IELTS: Getting across the line: how to boost your vocabulary, plus class games.

5th January 2021

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Obviously, teachers don’t want to overwhelm the students with an unmanageable amount of new language. Far better to serve up bite-size pieces, then practice, practice and practice. When the language has become second nature to the students, move onwards and upwards.

The first step is to elevate your language; replace basic common or garden verbs with ‘better‘ ( that is, low-frequency) words.

For example, the verb ‘try’. Instead, we can have:

endeavour

To keep trying, not giving up, we can use:

persevere or persist

Let’s take these new words out for a spin:

This year, I shall endeavour to learn Vietnamese. I’ve tried before but gave up as it was simply too hard. However, this time I’m going to persevere.

Can you think of an idiom that could be used to show someone planning to work much harder ?

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This is the only clue I’m giving you !

Onwards and upwards:

buy:

purchase

get a qualification or certificate by hard work and study:

attain // achieve

to get something without the need for work or study:

obtain (you can obtain the application form in room 7A)

say / said:

exclaim // express // remark (add -ed to form past tense)

use:

utilise (utilize USA) / apply

to eat, consume or do a lot of something:

devour (He devoured the whole pizza by himself // She loves reading, she absolutely devours books)

Transform this simple sentence into something more IELTS-like:

Sarah said that if she gets an ‘A’, her father will buy her a new iPhone.

Tony says he wants to get a visa which he can buy at the UK Embassy, so he can use his English skills in London.

Mary really wants to buy the ‘Fargo’ box set. She said it was the best TV show in years and she plans to watch all the episodes in one day !

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Similarly, boost your lexical resources with regards to adjectives.

basic:

fundamental // elementary

hard:

difficult // challenging

tasty:

delicious // mouth-watering // scrumptious

experience:

broaden my horizons // real-life knowledge // culture shock

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From South America to Europe

Signpost language: (To help the listener or reader follow you)

Firstly / To begin with / I’d like to start by …

Secondly / additionally / another factor is …

What’s more / furthermore / not forgetting

Obviously / clearly / it is evident that …

Moving on / I’d like to change the topic / Let’s turn to …

Finally / all in all / all things considered

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Class Games:

Put students into small teams. One teams challenges the other(s) to form a sentence using as many new L-FWs as they can. Award bonus points for the appropriate use of idioms or fixed expressions.

Students challenge each other to find a L-FW for a basic, prosaic verb or adjective. Teams are allowed a fixed time, say one minute, and are allowed to use a thesaurus such as here:

https://www.thesaurus.com/

Then the group has to use the new word in an IELTS-style sentence by which I mean, an introduction, a signpost word or phrase and, obviously, a suitable idiom (examples – ‘put’, ‘big’, ‘interesting’, ‘watch’, ‘boring’, ‘eat’)

Teams are given a mix of L-FWs, idioms & signpost language. After a short preparation time, they have to construct an inspiring, fascinating and jaw-droppingly brilliant sentence. Piece of cake, n’est ce-pas ?

One student from each group starts answering an IELTS question (travel, food, study, neighbourhood). At a given point, the teacher stops the student and another group has to continue, and so on. Monitor the correct utilisation of signpost language as well as fluency, not forgetting the all-important pronunciation features.

Quick Fire / Rapid Fire Round

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What is the correct word:

To get a certificate after study ?

Delicious food is …

London is brass monkeys in January so _______ bring warm clothes.

A L-FW for ‘use’

Strange behaviour – he is acting _______

Istanbul is famous for its covered market, known as a __________

Nose, jaw, mouth … use these features in phrases

Moving from Europe to Asia will undoubtedly result in a degree of ________ _____.

The unspeakably greedy child ______ all the doughnuts !

Actor Mark Hamill basically disagreed with everything in the film script.

Two words that mean to keep trying

To watch someone or something very closely

Two words for difficult

Signpost language to be used as a conclusion

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Subject Index: IELTS – themes, language, exercises

4th December 2020

An index of various IELTS classes and topics useful to IELTS students

Subject // Lesson // Date

Pre-IELTS challenge: creative writing, plan a day, pronunciation // Adult Class Level 3 // 30th May 2020

IELTS classroom rules // What I expect from you // 7th August 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/08/07/ielts-what-i-expect-from-you/

IELTS classroom behaviour // An open blog // 14th January 2021: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/01/14/to-my-ielts-students-an-open-blog/

IELTS: Final Review // 5th March 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/03/05/ielts-final-review/

IELTS: Mindset first day warm up // IELTS: Mindset // 23rd June 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/06/23/ielts-mindset-introduction-lesson/

IELTS Mindset 2: First Review // idioms, complex sentences, introductions, L-FWs) // 22nd December 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/12/22/ielts-mindset-2-first-review/

How to pass IELTS (with flying colours) // IELTS // 26th July 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/07/26/ielts-how-to-pass-with-flying-colours/

How to attain 8.5 // IELTS: Chasing 8 1/2 // 12th October 2020:  https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/10/12/ielts-8-1-2-chasing-8-1-2/

Speaking Test Part 3 // IELTS: How to nail it // IELTS // 12th September 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/09/15/ielts-speaking-test-part-3-how-to-nail-it/

IELTS 5 – 6.5 // all lesson plans // 13th August 2019 – 15th March 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/category/ielts-5-6-5/

Apple workers in China // IELTS // 30th July 2019

Australia // IELTS 5-6.5 // 21st August 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/08/15/ielts-5-6-5-i-come-from-a-land-down-under/

Complaints // IELTS: Making complaints // 24th July 2020:

Electronic devises (Part 2 sample answer) // IELTS speaking exercise // 4th March 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/03/04/ielts-chunking-express-final-lesson/

