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

Where do you stand? Education

aswar akka consultancy | How Important is Educational Management and  Organization?

This is another edition of my “Where do you Stand?” conversation series. Students debate different topics related to education 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/100-Debate-Topics

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 Advanced C1, Conversation Classes, Proficiency

Where do you Stand? Entertainment & Culture

Entertainment And Culture Icon Set High-Res Vector Graphic - Getty Images

This is another edition of my “Where do you Stand?” conversation series. Students debate different topics related to entertainment and culture but must rate the opinion on a scale from 1-6 before they begin the discussion.

The PowerPoint contains examples of language of opinion, agreement and disagreement designed with C1 students in mind. If you are teaching lower level students, you could just use the student handout. You can download a B2 phrase sheet here.

Here are the topics students discuss:

The book is always better than the film.

There are too many sequels and spin-off films these days. There aren’t many original stories.

The original version of a song is always the best.

Celebrities shouldn’t complain about being in the public eye. It’s part of the jobNetflix will kill the cinema.

You shouldn’t watch films on your phone. It ruins the experience.

Watching a film at the cinema is always better than at home.

Violent films and videogames should be banned.

Music, art and drama should be compulsory subjects at school.

Social media companies should be responsible for the content that users post on their platforms.

Children shouldn’t play with “violent” toys like guns and weapons.

Something is always lost when a text is translated.

Physical books will disappear one day.

Governments should be allowed to censor some elements of the media including books and films.

The benefits of social media platforms outweigh the negative aspects.

Sports involving animals (hunting, horse riding, bullfighting, etc.) are an important part of my culture and must be protected.

Watching too much television makes you stupid.

Posted in Conversation Classes

Conversation Topic: Kids & Parenthood

Preparing your finances for parenthood | Vanguard

A simple conversation activity I designed as a follow-up to my previous post entitled “A Weekend Off”. It can be used with B1+ students. Students discuss various topics related to parenthood, kids and growing up. Download the handout below:

Put students in pairs or small groups and have them discuss the questions. Pause regularly to feedback in open class. The activity should generate a lot of emergent language.

Student Handout

  • How does life change when you have kids?
  • How can other family members help with childcare?
  • What things do you think new parents miss about their old life?

What do you think are the biggest challenges for new parents?

  • Feeling unprepared for parenthood
  • Suffering from sleep deprivation
  • A loss/lack of intimacy
  • Changing dirty nappies/diapers
  • Picking kids up from kindergarten/nursery
  • Financial struggles

How is growing up different for:

  • The first child?
  • The middle child?
  • The baby?

What position were you in your family?

What are some stereotypes associated with the different positions among siblings?

What are the pros and cons of being an only child?

What do children learn from having siblings?

What do you think is the perfect number of children to have?

  • 1?
  • 2?
  • 3?
  • 4?
  • More?

What are the pros and cons of these stages of children’s lives?

  • Babies (0-1)
  • Toddlers (1-3)
  • Kids (3-10)
  • Pre-teens (10-12)
  • Teenagers (13-18)
  • Young adults (18-22)

What’s the most rewarding and most challenging aspect of each stage?

Posted in Advanced C1, Conversation Classes, Proficiency

Discussion: Where do you Stand? Animal Rights

Animal Rights Advocates | LinkedIn

This is a discussion topic for B2+ students on the topic of animal rights. Download the student handout and PowerPoint below:

The PowerPoint contains advanced language for expressing opinion, personalising the topic, agreeing and disagreeing. It was made with C1/C2 students in mind. If you’re teaching lower levels, the student handout may be more suitable, although I recommend supplementing it with a phrase sheet, perhaps try my FCE Speaking Phrases post.

Put students into small groups (3/4) or conduct the activity as an open class discussion. Before engaging in discussion on the topics, students must decide individually to what extent they agree or disagree with the given statement by circling one of the numbers from 1-6. The idea is that students will be more likely to take a stand and defend their point of view and less able to go along with the crowd if they’ve assigned their opinion a numerical value.

You could also introduce the phrase “to play devil’s advocate” and encourage students do it during the discussion. Another idea could be to assign a specific student from each group as the devil’s advocate for each topic, thus forcing them to come up with counter arguments to what their classmates are saying.

Here are the discussion topics:

  • Zoos have a positive impact on society.
Strongly agree               1               2               3               4               5               6               Strongly disagree
  • Big game hunting should be allowed the money from hunting licences should go towards conservation.
Strongly agree               1               2               3               4               5               6               Strongly disagree
  • Humans shouldn’t step in to save endangered species; nature should be allowed to take its course.
Strongly agree               1               2               3               4               5               6               Strongly disagree
  • I see no problem with testing cosmetics on animals.
Strongly agree               1               2               3               4               5               6               Strongly disagree
  • I see no problem with testing medicines on animals.
Strongly agree               1               2               3               4               5               6               Strongly disagree
  • People in the future will view the way we treat animals today as barbaric.
Strongly agree               1               2               3               4               5               6               Strongly disagree
  • It’s not a square meal without some meat.
Strongly agree               1               2               3               4               5               6               Strongly disagree
  • I could go vegetarian.
Strongly agree               1               2               3               4               5               6               Strongly disagree
  • I could go vegan.
Strongly agree               1               2               3               4               5               6               Strongly disagree
  • I’m willing to cut down on meat for environmental reasons.
Strongly agree               1               2               3               4               5               6               Strongly disagree
  • Eating animals like dogs and cats shouldn’t be viewed as strange; we eat pigs, sheep and cows.
Strongly agree               1               2               3               4               5               6               Strongly disagree
  • I would be able to tell the difference between real and synthetic meat.
Strongly agree               1               2               3               4               5               6               Strongly disagree
  • One day, all meat will be synthetic meat, grown in a laboratory.
Strongly agree               1               2               3               4               5               6               Strongly disagree
  • Factory farming is necessary in order to feed the populations.
Strongly agree               1               2               3               4               5               6               Strongly disagree
  • Eating meat is an important part of my culture.
Strongly agree               1               2               3               4               5               6               Strongly disagree
  • Sports involving animals (hunting, horse riding, bullfighting, etc.) are an important part of my culture and must be protected.
Strongly agree               1               2               3               4               5               6               Strongly disagree
  • I could kill and butcher and animal for food.
Posted in 2Ts in a Pod: Podcast, Advanced C1, Conversation Classes, Proficiency, Vocabulary Classes

