Posted in Conversation Classes, Guest Posts, Vocabulary Classes

Guest Post: Long time, no see! – Adjacency Pairs

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Image credit: Language Boat – WordPress.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is the second in a series of guest posts by my friend and colleague Josh Widdows, an English teacher and teacher trainer at International House Barcelona.

This is a speaking lesson for strong intermediate/upper-intermediate students aimed at helping our learners to respond more appropriately to each other´s utterances. It highlights the importance of listening carefully and how to reply with better intonation and stress in a natural way. An enjoyable speaking lesson that gives students fun controlled and freer speaking opportunities in a ´mingling´ activity.

Download the PowerPoint, lesson procedure, audio and handout below. There are two different version, one for adults and one for teenagers:

Tapescript

 

Complete the gaps with 1 or 2 words:

 

Conversation 1

 

A:     Good evening.

B:      Hi.

A:     Is anyone sitting here?

B:      No.

A:     Would you _____­­­­__ if I joined you?

B:      Not _____­­­­__ . That would be lovely.

A:     Can I get you a drink?

B:      That’s very _____­­­­__ . I’d love one.

 

Conversation 2

 

A:     It was lovely to see you again, Sue. We really enjoyed ourselves.

Thank you so _____­­­­__  for having us to stay.

B:      Not at all. It’s _____­­­­__ .

A:     But it was really kind of you to put up with all of us, and the animals.

B:      It’s no problem at all. You must come again soon.

A:     Thanks for the offer. We’ll do that. See you again soon, then!

B:      Yes. Have a good trip.

 

Conversation 3

 

A:     I passed!

B:      Oh, well done…at last! Congratulations! We’ll have to celebrate.

A:     Yes. How _____­­­­__ opening a bottle of champagne?

B:      Brilliant _____­­­­__ .

 

Conversation 4

 

A:     Do you fancy _____­­­­__ with us to the

theatre to see Murder in the Garden?

B:      I _____­­­­__ , but you’ll never _____­­­­__ what. My sister saw it yesterday.

A:     Really?

B:      Yes, and I’m afraid she said it wasn’t very good.

 

 

Now listen and check.

 

 

 

Look at the 6 underlined pairs of phrases in the dialogues.

What is their function?

 

Conversation 1

 

A:       Good evening.

B:       Hi.

A:       Is anyone sitting here?

B:       No.

A:       Would you mind if I joined you?

A     B:       Not at all. That would be lovely.

A:       Can I get you a drink?

B     B:       That’s very kind. I’d love one.

 

Conversation 2

 

A:       It was lovely to see you again, Sue. We really enjoyed ourselves.

Thank you so much for having us to stay.

C     B:       Not at all. It’s a pleasure.

A:       But it was really kind of you to put up with all of us and the animals.

B:       It’s no problem at all. You must come again soon.

A:       Thanks for the offer. We’ll do that. See you again soon, then!

B:       Yes. Have a good trip.

 

Conversation 3

 

A:       I passed!

D     B:       Oh, well done…at last! Congratulations! We’ll have to celebrate.

A:       Yes. How about opening a bottle of champagne?

E     B:       Brilliant idea.

 

Conversation 4

 

A:       Do you fancy coming with us to the

theatre to see Murder in the Garden?

F     B:       I would, but you’ll never guess what. My sister saw it yesterday.

A:       Really?

B:       Yes, and I’m afraid she said it wasn’t very good.

 

Match the function to the sentences:

                                                                                Letter

  1. Saying thanks/responding to thanks ______
  2. Giving good news/responding to good news ______
  3. Asking permission/giving permission ______
  4. Inviting/declining an invitation ______
  5. Making a suggestion/responding to a suggestion ______
  6. Making an offer/accepting an offer ______

 

Now think about the sentence stress and connected speech:

 

 

Posted in Conversation Classes, Proficiency

Debating at Higher Levels

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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, Listening Classes

Giving Advice: The Best Way to Quit Smoking

Image credit: tips.pk

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

I’m running the Barcelona Half-Marathon dressed as David Bowie to raise money for Cancer Research, sponsor me here:

https://www.justgiving.com/Timothy-Warre/

This is a lesson plan for B1+ students on the topic of quitting smoking in which students learn the language of asking for, giving, accepting and rejecting advice and using it in a role-play. I prepared and taught this class as part of my productive skills assignment for the DELTA at International House Barcelona.

Download all the materials below:

giving-advice-problem-cards – Role Cards

Smoking TWarre Prod Skills – Powerpoint

TWarre prod skills listening comp qs – Listening questions

TWarre Prod Skills Procedure – Procedure/Teacher’s notes

TWarre prod skills sts handout – Student hand out

Audio File

Procedure:

Stage Time Focus Procedure Aim
Speaking  1 3 mins Closed pairs

 

 

 

OC

Sts ask and answer questions about smoking from 1st slide of powerpoint (pp)

 

Give opportunities for 1 or 2 sts to explain how they quit.