Famous Vietnamese // (Ngô Thanh Vân, Vo Thi Sao) // IELTS Lesson 3 – May The Force Be With You // 14th January 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/01/14/ielts-lesson-3-may-the-force-be-with-you/

Food // British Food // IELTS // 28th September 2020

General // IELTS // 19th February 2019

General // IELTS: Final Review // 5th March 2019

Holidays from Hell // IELTS // 10th February 2019:

Hometown, cities, neighbourhoods // IELTS 5 // 31st December 2018: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/01/03/ielts-5-reading-listening/

Hometown & neighbourhood // IELTS // My Hometown // 28th October 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/10/28/ielts-my-hometown/

Hometowns & neighbourhoods // new vocab and idioms // There are places // 6th October 2020:

IELTS introduction (survey) // IELTS // 31st December 2018

India // IELTS: Hello, India // 24th January 2020

Kindle // IELTS 5 – 6.5. Writing example // 15th March 2020

Making excuses IELTS // Speaking // small talk, making excuses // 12th May 2020

Manufacturing in Vietnam // IELTS // 30th July 2019

Mindset first day warm up // IELTS: Mindset // 23rd June 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/06/23/ielts-mindset-introduction-lesson/

Plan a day compilation activities // hotels, itineraries, travel vocabulary // IELTS // 16th December 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/12/16/ielts-planning-a-day-out/

Plan a day: What my friends can so in Sai Gon // IELTS 5-6.5 // 21st August 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/category/ielts-5-6-5/

Schools in UK // IELTS: UK school system // IELTS // 17th September 2020:

Shopping // IELTS Speaking 4.5 // types of shopping // 7th January 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/01/06/ielts-4-5-speaking-class/

Shopping // IELTS-level exercises //IELTS, theme: shopping // 5th August 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/08/05/ielts-theme-shopping/

Technology & conversation topics // Good Technology // 19th October 2020

Tet Holiday // IELTS // 28th January 2019

Travel

Travel: airport to city centre // IELTS // 10th February 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/02/10/ielts-have-love-will-travel/

Travel in two minutes // IELTS // 19th February 2019

Travel // IELTS 5-6.5 // 14th August 2019

Travel: my stay in Bangkok in pictures // IELTS // 10th February 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/02/10/ielts-have-love-will-travel/

Travel: one day in Sai Gon // IELTS 5-6.5 // 14th August 2019 //

Travel: recommend a holiday // IELTS // 4th March 2019

What’s the story (lazy student) // IELTS // 7th January 2019

Yoga & exercise // IELTS writing practice // 25th April 2020

IELTS Games:

IELTS: warm up games // https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/02/25/ielts-warm-up-games/

Pre-IELTS challenge: creative writing, plan a day, pronunciation // Adult Class Level 3 // 30th May 2020

IELTS Project // Holidays prepare an advert, plan a day // IELTS // 16th June 2020

Call My Bluff // IELTS 5-6.5 // 28th August 2019

Chinese Whispers // IELTS 5-6.5 // 4th September 2019

Friends (men) // Personality adjectives & occupations // 28th December 2018: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2018/12/28/friends-men-teaching-sheet/

Role-play: shopping// IELTS 5-6.5 // 28th August 2019

What’s the Story ? (Chinese film) // IELTS 5-6.5 // 11th September 2019

Word Bomb // IELTS, Love it, hate it, not my cup of tea // 21st January 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/01/21/ielts-i-love-it-i-hate-it-its-not-my-cup-of-tea-its-ok/

Word Games // Getting across the line // 5th January 2021: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/01/05/ielts-getting-across-the-line-how-to-boost-your-vocabulary-plus-class-games/

Films

Chungking Express (film) // IELTS // 16th April 2019 /// IELTS // 4th March 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/03/04/ielts-chunking-express-final-lesson/

Ing …(film) // IELTS 5-6.5 // 4th September 2019

Lost in Translation // IELTS // What do you like this film ? // 6th April 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/04/06/ielts-mindset-why-do-you-like-the-film/

Not One Less (video clip) // IELTS 5-6.5 // 25th September 2019

The Owl and the Sparrow (Vietnam) // IELTS // 16th April 2019

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

Star Wars The Last Jedi // IELTS // 14th January 2019

Take Care of my Cat (South Korea) // IELTS // 16th April 2019

Tokyo Story (Japan) // IELTS // 16th April 2019

Grammar

Adverb exercise // IELTS: use adverbs frequently // 3rd July 2020

Discourse Markers  IELTS 5-6.5 // 25th September 2019 IELTS // 7th January 2019
IELTS 5 – 6.5. Writing example // 15th March 2020

IELTS ‘ness’ or ‘ment’ ? // 28th January 2019

Relative pronouns quiz // IELTS Review // vocabulary, discourse, sentence building // 25th June 2020

Relative pronouns // IELTS // 1st July 2020

Idioms

Advanced idioms (chasing 8 1/2) // Get your motor running // 15th October 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/10/12/ielts-8-1-2-chasing-8-1-2/

Expressions and phrases // IELTS // 19th February 2019

Idioms & expressions // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2, Part 4

Idioms: everyday idioms, everyday // Teaching Notes // 3rd June 2020

Idioms: a piece of cake // Teaching Notes // 1st June 2020

Idioms: are you pulling my leg ? // Teaching Notes // 2nd June 2020

Idioms: food // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3: food // 19th April 2020

