Sunday, 13 February 2011

Fun activities for practising “going to for plans”

To practice this meaning of going to, obviously we need to get students talking about real or imaginary plans. We will also need to give them some prompts to help them speak, and the people who they are working with will need a real reason to listen. An easy way of doing this is to give them some words or phrases that they must make going to sentences from, e.g. “this year”, “apply for” and “exam”. Their partner can then guess whether the plans are real or not. Alternatively, they can make such sentences about their partner (e.g. “You are going to give up smoking this year”) and their partner can tell them whether it is true or not, perhaps scoring one point for a true sentence.

Another good motivation to listen is to judge the quality of the ideas that they hear. You can ask groups of students to produce a plan such as how to steal a diamond, how to survive in the jungle or desert (e.g. after a plane crash), things to take on an adventure trip, business plans, solving household problems without the usual tools, or how to become rich and famous. After they all present their ideas to the class, everyone votes on which plan is best. “Going to for plans” can be contrasted with “Will for spontaneous intentions” by asking students to use the latter when they make their decisions as a group and the former when they present their plans to the class.

You can also get students to contrast these two tenses, with one student saying what they are planning to do and the other students in their group competing to come up with ways to help them, e.g. “I’ll bring a corkscrew” and “I’ll bring some paper plates” for “I’m going to have a housewarming party.” The winner is either the person who has the best idea or the last person to come up with an acceptable idea when everyone else has run out.

Another classic motivation to listen is guessing games. A nice one with “Going to for plans” is for one person to say what small things they are planning to do as part of a (real or imaginary) bigger plan, and the people listening try and guess the bigger plan. For example, the person speaking says “I’m going to get a haircut”, “I’m going to practise my handshake”, “I’m going to think about what my strengths and weaknesses are” etc until their partners guess that they are going to try to get a new job.

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