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Teaching Foreign Languages Workshops Home
    2: Person to Person

Put It Into Practice: Activity B

Introduction
Before You Watch
Analyze the Video
Examine the Topic
Put it Into Practice
Action Research Project
Reflect on Your Learning

Resources
Library Video Chart
Printouts
Assignments
Choose an Activity | Activity A | Activity B

Activity B: Designing Student-Student Interactions

For student-student interactions to be effective, students should be encouraged to extend and elaborate conversations. In the video, Ms. Pettigrew says that she challenges students to move beyond the initial exchange; students can begin their interaction based on prepared questions and answers, but they must build on them with follow-up questions and comments.

Design an activity that includes opportunities for student-student interactions. Or, revise an existing activity to include more effective student-student interactions.
  1. Identify the main curricular objective of the activity. (What do you want students to be able to do?)
  1. Design a student-student interaction that will lead to this objective. For example, if the objective is for students to be able to gather information about hobbies and pastimes, you can set up a situation in which students interview one another about their interests. Include ideas for what students could talk about, as well as props or visuals that could trigger conversation. Also, consider whether students will work in small groups or pairs. You may wish to have students change partners or form new groups at stages during the activity in order to facilitate a greater variety of conversations.
  1. What new information do students need to know in order to reach the objectives for the interaction that you've designed? For example, do they need to know new vocabulary terms for hobbies or pastimes they want to share? Prepare a preview task that will familiarize students with the important new information. In this case, a warm-up task about different hobbies or pastimes might be in order.
  1. Prepare instructions for students that suggest ways in which they can stimulate their conversations and that let them know how they will be evaluated. This can include teaching students strategies that will help them extend a conversation, such as avoiding "yes/no" questions, asking follow-up questions, asking for clarification, offering explanations, and elaborating on initial statements. You might want to give students index cards to take notes on their classmates' hobbies during the interaction to prepare for the general discussion.
  1. Before the groups or pairs begin their conversations, model with one or two students the type of conversation you are expecting students to have. (You may want to select a strong student who can help maintain the conversation through several exchanges.) This will give students a clearer understanding of how to do the activity, such as knowing how to ask good follow-up questions to keep the conversation going.
  1. Once the students are engaged in the activity, circulate among the groups and observe their interactions. In some cases, particularly for younger students or those who are new to this type of activity, you may wish to ask your own questions to help extend student conversations. Eventually, when this is done consistently through modeling and class activities, students will begin to have richer and more complex and spontaneous conversations that truly meet the interpersonal communication goal. After a set amount of time, bring the students together as a class to share the information they learned in their small groups.
Assignment Submit your design for a student-student interaction activity.

Choose an Activity | Activity A | Activity B


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2: Person to Person > Introduction | Before You Watch | Analyze the Video
Examine the Topic | Put It Into Practice | Action Research Project | Reflect on Your Learning
Resources | Library Videos Chart | Printouts | Assignments

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