W riting 139 Teacher’s Book 4 Communicator

Teacher’s Book 4 Communicator
Writing
139
This book
1
Writing a formal response
101
141
2
Writing on a topic
116
159
Writing
Student book
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Teacher’s Book 4 Communicator
Writing
Writing Part 1
Introduction
141
Introduction to Writing Part 1
The focus of Writing Part 1 is to test the candidate’s ability to respond
formally to a text. Candidates are presented with one or more short texts,
which may be written, graphic or visual. The text(s) may be an email,
letter, schedule, diary, poster, notice, table, etc.
In response to the input text(s), candidates may be asked to write a letter,
report, argument or article. The candidate’s writing has a utilitarian
purpose, eg, entering a competition, arguing for or against building a new
sports centre in the local area, etc.
The intended audience of the candidates’ writing is public and distant
from the candidate. Candidates are asked to write between 100 to 150
words addressing all the points raised in the input text.
Your students need practice in:
– reading short texts which ask questions, make requests for suggestions,
advice and points of view
– responding appropriately to these questions and requests for opinions,
suggestions etc.
– using formal language
– organising their ideas using a variety of cohesive devices into a wellstructured and coherent piece of writing.
Student introduction
In this part of the test, you write a formal response to a text.
You are given one or more short texts. The texts may be written – email, letter,
schedule, diary, poster, notice, table, etc – and may contain pictures or charts.
Your response to the text may be a letter, report or article. You are told the reason
why you are writing.
You write between 100 and 150 words and have to cover all the points raised in
the text you are responding to. You may have to put forward an argument.
To prepare, you need to be able to:
– read short texts that ask questions, ask for your suggestions, advice or views
– respond appropriately to these questions and requests
– use formal language
– organise your ideas into a well-structured piece of writing.
1
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Notes
1 Writing a formal response
Applying for a summer job
Depending on the age of your students, ask them what summer jobs/
part-time jobs they have done/are doing/would like to do. Do they think
it’s a good idea to work abroad? Why/why not?Ask them to work in
pairs or groups to match the drawings with the adverts for jobs. Then
tell them to discuss what the good and bad points (pros and cons) of the
jobs might be. Walk around and monitor, supplying vocabulary if needed.
Have a brief feedback session with the whole class. Which would be
the most popular job (assuming pay and conditions were all equal)?
The points which may arise could be:
Job
Pros
Cons
Beach
lifeguard
Children’s
camp worker
Fruit picker
Waiter/
waitress
Tour guide
Outdoors/meeting people
Bad weather/dangerous
Working outdoors/
having fun
Fresh air/in the
countryside/working
with a team/free fruit!
Meeting people/
tips
Meet lots of people/
practise English
Difficult children/tiring
Hard work/the weather/
boring
Tiring/difficult customers
Need to know lots of facts
1
A lot of students have summer jobs to earn money and get some work
experience. Have you ever had a summer job? How many different
summer jobs have your classmates had?
2
Look at the pictures of four different summer jobs and match them with
the job advertisements below. In pairs or groups talk about what might
be good (pros) and bad (cons) about the jobs. Tick (Y) the one you would
prefer to do.
A
C
A
D
B
Summer Jobs
Fun ‘n’ Sun Children’s Camp
We need people who:
– can teach a sport
– can help with the cooking
– are good with children
Please apply, giving your details, to:
Ms Jackie Bingham, Camp Manager
Writing Part 1
Writing a formal response
B
143
Notes
Corleone’s Italian Restaurant
Waiter/waitress needed from July–Sept.
Experience preferred, but not essential.
Must be quick, friendly and speak good English.
Apply in writing, giving the name and address of one referee, to:
Mr Gino Zeffirelli, Manager
C
Beach Lifeguards Wanted!
Do you have a Lifeguard Certificate?
Would you like to spend the summer on a beautiful beach?
If your answers are yes, then we’d like to hear from you.
We need responsible, friendly people to help keep our
beaches safe for swimmers and surfers.
Write, explaining why you would be good at the job, to:
Mrs Felicity Morris
Personnel Co-ordinator
Westcliff Beaches
D
Fruit Pickers Needed
Damson Farm is recruiting workers for this summer.
We grow strawberries, raspberries, plums and apples, and
the season lasts from June–Oct. You must be physically fit,
hard-working and enjoy being part of a team.
Good rates of pay and workers are provided with food
and board.
If you are interested, write to:
Mr Jim Farthing
Director of Seasonal Work
Now tell the students that they are going to apply for job A. This is
a whole-group writing task, aimed at producing a model letter of
application. Tell them to close their books and build up the letter with
you on the board.
