Theory into practice – it’s all relative (pronouns)

29th May 2020

Earlier this week, I had a teenage group in what could be termed a pre-IELTS class; at the end of this book, they progress to IELTS. That is, as mentioned in the blog for that lesson: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/05/26/adult-speaking-class-level-3-relationships/

a quantum leap (which allowed me to introduce the idea of quantum mechanics into an English class). My centre is a business, so needs to generate revenue which is accomplished by getting as many students as possible. This is especially vital after the enforced lockdown.

Students, teachers practice social distancing on return to school ...
Stock photo from Google, but it depicts social distancing

However, not all students who enter an IELTS class are IELTS material … but that is another matter. I’ve decided to treat this class, which I really enjoy, as an IELTS class. Therefore, I push them to use language and style employed at that level.

To come to the crux of the matter, I set a relative pronoun test in the aforementioned class. Everyone was able to do the lesson, the theory, linking two or three pieces of information into a longer, single complex sentence. For example:

Jumping Jack cash: how young Mick Jagger planned his pension ...

Mick Jagger is in the Rolling Stones. He was born in London.

Mick Jagger, who was born in London, is in the Rolling Stones.

However, during the free practice session, the students reverted back to simple sentences.

Allow me to elucidate … wherever possible, I avoid working directly from the book, or using handouts (although that would save me about 80% of my dwindling energy). Instead, I look at the book, see what subjects are to be covered, and incorporate them into my blog.

Naturally, this only works with ‘top cat’ students, those who are motivated and willing to work (and I’ve noticed, telling students we will not be using the books boosts moral and energy off the chart).

Top Cat - Wikipedia
I’m not allowed to film inside my campus, so here are some top cats 🙂

To return to the case in point; the students can understand the grammar in theory but totally forget it, in practice, and Tuesday’s class afforded ample opportunity to practice. I showed a picture of a young beautiful Asian lady and a young Asian guy … here, see for yourself:

I wanted to the class to be creative, write a backstory for the two characters (the theme of the lesson was relationships), how they know each other, what are their jobs, how they get on together.

The class, which is only small, elected to work together and I was heartened to see Ms X, who normally spends the lesson playing with her phone, taking an active part and volunteering answers.

The upshot was that the beautiful Asian lady was a model, the guy a photographer and both were Japanese. As to be expected, this being a teenage class, someone (you know who you are) said they went to a hotel … but maybe so – in order to do a photo shoot.

From a teaching point of view, I was disappointed that in their speaking, they didn’t apply relative pronouns, enough adjectives or adverbs, all points that will be addressed in the next lesson … and covered in my next blog.

May a say a heartfelt THANK YOU to everyone who visits my site and scrolls through the posts.

IELTS: Complex sentences – it’s not that complicated.

24th May 2020

Portrait of a confused asian girl standing | Free Photo

Following another speaking test, I’ve noticed that my students are still speaking simple sentences and thereby losing marks, whereas with a little work, not to mention a little, or a lot, of practice, this omission can be redressed.

Therefore today’s bog, in it’s entirety, will be devoted to the forming of longer, complex sentences, altering sentence structure and general tips to improve not just speaking, but writing as well.

As you should have noticed the above two paragraphs, rather like this third one, employ several clauses, that is, parts of a sentence to give extra information without the need of a full stop, serving as examples of how this can be achieved.

You will, no doubt, experience a feeling of triumph once you have mastered this technique which, I admit, does require some new thinking and extra effort on your part but will, without a shadow of a doubt, enable you to attain the score for which you are aiming.

And now, without further ado, let’s kick off. First, a warm-up. Of today’s three highlighted expressions, which would you use for:

1 When you are certain or 100% sure about something

2 To start immediately, with no more interruptions

3 Great happiness when you have achieved or won something

Answers at end of blog

Here are some standard IELTS-type questions, followed by a typical answer and then, by way of comparison, an extended response to demonstrate improvements.

1 Tell me about your hometown 2 How often do you go online ?

3 What jobs will be important in your country in the future ?

4 Tell me about a time you received good news

An average answer, which would probably result in a middle score, around 4 – 5 would be, to take one example, (Number 2):

I go online every day because I need the internet to help me study. I use the internet to check new words in English. I go online for information for my school.

black-girl-at-laptop-378x382 - GSDM

What do you notice about this ? Firstly, what are the mistakes ?

