Business Small Talk: How to Have Good Conversations (Even When You Don’t Feel Confident Speaking English) | English with a Twist
For my students.
Continuing with the theme of guest posts, I am delighted to introduce you to yet another guest writer here on EWAT. This time I have the pleasure of welcoming Jacob Gershkovich, a fellow English teacher. In his interesting and super useful post, Jacob brilliantly illustrates how you can make a good impression and enjoy a good conversation with business colleagues even if you feel your English could be better. This is ideal for anyone who wants to feel more confident in the business small talk. Enjoy the post. *************************** Listen to the post Read the post Let’s imagine that you’re at a networking event. You see someone standing across the room who you’d really like to connect with, someone who could be really helpful to know. You want to introduce yourself to this person and begin a conversation, but you don’t feel confident as an English speaker. You’re worried that you won’t be able to express yourself properly in English, or even worse, that you’ll say something silly
Teaching with Technology has been used for some time now.
Meadowlark Third Grade Teacher Brendan Finley’s class have been participating in a program called “Mystery Skype.” Students are able to connect online through video chat and ask each other questions.
“Using Skype is a great experience for them to learn about other states and students around the country,” Finley said.
Finley’s class has had seven Mystery Skypes, Wednesday’s chat was an improvement in comparison to the past.
“This is the best one yet,” Finley said. “The class did a good job and had fun.”
A projector showed the other class and the students were able to communicate through a laptop webcam.
How to teach English using DRAMA?
- Develop their personal meaning and intentions
- Develop their personal response to and interpretation of English and drama
- Develop self-confidence and self-expression, through expressing themselves, working with others and having an impact on others
- Use talk flexibly to express themselves and their opinions and feelings, find their own voice, explore personal experience, build self-confidence and communicate with others, through engaging in formal and informal talk, including debating, listening, giving speeches and presentations
- Use the pupils themselves and their own experience as starting points for work on ‘Myself/my autobography’ for example
- Talking and writing about what has happened to me, what means something to me, what I care about, what makes me special, my likes and dislikes, where I live, my hopes and dreams
- Reading autobiographical literature and/or accounts of childhood
- Listening to personal accounts of others in the class
- One pilot school used English and drama to assist pupils to make the transition to secondary school by getting to know one another and explore their responses to anew school eg. through an ‘All about me’ project (undertaken jointly with other humanities subjects to form a humanities project)
SOCIAL SKILLS AND EMPATHY
- Link empathy with the central concept in English and drama of ‘point of view’, eg. through exploring texts written from a variety of viewpoints or different roles in drama
- Develop empathy through vivid/juicy experiences eg. through reading about characters in fiction, diaries, letters or playing them in role-play or hot seating
- Develop social skills, communication and empathy through interacting and collaborating with others through effective speaking and listening; one to one and in groups, through formal and informal talk, speeches and presentations – speaking, paraphrasing, acknowledging and listening to others’ points of view
- Link sympathy with the central concept in English of ‘audience’ – and learn how to write, speak, act to different purposes and audiences – which demands and ability to understand different views of the world
- Develop specific social and communication techniques through group work and/or drama such as active listening, mirroring, using and understanding facial expressions, assertion, conflict resolution, mediation, group decision making and ways to reach a consensus
- Adopt a range of roles in discussion, including acting a s a spokesperson and contribute in different ways to group work, such as promoting, opposing, exploring and questioning
- Develop the ability to empathise with people from different times and cultures through exploring literature written at other times and in other places
SPECIFIC CONTENT IDEAS
- Exploring empathy and social skills of various characters in books and films popularly used eg the Hobbitt (how the races of the Hobbits and Dwarves gradually lose their suspicion), Holes (children in the camp moving from enmity to teamwork that leads to their escape), Tracey Beaker (complex interplay of relationships between the children in the children’ home).
- Exploring how tabloid newspapers marginalise, demonise and reduce certain groups (eg, ‘foreigners’, ‘young hooligans’. Muslim extremists’, ‘scroungers’. ‘asylum seekers’) and the language and imagery they use to do it.