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Teacher’s Book 4 Communicator
Ask how you:
– open and close a letter to someone whose name you know. (Dear
Ms/Miss/Mrs/Mr Bingham – don’t give their first name or the initial.
Use ‘Yours sincerely’ at the end and sign off by giving your whole
name.)
– open and close a letter to a man or woman whose name you don’t
know. (Dear Sir/Dear Madam and Yours faithfully – sign off by
giving your whole name.)
Explain why you are writing first. Elicit:
‘I am writing with reference to your advertisement for summer jobs at
the Children’s Summer Camp.’
Ask what four details an employer might need to know first. Change
the details to fit in with your class (age, nationality, occupation, reason
for writing).
‘I am a twenty-year-old Czech student, looking for work during the
summer holidays.’
Ask what you would need to inform the employer about next
(experience/why would you be good for the job?)
‘I have not worked with children before, but I get on with them very
well and spend a lot of time with my younger nephews and nieces.’
And next – skills, interests, etc:
‘The sports I am keen on are tennis and basketball and I would enjoy
teaching these to children. Cooking is also another hobby of mine and
I have experience of preparing meals for a lot of people.’
And about your character?
‘I’m sociable, responsible and enjoy working as part of a team.’
What questions would you want to ask the employer? (pay,
accommodation, location of the camp). Some practice on writing
indirect questions follows after this exercise.
‘I should like to ask you where exactly the camp is situated, what the
rates of pay are and whether accommodation is provided or not.’
A polite, formal closing formula is:
‘Please contact me if you need any further details and I look forward to
hearing from you in due course.’
Writing Part 1
Writing a formal response
3
Read the application letter for the job in Text A. Does Jana cover all
the requirements of the job description in her letter? List the points
she covers.
Dear Ms Bingham,
I am writing with reference to your advertisement for
summer jobs at the Children’s Summer Camp.
I am a twenty-year-old Czech student, looking for work
during the summer holidays between June and September. I
have not worked with children before, but I get on with them
very well and spend a lot of time with my younger nephews
and nieces.
The sports I am keen on are tennis and basketball and I would
enjoy teaching these to children. Cooking is also another hobby
of mine and I have experience of preparing meals for large
groups of people. I’m also sociable, responsible and enjoy working
as part of a team.
I should like to ask you where exactly the camp is situated,
what the rates of pay are and whether accommodation is
provided or not.
I look forward to hearing from you in due course.
Yours sincerely,
Jana
good with children (job requirement)
can teach a sport (job requirement)
can help with cooking (job requirement)
sociable
responsible
enjoys teamwork
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Notes
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Teacher’s Book 4 Communicator
Notes
Now ask the students to read the two job applications for job B. Which do
they think is better and why? What is wrong with Razavi’s letter? Make
sure they look at all the listed points.
4
Read the two letters of application for the job in Text B. Which letter
is better?
A
Dear Gino!
I read about the job so thought I’d write and ask for it. It
sounds great! I’ve got loads of experience and I’m sociable, etc.
Also I
– speak English, Italian and so on
– am very quick.
You can ask Peter Wright about me – he’ll say how good I am.
Oh yes, what’s the pay and the hours?
Okay – see you.
Razavi
B
Dear Mr Zeffirelli,
I am writing to apply for the job of waitress at your
restaurant. I am an eighteen-year-old university student
and am free to work from July to September.
I do not have any experience but I learn quickly. I speak
very good English and am both reliable and sociable.
The name of my referee is Mr Michael Curtis. I attach
his address and telephone number.
I should also like to ask about the working hours and rates
of pay.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Yours sincerely,
Marta Valdarama
Writing Part 1
Writing a formal response
5
Can you find ten things that are wrong with letter A?
1 salutation – too informal
2 contractions (I’d) should be avoided
3 exclamation marks – too informal
4 colloquialisms like ‘loads of’, too informal
5 don’t use bullet points in a letter of application
6 giving the name of a referee should be done formally
7 don’t use phrases like ‘oh yes’, ‘ok’, ‘etc ‘ in formal letters
8 try to avoid direct questions – indirect questions are more polite
9 close your letter suitably (Yours sincerely)
10 give your full name.
Direct and indirect questions
Explain that in English indirect questions are more polite and ‘formal’
than direct ones.
Tell the students to look at the contrast between the following pairs of
identical questions from letters of application. Questions A are direct
and B indirect. Draw their attention to the common grammatical errors.
6
Look at the different ways of asking the same questions. The first
examples (A) are direct. Direct questions are not very polite to use
in a formal letter. The second examples (B) are indirect questions and
are better in formal letters. Take note of the incorrect structures.
A How many hours must I work?
B I would like to know how many hours I have to work.
(not ‘I would like to know how many hours do I have to work.’)
