Unusual London Buildings. What do you think they are ?

6th September 2020

A lesson for all ages and all levels, just adapt to suit your students’ ability. First, show the photos and try to elicit what the buildings are for, or their original function.

For Speaking Level 3 or IELTS-standard students, they can explain their reasons and use target language, adjectives, adverbs and LFW (low-frequency words). Furthermore, it shows students a different aspect of London (it’s not just Big Ben, London Eye and Tower Bridge).

Now, without further ado, the photos:

 

Tate Modern

Was built 1947 – 1963 to be used as a power station (designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott who also designed Battersea Power Station and the iconic red phone boxes).

Gallery opened in 2000 by the Queen

Shows British and international art

One of the largest museums in the world

in 2018, there were 5.8 million visitors

Globe Theatre

Was built 1599, burnt down 1613.

Rebuilt and opened in 1997

Has plays by Shakespeare, as well as modern plays.

Has 857 seats and 700 standing spaces. People who stand are known as ‘groundlings.’

“To be or not to be,” is from Hamlet.

Police Station

Was built in the 1920s

Only big enough for two people

Has a telephone inside

Made from an old lamppost

Now used for storing brooms

Lloyd’s Building

Completed in 1986

Architect was Richard Rogers

Lloyds are a world famous insurance company.

The lifts are on the outside to make more space inside.

It is 95.1 m tall or 312 ft.

New Zealand House

The building was opened by the Queen in 1963

It is the only tall building in the area.

The House has 18 floors.

However … there is something very special for Vietnamese … can you see the blue circle ?

There used to be the Carlton Hotel here, but is was destroyed in World War II

Ho Chi Minh worked in the kitchen at the hotel

Carlton Hotel, London - Wikipedia
The old Carlton Hotel where Ho Chi Minh once worked

Activities

Young Learners

Stick fact sheets around the classroom. Students, in groups, have to collect information about basic facts such as when the building was opened, and an interesting fact, then present to the class.

Adult Speaking Classes

Elicit uses of bulidings, then ask them if there are any similar buildings in their city. What interesting buildings would they show tourists ? A student has to describe one of the buildings and the other have to guess which one.

IELTS

Students are assigned a building and they have to make a presentation of up to two-minutes in length (to practise for the speaking test). They may be allowed to use the internet for additional information but they are NOT allowed to merely read verbatim from Wikipedia !

As this is an IELTS exercise, we are looking for;

Good, strong introduction

Creative use of adverbs + adjectives

Low-frequency words

Opinion phrases

Idiomatic language

Anecdote or a personal review, giving reasons for their thoughts

Target Language:

Quite unusual / eye-catching / remarkable / innovative / quintessentially British / controversial / brilliant /

It’s not to my particular taste / / I have my heart set on visiting / a unique experience (now add an adverb) / a truly unique experience / a magnet for tourists /

17 Signs That You Probably Need A Break From London - Secret London

Quotes for the classroom

2nd September 2020

Today is Independence Day in Vietnam, so let’s start with Uncle Ho, Ho Chi Minh (1890 – 1969). He has some very sage advise, especially for Vietnamese students:

Ho Chi Minh quote: I'm very moved to be here today, ... Our lives...

“We need to work much harder.”

Don’t take my word for it, listen to Uncle Ho. Now, let’s go back to Ancient China and listen to Master Kong … Kong Fuzi … Latinised as Confucius (551 BC – 479 BC):

Pin by Kelly Ferrara Carlson on point to be noted.... | Confucius quotes,  Philosophical quotes, Philosophy quotes

Moving forward, and westward, we come to Ancient Greece and the philosophy of Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC). I think he deserves two quotes n’est-ce pas ?

Aristotle quote Best Quotes – Quotes – BestQuotes
Pin by F. M. on Man Made History...the Good and the Evil | Aristotle quotes,  Philosophy quotes, Teaching quotes

Our inspirational journey takes us my homeland, a “Precious stone set in the silver sea,” (Shakespeare, and more from the Bard, later). The court of Queen Elizabeth, and her adviser and alchemist, the mysterious John Dee (1527 – 1608 or 1609), furthermore, the man credited with coining the phrase “British Empire.”

