IELTS: Pre-speaking Test Review.

30th September 2020

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

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

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

I shall offer my help to those that request it.

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

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

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

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

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

For example:

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

The teams have to choose from:

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

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

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

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

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

Keeping things truckin’ next activity is:

‘Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Word ?’

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

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

Think on your feet

The dog ate my homework - Family and Fertility Law

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

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

You are late to class … why ?

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

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

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

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

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

BBC Two - Mastermind - The history of Mastermind

Adult Speaking Class, Level 3 / IELTS: English expressions

25th August 2020

A database of common UK & USA expressions, phrases and idioms for students who want to learn more, in order to increase their command of and respect for the English language. I have provided my IELTS students with half a dozen (a dozen = 12, therefore half a dozen = 6. Having said that, a ‘baker’s dozen’ = 13 … welcome to English !) idioms, but this blog is aimed at students who are willing to go above the barest minimum.

We kick off (start) with expressions and idioms, as they are tremendous fun, then move on to collocations. How words fit together is a powerful tool in learning English … huge chunks of texts suddenly group themselves into small word blocks, enabling you to predict what will be said (especially useful in listening exercises).

Finally, we wrap up with some negotiation phrases. In the next blog, I’ll give you a chance to use these in sentences, but for now, familiarise yourself with a handful of new expressions … it could be right up your street.

Alice Sara Ott - It was a very emotional and intimate... | Facebook
Alice Sara Ott – German-Japanese pianist. I recommended her to a musician friend and he said it was right up his street.

Expressions / idioms

Ring any bells ? // do you remember //

More or less // not exactly but approximately

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

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

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

Piece of cake // no problem, very easy, sure

Tongue in cheek // not being serious about something

Tongue in Cheek: Idiom Meaning - English Expression Videos - YouTube
“I think Donald Trump is the greatest US President …” Do you think President Obama would say this and be serious ?

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

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

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

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

Go ahead // sure, do it

Under one roof // everything in one place

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

Through Thick and Thin (2015)

To spill the beans // to tell a secret, or to share some private information

I should cocoa // UK slang, old-fashioned = I really don’t believe it or you

kick-off // A sports expression from football – means to start

tied up / snowed under / rushed off our feet / flat out / up to my eyes // very busy

daylight robbery // much too expensive, very over-priced.

on your bike // go away !

Norman Tebbit's dad getting on his bike, looking for work until he ...

to throw a wobbly // to become angry and shout and curse

Bang up to date // totally modern and new or completed all your work on schedule

otherwise engaged // busy – a polite way of saying ‘go away’

I know where you’re coming from // I understand what you are saying and how you think

to get hold of someone // try to make contact with someone by phone, in person, email etc

speak of the Devil // to talk about something and then they appear

to be into something // to really enjoy or like something or someone

to put something over someone / to pull the pull over someone’s eyes // try to trick or cheat someone

There’ll be Hell to pay // you will be in BIG trouble !

Hell breaks loose // people will be very angry and upset

I’ll give you a bell / a shout // I will call you on the phone

Knock off / to finish work

knock it off // stop doing that !

That’s proper loud // UK slang ‘proper’ meaning very – that’s very loud

Well chuffed // extremely happy

come again ? / You what ? // UK slang for say it again, please

What do you reckon ? // What do you think of something ?

Collocations

To run a business

To conduct / carry out a survey

Can I have a word with you / a quick word

Do you have minute ?

Voting with their feet

Can I put you on hold ? / to be put on hold / Hold the line

A victory for common sense

I’m none the wiser

On the button / on the money

get the hang of it

scraping the barrel

Scraping The Barrel Cartoons and Comics - funny pictures from ...

Negotiation Language

Negotiation Table Stock Photos And Images - 123RF

I fail to see the relevance

I don’t see how that applies

That’s as maybe

I don’t get/see your point / I think you are missing the point

I don’t see where you’re going with this

I beg to differ

I appreciate that

You raise an interesting point

Having said that

Interesting that you say that

I think / feel that

In my opinion

I take issue with that

I don’t know about that

Young Learners: Warm-up questions and surveys

2nd August 2020

What Is the Model Minority Myth? | Teaching Tolerance

Some sample questions to help get a class speaking to each other IN ENGLISH, and prepared to do some work. I use these with students aged about 9 – 12, at lower-intermediate level.