To engage top-down knowledge and personalise topic.

Lead in to pre-listening.

Pre-listening 5 mins Closed pairs

 

 

 

 

OC

 

 

 

 

Closed pairs

Sts brainstorm different ways to quit. Board any that are different to the 4 on slide 2: nicotine gum/patches, e-cigarettes, hypnosis.

 

 

Show 2nd slide, board pronunciation of cigarette, patches and hypnosis. Drill briefly.

/sɪɡə’ret/ /ˈpætʃɪz/ /hɪpˈnəʊsɪs/

 

Sts answer questions at bottom of 2nd slide.

To activate top-down knowledge further and pre-teach some vocab for listening.

 

To check and improve pronunciation.

 

 

Sts react to content.

Listening 5-10 mins Closed pairs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OC

Introduce characters and situation from listening with 3rd slide.

 

 

Give out listening comprehension handout. Sts listen and answer 3 questions from handout:

1.       What methods does Joanne recommend?

2.       What methods does Ian recommend?

3.       Which method does Katy decide to try?

Replay as needed, break into two parts if necessary.

 

Check answers across class.

 

Give out handout, sts listen again with tape script. “Any questions?”

To ground sts in the situation of the listening.

 

TAVI exercise to aid sts listening comprehension. Secondary aim: to introduce exponents of advice in context.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To clear up doubts.

Language focus 10 mins Closed pairs

 

 

 

 

 

 

OC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OC/closed pairs

Sts categorise the exponents listed on the handout by meaning. Elicit correct categories for first 2/3. Show slide 4 with first 3 in correct categories.

 

While sts do this board all exponents  in categories, add phonetic script for pronunciation focus:

Drill pronunciation of:

If I were you, I’d…

/ɪf ˈaɪ wə ju: aɪd/ Stress “I” and “you”

That’s a good idea

/ðæts ə ɡʊd aɪˈdɪə/ stress “that’s”

Why don’t you try

/waɪ dəʊnt jə traɪ/ notice weak “you” compared to in “If I were you”

 

Sts analyse grammar of components. Use 5th slide to give examples, then answers.

Focus on meaning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Focus on form: pronunciation, elements of connected speech.

 

 

 

 

Focus on form: grammar, verb patterns.

Speaking – controlled practice 1 2 mins Grps of 3 Sts use the transcript to practice the dialogue from listening.

 

Monitor and correct pronunciation.

Controlled practice of exponents without pressure of creating new sentences.
Writing + speaking controlled practice 2 5-10 mins OC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grps of 3

Sts write their own dialogue. Explain that we’ll do an example together on the board. Students don’t write anything yet.

 

Label one strong group of students A-C, choose strongest student to be A.

 

Give A a problem card.

 

Using cued dialogue on 6th slide model a dialogue on the board.

 

Sts create their own dialogues in the space on the handout. Monitor and correct written form, board vocabulary.

 

Sts read their dialogues.

Scaffolded controlled practice of exponents without performance pressure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spoken controlled practice.

Speaking controlled practice 3 10 mins Rotating groups of 3 A’s stand up and rotate to the next group. They explain their problem to the new group who give them advice. Less structured, A is now free to accept/reject advice.

 

Repeat until all A’s have spoken to all groups.

Less scaffolded controlled speaking practice.
Wrap-up 5 mins OC A’s tell class the best advice they received. Focus sts attention to emergent language. Sts respond to activity + develop fluency.

Student’s handout

Transcript

Katy: Hi guys, I need your help with a problem I’m having. I want to give up smoking but I’m finding it very difficult. What should I do?

Joanne: Well, if I were you, I’d try to stop smoking gradually. You know, smoke 10 cigarettes today, then 9 tomorrow, 8 the next day until you’ve stopped.

Katy: Hhmmm, I don’t think that’ll work. I tried it last year and it was too difficult.

Ian: I think you should buy an electronic cigarette. My girlfriend has one and she loves it!

Katy: I’m not sure. I think they’re bad for me too.

Joanne: Ok well, why don’t you try nicotine chewing gum or patches? My sister used them to give up.

Katy: Ok, that’s a good idea.

Ian: Or you could try hypnosis, my friend Sarah is a hypnotist, I could give you her number.

Katy: Hhmm, maybe not. I think I’ll try the nicotine chewing gum. Thanks for your advice guys.

Language

Put the expressions in bold (1-10) in the correct box (A-D)

  1. What should I do?
  2. If I were you, I’d try to stop smoking gradually.
  3. I don’t think that’ll work.
  4. I think you should buy an electronic cigarette.
  5. I’m not sure. I think they’re bad for me too.
  6. Why don’t you try nicotine chewing gum or patches?
  7. Ok, that’s a good idea.
  8. You could try
  9. Hhmm, maybe not. I think I’ll try the nicotine chewing gum.
  10. I recommend giving up gradually
A.      Asking for advice. B.      Giving advice. C.      Accepting advice. D.      Rejecting advice.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grammar

Look at the expressions in the language exercise, how does the grammar work?

