Lesson POL-4

Welcome! Please consider how your attitude affects your and other students experience of the lesson.

Be respectful, come prepared with relevant material and show interest in order to have the best possible educational experience.

Learning outcomes

During the course of this lesson, you will learn:

  • Listen to and describe how to use rhetorically and grammatically empowered spoken English.

  • Choose and incorporate sources in your mock debate or negotiation.

Lesson outline

Essential exercises: grammar practice

Intermediate exercise: video debate

Advanced exercise: improving a debate

Exit ticket and homework

Essential exercises

Dicourse markers and question tags exercise

Time for the exercise: ~15-20 minutes

  1. Watch the videos and write down the discourse markers and question tags used in the clips.

  2. Explain:

    • Why do we use discourse makers and question tags.

    • How do they help our speech? Why are they seen as helping us sound like a native speaker?

  3. Write 4 sentences where you use some of the discourse markers and question tags in an entertaining way.

Detailed exercise

Watch the video "Should schools ban slang from the classroom? and answer the questions.

Time for the exercise: 20 minutes.

  1. What are Lindsay Johns' arguments?

  2. What are Michael Rosen's arguments?

  3. What parts of the rhetorical triangle are the participants basing their arguments off?

  4. In your opinion, how fluent is the interaction between Johns and Rosen?

  5. According to you, who won the debate? Why?

Key terminology

  • Standard English - the form of the English language widely accepted as the usual correct form. "children often use native forms at home and speak standard English at school"

  • Received pronunciation - the standard form of British English pronunciation, based on educated speech in southern England, widely accepted as a standard elsewhere.

  • Slang - a type of language consisting of words and phrases that are regarded as very informal, are more common in speech than writing, and are typically restricted to a particular context or group of people.

Source Oxford dictionary

Advanced exercise

Improving a debate

Time for the exercise: 20 minutes

  1. Read through the script and write your own improved version of the script together with a partner.

  2. Share the script with the class.

  3. Practice reading/performing your script and then present to the class.



  • Person 1. The way people speak these days is stupid.

    • (For example, here you could improve this by adding ‘The way people speak these days is stupid, isn’t it?’)

  • Person 2. It’s no more stupid than speech has ever been.

  • P1. Yes it is. Kids actually want to speak badly.

  • P2. It’s just like it has always been.

  • P1. I suppose you are now going to mention Shakespeare.

  • P2. He was a big user of slang.

  • P1. So you’re telling me that a man living over four hundred years ago still speaks to the kids on the street.

  • P2. Yes, I am.

  • P1. Look, listen. Poor speech has always been poor speech.

  • P2. So, should we rewrite all of Shakespeare in modern ‘proper’ English then?

  • P1. Mmm. That’s not really what I mean.

  • P2. Maybe you can tell me what it is exactly that you mean.

  • P1. That we should not be encouraging people to speak in a way that sounds so ugly.

  • P2. Ugly! Ugly to who?

  • P1. Well to me for a start….and many other people.

  • P2. So, you just want everyone to speak just like you.

  • P1. Yes. I mean no.

  • P2. Aha!

An example

For example, a negotiation between a teacher and a student:

Teacher: Quiet, please! Quiet, will you? We need to cover this one part and then have recess before the next assignment..

Student: Oi, boss! Can’t we just skip recess, do both and end class earlier? We never end earlier, do we?

Teacher: Hmm, only if you focus.. Sit down, won’t you?

Students: Yes, sir! C’mon, get going! We might make it to McDonald’s before Mr Feke’s class.

Teacher: I’ve never seen them work so hard before, have I …?

Exit ticket

"From the exercises, I learned ..."


Read and pactice the Quizlet for Mastery test.