23rd June 2020
A new class, so I have to assess their ability, motivation and potential.
Let’s kick off with a Family Fortune game – I give writing boards to the class, arranged in small groups, and ask for four answers to basic questions.
Example : Four places I’ve been to in Viet Nam / Four things I love about Viet Nam / Four things I hate / Four instruments I can play / Four languages I can speak. To test general knowledge, Four countries in Asia or capital cities / Four countries in Europe / Four cities in the USA
Next up, I want to get the class speaking as soon as possible so, they can interview each other asking basic questions. No one speaks alone, so this helps to cover any shyness as all the class are speaking at the same time.
Why are you studying IELTS ? /
Do you think IELTS will be difficult ? / Why ?
Do you use English at school or work … how ? /
What do you do in your free time ? /
What do you do or what do you study ? /
Would you like to live in USA or UK ?
Moving on, time to explain the importance of sentence building. We would expect new IELTS students to be able to speak quite fluently, in reasonable long sentences. If students answer in four words or under, or even single words, then the teachers know we have a ‘difficult’ class.
To give an example, I’ll introduce a standard IELTS-style question:
Where would you like to visit in Viet Nam (or your own country) and why ?
I show them a plan:
Introduction / First good point / second good point / something bad / conclusion.
I choose Hoi An
Introduction: DON’T answer immediately but introduce the answer by repeating or rephrasing the question:
Vietnam has many beautiful places but my choice would be Hoi An.
First Good Point:
Firstly, Hoi An is a historical city with a wonderful Japanese bridge and lovely old shops. At night, the shops use romantic lanterns.
Second Good Point:
Hoi An is close to Da Nang, so I can fly there easily and quickly. There are many things to see and do in the local area.
Now, something negative
However, Hoi An is very small and can be extremely crowded in summer. Maybe it will be difficult to find a hotel or a table at a good restaurant.
In my opinion, Hoi An is a very special place to visit because it is a town of Vietnamese culture.
How to build sentences:
Use adjectives to describe nouns (beautiful, historic, romantic)
adverbs to describe adjectives and verbs – give more information (very, easily)
opinion phrases (in my opinion)
linking words to connect positive to positive or positive to negative – discourse markers (however)
reasons why an action is being done (because)
Now – your turn:
Where do you want to visit ? This can be in Vietnam or anywhere.
Finally, to test knowledge of occupations and personality adjectives, I will show the class photos of five friends and elicit their opinions. https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2018/12/28/friends-men-teaching-sheet/
At IELTS level I would expect the students to form basic sentences such as:
“In my opinion, he is … “
“For me, he looks like … “
“He seems to be a … “
It will probably be a mixed-ability class, so I shall encourage the top learners, asking them to describe the photos, using as many adjectives and adverbs as they can.