TOP 10 QUOTES BY JOHN DEE | A-Z Quotes

As promised, something from Shakespeare (1564 – 1616)

Ignorance is the curse of God; knowledge is the wing wherewith we fly to  heaven – William Shakespeare - Quotes

I totally agree. The quote is from Henry VI, Part II.

Finally … Nelson Mandela (1918 – 2013):

Nelson Mandela Education Quote Gallery - Basecampatx

IELTS: What I expect from YOU

7th August 2020

bored Student" photos, royalty-free images, graphics, vectors ...
Mobile phones, yawning, sleeping, listening to music … to paraphrase Pink Floyd, “We don’t want no education.”

What is the standard of behaviour in your classroom ?

At my centre, in Sai Gon, Vietnam, we have to employ classroom management (normally reserved for ‘young learners’) to ‘adults’ and some unspeakable teenagers.

At one previous centre, I even had a student write in his book, “I haven’t done any work, I’m not going to do any work,” then laugh at me. Unfortunately, that is not an isolated incident.

Even though we have classroom rules they are mostly ignored, but that is indicative of the country as a whole [1].

To make sure my customers are in no doubt, here are some rules and reminders:

No mobile / cell-phones in the classroom UNLESS it has been sanctioned by the teacher for educational purposes. My lessons start on time – if you use your phones …

I HAVE THE RIGHT TO TAKE THEM AWAY

No eating, chewing gum, slurping drinks

YOU WILL BE SENT OUT OF THE CLASS AND HAVE TO EXPLAIN TO THE MANAGER WHY YOU ARE EATING

No chatting while the teacher is talking [2].

FURTHERMORE, IN MOST CULTURES, THIS IS UNBELIEVABLY RUDE AND UNACCEPTABLE.

The teacher is here to help YOU learn.

We are not here to entertain you.

You have a chosen a three-hour IELTS course, so deal with it.

Take notes, write down new words, practice using them. Week after week I give you sample answers, new phrases and personal help to enable you to improve your scores.

If I see you are not taking my advise, I will not waste time and energy on you.

Finally, I will not tolerate any sarcasm, rudeness, insults or disrespect.

In the event that I have been insulted or disrespected, I shall end the lesson and you can answer for your actions to the management

If you are serious, I will do all I can to help you. If you just want to joke around and stop me doing my job, there will be consequences.

Time to turn over a new leaf

You need to work MUCH harder, but don’t take my word for it:

I'm very moved to be here today, ... Our lives are now much better, but Vietnam remains a very poor country. We need to work much harder. - Ho Chi Minh

[1] motorbike riders don’t wear helmets, they overload their bike, use mobile phones, drive any way and any direction THEY want … public urination is endemic, recycling means throwing rubbish in the gutter and for many people, dogs are not pets, but lunch … and they joke about that to my face.

[2] good luck with this one … in nearly five years, I have never had a class that is able to just SHUT UP and listen. At first, I was shocked, adults speaking to each other, normal volume, continually while the teacher is teaching. As we say in the UK, empty vessels make the most noise, and there is a LOT of noise.

Adult Speaking Class, Level 3: Remembering April 30th

5th April 2020

WARNING: THIS BLOG CONTAINS IMAGES OF WAR THAT ARE NOT SUITABLE FOR YOUNG READERS

April 30th is a national holiday in Vietnam. My Vietnamese students should know why, other students can probably guess.

A Guide to Vietnam's Reunification Day | Student Exchange Vietnam ...
Vietnam celebrates 40th anniversary of Saigon's fall

Describe this photo:

What is the subject ? What is the background and history ? Why is this picture significant ?

What happened after this snapshot?

background– recent story or history to some event.

significant (adjective) – very important or large. 

significance (noun) / significantly (adverb)

snapshot– a moment in a photo – captured by time.

In this photo we can clearly see …

The photo shows …

The photo depicts …

Vocabulary:

war / conflict / civil war / agent orange / reunification / peace treaty / ceasefire / chemical warfare / the seat of government / reeducation / education growth / Le Duan / public opinion / anti-war sentiments / Vietnam War Memorial, Washington DC / My Lai / Kim Phuc

Use the above vocabulary to describe the following photos. Organise your thoughts, then employ discourse markers to link your ideas together.

