Adult Speaking Class, level 3: Short scenarios

10th June 2020

Some more dialogue scenes to practise using grammar, phrasal verbs, idioms and expressions

To practise question words and the past tense.

what / where /why / when / who / which / how

Dialogue: Catching up

How To Talk To Friends And Loved Ones About Health And Weight ...

Jane & Tina are catching up

Jane What did you do last night ? Who did you meet ?

Tina I went out with friends. We saw a movie. How about you ?

Jane I just stayed at home and did chores. Which cinema did you go to ?

Tina At Diamond Plaza. We bought popcorn which we ate before the film began.

Jane You must have been very hungry ! Was the film good ?

Tina Yeah, really exciting. The tickets were incredibly cheap too.

Jane How much were they ?

Tina Only 333 000 VND (three hundred and thirty-three thousand Dong).

Let's go to the cinema | ESOL Nexus

Jane is intrigued and curious about the price

Jane Why so cheap ?

Tina Because my husband won a competition.

Jane Which competition ? Where was it ?

Tina An online one. Do you want to drink coffee tonight ?

Jane Of course ! When ? What time do you knock off work ?

Tina About 10 … we have been very busy, lots of work.

Jane Me too. I worked until midnight last week. I was exhausted.

Tina I saw you. You looked terrible !

Jane Thank you ! 

Knock off = phrasal verb to finish work

Linking words: and / as well as / also / along with

Meeting the new boss

5 ways to win the confidence of the new boss - The Economic Times

Sid What are your plans for this afternoon ?

Viv Well, I need to buy some coffee as well as some milk. How about you ?

Sid Oh, I’ve got to have a meeting with the new director. He seems very strict.

Viv Yeah, I get the impression that he is very serious. However, he is friendly.

Sid Right, he could be an improvement. Having said that, he could be worse.

Viv He seems professional, very neat and tidy. Always a plain white shirt.

Sid Remember the old boss ? Such gaudy ties ! For me, that was unprofessional.

Viv Anyway, is there a convenience store nearby ?

Sid Naturally. Take the second left, then cross over. Can’t miss it.

Viv Brilliant ! You’re an angel.

Dialogue: Talking about Germany

Present perfect, past continuous and questions. Listen for adverbs

Ask Asian Girls: Do Asian Women like Black men? - YouTube

Mary Have you been to Germany ?

Amy No, not yet. Have you ?

Mary Yes, twice. I have (I’ve) visited Berlin and Munich.

Amy Which did you like best ?

Mary Well, Munich is very clean, elegant and stylish, but quite expensive.

Amy And Berlin, the capital ?

Mary I was working there for six months. It was really cool.

How to Solo Travel Berlin like a Boss! - Girl With The Passport

They continue after eating a big piece of pie.

Amy Sounds like you had lots of fun !

Mary Oh, yes ! The food was cheap and the people were incredibly friendly.

Amy How about the weather ? I have heard it can be cold.

Mary It was terrible ! Every day it rained cats and dogs.

Amy You must have been so glad to get back to Vietnam. (glad = happy)

Mary Yes, but I miss the German trains and buses; they were so reliable.

HD wallpaper: people, woman, girl, train, berlin, blonde, commute ...

Adult Speaking Class, level 2: Grammar, the Perfect form

25th May 2020

Past Tense Exercises 

Pretty asian girl watching tv | Premium Photo
Last night she watched TV

75 % of verbs are REGULAR – just add -ed to form past tense

visit = visited

watch = watched

talk = talked

walk = walked

Report: Argentina's Economy Contracted 5.8% in September | The Bubble
Last Saturday, they walked in the city centre in Buenos Aires

BUT

Others are IRREGULAR – you just have to learn them !

Go – went 

see – saw

is – was

sleep – slept

spend – spent

Shop till you drop: Experience souks and much more in Morocco ...
The lady spent all her money when she went shopping in Morocco

Put the verbs into the simple past:

  1. Last year I (go) …………to England on holiday.
  2. It (be) ……..fantastic.
  3. I (visit)…… lots of interesting places. I (be) ….. with two friends of mine .
  4. In the mornings we (walk)…… in the streets of London.
  5. In the evenings we (go) ….. to pubs.
  6. The weather (be) …… remarkably pleasant. (nice)
  7. We (watch) …… a great Korean film.
  8. But we (see) …… some beautiful rainbows.
  9. Where (spend / you) ……. your last holiday?

