Posted in Advanced C1, Conversation Classes, Exam Preparation Class, Proficiency, Vocabulary Classes

C1/C2: Killer Expressions Grouped by Topic

PsBattle: An Impressed Footballer's face : photoshopbattles

Thanks to my colleague Natascha Wallace for this idea. Basically it’s a list of advanced expressions, grouped by topic, for C1/C2 students and sets of conversation questions on those same topics. The idea being that they can drop them into their writings or use them in the speaking exam in order to score more points. Alternatively, beyond the world of exams, they will undoubtedly be useful IRL! Download the handouts below:

Procedure:

Have students read the expressions in the first category and try to guess the meaning in pairs. Clear up any doubts in open class.

Ping-pong

Tell students they have 1 minute to try to memorise as many of the expressions in the category as they can. After 1 minute tell them to turn their papers over. Students then play “ping-pong” in pairs one person says one expression and the other must say another back and forth until one can’t remember any more expressions. After they’ve played a couple of rounds tell them to look at the expressions again and refresh their memories of the ones they struggled to remember.

Then hand out the conversation questions and have students discuss them in groups of 3. One member of the group should act as the examiner, asking the questions and also counting the number of killer expressions each person uses. Encourage students to have fun with it and use as many as they can.

Then move onto the next category, rinse and repeat.

There are a lot of categories so you may want to split it over several classes.

You can then use this quizziz quiz for space repetition.

Posted in Conversation Classes, Proficiency

Debating at Higher Levels

Image result for debate

Image credit: The Merkle

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a lesson plan for higher levels (C1+) designed to help students develop their discourse management and debating skills. Download the handouts below:

Discourse Analysis: Guardian 5-minute Debates

In this section of the lesson students will watch a video from the Guardian 5-minute debate series in order to analyse the ways in which the speakers structure their arguments and the language they use. The topic of the debate is:

  • Should slang words be banned in the classroom?

In the debate the two speakers (Michael Rosen and Lindsay Johns) are specifically talking about London street slang. A school in South London took the decision to ban street slang from the classroom, the banned words are in the picture below:

slang

If you want to look up any of these words you can use the urban dictionary.

Language to pre-teach:

  • code switching – changing from one language, dialect, or way of speaking to another depending on who you’re speaking to.
  • cultural relativism – the theory that beliefs, customs, and morality exist in relation to the particular culture from which they originate and are not absolute. (What’s considered acceptable in one culture might not be in another)
  • Live in an ivory tower – to be out of touch or to not understand the true reality of a situation. To live in a privileged position and therefore not understand the real world.

Have students watch the debate, while they are watching they should answer these questions:

  • Who wins the debate and why?
  • Useful phrase for debating.
  • Ways of structuring an argument.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/video/2013/dec/09/should-schools-ban-slang-video-debate

 

Discuss their thoughts in open class.

Give out the transcript and show students the powerpoint. The powerpoint will take them through some of the structural techniques that Michael Rosen uses such as:

  • Conceding/partially agreeing
  • Hedging/being more indirect
  • Asking and answering your own questions
  • Presenting evidence
  • Being emphatic

A Less Formal Debate – Debate-O-Rama Cats vs. Dogs

Now tell students they’re going to watch a less formal debate, the topic is dogs vs. cats. Split the class into two groups: the dog group and the cat group. Each group has to watch the video and and write down the arguments that the two people give to support their animal, i.e dogs are smelly, cats are selfish.

Students watch the video and takes notes. (Video from 1:15)

Give out the debate language handout. Tell students that they are going to recreate the dogs vs. cats debate but using the language on the handout and some of the structural techniques we saw earlier. Give them 8-10 minutes to structure their arguments. The debate will follow the following structure:

Debate Structure

  1. Opening statement (90 secs)
  2. Cross examination (30 secs)
  3. (repeat)
  4. Rebuttal #1 (30 secs each)
  5. Rebuttal #2 (30 secs each)
  6. Closing Statements (30 secs each)

Award a winner based on the strength of their arguments and how well structured they are. The debate handout has further debate topics for future classes.

