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?

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