Following on from my previous blog about Speaking Part 1, Phase 1, here are some tips and advice to get your students to produce long answers during the next phase. I normally tell my students that this is where they have to make their first decent impression. But how can they go about that?
Apart from speaking perfect English with an RP accent, something I admit might be a tad difficult to do at this level, then producing a couple of long, decent answers is the way to go. Make a good impression here and they’ve already got that B1 certificate in their hands waving it to granny.
The key is to give long enough answers to impress, but not too long so that their colleague might start worrying that they won’t get a word in edgeways in the next part, plus they don’t want to scare the examiner and make them think they’ll have a problem with their timing. Just because you speak a lot, doesn’t mean you’ll get top marks. What you say has to be accurate, flow, be with good pronunciation, and use a variety of grammar and vocabulary.
I start off by showing a typical questions for this part, along with two answers and ask them to decide which is the best answer, and why.
- What is your favourite sport?
- Well, actually it’s football because I love watching it on TV and also I play in a team and train three or four times a week. I love the feeling when I score a goal, however sometimes I get upset when my team lose.
Obviously answer 2 is better because it’s a fuller, longer answer which uses linkers and is more developed. Then I get them to write down their own answers, but trying to use a couple of the following linkers.
This is to get them to develop their answers and produce more English each time they answer a question.
In addition I find it helps to let students know the type of questions they might face in this part. Students will more or less know what to expect up to this part, but the next one or two questions are less difficult to predict.
In previous classes I’ve done the following activity. Ask students which of the following questions could be asked in the phase 2. These have all been taken from Cambridge English PET for schools 1.
- What’s your favourite school subject and why?
- Why do you have to study Maths?
- Tell us about a bad experience with your English teacher
- Tell us about your English teacher
- What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
- Would you like to play chess this weekend?
- Tell us about a time when you had a fight with someone in your family
- Tell us about your family
I hope it’s obvious to you which ones they wouldn’t be asked (2, 3, 6, 7). You can elicit why. Basically because they could be confrontational, and are too specific and difficult to answer. I’d definitely get my students to practise these anyway, and also make up some more questions, both Cambridge style, and different ones, just to have a laugh in class. Always making sure they produce decent answers with the linkers above. Here you can find a link to my power point presentation: B1 Speaking Part 1, Phase 2.
Here are a few FAQ’s that I’ve had in this part over the years, bless.
Q) Why do I have to give long answers?
A) Just do it, don’t be lazy. Do you want the B1, or not?
Q) Why if I don’t have an English teacher?
A) Hello, what am I?
Q) What if I don’t like chess?
A) You probably won’t get a question like that, weren’t you listening?
Q) What if I don’t like my family?
A) Just be honest, you’ll probably end up giving a mildly interesting question even if you don’t like them.
As mentioned in my previous blog, I normally use myself as an example to show the type of answers which could get them better marks. You can always pretend and give a bad answer, just to show them what not to do as well.
The next blog will be about part 2, the discussing part.