Posted in 2Ts in a Pod: Podcast, Listening Classes

2Ts in a Pod Episode 56: AITA (Am I the A**hole?)

Image credit: Mark Wilding

This time on the pod Katy and Tim discuss some dilemmas from the popular Reddit thread AITA (Am I the A**hole?).

Listen along and decide who you think is in the wrong in each of the situations.

Posted in 2Ts in a Pod: Podcast

2Ts in a Pod: Episode 54 – Crazy Inventions

Credit: Mark Wilding

We’re back with episode 54 of the podcast. Katy & Tim describe some crazy inventions and discuss their usefulness. How many gadgets do you own?

Listen on SoundCloud, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. If you enjoy the episode, come join us on the socials for more great content:

TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@2tspod

Twitter: @2tspod

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/2tspod/?hl=en

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/2tspodcast

Posted in Conversation Classes, pragmatics

Classroom Pragmatics: Arriving Late & Leaving Early

Five things you could be doing that are driving your professor crazy —  Vision Media

This is the first in a new series of classroom pragmatics lesson plans designed to help develop students’ pragmatic competence in specific social interactions that take place in the classroom. In this case, how to apologise for arriving late and how to request to leave early. Download the handout with key below:

First students rate a good and a bad apology/request. Then they must break the apology/request down into separate functions or speech acts, then practice making their own apologies and requests in a role-play. This should prepare them for the real-life interaction if/when it arises.

Late Arrival

  • What should you do if you arrive late to class?

Rate this late arrival:

Teacher: What time do you call this?

Student: Sorry I’m late, …. traffic ….., I was eating, lost the bus.”

Now this one:

Teacher:  What time do you call this?

Student: Hi Tim, I’m really sorry for being late. It’s my fault, you see, I was having lunch with my friends and I lost track of time. It won’t happen again.

Identify the different stages:

  1. Greeting
  2. Initial apology
  3. Accept responsibility/place blame
  4. Give explanation
  5. Promise action

Useful language

Initial apologyAccept responsibility
I’m really sorry for ….ingApologies for ….ingI apologise profusely for ….ingIt’s (all) my fault…I’m to blame…It’s on me…
Introduce explanation or excusePromise action
You see,…It’s just that…What happened was…It won’t happen again.I’ll try harder to …. next time.I promise I’ll/I won’t…

Role-play

https://rolladie.net/roll-a-d20-die – roll a 20-sided die to choose your excuse then role-play the situation with your partner.

Excuse Table

I overslept. My last class/meeting overran. I lost track of time. I missed the bus and had to wait for the next one. I got stuck in traffic. The metro line was down. I got distracted. I had a (dentist’s) appointment. My (pet/family member) was sick. I lost my (bag/phone/etc.)My bag got stolen. I fell over/tripped and hurt my (ankle/knee) I had a car/bike/motorbike accident. My car/bike/motorbike broke down. My house/flat got burgled/broken into. A water pipe burst in my house/flat. I got held up at the (doctor’s/dentist’s/bank) I got caught in the rain/snow. I got splashed by a puddle. There’s been a death in the family.

Leaving Early

  • How would you ask the teacher if you can leave early?

Rate this request:

Student: I have to leave early today. I have to go to the dentist. Here you have a note from my dad.

Now this one:

Student: Hi Tim, would it be ok if I left early today? I’ll only miss the last 20 minutes of class. The thing is, I have a dentist’s appointment at 3 o’clock, it’s the only slot they had. I’ll get the notes off María before next class and if you could let me know the homework, that’d be great.

Identify the different stages:

  • Greeting
  • Initial request
  • Softening
  • Introduce reason
  • Promise action/mitigation
Polite RequestsIntroducing explanations
Would it be of if + past simpleWould it be possible to + inf.Do you think I could + verb…?The thing is,…It’s just that,….You see,….

Role-play

https://rolladie.net/roll-a-d10-die – roll a 10-sided die to choose your excuse then role-play the situation with your partner. Think of ways to soften the request (I’ll only miss 20 minutes of class)

Excuse Table

It’s your (family member’s) birthday. You have a big sporting event. You have an important exam tomorrow morning. You have a flight/train to catch. You have a dentist’s appointment. You have a doctor’s appointment. You have an appointment at the hairdresser’s. You have an important business meeting. You have to go home to look after your kids/younger siblings. You have an important family dinner.

KEY – ARRIVING LATE

Teacher:  What time do you call this?

Student: Hi Tim, I’m really sorry for being late. It’s my fault, you see, I was having lunch with my friends and I lost track of time. It won’t happen again.

