IELTS, Adult Speaking Class, level 3: Good Technology

19th October 2020

Technology

Information Management Technology (IMT) Definition

Let’s kick off with a song. Maybe the music isn’t your cup of tea, but that’s not the point. Just see how much you can understand.

The song is called ‘Good Technology’ and is from a band called Red Guitars who were from Hull which is in the north-east of England :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cs0OkiCZNRI

The lyrics:

Good Technology

Red Guitars

We’ve got photographs of men on the moon
We’ve got water that is good for us
We’ve got coffee that’s instantaneous
We’ve got buildings that are very tall
We’ve got cigarettes that are low in tar
We’ve got policemen can tell us who we are
We can reproduce a work of art
We’ve got missiles can tear the world apart
Good, good, good, good, good, good technology

We’ve got trains that run underground
Aeroplanes that fly very fast
We’ve got music that is popular
We’ve got machines that sound like orchestras
We’ve got ability to transplant a heart
We’ve got freezers full of body parts
We’ve got computers that can find us friends
We know roughly when the world will end
Good, good, good, good, good, good technology

We’ve got animals with transistors in
We’ve got pills that can make you slim
We’ve got factories turning frozen chickens out
We’ve got ovens that cook in seconds flat
We’ve got plastics that are indestructible
We’ve got deodorants that make us smell of flowers
We’ve got detergents to clean up the sea
We’ve got sounds can turn you inside out

Sometimes I wonder what it is all about
There’s lots of leisure time to sit and work it out
There’s a TV show I’ve got to see
Good, good, good, good, good, good technology
Good technology

Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: Stuart Ross

Now, to cut down on ‘Teacher Talking Time’ and to get the class prepared to speak, to use intonation and stress as well as affording them the chance to use their L-FWs and idioms, a little warm up activity.

Firstly, what did you think of the song, with special reference to the lyrics and themes. remember – this song was from the 1980s, before mobile phones and the internet, which are now ubiquitous.

Ask and answer. Speak to many different students.

Elicit answers, interview your fellow students, pump them for information, don’t allow them to get away with a two- or three-word answers

How many hours do you use a computer every day ?

[Ask what the computer is used for, ask for examples, favourite sites, what is the work – play balance ?]

Do you have a smartphone ? If so, what type ?

Have you ever read an e-book ? Which one ?

What are your favourite video games ?

Do you write or read a blog ?

Are you on Instagram or Twitter ? Why or why not ?

When do you post comments online ?

Do you make phone calls or text family and friends ?

Who is teaching whom here ?

Father and son with computer. Father and son working on a laptop , #ad,  #son, #Father, #computer, #laptop, #working #ad | Father and son, Sons,  Father

Thinking on your feet.

What is happening here ? What’s the story ?

I Hate My Fucking Computer | Computer & Tech Support | Quikteks | Quikteks  Tech Support
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IELTS, Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Warm up conversation starters

9th October 2020

Sometimes students arrive at class after a long day, bereft of energy and motivation. In such situations, it’s best to hit the ground running, get them talking and ready for a lesson. This needs to be done before they pull out their mobiles and start concentrating on their cyberlife … after which time, they are lost to reality.

adults-casual-cellphone-1413653 - Study Finds

Therefore, before they can hit that ‘Post’ button, pair them up and make them ask each other various questions, demanding that the answers be as complex as possible, incorporating big words (‘Low-Frequency Words’), discourse markers and relative pronouns, along with appropriate expressions.

Example: Where would you most like to visit ?

Bad answer: Nowhere. Bad answer: New York.

Better answer:

Introduce your answer THEN state the location THEN explain why.

Ah, that’s an interesting question because I really need a holiday. However travelling now is not a good idea because of the COVID 19 which is an extremely serious pandemic. So, I have to think about after, when it is safe to go on holiday.

I have always wanted to visit Singapore, because it looks so clean and modern and, not forgetting, so many shopping malls. I love shopping, it is my passion. I would buy so many things such as clothes, makeup and presents for my family.

IELTS students should be able to add a number of idiomatic language to really spice up their presentation. I would expect to hear:

cost(s) an arm and a leg / prices (can be \ are) sky high / mouth-watering / world famous / ubiquitous / pristine / that’s a bit of a sore point (because we CAN’T travel) / such a wide array / shop till (I \ you) drop / overwhelming / spoilt for choice / retail therapy

Cheap Shopping Place in Singapore - Buy Souvenirs in the Bugis Street Area
Remember … there are some affordable shopping areas in Singapore although they tend to be away from the city centre but well worth a visit.

