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Think - ideas on teaching In this section we offer articles from experienced teachers and English Language Teaching professionals

on a wide range of subjects of interest to teachers. Think is divided into a number of areas:Latest article From Writing Responding to content Emma Pathare This article explores how you can encourage your students to focus on content in their writing and gives ideas for how to respond to it. Go to this article >> Previous articles Methodology - articles about teaching theory and elements of classroom teaching o Dogme: A teacher's view o Which syllabus o Reflective teaching o Community language learning o Teaching English to blind students o Negotiated objectives o Learner training with young learners o A Task-based approach o The teacher as aid o Project work o Discipline problems o Circle games o Teen angst o Total physical response o Starting primary o Motivating teenagers o Intercultural learning 1 o Intercultural learning 2 o Measuring advanced level students' progress o Lesson planning 2 o Content based instruction o Error correction 2 o Lexical Approach 2 o Error correction 1 o Lexical approach 1 o Teaching mixed -ability classes 2 o Teaching mixed-ability classes 1 o Group work v whole-class activities o Visualisation o Personality orientated approach o Professional competence 2 o Additional educational needs

o Professional competence 1 o Managing young learners o Rediscovering silent grammar o Peer observation o Repertoire o Learning styles and teaching o Action research o From mother tongue to other tongue o Teaching large classes o Lesson planning 1 Pronunciation - articles about the teaching of pronunciation o English sentence stress o Young learners and the phonemic chart o Global English and the teaching of pronunciation o Teaching with phonemic symbols Literature - articles about the use of literature in the language classroom o Creating a class play o Using drama texts in the classroom o Storytelling - benefits and tips o Teaching English through children's literature o Motivating pupils to read 2 o Motivating pupils to read 1 Resources - articles about different teaching and learning resources o Using authentic materials o The not so hidden resource - the students o Using flash cards o The home-school connection 2 o The home-school connection 1 o Video and young learners 2 o Video and young learners 1 o E-learning and motivation - a personal reflection o Low-tech learners o ICT, vocabulary and motivation o Using the internet 1 o Using the internet 2 o Learning circles o Self-access: a framework for diversity o Self-access on a budget Speaking o Getting teenagers talking o Teaching speaking skills 2 - overcoming classroom problems o Role play o Find the gap - increasing speaking in class o Teaching speaking skills 1 Listening o Listening and elementary learners o Making listening an authentic experience o Listening skills lesson framework o Pre-listening activities Reading o Reading and elementary learners o Reading out loud

o Designing a WWW reading task o Interacting with texts o Using news articles Vocabulary o New words in English o Remembering vocabulary o Presenting vocabulary o Collocation and advanced learners 2 o Collocation and advanced learners 1 o Vocabulary and autonomy Writing o Responding to content o Learner diaries o How to approach discursive writing o Product Vs process writing o Approaches to process writing o Write on! Creative writing for language practice

Reflective teaching: Exploring our own classroom practice Julie Tice, Teacher, Trainer, Writer, British Council Lisbon Reflective teaching means looking at what you do in the classroom, thinking about why you do it, and thinking about if it works - a process of self-observation and self-evaluation. By collecting information about what goes on in our classroom, and by analysing and evaluating this information, we identify and explore our own practices and underlying beliefs. This may then lead to changes and improvements in our teaching. Reflective teaching is therefore a means of professional development which begins in our classroom. Why it is important Beginning the process of reflection o Teacher diary o Peer observation o Recording lessons o Student feedback What to do next o Think o Talk o Read o Ask Conclusion

Why it is important Many teachers already think about their teaching and talk to colleagues about it too. You might think or tell someone that "My lesson went well" or "My students didn't seem to understand" or "My students were so badly behaved today." However, without more time spent focussing on or discussing what has happened, we may tend to jump to conclusions about why things are happening. We may only notice reactions of the louder students. Reflective teaching therefore implies a more systematic process of collecting,

recording and analysing our thoughts and observations, as well as those of our students, and then going onto making changes. If a lesson went well we can describe it and think about why it was successful. If the students didn't understand a language point we introduced we need to think about what we did and why it may have been unclear. If students are misbehaving - what were they doing, when and why? Top of page Beginning the process of reflection You may begin a process of reflection in response to a particular problem that has arisen with one or your classes, or simply as a way of finding out more about your teaching. You may decide to focus on a particular class of students, or to look at a feature of your teaching - for example how you deal with incidents of misbehaviour or how you can encourage your students to speak more English in class. The first step is to gather information about what happens in the class. Here are some different ways of doing this. Teacher diary This is the easiest way to begin a process of reflection since it is purely personal. After each lesson you write in a notebook about what happened. You may also describe your own reactions and feelings and those you observed on the part of the students. You are likely to begin to pose questions about what you have observed. Diary writing does require a certain discipline in taking the time to do it on a regular basis. Here are some suggestions for areas to focus on to help you start your diary. Download diary suggestions >> 51k Peer observation Invite a colleague to come into your class to collect information about your lesson. This may be with a simple observation task or through note taking. This will relate back to the area you have identified to reflect upon. For example, you might ask your colleague to focus on which students contribute most in the lesson, what different patterns of interaction occur or how you deal with errors. Recording lessons Video or audio recordings of lessons can provide very useful information for reflection. You may do things in class you are not aware of or there may be things happening in the class that as the teacher you do not normally see. o Audio recordings can be useful for considering aspects of teacher talk. How much do you talk? What about? Are instructions and explanations clear? How much time do you allocate to student talk? How do you respond to student talk? o Video recordings can be useful in showing you aspects of your own behaviour. Where do you stand? Who do you speak to? How do you come across to the students? Student feedback You can also ask your students what they think about what goes on in the classroom.

Their opinions and perceptions can add a different and valuable perspective. This can be done with simple questionnaires or learning diaries for example. Top of page What to do next Once you have some information recorded about what goes on in your classroom, what do you do? Think You may have noticed patterns occurring in your teaching through your observation. You may also have noticed things that you were previously unaware of. You may have been surprised by some of your students' feedback. You may already have ideas for changes to implement. Talk Just by talking about what you have discovered - to a supportive colleague or even a friend - you may be able to come up with some ideas for how to do things differently. o If you have colleagues who also wish to develop their teaching using reflection as a tool, you can meet to discuss issues. Discussion can be based around scenarios from your own classes. o Using a list of statements about teaching beliefs (for example, pairwork is a valuable activity in the language class or lexis is more important than grammar) you can discuss which ones you agree or disagree with, and which ones are reflected in your own teaching giving evidence from your self-observation. Read You may decide that you need to find out more about a certain area. There are plenty of websites for teachers of English now where you can find useful teaching ideas, or more academic articles. There are also magazines for teachers where you can find articles on a wide range of topics. Or if you have access to a library or bookshop, there are plenty of books for English language teachers. Ask Pose questions to websites or magazines to get ideas from other teachers. Or if you have a local teachers' association or other opportunities for in-service training, ask for a session on an area that interests you. Top of page

Conclusion Reflective teaching is a cyclical process, because once you start to implement changes, then the reflective and evaluative cycle begins again. What are you doing? Why are you doing it? How effective is it? How are the students responding? How can you do it better?

As a result of your reflection you may decide to do something in a different way, or you may just decide that what are you are doing is the best way. And that is what professional development is all about.

A Task-based approach Richard Frost, British Council, Turkey In recent years a debate has developed over which approaches to structuring and planning and implementing lessons are more effective. This article presents and overview of a task-based learning approach (TBL) and highlights its advantages over the more traditional Present, Practice, Produce (PPP) approach. This article also links to the following activity. Try - Speaking activities - Task based listening - planning a night out Present Practice Produce The problems with PPP A Task-based approach The advantages of TBL Conclusion

Present Practice Produce (PPP) During an initial teacher training course, most teachers become familiar with the PPP paradigm. A PPP lesson would proceed in the following manner. First, the teacher presents an item of language in a clear context to get across its meaning. This could be done in a variety of ways: through a text, a situation build, a dialogue etc. Students are then asked to complete a controlled practice stage, where they may have to repeat target items through choral and individual drilling, fill gaps or match halves of sentences. All of this practice demands that the student uses the language correctly and helps them to become more comfortable with it. Finally, they move on to the production stage, sometimes called the 'free practice' stage. Students are given a communication task such as a role play and are expected to produce the target language and use any other language that has already been learnt and is suitable for completing it.

The problems with PPP It all sounds quite logical but teachers who use this method will soon identify problems with it: Students can give the impression that they are comfortable with the new language as they are producing it accurately in the class. Often though a few lessons later, students will either not be able to produce the language correctly or even won't produce it at all. Students will often produce the language but overuse the target structure so that it sounds completely unnatural. Students may not produce the target language during the free practice stage because they find they are able to use existing language resources to complete the task. Top of page A Task-based approach Task -based Learning offers an alternative for language teachers. In a task-based lesson the teacher doesn't pre-determine what language will be studied, the lesson is based around the completion of a central task and the language studied is determined by what happens as the students complete it. The lesson follows certain stages.

Pre-task The teacher introduces the topic and gives the students clear instructions on what they will have to do at the task stage and might help the students to recall some language that may be useful for the task. The pre-task stage can also often include playing a recording of people doing the task. This gives the students a clear model of what will be expected of them. The students can take notes and spend time preparing for the task. Task The students complete a task in pairs or groups using the language resources that they have as the teacher monitors and offers encouragement. Planning Students prepare a short oral or written report to tell the class what happened during their task. They then practice what they are going to say in their groups. Meanwhile the teacher is available for the students to ask for advice to clear up any language questions they may have. Report Students then report back to the class orally or read the written report. The teacher chooses the order of when students will present their reports and may give the students some quick feedback on the content. At this stage the teacher may also play a recording of others doing the same task for the students to compare. Analysis The teacher then highlights relevant parts from the text of the recording for the students to analyse. They may ask students to notice interesting features within this text. The teacher can also highlight the language that the students used during the report phase for analysis. Practice Finally, the teacher selects language areas to practise based upon the needs of the students and what emerged from the task and report phases. The students then do practice activities to increase their confidence and make a note of useful language. Top of page The advantages of TBL Task-based learning has some clear advantages Unlike a PPP approach, the students are free of language control. In all three stages they must use all their language resources rather than just practising one pre-selected item. A natural context is developed from the students' experiences with the language that is personalised and relevant to them. With PPP it is necessary to create contexts in which to present the language and sometimes they can be very unnatural. The students will have a much more varied exposure to language with TBL. They will be exposed to a whole range of lexical phrases, collocations and patterns as well as language forms. The language explored arises from the students' needs. This need dictates what will be covered in the lesson rather than a decision made by the teacher or the coursebook. It is a strong communicative approach where students spend a lot of time communicating. PPP lessons seem very teacher-centred by comparison. Just watch how much time the students spend communicating during a task-based lesson. It is enjoyable and motivating.

Conclusion PPP offers a very simplified approach to language learning. It is based upon the idea that you can present language in neat little blocks, adding from one lesson to the next. However, research shows us that we cannot predict or guarantee what the students will learn and that ultimately a wide exposure to language is the best way of ensuring that students will acquire it effectively. Restricting their experience to single pieces of target language is unnatural. For more information see 'A Framework for Task-Based Learning' by Jane Wills Longman. Try - tips and lesson plans In this section of the site you can find ideas for your class and teaching sent in by contributors around the world. Try is divided into three areas: Activities - things that you can try in the class on a range of topics o Speaking o Vocabulary o Writing o Revision o Pronunciation o Listening o Resources o Reading o Other Tips - ideas you can use to help you plan interesting lessons for your students Lesson Plans - Complete lessons or sections of lessons with worksheets and detailed procedures

Latest from Activities Shop service role-play Emma Pathare A role-play in which your students practice making complaints and dealing with people in a shop. Go to this activity >> Latest from Tips Guess who you are! Joanna Wokowicka, Poland Put the names of famous people (either dead or alive) on some slips of paper and stick them to the students backs... Go to this tip >> Latest from Lesson plans Telling a story: Carnival crime Fiona Lawtie, Teacher, Freelance materials writer Level - Younger learners at elementary level or higher

Stories are a highly adaptable teaching tool and can be used in a variety of ways to teach a variety of skills. This particular lesson focuses on extended listening skills and getting students to actively participate in the story telling process, allowing them to use their prediction skills in a creative and fun way. It draws on materials from the British Council LearnEnglish site. Lesson Plan: - guide for teacher on procedure including answers to tasks. Worksheets: - exercises which can be printed out for use in class.

Go to this plan >> Speaking activities On these pages you will find ideas for classroom activities which involve speaking Send us an activity If you would like to send us an activity to share on this site, then contact us. Shop service role-play Dating game Story telling grid Getting teenagers talking 2 Discussion wheels The crime scene o Technology free crime scene Chain story telling Task based speaking Family tree Getting the whole class talking Improving discussion lessons Getting teenagers to talk Improvisations Find the murderer Bingo mingle Short projects to get them talking - Lists Superlative questions Summer destinations Interview the experts Discussion bingo Mini-talks Erase the dialogue Fun discussion of controversial topics Motivating speaking activities Third conditional guessing game Preposition basketball Running dictation Simple picture activity ARM exercises Doctors and patients Nursery rhyme role-play

Shop service role-play Emma Pathare

A role-play in which your students practice making complaints and dealing with people in a shop. Description This is a lively role-play in which one student is a customer returning goods to a shop and the other student is a shop assistant. Each student has a role card with the information they need to give or find out from their partner, and the answers that they will give their partner. There are two versions of the customer role card so that the role-play can be repeated using different information. The customer has two items to return (one broken and the other the wrong size or colour). The receipt on their role card provides the information they will need to give to the shop assistant. The customer wants his or her money back . . . but the shop assistant knows their manager doesn't like returning money! The students need to resolve the situation. Procedure Set the context for the role-play. You can do this in many ways; for example, by describing the situation, by telling an anecdote, by showing a picture or by posing some discussion questions. Once you have established the context, you could ask your students talk about the times they have taken things back to a shop, the reasons why they did and what happened. Variation In small groups or as a whole class, I ask the students to brainstorm the language that we would use in these situations, for example: "Can I help you?" "I would like to return this . . ." "There is a problem with this . . ." "It is a very nice shirt/T-shirt but the colour/size is not quite right." "I'm very sorry but . . ." "I'm afraid that . . ." Don't forget to get your students thinking about 'register' - the degree of politeness they use in the role-play; for example, which of the following do you think would get a better response? "This shirt is the wrong colour. Give me money back." "I would like to return this shirt because . . . " I extend this section by getting students to work on pronunciation, focusing on sentence stress and intonation. Put the students in pairs. Explain the role cards. Do a quick demonstration with one or two stronger students. Give out the cards. Set a time limit. As the students do the role-play, walk around and listen. If I want to do some specific language work, I note down some of the problems they have with language and use these for a correction slot afterwards. When most of the students have finished end the activity. Give the customers a copy of the 'Customer Satisfaction Survey' and ask them to complete it individually. When they have finished, they can work in small groups to compare their experiences. Ask the 'shop assistants' to get into small groups to discuss a good policy for returned goods. One person in each group can complete the policy form. If there is time, ask your students to swap roles (and partners, for more variety). The 'shop assistant' role card from the first role-play can be used again. Give the new customers the 'customer role card, version 2'. When the role-play is finished, group the students as you did after the first role-play. To finish, you could ask each group of shop

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assistants to describe their returned goods policy to the whole class. Invite the other students, as customers, to comment. Download materials>> 88k pdf Role-play cards: o Shop assistant o Customer, version 1 and 2 Customer satisfaction survey Returned goods policy form (optional - the shop assistants could use their own paper) Top of page Dating game Richard Frost, British Council, Turkey This is a great activity for getting students talking. I have used it successfully with many different levels and age groups and have found that it is very effective at motivating teenagers to talk. It is particularly useful for practising describing appearance, character and interests. Preparation You will need a selection of flashcards of people, a mixture of ages and types. Procedure Put a picture of a person on the board and ask the students to tell you his/her name, age and job. Write whatever they tell you on the board. (Note: at first they may be a bit confused and think that they should know the person, they will soon get the idea). o Then ask them to describe him/her physically (again write what they tell you on the board). Repeat this procedure for his/her character and hobbies. You should end up with a paragraph profile of the person. o Read the description of the person and elicit from the students that he/she is not happy because they are single and would like to meet a man/woman. o Then follow the same procedure above to elicit a description of the person that they would like to meet. At the end of all this you should have two descriptions. o Tell the students that you see these kinds of descriptions in lonely hearts pages in magazines and newspapers.(you could even bring some in to show them) Give the students a picture each and tell them not to show it to anyone. You may have to stress this, as it is a temptation to show the pictures to friends in the class. The students then have to write a description of the person in the picture and the person they would like to meet. Point out that they can use the model on the board as a guide. Monitor and feed in language as they need it. Tell the students to leave their pictures face down on the table and to mingle. The aim is for them to try and find a partner for the person in their picture. At lower levels they can take the description with them as they mingle. They need to talk to everybody and not just settle for the first person who comes along asking questions to ensure they find the right person. It is also a good idea to play some romantic music in the background as they are mingling (Marvin Gaye or Stevie Wonder). After you have given them enough time to find partners, stop the activity (if they are being very choosy give them a time limit and tell them they must compromise and find a partner). Conduct a feedback session and ask the students to tell the class about their

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invented character and the partner that they have found. The class can then see the pictures for the first time and decide if they think it will be a successful relationship. Follow up ideas Students can write the story of the relationship or can write letters to the new partners.