Polite conversation

Ask someone: ‘how was your day ?’ or ‘What did you do ?’

Say something nice: ‘I like your dress (or shirt)’, ‘Your hair looks great.’

‘Nice to see you again, what have you been up to?’ (been up to = doing recently)

Grammar: Present Perfect

To talk about something that happened in the past but we don’t say when:

Subject + have/has + past participle / verb 3

I have been to Ha Noi

You have eaten sushi

He has worked in Germany

NOT He has worked in Germany last year 

Hanoi Downtown Hotel, Vietnam - Booking.com
I have been to Ha Noi
Beautiful asian woman eating sushi with chopsticks | Premium Photo
She has eaten sushi
African diaspora adopts Berlin | Scene in Berlin | DW | 06.01.2012
He has worked in Germany

Can use ‘for’ and ‘since’

I have lived in Sai Gon for 5 years

We have been working since 6.00 am

POSITIVE I have seen 

NEGATIVE I haven’t seen

QUESTION Have you seen … ?

Practice: Make these sentences present perfect

EXAMPLE – I / study / French = I have studied French

  1. She / tell / her boss she wants a holiday tell told
  2. They / walk / to the shop regular (add -ed)
  3. You / work / with David for four years regular (add -ed)
  4. His wife / not make / dinner make made
  5. You / take / the engineering exam ? take took taken

To Like

Activities

I like to go to the beach

Costa Rica: an ideal place for seniors | Q COSTA RICA
They like to go to the beach at Costa Rica

Sub + helping verb(like) + infinite verb + object

I like to go shopping

You like to swim at the beach

She likes to shop at the Metro

I like to paddle in the sea

I like to shop for shoes

He likes to shop for books

He likes going to the cinema

The Revival of Russia's Cinema Industry
They like to go to the cinema in Russia

I don’t like to go to the dentist

I don’t like to watch TV all day NEGATIVE

I really like going to parties. POSITIVE

Do you like watching films ? QUESTION

Seahorse Productions: ‘Inferno’ 2007

25th May 2020

From medieval Florence to modern-day Berlin, a film shot on both Super 8 and digital video, with a professional actor and professional sound engineer / cameraman. And all on no budget, as usual.

This is a retelling of ‘Inferno’ or Hell, an epic poem by Dante.

Dante Alighieri – Wikipedia tiếng Việt

Dante Alighieri born around 1265 in Florence during a turbulent time of political infighting. He studied to be a pharmacist, and books actually were sold in pharmacies at this time.

Florence Walking Tours: Half Day Tour Florence
Modern – day Florence with the incredible architecture

Dante is most famous for his Divine Comedy, a three-part poem, starting in Hell, Part 2 in Purgatory and finally Part 3 in Paradise. Of these, ‘Inferno’ is by far the most widely-read.

The Divine Comedy: Volume 1: Inferno (Pt. 1) (English and Italian ...
A recent edition of ‘Inferno’.

The poem starts with Dante in a dark wood, having ‘lost his way’. The poem is full of allegory and symbolism, the dark wood representing uncertainty and danger, as he has stepped off the path to God and salvation. He meets the Roman poet, Virgil (70 BC – 19 BC), who acts as a guide. Virgil will help to get Dante back ‘on the right path’ but this will mean going through the Inferno.

What follows is a journey where Dante sees the souls or ‘shades’ of the dead who are being eternally punished, in appropriate ways, for their sins on Earth. The Inferno is arranged in nine circles, the ninth being reserved for Lucifer.

Dante's Inferno - Live Score by Maurizio Guarini (GOBLIN ...
Virgil guides Dante through the Inferno

As the two poets descend, the crimes, and the punishments get worse, until, finally, in the lowest circle, Dante sees the Devil.

This poem is a major work of European and World art, inspiring countless artists, including the German Gustav Dore, who etched these pictures.