  1. If I were you, I’d try to stop smoking gradually.

If I were you, I’d + BASE FORM (stop/go/have/buy etc.)

  1. I think you should buy an electronic cigarette.

I think you should + __________________________________

  1. Why don’t you try nicotine chewing gum or patches?

Why don’t you + _____________________________________

  1. You could try hypnosis/going to a hypnotist.

You could try + _________________________________________

  1. I recommend giving up gradually.

I recommend + _______________________________________

Now practice the dialogue in groups of 3, one person is Katy, one is Ian and one is Joanne.

Writing a new dialogue

Write a new dialogue with your group, you HAVE TO follow the structure below.

A: Hi guys, I need your help with a problem I’m having. (Explain problem)____________________________. What should I do?

B: Well, if I were you, I’d (gives advice) ____________________.

A: (rejects advice) ___________________________.

C: (gives advice) ___________________________.

A: (rejects advice) ____________________________.

B: Ok well, (gives advice) ___________________________.

A: (rejects advice) ____________________________.

C: (gives advice) ______________________________.

A: (accepts advice) __________________________. Thanks for your advice guys!

Posted in Conversation Classes, Vocabulary Classes

Conversation Skills: Topic Nomination

Image credit: alburychurch.org.au

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

I’m running the Barcelona Half-Marathon dressed as David Bowie to raise money for Cancer Research, sponsor me here:

https://www.justgiving.com/Timothy-Warre/

This is a conversation skills lesson for B2+ students. Students will learn ways to nominate topics and develop their turn-taking skills. First they will listen to native speakers having a conversation the analyse it for the language of topic nomination. Download the handouts and audio file below:

Topic Nomination Student’s handout

Topic Nomination Teacher’s version

Audio File

Listening

Students listen to two people having a conversation 3 times, they should answer the following questions:

1st listen (without transcript)

What topics do they talk about?

 

2nd listen (without transcript)

How do they nominate topic?

 

3rd listen (with transcript)

Underline:

·         Phrases to nominate topic (Using the expressions in bold in the transcript)

 

Look for:

A phrase for agreeing – you can say that again

A phrase that means “I can’t go” – I’m not going to make it.

A phrasal verb that means “increase” put up

Another way of saying “why” how come

A phrasal verb that means “contribute some money” chip in

Another way of saying “it’s ok” now worries

Transcript:

A: Bit chilly today. Isn’t it?

B: You can say that again. It’s freezing in my house, I have to keep my jacket on inside!

A: I know, our place is the same. Our heating doesn’t work and the landlord won’t fix it!

B: That’s rubbish, speaking of landlords, ours is threatening to put the rent up again!

A: What a bastard! Why don’t you just move out?

B: We’re thinking about it, we could have a massive leaving party and trash the place!

A: Haha, go for it! I’ll come. Ooo that reminds me, are you going to Tony and Dave’s tonight?

B: Nah, I’m not going to make it, I have to work tomorrow.

A: On Saturday! How come?

B: We have to get everything ready for the big conference on Monday.

A: Rubbish.

B: I know. I’m free next weekend though.

A: Oh, before I forget, do you want to chip in for Fiona’s birthday present.

B: Yeah sure, how much do you need?

A: A tenner?

B: No problem. Hang on, while we’re on the subject of money, you owe me a tenner from the cinema last weekend.

A: Oh yeah, shit I forgot, sorry.

B: No worries, just put it towards Fiona’s present.

A: OK, no problem.

Students Practice Dialogue

Students use the transcript to practice the dialogue. Play close attention to word stress on some of the phrases “You can say THAT aGAIN”. First they practice with the script, then without, when they practice without, tell them not to worry about being word perfect, the focus should be more on the changes in topic.

Controlled Practice:

Put students in groups of 3-4 cut up and give out the topic cards below and distribute them evenly among the students. Then tell students that they are a group of friends meeting in a bar, they are going to have a conversation starting with the following sentence:

Bit chilly today, isn’t it?

Each member of the group must then try to steer the conversation towards one of the topics on their cards, every time they do this successfully they can place the corresponding card on the table in front of them, the winner is the first person to get rid of all their cards. Note, their topic changes must makes sense!

For example:

A: My son hurt his foot playing football.

B: Speaking of football, did you see the match last night?

Allow students a couple of false starts, feel free to mix groups up and play again.

The weather A recent football match A concert you’re going to

 

A dinner party you’re having An accident someone you know had A film you want to see
A TV program you’ve seen A story in the newspapers

 

A problem you have at home
Something you need to buy A friend who’s coming to visit

 

A favour you need to ask
Some romantic gossip you want to tell Something you want to complain about Your holiday future holiday plans

Free-practice

Students have a freer conversation about their weekend/holiday plans/current affairs and try to use the expressions to nominate topic.