Core Practice #2: Design and Carry Out Interpersonal Communication Tasks for Pair, Small Groups, and Whole-Class Instruction
Interpersonal communication is two way communication negotiated between two or more people. It takes place face to face or over the phone. It also occurs in writing through notes, e-mail, and social media. It is spontaneous, not scripted or memorized.
When designing interpersonal activites for students there needs to be an information gap. One person seeks information that another speaker has. Students need to listen to one another to complete the task and they can not know ahead of time how the other students are going to answer. They also need specific language and strategies to negotiate meaning. Students should do something with the information they obtain. For example they could use the information in a whole class discussion or presentational task like an advertisement or brochure.
One example could be students surveying their classmates for leisure time activities, using the information to report out most and least popular activities, in order to prepare to interview a native speaker about their favorite activities.
Create a list of helpful phrases in the target language you teach that would be appropriate for students at a particular level to use during their interpersonal activities. Some possible examples are: wait a minute…by the way…let me think…excuse-me.. Post signs around room including: How do you say? How do you write? Change after they are acquired.
Create situation cards so students can practice spontaneous interpersonal communication. Here is an example. These situations are on separate cards or pieces of paper so that each student sees only his or her role.
THE INVITATION BY PHONE: STUDENT A
You call a good friend students and invite him/her to go out to do something with you (e.g., see a movie, have dinner, go to the gym, or something else). Make the call and make small talk first. Then make the invitation. You will have to figure out together the details (such as the day, time, where you meet, etc.). Ask questions so that you are clear on the plans. After you end the call, be prepared to tell your roommate what the plan is.
THE PHONE CALL: STUDENT B
You receive a call from a good friend inviting you to do something. Answer the phone and listen carefully to what he or she says. You will need to ask questions to decide how to respond. Also you will need to keep in mind what’s currently on your calendar as you discuss the invitation. After you end the call, be prepared to tell your roommate about it.
Follow up with information gained by telling your roommates about your plans so they will know where you are and when.
I have created some slides to practice spontaneous interpersonal communication in French and Spanish on the Teachers Pay Teachers website called Timed- Think-Talk.
Here are some other Activities for interpersonal communication.
Assessing interpersonal communication with Talk Scores. This is an uncomplicated way to assess students during interpersonal speaking activities. Each letter of the word talk represents one performance objective to be observed during pair or small group tasks. During the task the teacher should observe only one objective to observe. The goal should be that after one or two weeks students have been observed on all four objectives which would be a round and a score can be recorded.
- Is the student talking in the target language?
- Is the student performing at acceptable level of accuracy?
- is the student on task and listening to partner?
- Is the student kind and cooperative?
For each objective score with either a plus, check , or minus. A plus is 2 points, a check is 1 point, and a minus is 0 points. After a round add up the points for the Talk score. Here is an example of TALK SCORES. Here is the record sheet I use. Talk Scores Record Sheet
Another great idea to practice intepersonal communication is Chat Stations. Watch the video by Cult of Pedagogy.