Variations You can change the context and replace the pictures of the people with pictures of houses/flats and ask the students to be either estate agents or buyers looking for a place to live. Again they can write descriptions of places they want to sell (of varying standards) and places they would like to buy, mingle and try to find their dream homes. You can adapt the basic idea to suit many different topics. Top of page

Story telling grid Fiona Lawtie, Teacher, Freelance materials writer This is a low preparation but high output activity which I have used successfully with teens and adults. The aim of the activity is to get students to orally create a short story in small groups or pairs. First of all draw a grid on the board and then put one word in each box. You can make your story grid any size you want but the bigger the grid is the more complicated the activity will become. o You can recycle vocabulary that students are currently working on in class in the story grid, but to ensure that students can create a good story you should include a mixture of words, such as people and place names, verbs, nouns, adjectives etc., and it is usually good to throw in words that might give the story a bit more spice, such as crime, love, hate murder, theft, robbery, broken hearted, treasure, accident, etc. Explain to the students that the aim of the activity is to create a story using all the words in the story grid. Students can use any vocabulary or grammar they want to but they have to include all the words in the story grid. The first time you do this activity you can use the example story grid and model the story telling part of the activity for the students and then give the students another example story grid from the worksheet to use, or you can easily create your own story grid. Download example story and grid >> 55k pdf Another variation is to get students to create story grids for each other to use. Next get the students to create their own stories in pairs or small groups and once the students have created their stories, they can retell their story to you, the rest of the class or to other groups.

Follow up activities and variations At the end of the activity the class could vote on the best stories in different categories, for example the most creative story, the most interesting story, the funniest story, the best told story etc. This activity can also be easily developed into a creative writing activity, either individually as homework or as pair or group writing practice.

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Another interesting spin-off is to get students to rewrite their stories as a radio drama. If you have recording facilities the students can perform and record their radio drama on a cassette to listen to in class. If you do not have recording facilities you can get students to write their story as a short play and try to find them an audience who they can perform to such as another English teacher or another English class.

Feedback on language use I find it is best to give students individual or group feedback on their language use in a storytelling activity after the students have finished telling the story for the first time. I usually make notes of anything I would like to go over with students while they are telling the story. I find interrupting students to correct their language use while they are telling the story dampens their creative mood and restricts their language use. If the students are going to record their story or perform it live, I get them to perform it to me again so I can help them with their language before they record it or perform it to an audience outside of the class. Top of page

Getting teenagers talking 2 Catherine Sheehy Skeffington, British Council, Barcelona Here are five useful ways that I have used to try to encourage my teenage learners to use more English in class. Bribery The oldest trick in the book - and not one to be over-used. The idea is simple, take in small prizes to give to students whenever they have spoken enough English. What is 'enough' depends on you and the class - one word may be all you want from a particularly quiet student. Possible prizes could be: o Small fruits can be surprisingly popular (but messy) o Sweets and biscuits are a favourite (but bad for teeth) o Pencils and rubbers can work (but are expensive) o Points, awarded to the class as a whole, with which they can 'win' watching 10 minutes of video, listening to an English song or playing a game of their choice. Hangman This is another way of using points to bribe the students to speak English. One hangman can be used to refer to a particular offender, a group or the class as a whole. This way round the class is promised a treat for the end of the class (e.g. video, song or game) but they can lose lives by offending - i.e. not speaking English when you require them to. o Each time they offend, one life is lost - indicated by a limb being added to the hangman. o If the hangman is completed, they have lost all their lives and forfeited their treat. o Use this technique thoughtfully - bear in mind the consequences of the hangman always or never dying (it may be seen either as an impossible task or an empty threat).

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Time Out This time the bargaining material is minutes. At the beginning of the class, tell the students you'll give them five minutes to speak in their own language at some point in the class. However, if they use up the minutes before the designated time, they lose them for good. o How far you want to extend this is up to you - if it's relevant they can lose minutes for the following class, but this can be demotivating. o Another way to use this technique is to give them potential minutes, which they make real by speaking English. o Remember to mark these on the board to avoid disputes and remind them of their progress (five circles that become happy faces, for example). The UnTrophy This is a trophy that is awarded to a person who is speaking the wrong language. The student to receive it can then pass it on to the next person they hear speaking the wrong language. The person holding it at the end of class has a forfeit - extra homework, staying late or simply being the last to leave. The trophy can be a real or virtual object: o If virtual, the teacher needs to keep track of where it is & indicate this on the board. o If real, the students can write their own forfeits & stick them onto the trophy. The last word Once again, this involves the students having some control over the penalty for not speaking English. o 15 minutes before the end of class, they brainstorm topics that are hard to speak about in English. The topics are written on slips of paper or on the board. o The students vote for the person who spoke the least English - or this is decided by the teacher or some other method. o The offender chooses a topic, by choosing one of the slips of paper or throwing a ball at the board. He/she then has to speak about that topic for a certain amount of time (30 seconds or 1 minute) - silence can be penalised by doubling the amount of time they have to speak or with some other forfeit. o Obviously this needs to be used sensitively, taking into account the reasons why a student has spoken very little English in the class. Top of page

Discussion wheels Nik Peachey, teacher, trainer, materials writer, British Council Discussion wheels are a good way of giving students time to think and formulate opinions before they do discussion work. They work particularly well with areas of discussion which can have ranges of agreement or disagreement. Preparation o To create a discussion wheel you simply need 8 or 10 contentious sentences based around a theme which you would like the students to discuss. o Draw a circle on a piece of paper and draw lines through the circle (one line for each sentence) so that the circle is divided into segments. o At the end of each line, write one of the sentences, then make sure to copy enough so that each students has one.

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Download a discussion wheel template 49.9 KB >> Procedure o Give each student out their own discussion wheel and get them to look at the sentences and put a cross on the line next to the sentence according to how much they agree or disagree with it. A cross near the centre of the circle indicates strong disagreement and one near the edge of the circle can indicate strong agreement. A cross half way along the line can mean they are undecided. o Once your students have had time to put crosses on each of the lines they can then start to discuss. This can be done in a number of ways. The easiest in terms of classroom management is for you to give them a partner to discuss with (the person next to them or on the table in front of them). o If you have the space though, you can ask the students to connect all the crosses so that they form a shape and then stand up and mingle round the class to find the person in the class who has a similar shape to their own. (This has no real pedagogical value, but can be a nice way to get students up and moving and get them to talk to other people in their class.) o Once they have a partner to talk to, get them to discuss and explain their opinions and see if they can convince their partner to change the position of the crosses.

This approach gives the students more of a supportive framework and a goal for their discussion. If you have time and the students are doing well they can discuss with a number of partners, or you can show them your own discussion wheel with your crosses and see if they can convince you to move your crosses. This is an idea that I first saw in a book called 'Short stories for Creative Language Classrooms' by Joanne Collie and Stephen Slater (P 52).

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The crime scene Nik Peachey, teacher, trainer, materials writer, British Council This is an activity that I've used with students of all levels to practice their ability to describe people and events and to produce questions. It's also good for getting students to really listen to each other and to take notes or just for some fun. Preparation o The activity is based around a short video clip of a crime. Any crime scene will do. The video doesn't even have to be in English as you can do it with the sound off. Procedure o You should split the class into two groups and tell one half that they are going to be the police and they are going to interview the witness to a crime. Their task is to work together with the other police and prepare questions that they will ask the witness. o Tell the other half of the class that they are going to witness a crime. You'll need to have the classroom set up so that only the 'witnesses' can see the TV screen.

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If you trust your students enough you could actually send 'the police' out of the class or to another classroom, to work on their questions while the witnesses watch the crime. When the crime scene video clip has been played, put the students into pairs so that each of the police is with a witness. The police should then interview the witness and get as much information as possible about the crime. Make sure that the police take notes as they listen. If you have artistic students you could also get them to work together on a picture of the criminal or a diagram of the crime scene reconstruction. To add an element of motivation you could also give a prize to the most accurate notes.

If you have a video that is in English you can play it with the sound on and, for higher levels, even extend the focus to reported speech: 'He told everyone to put up their hands.' Technology free crime scene Preparation o If you don't have access to a video / TV you can do a 'low-tech' version of this activity by cutting pictures out of a magazine. Be sure to cut out enough for half the class to each have a picture and have a few extras to spare. Procedure o Put the students into pairs, one policeman and one witness, and have the witness from each pair come to the front of the class. o Give each one a picture of a person to look at. Tell them that the person in the picture is a criminal. They shouldn't let anyone else see the picture. o Once they've had a couple of minutes to look at the picture, take all the pictures back and then send the witnesses back to their seats. o Their partner, the policemen, then has to ask questions and make notes so that they build up some idea of what the person in the picture looks like. o Once they have their description, put all the pictures on the floor at the front of the class and get the policemen to come to the front of the class and see if they can find the picture that the witness described. o You should make sure that the witnesses remain silent until all the policemen have 'arrested' the picture of their choice. o You can then try this again reversing the roles this time. This gives the students a chance to learn from any mistakes they may have made the first time round.

You can make the activity more difficult by selecting pictures of people who look more similar (same age / sex etc.) or easier by having a greater range of people. This activity can also be a very useful lead into discussions or vocabulary work on crime or description.

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Chain story telling activity Arizio Moreira, Hamilton, New Zealand

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In this speaking activity the students tell personal stories which are prompted by pictures. The activity is performed as a mingle. Cut up cards of different objects, activities, animals, etc. selected randomly. Place the cards scattered on the floor in the middle of the classroom. Tell the students to pick up a card from the floor which they think makes them remember one of the following: (a) a memorable event in their lives (b) a positive or negative past or recent experience or (c) a story about a friend/family member/acquaintance/etc that they would like to share with others. Tell the students that they must find another in the class and tell them what the picture makes them remember and listen to the other persons story too. Each students must tell their story for about one to two minutes only. Students then must exchange pictures and find another student to talk to. Emphasise that they must ask the name of the person they were talking to before they move on to talk to another one. Students must then talk to another student and tell him/her the story of the person they last talked to. Students swap pictures again and move on to talk to someone reporting the story theyve just listened to. Round the activity off by asking individual students to report to the class the interesting things theyve learned about other people in class. Top of page

Task based speaking Richard Frost, British Council, Turkey This is a speaking lesson on the theme of planning a night out that uses a listening exercise to provide language input. Preparation and materials You will need to record two people planning a night out on the town Pre-task (15-20min) Aim: To introduce the topic of nights out and to give the class exposure to language related to it. To highlight words and phrases. o Show sts pictures of a night out in a restaurant / bar and ask them where they go to have a good night out. o Brainstorm words/phrases onto the board related to the topic; people / verbs / feelings etc. o Introduce the listening of two people planning a night out. Write up different alternatives on the board to give them a reason for listening e.g. (a) restaurant / bar (b) meet at the train station / in the square. Play it a few times, first time to select from the alternatives, second time to note down some language. o Tell them that they are going to plan a class night out and give them a few minutes to think it over. Task (10min)

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Students do the task in twos and plan the night. Match them with another pair to discuss their ideas and any similarities and differences.

Planning (10min) o Each pair rehearses presenting their night out. Teacher walks around, helps them if they need it and notes down any language points to be highlighted later. Report (15 min) o Class listen to the plans, their task is to choose one of them. They can ask questions after the presentation. o Teacher gives feedback on the content and quickly reviews what was suggested. Students vote and choose one of the nights out. Language Focus (20min) o Write on the board fives good phrases used by the students during the task and five incorrect phrases/sentences from the task without the word that caused the problem. Students discuss the meaning and how to complete the sentences. o Hand out the tapescript from the listening and ask the students to underline the useful words and phrases. o Highlight any language you wish to draw attention to e.g. language for making suggestions, collocations etc. o Students write down any other language they wish to remember.

Note: You can go on the planned night out with your students. This can make it even more motivating for them. Top of page

Family tree Daphne, China It's amazing how students can't stop telling their friends about themselves. I introduced my class of second language learners to the family tree and the different relationships between people in the family - in-laws, step-family, cousins, paternal and maternal sides etc. even terms like widow, widower and divorcee. Then, I got them to draw their own family tree and share it with their friends, giving 10 minutes each to tell and ask about a particular member in their family, e.g. grandparents, aunts, cousins, siblings etc. They could hardly stop talking! I'm glad to say that this is one lesson which saw students continuing their discussion even after the bell rang. Top of page

Getting the whole class talking Clare Lavery, British Council The following activities are designed to get everyone talking. They can be used with all levels

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because the language required to communicate is determined by the students. Remember to set up and demonstrate these activities carefully before letting the class go ahead. Jigsaw puzzle challenge Take 3-4 large pictures/photos and stick them on card. Pictures can come from Sunday supplements, travel brochures, calendars, magazine adverts etc. Pictures specific to students interests will motivate them e.g. film stills, cartoons, news stories, famous paintings, famous people. Draw puzzle shapes on the back of each picture (4-5 shapes) and cut out the picture pieces. Give each student in the class a jigsaw piece. They must not show their piece to anyone. Students then mingle and question each other about what is on their puzzle piece to try and find people with pieces of the same jigsaw. The object of the game is to find all pieces and put together the jigsaw. The first complete picture puzzle wins. Something in common or 'give me five' Explain that we can all find something in common with those around us. The object of this game is to discover as many things you have in common with fellow students. You can limit this to 5 things in common. Brainstorm examples with the whole class, noting suggestions, e.g. o We both have long-haired cats o they both went to see Robbie Williams in concert o We all like Harry Potter o We both have a younger sister called Georgia o Our favourite colour is green o Our families go to the same supermarket, church, club, holiday place o We both believe in love at first sight, ghosts, god. o Give students a time limit to mingle and find out as many things they have in common. The one who finds the most is the winner. o Alternatively ask them to find five things and the first person to shout 'five' is the winner. Create a biography Take a biography of a famous person and write each detail on strips of paper. Keep the identity secret so they have to guess, if appropriate. Draw a table on the board for students to copy and make notes e.g. place of birth, early years, famous for.. Give out the strips (split the class in two if large and give out 2 sets) Students mingle and ask each other questions until they have as many details as possible about the person. Take away the strips and put students in pairs or small groups to use their table of notes to write the biography.

These activity ideas originally appeared on the British Council Language Assistant website Top of page Improving discussion lessons Clare Lavery, British Council

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Have you ever felt you were asking all the questions about students opinions? Do you find you are doing more talking in a discussion than your class? Here are some tips to shift the task focus from you talking to them (they have to talk to each other) give them control of their own discussion give them practice in formulating their opinions within a controlled framework.

Discussion envelopes Make a list of issues or topics which your students might find interesting. Think of seven or eight statements on each issue which represent typical and widely opposing comments on the topic. For example: o Topic: Are boys and girls the same? Girls naturally want to play with dolls Boys are usually better at Science subjects than girls. Photocopy each list of statements on different topics and put them in 3-4 envelopes. Divide the class into small groups. Tell them the title of each topic. Each group selects an envelope. They work through the topic in their group, taking turns to read aloud the statements found in the envelope and inviting comment and opinions. You can ask each group to record their reactions to the issues for feedback at the end of the session. Re-use the envelopes in another lesson. Each group chooses a new topic and envelope.

Listen and react Put students in small groups of 3 all facing each other. Act as conductor by reading aloud a statement on a list, one at a time. After each statement students have one minute to react in their group to what they have heard, disagree, agree, comment etc. Stop them talking after a minute (with gong, whistle, clap) and read the next statement on your list. Students hear you but must look at each other and tell each other what they think!

Read and modify Give a list of statements on a set topic to each group in the class Students must work through the statements and modify them to reflect their views as a group. This involves discussion on how they will re word the sentence or add a further clause to justify their position. For example: o Topic: The school year Statement: School holidays are too long Students modified sentence: We think school holidays are not long enough Use the feedback session at the end of the lesson to hear some of the new statements that each group has created.

