Herbert Loeffler Herbert Loeffler

TP6- Functions- Lesson 1- Teacher Herbert
Upper Intermediate level


In this lesson, students learn about how to use functional language to express themselves in a polite way. The lessons begins with a video describing how to speak politely by softening your English. It is followed with a transcript of a phone call of where an English learner tries to politely work with a phone representative to update her course registration. There is then a fill in the blank exercise where learners have to choose the appropriate words to ensure the caller is speaking politely. This is further followed with an explanation of four forms of functional language that can used to soften English to make it polite: past continuous forms, vague expressions and talking in the form of a question, using expressions involving forms of the words seem and appear, and guidance on how to say no politely. A controlled practice then follows where learners are asked to answer eight multiple choice questions where they have to choose the most polite sentence or expression. Then comes free practice where learners work on wording polite requests corresponding to provided pictures and using some useful vocabulary. Finally, the lesson concludes with language feedback and delayed error correction.


Main Aims

  • To introduce and provide practice of functions related to polite enquiries.

Subsidiary Aims

  • To be able to use vague expressions and speak in the form of questions to soften language to be more polite.
  • To be able to use past continuous forms to soften language to be more polite.
  • To be able to use expressions involving the words seem or appear to soften language to be more polite.
  • To be able to know how to politely say no using tentative language.


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

Quick introduction by teacher followed by YouTube video from BBC Learning English titled "Speaking: Being polite-how to soften your English"

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

Students read the transcript of a conversation between a English language learner and a phone representative from English Language College. It is an example of a polite interaction between a learner and a phone representative regarding changing a course registration.

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

Learners are presented with a fill in the blanks exercise asking them to complete sentences with language appropriate to a polite conversation. Teacher spends less than one minute demonstrating task and provides the answer to the first task. Students are then give 2 minutes to choose their answers to the remaining questions. They are encouraged to use the chat box to compare answers if they wish. Teacher then spends 1 to 2 minutes eliciting and reviewing answers.

Clarification (12-12 minutes) • To clarify the meaning, form and pronunciation of the target language

Students are presented with four different examples of functional language that can be used to help them speak politely. The meaning and appropriacy of each are elicited from the students. An initial example of form and pronunciation are demonstrated by the teacher with the form and pronunciation of additional examples elicited from the students. They are expressed and practiced in full sentences. 3 minutes is spent on each example of functional language.

Controlled Practice (5-5 minutes) • To concept check and prepare students for more meaningful practice

Learners are presented with eight multiple choice questions asking them to identify the most polite sentence formed using the functional language just presented. Teacher spends less than 1 minute demonstrating how to answer the first question. Learners are then given 2 minutes to answer independently are encouraged to use the chat box to confer with each other. Teacher than spends two minutes eliciting and reviewing answers with the students.

Free Practice (12-12 minutes) • To provide students with free practice of the target language

Learners are shown 10 pictures and provided with some useful vocabulary. Teacher spends 1 minute discussing the task and demonstrating an example of how to produce an associated polite request for the first image. Students then have 7 minutes to work together in breakout rooms to brainstorm and discuss polite requests they can form that correspond to each image. Learners are then brought back together for 4 minutes to discuss their answers in open class feedback.

Language Feedback and Delayed Error Correction (4-4 minutes) • To provide learners with feedback on their use of the language through delayed error correction.

Teacher provides delayed error correction of learners' use of the target language. Teacher also points out any other significant language errors.

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