"Extended speaking activities, where we try to speak for a longer period of time, are greatly beneficial for our fluency in English. In this respect, telling anecdotes based on personal stories (memories, people we know, accidents) can give us the perfect excuse to talk extensively.
However, if we want to develop our oral skills by telling anecdotes there are some strategies we must bear in mind:
- Choose a topic that interests you and on which you really have something to say.
- Allow some preparation time to collect your thoughts, ideas and the specific language you may need. To this end, having some leading questions may prove extremely beneficial.
- Try to follow a ‘model’ you have listened to before.
- Repeat the same anecdote with different people regularly.
Anecdotes became very popular as a class activity with the textbook series Inside Out. In their new edition, the publishers, MacMillan, have provided some anecdote models which students can watch on their website."
This week's talking point, Your favourite restaurant, directly stems from the Anecdote idea in Inside Out. It is taken from Inside Out Advanced, but I think it is well within the reach of intermediate students.
Before getting together with the members of you conversation group, go over the questions below, so that ideas flow more easily when you meet your friends and you have the opportunity to work out vocabulary problems beforehand.
You are going to tell your partner about one of your favourite restaurants. Decide which restaurant you are going to describe. Think back to the last time you ate there. Look at the questions below and think about what you’re going to say and the language you will need.
Where is the restaurant?
What kind of restaurant is it?
When did you last go there?
Who did you go with?
Was it a special occasion?
What did you eat?
How often do you go there?
Do you always go with the same people?
Do you always eat the same thing there?
What do you like most about the restaurant?
Who first introduced you to it?
When do you think you'll next go back?
Would you recommend it to your partner?
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
We are really lucky to have a 'model' to go by. MacMillan has uploaded a video clip where two people, Ronald and Claire, talk about their favourite restaurant. Watch the video by clicking on the link here and listen to Ronald and Claire talk about their favourite restaurant.
You can download the worksheet that goes with this video from Inside Out e-Lessons here.
You can download the answers to the worksheet and the transcript from Inside Out e-Lessons here.
You can download the video from here.
If you want to find out how to write a restaurant review, read this entry on our blog.