Adult Class Level 3: Storytelling, part 3

31st March 2020

The story so far … we have two young Asian cousins who are about to meet each other, after a long time. Boram, a caring, thoughtful young music student, is going to the train station to meet Leon, also a musician, who is travelling to Seoul but doesn’t know the city. Despite having a busy schedule, Boram insists upon meeting Leon and making sure he is safe.

After his journey, Boram feels certain Leon must be hungry and in need of coffee. She decides to take him to a great cafe near the station. They can talk and get to know each other.

CafeHopping in Korea – 6 Cafes You Must Not Miss In Seoul ...

Boram pays for the drinks, and they go to find a table:

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - Image & Photo (Free Trial) | Bigstock

Here, there are introducing themselves. The conversation may go something like this:

Boram: How was the journey ? Are you tired ?

Leon: No, I’m Ok, thanks. This coffee looks great. Wow, how long has it been ?

Boram: Hhmmm, let me think … it must be six years since we last meet. How are your parents ?

Leon: Both very well, thank you, and they send you a little present. So, mum says you play piano ?

Boram: Violin. I play in the university orchestra. You’ve grown so much !

Leon: Of course, I’m not ten anymore haha. You play ? Can I hear you sometime ?

Boram: Actually, I’m playing this afternoon. If you like, I can take you and introduce you to some of my friends.

Leon: That would be cool. You are so kind. I insist on buying you lunch to say thank you.

That was a fairly natural exchange of pleasantries. They both appear nice people, and very polite. However, it is not very exciting or interesting. So, let’s make Leon less grateful and more self-centred:

Korea's Unique Coffee Culture | Seoulinspired

Boram: How was the journey ? Are you tired ?

Leon: Oh, man … it was like … boring, you know. No hot girls on the train.

Boram: Oh. Sorry. How is your coffee ?

Leon: It’s terrible, We have much better in Busan. This place is lame. Don;t you know any cooler joints ? You look a bit boring. Mum says you’re a musician ?

Boram: Yes, I play vio…..

Leon: I’m a musician, I play bass in a radicle hip-hop, thrash-metal band.

Boram: I’d love to hear your band.

Leon: Ha ! I don’t think so. We don’t make music for little girls. This is real music.

Boram: Oh, well, would you like to hear my orchestra play ?

Leon: Yeah.

Boram: Great ! We are playi …

Leon: No, idiot, I’m joking, I can’t listen to that old crap ! Hey, can you give me some money ?

What do you think of Leon now ? Not so nice, hey ? See how he interrupts Boram, mocks her music and then demands money ? He’s a ‘nasty piece of work.’

Let’s turn the tables. How about if Boram, despite looking angelic and ‘butter-wouldn’t-melt- in-her-mouth’ appearance, is in reality arrogant, impatient and thoughtless.

Leon: It is so nice of you to meet me. I haven’t been to Seoul before on my own.

Boram: I had no choice. My mum made me, I don’t want to waste my time here.

Leon: And thank you for buying the coffee. I was really tired.

Boram: Mum gave me the money. Come on, drink it then I can go. I’ve got more important things to do.

Leon: Oh, I don’t want to keep you if you’re busy …

Boram: ‘Busy’ ? I have rehearsals in two hours and I have to go all the way across the city to meet you. Ridiculous, a grown man like you needs me to hold his hand.

Leon: Really, if you need to go, it’s ….

Boram: Well, if you say it’s Ok, I’ll go. You know the way ? If not just ask someone or, I don’t know, get a taxi. Do you have my phone number ?

Leon: No, what is i… ?

Boram: Oh, it doesn’t matter, I’m to busy to pick up. I gotta go.

That should change our perception of Boram. Not so friendly now, is she ?

Try writing short dialogues for different situations:

1: Leon really wants to see the top museums

2: Boram wants Leon to meet her friend, she thinks they would be good together

3: Leon is having an interview for a job and he is very nervous. Boram supports him.

4: Boram wants to take Leon shopping for new clothes. Leon likes his clothes and they have a playful argument.

5: They discover they really don’t like each other but they have to stay together because they are family.

I'm Stuck At Home. So I'm Making Dalgona Coffee! - YouTube

And now … what to do if you’re stuck at home, self-isolating, and have lots of time to kill. My internet friend, Rachel Kim, from South Korea has a tip about a new craze sweeping her homeland:Dalgona coffee:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8mw3qbSjBQ&t=735s

IELTS 5 – 6.5. Writing example

15th March 2020

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As I constantly inform my students, IELTS is not a typical English class … it is IELTS English by which I mean, students have to demonstrate a command of the language that includes a wide range of vocabulary, the confidence to speak fluently, the correct stress and intonation to keep your listener engaged, the ability to form complex sentences and link them with appropriate discourse markers. Additionally, a knowledge of how English is REALLY spoken, to wit, sounding like the student has been interacting with real native-speakers, not merely repeating verbatim from a text book, is a must.

Piece of cake, no ? (an English idiom – you will need to learn some basic expressions, phrases and idioms to make your spoken language more natural and interesting).

OK, let’s break it down. IELTS requires a lot of work, study and practice. Students that come to my class expecting to kick back and be entertained are in for a shock, and then some. As such, I will not be defining the idioms I employ in this blog, e.g. Piece of cake – YOU will have to look them up yourself.

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Don’t worry, young lady, I’m here to help you. Having said that, if you’ve been on a three-month course and you’ve left it to the last week to study … then you will probably fail, and deservedly so. Yes, life in the IELTS lane is tough, it’s dog eat dog (though ‘devour’ would be a more IELTS-friendly word than ‘eat’).

