Cody Valdes Cody Valdes

TP1a -- Talking about illnesses -- Valdes 5-28
B2 - Upper Intermediate level


In this lesson, ss gain facility speaking about illnesses in various contexts through working with dialogues and in role play. The lesson starts with a lead-in that primes ss to communicate info about illnesses. Then ss re-assemble jumbled dialogues from various contexts (e.g., at pharmacy, at doctor’s office) to better distinguish among functional contexts in which one talks about illnesses. The last and major part of the lesson is a role play in which ss practice fluently speaking about illness in real-world situations that demand different choices of tone, words, and symptom descriptions.


Main Aims

  • To give ss the opportunity to develop their spoken fluency through talking about illnesses in different role-plays.

Subsidiary Aims

  • To raise awareness of functional language used in various contexts to explain/describe symptoms & illnesses, give advice & show sympathy. To review & practice illness related vocabulary.


Lead-in "Doctor Doctor" (3-4 minutes) • To activate thoughts about speaking about illnesses with doctor but mostly to make light and have fun

Ask ss if they know any 'doctor, doctor' jokes, telling them they're popular in English. Put ss in pairs and give set of cut-up lines of 3 DD jokes (6 lines total) and have them match the patient-doctor lines to complete the joke. Note that each joke has two lines only. See if they get the jokes or find them funny, or have funnier ones. Take this opportunity to state purpose of lesson: work on talking to different types of people about illnesses.

Pre-Role Play (8-10 minutes) • To get students to connect specific language and dialogue patterns with different illness-related contexts

Elicit a few ideas about who you might need to talk to when you're ill, e.g. doctor. Ask ss "what are you trying to achieve when you talk to that person?" and "what is your language like - many details, history, short & to the point, sympathetic?" to get them to think about different functional uses of illness-related language in different contexts. Give ss Ex 3 in same pairs as first activity and get them to match sentences with situation (hint: 3 sentences per situation). When pairs finished, have them swap desks with adjacent pair and check peers' work. Let pairs discuss discrepancies among themselves then have them sit. Call on pairs for correct answers. Ask class if situations sound familiar. Deal with any problems wc.

Role Play (29-33 minutes) • To fluently communicate about illnesses in real-world situations in role

Explain task: 1) clarify that students know what it means to be 'in character' like an actor; 2) tell ss they are going to get into character and speak with a partner who is also in character in a real-life situation that deals with illnesses; 3) tell ss that there will be 3 situations (each will be one we elicited in Lead-in). Divide ss into As and Bs, giving As situations from Student Book p 142, Bs situations from ibid p 146. Let Ss read the situations and think about what they will say in each role, jotting notes about their goals and any vocabulary, phrases, tone, and word choice they might use as tactics. Emphasize that they're trying to achieve some outcome in each role and to think about how they'll craft their language to do that. Allow Ss to ask you "how do I say this" q's if they're trying to formulate specific phrases. After 5-6 mins solo prep, let compare strategies and vocab with fellow As or Bs standing up while you clear desks. Seat ss in onion, As facing Bs. Prepare chairs for first roleplay (see end for chair positions). Ask ICQs to see if ss understand what they're going to do when roleplay starts ("As, who are you? With whom are you talking? Do you know your goal?" etc.). Let ss review quietly review what they want to say (15 sec). Then signal the start of the roleplay. Let ss talk in role until they've exhausted their dialogues or about 2-3 mins, then rotate As three seats to right. Repeat. After second roleplay #1, pause and give ss 30 sec to prepare for roleplay #2. Rotate as above through #2 and #3 until each S has had 6 conversations. Monitor and note key language for later error correction during feedback, writing these phrases/words on wb. When done, get Ss to arrange chairs in tight horseshoe (to facilitate eye-contact and discussion) and take some FB -- e.g., which doctor or chemist gave the best advice, which boss was most sympathetic, which employee was most convincing, whose illness sounded the worst. Also ask ss if they remember hearing or using any phrases that were effective describing symptoms or urgency of situation or were simply convincing. If time, turn to wb and address errors, eliciting correct usages, pronunciations, collocations, etc. from ss. CM seating: Roleplay 1 -- chairs 90 degrees to mimic phone call (no eye contact) Roleplay 2 -- ss standing with chairs between them to mimic pharmacy service desk Roleplay 3 -- patient and doctor sit facing one another

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