Technologically and linguistically adventurous EFL teacher, trainer, writer and manager

Today we were going to talk about jobs, write job adverts for the students’ dream jobs and then short letters applying for them. Instead we generated a lot of vocabulary, and did a lot of discussion, like so:

Students brainstormed jobs in pairs (they are upper intermediate/B2). While they were doing this, I typed words which appeared on more then one list into Tagxedo. After a few minutes they called out anything which was missing, and we came up with the following wordcloud:

Jobs wordcloud

Generally I would get them to do this on the whiteboard, but we were in a small classroom, and I had to choose between the whiteboard or IWB – I couldn’t arrange the classroom to be able to use both!

Next, I asked them to decide which two jobs from the selection above are the most difficult and to think of good reasons. They gave their reasons to the class, and we ended up with a list of seven jobs: fireman, doctor, president, thief, lawyer, policeman and [company] director.

Starting from this list, the students came up with a list of characteristics which you need to be good at these/your job(s). During this stage the students were all asking me for specific vocabulary which they wanted for certain characteristics. Again, I entered them into tagxedo and came up with this list.

Characteristics for jobs

We pushed the tables against the walls and they mingled to try to persuade each other that the two jobs they added to our list of seven were the most difficult, using the adjectives where appropriate. A couple of students did change their minds, and in the final vote fireman and doctor were the clear winners.

To finish the lesson, students wrote short descriptions starting with:

  • The best fireman in the world (is)…
  • The best doctor in the world (is)…

Tomorrow we’re going to compare the descriptions which they came up with and use these to create adverts for these two jobs. Then we will move on to students writing their own adverts as I originally planned to do today.

What worked

Students were constantly asking me for the specific words they needed to describe things, particularly personality adjectives.

Students were motivated and engaged in the topic.

Things to improve

The stage where the students mingled and tried to change the minds of the other students didn’t work as well as I hoped it would. Does anyone have a good alternative here?


Comments on: "Jobs and Personality: my lesson today" (4)

  1. At a lecture I went to the speaker had different color post-its which people stuckon their clothes to represent the thing they were rooting for. if they were convinced to change their minds they changed the color of the post it. then everyone placed the post it on the board and the number of post its was counted.
    I’m not at all sure that helps with your problem but it does make it more visual / concrete.
    I’m sure the students enjoyed the lesson!


  2. Thanks for that post. My thoughts on the ‘convincing’ task is that they would really benefit from 5 minutes quiet time to prepare some ideas, make a few notes, and rehearse whatever they felt they would benefit from individually. Although they’d already prepared their adjectives, the new task required some strategic thinking, much the same as if they were preparing for an important meeting. Another option might be to choose one job only, shortening the task. Then give some feedback and repeat the task.

    It’s the first time I’ve seen that word cloud programme. I’d be very interested to hear what you see as the respective benefits of using that vs the whiteboard alone.

    Good stuff!


    • Thanks for you suggestion Oli. I agree that some specfici thinking time could have ben usefl for the persuasive language.
      There is post on my blog about how to use wordclouds in your lesson: there are lots of things you can use them for to add variety. The main reason I used it in this lesson was because we couldn’t get to the whiteboard and it was faster than using the IWB pens!
      I’d be interested if you decide to have a go with you. You can print them off if youi don’t have an IWB.


  3. […] Jobs and Personality: my lesson today  […]


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