Languages › English as a Second Language Small Talk Lesson Plan Share Flipboard Email Print John Wildgoose/ Caiaimage/ Getty Images English as a Second Language Resources for Teachers Pronunciation & Conversation Vocabulary Writing Skills Reading Comprehension Grammar Business English by Kenneth Beare Kenneth Beare has taught English and English as a second language teacher since 1983. Updated January 27, 2019 The ability to make small talk comfortably is one of the most desired objectives of almost any English student. This is especially true for business English learners but applies to all. The function of small talk is the same the world over. However, which topics are appropriate for small talk can vary from culture to culture. This lesson plan focuses on helping students develop their small talk skills and addresses the issue of appropriate subjects. Difficulties in small talk skills can arise from a number of factors including grammar uncertainties, comprehension problems, lack of topic-specific vocabulary, and a general lack of confidence. The lesson introduces a discussion of appropriate small talk topics. Make sure to give students ample time to delve into the subjects if they seem particularly interested. Aim: Improving small talk skills Activity: Discussion of appropriate small talk subjects followed by a game to be played in small groups Level: Intermediate to Advanced Small Talk Lesson Outline Write "Small Talk" on the board. Brainstorm as a class to define small talk. Write examples on the board.Discuss the importance of small talk skills with the class.Divide students into groups of 3 - 5.Give students the small talk worksheet.Students begin by reviewing key functions and grammar by matching purpose, expression, and form. Review as a class. Discuss any questions in usage.Ask students to discuss whether the topics provided in the second section are appropriate for making small talk. Students can also decide that some topics are appropriate in certain situations but not in others. Once students have discussed the various situations, solicit responses on the various subjects from the class as a whole. Make sure to ask for examples of comments on appropriate subjects, as well as explanations for those topics which students feel are not appropriate. Feel free to let students debate their opinions to help develop conversational skills.Have students get back into their groups and play the small talk game in the third section. Circulate around the room helping students when they run into difficulties.Take notes on subjects that students find difficult. As a class, brainstorm on appropriate comments. Understanding Forms Used in Small Talk Match the conversational purpose to the expression in the second column. Identify the appropriate grammar structure in the third column. Purpose Expression Structure Ask about experienceGive adviceMake a suggestionExpress an opinionImagine a situationProvide instructionsOffer somethingConfirm informationAsk for more detailsAgree or disagree Open the package. Fill out the Forms.Where can I find out more?I'm afraid I don't see it that way.Have you ever visited Rome?Let's go for a walk.To me, that seems like a waste of time.You live in San Francisco, don't you?Would you like something to drink?If you were the boss, what would you do?You should visit Mt. Hood. Conditional formQuestion tagUse of "some" in questions rather than "any"To me, In my opinion, I thinkInformation questionModal verbs such as "should", "ought to", and "had better"Imperative formLet's, Why don't you, How about Present perfect for experienceI'm afraid I don't see / think / feel that way. Hit Your Small Talk Target Which Topics are Appropriate? Which topics are appropriate for small talk discussions? For topics which are appropriate, think of one interesting comment to make when the teacher calls on you. For topics which are not appropriate, explain why you believe they are not appropriate for small talk. The latest filmsThe One True Path to Eternal LifeThe local basketball teamCarsA product you would like to sell to everyoneThe Death PenaltyYour hometownHow much you makeYour last holidayYour favorite movie-starThe correct political partyThe weatherGardeningYour health problemsYour family Small Talk Game Throw one die to move forward from one subject to the next. When you get to the end, return to the beginning to start again. You have 30 seconds to make a comment about the suggested subject. If you don't, you lose your turn! Your best friendThe last film you sawPetsRock and rollA magazineLearning a languagePlaying tennisYour current jobAn interesting excursion nearbyThe InternetMarilyn MonroeKeeping healthyHuman cloningYour favorite foodFinding a job in your countryThe last book you readYour worst holidaySomething you've never done, but would like to doTeachers - what you likeTeachers - what you don't like Continue Reading ESL: 6 Steps to Master Small Talk Efficiently and Easily Create an ESL Lesson Plan Teaching Guide Talk Films With This English Conversation Lesson About Movies 7 Free ESL Conversation Lesson Plans Help Your Students Understand Informal Email and Letter Writing Style 7 Engaging Dialogue Activities for ESL Classes Top Suggestions for Teaching the Present Continuous in ESL This ESL Lesson Plan Teaches Students About Stereotypes Improve Your Conversational English with these Strategies What to Focus on When Teaching Pronunciation by Level Quick Speaking Activities for ESL Teachers to Fill the Time How to Switch Between the Present Perfect and Past Simple Use These Short Writing Assignments in Class to Get Students Writing A Lesson Plan to Turn English Language Students Into Newscasters ESL Lesson Plan: Why Are You Learning English? 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