Today I want to share one of my favourite vocabulary consolidation leading to speaking practice routines because of basically three primary reasons: firstly, it really is a zero-preparation activity. Secondly, it is dead simple to perform. Thirdly, the pay-offs are fantastic, as it gets the students on task right away and addresses a key element in language teaching, which is getting learners to do things in the language with the newly acquired words.
Picture yourself playing a listening extract from your adopted textbook. As you play the passage and the students listen to it, find the transcript on the teacher’s or student’s book and underline useful content words, word combinations or expressions in it. I would suggest six to eight. The snapshot below shows about three quarters of the listening passage. These are interesting words that I would underline:
focus (on), banging, come into play, distracting, dripping faucet, bother, random
Once you have played it (presumably twice) and done the suggested activities or tweaked them to your needs (or found your own way of working with the text), have the students find the audio script, which will surely be provided in the Student’s Book.
Snapshot from Skillful level three, Teacher’s Book. Free sample available from publisher here.
And now challenge your students to come up with answers for commands beginning with “give me three reasons why…” followed at some point by the key word or expression. It won’t always be easy to formulate those commands and you may need to make changes to them by using “give me three ways in which…” or “give me ‘x’…”, as you can see below.
- Give me three reasons why students should focus on their studies.
- Give me three reasons why anyone would bang on a door.
- Give me three factors that would come into play when you decide to buy a new smartphone.
- Give me three ways in which people can be distracted when driving.
- Give me three reasons why you would want to fix a dripping faucet.
- Give me three reasons why a neigbour may bother you.
- Give me three random words you can remember from the listening passage.
Digital versions of textbooks tend to incorporate listening trasncripts for the teachers to display on a screen or on an interactive whiteboard. This is very helpful, as you can point at the focal lexis heads up and ask one question at a time.
Ask a question, allow the students to work for thirty seconds or so in pairs or small groups and then elicit answers. Depending on their answers, you may still think of some extra relevant conversation questions.
If you have established this procedure as a routine, you may even challenge your students to generate “give me three reasons why…” commands based on the passage and invite them to come up to the board and write them.