These activity ideas originally appeared on the British Council Language Assistant website Top of page

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Getting teenagers to talk Clare Lavery, British Council Here are some tips and three discussion ideas, all aimed at getting teenagers to speak. Keep the conversation peer centred: plenty of pair or small group collaboration. Avoid asking discussion questions around the class: this puts them in the spotlight and causes potential embarrassment in front of friends. You also risk dominating the talk. Give them a concrete list of statements or opinions: help them to choose their own ideas. Dont expect them to have fully formed opinions on all things teenage! Keep to fairly short discussion activities (15 minutes): until you know what they like and they feel relaxed enough with you to talk freely. Feedback on errors after speaking should be general: try to avoid drawing attention to individual students errors or they will be reluctant to speak next time. Discussion activities Here are some stimulating discussion topics which have worked well with teenagers. The main features of these topics are that they a) draw on students personal experience b) ask students to reflect on their own culture and attitudes c) give students a concrete decision to make with their peers. Teenage time capsule Each group of students is going to bury a box in the ground for future generations to find. This box will contain 5 photos (or objects) which will tell young people in the future about life at the start of the third millennium in their country and/or school. Students must choose their objects/photos together and each member of the group describes it to the rest of the class or another group. Explain why it is important and what it tells of life today.

Let the punishment fit the crime Prepare a short description on cards (or board) of all the possible punishments in a UK school e.g. writing lines, detention, exclusion and ask students in pairs or groups to add anymore that are used in their own country. Then give each group a list of wrong doings (5 or 6) and ask them to order each act according to how bad they think it is e.g. swearing at a teacher, not completing homework for 3 weeks running, fighting in the corridor, smoking in the toilet. Now each group can also discuss which type of punishment might suit the crime! This generates lots of discussion on what exactly constitutes unacceptable behaviour but also what the students and their schools think is acceptable punishment.

The 10 day trip A group of English teenagers are coming to stay in the country or region. They have only got 10 days to find out about your students culture and see what is on offer. Each group of students must plan an itinerary. It does not have to include all the tourist sights, they could go to a concert to hear local music or have a meal with a family or visit

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a school. Each must agree on the best introduction to their country and region, bearing in mind the age of the visitors. Stress that students do not have to plan anything they would find boring. These activity ideas originally appeared on the British Council Language Assistant website Top of page

Improvisations Clare Lavery, British Council How do improvisations work? o Role play involves giving students role cards, instructions and time to prepare. Improvisations are more spontaneous. The teacher does not give details or language phrases to use. o Improvisations work best if students are given roles and situations and asked to react immediately. o Improvisations can be introduced very briefly with a warm up. o Improvisations encourage students to use whatever language they have available to:communicate; develop thinking on your feet skills and gain confidence in coping with the unexpected; get practice in instigating communication from nothing; focus on getting the message across rather than on repeating dialogues parrot fashion; use their imagination; imagine themselves using the language in real life situations; be creative with language. Classroom management o In a whole class, put students in a circle with an inner circle of students facing them. o After each spontaneous dialogue/situation students sitting in the outer circle move one place to find a new partner. o Then call out new roles or situations and say action. o Keep to a non-judgemental director role and do not intervene to correct language or discuss content. o Hold feedback at the end. Allow students to feel free during the improvisation phase. Ways to introduce improvisations o Use a song (just listened to, covered recently in class or very familiar to students). For example: Shes leaving home The Beatles. Give pairs roles (the girl, the mother/father, the boyfriend) and give situations to try out (the night before she left, the parents talking on finding her leaving note, the boyfriend asking her to run away, the telephone call home after a week away). o Use a picture and photos of people speaking to each other: vary scenes and pass the pictures around. Focus on a theme, such as all pictures of people in different parts of an airport or social situations. Assign roles so students form a tableau if there are a variety of interactions going on in the photo/picture. o Use a cartoon with no written dialogue. Students are the different characters and mimic the behaviour and imagine the conversation taking place.

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o o

Use a video with sound off. Select scenes from a favourite show or film e.g. Friends Students are assigned roles and act out what they think is taking place. Use a piece of realia: a real object to spark conversation e.g.. A train timetable, a bit of English currency and a list of exchange rates, a hat or outfit, a musical instrument, a mobile phone, a menu (students must incorporate these object as part of their invented dialogue). Use a prop (good with younger learners): a pair of finger puppets, a mask to wear or anything that makes them assume a new personality.

These activity ideas originally appeared on the British Council Language Assistant website Top of page

Find the murderer Jacqueline Francois, France Speaking and listening activity Level: Intermediate or advanced Target language: Past continuous 1. Write on board: Mrs. McDonald was found dead in her house on Tuesday at eight in the morning, you have to find who killed her and why 2. Explain to students they are going to prepare a play and perform it (split them in 2 or 3 groups) while one group performs the other watches them. The audience has to guess who the murderer is. (Here you have 2 options, depending on the level, although it works well with pre-intermediate students too) 3. Preparation: give students enough time to prepare this and help them at this stage, if necessary, especially using the past continuous e.g. - what were you doing yesterday at 7 o'clock etc. (don't give them any help during the performance) o Option (a) Tell the students they are free to invent a story why she is dead, and how, they can choose their own personalities and alibis, and decide who will be the inspector as he or she has to prepare a few questions to ask the suspects. They work in groups and they decide who the murderer is amongst themselves. If you have a class of say, 8 or 10, divide them in two groups so that they don't know what the other group is planning. This is important when they are going to perform, as the other group who's watching them has to guess who the murderer is just before the end. They can also ask additional questions and clarification to the performers. (b) or you can give them a few suggestions saying she was very rich, or famous, or whatever comes to your mind. Write on board a few relatives or friends e.g. her niece, her brother-in-law, her sister, husband, neighbour etc. Write on board some useful questions e.g."what were you doing at .... where were you staying? etc. They prepare the play, but still let them decide who's who.

4. When they are ready, the students perform while the other group or groups watch and listen carefully to decide who the murderer is. 5. Just before the end of the play the performing group stops and ask their audience who they think the murderer is, inviting them to ask any additional questions or for clarification.

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(At the end I always start clapping for the others to do the same and thank them for their performance) 6. If the audience guesses right, give them points or a round of applause. 7. Change performers and repeat from point 3. 8. Of course, teachers can use their own imagination or better still get the learners to invent the characters and alibis.

My personal comment: I always ask for feedback, up to now they have always really enjoyed it. I'm always amazed at their imagination, I think the best one was when one group had decided it was suicide! Enjoy and good luck! Top of page

Bingo mingle Leonardo de Waal, Colombia In the event you have students who are stressed out or just plain bored by the dull approach to teaching grammar, there's a game you can play that will lure students into a communication approach to what is being taught. I used this for teaching Present Perfect tense. It is just like bingo, but involves the students mingling and asking questions.

In a 4 or 5 by 5 grid write statements like 'Has never been to Colombia, or Has been to the cinema twice this month in each cell and so on until your grid is filled. You might want to have different Bingo cards to create more variety. Students will then mingle as a whole class and ask each other questions to try to fill the grid up. Standard Bingo rules apply about winning the game. (Creating a row or column etc. with answered questions)

You can of course adapt this for many different language points. It a a good way to introduce a game element in to the typical mingle or 'find someone who' activities. Good luck! Top of page

Short projects to get them talking - Lists Clare Lavery, Teacher trainer and materials writer, British Council Theres nothing like a group project to get students talking and they work well if: the topic is centred on the learners interests; there is not any real need for extensive or time-consuming research; students can present their work orally to the rest of the class.

One particularly successful format is based on our love of lists. Students in small groups work towards compiling a top five. Examples of top five topics are...

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Our top five favourite English records/music videos (including a final presentation with their number one song or video or lyrics). Our top five authors/books/poets (not just English speaking) students can be encouraged to say why they like the author, give a description of the type of book or read an extract from a poem. Our top five adverts (magazine or TV) with a final round up showing the ads and describing why they are effective. This works well with students studying business. Our top five TV programmes (restrict to English/American ones if appropriate). Our top five designers/painters /paintings/buildings including an oral description of, for example, one painting. Our top five discoveries/scientists/areas worthy of research including discussion of the contributions made to the scientific field and to mankind. Our top five teenage fashions/teenage status symbols (e.g. mobile phone, moped). Our top five websites for students who use the Internet a lot. This can include a description of the site, its users and the reasons why it is so good.

A short project can be presented in one lesson, prepared and researched and completed in the next lesson. The main advantages are It gives students controlled opportunities to provide their own content in language lessons. It can be tailored to their schools curriculum or their own specialisations. The oral presentation of each groups findings can take as much time as is appropriate, depending on the enthusiasm and language level of the class. The final oral presentation stage gives excellent practice in extended speaking which is useful for higher levels. It can also be appropriate to the oral component of students exams and gives them extra practice in talking about topics close to their hearts.

Students often tell you about people and things related to their own culture which can be very informative and is a genuine information gap exercise. The project can be a good round up of a term or a school year. This activity originally appeared on the British Council Language Assistant website site. Top of page

Superlative questions Gareth Rees, Teacher and materials writer, London Metropolitan University

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This activity practises the superlatives in questions, and generates a great deal of student speaking. It is a highly personalised activity, asking the students to talk about their own experiences and opinions. Prepare individual questions on slips of paper. The questions should all use the superlative form. For example, o What's the most interesting country you have been to? o What subject are/were you worst at at school? o What is the tallest building you have been in? o Who is the strangest person you have met? o What is the greatest problem in the world today? You can design the questions so that they suit your class well. Give each student two or three questions Put the students in pairs. They interview each other - encourage them to talk extensively in response to the questions After five to ten minutes minutes (depending upon the amount of conversation), call out 'STOP' Now, swap the partners round The students interview their new partner. After a while, stop and swap Depending on the size and energy of the class, keep stopping and swapping. Once you think you have stopped and swapped enough, ask the students to return to their original seats. To round off, they should tell their neighbour about some of the answers they received.

Recently, I did this activity with a class of 16 intermediate adult students. They swapped partners five times, and in total the activity lasted one hour - one hour of nearly non-stop student talking time. I think the activity worked because although the students asked the same questions to each partner, they of course heard differing answers because the questions were so personalised. The variety in the question topics also generated interest. Every time you went to a new partner, you had no idea what you would be asked. So, all you need to do is think of enough questions for the students! Top of page

Summer destinations Clare Lavery, Teacher trainer and materials writer, British Council These are activities that encourage students to talk about their plans for the Summer Practise descriptions of places using photos from travel brochures. Give each group a selection of 5-6 places. Ask them to take turns in describing the place in their picture: the climate, the location, the activities you can do there. Make sure you have a good contrast in climates/urban and rural/developed or very deserted places. Then either: a. Ask each group to select their favourite destination from the pictures you have given them. Go round the class and ask them to say why they would like to visit the place in the picture.

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b. Or ask them to use their pictures to pick a holiday for a honeymoon couple, a group of teenagers and a retired couple. Each group presents their choice to the class explaining why they have chosen this holiday, why it is suitable. Focus on plans for the Summer (not just a holiday) and use them to preview the language needed to talk about plans. Ask students to note down key words while you are speaking: This July Im planning to work in my Uncles shop and Im going to do some reading for my university course next year. I would like to play a bit of tennis and spend some time with my friends. Ask students to do the same exercise in pairs. The note taking will help them listen carefully. Go round the class asking students to tell you about their partners plans. Use a holiday song to introduce the topic e.g. Cliff Richards Summer holiday or Madonnas Holiday. This activity originally appeared on the British Council Language Assistant website site. Top of page

Interview the Experts Ken Wilson Three students sit in a line at the front of the class. They are the experts, but they don't know what the are experts about. The rest of the class choose the area of expertise - e.g. cooking, car maintenance, trees. Ignore students who shout out 'sex' or 'kissing' or other unworkable topics. The other students then ask the experts questions and the experts answer them. Each expert uses only one word at a time. Example: They are experts about fashion. Question: What colour will be fashionable next year., Expert 1: I Expert 2: think Expert 3: that Expert 1: blue Expert 2: will Expert 3: not (Expert 3 trying to hi-jack the answer - this is good!) Expert 1: be Expert: 2: unfashionable (Expert 2 trying to hi-jack the answer back) A very simple and effective speaking activity which the rest of the class enjoys listening to. An important consideration. Top of page

Discussion Bingo Peter Weston, Norway I have an activity which I use with my intermediate / advanced students. It's called 'discussion bingo' and I use it to get students using set phrases.

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Construct a 10 x 4 grid and in each square place a phrase often used in discussion ( Can you explain? Really!, Where was I?, Is that clear?, Can I ask a question? etc.).You'll have to tailor the phrases to your group but I usually set a limit to how many have to be used. The object is to get the students talking and using the phrases. They have to listen as well - each time a phrase is used they tick it off. The first to tick them all (a pre-set number) shouts Bingo! Modifying the rules so that they can only tick off the phrase if they use it themselves means that all have to speak.

It works at the end of a week, or when they need to be livened up a bit. Of course, you have to change the phrases frequently - but I've also modified it to accept any particular point I'm teaching - great for vocabulary of course, but also grammar. Top of page Mini-talks Lucy Baylis, English teacher, PACE, Goldsmiths College, UK This (diagnostic) activity is designed to give students freer speaking practice in the form of minitalks. The teacher then focuses on accuracy in the next day follow-up activity and feedback sheet. It follows a Test-Teach-Test logic. Procedure: 1. Day 1: Student A chooses a topic and talks for 3 to 4 minutes - students B, C and D then ask questions about the content, the teacher notes down problematic language 2. Day 2: The teacher inputs all the lexical items and phrases problematic for the students and feeds in any new items that would improve the task. 3. Students re-tell their improved version to a new group and are at the end given an individual feedback sheet which focuses both on problematic as well as good use of language and pronunciation. This activity is suitable for any type of class and any age - students like it and it is a chance for freer speaking practice that is also developmental. Top of page

Erase the dialogue Sadie, UK If you have students that aren't very confident or happy about speaking this is a good idea that always works for me. Make up a dialogue of say about six or eight lines, say, for example, a dialogue on making arrangements. So the dialogue would go something like this A 'What are you doing this evening?

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B 'Nothing much, why?' A 'Would you like to come and drink a cup of tea with me in the cafe?' B 'Yes, I'd love to. What time?' A 'Hmm, shall we say 6 o'clock?' B 'That'll be great. See you then A 'OK. See you later. Goodbye' B 'See you later' This is relatively simple English but the aim is to make it as lively and realistic and as natural as possible. So, the first thing I would do is to write this dialogue on the blackboard and then I would drill it. I get the whole class to repeat each line after me a number of times until they sound very natural. Then once we've been through this dialogue a few times I would begin to erase a few of the words from each line. For example, in the first line - 'What are you doing this evening?' - I would perhaps erase the words 'are' and 'doing' to focus on the grammar point. Then we would go through the dialogue again, this time with the class trying to remember the complete lines without me prompting them and then we would drill it again without those words. Then I will erase some more words, so this time the first line might be 'What ..', Of course they're not allowed to write anything down during this - they're not allowed to cheat and it becomes a bit of a game. Finally, you end up with more and more of it being rubbed off until you have the dialogue with just perhaps one or two words in each line as prompts. Then all the students try to say it all together and it's become fun and they're now concentrating on remembering and they're losing their inhibitions about speaking. The final practice could be done in pairs and the students should then write the dialogue down. You can use any dialogue you want, for any situation. It could also be the beginning of a conversation, which the students practise in this way, and then have to continue from their imagination. Top of page Fun discussion of controversial topics - the 'Tap-In Debate' Paul Southan, New Zealand The 'Tap-In Debate' is a fun way for students to discuss controversial topics. It is excellent for speaking and listening practice. Basically, you need a controversial topic to start. Once you have established a controversial topic, divide your students into two groups; those who agree with the statement and those who disagree. They now prepare their arguments. Once you have done this, arrange your chairs so that there are two hot seats facing each other and then place chairs behind each of the two hot seats (enough for all of your students). The idea is that two students start the topic of conversation, trying to defend their group's point of view. Once started, you then tap any two students on their shoulders during the conversation

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(Always one who is in a hot seat and one who isn't) Once they have been tapped on the shoulder they MUST stop the conversation and two new students must resume it exactly where the other two left it, even if this is in mid sentence (they change places with the person in the hot seat). They must make it coherent and follow the previous opinions and statements! They must continue the sentence of the previous speaker exactly where the previous student in the hot seat left it! I like this activity especially because it involves all the students and they can't afford to sleep on the back seats because they know they will wreck the lesson if they do! One other point: pre-teach some useful vocabulary they can use prior to doing it. For example, the vocabulary associated with the topic or which people use in debates e.g. I disagree, I think you are right, In my opinion, to be honest etc. Top of page Motivating speaking activities Sheryl Carvalho, Portugal The students must be motivated to speak, or need to speak in order to complete the activity. For the last couple of years, I've specialised in teaching children aged 6-10 (mainly at beginner level), but I don't see why some of these basic principles can't be applied to learners of any age. At this age, the learners aren't motivated by new language, they're motivated by an activity. It can be very difficult to get them to speak if they really don't see the point. You can approach this by focussing on the following. 1. The function of the language and use an authentic or near authentic task (e.g. get them to sit back-to-back to practise speaking on the telephone). 2. A motivating task, which uses the language you want them to practise (e.g. students write questions on small squares of paper using the target language, then form the papers into a board game to be played using dice and counters. ) Here are some possible examples, which apply to one or a combination of the above. A popular, well-known type of activity is the information gap. In this type of the activity, one group has half of the information required to complete the task and the other group has the other half (or pairs of students). The two groups need to exchange information to complete the task. Possible examples of tasks are: Making an arrangement: each group has a diary, with appointments already filled in. They need to exchange information in order to agree when they can meet. Giving/receiving directions: 2 sets of maps, each with information missing. 2 sets of directions for these missing places. The students again need to exchange information in order to complete their maps. Crosswords: each group has some of the answers. They need to make up appropriate questions and then exchange, or ask appropriate questions. Hopefully, the students will be more concerned about completing the crossword, rather than worrying about speaking.

