IELTS: 8 1/2 … Chasing 8 1/2

12th October 2020

8½ (1963) | The Criterion Collection

Let’s hit the ground running … my recent tests highlighted key areas on which all students, without exception, need to work, namely:

fluency

complex sentences

pronunciation including intonation and stress

Not forgetting, to constantly increase and expand their vocabulary. A reminder of some recent language:

gritty / industrial

quite / safe / residential

boring / peaceful / suburban

bustling / vibrant / city centre

apparently – something you believe to be true

conversely – the opposite, on the other hand, however

actually – saying something that is surprising or is the truth

New idioms

bear with me – please wait a very short time

bit of a sore point – something that makes you sad or angry

hit the ground running – to start something immediately and with all your energy.

like a madhouse – a place or area that is crazy, too noisy, too busy etc

run of the mill – ordinary, typical, normal, usual, boring

you take your life in your hands – doing something that is extremely dangerous

Top Five Tips for Crossing the Street in Vietnam

Exercise 1: Using the new vocabulary. Fill in the blanks:

I live near some factories in a ___________ , ________________ area.

The traffic is my neighbourhood is a nightmare, I __________________ every time I go out or try to cross the road.

I was rather disappointed in the latest Bond film it was merely a ____________________ spy movie.

This is a library ? With all this noise ! It’s _______________________ here.

Let me check my files, __________________ a moment.

Don’t ask him about his test score, it’s a bit of a ____________ . He only got 65% although he was expecting to ace the test.

China is the biggest country in the world, oh, no, sorry ________________ it’s Russia.

The lockdown has affected many urban areas. What used to be a _________________ , ____________ city centre is now a ghost town.

Exercise 2: what is a ghost town ? Can you understand these lyrics ? The Specials with ‘Ghost Town’:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZ2oXzrnti4

Ghost Town

The Specials

This town (town) is coming like a ghost town
All the clubs have been closed down
This place (town) is coming like a ghost town
Bands won’t play no more
Too much fighting on the dance floor

Do you remember the good old days before the ghost town?
We danced and sang, and the music played in a de boomtown

This town (town) is coming like a ghost town
Why must the youth fight against themselves?
Government leaving the youth on the shelf
This place (town) is coming like a ghost town
No job to be found in this country
Can’t go on no more
The people getting angry

This town is coming like a ghost town
This town is coming like a ghost town
This town is coming like a ghost town
This town is coming like a ghost town

Songwriters: Jerry Dammers

Exercise 3: What do you know about The Specials. Here’s some facts. Arrange them in the form of an IELTS-standard paragraph.

The Specials were formed in Coventry, in the British Midlands.

Formed in 1977. They had two main singers, Terry Hall and Neville Staple.

Their music is a mix of punk and reggae.

They had a number 1 song in 1980.

‘Ghost Town’ was also a number 1. It was released in 1981. This song is about the recession in the UK. Many people had no work, no money and no hope.

The Specials broke up (disbanded) in 1984 but later reformed. They still perform together.

Next blog will focus on pronunciation. To my classroom students, be prepared for a lot more speaking and practising so, yes ! You DO have to say it again … and again …

Bruce Lee quote: Practice makes perfect. After a long time of practicing,  our...

Attaining 8 1/2 … a piece of cake.

8 1/2 – Brisbane International Film Festival

Adult Class, Level 3 (class 1): Stereotypes.

16th August for 19th August 2019. AEF 3B pp. 28 – 29

Review: comparatives and superaltives

Theme: stereotypes

Objectives: increase vocabulary and sentence building skills. Encourage more talking, especially between students, using target language.

Warm up: Just to get the student’s settled in (and to allow for students arriving up to an hour late) and to help them build longer sentences. Compare the following:

Image result for bus in singapore
Image result for bus in sai gon

We have two public transport vehicles, two buses. The first is from Singapore, the second from Sai Gon.

EXAMPLE: The bus from Singapore is cleaner than the Sai Gon bus.

To extend this, using a relative clause:

The first bus, which is from Singapore, is cleaner than the second bus, which is from HCM City.

To further extend, using relative clauses and discourse markers:

The first bus is from Singapore, which is known for its cleanliness, and is the most attractive as well as looking the most modern of the two. Having said that, buses in HCM City, despite being somewhat dirty, are remarkably cheap, just 2 000 VND for students, 6 000 for adults.

Try making complex sentences from these pairs of images:

Image result for winter in scotland
Winter in Scotland
Image result for street scenein hcm city
December on the streets of Sai Gon
Image result for playing chess
Playing chess
Image result for bungee jumping
Bungee jumping
Image result for Harrods food hall
Harrods food hall, London, UK
Image result for bread sold on street in vietnam
Street seller in Vietnam

Now compare these two songs: The former (first) is British from the 1980s. The band is The Specials, the song is called ‘Stereotypes’, the latter (last) is a modern pop song from Vietnam.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGxSP98ymw8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rz4FbACtfd0

And that leads us into tonight’s theme: stereotypes. This means having an idea what people will be like because of where they are from, how they look, how they speak etc.

EXAMPLE: what do you think of this man:

Image result for Bob dylan in hoodie

What do you think of him – how he looks, how he’s dressed. What job do you think he does – does he even have a job ? Where does he live ? Is he, in fact, homeless and sleeps on the street ?

The answer …

He is music legend and Noble-prize winning writer and poet Bob Dylan

Image result for Bob dylan lp covers

Discuss these stereotypes (noun) and stereotypical (adjective) images:

All Vietnamese men are lazy and constantly smoke
Image result for asian maths students
All Asian children are excellent at maths
Image result for women shopping
All woman are obsessed (absolutely love) shopping
Image result for fat eating americans
All People from USA are obese (too fat) and talk too much and too loudly
Image result for english people drinking tea
All English people drink tea … ALL the time

To what extent do you agree ?

I agree / I agree 100% / I agree to an extent / There may be some truth there /

I disagree / I totally disagree / That is very unfair / That is offensive /

That’s just a stereotype / I know for a fact that isn’t true !

Try to explain in full sentences giving reasons and using discourse markers.

Quick fire: In groups, discuss; what do you think of when I say:

Made in China

Thailand

People in Hanoi

Apple iPhones

What do you think of this image ? Does it represent the real Vietnam, or is it just to attract tourists ?

Related image
Related image