Chatting is also important; it gives students access to real-life situations and lets them use what they’ve learnt. It’s important, but it should never form the basis for a “class”.
I’m just going to have to disagree slightly with that part based off an experience I had with a class. I had one class where we simply started by me saying, “How was your week.” The group’s English was fantastic and they would talk for the whole hour and a half. I would stop and correct their English as it came up and was needed and explain any grammar rules that applied. I bought a newspaper every week in case we ran out of things to talk about.
It was a RARE class to find one that worked that well and that way, but it was a gem. I miss that class.[/quote]
I used to teach an advanced conversation class, I used to start the class off with by asking how was their weekend, with some groups I could hardly stop them from talking and with others it was like getting blood from a stone!
I did do a lot of chatting/small talk in class, but this was actually part of the syllabus and was inteded to give the students the opportunity to practise simple yet problematic grammar - so, at the start of the class we’d discuss last week/ last weekend/ talk about a movie they’d watched or book they’d read, at the end of the class we’d discuss what their plans for next week were, again giving them the opportunity to use the future tenses.
In one of the Business English classes I used to teach, there was a whole unit dedicated to the importance of small talk - in fact the textbook I used for that course was probably the best business English textbook I’ve ever came across - it was called Communicating in Business and the first unit of the first chapter was all about small talk!