NOW … your turn

Questionnaire / Discussion

What kind of music do you like ? (do you play or listen ?)

Can you name any plays by Shakespeare ? (if not what writer do you like ?)

What time do you usually get up ? (weekdays and weekends)

How do you relax ? (do you have time or do you study, have family, work overtime ?)

Can you play a musical instrument ? (would you like to ? Why ?)

What skill(s) would you like to acquire ? (be creative here – what stops you learning ?)

What is the best thing about Sai Gon ? (or YOUR city)

However, this is not a one-way street. The person asking is expected to make small talk, to elicit – to encourage – the speaker to open up and expand on their answers.

Use small talk phrases such as:

Really ? That’s interesting // Tell me more // Why do you say that ? // Oh, me too // What do (did) you like best // Where is that (exactly) ? // I’ve heard about that // I haven’t heard about that, can you explain // Why do you say that ? // Oh, I get it // I’m not sure I follow.

And if your partner is stonewalling you (not talking), here’s a great idiom:

IDIOM OF THE WEEK: Cat Got Your Tongue... - Cairns Language Centre |  Facebook

Speaking Practice – warm up game

7th October 2020

An activity for all levels

Teaching speaking skills 1 | TeachingEnglish | British Council | BBC

A major problem for students is pronunciation and also, in some classes, it can be rather tricky to get the students talking. Obviously, many learners are scared of mispronouncing and ‘losing face’ by their mistake.

This activity helps with both issues.

Arrange the class in small groups and hand each member an card. The students have to read out the information, while the other write down what they hear. Many of my students feel that work is something to be done as quickly as possible, but that will not work in this situation.

Instead, the other team members will need to check what is being said. This encourages slow, clear and careful pronunciation. To assist, use expressions such as:

Can you speak slower, please.

Would you mind speaking slower, please.

How do you spell that ?

Could you repeat that, please.

Sorry, I didn’t catch the phone number.

Let me confirm …

Is that ‘b’ as in blue or ‘p’ as in pink ?

Teachers: adapt to suit the level of your class. Add email address, specific requests etc

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Hi, my name is Jane

I’m 22 and work as DJ

I’m really into dancing and parties

I don’t like reading or housework

I hang out with my best besties

We go to clubs and bars

I get there by motorbike or taxi

My email is jane98@aol.com

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Hi, I’m James

I’m 27 and I’m a football coach

I like to watch films. I’m a gamer

I’m not into shopping or dancing

I meet up with my brother

I go to the gym and the cinema

I have my own motorbike, Yamaha

My mobile is 098 724 5628

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Hello my name is Anna /

I have just turned 19

I’m studying chemistry

In my free time, I eat out I love hanging out with my friends

My blog is AnChem@wordpress

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Hello, I’m Carole

I’m 35 and a university lecturer

I’m really into reading

I hate playing sports I detest clubs and loud music

My fb page is CaroleCambridge.

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Hi, call me Sarah All right ?

I will be 24 next week

I work in a shopping mall

I go to work by bus

I love eating out. Chinese food.

My cell is 089 428 1015

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I’m Tammy

I’m sweet 16

Next year I go to university

I love sitting in the park, reading

I enjoy listening to music & singing

Email me on tam16@yahoo.com

Womens Soccer League / Soccer Girls USA

Hello everyone, I’m Jill

I’m 16 …. no, I’m actually 27

I play football in USA

I go to the park on foot

We eat at Mexican restaurants

My number is 555 207 8291

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Hi. You can call me Billie

I don’t want to say my age !

I am a professional dancer

My partner gives me a lift to work

I want to work in the theatre

Contact on billie09@gmail.com

Herr Deutschland is a Berliner - EXBERLINER.com

My name is Harry Brown,

I come from Berlin, Germany

I listen to music and play football

I love shopping with my girlfriend

I usually grab a taxi

My phone is 39 402 4951

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My name is Peter

I was born in France

I watch movies at home and read

I hate theatre, it is so boring

I always use Grabbike.

