Someone I know wants to produce books to sell to adult students for self-study. Conversation books.
Someone else pointed out that conversation requires more than one person to be present, so in a sane world that would be a fairly major hurdle. Who’s going to buy a conversation book to study at home alone?
Well, this is Taiwan. Let’s not discount the improbable or impractical.
Do adults buy books for home study? Or do they always expect to be spoon-fed by a teacher? My experience has been that they won’t even do homework.
HOW do adults study if not in a class?
What would you do to make books for adults both saleable and useful?
Mine watch movies. Some even come back with a brief synopsis and a vocab list of the words they thought were really difficult. That’s the criteria they use unfortunately. I pretend I don’t know what the words mean either and ask them to try and describe the scene where they found them. If that context gives really good clues as to the meaning of the word I will refer them to those clues and occassionally they will be able to figure it out for themselves.
We usually re-write the synopsis, if posiible using the more useful words from their list.
Dunno if this helps at all but I had five minutes and you did ask.
Chow for now.
Maybe I should be clearer. How do students study if they’re not paying for a class? What do they do if they’re trying to do it all without going to a school or hiring a tutor?
Does such a being exist? Are there students who go it alone? I had thought probably not, but it runs out I know two Taiwanese who are largely self-taught. One now teaches English, the other used to work for a publishing company producing text books.
OK, so they exist. Who are these mysterious beings, where can they be found, how do they study, what are their motivations and methods? n short, how does one tap this market?
A lot of Taiwanese read Studio Classroom magazine, and tune into their radio programmes. Of course, this doesn’t help out that much with students’ conversational abiilities.
I think if you are serious about doing textbooks you could incorporate some internet component; that is, a website that guides students with their books and helps them find partners with whom to practice material from the units. Skype and MSN, which are extremely popular with youngsters, would allow them to chat for free.
Of course, setting this up would take time and money, and I doubt a school or publisher would be willing to go for the long-term buck.
We use Side by Side books at our cram school and I have found that people are actually able to study the conversations in the book by themselves, because the book also comes with a CD. So you can listen to the question, answer the question and then listen if your answer was correct. But I think if the average Taiwanese would want to study conversation by themselves, they would first need to overcome their fear of saying something incorrect. And THAT no book can teach you!