I like to play guitar // I love to listen to music //
I + like + verb+ing + object: I love playing guitar
NEVER – I like to listening to music
Tell me about yourself:
At university, my major was accounting and I have worked for 8 years.
Boy = son Girl = daughter.
I have one son, who is 3 and one daughter who is 1.
My manager is a lady (or woman) and she is professional, very friendly and nice. She has short black hair and an oval-shaped face. Usually, she wears a short black dress. My manager, whose name is Dung, always helps and supports me.
Pho is the traditional food of VN. It is soup with noodles, meat (beef, chicken), vegetables and herbs. It can be spicy if we add chilis. It comes with fresh herbs, vegetables and lime.
New idiom: bear with me= please wait a very short time.
My friend is a 29 year-old man. He has an oval-shaped face and short black hair. He is not very tall, he is quite short. However, he is very friendly and funny.
Adjectives– size then colour.
He has a large black bag. She plays a big brown guitar
adverbs– very, (a lot) quite (a little)
London is very expensive. Bangkok is quite cheap
exterior / interior = outside / inside
I went on holiday to Singapore with my friend. We went to a shopping mall and visited some museums and enjoyed the food. Seafood at Singapore is very cheap compared to Viet Nam and it was very delicious. I bought some clothes and shoes for my baby. We stayed for four days and the flight took two hours. I will return and revisit the shopping mall.
Two friends are in a coffee shop
Cath This is a great cup of coffee ! Ok, what shall we do next ?
Di I have to run to the bank. I need to deposit some money.
Cath Good idea, I wanted to use an ATM. I also need to buy some dollars.
Di You can check the exchange rate at my bank. It’s not far, we can walk.
Quick questions: How was your weekend ?
My weekend was quite fun.
How about (tell me about) the evening ?
We watched TV and listened to some music. I like V-Pop
I like K-pop very much OR I really like K-pop.
Where is the bank? Where’s the bank ?
How do I get to the park?
Is there an ATM nearby ?
Turn left or turn right
keep going until you …..
take the second turning on your left
cross the road / street by the ….
go as far as the …… then ….
It’s opposite the …
We are at the bus station and we need coffee !
Is there a coffee shop nearby ?
Yes, turn left then go straight and keep going and it’s on your left.
Excuse me, where is the hospital, please ?
Yes, go straight and then turn left on second avenue keep going straight , the hospital is opposite the park.
Answer these two questions:
I have finished work at school. I need to go to the police station but I don’t know the area.
Xin loi, sorry, I don’t speak Vietnamese. I must go to the police station but I don’t know this area.
so / very / extremely / incredibly
It is hot = it is so hot !
What did you do ? Past tense
On Saturday I drank beer and ate seafood for example, I had shrimp (prawn), octopus, fish, squid. We had lots of fun. Some people drank about six beers but I only drank a little.
Travelling to Thailand
In Thailand, the food is extremely hot (spicy) because they use a lot of chilis.
My Sony camera is very good (excellent) because the picture quality and colours are very clear.
The lens can zoom in 50 metres. The camera was reasonably-priced however, if you buy more lenses, the price increases.
I’m going to take pictures NOT I’m going to taking pictures
This was a one – to – one lesson for a lady about to retire and move from Vietnam to Boston, USA. The assigned book work was about a young man climbing mountains and hang-gliding; I felt this was more appropriate to my student’s needs.
Deciding what to buy
You are on a shopping trip to the USA
Which of these items would you buy ? Which appeal to you ? Which hold no interest ?
That looks wonderful // I need to try it (them) on first // That’s good quality
No, that’s a rip off (too expensive) // That’s not my style // That really suits me
You must be joking ! // Brilliant ! // Wrap it up ! // Do you take credit cards ?
This lesson aims to introduce students to a wider range of vocabulary, phrases and expressions, and then gives them an opportunity to role play and act out the language.
A plan such as this only works with motivated students, and can be very fun for both learners and the teacher.
Print outs or photos of various consumer items will enhance the lesson, but first:
Which shops do you like and why ?
