The Better Ways to Teach 'STARTING, INTERVENING, AND CLOSING A CONVERSATION/DISCUSSION' in Form Four

Review: Previously in Unit 9:3, we discussed about how to teach the sub topic ‘Writing narrative compositions/essays’ in Form Three. In this sub topic, Form Three students were introduced to the various techniques and skills to use when talking writing narrative compositions/essays. Students were introduced to the proper language and stages when they are writing particular compositions/essays.

In this Unit 9:4, we will learn how to teach the sub topic, Starting, intervening, and closing a conversation/discussion’ in Form Four. In this sub topic, Form Four students will be guided to use appropriate techniques, sentences, phrases, and other language skills when starting, intervening, and closing a conversation/discussion.


(Also: For Literature in English Subject, Check out my Literature in English Blog. Also check out My Diary for Diary Writing Inspiration and More! )
                                                                    
THE FOLLOWING IS THE COMPREHENSIVE TEACHING GUIDE ON THE SUB TOPIC:

A: INFORMATION OF THE TOPIC:
1. Topic: SPEAKING USING APPROPRIATE LANGUAGE CONTENT AND STYLE
2. Sub Topic: Starting, intervening, and closing a conversation/discussion.
3. Periods per sub topic: 14
4: Class: Form Four.
B: HOW TO TEACH THE TOPIC:

GENERAL INTRODUCTION
The core objective of this sub topic is to help students use appropriate expressions for starting, intervening, and closing a conversation/discussion they are conducting. Most school activities done by students are in pairs and groups than individually. This sub topic engages students interactively and makes students open to the works that involve pairs and groups. It is in this pairs or groups students can learn how to start, intervene, and close discussion.

5. ACTIVITIES AND GAMES TO FACILITATE A LESSON

ACTIVITY 1: BRAINSTORMING AND APPROPRIATE EXPRESSIONS
A teacher guides students to the brainstorming of the key concepts of the sub topic such as intervene, excuse me, pardon, and other commonly used patterns.

At this stage, students are also guided by the teacher on how a person can start, intervene, and close a conversation/discussion. A teacher can give students some examples of the expressions that are used in the mentioned stages such as:

Starting a conversation:
Shall we begin?
Let’s begin, please!
Today, we are here to discuss…

Intervening:
Sorry, can you repeat?
Sorry, I beg your pardon.
Pardon.
Mind if I just say something?
Can I add something?
Can I just make a point?

Closing:
To sum up, we all agree/disagree that….
Let’s conclude our discussion.
Let’s end our discussion today. Thank you everyone for participation.

Note: These are just some of the expressions used to start, intervene, and close a discussion. There are other useful expressions that may have not been mentioned here. A teacher is advised to look for more relevant expressions for his/her lesson.
Other appropriate expressions that can be used on how to start, intervene, and close a conversation/discussion are:
Excuse me...,
Do you mind if....
If you will excuse me....
I am sorry I have to leave....
Can we end here if you don't mind?
See you later/next time.
Pardon....
Can you explain what you mean?
If I may ....
My point is...
That's all.
I have nothing else to add.
Shall we stop here?

ACTIVITY 2: PRACTICE TIME: LISTENING TO THE TAPE OR READING A DIALOGUE
If there is a taped conversation, the teacher prepares the students that they are going to listen to the taped conversation. Then a teacher provides students with this taped conversation on a variety of issues like impact of corruption. It is teacher’s duty to make sure students listen to the tape in a good environment, the environment that has no disturbances that can obstruct students’ ability to listen to the tape.
After making all necessary preparations, a teacher now can play the tape and instruct students to listen to the conversation on the tape very carefully.
A teacher also instructs students to note how different people participate in these recorded tapes on various topics. The students should pay attention to how the speakers in the tape start intervene and close the discussion. This is important because they should practice like this later in this sub topic.

TEACHING WITHOUT A RECORDED TAPE
In case there is no recorded tape, a teacher needs to provide students with the dialogue or dialogues which have the expressions on starting, intervening, and closing a conversation or a discussion. The students should watch out how they are used in real dialogues.

DIALOGUE
Asha and Joshua are talking about the effects of corruption. Students should notice how Asha and Joshua start, intervene, and close their conversation or discussion.

