Tag Archives: functional language

The Art of Persuasion: Speaking Exam Practice for B2

My friends say about me that I am very easily convinced. I am easy, that’s what they say.  I guess they know it’s easy to seduce me into doing things that I like, but I reckon they know that it’s not so easy to talk me into doing something I don’t really want to do. So, I let them think it’s a piece of cake to win me over. They are happy and so am I.  It’s also very true that once I make up my mind, it’s hard to talk me out of doing it and that I am not easily put off by setbacks. For better or for worse, that’s the kind of girl I am. Easy to persuade but hard to dissuade.

1. Working with vocabulary.

In the introduction to the post above, I have highlighted some verbs. Can you tell me which ones are used for persuasion and which ones for dissuasion?

Now, do this exercise to consolidate learning

2. Warming-up. Speaking

Choose the statements you agree with:

  • I am good at persuading people
  • You talk to me enough, you can convince me to do anything
  • I will never lie or exaggerate to persuade someone
  • My parents or my friends just keep on talking and eventually I agree with them
3. Working with Functional Language

The list you’ll find below is not intended to be a comprehensive list of all the language you can use in this context, it’s just a selection of some of the functional language  I want my students to use in this speaking activity.

Before you start the role play, make sure students are confident with the language they’ll have to use.

 Expressions used to make suggestions:

  • Might I suggest…?
  • Shall I/we…?
  • Why don’t you/we….?
  • I suggest that you… / I suggest+…ing
  • We should….

Expressions used to offer alternatives

  • Instead of … ing
  • Wouldn’t you prefer to….?

Expressions used for reassuring

  • You don’t have to worry about…
  • I can assure you that…
  • I guarantee you won’t (regret it)

Expressions used for dissuading

  • I wouldn’t bother about that.
  • I (would strongly) advise (you) against …ing

 

4. Speaking task

Holiday in Scotland.  Explain that they are planning a week’s holiday in Scotland with a friend but they don’t seem to agree on the kind of holiday to book. They will need to discuss the options and try to come to an agreement.

Students work in pairs to develop the role-play based on the information given to them on their corresponding handout. If there are three students in the group, the third one could be the travel agent.

Tell students they will need to talk for about 5 minutes and try to reach an agreement at the end of the conversation.

Student A

Bed and Breakfast and drive:  you are planning a week’s holiday in Scotland with a friend. You think the best idea is to hire a car and drive, staying at bed and breakfasts/guests houses.

Student B

Package holiday in Scotland:  you are planning a week’s holiday in Scotland with a friend. You think the best idea is to go on a package holiday, staying at hotels and going on organized excursions to the most famous places.

Credit: This speaking task has been inspired by a task published by Conselleria D’Educació- Generalitat Valenciana. 

PDF here

Walk, Talk and Give Opinion

Is there anything that students love more than walking around the classroom while talking to their classmates? I doubt it!

One of the most effective techniques to keep students engaged is probably varying the dynamics in the classroom. It’s true that some tasks require that students work alone, but working in pairs or in small groups is always a good alternative and if you add movement to the activity, then you can almost guarantee success. What is more, varying the dynamics during the course of your lessons helps to reduce the weariness that sets in when students are asked to sit two-hour lessons, which are the ones I teach.

The activity I am going to share with you today is a very simple one where students will need to work in small groups and move around the classroom discussing some controversial statements. It is highly adaptable to any topic. In this example, I am revising food- related vocabulary with intermediate students. This discussion technique allows students to be actively engaged as they walk around the class.

  • Level: intermediate to advanced
  • Time: one hour
  • Language point: Expressing opinion. Agreeing and disagreeing
  • Organisation: Small groups of 3 or 4 students
  • Materials: Posters containing controversial statements (see mine here). Handout with target language. PDF here
  • Aims: To teach how to express opinion and how to support or contradict other people’s opinions through the discussion of some controversial food-related statements.

PROCEDURE

Before the class

Write some controversial statements you want your students to discuss about the current topic of study. Write each one on a slip of paper or print some photos and add the text to the picture- I have used picfont. Stick them on the walls of the class. For more advanced classes you can choose random polemical statements. I would suggest that you avoid statements that might lead to embarrassment or offence.

Teach how to give opinion

Give students the handout with the target language and ask a student to read it out, clarifying meanings and focusing on pronunciation and intonation.Ask them to choose 3 or 4 expressions from each column; the ones they feel most comfortable using.

Group students.

Ask students to work in small groups of three or four students depending on the size of the class and direct students’ attention to the walls of the class, where the statements will be displayed.

Begin

Ask students to stand up. Each group should start at a different statement where they will discuss their opinions and agree or disagree accordingly. Remind them to use the expressions they have underlined, either to give opinion or to agree/disagree with someone’s opinion.

Help

While the students are talking, walk around the class offering help and guidanc

Rotate.

After six to eight minutes, ask the groups to rotate to the next statement. Repeat until all the groups have talked about all the statements

Share

Ask students to sit down and choose a statement to discuss as a whole class.

Below, some of my students doing the task.

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