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For a listening text, in which the students would normally listen to a tape in order to fill in the gaps. Why not give each group half of the answers? They are then given the opportunity to exchange information. They can listen to the tape afterwards as a final check. Top of page Here are some examples of other activities I use with my younger learners.

Secretly put an object in a paper bag (or hide it behind me, or write the word, or draw a picture). I then get the students to guess what's in the bag, by asking an appropriate question. The student who guesses correctly takes over from me. Do this a couple of times, and then let the students take over. Group vs group, or in pairs. Find your partner. Information is written on slips of paper, which can be matched in some way. Each student receives a paper, then the class mingle and exchange information in order to find their partner. E.g.. for a group of 10 students, to practise colours. Colour in 5 slips of paper and write the words for these colours on the other slips. Students ask each other "What colour have you got?" in order to find their partner. (The point of this activity from the students perspective is finding their partner, not necessarily the practice of the language.) The following example may be appropriate for more advanced students. I call this activity 'Find someone who'. Each student writes the end of the sentence on their own piece of paper. The students then mingle and hopefully conversations are started. (The students can also use questions for this activity e.g. When was the last time you.?)

I hope that the suggestions and examples given are useful and practical for your situation, or inspire you to invent others. Top of page

Third conditional guessing game Nancy Osmand This is a simple game for spoken practice of the third conditional. Ask a student, a volunteer hopefully, to leave the room. While that person is out of the room you and the rest of the class decide on something very unusual that could have happened while they were out of the room. A good example is two students get married, the OHP explodes, basically whatever the students can suggest. Then, the person who has left the room comes back in and asks each student in turn only one question and the full question is 'What would you have done if this had happened?' And each student in turn answers in a full sentence for example, 'If this had happened, I would have bought some flowers' Now, they mustn't mention the names of anyone involved because at the end the student who is guessing has to work out what happened to whom and, if they can't, you can go round again with new answers.

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[As this is for speaking practice, the students should use the contracted form for the conditional grammar - 'If this'd happened, I'd 've bought some flowers.'] Top of page

Preposition basketball Elvin, Italy This is a lively activity to practise prepositions of place: "Let's play basketball!" Choose a spot in the classroom (a corner, the teacher's desk...) and place there several different objects (pens, rubbers, books etc) at random and a small box or a bag that represents the basket. Decide with your students how many points you will score if they send the ball (you can make a very simple ball with a piece of paper) into the basket (you could give 3 or 5 points, depending on how difficult it is). What is fun is that each student, even if he doesn't succeed in throwing the ball into the basket, will score one point for every correct description of the final location of the ball that he/she can say: "The ball is behind the red pen", "It is under the teacher's desk", etc. In such a way, it often happens that a student scores more points when the ball doesn't go into the basket, depending on the student's ability to use the correct prepositions. You can choose if you prefer to divide the class into teams or make an individual competition. Students have a lot of fun in practising this activity that is suitable for children and teenagers as well. Top of page

Running Dictation Nancy This is a lively activity that practises, speaking, listening, writing, walking and remembering! Choose a short passage or dialogue and make several copies. Put the copies up around the walls of the classroom (or even the school building). Put the students in pairs or small groups. The aim is for one of the students in each pair to walk (or run!) to read the passage on the wall. They remember some of the passage and walk (or run!) back to their partner. They quietly dictate what they remembered to their partner, who writes it down. They then swap roles. Over several turns they will build the whole passage. This means they really do have to run back and forth because students will only remember three or four words at a time. The winning pair is the team that finishes first - although you need to check for mistakes. If there are mistakes, they must keep walking to check! A good idea is to teach them punctuation vocabulary beforehand if you want them to use the correct punctuation in English. It's a good way to check spelling and fabulous for pronunciation and great memory training! Some feedback from a teacher who tried this activity Elaine, Perth Australia I used this running dictation idea of yours with my lovely class of ESL adult beginners of all ages and nationalities. It worked a treat! The whole room was humming and the mission was

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accomplished with a deal of fun. It revealed quite a lot about the students, the generous souls, the class cheats and the people who'd really prefer to work alone, but for the greater good they co-operated with others of differing literacy levels. The main problem was stopping the slower pairs after 40 minutes! Thanks so much for the inspiration. Top of page Simple picture activity Richard Kearney, Germany Divide the class into pairs Give one learner a simple picture Ask his or her partner to try and find out with questions what's on their picture Top of page ARM exercises speaking activity to wake up a sleepy class Gillie Cunningham, Teacher/Teacher Trainer This is a great way to start a lesson with a free speaking activity. I call it ARM exercises which is simply short for Accept, Reject or Modify statements. Choose a controversial statement. For example: Women are the best drivers Mobile phones should be banned from public spaces Homework should be optional Burgers are better than pizzas

Either dictate or write the statement on the board. Students decide if they accept, reject or modify this statement, according to their personal opinion. When they have made their decision, you would then say OK go round the room and try to find somebody who has the opposite opinion to you or OK go round the room and find someone who has a similar opinion. Alternatively, they could mingle in the class to find the range of opinions, like a small survey how many students accepted, rejected, or modified the statement. This activity can really stimulate discussion and the focus is very much on the students rather than the teacher. To round of the activity, finish with a short whole class feedback stage. Top of page Doctors and patients speaking activity Gillie Cunningham, Teacher/Teacher Trainer This lesson can take anything from half an hour to an hour and a half. Divide your class in half, half are doctors, half are patients. Put the patients in an area of the class which becomes the waiting room. The patients should either come up with their own symptoms, or you can give them a few ideas - the one who wakes

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up in the morning feeling sick, the one who cant sleep or the one whos putting on a lot of weight or the one whos losing weight - you can have any kind of ailment you want and the idea is that every patient should visit every doctor and get advice from that doctor. Be careful to set a time limit for each consultation with the doctors. Once the patients have visited each doctor they may want to make notes of the advice given they return to the waiting area and decide who was the best doctor, and perhaps who was the craziest! Meanwhile, the doctors all get together, because they are at a medical conference, and they have to compare the advice theyd given and perhaps decide who was the craziest patient! This activity can be used for both vocabulary and structures - you can use it for reported speech he said ... he told me, you can use it for practising modals like should or must, or for practising verb patterns such as he suggested I should .... or he insisted on my doing .., he told me to do .. Its usually a great fun lesson, students love it because theres lots of speaking and listening practice and they can use their imaginations and senses of humour. Top of page Nursery rhyme role-play - advanced speaking activity Bruce Neill, Florida, USA Pick any children's nursery rhyme, dictate it to the class (comprehension) and ask them to read it back (reading, pronunciation, spelling). Then help with the weird words that they had to guess at. (perception of similar sounds and referral to their data base of known words and sounds) Finally help with comprehension, if necessary. The exciting part comes next. Ask students, in turn, to role play the characters and interact with each other. Example: Little Miss Muffet, sat on a tuffet, Eating her curds and whey. Along came a spider, Sat down beside her, And chased Miss Muffet away. You may think that only two roles are available. But, the mini theatre can develop in an infinite number of ways. Miss Muffet and the friendly spider/deadly spider. The absent mother. The psychologist treating the trauma. The farmer who had tried to spray the field and exterminate the spiders. Green Peace, the press, etc. Try Jack and Jill, Humpty Dumpty, Hey Diddle Diddle, etc. Great fun, lots of laughs, and very educational! Story telling: Carnival crime Fiona Lawtie, Teacher, Freelance materials writer Level - Younger learners at elementary level or higher Stories are a highly adaptable teaching tool and can be used in a variety of ways to teach a variety of skills. This particular lesson focuses on extended listening skills and getting students to

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actively participate in the story telling process, allowing them to use their prediction skills in a creative and fun way. It draws on materials from the British Council LearnEnglish site. It isn't always necessary or desirable to do a more formal learning activity after telling a story in class, as story telling activities are a good way of letting students simply enjoy listening and learning English. However, there are also some follow up activities that concentrate on different aspects of language in the story. An interactive online exercises is also available on the LearnEnglish site. Plan components Lesson Plan: - guide for teacher on procedure including story text and answers to tasks. Worksheets: - exercises which can be printed out for use in class. The worksheet contain: Story telling script and pictures Story card ordering activity Costume drawing worksheet Complete story text

Story telling: Carnival Crime Lesson plan BBC | British Council 2004 BBC | British Council Lesson plan. Story telling: Carnival Crime Page 1 Story telling: Carnival Crime Topic: Carnival in Brazil and a Diamond theft Aims To develop extended listening and prediction skills in young learners using a short story To reinforce the use of the simple past tense Level: Primary For this lesson you will need 1 copies of Story telling script and pictures Worksheet A Copies of story card ordering activity Worksheet B Copies of costume drawing Worksheet C Copies of the complete story text Worksheet D Procedure Pre reading task: Write Carnival Crime on the board and tell the students that you are going to tell them a story called Carnival Crime. Then ask the students if they know what a carnival is and ask them questions about carnivals to capture their interest such as: o Do we have a carnival in our country? o When do we have our carnival? o What do people wear during carnival? o What do people do during carnival? o What other countries have carnivals? Then tell the students that the carnival in the story is in Brazil and ask the students if they know where Brazil is, and if there is a map of the world in the class, get a student to point to Brazil on the map and elicit from the students everything they know about Brazil. It would also be helpful to show the students pictures of Brazil and the Rio Carnival either on the internet or in books such as a world Atlas or a picture dictionary Story-telling activity First of all explain to the students that you are going to tell them a story but that you need them to help you and all that they have to do is to listen

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and answer some simple questions when you ask them. This story telling activity involves the teacher taking the main role as the principal storyteller with the students acting as secondary storytellers. You can follow the story telling script on Worksheet A word for word and use the story telling cards as visual prompts to help you tell the story. Story telling: Carnival Crime Lesson plan BBC | British Council 2004 BBC | British Council Lesson plan. Story telling: Carnival Crime Page 2 Tip: I recommend that you read the story a few times yourself until you can remember it and then tell the story in your own words stopping in the same way to get student input. Telling the story in your own words as opposed to reading word for word from the text will make the story seem more real and authentic to the students. Now start telling the story using the story telling script and the story cards, which you will need to cut out before class. Student story-telling task Once you have told the story once get the students as a class to tell the story back to you using the pictures on the board to help them. Then give the students Worksheet B and see if they can join up the pictures of the story in the correct order and re-tell the story in pairs. Follow up task 1 Use the drawing activity from Worksheet C to get students to create and describe their own carnival costumes. Ask students to follow these instructions. First of all draw a head and a neck of a person wearing a carnival costume. Draw a carnival mask on the face of the person. Now fold your paper and pass it to the person on your right. Now draw the arms and top half of the costume. Now fold your paper and pass it to the person on your right Now draw the legs of the person wearing the costume. Now fold your paper and pass it to the person on your right Now draw the shoes of the person wearing the carnival costume. Now fold your paper and pass it to the person on your right The students then unfold their costumes and in small pairs or groups describe their costumes to each other and take a vote on the silliest costume. Students can then write a short description of their costume, which they can pin on the wall together with their costume. Follow up task 2 If you have access to computers with the Internet or even just one computer with a data projector, the students can read and listen to the story on-line. http://www.learmenglish.org.uk/kids/stories.asp?story=44 There is also an interactive vocabulary activity at: http://www.learnenglish.org.uk/words/activities/clothesdr.html If you dont have access to the story on-line you can give the students the original script Worksheet D and ask them to find the differences in pairs between the class story and the original story script. Tip: Before a story telling activity it is often a good idea to do something to change the mood of the class and to create a special time for story telling, such as to put on a special story telling hat or coat, or to play some music or have the class say a short story-telling time rhyme. Branding and brand names Lesson plan BBC | British Council 2004 BBC | British Council Lesson plan. Branding and brand names Page 1 Branding and brand names Topic: Advertising Aims: Expressing Opinions, Likes and Dislikes

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Developing vocabulary through brainstorming and dictionary work Developing speaking skills through making a short oral presentation Level:Intermediate and above Introduction: During this lesson students will rank their favorite brand names and discuss what they like/dislike about them. They will read and discuss the context of a text about brand naming and complete related vocabulary building exercises. Lastly students will create and brand their own imaginary product which they will present to the rest of the class. Procedure Write Brand Names on the board and ask students to give you some examples of brand names. Tip: Be sure that students understand that brands are not just expensive names like Gucci, Ray Ban but also include products like Nike, Nescafe, Cadburys, Cornflakes, Coca Cola etc. Get the students skim read the short text on brand naming Worksheet 1 and underline any new vocabulary. Students should ask their friends or look up the meaning of any new words in their dictionaries. Students then complete the comprehension questions on Worksheet 2 individually or in pairs. Teachers should check for comprehension. Students then complete the matching exercise Worksheet 3 individually or in pairs. Worksheet 3 Answers a) From the Latin word meaning, snow-white. Nivea b) This was the fifth perfume made by the same company. Chanel No. 5 c) Named after the Greek Goddess of Victory Nike d) Originally a Japanese family name Toyoda. The inventors changed one letter to make it easier to pronounce overseas. Toyota e) Named after an African Gazelle Rebok f) The family names of two men, one a motor enthusiast and the other an engineering genius. Stuart Rolls and Henry Royce Branding and brand names Lesson plan BBC | British Council 2004 BBC | British Council Lesson plan. Branding and brand names Page 2 In small groups get the students to brainstorm and write down as many brand names as they can in 3 minutes. At the end of three minutes shout out, stop and see which group has the brainstormed the most brand names. In the same groups get students to choose their favorite top ten brands out of all the brand names they brainstormed and get them to rank them from 1-10. (1 should be their favorite brand, 10 the one they like least). Students can do this on Worksheet 4 or on a blank piece of paper. Get students to write a sentence or two or discuss what they know or like each brand. Tip: Circulate as students are writing / talking and give help and advice. Supply any vocabulary and correcting as necessary. Hand out poster paper and pens and get students to make a poster titled Our top ten brands, for display on the wall in the classroom. Make it clear that the posters must include the sentences they wrote about each brand. Once students have completed their posters they can circulate and read each others posters and vote on the best poster. TASK Students work in pairs. Give each pair a copy of task Worksheet 5 In pairs invent a new product and give it a name. Think about the following points: What is special or unusual about your product? Why would people want to use or buy it? How does the name relate to the product?

