Sunday, 18 September 2016

Anecdote 1 -- work in progress!

10 ways to have a better conversation


Time:  60-90 minutes

Notes:  I've used this several times in a speaking/listening class, and it is really popular with the students!  The group discussions are especially productive.

1.  Students take out a piece of paper and list the numbers 1-10.  Tell them they are going to listen to a TED talk called '10 ways to have a better conversation' and they should listen and try to write down the ten ways.  Just a list, no detailed notes necessary.  If they don't know what a word is, they just write what they hear.

2.  Play the TED talk '10 ways to have a better conversation.'  Link below:

3.  In groups, students compare their lists and try to come up with a master list of all the ten ways.

4.  Display the list of the ten ways (see below).

5.  Go through the list, students take it in turns to read an item from the list, look at any new vocabulary words, ask students to give examples of each item on the list.

6.  Students return to their group and each group chooses the most important 3, ranked (first, second, and third) in order of importance.  They prepare a short presentation for the rest of the class, summarizing their choices and why they chose that order, giving examples.

7.  Group presentations.

Ten ways to have better conversations:
1.  Don't multi-task.
2.  Don't pontificate (everyone you meet knows something you don't).
3.  Use open-ended questions.
4.  Go with the flow (don't stop listening to plan what you will say next)
5.  If you don't know, say you don't know
6.  Don't equate your experience with theirs
7.  Don't repeat yourself
8.  Stay out of the weeds (details)
9.  Listen
10.  Be brief

Favorite Quote:  'Most people don't listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.'

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Reading/Writing: Market research

Read the passage and write a paragraph that answers ONE of the questions below.
Marketing:  Market research
If you’ve ever been stopped in a mall and asked to answer some questions, the person who stopped you was probably a market researcher.  Many companies use market research to discover the needs and preferences of the target market.   The term target market is the people who might buy a particular product or service.  Target markets can be very general (widespread) or specific (narrow).  For example, the target market for dog food is very specific; dog owners.  On the other hand, the target market for items like milk, or soap, includes almost everybody.  The goal of market researchers is to learn as much as they can about the target market for a particular product or service.  
Radio stations use market research to make sure they are playing the music that their target market wants to hear.  The traditional way of doing this was to fill a room with a group of volunteers, giving them a list of songs, and playing an excerpt of each song.  Volunteers were asked to put the songs in categories according to how much they liked them.  Participants were typically paid $75 to $100 for 2-3 hours.  Nowadays many surveys are done online via a link on the company’s website or facebook page. 
(1)  Have you ever participated in a market research survey, either in person or on-line?  If so, describe this experience.
(2)  Imagine you are a market researcher working for a company that makes dog food.  Where would you go to find your target market?  What kind of questions would you ask them? 

Lovely Day


Listen to the song and complete the blank spaces with the correct form of the simple present. Pay careful attention to the use of ‘s’ when the subject is he, she, or it.

When I ______ up in the morning, love
And the sunlight _______  my eyes
And something without warning, love
________ heavy on my mind
Then I _____ at you
And the world's alright with me
Just one look at you
And I _____ it's gonna be
A lovely day
Lovely day, lovely day, lovely day
When the day that _______ ahead of me
_______ impossible to face
When someone else instead of me
Always ______ to know the way
Then I ______ at you
And the world's alright with me
Just one look at you
And I ______ it's gonna be
A lovely day
When the day that _____ ahead of me
Seems impossible to face
When someone else instead of me
Always ______ to know the way
Then I _____ at you
And the world's alright with me
Just one look at you
And I _____ it's gonna be
A lovely day

100 years to live


Listen to the song and fill in the blanks with the correct forms of the present simple and present continuous

I'm 15 for a moment
Caught in between 10 and 20
And I’__ just _______________
Counting the ways to where you are
I'm 22 for a moment
She ______ better than ever
And we'____ on fire
Making our way back from Mars
15 there's still time for you
Time to buy and time to lose
15, there's never a wish better than this
When you only got 100 years to live
I’__  33 for a moment
Still the man, but you ____ I'm a ‘they’
A kid on the way
A family on my mind
I'm 45 for a moment
The sea ____ high
And I’___   ___________ into a crisis
Chasing the years of my life
15 there's still time for you
Time to buy,
Time to lose yourself
Within a morning star
15 I'm all right with you
15, there's never a wish better than this
When you only got 100 years to live
Half time _______  by
Suddenly you’___ wise
Another blink of an eye
67 ____  gone
The sun ___  _______ high
We’____ ________on...
I'm 99 for a moment
Time for just another moment
And I'__ just  ___________
Counting the ways to where you are
15 there'__ still time for you
22 I _____ her too
33 you’___ on your way
Every day'__ a new day...
15 there'__ still time for you
Time to buy and time to choose
Hey 15, there'__ never a wish better than this
When you only got 100 years to live

Eternal Flame


Listen to the song and fill in the blank spaces with the correct forms of the present tense verbs that you hear.

_________ your eyes, _______ me your hand, darling,
_____   ______  _______ my heart beating?
_____ ______ ________________?
_____  ______ ________ the same?
____ I only _____________?
Or ____ this ___________ an eternal flame?