Where to start ?

OK, IELTS wants what they term ‘low-frequency’ words. Basically, look at your English; replace any basic adjective or verb or indeed noun, with a ‘better’ word, a word that would be used by the higher-educated native speaker. Your best tool here is a thesaurus of which there are many online, or downloadable for free.

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It works thus: Let’s start with a very basic adverb ‘very’. This is too simplistic for IELTS, so type in the word and click enter.

A number of words will appear. As above, the darker-shaded words are what the computer’s algorithm indicate would be more suitable, while giving additional options in lighter shades.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating – so let’s try it: rewrite these sentences using low-frequency words:

I think Bangkok a better destination than Chiang Mai

She bought a cheap bag

The film was good

Stage Two

Linking ideas with discourse markers. I give all my students a print-out of common words and expressions that must be consulted and utilised. I hope that all my students take them home and study them religiously. Conversely they may use the paper to line the bottom of a bird cage. In all reality, the majority of students say, ‘Thank you,” have a glance, put said sheet in their bag and forget all about it. Consequently, several weeks later, the students are still resorting to ‘and’, ‘but’ with a possible ‘however’.

You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make the horse drink

Discourse Markers

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I recommend my students learn at least two from each section.

Adverbs are incredibly powerful and so easily inserted into everyday text

I worked at another large and prestigious language centre, and had the pleasure of marking some essays by teenagers. From twelve pieces of ‘writing’, I found only ONE adverb.

Adverbs add information and interest to your language, but my students seem to avoid them like the plague. They may deign to insert a ‘very’ to please me … but it doesn’t ! I expect, nay, DEMAND more.

Without further ado

An example. IELTS will give students a very open-ended subject and then expect a well-constructed piece of writing, or fluent, coherent speech upon said subject, with no deviation, hesitation or repetition. It is a chance for the student to perform a solo, to demonstrate how much they have learnt and studied … or otherwise … generally it is ‘otherwise’.

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Time for an anecdote. I was teaching one class, and endeavouring to give them ample opportunity to speak and practice English. Nobody spoke. If I selected some students, they would make an appalling act of not having heard the question, or to answer in a single word. Some students even began laughing that teacher was asking the class but nobody was responding. Hilarious … but he who laughs last, laughs longest. I decided this class was a waste of my time (because it WAS a waste of my time) and left them to their fate … CUT TO some weeks later, it’s the day of their speaking test … suddenly, they are running up to me for help, “What should I say ?”, “I don’t know what to do”, “I’m going to fail.” Temptation was to tell them where to go ( that is an expression that does NOT imply direction !), but I gave them what help I could in the minute I could spare. Needless to say … most of the class were disappointed with their score, and no doubt, upon arrival at the family nest, were met were screams and derision. And no doubt they put the blame squarely where it belongs … on the foreign teacher !

The concluding line was an example of irony. I’m not going to tell you what irony is, look it up for yourself ! Do you want a fish or a fishing rod and knowledge of how to catch your own fish ?

Image result for give a man a fish

So now, a fairly run-of-the mill IELTS question:

Tell me about your favourite gadget

This piece is, as one would expect, quite lengthy and jam-packed with information and detail. I don’t expect you to write or speak at this level … but I expect you to TRY.

As you read, look out for:

Low-frequency words

adverbs

adjectives

discourse markers

complex sentences (sentences which coney more than one piece of information)

expressions, phrases and idioms

THEN – practice reading aloud. Not just once and, “Teacher, finished,” but again … and again … and again. Yes, this is not entertainment but it WILL help you get the score you want from IELTS

Image result for kindle fire

My Kindle

One of my favourite electronic devices is my Kindle, an ebook reader, which is small and light. I always take it with me when I travel; I’d be lost without it.

The Kindle is primarily a way to buy, store and read books in electronic format. At first, I wasn’t convinced; I liked reading real books. However, books take up a lot of space and, at least in the UK, are rather expensive. When I saw what a Kindle can do, and that so many books are free, I was hooked ! I had to get one. I bought my device in 2014 and I’m still using it today.

As mentioned, I use my Kindle for reading. Literature, including poetry, is one of my passions. Instead of going to a shop, I just browse the online store, click and wait for it to download. With reasonable wifi, this can just take a minute or so … then I can start reading. It is no surprise that ebooks are ubiquitous in the UK.

Although I read a lot, the Kindle is more than just an ebook. It has wifi so I can access the internet, can play music, write notes and play games.

The wifi is vital, especially when I travel. I can maintain contact with friends and family, watch YouTube if the hotel TV is less than enthralling, or read travel guides such as Trip Advisor. Naturally, I can also book tickets or make reservations and therefore pay significantly less.

I recently travelled to Thailand to meet some friends. I didn’t want to buy a new SIM card, and my friend only had an old phone, so there was a dilemma; how to stay in touch ? Thanks to my Kindle, I had email access, so we could plan when and where to meet. 

I can’t watch Vietnamese TV, due to the language barrier. Consequently, the Kindle plays an even bigger part of my life, as I need some way to relax after toiling away for hours at work.

The choice of books is amazing. In the stores, a single book can cost around £10, but recently I downloaded the entire output of the Russian write Tolstoy for less than £1.50 … incredible !

Kindles come in many shapes and sizes, so before you buy, you need to ascertain how you’ll be using it. For example, do you want a basic ebook reader, just for books, or the latest model with wifi ? This will, naturally, affect the cost. Then you have to decide upon the extras, for example how much storage space do you require, or a super-fast charger or protective case ? All of these bump the price up considerably.