A Where is the restaurant situated?
B I also need to know where the restaurant is situated.
(not ‘I also need to know where is the restaurant situated.’)
A What are the rates of pay?
B Please tell me what the rates of pay are.
(not ‘Please tell me what are the rates of pay.’)
A Also, do you give your workers a uniform or not?
B Please let me know if/whether you give your workers a uniform.
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Notes
Now ask them to make indirect questions from the direct questions.
7
Now make indirect questions from these direct questions.
A Where is the accommodation?
B I would like to know where the accommodation is.
A Do you provide your workers with meals?
B Please let me know whether you provide your workers with meals.
A What time does the job begin?
B I would like to know what time the job begins.
A How many free days a week would I have?
B Please tell me how many free days a week I would have.
A Is it easy to get to the farm?
B I would like to know how easy it is to get to the farm
Now ask them to read the letter of application for job C and to fill in the
gaps with one word per gap. When you check it through with them,
look out for the following common mistakes: Mrs Felicity Morris; job
for lifeguard; twenty-four years old; enjoyed it too much; and I love to
work; accommodation you provided; to hear from you.
8
Now read the letter of application for the job in Text C in activity 2.
Put one word in each gap.
Dear Mrs Morris,
I am writing to apply for the job of lifeguard on Westcliff Beach. I am a twentyfour-year-old student and I got my Lifeguard Certificate two years ago. Last
summer I worked as a lifeguard in my own country and enjoyed it very much.
I am a responsible and sociable person and would love to work on an English
beach. I am free from June until the end of September.
I should like to ask what the rates of pay are and what kind of accommodation
is provided.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Yours sincerely,
Pierre Plancherel
Writing Part 1
Writing a formal response
149
Check their answers as a whole group.
9
Compare your answers with a partner’s.
Ask the students to write a letter of application for job D. This could be
set as an item of homework, if time is short. In the test, they are not
required to write any addresses.
In their letter they must:
– say why they want the job
– explain when they are available to work
– describe why they are suitable for the job
– ask about the farm location, pay, if accommodation and food are free.
10 Write a letter of application for the job in Text D in activity 2. In the test,
you do not have to write any addresses. Write about 100 words. In your
letter you must:
–
–
–
–
–
give some details about yourself
say why you want the job
explain when you are available to work
describe why you are suitable for the job
ask about the farm location, pay and whether accommodation and food are free.
Dear
,
Notes
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Notes
International English for Speakers of Other Languages
Teacher’s Book 4 Communicator
Pet hates – writing to a newspaper
Start by asking your students what they think the ‘pet hates’ of the
following people are. Do they share the people’s irritations or not?
11 Read about the things that different people get annoyed about.
What do you think their ‘pet hates’ are? Write your answers below.
A
‘It’s disgusting. People just seem to spit it out anywhere. And then it gets stuck to the
pavements and looks terrible. I think it should be banned.’ Ruby Shepherd
chewing gum on the street
B
‘At least they should switch them off on trains and buses. Most of the time people are
just talking about nothing anyway.’ Jazmine Yee
mobile phones
C
‘They’re so annoying. When you sit next to someone using one all you can hear is this
loud thumping sound.’ Thomas Marriott
ipods/personal stereos
Now ask your students to read the letter from Brian Langham.
12 Now read the letter to a newspaper in response to A.
Dear Sir,
I’m writing in reply to Ruby Shepherd’s letter complaining
about all the chewing gum on our streets.
I agree that it is disgusting, but I think I may have a
solution. Why don’t we put up ‘gum targets’ around the city,
where people could stick their gum?
The ‘targets’ could be faces of famous people or of things we
dislike. We could even have a question board like ‘Is there too
much football on TV?’ and you can either stick your gum on
‘yes’ or ‘no’.
I think people would use the targets and the gum could then
be easily disposed of. What do your other readers think?
Brian Langham
Writing Part 1
Writing a formal response
Get your students to discuss the questions in their pairs or groups.
13 Discuss these questions with a partner and then write a sentence
or two for each that expresses your own opinion.
Should chewing gum in public places be banned?
What do you think about the ‘gum targets’ idea?
Should dropping gum be a legal offence? Why/why not?
Have a brief feedback session. What is the general feeling about gum?
Now get the students to work by writing in pairs. Ask Student A to write
a letter expressing dislike of people using mobile phones in public places.
Ask Student B to write a letter complaining about people who throw litter
on the streets. Move around the class monitoring the writing practice,
correcting errors and supplying language when asked.
14 Now you are going to write some letters to a newspaper.
Student A: Write a letter expressing your dislike of people who use mobile
phones in public places, such as trains, buses, libraries and restaurants.
