Conversation Tip #1: The right attitude is key

Positive attitudes generate positive experiences

Photo by Teresa Ling

“In order to carry a positive action, we must develop here a positive vision.”

-Tenzin Gyatso (1935- ) the 14th Dalai Lama

So often our desire to have meaningful conversations overshadows the reason why we want to have them in the first place: to learn from others. Every time we interact with family, friends, acquaintances and strangers, we develop new growth and understanding. Therefore, it remains important to keep this in mind when we strike up a conversation. What can we learn?

How do we help students keep a favorable attitude? Most importantly, emphasize the importance of keeping an open mind. Doing so ensures things start off on the right foot. Remind your students that even if they find themselves disagreeing with the person, they can sustain a tolerant mindset. Their conversation partner has a whole world of experiences to share–and so do they!

Conversation skills tend to be neglected. While this blog usually focuses on ways to increase speaking skills and communicative lessons in English classrooms, conversations remains a neglected and often overlooked social skill in our daily lives too. Perhaps because we do it all the time, we forget it’s importance to understanding and appreciating. Imagine how much poorer our lives would be if we only learned from books and formal educational institutions?

We learn from conversations every day. What, for instance, did you learn in conversations in the last 24 hours? What can be learned from conversations in the coming week?

Conversations matter, and bringing a positive spirit to new conversations helps create more positive experiences. We need to bring this simple observation into our English classes. We sometimes have to nudge students to see the positive possibilities of starting conversations in English.

How do you encourage your students to feel more positive about their future conversations in English?

Ask More. Know More. Share More.
Create Compelling Conversations.

Jessica Lu, a first-year student at the University of Chicago, interned for Chimayo Press and the Compelling Conversations blog through the summer of 2014. Over the months, she has perused ESL textbooks, analyzed newspaper articles and tested out mobile apps, seeking out ways to inspire discussion. During the fall, the Compelling Conversations blog published her top 10 tips to create compelling conversations outside of the English classroom.

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