If you’re interested in purchasing one, I have some information for you. I did a quick Google search and saw prices started at under 2 million VND, averaged around 5 million, but some were over 15 million. That, for me, is too extravagant.

In conclusion, my Kindle is very much a part of my life. It accompanies me everywhere. I simply don’t know what I would do without it.

Now … YOUR TURN

Write a piece about YOUR favourite gadget, using the above as a model

Best of British to you

Teenagers: Architecture and mythology

13th March 2020

Image result for architecture and mythology

Contents

Art – giving opinions

Collocations

Expressions

Egyptian pyramids

Greek mythology

Music (naturally !)

Hello everyone, I welcome you to my blog page, and may I take this opportunity to thank ALL OF YOU who have visited my site. Having nearly 100 visits for a teaching blog is extremely gratifying.

Now, without further ado, let’s jump straight in, “Time waits for no man.”

Image result for time waits for no man quote
A famous quote from the English writer Geoffrey Chaucer

First off the bat, a little plug for my friend ‘Pete’ who has an online radio show on Mixcloud. If you’re interested, you can listen here: https://www.mixcloud.com/flatwoundssounds/

Show 4, 29th August 2019

The playlist is a mix of Jazz, Blues, Soul, R ‘n’ B & Rock ‘n’ Roll. However, in terms of an English lesson, listen to his narrative between songs. Although Pete lives in Birmingham now (central England), his accent betrays his Kent, (south-England) origins. Listen to how his voice deviates from Standard English.

A Propos (speaking about) of music, my last lesson featured two songs, one Nubian, the other a 50s Rock ‘n’ Roll number:

Nubia is a region that encompasses south Egypt and north Sudan
One of my online students has chosen the English moniker ‘Ivy’; consequently, this song is for her.

Now, time to get down to work. I introduced the class to some expressions; therefore we need to revise and practice:

between you and me // let’s get it over and done with // my hands are tied // off the cuff

I would like to let you go home early but …..

……… I think students have too much homework

Jazz musicians are famous for their spontaneity; they often play ………..

Oh, man ! We have to clear up after the party. Oh, well, ……….

Collocations

collect / raise / undertake / boycott

Charities run campaigns to ……….. money

I’m going to ……….. shops that treat their staff poorly

Scientists need to ……. further research into the Corona Virus

There is little recycling, if any, in Vietnam. We need to ……… awareness of the importance to the planet.

ART

Giving opinions – remember, there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer; the exercise is to help you express what YOU feel when you see these works of art.

Expressions:

It’s not my cup of tea // it doesn’t appeal to me // I just don’t get // I see no artistic value // I have no time for it.

OR … positive:

It’s very uplifting // the picture speaks to me // I’m drawn to the image // it is ineffable (unable to be expressed in words) // it transcends language.

Image result for constable haywain
John Constable 1821
Image result for wyndham lewis as a tyro
Wyndham Lewis 1921
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Jean-Michel Basquet 1980s
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Ancient Egyptian art

NOW – a curious point … how can a civilisation that can construct these:

Image result for pyramid of giza

only represent the human form like this:

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How perfect are the Pyramids ?

“The builders of the Great Pyramid of Khufu aligned the great monument to the cardinal points with an accuracy of better than four minutes of arc, or one-fifteenth of one degree,” Glen Dash, an engineer who studies the Giza pyramids, wrote in a paper published recently in The Journal of Ancient Egyptian Architecture … ” https://www.livescience.com/61799-great-pyramid-near-perfect-alignment.html

Now, take a look at his ariel view, showing the layout:

Image result for aerial view of pyramids

At this juncture, let’s take a little diversion, from ancient Egypt to ancient Greece.

The night sky has 88 constellations, many named after characters or creatures from Greek mythology. I’d like to focus on one, the giant hunter Orion. This is his constellation, and is one of the more easier groups to see, especially at this time of year:

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These random stars (which may in fact be many millions of light years apart) were seen by the Greeks thus:

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You see the hunter with his bow and arrow, but I wish to draw your attention to the three stars arranged diagonally in the centre, the ‘belt’ of the hunter. Compare those with the arrangement of the Egyptian pyramids:

Image result for orion constellation and pyramids
Image result for orion constellation and pyramids

How would you account for this ? Coincidence or conspiracy ?

Let’s leave the last word to our National Poet, William Shakespeare, with this famous quote from Hamlet:

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Adult Speaking Class, level 3. News for Vietnamese

11th March 2020

Making the news, across the world, is the continued spread of the Corona Virus.

This is a topic which is affecting millions of people, and having a significant impact on the global economy but of course … health comes first.

I’m writing from Vietnam, where precautions were implemented rapidly. Schools were closed, for example, so my centre is offering online-classes.

I recommend students read as much ‘real-life’ English as possible, not rely solely on the text books, so I was interested by this clip from the BBC, specifically aimed at Vietnamese.

Image result for bbc tieng viet

This is a speech by POTUS (President of the United States), Donald Trump. The purpose of this blog is not politics BUT to encourage students to listen to the language and thereby learn new words and expressions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twd60cPH7t0

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The clip has Viet subtitles so is a great way to learn expressions, vocabulary as well as HOW native speakers speak … where we put the stress and intonation.

Everyone, please keep safe, keep well.

Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: London

3rd March 2020

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London, my hometown, is a multi-cultural world city. However, there are some problems. For students who live in S.E. Asia, the weather will be awful; grey skies, bitter wind, freezing, depressing rain.

A second factor is money. Unless one has a good job and a good income, London can be a hard place to live.

How can you afford to live in London ?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qz9fZLamyy0

Image result for how can you afford to live in London ?

