Had a great time in Sevilla this weekend and all credit to the organisers of TESOL Spain for a fantastic conference. And special thanks to all the people who came to my talk, both this weekend and in Madrid last month. You know who you are! This is a slightly shorter version but it includes all the main points and is my first experiment with PresentMe so comments welcome…
Thank you to the TESOL Spain team for organizing a great conference. As usual, I wish I could have split myself into two or more parts to get to all the talks I wanted to….
Here’s the handout for my talk. Thanks to everyone who came – I hope you enjoy using the activities.
Hello again everyone and we apologise for our prolonged absence! We hit the ground running in mid-September but we’re finally on top of things and are resuming normal service. In fact, our first post of the new academic year has shades of irony, given that the subject is tipping – something generally associated with good service! On introducing this topic in class, we discovered that not only is it quite contentious but that it’s also much misunderstood in terms of who actually gets the money and why. There are also huge variations between countries and cultures. Among other things, we’re using a video from the excellent Videojug site – a great source of inspiration for videos for class. We hope you enjoy it and that it gives you food for thought the next time you get the bill in a restaurant…..
Click here for the Teacher’s Notes.
During first day “getting to know you” activities in my classes, the subject of dogs usually comes up. Like many teachers, I bring in photos related to my life for one reason or another and ask students to guess the connection. One of the photos is of a dog. After establishing that it’s the dog I would have if I were to get a dog, I ask students who has a dog, who likes dogs etc., and more often than not, dog owners and dog lovers make up the majority of the class. And that’s the topic of dogs done and dusted. We move on to the next photo, I make a mental note to get more mileage out of dogs, and never get round to it. Until now.
This lesson is based on an advert for Purina, a pet food company, which may make the dog lovers in your class have a “cute attack” or even go a little bit misty-eyed! The lesson starts by exploiting the the song used in the advert , then the images, and finishes off with a ranking activity and some conversation. All the way through, there are lots of opportunities to use both canine and non-canine related vocabulary.
Joe Cocker’s version of “With a little help from my friends” is widely considered by music critics to be the greatest-ever cover version. For our first post of 2012, we ‘ve gone for a radical revision of “Eye in the Sky” by Noa, she of the hauntingly beautiful voice. The original, of course, was by The Alan Parsons Project. Which will your class prefer? There’s also a lovely lead-in to see how much attention you and your students actually pay to the lyrics of your favourite songs…
Thanks to everyone who came to my talk. As promised, here’s the handout:
After a long summer break and a very busy start to the new term, we’re back to update our neglected blog with a lesson based on Steve Job’s 2005 commencement speech at Stanford University.
In the speech, he told three stories about his life – stories which were quite personal, very revealing and extremely motivational - and the speech went on to be a huge success on YouTube. Since his death on 5 October 2011, extracts from the speech have been widely quoted in the media. The text is reproduced in full here .
We decided to use this speech both as a listening exercise, to start with, but more importantly as a good example of public discourse in terms of chunking, rhythm, stress, and rhetorical techniques.
We’ve noticed that one of the topics that always goes down well with our students is food, and this lesson is based on a clip from NIgella Lawson’s BBC series Kitchen. If you haven’t heard of Nigella Lawson, you can find out about her here.
The lesson begins with the students talking about their favourite room at home, and then they watch a short clip of Nigella talking about her favourite room. After that, we move on to a couple of listening activities – first, the dishes she cooks (chocolate peanut butter cheesecake, anyone?), and then the ingredients she uses. Watch your students’ reactions when she eats the prawn at the end of the clip! Next up is some vocabulary work, and finally a speaking activity using this vocabulary and more. We hope you and your students enjoy it.