Use these words and phrases to help you write your answer:
big, small, fresh, clean, cheap, expensive, near my house, convenient
range of choice, quality, cost, location, crowded
store layout (what does it look like ? Is it easy to find things ?)
staff helpfulness: average (normal), exceptional, non-existant !
value for money (good quality at a good price)
bargains (good quality and great price)
This is the practice of trying to get a better or lower price for an item. This doesn’t happen in shops, which have a fixed price, but is common, indeed even expected, in markets, depending on the location and culture. Be careful – too much haggling can upset the trader.
Expressions: I wasn’t born yesterday / you’re having a laugh !
[I will pre-teach these expressions in a class, but online students will have to look them up. If you ever need help, just leave a message]
Make a conversation:
One is a market-trader, the other a customer.
You can choose the item(s): watch, phone, T-shirt, food etc.
The language is informal, intonation can be strong but still be polite.
Here, the trader sells ‘genuine fake’ sunglasses
Customer: How much are these sunglasses, please ?
Trader: Oh, those are genuine Gucci, made in France. I can let you have for the special price.
Customer: Gucci … really ?
Trader: Absolutely, look … it says ‘Guchi’ here. Try them on … they are perfect for you.
Customer: Hhhmmmm, ‘Guchi’ … OK, how much are they ?
Trader: To you, my first customer, special price. Only $50
Customer: Are you having a laugh ! I’ll give you $5 tops, no more.
Trader: These are genuine Gucci … OK, OK, just for you, $45. They come from France.
Customer: Gucci are ITALIAN ! What a rip-off. I’m out of here.
With a larger class, have three students selling the same type of item but in different setting, for example:
a department store,
a shop having a sale
and a street market
To make it more realistic, the students have to alter their vocabulary to suit the store, that is, polite standard English for the department store, everyday English for the shop and more slang and idioms for the street market.
The items could include:
Set your own prices to reflect the realities of where you live.
Christmas (in UK and Germany) / food expressions and dialogue
Cinema (grammar: must or have to)
Coffee in Sai Gon
Collocations (put, get)
Directions, giving and asking
Expressions and practice
Karaoke (noise pollution)
Listening Practice: 5 weird things Vietnamese do // making a video
Music and vocabulary (Paul McCartney / Talking Heads)
Poland: salt mine, speaking practice, beer guide, travel guide.
Shopping (buying presents, Black Friday)
Describe these German Christmas pictures
At Christmas we have decorations, Christmas cards and an excessive amount of food !
We have a Christmas tree. The tree is decorated with fairy lights and bells and also there are presents on the floor around the tree. In the west, at the top of the tree, traditionally there is an angel.
How many free days do you have or do you have to work ?
What do you think of the food ? Listen out for adjectives and adverbs.
Food expressions and dialogue
It’s not to my taste = I don’t like it
It’s a little spicy for my palate
I find it somewhat bland
I’ll try anything once
I like my meat rare / medium / well done
I’m vegetarian / vegan
Mick Fancy eating out at lunch ? (Fancy – do you like / want to)
Jack Great idea. What do you have in mind ? (What is your idea / plan ?)
Mick Wanna try that new Indian place ? 10% off promotion this week.
Jack Sounds cool but I’m not into Indian food. Too spicy for my palate. (don’t like)
Mick I could go for some Korean. Sink my teeth into some juicy rare steak !
Jack I prefer my meat well done. Get a side order of kimchi too.
Mick I’ll pass; it’s not to my taste. Too much garlic.
I prefer /choice \ choose /my taste / not my taste / trailer / concession stand /
all-star cast / director / film studio / controversial / family film / book online
What’s on at the cinema ? What’s playing this week ? Not my cup of tea.
What types of film can you name ?