Identify the different stages:

  1. Greeting
  2. Initial apology
  3. Accept responsibility/place blame
  4. Give explanation
  5. Promise action

LEAVING EARLY

Student: Hi Tim, would it be ok if I left early today? I’ll only miss the last 20 minutes of class. The thing is, I have a dentist’s appointment at 3 o’clock, it’s the only slot they had. I’ll get the notes off María before next class and if you could let me know the homework, that’d be great.

Identify the different stages:

  • Greeting
  • Initial request
  • Softening
  • Introduce reason
  • Promise action/mitigation
Posted in B2 First, Exam Preparation Class, Guest Posts, Listening Classes

B2: Halloween Special – Spoopy Season

This is a guest post by Soleil García Brito just in time for Halloween! Students learn about the concert of spoopy vs spooky things and the history of the jack-o-lantern. Download the handouts below:

  1. Describe the images and discuss:
  2. What are the similarities and differences between these two images?
  • Which of these images do you find the spookiest?
  • Reading and Use of English (Part 2)

Adapted from Merriam Webster – Words We’re Watching

The Inside Poop On ‘Spoopy’

Spoopy might startle people, especially around Halloween season. Perhaps it’s the resemblance (1) ______ spooky, which could lead you to believe the formation is nothing more (2) ______ a jaw-dropping typo. Or it could also be that it has poopy in it, which makes the spelling amusing to people (3) ______ enjoy bodily humour. This Internet sensation’s origin was a comical misspelling of the adjective spooky spotted on a department store’s Halloween sign written in a “skeletal” font and photographed. The image was (4) ______ uploaded to the Internet; in short order, spoopy (5) ______ viral. Essentially, the word is used to describe something that typically would be spooky, (6) ______ an image of a skeleton or ghost, but is actually rather comical. The word has other connotations (7) ______ well: it is sometimes used for things that are intended to be spooky but simply fail to scare, or it could describe something that blends cuteness (8) ______ spookiness in a grotesque way.

Watch the video (x2) until 5:17 and answer the following questions:

  1. According to the Youtuber’s previous views, why did people carve pumpkins?
    1. Because they wanted to scare others
    1. Because they didn’t like the taste of pumpkins
    1. Because there were too many pumpkins
  2. Why did the devil go to see Stingy Jack?
    1. To take him to hell
    1. So that he could have some drinks with him
    1. Because he admired him
  3. How did Stingy Jack avoid going to hell the first time?
    1. He trapped the devil in a silver cross
    1. He trapped the devil in his pocket
    1. He left the bar while the devil was paying
  4. Why did the devil climb up a tree?
    1. Because Jack was hungry
    1. Because he was hungry
    1. Because Jack threatened him with crosses
  5. The reason Jack wasn’t allowed in hell was…
    1. He wasn’t evil
    1. He made a deal with the devil
    1. God prohibited him from entering
  6. What does the legend say?
    1. That Jack is happy because he escaped hell
    1. Jack wanders through purgatory with a pumpkin
    1. Jack’s spirit appears in marshes on October 31st
  • Language focus

Watch the video again, complete the sentences below and match the words to their meanings:

  1. Well, it ___________ I was wrong about two things.
  2. A voice comes out ___________ to be Satan himself.
  3. Just ________ yourself ________ a silver coin.
  4. Jack’s soul was sent down to hell where the devil was _________ waiting.
  5. Was cursed to spend eternity __________ through the darkness or purgatory.
  6. Wandering aimlessly through the forests and ____________
Turns outWalking around slowly with no clear purpose or direction
ClaimingIn a way that shows a strong desire to do or have something
Turn (sth/sb) intoSaying that something is true or a fact
EagerlyTo be known or discovered finally and surprisingly
WanderingGround near a lake, a river, or the sea that is always wet
MarshesTo change, transform or develop from one thing to another
USEFUL IDIOMSTo be taken off guard The lesser of two evils
Posted in Advanced C1, B2 First, Conversation Classes, Exam Preparation Class

B2+ Goat vs Bear – Exam Practice & Discussion

This is a lesson plan for B2+ students. It is based on a text from https://www.iflscience.com/ on the subject of wild animals. It will serve as good exam practice for students preparing to take Cambridge exams and should also be an engaging topic of conversation for teenagers and adults. Download the handouts and slides below:

Link to original article: https://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/badass-goat-killed-grizzly-bear-by-skewering-it-on-its-horns-necropsy-reveals/

Procedure

  1. Show students the second slide of the PowerPoint, encourage them to guess which animal would win.
  2. Show them the second and have them speculate about how a goat would beat a bear.
  3. Give out handout and have students read to confirm their speculations, check in open class.
  4. Have students complete the open cloze, they could work in pairs or individually and then check with their partner. Good practice for Cambridge exams use of English.
  5. Lead students through the vocabulary exercises.
  6. Discussion: Which animal could you beat in a fight? Show students the fourth slide and explain the statistics to them. Put students in groups and have them discuss which animals they think they could beat and how they would do it. 
  7. Lead a discussion on the best way to tackle certain large, dangerous animals. Have students speculate on the best thing to do in each encounter, then check on the internet to see whether or not they would have survived. Board any emergent language and exploit it for recall later.