Facebook me Peter of Paris

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My name is Julie

I’m an actress and I’m 31

I love theatre more than cinema

I often hang out in the park

Call on 38 703 8946

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My name is Eric

I am only 18

I love football and playing piano

I never read books or go shopping

My iPhone was stolen in the park

Adult Speaking Class, Level 3 / IELTS. Using idioms should be right up your street.

26th August 2020

Yesterday I blogged a database of idioms, collocations and negotiation language. That is just the tip of the iceberg. If you have looked at English-language study books, you will, no doubt, have seen several dictionaries solely devoted to idioms; we use them so often, and there are so many.

For my IELTS students, I have repeatedly taught half a dozen (six) in order for the students to incorporate them into their natural speech … without idiomatic language, you will not break past the 5 score (taken along with grammar, vocabulary and intonation, naturally).

Therefore, for Top Cat students, or anyone looking to learn some more, this blog is for you.

cats top cat | Cartoon cartoon, Desenhos animados antigos ...

Expressions or idioms

Ring any bells ? // do you remember //

More or less // not exactly but approximately

Get the gist // do you understand the main point ?

Right up your street // this is something you will really like

Rabbit, Rabbiting on // UK slang, especially in London … talking too much

Piece of cake // no problem, very easy, sure

Tongue in cheek // not being serious about something

Now … how you use them:

Student A: Hello, we met last year at Julie’s party.

Student B: Sorry, that doesn’t ring any bells (I don’t remember).

DO I KNOW YOU? NOPE. DOESN'T RING ANY BELLS - no memory gandalf ...

Student A: Are you ready to go ?

Student B: Go where ?

Student C: Cake, food, drink, singing, dancing … ring any bells ?

Student D: Oh, Tony’s birthday party. Sorry, I forgot.

Student A: Are you ready for the test ?

Student B: Yes, more or less.

Student C: I’ll wait for you.

Student D: I won’t be long, I’m more or less finished.

Student A: Do you have to read all the document ?

Student B: No, just to get the gist.

Summarizing and Note Taking

Student A: You should listen to this CD, it’s right up your street.

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Student B: Oh, French piano music, I love it. That’s right up my street.

Student A: What did your girlfriend want ?

Student B: She was rabbiting on about something to do with her clothes, I wasn’t really listening.

Teacher A: Hey ! Miss Mary … stop talking. You’re a little rabbit !

Why People Say Rabbit Rabbit on the First Day of the Month

Student A: Can you drive me home ?

Student B: Sure, piece of cake.

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John’s new business shirt

Student A: Have you seen John’s new shirt ? It’s so elegant.

Student B: Are you serious ? It’s terrible.

Student A: I know ! I was being tongue in cheek.

Tongue In Cheek: "Tongue In Cheek" Meaning With Useful Examples ...

Now … your turn.

Add the correct idiom [answers at end of blog]

1) Shall we see the new action film ? It sounds ______________

2) Are you still talking ? You are such a __________

3) She said I was the best student but I think she was being ___

4) You said you would bring something … cheese, tomato, garlic bread ____________ ?

5) The IELTS speaking test was a ________ after reading Thay Paul’s blogs (I hope).

6) Student A: Did you understand the project ? Did you ________ of the idea ?

Student B: Well, ______________ but not every single detail.

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This film, starring Shu Qi looks right up my street.
  1. Right up your street 2. rabbit 3. tongue in cheek 4. ring any bells 5. piece of cake 6. get the gist / more or less.

IELTS: Speaking Practice

10th August 2020

To pass IELTS with flying colours you need to use low-frequency words, idiomatic language, discourse markers AND speak with natural intonation, stress and rhythm.

This means PRACTICE, PRACTICE & PRACTICE

TwoSet Violin Perfects Their Practice

So, without further ado, complete these idioms:

Once in _______________

Put (my, your etc) _______________     to the ______________

Burn (ing) __________________   at ______________

It’s raining _____________________

It costs ___________________________

Piece ________________

Now use them in a sentence:

A 4star hotel in Singapore _______________________ (very expensive)

Wear boots and a coat; it’s been ____________________ (very bad weather)

He parties all day and night! He can’t ________________ forever. (doing something for too many hours)

She is not academic, she’ll read a book ______________ (hardly ever).

If you are serious about IELTS, you’ll need to _____________________ (start working much harder).

