Building Conversational Strategies with Adult Learners

Macmillan Education Online Conference 2014

Who is it for?

The Macmillan Education Online Conference 2014 is open to all teachers and professionals working in ELT and is completely FREE to attend!


Part of the Adult session at the Macmillan Education Online Conference 2014, this webinar aims to give teachers ready-to-use ideas to help their students feel more confident in speaking English and starting conversations.

Download the presentation

Watch the webinar recording

Talk Details

Building Conversational Strategies with Adult Learners, with Miles Craven

Monday 10th November 2014: 14.00-14.45 (GMT)

Participating effectively in conversation in English requires a complex blend of language, skills and strategies, so it’s not surprising that many students find it a real challenge. As teachers, we inevitably tend to focus on language and skills, and sometimes sideline or overlook the strategies completely. Yet without practising these essential strategies, students are not fully equipped to engage in natural, fluent conversation.

This webinar will show how you to use short, simple models to equip students with conversation strategies they can use to across a wide range of situations.

About the speaker: Miles Craven

Miles Craven has worked in English language education since 1988, teaching in schools, colleges and universities around the world. He has a wide range of experience as a teacher, teacher-trainer, examiner, course designer, and textbook writer. He is the author or co-author of over thirty textbooks, including English Grammar in Use Extra, Cambridge English Skills, Q, Reading  Keys, Breakthrough Plus and Pass the TOEIC Test. He also acts as Advisor for Executive Education programs at The Møller Centre for Continuing Education Ltd., Churchill College, University of Cambridge.

Here, Miles tells us more about his work and what you will learn from him at MEOC2014.  

What will people learn from your webinar?

I aim to show how short, simple ‘model’ conversations can be used to showcase useful conversation strategies. It’s not enough for students to have the grammar and vocabulary, or even the skills; it’s the strategies that are the real bedrock that underpin natural, fluent conversation. Teachers will be able to use these models with their students to help give them confidence when they need to interact in English.

Tell us about your latest projects with Macmillan Education?

The latest thing I’ve done for Macmillan is Breakthrough  Plus; a five level course that uses scripted dialogs as a springboard for  communication. It covers all four key skills, and includes conversation  strategies. I’m really pleased with its fast pace, the cross-cultural readings and listening exercises, and its humour! I have to take my hat off to Macmillan for doing a great job of the design, videos, digibooks, etc. which are all such vital components these days

What inspired and continues to inspire you to work in ELT?

I like the  diversity and the challenge. Creating new materials and keeping things fresh fascinates me. I love testing different approaches to find out what works best,  for who, and why…

If you could  have written one book what would it be?

I prefer to look  forward and think about the next book I would like to write! However, if you’re asking about books that have inspired me, then certainly the late, great Robert O’Neill’s Kernel Lessons series, and Peter Viney’s Streamline English. Both seemed to me to give students the building  blocks they need to make sense of what they are learning.

Miles's top teaching tip

Try to remember how tough it can be to learn a language. We are so busy teaching that we can easily lose sight of the learner’s perspective. I went on a 10-week Mandarin  beginner course  to put myself back in the position of a student  for a change, and it really opened my eyes! Look at the classroom from the perspective of your students, not yourself. Although we are teachers,  we should never stop learning.