How many words and expressions do you recognise ?

How does she link her ideas together and keep talking ? 

REMEMBER: listening to native speakers in a great way to improve your English. I suggest you only listen to SHORT pieces … maybe just ten or twenty seconds. Write down any new words or phrases. Listen again, then repeat. Speak along with her. Listen to how native-speakers link words and use intonations. Notice how often we use expressions.

Quick thinking

What famous buildings or attractions can you think of in London ?

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Image result for Harrods
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To help you, here’s a video about Top 10 London Attractions

London Attractions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0r0VTos_wU

Which ones appeal to you ? Expand your sentences. Explain why you are interested. Conversely, say which ones don’t appeal to you, again giving your reasons. Try to incorporate these idioms:

Not my cup of tea – a polite way of saying you don’t like something

Right up my street – something that you really like or enjoy

EXAMPLE: I don’t want to go to the ballet, it’s not my cup of tea. However, watching a football game is right up my street.

London, naturally, is a big city and you will probably have to use buses or the Tube (underground trains) at some point. So how to get around ?

Getting around in London

Travelling in London – buy an Oyster Card: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlZ_xDx2Zl0

Image result for London oyster car

Watch the video then explain how someone can travel on public transport in London.

Now, this video is chockablock (full) of new words and expressions. I’ve selected a sample:

about which more later  / bank fees on transactions / hang around

get in everybody’s way / money put onto / top-up / cap

pay-as-you-go / stick (as verb) / as long as it’s nice and fresh / escalator

as far as …. concerned / obvious /on no account swipe

you’ve got to / the thing about …… is / particularly weirdos

get charged  / get skinned / reasonable  / Routemaster

Now, by listening to the video, and using a dictionary, you try to make some sentences using these new words or phrases.

Here are some examples for you:

On no account tell anybody your PIN number for your bank card.

Prices are so high in central London, you can easily get skinned (pay TOO much).

The thing about the British Museum is that is can get so crowded.

Don’t stand in front of the escalators or you will get in everyone’s way.

Give a summary of ‘getting around’ London by public transport. 

What are the ‘dos and don’ts’ ? 

How many different kinds of transport is the Oyster valid on ?

Famous Londonders – real and fictional

Who is the most famous detective in literature ? Most of you would probably say Sherlock Holmes … but have you read him ? This is a great site for English learners – literature but in simple, everyday English

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Sherlock Holmes Investigates: https://www.english-online.org.uk/reading/elementread.htm

Description Game

Describe a household object

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Example – a kettle

I am an English man, so I always drink damn fine tea. In order to make tea I naturally need boiling water. In my house I have an appliance which boils water. It plugs in to the electric and can boil water in just a few minutes. However, it has no other purpose.

Think of something you use everyday – but don’t make it too obvious.

Maybe: a rice cooker / washing machine / laptop / motorbike / food blender etc

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Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: Health

27th January 2020

Contents

Cigarette smoking

Dialogue: going to the gym

Health and exercise: speaking practice.

Vocabulary: sports / injuries / equipment.

Health and exercise

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Do you exercise ? How regularly ? What do you do ? Do you go to a gym ?

Can people stay fit without going to a gym ? How … what can they do ?

What are some common ailments ? What keeps you off work ?

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Exercise machines

Vocabulary:

cardiovascular / About the heart and blood vessels

abdominal / Stomach or belly

upper-body / Torso or chest

muscles / Tissues in body for movement

Coordination / Using different parts of the body together

quadriceps / Large muscle at front of thigh

1. The Treadmill

The treadmill burns the most calories of any of the cardiovascular machines available at most gyms. You can expect to burn about 100 calories per mile, walking briskly.

A treadmill can be adapted to many different fitness levels by increasing the speed from walking to running or by adjusting the incline.

2. Rowing Machines 

Don’t be fooled into thinking this machine gives you only an upper-body workout. Rowers are more advanced cardiovascular machines.

Because you must push with the legs while you pull with the arms, rowers require coordination. They also you require you to engage your core abdominal muscles to support and protect your back.

3 Leg-extension machine

Pushing weights up with your legs, exerting your quadriceps in the process.

You can do this every day as a post-workout routine or 3 times a week when you are concentrating on lower body/legs

Which pieces of equipment do you use ?

How often do you use them ? What are they for ?

Exercise Bike
Pec Deck Machine
Leg Press Machine
Abdominal Bench
Dumb bells
Handgrip exerciser 

Dialogue exercise

Andy: Hello ! How are you ?

Gina: Great, thanks … and yourself ?

Andy: Very well, thank youhowever,I need to keep fit. Can you help me ?

Gina: Sure, how can I help ?

Andy: What exercise is good for the heart ?

Gina: Any cardiovascular machine.

Andy: Can you give me an example ?

Gina: A treadmill for example. That is very good for the heart.

Andy: Do you use one ?

Gina: Sometimes, but I prefer to walk or jog in the park.

Andy: Great idea ! What can I do for upper-body strength ?

Gina: Rowing machines are very good. They help with the abs, as well.

Andy: “Abs” ?

Gina: Abdominal muscles … stomach or belly. { muss-cells }

Andy: Yes, I admit, I really need that. Is the gym far ?

Gina: No, it’s here in District 3, about 10 minutes away.

Andy: How do we get there? By taxi ?

Gina: No, we jog ! Shall we go tomorrow ?

Andy: Absolutely ! Oh, wait … I am busy. Can we reschedule?

Gina: Ok. When ?

Andy: Maybe next week. I’ll post a messageonline when I’m free.