If you are not certain, you may use expressions such as:

I’m not entirely sure, but I think …

This would seem to show …

I’m not familiar with this image …

Practice speaking in complex sentences by using relative pronouns (who, where, which, whose)

Bác Hồ đã chọn đúng những vị trí lãnh đạo | Báo Dân trí

A picture of Le Duan with Ho Chi Minh (top) and Mao Zedong (bottom). Vietnamese students can read more here: https://baotiengdan.com/2020/02/21/le-duan-va-chien-tranh-bien-gioi-1979/

Effects on Environment - Defoliants Used During the Vietnam War
What does this landscape depict ?
Give Peace a Chance | Dissent Magazine
What is going on here ? Where is this taking place ?
The Paris Peace Accords - The Vietnam War - Edexcel - GCSE History ...
Fall of Saigon to Communist troops marks the end of the Vietnam ...

Read more at this site: https://erenow.net/ww/vietnam-war-an-intimate-history/11.php

Read the article about education in Vietnam here: https://wenr.wes.org/2017/11/education-in-vietnam

This is a great opportunity for IELTS students to interpret the information represented on this graph. What is the trend ? What is the anomaly ? How would you categorise the fluctuation in figures from 2007 – 2010 ?

Vietnam Veterans Memorial - WorldStrides
War Memorial in USA
50 Years On, My Lai Massacre Remains A Gaping Wound : NPR
To commemorate the My Lai massacre in Vietnam

WARNING:

NEXT PHOTO MAY DISTURB SOME READERS

THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST ICONIC PHOTOS, NOT JUST OF THE WAR IN VIETNAM, BUT OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY.

THERE ARE NO ADJECTIVES CAPABLE OF DESCRIBING THE IMAGE.

THE PHOTO HAS BEEN CREDITED WITH TURNING AMERICAN PUBLIC OPINION AGAINST THE WAR.

Love to Kim Phuc | worldpoet546
Ms Kim Phuc, aged 9, after her village was bombed June 8th 1972
UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Ms Kim Phúc Phan Thi meets Centre staff ...
Ms Kim Phuc now, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.
The Girl in the Picture by Denise Chong: 9780140280210 ...
Ms Phuc’s story can be read in this (highly recommended) book.

Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: London, Part 2

6th March 2020

Guess the building

These are photos of real buildings in London. Can you guess what they were / are ?

Image result for Tate modern
Image result for London smalles police
Image result for London globe theatre
Image result for London lloyds building
Image result for London new zealand house ho chi minh
Image result for London new zealand house ho chi minh

Can you guess ?

ONE: Tate Modern art gallery – it used to be a power station, hence the large, imposing scale and tall chimney.

TWO: It was the smallest police station; it had a telephone and space for one officer. No longer in service. This is in a corner of Trafalgar Square.

THREE: Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. This is a reconstruction; the original building burnt down in the C17th.

FOUR: Lloyds Building. Lloyds of London are an insurance company, providing financial services.

FIVE: This is New Zealand House, near Trafalgar Square. The building itself is rather nondescript but, for my Vietnamese students, there is a feature of interest …

SIX: A Blue Plaque stating that Ho Chi Minh once worked at a hotel that stood on this site. There are many Blue Plaques around London saying where famous people lived or worked.

New vocabulary

imposing– powerful or scary-looking. Normally police stations or government buildings

reconstruction– rebuilding (in this example, made to look like the original The Globe Theatre)

nondescript – nothing special, ordinary, plain

stood on this site- a building WAS here but is now gone (demolished / torn down)

England doesn’t really manufacture – our wealth is derived (comes) from services such as banking, finance, insurance and teaching !

Synth pop 

(listening & British pop culture)

Image result for 80s synth pop

Electronic music from the early 1980s. The band is called Human League, the song, a chart-topper (was No. 1 in the music charts), is called ‘Don’t You Want Me.’ What do you think ? Is it up your street (you like it) or not your cup of tea (you don’t like it) ?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPudE8nDog0

What do you think is meant by ‘synth’ pop ?

What is happening in this song ? 

How much do you understand ? 

Do you notice any phrasal verbs ?

REAL LIFE LISTENING

This is a British TV comedy show called ‘Only Fools and Horses.’

Have a listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JvsvnW49qRU

Image result for only fools and horses

Trigger You never know what you’ve got till it’s gone.

