Using Video to Teach Natural Conversation

Video is a powerful resource to teach natural conversation to students. Students can benefit from listening to conversations between fluent speakers. In particular, natural, fluent speech provides models of pronunciation and intonation, and how we use our voices to express emotion and emphasize important words. Rhetorical markers such as “uh” can be pronounced a variety of ways depending on whether we are pausing to think, indicating we disagree, interrupting someone else, or showing disapproval. So audio can do a lot of things a written script can’t. Nonverbal Communication in Natural Conversation However, videos of conversations provide all the benefits […]

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Guide to Stories Without End

Our latest book, Stories Without End by Taylor Sapp, came out last week. In case you missed it, or the subtitle “24 open-ended stories to engage students in reading, discussion, and creative writing,” wasn’t clear, the Stories Without End is a collection of 24 short stories that end on a cliffhanger. Students read short stories, discuss them, and then write their own endings: It’s an innovative and interactive way to teach reading and writing. The stories themselves are pretty intriguing and creative themselves, so they generate a lot of discussion. Some have a science-fiction flavor and ask what life would […]

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Two students acting out a role play. A tall student has his hand on the shoulder of a girl. He is reassuring her, but she looks skeptical.

Why Do Drama in the Classroom?

Speaking lessons are my favorite lessons to teach. I love writing a really interesting role play and having students go at it. At their best, students get so absorbed in the role and the situation that they start speaking fluently. They don’t overthink their grammar or stress about their mistakes. And they are so motivated to get an idea across, they start talking over vocabulary gaps, using so much language. Then afterwards, they are so hungry to learn the real words! So drama in the classroom can be fun and motivating for students. And it teaches them fluency. But […]

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