Answers You Need
PERSONAL TRAINING FOR A SPECIFIC PURPOSE
We are starting to discover different groups of students with different needs. Some students join Blabu for a specific purpose, mostly preparing for an important event, professional presentation or a job interview.
If students share this information with you, than your role is getting easier because the topic is set. You can ask the student whether he/she wants to role play the situation with you. Some tutors for example have already pretended to be job interviewers. Student can also tell you that there is no specific topic he will present but he needs to do networking so you can make him present their project to you as if you were an investor. Important is that you do not let this information slip away but actively work with it and build the call around it so the student gets maximum utility. If the language level is very low to work on the topic itself, just try to get students comfortable talking first and try to slip some important vocabulary in later. Even just a few model phrases they might use in the presentation are already a great help.
To your advantage, you can offer such a student daily practice up to the event and chances are that they will come back to you. If you know that you will not be able to cover shifts in the next few days, please let us know about such a student and more details so we can offer an individualised solution.
Another big group of students are people who want to refresh their language skills. They might live in remote areas with little access to international environment, they are too busy to squeeze normal courses in their schedules, people thinking of changing jobs who know that English is a must, etc.
For these cases, your role is a bit more complicated as the students themselves do not know exactly what they want. For most cases, you will first need to get a student comfortable speaking, calm them down and then try to figure out some topics they enjoy talking about. Especially during the first call, the student should feel comfortable, should realize that speaking is fun and finish the call looking forward to the next one. Do not feel pressured to come up with new topics a second a student stops talking, try to model natural conversation where silence also has its place.
CONVERSATION STARTERS AND TOPICS
If the conversation gets really stuck, here ares some conversation starters and few topics that might help you to kick it off again.
Which celebrity would you like to be for a day?
Would you ever go skydiving?
Are you usually late or on time?
Do you like roller coasters? Why or why not?
Do you prefer an active vacation or a relaxing one?
What astrological sign are you? Do you believe in astrology? Why / Why not?
What’s your favorite TV show?
What city or country have you always wanted to visit?
What do you love to eat for breakfast?
What is your absolute dream job?
Do you think teachers should be paid as much as star athletes?
What three adjectives would describe the type of worker you are?
Universal topic almost everyone likes talking about. You can try to ask about past visited places, dream destinations or stories from the travels travels. Some example questions:
Where do you plan to go for your holidays?
What was your favourite travel so far?
Do you prefer going abroad of travel within your country?
Do you like flying?
Do you enjoy all inclusive hotels or you prefer backpacking?
Everybody has hobbies and enjoys talking about them. Hobbies can also be passions, as well. You could ask questions like:
What are your hobbies?
Why do you like your hobbies so much?
How often do you do these hobbies?
How long have you been doing these hobbies and how did you get started?
What hobbies have you had in the past that you no longer participate in?
Is it important to have hobbies? Why or why not?
As people get older, their perceived value of time increases, so it’s a practical topic that everyone has something to say about. Some simple questions to ask include:
How much free time do you usually have?
How important is time to you?
If you had more free time, what would you do?
“Time is money.” Do you agree or disagree? Why?
How do you feel about time that is wasted?
Your students ages may vary. Even though some may no longer be in school, they might still be interested in learning new things. Here are some questions to consider:
Is studying important for you?
Why do you want to learn English?
What did you study in school?
What do you still want to learn? For example, pottery, painting, woodworking, etc.
Most people do a good amount of cooking, so cooking is another topic that may allow for some good conversation. A few good questions could be:
In your home, who usually cooks?
How often do you cook?
How well do you cook? What can you cook well?
What are the advantages or disadvantages of cooking?
What food would you like to learn how to cook?