IELTS, Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Warm up conversation starters

9th October 2020

Sometimes students arrive at class after a long day, bereft of energy and motivation. In such situations, it’s best to hit the ground running, get them talking and ready for a lesson. This needs to be done before they pull out their mobiles and start concentrating on their cyberlife … after which time, they are lost to reality.

adults-casual-cellphone-1413653 - Study Finds

Therefore, before they can hit that ‘Post’ button, pair them up and make them ask each other various questions, demanding that the answers be as complex as possible, incorporating big words (‘Low-Frequency Words’), discourse markers and relative pronouns, along with appropriate expressions.

Example: Where would you most like to visit ?

Bad answer: Nowhere. Bad answer: New York.

Better answer:

Introduce your answer THEN state the location THEN explain why.

Ah, that’s an interesting question because I really need a holiday. However travelling now is not a good idea because of the COVID 19 which is an extremely serious pandemic. So, I have to think about after, when it is safe to go on holiday.

I have always wanted to visit Singapore, because it looks so clean and modern and, not forgetting, so many shopping malls. I love shopping, it is my passion. I would buy so many things such as clothes, makeup and presents for my family.

IELTS students should be able to add a number of idiomatic language to really spice up their presentation. I would expect to hear:

cost(s) an arm and a leg / prices (can be \ are) sky high / mouth-watering / world famous / ubiquitous / pristine / that’s a bit of a sore point (because we CAN’T travel) / such a wide array / shop till (I \ you) drop / overwhelming / spoilt for choice / retail therapy

Cheap Shopping Place in Singapore - Buy Souvenirs in the Bugis Street Area
Remember … there are some affordable shopping areas in Singapore although they tend to be away from the city centre but well worth a visit.

NOW … your turn

Questionnaire / Discussion

What kind of music do you like ? (do you play or listen ?)

Can you name any plays by Shakespeare ? (if not what writer do you like ?)

What time do you usually get up ? (weekdays and weekends)

How do you relax ? (do you have time or do you study, have family, work overtime ?)

Can you play a musical instrument ? (would you like to ? Why ?)

What skill(s) would you like to acquire ? (be creative here – what stops you learning ?)

What is the best thing about Sai Gon ? (or YOUR city)

However, this is not a one-way street. The person asking is expected to make small talk, to elicit – to encourage – the speaker to open up and expand on their answers.

Use small talk phrases such as:

Really ? That’s interesting // Tell me more // Why do you say that ? // Oh, me too // What do (did) you like best // Where is that (exactly) ? // I’ve heard about that // I haven’t heard about that, can you explain // Why do you say that ? // Oh, I get it // I’m not sure I follow.

And if your partner is stonewalling you (not talking), here’s a great idiom:

IDIOM OF THE WEEK: Cat Got Your Tongue... - Cairns Language Centre |  Facebook

IELTS, Theme: Shopping

5th August 2020

A compilation of shopping activities to promote longer sentences, idiomatic language and fluency.

Exercise 1: compound nouns

Exercise 2: devil’s advocate

Exercise 3: role-play

Exercise 4: coffee in Saigon

Exercise 1: compound nouns to do with shopping

window shopping

binge shopping

bulk shopping

impulse shopping

dumpster diving

Match the compound noun with the photos:

Did the lady go out to buy this top or did she decide only when she was in the store ?

Vocabulary:

Prices are sky-high / It cost an arm and a leg /

marked down / on sale / discount / what a bargain !

I couldn’t resist it / I simply had to have it / retail therapy

Make sentences using some of the above language.

Talk about shops in your city:

Do people go dumpster diving ? Why or why not ?

Have you ever used retail therapy (buying something to make you feel happy) ?

Have you ever gone out to buy just one thing and come back with many items !

Does your husband/ wife / partner like shopping ?

Exercise 2: 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:

Image result for Rolex

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). I may feel superior to other people who only have cheap watches or nasty fake knock-offs.

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 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:

Image result for iphone 11

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 //

How to Hire and Keep Quality Retail Staff - SBIA

Exercise 3 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.

The items can be T-shirts, pens, bags, shoes, watches etc and the teacher can print out photos and hand them out.

Image result for van heusen shirts store
A department store selling expensive designer shirts
Image result for clothes on sale
Image result for london street market
London street market.

Exercise 4: 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 ?”

Tips:

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 …

Then

Explain:

  1. How MUCH do you like it (adverbs) ?
  2. What kind of coffee (adjectives) ?
  3. What do you think about this ? (opinions)
  4. WHY do you like it (give reasons)
  5. Interesting words, phrases, idioms

Personally, I like Happy 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.

