Victoria Auger Victoria Auger

TP5_Functional Language
Upper Intermediate level


In this lesson students will learn and practice functional language in the context of making conversation. It will start with a brief lead-in, followed by some listening activities to expose the students to the functional language. Students should aim to discover meaning and appropriacy first through an individual task before being taught directly by the teacher. Functional language will then be practiced with controlled and freer practice, with a focus on speaking fluency.


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Main Aims

  • To introduce and provide practice of functional language for making conversation

Subsidiary Aims

  • To provide speaking fluency using the TL in the context of making conversation.
  • To provide gist and specific information listening practice using a text/audio about making conversation.


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

Show students a photo of lesson topic (making conversation) and elicit from students what is happening in the picture. Then highlight lesson topic. Provide students with two questions: 1. When people meet for the first time, what things do they usually talk about? 2. Do you ever find it difficult to keep a conversation going in these circumstances? Why? After giving teacher model for question 1 (e.g. When people usually meet for the first time, they usually talk about their name, their work etc.) elicit additional responses from students. Then elicit student responses for Q2.

Exposure (8-10 minutes) • To provide context for the target language through a text or situation

Begin with listening for gist task. Play students an audio of two people making conversation. Tell them they have to listen to the audio and answer the question on the Google Form: ICQs - is this a listening or reading task? (listening). / Do we have to answer any questions? (yes on Google Form) Tell them after the audio that they have 30 seconds to finalise their answers and submit. Go through responses using OCFB. Also show answer key. Tell students they will listen to the audio again and answer the following questions: How does Sean begin the conversation? How many questions does Sean ask Fiona?What kind of answers does Fiona give? How many questions does Fiona ask Sean? What words/phrases tell you that Fiona wants to finish the conversation? After audio, tell students they will be put in BORs for 2 minutes to discuss answers in pairs. ICQ - how long are you going to be in BORs? (2 minutes) Show answer key once students have returned from BORs. Ask students if they thought Fiona (from audio) was rude. Elicit from students what they thought her tone was etc. Then ask if they thought Sean was rude. Elicit same things and ask them to justify their answers.

Highlighting (3-4 minutes) • To draw students' attention to the target language

Provide students with table with 7 functional language phrases: 1. Excuse me, I couldn't help overhearing... 2. Just leave me alone. 3. Hi! What are you doing here? 4. Ok, I'll let you get on. 5. Well, I'd better be off. 6. Excuse me, could you help me? 7. Sorry to disturb you. Ask students to decide if they start or end a conversation and whether they're polite, casual (but friendly) or rude to allow students to investigate meaning and appropriacy. Do the first one together as a whole class. Give students 2 minutes to do this individually. ICQs - How long do you have to complete this individually? (2 minutes) / Are you just filling in one of the columns? (No, both). Then put students in BORs to discuss answers for 2 minutes.

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

Clarify meaning and appropriacy of phrases through OCFB of previous task. Elicit from students and ask them to justify their answers. Ensure to ask questions like, 'Who do you think you would say this to? In what context?' Briefly go through form, although not much time will be dedicated to this as there is no distinct pattern throughout the phrases. Elicit from students what type of word it is. E.g. Sorry to DISTURB you, what type of word is disturb? (Verb in base form) etc. Dedicate more time to pronunciation, tone and intonation. Depending on time, select a few of the trickier pronunciation phrases to go through. Give teacher model and elicit from students using choral and individual drilling. Make sure to cover intonation with questions, with it going up at the end to indicate it's a question. Tone can be linked back to appropriacy. Give teacher model of functional language and ask 'What tone am I using? Is it friendly, rude?' Link back to appropriacy, 'Which is better for appropriacy?'

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

Communicative activity - students see images of people on the screen where they're saying some information about themselves (e.g. I'm a teacher). Elicit from students what other questions you might ask this person. Give teacher model and then put into BORs for 5 minutes to discuss. Conduct OCFB and provide some examples in an answer key.

Free Practice (10-12 minutes) • To provide students with free practice of the target language

Tell students to select one of the different scenarios AND relationships (e.g. at the airport, old friends who haven't met up in a while) and roleplay in BORs. Remind students to use the functional language we've covered, remembering appropriacy, tone and intonation. Give teacher model before sending to BORs. Give students around 7 minutes in BORs to complete this. ICQ - Are we choosing a scenario and a relationship? (Yes) / How long do you have in the BORs for this? (7 minutes) Aim to dedicate 4-5 minutes on DEC before finishing. Also try to show examples of where the FL has been used correctly and effectively.

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