What is the students talking time?

In order to understand the students talking time, we need to start from a simple question: why do we study a foreign language? There is a million answer to this question but in the end the main reason is always the same: we want to speak with people from different countries.

To be able to speak in another language we need to practise, train ourselves making up dialogues, pretending to be someone else, chatting about whatever topic is more useful to learn new words.

The characters we play during these exercises are suggested by a script, an image, a picture. What would happen if we tried to re-create a movie dialogue? We noticed that some movie scenes are very similar to what could happen in real life, situations that can be experienced by any of us. What would we say in those cases? Let’s try to turn off the sound and re-create the dialogue!

How can we work on that?

During our courses we are experimenting this new method: making the students watch a silent movie scene, with few characters talking to each other, making gestures and face expressions which could suggest a lot more than written tips. Our students watch the whole scene first and then little pieces of it, trying to guess what could be the dialogue suggested by situation and body language.

Once the new movie script is done on paper, students can practise it! Divided in small groups, each one with its own new script, students can play the movie characters, practising the dialogue they created and having fun listening to the others. It’s like a little theatre time during a language lesson!

It is also a very good chance to learn some new expressions, new words, since every group writes on the board its own dialogue so everybody else can read it. And if there are any doubts or questions the teacher will be there to answer!

The exercise is not super easy, in fact it has been described as quite challenging, but in the end there’s a lot of satisfaction in creating a brand new conversation, maybe different from the original one but still absolutely realistic. During this exercise students actually create language, trying to imagine what the real character would say, working on their expectancy grammar and, by confronting their ideas with the others’, they learn more and realise how many possibilities the same situation can offer.

This means improving the students talking time a lot!

Of course this is still an experimental method and, as such, there’s plenty of space for improving. For example, we noticed that we could focus a bit more on reviewing grammar structures, but we’re working on that.

We hope this experiment will prove to be a great success in the end and will be a great chance to have even more fun while learning a foreign language!

If you are interested in reading more about language teaching, follow this link.

Susanna Fiale



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