- Developing active listening skills through exercises in drama – playing the part of good and bad listeners and discussing how it feels
- Exploring how we make judgements about people, eg. snap judgement – top-slicing the information, instant body language choices based on how someone looks, our gut reactions (eg why did Harry Potter instantly stick up for Ron when he met him and Draco Malfoy together?)
- Thought tracking, externalising internal monologues in pairs, one the actor and one the voice to convey an internal state through body language
- Explore the concepts of developing understanding, meaning, intention and motivation in English and drama – ask key reasons why people create and enjoy the expressive arts
- Make meaning in their own lives eg. by understanding the central importance of having clear and strong goals, a vision, intentions and sound values
- Understand the idea of cause and effect in the context of English and drama. Eg. explore the links between character, motivation and plot and how outcomes for a story flow from the nature, intentions and personality of the people involved
- Identify, using appropriate terminology, the way writers match language and organisation to their intentions
- Structure a piece of writing or a speech in a well-organised, clearly sequenced, prioritised, logical and chronological way
- Use exploratory, hypothetical and speculative talk as a way of researching ideas and expanding thinking
- Work alone and with others to solve problems, make deductions, share, test and evaluate ideas
- Set personal targets
- Develop drama techniques and strategies for anticipating, visualising and problem solving in different learning contexts
- Develop their powers of critical reflection
SPECIFIC CONTENT IDEAS
- Explore the link between character and motivation. Take examples from fiction/biography and in their own writing/drama of characters, explore the impact of their motivation on the story/plot/outcomes fir the character and for others
- Solve problems, eg explore what went wrong for a character (in literature or in drama/role-play) due to their lack of motivation, persistence, resilience, goal setting etc. How might they have dealt with it better? What might have happened if they had?
- Explore the experience of characters who have difficulties that need to be overcome and problems to solve, in literature, writing and drama
- Compare characters in a story who have different degrees of motivation. Eg. degrees of vision, persistence, resilience, or who are motivated by different things and look at the outcomes that follow
- ‘What makes a hero?’ Explore the central role of motivation in the hero’s story/moral journey. Ie clear vision and purpose, persistence, resilience, courage, conviction – using books and films popular with the group. Eg Harry Potter, The Hobbitt, Holes, Tracey Baker, Artemis Fowl, The Lightning Tree, Whispers in the Dark, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Eragom, Dr Who
- Invite pupils to predict what will happen next in a story – involves considering intentions, causality and their link to outcomes
- Link the idea of creating a structure for a story (ie, with an arresting opening, a developing plot, a complication, a crisis and a satisfying resolution) with the idea of trying to tackle problems in real life, including exploring how far real life follows such neat patterns
- Pupils learn how to structure a piece of writing or a speech in a well organised, prioritised, logical and chronological way which makes cause and effect clear, eg collect, select and assemble ideas in a suitable format, such as a flow chart, list, star chart, or PowerPoint presentation, make clearly organised notes of key points for later use or to support a speech, organise texts in ways appropriate to their content and purpose, put a muddled story in a logical order
- Pupils identify and report the main points emerging from discussion, eg. to agree a course of action including responsibilities and deadlines
- Pupils set personal targets for English and drama, eg. to improve the presentation of their written work, improve spellings, speak up more often in class, take a lead role in drama, increase the descriptive power of their story telling etc
- Developing powers of critical reflection – through evaluating a piece of work and giving a considered, personal response to a presentation, play, script, film or performance through sharing views, or through keeping a reading journal
- Explore the idea of emotional engagement in literature and drama, exploring issues such as identification with character, search for emotional resonance and meaning and vivid/juicy emotional experience as some of the reasons why people create and go to the arts
- Give direct emotional experience in real time, for example through responding to a story, poem or film, or experiencing an event in drama or role-play
- Explore their emotional reactions to incidents, in literature, drama or real-life and compare their reactions with those of other people
- Develop the range, subtlety and depth of their emotional experience and expression
- Develop their language and whole body skills so they have a complex repertoire of vocabulary, facial and body language to express a wide range of emotions and feelings
- Develop their ability to use a range of devices to persuade and emotionally engage their audience, in speech, writing and drama eg. rhetoric (language), reiteration (echoing), exaggeration, repetition, suspense, withholding information, humour, emotive vocabulary
- Use talk and writing flexibly to express their feelings, find their own voice, explore personal experience, build their self-confidence and communicate their feelings to others, through engaging in formal and informal talk, eg. group work, pairs, role-play, debating, speeches and presentations and a variety of types of writing
- Empathising with characters and ideas who experience a range of feelings of emotions, through reading or listening to literature and taking part in drama
- ‘read’ their audience emotionally, whether it is an audience for their writing or their drama
- Explore how writers convey feelings and mood, eg. through language, sound, word choice, imagery, alliteration, rhythm and rhyme
- Become more responsive to what others feel eg. though listening to what they say and observing their body language, responding to the feelings of others in the group or role-play
SPECIFIC CONTENT IDEAS
- Work to extend feeling vocabulary with ‘feelings words’ eg ‘feelings word of the week’. Encourage pupils to explore and include new words in oral and written work and give recognition to pupils who use more complex words to describe what they are feeling
- Discuss how a story, poem, film or television programme makes us feel – explore individual reactions to the piece – what range of emotions does it generate in us? What feeling is the writer/film or programme trying to convey? What devices do they use to achieve this?