Gina: Good idea, but remember … once you pay the gym, they don’t give refunds.

Collocations: post a message / give refunds / get there

Linking words: however / for example 

Image result for chinese exercise in the park

Vocabulary:

pulled a muscle / sprain / torn a ligament / strain / took a knock

I need to get in shape / I’ve let myself go / I’m taking up a new sport

warm up / stretch / set my own pace / beat my own record

Image result for sports injury

You want to get fit. Work in small groups to suggest ways and possible sports. 

  1. Is any equipment needed ? 
  2. What advise can you offer ? 
  3. What are the pitfalls (dangers) ?

Football– boots – football kit (shirt and shorts and, naturally, socks) gloves if you play in goal (goal-keeper / goalie). Not forgetting a ball and maybe a spare.

A referee (ref) needs a loud whistle, special kit, a stop watch, yellow and red card, also a small notebook and pen. 

Professional referees nowadays require a headset and ear-piece. A new innovation is the spray-can. 

Linesmen– referee’s assistants ( who carry flags) and the fourth referee. 

Image result for sports equipment vocabulary

Cigarette Advertisement

What do these two adverts show ?

Are these adverts positive or negative ?

What are the pros and cons of smoking ?

How do they affect health / finances / appearance / other people ?

Talk about the effects of smoking, using as many words or phrases as you can:

wrinkles / passive-smoking / save money / anxiety / asthma / lungs cancer / heart disease / second hand smoke / bad breath / yellow stains / pregnant / blood pressure / expensive / addiction / colds and flu 

Asking questions about an issue

What do you feel about … ?

How do you feel about passive smoking ? (what do you think about passive smoking ?)

What can be done to address this issue ? (What can people do to stop this problem ?)

What’s your take on …. ? (more informal: ‘take’ means view, opinion or experience). What’s your take on pregnant women who smoke ?

Vocabulary builder

World Health Organisation No Tobacco Day 31stMay

Image result for no tobacco day

raise awareness – to make people know more about something

health risks – dangers to health

Adult Speaking Class, Level 3, Part 3.

26th January 2020

Contents

Conversation practice: favourite possessions.

Small talk

Vocabulary booster

Small talk

Image result for talk about the weather

This is polite conversation, to pass the time, or to get to know some basic information about people. Do not ask anything too personal; this will differ from culture to culture, but in the UK and the west in general:

DO NOT

Ask why someone is not married or has no children.

Ask how much money they earn, get from their job.

Ask how much something cost. “I like your shirt. How much was it ?”

Talk about politics. “You’re from China ? Chairman Mao was a disaster !”

PLAY IT SAFE – talk about music, football, food or … in the UK … the weather.

Very warm for this time of year.

Did you see …….. last night ? (the football game, the news etc)

How long have you worked here ?

The traffic was so bad this morning.

What team do you support ?

Echo questions 

John: I can speak German. Peter: Can you ?

Bella: Ms Nguyen went to Thailand. Carole: Did she ?

Bill: He likes K-pop. Harry: ______________ ?

We are going to the pagoda later. ______________ ?

Ms Thinh has a new job.______________ ?

Conversation Practice

Talk about: 

house prices in your city / why you have or don’t have a pet 

Image result for strange pets

an interesting program you saw recently

What you want to do in the future. / Somewhere you would love to visit.

Keep conversations going:

I see / Do you really think so ? /

That’s good point / I hadn’t thought of that 

Oh, that’s interesting/ Yeah, right ! / Sure / OK May I just add something ? /

Oh, where is that exactly ?

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

Describe something you own which is very important to you. 

Image result for possessions

You should say: 

where you got it from how long you have had it what you use it for and 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 

Image result for possessions

For my Vietnamese students:

How different is Vietnam from other Southeast Asian countries?

What do you think Vietnam will be like 50 years from now?

What do you think Vietnam’s neighbours think of you ?

Image result for vietnam future
The future of Vietnam ?

Vocabulary booster

You have to use these words:

obviously / consequently / notwithstanding / therefore / speculate

We can only (guess) on what will happen in the future

The student did no work __________ he failed the exam.

It rained several days. That fact ____________ (despite), we still had a good holiday.

If you visit Canada in winter, _________ (of course) you will need jumpers, coats and gloves.

Expressions:

cultural differences / one can only imagine / putting myself in their shoes

There are many _____________________ for Asian students who go to study in the USA.

It can be hard learning English. Many students have to work all day. I try ___________________ and seeing what I can do to make the lessons more interesting.

Being a celebratory isn’t always fun; always having your photo taken. ___________________ what it must be like.

Try using these expressions:

There is so much work, I just can’t take it anymore !

A plague on both your houses ! (from ‘Romeo & Juliet’, Shakespeare)

Are you serious ? What possessed you to come up with such a stupid idea ?

I’m speechless … the film was just so moving and emotional; I’m almost in tears.

Image result for speechless
He’s speechless !

Discourse markers: Try to learn new words / expressions here to help you link idea.

Use these words: First, find the meaning for yourself, then use them in a sentence. After, try to use them in your everyday English.

Practice, practice, practice …

For instance / conversely / above all / alternatively / similarly / therefore as revealed by

Image result for for instance
There are many things I enjoy about writing this blog, for instance receiving notes and likes from people all over the world.

For a case in point, I see I have some readers in Nepal, so, just for them:

Image result for hello nepal

Adult Speaking Class, Level 2, Part 4

19th January 2020

Contents

Dialogue: cinema tickets / afternoon plans

Free speaking exercises

Grammar: adverbs of degree

Idioms and expressions

Sentence building

Theme: coffee in Vietnam / photography

Vocabulary booster

Sentence building

Let’s look at these recent words:

shocked / frustrated / overwhelmed / surprised / confused 

I was surprised. It was surprising.

