Peter O’Toole: a legend

24th December 2021

Oscar-nominated actor Peter O'Toole

During the 1950s a new group of actors emerged who captivated audiences, firstly on stage, later on screen. Talent, charm, charisma, personality, magnetism, attributes that could never be taught; actors such as Richard Burton, Richard Harris, John Hurt and Peter O’Toole had these gifts in abundance.

I was lucky in that living in London, I was able to go to the theatre and saw Mr John Hurt in ‘Month in the Country’, while I caught Peter O’Toole in ‘Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell’. Additionally, I once ‘met’ Mr O’Toole at a book signing in London.

Actor Peter O'Toole new book expose | UK | News | Express.co.uk
Peter O’Toole in ‘Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell’

As for Mr Richard Harris, I had the pleasure of serving him one time in an upmarket bakery in west London. He was on form that day, possibly having partaken of a liquid lunch. Unfortunately, I did not get the opportunity to see Mr Richard Burton. Now, back to Peter O’Toole.

I have a great clip of the magnificent Irish actor being interviewed by the fast-talking USA TV host David Letterman. Students can compare the two accents.

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Letterman asks O’Toole if he has a story about fellow actor, Richard Harris. Instead of a rather pedestrian, “Let me see …,” O’Toole, cigarette in hand, responds, “Oh, I’ll shuffle through my memory,” before proceeding to tell said story (this occurs at 0:32 – 3:33).

The activity can be extended by asking the students to copy O’Toole’s voice and elocution. Obviously I don’t condone smoking but students have had great fun sitting crossed legged, imaginary cigarette held aloft, and repeating, “Oh, I’ll shuffle through my memory.”

The serious aspect here is to demonstrate the rhythms and stresses in English – the elongated “oh,” as he thinks, the focus on the verb, “shuffle’, the linking of “through my,” and the final stressed but downwards – intonations of “memory.” A lot of work covered in just six words. Good value for your teaching bucks !

Peter O'Toole Documentary | Brendan O'Connor - RTÉ Radio 1

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Subject Index: Video Clips used in ESL Classes

4th December 2020

Video Clips

ABC song // Kindergarten Safari 1 // 10 March 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/03/09/surfin-safari-level-1-what-is-it/

ABC (Richard Scary) // Kindergarten Safari 1 // 2nd March 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/03/02/kindergartensurfin-safari-level-1/

Airport (passport control) // Adult Speaking Class, level 3: // sun, surf, sand // 18th May 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/05/18/adult-speaking-class-level-3-usa-sun-surf-sand/

Archimedes screw pump: theory & practice // Adult Professionals. Mechanics. Theme: Archimedes // 26th February 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/02/26/adult-professionals-mechanics-theme-archimedes/

Architecture world’s tallest buildings // Adult Speaking Class Level 2 // 9th April 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/04/09/adult-speaking-class-level-2-giving-opinions-architecture/

Australian hero – Aussie slang // IELTS 5-6.5 // 21st August 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/10/28/past-simple-and-past-continuous/

John Bercow ‘Order !’ // Young Learners 1 // 13th April 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/04/09/young-learners-its-all-happening-at-the-zoo/

Black Friday // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2: shopping expressions // 14th December 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/12/14/shopping-vocabulary-speaking-exercises-fixed-prices-fixed-expressions/

Blind Date TV dating show // Adult Speaking Class. Theme: Love & marriage // 11th January 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/01/11/adult-speaking-class-theme-traffic/

Boy dances ballet in Nigeria // Young Learners, Level 4 // 23rd December 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/12/23/young-learners-level-4-what-can-you-do/

Boy wiggles ears // Adult Class, Level 3 // 12th December 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/12/11/adult-class-level-3-can-the-can/

Boy wiggles ears // Young Learners, Level 4 // 23rd December 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/12/23/young-learners-level-4-what-can-you-do/

Adrian Brody as Dali (Woody Allen) // Young Learners 4 // 26th October 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/10/24/young-learners-level-4-daaaaaaaallliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii/

George W. Bush leaves room // Young Teens // 31st January 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/01/31/young-teens-unesco-sites/

Chicago, Willis Tower // Adult professionals. Mechanics, Part 3 // 7th Feb 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/02/07/adult-professionals-mechanics-part-3/

Chimpanzee tea-party (1955) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPD_m2laITc

Chinese Magic Fail: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/01/31/young-teens-unesco-sites/