I ___________, it’s meant to be, darling
I _______ you when ____  _____  ____________
You __________ with me
____ _____  ______ the same?
_____ I only ____________?
Or  ____ this _____________ an eternal flame?
Page 2

Say my name, sun ___________ through the rain
 My whole life, so lonely,
Then you _______ and ______ the pain
I _______  ________ to lose this feeling

___________ your eyes, _______ me your hand, darling,
_____   ______  _______ my heart beating?
_____ ______ ________________?
_____  ______ ________ the same?
____ I only _____________?
Or ____ this ___________ an eternal flame?

Friday, 21 June 2013

Group Marketing Project

Levels:  Intermediate, upper intermediate, advanced (levels 4-6 EAP) 

Classes:  Speaking/listening, reading, writing, combined skills 

Time required:  Two to three weeks (5-6 class periods).  

Overview:  Students learn some basic marketing vocabulary and key concepts (the four Ps of marketing).  Students in groups then brainstorm an idea for a new product and design a marketing plan for that product.  Students then present the marketing plan (in groups) and/or produce a written report (individually).  They also design an advertisement for the product (either print or video). 

Learning outcomes: 
  • Thematic infusion of key vocabulary and concepts in marketing. 
  • Listening comprehension. 
  • Group work (brainstorming, discussing, negotiating, decision-making, organizing, creating, designing, presenting). 
  • Report writing 
  • Practical application of theoretical concepts 
  • Simulation of authentic workplace tasks 

  • Vocabulary quiz on the four Ps of marketing 
  • Group presentation 
  • Written report 

What you will need:   

(1) Some basic information about the four Ps of marketing.  You can get this from a guest speaker, a first year marketing textbook, or online.  Click here to see what I use.   Students can print the basic information (from the link above) and then take notes as you explain what the terms mean.   

(2) Access to a computer lab and video camera (optional) for students to create a presentation and/or advertisement for their project. 


Week one:    

Over two separate class sessions, present the information in the four Ps of marketing (see link above) in lecture format while students take notes (this is a listening exercise).  Note:  If you need more information about any of the items listed in the four Ps, google is your friend.  After you explain each ‘P’, have students in groups discuss marketing decisions for hypothetical products such as a new brand of dog food or soft drink.  For example, after discussing the fourth P, promotion, you might ask students where they might want to place advertisements for dog food in order to best reach the target market (dog owners).  Note:  For lower levels, you may choose not to teach all the terms/concepts in the four Ps 

Week two:   

  1. Vocabulary quiz on the four Ps.   

  1. Divide students into groups of 3-4 using whatever method you prefer.   Explain that their assignment is to come up with an idea for a new product – something that does not exist now.  They can use their imaginations and be as creative as they like.  (I allow ‘impossible’ products, such as time travel machines).  They are then to imagine that they are the marketing team whose job it is to create a marketing plan for the product, using the four Ps.  In addition, they are to design an advertisement (print or video). As a group, they will then present this plan and/or write a report.  Click here to see the detailed student instructions and step-by-step guide.  Students have the rest of the class to work in groups while the instructor provides help/guidance as needed.  

Week Three:   

(1) Once the groups, through their discussions, have decided on their marketing plan, I take them to a computer lab where they:  

  1.  Work in groups to prepare their presentations 
  2.  Use a video camera to film an advertisement for the product (if they have chosen the video option). 

Note:  If you don’t have a computer lab available this step can be completed in the library or as an out of class assignment.   

(2) Group presentations and/or collect written reports.  See below for the rubric I use to grade the presentations. 


Grade (out of 20) 
Grade (out of 20) 
Grade (out of 20) 
Grade (out of 20) 
Grade (out of 20) 

I write in the ‘notes’ section while the students are presenting, and then give them a grade out of 20 for each section.  I then add the grades from the five sections to get the total grade for the presentation.  Every student in the group gets the same grade.   Also see the detailed student instructions (link provided above) for more on grading.   

Click here to see an example of a group's 2011 video advertisement.  (Hint: Click on the link!  It's totally worth it!!!!)


  1. What happens if two groups want to work on the same idea?  I don’t let them do this.  Right after I put them in groups and give them the instructions, I monitor their discussions.  As soon as a group has decided on a product, I write it on the board so that other groups know they can’t use the same idea.   

  1. Do all the students need to work on the presentation and the advertisement?  No, but this needs to be decided by the group.  Sometimes there is a student in the group who likes to draw/paint, and that student can work on the advertisement while the others complete the work for the presentation.  Or, two students can work on a video while two work on the presentation.   

  1. Can students work on their written reports with their group?  Won’t they all have the same information?   As explained in the student instructions, students will all have the same information when they sit down to write their reports, because it will be the same information that is going into their group presentation.  However, each student writes his/her own report.  The information will be the same; the language used to convey the information will not be. 

  1. Do you assign roles within each group?  Not officially, but I think it could be a good idea.  I do monitor the groups during the group discussions and also during the preparations to make sure that everyone is participating.   

  1. How much help do you give the groups?  As much as they need, but without ‘telling them the answer.’  One of the things I like about this assignment is that there is no ‘right answer.’  It’s whatever the group feels is the best way to market the product.  I let them know when they have missing, incomplete, or wrong information.