The Cocktail Party Method

Activating vocabulary (or memorizing and using them in daily life) the best way… 

The Cocktail Party Method is a sort of “free dialogue” exercise, it is meant to prepare you (the student) for using the language in a real-life-context-like; excelling in performing it in a foreign language depends heavily on the quality of your preparation. 

As we all know, activating vocabulary (old or new) can be a challenge in the early stages of foreign language acquisition. The Cocktail party method makes this task much easier. Here are a number of tips that could help you in planning for your next party:

Cocktail party method
Dr. Martha and a student from The University of Taxes – Copyrighted material

A. Prior coming to the classroom

On the text book 

  • It is important to do the entire activates that are related to the new vocabulary you are targeting before going through the preparation. Different vocabulary-related exercise give you an excellent exposure to their functions and mechanisms.
  • Then, watch the enclosed video senses several times.

Out of the text book (Assisted training with pen and paper)

  • Start by listing down the new vocabulary from the memory as fast as you can.
  • Then pick as many vocabulary as you can from the list that can be used mainly in a dialogue context such as interrogative words (question tools), second and third person pronouns …etc
  • Formulate short statements.
  • Formulate the questions to address these statements.
  • After being sure of the structure of both the answer and the question, vary them both using your already known information and what you think is a proper usage of a targeted vocabulary in the same context. (Alternatively, divide the long dialogue into mini-dialogues and monologues as much as you can.)
  • Finally, read aloud what you’ve just written unit you make the sentences sound to you.

Out of the text book (Unassisted training)

  • It is always a good practice to discuss your dialogue with your partner/classmate before using its final version.
  • Memorize the two roles of your dialogue by repeating it at least 10 times.

B. In the classroom

  • It might be helpful to use on your very first cocktail party some written hints on your palm or a piece of paper.
  • If you are familiar with the “Memory Palace technique”… this is the right place to stretch your muscles of this skill.

Some extra tips

  • Plan B! It would never go the same way that you’ve originally planned, so be prepared to manipulate your questions and answers.
  • Feel free to adjust those steps as much (or as less) as you want until you become familiar with the whole process.
  • Practice doing it with your tutor for the first time, then and once you get it, teach it to the rest of your classmate and practice this method freely with them… spread the word, dress up and don’t forget your drink!

Watch how the students and teachers at the University of Texas are implementing the cocktail party method in their Arabic classes:

A. Statements and questions building

B. The Cocktail Party

Embarrassing? This is how we ALL learn so make sure to take it easy on yourself and have fun while learning.
Eager to practice Arabic and show off to the world? Join The Arabic Club. Speak Arabic. Period. 

Part of How we teach Arabic at The Arabic Institute Series 


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