The candidate answers the question immediately, with no introduction. This is not necessarily wrong, but a sentence leading into the response will make for a longer answer.

The second sentence is not directly relevant to the question, though it is acceptable for providing more information. I advise students to be careful, in case they start deviating from the subject.

Lastly, the third sentence just repeats what has already been said, even using the same phrase “I go online“, and then explaining the reason for using the internet NOT how often it is used.

Here’s a different way of answering.

Well, that’s interesting because I have internet access at school, at home and on my phone so I would say I’m absolutely online every day. How much time I spend online varies from day to day, but I am probably online about three hours every day, sometimes more if I have a project or if I’m playing a cool game.

See how this answer only uses two sentences , but is much superior. Let’s break down how it earns points.

Initially, we have a short introduction and the question is answered directly in the first, extended sentence.

Secondly, the first sentence includes a list of three, so this is a chance to practise speech rhythm (one, two and three) – remember, you get points by HOW you say something as well as what you say.

Thirdly, the answer uses three everyday adverbs (highlighted). ‘so‘ can also be used as an adverb, but here it is a conjunction (a word such as ‘and’, ‘but’, etc).

Additionally, the sentences employs an expression, “from day to day,” which examiners like to hear, as it shows familiarity with figurative language.

Lastly, the candidate explains what the reasons for being online, and how it affects the time spent on the internet.

Now … your turn Try to answer the same question, following this pattern.

Now … let’s move on. Question 1, my hometown.

Vietnam Student Tour, Vietnam Student Trip, Vietnam Student Holidays.

This time, I will give you facts and you arrange in an answer.

My hometown is Da Nang. Fifth largest city in Viet Nam. Is in Central Vietnam. Near historic town Hoi An. Important port. Many tourists. Has a cable car and a dragon bridge. Famous for its beach.

Dragon Bridge in Da Nang - Attraction in Da Nang, Vietnam - Justgola
Dragon Bridge at Da Nang

Thank you for letting me introduce to you my hometown which is Da Nang, one of the biggest cities in Vietnam, although it is much smaller than Ha Noi or Sai Gon. My hometown is in the middle … in central Viet Nam, I mean, sorry, and had many tourists. They come to see many things such as the Dragon Bridge, go on the cable car or for swimming. Also, Da Nang is very near many famous places such as Hoi An. As it is on the coast, my hometown is also a busy port.

Check for

Introduction

Information in first sentence

Discourse marker ‘ although

Correcting a mistake in line 3

A list of three items in lines 4 and 5

Change of sentence structure in the last line: instead of saying, “My hometown is also a busy port because it is on the coast,” I started with the end of that sentence (it is on the coast) and replaced ‘because’ with ‘as’ (though because would also be all right to use).

To practise:

Rearrange these sentences, starting with the section in italics.

The London Tube needs repairing because it is so old.

Many people have to stay home because of COVID 19

We must buy vegetables because Jenny doesn’t eat meat.

Colin is now studying in Boston because he got an 8.5 in his IELTS test.

Meet the Five Harvard Students Who Testified in the Admissions Trial

Answers at end of blog

Answers:

1 = without a shadow of a doubt

2 = without further ado

3 = feeling of triumph

Because it is so old the London Tube needs repairing.

As it is so old, the London Tube needs repairing.

As the London Tube is so old, it needs repairing (notice how the pronoun ‘it’ moves).

Due to / Because of COVID 19, many people have to stay home.

Because Jenny doesn’t eat meat, we must buy vegetables.

As he got an 8.5 in his IELTS test, Colin is now studying in Boston.

Diversity and Inclusion: Colleges with the most diverse student bodies
Keep studying

IELTS Mindset: Preparing for the speaking test.

14th May 2020

As usual, I use bold font to highlight words, expressions and idioms that students can learn and then use in their everyday speech. Remember, some expressions are only used in some situations, but an IELTS instructor will always notice an attempt to use a wider variety of English.

