useful language

Diary for Wed Oct 26 – 1st Dramatized Reading + Homework & Lesson Plans

Today I was fearing people would miss the lesson due to the approaching holiday and due to the fact that when adults have communication problems they feel discouraged and rather quit trying, but most people made it to class: thanks so much! ❤ And it was a wonderful lesson, too!

We welcomed Isabel, who comes from a different school, and will just join us on Mondays, unless her rota of teachers on duty is convenient. (For people gathering Useful Language for teachers: any other alternative to “profes de guardia”?)

People asked more language questions on the Friends 1×1 script and then, volunteered for roles and we had a wonderful Dramatized Reading of the whole episode! People’s performance was outstanding, so congratulations!We had Lourdes as Narrator, Marta playing the role of Chandler, Sergio as Paul the Wine Guy, Cristina R as Ross, Karen as Rachel, Lucía as Mónica, Germán as Joey, Clara as Phoebe, and Cristina B filling in for some smaller parts.

In the upcoming month, when you plan your week, find time to watch episode 2 at least once a week, to prepare for our next session! Underline your language questions and your fav lines! I hope we can have new volunteers then — but of course, anyone volunteering on the spot is welcome! Remember to print the copy I created (shrinking tens of pages into 4!) Path: It’s on talkingpeople.net – Enter – Scripts.

I hope in the future, some day, we can record sts doing this amazing teamwork exercise! ❤ In this way, others might get the chance to read the script some other day, too. Just let me know if you decide to do this, or want to! 🙂

The other project of this kind is that you all form groups around a movie (preparing a scene or something). That’s on our C1 Materials blog, and Lucía has been having a look at that. We can talk about it next week, too.

Feedback on Romina’s OP

see next post next day – can’t finish it today!

Cristina R. gave Romina some feedback + best wishes (I’m sure you’ll succeed) and made a question: mass lay-offs = ere.

NOW, WHAT’S FOR NOW & NEXT WEEK? We have several things in store:

  • 3-4 minute OPs by you are always welcome. Actually, if everybody is going to speak once a month, we should be having two in every lesson? (I’m bad at maths!)
  • individual Useful Language projects, to share next week when you find out who’s worked on what;
  • checking the handouts on collocations (but I can post the answers, too);
  • reading out the Rational Discussion workshop, to mull over how we can improve discussions on controversial topics.
  • C-Day…

But just one lesson next week due to the Monday hol.

MORE AT HOME. You also need to post your minisagas, if you like, read posts here and comment, watch videos here and re-tell… It’s your pick! If you feel you want to improve your grammar, I recommend you use my podcast and do some Listen and Repeat with the Useful Language episodes. They will also inspire you for your Useful Language projects.

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On the Useful Language Project Agreed in Class This Week

The other day we talked a bit about lists of Useful Language, and I asked students to find the examples and explanations I included in our C1 Resource Pack (Section “Understanding Language Learning”).

We agreed on this:

Each student* will gather a collection of sentences they* use or need to use every day (so to speak) [in their professional fields or areas of expertise] and bring them to class, with a threefold purpose:

  • find out if other students share the same field, so you can read out your sentences and put together a more comprehensive List of UL for that field (but small group can be eclectic!)
  • learn English from other students
  • check that your sentences are correct, and that your pronunciation and intonation are good.

In two weeks you should have put together something, a few sentences at least, so you can work with your classmates, OK? If I forget, please, remind me of this! I understand we can schedule it for the first week of September.

Then we might be able to create new podcast episodes for the Talking People Podcast “Useful Language” segment!

Sticky Post: My Questions to You about Your Work/Learning

STICKY POST! (It will remain the first post you can see for some time, so look below to find the latest!)

Post here or tell us about it in class, please!

Dear all,

Whenever somebody reminds us of this in class, it’d be great to check the checklist of things we’re doing in Sept and October with you, so we all have the same adjustments.

Tomorrow, after we listen to Germán, I’d like to hear your questions about my two videos or my notes on How to Work on your Monologues at home. (Next week we’ll do the same about my Writing File video, OK?) If everybody does one of their own pick a month, you all get an amazing chance to make your language range richer and get ideas about how to tackle a broad diversity of topics. I hope we can listen to everyone following this course once a month for 3-4 minutes (the exam format for oral exercises). This will bring up topics, discussions, language lessons, all kinds of things. This course is designed for this to be the priority, and this work should always be based on your listening work (and reading, too, but mons should be based on your notes of Useful Language for that mon., once you’ve decided to speak about that topic).

Tomorrow, or here, or whenever you manage it I’d like to get everybody’s info on this:

  • Are you clear about how to work with Weekly Learning Plans?
  • Listening and Reading Logs? (basis for oral work at home)

Remember I would like you to hand in a copy (of all) so I can consider your work? The latest is November (of all the previous weeks) but you can hand it in before for feedback too. In November it’s very important I collect this information to design more lessons, OK? So start now if you haven’t yet!

Last, I recommend you read “Understanding Language Learning” in the C1 Resource Pack, so you get a clearest idea about the issues of Functional Translation and using Lists of Useful Language. Try to read it this week, so we can see if there are any questions next week. Or what’s your proposal?

Diary for Mon Oct 3 – the diagnosis session & lesson plans

Sorry for not posting last night!

Diagnosis for your speaking and writing relates to me listening to you these days (I’m collection info on common mistakes, to tackle LoM’s later on) and you handing in a mini saga.

People handed in some mini sagas.

Yesterday we started out with questions people had about their use of words or sentences (schedules, timetables, arguments, discussions), and this was great. This is a great start for a lesson. Explanations of how teachers also explained things about language were shared, too!

I gave out more B2 Reading Tests, and we decided not to check these yesterday because more people would be taking them at home today and some people who already had the copy didn’t find enough time to do it. So we’ll be checking results tomorrow, then.

Before taking the B2 Listening Test (40 minutes), I reviewed some of the techniques we use to maximize our performance in listening tests, namely underlining and note-taking. Underlining what? What should we jot down? Well, here is where you need to notice things and comment in class.

People took the test and did great. Nobody flunked (slang) / failed. And most marks were quite above a simple pass mark. As people discussed hardest bits and made language questions, we reviewed the issue you need to be very clear about methodologically this year: functional translation and lifelong learning lists of useful language (as compared with literal translation and learning for exams).

As people were taking their test, because I was a bit bored, I started listening and collecting useful language. So at some point I shared some of that, to illustrate how I learn from audios and for your language learning, of course! Phrasals with “up” came up! 😀 And people discussed their meaning.

Plans for Tomorrow:

  • Checking your work – see following post
  • Hand in your mini saga
  • Checking your RT results
  • Listening to our first monologue by a student
  • Watching a TED Talk by Ngozi and collecting Useful Language to share after that
    (Bring the book, we might have extra time to start reading; most probably not!)