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Two-Minute Conversations
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Purpose: To introduce a topic or theme.

Info: Two-Minute Conversations allows students to activate pre-existing knowledge on a topic or theme. The quick conversations get the class focused. This then improves receptivity and comprehension of the material because they know what to expect regarding the topic. This activity works especially well as a Warm Up.

Step One: The teacher prepares five questions on a specific topic before the lesson. The questions should allow quick conversations to ensue between partners, so questions that are easy to understand and don't require deep, careful analysis work best. Remember: Students need to be able to read the question and immediately jump into a discussion. Some ideas for upper-level students include:

  • Global Warming
  • Politics
  • The Future
  • Relationships

Step Two: Students get into pairs for the discussion. The teacher should announce the topic, again as a step to prepare and focus the class.

Step Three: The teacher reads aloud the first question. Students discuss the question in pairs, speaking continuously for two minutes.

Step Four: The teacher says, "Stop!" He then reads a second question. Students begin their conversations anew.

Step Five: After two minutes, the teacher again stops the students and reads the third question. This continues until all five questions have been read aloud and discussed.

Variation One: In this variation, the teacher reads aloud questions which an article, dialogue, or monologue will answer. These two-minute conversations allow students to speculate on the article, etc., and so serve as a pre-step to the material. Of course students won't be able to answer the questions without having looked at the piece. However, when they read the content, they will be better able to find the relevant and important material which answers the questions.