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Once you have chosen the name for your product, prepare a short oral presentation to give to the rest of the class. In your presentation you should describe your product and explain how and why you chose its name. Both of you should speak in the presentation. The task sheet also has a list of useful phrases that may help students with their presentations. Teachers should also teach any other phrases/language that they think may be helpful. The task sheet also has a list of ideas in case student cant think of their own inventions. Depending on the student and/or cultural context, teachers may want to assess the oral presentations to increase student motivation, as children and teens in some cultures will make more effort if they know they are going to be assessed. Optional follow up For homework writing activity: Student choose one of their favorite brands, research its history and then write a short (70-100) word history of the brand. Branding and brand names - BBC | British Council 2004 Branding and brand names Worksheet 1 Skim read the following text The name is the most important element of a successful brand. Packaging changes, advertising changes, products even change but brand names never change. Where do great brand names come from? All different sources, they may come from family names or perhaps the inventors favorite color or animal or sometimes the names are just completely made up. For example, McDonalds is a family name, Adidas was created from the inventors name Adi Dassler, Volvo means to roll in Latin and KODAK was completely made up by the inventor George Eastman because he thought it was unusual and different Worksheet 2 Discuss the following questions in pairs: 1. Why are brand names important? 2. Name three different sources of brand names. 3. Do you think brands are important? Why? 4. Do you have a favorite brand? What is it and why do you like it? Worksheet 3 Can you guess where the following brand names came from? Match the brands in the box with the correct text below. 1. Toyota 2. Chanel no.5. 3. Rolls Royce 4. Reebok 5. Nike 6. Nivea a) From the Latin word meaning, snow-white. b) This was the fifth perfume made by the same company. c) Named after the Greek Goddess of Victory d) Originally a Japanese family name Toyoda. The inventors changed one letter to make it easier to pronounce overseas. e) Named after an African Gazelle f) The family names of two men, one a motor enthusiast and the other an engineering genius. Branding and brand names - BBC | British Council 2004 Worksheet 4 Rank your favorite brands from 1-10 (1 = like the most, 10 =like the least) 1 2 3 4 5 6

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7 8 9 10 Branding and brand names - BBC | British Council 2004 Worksheet 5 TASK In pairs invent a new product and give it a name. Think about the following points: What is special or unusual about your product? Why would people want to use or buy it? How does the name relate to the product? Once you have chosen the name for your product prepare a short oral presentation to give to the rest of the class. In your presentation you should describe your product and explain how and why you chose its name. Both of you should speak in the presentation. Here are some useful phrases that may help you with your presentation: We would like to introduce our new invention We chose the name because You can use it to If you cant think of any ideas for a new product use one of these ideas. 1. A thick slimy green jelly soda drink 2. A flying schoolbag that you can control by remote control 3. An alarm clock that switches off when you shout at it 4. A television computer 5. A digital watch with a built in mobile phone and mini computer 6. A new digital homework personal organizer 7. A new high speed flying carpet A Quiz for Christmas Lesson Plan - BBC | British Council 2003 A Quiz for Christmas Lesson plan - BBC | British Council 2003 A Quiz for Christmas Topic: Christmas Traditions Aims: To develop knowledge of Christmas traditions To develop the ability to deduce the meaning of grammatical items To develop exam skills (predicting the answers to questions) Level: Intermediate Introduction This lesson uses the format of a quiz to give the students the motivation make predictions. They then have the opportunity to confirm their own answers. There is also a grammar quiz that aims to get students to deduce the meaning of grammatical items by looking at the context in which they are used. Procedure Pre reading task: Put the students into small groups and get them to talk about things that they like / dont like to do at Christmas. After theyve had a few minutes to talk, get them to tell you about these things. Tip: You may have to help them to express these things in English. Remember to make a note of these on the board, as this is valuable vocabulary for them. Ask the students if they think that any of these things are unique to their country. Tell the students that they are going to do a quiz about Christmas traditions and put them into small groups of 4 or 5 students to do this. Give each group one copy of Task A. Read out the questions for them and

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give them time together to write their answers. Tip: You may have to help them with some of the vocabulary in the questions and again make a note of this on the board. A Quiz for Christmas Lesson Plan - BBC | British Council 2003 A Quiz for Christmas Lesson plan - BBC | British Council 2003 Task A answers Work in your group and try to answer these questions. 1. Where can you find gift-wrapped shopping centres? (Singapore) 2. Why are the shopping centres decorated? (the government offers a prize) 3. What is the name of the small plant with white berries that is put above doors in the UK at Christmas? (mistletoe) 4. What will happen if you stand under it? (someone will kiss you) 5. What is the winter solstice? (the shortest day of the year) 6. What are the initials of the three wise men? (C, M and B) 7. What gifts did they bring to the baby Jesus? (gold, frankincense and myrrh) 8. What special thing do the people of Granada do at Christmas? (they jump through the flames of a bonfire) 9. Why do they do it? (so that they dont get ill) Reading task: Once the students have attempted to answer all the questions take in the answer sheets and give them the text. They should then read and try to find the correct answers to the questions. Tip: You can then award points to the group that has the most correct answers. An alternative to this is that you could let them read the text and correct their answers and the first team to have all the correct answers wins. Post reading grammar task: To follow up the reading exercise you can use the grammar quiz Task B. Give the quiz questions out to the groups and get them to search the text and find the answers. Tip: Set them a time limit for this, as it will add to the excitement. This will also stop them getting you to do all the work for them. Get the groups to exchange papers and mark the number of correct points while you tell the students the answers. A Quiz for Christmas Lesson Plan - BBC | British Council 2003 A Quiz for Christmas Lesson plan - BBC | British Council 2003 Task B answers Grammar Quiz 1. Find and underline 6 examples of a conditional sentences. (Para 2 line 1, Para 3 line 1, Para 3 line 2, Para 4 line 1, Para 5 line 1, Para 5 line 2) 2. Which conditional are they? (They are all first conditional) 3. Do the conditionals refer to something that is in the past, present, future or generally true? (generally true) 4. Find and underline 1 modal verb which means that something is 100% sure. (Para 1 line 3 must) 5. Find and underline 3 different modal verbs that mean that something is uncertain / possible. (Para 2 line 1 might, Para 3 line 1 may, OR Para 4 line 1 may , Para 5 line 1 could) 6. Find and underline 1 modal verb that is used to give advice. (Para 3 line 2 should) 7. Find and underline 4 passive verb constructions. (Para 1 line 4 is still celebrated, Para 3 line 5 was still celebrated, Para 4 line 3 are said to have visited, Para 5 line 3 will be protected) Possible follow up Get the students to talk about how people in their country celebrate New

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Year. See if they can think of anything that is unique to their country or area of the country. Get the students to write a text about how they celebrate New Year. You can tell them that they must use some of the structures from the text. Task C gives an example. A Quiz for Christmas Lesson Plan - BBC | British Council 2003 A Quiz for Christmas Lesson plan - BBC | British Council 2003 Text Christmas Around the World (Paragraph 1) It seems that each year Christmas starts earlier and becomes more commercialised. The typical image of Father Christmas in his black boots, red suit and white beard must be recognised in almost every country in the world nowadays, but despite this Christmas is still celebrated in different ways in different countries and many still retain their own individual customs both new and old. (Paragraph 2) If you spend this Christmas in Singapore you might be surprised to see some of the huge shopping centres there wrapped up as Christmas presents or decorated from top to bottom like huge cakes or Christmas trees. This is because every year the government gives a prize for the best decorated building in the country. (Paragraph 3) If youre in the UK you may find yourself standing beneath a small green plant with white berries on. If you do you should be careful because someone may try to kiss you. Kissing under the mistletoe is a British tradition that goes back much further than Christmas to when the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, was still celebrated as a religious day. (Paragraph 4) If youre in the Austrian countryside you may see the letters C, M and B written on the doors of the farmers stables. These are the initials of the three wise men, Caspar, Melchoir, and Balthazar, that are said to have visited the new born Jesus bring gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. This is because the farmers believe that putting these letters on the door will protect their animals from sickness in the year to come. (Paragraph 5) If you see people jumping across a bonfire this Christmas it could be because youre in Granada in Spain. Where some people still believe that if they jump through the flames of the fire they will be protected from illness for the year to come. (Paragraph 6) So while businesses and advertisements may be trying to sell us all the same image of a man in a red suit, people in many countries of the world still follow the ancient traditions that make Christmas such a wonderful event. A Quiz for Christmas - BBC | British Council 2003 A Quiz for Christmas Task A Work in your group and try to answer these questions. 1. Where can you find gift-wrapped shopping centres? 2. Why are the shopping centres decorated? What is the name of the small plant with white berries that is put above doors in the UK at Christmas? 3. What will happen if you stand under it? 4. What is the winter solstice? 5. What are the initials of the three wise men?

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6. What gifts did they bring to the baby Jesus? 7. What special thing do the people of Granada do at Christmas? 8. Why do they do it? Task B Grammar Quiz Look closely at the text and: 1. Find and underline 6 examples of a conditional sentences. 2. Which conditional are they? 3. Do the conditionals refer to something that is in the past, present, future or generally true? 4. Find and underline 1 modal verb which means that something is 100% sure. 5. Find and underline 3 different modal verbs that mean that something is uncertain / possible. 6. Find and underline 1 modal verb that is used to give advice. 7. Find and underline 4 passive verb constructions. Task C Write a text about what happens in your country at New Year. Try to include: 2 first conditional sentences 1 modal verb to express 100% certainty 2 modal verbs to express uncertainty 1 modal verb to give advice 2 passive verb structures A Quiz for Christmas - BBC | British Council 2003 Text Christmas Around the World (Paragraph 1) It seems that each year Christmas starts earlier and becomes more commercialised. The typical image of Father Christmas in his black boots, red suit and white beard must be recognised in almost every country in the world nowadays, but despite this Christmas is still celebrated in different ways in different countries and many still retain their own individual customs both new and old. (Paragraph 2) If you spend this Christmas in Singapore you might be surprised to see some of the huge shopping centres there wrapped up as Christmas presents or decorated from top to bottom like huge cakes or Christmas trees. This is because every year the government gives a prize for the best decorated building in the country. (Paragraph 3) If youre in the UK you may find yourself standing beneath a small green plant with white berries on. If you do you should be careful because someone may try to kiss you. Kissing under the mistletoe is a British tradition that goes back much further than Christmas to when the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, was still celebrated as a religious day. (Paragraph 4) If youre in the Austrian countryside you may see the letters C, M and B written on the doors of the farmers stables. These are the initials of the three wise men, Caspar, Melchoir, and Balthazar, that are said to have visited the new born Jesus bring gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. This is because the farmers believe that putting these letters on the door will protect their animals from sickness in the year to come. (Paragraph 5) If you see people jumping across a bonfire this Christmas it could be because youre in Granada in Spain. Where some people still believe that if they jump

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through the flames of the fire they will be protected from illness for the year to come. (Paragraph 6) So while businesses and advertisements may be trying to sell us all the same image of a man in a red suit, people in many countries of the world still follow the ancient traditions that make Christmas such a wonderful event. The Inca: A lost society Lesson Plan - BBC | British Council 2003 The Inca: A lost society Topic: Inca culture and society Aims: To develop students' ability to take information from a text and form their own opinions about it To develop students' ability to deduce the meaning of words in a text Level: Intermediate and above Introduction During this lesson students will read and discuss the content of a text about the Inca. The lesson has been designed to be as communicative as possible, so that students work collaboratively to extract meaning from the text and apply their own opinions to the content of the text. There are some suggested follow up tasks at the end. Procedure Pre reading task: Put up the word 'Inca' on the board (or if you can find some, put up related pictures) and ask the students what they already know about the subject. Reading task: Put the students into groups of five and give each one a part of the text from Worksheet A to read. Once they have read their part of the text ask the students to work together as a group and put the parts of the text into the correct order. Do some quick feedback to make sure they have the correct order and ask them how they knew the order. Give the students the definitions from Worksheet B on strips of paper (you'll need to copy one set of definitions for each group) and get each student to find the definitions that match to the words in bold in their text. Tip: It may be better not to do feedback after this activity, as the students may change their minds about the definitions as the lesson progresses and they start to understand more about the text. In this way they will have the chance to self-correct. The Inca: A lost society Lesson Plan - BBC | British Council 2003 Answers: Word Definition existence (noun) the state of being empire (noun) a group of countries controlled by a single power spanned (verb) to cover an area ethnic (adjective) of a racial group brutal (adjective) cruel and violent arms (noun) weapons (i.e. knives, guns etc.) craftsmen (noun) people who make things with their hands textiles (noun) clothes or other articles made of cloth assimilated (verb) to allow one group of people to become part of another

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set about (phrasal verb) begin looting and plundering (gerund) to steal articles during time of war or disorder torn down (phrasal verb) to destroy site (noun) a position or place temple (noun) a religious building memorial (noun) something that reminds people of a person or event The Inca: A lost society Lesson Plan - BBC | British Council 2003 Give the students out Worksheet C and ask them to read the text again and put the facts under the correct heading in the table. Tip: At this point you can either give the students one complete text each to do on their own OR you can get them to continue to work as a group. Answers: The Inca Empire Inca society The Conquistadors Machu Picchu 12 million people an army 40,000 men capital city Cuzco in Peru covered an area of 2,500 miles a small ethnic group didn't know about the wheel had no written language very good at making things very tolerant an army of less than 400 men arrived in 1532 brought many diseases brutal conquerors a religious place

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close to the Urubamba River in Peru discovered in 1911 Once they have finished you can clarify their answers to the grouping task and to the vocabulary matching. The Inca: A lost society Lesson Plan - BBC | British Council 2003 Post reading discussion task: Give each student a copy of Worksheet D and ask them to complete the sentences about the text. Tip: Here you might need to stress that there is no correct / incorrect answer. They should complete the sentences according to their own opinion. The part of the text that most surprised me was I think the conquistadors were able to defeat the Inca army because I think the descendants of the Inca are / aren't entitled to compensation because I think the conquistadors tore down the Inca buildings and built their own because I think Machu Picchu wasn't discovered by the conquistadors because I think the best thing about the Inca was I would / wouldn't like to go to Machu Picchu because After they have completed the sentences they should compare and discuss them in small groups or as a whole class. You could also offer your own opinions. The Inca: A lost society Lesson Plan - BBC | British Council 2003 Possible follow ups: Take away the original text and ask students to write their own text based upon the notes from the table in Worksheet C. Ask the students to write some questions about other things they would like to know about Incas, their culture and society, then send them to a library or the Internet to try to discover more. Read out the vocabulary words and ask students to decide how many syllables each word has and which syllable is stressed. Answers: syllables stressed existence 3 2nd empire 2 1st spanned 1 ethnic 2 1st brutal 2 1st arms 1 craftsmen 2 1st textiles 2 1st assimilated 5 2nd set about 3 3rd looting 2 1st plundering 3 1st torn down 2 2nd site 1 temple 2 1st memorial 4 2nd The Inca: A lost society Lesson Plan - BBC | British Council 2003 Text: How is it that a people who had no written language and didn't even know of the

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existence of the wheel could within the space of a hundred years build an empire that spanned some 2,500 miles across South America? The people I'm referring to are of course the Inca. The Inca were a small ethnic group who came to rule an empire of more than 12 million people. They ruled their empire from Cuzco in Peru and were not the brutal conquerors that many think them to be. They took control of other cultures through a mixture arms and gifts. They were skilled craftsmen who were able to produce beautiful jewelry and textiles. Many villagers were so impressed by them that they thought of them as gods. The Inca were in many ways very tolerant and assimilated new peoples, their cultures and even their religions into their own, but not so the Spanish conquistadors who arrived in 1532. With an army of less than 400 men they were able to defeat the 40,000 strong Inca army and they soon set about looting and plundering the riches of the Inca culture. Most of the amazing architecture and complex building they had worked to build up was torn down and made into palaces and fortresses for the conquering Spanish. Amazingly, one Inca site remained undiscovered until 1911. It was the amazing Machu Picchu, the Inca temple to the sun, but by this time of course the Inca were long gone, either killed off by conquistadors or the diseases that they brought with them. Today it still stands, at the top a mountain beside the Urubamba River in Peru, a memorial to the greatness of a people that we can now only read about in books. The Inca: A lost society - BBC | British Council 2003 Worksheet A (Cut these out and give one to each person in the group) cut here - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - How is it that a people who had no written language and didn't even know of the existence of the wheel could within the space of a hundred years build an empire that spanned some 2, 500 miles across South America? cut here - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - The people I'm referring to are of course the Inca. The Inca were a small ethnic group who came to rule an empire of more than 12 million people. They ruled their empire from Cuzco in Peru and were not the brutal conquerors that many think them to be. They took control of other cultures through a mixture arms and gifts. cut here - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - They were skilled craftsmen who were able to produce beautiful jewelry and textiles. Many villagers were so impressed by them that they thought of them as gods. The Inca were in many ways very tolerant and assimilated new peoples, their cultures and even their religions into their own, but not so the Spanish conquistadors who arrived in 1532. cut here - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - With an army of less than 400 men they were able to defeat the 40,000 strong Inca army and they soon set about looting and plundering the riches of the Inca culture. Most of the amazing architecture and complex building they had worked to build up was torn down and made into palaces and fortresses for the conquering Spanish. cut here - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Amazingly one Inca site remained undiscovered until 1911. It was the amazing Machu Picchu, the Inca temple to the sun, but by this time of course the Inca were long gone, either killed off by conquistadors or the diseases that they brought with them. Today it still stands, at the top a mountain beside the Urubamba River in Peru, a memorial to the greatness of a people that we can now only read about in books. cut here - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

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The Inca: A lost society - BBC | British Council 2003 Worksheet B (Cut these into strips and give a set to each group) the state of being a group of countries controlled by a single power to cover an area of a racial group cruel and violent weapons (i.e. knives, guns etc.) people who make things with their hands clothes or other articles made of cloth to allow one group of people to become part of another to begin to steal articles during time of war or disorder to destroy a position or place a religious building something that reminds people of a person or event The Inca: A lost society - BBC | British Council 2003 Text How is it that a people who had no written language and didn't even know of the existence of the wheel could within the space of a hundred years build an empire that spanned some 2,500 miles across South America? The people I'm referring to are of course the Inca. The Inca were a small ethnic group who came to rule an empire of more than 12 million people. They ruled their empire from Cuzco in Peru and were not the brutal conquerors that many think them to be. They took control of other cultures through a mixture arms and gifts. They were skilled craftsmen who were able to produce beautiful jewelry and textiles. Many villagers were so impressed by them that they thought of them as gods. The Inca were in many ways very tolerant and assimilated new peoples, their cultures and even their religions into their own, but not so the Spanish conquistadors who arrived in 1532. With an army of less than 400 men they were able to defeat the 40,000 strong Inca army and they soon set about looting and plundering the riches of the Inca culture. Most of the amazing architecture and complex building they had worked to build up was torn down and made into palaces and fortresses for the conquering Spanish. Amazingly, one Inca site remained undiscovered until 1911. It was the amazing Machu Picchu, the Inca temple to the sun, but by this time of course the Inca were long gone, either killed off by conquistadors or the diseases that they brought with them. Today it still stands, at the top a mountain beside the Urubamba River in Peru, a memorial to the greatness of a people that we can now only read about in books. The Inca: A lost society - BBC | British Council 2003 Worksheet C Read the text and put the facts below under the heading that they refer to. The Inca Empire Inca society The Conquistadors Machu Picchu a. 12 million people b. a religious place c. a small ethnic group d. an army 40,000 men e. an army of less than 400 men f. arrived in 1532

