I'm sure many of you who teach EFL/ESL have had to do a lesson on writing letters of advice and I'm sure that many of you have come across activities in course books that use newspaper or magazine problem pages. I thought I'd post a web - based twist on the idea that could be used to introduce the idea and provide valuable listening and speaking practice.
The exercise is aimed at post intermediate learners and preferably over 16 year - olds as the subjects tackled may be considered too sensitive for younger students. Alternatively, you could use the same approach but source more appropriate materials for your teaching situation.
1 Tell students that they are going to see a short extract from a British TV programme called the Jeremy Kyle Show. As they listen they should think about the following points.
- What kind of TV show is it?
- Is there anything similar in their country?
- Why do people appear on this show?
- What kind of people watch shows like this?
2 Show the video. I choose his particular extract as it has been subtitled making easier for students to understand the regional accents. Show about 1 or 2 minutes just enough for them to get the general idea.
3 Students discuss their answers in groups/pairs then share them with the rest of the class.
4 Divide the class into two groups. One group watches the rest of the video posted above the other waits outside for four minutes. The group writes down as much as they can about what they have heard.
5 The second group comes in and watches the second part of the show and does the same. n the meanwhile the first group leaves the room and compares notes.
6 The class gets together to form pairs with one person form each group. They compare notes on the situation described and discuss the following questions.
- Who is involved?
- What is the problem?
- Who is right?
- What should be done?
7 Discuss the situation as a class.
8 Now explain to the class that they will see the final part of the how in which an expert is asked to comment of what has happened. They should listen and write down.
- What advice does he give?
- Do you agree?
9 Discuss the answers as a class.
If you have time you could also explore with the class the ethics of such shows or the differences between Britain and their own place in handling such situations.
10 Now explain to the class they are going to write an email/letter giving advice to the brother.
11 You could use your course book or perhaps a writing skills one such as Longman's Writing Skills for FCE. For more problem pages check out Problempages.co.uk.
Alternatively, you could get students to write a scripted answer and then get the to record it on video using a webcam or mobile/cell phone. The replies could be posted on their personal blog/portfolios or on a class moodle/blog.