Những lầm tưởng về IELTS Speaking - AMERICAN STUDY

Next week, one of my IELTS classes has their speaking test therefore this blog will help, I sincerely hope, to prepare them, and enable them to achieve a commendable result.

With that in mind, tonight’s class will just be practice, practice and … more practice.

I try to relax my students by telling them that passing IELTS is easy (that normally gets their attention). I have to elaborate; IELTS is easy because they

TELL YOU WHAT THEY WANT TO HEAR

Namely, vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation and para linguistics (body language, eye contact, stress, intonation, rhythm) and fluency (the ability to speak without overlong pauses) as well as answering the question relevantly.

Let’s break that down:

Vocabulary: low-frequency words // idioms // expressions //

Structure: complex sentences employing discourse markers and clauses

Let’s kick off with complex sentences. Here’s a link to a previous blog regarding just that subject; there are a number of exercises for students to practise:

https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/04/30/ielets-mindset-complex-sentences/

Now some tips on using various expressions and phrases to introduce and close your speech. Again, this is from a previous blog (IELTS 12th May 2020):

https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/05/12/ielts-quick-fire-talking/

The above blog gives an example of answering a question about laptops, then allows students to compose their own response on subjects of their choice.

Finally, here are some expressions that can be used to ‘spice up’ a student’s talk as they are all everyday phrases though some will be UK-specific as they are part of the common culture:

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

I can take it or leave it = have no strong feelings about something.

I’m really into it = like or love something very much.

It does what it says on the tin = something that does the job, no more, no less (this is from a UK TV commercial).

Does exactly what it says on the tin - Story behind the logo

Vocabulary game:

To pracise using low-frequency words, put students in teams, giving each team a set of IELTS words (or phrases, idioms). They have a set time, maybe a minute, to use as many as they can, speaking about any subject they choose.

Some students may prefer to be given a set topic, so choose typical general subjects such as shopping, food, their city or country, free time etc.

Words and expressions are:

ubiquitous // somewhat // not my cup of tea // significant or significantly // I can take it or leave it // exhausting // challenging // miserable // having said that // I’m keen on // all in all // consequently // allow me to explain // eventually // thrilling // put up with

Vocabulary booster

Find low-frequency words for these adjectives:

boring // repetitive // tiring // interesting // relaxing

Break A Leg: What Does "Break A Leg" Mean? | Useful Example ...

IELTS: Writing correction

12th May 2020

Writing practice

Review: 'Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am' Charts Her Life Through ...

Rewrite the following texts using new vocabulary, phrasal verbs or idioms, where appropriate. Feel free to change verbs into continuous. Correct the mistakes and use better syntax (sentence structure).

Tips:

  • Use clauses to combine sentences about the same subject.
  • Use ‘however’, ‘having said that’ etc in place of ‘but’.
  • Incorporate any new language style you have learnt on the course e.g. negotiation language, polite language, and see if you can use alliteration (words beginning with the same letter).

Warm up: Here’s a short exercise. Try to rewrite using as few sentences as possible, which will entail employing complex sentences, linked by discourse markers. An example answer follows.

My friend will come to visit me. In HCM. I will show him city. In my city is many things to show him. Him like market. I show him market. And restaurants. And museums. Many museum in HCM. I hope he will likes.

Remembering The Strong Voice of VS Naipaul - Bold Outline ...

My friend will soon pay me a visit here in Ho Chi Minh City and there is such an abundance of things to see and do, for example my friends enjoys markets therefore I shall take him to several, followed by some great local food in one of the countless restaurants. Additionally, he adores museums and we are spoilt for choice here with many fascinating exhibitions.

Now … your turn.

Firstly, this is one large chunk of text, no paragraph breaks, so organise the writing.

Avoid repeating the same word or words. Use a thesaurus to search for synonyms.

I’ve started you off with two example sentences however, the rest is up to you.