ASHA: Excuse me Joshua. Can I have a seat?
JOSHUA: No problem. It's Okay!
ASHA: Do you mind if I ask you one question, please?
JOSHUA: You are welcome. Ask me anything you want.
ASHA: What do you know about PCCB? I would like to know how it works!
JOSHUA: Yes, of course. This is an institution that is responsible for preventing and combating corruption in Tanzania.
ASHA: Can you explain the meaning of corruption? I sometimes get confused with this term!
JOSHUA: Corruption is defined as an illegal use of public money for personal gain or benefit.
ASHA: Thank you. Can you tell me how PCCB works in the villages if you don't mind?
JOSHUA: In the villages there are no PCCB offices, but citizens are encouraged to report any case of corruption to the responsible local authorities.
ASHA: Pardon. What do you mean by reporting to the local authorities?
JOSHUA: My point is any responsible citizen should report to local authority like Village Chairman, VEO or call directly to PCCB for they direct number. That's all.
ASHA: Thank you for your good explanation, Joshua. I'm glad you have helped me this.
JOSHUA: Can we end here if you don't mind? I have to leave so that I can catch Daladala. Do you have anything else to add?
ASHA: I have nothing else you add. Thank you very much.
JOSHUA: See you next time!
ASHA: See you too!

Note: The underlined expressions express how to start, intervene or close a discussion.

COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS
After preparing a dialogue like this that has target expressions, it is important for the teacher to prepare some comprehension questions to test their understanding of the content of the dialogue and its organisation as well

ACTIVITY 3: PRACTISING IN PAIRS OR GROUPS AND ROLE-PLAYING
A teacher can form pairs or groups in which students participate in exercising the appropriate terms on starting, intervening, and closing a conversation or a discussion.

After a successful pair practices in this activity, students are put in groups in order to role-play the conversations in which they should take part in and show how they start, intervene, and close a conversation/discussion.

PARTICIPATING IN A GROUP DISCUSSION
Now students are grouped into sizable groups by the teacher in order to discuss on various topics. In these groups, they should be encouraged to apply the appropriate expressions.
John and other students in a group discussion are discussing about a certain topic. Here is their conversation. Check how they start, intervene, and close their group discussion:

John: Shall we begin?
All: Yes, let's start.
John: Today we are going to discuss about negative effects of Western culture in our societies. Let's start with Jane:
Jane: I think one of the negative effects of Western culture in our societies is distortion of our local traditions. This is dominant in urban areas.
Asha: Can you repeat the last sentence, please?
Jane: Yes. This is dominant in urban areas.
John: OK. Jane, can you give more relevant examples of how our societies have been affected in these urban areas?
Jane: It's obvious these days, the wearing styles of urban people is not decent.
Abel: Can I add something?
Jane: I haven't finished yet. Not only wearing styles, but also influence of modern things like TV and phones has changed our way of life.
Abel: Thank you for this chance. Another effect of Western culture is individualism. Our forefathers lived communally but now we are not.
John: It seems we have agreed with these answers. Can we go to another point?
Asha: Yes. Also there is an increase of deaths.
John: Sorry, I am afraid we are off the point. Let's get back to our matter, please!
Asha: I am not done. I mean most of Africans die because of these modern foods that make us die so young.
Abel: There you have the point.
John: Let's end here for today. Thank you everyone! Have a nice day!

Note: COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS are always important in order to test the understanding of the students.

6: CONNECTION: Beyond the Sub Topic. This sub topic is the topic that is tests students on how to apply their skills conducting conversations and discussions. In this topic, students interact interactively in speaking and listening activities.

7: NOTE: This sub topic should be loaded with a lot of speaking and listening activities. It is through these activities students can make the most of this topic. Without interacting in speaking or listening this sub topic cannot be a success. Not all phrases can be applied in a single discussion. Only some can be used often and others can be learnt later on.
A teacher can create a poster or posters with expressions on them and put them in the class for the students to see for their own time.
Also a teacher can have students stay in groups and encourage them to discuss a selected topic or subject matter using the relevant phrases for starting, intervening, and closing a discussion in English language.


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