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

I saw Fari Greenaway presenting activities to use with proficiency students at the IH Online conference in May 2019.  Since it’s hard to find good ideas to use with such high-level students, I asked her if she’d mind sharing them with the readers of this blog.  Many of them can be adapted for other levels too. Thank you for agreeing, Fari! (Yep, this post has been a while in arriving! It was also written before any of this COVID malarky happened, hence the fact that online teaching isn’t mentioned, though most of the activities should be pretty easy to adapt online.)

My experience with teaching C2 Proficiency classes is that the materials tend to be very dense and lack communicative or interactive ideas. As a result, teaching C2 often means creating your own activities. I’d like to share some of the activities I use in class.

As with all students C2 level learners can gain from the benefits of interactive work: helping memory, promoting practice and providing motivation by making lessons more fun.

Presentation

Extreme adjective mingle

1) List adjectives and their extreme versions on the board ask students to match the two, e.g.:

hot                                                       exhausted

cold                                                     boiling

tired                                                    furious

interesting                                          starving

angry                                                  freezing

hungry                                               fascinating

2) Elicit the differences between the two lists (the extreme adjectives on the right are non-gradable and take different adverbs – you may want to go through some examples)

3) Give each student a regular adjective on a card and ask them to write a statement on the card with the adjective e.g.: “It’s hot in here”

4) Students should mingle and read their sentences to each other, the listener should answer with the extreme adjective in the correct intonation e.g.. “Hot? It’s boiling!”

Here’s a ready-made extreme adjective activity to give you an idea, but I prefer that the students make their own sentences https://www.eslprintables.com/grammar_worksheets/adjectives/Extreme_adjective_mingling_act_607982/ (retrieved on 15/05/19)

Peer teaching memory test

If your book comes with grammar explanations that you like to use or think are useful: give students a set (short) amount of time to read the information. Ask them to close their books and reconstruct as much they can of the text / rules whilst speaking with their partner.

Reported speech and reporting verbs

  • Students brainstorm reporting verbs.
  • Display a list of reporting verbs on the board and ask students to work together to organise them into groups according to the structure that follows them, this can be done with the verbs written on cards or on a board (ideally an IWB). There is a good table at: https://de.scribd.com/document/136102001/Reporting-Verbs-Table-pdf (retrieved 15/05/19).
  • Check as a class.
  • Give each student a reporting verb and ask them to come up with a sentence that illustrates that verb but doesn’t use it (in direct speech) e.g.: you give them a card saying “apologise” and they write “I’m sorry for being late”.
  • Students mingle and say their sentences to each other.
  • Put students into small groups, they should now report on what the other students in the group said using the structures revised previously, e.g.: She apologised for being late.

Passive/Causative structures

The TV show How it’s made is great for passive and causative structures.

  • Choose a video to show e.g.: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1VfdXmqjN8 and then ask students to recall.
  • Ask some introductory questions about the topic, e.g.: in this case: Have you ever tried Japanese noodles? How are they different from Chinese noodles etc…
  • Watch the video and ask students to make notes on what they see.
  • Elicit the structures used in the video, e.g.: “This factory was formed in…” “433 tonnes will be used every year.”
  • Display key words and ask students to reconstruct the procedure, speaking in pairs.
  • Feedback as a class.
  • Students work in pairs to write about the manufacturing process of the product of their choice.

This is also a great video for ellipsis and provides lots of vocabulary and examples of collocations.

Practise

Jigsaw activities

  • Choose a fairly long grammar practice activity (I use activities from Destination C1 and C2) [Amazon affiliate link]
  • Make two copies of it and complete half of the answers on each page i.e. the odd numbers on one page and the evens on another. Label the pages “Student A” and “Student B”. Sit students in A/B pairs and ask them to tell each other what they think is the correct answer
  • They should help each other to find the answer by giving leading responses rather than giving them the correct answer immediately if they get it wrong.

Grass skirts (a race!)

  • Copy sentence transformations and cut them into fringed tear off strips.
  • Tape the pages to the board or door so that students can tear off one transformation at a time.
  • Put students into pairs or small groups.
  • One student from each group at a time should come and tear off a strip from their page (you may want to mark the pages with team names or letters) and take it back to their team.
  • When they have agreed on an answer they write it on the paper and show it to you. If it is correct they tear off the next strip and repeat. If not, they go back to their group and try again.
  • The winning group is the one which finishes their sentences correctly first

Revise

Peer teaching

  • Put students into pairs or small groups.
  • Write structures you have covered and would like to revise on cards for students to randomly select.
  • Supply students with reference material to research their structure.
  • Give students 15 minutes to prepare a short presentation for the rest of the group: it must be presented without prompts, they must provide examples and other students should make notes.

Structure bingo

Create a short grid of structures you would like to revise and a list of 6 topics on the board. Students roll a dice to select the topic and try to be the first to correctly get bingo whilst discussing their topic.

Phrasal verbs / verbs with dependent prepositions

  • With a reading text from the book, do the reading in class or for homework.
  • Give students a list of verbs to find and to underline which preposition they go with.
  • List the prepositions on the board for students to complete with the correct preposition (books closed!)
  • Display gapped sentences on the board or around the room.

Recommended resources

Total English Advanced: Teacher’s Resource Book, Pearson Longman, 2007. Will Moreton [Amazon affiliate link]

Destination C1 and C2 Grammar and Vocabulary, Macmillan, 2008. Malcolm Mann and Steve Taylore-Knowles [Amazon affiliate link]

Devilish Dilemmas game [Amazon affiliate link]

Bio

Fari likes baking.

Other than that she is a linguistics graduate, DELTA qualified and DELTA tutor. She has written numerous EFL articles for different journals and has written teaching material for Edelvives. Fari has spoken has spoken at a variety of provincial, national and international conferences and is a great believer in promoting learner autonomy.

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