Debate Handout:

Language

Opinion

The way I see it,

In my view,

In my opinion, I think that

My view on the matter is…

As far as I understand it,

As far as I’m concerned,

I’d say that…

I personally am (not) a big fan of…

Evidence/Popular Opinion

All the evidence points to/suggests…

I think you’ll find that…

If you ask anyone,…

The vast majority of people would say…

We have no evidence that…

9 out of 10 people would say that…

There’s no evidence to support that whatsoever.

 

Main arguments

I support/oppose the notion that… for the following reason: Firstly,…

The key issue here is…

The real question/dilemma is… (question form)

The critical/crucial factor here is…

It’s vital to remember that…

By far and away the most important point is…

Adding points

What’s more,

On top of that,

Besides that,

Apart from that,

Another thing to consider is…

We shouldn’t forget that…

It’s also worth bearing in mind that…

Rebutting/Cross-Examining

So what you’re saying is…

So let me get this straight…

Correct me if I’m wrong but…

You’re not seriously suggesting that…, are you?

You can’t possibly be saying that…

I feel I must also disagree with you about…

Conceding/Partially Agreeing

I admit that your point about… may be true, however,

I take/see your point about…

Let’s say I agree with the idea of…

I hear what you’re saying, but…

Conclusion

In a nutshell,

So to sum up,

So in summary,

So to wrap up,

So as I was saying,

All in all,

Debate Structure

1.       Opening statement (90 secs)

2.       Cross examination (30 secs)

3.       (repeat)

4.       Rebuttal #1 (30 secs each)

5.       Rebuttal #2 (30 secs each)

6.       Closing Statements (30 secs each)

Low-stakes Debate Topics

(Credit to debatable youtube page)

Dogs vs. Cats Superpowers:

Flight vs. Invisibility

Pancakes vs. Waffles Hot dogs vs. Hamburgers French fries vs. Patatas bravas
Beer vs. Wine Whisky vs. Rum Are ghost real? Does the internet do more good or bad? Camping, good or bad?
Taylor Swift vs. Ariana Grande Soup vs. salad Pasta vs. pizza Is it ok to pee in the shower? Tea vs. Coffee
Coke vs. Pepsi Burger King vs. MacDonald’s Chinese food vs. Japanese food City vs. Country Morning Showers vs. Night Showers
Posted in Conversation Classes, Exam Preparation Class

CAE Speaking Part 3: Lesson Plan

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Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

Before you use these materials… We’ve created a new podcast aimed at B2+ level English students and teachers alike. You can listen for free at our SoundCloud page below. You can download teacher’s notes to accompany them from our Facebook page or from this blog. All comments and feedback welcome! Give us a like and a share 😉
https://www.facebook.com/2tspodcast/

Here’s a lesson plan I designed with the help of my friend and (ex-) colleague (sniff) Raquel Gomez. It’s based around our attempt to complete a CAE part 3 task. Download the lesson plan pack and audio below:

Lesson Plan and Audio

Students’ Handout

The task

You are going to hear two people completing the part 3 task below:

task part 3

They must first discuss the question in the middle for two minutes. Then they have one more minute to decide which job should receive the highest salary.

First Listen

Cover the transcript below, listen to the audio and answer the following questions:

  1. Which jobs do they talk about?
  2. What different reasons do they give for why the jobs appeal to people?
  3. Which job do they decide deserves the highest salary?

Second Listen

Listen again, this time listen for different phrases and expressions for giving opinion and agreeing and disagreeing.

Third Listen

Now listen again with the transcript and try to fill the blanks.