Christmas UK // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2 // 20th December 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/12/20/adult-speaking-class-level-2/

Concorde // Adult professionals. Mechanics, Part 3 // 7th Feb 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/02/07/adult-professionals-mechanics-part-3/

Corona Virus Government video // IELTS 4 – 5 // Implementing precautions // 25th March 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/03/25/ielts-4-5-mindset-implementing-precautions/

Benedict Cumberbatch (voices and accents) // Listening: real-life clips //20th April 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/04/20/listening-real-world-clips/

Customer complaints // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2 Part 2 // 6th January 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/01/06/adult-speaking-class-level-2-part-2/

Dickens ‘Christmas Carol’ // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3 // 17th January 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/01/17/adult-speaking-class-level-3/

Robert Downey Jr awkward interview // Adult Class, Level 3 // 26th November 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/11/26/adult-class-level-3-a-diva-moi/

Dynamo magic // Adult Class, Level 3 // 12th December 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/12/11/adult-class-level-3-can-the-can/

Dynamo magic // Young Learners, Level 4 // 23rd December 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/12/23/young-learners-level-4-what-can-you-do/

Easter traditions // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2 // 1st January 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/01/01/adult-speaking-class-level-2-easter/

Ancient Egypt (for children) // Young Learners 2 // 1st June 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/05/31/young-learners-level-2-what-a-wonderful-world/

Engineering fails // Adult Professionals / Mechanics Part 2 // 23rd January 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/01/23/adult-professionals-mechanics-part-2/

Entropy // Adult professionals. Mechanics, Part 3 // 7th Feb 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/02/07/adult-professionals-mechanics-part-3/

Eyewitnesses // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: Crime & Punishment / 1st February 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/02/01/adult-speaking-class-level-3-theme-crime-and-punishment/

Four Weddings bad vicar speech // Adult Speaking Class. Theme: Love & marriage Part 2

Friction // Adult professionals. Mechanics, Part 3 // 7th Feb 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/02/07/adult-professionals-mechanics-part-3/

Funny animals // Young Learners 1 // 26th May 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/05/24/young-learners-level-1-i-spy-with-my-little-eye/

Funny Animals, pandas & a Jackass // Some Light Relief // 15th January 2022: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2022/01/15/some-light-relief/

Germany: Top Attractions // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: Germany // 26th Feb 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/02/26/adult-speaking-class-level-3-theme-germany/

Germany: Top Ten Facts // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: Germany // 26th Feb 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/02/26/adult-speaking-class-level-3-theme-germany/

Germany: Krautrock // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: Germany // 26th February 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/02/26/adult-speaking-class-level-3-theme-germany/

Greek dancing // Young Learners 5 // 6th October 2019

How couples meet // Adult Speaking Class. Theme: Love & marriage

Inbetweeners (Jay on motorbike) // Adult Class // 17- 19 December 2019

Indian lady teaches vocabulary // Adult Class, Level 3 // 11th December 2021: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/12/11/two-birds-with-one-stone-listening-and-vocabulary/

Internal combustion engine // Adult Professionals / Mechanics Part 2 // 23rd January 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/01/23/adult-professionals-mechanics-part-2/

Introductions – what’s your name // Beginners’ English, Part 2

iPhone in a vacuum // Young Learners 4 // 16th November 2019

Job interviews // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: Job interviews // 12th Feb 2020

Karaoke (noise pollution) // Adult Speaking Class, level 2

Senri Kawaguchi // Adult Class, Level 3 // 12th December 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/12/11/adult-class-level-3-can-the-can/

Buster Keaton GIF // Young Learners, Level 5 // 6th June 2020

Kids guide to London // Young Learners 5 // 25th August 2019

Kids guide to HCMC //Young Learners 4 // 23rd November 2019

Kids’ parade USA // Young Learners 4 // 1st May 2019

Rachel Kim – Koreans speaking English // Adult Class Level 3 // 31st March 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/03/31/adult-class-level-3-storytelling-part-3/

Japan: 3 days in Tokyo // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2, Part 6, 25th January 2020

Japan: 7 cool things // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2, Part 6, 25th January 2020

Japan: 10 facts // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2, Part 6, 25th January 2020

Japan: Shinkanshen (Bullet Train) // Adult professionals. Mechanics, Part 3 // 7th Feb 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/02/07/adult-professionals-mechanics-part-3/

