Jonathan Aponte Jonathan Aponte

Intonation & Sympathetic
Intermediate level


In this lesson the students will practice intonation to convey sympathy.


Abc Cutting Edge Upper Intermediate Audio Recording
Abc Zoom Platform
Abc Power Point Slides

Main Aims

  • To provide functional language practice in intonation in the context of responding sympathetically to statements.

Subsidiary Aims

  • To provide fluency speaking practice in the context of uttering sympathetic statements.


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

The T shows the Ss a picture of two friends - one is consoling the other. The T asks the Ss the following question: What is he saying to her? The T nominates S1 for his/her answer. The T nominates S2 to ask if S1's answer sounds "sympathetic." The T transitions to next stage of the lesson.

Highlighting (2-4 minutes) • To draw students' attention to the target language

The T explains the aim of the lesson and how intonation affects sympathetic statements. The T asks the Ss what does "sympathetic" mean? The T waits for volunteers. The T explains briefly what sympathetic means, followed by what intonation is and why it is important to English fluency - it conveys meaning. The T transitions to the next stage of the lesson.

Exposure (3-5 minutes) • To provide context for the target language through a text or situation

The T informs the Ss they will listen to a three-minute audio clip consisting of three scenarios/situations. The T informs the Ss they will listen to each clip once. The T will give the Ss three fixed expressions that appear in the audio clips, "oh dear," "calm down," "so annoying," and "try not to worry about it." The T instructs the Ss to listen for each of the expressions and jot down how the speakers sound to them when they make the utterances. The T asks "Do they sound helpful, annoyed, or sympathetic?" The T nominates Ss to divulge the circumstances under which the expressions were uttered. Feedback ensues.

Clarification (8-10 minutes) • To clarify the meaning, form and pronunciation of the target language

The T explains MFPA starting with pronunciation and intonation using some of the examples from the gist exercise, e.g. "oh dear," "so annoying," and "try not to worry about it." The T explains how intonation patterns in a (productive) utterance can affect its appropriacy and how the listener interprets its meaning. The T asks CCQs: What type of intonation do you think the boy is using to console the girl? Look at "calm down," do you think he's using rising or falling intonation? T models. What is a more sympathetic statement to the girl in the photo? "Calm down" with a high pitch or low pitch? Which one would you prefer to hear if you were having a crisis?" The T asks the Ss if they have questions on intonation and how it affects sympathetic statements.

Controlled Practice (8-10 minutes) • To concept check and prepare students for more meaningful practice

The T instructs the Ss they will listen to an audio clip consisting of twelve phrases. The Ss will identify the two unsympathetic phrases with high intonation. The T will play the audio recording again for those who need it. The T will elicit answers from the Ss on which phrases are the "unsympathetic ones." The T asks the Ss what made these two students stand out from the others. The T will entertain other answers from Ss and ask why they chose different answers. The T explains that based on circumstances, intonation, and body language, answers can vary. The T will elicit opinions and questions from the Ss. The T asks, "Do we have intonation in Spanish too?"

Free Practice (8-10 minutes) • To provide students with free practice of the target language

The T instructs Ss to work in pairs/groups and choose one of five scenarios he's provided in the box. The pairs/group will choose the one to their liking and use as many sympathetic statements as possible when communicating with their partner/group mate. The T reminds the Ss that the statement in and of itself is not important for the task - the importance is the intonation used when uttering the statements. The T monitors the pairs/groups in the breakout rooms. The T elicits pairs/groups for their answers. The T corrects any feedback, if deemed necessary.

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