This is a relatively straightforward test/teach/test type of lesson but there’s lots that you can do with it. I’ve put the basic lesson plan below and then a few suggestions for extra activities you could do.
The whole point of the lesson is to practise giving advice, largely using conditionals and should. It really encourages students to analyse language and hopefully to use it afterwards.
Level: Intermediate and above
Time: 2 – 3 hours
As the first test, I like to walk in and tell my students a personal problem. I quite like pretending that it’s a real one and asking their real advice but that’s up to you, you could even say it’s your friend’s problem and your telling them about it. Here’s a problem I often start with:
So, my girlfriend rang me last night. Turns out she wants to move to Brazil. She says she can’t handle the weather here anymore and needs a change. I completely get it, going to Brazil would be amazing but we’ve got stable jobs here, things are going well, I’m really enjoying where I live right now…I just don’t know what to do.
We usually discuss it for a bit and then I say OK everyone, write down one piece of advice for me. (It’s a nice idea to give them a post-it note and then collect them in afterwards). you can come back to these pieces of advice later on.
Pre-Reading / Gist Reading
Display the picture of the 2 men on the board or hand them out and get sts to decide what they’re discussing.
Instruct sts to read through the dialogue and answer the questions on the top.
Language Focus: Advice structures
Get the students to read the dialogue again and underline any structures giving or asking for advice. They should find the obvious “should” and “if I were you” but also highlight the chunks of English “Do you mind if I ask your advice on something?”.
Very often students skim over language without really noticing what’s going on. The idea with this exercise if to get them in the habit of examining the structures they come across in the hopes they can reproduce them in the future.
The really interesting piece of language here is that the “If I were you” structure is used twice, once to give advice for future and once to comment on the past. Draw their attention to this and to the form as they’ll have the opportunity to practice it in a second.
Display one of the pictures and the problems from the set, whichever one you like.
In pairs, ask sts to write their reply to this person. Don’t give them too much in the way of guidelines here as this can produce some really interesting language. I like to give them a post-it note to do this on as then I can collect them in easily.
Correct any errors in advice that come up, board any other ways of giving advice that come up and any interesting language you find.
Display the remaining problems and pictures around the room. Students walk around in pairs and give advice to the pictures.
Teacher monitors, helps out when necessary and notes down interesting errors and language.
Feedback as a whole class and correct anything that has arisen.