How can I teach teenage students to speak persuasively on given topics. They are non native speakers and study business related courses.
21 March, 2017 at 10:49
Total posts: 6
I think that firstly you can try to develop such skills in your students by giving them a lot of time to prepare for the definite topic for discussion. In home they look up for arguments, facts to support their opinion and in the class you can start from pairing up students and then creating small groups.
Don’t forget to choose topic which will be interested for everybody not only for few students. Small thesis statements will also come in handy for students.
Wish you luck
26 March, 2017 at 15:15
Total posts: 770
Don’t forget to choose topic which will be interested for everybody
Yes, choosing motivating and interesting topics according to your particular students is half the battle.
The other half is giving them the language they need, which, in this case, is a question of introducing the functional language and vocabulary they need to speak persuasively on a topic. So let’s imagine the topic is “cats” (not a business topic I know but the principle is the same!) and you want them to debate the benefits of keeping cats as pets, trying to persuade the other side of their points of view. They would need:
– cat vocabulary – names of different breeds, actions and noises that cats do and make, cat body parts (paw, fur…), adjectives to describe how cats make you feel, etc, etc
– functional language and fixed expressions for expressing opinions (“I think…”, “If you ask me…”), agreeing and disagreeing, arguing a point of view (“We could say that…”, “I really believe that…”)
– language for discourse skills like interrupting (“Sorry, but…”), referring back to what you said earlier (“As I saaid earlier…”), etc
(My examples in inverted commas are just a few random ones, there are plenty of others)
You could introduce both the functional language and the vocabulary through some listening/reading activities, followed by some short activities or games to practise it in a controlled way. Then, and only then, move on to the debate about keeping cats, making sure they have ample time to prepare. One way is to split them into two groups, each with opposing views about cats. Have the groups brainstorm their arguments and jot down a few ideas about how they could express these arguments, using some of the langauge they’ve learnt. Then hold the debate.
Motivation, giving them the functional language and discourse skills (which will vary according to the type of speaking/discussion you’re having), and preparation are the three key things. The functional language and discourse skills can then of course be recycled for other topics.