Dante's Satan - Wikipedia
The Devil in Inferno, by Gustav Dore

Dante had an idealised love, a young lady called Beatrice, and her purity gives Dante the courage to continue his horrific quest.

In the film, I have a young lady (Katerina) who reads by a small river holding a lily (the symbol of Florence). A man sees her and goes to speak to her, but she goes, leaving a book behind – the book is the Aenid by Virgil.

The Man then walks through modern day Berlin, to reach his salvation.

I used the new dome of the German Parliament building, the Reichstag, to represent the circular arrangement of Dante’s Inferno, and the Man walks over, or by, several rivers, symbolising the rivers of Hell.

Visiting the Reichstag Dome – Amazing Berlin views and history
The Reichstag dome

For the crimes against nature, I updated the book to mean environmental issues; the Man walks against a skyline criss-crossed with electric wires and factory smokestacks, like Blake’s ‘dark Satanic mills’.

We also filmed at Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, which is in north Berlin, to represent the unspeakable horrors of genocide, all genocide perpetrated by any nation against any person due to race, religion, sexuality or politics.

Sachsenhausen | The Holocaust Encyclopedia
Sachsenhausen Memorial (ex concentration camp) Free Tour - Berlin ...

Many thanks to my team who all worked and contributed their time and talents for free:

Mr Martin O’Shea, Mr Philipp Pressmann, Ms Manuela Fresard & Ms Katarina Worner.

All the technical, digital camera-work and editing was done by Herr F.T. Pen, and the incredible foley artist Herr Max Bauer.

LIGHTS

CAMERAS

ACTION

The link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ari5zGIpwA

Live Theatre from Berlin

17th May 2020

I’m lucky to have some very talented, very creative friends, and last night, far away in Berlin, Germany, there was a live-stream of a theatre piece, free to watch on YouTube.

The title translates to ‘The Berlin Room’, and the theme, inspired by the world-wide lockdown, is isolation.

Herr Harald Ansorge (German) wrote and directed, M Johan Robin (French) was Director of Photography, while the sound technician was Herr Michael ‘Gabel’ Gabelmann.

The actors were Frau Masha Mati-Prodan and Mr Martin O’Shea, so this was a pan-European project.

The link is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UT5D38yzZPU

As the video is a live stream, there is a long run-in, so fast forward to around 14.15.

I’m sure the cast and crew would appreciate any comments, especially nice ones !

Promotional writing on a Berlin overpass.

Promotion shot of Mr Martin O’Shea

From left to right, Johan Robin, Michael Gabelmann, Harald Ansorge

Seahorse Productions: Steppenwolf, Berlin 2014

15th May 2020

Historic photos of City Life of Berlin during the interwar period ...

This film, finished in 2014, was shot in 2008 while I was living in Berlin and I attempted to give it a 1920s feel. It’s based on the famous novel by Hermann Hesse:

Quote HERMANN HESSE – MAGGIE EXPLAINS THE WORLD

The novel, which was published in 1927, is a book within a book … a young man finds a diary written by an older man and it is this diary which forms the bulk of the story. As readers, we are free to choose how much to believe of the ‘diary’; is it all true, all fiction, a combination of truth, half-truths and wishes ?

The book certainly has a surreal quality to it, moving from realistic descriptions to a final sequence which seems to resemble a dream or fantasy.

The main character, Harry Haller, refers to himself as a steppenwolf, that is someone who craves human companionship yet is painfully introverted and uncomfortable around people. This dichotomy is central to the book.

Steppenwolf' Hermann Hesse | Cover: Detail of a painting by… | Flickr
A paperback edition of the novel

For the film, I choose areas of Berlin that were more historic and evocative of the 1920s, as well as selecting some ‘modern’ classical composers who were contemporaneous (Martinu from Czech Republic, Hindemith from Germany), along with W.F. Bach (who is mentioned in the book). The film plays out with a melancholy solo guitar piece by the incredible gypsy-guitarist Django Rheinhardt.

I also used colour filters towards the end of the film, as in some silent classics, indicating that the sequences may or may not be ‘real’ … it is up to the viewer to decide.

The film style was heavily influenced by German expressionist cinema of the inter-war years, directors such as Fritz Lang, G.W. Pabst and mostly F.W. Murnau.