Beginners’ English:Grammar exercises

23rd June 2020

Information for applicants from Vietnam - Queen Mary University of ...

Grammar

Tenses

  1. past
  2. present
  3. future

infinite verb = to + base verb (NO tense).

I + like + infinite verb + object

I like to play guitar // I love to listen to music //

I + like + verb+ing + object: I love playing guitar

Asian woman playing the guitar | The girl playing the guitar… | Flickr

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.

20 Asian Short Hair Ideas Perfect for Pinays | All Things Hair PH

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.

20 Black and White Portraits of a Young Al Pacino During the 1970s ...

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.

10 Best Malls in Singapore for an Ultimate Shopping Experience ...
Shopping mall, Singapore

Dialogue

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. 

How to Deal with a Friend Who Talks Finances | SoFi

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.

Directions

Where is the bank? Where’s the bank ?

How do I get to the park?

Is there an ATM nearby ?

Go straight

Turn left or turn right

turn around

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.

Adverbs

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

Chubby Hubby - Sawadee ka! Rules of etiquette When travelling in ...

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

Thai Women: Best Wives & Beautiful Brides from Thailand
Sawass dee ka from Thailand

Adult Speaking Class, level 2: Deciding what to buy.

11th May 2020

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 ?

Vocabulary

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 ?

$75
$200
$145
$ 8,435
$47
$2,800
$9.95
$91.99
$25

Adult Speaking Class, Level 2: Going shopping, looking for a bargain.

7th April 2020

A Guide For Shopping In Macau For All Shopaholics In 2020!
Shopping in Macau

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:

vocabulary

SHOPPING

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)

waitrose-little-wimbledon-convenience-store-interior.gif 700×450 ...
Interior of a Waitrose supermarket in the UK
19 Things You Need To Stop Doing To Grocery Store Workers In The ...
Food shopping is not always a pleasant experience

Haggling

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.

7 Tips on Haggling in the Arabic World | TravelGeekery
haggling can be an art – there are many guides online

Vocabulary: fixed price / negotiate / bargain / rip-off / no deal !

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]

Legian, Bali, Indonesia - August 13, 2018: Indonesian Souvenir ...
What do you think is meant by ‘GENUINE FAKE’ ?

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.

EXAMPLE:

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.

Amazon.com: Gucci Sunglasses GG 0448 S- 001 Black/Grey: Clothing
Genuine Gucci sunglasses

With a larger class, have three students selling the same type of item but in different setting, for example:

a department store,

Selfridges has just opened its Christmas shop 145 days early

a shop having a sale

Japanese department store makes grovelling apology after ...

and a street market

Brick Lane Market | London Guide | Qbic Hotel

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:

Handbags:

Beautiful weaved dried water hyacinth lady handbag for sale on the ...
Branded Luxury Handbag Women Bags Designer Handbag Logos Designer ...
Mumu Korean Back Pack Mini Sling Bag Sale Cute Bags Women Ladies ...

Set your own prices to reflect the realities of where you live.

Watches:

Street markets | Xian china | pbruch | Flickr
Mens Wooden Watches for Sale | COBB & Co. USA
Rolex 16233 - Buy and Sell used Rolex Watches and Jewellery in ...
A genuine Rolex

Adult Speaking Class, level 2

20th December 2019

More advanced speaking and writing exercises.

Contents

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

Elvis

Expressions and practice

Holidays

Karaoke (noise pollution)

Listening Practice: 5 weird things Vietnamese do // making a video

McDonalds

Music and vocabulary (Paul McCartney / Talking Heads)

Poland: salt mine, speaking practice, beer guide, travel guide.

Shopping (buying presents, Black Friday)

Vocabulary review

Christmas

Describe these German Christmas pictures

Image result for german christmas market"
Image result for german christmas"
Image result for germans celebrating christmas santa lucia"

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 ?

Christmas Dinner – British traditons

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

What do you think of the food ? Listen out for adjectives and adverbs.

Image result for traditonal uk christmas dinner"
Image result for traditonal uk christmas pudding"

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

Speaking practice:

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.

Cinema Choice

Vocabulary

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 ?

Grammar Note:

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.

Exercises:

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 ?”

Tips:

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 …

Then

Explain:

  1. How MUCH do you like it (adverbs) ?
  2. What kind of coffee (adjectives) ?
  3. What do you think about this ? (opinions)
  4. WHY do you like it (give reasons)
  5. 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

Grammar Note:

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 ?

Watch the happy couple. What are they planning to do ?(0 – 0.43) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvMxbRCBalk&list=PLA1EC9692E5B92C14

How does Pumpkin (man) say why not ?