Student B: Write a letter complaining about people who throw litter on
the streets.
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Notes
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Notes
Dear
,
Now get Students A and B to give each other their letters to read. You
can ask two or three of the partners to read the letters aloud to the
class (about both topics). Then get them to write letters of reply, giving
practical solutions to the problems raised.
15 Give each other your letters to read. What do you think about the ‘pet
hates’? Can you think of any answers?
16 Write a letter of reply, giving practical solutions to the problems raised.
Dear
I’m writing in reply
,
Writing Part 1
Writing a formal response
153
Again, get them to swap in order to read the replies to their original
letters. Listen to some of them as a whole class and talk about which
solutions are the best. Make sure you mark all the letters and note any
problems that arise.
17 Swap, and read the replies to your original letter. Do you think the
solutions are good?
Get the students to write a letter to a newspaper about their own ‘pet
hate’. Ask for between 100 and 150 words. (This could be set as a
homework exercise if time is short.)
18 Write a letter to a newspaper about your own ‘pet hate’. Write between
100 and 150 words.
Dear
,
Notes
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Teacher’s Book 4 Communicator
Writing reports
Tell your students to read the notice.
19 Read the memo.
Memo
To: Improvement Committee
From: Peter Smith, Director
You will be pleased to know that we have now been given a large sum of
money to make improvements to both the exterior and interior of our
college buildings.
I would be grateful if the Improvement Committee could write a report
giving ideas and suggestions about how we should spend the money to
the benefit of the students and staff.
Please include:
– a list of building problems (exterior and interior)
– your recommendations for improvements.
Get your students to think about the place where they work or study. The
students can work in pairs or small groups. Get them to ask each other
what they think about the things that are listed.
20 Think about the place where you work or study. In pairs or small groups,
discuss what you think about the following aspects:
The outside of the building:
– Is it attractive/in a good state of repair?
– Are there any gardens? What are they like?
– Are there any parking facilities? What are they like?
The inside of the building
– Does the design help you to work/study well?
– Are the materials and colours used attractive?
– Is the furniture comfortable?
– Are the rest areas relaxing?
– How good is the food and refreshment provision?
Writing Part 1
Writing a formal response
I recommend that…
Students now work individually. Ask them to write down one thing that
would improve each one of these aspects (eight altogether). Brainstorm
for ideas on the first bullet point (it needs repainting, the windows need
replacing, the doors should be automatic, there should be better access
for disabled people, etc). Choose some of the suggestions and write a)
the heading, b) the problems and c) the recommendations on the board.
21 Now tell a partner what things about the exterior of the building you
would like to change and how you would change them.
Here is an example.
Exterior
Problems
The outside of the building is in poor condition with peeling paint and broken windows.
It is also difficult for some disabled students to get up the steps and to enter through
the main doors.
Recommendations
The exterior of the building should be repainted and the broken windows should be
mended. There ought to be a ramp for disabled students. It would be better if the main
entrance doors were automatic.
Ask the students to write what they consider to be the problems and
recommendations for their own place of work or study. They can do this
as a collaborative task in pairs. Alternatively this can be done individually
for homework or as a timed exercise in class.
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Notes
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Teacher’s Book 4 Communicator
Notes
22 Now complete the report setting out the problems and giving your
recommendations for each of the headings.
My Place of Work/Study – Report
Exterior
Condition of building
Problems:
Recommendations:
Gardens
Problems:
Recommendations:
Parking facilities
Problems:
Recommendations:
Interior
Suitability for work/study
Problems:
Recommendations:
Writing Part 1
Writing a formal response
157
Notes
Materials and colours
Problems:
Recommendations:
Furniture
Problems:
Recommendations:
Rest areas
Problems:
Recommendations:
Food and refreshments
Problems:
Recommendations:
As a whole class, get each (pair of) student(s) to read what they have
written. Invite comment on the language and the ideas from the rest
of the group. Make sure you mark all the work and make a note of any
problem areas (eg, language of suggestion and recommendation).
23 Listen to the ideas and suggestions made by the other students in
your group.
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Teacher’s Book 4 Communicator
Test practice
Tips from the examiners
Read the instructions carefully. Do you have to write a letter, an argument,
an article or a report?
Read the ‘input text(s)’ in the box(es). Highlight the points that you have to write about.
Ask yourself:
– Who am I writing to?
– What must I write?
– How can I write it?
You may like to jot down a plan or some words and phrases that will act as a ‘skeleton’
for the finished piece of writing. Remember that your language must be formal.
Check the number of words is between 100 and 150.
Write a letter of reply to this advertisement from your local newspaper.
Write between 100 and 150 words.
