Posted in Conversation Classes, Grammar Classes, Vocabulary Classes

Conversation Lesson: Agony Aunts

This is a conversation class based on the topic of agony aunts for advanced adult students (C1+) in which students learn some expressions and structures for giving advice. Here is the language handout and the situations for advice:

Agony Aunt + Agony Aunt Language

Start by trying to elicit what an agony aunt is. You could show the this link to the Sun’s Dear Deidre column (be warn it has some partial nudity)

Ask students if they have similar columns/websites in their country.

Tell students that they are going to become agony aunts for the class.

Give out the handout and go through the language Then cut up the agony aunt situations and have students take it in turns to read a situation as if it were their own. Other students then give advice on the situation.

Giving advice

Present:

You should/shouldn’t…

You ought to/ought not to…

You had better/had better not…

If I were in your shoes/position, I would…

I’ll tell you what, why don’t you…?

What you can do is…

I suggest/recommend that you + infinitive – to

I suggest/recommend + gerund

Have you tried + gerund?

It’s vital that you…

You simply have to…

Past:

You should/shouldn’t have + past participle.

You ought (not) to have + past participle.

Expressions

Woah! That’s a tough one.

That’s a delicate/tricky situation.

A minefield.

You have to tread carefully.

Be subtle/tactful/diplomatic.

Bring it up casually.

Who is in the wrong?

Don’t think twice about + gerund (definitely do it)

Don’t even think about + gerund (definitely don’t do it)

Put your foot down.

Don’t take any crap/bullshit.

You have to nip this problem in the bud.

I think you’re making a mountain out of a molehill.

It’s just a storm in a teacup.

It’ll blow over.

Don’t make any hasty/rash decisions.

You have to face the problem head on.

Put yourself in his/her shoes.

What would you do if the shoe was on the other foot?

Don’t put up with it.

Stay strong.

Go with your gut instinct.

Agony Aunt – Situations

My partner has to go away on a business trip with his/her ex, they will be staying in the same hotel. He/she has assured me that /he/she has no feelings for the ex. My partner’s personal hygiene standards have slipped. My partner’s parents are always dropping hints about wedding bells and the pitter patter of tiny feet.
My best friend always flirts with my partner, I don’t want to make a big deal of it but it bothers me. My partner called out the wrong name during sex! My partner used to be really romantic but has stopped making the effort.
My partner told me he/she didn’t want anything for valentine’s day so I didn’t get him/her anything. He/she is now giving me the silent treatment. I’ve been with my partner for 5 months; I have to move out of my house because my landlord is selling it. My partner has invited me to move in with him/her but I’m not sure. Is it too soon? I don’t want to hurt his/her feelings. My partner doesn’t want to have kids and I’ve always said the same but now I’m starting to get broody.
My partner doesn’t help out around the house. He/she doesn’t cook, clean or help fix anything. I lent my partner €1000 and he/she hasn’t paid me back yet and he/she hasn’t brought it up for months. I get the feeling that my partner’s parents don’t approve of my line of work. I’m a professional musician. My partner used to go out with a lawyer.
My partner is still on good terms with all of his/her exes; he/she chats with them regularly on facebook. My best friend told me that my partner came on to him/her when he/she was really drunk. My partner’s mother won’t leave him/her alone. She insists on doing all his/her laundry and that they go out together, just the two of them, every Friday night. How do I make her back off?
I’ve fallen in love with my best friend but he/she isn’t interested. I’m 19 years old and my partner has just proposed to me. I love him/her but is this too big a step? I’m getting married in 2 weeks but I think my fiancé is getting cold feet about wedding. He/she goes really quiet when I start talking about it and he/she doesn’t seem to be sleeping much.
I’m single, I kissed a colleague at the work Christmas party and now he/she has asked me out on a date. My boss at work keeps giving me the eye and dropping hints about us going on a date. He’s invited me to a conference next weekend. I’ve just come out of a long-term relationship. I met a great guy/girl in a bar the other day. I told him/her that it was just a bit of fun but I think he/she is falling for me.
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Posted in Conversation Classes, Video Classes

TED talks lesson: Logan Laplante on “Hack-schooling”

This is a discussion class for higher levels (high B2 – C2) based around the Logan Laplante’s TED talk video on “hack-schooling” a form of home schooling based round applicable skills and hands-on experience.