B2+ Conversation Topic: Pet Peeves & Bugbears

Pet Peeves - RunEatSnap

This is a conversation topic for B2+ students in which they discuss things that annoy them. First they study some expressions related to annoyance and anger, then put them to use in a discussion about different annoying habits. Download the student handout, key and Powerpoint below:

Warmer

Start by writing “Pet hates/peeves & Bugbears” on the board and give examples of some of your personal pet peeves using some of the expressions from the student handout.

Vocabulary Focus

Give out the handout and have students complete the expressions. Check answers in open class.

Instruct students to cover the handout, then show the first slide from the Powerpoint, students now need to remember the expressions using the words from the exercises on the handout:

STAND – I can’t stand it when…

The sentences are animated on the Powerpoint so you can reveal them one at a time.

Repeat for the expressions about anger.

Discussion

Put students in pairs or groups of three.

Go through the slides on the Powerpoint showing different annoying habits and behaviours.

For each slide encourage students to discuss their feelings about the topic and also think of a specific time in their lives when they’ve witnessed such behaviour, and how they reacted. If they can’t think of a specific time, encourage them to speculate about how they would react: “If I saw someone throwing litter out of a car window, I would lose my rag!”

Encourage students to share their opinions and experiences in open class.

Wrap up the activity by having students write a definitive list of 3 pet peeves/bugbears that they have.

For adult students or groups that you know well, you may want to teach slightly more explicit versions of the expressions:

Lose one’s shit

It fucks me off

Homework

Have students listen to our episode of 2Ts in a Pod on the topic of Pet Hates:

Posted in Conversation Classes

“I could eat a horse!” – Food Conversation Topic

Super simple conversation activity based around the topic of food. Suitable for a range of levels from A2 upwards. It was written for students based in Barcelona so a couple of questions won’t make sense outside Catalonia, but you can skip/adapt those ones. Credit to my DELTA tutor Neil Forrest for the dressing a salad question and nationalfoods.org for the weird national dishes questions.

Introduce the topic of food debates using the first slide about the Devon vs Cornwall cream tea debate. Cream teas are scones topped with jam and clotted cream but there is a heated debate regarding which should be put on the scone first. Cornish heathens think that the jam should go first, followed by the cream, which is just preposterous. Righteous Devonians know that the correct order is cream first, then jam. (can you guess where I’m from?) Then ask students to discuss any food debates that exist in their country.

Download the powerpoint below:

Posted in Conversation Classes, Exam Preparation Class, Listening Classes, Video Classes

Gender Roles: B1-B2

The Arbitrary Division of Gender Roles | by Seth Buesing | Medium

This is a guest post by Soleil García Brito. It is a lesson plan on the topic of gender roles. Students complete a First-Certificate-style multiple choice cloze exercise, a listening comprehension based on a clip from Friends and finally, a discussion on the topic. Download the student handout and teacher’s notes below:

Video clip:

Some questions in the discussion have been adapted from: http://www.englishwithjo.com/english-conversation-gender-roles/

Multiple-choice cloze text adapted from: https://en.wikipedia.org/

Posted in Advanced C1, Conversation Classes, Proficiency

Discussion Topics: Where do you stand?

Life Begins at 40: Imágenes, fotos de stock y vectores | Shutterstock

This is a conversation lesson plan designed with higher level adults in mind (C1/C2). It could also be adapted for lower levels. Download the handouts below:

The advanced discussion phrases handout is a truncated version of my C2 speaking phrase sheet, other phrase sheets could be used for lower levels.

Give out the phrase sheet. Have students peruse it and ask questions about unfamiliar expressions. You may also want to model pronunciation of some of the exponents, although this could also be done reactively. You could also ask students to choose their favourite expressions from the list to encourage ownership of the exponents.

Give out the discussion topics. Explain the system: students must read the topic and first individually circle one of the numbers between one and six to determine how much they agree with the statement. Students are then free to discuss the topic in groups or as a class. They must decide their level of agreement before discussing the topic to avoid following the crowd. This system should lead to more in-depth discussion and hopefully more disagreements!

Encourage the use of the expressions on the phrases sheet; you could award points for the number of expressions used. Some of the discussion topics are common proverbs or phrases so be ready to give definitions and examples to illustrate meaning.