Now – give me an adverb and a low-frequency word

EXAMPLE:

Teaching unmotivated students is terribly tedious.

Lazy Student Quotes, Quotations & Sayings 2020

Thai food is ______________ _______________

(very tasty)

After failing her test, she was _________ _________

(very sad)

Marvel films are _____________ _______________

(very popular)

My poor old grandma is getting ___________ _______

(very forgetful)

Practice saying these for correct intonation

Swami Vivekananda quote: Everything is easy when you are busy. But ...

Speaking Practice – use discourse markers to extend your speaking and to link ideas.

Try to use: although / consequently / therefore

Describe something you own which is very important to you. 

You should say: 

where you got it from

how long you have had it

what you use it for

explain why it is important to you. 

  • You will have to talk about the topic for 1 to 2 minutes. 
  • You have one minute to think about what you’re going to say. 
  • You can make some notes to help you if you wish. 

Rounding off questions 

  • Is it valuable in terms of money? 
  • Would it be easy to replace? 

This could be a physical object, a memento with sentimental value, or an abstract noun such as health, happiness etc.

Small talk …. Try to talk for as long as possible – then change subjects:

your home town / your favourite holiday / family / favourite hobby / a great place to visit in your city / some terrible things about your city /

Adult Speaking Class, Level 3: What are they like, what do they do ?

21st June 2020

FRIENDS

Don’t judge a book by its cover

A chance to review recent adjectives, and to practise constructing longer, more detailed sentences. There are some repeated words and phrases along with some new ones.

Look at my friends – tell me what you think about them ?

What kind of people are they ? What jobs do they have ? Why do you think so ?

Personality adjectives

postive

kind / sweet / generous / nice / reliable / hard-working / friendly / dependable / life and soul (of the party) / compassionate / a good sport / trustworthy / honest / solid as a rock

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negative

arrogant / unkind / nasty / mean (1 nasty, 2 not generous) / unfriendly / unreliable / aloof / pompous / bossy ( tell people what to do) / awkward / /difficult / hard to please / thick as a brick (very stupid) / obsequious / lazy /a screw loose (little crazy)

Lead Through Mutual Commitment, Not Compliance | ChangingWinds

 

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neutral

shy / ambitious / willful / unadventurous / spontaneous / emotional / talkative / exuberant / passionate / firm but fair (expression) / confident /

Ambitious asian businessman | Premium Photo
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Jobs

white collar: doctor, accountant, teacher, lawyer, professional / office worker

blue collar: chef, factory worker, mechanic, shop workers, fix machines etc

arts: artist, actor/tress, painter, musicians, DJs, poets, writers

Occupations: Which types of work are these ?

estate agent / consultant / plumber /PR (Public Relations) / HR / volunteer / unemployed / therapist / bouncer / shoe-shine boy / market trader / dog-walker

stockbroker / interior decorator / gambler / self-employed psychic / barista / road sweeper / security guard / pollster / politician / postal delivery worker

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Phrasal verbs and collocations: The next level. Dialogue practice

15th June 2020

General English - Shakespeare | British Council

This level of English is for students who live, or plan to live, in English-speaking countries.

I advise my students to learn Standard English, as that will help them to communicate with other non-native speakers. Clarity in both pronunciation and meaning is paramount (of most importance).

However, that is NOT how everyday people speak in everyday situations. Therefore, here’s a set of examples and new vocabulary that you will need. Furthermore, you will feel more confident, using the language and vernacular of those around you.

Dialogue practice

phrasal verbs / collocations / idioms / adverbs

vocabulary:

fond – to like something.

more than likely = very probably, about 90% sure. 

sip – to drink a very little.

rival – competitors 

Two friends are athletes meet each other Stock Video Footage ...

A: Hi, how’s it going with you ?

B: It’s going incredibly well today. I want to celebrate. Fancy a beer ?

A: I’m not so fond of beer, I prefer coffee. How does that sound ?

B: Brilliant ! Highlands or Coffee bean ? Which one ? I can’t make up my mind.

A: Is Highlands far ? They are Vietnamese, a rival to the American company.

B: It’s quite far. We ‘ll have to take a taxi. More than likely it will rain.

A: Let’s get a move on before it rains cats and dogs. 

