English Advanced Conversation: Week 14

This is the last week of our advanced level university English conversation class. Let’s quickly review the class objectives contained in syllabus

The objectives were:

  1. students will expand their vocabulary by developing a working knowledge of at least 300 new words through reading and self study;
  2. students will improve fluency through regular pair work practice on a wide range of topics;
  3. students will improve their critical thinking skills by learning and using 12 logical fallacies;
  4. students will demonstrate their research and organizational skills by making a 5 to 10
    minute presentation that includes a critical analysis of one current issues topic.

What are the critical thinking skills?

  1. There are many ways to look at a topic or issue – 6 Thinking Hats
  2. Put complex issues and problems in an easy to understand sentence pattern – argument, claim and premise
  3. Analyzing and find deceptive arguments – fallacies and analogies


Here are the questions for the final exam, a speaking test. There are five questions. To do well in the exam, you will need to prepare. This is not an exam where you can prepare the night before because you need to talk about specific details. You need to know the material.

To earn a great exam score, you will need to know this information and speak clearly, intelligently and persuasively without hmms, ahhs or hesitations. In other words, you need to show that you can speak proficiently, accurately and persuasively.

1  Summarize your speech

Summarize your speech in 45-60 seconds. Include your main argument, the proof and important details.

2  Analogies

What is an analogy? Give two examples of analogies you have seen or read (e.g. TV advertisements, newspaper, book or online). Describe the analogy (the two things that are being compared). Do you think the analogy is weak or strong? Why? Was the analogy persuasive?

3  Hot Topic

You discuss any topic you want. There three rules: you must have an argument, you must look at the issue from many perspectives and you must support your own idea with reasons, evidence and details.

4  The Trouble With Fries by Malcolm Gladwell

In 45-60 seconds, summarize the article by describing the main argument. Be sure to include the writer’s proof and important details. Do you agree with the writer’s main argument? Why or why not?

5  Climate Change Analysis

In 60 seconds, summarize the climate change argument. Include key points and important details. Do you agree with the main argument? Explain why or why not.

  • Please note that for each questions I will be asking follow-up questions. So we will have a regular, intelligent conversation.














English Advanced Conversation: Week 11


Last Monday, we completed the analysis of the climate change argument. Time was short so today I would like to do a debrief. I am especially interested in hearing your ideas about the causes and effects of global warming.

Here are a few discussion questions.

  1. What is the climate change argument?
  2. Briefly summarize the greenhouse gas model. Describe the importance of CO2 in that model. What is human made contribution to the greenhouse gas model?
  3. Who is Al Gore and what is his connection to climate change?
  4. Some people claim there is a relationship between climate change and environmental impacts. Name three claims which appear to demonstrate a post hoc fallacy.
  5. Describe how Al Gore creates fear when talking about climate change. Why does he create fear? Is it useful for some purpose? What happens when people are afraid?
  6. Can you think of any other situations where fear is used to change the minds of large groups of people?
  7. If CO2 is really the cause of global warming, what are some of the solutions?
  8. Some people say that we should not try to stop global warming. Instead we should start learning how to adapt to it. What are the arguments for both cases? What do you think?
  9. Can you think of any good points related to global warming?
  10. What do you think about the causes and effects of climate change?

Monday’s Class

This week, the ESL students will learn English by using the critical thinking skills they have learned so far this semester. These skills include: 6 thinking hats, understanding logical fallacies and analogies.


The purpose of today’s exercise is to:

  1. use thinking skills when talking about a real world problem
  2. understand the climate change argument
  3. develop independent thinking about this important issue


  • Al Gore
  • An Inconvenient Truth


Step 1

With a partner, answer these questions:

  1. What is climate change?
  2. What is the climate change argument?
  3. What causes climate change?
  4. What problems are created by climate change?

Step 2

Watch a short trailer. This video summarizes some of the claims made by Al Gore in his movie An Inconvenient Truth.