The video is 11 minutes long so I set it for homework the lesson before so that students could watch and rewatch as many times as they needed to fully understand it. Alternatively, you could watch it in class if you have time.

Vocabulary

Logan uses some skier/skater American slang, for example:

To be stoked – to be excited about/interested in something

to be bummed out – to be annoyed/disappointed

Other vocab that might need highlighting:

To log out of reality – to escape from reality

mashup – a mixture/fusion of different elements

hacker mindset – a mindset is a set of attitudes a person has

Discussion questions

  1. What was your first impression of Logan?
  2. How old is he?
  3. Is he a typical 13 year old?
  4. What are the 8 keys to happiness? (Exercise/diet and nutrition/time in nature/contribution and service to others/relationships/recreation/religious and spiritual)
  5. What do you think of this idea?
  6. How does he define a “hacker”? (A person who changes and improves established systems)
  7. What is “hack-schooling”? (opportunistic learning that doesn’t follow a curriculum with no fixed structure)
  8. What do you think of this idea?
  9. How and what does Logan learn?
  10. Is it for everyone?
  11. Is it only for people from a privileged background?
  12. “Schools are orientated towards making a living rather than making a life” What do you think of this statement? Do you agree?
  13. Do students today learn applicable skills?
  14. What do you think Logan is going to be when he grows up?
  15. What would your friends say if you pulled your children out of school?

Role-play

Put students in pairs of groups of 3 and have them role play the last question, student A has decided to pull their kids out of school to teach them at home, student B thinks they are crazy!

Debate

“The education system does not prepare students for life.”

Split group in to two groups, 1 in support and 1 against the motion. Follow standard debate structure, 2 minute opening arguments, rebuttals etc.

Posted in Conversation Classes

Tiger Mother Conversation Topic

tiger mum

This is a conversation activity based around Amy Chua the controversial author of the book “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother”, her guide to parenting using stricter Chinese methods. Below are the links to the prezi and two hand outs.

Prezi

tiger mother example of technique

Tiger Mother quotes handout

Lesson Plan

First show the first slide of the prezi with the three quotes and have students discuss them as a class or in small groups.

Then tell show them the second slide and tell them that the three quotes are all from Amy Chua. Ask students if they have heard of her and encourage them to share their knowledge if they have.

Then give out the first handout (example of technique). Have the students read the story, go over any vocabulary issues and then have students discuss it using the questions on the 2nd slide.

Then have students discuss the quotes in the 3rd slide of the prezi or alternatively print out the second hand out (quotes) and use that for discussion.

Homework Suggestion

Students preparing for exams could write an article or essay based around Amy Chua and her techniques. A compare and contrast piece based around students opinions of her techniques compared to traditional western parenting.

 

 

Posted in Conversation Classes

The €100,000 question, conversation topic

US100000dollarsbillreverse

Put your students in groups of 3 and ask them the following question:

What would you do with €100,000?

Give them 2 minutes to share their ideas, then have them report each other’s answers to the class. (each person reports someone else from their group’s answer)

Did anyone give it to charity?

Give out the following handout:

https://skydrive.live.com/redir?resid=79CFF252BEEA0A7D!452&authkey=!AB2H6x3IinOC6wE

In their groups students discuss the problem and then present their ideas to the class.

As a wrap up ask the students which suggestions they thought were the best, see if they can come to an agreement as a class on how to give the money away.

Task:

A long lost aunt that you didn’t know you had has recently passed away. In her will she left your group €100,000 with a note saying it should be given away to “make the world a better place.” Decide in your groups who you are going to give it to.

Making Suggestions

I think we should……………….

I reckon we ought to…………………

Why don’t we………………………..

How about / what about + gerund………………………….

Agreeing / Disagreeing

Agreeing Disagreeing Ending an argument:
  • We see eye to eye
  • I couldn’t agree with you more.
  • That’s exactly how I feel.
  • You have a point there.
  • I was just going to say that.
  • Absolutely.
  • We don’t see eye to eye
  • I take your point but
  • I tend to disagree with you there
  • I’m afraid I have to disagree with you there
  • I beg to differ
  • That’s not always the case.
  • Let’s just move on shall we?
  • I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree.
  • We’ll come back to that later.