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g. brought many diseases h. brutal conquerors i. capital city Cuzco in Peru j. close to the Urubamba River in Peru k. covered an area of 2,500 miles l. didn't know about the wheel. m. discovered in 1911 n. had no written language o. very good at making things p. very tolerant The Inca: A lost society - BBC | British Council 2003 Worksheet D Complete the sentences so that they are true for you The part of the text that most surprised me was I think the conquistadors were able to defeat the Inca army because I think the descendants of the Inca are / aren't entitled to compensation because I think the conquistadors tore down the Inca buildings and built their own because I think Machu Picchu wasn't discovered by the conquistadors because I think the best thing about the Inca was I think the worst thing about the conquistadors was I would / wouldn't like to go to Machu Picchu because Vocabulary revision Write in the number of syllables in each word and which syllable is stressed syllables stressed existence 3 2nd empire spanned ethnic brutal arms craftsmen textiles assimilated set about looting plundering torn down site temple memorial

Telling a story Lesson Plan - BBC | British Council 2003


BBC | British Council Lesson plan. Telling a story. Page 1 of 4

Topic: Telling a story Aims: To develop the ability to tell a story fluently. To develop the ability to understand and accurately use a range of narrative tenses. Level: Intermediate and higher Introduction The use of narrative to tell stories and anecdotes forms an important part of

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our everyday communication. During this lesson students will have the opportunity to develop both their accuracy and fluency by creating and then telling a story. They will then have the chance to develop their understanding of a range of narrative tenses by focusing on both the meaning and the form of the structures. The lesson plan is followed by some suggested follow up activities. Procedure Speaking task: Give the students the questions from Worksheet A and ask them to read them and look for any words they don't understand. Rationale: As students read through the questions they will be forming a mental framework of the story that they expect the questions to be about. Check that they understand three key words: wings, angel and priest. You can do this by making a quick sketch on the board and asking what it is. Tell the students that the questions are all about a story, but you don't have the story and that they must invent the story for you. Put them in pairs to do this and tell them that they must do it together orally and must not write anything down. Rationale: by insisting that they don't write you will push them to use their oral ability more. If the students really struggle you could let them make brief notes. Circulate around the room and be available for support if students need it. Also listen carefully as they work on the story and make notes of any errors or new vocabulary they need for feedback later on. You could also make notes of some of the good sentences or vocabulary some students are using too, so you make a balance between correction and praise. Telling a story Lesson Plan - BBC | British Council 2003
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When they have finished, tell students that they will have to tell the story and give them a little more time to work together and make sure they can remember everything. Get the students to change the pairs so that they all have a new partner to work with and get each student to tell their new partner the story they invented. Tip: This is another good time to monitor carefully and listen for errors or new vocabulary that the students need. Once they have both told their partner the story, ask students which story they preferred. Tip: at this point you could use the notes that you've made while monitoring to do some feedback and correction. Ask questions from Worksheet A at random around the class to the students and see if the students answer using the correct tenses. Focus on Meaning: 49

Give out Worksheet B with the concepts and example sentences and ask the students to match them to the concepts to the sentences. Answers: Example sentences: 1. It had been raining for many days. 2. Paul was walking home from work when he saw the old man. 3. When he told his wife about the man with wings she said he was mad. b. c. a. Concepts: a. A finished action that is followed by another action b. An action that happened before a time in the past c. An action that was interrupted by a second action Once they've matched them, tell them the correct answers. Telling a story Lesson Plan - BBC | British Council 2003
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Language work - timelines Give students the timelines Worksheet C and ask students to match the lines to the example sentences. Then ask them to label the parts of the timeline with the correct actions. Tip: Some students may be quite confused by timelines the first time they see them, so it might be a good idea to draw one on the board as an example making clear that the line is time passing and where future and past are in relation to now. Answers: _raining _ _ _? Now Past ______________________________|____________Future told wife said mad Now Past ___________|_______|____________|____________Future _ walking home _ ? Now Past ___________|___________________|____________Future saw man Check that they have done it correctly. Telling a story Lesson Plan - BBC | British Council 2003
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Focus on Form: Give the students Worksheet D and ask them to label the parts of the form. Tip: When I do this with students I prefer to use the minimum of metalanguage and only label the 'generative' part of the form that can be used to generate more sentences. Answers: 1. Past perfect continuous

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subject + had been verb + ing It had been raining for days. 2. Past simple - Past simple conjun ction subject verb in past When he told his wife about the old man with wings. subject verb in past she said he was mad. 3. Past continuous - Past simple subject verb to be in past verb + ing Paul was walking home from work conjunction subject verb in past form when he saw the old man. Check that they have done it correctly. Follow up: Get the students to write their story. Ask them to illustrate their story. Put the stories up around the room and get the students to read them all and award marks out of ten. You could give them a list of criteria to do this for example; imagination, range of vocabulary, correct use of tenses, spelling, good use of descriptive language etc. Telling a story Worksheets - BBC | British Council 2003 Worksheet A Read these questions about a story then use your own answers to invent the story. 1. How long had it been raining? 2. What was Paul doing when he first saw the old man? 3. Was he surprised to see a man with wings? 4. What did Paul's wife say when he told her about the old man with wings? 5. What did the people of their village do when they saw the old man with wings? 6. Why didn't the priest believe that he was an angel? 7. Where did Paul and his wife keep the old man? 8. How much money did they charge people to look at him? 9. How long did he stay with them? 10. What was Paul doing when he saw the old man fly away?
These questions are based around the short story 'A very Old Man with Enormous Wings' by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Telling a story Worksheets - BBC | British Council 2003 Worksheet B Match the concepts to the example sentences. Example sentences: 1. It had been raining for many days. 2. Paul was walking home from work when he saw the old man. 51

3. When he told his wife about the man with wings she said he was mad. __ __ __ Concepts: a. A finished action that is followed by another action b. An action that happened before a time in the past c. An action that was interrupted by a second action Telling a story Worksheets - BBC | British Council 2003 Worksheet C Which of these time lines represents the sentences in worksheet B? Label the actions on each of the timelines. _1. _ _ _? Now Past ______________________________|____________Future 1. 2. Now Past ___________|_______|____________|____________Future _ 1. _ _ _ _? Now Past ___________|___________________|____________Future 2. Telling a story Worksheets - BBC | British Council 2003 Worksheet D Name the verb forms used in these sentences then label the parts of form. 1. _______________ It had been raining for days. 2. _______________ When he told his wife about the old man with wings. she said he was mad. 3. _______________ Paul was walking home from work when he saw the old man. Writing a news report Lesson Plan - BBC | British Council 2003
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Writing a news report This lesson is based on an idea I first saw Scott Thornbury using. Topic: News reports Aims: To develop students' abilities to organise information and construct it into a text 52

To develop students' abilities to revise, redraft and improve their writing To develop students' abilities to construct questions Level: Pre intermediate and above Introduction During this lesson students will go through the process of developing ideas and collecting and organising information. They will then use the information to create the first draft of an imaginary news article. They will then focus on some key areas of good writing and try to redraft their articles with these in mind. A variety of follow up tasks are offered after the main plan. Procedure Pre writing tasks: Rationale: This part of the lesson should give students the opportunity to collect information before writing the news report. This should reduce the amount of creativity needed during the actual writing. Write up the headline:

Mystery Disappearance of English Teacher: Students Suspected

Put the students in groups or pairs to try to predict the content of the story and what may have happened to the teacher. Get the students to change groups and compare what they think may have happened. Give out a pile of about 10 or 15 slips of paper. Tell the students to write a question about the story on each slip of paper and give each one to you. (You might want to put up some question words on the board to help prompt them. i.e. Who? What time? How many? Etc.) Writing a news report Lesson Plan - BBC | British Council 2003
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As they give you the slips of paper write very brief answers on them and give them back. Tip: This works best if the students give each question to you as soon as they write it and you write your answer on their slip of paper and return it immediately. The answers you give them will help to prompt them to produce more questions. If you have a very large class this may not be possible and you may want to stage this over more than one lesson so you have time to write all the replies. Stop when the students have either used up all their slips of paper or run out of questions. Students then collect up the information they have on the slips of paper. Tell them they will use the information to compose a news report to go with the headline. Before they start writing the report ask them to decide what order they will put the information in. Tip: A common order for newspaper reports of this kind is: Headline General info about crime More details about what happened 53

A description of any suspects or the criminals What police have done / are doing to try to solve the crime (possible appeal for whitnesses) Writing a news report Lesson Plan - BBC | British Council 2003
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Writing Tasks Once they have grouped the information tell them to write the report and make sure to include all the information from their questions. Once the students have written their reports ask them to exchange them with another student and give out the Editor's checklist. The students then use this to check through each other's work and write on any comments or suggestions for improvement. Editor's checklist: Is the information grouped into logical paragraphs? Are the paragraphs in a logical order? Is there any unnecessary information? Is any necessary information missing? Are there any parts that you can't understand? Are a lot of the same words repeated? Can more precise words be used? Is there too much repetition of linkers like and, but, then etc? Do all the verbs agree with their subjects? (e.g. she are is ) Have articles (the, a, an) been used correctly? Have the correct verb forms been used? Is the punctuation correct? Have all the words been spelt correctly? They then give the checked report back to the original writer who makes any corrections or changes and produces a final draft. Tip: Generally I've found that the process of drafting, adding comments and redrafting works best when done on a word processor as it is much easier for students to make changes to their text without having to rewrite the whole thing. If your students don't have access to computers then you might consider spreading the redrafting over more than one lesson. Writing a news report Lesson Plan - BBC | British Council 2003
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Possible follow up tasks Put the reports up on the walls around the class and get the students to look at them all and choose the one they think is best. OR Collect up the students' slips of paper with their questions on and do some error correction work. OR Collect some short authentic news articles from either the internet or newspapers and tell the students to compare them with their own: They should look for:

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The way information is organised (how many paragraphs, what is the focus of each paragraph?) The verb forms or structures used (present perfect, present simple, active or passive?) Ways in which the writer has made the writing more exciting (use of adverb, adjectives, variety of lexis) OR Give the students the following headline:

Mystery of the Disappearing Teacher Solved

Ask them to produce a report for the radio or TV on how the mystery was solved and what happened. They could even include interviews with the teacher and students involved (You could record this or video it if you have access to a camera) Writing a news report Worksheets - BBC | British Council 2003 Worksheet A Use this checklist to edit the report. Editor's checklist: Is the information grouped into logical paragraphs? Are the paragraphs in a logical order? Is there any unnecessary information? Is any necessary information missing? Are there any parts that you can't understand? Are a lot of the same words repeated? Can more precise words be used? Is there too much repetition of linkers like and, but, then etc? Do all the verbs agree with their subjects? (e.g. she are is ) Have articles (the, a, an) been used correctly? Have the correct verb forms been used? Is the punctuation correct? Have all the words been spelt correctly? Writing a news report Worksheets - BBC | British Council 2003 Worksheet B Use this page to write up your finished report

Mystery Disappearance of English Teacher: Students Suspected


An air powered car Lesson Plan - BBC | British Council 2003
BBC | British Council Lesson plan. An air powered car page 1 of 6

An air powered car Topic: Alternative energy sources Aims:

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To develop reading skills / deducing meaning of vocabulary from context To develop speaking skills / discussing alternative energy sources Level: Pre-intermediate + For this lesson you will need:Copies of the text and/or audio Copies of Worksheet A (comprehension and vocabulary exercises) Copies of Worksheet B (discussion exercise) Introduction During this lesson students will read and develop their understanding of a text about a new environmentally friendly car. They will then try to deduce the meaning of some of the vocabulary in the text. They will finally have the opportunity to develop their understanding of issues related to alternative energy sources and develop their ability to exchange views on this subject. Procedure Pre reading task: Rationale: The aim of this part of the lesson is to get students interested in the topic and to find out what they already know and what vocabulary they need to know. Put students in pairs / small groups and ask them to make a list of 'alternative' energy sources. Set a 2-minute time limit for this to make it competitive. Here are some possible suggestions: Solar power: produced by the sun Methane: produced from pig manure Wind power: produced by large numbers of giant turbine windmills Sea power: produced by the movement of waves Tree power: produced by the swaying of trees in forests Write examples up on the board from students around the class and see if they can explain a little about them. Write up and clarify any new vocabulary that comes out of this. An air powered car Lesson Plan - BBC | British Council 2003
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Reading task: Rationale: The aim of this part of the lesson is to motivate students to read the text and get a general impression of what it is about. Tell students that there is a new car that is powered only by air. Ask them if they believe you. Ask students to read the text and decide if they think it is factual or fictional. Set a strict time limit of two minutes for this so that they don't start to focus on every word, but simply read quickly to get the gist. Once they have had 2 minutes to read ask them to turn to the person next to them and tell them what they think. Ask students to put their hands up if they think it is factual or fictional, then tell them the correct answer. (Answer: It is factual) Alternative reading task: Find a picture of the car and get the students to work in pairs to predict 56

information about it. Price? (7,000) Power source? (compressed air) Top speed? (65mph) Invented in which country? (France) Maximum distance without refuelling? (120 miles) Possible problems? (slow to refuel unless you by an expensive refuelling station) Then give them the text and ask tell them to check their predictions. An air powered car Lesson Plan - BBC | British Council 2003
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Comprehension reading task: Rationale: The aim of this part of the lesson is for students to develop a quite detailed understanding of the text. Give out worksheet A with the list of names and statistics. Ask students to read the text again and make notes about the significance of the items on the list within the text. Once they have completed the task ask them to compare answers with the person next to them. This will give them the opportunity to refer back to the text and perhaps correct their own mistakes. Do a brief feedback session Answers 1. Guy Negre The person who invented the car. 2. Six years The amount of time spent developing the car. 3. 120 miles The distance the car can travel on one tank of air. 4. 65 mph The maximum speed of the car 5. 7,000 The price of the car 6. Four to five hours The time needed to refuel the car. 7. 70,000 The price of a high speed refuelling station 8. Taxi companies Main customers for the car An air powered car Lesson Plan - BBC | British Council 2003
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Vocabulary task: Rationale: The aim of this part of the lesson is to develop students' ability to deduce the meaning of words from the context. Give the students the list of word definitions from the second part of worksheet A Ask them to find which of the bold words in the text is being defined. (They could work in pairs to do this). Do a brief feedback session and clarify any problems. Definitions Answers a. a difficult time crisis b. being shown on display

