A well organised Knowledge Share Session on Telephoning took this member-driven style of workshop to new heights. Co-moderated by Carole, Liz and Silvia, the session offered a mass of ideas and materials for running "Telephoning in English" classes either as seminars or weekly classes.
Silvia shocked us first of all by getting us to do a back-to-back telephoning role play in FRENCH (help) which was a sobering reminder of the difficulties our learners face trying to do it in English. Liz brain-stormed us through the 10 P's of telephoning (polite, prepared patient etc). Carole gave us the interesting insight that learners who have done telephone training in their own language perform much better doing it in English independent of their level. This led to the discussion about whether we are only teaching English or also the skill of telephoning. It all depends on the needs of your learners was the answer from our moderators.
Spelling names on the phone was a fruitful area and our Chair Helen got everyone to act and dance their way through the NATO alphabet.
There was a very interesting discussion about the German habit of answering the phone with surname only and the difficulty other nationalities have with this. Use both names was the tip here.
A lot of coloured balls started to fly around as Carole told us about the importance of reinforcing standard expressions by repetition and stamping out the "Here speaks Manfred" syndrome. Carole gave full credit to ex-member Linda York who introduced "the balls" at the ELTAF Conference in Mannheim back in 1998.
Conference calling was a hot topic, and Carole stressed the need for trainers to experience an actual telephone conference and explained how one of her clients had set up a live session using different conference rooms. We were given strategies for slowing down the discussion by re-stating and clarifying.
On the topic of games, Silvia showed us board games, Liz showed us Telephone Traffic Lights and Carole introduced us to an adaptation of "I went to market" which starts with "I had a bad day - I tried to phone xxx but she was in a meeting/on maternity leave etc".
An excellent session - many thanks to the organisers and contributors.