Image result for surprised Asain girl
She was surprised to be on my blog. It was surprising for her.

Use these in sentences e.g.

I was shocked by the prices in Family Mart. In Family Mart, the prices are shocking.

Tony was frustrated …..(by /with/ at)

Janet was overwhelmed by …

However, these adjectives are different:

delighted- it is delightful. I was delighted to receive your email. It was delightful.

lonely – lonely. I was lonely at home last night. It was lonely.

relieved – it was a relief. She was so relieved to find her keys. It was a relief.

Vocabulary booster

remember to link words together.

I live in a …

Image result for suburban street

quiet, residential street. Peaceful at night.

lively and busy commercial area, many shops

dirty and dusty industrial part of town. Very noisy.

My home is a / an …

Image result for london bedsit

apartment and I live alone

rented room which share with friends

house and I live with my family

pros and cons advantages = positives / disadvantages = negatives 

What are the pros and cons of living alone ? Or about sharing with friends or family ?

adverbs of degree

very, extremely, incredibly, remarkably, unbelievably, rather, somewhat, quite 

I travel to work by …

Image result for bus queue africa

motorbike. It’s quite / rather far and extremely stressful.

using Grabbike. It’s very convenient albeit rather expensive.

bus. Although it’s incredibly cheap, it’s not very pleasant.

Idioms and expressions

At work I / I’m …

Image result for bored at work

find myself doing the same thing day in day out. It’s tedious.

up to eyes ! I’m always busy, attending meetings or writing reports.

have a variety of different jobs, I’m a jack of all trades; I don’t have time to get bored !

Notice the collocations

In my free time I …

enjoy watching films and playing sports. I am competitive !

adore hanging out with my friends and family.

love shopping. I can spot a bargain and I hate being ripped off !

Learning English

is, for me, easy, a piece of cake. It’s very important and fun at the same time.

in my opinion, is vital for the future. It’s imperative we learn.

is a necessary task. It’s awkward and frustrating, but I need it.

is highly enjoyable and relaxing. I love to improve my mind.

Image result for children learning English

Idioms

Match the idiom with the meaning:

Image result for raining cats and dogs

It’s raining cats and dogs // working very hard

Kick the bucket // no problem, very easy

working like a dog // to die

It costs an arm and a leg // very heavy rain

piece of cake // very expensive

FREE SPEAKING EXERCISE

ENGLISH – Why are you learning English ?

Do you enjoy learning – if so, why / if not, why not ?

What are the benefits ? Give examples.

Do you have problems with learning a language ?

Is it fair that you have to learn a second language in your own country ?

Does this open up career opportunities for you or your children ?

What, in your opinion, is the best way to learn a language ?

Interaction, free speech and a sharing of ideas

Useful expressions:

I’d like to share with you my passion which is / One of my major interests is

As you know, we (students / engineers) don’t have much free time, so when I have time to myself there’s nothing I like more than …

I have many hobbies such as … and … but tonight, I’d like to talk about …

Responses

Could you explain in more detail …. When did you start this hobby ?

How did you get into … ? Ah, that sounds interesting.

What does your girlfriend think about this ? Oh, you have no girlfriend.

Hhmmm, it’s not really my cup of tea, but I can see why you like it.

Does it take up much of your time ? Are you part of a club ?

I’m not sure I follow … (I don’t understand)

Dos and Don’ts

We have ‘free speech’ but this is tempered by social rules of politeness:

DO – appear interested and respond positively.

appropriate body language.

encourage the speaker to elucidate and expand.

ask question at a ‘turn-taking’ moment.

DON’T – say ‘I am bored because this isn’t interesting,’ or ‘I don’t care.’ 

start talking to your neighbour when someone else is speaking

sleep or yawn loudly

click your pen, kick your chair, make noises.

EXAMPLE: JAZZ MUSIC

I love all types of music, but one of my favourites is Jazz. It can be exciting, or slow, but it’s always different.

Unlike other types of music, Jazz is spontaneous. This means that you never hear the same song the same way; each performance is different.

Jazz started in New Orleans but moved up to Chicago, New York and even west to California. The first records were made in 1917 and the first true Jazz genius was Louis Armstrong. If you want to hear jazz, you should listen to his records from the 1920s.

You may know some famous Jazz artists such as Miles Davis, John Coltrane or Charlie Parker. I can recommend these musicians to you as first-rate examples of Jazz.

I hope this has made you curious about Jazz, and that you go online to listen for yourself. Who knows, maybe you too will learn to love Jazz.

Image result for jazz lp covers
Some great Jazz record covers

One student spoke about his mother’s home-cooking:

My mother has a secret recipe; firstly, she boils the beef in water and then slices it finely. Along with this, she cooks vegetables and the aromais simply wonderful, after which she mixes them together. It is mouth-watering. The rice has to be pan-fried, that is to say, no oil, just dry. The next stage is to pound the rice and finally, she puts the rice on a dish and … bon apetite ! (French for good appetite, eat well)

Extra expressions: one student told us about breaking up with his girlfriend. Initially, he said that he dumped her, but the truth was she gave him the elbow !

Image result for being dumped memes

Vocabulary:

Try to use these regularly:

obviously, typically, on the other hand, initially, that is to say 

and these adverbs:

somewhat / quite / extremely / incredibly / increasingly / highly

Theme: coffee in Sai Gon

There are so many choices in Sai Gon. Tran Nguyen has the best quality but is very expensive. On the other hand, Milano is very cheap and very convenient however, many people smoke there. Highlands is really popular. Having said that, it is not cheap. Street coffee is extremely cheap but terrible quality ! Maybe fake coffee, just chemicals.

