ESL Environmental Speaking Project

Here’s a nice, easy class that requires very little preparation, and will be fun for you and your students.

First, teach the vocabulary from this PPT:

You might want to alter it according to your preferences. I elicit all vocabulary, and if students come up with any useful vocabulary relating to ecology/environmentalism, I’ll stick it on the board.

Next, put your students into groups. I use six groups of six students because I have a rather large class. I find it personally quite useful to divide the students so that they’re with people they don’t normally work with.

In their groups, have them work on this worksheet. (It’s from ESLflow, which I think is a great website.) Give them whatever time you feel is necessary, and make sure they collaborate to label the issues – don’t let any one student dominate.

Next, hand each group two pieces of blank paper, and tell them to select one environmental problem from the above worksheet. If you can make one of them A3 that would be ideal. Tell them – through demonstration – that one piece of paper (the smaller, if you found some spare A3) should be used to jot down notes on their chosen problem. The other piece of paper (the bigger one) should be used for making a poster.

I give them about 15 minutes to make notes and create a poster. I don’t often allow my students (who are in university) to draw, but when I do they love it – so many of them have hidden artistic talent!

After time is up, let them know that they will be presenting their ideas to the class. (You may want to mention this earlier, but I personally find that it disrupts their creative thoughts.) Give them some time to figure out how they will present their ideas, and then have each group stand up, display their poster, and present their ideas.

Of course, it helps to be enthusiastic, and maybe give a demonstration presentation yourself. Frame it as “saving the world!” The students will love it, and they’ll learn lots of new vocabulary in the process.

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I'm the founder and editor of Beatdom Literary Journal, author of Scientologist! William S. Burroughs and the 'Weird Cult' and World Citizen: Allen Ginsberg as Traveller. I'm also a teacher and operate the popular website, TED-IELTS.

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