Joker (H. Ledger GIF) // Young Teens // 27th February 2019

Last Jedi trailer // Beginners’ English

David Letterman // Young Learners 4 // 1st June 2019

London

London cost of living // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: London 3rd March 2020

London street trader // IELTS 5-6.5 // 28th August 2019

London Top 10 Attractions // Teenagers // 16th December 2018 /// // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: London 3rd march 2020

London getting around (Oyster Card) // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: London 3rd March 2020

London How to use the Tube // Young Learners, Level 6 // 5th December 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/12/05/young-learners-level-6-london-screen-test/

London Tube (busy) // KG Safari 1 // 2nd March 2019

London Tube (rush hour) // Adult Speaking Class. Theme: Traffic

London Tube guide // Adult Speaking Class. Theme: Traffic

McDonalds ordering fast food // Adult Speaking Class, level 2

Making a video // Adult Speaking Class, level 2

Milk box fail // Adult Class, Level 3 // 18th March 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/03/18/adult-class-level-3-sharks-and-dragons/

Music – 6-year old Chinese Girl, and 8-year old Japanese drummer // 15th January 2022: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2022/01/15/some-light-relief/

New Zealand Haka // Young Learners 5 // 27th October 2019

Not One Less // IELTS 5-6.5 // 25th September 2019

Paris love-locks // // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2: Adverbs & expressions // 26th June 2020

Peter O’Toole // A legend // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3 // 24th December 2021: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/12/24/peter-otoole-a-legend/

Peter O’Toole // Young Teens // 17th January 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/01/17/young-teens-a-funny-thing-happened-to-me/

Phrasal verbs (family) // Adult Speaking Class. Theme: Love & marriage Part 3

Poland beer review // Adult Speaking Class, level 3 // 27th December 2021: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/12/27/poland-history-culture-and-beer/

Poland tourist guide // Adult Speaking Class, level 3 // 27th December 2021: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/12/27/poland-history-culture-and-beer/

Politicians attacked // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3

Pulp Fiction coffee shop // Adult Speaking Class, level 2

Queen Elizabeth II (Christmas 2011) // Listening: real-life clips //20th April 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/04/20/listening-real-world-clips/

Queen Elizabeth II (Christmas 1985) // Adult Speaking Class, level 2 // 15th May 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/05/15/adult-speaking-class-level-2-conversation-practice/

Queen Elizabeth II (corona address) // Listening Exercises, Corona Special // 6th April 2020

Rain forest // Young Learners, Level 5 // 6th June 2020

Richard III // Listening: real-life clips //20th April 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/04/20/listening-real-world-clips/

Romeo and Juliet // Adult Speaking Class, level 3 // 14th January 2022: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2022/01/14/famous-shakespeare-quotes/

Jerry Seinfeld GIF //Adult Speaking Class, Level 2: What type of person ? // 19th June 2020

Social Network // IELTS 5-6.5 // 4th September 2019

Spain, Pamplona running with the bulls // Young Learners, Level 6 // 5th December 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/12/05/young-learners-level-6-london-screen-test/

Ringo Starr being knighted // Adult Class, Level 1 // 5th March 2019

Snow // Beginners’ English, Part 2

Sir Kier Starmer (Labour leader, UK) // Listening Exercises, Corona Special // 6th April 2020

Supersize Me // Adult Speaking Class, level 2

Taiwan (four videos – WHO dodge, Tsai Ing-wen) // Taiwan: Listening Extra 12th April 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/04/12/taiwan-listening-special/

Quentin Tarantino awkward interview // Adult C, L 3 // 26th November 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/11/26/adult-class-level-3-a-diva-moi/

Tarantino on Chungking Express // 16th April 2019 /// IELTS // 4th March 2019

Nikola Tesla // Adult professionals. Mechanics, Part 3 // 7th Feb 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/02/07/adult-professionals-mechanics-part-3/

Theseus & the Minotaur (Lego) // Young Learners 5 // 6th October 2019

Top Gear: Vietnamese driving school // Adult Class, Level 3 // 7th December 2021: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/12/07/traffic-talking-points/

Top Gear: Driving an old car // Adult Professionals / Mechanics Part 2 // 23rd January 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/01/23/adult-professionals-mechanics-part-2/

Top Gear Vietnam // Top Gear Special: What can go wrong ? // 28th April 2020

Train, high-speed in China // Adult pros // Adult mechanics: What can go wrong ?