Idioms: part 3 extended idioms use // Teaching Notes // 4th June 2020

Idioms // Adult Speaking Class / IELTS: Right up your street // 26th August 2020

IELTS // idioms and vocab games // Preparing for speaking test // 15th May 2020

Idioms (sweets) // IELTS // 19th February 2019

New idioms for Semester 2 // Fluency, intonation & stress // 15th October 2020

Pronunciation & Listening Practice

Listening Practice // Listening skills: Tips & links: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/01/23/listening-skills-tips-and-links/

Pronunciation, intonation & stress // IELTS, intonation Volume 1 // 16th November 2020 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/11/16/ielts-intonation-stress-let-me-feel-the-emotion-volume-1/

Speaking Practice: Read all about it (Obama, Trump, Biden, Abbot, Barcow) // 2nd November 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/11/02/speaking-practice-read-all-about-it/

Sentence building & Vocabulary

Database of idioms, L-FWs & expressions // 22nd October 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/10/22/ielts-language-bank-idioms-and-l-fws-you-need-to-have-at-your-beck-and-call/

IELTS: vocabulary building // IELTS: Vocabulary activities // 24th April 2020

IELTS vocabulary & expressions review // IELTS: The story so far // 7th July 2020

IELTS basic sentence building // IELTS // 28th January 2019 // // IELTS // 14th January 2019

IELTS sentence building // IELTS //22nd July 2019 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/07/22/ielts-sentence-building/

IELTS // Sentence building; a piece of cake (Mr Bean, Converse, Apple) // IELTS // 16th August 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/08/16/ielts-sentence-building-a-piece-of-cake/

IELTS complex sentences // Introduction // 23rd November 2020 // https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/11/23/ielts-introduction-to-complex-sentences/

IELTS complex sentences // IELTS, Mindset: Complex sentences (T-ara, 007, Tsai Ing-wen) // 30th April 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/04/30/ielets-mindset-complex-sentences/

IELTS complex sentences // It’s not that complicated // 24th May 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/05/24/ielts-complex-sentences-its-not-that-complicated/

IELTS complex sentences practice // 15th January 2021: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/01/15/ielts-complex-sentences-practice/

IELTS complex sentences practice #2 // 18th January 2021: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/01/18/ielts-complex-sentences-practice-2/

Bad Day – create a narrative // IELTS: Lesson 3 // 19th January 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/01/14/ielts-lesson-3-may-the-force-be-with-you/

Bad Student – create a narrative // IELTS Speaking Class 4.5 // 7th January 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/01/06/ielts-4-5-speaking-class/

Bangkok – create a narrative // 10th February 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/02/10/ielts-have-love-will-travel/

Cities, areas, descriptions // IELTS // 31st December 2018

IELTS describe a film // IELTS // What do you like this film ? // 6th April 2020

IELTS describe a gadget // IELTS 5 – 6.5. Writing example // 15th March 2020

Expressions and phrases // IELTS // 19th February 2019

IELTS // Quick-fire talking // Part 2 questions // 12th May 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/05/12/ielts-quick-fire-talking/

IELTS // Replace standard English with IELTS language // 19th August 2020

IELTS // Review // vocabulary, discourse markers, sentence building // 25th June 2020

Match the phrase to the meaning // IELTS, Love it, hate it, not my cup of tea // 21st January 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/01/21/ielts-i-love-it-i-hate-it-its-not-my-cup-of-tea-its-ok/

Tet Holiday – create a narrative // IELTS: The limits of my language … // 28th January 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/01/28/ielts-the-limits-of-my-language-are-the-limits-of-my-world/

Vocabulary building // using L-FWs & signpost language // 5th January 2021: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/01/05/ielts-getting-across-the-line-how-to-boost-your-vocabulary-plus-class-games/

What difference (definitions) // IELTS 5-6.5 // 25th September 2019

Speaking exercises

IELTS: How to pass with flying colours // 26th July 2020 (using idioms and low-frequency words and expressions in your speaking test) https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/07/26/ielts-how-to-pass-with-flying-colours/

British Food // Sample answers // IELTS // 27th, 29th September, 1st October 2020

Complaining // IELTS making complaints // 24th July 2020

Electronic devises // IELTS speaking exercise // 4th March 2019

Everyday expressions // IELTS / Adult Speaking 3 // Everyday expressions // 28th August 2020

Everyday expressions database // IELTS / Adult Speaking 3 // 25th August 2020

Fluency, intonation & stress // Get Your Motor Runnin’ // 15th October 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/10/12/ielts-8-1-2-chasing-8-1-2/

IELTS // intonation and stress // speaking exercises // 31st August 2020

Like or dislike // IELTS // 16th April 2019

Music // IELTS // 16th April 2019

Music // IELTS 5-6.5 // 11th September 2019

Music // IELTS 5-6.5 // 25th September 2019

One of those days // IELTS // 14th January 2019

Part 2 sample answer // Chungking Express // 4th March 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/03/04/ielts-chunking-express-final-lesson/

Phrases // IELTS // 21st January 2019

Pre-Speaking Test review // idioms, L-FW, pronunciation // 30th September 2020

IELTS // Quick-fire talking // Part 2 questions // 12th May 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/05/12/ielts-quick-fire-talking/

Small talk // IELTS 5-6.5 // 28th August 2019

IELTS // Preparing for speaking test // 14th May 2020

IELTS // Speaking practice // IELTS language // IELTS // 10th August 2020

Speaking Test preparation // Last Chance Saloon // IELTS // 8th September 2020

Speaking Test Part 3 // IELTS: How to nail it // IELTS // 12th September 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/09/15/ielts-speaking-test-part-3-how-to-nail-it/

Speaking Test Part 3 // IELTS: theme – education // IELTS // 24th September 2020

IELTS // Speaking exercises // small talk & making excuses // 12th May 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/05/12/ielts-speaking-exercises/

Video Clips

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

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

Australian hero – Aussie slang // IELTS 5-6.5 // 21st August 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/08/15/ielts-5-6-5-i-come-from-a-land-down-under/

Complaints // IELTS: Making complaints // 24th July 2020

Corona Virus Government video // IELTS 4 – 5 // Implementing precautions // 25th March 2020

Damn fine coffee // IELTS 5-6.5 // 4th September 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Writing Examples

IELTS language // IELTS 5 – 6.5. Writing example // 15th March 2020

IELTS // Writing exercises // re-arrange poor writing // 12th May 2020

IELTS // IELTS 5 – 6.5. Writing example // 15th March 2020

Yoga & exercise // IELTS writing practice // 25th April 2020

IELTS: Language bank. Idioms and L-FWs you need to have at your beck and call.

