Matthew Smith Matthew Smith

Speaking in an awkward situation.
upper intermediate level


In this lesson students learn about polite language which is used in awkward social situations in the context of 5 awkward situations faced by Bella. After being introduced to the situations and discussing what Bella might say in them ,ss listen to an audio tape of the polite way in which Bella responds. Ss then listen again to some polite phrases Bella used and practice the pronunciation of them. Finally ss practice the use of those polite phrases by creating dialogues for some awkward situations and acting them out.


Abc 5 Awkward Situations
Abc Transcript 5 awkward situations
Abc Transcript Polite Phrases
Abc Role play exercise

Main Aims

  • For students to be better able to speak using polite language in awkward social situations

Subsidiary Aims

  • For students to be able to pronounce polite phrases used in awkward social situations using the correct intonation.


Warmer/ lead-in (3-5 minutes) • To engage ss in the context for the lesson

Place cartoon image of awkward social situation on whiteboard and elicit from ss what is going on. Elicit how ss might feel in that situation - awkward. Depending on time, either GW or WC, ss discuss when they have felt awkward in similar situations and what they did and said.

Preparing to Speak (8-10 minutes) • To prepare ss for the speaking task and introduce the necessary language

Present text about Bella. T hand out text and asks ss to look at the 1st scenario - do it together as WC and elicit what Bella might say from what she is thinking in the thought bubble. Ask ss to work in PW to do the other 4 situations. WC feedback.

Listening/Pronunciation (10-10 minutes) • To introduce the language needed for the speaking exercise and its pronunciation (intonation)

T say lets listen to what Bella actually said and play the first audio. Tell ss don't need to worry about taking notes. T hand out transcript. T elicits ss understanding of the form of Bella's response through CCQs - was it formal or informal ? Was it polite ? T Clarify meaning of words/phrases only if needed. T play recording of some of the phrases Bella uses - asks ss to pay attention to how she says them. T hands out copy of the phrases and models and drills the intonation using exaggeration and gestures to highlight.

Speaking Role Play (15-18 minutes) • For ss to practice their oral fluency in the context of polite language.

T hand out Role play exercise and put ss in different pairs. PW to write or make notes of dialogue using some of the polite phrases - ss only need to do 1 or 2 if it takes a while or time is short. ss can also refer to larger transcript. In same PW ss to speak out their dialogue. T monitor listens for intonation and to make sure ss have plenty of speaking practice - if pairs are struggling to write dialogue T help a little to get them to speaking stage. Check room layout to ensure ss can practice freely - encourage ss to stand to speak.

Feedback (5-5 minutes) • To provide ss with feedback and error correction on speaking activity

Encourage some pairs that feel comfortable to speak their dialogue for the WC. If time maybe 3 or 4 pairs act out dialogue to WC. T to elicit/do error correction if necessary on pronunciation/intonation of polite phrases.

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