My name is Tony. I am 23 years old. I am a accountant. I very much don’t like my job. It is not exciting. Because I do the same thing every day. All day. I like travel. I like Thailand. I very want to go there. At there I can eat food spicy. I like football. I don’t like baseball. Sometimes I watch on TV football. I like very much listen music. I play piano. I play recorder. My friend asked me to be in his band but his music I don’t like. He is my friend. His music is horrible. He is very bad guitar man. I live in HCM. I don’t like sometime. Now it rain every day, very heavy. We have to live with bad rain. Every day. The traffic is bad. Much motorbikes. Air very not good. I like to shopping. I buy shirt. I have many shirt but I buy more shirt because I like shirt, I have red blue green yellow shirt and black. Today I gets email. Email is from friend. I have not see friend for long time. I was surprise.

Mo Yan in 2008

My name is Tony and I am 23 years old. By profession, I’m a accountant. However,I don’t like my job very much . I do the same thing everyday so It is not that exciting.

I like travelling and I really want to visit Thailand where I can eat spicy food as well as seeing golden temples. 

Who knows … maybe if you keep writing, you will become a Noble laureate like our writers

Toni Morrison

V. S. Naipaul

Mo Yan

Bob Dylan

Why Bob Dylan Deserves His Nobel Prize - Rolling Stone

IELTS: Quick-fire talking

12th May 2020

A chance to practise IELTS-standard speech, answering questions on everyday subjects.

Speaking topics

laptops // holidays // engineering // work // travelling // study

motorbikes // family // living in your town or city //

laptops

Positive asian woman lying on floor with laptop | Free Photo

Introduction

1stpoint

2ndpoint

anecdote (personal story)

conclusion

This first example is a warm up; you will need to speak a little longer, but this introduces the main points to include.

Laptops are an incredibly useful piece of technology. They can be used for work, hobbies, music and to stay in touch with friends.

I use my laptop every day. I plan lessons and use the internet to search for lesson plans, English language games and interesting video clips to show my students.

Because I live so far from my home country, I find the internet essential. I can maintain contact with friends and family by using: Skype, Facebook, Viber, Instagram … well, there are so many social media sites.

I like Apple; I know there are very expensive, but they seem to work so well. I rarely have a problem with my computer which is great because I know nothing about IT !

There was one issue I had in Vietnam. My plug snapped and I had to buy a new cable. I eventually found a store in District 3. I had to wait 30 minutes but finally a man came with an ‘Apple’ plug … and it was less than half the UK price.

To conclude, laptops are part of my life. I use them every day for work, relaxing and chatting with friends.

Check how many adjectives and adverbs are used. Are you utilising such word types ? If not – do so !

Useful expressions

A strong 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 …

To buy time, or to show the examiner that you have a wide vocabulary but need to check the correct word:

Let me think (about it)

How can I put it … ?

What’s the word … ?

To conclude:

At the end of the day

All in all

To wrap up

Now … your turn. Either in pairs, or at home by yourself, prepare an IELTS standard presentation, using the formula above. Choose from:

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Family life
Despite high education levels, Arab women still don't have jobs
At work
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Travelling to work
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On holiday
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Studying

IELTS, Mindset: Complex sentences

30th April 2020

The correct sequence of tenses for complex sentences

Today we’ll concentrate on building longer, more interesting sentences, altering sentence structure, and applying discourse markers and relative pronouns in order to be proficient in meeting the IELTS requirements.

Let’s kick off with some basic sentences, each containing one fact.

Park So Yeon ( 박소연) - MyDramaList

Park So-yeon is from South Korea. She performed under the name ‘Soyeon’. She was in the band T-ara from 2009 – 2017.

One possibility is to make a longer, main sentence (an independent clause) then break it up with some extra but not essential information (a dependent clause):

Park So-yeon, who performed under the stage name Soyeon, was a member of the South Korean group T-ara from 2009 until they broke up in 2017.

Here, I employed a relative pronoun (‘who’) to introduce the dependent clause, and altered the sentence slightly, adding some extra words.

Another, more advanced, option, which I recommend experimenting with as it will impress the examiner, is to start with a dependent clause. Allow me to demonstrate:

Performing under the name Soyeon, the South Korean singer Park So-yeon achieved fame as a member of the band T-ara, with whom she played from 2009 until 2017.

You will, no doubt, notice that the grammar may have to change, that is altering the verb form, by which I mean transforming the simple past into present continuous.