Extra Room in Local Museum
The planning committee has decided to build an extra room in
our local museum. We are looking for ideas about what to put
into the new room. We want it to be a new and exciting place
for children and interesting for adults, too. Please write with
your ideas and suggestions to:
David Cafferey
Museum Director
Writing Part 2
Introduction
159
Introduction to Writing Part 2
The focus of Writing Part 2 is to test the candidate’s ability to produce
a continuous text of between 150 and 200 words on a given topic in an
informal style and for a specified reader.
Candidates are required to write one of the following:
– a personal letter
– a personal narrative
– a story
– a descriptive composition.
Your students need practice in:
– reading the instructions carefully so they know exactly what they must
write about
– planning and organising their writing
– using paragraphs
– developing and expanding ideas, narratives, descriptions
– using a style and language that are appropriate for what they are writing
– building their range of vocabulary and structures
– using linking language correctly and effectively
– checking their writing for errors.
Student introduction
In this part of the test, you write a text of between 150 and 200 words on a topic
you are given.
You write one of the following:
– a personal letter
– a personal narrative
– a story
– a descriptive composition.
To prepare, you need to:
– plan and organise your writing
– be able to use linking language correctly and effectively
– be able to use paragraphs
– develop and expand ideas, narratives, descriptions
– understand what style and language are appropriate for what you are writing
– find ways to build up your range of vocabulary and structures
– check your writing for errors.
2
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Teacher’s Book 4 Communicator
2 Writing on a topic
Writing a personal letter
Engage the students’ interest in the topic of personal letters. One
easy way to do this is to take in and pretend to read what is obviously
a letter from family/friends, using facial expressions to show amusement,
concern, etc.
Ask the students to read the letter from Ming to a friend, Pavel. Ask them
to look closely at the information in the letter and to think about what
Ming is communicating (eg, congratulations, advice). Ask the students
individually to write a letter which they think could be similar to Pavel’s
original letter. There will obviously be some differences between the
original and what they write (eg, in what success Pavel has had) but the
same type of information should be there.
Emphasise that the students are not expected to write exactly what Pavel
wrote – the point of this part of the test is to give candidates the chance
to produce freer writing in response to a prompt.
1
Look at the letter below.
Dear Pavel,
Well done! I’m really, really pleased for you! I know it was
hard work but now you can relax. I’m afraid I can’t be there
to celebrate with you on the 15th – please say ‘hello’ to
everyone from me.
I was sorry to hear about Suzie, but I’m sure she’ll get over it.
All the best,
Ming
PS You really should get another car – I’ve told you before.
Writing Part 2
Writing on a topic
2
What do you think was in Pavel’s original letter? Write a letter that you
think matches Ming’s reply.
Dear Ming,
Hi. I’ve got some good news and some bad news
Yours,
Pavel
Ask the students to work in pairs. Ask them to read their partner’s letter
and compare the information with their own. Monitor, and ask what types
of information they have given (eg, Suzie has evidently had some kind of
disappointment or problem).
3
Work with a partner. Read each other’s letters and see what different
information you included.
Now ask the students to find out what their classmates have written
about the main ideas in the letter. You may like to put on the board what
these main ideas are: Pavel’s success; event on 15th; Suzie’s problem;
Pavel’s car. You can organise this as an activity in which the students put
their letters on the wall and move around the room reading what their
classmates have written for each of these.
4
What about the other students in your class? What did they write?
Now put Pavel’s original letter on the overhead projector or board. Invite
the students to compare the information and the functional language
used with what they and their classmates produced. Is Pavel’s
introduction, for instance, phrased in the same words and phrases they
used – put on the board some of the students’ examples you think
appropriate to the context of a personal letter.
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Notes
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Notes
5
Look at a copy of Pavel’s original letter. In what ways were his main ideas,
and the way he expressed them, similar to yours and your classmates’?
Dear Ming,
Hi. I’ve got some good news and some bad news. I’ve passed my
final exams at college. Isn’t that great? I’m having a
graduation party on the 15th. All our friends will be there –
hope you can come.
Suzie’s feeling a little depressed at the moment. She and her
boyfriend have split up.
Right. I’m going to town (by bus – my car has broken
down again).
See you,
Pavel
Make a study focus of ways in which a writer can introduce a theme.
Draw the students’ attention to typical features of personal letters: use
of contractions and the more idiomatic ‘I’ve got’ rather than ‘I have.’
‘Guess what’s happened…’
‘I’ve got some great news…’
‘There’s something I must tell you…’
‘You won’t believe this…’
In the test, it is important for candidates to check their writing for
accuracy. It is sometimes difficult for students to recognise their own
errors and it can help if they engage in a peer-correction activity. Ask
the students to retrieve their letters and exchange these with a partner.