Horror Stories // about people’s lives and emotions
Biopic //Space films, or films set inthe future
Romance Films // about fighting and soldiers
Comedy // Loud, exciting films with explosions and fast cars
Western // Stories about real famous people
Sci-fi // True stories with real people, not actors
Drama // Stories about police or spies or crime
Animation (Anime) // Scary films about ghosts or monsters
Musical // A film about cowboys, set in USA
Documentary //A cartoon, illustrated film
War // Love stories
Thriller // Funny films
Action // Stories with singing and dancing
Look at a cinema listing. Discuss what is on this week, what is playing.
Which films (if any) appeal to you ?
must or have to / don’t have to or mustn’t ?
have to = other people tell you // must = your decision
don’t have to = not necessary // mustn’t = is forbidden
You have to have a degree in order to be an engineer
I must stop eating at Lotteria !
You don’t have to bring any beer to the party.
You mustn’t run a red light or use your mobile phone on your motorbike.
The new James Bond film may be sold out. We ______ buy tickets NOW !
I hate comedies ! Do I _____ go ?
You _______ eat too much popcorn; it’s bad for you.
You ________to be over 18 to see this film
You don’t ____ bring your passport to get intoa cinema in Viet Nam.
Coffee in Sai Gon
Describe this picture; use adjectives and opinions.
Highlands Coffee has great coffee, air-con and free wifi. Having said that, the service is a little slow, there are no waiters and the cost is unbelievably expensive !
Vietnam is famous for coffee; coffee shops are ubiquitous. In fact, there are so many, it’s hard to see (difficult to understand) how they stay in business let alone turn a profit.
Be that as it may, let’s use this as a learning opportunity. To practice making longer sentences, and as a warm up exercise, the students can ask each other, “Where do you go for coffee ?”
Don’t answer the question directly and immediately; Begin with a short introduction:
Sai Gon has so many coffee shops, some are cheap while others can be quite expensive although they have a wide range of delicious coffee. Personally, I like going to …
How MUCH do you like it (adverbs) ?
What kind of coffee (adjectives) ?
What do you think about this ? (opinions)
WHY do you like it (give reasons)
Interesting words, phrases, idioms
Personally, I like Tap Coffee which is an independent shop where I live. I enjoy going there so much because the owner is very friendly and tries to speak English with me. There isn’t a lot of choice, so I order cappuccino with hot, fresh milk. In my opinion, it is good value and tastes delicious. What I like about the shop is the free wifi, the comfortable chairs and the atmosphere. Furthermore, it is usually very quiet and it therefore a good place to read. I love to put my feet up, kick back and sip my damn fine coffee.
Before the exercise, elicit and board as many relevant words and phrases as required. The students have a discourse marker list, so I could insist that they use certain words (moreover, therefore, consequently etc). Additionally, I’ll need to explain vernacular phrases such as ‘kick back’ and ‘put my feet up’.
IF a student doesn’t like coffee, then they can say where they go and what they drink. IF they don’t go anywhere or like anything (yes, I have had that in a class), then they can explain WHY NOT!
Key vocabulary: ambience // aroma //atmosphere
In a list of three, use one comma and a linking word (and):
The service is a little slow, there are no waiters and the cost is unbelievably expensive !
In a list of two, just use a linking word (and):
Mega Mart has amazing choice and is good value for money.
How to make Vietnamese coffee
Tell me: what do I need ? What type of coffee is best ? Where can I buy it ?
New verbs: pour / stir / fill up /
Make a long, fluent presentation. Useful words or expressions:
Firstly / afterwards / and then / following that /
don’t forget to … / you can always ….
lastly / finally / at the very end …
In your experience, what coffee is best ? Trang Nguyen, Highlands or Milano ?
The man is: funny / amusing / weird / strange / entertaining / has a screw loose
His dancing is: highly unusual / very comical / somewhat crazy / charming
Salt Mine near Krakow, Poland
14 miles from Krakow in South Poland is this deep salt mine. Everything here has been hand-carved from blocks of salt. The mine has nine levels with over 300km of tunnels. Part of the mine is open to visitors. There are 22 galleries from 64 metres to 135 metres underground. Guided tours take about two hours.
There is a chapel here measuring 54 m by 18m and 12 m high. It took two men over thirty years to build.