Jim Hey ? Yeah, I suppose you’re right there, Trigger.

Trigger I know how much it can hurt. I had a relationship break-up a few years ago. She worked in my council depot. (local government office)

Mike (barman) She was a lady roadsweeper ?

Trigger Oh, no, she was management … real high-flyer … you had to go to her when you wanted a a new broom ! Linda … nice girl, had a funny eye. Never knew if she was looking at me or seeing if the bus was coming. Anyway, she’d heard about this little hotel down Henley-on-Thames (outside London) and she said to me, “How about spending a weekend there ?”

Del-boy (on phone) What sort of money we talking about ? Well, I’ll have to pop down and see you, won’t I, eh ?

Mike Yeah ?

Trigger What ?

Mike What happened ?

Jim Was it a nice weekend ?

Trigger Yeah, at least I thought it was, but she didn’t wanna see me no more after it.

Jim Well, I don’t like to pry, Trig but …

Mike No, no, no … it’s a bit personal.

Del Hang on, Bronco … Trig ! What ‘appened ?

Trigger She got jealous ! I ‘eard later, through friends, that she wanted to go with me.

Jim I’ll have a large scotch, Mike !

What was wrong with the weekend ? What was Trigger’s mistake ?

Do you notice how in parts of London, native speakers drop the ‘h’ so we have “What ‘appened ?” instead of “What happened ?” “I ‘eard, ” instead of “I heard.”

Finally, a famous song about London: Ralph McTell ‘Streets of London.’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Z91n5Vskjg

Image result for streets of london ralph

IELTS: Hello, India

24th January for 30th January 2020. IELTS Bands 4 – 5.5 Unit 7

Image result for hello India

Firstly, a big hello to all my readers and followers in India. Yesterday I had over fifty visits from students from the sub-continent and I want you all to know how much I appreciate you taking the time to check out my blog. Thank you so much.

My Indian friends – what is the standard of behaviour in your classrooms ? In my centre, in Sai Gon, Vietnam, we have to employ classroom management (normally reserved for ‘young learners’) to adults. Namely, we have to continually tell the class:

No mobile / cell-phones in the classroom UNLESS it has been sanctioned by the teacher for educational purposes.

No eating, chewing gum, slurping drinks

NO CHATTING WHILE THE TEACHER IS TALKING. THE TEACHER IS HERE TO HELP YOU. FURTHERMORE, IN MOST CULTURES, THIS IS UNBELIEVABLY RUDE AND UNACCEPTABLE.

Take notes, write down new words, practice using them

The teacher is here to help YOU learn. We are not here to entertain you.

These are not MY rules – they are the rules of the centre. If you cannot abide by them, then stop coming to class, stop wasting everyone’s time and money.

Let’s leave the last word to Uncle Ho, bác hồ:

I'm very moved to be here today, ... Our lives are now much better, but Vietnam remains a very poor country. We need to work much harder. - Ho Chi Minh

Understand, my Vietnamese classes ? Even Uncle Ho says you,

“need to work much harder.”

And now, without further ado, a warm up exercise to see how much the class has remembered from the last lesson … if anything.

Firstly, complete these phrases and then use them in sentences:

over the ______ // under the ________ // under ________ // more or ________

I’m over the …… because I passed my IELTS test.

Ms Linh is not here, she’s feeling under ………..

The class understood the video, more ……..

So many tests at school, the pupils were under ………

Secondly, what do these words mean, the make a short sentence using them:

absent-minded / jovial / reside / miserable / attain

Image result for Indian culture

I shall try to incorporate some teaching points about India in this blog which, although written before the Lunar New Year (Tet Holiday), is for next week.

The above sentence is an example of the type of English that is expected in order to pass the IELTS exam. As you can plainly see, it isn’t too difficult; I inserted a low-frequency word (‘incorporate‘), used a relative pronoun (‘which‘) in order to make the sentence longer and more fluent, then employed a discourse marker (‘although‘) to link contrasting ideas together in a coherent sentence.

To recap, what you will need to use in both writing and speaking are:

adjectives (but not just the most basic, common ones)

adverbs

low-frequency vocabulary

complex sentences (introduce extra information in supporting clauses)

stress and intonation

Adjectives: describe what you see here:

Image result for Indian culture

Try these adjectives:

exotic / mysterious / exquisite / captivating / enchanting

Sentence building: Talk fluently and coherently.

