Studying in the UK

English Conversation

English conversation takes place in every single class at SGI, even though there is no individual course titled specifically as English conversation. In the English as Foreign Language classroom, the communicative method is used, which means that all new language is learnt through practise by talking with other students whilst your language use is being monitored and corrected for accuracy and fluency by your teacher.

Even in a course such as Business English, where you may think that English conversation is not the main focus of the curriculum, there is still a requirement to converse in English. For example, during presentation or negotiation practice, you would learn the appropriate language to use for these business disciplines. However, you may also be asked by your tutor, or class colleagues, to explain a certain point in detail. This could spark a lengthy discussion, where a business topic would be covered in detail through several questions and comprehensive answers. As all of this takes place in your second language, it is in fact English conversation, even though it replicates the section of a real business meeting where you would have to communicate with business partners from around the world where English is the lingua franca. So, we definitely should not just think of the term, English conversation as ‘general talking about nothing important, with no real learning taking place’, because as has been illustrated, that is far from the truth.

If you feel that your English conversation skills are weak and it is particularly important to you, then you should book one of our intensive courses. After lunch in the afternoon element of our various intensive courses, the group class is conversation based, as opposed to focussing on grammar or vocabulary. These discussion classes are the opportunity for students to ‘put into practice’ what they have learnt during the morning sessions and to challenge their own language level by using their English in different ways, whilst covering a number of interesting debate topics.

To get a real glimpse of true English conversation, you should also listen to SGI’s series of free podcasts available on SGI’s ‘The English Blog’ (and also on itunes). The title of the series is “Real and Relevant English conversation”  as these short talks are unplanned conversations between the native-speaker teachers from SGI. The conversations cover a variety of entertaining topics and are not modified or diluted to make them easier for students, they are true pieces of English conversation as it is really spoken in London nowadays. It is a great way to tune into modern British English if you live in a country where it is difficult to get the chance to hear mother-tongue speakers. Better still, come to SGI in London and enter into a conversation with the teachers yourself!

Conversation forms the majority of activities in an English classroom. Every teacher at SGI will promote conversation between students in each of the English course here at our London center.

However, there are special English conversation group lessons that take place at SGI every day from 13:30 to 15:00. The afternoon conversation classes are available at all language levels, from beginner through to advanced.

Features of an SGI Afternoon Conversation Class

● Native speaker, qualified teacher guiding natural conversation practice
● Several different topics every week to be discussed
● Debates in which groups of students defend or promote a point or issue against an opposing argument
● Talking in pairs or small groups and also whole class discussions
● Authentic lesson materials sourced from youtube videos, online newspapers etc = real English
● Students from all around the world sharing opinion and explaining cultural differences

All SGI English courses contain an English conversation component. However, if a student wishes to take part in a specific lesson that is solely dedicated to conversation, discussion and debating, then there is an afternoon lessons available daily after lunch at 13:30 - 15:00 to meet this need.   

The following courses all contain the English Conversation Mini-Group afternoon class as standard:

● General English: Intensive

● Business English: Intensive

● IELTS Exam Preparation: Intensive

● Private One-to-One: Semi-intensive

You should listen to SGI’s series of podcasts to get a real glimpse of true English conversation. The title of the podcast series is “Real and Relevant English conversation”, as these short 5 minute chats are unplanned conversations between the native-speaker teachers from SGI. The speaking is not modified or diluted to make them easier for students; they are true pieces of English conversation as it is really spoken in London nowadays.

The conversation podcasts cover a variety of entertaining topics including:

● English gentlemen
● The Royal Family
● UK Comedy
● English stereotypes
● British weather
● Shakespeare
● The London Olympics
● Books and literature
● Clothes
● Music
● Life heroes
● Growing up in various English speaking countries with different cultures