20th January 2019
This three-hour lesson was totally devoted to planning, preparing and presenting a project about tourism.
Thailand is very close and there, tourism accounts for 9.4% of their economy, a figure which is expected to rise to 12.8 % by 2028 (source: World Travel & Tourism Council).
This affords the teacher an opportunity to add other elements to the lesson; in addition to new vocabulary and collocations, we have, in the first two paragraphs, examples of alliteration and quoting sources to make a report more official; an opinion supported by facts.
Alliteration is a poetic devise, using words that begin with the same letter. Source quoting – stating where information is found – is a vital aspect of academic writing, so to learn it before university will be very beneficial. However, it is important to use books, newspapers or websites that are official and respected, as opposed to Wiki sites or blogs.
Tonight, I would focus on presentation skills, vocabulary used in travel promotion, and fixed expressions. The later is a great addition to the students’ repertoire, allowing them to sound more like a native-speaker. We use fixed expressions all the time. So, without further ado, into the notes.
Firstly, as a warmer, we talked about HCM / Sai Gon; what does it have to offer the tourist ?
Thank you, Sir, but I don’t think you’re getting the point of the exercise. Walking around the room, various answers were put forth: history, mystery, great food, cheap (dirt cheap as we would say in the UK), interesting buildings, friendly people.
Conversely, what were the problems or issues that were keeping tourists away ? Traffic was an immediate response, pollution, petty crime, scams. Perhaps the biggest problem is simply lack of knowledge. When most westerners hear about Vietnam, they think about war, boat people, refugees … the unspeakably horrific photo of Kim Phuc, running away from a burning village. So what could be done to encourage tourism ? That was the project.
I wanted to illustrate the difference between a scam and petty crime. The latter includes bag-snatching and pickpocketing, the former is tricking people out of money, for example fake taxis, over-charging, giving people incorrect change etc. We then watched a short video, highlighting some issues, as well as listening to English being spoken by some young Vietnamese. A good way to learn is to check for mistakes. What grammar or pronunciations errors can you find here?
At one stage, the presenter is walking past a group of tourists, some of whom wave to the camera and make various gestures. This allowed me to introduce a neologism, a new word or phrase that has evolved out of modern technology: photo-bombing. Here is a famous example of the British actor Benedict Cumberbatch with the rock group U2:
Now was a chance for some new vocabulary, words and phrases associated with holidays and travel.
breathtaking / stunning/ sensational / incredible / remarkable/ exclusive / inspiring / spectacular /
once in a lifetime experience/ never to be forgotten / unbeatable prices
book now to avoid disappointment/ best decision you’ll ever make
Structure: To begin with / furthermore … additionally / the fact is … / therefore
As an Example, I showed a short file about London:
VISIT LONDON TODAY !
Buckingham Palace Tower Bridge
British Museum Wembley Stadium
Shops, parks, theatres, restaurants
London – one of the world’s GREAT cities
A holiday of a lifetime ! Book early !
Mr Paul Tours – visit our website firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
From this, I made a short presentation:
Now is the perfect time to visit London, England’s glorious capital. The weather is perfect for walking, so you can enjoy the lush parks, world-famous museums and incredible, unbelievable shops. There is something for everyone … and more ! Like sports ? Go to one of the many Premier League football games. Love shopping ? Everything is here – shop till you drop ! Adore culture – soak up hundreds of years of history.
Flights from TSN airport daily. Seven-day all-inclusive package tour starting from only 50m VND ! All transfers and transport included. Air-conditioned mini bus with Vietnamese-speaking guide.
So what makes a good presentation ?
Volume – not too loud, but not too soft.
Intonation – sound enthusiastic, but again, not overly so. If you sound bored, the listeners will be.
Pace – not too fast, or too slow
Eye contact – look at the audience, engage with them but don’t stare at anyone.
Walk around – this can be energising, but too much will be distracting.
Stick to the point. Avoid repetition or deviating from the subject.
Keep slides simple and basic; too much text and the audience will be too busy reading to listen to you (I got that tip from a former student, a marketing executive).
Gestures, and body language. Look professional and people will take you seriously. Open hand signs indicate honesty. Cross-armed seems hostile.
And then it was time for the teacher to pipe down (stop talking) and let the students work. Most classes have mixed abilities, confidence levels, introverts and extroverts. I wanted each of the four groups to have at least one confident student, so I asked some of the students quietly, explaining my rationale, and they agreed (one deferred, but promised to move next class … right, Ms Uyen ?)
I gave them a set time, after which they had to present. Then came the issue of who would go first; here’s where a pack of playing cards comes in handy. I picked an Ace, 2, 3 & 4 and let the students choose. You can’t argue with the cards !
The work was very impressive, some groups quoted their source material, others had very gifted public speakers. We’ll build on this in the next lesson, when they can practise using fixed expressions and travel adjectives (and the accompanying intonation).
A special thanks must go to my TA, the wonderful Ms Vy, who assisted and co-taught with me. I’ll be writing about my experience with TAs at various schools … but that is for another day.