ways of starting an adult 1-to-1 English lesson

IMG_1958How do you usually start your one to one classes? especially the early morning ones? or business English ones? Do you have some favorite or usual ways?

Well, here is what I do sometimes: I just love to let people talk instead of me, so I would usually ask a couple of questions to my individual students, listen to their (hopefully) long answers, and then try to connect it to the lesson itself. But, just to make the right impression (and not to let them think I had no time to plan the lesson, which is why I am trying to spend the first 25 minutes just chatting away) I try to use special worksheets for this wake-up-chats. Here are 2 just to show an example, but they can be quite different, containing various questions and looking very different too! (sometimes, when I really don’t have enough time to plan the lesson, I just use post-its for a change).

What is very valuable about such worksheets is that they are completely “open-ended” and easily adaptable for any kind of learner (or a group of learners, too). So if you use these questions to talk to an upper-intermediate student from a law company, you will hear completely different answers (and vocabulary used, too) from a, let’s say, intermediate search engline company enployee. But in both cases your students will get a great oppportunity to refresh (or even aquire) the vocabulary and the grammar they need and want.

So here are the worksheets:

the one containing sentence starters: week overview

the one involving a bit more thinking and grammar training: starting questions – slashed

oh, and please tell me what you do to help your students wake up and “tune in”!

About Svetlana Urisman

I am an ADOS and an English teacher (and materials writer) in a language school in Moscow. I have been an ADOS and a teacher trainer for a couple of years and a teacher for about 10 years. I am keen to share some ideas and materials I've developed in order to take them further and not to lose them. You are welcome to use any materials represented in this blog, and I will be happy to get your feedback afterwards if you take them to your classroom! ;-)
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2 Responses to ways of starting an adult 1-to-1 English lesson

  1. Hello Svetlana. I have just run into your blog – it’s great. Thank you for sharing your ideas!

    I like your worksheets. They really help structure the lesson for a student.
    Personally, I do tend to turn warm-up chatting into a way to expand on grammar, vocabulary, etc. While a student is answering my questions or pouring on me what’s occupying their mind at the moment, I take notes: a grammar mistake, a wrong choice of a word, etc. on the left side. After that we go through my notes and come up with nice replacements to put on the right side.
    Next class can be started with those things on the right put onto post-its. I ask the student to arrange them in the order they appeared in our conversation and remember the context, the sentence, emotion and so on. Later on some of these post-its can be used in other various arranging activities: most useful, can be used when talking about…, I don’t know how to use, excited/irritated.

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