IELTS: Mindset, introduction lesson

23rd June 2020

Preparation Offline | IELTS Asia | British Council

A new class, so I have to assess their ability, motivation and potential.

Let’s kick off with a Family Fortune game – I give writing boards to the class, arranged in small groups, and ask for four answers to basic questions.

Example : Four places I’ve been to in Viet Nam / Four things I love about Viet Nam / Four things I hate / Four instruments I can play / Four languages I can speak. To test general knowledge, Four countries in Asia or capital cities / Four countries in Europe / Four cities in the USA

Next up, I want to get the class speaking as soon as possible so, they can interview each other asking basic questions. No one speaks alone, so this helps to cover any shyness as all the class are speaking at the same time.

Why are you studying IELTS ? /

Do you think IELTS will be difficult ? / Why ?

Do you use English at school or work … how ? /

What do you do in your free time ? /

What do you do or what do you study ? /
Would you like to live in USA or UK ?

Moving on, time to explain the importance of sentence building. We would expect new IELTS students to be able to speak quite fluently, in reasonable long sentences. If students answer in four words or under, or even single words, then the teachers know we have a ‘difficult’ class.

To give an example, I’ll introduce a standard IELTS-style question:

Where would you like to visit in Viet Nam (or your own country) and why ?

Example Answer:

I show 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

HoweverHoi 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.

Women wearing Vietnamese ao dai granted an imperial favor
Hue
Getting Around Hanoi [2019] Guide to Get Around Hanoi for ...
Ha Noi

Finally, to test knowledge of occupations and personality adjectives, I will show the class photos of five friends and elicit their opinions. https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2018/12/28/friends-men-teaching-sheet/

At IELTS level I would expect the students to form basic sentences such as:

“In my opinion, he is … “

“For me, he looks like … “

“He seems to be a … “

It will probably be a mixed-ability class, so I shall encourage the top learners, asking them to describe the photos, using as many adjectives and adverbs as they can.

Business English: Role-playing activities

6th May 2020

Here are some sheets, which can be adapted and printed out, for students to practice job searching. There are three in total, the remainder will be blogged over the next few days.

Students would need to be at intermediate level, motivated and willing to move around the room, be active and creative. Students that just want to sit in their chair and NOT move for three hours (oh, boy, there ARE students like that), will not respond to such a kinetic activity.

Normally, depending on class size, I will have three employment agencies situated around the room. One or two students will pretend to work for one of the agencies, and they will greet prospective employees, and discuss their job prospects, training, experience etc.

Best way is to show an example.

The first company, very British, is called ‘Bacon ‘n’ Eggs’

This refers to a typical British breakfast, so the agency will be concentrating on the hotel and catering industry. Students can invent a character and a work background. Remember, the agency wants to find people for the job, so they will have to be very persuasive and optimistic, to really ‘sell’ the job (even if it isn’t very good).

Bacon ‘n’ eggs 

Employment Agency

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Set out on your career here – jobs at ALL levels in the service industry, from hotel management to domestic staff, permanent or temporary.

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Bacon ‘n’ eggs

Current vacancies


1...Junior hotel manager (trainee). Age 18 – 23

Qualifications: Degree or current student, preferably in Hotel Management or related course.

Experience: Not necessary but work in service industry or food retail an asset. 

Personality: Out-going and confident, able to speak to staff and guests. Must be flexible and focused.

Skills: English imperative. Japanese or Russian an asset. Spreadsheets and Powerpoint. 

Salary: to be negotiated

2…Sous Chef

Qualifications: Catering certificate. Health certificate. First aid. 

Experience: 3 years in a 3* or above establishment.

Personality: Strong-willed, reliable and determined. Able to cope under pressure.

Skills: Communication skills. English a bonus but not essential.

Salary: £18 – 21 per hour depending on experience.

3…Domestic engineer (hotel cleaner)

Qualifications: Not necessary

Experience: Previous domestic engineering work would be an asset.

Personality: Hard-working, cheerful, dependable, able to work on own initiative.

Skills: Good at cleaning.

Salary: £4.75 rising to £4.99 per hour.

Again, this is an opportunity for the class to be inter-active, to mingle, to try out their English skills, and mostly, to break away form the stolid teacher-student dynamic.

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