- Take a cluster of feelings and develop work on that, eg. write a poem in a particular mood, feeling or atmosphere, perhaps linked to music or art. ‘Prose polaroids’ (word pictures) – individual or group reflection then fill a word square with words around a mood or feeling, body sculpting to create a mood
- Explore what makes us laugh? Humour though the ages, ‘getting it’ or not, social aspects of humour, why is Shakespeare not funny any more? ‘In’ jokes and ‘out’ jokes, ‘cool’ humour (eg study latest television comedies that appeal to young people – why are they appealing? Contrast the shows with those your nan likes).
- Tragedy/comedy – what’s the key difference, how is the difference created, what attracts us to one or both, why do children’s films/stories always end happily, adult’s often not?
- Compare and contrast the ways information is presented in different forms, eg. orally, in text, visually, web page, diagrams, prose and explore the impact of these different forms on the feelings of the audience
- Drama – warm up, movements, body language, freeze framing, statues, tableaux to illustrate a particular mood or feeling
- Museum of feelings/emotions or museum of one specific emotion, eg joy. Small group become the ‘sculptors’, others are the ‘statues’, rest of the class is the audience who have to move around the museum and guess what emotions are being conveyed or comment on how well the statues convey the emotion
- Making or mirroring facial expressions – what mood or feeling am I trying to convey/how does the other person feel?
- Stage fighting – learning to control your body and your aggression (can help with aggressive pupils, gives a sense of control and detachment. Links with martial arts)
- ‘Hello’ games – how many ways can you say a word. What emotions can it convey?
- Mask work – use Greek-type masks that convey a particular emotion – pairs or group theatre work
- Drama – warm-down, breathing exercises, relaxations, visualisations
- Advertisements – the techniques they use to shape and affect moods, feeling and desires
- Web source: https://www.dorsetforyou.gov.uk/media/pdf/2/8/SEAL_and_English.pdf
Thank you very much for an excellent material.
In March 2017, we will make some changes to how teachers set goals and students track progress on EnglishCentral.
Please use the summary below as a guide as you draft your syllabus and use our teacher tools to set goals for students and track their progress through our reports:
- Students can view class progress from their mobile devices
Another request from teachers was to make student progress available on their mobile devices. This release includes a new My Classes on the app that shows student progress across all goals.
- Learn/Quiz Progress
We have received requests from many teachers to track students progress in Learn Mode as part of the overall word study on EnglishCentral. With this new release, students will get “Learn Progress” for any word they successfully complete in learn mode or in a vocab quiz. This allows teachers to set word study goals that cover…
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Thank you Nives,
This is an excellent post.
Session details: Plenary session by Gabriel Diaz Maggioli
Gabriel Diaz Maggioli is a teacher who applies the lessons learned in the classroom to his roles as writer, researcher, administrator and teacher educator. He got his BA in TESOL in Uruguay and completed Master’s and Doctoral work at the University of Bath in the UK. He has acted as consultant for international organizations such as UNICEF, UNESCO, the European Union, the Inter-American Development Bank, the US Department of State and the World Bank. A frequent presenter…
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