26th February 2019
Tomorrow night’s class is heavy on speaking and listening. One theme is travel, focusing on getting to the airport or station. I’ve noticed that students in all classes, of all ages, prefer activities to actual bookwork. Hence, I shall do maybe up to an hour of ‘games’ designed to practise and reinforce vocabulary, introduce new expressions and, mostly, get the students producing English among themselves.
Again, I’ll be able to recycle material from other classes, adapted to the news of these specific students.
Firstly, I’ll introduce some common fixed expressions. Three should be enough at this level:
Long time no ….
At the end of the …
Better luck next ….
‘At the end of the … ‘ is a very common expression, especially used by footballers in post-match interviews. Here is just one example:
I will play this 2 or 3 times, asking the students what it is about and can they hear the expression (which is said twice).
Next up, a quick review of new vocabulary. I’ll show some definitions and the students have to give me the word or phrase:
What you think of something when you just see it (two words)
Something you want to do or achieve in life – a
Sending a file, picture or music using email –a
An adjective meaning very good – a
Expression meaning you have chosen the best area or shop or office – Y c t t r p.
The third activity is to practise speaking and using new language. Students are put into small groups and take turns speaking. The topic shall be travel, and the students have to use the following:
amazing / attachment / incredibly / predict / first impressions / you’ve come to the right place
With all speaking exercises, it helps if the teacher or a top student models first, so that all the students understand what they have to do. I shall use the same words but my theme shall be food:
On Saturday, I was out shopping and I felt very hungry. I went into a restaurant and my first impression was not encouraging. It looked a bit dirty and I predicted that the food wouldn’t be very exciting. However, they had an interesting menu with vegetarian options, which was amazing ! I ordered some pho and salad and it was incredibly delicious. I thought to myself I’ve come to the right place. I took some photos so I’ll send them to you by attachment on my next email.
The following activity maintains the groups. This activity shows three options for getting downtown from the airport. There are also three pairs of people who arrive at different times and have different requirements. The students must read the information and discuss the merits of each method. Then they must advise the travellers which method is best suited to their needs. This activity can be found on a previous blog, and the link is:
While they students work, the teacher shouldn’t interfere unless directly asked, or give too many extra instructions; the students need time to work alone and develop language skills. However, I can listen out for any mistakes in grammar, pronunciation etc. At the end of the exercise I can board these and the class can make corrections. This prevents an individual student becoming embarrassed.
Before the book work (today it’s listening to videos and answering comprehension questions), there is one more exercise from a book. The subject is ‘have you ever done it ?’ and the students are presented with 14 situations. There are given the base verb and have to answer the questions making sure to use both positive and negative answers. For example:
I ………… Star Wars films (see) I have seen all the Star Wars films
I ………. to Thailand (go) I have been to Thailand
Then it’s time for the assigned work. I’ll aim to work and leave about 15 minutes for some informal games. The Family Fortune (FF) game is very popular; here groups are given a board and marker and have to write four answers, some general knowledge, some about me. Examples from last night are:
Four countries in Europe
Four ways to say ‘hello’ except in Viet or English.
Four foods from Italy (here we have a lot of fun with exaggerated pronunciation). What better teacher than Christoph Waltz from ‘Inglorious Basterds’ ?
This scene can have two roles. First we compare how a Brit would respond to hearing of someone having an accident (turn our heads, look very sympathetic and say ‘Ahhhhhh, poor you,’). Then we see how Mr Waltz’s character responds (0:54 – 1:34). In the film, a young lady has broken her leg and the German inquires how the accident happened.
The Italian pronunciation scene begins at 2:24.
We can alternate with some personal questions such as ‘What will I do after work ?’, ‘What are four things I dislike about Vietnam ?’ and what four instruments can I play ?’ (It doesn’t matter if I can only play one, it’s just a test of vocabulary, and it makes me seem much more interesting !)