Now, you can guess what’s coming, it’s your turn to practise. I realise that not all of you are so enamoured of T-ara and South Korean women as I am, therefore, for that express purpose, I have selected three examples and you merely have to choose the person that most interests or appeals to you:

Daniel Craig thừa nhận sẽ thủ vai điệp viên 007 lần thứ năm - Phim ...

Daniel Craig is an actor. He is most famous for playing James Bond. His wife is Rachel Weisz. She is also an actor.

Thandie Newton Net Worth | Black actresses, Beautiful celebrities ...

Thandie Newton is an English actress. She has three children. She studied at Cambridge University. She was in Mission Impossible II with Tom Cruise.

Taiwan's Tsai Ing-wen to visit US, angering Beijing - Nikkei Asian ...

Tsai Ing-wen is president of Taiwan. The official name of the country is the Republic of China. She has been president since 20th May 2016. She was the first woman to be president of ROC Taiwan.

Next stage is to introduce some information and then offer up an alternate view, that is to say, a critical response which can be achieved by the use of appropriate discourse markers.

Let’s focus on the most recent Noble prize laureate ( Literature):

Handke in 2006

Peter Handke is an Austrian writer. His first novel was published in 1966. The English title is ‘The Hornets’. Handke was critical of the Noble Prize. In 2014, he called for the award to be abolished. Many people were critical of Hendke winning because he had supported the Serbia cause in the breakup of Yugoslavia.

There is a lot of information here, some purely factual (dates, nationality) some regarding the reaction to the award.

The Austrian writer Peter Hendke, whose first novel ‘The Hornets’ was published in 1966, was awarded the Noble laureate in 2019 despite his previous comments calling for the abolition of the award. Furthermore, there was a lot of criticism surrounded the announcement due to Hendke’s support of the Serbians during the Yugoslavian war.

Alternately:

Although there was a lot of negative critical reaction, Peter Hendke, an Austrian writer whose first book was published in 1966, received the Noble Prize for Literature in 2019 in spite of the fact that he had previously called for the award to be abolished. The writer, whose first book was titled ‘The Hornets’, had additionally expressed views supportive of Serbia which caused a backlash once the winner of the award was announced.

Your Turn:

Either write about somebody famous, somebody you admire or write something about yourself, making sure to include something positive and negative.

Next time, we can work on introductions, how to respond to IELTS questions by leading into the answer as opposed to simply answering directly.

T-ARA Comeback Cancelled! - Soyeon And Boram Leave The Group But ...

IELTS: Writing practice. Yoga, health & well-being

25th April 2020

Asian girl does yoga on gym carpet. lotus pose. | Premium Photo

I know that yoga and exercise are popular activities among my students, so let’s use this topic for some sentence building.

IELTS candidates will be expected to speak for two minutes on a given subject, then engage in a dialogue with the examiner.

The candidate will feel more confident with an arsenal of phrases, expressions, idioms, discourse markers, and an impressive array of ‘low-frequency vocabulary‘ (big words).

The candidate, additionally, has to employ complex sentences and well-structured responses in order to boost their score.

As with music, practice is the key:

High Quality Stock Photos of "monk tai chi"

I set a test for one of my IELTS students, Ms Nguyen. As a warm up, I asked her to tell me about a place she wanted to visit, so this was similar to an IELTS speaking test, Part 1. Following that, I asked her to prepare a Part 2-style answer about a hobby which prompted her to relate her experiences regarding yoga.

To start, we went over some phrases and sentence structure. Ms Nguyen was recovering from a slight injury: how could she phrase this …

I’m not in any pain, but I’m only about 70% recovered.

I’m not in any pain, although I’m only about 70% recovered.

Although I’m not in any pain, I’m only about 70% recovered.

Although I’m only about 70% recovered, I’m not in any pain.

Here, we replaced ‘but’ with ‘although’, and then altered the word order.

Which sentence do you prefer ?

Exercise: Rearrange this basic sentence (sample answers at end of blog)

I’ve been to South Korea but I haven’t been to Japan

Part 1 exercise: tell me about a place you’d like to visit.

{Low-frequency words & expressions: extraordinary, outstanding nature, notwithstanding}

Japan:

16 Japan experiences every traveler should enjoy | CNN Travel

I like the culture, by which I mean sophisticated cuisine, outstanding nature and kind-hearted people. Good points notwithstanding, I am not so enamoured on the working culture which seems to be highly stressful especially compared to the norm in Vietnam.