We start with a survey where the students have to walk around, speaking to each other and trying to …

Find 3 people who:

Name // 1 // 2 // 3 //

Hobby

Play an instrument
Draw or paint
Read books
Watch films
Learn English
Have a pet
What pet ?
Student painting mural - art - Warren Wilson College
Stories from the Field: One Teacher's Experiences in Tajikistan ...
Are all pets harmful for kids

For advanced students, encourage them to probe for more information – what books are read, what instrument(s) are played, etc.

Bright Young Things | High Wycombe Tuition Centre - Red Kite Days

Speaking exercise

This can be done in pairs, small groups or as a class survey.

What was the last film you saw ? Did you like it ?

How many people live in your house ?

What is hard about learning English ?

How often do you chat online ?

Which social media sites do you use ?

What is your favourite food ?

Do you often eat western food ? Do you sometimes eat fast food ?

Have you tried Korean or Japanese food ? What did you think ?

What sports do you play ?

What would you most like to buy ?

Do you like living in the city or countryside ?

What country would you like to visit ?

Holiday with Seoul: Things to Do with Kids in South Korea - Little ...
Anganwadi worker sacked for having three kids moves Bombay HC- The ...
NZ children second most active in the world - report
South Korea / India / New Zealand

Public Speaking for Young Learners: Bring your speech alive.

31st July 2020

Speech by Kuoch Someth, ACE Children Program Student - YouTube

Some tips on giving a great speech, aimed at students aged from 8 – 12 who are using English as their second language.

First, introduce yourself, and say what you will be speaking about.

Second, speak a little slowly than normal.

Third, look at your audience, smile, make eye-contact.

Fourth, use notes or drawings but do not just read from a paper. That will be BORING !

Fifth, use body language. Use your voice to make the speech more exciting.

What Cinderella Tells Us About Life, Love and Happiness ...

Last week, we used the story of Cinderella, and focused on using special words to tell a story.

They included:

Once upon a time // A long time ago //

One day // soon after that //

then // when // next // after //

Finally // In the end

Encouraging Students to Own Their Work | Edutopia
ARE YOU READY ?

Introduce yourself:

Hello, my name is …

Introduce your subject:

Today, I want to tell you the story of Cinderella

Now bring your speech alive – use your voice and body language.

Try saying these adjectives:

beautiful // old // evil // handsome // ugly // sad

Now act them:

Beautiful princess Cinderella - Posts | Facebook
Old King Cole | Kids Video Song with FREE Lyrics & Activities!
Ava the evil old witch who has no soul and feasts on the hearts of ...
Royally Obsessed: The Hottest Asian Royals You Need to Know - E ...
10 Creepy Details Glossed Over By Modern Versions Of Fairy Tales ...
Ariel Little Mermaid GIF - Ariel LittleMermaid Princess - Discover ...

Or your audience will be:

Vladimir Putin's state of union speech caps a bad year for Russia ...

Finally, let’s have some help from my two friends, Matt and Ben:

Lion face … AAArrghhhhhhhh,

Lemon face … OOOOoooohhh

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rngjZ10yUyA

Adult Speaking Class, Level 3: New Slang (when you notice the stripes). Idioms & expressions

15th July 2020

I recreated the shirt from the New Slang music video : TheShins
The US band The Shins with their song ‘New Slang’

Notes, new idioms & slang

Why the long face ? Someone looks miserable or unhappy.

She can talk the hind legs off a donkey ! Talking non-stop !

The tip of the iceberg.

The Unusual Meaning and Origin of the Idiom 'Tip of the Iceberg ...

Piece of cake No problem, easy, no trouble

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

On the lookout looking for something

Cooking the books cheating with the company accounts. Writing false information.

Insurance Company Broker Caught Cooking the Books - Workers ...
Pros and Cons of Utlizing a Traditional Grading Scale

A bright spark someone who is very clever

You’re pulling my leg ! joking but pretending to be serious.

The boot’s on the other foot the situation has changed.

You can’t miss it you will certainly recognise it when you see it, when you are there.

Big time ! (US modern popular culture) Absolutely, totally, very, very much

Brass monkeys it’s extremely, painfully cold

Once in a blue moon something that happens extremely rarely

Bob’s your uncle there you are ! No problem, all fixed ! (UK slang)

Now … your turn

Practice using these saying in everyday conversations … answers, as per usual, at the end of the blog.

10 Surprising Facts about Japanese Schools. Daily life as a ...

1) I love the beach. but I rarely go, just ……………………………….