Ask them to read each other’s letters and see if they can find any mistakes
to draw to the attention of their partner. Monitor, and be ready to judge
whether or not certain language is inaccurate.
Now ask the students to think about different reasons for writing personal
letters. Invite them to contribute ideas and put these on the board.
There is no exhaustive limit to these reasons, but the ones listed in
activity 6 are typical of those the candidates may expect to meet in the
test. Ask the students individually to look at the list of functions and to
put the correct letter into the appropriate box.
Writing Part 2
Writing on a topic
6
163
We write personal letters for many different reasons and we use a variety
of language functions to express our ideas. Look at the expressions
below. Put the letter of the correct function into each box.
Functions
A Giving advice
B Apologising
C Inviting
D Asking for advice
E Sympathising
Expressions
‘If I were you…’
A
‘Why don’t you drop in?’
C
‘What would you do?’
D
‘I’m so sorry to hear…’
E
‘You could always…’
A
‘I really didn’t mean to…’
B
‘What a shame about…’
E
‘Whatever you do, don’t…’
A
‘If you’re free next weekend…’
C
‘I feel really bad about…’
B
‘I don’t suppose you could help me?’
D
‘We really must…’
C
‘I know just how you feel…’
E
‘If you want my opinion…’
A
Ask the students to work in pairs to compare notes. Monitor, and note
any of the expressions that may appear ambiguous (eg, ‘I’m so sorry to
hear’ expresses sympathy, not apology, as might be assumed from the
use of the word ‘sorry’).
7
Work with a partner. Do you agree about which functions the expressions
could be used for?
As a whole-group activity, check the answers.
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Ask the students to think about occasions when they have needed
to use expressions like those in activity 6.
8
In one or two sentences, write about situations in which you have
needed to do the things below. One example is given.
Idea to express Situation
Congratulating
My cousin passed his driving test last month.
Giving advice
My teenage daughter is deciding what university she wants to go to.
Apologising
I forgot my mother’s birthday.
Inviting
I am throwing a surprise party for my aunt’s 60th birthday.
Asking for advice I have a new computer and I don’t know how it all works.
Sympathising
My young niece had her heart set on a pony for Christmas.
Ask the students to work in pairs. Ask them to talk together about the
situations they have described in their notes and to write a short part
of a letter using the functional language in activity 6.
9
Work with a partner. Compare your situations. Discuss how you can
use some of the expressions in activity 6 in these situations.
Write two or three sentences for each situation that you could include
in a personal letter.
Sentences to fit the situation
Giving advice
If I were you, I’d choose somewhere which has the best reputation for the subject.
Whatever you do, don’t make a hasty decision.
Apologising
I really didnt mean to forget, but I’ve had a lot on my mind.
I feel really bad about my forgetfulness – how can I make it up to you?
Writing Part 2
Writing on a topic
Inviting
If you’re free next weekend, there is a small party for Aunt Jean.
I’m sure Aunt Jean would love to see you, so why don’t you drop in?
Asking for advice
I know you are really good with computers. I wonder if you could help me?
The computer arrived and I plugged it all in, but it didnt come on. What would you do?
Sympathising
I’m so sorry to hear that you didn’t get a pony for Christmas. If you like, I will take you
riding next week.
I hear that Santa Claus wasn’t able to get a pony down the chimney. What a shame
about that.
Now ask the students to think about the replies they may get to their
apologies, advice, etc.
10 Now discuss what replies you may get to the sentences you have written.
Make notes of these below.
Possible replies to sentences
Giving advice
Thank you for your advice. I’ve made a decision now.
Apologising
Don’t worry about it. I understand that you’ve got a lot on your mind.
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Inviting
I’d love to see Aunt Jean, so I’ll do what I can to come over.
Asking for advice
If the computer is still under its warranty, you might be able to call the manufacturer’s
support line.
Sympathising
I was sad about not getting a pony, but I still go riding at the stables in the park.
As a whole-class activity, ask the students to compare sentences and
replies. To extend the exercise, ask the students to write their original
sentences on separate pieces of paper and exchange these with other
students in the class. Ask them, in pairs, to write possible replies to what
their classmates have written. Monitor, and note useful examples of
informal language produced by the students. Put some of these on the
board. As the focus of this part of the test is on the candidate’s own free
writing, it will be encouraging to use the contributions of the class to
extend a range of functional language. Stress that there are different ways
of communicating the same message but that there are consistent
features of personal letters (the use of contracted forms and colloquial
language being typical). Point out that appropriate style makes a positive
impression on a reader.
11 Now compare your sentences and your replies with those of the other
students in your class. Were their suggestions the same as yours and
your partner’s?