Although I really like Japan, I am currently undecided as to whether to study there or not. On the plus side, the subject, sustainability, fits in with their life ethos. Additionally, the fee is lower for international students and, furthermore we will be supported by extra classes. Despite these benefits, I have some serious concerns over issues such as sexism as well as the constant pressure which leads to a high rate of suicide.

POINTS TO CONSIDER:

Do you see how Ms Nguyen gave three examples in her opening sentence, and used the adjective + noun structure (‘outstanding nature’ etc).

Use of adverbs (‘highly’, ‘currently’).

Low-frequency words (‘enamoured of’, ‘sophisticated’, ‘notwithstanding’).

Discourse markers (‘despite’, ‘although’, ‘additionally’).

Moreover, see how Ms Nguyen utilises complex sentences. Keep these in mind as you read her second exercise:

Part 2 exercise: tell me about a hobby or activity you enjoy.

{I gave Ms Nguyen some time to prepare, and allowed her to use a thesaurus to look up better words. Having said that, there are still some little grammar mistakes; can you spot any ? Don’t worry, a few mistakes are to be expected.}

Yoga

Sống tích cực mùa Covid- 19: Sao Việt tập gym, yoga, chăm sóc da ...

Every yoga student has individual needs and abilities therefore the instructor will suggest a method suitable to our needs and requirements. This including advise to prevent us from harming ourselves or pushing our bodies too far.

To be specific, on Tuesday we shall concentrate on stretching our shoulders, neck and spine . We shall do this by adopting positions designed to facilitate this objective. Initially, I felt some soreness because it was an unnatural position. However, there are various levels and when one has mastered the first, they can progress, move on to the next.

If I have a great, productive class, I feel relaxed, calm and refreshed. Some people may overemphasis the benefits of yoga but for me, it isn’t that complicated. I find it a pleasing way to release stress from work and to keep myself active.

Otherwise, I tend to just stay at home socialising with my family, then watching my favourite documentary shows.

Yoga, despite being seen as a very restful and gentle past time, can actually be very dangerous including concussions, injuries and broken bones. Having said that, I know my limits and keep within those parameters.

In conclusion, yoga is my favourite activity as it not only helps my body to reduce stress and keep healthy, but also it is a fun way to occupy my free time and bond socially with my colleagues.

SAMPLE ANSWERS:

Although I’ve been to South Korea, I’ve yet to visit Japan.

I, so far, haven’t been to Japan, although I once travelled to South Korea.

I visited South Korea although I haven’t been to Japan.

Ms Nguyen’s mistake: in the first paragraph, she uses include in the continuous form, not the present simple (“This including advise,” instead of ‘this includes advise.’)

IELTS: Vocabulary activities

24 April 2020

Quiz Night – Call My Bluff

BBC Two - Call My Bluff

This is based on an old British TV show. A team (ideally of three) will be given a word – in the first example, it will be ‘jeopardy’. Each member reads out a definition; depending on the ability of the students, they may be able to embellish, and use intonation to add colour to their presentations. They may also use examples such as ‘Jeopardy, if you have seen a Vietnam war film, you will remember seeing a small, open-top green car. They were used all over Vietnam. These are called, jeopardies. One day, I hope to drive a jeopardy.’

The teacher can adapt this principle to review recent vocabulary.

Team A

Jeopardy

1 In danger, danger of losing or failing

2 A small car used by the army

3 A bird in Australia that can speak fluent English

Contestants

1 People who order food in a restaurant but run away without paying

2 Large vehicles for carrying heavy goods 

3 People who enter a competition, or take part.

Maximum

1 A lady with more than six children

2 The most amount of something

3 A type of sports outfit used in cycling

In the form of

1 Looking like something, in the shape of something

2 Something made of glass or metal

3 Paperwork needed to get a US visa

Team B

Reduce

1 To do something again

2 To make less of something

3 To use glass, plastic, paper again and again

Actual

1 Real, a fact

2 A person who works in theatre or cinema

3 A person who works with a company’s money and finances

Smart

1 A painting of a happy person

2 Very clever or intelligent

3 A small cake made in the UK

except the last one

1 Only the last one

2 Everyone but not the last one

3 To have to start a game over again

Internet Survey

This activity is designed to get the students talking to each other, and encouraging them to elicit more information from their classmates. 

