language for mediating text in speech-writing (B2-C2)

If you need to carry out a mediation task, either in speech or in writing, these formulaic chunks of language may help you relay your ideas and mediate your text more effectively:

Click on the screenshot to download the pdf file

 

More on mediation:

Christmas ads 2019

Christmas is around the corner. In the run-up to Christmas, businesses and brands release their very best ads, typically tearjerkers, to catch consumers off-guard and lure them to shop till they drop. I’m well aware of their persuasion strategies, of course. And yet, every year I find myself having a look at British Christmas ads, as they tend to be longer, and usually tell a story, which will allow me to exploit them in the classroom even further than ordinary ads. This is a selection of the ones I liked the most this year:

VISA

a rendition of Queen’s ‘Somebody to Love’ by real shopkeepers struggling to survive in the high street.

Extended version

Alternative version- shopkeepers singing All I Want for Xmas is you

Sainsbury’s– Nicholas the Sweep

Set in Dickensian London, it showcases the story of a waif-an orphan child and chimney sweep, unfairly accused of stealing.

Resources: the ad is set in Victorian England/Dickensian London. Some related vocabulary may be useful to start with:

Click on the image to open the word cloud. Links to definitions can be found by clicking on each word.

  • What do you mean when you say that somebody is ‘rotten to the core’?
  • The story is told by a 3rd-person narrator. How would you narrate the story using 1st-person narrative…
          • a. from Mrs Sainsbury’s point of view? 
          • b. from Nicholas the sweep’s point of view?
  • Imagine the story were to be published as a book. How would you retell it?

John Lewis & Waitrose– Excitable Edgar

Resources to use the ad in the classroom:

Fortnum and Mason– What’s in a Fortnum and Mason hamper? (list of traditional Christmas foods and elements in Britain)

Watch the ad and write down as many foods, gifts and Christmas traditions as you can.

Aldi-Kevin the Carrot #4 (Let Me Entertain You):

Resources to use the ad in the classroom: The Literacy Shed

Sky– ET came home for Christmas

Joules– Wallace and Gromit

Iceland supermarkets– Frozen II

Lidl

M&S Christmas Food (Christmas market)

Smyths toys– If I Were a Toy

Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day– You may want to take part in this…

Further resources:

Instagram to hide likes (self-image)

Listen to this news report about a new measure that Instagram is trialling in an effort to silence criticism that it has a negative effect on users’ self-esteem.

Source

Transcript

  • Can you see any positive aspects of Instagram? Can you see any downsides?
  • Has Instagram had any effect on society (relationships, money-making…)?
  • Would you say Instagram has changed the way people see themselves? If so, to what extent?
  • How different would your life be if Instagram hadn’t been developed?
  • Some people don’t use email anymore, because they prefer to communicate through social media. What’s your take on this?

Black Friday and consumerism- resources

You can find below a collection of resources which can be used when dealing with Black Friday and consumerism:

  • Black Friday-US commercial:

  • Black Friday (BBC news):

Binge shopping:

How to differentiate deals from duds on Black Friday (B2):

Black Friday- consumer expert:

Black Friday online shopping and fraud: https://natalialzam.wordpress.com/2017/11/25/black-friday-online-shopping-and-fraud/

Money- resources

You can find below a series of resources which can be used if you need to deal with the topic of money and finances:

Debit card ad:

Money and consumerism- Spotify playlist

Word cloud with idioms from songs:

Edpuzzle quiz– clip captioned in English, questions and comments aimed at working on the vocabulary of money. (C1)

Winning the lottery:

Transcript 

  • Cashless societies:
  • Pensioners splashing out vs cash-strapped millennials:

transcript

      • Facebook cryptocurrency launched:
      • Have you/Would you invest in bitcoins? Why? -Watch these clips from The Big Bang Theory (The Bitcoin Entanglement)

Finances:

Model declared bankrupt:

Transcript

Sex and the City- Ring a Ding Ding (the protagonist finds herself broke after years of splashing out on, among other luxuries, shoes)

Crime and money:

  • Cybercrime and fraud:
  • Measures to prevent fraud:
  • Using a dead woman’s card (B2):

template to give feedback to students’ spoken production

For some years now, whenever my students were speaking in pairs or groups, I would write down comments I would like to make on my iPad: I would go round, monitoring their conversations, and I would jot down ideas as they came up. These would typically include a mixture of grammar, vocabulary, or pronunciation mistakes, or simply alternatives I could provide to what they were saying. I would also add further ideas that occurred to me while listening to them. Then, I would project my notes and give feedback to my students following those notes in that ‘chronological’ order.

I was more or less happy with that system, but somehow I felt I could be more organised. That’s how I came up with this chart: it is based on a single-point rubric with four criteria (vocabulary range and control, grammatical accuracy and range, phonological control, discourse). Rather than descriptors, I can write my comments under each of the headings: ‘needs improvement’ and ‘not quite there yet’ on the left-hand side, as ‘areas for concern’, and ‘suggestions’ (=alternatives, synonyms..) and ‘good!’ (expressions I liked) as positive comments on the right-hand side.

Using this chart allows me to give feedback to their spoken productions and interactions in a more organised way, making all the comments about one particular item (vocabulary, pronunciation…) at once, rather than randomly as they came up in their conversations.

You can download the chart by clicking on the image below. It is still a work in progress, so contributions are welcome!

Related posts: giving feedback to students’ written production- workshop materials

Speaking voices in English I like

These are some of the speaking voices in English I like the most, and that I somehow consider ‘models’ of good pronunciation, stress, enunciation…At some points in life, when I have had to do public speaking, I have reminded myself of some of them, thinking, for example: ‘you should show the same poise as Audrey Hepburn when you’re speaking’.

To my mind, their voices are a delight to listen to and might prove a model to imitate when speaking English.

Audrey Hepburn:

Sabrina (1954)

Brian May:

Desert Island Discs (BBC Radio 4)

Benedict Cumberbatch:

‘Sherlock’ (BBC 2010-2017)

The Imitation Game (2014):

Martin Freeman:

Jeremy Irons:

‘Brideshead Revisited’ (Granada TV 1981)

Emma Thompson

Much Ado About Nothing (1992)

Kenneth Branagh:

Look Back in Anger (1989):

Hamlet (1996):

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002):

Nicole Kidman:

The Others (2001)

Hugh Grant:

Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)

Notting Hill (1999)

Stephen Fry & Hugh Laurie

‘A Bit of Fry and Laurie’ (1987-1995)

Kate Winslet:

Downton Abbey cast:

Michael Sheen:

The Queen (2006)

‘Good Omens’ (Amazon Prime 2019)

Jack Davenport:

‘Coupling’ (BBC 2000-2004)

‘Next of Kin’ (ITV 2018)