Open Cloze Key

Apex predators make (1) IT to the top (2) BY being the most efficient hunters in their domain, but every now and (3) THEN an underdog crops up to disrupt the food chain. (4) SUCH an example played out on the mountains of Burgess Pass in Yoho National Park, where Parks Canada retrieved the body of a female grizzly bear. Such a creature would usually (5) BE  the slayer rather than the slain, and most surprisingly of all the assailant turned (6) OUT to be a goat.

The battle (7) TOOK place sometime before September 4 after which Parks Canada was made aware (8) OF the presence of a carcass. Bodies such (9) AS these need to be removed as they can otherwise lure in wildlife that could put visitors to the pass (10) AT risk.

The discovery of a slain bear merits a forensic investigation to determine the (11) CAUSE of death, and so a necropsy (12) WAS conducted on the animal. During the examination, staff noticed that the fatal wounds were at the base of the bear’s neck and in (13) ITS armpits. The attack sites might sound random to the uninitiated, but to experienced park rangers, this was the work (14) OF one extremely lucky mountain goat.

“When grizzly bears attack, they tend (15) TO focus (16) ON the head, neck, and shoulders of the prey, usually (17) FROM above,” Alison Biles, Public Relations and Communications Officer for Parks Canada, told IFLScience. “In turn, the defensive response of mountain goats would (18) BE  to protect themselves using (19) THEIR sharp horns.”

“Grizzly bear predation of mountain goats is relatively common and significant goat activity was observed (20) IN the immediate area. (21) IN this case, it appears that the mountain goat was (22) TRYING/ABLE to defend itself. While rare, other cases of mountain goats defensively killing bears have (23) BEEN reported in the past, (24) WHICH is not completely surprising since mountain goats are strong animals that are well-equipped to defend (25) THEMSELVES” 

Adapted from: https://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/badass-goat-killed-grizzly-bear-by-skewering-it-on-its-horns-necropsy-reveals/ 

Find words or phrases in the text to match these definitions:

  1. Animals at the top of the local food chain. – APEX PREDATORS
  2. Someone in a game or fight who has little chance of winning. – AN UNDERDOG
  3. A killer. – SLAYER – assailant – an attacker
  4. The dead body of an animal. – CARCASS
  5. Attract. – LURE IN
  6. Where your arm meets your chest. – ARMPITS
  7. People without experience. – THE UNINITIATED 
  8. A person who patrols and maintains a national park. – PARK RANGER
  9. To have the tools to do something. – BE WELL-EQUIPPED

Complete the collocations from the text:

  1. MAKE it to the top
  2. Every NOW and then
  3. Such AN example
  4. The assailant TURNED out to be a goat
  5. The battle took PLACE sometime before September 4
  6. Parks Canada was MADE aware of the presence of a carcass.
  7. Put visitors at RISK
  8. An investigation to determine the cause of DEATH

Complete the sentences with one of the collocations:

  1. The police still aren’t sure of the CAUSE OF DEATH
  2. I don’t go out often but EVERY NOW AND THEN I like to meet up with friends and let my hair down.
  3. His carelessness PUT everyone on board the ship AT RISK, it can’t happen again.
  4. I have been MADE AWARE OF some complaints that customers have made and I would like to address them.
  5. The match will TAKE PLACE tonight at the usual address.
  6. To MAKE IT TO THE TOP in this industry you have to work very hard and get lucky.
  7. We thought it was a shark under the boat but TURNED OUT TO BE a piece of rubbish.
Posted in 2Ts in a Pod: Podcast, Listening Classes

2Ts in a Pod Episode 52: Pride Month Special – The Wonderful World of Drag

Image credit: Mark Wilding

For episode 52 we spoke to Oscar/Lana Vuli a drag performer based in Barcelona. We spoke about his/her route into drag performance and experiences performing live and on the Youtube Channel “Science Queers”. You’ll find a link to the channel below.

It was a great episode and a really enjoyable interview, we hope you like it!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWR22076Osunb7hiTHfhr1Q

Posted in 2Ts in a Pod: Podcast, Advanced C1, B2 First, Listening Classes, Reading Classes

2Ts in a Pod: Episode 50!!! Book Club – Thursday Murder Club Part 6

Image credit: Mark Wilding

We’ve made it to 50 episodes! Thanks to all our listeners for your continued support, we ❤️ you all!


