Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Lesson Plan: Dating

***This post sponsored by learn English like a native!  

How to teach an English class a lesson on the topic of dating

This is a very fun lesson! We can talk about phrasal verbs and idioms in the context of pickup lines, we can play funny (and a bit awkward) scenarios, and we can tell stories about our experiences on bad dates! There are lots of ways you can take this, here is a template based on a lesson I’ve taught more than once with great success. Just make sure you know your audience: this wouldn't be a great lesson for children or much older, mostly married people. Regardless of marital status, however, these phrases are often used in television and film!

*I like to give my students the vocabulary a class ahead of time so they can actively apply it during the lesson rather than still trying to familiarize themselves with it during class.*

  • date
  • couple
  • drinks
  • coffee
  • crush
  • bachelor/-ette
  • flattering
  • promisuous
  • player
  • fling
  • pick-up line
  • courage/guts
  • flaw
  • jealous
  • turn-on/turn-off
  • to compliment
  • to flirt

Verbal Phrases
  • Go for...(coffee/drinks)
  • Get...(coffee/drinks)
  • Grab...(coffee/a bite to eat)
  •  Break up
  • Get together

Turn Ons and Turn Offs
*Have your students look at this list of traits, and decide which is a turn-on and which is a turn-off (for them personally, or for most people in general); you can also have a "neither" or "neutral" category*
  • Smoker
  • Highly educated
  • Tattoos
  • Body odor (B.O.)
  • Muscular
  • Brings you flowers
  • Career-oriented 
  • Glasses
  • add your own!

Cliched/Common Break-Up Excuses
  • It's not you, it's me
  • Let's be friends
  • You're smothering me
  • I love you, but I'm not in love with you
  • in your native language/culture?

Cheesy/Corny Pick-Up Lines
*These can be very difficult to translate, best to reserve for more advanced students*
  • I forgot my library card, can I still check you out?
  • I lost/forgot my phone number, can I have yours?
  • Are your legs tired? Because you're been running through my mind all day.
  • Did it hurt?...when you fell from Heaven?
  • Are you from Tennessee? Because you're the only ten I see.
  • What's your sign?
  • Come here often?
  • If I could rearrange the alphabet, I'd put U and I together.

Role Play Scenarios
  • Picking up a girl/boy at a coffee shop
  • Picking up your date at their house
  • Meeting your girlfriend/boyfriend's parents

Discussion Questions
*As both a teacher and a language student, I feel for intermediate+ students that discussion is the best way to practice in a classroom. It helps students connect their "real world" selves, thoughts, opinions, and feelings to a foreign language, and also helps teachers connect with students on a personal level, which is vital for encouraging students and making them feel comfortable enough to speak English without reservations.*
  • What sorts of problems do couples encounter? (new couples vs. married; newlywed vs. dating)
  • Should the man pay on a date? ("going Dutch")
  • Do you think it's okay to date a co-worker?

I hope you have as much fun with this lesson as I have! 

Stories from the Classroom: Unexpected Learning Opportunities

***This post sponsored by learn English like a native!  

Sometimes teachers learn just as much from their students as students do from teachers. There are days in the classroom when you feel like you’re getting off track or you end up speaking in the students’ native language more than English, but you leave laughing, having strengthened the bond of trust and comfort that is so important in foreign language learning, and end up with some hilarious stories. I wanted to share with you three funny stories from my English classroom:
1.      The topic for the day was household items. The students had lists of nouns and associated verbs, and were then instructed to describe some aspect of their daily routines using the words from the list. One student got to “shower” and asked me what it meant. I said the Russian word, but turns out I had said dusha (soul) rather than dush (shower). He looked a little confused at first, but then kind of went with it. I think his sentence was something like “I wake in the morning and my shower is good,” so I didn’t realize the problem until I tried explaining the difference between a soul and a bathtub, then everyone was very confused. 

2.      The topic for the day was food. We were listing all the fruits and vegetables we knew in English. Some foods are more easily available in the US and some more common in Russia, so we were discussing that difference. I mentioned that I hadn’t seen fresh broccoli or green beans in Russian grocery stores, and one of my students, a man in his mid-forties, said “that’s because broccoli is for women.”
…excuse me? I thought he must have gotten confused with the language, but nope, turns out he really thinks broccoli is a female food. *As far as I can tell, this is not a particularly widespread opinion amongst Russians*

3.      I was teaching during the summer at a small school with mostly middle aged adult students. Summer classes in Russia are always a bit slower, less attendance- students feel that since it is summer they have less of an obligation to attend! One lesson, one of my younger students hadn’t done his homework, and apologized saying he had a rough night. I had him tell the story in English. He explained that the night before he had gotten a call from one of his friends who had gotten into a fight at a bar, and needed his “posse” to come back him up. So my student had to go to the bar fight, to defend his friend’s honor. He ended up preventing a fist fight, and saving the day, but the aggressive friend couldn’t get himself home and my student had to let him spend the night! This led to a great discussion about cultural and gender norms, vocabulary for fighting, and slang in both languages!