22nd October 2020

A database of idioms that my physical classes covered previously as well as new idioms plus a reminder of some low-frequency words that are guaranteed to impress the examiner. Let’s kick off with some vocabulary building:

computer literacy (noun) computer literate (adjective)

flexible / flexibility / flexi-hours

to adapt / adaptability /

prospects

standard of living

networking

future skills

essential workplace skills

prosaic [cf with ‘run of the mill’]

cf is Latin for ‘compare’ // e.g. is Latin meaning ‘for example’ // i.e. is Latin for ‘that is’.

Now …

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Complete the sentences:

If you learn English you will increase your job ____________

Nowadays, most young people are _____________ _________________ . They are able to use programs such as Word, ___________ & ________

When selecting a university, you may have to be ______________ in case you don’t get into your first choice.

Getting a great, well-paying job is essential if you want a high ________________________ .

One student moved to Boston where the temperature can drop to below freezing. He’s really having ________ to the new culture.

My actor friend is busy 24/7, attending parties, setting up meeting, pitching ideas and Tweeting. That guy is constantly ______________ .

Class Game

Split class into two teams. One team selects a word or phrase and the other team has to use it, correctly of course, in a sentence. Bonus points for throwing in any appropriate idioms.

Rickenbacker 330 Left-Handed, Jetglo at Gear4music

I would love this guitar which is a left-handed Rickenbacker, a famous American company with a very distinctive look and sound, yet, to my dismay, it costs ______________________

Idioms from Semester 2

Another string to (your) bow – a new skill or learning experience

bear with me – please wait a very short time (usually spoken as opposed to written)

bit of a sore point – something that makes you sad or angry

down in the dumps – depressed, unhappy, feeling gloomy

hit the ground running – to start something immediately and with all your energy

like a madhouse – a place or area that is crazy, too noisy, too busy etc

run of the mill – ordinary, typical, normal, usual, boring

up in arms – to be very angry about something, to protest strongly

you take your life in your hands – doing something that is extremely dangerous

Idioms from Semester 1

Which you should all know by heart and be able to reel off at the drop of a hat.

it’s raining cats and dogs

it costs an arm and a leg

piece of cake

I’m burning the candle at both ends

once in a blue moon

pass with flying colours

EXTRA! EXTRA! Read all about it! | Chynna Pope: The Beacon Hellion

Extra expressions for Top Cats:

Ring any bells ? // do you remember //

More or less // not exactly but approximately

Get the gist // do you understand the main point ?

Right up your street // this is something you will really like

Rabbit, Rabbiting on // UK slang, especially in London … talking too much

Tongue in cheek // not being serious about something

Keep your hand in // to practise something so you don’t forget how it’s done

Bucket down / raining cats and dogs // raining very heavily

Have a go / give it a bash / give it a shot // to try something

Call it a day // to stop work and go home early

Go ahead // sure, do it

Under one roof // everything in one place

Through thick and thin // together in good times and bad times.

Remember these old chestnuts ?

without further ado // tricks up your sleeve  // ace the test

pass with flying colours  // do yourself proud // 

you are in the driver seat (or you are in the driving seat)  // 

occur // inevitably // pertinent

This taxi has put me in the driver's seat of my life': Female taxi driver  shares inspiring story - it s viral - Hindustan Times
Guess who’s in the driver’s seat ?

Personal and personality adjectives:

patient / firm / authoritative / determined / brave / energetic / level-headed / down-to-earth / strong / fit / healthy / imposing / honest / loyal / civic-minded / caring / hard-working /

Finally, some adverbs you must have in your arsenal:

very / extremely / amazingly / unbelievably / quite / rather / undeniably / remarkably / totally / absolutely /

Phew!. The last time I wrote it was so long… | by Vaibhav Sinha | How I  Learnt Piano | Medium
Phew ! Thay Paul is a Tiger Teacher

For those who really want to expand their horizons, an extensive collection of idioms, expressions and collocations can be found on this blog: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/08/25/adult-speaking-class-level-3-ielts-english-expressions/

IELTS – Get your motor runnin’: fluency, stress and intonation

15th October 2020

Get Your Motor Runnin' Head Out on the Highway | Donald Trump Meme on ME.ME

Our plan for the next semester is to develop speaking skills – presentation and delivery – as well as, naturally, increasing vocabulary, colocations, phrases, idioms … in short, the whole nine yards.

New idioms

I don’t want to overburden the class with too many idioms, so these are what we’ll be using over this semester. That means using them repeatedly until they become second nature and the students, of whom I am very fond, will have another string to their bow … oh, heck – ANOTHER idiom !

Another string to (your) bow – a new skill or learning experience

bear with me – please wait a very short time (usually spoken as opposed to written)

bit of a sore point – something that makes you sad or angry

down in the dumps – depressed, unhappy, feeling gloomy

hit the ground running – to start something immediately and with all your energy

like a madhouse – a place or area that is crazy, too noisy, too busy etc

run of the mill – ordinary, typical, normal, usual, boring

up in arms – to be very angry about something, to protest strongly

you take your life in your hands – doing something that is extremely dangerous

NOW … your turn … what idioms fits ?