In episode 50 we’re pressing on with Richard Osman’s wonderful debut novel The Thursday Murder Club, chapters 24-31.

Why not get your students to listen and read along?

Posted in Advanced C1, B2 First, Conversation Classes, Exam Preparation Class, Proficiency

Where do you stand? Science & Technology

Technology and Science | Study Abroad Life

This is another edition of my “Where do you Stand?” conversation series. Students debate different topics related to science and technology but must rate their opinion on a scale from 1-6 before they begin the discussion. Download the PowerPoint and student handout below:

If you want to use it with B2 students you could use this phrase sheet.

Credit to Owlcation for some of the debate topics:

https://owlcation.com/academia/80-Science-Debate-Topics-for-Students

Posted in 2Ts in a Pod: Podcast, Advanced C1, B2 First, Listening Classes, Proficiency

2Ts in a Pod: Episode 47 – The Unluckiest People in the World

NEW EPISODE! In Episode 47 Tim & Katy tell stories of some of the unluckiest people to have ever lived! Which one do you think is the unluckiest?

This great lesson plan by Alice at Hot Take English is based around one of the hard luck stories from this episode; why not set the podcast for homework and then use the lesson plan in the following class?

Posted in 2Ts in a Pod: Podcast, Exam Preparation Class, Guest Posts, Reading Classes, Vocabulary Classes

Guest Post: B2 First – A Forgotten Dream

This is a guest post by my friend, colleague and co-host of the podcast 2Ts in a pod, Katy Wright. It’s designed to help students preparing for the B2 first exam get to grips with some of the phrasal verbs and fixed expressions they might encounter in the exam. Students read a text about Jim’s forgotten dream, then try to recreate the text using key words. Download the student handout below:

A FORGOTTEN DREAM

  1. Look at the pictures. What is the story about?
  • Read the story. Were your predictions correct?

Jim couldn’t stand his job. All he did all day was sit at his desk and pretended to work while watching the heavy rain outside his window. He was meant to be selling insurance on the phone, but he wasn’t very good at it. In fact, he had sold very few contracts. This was because all he had ever wanted to do was be an actor in Hollywood. He had loved acting when he was a teenager, but instead of going to America he studied Business and he put off looking for fame. “I’ll look into that when I have finished Uni” he said to himself. This was his biggest regret in life. On his way into work that day, his 15-year-old car broke down. Standing in the rain trying to change the tire he made up his mind. He wasn’t going to carry on like this. He was going to make a big change…

  • Answer the questions in groups.
  • What is Jim’s big dream?
  • Why do you think Jim didn’t decide to become an actor after Uni?
  • What do you think makes him change his mind?
  • What big change do you think he is going to make?
  • What will happen at the end of the story?
  • What do you the expressions in yellow mean?
  • Can you translate them to Catalan/Spanish?
  • Do you have similar expression in Catalan/Spanish?
  • Try to remember the original expression used in the story. The words in brackets are to help you.

Jim hated (STAND) his job. All he did all say was sit at his desk and pretended to work while watching as it rained heavily (HEAVY) outside his window. He should have been (MEANT) selling insurance on the phone, but he wasn’t very good at it. In fact, he didn’t sell many (FEW) contracts. This was because all he had ever wanted to do was be an actor in Hollywood. He had loved acting when he was a teenager, but rather than go (OF) to America he studied Business and he postponed looking (PUT) for fame. “I’ll investigate (INTO) that when I have finished Uni” he said to himself. This was his biggest regret in life. On his way into work that day his 15-year-old car stopped working (DOWN). Standing in the rain trying to change the tire he made a decision (UP). He wasn’t going to continue like this any longer (ON). He was going to make a big change…

  • Write the original expressions here:
  • STAND…………………………………………………………………………
  • HEAVY…………………………………………………………………………
  • MEANT …………………………………………………………………………
  • FEW …………………………………………………………………………
  • OF …………………………………………………………………………
  • PUT …………………………………………………………………………
  • INTO …………………………………………………………………………
  • DOWN …………………………………………………………………………
  • UP …………………………………………………………………………
  • ON …………………………………………………………………………
  • Write the rest of the story. Use the questions to help you.

Middle:

  • What does he decide to do next?
  • How will he change his life?
  • What does he do to help him realize his dreams?

End:

  • Does he finally reach his goals?
  • How does he feel about his situation?
  • Does he ever think about his old life?
  • Read all of the paragraphs and vote on the you think is the best