Song: “I would go out tonight, but I haven’t got a stitch to wear.”
As usual, divide the class into teams, give points to make the games more exciting.
First up: feelings
Choose some top cat students, one by one. Outside of the class, show them a flashcard (happy, sad, thirsty etc). The student has to mime or act the emotion.
Have a small group of students hold the flashcards. Model a question e.g. “Is Tina thirsty ?” Students reply, “Yes, she is,” or “No, she isn’t,” depending on whether she is holding that card. Appoint a new teacher (thay in Viet) to ask the next question.
Moving on up: Pronunciation, intonation and stress
Thay Paul loves coffee so does his friend Agent Cooper: Students can act out the scene. Not only does it require stress and emotion, but also pacing.
No time to lose: Run ‘n’ write
What are the five senses ? One student from each team writes a sense on the board. Then say a noun – one student from each team will tick which sense applies e.g. ‘Pizza.’ Students can tick ‘see,’ ‘taste,’ ‘smell’ & ‘touch.’ ‘Guitar‘ (‘see,’ ‘hear,’ ‘touch.’)
A typical, run of the mill IELTS question will be about your hometown or about your neighbourhood.
First, some new vocabulary. I will expect you to learn these:
gritty / industrial
quite / safe / residential
boring / peaceful / suburban
bustling / vibrant / city centre
apparently – something you believe to be true
conversely – the opposite, on the other hand, however
actually – saying something that is surprising or is the truth
bear with me – please wait a very short time
bit of a sore point – something that makes you sad or angry
like a madhouse – a place or area that is crazy, too noisy, too busy etc
run of the mill – ordinary, typical, unusual, boring
you take your life in your hands – doing something that is extremely dangerous
NOW … your turn
Tell me about your neighbourhood
Remember, give me a great introduction, have a positive point, a negative point and a short conclusion.
Use some of the new vocabulary
Well, that question is a bit of a sore point with me because I live in a terribly noisy gritty industrial area. My apartment is near the Cat Lai port which is one of the busiest in Vietnam. Consequently, we have containers driving past, day and night which, as you can imagine, creates so much pollution.
However, allow me to talk about the good points. Firstly, it is significantly cheaper than, say, District 1 or 3, as it is quite far to the centre. The shops, also, tend to be on the cheap side. Additionally we have some street markets where I can pick up some very cheap food and fresh fish. We are well-served with several convenience stores although, in my opinion, Family Mart charges an arm and a leg.
Conversely, my friends avoid visiting me because it is so dangerous to ride a motorbike here, we really take our lives in our hands every time we go out. Furthermore, I love fresh air so I open my windows, yet I have to dust and clean every day because so much dirt comes in. Finally, we have open-air karaoke nearly every night and street wedding parties most weekends which means loud and terrible singing. It’s like a madhouse, I really detest this horrible noise.
I am lucky with my neighbours, and the apartment is really spacious. Having said that, the area is so bad that as soon as possible, I will leave and find somewhere cleaner and safer.
Part 2: What problems would you have with the food if you lived in the UK ?
You should say:
what UK food you know,
if you have ever tried it
if you have ever seen it
if you think you would enjoy it … and why (or why not).
Try to speak for the full 2 minutes. By now, you should know the formula: great introduction, some positive points, some negative, an anecdote, then a conclusion.
Well, that’s a very pertinent question because recently, I have been thinking about where I would like to study, and the UK is certainly top of my list. I am sure there would be some culture shock, especially when it comes to the food.
In class, we have seen some photos of traditional food such as toad in the hole, the full English breakfast and of course, the traditional Sunday roast. I think that British people have special food at Christmas time with … let me remember … turkey and vegetables then a special pudding which they set alight. I guess they use strong alcohol to make it burn. It looks tremendous fun.
I come from a small town, so I only had local food, but now I live in a big city, I can experience more western cuisine although we mostly eat fast food. So, no, I haven’t tried British food. Not yet, but the Christmas food looks mouth-watering.
