Adult Class, Level 3: Games without frontiers

27th November 2019 AEF 7A pp. 64 – 65

Tonight I’m covering a new class so I don’t know the ability of the class, their motivation, nor their willingness to talk English. There is a lot of book work but, to cover myself, I’ve prepared a list of activities to help get the students involved and producing English.

Hence, a compilation of adult activities:

First up – Family Fortunes

This seems to be a small class, maybe just seven students. Rather than ask them for introductions, we’ll jump straight into a game. Class divided into smaller groups and given a writing board and marker. I ask a question and then want four answers. Points for each answer that matches mine. Questions can include:

Not counting Sai Gon, I have been to four places in Viet Nam … which four ?

My four favourite things to eat in VN // Four things I LOVE about VN // Four things I HATE ! // Four instruments I can play (it’s a game, not the actual truth) // Four types of film that I like // Name four cities in Europe // Which four languages can I speak //

Moving on …

Mobile phone survey:

One of many online review posts

The students will be arranged in small groups. One member will be responsible for gathering the information, then reporting back to me.

Next up – a new persona.

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Students are put into two or three groups, with each member given a card with some information about their new identity. They read the information to the group, who have to try to understand and write down details such as email addresses, phone numbers or Facebook accounts. Example:

Hello, my name is Tony

I’m 23 and I love shopping for shirts and ties.

I’m not into reading or books. I find them boring.

My mobile number is 0943 552 8207 

It’s highly probable the other students will need to hear some of the information again, so they can use the following:

I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your phone number (email address etc)

Could you repeat that, please ?

Could you spell that, please ?

Would you mind speaking slower, please.

Putting students into small groups helps to take the pressure off the students, as they speak to a limited number of classmates, not alone and in front of the whole class. this is highly effective in motivating shy and quiet class.

No rest for the wicked … Call My Bluff

Image result for call my bluff

Class divided into small teams. Each team reads out a low-frequency word, followed by three definitions (hopefully, they will be able to embellish and add some of their own ideas). The opposing team has to review the three definitions, maybe ask for examples in a sentence, and then decide which definition is correct. Example:

jeopardy

  1. In danger, in danger of losing or failing (noun)
  2. A small car used by the army (noun)
  3. A bird in Australia that can speak fluent English (noun)

contestants

  1. People who order food in a restaurant but run away without paying (noun)
  2. A large vehicle for carrying heavy things (noun)
  3. People who enter (take part in) a competition (noun)

Others words include: maximum // in the form of //reduce // actual // smart // except the last one // obnoxious // broadsheet // charismatic // convinced // stain

Just a Minute

Students are put in pairs. They have to speak for one minute on a subject without hesitating, repeating or deviating (speaking about a different subject). This will test the students’ ability to speak fluently, as well as giving opportunities for using discourse markers and new vocabulary learnt so far. Subject are deliberately open, for example:

food // travel // work or study // life in Sai Gon // their family // their house.

Viet Nam presentation – where should I go on holiday ?

Three teams, representing Ha Noi, Hue and Nha Trang. 

Image result for ha noi
Image result for hue postcard
Image result for nha trang postcard

This exercise encourages team work and, furthermore, allows the students to develop their intonation skills; they will have to sound excited and optimistic.

To assist, here are some words and phrases to embellish their speech:

cultural centre // historical importance // breathe-taking scenery // tranquil // relaxing // hustle and bustle // mouth-watering food // never to be forgotten //unforgettable // once in a lifetime experience.

To give some help, I can perform a quick example:

Image result for london postcard

COME TO LONDON, UK’s magnificent capital city and one of the world’s GREAT cities.

SEE such iconic, historical sights such as:

Buckingham Palace, home of our Queen, Tower Bridge over the Thames river.

Visit the world-famous British Museum to see the wonders of the world, or watch a football match at Wembley Stadium, in the country that invented the sport.

There is something for everyone:

Shops; you can buy everything here, to suit all budgets, from street markets to high-end department stores. To relax, London has so many tranquil parks, right in the centre of the city. Maybe see famous movie stars at one of London’s many, beautiful theatres, or dine out at restaurants cooking traditional British food or anything from anywhere.

London – one of the world’s GREAT cities

A holiday of a lifetime ! Book early !

Mr Paul tours – visit our website mrpaultours@ukonline.co.vn for more information

🙂

Special discount 10% for my students 

Desert Survival

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A plane crashes in the desert. No one is hurt, but they cannot stay by the plane. They need to be rescued and to stay alive. The plane has a lot of items but they can only select FIVE:

first aid kit // matches // rope // knife // compass // cigarettes // blankets // barrel of water // flare gun // torch (flashlight) // magnifying glass // Beatles CD // dried food // make-up set // Angry Birds game // air rifle // sun cream (sun block) // English grammar book

Image result for flare gun
Image result for first aid kit
Image result for beatles CD

Factors to consider: food, drink, heat, cold, attracting attention, wildlife

Class put into teams and each team must choose their five items. After, they must compare their selection with the other team(s) and argue their reasons. Here we can practice negotiation language:

I see your point, however I disagree because …

That’s interesting, however …

I respectfully disagree

I’m not sure about that

I don’t feel that is entirely right …

Class interact and practice agreeing, disagreeing and making convincing arguments.

Friends

Here I show five pictures of men or women. Students, just by appearance, have to guess the personality and occupation of my friends.

Image result for business man headshot
Image result for DJheadshot
Image result for angry bouncer
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Image result for crazy man

This is a good way to teach new adjectives and jobs … and, in case you’re wondering, their jobs are: unemployed (looking for a job so is sending out CVs) // DJ // Actor // self-employed plumber and … doctor (photo taken on holiday).

IELTS 5 – 6:5: Talking Englishes

28th August 2019 page 13.

Today is a speaking lesson, so hopefully that will be more active and interesting for the students. However, a three-hour lesson means the teacher has to prepare a ‘montage of attractions’ (a connected collection of various activities) to maintain energy and enthusiasm and … most importantly … to help the students acquire and practice the new vocabulary, expressions and pronunciations.

Warm up: As mentioned in just about every blog, students arrive willy-nilly and, for sure, they are coming from work, from school, stuck in traffic but it does interrupt the flow. therefore we need a quick warm up game into which people can jump.

Call My bluff:

Image result for call my bluff

Class in two teams (or sub-divided for larger classes). One team has a list of low-frequency words, followed by three definitions and word class. The object is for them to read out (and hopefully elaborate) the definitions, give examples and trick the opposition into giving a wrong answer. For example, the word ‘obnoxious‘:

  1. Adjective – an unpleasant, horrible person
  2. Noun – science, a gas that becomes a liquid at 50 degrees centigrade
  3. Noun – a small village, usually in north Europe, that doesn’t have a church.

Depending on the English ability (and let’s be honest – the motivation) of the students, this could be an interesting game, as well as increasing their vocabulary. New words can be recycled throughout the lesson. Other words are ‘demeanour’, ‘broadsheet’, ‘mindset’, ‘surreal’, ‘vainglory’, ‘troglodyte’ (believe me, this word perfectly describes a lot of people in my neighbourhood) & ‘excruciating’.

After this, I want to get all the book work under our belts then move on to speaking activities.

Small Talk and keeping conversations going.

This could introduce cultural topics; what is acceptable in one culture is a big ‘no-no’ in another, for example, you can ask a westerner if they are married, but if they say “No,” it is not acceptable to ask WHY (implication – what is WRONG with you ?). For a western, used to ‘Rockin’ in the Free World,’ all politics is off limits … If people want to proclaim, “Communism forever !”, while using the latest iPhone X and getting rides home from their parents in luxury cars, let it go … likewise, hearing that Chairman Mao is a hero … oh well, whatever, never mind. At least in Viet Nam people has access to the internet, so maybe a little Google search with ‘Mao’ & ‘famine’ could be enlightening. So, you see, this digression was to show just precarious small talk can be.

Image result for neil young rockin in the free world

NOT that I’m saying the west is a Utopia of free speech … political correctness, non-disclosure agreements, hate speech, misinformation and downright lies … but that is ANOTHER story. Back to our activity:

There will be a list of ten innocuous questions. The idea is to use back channelling, follow-up questions, tag questions and encouraging elaboration, to make a long discussion. EXAMPLE:

What do you do ? // I’m a student. / Really, where (and what) do you study ? How do you like the classes ? / Have you given any thought to what you want to do after you graduate ?

Other questions are:

Where do you live ? // What are you going to do this weekend ? // Have you ever been abroad ? // Where do you come from ? // How do you like studying English ? //

This activity can also be timed … can they speak for one or two minutes without a break ?

Buying and selling role play

Variaties of English used in purchasing and bargaining. This may seem unnecessarily complicated, but code-switching (changing from language to language or from formal to informal) is a part of (I’m sure) most if not all languages (I haven’t studied enough world languages to state this as a concrete fact – if anyone knows, please correct me, with citations – thanks).

SO .. half my class are sellers, working in either a top department store, a High-Street shop having a sale, or a good old-fashioned street marker.

Image result for harrods seller
This is a salesperson in a high-end department store.

The language here would be RP, standard English, no glottal stops or slang, although some common expression may creep into the dialogue.

Here, we can elicit the type of conversation one would expect, e.g. “Yes, Madam, how may I be of assistance ?”

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A cashier in a High-Street clothes store.

Language would be friendly and probably more informal, though still polite, “Hi, how are you today ? Oh, that really suits you !”

And now, a market trader. This has subtitles, so it a great way to follow the man’s London accent

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sw94R0P2dOs

You may hear questions such as, “Yes, mate, what can I do for you ? What do you fancy ? How about (‘owwbout’) a nice box of (boxa) strawberries ?”

I will give the students some photos of various items (shirts of differing quality, shoes, watches etc). The idea is to buy four items but spend under a certain amount.

As a fun ending, and depending on the energy of students, some could try to imitate the sound of the market trader … not just the vocabulary, but the tones and stresses, the ups and down of the cadences … in a word … the music of everyday speech.

If time allows, we always need some quick games up our sleeves.

One is guess the idiom – I say an idiom and the students have three option from which to choose.

There is also two lies, one truth; I say three facts about me, but only one is true. By asking questions, the students have to deduce the correct one. Then they can repeat in small groups (or sleep or just talk Vietnamese, let’s be realistic here … Vietnamese are not the best students in Asia … but that is another story, for another blog).