Thornbury asserts, "...[C]onversation stands for all the talk, the dialogue, the communication (both spoken and written) that is generated by the people in the room [or learning environment], and that is shaped, scaffolded, supported[,] and signposted by the teacher" (para. 10, retrievved 2011.05.21).
As for the students who did make it to more accelerated English courses,
they have bigger fish to fry. They have professors in every area and every discipline telling them they're going to fail if they don't learn how to write a comprehensible, grammatical and at least marginally organized academic essay.
Sometimes we do things not because they're fun but because they're important.