Top 5 Pros and Cons of Free Conversation in English
Many English as a Second Language (ESL) learners are dedicated to becoming proficient in English. They study English online or in person, and participate in conversation classes. Some students enroll in classes where conversation topics are provided, while others prefer to have free conversation in English.
What is free conversation?
Free conversation in English is a type of conversation that is not structured or planned. There are no specific topics that the participants must discuss, and they are free to talk about anything they want. This type of conversation can be a great way for English language learners to practice their speaking skills, learn new vocabulary, and improve their fluency.
In the ESL setting, free conversation in English is one way to give learners the liberty to express themselves freely without thinking about committing mistakes as they speak. Teachers let their students talk about a particular topic, and both of them talk about it. During their free conversation in English, teachers take note of their students’ errors and give them feedback and corrections before the end of the lesson. In this way, teachers will be able to assess their students’ speaking skills as well as their vocabulary knowledge and grammar skills and help learners improve their pronunciation.
Free conversation in English can also involve agreeing or disagreeing about a certain topic, expressing their opinions about it, and reflecting on the topic according to what they have discussed. In addition, sensitive topics are not recommended in free conversation as they may trigger misunderstandings between the student and the teacher.
The Pros and Cons of Free Conversation in English
Engaging in free conversation in English can be both beneficial and challenging. In this article, we will explore the top five pros and cons of free conversation, offering insights into the advantages and disadvantages of this language-learning method.
■ Pros of Free Conversation
- Enhanced Speaking Skills
By engaging in free conversation, English learners can improve their speaking skills significantly. Regular practice in real-life conversations allows learners to become more fluent, confident, and natural in their English speaking abilities. It does not mean they have to enroll in speaking classes, but constant practice of speaking English at home, at school, or at work can help them improve their speaking skills.
Moreover, learners can also enhance their speaking skills by joining free online English conversation courses on online platforms. These platforms have a variety of courses to choose from, specifically designed for each proficiency level.
- Cultural Understanding
If you are in a native English-speaking country, you can engage in free conversation with native speakers. Through free conversation with native English speakers, learners can gain valuable insights into the culture, customs, and traditions of English-speaking countries. This immersive experience fosters a deeper understanding of the language and its context.
Free conversation can also be a great way for learners to make new friends and learn about different cultures. Language learners can attend classes with teachers from non-native English-speaking countries like the Philippines, where teachers are adept at cultural understanding and their English language proficiency is commendable and highly recommended.
- Vocabulary Expansion
Free conversation in English provides learners with the opportunity to expand their vocabulary in a meaningful way. Engaging in discussions on various topics exposes learners to new words, idiomatic expressions, and some useful expressions, allowing them to build a diverse and comprehensive vocabulary repertoire.
- Improved Listening Skills
Participating in free conversation in English requires active listening, which helps learners develop their listening skills. By interacting with native speakers or language tutors, learners become accustomed to different accents, speech patterns, and intonations, improving their overall comprehension and understanding.
- Building Confidence
Regular practice in free conversation boosts learners’ confidence in their English-speaking abilities. As learners become more comfortable expressing themselves and engaging in conversations, their self-assurance grows, enabling them to communicate effectively in various situations.
In addition to boosting learners’ confidence, free conversation can also be a fun and engaging way for ESL learners to practice their English. By talking about topics that they are interested in, learners can feel more relaxed and confident, which can help them to speak more fluently.
■ Cons of Free Conversation
- Lack of Structure
One of the drawbacks of free conversation in English is the absence of a structured learning environment. Without proper guidance or a curriculum, learners may struggle to focus on specific language aspects, leading to gaps in their overall understanding and knowledge.
- Limited Corrective Feedback
In free conversation, learners receive limited corrective feedback on their language errors or pronunciation. This lack of guidance may hinder their progress and result in the reinforcement of incorrect language patterns or habits.
- Difficulty in Finding Suitable Conversation Partners
Locating suitable conversation partners who are willing to engage in regular practice can be challenging. It may take time to find individuals with similar language goals and availability, making it harder for learners to consistently engage in free conversation in English. However, there are language schools and online platforms that offer conversation lessons for free and for a fee, where learners can really interact with a teacher who is willing to teach and guide students.
- Overdependence on L1 Translation
Sometimes, learners heavily rely on their native language translation while engaging in free conversation. This overdependence on translation may impede their ability to think and express themselves directly in English, hindering their progress in becoming truly fluent speakers.
- Topics and Vocabulary Limitations
In free conversation, learners may encounter limitations in terms of topics and vocabulary. Without a structured curriculum, learners might not be exposed to a wide range of vocabulary or specific subject areas, potentially limiting their overall language proficiency.
Free conversation in English offers numerous benefits, including enhanced speaking skills, cultural understanding, vocabulary expansion, improved listening skills, and increased confidence. However, it is crucial to be aware of the drawbacks, such as the lack of structure, limited corrective feedback, difficulty finding suitable conversation partners, overdependence on L1 translation, and topic and vocabulary limitations.
By balancing the pros and cons, learners can make the most of free conversation as a valuable tool in their language-learning journey.