Compare and contrast:

Image result for Indian city scene

Does this look like YOUR city ? What is similar, what is noticeably different ?

Image result for Indian train station
A typical commute to work ?

Vocabulary building and listening

In the real world, most students will not be communicating with English-language teachers, but probably with other non-native speakers, so learning to appreciate and understand English spoken with a ‘new’ accent is an extremely useful skill. Here’s a great video which features a charming young Indian lady teaching new vocabulary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKUxuD0m5A8

New Vocabulary:

Instead of using ‘very’ + adjective (I am very tired), use a single word:

Try to use ‘sagacious’, ‘exquisite’, ‘colossal’ and ‘spacious’

The classrooms in Block D are ……….. (big)

The furnishings are perfect, they are ……….

Building an underground train network is a ………… undertaking

The old man was ………. People came to him for advise.

This is also a listening skills exercise. 

  • Do you have any problems understanding her ? Why ?

What to do in India

The American foodie and blogger Mark Wiens travelled to Kolkata: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvNdOJMDMyQ

Image result for mark wiens in india

Listen for at least five words you didn’t previously know. In small groups ask each other:

What impressed you ? What disturbed you ? Would you like to go there ? If so, why, if not, why not ?

Here is a chance to practice adjectives, linking words and using the word ‘because’ – giving reasons, supporting your comments.

Famous Indians

In small groups, you have to make a short presentation about one of these famous Indians:

Image result for famous indian people
Mahatma Gandhi
Image result for famous indian siddharta buddha
Siddharta – the Buddha
kalpana chawla
Kalpana Chawla

The class have five to ten minutes to research information, speed read and extract relevant facts with which to enlighten the class. Simply reading straight from Wikipedia is not permitted.

And now, goodbye from this mysterious, exotic land. Hope to meet you very soon …

Image result for Indian sunset

Adult Class, level 3: The Russian Soul

3rd December for 4th December 2019 AEF 7B pp. 70 – 71

Tonight we focus on a reading, extrapolating information from a chunk of text, and listening. Additionally, there is a test which may occupy thirty minutes so we’ll need to hit the ground running (not so easy when students arrive at various times but it’s Viet Nam … what ya gonna do ?) … so let’s test their knowledge of Mother Russia:

Word Bomb: Russia – Famous people / cities / famous for / history / food / language / artists /

Image result for russian food
Image result for russian doll
Image result for russian church

Do they know this man ?

Image result for tchaikovsky
Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Maybe they know this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cNQFB0TDfY

Because we have a lot of reading and comprehension, I want to create opportunities for speaking. Here is a short dialogue practice:

New vocabulary:

surprised // surprising

disappointed // a disappointment

confused // confusing

Image result for disappointed date
This man is … ? Why ?

DIALOGUE


Excuse me, sorry to bother you but do you speak English ?

Yes, a little. Are you German ? Your accent sounds German, maybe Czech …

No, I’m Russian. My name is Anna. I come from Moscow and it is freezing.

I’m Tony. Pleased to meet you, Anna. What do you do ? (what is your job)

I’m a student, reading architecture. How about you ?

I’m a musician. I play piano, guitar, clarinet but mostly cello.

Wow, how interesting. Do you know any Russian music ? We have great composers.

I simply adore Tchaikovsky. Are you surprised ? However modern music is confusing.

Yes, I agree. I went to a concert but I was very disappointed. It was just tuneless noise !

What can the students tell me about this famous house:

Image result for ho chi minhs house

Then depending on the time remaining, we can choose some activities from this list: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/11/27/adult-class-level-3-games-without-frontiers/

IELTS 5- 6.5: All you need is love … and relative pronouns

25th September 2019

Tonight I want to focus on forming complex sentences in order to boost the speaking prowess of my students. Being able to speak in long sentences, with subordinate clauses and relative pronouns, linked by appropriate discourse markers, will improve their scores in the speaking tests, along with use of stress, intonation, chunking, and a liberal smattering of expressions and vernacular, thereby demonstrating a familiarity with different uses of English.

