I don’t know about you, but I find a To Do list very helpful
and so here’s a way to use that idea in class. I’m Jo Gakonga from
ELT-Training.com and this is a great, personalised, authentic activity to
practice the language of obligation.
The first thing to do is to introduce the idea of a To Do
list. Clearly, this isn’t very complicated- it’s just a list of reminders of
what you have to do today or this week- usually for short term goals. You could
start with a discussion about these- do you write to do lists? If so how? On
paper? Your phone? A board at home or at work? Somewhere else? Do you use them
for work? Personal things? OK- so now you show them an example of a To Do list.
This could be your own or a make up one. Here’s an example of mine. Make sure
that some of the things are higher priority or more immediate than others. Now
ask them to write a list of their own. Five things. They could use dictionaries
to help and you can monitor and help with vocabulary. These should just be in
note form- not full sentences.
Now, the language point of the lesson is to introduce or
revise language of obligation that’s appropriate to the level of the group.
This could be simple modals such as should, must, have to and might for lower
levels or more complex functional language at higher levels I'd love to, I
really need to , I've been thinking about, it’s about time I (did).
So, start with a listening task. Use this language to talk
about your To Do list and ask them to listen for which of your tasks are most
important. You could say something like- ‘I know I need to clean the bathroom,
but I keep putting it off’ for example. Now you have a context, so make sure
that they are clear about the meaning, form and pronunciation of the language
and get them to use this to write sentences about the things on their own To Do
list. You can then put them in pairs (in break out rooms if you are online) to
tell each other about their lists and what they have to do. If you wanted to
make a game out of this, you could ask them to include one thing that’s not
true and their partner has to guess which one is the lie. I’d say that you should
swap partners at least once so that they get more practice with the same
language – you could do it more than this too. Remember that repetition really
helps to develop fluency and accuracy and they’ll be interested in different
people’s lsts, so it won’t be boring.
At the end, you could finish off the lesson with a
discussion about the merits of having a to do list. Is it helpful? Does it make
you more productive? Can it just be overwhelming? What’s the best way to write
or use a to do list? Perhaps a really good thing to fiish off with it Could you
use one for language learning? How?
So there you go- a great way of practicing personalised language of obligation. I hope that your
learners like it – remember if YOU like this, there’s lots more on ELT-Training.com.