Mr Molnar Levente, a Hungarian actor, was in the highly successful ‘Son of Saul’ film, while Mr Martin O’Shea has appeared with Kenneth Branagh and Bill Nighy in the Tom Cruise film ‘Valkarie’.

Ms Willow de la Roche gave, I feel, an amazing performance. I’m so sorry it took so long for the film to finally be cut.

Technical details: I shot the film entirely on Super 8, then had to transfer onto a compatible disk for cutting on a Windows-based laptop. At the time I was moving between Berlin, London and Sweden and furthermore, I had to learn computer editing from scratch.

And now:

LIGHTS

CAMERAS

ACTION

The link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BaPT0X-J2EY

Young Learners, Level 4:Tell me what you want !

7th November for 9th November 2019 E Up 4, U7 L2 pp. 66 – 67

It’s early Saturday morning … need some high-energy music to wake up !

Image result for spice girls

And the song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJLIiF15wjQ

For natural speech patterns, we can copy –

‘Tell me what you want, what you really, really want,’ in standard English or –

‘Tell me whatya want, whatya really, really want,’ in non-standard, with the linking sounds as well as the swallowed ‘t’ in ‘want’.

To counter the argument that this is not appropriate for an English lesson, I would say that students need to be exposed to a variety of Englishes … the linking and swallowing of words and letters is how many native speakers speak … as students will discover listening to films, TV and, as is the case here, music. What I listen for in my students, of all ages, is NOT a robotic, flat repetition of an abstract sentence, but intonation, linking and natural rhythm.

Speaking of music … we need (as always) to review previous work, but to make it interesting I’ll try to make the review into a sort of game. Last week, they learnt six occupations. Which one does Thay Paul want to be ?

Next, I will board the remaining five jobs, but scrambled. The students, placed into two teams, must unscramble the chosen word (one student per team). One point for the first to complete, bang the board and shout out the word. Then, to add a variance, I will hold three flash cards, one of which will be the job. If they guess correctly, they earn an additional five points.

The words: ocart // tasiri // eamg reedgins // airtolujsn // iinstctes

Continuing the theme, a Runaround game:

Where does an actor work ?

1 – a hospital // 2 – a bank // 3 – a theatre

A journalist can use …

1 – a microphone // 2 – a piano // 3 – a paintbrush

Who uses clay, paint or metal in their work ?

1 – a scientist // 2 – a musician // 3 – an artist

Brad Pitt, Kirsten Stewart, Emma Watson and Robert Downey Jr are all famous …

1 – musicians // 2 – game designers // 3 – actors

Angry Birds and Candy Crush and Donkey Kong were made by …

1 – game designers // 2 – actors // 3 – Thay Paul

One student from each team will run to the board and slap a number … they can change their mind for five seconds but then they have to stay where they are.

British culture.

As a break, a little introduction to the UK and its history and traditions. The beginning of November sees Bonfire Night or Guy Fawkes Night

Image result for guy fawkes mask

In 1605, a group of men wanted to kill the King of England, James I. They wanted to blow up the building where the King was going to be, so they hid 36 barrels of gunpowder under the building. However, the King’s soldiers found one of the men, Guy Fawkes, and arrested him. The King was safe ! To celebrate, people made giants fires called bonfires.

Image result for guy fawkes dummy

We still do this today. Also, children help to make a Guy Fawkes from old clothes and old bags, and then adults put it on the fire. Finally, there are fireworks, sometimes at home, sometimes in parks so everyone can see.

Image result for guy fawkes dummy

Many different types of fireworks are used:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4FGmYNCGW4

Some young children are holding sparklers – they have to wear gloves and be VERY CAREFUL.

Image result for 5th nov fireworks
5th November fireworks in London

All good things must come to an end … and so to bookwork. Today, the theme is things people want to do (when they’re older, as this is a young-learners’ class). After drilling the six phrases, I’ll show two photos and ask:

What does Thay Paul want to be or do ?

I will give the students boards and they have to write the three future plans. The last one (making movies, make a movie) is from a previous lesson, while the photo was taken in Berlin, Germany … long before my students were even born !