There is also an underground lake, and musicians playing brass instruments.
Pope John Paul and Bill Clinton are some of the famous visitors.
Speaking Practice: Three friends are planning where to go on holiday.
Pete Any suggestions ? I’d really like to go to Norway. They have some great sights.
Burt Yeah, I agree, but the weather could be an issue. I hate the cold.
Doug The scenery is amazing, true. However, it’s gonna be incredibly expensive.
Pete I found a tour; it consists of flights, hotels, boat trips and sightseeing.
Burt I’ve heard Norway is terribly expensive. If we go to Europe, I’d prefer Poland.
Doug Sounds good. Great architecture, lots to see and do, and brilliant beer.
Pete Perfect. Let me look up some info on Google … look at this !
Burt That’s so majestic. I’d say we forget Norway and head for Poland
Doug I’d love to see the salt mine, amazingly unique. It’s a UNESCO sight.
Speaking Practice: Three friends are discussing their holiday.
Doug This bed and breakfast has a good reputation, as well as being central.
Pete Good point. We don’t want to be in the suburbs, waste time, travelling.
Burt Yeah, keep it simple: good location, good price. Shall we book ?
Doug Go for it ! Wait … damn internet, so slow. Oh, we’ve encountered a glitch.
Pete It’s taking it’s time ! Look, we’re connected. Better be quick.
Burt OK, let me see … three beds for five nights. Arrival date … enter … done !
Doug Poland, here we come ! This is no ordinary trip. Look at these churches
Pete Absolutely majestic ! Maybe we’ll keep going back, every year.
Burt Well, I’d also love to visit Austria, Prague, Barcelona … everywhere !
Speaking Practice: Three friends are in Krakow.
Doug Man, this place is really buzzing. What shall we do now ?
Burt We could head towards the Palace, maybe grab some food on the way.
Pete Yeah, I’m up for that. Could use some coffee, as well. Either of you peckish ?
Doug Sure, I’m always hungry. Do you fancy going on the booze cruise ?
Burt How much is it gonna cost ?
Pete Surprisingly cheap. But I’m not sure, It’s not really my cup of tea.
Doug Fair enough. Maybe we’ll just chill out later in the old quarter. A beer or two.
Burt Or twenty. We should get a move on;the Palace closes at five.
Pete Take it easy. Let’s hit the Palace tomorrow early. It’s now beer o’clock !
See Barcelona play // Attend a play at a London theatre
OR add your own ideas
Where would you go ? What would you do ? What would you buy ?
Activity: Devil’s advocate.
This is to develop argument skills, how to politely disagree with someone.
Example: one student wants to buy a beautiful, luxurious Rolex watch. It really is an outstanding timepiece:
Without doubt, this is a luxury item. The pros …
It is gorgeous and so elegant. I will feel so special wearing it. People will admire and look up to me. They will think I am wealthy and have a great career. I will attract many cute women (or handsome men, whatever !). I may feel superior to other people who only have cheap watches or nasty fake knock-offs – like Thay Paul 🙂
Now play Devil’s advocate. Say what are the cons of owning such an item. Firstly, agree with the first student – it is without question a luxury item. Having said that …
It will attract attention … but maybe from thieves or pickpockets. It is a lot of money, maybe an obscene amount of money when so many people are poor. Can you justify living in a Socialist country and owning such a materialistic item ? Will it make you arrogant ? Will you think you are better than other people BECAUSE of a thing ? Finally … what does it DO ? Fundamentally, it tells the time. My fake Rolex will tell the same time … but it cost $20 NOT $ 5 000 !
Now students’ turn. Similar concept but this time, the latest iPhone:
The iphone 11 (woooooowwwwwwww !)
One student wants to buy it, the other must give reasons why it is not such a good idea.
Useful phrases: a waste of money / not necessary // a fashion accessory // you can’t afford it //
Role play game:
Three students will act out working in a department store, a shop with a sale on, and a street market. Other students have a set budget (say £100) and have to buy three items.
