Making predictions: A Fluency, Grammar and Vocabulary Exercise
David Beauchamp, UK
This lesson is ideal for both one-to-one and group lessons. It features some useful vocabulary and can be applied in situations such as IELTS speaking tests, TOEIC speaking tests, business English or general conversation.
Level: Pre-intermediate to intermediate.
Time: Approximately 30-40 minutes.
Target language: Will/won’t + adjectives of probability and predictive adjuncts.
- Lead-in. Tell the students that they are going to predict what will happen to them in the future. Hand out the cut up action cards to the students. Ask them to predict whether they will or won’t by sorting the cards into two respective columns.
- When they have finished, get them to tell their predictions to the class, paying special attention to the pronunciation of contractions (“I’ll…, I won’t…”).
- Present the target language. Explain that predicting the future is not always as simple as saying will/won’t. Draw a cline on the board marking it 100% - 75% - 50% - 25% - 0%. Ask them to reconsider some of their choices placing them on a cline of their own. Eg. Start smoking – 0%; get a good job – 75%.
- Get feedback from the class, sticking five cards to the cline in each place. Elicit the language used to make predictions. The five chunks of language used are:
- “I’ll definitely…”
- “I’ll probably...”
- “I might…/Maybe I’ll…”
- “I probably won’t…”
- “I definitely won’t…”
- Controlled practice. Encourage the students to tell a partner, or yourself, their modified predictions according to likelihood.
- Board the grammar breakdown. Draw attention to the difference between adverbs and modal verbs, and how the position of the will/won’t modal and the adverb switch depending on whether it is a positive or negative statement.
- Depending on the level of the students and time constraints, you can opt to bring in paraphrasing adjuncts. Hand out worksheet 1 and explain that the phrases have the same meanings as the will-adverb-verb structures. Draw attention to the example and get the students to work in pairs to match up the remaining adjuncts. Drill pronunciation.
- Further controlled written practice can be done by having the students write predictions for their friends/family/football team/the weather etc. in the second part of the worksheet. Get feedback from the class about their ideas and correct errors.
- Free practice. Put the students in pairs or small groups and hand out the subject sheets (worksheets 2-4). Encourage them to discuss the issues, giving their predictions and supporting them with reasons. After 3-5 minutes, get the students to switch sheets to provide them with fresh topics. Monitor for errors.
- Class feedback on errors.
Issues for consideration:
- Students may be confused by the difference between intentions and predictions and the use of will/won’t instead of be going to. Personally, I find that the use of the cline to suggest likelihood clarifies understanding of this point. However, if you think it may be a problem, the lead-in can be adapted by using predictions other that their own actions. These might be predictions of what will happen next in a paused film clip, or, if it is a business class, predictions for future sales or business trends.
- Stress that the subjects of the predictions can be anything. Don’t let them get too comfortable using only I.
- Stress the informality of some of the adjuncts, for example, how there’s no way could be considered quite forward, even rude, in some situations.
You can download worksheets from here and here.
Please check the Methodology & Language for Secondary Teachers course at Pilgrims website.
Please check the Teaching Advanced Students course at Pilgrims website.