And now farewell … but next week, we leave the planet and go into space …

Image result for waving from space

Adult Class, Level 3 (mixed): You practice what I preach.

17th September for 23rd September. AEF 3 pp. 50 – 51

Last week, we covered past tense – simple, continuous and perfect. However, that is a lot to take in, especially for students who are not so confident. Looking at charts and learning the jargon can be daunting and far too theoretical.

This problem has long been identified and addressed; grammar, as theory, reduced to a minimal. Grammar, used in writing and more importantly speaking, maximised.

Therefore, my policy in this block of lessons (four per block) is to reduce book work, simplify the theory and try to allocate at least half the lesson to student-talking time.

Last night’s lesson seemed to work well; the Socratic approach which makes the students collect information and then collate it into a presentation. This was followed by students reading to each other in small groups, with some useful expressions to use … and repeat and repeat and …yeah, you get the idea.

Let’s go to work !

Image result for go to work

But first, back to basics. Some students are not fluent in the three forms of basic verbs:

Grammar – verb practice

Here’s the 15 most common:

infinite \ present // past // past participle (verb 3)

1to bewas werebeen
2to havehadhad
3to dodiddone
4to saysaidsaid
5to gowentgone
6to getgotgot/gotten
7to makemademade
8to knowknewknown
9to thinkthoughtthought
10to taketooktaken
11to seesawseen
12to comecamecome
13to wantwantedwanted
14to useusedused
15to findfoundfound

Regular verbs, just add -‘ed’. However, as you see, in this list only one common verb, ‘want’, is regular.

NOTE: ‘to be’ is different: I am hungry You are hungry She is hungry.

Now, practice: In groups of three or four, they have to ask each other questions in order to feel more natural using the past tense. Lets’s start simply with the simple past:

What did you do today ? PAST SIMPLE

Each student takes turns describing their day. Always give ideas, as some students spent too much time thinking of what to say, whereas the purpose is to speak.

Related image
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Image result for go to school
Image result for easy rider bike
Related image

I will also board: buy / drink / surf the internet / help parents / cook / do homework

To make it more interactive, the students can ask follow-up questions, such as, “What did you eat for lunch ?”, “What time did you start school ?”, “How did you get to work or school ?” etc. Groups can monitor each other to make sure past tense is being used properly.

NEXT: Past Continuous. Subject was doing something in the past ….

Example: Last night I was listening to T-ara:

Image result for T-ar

However, we usually use past continuous to say we were doing something WHEN something new happened.

EXAMPLE: I was listening to T-ara when someone knocked on my door.

The structure is Subject + was or were + verbing, followed by past simple

Try this: dream // alarm clock ring

He was dreaming when the alarm clock rang.

Now – practice: Make a sentence from these pairs of photos:

Image result for reading
Image result for telephone ring
Related image
Image result for rain
Image result for angry teacher
Image result for pulp fiction jules eating
Image result for pulp fiction honey bunny

Finally, the past perfect. Two things happened in the past, one before the other.

Image result for Kafka
Image result for Berlin 1920

The students ‘met’ Dr Kafka last week.

Dr Franz Kafka had lived all his life in Prague until he moved to Berlin in the 1920s.

Subject + has or had + verb 3 then use past simple.

Try these:

John Lennon – in The Beatles / goes solo in 1970

Image result for john lennon beatles
Image result for john lennon imagine

Dali – paint over 1 500 paintings / dies 1989

Image result for dali
Image result for dali tomb

Bringing it closer to home, Bac Ho (Uncle Ho Chi Minh) – work London / meet these young Germans.

Image result for uncle ho in Paris
Image result for uncle ho in russia

Finally, for presentation, the students can be arranged in four groups (draw playing cards so students work with new partners). I will give them ten minutes to work together and make a short presentation, with all members speaking, about the above four historical figures. Those who draw Ho Chi Minh should have an advantage, so I will be expecting more from them.

Presentations should include:

Date and place of birth.

Why there are famous

Give examples of their most famous works or activities

Where they lived

When and how they died.

ALSO – why we should remember them.

Then, I will turn to the books and hand-outs, before returning to some speaking practice before the end.