They can practice with the following language:
How much is this, please ? // Could you bring the price down for cash ? // Do you take plastic (credit cards) ? // If I smile, can you take off 10% ?
Wow, that’s a bargain ! // Sorry, that’s too much // Is that your best price ?
I’ll take it ! // Wrap it up ! // Let me think about it and come back // Sorry, that’s too much.
NOW – to make it more animated – the people working in the shops will no doubt be using different varieties of English. Let’s see if the students can alter their voices to portray an upper-class, well-spoken salesperson; a basic shop worker and a working-class street trader. I (old ham actor that I am) shall demonstrate. Yes, it’s not a conventional lesson but maybe the students will appreciate something different (even if the management don’t).
To end, I really want the students to gain confidence in speaking, so a lot of talking in small groups. I have various talking points they can discuss, and once they feel relaxed, we can play:
Just a Minute: students are given an open subject and must speak for one minute without deviation, hesitation or repetition. Other students time them and judge their performance.
Language review: students must give the correct word to a definition pertaining to tonight’s theme.
And then … take care, see you next week, later, dude !
The class will focus on speaking, pronunciation and present simple/continuous grammar. I aim to get the students speaking as much as possible with as many different people as possible. I intend to kick off with a warm-up exercise, something light while late students arrive.
I’ll show some new compound nouns to do with shopping
After defining, and demonstrating the pronunciation, I will ask the students to match with the following photos:
And after some binge or impulse shopping, this could be the reaction:
To encourage students to speak, I’ll ask them what they think is happening in the photos, then elicit more and more information. Describe how people look, what they are doing (to link with the present continuous grammar), why they are doing it and how they feel about the types of shopping.
This can be an activity for the whole class to join in, relax the students and let them feel confident to shout out answers. We’ll then turn to working in pairs. I’ll show four slides and ask the pairs to tell me the story:
I’ll ask two or three pairs, but the basic story is quite straightforward. To make it more relevant to IELTS, we’ll see how we can develop a basic sentence into a more elaborate, interesting one, using adjectives and adverbs.
Many students, when describing a photo, will use pronouns – “She is asleep.” This should be replaced by naming the subject, (a girl) then giving more information (age, clothes, surroundings, appearance etc) and by employing discourse markers to link the ideas into longer, IELTS-friendly sentences.
An example would be: A young girl with long, brown hair is sleeping at her school desk. She appears to be a public school student due to her uniform of white blouse and blue skirt. Furthermore, she sits in an old chair with a thin wooden desk, typical of schools. Additionally, she has a black ribbon in her hair but her face is covered by her arms. It can clearly be seen that other students are also finding it hard to stay awake.
After this activity, we’ll move onto an IELTS-style speaking test. In pairs, preferably new couples, they can act out a Part One test. Here, the examiner will spend four to five minutes asking basic questions of the student, subjects such as where are you from, interests, job, studies, family etc. However, these are just leading questions, there is no interaction.
The examiner will be looking for answers that are relevant, neither too short nor too long, use correct grammar, employ good vocabulary and are given in well-structured sentences.
After this, it’ll be a case of ‘hitting the books‘. Students need to realise that in many cases, a teacher’s hands are tied – we have to teach certain pages or subjects and it can’t always be entertaining or wildly interesting … but we can try. One reason why teaching is so exhausting is that the class depends on the energy radiating from the teacher (who may well feel under par) even when we are confronted by bored faces, unmotivated students, loud yawns, mournful sighs and obsessive, repetitive, pleading looks at the clock … which never seems to move.
To end, I may try a ‘Family Fortunes’ (FF) game or eyewitness. I’ll show two slides of faces, give them two minutes then ask them to describe what they have seen, as if giving a report to the police. It’s interesting to see what students find as important. It can also be fun to use a famous person in the ‘line up’; in Vietnam, I use the singer / TV personality Hari Won.
At the end of the lesson, the students should have learnt: new vocabulary, which words are stressed in normal conversation, should feel comfortable using present simple or continuous … and have spent most of the lesson speaking and listening to each other.