Train song // KG Safari 1 // 2nd March 2019

President Trump news (Viet subs) // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3 // 11th March 2020

Tuareg people // Adult Speaking Class, level 3. Theme: Travel // 11th February 2020

Twin Peaks ‘Damn fine coffee’: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/05/30/adult-class-level-3-keep-on-rockin-in-the-free-world/

Universeum, Sweden // Young Learners 3 // 14th December 2019

USA // Adult Speaking Class, level 3: San Francisco, Boston, Chicago // 18th May 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/05/18/adult-speaking-class-level-3-lets-go-to-san-francisco-or-boston-or-chicago/

Vietnam

Vietnam on video Part 1 (3 clips: beer / weird culture / superstitions // Part 1 // 23rd October 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/10/23/vietnam-on-video-part-1/

Vietnam on Video Part 2 (Ha Noi & SG, Top Gear driving school, Floyd on pho) // 26th October 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/10/26/vietnam-on-video-part-2/

Angry Vietnamese woman // Adult Class, Level 3: Generally speaking // 28th April 2020

Cooking Vietnamese food // Keith Floyd // Vietnamese Party Food // 19th May 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/05/19/vietnamese-party-food/

Vietnam – country in transition // IELTS // 30th July 2019

Vietnamese culture (weird) // Adult Speaking Class, level 2, Part 6 24th January 2020

Vietnam (first impressions) // Teenagers // 12th January 2019

Vietnam – 5 weird things // Adult Speaking Class, level 2 // 28th December 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/12/28/love-and-marriage-the-best-bits/

Vietnam – 7 fun facts // Beginners’ English

Vietnamese beer review (Sai Gon Red) // IELTS // 21st January 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/01/21/ielts-i-love-it-i-hate-it-its-not-my-cup-of-tea-its-ok/

Vietnamese beer review (Sai Gon Red) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKr6Cj-Xr9g&list=LLfquznE0joCgmA3v1PIQ0CQ&index=8&t=1s

Vietnam (safety in Sai Gon) // Teenagers // 20th January 2019 /// Adult C, L 3 // 5th September 2019

Vietnamese cop on speeding bus // Adult Class, Level 3 // 7th December 2021: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/12/07/traffic-talking-points/

Vietnam (unexpected things vlog) // IELTS 5-6.5 // 14th August 2019

Vietnamese urban myths // Adult Speaking Class, level 2, Part 6 24th January 2020

Christoph Waltz ‘Inglorious’ // Adult Class, L 1 // 26th February 2019

Wedding fails // Adult Speaking Class. Theme: Love & marriage

Wedding language // Adult Speaking Class. Theme: Love & marriage Part 2

Wedding parties (Jewish & Mexican) // Adult Class. Theme: Love & marriage Part 2

Arsene Wenger zipper fail // Beginners’ English, Part 2

What happened next ? (video clips) // Young Teens // 31st January 2019

When the band comes marching // Young Learners 1 // 26th May 2019

Mark Wiens eats VN breakfast // Young Learners 2 // 25th August 2019

Mark Wiens Kolkata, India // IELTS: Hello, India // 24th January 2020

(// Young Learners 4 // 9th November 2019) // Adult Class, Level 3 // 8th October 2019

Woman kicked out of Starbucks // Adult Class, Level 3 //18th March 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/03/18/adult-class-level-3-sharks-and-dragons/

Workplace fails // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: Work-place problems // 5th February 2020

Adult Class, Level 3: Keep on rockin’ in the Free World !

30th May 2020

Yes, keep on Rockin’ in the Free World … but first, you’ve got to get there.

As spoken, we would say:

“First, ya gotta get there.”

So today’s lesson will be in the form of a game, a challenge or quest, if you will, where the students, assigned to one of two teams have to get from:

In Vietnam, Beer Is Big Business.

To …

Popular pub the Birkbeck Tavern saved from closure | East London ...

What a prize ! The dirty filthy insalubrious streets of Ha Noi to the cozy comforts and warm welcome of east London, and my local, the Birkbeck Tavern.

Said task is achieved by earning points, said points are earned by answering questions, and using a wide range of linguistics features namely: adjectives, adverbs, discourse markers, relative pronouns, low-frequency words, expressions, idioms and, naturally, displaying a wide array of para-linguistic attributes, to wit: intonation, stress, eye-contact, body language, gestures, clear pronunciation, turn-taking and rhythm because, contrary to popular belief, when it comes to speaking English, NOT all God’s children got rhythm.