2) If you’re late for class again, the teacher will be furious …….

3) You look so sad ……………………… ?

4) I’m freezing ! It’s ……………………. in here

5) Seriously ? You can marry three wives in UK ? No, you’re ……..

6) Oh, my job is so tedious, …………………………

7) She wouldn’t shut up ! She ….

8) It’s no problem; I’ll clean your laptop, remove the virsus and Trojans and ………

9) I used to earn more than my wife but she got a big promotion, so now …………. She earns more than me !

10) I need a new pair of shoes. I’m ………………… for some high quality Italian leather.

11) The accountant was sacked. He was ……… but that was not all ! That’s just the …………………… He was also stealing computers and selling them.

12) This lesson was a ………………… for me because I’m such a ……………….

13) I didn’t use ‘you can’t miss it.’ Write your own sentence.

Top 6 Most Difficult Courses To Study in Nigeria

Answers

1) once in a blue moon

2) big time

3) why the long face ?

4) brass monkeys

5) pulling my leg

6) Same thing, day in, day out

7) can/could talk the hind legs off a donkey.

8) Bob’s your uncle

9) the boot’s on the other foot.

10) on the lookout

11) cooking the books / tip of the iceberg

12) piece of cake / bright spark

Well, if you’re such a bright spark, write you own sentences and test your partner.

BONUS: what expressions can you hear in this song ?

NOTE TO TEACHERS; IF POSSIBLE, TURN OFF THE OVERHEAD SO STUDENTS CAN’T SEE THE SONG TITLE.

Ms Nanci Griffith: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmvyBTXuRQw

Phrasal verbs and collocations: The next level. Dialogue practice

15th June 2020

General English - Shakespeare | British Council

This level of English is for students who live, or plan to live, in English-speaking countries.

I advise my students to learn Standard English, as that will help them to communicate with other non-native speakers. Clarity in both pronunciation and meaning is paramount (of most importance).

However, that is NOT how everyday people speak in everyday situations. Therefore, here’s a set of examples and new vocabulary that you will need. Furthermore, you will feel more confident, using the language and vernacular of those around you.

Dialogue practice

phrasal verbs / collocations / idioms / adverbs

vocabulary:

fond – to like something.

more than likely = very probably, about 90% sure. 

sip – to drink a very little.

rival – competitors 

Two friends are athletes meet each other Stock Video Footage ...

A: Hi, how’s it going with you ?

B: It’s going incredibly well today. I want to celebrate. Fancy a beer ?

A: I’m not so fond of beer, I prefer coffee. How does that sound ?

B: Brilliant ! Highlands or Coffee bean ? Which one ? I can’t make up my mind.

A: Is Highlands far ? They are Vietnamese, a rival to the American company.

B: It’s quite far. We ‘ll have to take a taxi. More than likely it will rain.

A: Let’s get a move on before it rains cats and dogs. 

B: Too right ! We’ll have to give up getting a taxi once it rains. Let’s go !

At the coffee shop

Juan Ferrer on Twitter: "Iggy Pop and Tom Waits. Coffee and ...

A: Watch out! The coffee’s incredibly hot. Just sip it. What are you up to now ?

B: Just texting the office. They seem rather busy. 

A: You should take a break. Tell them to just do their best.

B: Hold your horses… there ! Finished. Piece of cake.

A: You want some cake ?

B: No, hahaha. ‘Piece of cake’… means no problem. Having said that …

A: Right ! The cakes look amazingly tasty. Shall we … ?

They buy two gloriously large cakes

Top 15 Things to See and Do in Ahmedabad, India - David's Been Here

A: Let’s dive in ! Wow … I must admit, this is remarkably good. How’s yours ?

B: I think it’s too big for me. Let me try some … oh, blimey, that’s awful !

A: Yes, afterwards, we’ll need to work out. 

B: A minute on the lips, a lifetime on the hips !

A: Do you have a minute ? I’d like to go over something with you.

B: Sure, what’s on your mind ?

A: Which video do you think is better for the students ? We need to inspire them.

B: This one looks good … oh, hold on … the vocabulary is very difficult … good !

NOW … YOUR TURN

Write a short dialogue scene about planning a holiday

1: Have you decided where to go on holiday ?

2: No, I haven’t made up my mind yet.

1: Well, have you thought about …

The sad irony of youth participation in election violence | Young ...
Two friends talking in Nigeria

Adult Speaking Class, Level 3: Dialogue practice

14th June 2020

An extended scenario that can be used for three speakers, or two, whatever the class needs. Here, a student goes to an expensive private language centre to enquire about course requirement and prices.

