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:

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Where shall we go ? Young Learners & Adult Speaking Class, Level 1

8th October 2020

Here are five famous sites from around the world.

What do you know about them ?

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Name
Which site do you want to visit most
Why ?
What is the weather like there (use adverbs)
What can you do there ?
What could be a problem ?

I would like to visit all the sites. However, if I have to choose one, I will visit St Petersburg in Russia.

St Petersburg is a very beautiful city, with many amazing buildings. The city is very famous, and I have read about it in many books.

I think the weather is quite hot in summer, and also it stays very light, even at night. However, it can be extremely cold in winter.

St Petersburg has so many museums and galleries. I want to see all of them. Also it would be fun to walk around and take many photos.

I don’t speak Russian so that could be a problem if people can’t speak English. Also, it may be extremely cold, so I will need a lot of thick clothes. Finally, I will need to buy some Russian money.

Adult Speaking Class, Level 3: Leaving on a jet plane.

31st May 2020

Airport Dialogue Practice

A chance to get away, and practice everyday informal conversation at an airport.

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Grammar: I want to go on a holiday // I need to stop working for a while

subject + modal verb + infinite verb …

I + want / need + to go / to stop / to relax etc

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Steve and Vic (Victor)

Steve and Vic are going on holiday. They are waiting for their plane (airplane / aeroplane)

Steve Finally, a holiday ! I need to get away from the city.

Vic City life is so stressful. So much hustle and bustle.

Steve I want to relax. Peace and quiet. No work, no traffic.

Vic What time is the flight ?

Steve Quarter past four. Gate B21.

Vic Where is the Duty-Free ? I want to buy some whisky.

Steve We can buy some after we’ve gone through security.

Vic Ok but first I need to find an ATM. There’s one over there.

File:Phuket-Thailand Internationaler-Airport-ATM-01.jpg ...
Colourful ATMs at Phuket Airport, Thailand

After they go through security they wait in the departure lounge.

Steve What kind of holiday do you prefer ?

Vic I enjoy activity holidays, but I prefer the beach.

Steve Swimming is great. I need to keep fit. Too much beer !

Vic What time can we board ?

Steve Let me see … We can board at quarter to four. Do you need sun cream?

Vic No, I have some in my luggage. Where’s the guide book ?

Steve In my carry on bag. Here. Singapore is going to be a big culture shock !

Vic The food, the language, the weather. How do we get to our hotel ?

Steve The taxis are outside the baggage claim, after we go through customs.

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Adult Class Level 3: Murder mystery.

Wednesday 14th for Thursday 15th August 2019. AEF 10B pp. 98 – 99

Vocabulary: Crime and investigation

Grammar: Tag questions

Review: icons and symbols, relative clauses

Warm Up: Asian icons

Last week, the book focused on American icons, so let’s bring it closer to home. First activity, students in small groups have to suggest some Asian icons or iconic images. I want to know their ideas on actors, buildings, products or companies, cultural images or even street scenes.

For example:

Image result for LG logo
Image result for Vietnamese girl in ao dai

Next, relative clauses and sentence building. Here’s an example:

The Merlion, which is a symbol of Singapore, is a mythical creature that is half lion, half fish although no lions have ever lived in the city state.

The above sentence has three points of interest. Firstly, there is the relative clause used to add more information. Here the subject is the Merlion, a thing, so the relative pronoun is ‘which‘. Secondly, I use a discourse marker to connect ideas together in one sentence, namely ‘although‘, linking two opposites (a positive to a negative and vice versa). Lastly, I used the term ‘city state’ to prevent me from using the name ‘Singapore’ twice in the same sentence.

Try these … I’m looking for the correct relative pronoun and then the most detailed sentences or short passages.

Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

Image result for Viet food

Vietnamese Pho (noodle soup with beef or chicken)

Image result for Confucius

Chinese philosopher Master Kong (Confucius in English) 551 BC – 479 BC

Finally – write a sentence about YOUR hometown. If it’s not Sai Gon, explain where it is, how to get there, what it’s famous for (or if it’s not particularly famous for anything). As a link to tonight’s theme, here’s an icon from MY hometown:

Sherlock Holmes, who was a fictional detective created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, lived at 221B Baker Street which in is central London. Today it is a museum, admission £15 for adults, attracting tourists from all over the world.

Then it’s time to get to tonight’s topic – murder, unsolved crimes and mystery. The lesson focuses on the mysterious death of the actress Natalie Wood. To introduce her, I’ll show a short clip of her acting, then the actual news report on TV on her death:

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

Image result for natalie wood 1955

That clip, which has English captions, is from the film ‘Rebel Without A Cause’, from 1955. Now for the news footage:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8eki23QMMmQ

Grammar: tag questions

Are you from Korea ? (a normal question, where we don’t know the answer)

You’re (you are) from Korea, aren’t you ? (using the tag ‘aren’t you’ to confirm what we think or know)

Take the pronoun (here it is ‘you’) and then the verb (‘are’). Reverse the verb, that is, make it negative then add the pronoun. Hence ‘are’ becomes ‘are not’ = aren’t.

Try these:

Bangkok is the capital of Thailand, ……….. ?

Natalie Wood was American, …………….. ?

We still don’t know who killed her, ………….. ? (here the verb is negative, so make it positive)

He’s a brilliant actor, ………….. ?

End activities: depending on time, students, in groups, can organise an itinerary for two of my friends who will be visiting Sai Gon soon. They want to see all the iconic sights and partake of typical Vietnamese activities. Having said that, their interests differ widely.

Image result for english married couple

Simon loves culture, history and museums as well as being into sports and physical activities. Therefore he wants to see and try as much as possible. He has heard about snake wine and is very curious.

Jenny finds museums unbearably boring. She is a shopaholic, can shop till she drops. Furthermore she can’t take the heat and is also vegetarian.

Clearly, they will need to compromise … what do you suggest ? Be creative – think outside the box.

Vietnamese snake wine …. NO, I haven’t tried it.