What are your favourite coffee shops ? Why ? What factors are important ?

Theme: photographs

Asking questions

what / who / where / when / why

1 _When/Where_ was it taken?

2 _____________ are they?

3 _____________ took the picture?

4 _____________ do you keep the photo?

5____________ kind of camera have you got?

6 _____________ are they doing?

My friend Pete

One of my favourite photos is of my friend Pete, who lives in Birmingham, England.

His wife took the photo last March. Pete is playing bass guitar in a studio. It looks like he is having fun. He plays in a band called ‘The Deep Six’.

I keep this photo on my computer in a file called ‘Music in Birmingham’.

What is the name of my friend ?

Where does he live ?

What guitar does he play ?

What is the name of his band ?

Where do I keep this photo ?

Vocabulary:

This is a photograph of my friend Pete. This photo is of my friend Pete.

I think he is (he’s) having fun. It looks like he’s having fun.

He takes a photo (present tense). He took a photo (past tense).

He is (he’s) in a band. He plays in a band.

Dialogue

To practise question words and the past tense.

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

Jan & Tina are catching up

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

Tina I went out with friends. We saw a movie, then drank some coffee. How about you ?

Jan I just stayed at home and played computer games. Which cinema did you go to ?

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

Jan You were very hungry ! Was the film good ?

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

Jan How much were they ?

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

Speaking practice: afternoon plans

Sid What are your plans for this afternoon ?

Viv Well, I need to buy some coffee as well as some bread and 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 professional.

Sid Right, he doesn’t appear to be a barrel of laughs. Having said that, he’s honest.

Viv Honest and fair along with being very neat and tidy. Always a plain white shirt.

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

Viv Anyway, where can I get my groceries ? Is there a convenience store nearby ?

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

Viv Brilliant ! You’re an angel.

Image result for man with gaudy tie
A very gaudy tie

Adult Speaking Class, Level 2: Collocations

17th January 2020

Collocations

Image result for joker put on a happy face

Many people ask how to progress from intermediate level to becoming fluent in English. One way is to learn collocations – these are groups of words that usually go together to make a new meaning – and so much of everyday English is made up of collocations, idioms, slang, colloquialisms etc.

Collocations – ‘make’

In the above paragraph I used ‘made up’. This is a good example.

‘Made up’ came means invented (we make up a story to tell children) & it can mean containing (my fb group is made up from people from all over the world). We can use it in the past tense or present – ‘made’ or ‘make’.

You probably know some phrasal verbs; If two people argue then become friends again, they make up. When a woman puts on lipstick, she is using makeup.

Here are some common collocations with ‘make’:

Make up your mind (decide about something).

Make dinner / make a sandwich.

Make time (find some spare time to do something).

Make it through the night (be able to do something after some bad news OR keep working for a very long time).

Make it through a long book (finish it, read it to the end).

Image result for reading Infinite Jest

Try these exercise … use make / made / make up / made up.

‘Infinite Jest’ is a very long book but I ……. my way through it.

I forgot my homework, so I had to ………. a story to tell my teacher.

When you come home, can you …… dinner for the children.

My teeth hurt; can you …… an appointment at the dentist for ?

The architect Gaudi never used to …… his buildings with straight lines. 

Should I wear the black or green tie ? I can’t …… my mind.

This is so confusing ! I don’t know what to ……. of it.

Your room is so messy – can’t you even ….. your bed ?

You kids ….. me crazy !

I ………. a pig’s ear of the whole business (past tense – to do something completely wrong).

I did OK in the test, but ……. some silly mistakes.

He drank several coffees to help him …… it through the night shift.

Put

the cat out/ the fire out / on your red shoes /on a happy face

it in your own words / up or shut up ! / it away / it another way

Image result for put it in your own words

Get

well soon / over it ! / on with it / away with murder / on the bus /

stuffed ! (impolite) / with the program (US) / some fresh air

Make

a career move / your move / a pig’s ear of something /a wish /

up for lost time / the best of something / fun of someone

Image result for made a pig's ear

Do

the right thing / away with that old technology / your best /

a funny walk / the dishes / your hair

Bring

it on ! / it to me / “my bow of burning gold” (poem) / about change

it up at the next meeting / a smile to my face / up children well

Image result for bring it on

Take

turns speaking / it up with the manager / up my trousers a little /

a good look at yourself / a hike ! / medicine / a deep breathe

Image result for take a break

What do these collocations suggest ?

Widely available // routine check-up

disperse the crowd // boost employment 

catch up with the news / / catch up with friends

Find longer definitions for these collocations.

Adequate supplies to meet demand

Revised edition

Major turning point

Set realistic aims

Cause insurmountable difficulties 

1) Enough things so that everyone that wants one can have one

2) Know what you want to do but it must not be too much for you to be able to do it.

3) Make problems which people will not be able to solve or cause problems that people are not able to work properly.

4) A very important moment when things changed completely

5) A new book, similar to the old one but with more up-to-date information, or mistakes have been corrected.

Speaking practice

Boss Jim, can I see you for a minute ? It’s about your punctuality.

Jim Sorry, Boss, I’ll make up the lost time after work.

Boss Damn right you will. Now, what was this email about ? I couldn’t make sense of it.

Jim I made a few mistakes because I rushed. I wanted to make sure you read it.

Boss You made a right pig’s ear of it ! Anyway, have you made your mind up yet ?

