The ELT Glossary : Conversation Frames

A conversation frame is a type of activity particularly useful for practising specific functions/structures. it consists of a dialogue framework which gives the learners instructions about what they should say at each point to create a conversation. For example, imagine you have been teaching the use of the present continuous to express future arrangements in a Business English class. the conversation frame might be something like the following. Stage one is just preparatory - it is scaffolding to ensure learners have ideas prepared. The conversation frame itself is stage two :

1. Think of two or three appointments you have in your diary for the next week. Write what you're doing here (don't add times or days). Eg :

  • I'm interviewing candidates for a job in the marketing department
  • I'm going to Birmingham for a meeting.
  • I'm meeting John to talk about staff cuts

2. Now have the following conversation with your partner. Use the ideas from your diary.

A : Tell B that you need to have a meeting to discuss the new advertising campaign. Suggest a day and time in the next few days.
B :  No - apologise, but you're busy. Explain what you're doing then and suggest another possible time.
A :  No - you've already got an appointment. Explain what you're doing then. Ask B if s/he's doing anything on another day (say which one) in the morning.
B : You're busy - explain what you're doing - but you can cancel it.
A :  OK - arrange a time for the meeting.
B : Agree and finish the conversation.