So, without further ado … complex sentences. Let’s kick off with some basic information about my friend Pete:

Pete (left) with drummer Kenny Jones of The Small Faces & The Who

Pete’s family are Irish. He was born in Kent, south England. He loves music especially Jazz and he can play saxophone, keyboards, guitar and bass. He is 40 years old. He is bald, and wears glasses. Currently he plays bass in a band called ‘The Deep Six’. They have a video on YouTube. In the photo, Pete is with the famous 60s drummer Kenny Jones. He was in The Small Faces. Later he joined The Who after their original drummer died.

Example:

Pete, who was born in Kent in the south of England, is of Irish heritage. Although he is just forty, Pete looks older, probably due to the fact that he is bald, as well as having to wear glasses. His great passion in life is music, especially Jazz, but his interest is not merely passive; he plays several instruments. In addition to saxophone and keyboards, Pete is proficient on guitar. Having said that, he actually plays bass now in a band named The Deep Six, who have a video on YouTube. Pete is seen here with the legendary drummer Kenny Jones who rose to fame in the 60s as drummer for chart-topping band The Small Faces before joining The Who following the death of their original drummer.

And here is said video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-_u-W_3jWk&list=LLfquznE0joCgmA3v1PIQ0CQ&index=6&t=0s

I am sure if you watch the video, give it a ‘thumbs up’ and ‘like’, Pete will be tickled pink.

Now, a quick practice:

This is Wei Minzhi. She was born near Beijing. She was chosen to be in a Chinese film called ‘Not One Less’. She was 13. She played a substitute teacher but had no experience teaching (and no experience acting). The area is very poor. Some of the children have to leave school to work. The film was shown all over Europe, even at special film festivals. She was famous. She did no more acting. She studied in USA. She lives in Hawaii. Wei is married and has two children.

Students have five minutes to reorganise this information into a style more suited to an IELTS student.

Now – a Socratic activity; students are arranged in small groups, selected by choosing a card (Ace, 2 or 3), given a task and have to collate information and present it to the class, utilising the resources available, namely internet for facts, images or videos. Let’s revisit some old friends; first one of my favourite authors, Dr Franz Kafka:

Image result for kafka

Born: 1883 Prague, Czech Republic (at the time, part of the Austro-Hungarian empire) // Died 1924 in Austria. Never married, engaged twice. Had three sisters. Was vegetarian. Difficult relationship with his father. Famous for writing, but only produced three novels, all of which were published after his death. Most famous of these is ‘The Trial’ which has a famous opening line, “Somebody must have made a false accusation against Joseph K., for he was arrested one morning without having done anything wrong.” This book is seen as a warning about totalitarian governments. He lived in Prague which is Czech and Protestant, but he spoke and wrote in German, and he was Jewish. He is one of the most influential writers of the Twentieth Century, and his name has become an adjective, ‘Kafkaesque’ meaning impenetrable, convoluted, mysterious and unsolvable. More information can easily be found online, for example:

https://www.dw.com/en/franz-kafka-the-trial/a-45774582

Now let’s turn to John Lennon, seen here with his Japanese wife, Yoko Ono (also an artist, but more avant-garde).

Image result for john lennon

John was born in Liverpool, during World War II, in 1940. Liverpool was a port, so was a target for German bombers. He grew up very poor. At school he was rebellious, but liked art. When he first heard Rock ‘n’ Roll, he knew he had to be a singer. He formed The Beatles. His guitar playing was enthusiastic but basic. He wrote many songs which have become classics. When The Beatles split up in 1970 he went solo. His most famous solo work is the ‘Imagine’ LP. The title track has the lyric, “Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too.” He protested against the war in Vietnam. He was shot in 1980 outside of his New York apartment. He has two sons, Julian by his first wife, and Sean from Yoko.

The third group will get NO help from me – they shouldn’t need it. Their subject is “the father of the Indo-Chinese people, and his name is Ho Chi Minh.”

Image result for Uncle Ho

This task involves the students working together, assigning tasks, then producing and presenting their report. All members of the team have to speak. Furthermore, they should be encouraged to use English during the preparation stage, only resorting to Vietnamese for clarification or translation of new words.

Quick end game: After the book work, which I have to teach, my hands are tied, we can unwind with some speaking practice.

