Pro Making Dialogue

Let’s learn what to say when we go to a cafe.
First let’s learn what you can say already.
Fill in each of the speech bubbles to complete the conversation.
Are you doing this with friends? Compare your dialogue with theirs?
Did you say the same things in the same way?
Did you learn something new?
Is there something that is still difficult for everybody to say? Let me know and I’ll help you figure it out. Until then, if you can, go to a cafe frequented by tourists and listen to the English. If you live near a Starbuck’s that’s probably a great place to start. Americans like going there even when they travel overseas, so you have a good chance of hearing English there.

Notes to the teacher:
Textbooks love presenting dialogues to memorize and repeat. Students love it too. It’s easy to know what to do; listen and repeat. I hate it because it is so easy to forget what you did. Making is more powerful than memorizing. Making is learning, memorizing is …
This lesson set us up for a conversation, ordering coffee at a cafe but we need to find out what our students can say already first. I present them with conversation bubbles and some icons as prompts. If they need a particular word or some sentence structure I will teach it to them, but only as a way of improving what they have said already.

Whatever the students come up with is fine. Ideally you will be working with more than one student and wind up with more than one variation of the dialogue. This is the important part of the lesson. Students following textbooks get mislead when they have memorize a dialogue. They may be able to pass the test, but they won’t be able to speak English. English isn’t textbook. Nobody speaks textbook.

Conversation Follow Up

I went to a Starbucks by Osaka Castle and listened to the English. Three Americans came in, and none of them said the same thing. One guy said ‘Can I get…’  The other one said ‘I’ll have…’ And the last guy said, ‘Give me …’
They all said something different. And nobody said, ‘One small coffee, please’. Textbooks have to teach you something, but nobody speaks textbook. You speak you and the words you know already, so use what you got and be ready to pay attention, learn, and adapt.

Notes to the teacher:
Nobody speaks textbook. So what are we supposed to study? Well, what do you want to say? That’s what we need to study. We start with what we know and what we can teach each other, and apply that to learning how to say what we want to say.