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c. container for fuel tank d. facts that may not be true claims e. people who disagree with something critics f. powered by run on g. to have enough money to buy something to afford h. made to seem bigger or more important than they are exaggerated i. commented pointed out j. unbelievable too good to be true An air powered car Lesson Plan - BBC | British Council 2003
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Post text discussion: Rationale: The aim of this part of the lesson is to give the students the chance to develop and express their own opinions regarding the issues surrounding the text. Give the students worksheet B. Ask them first to read it and think about whether they agree with the sentences. Then put the students into pairs / groups to discus the sentences and decide whether they all agree or disagree with them. If they don't all agree, they must change/rewrite the sentences so that all the people in their group can agree or disagree. Once they've done this you could ask them to regroup and compare with some new classmates or you could open up the debate to the whole class. 1. Nobody will buy the CAT car because they are too slow. 2. I would rather buy a CAT car than a Mercedes. 3. People are too worried about the environment. There isn't really a problem. 4. Big companies should spend more money on finding clean power sources. 5. Ordinary people can do nothing to protect the environment. It is a job for the government. 6. Big companies don't care about the environment. They just want to make more money. 7. Cars are terrible dirty things. We should use more public transport. 8. There is no energy crisis. We have enough oil and coal to last for many years. 9. In five years time everybody will be driving an air powered car. An air powered car Lesson Plan - BBC | British Council 2003
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Text: Could air be the solution to the energy crisis? There is now an amazing new car that can run on air. It is cheap, creates no pollution and costs almost nothing to run. But is it just too good to be true? The new CAT (compressed air technology) car was on display at the Paris motor show. The car was invented by Frenchman Guy Negre. He has 58

spent the last six years developing his idea and has now produced a car that can travel up to 120 miles (200 kilometres) on one tank of compressed air and reach speeds of up to 65 mph (110 kph). The car will cost around 7,000 (10,000 euros) and will come complete with its own refuelling system. There is a problem with the car though. It will take around four to five hours to refuel. A high speed refuelling station has been designed, but this will cost around 70,000 (100,000 euros). The company believes that the car will sell well to taxi companies and delivery firms that operate in towns, because they don't need to travel long distances and they will be able to afford the cost of the refuelling station. Some critics have pointed out that the car hasn't been properly tested yet and that the company's claims about the car's performance may be exaggerated, but even if the car can only achieve half of what the makers claim, it could turn out to be the answer both to the energy crisis and to the problem of inner city pollution. An air powered car BBC | British Council 2002 Text An air powered car Read this text about an air powered car and try to decide if it is true. Could air be the solution to the energy crisis? There is now an amazing new car that can run on air. It is cheap, creates no pollution and costs almost nothing to run. But is it just too good to be true? The new CAT (compressed air technology) car was on display at the Paris motor show. The car was invented by Frenchman Guy Negre. He has spent the last six years developing his idea and has now produced a car that can travel up to 120 miles (200 kilometres) on one tank of compressed air and reach speeds of up to 65 mph (110 kph). The car will cost around 7,000 pounds (10,000 euros) and will come complete with its own refuelling system. There is a problem with the car though. It will take around four to five hours to refuel. A high speed refuelling station has been designed, but this will cost around 70,000 pounds (100,000 euros). The company believes that the car will sell well to taxi companies and delivery firms that operate in towns, because they don't need to travel long distances and they will be able to afford the cost of the refuelling station. Some critics have pointed out that the car hasn't been properly tested yet and that the company's claims about the car's performance may be exaggerated, but even if the car can only achieve half of what the makers claim, it could turn out to be the answer both to the energy crisis and to the problem of inner city pollution. An air powered car BBC | British Council 2002 Worksheet A Comprehension 59

Read the text again and make notes about these things and their connection to the text. The first one has been done as an example. Answers 1. Guy Negre He is the Frenchman who invented the car. 2. Six years 3. 120 miles 4. 65 mph 5. 7,000 6. Four to five hours 7. 70,000 8. Taxi companies Vocabulary Look at the bold words in the text and match them to these meanings. One has been done for you as an example Definitions Answers a. a difficult time b. being shown on display c. container for fuel d. facts that may not be true e. people who disagree with something f. be powered by g. to have enough money to buy something h. made to seem bigger or more important than they are i. commented j. unbelievable An air powered car BBC | British Council 2002 Worksheet B Read these sentences and put an A at the end if you agree with them and D if you disagree. 1. Nobody will buy the CAT car because they are too slow. 2. I would rather buy a CAT car than a Mercedes. 3. People are too worried about the environment. There isn't really a problem. 4. Big companies should spend more money on finding clean power sources. 5. Ordinary people can do nothing to protect the environment. It is a job for the government. 6. Big companies don't care about the environment. They just want to make more money. 7. Cars are terrible dirty things. We should use more public transport. 8. There is no energy crisis. We have enough oil and coal to last for many years. 9. In five years time everybody will be driving an air powered car. Now discus the sentences with other people in your group.

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Everyone must agree or disagree on each sentence. If you dont, rewrite the sentence so that you can all agree or disagree. Film Festival Season Lesson plan - BBC | British Council 2002 Film Festival Season Lesson plan - BBC | British Council 2002 1 Film Festival Season Topic: Film festivals in England Skills/Language: Understanding details, vocabulary, discussion Level: Pre-intermediate and above For this lesson you will need Copies of Worksheet A Copies of the Text and/or the Audio Copies of Worksheet B comprehension questions Copies of Worksheet C vocabulary matching Copies of Worksheet D follow up discussion / writing Introduction Aim - Activate knowledge of types of film / generate interest in the topic Procedure Use pictures (from the internet?) of or from famous films to generate interest and get the students thinking about films and film types. Elicit the principal genres documentary, fiction, comedy, drama, romance, thriller, action, horror Give out Worksheet A In pairs or small groups, the students answer the discussion questions. Following a brief feedback session, introduce the text, using Worksheet A Reading / Listening exercises Reading / Listening 1 Aim Read / Listen for specific information Ask students to answer questions 1 and 2 Give out or play the text Q.1 In which cities are the festivals? London Sheffield Q.2 What is the main difference between the two festivals Sheffield is a festival for documentary films London is a festival for fiction films Film Festival Season Lesson plan - BBC | British Council 2002 Film Festival Season Lesson plan - BBC | British Council 2002 2 Reading / Listening 2 Aim: Understanding details Give the students Worksheet B Students read or listen again to answer the questions. 1. The Sheffield festival lasts bseven days (a week long festival) 2. The Sheffield festival boffers films and other events (runs training workshops and 61

interviews) 3. In England, it is common to find bdocumentaries on the TV (normally documentaries are only seen on TV) 4. The Sheffield festival takes place in aone cinema only (in a modern cinema) 5. The London Film Festival is abigger than the Sheffield festival (two weeks, the largest cinemas) 6. The films at the London Festival are bwatched by many people (attendance figures are high) 7. At the London festival asome famous people go to see the films (it attracts many glamorous stars) 8. At this years London festival the first film is bfrom Britain (the opening film is British) 9. At this years London festival, the final film is ba romance (a love story) Film Festival Season Lesson plan - BBC | British Council 2002 Film Festival Season Lesson plan - BBC | British Council 2002 3 Vocabulary exercise Aim match meanings to words Give students Worksheet C. Using the context of the text to help them, ask students to match the words to the definitions. Alternatively, this could be done as a mingle activity. Cut out the words and definitions so each is on its own piece of paper Give each student a word or two. Distribute the definitions around the class. The students then find the definition(s) for their word(s). Feed back to the board, be sure to check and drill the pronunciation. hosts to provide the space and equipment for a special event essential very important workshops a special event where people share and develop ideas the big screen the large white area on which the film is shown proud to feel satisfaction about something you have done schedule a timetable of events glamorous more attractive or interesting than the normal thing attendance figures 62

the number of people who go to an event showcase a time when something is presented in a positive way contemporary of the present day, now Film Festival Season Lesson plan - BBC | British Council 2002 Film Festival Season Lesson plan - BBC | British Council 2002 4 Follow up writing and discussion Aim- Writing a review, planning a film festival In this exercise, students write short film reviews. Then, in small groups, they look at a selection of these reviews and plan a film festival. This exercise will take at least 45 minutes. If you do not want to do this all on the same day as the reading/listening, you could set the review writing as a pre-lesson homework. Then, following the reading/listening work, you can go straight into the festival planning stage. Or, you could set the writing as homework, following the reading/listening lesson, and then, in the next lesson do the festival planning discussion. Alternatively, you could ask the students to only do the writing work. The festival planning activity does require making many copies of the students reviews. If this is not possible, only do the writing exercise. Writing a film review Give out Worksheet D Show the students a model review you should write this, so that the level is a suitable model for your class Students answer the questions on Worksheet D for this model review Students use the questions to help them plan their review Students write their review Students give you their reviews Discussion planning a film festival Divide the class into small groups Make copies of the reviews. You need enough to give each group a reasonable choice for their festival Give each group a number of reviews Tell the students to read the reviews and select some of them for their festival (for example, 5 from 8) Students then follow the instructions on Worksheet D You could display the final posters in the class, or pass them round the different groups Film Festival Season - BBC | British Council 2002 1 Worksheet A Introduction Discussion

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What kind of programmes do you watch on TV? Do you ever watch films on video or DVD? Do you ever go the cinema? What kind of films do you like? What was the last film you saw? Have you got a favourite film? Does your country ever have film festivals? In England, going to the cinema is one of the most popular leisure activities. Most towns have a cinema, usually one with several screens. These cinemas show all the big films from Hollywood in the USA, and a much smaller number from other countries. However, there are many festivals which show films that may normally not be shown at cinemas. The festivals last for several days and show many films. You are going to find out about two festivals in England. Reading / Listening 1 Look at these questions 1. In which cities are the festivals? Leeds London Sunderland Sheffield 2. What is the main difference between the two festivals? Read or listen to the news article to find the answers Film Festival Season - BBC | British Council 2002 2 Text Film Festival Season In England it is currently film festival season. This week Sheffield hosts the International Documentary Festival, and next month there is the London Film Festival. Both festivals show new films from all around the world, with one essential difference. The London Film Festival shows fiction films, the Sheffield Festival shows factual films. The Sheffield festival is now 11 years old, and it has grown from a small weekend festival into a week long festival that not only shows new documentary films, but also runs training workshops for new directors and has interviews with important film makers. Normally documentaries are only seen on TV, so, this festival, which shows the films in a modern cinema in Sheffield, is a great opportunity to see documentary films on the big screen. There are films from all over the world, from Japan to Australia, from West Africa to Russia. In all, over 70 films are showing at the festival. The Chairman of the festival, Christopher Hird, says he is proud of how many different cultures and lives are represented in the film schedule. The London Film Festival is a rather different affair. It has been running for nearly 50 years and it lasts for two weeks. The festival takes place in the largest cinemas

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in London and the attendance figures are high. It attracts many glamorous stars to the premieres of the bigger movies that are being shown in the festival. The festival is an international showcase of cinema, but this year the opening and closing films are both British. The opening film is Dirty Little Things - a thriller set in the immigrant community in contemporary London. The final film is The Heart of Me a love story set in 1930s England, involving two sisters who are in love with the same man. All in all, this is set to be a fabulous month for those who love to see the world up there on the big screen. Film Festival Season - BBC | British Council 2002 3 Worksheet B Reading / Listening 2 Choose the best answer 1. The Sheffield festival lasts a. two days b. seven days 2. The Sheffield festival a. only shows films b. offers films and other events 3. In England, it is common to find a. documentaries at the cinema b. documentaries on the TV 4. The Sheffield festival takes place in a. one cinema only b. several cinemas 5. The London Film Festival is a. bigger than the Sheffield festival b. smaller than the Sheffield festival 6. The films at the London Festival are a. watched by a few people b. watched by many people 7. At the London festival a. some famous people go to see the films b. no-one who is famous goes to see the films 8. At this years London festival the first film is a. from Hollywood b. from Britain 9. At this years London festival, the final film is a. a comedy b. a romance

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10. Which film would you prefer to watch? a. Dirty Little Things b. The Heart of Me Film Festival Season - BBC | British Council 2002 4 Worksheet C Vocabulary Match the words from the text with their definitions on the right. hosts a special event where people share and develop ideas essential to feel satisfaction about something you have done workshops the large white area on which the film is shown the big screen very important proud to provide the space and equipment for a special event schedule the number of people who go to an event glamorous a time when something is presented in a positive way attendance figures of the present day, now showcase a timetable of events contemporary more attractive or interesting than the normal thing Film Festival Season - BBC | British Council 2002 5 Worksheet D Follow up Writing and discussion Writing a film review and planning a film festival 1. a. Think of a film you have seen recently. What was it called? Who was in it? Who directed it? What type of film was it? What was the basic story? Did you like it? What was good about it? -The story? -The atmosphere? -The acting? -The special effects? Would you recommend the film? b. Use your answers to the questions to write a small review of the film. Give your review to your teacher. 2. Look at the different reviews your teacher has given you. Work with your partner(s) and select some films (your teacher will tell you how many) for a new film festival in your local area. Where will you show the films? At a cinema? In a community centre? Outdoors? At school?

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Will your festival include other events? Meet the stars? Meet the directors? Interviews? Workshops on film making? What will you call the festival? How long will it be? How much will the tickets cost? Make a poster advertising your film festival Say where and when it is Say how much tickets are Give information about the films and events (make two sentence summaries from the reviews of the films you have chosen) Look at the other posters. Which festival will you go to? New comic superhero Lesson plan - BBC | British Council 2002
BBC | British Council lesson plan. New superheroes - page 1

New comic superhero Topic: Superheroes. Skills/Language: Understanding details, textual organisation, vocabulary Level: Upper Intermediate For this lesson you will need Copies of Worksheet A Copies of the Text Copies of the vocabulary exercise Worksheet B Copies of Worksheet C (optional) Copies of the Text build exercise Worksheet D (optional) Introduction Aim - Activate knowledge of superheroes / generate interest in the topic For more information about the story which is the basis of this plan, visit the BBC News website:http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/arts/1605200.stm Procedure Use pictures (from the internet?) to elicit the names of superheroes Spiderman, The Incredible Hulk, Superman. In pairs or small groups, the students brainstorm what they now about these characters How did they become superheroes? What powers do they have? Spiderman He was bitten by a strange spider. He is very strong, he can climb walls and he can spin a web The Incredible Hulk He was a scientist, and his experiment went wrong. He turns into a giant green man when he is angry, and he has incredible strength. Superman He comes from a different planet Krypton. He can fly, has special vision and super strength Following a brief feedback session, introduce the text There is going to

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be a new set of superheroes New comic superhero Lesson plan - BBC | British Council 2002
BBC | British Council lesson plan. New superheroes - page 2

Reading / Listening exercises Reading 1 Aim Read for specific information / set up main text Give the students Worksheet A Ask students to answer question 1 New comic Superhero Summary: The leading American comic book publisher, Marvel Comics, is starting a new comic book which it hopes will become as popular as its classics, "Spiderman", "Superman" and "The Incredible Hulk". But in this comic book the heroes will be ordinary New York police, firefighters and paramedics. Q1. What is different about these new superheroes? They are ordinary people who work in the emergency services. Check the students understanding of paramedic and firefighters. Reading 1a Aim: Understanding textual organisation This is an optional exercise, and it is reading only The main text has been divided into 8 sections (Worksheet D) and the order of the sections has been jumbled Give the students Worksheet D in pairs Students work together to put the text in the correct order The correct order is 1C 2F 3E 4D 5G 6H 7B 8A New comic superhero Lesson plan - BBC | British Council 2002
BBC | British Council lesson plan. New superheroes - page 3

Reading / Listening 2 Aim: Understanding details Give the students the main Text or play the audio Ask them to answer the questions on Worksheet A a. What nicknames do the police and firefighters have? Police New Yorks finest Firefighters - New Yorks bravest b. In the first issue, what two things do the firefighters do? They respond to emergencies and they chase evil doers c. Are these superheroes completely ordinary? No, there are hints of super-human powers d. Do the publishers think the comics will be a success?

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Yes, they think it will be a best seller e. Where did the idea for these superheroes come from? From the actions of the emergency personnel on September 11, 2001 f. What is the possible criticism of the publishers? They are using these brave actions and public respect for the personnel in order to make money Follow up - writing Aim - Writing a description - Students create a new superhero This is best done in pairs or small groups. Give out worksheet C or write the questions on the board. Following a brainstorm, the students should make a presentation copy of their ideas on a sheet of paper, perhaps including a quick drawing. Pass these sheets around the class for the students to look at and comment on. Perhaps have a vote for the favourite one. New comic superhero Lesson plan - BBC | British Council 2002
BBC | British Council lesson plan. New superheroes - page 4

Vocabulary exercise Aim match meanings to words Give students Worksheet C. Using the context of the text to help them, ask students to match the words to the definitions. Alternatively, this could be done as a mingle activity. Cut out the words and definitions so each is on its own piece of paper Give each student a word or two. Distribute the definitions around the class. The students then find the definition(s) for their word(s). Feed back to the board, be sure to check and drill the pronunciation. ANSWERS move over no longer big news, go away exploits brave actions subscribers people who pay to receive a publication regularly hot on the heels of chasing to wrong to treat badly super-human beyond the powers of ordinary people revered greatly respected cashing in making money from the situation spin-offs new products which are based on an existing idea 69

New comic superhero Lesson plan - BBC | British Council 2002 Worksheet A Reading 1 Read the summary of the main article. 1. What is different about these new superheroes?

