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.
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.
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
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: