Sunday, July 15, 2012

Making Suggestions - Brainstorming

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This short (1.5 mins) video clip is an advertisement for a longer training video that compares good versus bad brainstorming meetings.  Despite this, there are still some useful phrases (making suggestions) for pre-intermediate or above students to listen out for and take a note of. 
Higher level students may make sense of the whole scenario, although there are some North American culture specific references made, such as the one-man/woman performance of ‘Annie’.  Overall, the clip shows the classic contrast between a good brainstorming meeting versus a bad one, with the bad one first showing a lack of ideas, immediate negative evaluation, followed by a quick end to the meeting.  The second version shows a flurry of ideas from all participants with no evaluation of any kind, allowing the number and diversity of ideas to flow: the classic brainstorming method.
At pre-intermediate level the language functions of making suggestions are the key language focus. The context of what the meeting is for (to come up with ideas for this year’s office party) may be suggested through a warmer activity where the students themselves are asked for suggestions for a good office party.  At intermediate level the actual suggestions could be largely understood.
Follow up activities for pre-intermediate students might include a make-over of the good version, adding even more appropriate phrases for making suggestions.  Higher level students may benefit from the principles of the problem solving process - - where brainstorming (suggestion-driven) meetings are followed later by evaluation-focused meetings.

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