Compelling American Conversations – Teacher Edition

This English Teacher's Guide to Compelling American Conversations provides teaching tips, feedback suggestions, extension suggestions, and supplemental exercises so you can help teach speaking skills in a relaxed, confident manner.

How do you we get our intermediate English language learners to speak more in our classes? How can we help prepare American residents by choice develop the conversational skills to become future American citizens?

These questions inspired Compelling American Conversations: Questions and Quotations for Intermediate American English Language Learners. Since 2012, the versatile speaking skills textbook has found its way into several English as a Second Language and English language development classrooms.

Words can often have multiple meanings, and the term "intermediate English language learner" is no exception. Compelling American Conversations was written with this recognition to offer various ways of helping English students develop and deepen their conversation skills. Compelling American Conversations (CAC), an exceptionally flexible ESL textbook, makes adding speaking skills relatively easy in a wide range of classroom environments. This Teacher's Guide will help English teachers - and tutors - working in adult education programs, community colleges, Intensive English Programs, literacy centers, and international student offices.

Compelling American Conversations helps English language learners feel more comfortable in English. It will also help your students become more fluent in English. This teacher's guide provides detailed suggestions on how to effectively teach each lesson, anticipate "good mistakes" from students, and provide feedback. It also includes several new activities for each chapters so you can extend the lessons, adapt to both stronger and weaker students, and add explicit pronunciation and vocabulary training.

We have also deployed the Common European Framework of References (CEFR) for each lesson to clearly identify specific teaching objectives in each lesson. In addition to an activity by activity teaching tip for the entire 15 chapters, this teacher's guide includes many supplemental activities such as:
Sound Practice - Accent reduction activities and minimal pair practice

Grammar Connection - Activity that focuses on how words and sentences work in a conversation context of each thematic chapter.

Steps to Success - A supplemental activity focused on English for Specific Purposes

Phrasal Verbs - Another supplemental activity that develops student fluency.

The Brave and the Bold - More sensitive questions that might spark lively, yet controversial, discussions. This section is more appropriate for college than high school classrooms.

Fun with Famous Folks - Ways to do more with selected quotations for student presentations.

Like many other experienced English teachers, we often browse through teaching guides for ESL & ELT textbooks. Therefore, this particular Teacher's Guide has been written so the materials can be read - and perhaps enjoyed - both individually or consumed in a scaffold manner. We have shared our perspectives in a more candid, less diplomatic manner than many more traditional textbook authors and publishers. The result is an informative, street smart guide to teaching English and deploying Compelling American Conversations in your ESL classroom.



“How can so much learning be in just one book? Compelling American Conversations is all that an ESL teacher or student needs to use in their course. With clear, easy to follow directions, students learn necessary details about American English and culture, practice critical thinking, expand vocabulary and idioms, as they converse in real, natural adult English. Included in the “Search and Share” component are marvelous lessons on using the Internet. An extra bonus is that any of the conversations, quotes, etc. can be used as writing prompts. The book is fun and stimulating and, fortunately, very accessible for the intermediate learner.”

Planaria Price
Author, Life in the USA and
Realistically Speaking


“Conversational English proficiency can only be acquired by engaging in authentic English conversations. The academic approach used all too frequently in conventional ESL classrooms consistently fails at helping English learners become fluent English speakers. Compelling American Conversations fills the gap left by inadequate curricula by offering engaging topics and prompts that become the starting point for thoughtful and meaningful conversations. I highly recommend it.”

Nathan D. Crandall, M.A.
Founder, The Fluency Coach:


“Finally, a book that is designed for our needs. As the director of a film school, one of our biggest obstacles for the international students is to bridge the gap between spoken English and our students’ background in ESL. Our international students find the English spoken by native studio personnel, actors, directors etc. All of these students have already scored high enough on their TOEFL yet they still lack communicative skills to interact with Americans in the “biz.” For these reason we implemented a crash course for all incoming international students using Compelling American Conversations. We have already seen the results in terms of the general ability of the students to communicate more effectively with Americans on the set. More importantly, the students feel more confident now when directing a film, auditioning for actors and actresses or scouting for location. Bottom line is that the book is practical and meant for students that are trying to enhance their communicative skills.”

Chisako Yokoyama
director of the International School of
Motion Pictures

Profile Photo Eric H. Roth

About Eric H. Roth

Eric H. Roth teaches international students the pleasures of writing and speaking English at the University of Southern California. For the last 20 years, he has taught English, academic writing, and speech to high school, adult community college, and university students. He also directed the CES Adult Education Center that helped over a thousand immigrants become naturalized American citizens, and co-authored four ESL books in the Compelling Conversations series.

Mark Treston has over fifteen years of teaching experience, and specializes in world history and English. Mark has taught extensively in Israel and South Korea as well as domestically. He also served as an educational consultant for non-profit learning centers as well as publishing firms and higher education institutes. He speaks several languages and enjoys travelling as much as he likes writing about his travels.

Robert Glynn is a tenured adult ESL teacher for 20 years in the Los Angeles School District and in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District where he wrote the Citizenship Preparation Workbook. Rob has written several episodes of Putting English to Work 1, a video series which was subsequently chosen by the United States Department of Homeland Security/ICE as an official national course for ESL students. He has also been a film editor on several independent film projects, and has traveled extensively through Asia and Central America.

All books by Eric H. Roth

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