Erhan Gülşen Erhan Gülşen

Speaking Lesson about Life Experiences
Upper Intermediate, B2 level


In this lesson, the Ss focus on life experiences and how to describe them. First, they listen to two recordings about two people for specific information and fill in the chart. Then, they focus on interviewing and prepare some interview questions about these people. Next, they individually work on new phrasal verbs that were used in the listening, after which they discuss some questions in groups to practice using these new lexical items. Later, they focus on word stress by practicing some of the words used in the listening part. After that, they interview each other by focusing on the pragmatic language forms related to how to show you are listening.


Main Aims

  • To provide fluency and accuracy speaking practice in a conversation and debate in the context of life experiences

Subsidiary Aims

  • To provide specific information and detailed listening practice using a text about life experiences in the context of interviewing


Warmer/Lead-in (3-5 minutes) • To set lesson context and engage students

The T shows the Ss two pictures on the board and asks them to answer the following questions: - How old do you think they are? What do they do? The Ss work with their pairs here and discuss for 3 to 5 minutes. And then the T elicits some answers from the whole class. Rationale: The T tries to activate the Ss' schemata here by helping them focus on brainstorming through a top-down process.

Exposure (8-10 minutes) • To provide a model of production expected in coming tasks through reading/listening

First, the Ss listen to the recordings about one of the people (the woman) in the previous session and check their guesses in the brainstorming part. They noted down some specific information on their notebooks or an empty sheet of paper. The teacher gives the instruction about on this note taking part beforehand. The information the Ss must jot down about the person is as follows: Her age, nationality, main occupation, part-time job, earnings, father's occupation, father's advice, main ambition. According to the level of the class, the Ss can work individually or in pairs. After the listening exercise is completed, the T elicits answers from the whole class. Secondly, the Ss prepare to listen to an interview on the other person in the picture. They make a list of questions they expect to hear in the recording with their pairs before they listen. Finally, they listen to the recording once more and they do a matching exercise by focusing on the content of the sentences uttered by the interviewee. Rationale: Listening and speaking skills are closely related. Listening to speeches or lectures provide input for the Ss, which they can use as models for their upcoming productive tasks. And, conversely, speaking in general is of great avail for listening skills when the speeches or lectures are given in their natural forms, in the way that the Ss come across them in real life. Different forms of speeches define how listening lessons should be structured and correspondingly such listening lessons provide significant input to be practice for speaking lessons.

Useful Language (8-10 minutes) • To highlight and clarify useful language for coming productive tasks

The Ss do a vocabulary activity here. They focus on new phrasal verbs used in the listening section. They match the phrasal verbs with their definition as a pair-work activity. After 2-3 minutes, the T reflects the answers on the board and the Ss check their answers. Next, the Ss discuss about some questions by using the phrasal verbs they learned in the first activity. The students work in groups in this task. Each group discusses the answers with their friends here. Later, the T receives answers from each group and gives feedback. Rationale: Accuracy and fluency are important elements for a speaking activity. With an exercise that concentrates on the lexical or grammatical items that the Ss can later use in their speaking activities, they can acquire accuracy in their speech as such exercises aim to help them form grammatically, lexically and phonologically correct speeches or output. These activities also make the lessons language-oriented too since the focus is on language usage rather than on language form. Thanks to them, the Ss can learn what forms or types of language they can use in the upcoming discussion. And, as the learners go over certain language forms, this exercise can be regarded as intensive. As it can be seen from the questions the Ss answer just after the vocabulary activity, they practice transactional language here as they exchange specific information. This task-based activity gives them the opportunity to discuss in a more negotiative nature.

Productive Task(s) (18-20 minutes) • To provide an opportunity to practice target productive skills

The Ss prepare for the productive task of speaking here and produce their speeches in pairs. First, each student writes down notes about the interview they are going to make with their partners such as the future, problems, most exciting activity, worst activity, etc. The teacher can share some points here. After 5-8 minutes, the Ss start preparing their dialogues in pairs and they role-play them when they have finished writing. While the Ss are interviewing each other, they use some language forms for intervention and to show that they are listening to their peers. Here, they use some patterns such as Now, you mentioned.... So, that's how..... Yes, I was going to ask about..... Can you give me an example of....? Could you explain in more detail.....? Rationale: The Ss use pragmatic language here and the fluency of the speech gains importance. By using the language forms for intervention here, the Ss accomplish pragmatic goals as explained by Siegel (2016). When the student perform speaking in a natural environment where the main focus is fluency, the Ss can be engaged into a task-based lesson with their close peers or interlocutors that have the same or similar level of English as theirs. Also, the speaking lesson takes a message-oriented view here. Language use is the focus of this speaking exercise. As the teacher tries to resemble the speaking lessons to natural speech acts outside the classroom, the difficulties of speaking activity is overcome and the teacher is able to give the Ss opportunities to initiate oral communication. In the end, the lesson achieves its aim: to let the Ss discuss through a conversational discourse. Siegel, J. (2016). Pragmatic Activities for the Speaking Classroom. English Teaching Forum. 12-19.

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