What happens if you ‘stick up’ (rob) a gas (petrol) station ?

Are restaurants expecting to be robbed ? How does Pumpkin describe them ?

Collocations

Put

the cat out / the fire out / on your red shoes /on a happy face /

it in your own words / up or shut up ! / it away / it another way

Get

well soon / over it ! / on with it / away with murder / on the bus /

back to work ! / with the program (US) / some fresh air

His Thai girlfriend left him months ago. He needs to get ……….

Directions

Giving and asking how to go somewhere.

Useful vocabulary

turn left / turn right / go straight / go as far as / opposite /walk past

take the first left / take the second right / cross the street / go over the road

take a taxi / jump on a bus / order Grabbike / it’s about a 15-minute walk

Example: How do I get from LVT Park to the Post Office ?

Walk along Hai Ba Thang and cross over Dien Bien Phu. Keep walking straight and walk past the church. It is the huge yellow building. You can’t miss it.

How do I get from Ben Thanh Market to the Opera House ?

How do I get from Reunification Palace to the History Museum ?

I’m at the zoo and I need to go to work at HSL. What should I do ?

Where is the best place to get a coffee around here ? How do I get there ?

Elvis

Image result for elvis"

Elvis (0 – 1:54) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TsqwT3oX0rI

What do you know about Elvis ?

  • Elvis was born in Tupelo, Mississippi in 1935

Elvis has sold over one billion records worldwide.

Elvis has had over 150 different albums and singles certified gold, platinum and multi-platinum.

Elvis starred in 31 feature films and two concert documentaries.

Elvis Presley is called the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Elvis’ first gold record was for “Heartbreak Hotel” and was received in 1956.

  • Elvis passed away in 1977 at Graceland in Memphis.

Expressions

New expressions:

a bright spark – someone who is very clever

cooking the books – Writing wrong information in the company accounts

on the lookout – looking for something

same thing, day in, day out – everyday is exactly the same, very boring.

Ken I’ve also been on the lookout for a new job. My job is so tedious !

Chin Mine too. Same thing, day in, day out. But … it’s a job. Oh, Tom was fired.

Ken No ! Why ? I’ve known him for a long time. He’s a bright spark.

Chin He was cooking the books.

Ken You’re pulling my leg !

Chin Yes ! Actually, he went to Boston. He’s going to study at Harvard.

Ken I’ve been to Harvard.

Chin Sure, but to visit, not to study hahahahaah.

Holidays

Choose a holiday – which do you prefer and why ?

I would choose / select ….. because …..

peace and quiet / hustle and bustle / get away from the city / fresh air 

lots of culture / lots places to visit / culture shock / activity holiday

What is good about these places ? What could be a drawback ? (bad, negative)

Karaoke (noise pollution)

Karaoke outside is a form (kind) of noise pollution https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1-W7gz6Znk

blaring = very loud: the music was blaring out, all night. The police siren was blaring.

Listening Practice:

5 Weird Things Vietnamese People Do

weird = unusual / strange

Listening practise: Vietnamese culture(0.23 – end) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBAi_b__l_c

Do you agree with the video ? To what extent ?

BONUS: can you spot any English mistakes ?

I agree totally / I agree to an extent / I disagree / I disagree strongly

She makes a good point / She misses the point

She is spot on / She is way off 

In my experience …

Exercises:

EXAMPLE: People in Ha Noi are very unfriendly

Give your opinion and then qualify it with the reason(s). 

I agree to an extent. People are generally friendlier in Sai Gon but there are many nice people in Ha Noi too.

Vietnam is a great place to live // Karaoke is lots of fun for everyone

Being an engineer is a dream come true // Learning English is such fun

Everyone in Viet Nam really wants to live in USA

Listening Practice: making a video (0.13 – 1.17) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTwIOZD877A

Listen out (phrasal verb) for these words / phrases:

therefore / out and about / footage (what has been filmed) / basically / you see obviously / annoyed.

Listen out for changes in intonation (stressing words in a sentence)

What did he film ?

Why couldn’t he use the footage ?

What did he leave at home ?

McDonalds

McDonald’s is a fast food company that was founded in 1940 as a restaurant operated by Richard and Maurice McDonald, in California, United States.

The first time a McDonald’s franchise used the Golden Arches logo was in 1953 at a location in Phoenix, Arizona.

McDonald’s is the world’s largest restaurant chain by revenue, serving over 69 million customers daily in over 100 countries across approximately 36,900 outlets as of 2016.

Although McDonald’s is known for its hamburgers, they also sell cheeseburgers, chicken products, french fries,breakfast items, soft drinks, milkshakes, wraps, and desserts. 