B: Too right ! We’ll have to give up getting a taxi once it rains. Let’s go !

At the coffee shop

Juan Ferrer on Twitter: "Iggy Pop and Tom Waits. Coffee and ...

A: Watch out! The coffee’s incredibly hot. Just sip it. What are you up to now ?

B: Just texting the office. They seem rather busy. 

A: You should take a break. Tell them to just do their best.

B: Hold your horses… there ! Finished. Piece of cake.

A: You want some cake ?

B: No, hahaha. ‘Piece of cake’… means no problem. Having said that …

A: Right ! The cakes look amazingly tasty. Shall we … ?

They buy two gloriously large cakes

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A: Let’s dive in ! Wow … I must admit, this is remarkably good. How’s yours ?

B: I think it’s too big for me. Let me try some … oh, blimey, that’s awful !

A: Yes, afterwards, we’ll need to work out. 

B: A minute on the lips, a lifetime on the hips !

A: Do you have a minute ? I’d like to go over something with you.

B: Sure, what’s on your mind ?

A: Which video do you think is better for the students ? We need to inspire them.

B: This one looks good … oh, hold on … the vocabulary is very difficult … good !

NOW … YOUR TURN

Write a short dialogue scene about planning a holiday

1: Have you decided where to go on holiday ?

2: No, I haven’t made up my mind yet.

1: Well, have you thought about …

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Two friends talking in Nigeria

Phrasal verbs and idioms: Dialogue practice

15th June 2020

Continuing the series of short dialogues, to help students see how idiomatic language can be used in everyday conversation.

Depending on the students’ motivation, these scenes can be acted out, which is generally more fun than simply learning from text books.

I have included many expressions and idioms – ask your teacher for the meaning or look up the answer online.

To warm up, elicit some collocations with ‘take’ and ‘make’ then ask the students to listen out for which ones are featured.

Two asian muslim woman standing and talking in the office with a ...

Dialogue: Bear with me

To practise simple past/ past continuous and collocations with ‘make’and ‘take’.

A: How’s it going ? You look busy.

B: Sorry, can you bear with me a moment ? I just need to finish off this report. Take a seat.

A: Sure, take your time. I was making plans with John last night.

B: Really ? What did you decide to do ?

A: We couldn’t make up our minds. I wanted to go to the cinema, he wanted to stay home.

B: There ! All finished. Now I’m going to take a break.

A: Good for you ! 

Two asian business women having a meeting with laptop in modern ...

A: Did you go out ?

B: We were leaving when it began to rain cats and dogs. Also, the traffic was chockablock.

A: So what happened ?

B: We stayed in and ordered take out. We tried English food.

A: Was it delicious ?

B: It was OK, nothing special. The menu was in English … I couldn’t make it out.

A: You should have taken a photo of the food.

Top 10 famous English foods - By food author Howard Hillman
Traditional British food – fish and chips
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Fika – coffee and cakes in Sweden

A: I was thinking about ordering some food. Have you had lunch ?

B: No, I’m starving … I could eat a horse.

A: Let’s go eat. After, we can check out the stores. I’m on the lookout for a pair of trainers.

B: OK, I’ll take my break now. We can take a taxi to SaiGon Centre.

A: Super ! So many shops … but I won’t be able to make up my mind.

B: I’ll help you – piece of cake.

Saigon Centre Tower 1 - The Executive Centre

Beginners’ English: Short dialogues.

5th June 2020

BEGINNERS Conversations

Two women on lunch break meet in urban park - Stock Video Footage ...

Two women meet in the city centre

Anna Excuse me, do you speak English ? 

Jane Yes, I speak a little English. 

Anna Sorry, I don’t speak Vietnamese (or Arabic, Spanish, etc)

Jane Are you English ?

Anna No, I am American. Nice to meet you.

Jane Nice to meet you too.

Pronunciation of the schwa / ə/ sound: mother / teacher / banker / banana

Conversation

11 Things You Should Know About Vietnamese Culture

Two women meet at a street restaurant

Lyn Do you understand English ? 

Mia Sorry, I don’t understand English. 

Lyn I understand a little Vietnamese. 

Mia What’s your job ?

Lyn I’m a teacher. What’s your job ? 

Mia I’m a doctor

[Culture note – in English, we always say ‘please’, ‘thank you’ & ‘sorry’]