Lunatics Paradise: Australia's Renewables Fiasco Like Living in a Madhouse  – STOP THESE THINGS

At breaktimes, all the younglings come pouring out of their classes, screaming their little heads off …

it’s ___________________________________

Students protest against tuition fees - BBC News

Students are unhappy about tuition fees

They are _____________

You still can!': Music teacher champions adult students learning violin

She can speak five languages, do karate and is now learning violin

She has added __________________________

Yawning Girl Reading A Boring Book Stock Photo, Picture And Royalty Free  Image. Image 19559231.

She thought the novel would be extremely exciting.

Unfortunately, for her, it’s just a ___________________ story.

Street Photography in Austin - Assignment Chicago

Some areas of downtown are no-go areas.

You really _________________________________________ if you go after dark and alone.

buster-keaton-396846_640

Poor Buster is so funny, yet he always looks _______________________

Oh, dear …

This beautiful young lady seems to be upset about something.

Possibly something the man said is a ______________________ with her ?

Excited Motivated Multiracial Business Team Stock Footage Video (100%  Royalty-free) 1037298239 | Shutterstock

We’re going to have a tremendous success with our new product which we shall be launching in Europe, the US and parts of Asia.

We’re really going to ________________________________

Marcello Mastroianni

Excuse me, I have to take this call _______________________

Part two:

How would you describe these neighbourhoods ? I want full sentences, as complex as you can make them, bursting with idioms, expressions and Low-Frequency Words. Give your opinions – would you like to go there, or even live there ? Explain your rationale.

Old Manchester pubs and cinemas from the '60s to '90s
Manchester, north-west England
Inmueble en venta - Earls Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN4 | Knight Frank
Tunbridge Wells, south of London
Birmingham UK Industrial scene | Birmingham uk, Birmingham, Industrial
Birmingham in the British Midlands

Rural Retreats | Wales Cottages
Rural Wales
The Edinburgh festival is cancelled: long live the festival | Scotland |  The Times
Edinburgh, capital of Scotland, during the festival

Part three:

Practice making complex sentences, with two clauses at least, from these simple sentences.

Example:

Cinema Paradiso getting Ultra HD 4K Blu-ray release in UK – Film Stories

Johnny always went to the cinema when he was a child.

As a child, Johnny always went to the cinema.

GRAMMAR NOTE – the first word after the supporting clause has to be the subject.

We always played games when we had Mr Tony as our teacher.

He speaks English well although his written work is rather poor.

The Who | Discography | Discogs

The Who were formed in west London in the early 1960s. They are a very famous, influential bands despite never having a Number 1 hit single.

Asian Woman Selfie stock photos and royalty-free images, vectors and  illustrations | Adobe Stock

My neighbour only works in a convenience store. She thinks she is a big star. She is constantly taking selfies.

And … to end, let’s start copying some classic movie scenes:

https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn%3AANd9GcQBhjzqbLv-Fe17vj4O7Ep4GZ4je0erYx6AXA&usqp=CAU

The lines to copy are from 0:14 – 0.37

Here’s the first of the day, fellas … to old D.H. Lawrence … yyahhhhhhHHHHHHH … NIC, NIC, NIC, ffff, fffff … cccahhhh, indians !

IELTS: Pre-speaking Test Review.

30th September 2020

Kill Bill: Volume 1 Review. “Revenge is a dish best served cold.”… | by  Dillon McCarty | incluvie | Medium
revenge is a dish best served cold- -The Godfather-Don vito Corleone |  Godfather quotes, Revenge quotes, Gangster quotes

Indeed … next week is the speaking test, so I get to interview the students, one-to-one, to see how much they have listened to me and retained the information.

For some students, the biggest test will be NOT using their phones for ten minutes. Be that as it may … No time for learning anything new, tonight will just be as many activities as reasonable, and then practice.

I shall offer my help to those that request it.

So, let’s kick off with the first game:

Two teams … on the board, single words. Teams have to complete the idiom and give the definition.

mouth // candle // cats // piece // arm // grindstone // sky // blue //.

Next, one team selects a word, then asks one member of the other team to use it in a sentence.

Moving on up: Complex sentences. I shall give the names of some famous companies and the teams have to compose a complex sentence using relative pronouns and discourse markers.

For example:

I have my heart set on buying a pair of Converse, which is an American company with a star logo, who make very fashionable, not to mention very cool, footwear.

The teams have to choose from:

The rare vintage Rolls-Royce that once carried the Lord Mayor of Manchester  and royalty - Manchester Evening News
Rolls Royce
McDonald's joins the plant revolution - New Food Magazine
McDonalds
Oppo mobile A9 2020 (Space Purple, 4GB RAM, 128GB Storage): Amazon.in:  Electronics
Oppo Chinese phone company
Ikea sells on external platform for the first time | RetailDetail
Ikea Swedish furniture

Keep the ball rolling with a pronunciation game. I’ll play two clips of native speakers. The teams, one by one, have to copy using correct intonation and stress.

First write down what they say. Then … say it.

For the young gentlemen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxwcQ1dapw8

For the young ladies: (from 6:24 – 6:34) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oq7Sx4VOJa0&t=407s

Keeping things truckin’ next activity is:

‘Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Word ?’

