Conversation Scripts

A script is a template for conversation applicable to a particular type of situation, setting, or prompt.  Perhaps the most common script is simply saying hello to an acquaintance:

“Hello.”

“Hi!  How are you doing?”

“Great!  How about you?”

“I’m fine, thanks for asking.”

In this case, as with many scripts, most participants in this conversation may choose a different wording, but the general meaning of each line is usually similar, and the purpose of the exchange remains the same.

We use scripts when we order food at restaurants or drive-throughs, when we meet someone for the first time, when we call a customer service number, when we start talking about the latest game or film, and when we bid loved ones farewell.

Scripts develop naturally in culture, but it turns out that many cultures share scripts in common — at least in terms of their essential meaning and their purpose — despite using different sequences of sounds or letters to express them.  Even if you’ve only begun to learn a language, you can recognize when someone is saying goodbye or ordering a pizza (even if you don’t know which toppings they want).

Many English textbooks will have scripts featured in them, sometimes as roleplaying activities.  While students need to learn the exact words, they probably have the advantage of already understanding the context.  If they remember the key words and grammar structure, learners can quickly apply those scripts to real-life situations, and it shouldn’t take long before they customize the scripts to match their own preferences or express their own style.

Because students often have similar scripts in their own culture and language, English scripts can seem less foreign to them than sentences not set within such familiar contexts.  Scripts often act as a touchstone for students, making it easier for even beginner students to understand their meaning.

Beyond that, scripts are incredibly practical since learners can use them outside the classroom just like native speakers do!

So while scripts might not seem like the most exciting thing to learn, and some don’t allow for much creativity at first, scripts allow students to form connections between English and their native tongue, and they can boost a learner’s confidence for understanding and speaking English in the real world!

Get more with Insider Access

INCLUDING

Extra Video Content

more How-to-Teach grammar videos*

with intros, instructions, and summaries

*compared to free resources

AND

Exclusive Supplemental Resources

slideshows

posters & handouts

bonus notes

AND

Advanced Features in Student Projects

search and filter

planning info

language illuminated

Vocab-Building through Associations

There’s a lot of vocabulary to learn, but thankfully plenty of words are related to each other.  Learning words by associating them with each other helps us to remember those words later.  You can help students establish and strengthen those connections in your students’ minds.

Read More »
teaching tips

Never Say ‘Good’

‘Good’ is such a generic word, but it has so many synonyms that are far more interesting. Encourage your students to expand their vocabulary by forbidding them to use the word ‘good’.

Read More »
teaching tips

Writing with Colors

Colors can be used to create associations in the minds of learners.  By doing so, students are quicker to find mistakes or identify what they’re supposed to do.

Read More »
teaching tips

Save ‘To Be’ for Later

‘To be’ so often is drilled into students’ minds that they end up using it far more that they should, as if it’s a requirement for every sentence.  Starting off with some simple sentences that don’t have am/is/are might be a better way to get started.

Read More »
teaching tips

Resources for Students at Home

This spring, many schools have shut down because of the spread of COVID-19.  Whether you’re continuing to teach remotely or are simply giving your students assignments so they can learn on their own, here are a few resources we’d like to recommend.

Read More »
teaching tips

Learn Anything Online

English learners can take classes or projects online to learn just about any topic or skill. Here, they can grow their English communication skills in a context they care about, and will learn by doing!

Read More »
teaching tips

Brainstorming Well

When your class is brainstorming, you want to make sure you’re facilitating well. First let all the ideas pour out, then take a closer look at the better ones. Here are some things to keep in mind.

Read More »
grammar uncovered

Why ‘Will’ is a Modal

When we think of ‘will’ on its own, we probably only think of its designation of the future. But then why is it considered a modal verb? Maybe there’s more to the word than we realize.

Read More »

Share This Post