Evrem Evrem

Failure and Success
Low Intermediate level


In this lesson, students learn how to use 'be able to' in the tenses/forms where can/can't cannot be used. The main context is failure and success, and the new grammar is presented through a magazine article about three people who have tried unsuccessfully to learn something. Then the new language is put into practice in Speaking where sts talk about things they have tried to learn to do or would like to be able to do.


Abc Reading text
Abc Gap-fill handout
Abc Speaking Topics

Main Aims

  • To provide clarification of be able to, can/can't in the context of failure and success

Subsidiary Aims

  • To provide fluency speaking practice in a conversation in the context of failure and success


Warmer/Lead-in (5-7 minutes) • To set lesson context and engage students

T writes a well-known English saying 'if at first you don't succeed, try, try, try again' and elicit the meaning from students. Recently there are different ways of continuing the saying, students in pairs discuss and find which one they like best. T elicits the answers and does not correct students for now.

Exposure (10-15 minutes) • To provide a model of the task and highlight useful words and phrases

Sts read about three people who have tried but failed to learn sth and complete the gaps with the missing phrases. Sts compare their answers with a partner and the teacher elicits answers.

Task (10-15 minutes) • To provide an opportunity to practice target productive skills

Sts are asked to think and take notes about two or three of the given topics they have chosen. Then in pairs sts tell each other about each of the things they chose. Students take notes about their partners experiences for example what s/he has learnt to do sth after a lot of effort etc. Teacher demonstrate the task by choosing one of the topics and telling the students about her experience.

Planning (5-8 minutes) • To provide an opportunity to plan students' reports

Students review the notes about their partners' experiences and plan to present them to another pair. Teacher walks around and helps students if they need.

Report (10-15 minutes) • To allow students to report on how they did the task and how it went

Students tell about their partners experiences and the other pair listens to find if they have a similar experience. Teacher monitors and take notes about the form of language to correct later on the board.

Language Analysis (10-15 minutes) • To clarify the meaning, form and pronunciation of the task language

Teacher writes some correct sentences and some mistakes on the board from their reports, and elicit answers from students to correct the sentences. Students go back to the reading text and underline the phrases with be able to. Teacher elicits answers for What tense or form is be able to in each one? and What tenses or forms does can have? to make the meaning and form clear for students.

Language Practice (10-15 minutes) • To provide students with practice of the task language

Before students practice teacher goes through the rules with the class. Students focus on the exercises individually. Teacher walks around and helps students if they need. Students then compare answers with a partner and teacher gives answers. If not ime, give as homework.

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