bit disheveled); whether they actually review them, I do not know.
3. If I need several copies, I print out one and then photocopy further copies (it seems to me I'm saving ink... or something).