Writing Part 2
Writing on a topic
Narrating events
Ask the students to read the letter from Ronnie to the organisers of a
music festival. Ask them to work in pairs to discuss what it is in the letter
that makes it obviously formal. Monitor, and note which points the
students themselves pick up on.
12 Read the letter Ronnie wrote to the organisers of a music festival.
The style of the letter is formal because it is an official letter. Work
with a partner; discuss what makes Ronnie’s letter formal.
Dear Sirs,
I feel that I must write to express my disappointment with
the festival ‘Legends of Rock’ that I attended recently.
The publicity made the festival sound as if it would be a
great international event but the reality was somewhat
different. There were only a few performers from overseas and
they, if I may say so, were of very poor quality.
My fellow audience members and I had to queue for fully two
hours before we were permitted to enter the festival site. When
finally we were admitted, we discovered that no seats were
available near to the stage.
Nor was the catering up to an acceptable standard.
I shall not be attending a similar event in the future and
would like to request a refund of the entry fee I paid.
Yours faithfully,
Ronnie Kay
As a whole-group activity, ask the students to contribute examples in the
letter of language appropriate to a formal context: vocabulary, eg, use of
‘attended’ rather than ‘went to’; structure, eg, ‘I shall not’ rather than ‘I’m
not going to’.
Now ask the students individually to produce an informal, personal letter
communicating the same information to a friend. Monitor, and encourage
the use of contractions and of more colloquial expressions.
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13 Write a personal letter that gives the same information and opinions
in a more informal style.
Dear Kit,
I’ve just got to tell you about the music festival I went to a
couple of weeks ago. It was called ‘Legends of Rock’ and it
was terrible.
The adverts made it sound like it was some big international
event but it was nothing like that.There were only one or two
people from abroad and they were awful.
We had to queue for two hours (!) before they let us in. When
they did let us in we found there were no seats anywhere near
the stage.
I’m never going to anything like that again and I’m going to
ask for my money back.
Cheers,
Ronnie
Ask the students to work in pairs to compare notes. Again, stress that
there are alternative and equally appropriate ways of expressing ideas
(‘the food was awful’, ‘I couldn’t stand the food’, etc).
14 Work with a partner. Compare the letters you have written. Are
your letters exactly the same or are there some differences?
Now ask the students to find out how their classmates have written the
letter. One easy way to do this is to ask the students to put the letters on
the notice board/walls and move around reading what is there.
15 What about the other students in your class? In what different ways
did they communicate the same information?
As a whole-group activity, ask the students to tell you what words and
phrases in the letters seemed to them to communicate the message well.
Make a study focus of some of these before showing the sample letter.
16 Now look at the letter Ronnie wrote to Kit (above). In what ways is his
letter similar to the ones you and your classmates wrote?
The focus of this part of the test is free writing and accuracy in usage will
be credited. One of the task types the candidate may meet in the test is a
narrative or report, and control of a variety of tenses used in describing
past events will be a strong advantage.
Writing Part 2
Writing on a topic
Ask the students individually to read the outline account of a factory visit.
Ask them to look at the verbs in brackets and put them into the
appropriate tense.
17 Look at this account of a visit to a place of work. Put the verbs (in
brackets) into the correct form.
Last week we (go) went to a steel factory as part of a study project we (do)
have been doing at college for the last six months. None of the students in
my class (visit) had visited anywhere like this before so we (be) were
interested to see what it was like.
When we (arrive) arrived at the factory at 7am, a guide (wait) was waiting to
show us around. I (ask) asked lots of questions that day, and after the visit I
(write) wrote a long report for the study project. I (not receive) haven’t
received the grade yet, but I hope it will be good.
Ask the students to work in pairs to compare notes and help each other
with any queries. Monitor, and deal with any queries they can’t resolve.
18 Work with a partner. Do you have the same forms of the verbs?
As a whole-group activity, invite the students to tell you what they and
their partner wrote. Put the key on the overhead projector or board and
make a study focus of the way certain tenses are used (eg, simple past
with fixed point in time; past continuous with background action).
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Ask the students to look at the itinerary below. There are notes in
brackets to show what went wrong. Ask them individually to write
an article.
19 Look at the itinerary of a trip a student group made in the summer
holidays. There are some notes showing what changed from the original
plan. Use the itinerary and notes to write an account of the trip as an
article in the college magazine.
Itinerary
06.30
06.45
08.45
09.00
10.00
12.30
14.00
16.00
17.30
17.45
Meet at railway station
Train to Oxford (no seats!)
Arrive Oxford (20 minutes late)
Breakfast
City tour
Picnic lunch (rain – lunch in café)
River trip (cancelled – weather; shopping)
Tour of college
Meet at railway station (two students lost)
Train from Oxford (18.45)
Writing Part 2
Writing on a topic
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Notes
Not quite a perfect day!