Using discourse markers: I give teams two words which they have to incorporate into a sentence, for example ‘therefore‘ and ‘subsequently‘.

having said that & furthermore

moreover & consequently

initially & eventually

likewise & specifically

meanwhile & notwithstanding

on the whole & instead

What Difference Does It Make ? : I give students a paper with two words or phrases that are related but different. They have to clarify the distinction, for example

teacher / headmaster

educate / bring up

take an exam / retake an exam

do homework / do housework

quite common / ubiquitous

required subject / optional subject

similarity with / disparity between

skim / extrapolate

And to play us out, let’s go back to John Lennon and his iconic song, ‘Imagine’. The music starts around 0:40:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkgkThdzX-8

Nothing to kill or die for … Peace xx

Adult Class, Level 3 (mixed): You practice what I preach.

17th September for 23rd September. AEF 3 pp. 50 – 51

Last week, we covered past tense – simple, continuous and perfect. However, that is a lot to take in, especially for students who are not so confident. Looking at charts and learning the jargon can be daunting and far too theoretical.

This problem has long been identified and addressed; grammar, as theory, reduced to a minimal. Grammar, used in writing and more importantly speaking, maximised.

Therefore, my policy in this block of lessons (four per block) is to reduce book work, simplify the theory and try to allocate at least half the lesson to student-talking time.

Last night’s lesson seemed to work well; the Socratic approach which makes the students collect information and then collate it into a presentation. This was followed by students reading to each other in small groups, with some useful expressions to use … and repeat and repeat and …yeah, you get the idea.

Let’s go to work !

Image result for go to work

But first, back to basics. Some students are not fluent in the three forms of basic verbs:

Grammar – verb practice

Here’s the 15 most common:

infinite \ present // past // past participle (verb 3)

1to bewas werebeen
2to havehadhad
3to dodiddone
4to saysaidsaid
5to gowentgone
6to getgotgot/gotten
7to makemademade
8to knowknewknown
9to thinkthoughtthought
10to taketooktaken
11to seesawseen
12to comecamecome
13to wantwantedwanted
14to useusedused
15to findfoundfound

Regular verbs, just add -‘ed’. However, as you see, in this list only one common verb, ‘want’, is regular.

NOTE: ‘to be’ is different: I am hungry You are hungry She is hungry.

Now, practice: In groups of three or four, they have to ask each other questions in order to feel more natural using the past tense. Lets’s start simply with the simple past:

What did you do today ? PAST SIMPLE

Each student takes turns describing their day. Always give ideas, as some students spent too much time thinking of what to say, whereas the purpose is to speak.

Related image
Related image
Image result for go to school
Image result for easy rider bike
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I will also board: buy / drink / surf the internet / help parents / cook / do homework

To make it more interactive, the students can ask follow-up questions, such as, “What did you eat for lunch ?”, “What time did you start school ?”, “How did you get to work or school ?” etc. Groups can monitor each other to make sure past tense is being used properly.

NEXT: Past Continuous. Subject was doing something in the past ….

Example: Last night I was listening to T-ara:

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However, we usually use past continuous to say we were doing something WHEN something new happened.

EXAMPLE: I was listening to T-ara when someone knocked on my door.

The structure is Subject + was or were + verbing, followed by past simple

Try this: dream // alarm clock ring

He was dreaming when the alarm clock rang.

Now – practice: Make a sentence from these pairs of photos:

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Finally, the past perfect. Two things happened in the past, one before the other.

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The students ‘met’ Dr Kafka last week.

Dr Franz Kafka had lived all his life in Prague until he moved to Berlin in the 1920s.

Subject + has or had + verb 3 then use past simple.

Try these:

John Lennon – in The Beatles / goes solo in 1970

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Dali – paint over 1 500 paintings / dies 1989

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Bringing it closer to home, Bac Ho (Uncle Ho Chi Minh) – work London / meet these young Germans.

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Image result for uncle ho in russia

Finally, for presentation, the students can be arranged in four groups (draw playing cards so students work with new partners). I will give them ten minutes to work together and make a short presentation, with all members speaking, about the above four historical figures. Those who draw Ho Chi Minh should have an advantage, so I will be expecting more from them.

Presentations should include:

Date and place of birth.

Why there are famous

Give examples of their most famous works or activities

Where they lived

When and how they died.

ALSO – why we should remember them.

Then, I will turn to the books and hand-outs, before returning to some speaking practice before the end.