Jim About the new job ? Well, the other company made me a fantastic offer.

Boss I’m not giving you a raise; I’m not made of money ! Money doesn’t grow on trees.

Jim I’ll make my decision later and let you know.

Boss If you leave here, you’ll be making a big mistake, Buster !

Image result for make up your mind

Adult Speaking Class, Level 2, Part 3

16th January 2020

Contents

Grammar / third conditional

Listening Practice / TOEIC

Money

Speaking practice

Speaking skills

Vocabulary

Grammar: 3rd Conditional

I was very hungry but too lazy to cook, so I went out to grab a bite to eat.

I thought I’d try the new pho restaurant. 

I, obviously, ordered pho bo.

However, after I had eaten 

I saw the chef !

If I had known the chef was filthy, I wouldn’t have eaten there !

This is the 3rdconditional. 

Something that happened in the past BUT you can’t change it now.

If I had known the film was so bad, I never would have gone !

If he had bought his wife flowers, she wouldn’t have been angry at him

If they had studied English, they would have passed the test.

Listening Practice

TOEIC test:https://www.examenglish.com/TOEIC/TOEIC_listening_part3.htm#

TOEIC test: https://www.examenglish.com/TOEIC/TOEIC_listening_part4.htm

New vocabulary: accurate/ correction / administration

Money

Verbs for things you can do with money:

spend / lose / waste / save / make / invest / forge / donate / pay / worship

I go to work to …….. money.

She always ………… money to charity.

He …………. money buying property

The police caught the man who was ……….. money.

Some people think the iPhone X is a ………. of money.

King James Bible
“For the love of money is the root of all evil.”

Many people over the years have tried to buy the Mask of Tutankhamen from the Egyptian Museum, but unsurprisingly the authorities here believe it is priceless so they won’t sell it 

Image result for tutankhamun mask

Ebenezer Scrooge was such a stingy man, so much so that in English, we sometimes use the word Scrooge to describe people with this characteristic (who are like this). A miser is someone who hates spending any money.

Image result for ebenezer scrooge

He spent a lot of money on what he thought was a gold watch but when he had it valued, it turned out to be worthless. 

I sometimes disagree with stall holders, so I haggle which sometimes gets the price down 

Big companies like Pepsi make a killing. They should put their prices down. I sometimes like to splash out on new clothes, but not very often 

When I was a student I didn’t have enough money to live on so I took out an overdraft at the bank. I paid it all off in the end (finally)

The men were sent to prison for forgery, that is, making counterfeit money

Speaking practice:

  1. This dialogue has a lot of expressions and phrases.

Joe Hi Bill. Why so glum ? You look down in the dumps.

Bill Oh, just worrying about money. The cost of living keeps going up …

Joe And our wages stay the same. Tell me about it. I’ve had to economise. 

Bill Same here; no more beer or Highlands coffee. I feel so stingy !

Joe I always haggle at the market now, try to get the price down. I hate being ripped off.

Bill I’m worried about paying off my overdraft. The interest alone is crippling me.

Joe We should invest in land. My friend sold some land recently and made a killing.

Bill But we’ll need money to invest in the first place. Then there’s always bills.

Joe Yes, my bike’s in the shop, so I’m having to use Grabbike and that ain’t cheap !

2. This is to practice wedding and money phrases.

Tom Congratulations ! You’re finally tying the knot and getting spliced.

Bob Yeah, it’s time to settle down. I’ve taken out a mortage and a loan for the wedding.

Tom It must be costing you an arm and a leg: catering, hall, flowers, photos, invitations.

Bob Absolutely, I’ve withdrawn all my saving and gone into the red. I hate being overdrawn; the interest is sky-high. And, not forgetting, the honeymoon.

Tom You can put down a deposit and pay later. Cheer up ! Don’t be a Scrooge

Bob That’s easy for you to say. I’m gonna be broke and in debt … until I retire !

Sentence building

Use more interesting adverbs and linking words e.g.

although / as well as / somewhat / therefore 

Rearrange these basic sentences to make more interesting ones (we use ‘one’ as a pronoun for the noun instead of repeating ourselves)

Examples:

I went to the market today. I bought fish and chicken and vegetables.

Today I bought fish, chicken as well as vegetables in the market.

Last night I stayed at home because it was raining.

It was raining last night therefore I stayed at home.

Your turn:

I saw the new action film. It was a little boring.

Peter was tired but he met his friends for a drink.

Sophie studied very hard. She passed her test.

For western people, Thailand is cheap. Vietnam is cheaper.

Speaking skills

To help you improve your speaking skills, here is a small project:

Write a short piece about something you love or adore.

Start with an introduction

Say why you like it

Maybe tell some history or an anecdote (a short, personal story)

Give some examples

End with a short conclusion

EXAMPLE:

JAZZ MUSIC

I love all types of music, but one of my favourites is Jazz. It can be exciting, or slow, but it’s always different.

Unlike other types of music, Jazz is spontaneous. This means that you never hear the same song the same way; each performance is different. 

Jazz started in New Orleans but moved up to Chicago, New York and even west to California. The first records were made in 1917 and the first true Jazz genius was Louis Armstrong. If you want to hear jazz, you should listen to his records from the 1920s.

You may know some famous Jazz artists such as Miles Davis, John Coltrane or Charlie Parker. I can recommend these musicians to you as first-rate examples of Jazz.

I hope this has made you curious about Jazz, and that you go online to listen for yourself. Who knows, maybe you too will learn to love Jazz.

Vocabulary builder

Health: http://learnenglishteens.britishcouncil.org/grammar-vocabulary/vocabulary-exercises/health