(Yes, the above sentence contained an example of non-standard English, but the vast majority of people do not speak pure standard English all the time).

Now, we have a massive task to undertake … without further ado … let’s go !

Flights from London to Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam)

First up, a revision and practice. In the last lesson, the class learnt (a-hem!) four new words: ubiquitous, significant, consequently and, it was on my blog, extrapolate. The teams, and let’s name them after famous English explorers, Drake and Cook:

Francis Drake
Sir Francis Drake
10 Things You May Not Know About Captain James Cook - HISTORY
Captain James Cook

… the teams have to use all four words in sentences. One point for each correct sentence. However; incentive, three points for using two in a grammatically-correct sentence, five for using three words and TEN points for using all words words in one sentence. That should get them some air miles and off the runway.

Next up, the teams challenge each other. They offer points to the other side if they can use these words or expressions correctly:

however / with that in mind / quantum leap /  in order to / cats and dogs / kick the bucket / therefore / dribs and drabs

It works like this. Team Drake will say, “We offer 5 points for Team Cook to use the word ‘however’ in a sentence.” If the task is accomplished, Cook gain the 5 points. If the team is unable to use the word, then Drake win the points. The skill is in guessing which words or expressions will be hard to use, and offering high points accordingly.

Moving on, creative writing. My class can use relative pronouns IN THEORY, but not so much in practice. One may even say, NOT AT ALL in practice. Thus, I will give information about our two friends from last week. The teams have to compose a short piece combining all the information, but in the form of complex sentences with relative pronouns and discourse markers.

Example:

Johnny Rotten on Museum of Arts and Design's Punk Exhibit ...

Johnny Rotten, Real name John Lydon. Born 1956. Was in the Sex Pistols from 1975 – 1978. Formed band PIL. Changed name back to Lydon. Married Nora Forster in 1979. He was going to be on the Pan Am flight that crashed in Lockerbie, Scotland. He wrote a book, published in 2008.

John Lydon, who performed under the name Johnny Rotten while he was in the Sex Pistols from 1975 – 1978, is married to Nora Forster, and has been married since 1979. After leaving the Sex Pistols, he formed a new band, PIL, and wrote a book which was published in 2008. He escaped death by missing his flight on the Pan Am flight that exploded over Lockerbie in Scotland.

Our young lady is

Sakuri. 21. Born in Tokyo. Studies History at university. Works as waitress. Wants to be a film star. Has two sisters. One sister elder, one younger. Her father is a piano salesman. Mother designs clothes. Sakuri likes reading, films, anime, shopping, going out with friends. Uses Apple iPhone X. Always on Instagram, FB, and Yalo. Is learning English.

Haruto. 23. Born in Okasuka. Left school at 16. Plays keyboards in a band. Likes Beethoven, Jazz and Elton John. Works different jobs. Was TA in a school but was sacked after four hours. Has no siblings. Father left home when Haruto was 4. Mother works 6 days a week in a factory. Uses Samsung Galaxy. Hates social media sites. Listens to music all day.

Points awarded for creativity and relative pronouns and complex sentences.

And now for something completely different: London.

Quick-fire round: I want a list of three. Start a sentence and give THREE examples

In London, you can eat British food …

In London there is public transport …

London has many famous buildings …

There are many famous football clubs in London …

Plan a day for my friends Tina and Michael:

I have two friends arriving in Sai Gon. They want a typical, authentic experience. Plan a day for them. It must include:

  • Breakfast
  • A museum
  • Somewhere for a snack
  • An interesting building or location
  • Lunch
  • Souvenir shopping
  • Something to do in the evening

Give tips and advice. 

How do they travel around ? What are the pros and cons ?

What are their options and estimate the prices.

Try to use as much new vocabulary as possible, words and expressions.

Finally, pronunciation. I will show Drake and Cook a clip from ‘Twin Peaks’. The teams, all members, have to imitate or copy the voice, gestures and intonation. Points out of 50 for this task.

For Team Drake: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uvs7pmISe8I

The quote is, “Wait a minute, wait a minute. You know, this is, excuse me, a damn fine cup of coffee.”

And that, as they say, is a wrap. The remainder of the lesson can be devoted to book work, possibly, had-outs, unlikely, or general chit-chat, undoubtedly. Who says English can’t be fun … probably my students !

