by Kenneth Beare
English dialogues can be used in a wide variety of situations for learners. Dialogues are useful in a number of ways:
Dialogues provide models on which students can base their own conversations.
Dialogues can focus in on language production in a way that allows students to practice correct usage.
Student created dialogues can be used to encourage students' creative nature.
Dialogues can be used as a basis for listening comprehension exercises.
This introduction includes a number of exercise and classroom activity suggestions,a s well as links to simple dialogues you can use in class. Use the dialogues provided as role plays to introduce new tenses, structures and language functions. Once students become familiar with a form through the use of a dialogue, they can use this as a model to practice, write and expand on their own.
Using dialogues to help students develop their conversation skills is common practice in most English classes. Here are a number of suggestions of how to use dialogues in class, as well as links to dialogues on the site. One of the main advantages to using dialogues is that students are given a rubric as a basis on which they can then build. Once they have become comfortable using a dialogue, students can then go on to have related conversations building on their familiarity with the dialogue and the vocabulary specific to the situation.
Here are links to various dialogues which can be used in the classroom or on your own with a partner. Each dialogue is presented in full and focuses on a specific topic. Key vocabulary is listed at the end of the dialogue.
Telling the Time
Giving Personal Information
In a Shop
In an Airport
Asking for Directions
In a Motel / Hotel
In a Restaurant
There are further levels dialogues which can be found on the English dialogues for learners page.
Use the provided as a basis for students to begin practice. Make sure to encourage learners to continue learning by writing their own dialogues.
DIALOGUE ACTIVITY SUGGESTIONS
Dialogues can be used in many ways in a classroom. Here are a few suggestions for using dialogues in the classroom:
Introducing New Vocabulary
Using dialogues can help students become familiar with standard formulas used when discussing various topics. This is especially helpful when practicing new idioms and expressions. While these expressions might be easy to understand, introducing them through dialogues can help students immediately put the new vocabulary into practice.
Gap FIll Exercises
Dialogues are perfect for gap fill exercises. For example, take a dialogue and delete key words and phrases. Choose a pair of students to read the dialogue to the rest of class. Also, student could create their own dialogues and gap fills and quiz each other as a listening exercise.
Dialogues for Role-Plays / Classroom Acting
Encouraging students to develop dialogues for short scenes or soap operas helps students to focus on correct expressions, analyze language as they work on their scripts, and finally develop their written skills.
Have students act their scenes and skits to the rest of the class.
Have students write dialogues out the texts of popular series such as Friends (always popular with international students!) As a class, ask specific students to be responsible for one character. This give students time to catch the details as the plot moves forward.
Have students memorize simple dialogues as a way of helping them improve their vocabulary skills. While old-fashioned, this type of rote work can help students create good habits as their English skills improve.
Open Ended Dialogues
Create dialogues that have only one character completed. Students need to complete the dialogue based on the responses that you've provided. Another variation is to provide only the beginning or end of a sentence for each character.
This can provide more challenge to upper level English learners.
One last suggestion is to ask students to re-create favorite scenes from the movies. Ask students to re-create the scene, act it out, and then compare their scene to the original.