Instruction can focus specifically on how the participants in a conversation negotiate topics and manage turn-taking. Negotiating includes strategies for introducing, elaborating, and changing conversational topics. Turn-taking involves analyses of speaking vs listening time, use of contingent queries and feedback strategies, and conventions for entering and exiting conversational interactions. In the following excerpt the student and instructor are analyzing the students' conversational contributions and the instructor is making suggestions and providing opportunities for improvement.
Student and instructor chat briefly about the weather Instructor explains that one conversational strategy is to give longer answers.
Reverse role-play in which instructor models a longer response to "Do you like living in Rochester?" Instructor asks student again "Do you like living in Rochester?" and student responds with a longer answer.
Instructor comments on student's new response and gives further information about conversational strategies. A second strategy is to involve your partner in the conversations by asking questions after you give your response.
Instructor repeats the question about Rochester and the student gives an answer, then asks the instructor an appropriate question.
Instructor gives student feedback about how she was able to continue the conversation, expand the topic and branch off.
Instructor summarizes that "What you’re trying to do is to create equal turn-taking in a conversation."
Despite instruction, student gives limited responses and does not ask questions. Student mentions that she is not sure what kind of questions are appropriate when the conversation is with a teacher.
This is a good example of the need for instruction regarding pragmatics: appropriate topic selection and register.
Instructor discusses another conversational strategy. The student is encouraged to give feedback, such as nodding, facial expressions, "mmmm" and questioning to show interest and encourage partner to share more information. Student asks the instructor a question and then gives feedback as the instructor responds.
Instructor reinforced the student's use of feedback and questions to show interest and continue the conversation.
Instructor and student converse at the end of the instructional session. The student is reminded to try to incorporate the strategies such as responding with lengthy answers including examples and details, asking questions, and giving feedback.