If you missed the trip to Oxford, you may not be too sorry
because not everything went to plan. We met at the station
at 6.30 am and caught the 6.45 train. There were no
seats so we had to stand. What’s more, we got to Oxford
20 minutes late.
We had breakfast and then went on the city tour. That
was fine. We couldn’t have the picnic lunch because it was
raining heavily and they cancelled the river trip because
of the weather, too. We had lunch in a café and had time
to do some shopping. The college tour went ahead as planned.
There was a problem at the railway station when we were
leaving because two of the students got lost. We missed the
17.45 train and caught one an hour later.
Ask the students to work in pairs to compare the articles they have
written. Monitor and ask what differences and similarities there are.
Remind the students that alternatives are perfectly possible.
20 Work with a partner. Exchange the accounts you have written.
What’s the same? What’s different?
Put the sample article on the board or overhead projector and, as a
whole-group activity, invite the students to say what is the same as the
articles they produced.
21 Now look at the original account. In what ways was it the same as the
accounts you and your partner wrote? What was different?
Now ask the students to read the review of a short story. Ask them
individually to write a short story that could earn the positive review.
22 Look at this review of the winning entry of a short story competition.
A clear winner. I know exactly how the writer felt –
I laughed and I felt the same anger and frustration.
We can all learn from his experience!
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23 Write a story of between 100 and 150 words that the review in activity 22
could describe.
It was the most stupid decision I ever made.
Ask the students to work in pairs and to read each other’s story.
Monitor, and encourage the students to look for positive features
in their partner’s work.
24 Work with a partner. Read each other’s stories. Do you think your
partner’s story matches the comments in the review?
As a whole-group activity, ask the students to tell you if they think their
partner’s story should be the winner. Ask them to say why. You could ask
them to read out the story or put it on a notice board so everyone can see
why it is special. You can accept several joint winners. As the students
become more independent in their production of written work it will be
increasingly useful for them to use one another’s writing as a model with
your monitoring and occasional rephrasing.
25 What about the other students in your class? Whose story do you
think would win the competition?
Writing Part 2
Writing on a topic
Describing
Engage the students’ interest in describing places. One simple way to
do this is to take in pictures/postcards of places you find attractive.
Ask the students individually to write a description of a place they would
love to visit. Tell them not to mention the name of the place as their
partners will read the description to see if they can identify where it is.
26 Look at the topic ‘A place I would love to visit’. Write a description of the
place you would love to visit, but don’t include its name. Write between
100 and 150 words.
A place I would love to visit.
Ask the students to work in pairs to exchange their descriptions and see if
they can recognise the places in them.
27 Exchange your description with a partner’s. Read your partner’s
description – do you know where the place is?
Now ask the students to read the descriptions the other students in the
class have written. Again, an effective way of doing this is to ask the
students to put their writing on the noticeboard/walls and read what
everyone has written. Ask what makes some of the descriptions not only
recognisable but also attractive to a potential visitor.
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28 What about the places the other students in your class have described?
Do you know where they are? Do the descriptions make you want to
visit them?
Move on to the topic of describing people. As with the place description,
ask the students to write about a famous person without naming them.
29 Now think of a famous person. The person may be living or dead,
real or fictional. Describe the person (appearance and personality),
but don’t give his or her name.
A famous person
Ask the students to work in pairs to read each other’s writing and to
identify the people in the descriptions.
30 Exchange your description with a partner’s. Read your partner’s
description. Can you say who the person is?
As before, invite the students to share their descriptions with the other
members of the class. This can be done in various ways: students can read
out what they or their partner has written; the students can pass round
the descriptions and write the name of the person they think it is; the
students can post the descriptions around the room.
31 What about the other students in your class? Do you recognise
the people they have described?
As a whole-group activity, ask what made the people in the descriptions
recognisable. Invite the students to quote any particularly effective use of
the language of description and put examples on the board.
Writing Part 2
Writing on a topic
Test practice
Tips from the examiners
Read the instructions carefully. Ask yourself:
– What form must my writing take? Is it a letter, a story or a descriptive composition?
– What must I write about?
– How many words must I write?
It will help you to make a plan before you start to write. Organise your ideas into
separate paragraphs. Then make some notes about the words and phrases you
might want to use.
Try to use a variety of different phrases and don’t forget to check in your dictionary
for the meanings and spellings of words.
Use a variety of ways to link your ideas or the points in your story. Make sure your
writing reaches a definite conclusion.
Check the number of words is between 150 and 200.
Continue the story below. Write between 150 and 200 words.
The news came as a great surprise.
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