In this lesson plan designed for the British Council Teaching English site, students read a first-person account by a person who stammers, about how he would prefer people to respond when he does so. After some discussion about the topic, the lesson goes on to focus on some different grammatical structures to express preference and sometimes annoyance: would rather/sooner, would prefer, wish. There is some practice using sentence transformation (as found in FCE) and then some more personalised practice.
To help students understand more about stammering and how (not) to respond when someone stammers
To practise reading for specific information
To be able to use a range of structures for expressing preference and/or annoyance: would prefer, would sooner, would rather, wish.
Adults and older teenagers
CEF level B1+/B2 (especially useful for Cambridge First Certificate preparation)
The lesson plan and student worksheets can be found and downloaded here
In this lesson plan designed for the British Council Teaching English site, we explore the topic of vitiligo, an autoimmune condition which causes some people to lose pigment in their skin, and look at how attitudes are changing towards what does or does not make someone attractive.
This lesson was devised to mark World Vitiligo Day on 25 June. However, it could be used at any time of year as this is not specifically mentioned.
The lesson begins with students looking at a photo of a young woman with vitiligo and discussing their reactions to the photo. They then go on to read about a model with vitiligo, Chantelle Brown-Young (also known as Winnie Harlow- pictured above), and discover what makes her special. The lesson reviews a range of tenses that might be used in a biography of a living person and looks at how to organise such a text, before the students go on to write their own.
To encourage students to question their perception of what is beautiful and become more tolerant of difference
To practise reading for specific information (true/false)
To revise a range of tenses that students should know at B1 level
To help students structure and write a biography-type text
CEF Level B1 (intermediate) or strong A2 (pre-intermediate)
Teachers notes and student worksheets can be downloaded here.
My latest lesson plan for the British Council Teaching English site looks at the benefits of being bilingual or multilingual, and a few myths, hoping to encourage students to value the languages they speak.
The lesson begins with a few statements about bilingualism. The students decide if these are true or false and then read a text to check their ideas. Having discussed the topic of the text, the students move on to look at impersonal report structures. These are very common in essays, articles and more academic-type writing, and it is useful for students at this level to be aware of them and to be able to produce them accurately.
After some practice with these structures, the lesson ends with a more light-hearted and personalised practice activity.
To raise awareness of the benefits of speaking more than one language
To enable students to recognise and use impersonal report structures
To provide students with practice in making predictions and reading to confirm them
Adults or older teenagers with CEF level B2 and above
The lesson and student worksheet (3 pages) can be downloaded here.
Another lesson plan designed for the British Council Teaching English site, this lesson, aimed at higher level learners (C1+) explores what it is like to be left handed – the advantages, the disadvantages and the prejudices left-handed people may face.
The lesson begins with an optional video, and then leads into a reading text in the style of an online article. Students carry out two exam-style tasks – matching summaries to paragraphs and identifying if statements about the text are true or false.
After some discussion of the content of the text, students focus on grammar showcased in the article – relative clauses, reduced relative clauses and present participle clauses. This should review what students already know and add a little more to their understanding of the area.
If time, students can then go on to write about another group who often experience prejudice, using relative clauses where appropriate.
Raise awareness of the issues related to being left-handed, and consider prejudice in general
Develop the skills of reading for gist (multiple matching) and specific info (true/false)
Encourage students to justify/back up their answers to true/false questions.
Review defining and non-defining relative clauses and look at reduced relative clauses and clauses using present participles instead of a relative clause.
Develop listening skills though an optional video lead-in
Develop writing skills and practice using relative clauses accurately and appropriately thought an optional writing activity.
A free lesson plan, which I wrote for the British Council Teaching English Teens page.
This lesson begins by focusing on some anti-smoking posters with students discussing the message and effectiveness of each one. They then learn some vocabulary to talk about four key reasons not to smoke: (health, cost, the impact on your attractiveness, and the impact on others). Students then choose one of these reasons and write a paragraph about it, using the vocabulary as appropriate.
As an optional final activity, the students design their own anti- smoking poster and present it to another pair or to the class.
Click here for the lesson plan and student’s worksheet.
Raise awareness of the many reasons not to smoke, or to give up smoking.
Extend students’ vocabulary to talk about health risks and other issues connected with smoking. E.g. bad breath, anxiety, blood pressure.
Develop students’ writing skills through writing a paragraph (using vocabulary) about one negative aspect of smoking.
Encourage peer feedback and correction on writing.
As an optional final task, develop students’ oral fluency as well as their ability to work together to design a poster and present it to their peers
A free downloadable lesson, particularly suitable for Valentine’s Day, but usable at any time of the year, about 36 questions which might make you fall in love.
The lesson starts by discussing different views of love, before the students read a short text, giving the background to an experiment where strangers asked these questions to see if they would fall in love.
The students then watch a video of two strangers getting to know each other by asking these questions, and see how they become closer as the interview progresses.
There is then a focus on question forms, looking at some slightly more complex questions. This would be suitable from B1 upwards.
Finally the students choose some of the questions that they are happy to answer, and discuss them in pairs (falling in love definitely not obligatory!)
[NB. Be aware that at around 4.19, Cam gives a couple of examples of swear words.]
By Ildar Sagdejev (Specious) (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
A free downloadable lesson, based on a video from StoryCorps, which tells the true story of Storm Reyes, who grew up poor in a migrant camp in Washington State. Students start by watching the video without sound, which encourages them to make predictions, which they then check on a second viewing. There is then some further comprehension and discussion, before an activity which helps students to develop their listening skills by focusing on the weak forms that are so difficult to hear.
Finally there is a focus on opinion or comment adverbs, before a speaking activity to round up the lesson, about the topic of books and reading.
A free downloadable lesson, based on a clip from a BBC programme about cats and their behaviour. This clip looks at how cats communicate with each other and with humans. Students start by looking at some of the ways that different languages describe the way that dogs speak, before looking at some common animal sounds in English. Students are then guided through the video, answering a variety of different question types, and learning some more vocabulary from the video. There is then a focus on infinitives of purpose, in order to as so as to, and the conjunctions so that and in order that.
The lesson would be suitable from B1+ upwards as the vocabulary is quite high level, though most of the video is very clear and not too fast.
A free downloadable lesson, about a new online service, CrowdWish, which invites people to post their wishes on their website. Every day people vote on the most popular wish, and CrowdWish will grant it! Students start by discussing some wishes taken from the site, then read a short text about what the site aims to do (so don’t tell them at the start of the lesson!) There is then a focus on some useful idioms, before going on to watch a video in which the founder of the site, ‘pitches’ his idea. Students then look at the grammar used with ‘wish’, particularly at the use of ‘would’ when you want someone else to change their behaviour. Finally the students come up with their own wishes and vote on them, like on the site. You could even try and grant the top wish if you’re feeling creative..
The lesson would be suitable from B2 upwards, as the video is quite challenging in places. A transcript is provided.
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