So, the origin of this lesson came when I was still teaching exams. I wanted a task that replicated the skills and language needed for Speaking part 3 in FCE / CAE / CPE, I wanted to show that the language for the task had genuine use outside the exam. I also wanted it to be a bit of fun. I decided to use some music as it would allow students to use high level vocab and in the feedback sessions I would have scope to add input and also to check comprehension. There are other examples of how to use songs in class on the site, for example: https://textploitationtefl.com/2018/03/04/the-cure-pictures-of-you-present-perfect-continuous/
There are a lot more for you to explore.
Anyway, in this lesson, the songs are used for a slightly different reason.
So without delay, let’s get down to it.
- Time: 90 minutes
- Level: Intermediate / Upper Intermediate / Advanced / FCE / CAE / CPE (it could be used with lower levels with some scaffolding)
- Aim: To encourage discussion and practise decision making language.
- Sub aim: Practising presenting a decision to the group.
Pre-listening: Select 5-7 songs that you intend to use. Try to ensure that the songs have a different feel and that they will evoke a different emotional response.
- Tell the students you are going to play them 5-7 pieces of music/songs. You are only going to play about 30 seconds of each. Ask them to write down any feelings they have about the song. Tell them that you don’t want things like “I like it”, “it is rubbish”, but want adjectives or description of feelings the songs evoke or where it reminds them of being etc.
- Play the songs allowing time after each for them to write up notes.
- After all of the songs have been played ask the students to compare what they have written down in small groups. Try to make sure the groups are 2-4 people each.
- Do group feedback, this allows you to share ideas, but also share any high level / interesting vocab.
- You may need to play the songs again at this point in order for them to complete the next task.
2. Task – the script outline
Ask the students to skim read the scenes. Ask them what type / genre of film they think it is.
Then, ask students to work in groups and complete the task on the worksheet. 10-15 minutes. There may be some language that the students are unsure of. Try to elicit meanings from them. Encourage them to think about context where possible.
Task: You have been asked to select music to match the scenes. The songs we played you earlier were the ones we have the rights to. We can probably just about afford to license one more song. So if you have a suggestion for one that would work, we can probably manage that.
Direct them to the suggested language on the worksheet (please add extra language to this that you would like them to practice). Encourage as you monitor and also take notes so you can do error correction after.
Give the students 5 minutes to prepare to present their ideas to the group. Try to encourage them to use reasons. This is a chance to recycle the lexis they used earlier and to practice summarising a group discussion.
Optional: Board the different ideas for how the film ends. The students can then vote on the best.
Post task reflection: Ask the students where they can use the language that they have been practising. The aim is that they recognise that this is language that could be used in the exam. If not exam students in business discussions, meetings etc.
Also encourage the students to offer each other feedback on the language they all used. Ask the students which of the phrases they did use, which they didn’t and why. It is about them making choices about the language they use and developing their own personal lexis.
Possible extension activities:
- Ask the students in groups or individually to write dialogue for part of one of the scenes. This can then be edited and improved as a writing task. You could also ask the students to film it. This is a great chance for a student to act as director and help students improve. For a similar idea: https://textploitationtefl.com/2017/07/11/modals-of-deduction-a-murder-part-1-2/
- Use one of the songs and treat it as a text and textploit it. See other ideas from the song lessons on the site.