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How to teach dialogue in ESL teaching

Pronunciation of English vocabulary words is often difficult for those learning English as a second language. Strengthen the articulation of vocabulary and the use of proper grammar with dialogue lessons and exercises. Work with students either alone or in groups to help them gain a better understanding of the English language. Make learning fun by incorporating popular culture, games and other activities to spice up lessons to make them engaging and entertaining.

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  1. Practice with flashcards. Students who are learning English as a second language might be embarrassed by practicing their new found language in front of people. Help take away some of the self-consciousness by instructing students to write down simple phrases and sentences on card stock. Pick a topic for the class to write sentences about. Allow them to practice at home before communicating with the rest of the class.

  2. Play a game. The "I Have Never" game, suggested on the ESL Party Land website, provides a fun twist for ESL learners to use conversation in a comfortable format. Gather pennies, nickels or other small forms of change and give each student a small quantity of change. Start off by stating something you have never done. For example, "I have never been horseback riding." The student who has done the thing you have not done must tell a story about how they did it and receives a coin. Encourage students to ask questions about the stories told. Continue until each person has told a story. The student with the most change wins.

  3. Make up questions. Ask each student to make up and write down a question about a chosen topic. Focus on interesting topics such as current events, science or history. Cut each question down to a slip of paper and put all the paper slips into a container. Mix them up and let each student draw one and ask the question to the class. Encourage students to communicate their thoughts on the question in English.

  4. Create a thought board. Break up the class into small groups of three or four students. Give each group a sheet of poster board, a stack of old magazines, scissors and glue. Provide each group with a topic for their board. Let students discuss how to design the board to accurately represent the topic with an arrangement of pictures cut from the magazines. Allow each group to present their creation to the rest of the class upon completion.

  5. Tip

    Take breaks from dialogue sessions if you notice your students becoming frustrated or tired. Record some classroom conversations to use for later lessons as examples for pronunciation.


    Avoid using negative or discouraging words when teaching dialogue. Instead offer constructive criticism by pointing out positive aspects of a student's speaking abilities as well as defining things he might need to work on.

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Things You'll Need

  • Card stock
  • Pencil or pen
  • Scissors
  • Loose change
  • Container
  • Poster board
  • Old Magazines
  • Glue

About the Author

Alyssa Ideboen has been writing professionally since 2005. She has contributed to several print and online publications, including "Lexington Woman" and "Global Business" magazines. Ideboen holds a Bachelor of Arts in business management and communication from Judson University.

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