Jason Jason

Upper-Intermediate level


In this lesson we'll provide Speaking Practice on the context of engaging in small talk. We'll list situations where we'll engage in small talk, define small talk, and list appropriate topics. Before listening to some audio with Small Talk we'll go over the meaning of some phrases. Then we'll listen to the audio and listen to some informal greetings and their replies. After that we'll come up with some different greetings and replies. Finally, we'll close with a Role-Play where students use the language covered to engage in small talk with one another.


Abc Language For Speaking Box: Starting Convos with a Stranger

Main Aims

  • To provide Speaking Practice on the context of engaging in small talk.

Subsidiary Aims

  • Some sub aims will include a Listening Practice which students will listen to in order to be exposed to the target language.


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

Tell students: I was at a cafe and saw someone reading a book I really enjoyed. So I said, "Sorry to bother but I couldn't help but notice you were reading the Alchemist which is a book I also have read and one that I love." Where did I meet this person? Elicit: Cafe T: Did I know them before? Elicit: No. T: Where are some other places I can meet strangers? Elicit various responses: bar/ restaurant/ work/ Teacher: I said, "Sorry to bother but I couldn't help you were reading this book." What are some other ways I could start a conversation with a stranger? Elicit various answers: Excuse me./ Hey/ Can i ask you a question? Teacher: So we're making 'small talk'. When we're making small talk? Are we talking about anything very important? Serious? Personal? Elicit: No Teacher: What topics are okay during small talk with a stranger? Elicit: interests/ weather/ commonalities Teacher: what topics aren't okay? Elicit: anything too personal/ marriage problems/ money

Content Preparation (5-7 minutes) • To highlight and clarify useful language for coming productive tasks

T- we’re gonna listen to a convo between some people. I want to go over some things we’ll hear: a. “Sorry to bother you but…”- why would someone say this? E: start a convo w- a stranger/ someone busy i. Formal/informal? b. “I hope you don’t mind me asking but…” i. Mind- I hope it’s ok.. more like, “would it bother you if…” ii. Explain, Yes I mind vs. no I don’t mind c. “Sorry, but I couldn’t help overhearing..” i. CCQs- If I overhear something, was the person talking, talking to me?/ Was I listening on purpose or accident?- 'I couldn't HELP...' I wasn't trying to overhear...." ii. Formal/informal? d. “have you lived around here long?” i. T- mean? E: how long ii. Formal/ informal? (how can I ask formally_ e. “Excuse me, do you mind if I (verb)..

Exposure (4-5 minutes) • To provide a model of production expected in coming tasks through reading/listening

Show students the box from page 62 of the Navigate book Tell students: you are going to listen to a few conversations. Which of the phrases from this box did you hear? Which did you not hear? Play the audio and listen together as a class. Afterwards, go over the box and which ones were used.

Productive Task 1 (8-10 minutes) • To provide an opportunity to practice target productive skills

Say to the Students: Take a look at the dialogue from the 3 conversations. Let's think about some other ways the speakers could've answered. For example, instead of saying 'sorry to bother you but...' what else could she have said? Elicit: Excuse me... Put students into BreakOut Rooms and have them complete the task together. After some Peer to Peer feedback, close rooms and do Open Class Feedback

Productive Task 2 (8-10 minutes) • Give students an opportunity for further practice in a role-play

Teacher: Ok so in what situations would you make small talk with a stranger? Elicit some replies. T- "What we're going to do is put ourselves in those situations and practice using some of the language we just went over. So here are the situations.. Pick one and after about 3 minutes, switch to another situation and make sure both people get a chance to be the conversation starters." (Show slide with different conversation starters) (put students into pairs in breakout rooms and roam to make sure everything is OK). (at about 7 minutes into it, go back to the main room for Open Class Feedback)

Feedback and Error Correction (3-5 minutes) • To provide feedback on students' production and use of language

Ask students what we covered today and elicit Small Talk. Allow some time for questions Write on the shared screen a sentence or 2 with mistakes and ask students to point out error. Dismiss class and thank students for their time.

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