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  • timothyhampson 11:14 am on September 30, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Book Review,   

    Book review: Conversation Strategies & Discussion Strategies. 

    One of the things that’s possibly more difficult about teaching English in Korea compared to other places is having normal flowing, ‘shooting the breeze’ type conversations. I’ve tried lots of different things to try and improve this in my school including buying this book and it’s companion ‘Discussion Strategies’ by David Kehe and Peggy Kehe:


    The two books cover similar material but the Conversation Strategies one is a bit easier. I’d say Conversation Strategies is intermediate to post-intermediate level while Discussion Strategies is solidly post intermediate. They work on conversation skills like asking for more information, follow up questions, clarifications, and keeping up or killing conversations.


    + The book covers things that I haven’t seen in other textbooks. I never realised that my pupils didn’t know how to say “Could you say that again please?” until I taught this book.

    + The production stages for each chapter seem particularly well done. A neat touch is that questions will often have a key word blanked out so that the pupils can make the questions interesting to them. E.g. ‘Do you think you’ll _______________________ within the next five days?’ could be made into all sorts of questions.

    + The lessons fit really nicely into my 40-50 minute classes.

    + There are lots of interesting questions so lots of talking happens. It’s really fun.


    • This book is more of a companion book than a new course. The pupils will learn some useful things but it teaches a niche area.
    • It looks really boring, it shouldn’t be important but it’s nice to have a book that’s visually engaging for pupils.
    • It’s quite skittish and jumps around to different topics. What I’ve ended up doing is teaching the easier chapter in Conversation Strategies and then finding the harder version in Discussion Strategies and teaching that. If I didn’t I don’t think we would be able to practice enough.

    Conclusion and links
    On the whole I’d really reccomend this book if you’re looking to help your pupils have better conversations. I’d give it a 4.5/5.

    You can find more information and a sample chapter here.

  • timothyhampson 3:46 am on September 27, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Word of the week   

    Word of the week 

    One of the things I really want to do with this blog is put classroom ideas out there. They might be good ideas so you can steal them, or they might be bad ideas so you can learn from my mistakes. Either way any feedback is appreciated so that, good or bad, my classroom ideas can be better.

    I noticed recently that lots of my pupils don’t know certain pieces of vocabulary. Weirdly they all seem to not know the same things. They already do a lot of vocabulary work with a list of maybe 100 words to memorise each month, but I thought that adding a really useful extra word each week might be a good thing. I made some posters with ‘Word of the week’ written on, laminated them. The plan is to scribble a word and it’s Korean translation on with a blackboard marker each week.

    The first word of the week was ‘rude 무례하다*’ because I was fed up of blank looks whenever I said ‘Don’t be rude!’ The first week of trying this out has gone pretty well, sort of. My pupils (especially 6th graders) think it’s hilarious to shout ‘Don’t be rude’ at each other (and me *sigh*) for no reason. My classes might not be that much more polite but at least they probably won’t forget how to say ‘rude’ now.

    *Just for the record’례’ is some tough Hangul to get your mouth round.

    The next word of the week is going to be ‘least favourite’ because everyone knows ‘favourite’ but is confused if I add a ‘least’ in front of it. I’ll update soon and let you know how it goes. Before I do, has anyone tried anything similar to this before? Do you have any ideas for words that might work as word of the week? Do you have an idea about how this could work better? Let me know in the comments.

    • David Harbinson 5:18 am on October 1, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I think what you’re doing sounds good. I like that you’re introducing it in a phrase/in context, and I would imagine that this will help the students retain it more easily and possibly in the future use the pattern and adapt it. And it’s great that the students are already shouting it out freely. I’m sure I read another post quite recently where the teacher talked about the students shouting things out in class, at first for fun, but it eventually turned in to something more meaningful. I can’t for the life of me remember where I read it though, but if I find the post, I’ll let you know.


      • timothyhampson 12:32 am on October 3, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks David, I think it’s better to present it in context too. Maybe a phrase of the week would be better. If something is funny it seems easier to remember so hopefully I can inject some humour into it in the future.


  • timothyhampson 3:07 am on September 27, 2014 Permalink | Reply  


    Welcome to the blog. I’ve blogged in other places before but this one is going to be mostly about ideas and thoughts that come from teaching English as a foreign language in Korea. Let’s see if I can rant less and keep it up longer than my other blogs.

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