In response to changing consumer tastes and a negative backlash because of the unhealthiness of their food,the company has added to its menu salads, fish, smoothies, and fruit.

According to a BBC report published in 2012, McDonald’s is the world’s second largest private employer with 1.5 million (behind Walmart with 1.9 million employees).

People who buys things are called customers or …

A big company has many shops. Each one is called a …

When people react against something it is called a …

A symbol for a company is known as a …

When you say something that you heard from somewhere else, you use the phrase …

Which word means when a company or institute began or was established ?

Listening and speaking practice: Ordering fast food.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nk4GGIx-5tI

What would you choose for a McDonald’s breakfast ?

How would you order it ?

Is junk food healthy ? What do you think ? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRZe7AhO_i8

McD Good morning, may I help you ?

Jeff Yes, I’d like a/the ………

McD Sure. That comes with black coffee, is that OK ?

Jeff Can I have beer instead ? No, I’m pulling your leg (I’m joking)

McD Milk and sugar ?

Jeff Oh, yeah, bring it on ! (let’s do it !)

McD Would you like to supersize your breakfast ? Extra fries and super large coffee ?

Jeff Just for an extra 10 000 VND ? Sounds a bargain ! Supersize me !

McD OK, here you are. Enjoy your meal !

Jeff WAIT ! …. this is a damn fine cup of coffee !

Listening Practice: http://www.videosinlevels.com/breakfast-recommendation/

How does the man like eggs ? // What kind of omelets are there ?

What is wrong with a large lunch ? //Why is fruit good ?

Do you know what you want to get ?

Music

Learn vocabulary and listening practice

Listen to Paul McCartney‘s ‘Another Day’. Paul McCartney used to bein the Beatles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vH6v9JS26xc

Every day, what does the girl in the song do ? Does the song mean her life is exciting or tedious ?

What do you think of this video ? (Talking Heads ‘Once In A Lifetime’): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IsSpAOD6K8

The man is: funny / amusing / weird / strange / entertaining / has a screw loose

His dancing is: highly unusual / very comical / somewhat crazy / charming

Poland:

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.

New vocabulary

ordinary

valuable

UNESCO

consists

unique

majestic

encounter

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. 

Image result for Krakow"
Krakow, Poland

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 !

Image result for krakpw hotels"

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 !

Image result for Polish beer"
Polish beers

It’s beer o’clock ! What does our friend think of this Polish beer ?https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUjQhsbAi6k

New vocabulary: infamous / indication / originally / generic /bouquet / aroma /synthetic

Instead of saying ‘ let’s smell it’, he says ……..

What does he say before he drinks ?

Just by watching his expression, can you tell if he likes it ?

How does he describe the taste ?

Speaking Practice: Three friends have their last night in Krakow.

Burt Three beers, please. Not Lech ! What a fantastic trip, don’t you think ?

Doug Absolutely, the best. It’s beena blast from beginning to end. Here’s the beer.

Pete Ready ? Twoje zdrowie ! Polish is easy. Easier than English, hands down.

Burt Are you serious ? I can’t pronounce anything. Anyway, ‘cheers’.

Doug What were your personal highlights ? I loved the big square. Always buzzing.

Pete The castle was majestic but I was overwhelmed by the crowds. And .. the beer !

Burt The Gothic altarpiece was incredible and, of course, the salt mine.

Doug Truly unforgettable. The city has a marvellous atmosphere, friendly and mysterious

Pete So where to next year ? Or maybe we don’t go home, we go to Prague instead ?

Listening and new vocabulary (0 – 3.15) and food (4.00 – 5.33) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hivlYF-4Mk8

Do you think they planned their trip well ? If not, why not ?

story of (my / your / our) life / lives / our mood / for starters / hop aboard

simmer down / booze cruise / place was buzzing

Did you notice any superlatives ? (the highest, smallest, most fascinating etc)

What do you think about Krakow ? How does it compare with HCMC ?

Polish food and drink.Would you like to try any of these ?

Were there any expressions you heard ? 

Shopping:

Vocabulary:

range of choice / quality / cost / location / crowded

store layout (what does it look like ? Is it easy to find things ?)

staff helpfulness / average (normal), put themselves out (very helpful) surly (unhappy)

value for money (good quality at a good price)/ on offer / sale /over-priced / bargains

Vocabulary for malls:

lift / elevator/ display /salesperson / free parking /restroom / lost property /receipt

credit cards / take away / fitting room / returns policy / shoplifting /Black Friday

Speaking practice:

When was the last time you went to a mall ? Why did you go ? What did you buy ?

Did you buy more than you intended ? Was it a pleasant experience ? Which do you like and would you recommend them to a friend … why ?