Young Learners, Level 4: What does the future hold (and a repeat of ‘The Late Show’).

30th May 2019

One of the benefits of over-planning is that the work can be carried over to the next lesson; such is the case now. Also, we have a chance to refine the activities, find ways to improve them and eradicate our (i.e. ‘my’) mistakes.

A common problem I make is to over-estimate creativity in students. Some people find it hard to be imaginative in their native language, let alone in a foreign tongue. To solve this, I shall provide some assistance in the form of notes, taped to the walls.

As a warm up, we learnt colour association last week; have they remembered ?

What emotion or feeling do you associate with

Red

Blue

Green

Yellow

Black

White

Can they give me a sentence or an example ?

Now … The show must go on

I will use the talk show format as blogged last week but with some amendments.

This is a compilation of clips from David Letterman, who speaks in a very quick, New York style. We can start around 2:41 and play about 30 seconds. Drinking the perfume should amuse my students:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K22baZRNQKc

In groups of five, one person can pretend to be famous, either an artist, scientist, sportsperson or actor. The rest of the group have to interview the student, each member asking a question such as:

When did you start (acting, playing sport, learning an instrument, acting) ?

How long did you practice or How many hours a day do you rehearse ?

How old were you when you won your first award or medal ?

Tell us about yourself – where were you born ?

Do you have any brothers or sisters ?

What do you want in the future ?

Who do you like or who inspires you ? Why do you say that ?

Next, we need to create a studio set. We’ll do a ‘word bomb‘ or ‘mind map’ game. Who works on a TV show ?

We have a host and of course, we need a guest.

But we need someone to work the camera (cameraperson), the sound (sound engineer) and a director to shout ‘Action !’ We’re in HCM City, so we need a great backdrop for our show:

To arrange groups, and get a mix of students who don’t usually sit or work together, I will arrange the desks in islands of four or five chairs. Each island has a number. The students must choose a card numbered 1 – 5 and sit at that island. Here my TA will be invaluable in making boys sit with girls, and dealing with all the petty squabbles that WILL ensue.

To prevent paucity of ideas and therefore an excuse to do nothing, I will make information sheets and have them pasted around the room. The students have to gather information, but I will expect them to provide basic information themselves.

However, by putting text on the wall, the students will have to read and transmit the information to their team and arrange it in a proper sentence:

Actor

First performance: School play at age 5. Actor forgot the words !

Teacher told student to be an actor because was a bad and noisy student.

Was in a TV advert at age 8 for ice cream

First film at age 9

Next work is a film with Hari Won.

Wants to go to Hollywood and be in a big action film

Scientist

Got a microscope for birthday present at age 6. Used it every day

Favourite subject at school science, biology and chemistry

Went to Sai Gon Zoo every weekend in summer

Won District 2 science contest when was 7

Has an uncle who works for English medical company

Wants to work with animals in the Asian jungles

Artist

Began painting at 2 years old with hands !

Grandmother bought a paint set for birthday at age 4

Always won best painting at Kindergarten and school

At age 6, went to HCM City art gallery

Paints the stage for all school shows

Wants to study art in Paris, France

Sportsperson

Began playing table tennis when only 3 on a special small table

Could beat older brothers and sisters when was only 5

Neighbour said join a club. Was best player in 10 weeks.

Won first contest at age 6

Could beat most adults by age 8

At 9, joined the Vietnam national team

Wants to represent Vietnam at the Olympics and win gold medal.

The students will then have to present their work in the form of a TV chat show, with a director, cameraperson and sound boom (a plastic fly swat can easily stand in for a boom, while the director can pretend to have a headset, and shout, “Three, two, one … action !”

To continue the fun, we can have the students drink tea in the ‘British’ fashion – I model the typical way to drink tea, raising the pinkie, and sipping quietly and without a Vietnamese, “AAAHhhhhhhhhh !” after each gulp. Points, naturally, awarded for the best tea-drinker.

Finally, we can watch and imitate one of my favourite actors, Mr Peter O’Toole, also from the Letterman show. The students must copy this line: (0:46 – 0:50)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Fl3bOeXvyI

The line to be recited, along with accompanying body language, is:

“Oh, I’ll shuffle through my memory.”

And then, our little lesson is rounded with a … hopefully not sleep, but spelling tests, book work and general shenanigans.

I shall endeavour to elicit the meaning of new words and to gauge juts how much vocabulary the students are retaining as opposed to forgetting. Place your bets …. the clever money’s on the latter.

