Feb 11


A grammar practice activity...

Second conditional questions

A great classroom speaking activity to get learners, interested, engaged and practising a really useful piece of language. Works well face-to-face or online.

You can access the worksheet here.

Want a great activity to get learners, interested, engaged and practising a really useful piece of language? Here’s one for you. Low preparation, high output, and lots of authentic personalised use of language. Sounds good? Keep watching.

I’m Jo Gakonga from ELT training.com and if we haven’t met before, I’m a teacher, educator, CELTA trainer and assessor and I make videos like this for trainees, novice teachers and people a bit further down the road.

Second conditionals are commonly taught from pre-intermediate upwards and it’s a really useful bit of language describing impossible or unlikely situations- ''if I were you, I’d ask her…" (I’m not you – it’s impossible that I’m you, but if I were, I’d ask her….) or "if I had time, I’d read it"... (I don’t have time, it’s not likely I’m going to read it, but if I did….)

The form’s relatively straightforward with the main difficulty being that we’re using a past tense form but the meaning is about now or the future, so make sure they understand that.

But how about a practice activity? I’ve got a really good one for you.

The tasks you often see are things like ‘If you won the lottery, what would you do? Or ‘If you could be any animal, what would you be?’ These are fine, and for the record I’d be a cat, but how can you make this kind of language a bit more engaging and stimulate a bit more thought?

It comes down to the KIND of questions you ask. This is such a rich seam of language for things which people are genuinely interested in answering. How about a question like this… or this…. Or this….

If you like these, there’s a link to a worksheet below that you can download for free with 20 questions like this one and here are three ideas for how you could arrange this in class.

Number one.
Give these questions out on cards, one question per card and then in small groups, learners take it in turns to pick up a question and answer it together giving their answers. You listen, monitor, help with language they need and collect errors for delayed correction.

Number two
Another way to organise this is to give each person in the class a different question and get them to find out the answer from three different people. You could add a time limit -maybe they have to talk about their questions for five minutes before they swap partners and make notes about their partner’s answer. At the end of the activity, the learners can report back on the three answers and say which one they thought was the most interesting.

Number three.
Give the learners the same six questions (choose the ones you think they’ll find most interesting). Ask them to choose ONE and to WRITE their answer. Give them some time to do this, monitor and help with vocabulary et cetera. You could also let them use online dictionaries. Tell them how many words to write (maybe 100).

Now they work in pairs and read their answers to each other. They have to listen carefully because the next task is to write their partner's answer down. Not as a dictation, but after they’ve heard it all. When they’ve both spoken and had some time to write down what the other person said, I can compare it with the original to see if they missed anything.

I hope this was helpful and that you enjoy the activity. See you soon for now. Bye