Teachers, I know sometimes asking students to create a dialog on their own based on a certain situation you’ve provided can be intimidating for them. They tend to make a long sentence for one character in the dialog, and this could give them problems, especially for students with lacking of English vocabulary. The conversation between the characters in the dialog often doesn’t flow naturally and the sentence is usually not in a good order. Let alone they’re too shy to practice the dialog they’ve made in front of the class because they’re afraid of having made mistakes and becoming the laughing stock.
You can try using comic strips to make your speaking activity in your class to be more attractive and interesting. Take a look at the picture below. You can make copies of the picture as many as you like (depends on how many students you have in your class) and distribute them to the students. Ask them to fill out the empty talk/thought balloons/bubbles with an appropriate reply to match with the corresponding dialog given by the other character in the picture. For example, in the introducing yourself and others activity, you (teacher) first need to fill out the talk balloon in number 12 with “Hello. My name is James.” then ask your students to fill out the empty balloon; ask them to give an appropriate reply to the first dialog. When they finish filling out all the empty balloons, pair them up; put your students in a group of two or three depending on how many characters there are in the picture and ask them to practice the conversation in front of the class.
Comic strips can be used in language classes in many different ways. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Cut apart the panels of a comic strip or copy it out of order. Students put the panels in the correct order.
2. Give students the complete strip in order with empty talk/thought balloons/bubbles. Provide the sentences to fill in the balloons and let students order the dialog.
3. Give students a comic strip with half of the dialog and have them create the other half.
4. Select several vocabulary words and ask students to use them in a comic strip. You can create the strip with empty balloons, or let students make their own.
5. Present a setting or a problem/situation and have students create a comic strip.
I myself have been using Bitstrips to create lessons and incorporate them in a comic. You can download this application from Google Store or App Store.
I also came across Make Beliefs Comix, this great website can help you create your own comic strips.
I found I Get It!, a blog created by an Indonesian blogger. It teaches English idioms through comic strips. The characters and backgrounds used in the comic are so Indonesia. This will make the students feel attached and connected to the story.
The activity shown in the picture is about asking and giving information. Ask your students to fill out the empty talk balloons based on the dialogs given by the other character.
So teachers, now you can have so much fun teaching English conversation to your students. Your speaking class will no longer be boring!