Young Learners, Level 4: It’s The Late Show live from Sai Gon ….

21st May 2019

Lesson Notes for Saturday 25th May. I’m going to be buzzin’ for this lesson, on cloud nine, ripped and raring to go. Also, a big shout out to my teaching colleague Ms Han, who incidentally is as cute as a button, for being so friendly, so positive, so darn wonderful.

As you can see, the above paragraph was full of vernacular, similes, modern slang and idioms (and ended with some poetic repetition). It’s not the kind of language one would encounter in a school book, but it’s exactly the kind of talk that takes place every day on the streets of London, of New York, Melbourne, Singapore … all over the world where people try to emulate the language of English-language TV, film, music and the internet.

Taking my cue from David Crystal and his magnificent book ‘The Stories of English’, I use the classroom to teach Englishes; that is, both standard and ‘natural’. What qualifies as natural would fill not just a blog page, but an entire book, probably without a satisfactory resolution, but let’s take it to mean what would be heard in my home town, London.

A great boost for students is to learn expressions as opposed to just single words. This helps them develop a natural flow, and introduces them to the treasures of language available. So how to develop these ideas into practical activities … piece of cake !

This class have an average age of 11, so they have quite a good command of English without the teenage moodiness (that will come, have no fear). Our theme over the last weeks is ‘creativity’, and my aims are to greatly expand their vocabulary and the opportunities of speaking English to each other.

Therefore, I always board new words or phrases, then allow time for the students to write them down. As previously stated, this is not a common practice in Vietnam, so I have to encourage the students to find paper, take out note books, writing implements, sharpen pencils, in short, everything to do with writing except actually writing.

My board can look like this:

A list of adjectives, partly obliterated by the students during break time, which they take literally.

The students have to write down these words and then learn the meaning and be prepared to USE THEM. Both the TA (again, a first-rate chap, top notch) and I will then say these words endlessly, to help them sink in, and encourage the students to use them whenever possible. Therefore … our first warm up game is …

Hangman

Here, I will just reinforce the new words: / useless / bland / genius and our friend Dali.

I will then hand out boards and, in small groups, the students must write four positive adjectives (e.g. handsome, pretty, clever, etc) and four negative adjectives for a bad student (e.g. talkative, noisy, sleepy etc).

Art Review

Last week they learnt some new words. For a more kinetic exercise, I shall describe a type of art (painting, sculpture, mosaic, photograph) and two students have to run to the board and write the word. This is fun if I assign a certain colour marker to a team, then hide the markers around the room, pretend to throw them out of the room etc.

Project Presentation

Last week, the students were split into small groups and had to produce a short, illustrated story. They can continue this, and it will give us a chance to enforce appropriate classroom behaviour, namely, listening politely when other students are presenting work. This is also not a popular activity in Vietnam, from children to adults: if THEY are not involved, they have no interest. It’s not just the teacher that gets ignored.

Spelling Test

Our centre is having a major spelling contest, and this will occupy the quarter hour before break. After said break (when something is guaranteed to be broken), we do book work which, this week, is rather minimal; it’s basically a list of jobs and asking what people want to be when they grow up. Some of the jobs are in the arts such as actor or musician, so … to engage the students and get them producing English and having fun, we can make a US-style talk show:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K22baZRNQKc

This is a compilation of clips from David Letterman, who speaks in a very quick, New York manner. We can start around 2:41 and play about 30 seconds. Drinking the perfume should amuse my students.

In groups, one person can pretend to be famous, either in arts, science or sports. The rest of the group have to interview him, each member asking a question such as:

When did you start (acting, playing sport, learning an instrument etc)

How long did you practice or How many hours a day do you rehearse ?

How old were you when you won your first award or medal ?

Tell us about yourself – where were you born ?

Do you have any brothers or sisters ?

What do you want in the future ?

Who do you like or who inspires you ? Why do you say that ?

Next, we need to create a studio set. We’ll do a ‘word bomb‘ or ‘mind map’ game. Who works on a TV show ?

We have a host and of course, we need a guest.

But we need someone to work the camera (cameraperson), the sound (sound engineer) and a director to shout ‘Action !’ We’re in HCM City, so we need a great backdrop for our show:

Tonight, live from Ho Chi Minh City, it’s The Late Show ….

This will hopefully make my students energetic and not sleepy. We shall see.