7 tips to prepare Students & Graduates for an online video ...

The questions could be copied onto a sheet, printed out then distributed to the class, so they can walk around and talk to as many people as feasible.

Before the activity, board some key phrases to help:

What did you buy online, which website did you use, how long did it take to arrive ?

Were you happy with the purchase ? Why or why not ?

What websites would you recommend for university work or borrowing books ?

Can you trust Wikipedia …?

Question // Name // Answer

How often do you go online ?
Do you use the internet for work and/or study ? How ?
What social media sites do you use regularly ? How often ?
Have you ever bought or sold anything online ?
What is good about the internet ? What is the worst ?

Desert survival

Lost in the Desert | From the sand dunes of Mui Ne, Vietnam ...

I learnt this at International House, London, as part of the CELTA course, and I use it frequently.

The concept is to introduce phrases and expressions by which students can exchange opinions. Students are placed in small groups and have to decide upon five items. After, they must discuss with other groups their choices. If there are any differences in opinion, the teams must negotiate until the whole class agrees on five items.

First, go through the items, then drill the negotiation phrases.

You need to select five items below to help you survive in the desert.

Factors to consider:

food, drink, heat, cold, injuries, attracting attention, wildlife

First aid kit // matches // rope // knife // compass 

cigarettes // blankets // barrel of water

flare gun // torch

magnifying glass // Beatles CD // make-up set // dried food 

English grammar study book

Angry Birds game // air rifle // sun block

Negotiation language

I see your point but … that’s interesting, however …

I’m not sure about that //  I can’t go along with that 

I don’t feel that is entirely right // I fail to see the merits of …

I respectfully disagree // I find your contention somewhat flawed

Your case (argument) is not without value, but …

Have you fully considered the implications of your decision ?

IELTS (Mindset): Why do you like the film ?

6th April 2020

A typical IELTS question could be:

Talk about a film you like. Why do you like it, and what is the story ?

The 15 Most Moving Film Endings in Cinema History | Taste Of ...
Cinema Paradiso 1988 Italy

This blog will serve as a model to IELTS students to help with their speaking and writing skills.

IELTS has lots of ‘open’ questions, to enable the student to speak freely on subjects about which they feel comfortable.

In my last online lesson, I mentioned a film that I though a student would like, as she had chosen to speak about Scarlett Johannsson.

Loạt vai diễn làm nên tên tuổi Scarlett Johansson - VnExpress Giải Trí

The film in question is ‘Lost In Translation‘. Here is a little piece about the film.

Lost in Translation (2003)
An iconic shot from the opening of the film

NOTE:

Short introduction – do not answer the question immediately

Organised structure – one point per paragraph

A change of attitude – a critical view

Short conclusion

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Low-frequency words

Complex sentences – combining two or more bits of information in the same sentence.

Discourse markers – words to link ideas together

Adverbs and less common adjectives

So, without further ado, the question:

Talk about a film you like. Why do you like it, and what is the story ?

Lost In Translation - Tiếng thở dài của những tâm hồn lạc lối

INTRODUCTION – talk about cinema or films in general DON’T immediately talk about your favourite film.

Watching films and going to the cinema is one of my passions, so choosing just one film is going to be terribly difficult, not to say impossible. However, if I have to select one film, it would be ‘Lost in Translation’, with Scarlett Johannsson.

First paragraph. Information about the film and the main charcters.

The film, directed by Sophia Coppola, daughter of Francis Ford Coppola, was made in 2003, and takes place in Tokyo. A young, newly-married girl, named Charlotte, is alone in her hotel because her husband is constantly out working. Staying at the same hotel is a middle-aged, world-weary American actor, Bob Harris, in Japan to make a commercial for Japanese whiskey.

Second paragraph. The plot – what happens … and why.