New comic Superhero - summary


The leading American comic book publisher, Marvel Comics, is starting a new comic book, which it hopes will become as popular as its classics, "Spiderman", "Superman" and "The Incredible Hulk". But in this comic book the heroes will be ordinary New York police, firefighters and paramedics. Reading / Listening 2 2. Read or listen to the main article. Answer these questions. a. What nicknames do the police and firefighters have? b. In the first issue, what two things do the firefighters do? c. Are these superheroes completely ordinary? d. Do the publishers think the comics will be a success? e. Where did the idea for these superheroes come from? f. What is the possible criticism of the publishers? g. What do you think, is it a good idea? New comic superhero Lesson plan - BBC | British Council 2002 Text Jane Standley, BBC It's a case of move over Spiderman and The Incredible Hulk - here come New York's finest. That's how its police officers are known; its firefighters are called the bravest. Their first adventures, along with the exploits of a female paramedic, are being sent out to the three-million subscribers to other, more traditional Marvel comics and will now also be in the shops. The first issue - "The Call of Duty: The Brotherhood" - focuses on firefighters, who respond to all kinds of emergencies, small and large, around the city. But they're always hot on the heels of evil-doers too who want to wrong New Yorkers. And, because the comic strips take place in superhero land, there are hints of the super-human. Marvel comics think they have hit on a best seller and a new cultural trend. New York's emergency personnel, especially its firefighters, have become revered for the way in which they responded to the attacks on the city on September the eleventh. Four-hundred-and three of them were killed. The publishers say they are not cashing in, just treating the emergency services with the respect they deserve. But this being America, there will of course be toys and videos as spin-offs of the new superhero series. New comic superhero Lesson plan - BBC | British Council 2002 Worksheet B Vocabulary Match the words on the left with the definitions on the right. Use the text to help you. move over new products which are based on an existing idea

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finest people who pay to receive a publication regularly exploits bravest or best people subscribers beyond the powers of ordinary people hot on the heels of brave actions to wrong greatly respected super-human chasing revered making money from the situation cashing in no longer big news spin-offs to treat badly New comic superhero Lesson plan - BBC | British Council 2002 Worksheet C Follow up Writing Create a new super hero Write a description of a new superhero. Use these questions to help you plan your writing. How old would they be? Would they be male or female? What special powers could they have? How did they come to get these special powers? Do they have a special costume? In their ordinary life, what would their job be? Would they have a family? Who would their main enemy be? New comic superhero Lesson plan - BBC | British Council 2002 Worksheet D Reading 1a Put the following sections in the correct order to build the text. There are three paragraphs. 1 ____ 2 ____ 3 ____ 4 ____ 5 ____ 6 ____ 7 ____ 8 ____ A just treating the emergency services with the respect they deserve. But this being America, there will of course be toys and videos as spin-offs of the new superhero series. B attacks on the city on September the eleventh. Four-hundred-and three of them were killed. The publishers say they are not cashing in, C It's a case of move over Spiderman and The Incredible Hulk - here come New York's finest. That's how its police officers are known; its firefighters are called the bravest. Their first adventures, along with D around the city. But they're always hot on the heels of evil-doers too who want to wrong New Yorkers. And, because the comic strips take E The first issue - "The Call of Duty: The Brotherhood" - focuses on firefighters, who respond to all kinds of emergencies, small and large,

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F the exploits of a female paramedic, are being sent out to the three-million subscribers to other, more traditional Marvel comics and will now also be in the shops. G place in superhero land, there are hints of the super-human. H Marvel comics think they have hit on a best seller and a new cultural trend. New York's emergency personnel, especially its firefighters, have become revered for the way in which they responded to the

Learner diaries
Nik Peachey, British Council When teaching large classes of students year after year it can become very difficult to see each student as an individual with individual needs and abilities. Learner diaries are one method I have used to try to overcome this and to develop a 'one to one' relationship even with large classes of students.

What makes a good learner diary Why I use learner diaries Setting up learner diaries A successful experience Some potential problems Conclusion

What makes a good learner diary I feel that a learner diary, at its best, should be a private dialogue between a student and teacher. It doesn't only have to be about the learning process, but can be about almost anything that the learner would like to know or discuss. The most important thing is that it is real communication and that I, as a teacher, respond to the student in an 'authentic' way within this dialogue. This means that I share my genuine thoughts and opinions with the student rather than simply correcting their grammar and spelling.

Learner diaries can, but don't have to be traditional exercise books, although these do work fine. Some of the most successful ones my students have done were just a collection of pieces of paper that students and I had written to each other on over the course of a term. I have also tried using audiocassettes so that I exchange recorded messages with my students. This adds a valuable element of spoken communication to the activity, but can be problematic in terms of sound quality and access to recording equipment. Top of page

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Why I use learner diaries There are lots of good reasons for using learner diaries, but these are the reasons which I have found most motivating.

Learner diaries provide a 'one to one' connection to my students and allow them and me to develop an individual relationship, which can be hard to do from the front of a classroom, especially with larger classes. They can become a form of authentic communication for our students. This kind of real communication can be very hard to achieve within the classroom. As a teacher learner diaries provide me with some really valuable insights into what my students think of my lessons, what they understand and what problems they are having. In every class I've used them with, the atmosphere and general leaning dynamics of the classroom have been greatly improved. The fact that I have a private and individual learning relationship with each student can have a very positive effect on student behaviour and class control, as I have a discrete means of finding out about and addressing the causes of behavioural problems. Used over a period of time, students can look back at early diary entries and see how much their English has developed. Top of page

Setting up learner diaries I've used a number of different ways of setting up learner diaries, but the most important thing is to start a dialogue with the student and to provide something for them to respond to.

I buy simple exercise books and write an introduction about myself in the beginning of the book and ask the students to write something similar about themselves. I also write in a few questions about the students for them to answer. The students then have to answer my questions and write a few questions for me. Sometimes the questions I ask can be about school related things, like which lessons they prefer or which activities or texts within my lessons they found most or least interesting. Other times I've made the questions more 'personal', like asking them about their hobbies, friends or family. Sometimes I give the students the diary at the end of the lesson and get them to write in it for homework, but at other times I've tried using the last or first ten to fifteen minutes of the class for students to write in the diary. Top of page

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A successful experience One of my most successful experiences with learner diaries was with a class of students who wanted more speaking practice.

I recorded a brief introduction and instructions for some tasks that I wanted the students to do onto an audiocassette. The tasks were mainly giving some basic information about their interests and what they found difficult about learning English. I gave the cassettes out at the end of a lesson and told the students to take them home and listen to them. The next class only a few of the students returned the cassettes to me. The information they gave on the cassettes was really interesting and I was able to deal with some of their individual problems on the cassette. One wanted me to give examples of words which contained particular sounds from the phonemic chart, another wanted vocabulary for a particular topic. As the weeks went by, the enthusiasm of these students for the activity became infectious and soon more and more of the students started using the cassettes without any prompting from me. The use of audiocassettes for the activity was also really useful in helping me to really listen to my students' pronunciation and focus on common problems. Top of page

Some potential problems

If the learner diaries are successful, the students write more, and this can be very demanding on my time, especially if I have large class of students. o Generally I try to avoid work overload, by only doing the diaries with smaller classes and only one class each term. o Giving the students limited time in class can also help to limit how much they write and how much work you have to do to respond. Some students just don't like the activity and don't really want to develop a one to one relationship with their teacher. o I've often had students who have only done the absolute minimum for their diaries and when this happens I have accepted that it is their decision how much or little they write. The decision of whether or not to correct mistakes within the diary is a difficult one. On the one hand correcting mistakes detracts from the 'authenticity' of the exercise, but on the other hand, if mistakes within the diary aren't corrected then students can assume that what they've produced is correct. o At times I've asked students whether they want their writing corrected in the diary and left the decision to them. o In cases where I haven't wanted to correct, I've told the students that I don't correct their work.

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Where possible I've tried to reformulate their errors correctly within my reply to them and just hoped that they notice this.

Conclusion It's important to remember that, as a teacher, you will only get from this activity what you are prepared to put in. If I write openly and honestly to my students I generally find that they do the same in return. Likewise if my responses are minimal and superficial, that is how my students respond to me. Generally I've found learner diaries to be really beneficial both to my students and to myself and I've learnt a lot from using them. They are however very time consuming and they won't work for everybody all of the time, so it is just as well to think of them as an experiment and not to have too high expectations of what can be achieved the first few times.

Approaches to process writing


Graham Stanley, British Council, Barcelona It is a myth that all it takes to write is to sit down in front of a blank page, to begin at the beginning and write through to the end, with no planning, break, editing, or changes in between. And yet, this is sometimes what we ask our students to do. Good writers plan and revise, rearrange and delete text, re-reading and producing multiple drafts before they produce their finished document. This is what a process writing approach is about.

What is process writing? Why should teachers be interested in a process approach to writing? The changing roles of teacher and students What stages are there in a process approach to writing? Classroom activities The importance of feedback Writing as communication Potential problems Further reading

What is process writing? The process approach treats all writing as a creative act which requires time and positive feedback to be done well. In process writing, the teacher moves away from being someone who sets students a writing topic and receives the finished product for correction without any intervention in the writing process itself. Why should teachers be interested in a process approach to writing? White and Arntd say that focusing on language errors 'improves neither grammatical accuracy nor writing fluency' and they suggest instead that paying attention to what the students say will show an improvement in writing.

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Research also shows that feedback is more useful between drafts, not when it is done at the end of the task after the students hand in their composition to be marked. Corrections written on compositions returned to the student after the process has finished seem to do little to improve student writing. The changing roles of teacher and students The teacher needs to move away from being a marker to a reader, responding to the content of student writing more than the form. Students should be encouraged to think about audience: Who is the writing for? What does this reader need to know? Students also need to realise that what they put down on paper can be changed: Things can be deleted, added, restructured, reorganised, etc. Top of page What stages are there in a process approach to writing? Although there are many ways of approaching process writing, it can be broken down into three stages:

Pre-writing The teacher needs to be stimulate students' creativity, to get them thinking how to approach a writing topic. In this stage, the most important thing is the flow of ideas, and it is not always necessary that students actually produce much (if any) written work. If they do, then the teacher can contribute with advice on how to improve their initial ideas. Focusing ideas During this stage, students write without much attention to the accuracy of their work or the organisation. The most important feature is meaning. Here, the teacher (or other students) should concentrate on the content of the writing. Is it coherent? Is there anything missing? Anything extra? Evaluating, structuring and editing Now the writing is adapted to a readership. Students should focus more on form and on producing a finished piece of work. The teacher can help with error correction and give organisational advice. Top of page

Classroom activities Here are some ideas for classroom activities related to the stages above:

Pre-writing o Brainstorming Getting started can be difficult, so students divided into groups quickly produce words and ideas about the writing. 76

Planning Students make a plan of the writing before they start. These plans can be compared and discussed in groups before writing takes place. Generating ideas Discovery tasks such as cubing (students write quickly about the subject in six different ways - they: 1. describe it 2. compare it 3. associate it 4. analyze it 5. apply it 6. argue for or against it.) Questioning In groups, The idea is to generate lots of questions about the topic. This helps students focus upon audience as they consider what the reader needs to know. The answers to these questions will form the basis to the composition. Discussion and debate The teacher helps students with topics, helping them develop ideas in a positive and encouraging way.

Focusing ideas o Fast writing The students write quickly on a topic for five to ten minutes without worrying about correct language or punctuation. Writing as quickly as possible, if they cannot think of a word they leave a space or write it in their own language. The important thing is to keep writing. Later this text is revised. o Group compositions Working together in groups, sharing ideas. This collaborative writing is especially valuable as it involves other skills (speaking in particular.) o Changing Viewpoints A good writing activity to follow a role-play or storytelling activity. Different students choose different points of view and think about /discuss what this character would write in a diary, witness statement, etc. o Varying form Similar to the activity above, but instead of different viewpoints, different text types are selected. How would the text be different if it were written as a letter, or a newspaper article, etc. Evaluating, Structuring and Editing o Ordering Students take the notes written in one of the pre-writing activities above and organise them. What would come first? Why? Here it is good to tell them to start with information known to the reader before moving onto what the reader does not know. o Self-editing A good writer must learn how to evaluate their own language - to

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improve through checking their own text, looking for errors, structure. This way students will become better writers. Peer Editing and proof-reading Here, the texts are interchanged and the evaluation is done by other students. In the real world, it is common for writers to ask friends and colleagues to check texts for spelling, etc. You could also ask the students to reduce the texts, to edit them, concentrating on the most important information.

Top of page The importance of feedback it takes a lot of time and effort to write, and so it is only fair that student writing is responded to suitably. Positive comments can help build student confidence and create good feeling for the next writing class. It also helps if the reader is more than just the teacher. Class magazines, swapping letters with other classes, etc. can provide an easy solution to providing a real audience. Writing as communication Process writing is a move away from students writing to test their language towards the communication of ideas, feelings and experiences. It requires that more classroom time is spent on writing, but as the previously outlined activities show, there is more than just writing happening during a session dedicated to process writing. Potential problems Writing is a complex process and can lead to learner frustration. As with speaking, it is necessary to provide a supportive environment for the students and be patient. This approach needs that more time be spent on writing in class, but as you have seen, not all classroom time is spent actually writing. Students may also react negatively to reworking the same material, but as long as the activities are varied and the objectives clear, then they will usually accept doing so. In the long term, you and your students will start to recognise the value of a process writing approach as their written work improves. Further Reading Hedge T 1988 Writing Oxford University Press Krashen SD Writing : Research, theory and applications Pergamon Press Kroll B 1990 Second Language Writing : Research insights for the classroom Cambridge University Press Raimes A 1983 Techniques in teaching writing Oxford University Press White R & V Arndt 1991 Process Writing Longman

Presenting vocabulary
Richard Frost, British Council

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This article looks at what needs to be taught when teaching vocabulary and ways to present and teach vocabulary.

Introduction What a student may need to know about an item Ways to present vocabulary Alternative ways of teaching vocabulary Other things to consider

Introduction With hundreds of thousands of words in the English language, teaching vocabulary can seem like a very daunting prospect. Remember though that the average native speaker uses around only five thousand words in everyday speech. Moreover, your students won't need to produce every word they learn, some they will just need to recognize. Selecting what to teach, based on frequency and usefulness to the needs of your particular students is therefore essential. Once you have chosen what to teach, the next important steps are to consider what students need to know about the items, and how you can teach them. Top of page What a student may need to know about an item

What it means It is vital to get across the meaning of the item clearly and to ensure that your students have understood correctly with checking questions. The form Studens need to know if it is a verb/a noun/an adjective etc to be able to use it effectively. How it is pronounced This can be particularly problematic for learners of English because there is often no clear relation between how a word is written and how it is pronounced. It is very important to use the phonemic script in such cases so the sts have a clear written record of the pronunciation. Don't forget also to drill words that you think will cause pronunciation problems for your students and highlight the word stresses. How it is spelt This is always difficult in English for the reason mentioned above. Remember to clarify the pronunciation before showing the written form. If it follows any unpredictable grammatical patterns For example, man-men / information (uncountable) and if the word is followed by a particular preposition (e.g. depend on ) The connotations that the item may have Bachelor is a neutral/positive word whereas spinster conjures a more negative image.

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The situations when the word is or is not used Is it formal/neutral/informal?For example, spectacles/glasses/specs. Is it used mainly in speech or in writing? To sum up is usually written whereas mind you is spoken. Is it outdated? Wireless instead of radio. How the word is related to others For example, synonyms, antonyms, lexical sets Collocation or the way that words occur together You describe things 'in great detail' not 'in big detail' and to ask a question you 'raise your hand' you don't 'lift your hand'. It is important to highlight this to students to prevent mistakes in usage later. What the affixes (the prefixes and suffixes) may indicate about the meaning For example, substandard sub meaning under. This is particularly useful at a higher level.

Which of these areas you choose to highlight will depend on the item you are teaching and the level of your students. Now it's time to think about how we can get the meaning across. Ways to present vocabulary There are lots of ways of getting across the meaning of a lexical item.

Illustration This is very useful for more concrete words (dog, rain, tall) and for visual learners. It has its limits though, not all items can be drawn. Mime This lends itself particularly well to action verbs and it can be fun and memorable. Synonyms/Antonyms/Gradable items Using the words a students already knows can be effective for getting meaning across. Definition Make sure that it is clear (maybe check in a learner dictionary before the lesson if you are not confident). Remember to ask questions to check they have understood properly. Translation If you know the students' L1, then it is fast and efficient. Remember that not every word has a direct translation.. Context Think of a clear context when the word is used and either describe it to the students or give them example sentences to clarify meaning further.

Again which you choose will depend on the item you are presenting. Some are more suitable for particular words. Often a combination of techniques can be both helpful and memorable

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Top of page Alternative ways of teaching vocabulary

Give your students a few items of vocabulary and tell them to find the meaning, pronunciation and write an example sentenced with the word in. They can then teach each other in groups. Prepare worksheets and ask your students to match words to definitions. Ask students to classify a group of words into different categories. For example, a list of transport words into air/sea/land. Ask students to find new vocabulary from reading homework and teach the other students in the class.

Other things to consider


Review the vocabulary you teach through a game or activity and encourage your students to do the same at home Encourage autonomy in your learners. Tell them to read, watch films, listen to songs etc and note the useful words Have a section of your board for vocabulary items that come up as you are teaching. Use different colours for the word / the phonemics / the prepositions / the part of speech It is a good idea to teach/learn words with associated meanings together Encourage your students to purchase a good dictionary and use class time to highlight the benefits of one Teach your students the grammatical names for the parts of speech and the phonemic script Always keep a good dictionary by your side in case a student asks about a word you don't know If you don't and have never heard of the word, tell the student you will check and get back to them. Do get back to them Give extra examples sentences to the students if they are unsure and encourage them to write the word in an example sentence (maybe for homework)

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