Part of getting students to converse with each other is posing a question about the text or about a specific topic that would engage the students to provide their opinions about the topic in the English languages (Drucker 2003, p. 22). The teachers can also direct the students into discussing and looking for particular information and analyzing it. Another way of starting conversation is banking on pop culture. It has been known to provide for a rich and powerful classroom resource to show relevance between the students and the teachers (Duff 2002, p.482).
This makes the discussion more interesting, relevant and appealing to the students especially despite the language barrier and coping mechanism the students have in using the English language (Duff 2002, p. 482). This also builds the rapport between the teachers and the students. Discussion about current events can help the students’ voice out their opinions, only they are using the English language (Duff 2002, p. 482).
Despite the fact that the teachers and the students may not share the same socio-cultural and psycholinguistic repertoires, practices and abilities and need assistance from others, this can be a standpoint wherein they can connect with their students and help them be more vocal (Duff 2002, p. 482). However, teachers must be aware that some of their students are not familiar with other pop culture icons because of the difference of their backgrounds. This can confuse them more.
However, it is also useful to introduce such icons for them to gain the confidence in speaking the language, knowing that they are now more aware of Western icons (Duff 2002, p. 482). Elements of Instructional Conversation The theme is very important to serve as the focal point for the discussion (Williams 2001, p. 750). This can be viewed as the general plan as to how the conversation within the class would take place. There is a need to use the background or the relevant schemata of the student by activation or by providing background knowledge that is necessary to form a connection between the students and the teachers (Williams 2001, p.750).
Such knowledge is interwoven into the discussion. When necessary, the teacher provides the actual conventional teaching of the lesson to the students, as much as possible this is not applied too much to avoid disconnection and boredom (Williams 2001, p. 750). The teacher also promotes for the students to use more complex language and expression (Williams 2001, p. 750). They encourage them to elaborate on their answers in the discussion by elicitation techniques to would invite them to explain further like asking them to tell more about what they have said or to ask what they meant by it.
It is also effective to have them restate their phrases saying “in other words” and phrases like that (Williams 2001, p. 750). Other elicitation techniques include the promotion of the use of different texts, pictures and reasoning to support the arguments made by the students without overwhelming them the teacher may gently probe for the student’s sentiments by saying “what made you say that ”or“ how you came to that conclusion (Williams 2001, p. 750)? ” It is also important to assure the students that there are more than once correct answers (Williams 2001, p.750).
This would encourage the students to try and try to provide more answers and not be pressured to provide the correct one. The teacher while being focused on the flow of discussion and maintaining the coherence of the discussion to the lesson as well as keeping track of the time, the teacher must also be responsive to the statements of the students and to watch out for the opportunities they provide. There must be discussion that has “multiple, interactive, connected turns; succeeding utterances build upon and extend previous ones” (Williams 2001, p.750).
Students must remain challenged so as not to feel like they are limited as well as not feel threatened by the teachers (Williams 2001, p. 750). The atmosphere must remain balanced and effective for improvement (Williams 2001, p. 750). The teacher must act as a collaborator rather than an evaluator (Williams 2001, p. 750). The atmosphere the teacher creates allows the students to negotiate and construct their own sentences as well as be subjected to training as well (Williams 2001, p. 750). There must be general participation amongst the students.
The size of the class must be carefully considered in terms of the level of proficiency and skills of the students (Williams 2001, p. 750). By doing this, the students can each have their chance to participate in class and be trained to speak out statements in English. Students must be encouraged to volunteer to speak out (Williams 2001, p. 750). Those who are more reserved must be the ones the teacher would call upon. The important thing is for everyone to have their own turn to speak up (Williams 2001, p. 750).