In this case study, we are going to think critically about globally warming. In particular we will summarize and question a few claims made by Al Gore and in his presentation An Inconvenient Truth.

Step 3

Work in a small group. According to the video:

  1. What is the argument about climate change?
  2. What are the impacts?
  3. What is the solution?
  4. What are your impressions of the video clip?

Step 4

Each student will read a claim made by Gore. We will discuss these issues in class.

Step 5

Make your own conclusion. What do you think about the main climate change argument?

Step 6

If we have time we will watch and listen to a short clip (2:10 to 4:07). This clip has a few speakers. What are the main arguments presented in this clip?


Here is a short news clip about a British judge who decide that the movie An Inconvenient Truth contains inaccurate facts, logical errors and ideology.


Here is an interview with a person who does not believe that there is a serious global warming problem.

English Advanced Conversation: Week 10

Last week, we looked at analogies. Let’s finish analogies this week. We will watch a few videos that make arguments with analogies. This will show us how analogies can be used to make very strong arguments. Then we will finish the analogy worksheets.


Here is the schedule for the rest of the semester:

  • Week 10, November 3 – finish analogies, climate change basics
  • Week 11, November 10 – case study analysis 
  • Week 12, November 17 – oral presentations
  • Week 13, November 24 – quiz #2
  • Week 14, December 1 – review
  • Week 15, December 8 – make up week/no classes
  • Week 16, December 15 – oral exams


In this class we will take a quick look at climate change by understanding in basic terms how the earth stays warm. And, why it might be getting warm. That discussion begins with this greenhouse gas graphic.

In small groups, students will discuss and develop answers for these questions.

  1. What are greenhouse gases?
  2. What is the greenhouse gas effect?
  3. What is changing and what are the consequences?
  4. How do deforestation, burning fossil fuels and population growth contribute to the greenhouse gas problem?


Here are some figures. These tables come from this environmental website. Table 3 shows us what greenhouse gas is. Basically, it shows that water vapor is 95% of all the greenhouse gas around the earth. it also shows that CO2 is about 3% of the total. It also shows the total for all gases if we do not include water vapor. In that case CO2 (72%) look very important.


Role of Atmospheric Greenhouse Gases 

(man-made and natural) as a % of Relative Contribution to the “Greenhouse Effect”

Based on concentrations (ppb) adjusted for heat retention characteristics Percent of Total  Percent of Total –adjusted for water vapor
 Water vapor  —–  95.000%
 Carbon Dioxide (CO2) 72.369%  3.618%
 Methane (CH4) 7.100%  0.360%
Nitrous oxide (N2O) 19.000%  0.950%
 CFC’s (and other misc. gases) 1.432%  0.072%
 Total 100.000%  100.000%


Table 4a shows us the impact of human activity on the amount of greenhouse gas around the earth. It shows that human activity (like burnign oil) is about 0.28% of all greenhouses gas.


Anthropogenic (man-made) Contribution to the “Greenhouse Effect,” expressed as % of Total (water vapor INCLUDED)

Based on concentrations (ppb) adjusted for heat retention characteristics  % of Greenhouse Effect  
% Natural
% Man-made
 Water vapor 95.000%


 Carbon Dioxide (CO2) 3.618%


 Methane (CH4) 0.360%


 Nitrous Oxide (N2O) 0.950%


 Misc. gases ( CFC’s, etc.) 0.072%


 Total 100.00%







English Advanced Conversation: Week 9

Exams are done. Now it’s time for the ESL students learn English again. Here is the plan for this week.

ESL Advanced Class Activities

Students have an oral presentation to deliver. Remember the syllabus? Each student will need to do an in-class 10-15 minute presentation. It is worth 10%.