  • Tim: Errr so _____________?
  • Raquel: Sure
  • Tim: Let’s start with surgeon. Ummm, well __________, I think being a surgeon appeals to people probably because, __________, you’re helping people, you might be saving peoples’ lives and you’re making a big contribution to society
  • Raquel: _________, yeah, ______________ but, _______________? I think that at least in our society teachers should be given more.. they should be empowered maybe more than surgeons because they really can make a change in peoples’ lives.
  • Tim: Yeah I think _____________. They’re definitely very important and I could see why people would want to be a teacher, because of the way they can, you know, help people and educate people.
  • Raquel: Yeah, __________________ both professions here, I think that they are very vocational, like being a surgeon or being a teacher.
  • Tim: _________, yeah, yeah, ______________. Ummm what about the other ones over here? Let’s ___________ a football player, what’s ____________ that?
  • Raquel: Buff I’m not really sure, I don’t think that they have to… How can I put this? Umm, I don’t really like football and I think they just, they’re earning far too much and I don’t buy the idea of like their career is too short.
  • Tim: _____________, surely it’s good to do a job that’s something you love, surely if you’re a big fan of football then if you’re spending all day every day doing, you know, your favourite activity that must be good no?
  • Raquel: Yeah, _______________ and that was my idea when I was talking about vocational jobs before. But still, I think it’s a bit too much, the gap between the payment is just crazy.
  • Tim: Yeah __________. Well so we’ve got to… the ___________ is…
  • Raquel: The ____________ is we have to choose one so…
  • Tim: Yeah, which one should receive the most… the highest salary? Well I’m _________ maybe a surgeon and a teacher, _________________?
  • Raquel: Well it’s true that _____________ the surgeon might save the actual physical life whereas the teacher might just contribute to our long life _______ ummm enrichment or, you know, making people grow so maybe it’s more like long-lasting.
  • Tim: Well ______________ what you were saying about, yeah the contribution to society I think they’re both very important.
  • Raquel: Yes, it’s really difficult to choose between these too.
  • Tim: But maybe you know without the teachers, you wouldn’t have the surgeons…
  • Raquel: ___________
  • Tim: Who’s going to teach the surgeons? So, _____________ teacher?
  • Raquel: Ok, alright.
  • Tim: Ok, perfect.

The Expressions

Check your answers and then put the different expressions below into the boxes based on their meaning.

1.       As I see it,

2.       Shall I start?

3.       What’s your take on that?

4.       You know

5.       How can I put this?

6.       What do you reckon?

7.       Yeah I’d go along with that.

8.       Coming back to what you were saying about…

9.       I’m torn between… and…

10.    At the end of the day…

11.    Sort of/kind of

12.    I take your point but…

13.    Shall we go with…?

14.    Exactly/definitely

15.    It’s also worth bearing in mind that…

16.    You’ve got a point there

 

Starting Giving Opinion Agreeing Disagreeing
 

 

 

 

 

 

     
Asking opinion Adding + Referring Fillers/time-buyers Reaching a conclusion
 

 

 

 

 

 

     

Work with a partner; try to add at least one more expression to each box.

Pronunciation

Look at the expressions below, listen to the expressions and try to take notes about how they’re pronounced. Then try to reproduce them with a partner.

  1. Shall I start?
  2. What do you reckon?
  3. How can I put this?
  4. As I see it,
  5. Yeah, I’d go along with that.
  6. It’s sort of, like a pizza but different.
  7. Shall we go with teacher?
  8. Coming back to what you were saying about teachers…

Scripted Role-play

Decide who is going to be Tim and who is going to be Raquel. Use the transcript on the previous page to recreate the conversation, play close attention to the pronunciation of the expressions.

Your Turn

Find an example of a part 3 task in your textbook and complete it with your partner. See who can use the most expressions, keep count while your completing the task, the winner is the one who uses the most.