Both characters appear to be suffering from culture shock and seem afraid to leave the security of the hotel. For example, despite seeming to be impressed by all the neon and energy of the city, Bob spends his night in the hotel bar with other tourists, while Charlotte reads and listens to music in her room.

Third paragraph. Develop the plot.

They meet in the hotel where age difference notwithstanding, they seem to get on extremely well, extremely quickly. Furthermore, they give each other energy and courage to venture outside. We learn that Bob is less than happy in his current life, while it becomes apparent that Charlotte is doubting her own marriage. At one point it look like they will get together. However, Bob decides to go back to the USA, leaving Charlotte, but not before they share an embrace on the street, in which Bob whispers something in her ear. We, that is the audience, do not get to hear what he said; we have to speculate.

Fourth paragraph: Something negative for balance.

Some people could be irritated that the final words are a mystery, other could be severely disappointed by this love story that never quite happens. The two protagonists return to their lives which will, possible, be unfulfilling. This negativity is like a black cloud on an otherwise bright, sunny day.

Conclusion: A short summary.

‘Lost in Translation’ is described as a romantic-comedy-drama. The characters are totally believable and likeable, while, technically, the cinematography is stunning. Furthermore, in my view, it is a charming, heart-warming, and life-affirming movie.

35mm Contest #22] Lost In Translation (2003) Cho Thời Gian Ngơi ...

IELTS 4 – 5 (Mindset). Implementing precautions

25th March 2020

Life goes on as normal … or does it, indeed can it, should it ? The Scottish MP and First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, addressed the issue in a recent press conference. In her view, we all have to change our lifestyles and accept that there is a pandemic sweeping the globe.

Image result for nicola sturgeon

The measures, including closing down restaurants and cinemas, are intended to stop the spread of Covid 19. The virus can easily spread in big cities such as New York, Tokyo and London.

Different countries have imposed different restrictions, and I’d like to focus on Vietnam where, as of 14.00 today, the 25th March, there are 134 reported cases but no fatalities. We shall examine what steps the Vietnamese government has taken, after a quick revision.

Remember, IELTS students have to be able to use these low-frequency words in order to pass the exam.

isolate // implement // significant // rely //

precautions // quarantine // regulations

Students are given three minutes to write three sentences using three of these words.

Now, once these words roll off the tongues of the students, we can move on; actions taken by the Vietnamese authorities.

Image result for vietnam coronavirus

Latest Updates from the Vietnam- Briefing.com website

What do you think about these measures ?

To what extent do you agree with them and why ?

As a resident of Sai Gon, do these measures make you feel more secure, or more scared ?

  • As of March 25, Vietnam’s Ministry of Health confirmed a total of 134 cases of COVID-19. The latest cases were all linked to international flights. 19 cases were announced on March 22 itself – the biggest single day total.
  • Ho Chi Minh City authorities have ordered the closure of all restaurants (with a capacity of 30 people or more), gyms, beauty salons, barbershops from March 24 to March 31.
  • Vietnam has stopped exporting rice from March 24 to ensure national food security.
  • All international airlines have been asked to stop transporting overseas Vietnamese to Tan Son Nhat Airport in Ho Chi Minh City from March 25 to March 31 to prevent overcrowding at quarantine facilities.
  • Vietnam has suspended the entry of all foreigners from March 22 to limit the spread of COVID-19. The measure will not apply to diplomats and officials as per Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc. The Prime Minister also ordered the suspension of all international flights, though it’s unclear exactly when this will take effect.
  • The Health Ministry has advised all arrivals from March 1 to self-isolate at home if they have not been quarantined in a centralized zone in the past 14 days.
  • Vietnam and Cambodia have closed their borders from March 20 to further prevent the spread of the epidemic. The measures do not apply to official and diplomatic passports. 
  • The Vietnamese government is expected to unveil a credit package of US$10.8 billion and a fiscal package of US$1.3 billion in March for businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

Read more here: https://www.vietnam-briefing.com/news/vietnam-business-operations-and-the-coronavirus-updates.html/

Image result for vietnam coronavirus

The government also made an educational video. You can watch it here: https://observers.france24.com/en/20200306-government-clip-inspires-coronavirus-safety-dance-challenge-vietnam

Image result for vietnam coronavirus