  1. Do research, collect and analyze some data.
  2. Submit a written text of your speech on speech day. You should use at least three sources.
  3. Think about a job-related topic. Remember, this is a skills-based class. This is a good chance for you to do some research in a field related to your job interests. Here is an example. Let’s say you want to work as ground staff at an airport. So, you could do a comparison of two of three airports. Or you want to be a flight attendant. Do an analysis of major air carriers and regional carriers like KAL and Busan Air.
  4. It must be well organized and you need an argument.
  5. A PPT is not necessary but usually a good idea.
  6. The standards for this presentation will be high. I encourage you to practice your speech. A lot. Visit my office or send me an email if you want help.
  7. Be interesting. Be topical. Be informative. Be creative. Teach us something. Absolutely no stories about an MT trip to Gyeongju, your favorite hobby, or a story about why FT Island is the best group … ever. You must write your presentation. Do not copy text from internet. Plagiarism can be checked. If you cheat, you get a zero.
  8. Do not read your presentation. Speech cards are ok. But there is nothing worse than a person reading a 5 minute presentation.

Pair Work Activity #1: Movie Summaries

In pairs, create summaries of 10 movies. Make one sentence per movie. For example, “This is a story about ….”

Don’t mention the name of the movie in your summary sentence. Now change partners. Read the list to your partner. See if your new partner can guess the name of the movie for each summary.

Pair Work Activity #2: Comparisons

Part A

This pair work activity is about making comparisons.

  1. Think about one thing.
  2. Now compare it with another thing.
  3. Think of two or three reasons why they are similar.
  4. Make a list of 5-10 comparisons.

Here are some examples:

Life is like a box of chocolates. They both can be sweet and bitter. And you never really know what you are going to get.

  1. Life and riding a bicycle
  2. The universe and a safe
  3. Love and dark chocolate
  4. A love sick heart and a glass

Part B

Now we jigsaw.

Pair Work Activity #3: Intonation Practice

This is an activity to be done in your new group.

This lesson  helps ESL students develop an awareness of intonation and the way it can change the meaning of words by delivering a different emotional message.

Here is a list of words and phrases. Practice saying these words with different kinds of intonation. Then explain the true emotional impact of that expression.

  • I love you.
  • Oh.
  • Really.
  • Hello.
  • Good morning.
  • Well.
  • Come here.
  • You.
  • Yes.
  • I don’t know.
  • Come on.
Can you add three or four more words or phrases?

Analysis of Today’s Activities

You have completed two group projects. Summarize what you have done, what you have leaned and why this lesson was useful or not.

Intelligence is Social

In some way, these ESL activities are a kind of classroom experiment. They are based on an idea that intelligence is social.

In a study about social interaction and intelligence, some US professors did a study. They made three groups of students. One group discussed a topic for ten minutes. The second group studied the material and did a puzzle. The third group watched a TV show. Then everyone in the study was given a test.

The tests results showed that the people in Group 1 (discussion group) had test scores that were just as good as Group 2 (the people who studied in the traditional way).

This suggest that the power of social interaction to influence intelligence is just as great as traditional studying.

“When it comes to being intelligent, it is clear that there is much more than simply what we can do as an individual; how we interact with others is a crucial element of how smart we are in the real world.”


Today we start looking at analogies. This is the last section of new learning critical thinking material.

What is an analogy?

An analogy is a kind of comparison. It looks at two things. These two things are similar in one way. Therefore, they are the same in others ways as well.

Here is an example: Learning English is like riding a bike. It’s a little hard at first but gets easier with more practice.

In this analogy, two things are compared: learning English and riding a bike.

Here is the argument in a simple sentence:

Learning English is like riding a bike because it gets easier with practice.

These two things are similar in one way because they are hard to do at first. So, they might be the same in other ways. Riding a bike is easy after some practice. Is that true for English? Probably not.

Also when you learn to ride a bike, you never forget. Is that same for learning English? Not likely.

So this example shows us that analogies sometimes hide the details. They make something look too simple. That is the power of analogies. They easily convince us that two things are similar – though many times – they are not.

Click here to see some examples of analogies. Are the arguments weak or strong? persuasive or not?