 

 

Teacher’s Notes

First Listen

Cover the transcript below, listen to the audio and answer the following questions:

  1. Which jobs do they talk about? Teacher, surgeon and football player
  2. What different reasons do they give for why the jobs appeal to people? Help people, contribute to society, a vocation, doing something you love
  3. Which job do they decide deserves the highest salary? A teacher

Complete Transcript

  • Tim: Errr so shall I start?
  • Raquel: Sure
  • Tim: Let’s start with surgeon. Ummm, well as I see it, I think being a surgeon appeals to people probably because, you know, you’re helping people, you might be saving peoples’ lives and you’re making a big contribution to society
  • Raquel: Absolutely, yeah, you’ve got a point there but, how can I put this? I think that at least in our society teachers should be given more.. they should be empowered maybe more than surgeons because they really can make a change in people’s lives.
  • Tim: Yeah I think I’d go along with that. They’re definitely very important and I could see why people would want to be a teacher, because of the way they can, you know, help people and educate people.
  • Raquel: Yeah, it’s also worth bearing in mind that both professions here I think that they are very vocational, like being a surgeon or being a teacher.
  • Tim: Exactly, yeah, yeah, I couldn’t agree more. Ummm what about the other ones over here? Let’s move on to a football player, what’s your take on that?
  • Raquel: Buff I’m not really sure, I don’t think that they have to… How can I put this? Umm, I don’t really like football and I think they just, they’re earning far too much and I don’t buy the idea of like their career is too short.
  • Tim: I take your point but, surely it’s good to do a job that’s something you love, surely if you’re a big fan of football then if you’re spending all day every day doing, you know, your favourite activity that must be good no?
  • Raquel: Yeah, you’ve got a point there and that was my idea when I was talking about vocational jobs before. But still, I think it’s a bit too much, the gap between the payment is just crazy.
  • Tim: Yeah definitely. Well so we’ve got to… the bottom line is…
  • Raquel: The bottom line is we have to choose one so…
  • Tim: Yeah, which one should receive the most… the highest salary? Well I’m torn between maybe a surgeon and a teacher, what do you reckon?
  • Raquel: Well it’s true that at the end of the day the surgeon might save the actual physical life whereas the teacher might just contribute to our long life sort of ummm enrichment or, you know, making people grow so maybe it’s more like long-lasting.
  • Tim: Well coming back to what you were saying about, yeah the contribution to society I think they’re both very important.
  • Raquel: Yes, it’s really difficult to choose between these too.
  • Tim: But maybe you know without the teachers, you wouldn’t have the surgeons
  • Raquel:
  • Tim: Who’s going to teach the surgeons? So, shall we go with teacher?
  • Raquel: Ok, alright.
  • Tim: Ok, perfect.

The Expressions

Starting Giving Opinion Agreeing Disagreeing
Shall I start?

 

 

 

As I see it, Yeah I’d go along with that.

Exactly/definitely

You’ve got a point there

I take your point but…
Asking opinion Adding + Referring Fillers/time-buyers Reaching a conclusion
What’s your take on that?

What do you reckon?

 

Coming back to what you were saying about…

It’s also worth bearing in mind that…

You know

How can I put this?

Sort of/kind of

I’m torn between… and…

At the end of the day…

Shall we go with…?

 

Pronunciation Notes

  1. Shall I start? – Focus on very weak “Shall” | ʃəl ˈaɪ stɑːt |
  2. What do you reckon? – Waddaya recken | ˈwɒdə jə ˈrekən |
  3. How can I put this? – weak “can” focus on intonation
  4. As I see it – intonation, stress “I”
  5. Yeah, I’d go along with that. – Elision/disappearance of “d” in I’d go, very weak “with” connecting with “that” | wɪðæt |
  6. It’s sort of, like a pizza but different. – “sorta-likea” | sɔːtə ˈlaɪkə|
  7. Shall we go with teacher? – weak “shall” connected with “we” | ʃəwi ɡəʊ |
  8. Coming back to what you were saying about teachers… – weak “were” in “what you were saying” all connected – | ˈwɒtjuwə ˈseɪɪŋ |