The English for Secondary School Preparation course is ideal for ...

You will notice a lot of idiomatic speech as well as expressions. These are designed to show you how to use them in everyday conversation … have fun !

Nottingham Language Centre | Nottingham Trent University

Dialogue Practice

A student comes to the office to get some information about courses

Objective: practice expressions and pronunciation of contractions.

Student Good evening, I’m looking for an English course

PEC 1 You’ve come to the right place !

PEC 2 How may we assist ? What exactly are you looking for ?

Student Well, I’d like to improve my pronunciation, as well as my grammar.

PEC 1 Seems to me that you are already quite good at English.

Student You’ re most kind, but one can always better oneself.

Cambridge English

PEC 2 We’ve an interesting class starting soon … it’s upper-intermediate.

Student Yes, I’d prefer to hit the ground running. When does it start ?

PEC 1 Hold on, let me check …..

telephone rings 

PEC 2 Hello, PEC … oh, hold the line please, she’s busy. OK, she’ll call back soon.

PEC 1 There’s a class commencing the day after tomorrow .

Kings College – Chào mừng bạn đến với English Language Centre – Du ...

Student Or maybe a private lesson ?

PEC 2 I can check … bear with me … yes, with teacher John. He’s passionate about teaching.

Student Sounds good. May I ask the fee ?

PEC 2 Certainly ….  she writes the price down on paper and hands it to the student.

Student Blimey ! I’ll have to think it over and get back to you. I must work now.

Student leaves.

PEC 1 Think he’ll come back ?

PEC 2 Over my dead body !

Hands up if you like this blog:

Trung tâm ngoại ngữ VAE - Việt Nam Advanced Education - Giới thiệu ...

Adult Speaking Class, Level 2: Tell me more – ideas for sentence building.

6th June 2020

Sentence building

The Approach of a Conversation

Last week, I showed my class how to speak, and think, in longer sentences. I chose a basic question as an example:

Where do you want to visit in Vietnam ?

I showed them a plan:

Introduction / First good point / second good point / something bad / conclusion.

I choose Hoi An

Hoi An: Vietnam's most charming city - Exoticca Blog

Introduction: DON’T answer immediately but introduce the answer by repeating or rephrasing the question:

Vietnam has many beautiful places but my choice would be Hoi An.

First Good Point:

Firstly, Hoi An is a historical city with a wonderful Japanese bridge and lovely old shops. At night, the shops use romantic lanterns.

Second Good Point:

Hoi An is close to Da Nang, so I can fly there easily and quickly. There are many things to see and do in the local area.

Now, something negative

However, Hoi An is very small and can be extremely crowded in summer. Maybe it will be difficult to find a hotel or a table at a good restaurant.

Conclusion

In my opinion, Hoi An is a very special place to visit because it is a town of Vietnamese culture.

How to build sentences:

Use adjectives to describe nouns (beautiful, historic, romantic)

adverbs to describe adjectives and verbs – give more information (very, easily)

opinion phrases (in my opinion)

linking words to connect positive to positive or positive to negative – discourse markers (however)

reasons why an action is being done (because)

Now – your turn: Where do you want to visit ? This can be in Vietnam or anywhere.

SECOND EXAMPLE:

I like coffee

a-beautiful-thai-girl-drinking-coffee | Dude I Need A Truck

I like coffee so much because it tastes great and makes me wake up although too much will stop me from sleeping at night but, in my opinion, the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages.

Work experience

I teach a brother and sister; the sister is a bit of a handful always chatting or texting during class. In complete contrast, the brother is a really good student as well as being a young gentleman. I feel he is an ideal student.

Now – your turn. Try these:

  • Living in Sai Gon or in your city
  • Free time
  • Working and studying.

Sentence building – becoming fluent and coherent

Use

  • adverbs
  • adjectives
  • opinions phrases
  • linking words
  • new vocabulary

EXAMPLE: I like coffee

Ask

  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
Emotional Intelligence in Love and Relationships - HelpGuide.org

I really enjoy hot milky coffee because it helps bring people together as well as making our minds become quite active and somewhat excited. Coffee, in my point of view, is essentially useful if we use it in moderation. On the other hand coffee can be a dreadful waste of money as well as having a detrimental effect on our health. Despite the negative aspects, coffee makes me feel over the moon!