The following is a list of words and expression I’ve used, and blogged, over the course of this course. How many do the teams know … I want definition and an example in a sentence:

without further ado // tricks up your sleeve //inevitably // ace the test // pass with flying colours // pertinent // do yourself proud // you are in the driver seat // occur

Think on your feet

The dog ate my homework - Family and Fertility Law

A classic excuse for British schoolchildren, when they haven’t done their homework, is to tell the teacher that their dog ate their homework.

I will give the teams some scenarios and they have to come up with a creative response:

You are late to class … why ?

You have been using your mobile phone the whole lesson, despite knowing the centre rules … why ?

You have been riding a motorbike with three people on it … why ?

You only got a 3.5 in your IELTS test … why ?

And now, it just remains to wish the teams all the luck they deserve.

See you next week … revenge is a dish best served cold

BBC Two - Mastermind - The history of Mastermind

IELTS Listening Notes

20th September 2020

Some notes I found as I was cleaning my old Apple Mac. I’m not sure where they are from; a book, website or centre notes. I thought they may be of some use to teachers of IELTS.

IELTS Listening Test - Error Correction

IELTS Listening

Before I do a listening practice, I tell my students to R.U.P.

read, underline key words and predict the answer.

TOP-DOWN LISTENING

(Going from meaning to language, using background knowledge to understand the meaning of a message).


Activities:

     Students generate a list of things they already know about a topic and things they would like to learn more about, then listen and compare.

     Students generate a set of questions they expect to hear about a topic, then listen to see if they are answered.

     Students look at the question sheet and identify its structure before listening.

     Students read a list of key points to be covered in a talk, then listen to see which ones are mentioned.

BOTTOM-UP LISTENING

(Going from language to meaning, using linguistic knowledge clues to understand the message).


Activities:

     Students listen and distinguish between positive and negative statements.

     Students listen and identify key words that occur in a spoken text.

     Students listen to a conservation and complete a form.

     Students use stress and intonation to identify word and sentence functions.

IELTS Listening Test – 10th June to 15th June 2019



Everything you need to prepare for IELTS Listening | IDP IELTS

SOME EXAMPLES OF MICRO LISTENING SKILLS:

     Discriminate among the distinctive sounds

   Recognize the functions of stress patterns, intonation contours

     Recognize reduced forms of words (contractions)

     Recognize grammatical word classes (noun, verb, etc.), systems (tense, agreement, pluralization), patterns, rules and elliptical forms

     Recognize that a particular meaning may be expressed in different grammatical forms

   Recognize cohesive devices in spoken discourse

Beautiful chinese female student Stock Photos, Royalty Free Beautiful  chinese female student Images | Depositphotos®


So, I made a lesson plan for teaching section 4 of the listening test like this.


Pre-listening:

1.       read the instructions carefully to see what they are expected to do (especially the number of words they can write for each answer) R.U.P.

2.       identify the topic of the lecture. Teacher can activate their background knowledge by asking them what they know about it, maybe showing a short video clip

3.       identify the structure of the test (how many parts, key words) so that students do not get lost in the middle of the listening

4.       pair a weak student and a strong student so that they can help each other in predicting the answers

a.       part of speech (e.g. expressions or idioms)

b.      collocations

c.       meaning (make a list of guesses to help the weaker students)


While-listening:

1.       Students listen to the recording and do the task individually.

2.       Peer check

3.       Task correction (the teacher then plays the recording again bit by bit to check the answers)


Post-listening:

1.       Students work in group to share their experience after doing the task. What difficulties they had or how they could recognize the answers. (5minutes).

To build confidence, I often play a recording up to three times, highlighting new vocabulary or expressions. I then let the students write the answer on the board, so everyone can see, correcting if necessary.

2.       sharpening the macro skils:

Activity to help students recognize paraphrases:


Students stand in 2 lines. There are 2 circles in front. The teacher shows 1 word (e.g crowded) and plays the recording. When the students hear the paraphrase of that word (e.g a lot of people), the first pair jump into the circle. Who can do that first gets 1 point for his team. The first pair then go the back and the procedure is repeated with another word. This can be adapted for older and adult students.

Activity to teach new vocabulary after listening:


The teacher can choose 5 or 6 words that he would like to teach and print them out. Then, put students into groups with a set of words for each group and play the recording. When students hear the word from that set, they have to quickly knock on their desk and take that piece of paper. Who gets the most words wins. The students in group read the words and explain the meaning. Teacher checks the pronunciation and meaning as a class.

The Teacher may wish to set a speaking task related to the topic as a post-listening  activity

I believe the students can do better if they are well-prepared in ‘pre-listening’, and for ‘post-listening’, if we can make use of the recording to teach them some skills in doing the task, they will perform better the next time.

Canadians anticipate rise in demand from Mexico - Languages Canada

IELTS: The UK school system

17th September 2020

Farewell, Baxendale and his Bash St Kids - spiked
The Bash Street Kids … from ‘The Beano’ which is a famous comic from the UK, first issued in 1938.

Tonight we have a listening lesson which, although tremendously important, not to say imperative, can be somewhat tedious for the students.

One factor is the vocabulary. If students don’t know some of the words, they will not be able to answer some of the questions; that stands to reason.

that stands to reason = it is obvious, it is common sense, it can be understood. I live in Vietnam but only speak a little Vietnamese. It stands to reason that if I spoke Vietnamese, I would be more independent.

Therefore, allow me to explain a little about the UK educational system while, at the same time, pre-teaching some new vocabulary.

First up, we have Kindergarten or nursery:

How to Help Children Achieve Kindergarten Success - Education and Career  News

As you can see, the age for Kindergarten is 3 – 5. It can be free, or parents can choose to send their children to a private Kindergarten or nursery.