Where would you go to buy these shirts or T-shirts ? How much would you expect to pay ? Can you haggle (argue over the price ?) or are they fixed price ? How would you rate the quality ?

You want to buy a present for your: father / your teacher 🙂 / your young brother / a new friend from a different country. Which would you buy ?


What was the last thing you bought ? Was it for yourself, or a present ?

Don’t you love a bargain ? When is the best time to buy at discounted prices ?

In the UK, after Christmas we have the sales – many items are MUCH cheaper. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSKrVh-3U3E

Black Friday: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlPVAUulKZE

What do you think about these scenes ?

Are they dignified / horrific / shameful / appalling / materialism gone mad ?

Dialogue:

Ben Did you pick up anything on Black Friday

James Yeah, one or two things. I got a cool new shirt and shoes, half price.

Ben Sounds a bargin ! I was after a big screen TV but the store was crowded

James Tell me about it ! It was crazy. Apparently, it was the busiest day ever.

Ben I’m not surprised. That’s why I detest shopping; no where to park …

James People screaming and pushing, can’t even get in the lift …

Ben When you do find something, you have to queue for ages.

James I wanted to pay by credit card but the salesperson was really surly.

Ben Must have been rushed off her feet (very busy).

James She could have been more pleasant. Could have smiled once !

Ben What did she look like ?

James You decide … I tried out my new phone camera:

Image result for angry asian lady"

Vocabulary review

essential /useful / luxury / arrogant / dependable /witty 

A degree in engineering is …….. to work as an engineer.

Tom is so funny, always telling jokes. He is so ……

Ronaldo is a great player but some people think he can be very …….

A Rolls-Royce car is certainly a ………. item

Japanese appliances are known for being very ……….

There are many ……. websites to help you learn English

Exercise 2

ordinary / valuable / consists /unique /majestic /encounter

(sentimental / sentimental value)

You should go to Hoi An; it is a ……… town.

Don’t leave anything …. in your car or hotel room.

I had a terrible … with the new boss

The palace in Krakow is absolutely ……..

So far, it’s been an ……. day.

The course …. of three parts: speaking, writing and listening.

Exercise 3

I feel under the weather because of the air pollution as well as lack of sleep, which makes my body weaker.

You work every day – it’s no wonder you are ill !

shocked / delighted / lonely /frustrated /overwhelmed /surprised / confused/ relieved

snowed under / swamped = too much work

I was delighted when I received your wedding invitation.

Karen was so …….. when Roger popped the question.

Mr Jones was very ……. by the instruction book.

I was …….. at the price ! 

She was so ……. when she found her phone.

I was so ……. at waiting for Grabbike that I cancelled and got a taxi instead.

All the new information completely ……….. the new worker on his first day.

If you travel alone, it can be very ……..

Adult Class, Level 3: Can’t buy me love.

14th November 2019 AEF 2A pp. 14 – 15.

Tonight, attitudes to money: What does the first singer think about money ? What is important in his life ?

Image result for beatles can't buy me love

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKfALmKL0VU

Now, compare with this attitude:

Image result for flying lizards money

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-P2qL3qkzk

The first song is romantic; the man doesn’t care about money, he wants love. However, the lady sings, “I want your money !” This is called being materialistic, wanting expensive things and money.

Vocabulary – p. 154. Verbs pertaining to money.

Activity. You inherit a small fortune and want to splurge out (spend a lot of money). Working in small groups, tell what how you would spend your luxury day.

Plan a luxury day

To develop narrative writing and speaking skills, use words or phrases such as:

Firstly // Initially // I would start // It would kick off with …

secondly, thirdly etc

after that // afterwards // following that // and then …

for a change // as a contrast// for a break // to take a break from all the …

lastly // I’d end up // I’d round the day off with

You could:

luxury breakfast // luxury spa treatment // horse-carriage ride

shopping // luxury yacht

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:

Image result for Rolex

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:

Image result for iphone 11

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 //

Image result for neither a borrower nor a lender be

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.

Image result for van heusen shirts store
A department store selling expensive designer shirts
Image result for clothes on sale
Clothes on sale – ‘to clear’
Image result for london street market
London street market.

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 !

Image result for lighting cigar with money

IELTS 4/5: Speaking Class

7th January 2019

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

window

binge

bulk

impulse

dumpster diving

After defining, and demonstrating the pronunciation, I will ask the students to match with the following photos:

Did the lady go out to buy this top or did she decide only when she was in the store ?

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:

DISCLAIMER: THIS IS A STOCK PHOTO FROM GOOGLE IMAGES (NOT ONE OF MY STUDENTS !)

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.

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.