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Today, I had two new students! The group has been steadily growing; although some have left, because of personal reasons, the class is approaching an ideal size. :)

By now, this group is used to my modus operandi whenever we have a new student. They go into interview mode and start to find out a bit more about their new classmate or classmates, in today’s case. Then, I always ask them to report back to me – in this way, they get to practise the third person: What can you tell me about X? What does he do in his spare time? What kind of sports does he practise? Etc.

Every now and then, I like to do a PACS on their Wiki work. Today, there were some issues I considered important, so that was what we did. I beamed up their lesson reflection and we analysed it, sentence by sentence: what was good, what could be improved upon and what was erroneous.

Next, I showed this slide.

Food in the ELT classroom by Chiew Pang

Food images by Chiew Pang. Copyright 2013

I didn’t need to say anything except to designate the pairs. They read and they knew what they had to do:

  • First, three of these dishes were prepared by me. In pairs, discuss which you think they are and why you think so.

They already had some practice on agreeing & disagreeing (Speaking Part 3) so I was hoping they would use enough of the appropriate language chunks such as

  • Well, in my opinion … because …
  • I’m not sure. I think …
  • I don’t really agree …
  • I quite agree.
  • What do you think?
  • Do you agree with me?

There were eight students today, a nice round number. When the pairs had come to a decision, I told them to confer with another pair (so then, there were two groups of four students each) and to come up with an agreement. When they had, I told the two groups to discuss again and to come up with a final decision, which they did.

It wasn’t really important whether they were right or not, but because they were curious to know which dish I had actually prepared, they discussed until they had the right ones.

The next activity was this:

Food in the ELT classroom

Food images by Chiew Pang. Copyright 2013.

Again, they went into an immediate discussion until they came up with a list. Poor English breakfast was unanimously voted the unhealthiest!

Following that, these instructions were beamed to the WB.

  • Work on your own. Write down 5 of your favourite dishes on your notebook.
  • Now, walk around the class, ask your classmate about their favourite dishes, and find the person

whose tastes are most similar to yours and
whose tastes are most different to yours.

Students in group discussion

Students discussing by Chiew Pang. Copyright 2013

The pair with the most similar tastes sat together and were told to attempt a crossword puzzle on cooking verbs. This can be obtained from my other blog. Incidentally, I’d written on other cooking activities about a year ago (I’d forgotten until now!) and can be found here.

After a few minutes, I realised that the “test” was too difficult, so I wrote the verbs on the board in random order. They fared better then. They were told to compare their efforts with the answers on the other side of the handout, and time was up.

The last thing I told them before they left the class was to look at the verbs at home and try to remember them as they would be needed for the next lesson!


This was a great fun class. I love doing food, don’t you? There’s so much that can be done and it’s a popular topic so everyone usually gets really involved. Using my own images to generate conversation worked a treat. They had preconceived ideas of me and it was fun listening to their reasons for choosing the dishes. Like one of the students mentioned in her reflection, time went by so fast that she hadn’t realised how late it was and almost missed her bus home!

The crossword puzzle was a tad too difficult. As another student said, he didn’t even know the answers in his own language! If I did this again, at this level, I’d include the verbs on the crosswords handout along with the clues, albeit jumbled up. Or I could beam a Wordle of them. Now, that’s an idea for the next class…

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