Maybe the word Kindergarten looks a little strange in an English lesson – quite right, it is, in fact, a borrowed word from German. If you have seen my other IELTS posts, you may have come across ‘prima donna‘, which is a borrowed word from Italian. If you can use borrowed words in your IELTS tests, it will surely impress the examiner.

Next, we have primary school for children of 5 to 11. When I was at school, it was broken down into Infants and Juniors. Infants school was two years, then we moved up into a new building, attending four years of Junior school. This was a mixed school by which I mean boys and girls were in the same class.

Woodside Primary Academy © Julian Osley cc-by-sa/2.0 :: Geograph Britain  and Ireland
Woodside Primary school in north-east London

Following on from Primary school we have, quite logically, Secondary school:

A typical class photo from the late 1970s. As you can clearly see, this is a single-sex school. Furthermore, the pupils had to wear school uniform of trousers, blazer and school tie.

Pupils spent three years here, from ages 11 – 14 at Junior High, after which they progressed to Senior High:

Walthamstow Memories - George Monoux Grammar School

Pupils have to attend school until they are 16; it is compulsory.

You must then do one of the following until you’re 18:

  • stay in full-time education, for example at a college
  • start an apprenticeship or traineeship
  • spend 20 hours or more a week working or volunteering, while in part-time education or training

Read more on: https://www.gov.uk/know-when-you-can-leave-school

What options are open to you after 16 ?

Pupils can either stay at school and enter the VI (Sixth) Form, or go to a Further Education College which differ in that they offer a much wider selection of options such as vocational courses which are more practical and can help students train for a specific job. VI Forms, on the other hand, are academic (theory), preparing students for university.

The VI Form is usually in the same building as the Senior High, so pupils are familiar with the teachers and students. Going to a new college, meeting new staff and students means that time is needed to settle in or settle down.

Qualifications are imperative these days, so many students want to go to University.

149 PhD, Research and Academic Positions at the University of Cambridge, UK  - Scholar Idea

Finally, we have Adult Education which, as the name implies, is for adults who wish to further their job prospects, or simply learn for their own pleasure. As many people are working, these type of education often takes place in the evening or at weekends.

New Vocabulary:

term – part of the teaching year for example First Term is from September to December

it’s a pity – it is sad or it is unfortunate

Fresher’s Week – a week for new students (Freshmen in USA) to get to know what their college has to offer, such as clubs and events.

GCSE exams – tremendously important exams taken at age 15 or 16. Good results mean the student can to VI Form or have to re-sit the exam.

tertiary – means the third – after Primary (first) & Secondary (second), tertiary refers to Higher Education, taken after the age of 18.

NVQ National Vocational Qualification – this is more practical as opposed to academic, designed to teach skills needed for a particular job:

Construction Industry NVQ Assessments Provider | Up Level Ltd
An NVQ card stating that the holder has passed exams to work in the construction industry

BA or BSc – (Bachelor of Art or Science) degrees in the arts or science. Usually attained after a three-year course. The next step is a MA (Master’s Degree) and then a PhD.

internship – gaining real-life experience by working for a company, often for low or even no pay.

Graduate Fair – a chance for students to think about what career to follow, or what company to join. They can speak to people who represent organisations:

A trip to the fair... Okay a graduate recruitment fair. - NAO trainee blog
Fairs - The University of Nottingham

IELTS: Last chance saloon

8th September 2020

Scotties Last chance saloon" - Trang chủ | Facebook

One of my classes have their speaking test next week therefore, this is their last chance to practise, to demonstrate they know what they need to do to pass with flying colours.

Some tips to assist

An introduction:

That’s a very interesting question

Well, there is so much to say about that subject, where shall I start ?

It’s funny you put that question to me because earlier today I was just thinking about …

Well, that’s a great question

As a young Vietnamese (add your own nationality), I …

Opinion questions:

If you have a question with the following wording:

“What do you think ?”

You can use opinion phrases. We do not want facts, but want to hear if you are able to understand what is required by the question, and if you are able to articulate your thoughts.

In my opinion // From my perspective //personally // In my view / For me // From my point of view

Finally, there will probably be a chance to demonstrate your knowledge of adjectives and adverbs.

You may encounter a question such as:

What qualities are needed to be a good police officer ?

Pin on IU

You could start with listing adjectives:

patient / firm / authoritative / determined / brave / energetic / level-headed / down-to-earth / strong / fit / healthy / imposing / honest / loyal / civic-minded / caring / hard-working /

Next step, add an adverb:

very / extremely / amazingly / unbelievably / quite / rather / undeniably / remarkably / totally / absolutely /

Combine into a complex sentence with discourse markers and relative pronouns and clauses. If possible, paraphrase key words (here I substitute ‘attributes’ for ‘qualities’).

EXAMPLE

A police officer, in my opinion, needs to have many attributes such as being extremely brave and caring although they will also need to be totally healthy as well as being strong and undeniably energetic. Working for the police, which can be a very dangerous job, is not my cup of tea. Having said that, I really admire the honesty and loyalty of these amazing people.

Now … your turn

What qualities are needed to be a … ?

Sports person / Film star / Doctor / Musician / Mother

park, captain of manutd!! | Manchester united, Manchester united players, Manchester  united football club
Crouching Tiger star to wed after drone proposal in China - BBC News
African Doctor Looking to the Camera with Team of Cowoker by sergii_kozii  on Envato Elements
Faces of Classical Music: Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Concerto No.3 in C  minor – Alice Sara Ott, L'Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Mikko  Franck (HD 1080p)
ᐈ Mothers pic stock images, Royalty Free indian mother photos | download on  Depositphotos®

IELTS Speaking: intonation and stress

31st August 2020

Asian University Life Concept. Group Arkivvideomateriale (100 %  royaltyfritt) 32097208 | Shutterstock

I cannot overstate how important it is how IELTS students present their answers. Look the examiner in the eye (but do not stare !), use body language … watch interviews to see how native-speakers use their face, hands and body in everyday conversation.

