Arguing…Who doesn’t?

This turned out to be a great topic for an upper-intermediate adult class 🙂 : Men vs women stereotypical behaviour when arguing.

Flickr Photo by Niko Kahkonen under CC BY NC-SA- 2.0

Flickr Photo by Niko Kahkonen under CC BY NC-SA- 2.0

Outline of the lesson:

Lead in

  • Describe a scenario to the Ss where a couple (man and a woman) are having an argument, for example at a restaurant, at a bus stop, in the supermarket, etc.
  • Ask Ss to discuss in pairs: Stereotypically, how are they behaving differently?
  • Open class feedback

Vocabulary

  • Provide your students with a vocabulary list on behavioural tendencies which they must categorise in a Venn diagram, whether it is more likely of a man, a woman or both.  Examples : withdraw, beat around the bush, be straightforward, cry, raise the tone of voice, be sarcastic, roll your eyes, etc.
  • Work on the vocabulary with the Ss – meaning and pronunciation – and have them work in small groups to contrast their opinions. This is more interesting if you can mix men and women within the same group.
  • Open class feedback

Video

  • Ss will watch the following video : Weird things all couples fight about.
  • Before they do so, ask them to predict what they arguments will be about. Let them know they are everyday minor arguments a couple would have.
  • Play the video. Ss check for their predictions.
  • If want and have time, play it twice, the second time with the captions so that they can focus on language for further work on colloquial speech.

Role play

  • Ideally, pair up male and female students and ask them to switch roles for the task. (The man should play the woman and viceversa)
  • Give them time to prepare a 30 second role play of an argument similar to the ones in the video. Ask them to try and include as much stereotypical behaviour as possible.
  • Each pair will perform in front of the whole class. After each performance, the audience must:

(a) Describe what the argument was about

(b) Point out any stereotypical behaviour

(c) Rate the performance from 1-10 based on: creativity and humour, language use and dramatisation skills.

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Blind dates

I found a lovely video that I used with a Pre-Intermediate class on blind dates and I couldn’t help sharing it. 🙂

Outline of the lesson:

  • Use the video as a lead in. Stop it at various points and ask students what they think will happen next.
  • Elicit the context (a blind date) and provide them with some discussion questions related to what happened in the video.
  • What does he/she look like? vs. What is he/she like? Teach descriptive adjectives for physical appearance and character/personality.
  • Provide students with some dating profiles. In pairs they can focus on the language style and the vocabulary and discuss which personal qualities would be more valuable or important to them.
  • Using those same dating profiles or asking students to write their own profile on a post it note ( it could be about a person they know) ask them to mingle, ask questions and try to find the perfect match.
  • Finally, give them some general questions about blind dates (personal experiences, what could go wrong?, advice on good spots for a blind date in their city, who should pay? etc)

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/22924551″>Blind Date</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user5407066″>Hallie Wilson</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Drill me to tears

An idea for finding out more about your students’ history as language learners.

When you get a new group of students, the first class (actually the first few) is really aimed at getting to know them and analysing their needs as language learners.

Of course, a needs analysis is quite a serious matter as you will be basing on it your choices on material, class dynamics, topics, methodology and even the arrangement of the furniture in the classroom. Nevertheless, I like to think that the first day is also by far the best opportunity to set the tone for the learning experience you will be sharing together and allowing your students to take charge and have a saying on how its going to develop. They’ll appreciate your interest in getting to know them as individual learners within a group, their past and their expectations.

Students are usually quite nervous and stressed on the first day and that’s why some good humour is the best ice breaker you would ever find. Trust me, they are not expecting this one 😉

OUTLINE OF THE PLAN:

1) Ss watch part of a video. (Stop it at 22 seconds).

Discuss what is going on:  Who is the woman? Who is the man? Where are they? 

2) Watch some more and stop at 1.21.

Discuss: What is the teacher doing? Is it working? 

3) Watch the rest of it. ( give some time for the laughter to invade the room 🙂  )

Discuss: What happened in the end? How did each of them feel?

4) Ss work in pairs and answer the following questions:

Have you ever been in  a similar situation as a learner? How did / would you feel? 

How important is motivation when learning a language?

What do you find most challenging about learning English? 

Discuss the answers as an open class.

 

After this, I would provide each Ss with a questionnaire to find out some more about them. Have them interview each other in pairs so they can practice their speaking skills 🙂

The type of questionnaire would depend on the age and level of the students but I would suggest to add some questions that can provide you with information on their preferences regarding topics, materials, sources, tasks, etc.

The more you know about their history as language learners the higher the chances of succeeding in helping them to keep on progressing. 🙂