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 Conversation Classes

Role play: Making Polite Requests

makingrequests

Just a quick note…

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://soundcloud.com/2tspod


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

Role play: Making Polite Requests

This is a fun conversation class to help students with language for making, accepting and rejecting polite requests in work or home situations. Here is the link to the handout.

Start by asking students the following:

Have you ever asked for a pay rise?

Have you ever asked for time off?

When was the last time you asked for permission for something? What was it? How did you ask?

First have students brainstorm language of polite requests, then go over the language in the handout.

Making Requests

I was wondering if it would be possible to…….

Is there any chance that I could…….

Would it be alright if I……..

I believe I’m entitled to/I deserve…… (a pay rise/a day off)

Giving Reasons

You see the thing is……………

The problem is that………….

Accepting Requests

Ok, I don’t see why not.

Of course.

No problem at all

Adding Conditions

As long as/provided that/on condition that you……..

Rejecting Requests

I’m afraid that’s just not possible at the moment.

That’s out of the question.

I’m afraid I have to turn your request down.

Once you have gone through the language, put students in pairs and give out the role play cards. Tell students that it is important that they keep their role cards secret as some characters are required to keep certain information secret.

Run the same role play simultaneously and after 4-5 minutes have students report back what happened to the rest of class (a good opportunity to practice reported speech).

Role plays

A:

You are an employee in a company. Next weekend your best friend is having his/her stag/hen party (despedida de soltero). You have to ask your boss for the Monday and Tuesday after off work. Your boss will probably reject the request if he/she knows you are going to a stag/hen party.

B:

You are the boss of the company. An employee comes to ask you something. This particular employee has seemed distracted recently and keeps forgetting important things.

A:

You are and sales person in a company. You are very stressed and you need a rest, you have decided that you want to take a sabbatical to go and volunteer in an elephant sanctuary in Africa for a year. You need to speak to the boss. You are very hard-working and the company is doing very well because of your hard work.

B:

You are the boss of a company. One of your employees comes to ask you something. You have heard a rumour that this employee wants to take a sabbatical. He/she is your best sales person and the company really needs him/her. You can offer him/her a pay rise, a promotion and a 1 month holiday.

A:

You are a strict parent. Your son/daughter comes to you with a request about the weekend.

B:

You are a teenager. Your best friend is having a massive party at his/her house this weekend because his/her parents are away, the boy/girl of your dreams is also going to be there. You need to get your parent’s permission to go but they are very strict and will not give you permission if they know it’s going to be a crazy party.

A:

You are a teacher. Your best student comes to you with a request.

B:

You are a student. You are very intelligent and you work very hard. You want to be a journalist. You have been offered a part time job in a national newspaper. If you take the job you will have to work from 9am-12am on Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays but you have classes on these days. Speak to your teacher and see if you can find a solution.