Why We Wrote Compelling American Conversations for Intermediate American English Language Learners

“America needs new immigrants to love and cherish it.”

Eric Hoffer (1902-1983), American writer and longshoreman

Compelling American Conversations: Questions and Quotations for intermediate American English language learners explicitly emphasizes American English, speaking skills, and democratic values.

The primary audience remains newcomers to the United States, recent and not-so-recent immigrants, who may be studying at an American high school, adult school, community college, or university. Focused on the aspirations – and needs – of intermediate English language learners, our new book shows a variety of ways to create and sustain authentic conversations with a developing English vocabulary.  Compelling American Conversations challenges intermediate English language learners to reflect and speak about their lives and experiences on 15 topics in class and in English.  Knowing English should include the ability to speak English.

See sample chapters from Compelling American Conversations here.

Therefore, we deliberately chose to emphasize speaking skills and fluency in Compelling American Conversations. Each chapter includes:

  • Two sets of partner interview questions on each topic
  • Discussion activities to explore, explain, and clarify
  • Search and share online activities where students select materials on specific topics, summarize and evaluate the video/article, and introduce to small groups of classmates.

We also include academic vocabulary and more philosophical questions because American immigrants deserve the same level of sophisticated materials which international English as Foreign Language (EFL) students enjoy in the stronger international high schools.

  • Focused vocabulary for both practical and academic purposes
  • Paraphrasing American proverbs – and others from around the world
  • “Agree/Disagree and explain” reaction exercises to classic and modern quotations often used to prepare for TOEFL and IELTS exam

From our perspective, there is something profoundly disturbing in dumbing down of curriculum materials for English language learners in the United States. Compelling American Conversations seeks to introduce higher expectations for verbal skills and more authentic materials and relevant topics to the intermediate ELL and ESL classrooms. Students should be able to not only listen and understand, but speak and be understood.

Finally, the authors hope American English language learners begin asking more questions in classes, speak more in their workplaces, and create their own compelling American conversations – outside ESL classrooms.

See sample chapters from Compelling American Conversations here.

Ask more. Know more. Share more.

Create Compelling Conversations.

Visit www.CompellingConversations.com

One comment

  1. I co-run a TEFL/TESOL school here in Prague and one of the biggest obstacles which we find Czech students who are learning English come up against is the ability to chat in everyday English.
    We had some examples of Advanced students and even students at Proficiency level who for example were able to complete any task in an Advanced English language text book but who were unable to join in with banter or basic street dialogue.
    We know that these students who work in business can present extremely well in a business meeting, but very often it’s the same students who can’t always secure the business deal because most are sealed outside of the meeting room and in the restaurant or bar after wards when the tone of the language spoken is much more informal and colloquial.

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