Try saying the following sentences with the appropriate intonation and stress.

Intonation is how we raise or lower the pitch of our voices to express meaning for example with positive adjectives, our voices become higher, while becoming slower and deeper with negative adjectives.

Stress is how we make some words louder to show they are the important words in the sentence.

Now … practice

Example: Turn off the music – I hate that song !

Listening to 'extreme' music makes you calmer, not angrier, according to  study | Music | The Guardian

Turn off the music – I hate that song !

TIPS: decide if the sentence is positive, neutral or negative.

I love this film. I could watch it a hundred times.

My sister is such a prima donna, always taking selfies !

How much did you pay for that shirt ? Are you crazy ?

I’m not going out in this weather ! It’s raining cats and dogs.

Why are you so tired ?

I’ve been up all night studying for IELTS.

Oh, you’ve been burning the candle at both ends.

What the hell do you call this ?

Lessons Learned from a Bad Grade | Fastweb
An ‘F’ … what the hell do you call this ?

I’m going to work much harder to pass IELTS, I’m going to put my nose to the grindstone.

Wait a minute, wait a minute … hmmmm, this is a damn fine cup of coffee !

How often does my husband clean the house ? Once in a blue moon.

Now … practice stress

How old are you ? (say this as a general question)

How old are you ? (someone is acting childish)

I don’t believe it (you see someone after a long time – happy)

I don’t believe it (something bad happens – angry)

Watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTgT1eENbIs

You’ve been gone so long. Where were you ? (sad and worried)

You’ve been gone so long. Where were you ? (angry)

OK, you can play with your phones, but if the manager sees you … (friendly warning)

OK, you can play with your phones, but if the manager sees you … (angry warning)

The film ? Not really my cup of tea but it was OK (quite good)

The film ? Not really my cup of tea but it was OK (just so-so)

Bored People Watching Film in : video stock a tema (100% royalty free)  1014817775 | Shutterstock
The film was OK

IELTS / Adult Speaking Class, Level 3: Going for a song !

21st August 2020

Some lessons can be rather hard-going, too much IELTS listening or speaking practice so, to mix things up, I use some little diversions to cleanse the palate.

[Today, I will not explain every new phrase – look them up yourselves, write them down and USE them and USE them and USE them !]

Therefore, here’s a little activity I used last week. It’s a hit song from the early 1980s, in fact, it was massive ! The song is an example of Synth pop which is pop music played, or predominantly played, on keyboards or synthesisers. Synth pop, which dominated the charts during my teen years, was not really my cup of tea, I was more into jangly guitar bands such as The Beatles, The Byrds and, in the 1980s, we had The Smiths.

Having said that, I really liked this hit by the band Human League who came from Sheffield which is in the north of England. The single was tremendously successful, staying at number 1 for five weeks in the UK as well as reaching the top of the US charts although for just three weeks which is still an amazing achievement.

Without further ado, the activity: What is happening in this video. Secondly, what is the story – can you understand what the man says and then, can you understand the woman’s reply ?

Try answering these questions:

What job did the woman have ?

How long did it take for the women to become a big star ?

Is the man leaving the woman ?

Does the woman still love the man ?

What does the woman want to do ?

And now, the full lyrics:

You were workin’ as a waitress in a cocktail bar
When I met you
I picked you out, I shook you up and turned you around
Turned you into someone new
Now five years later on, you’ve got the world at your feet
Success has been so easy for you
But don’t forget, it’s me who put you where you are now
And I can put you back down too

Don’t, don’t you want me?
You know I can’t believe it when I hear that you won’t see me
Don’t, don’t you want me?
You know I don’t believe you when you say that you don’t need me
It’s much too late to find
You think you’ve changed your mind
You’d better change it back or we will both be sorry

Don’t you want me, baby?
Don’t you want me? Oh
Don’t you want me, baby?
Don’t you want me? Oh

I was working as a waitress in a cocktail bar
That much is true
But even then, I knew I’d find a much better place
Either with or without you
The five years we have had have been such good times
I still love you
But now, I think it’s time I live my life on my own
I guess it’s just what I must do

Don’t, don’t you want me?
You know I can’t believe it when I hear that you won’t see me
Don’t, don’t you want me?
You know I don’t believe you when you say that you don’t need me
It’s much too late to find
You think you’ve changed your mind
You’d better change it back or we will both be sorry

Don’t you want me, baby?
Don’t you want me? Oh
Don’t you want me, baby?
Don’t you want me? Oh

Don’t you want me, baby?
Don’t you want me? Oh
Don’t you want me, baby?
Don’t you want me? Oh
Don’t you want me, baby?
Don’t you want me? Oh
Don’t you want me, baby?
Don’t you want me? Oh
Don’t you want me, baby?
Don’t you want me? Oh
Don’t you want me, baby?
Don’t you want me? Oh
Don’t you want me, baby?

Songwriters: John William Callis / Philip Oakey / Adrian Philip Wright The Sound of the Crowd lyrics © BMG Rights Management, Domino Publishing Company

DISCLAIMER: THIS IS FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. THIS BLOG ISN’T MONETISED IN ANY WAY. THE VIDEO AND LYRICS ARE TAKEN FROM THE INTERNET. NO COPYRIGHT VIOLATION IS INTENDED, AND I WILL REMOVE THE BLOG UPON REQUEST WITHOUT PREJUDICE.

THANK YOU TO THE SONGWRITERS, THE BAND AND THE PUBLISHERS