Sometimes I watch a movie and I look out for what people eat. It looks very different from my country. Oh, of course, we use chopsticks here, as well as spoons, but they use a knife and fork in the UK. I tried once. My friend Jenny, who went to London on holiday, came back with a present for me. It was a knife and fork. I tried, I really tried but I couldn’t get the hang of it.
However when I see people eat in restaurants, I am a little nervous. They look so expensive. It must cost an arm and a leg to eat there.
Would I enjoy it ? I am not sure but I think so. My favourite food is chicken and sea food so I am sure I can get those easily. Maybe the food would possibly be bland compared to Asian food because we use lots of fresh vegetables and spices. On the other hand, new food is part of the new culture. Now I start to feel hungry !
Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, time to take stock and make sure the students have absorbed the information and are au fait (French for well informed, know the point) with the vocabulary so far. With that in mind, here’s a quick warm up. Replace the high frequency words with low-frequency ones, then use your newly-acquired discourse markers to construct longer sentences.
Let’s kick off with some common or garden IELTS subjects:
What do you do in your free time ?
I drink coffee with my friends. There are many coffee shops in my hometown
School keeps me very busy, but if I can find some time for myself, I enjoy hanging out with my friends in coffee shops, which are ubiquitous in Sai Gon.
TIP: The question here is about free time, so don’t just talk about coffee shops – mention at least two other different activities – even if you DON’T do them, just talk about them !
Example, playing music, watching films, listening to music, sports, shopping, helping family, reading – thing you enjoy NOT to do with studying or work
Now … Your Turn: [tips at the end]
Remember, you should be able to speak in complex sentences with a low-frequency word or two, some idiomatic language, contractions and discourse markers, all spiced up with a liberal sprinkling of adverbs and adjectives. Furthermore, try to introduce the answer, rather than stating it outright.
I don’t like English grammar. I am boring with it.
A lot more people go to China than Viet Nam.
She forgets everything.
Thai food is good.
I think Barcelona will beat Real Madrid on Sunday
I like to go to cinema and go to shopping and go my friend house and sleep.
I don’t go out now. It rains all day.
The examiner asks you a question but you didn’t understand
I didn’t hear you.
Errrrrr, I don’t know
OK, yes I like it
The examiner asks you a question but you need time to think of an answer.
I don’t know.
Tell me about your city
It very dirty.
I was born here. I love it.
We can do many things here.
Has many traffic jam. Yes. people nice.
Do you like to eat ?
Of course !
Yes. I eat with my family. I eat with my friends at school. I eat after school. I eat at night with my family
Words and expression to use, tips, phrases and idiomatic language.
Low – frequency words
Boring: tedious // forgetful: absent-minded //
expensive: sky high // what will happen: predict // everywhere: ubiquitous.
Could you repeat that, please // I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that // Would you mind rephrasing the question
In my opinion // From my perspective // For me //
Let me think // How can I put it // Well, that’s an interesting question
Allow me to explain // By which I mean //
As well as // furthermore // additionally // on the other hand // having said that // however // although // despite that
It’s raining cats and dogs // It costs an arm and a leg // piece of cake // I’m burning the candle at both ends
Relative pronouns – who / which / where / whose
One of my favourite things to do, if I have some spare time, is to hang out with my closest friends and just catch up on our news, maybe hit a mall because they are air-conditioned and have a wide array of amenities such as shops, cafes and, if I may say, bathroom facilities, as well as services like ATM machines and free wifi. My closest friends are Sheila, who is from India and studies here in Sai Gon, and Kerry, who is a gorgeous Thai lady. As we all come from different countries, there can be issues; allow me to explain. We have to communicate in English, however Kerry is just starting her studies, so we have to use Google translate frequently. Having said that, it’s such tremendous fun to be with my best friends. It helps me forget about the pressure and stress of work.