A speaking activity on jobs for P.6 students

2 Oct

ESR becomes our main source of severe stress since August. The good news is that it’s ‘almost’ over, so I can finally return to this deserted place and talk nonsense again! Haha! 🙂

Today I’d like to share one speaking activity (p.6) on jobs with you which is prepared by the EDB language support officer (who also becomes a great friend of us), Amy, my dear colleagues and I. We’ve got some positive and negative feedback from various ESR officers. I’d like to get your comments as well !

A speaking activity for P.6 students


  1. Develop students speaking skills through an interview activity
  2. Help students develop a correct attitude in communicating with others

Students’ previous knowledge:

1. They learnt about vocabulary on jobs and adjectives describing characters (Ch.1 and 2)

2. They learnt how to write job riddles

Duration: 70 mins

 Teaching Steps:

1. Motivation:

–         Teacher and students take turns to read some riddles their classmates have written and let others guess them.

–         The answers of some riddles may be quite difficult for weaker students to understand e.g. dietitian, radio therapist. Students who wrote those riddles need to explain to others.

–         Ask students to jot down new learnt vocab in their notebooks/ vocab banks


2. Preparing for the speaking activity:

–  Ask students how people in HK find jobs. (Show students the classified

post/classified post website/ advertisements found from the newspaper. Tell

students that some people go to Labour Department to find jobs) à Power point

showing the logo

–         Elicit students to the conclusion that applicants need to have job interviews as well

–         Ask students to write 3 points they need to be aware of/ be prepared in a job interview (1 min) then share with their partner to write now new points (2 mins).

–         Teacher gets answers from students and types the points onto the ppt, e.g. have good eye-contact, be polite, know more about the job nature, be confident, speak up and speak clearly etc.

–         Finally share the objectives of the lesson with the students à They are going to practice interview skills

3.      A role playing activity:

–         Tell students that they are going to do a role playing activity. Have students work  in groups of four or five. One student acts as the Labour Department staff  member and the rest act as the people who are looking for jobs.

–   The Labour Department staff member will have a list of jobs available. Remind them that they shouldn’t let the applicants see it.

– She has to decide which job is suitable for each applicant by listening to their information.

–         There are four role cards for students to pick. Students taking different roles have to study their piece of information first. They have to decide what kind of job they are looking for with reference to the information on the role card and write the answer on their role card first.

–         Applicants have to follow the information on the role card to express her needs. At the end, the applicants can tell whether the staff member has made the right decision or not. Students can make use of the speaking guide to help them conduct the dialogue.

–         The speaking guide: 

–         Teacher may choose the one of higher ability to be the Labour Department staff as she has to decide whether the extra information given is related to the job nature and which job the applicant is looking for.

–         During the activity, teacher walks around, listens and helps out if needed.

4.      Peer evaluation

–         Teacher checks answers with the students and sees how well they were doing/ finds if they had any problems

–         Review the criteria of having good interviewing skills with students. Fill in the evaluation form.

–         If time is allowed, ask some groups to come out and present.

5.   Conclusion

–       Have students conclude what they have learnt in the lessons.

Positive Feedback from one of the ESR officers: 

– Some AFL elements can be found in the lessons, e.g. objectives are developed with students, coming up with the assessing criteria together, students are able to conclude what they have learnt, they have tools and good habit for self-learning, they are able to assess others’ performance and give suggestions

– Almost all students were engaged in the activity and had time to think and practise

Negative Feedback from another ESR officer: 

– The job interview activity is not authentic. Students should make up their own role cards  and write most of the information on their own.

Our comments : 

There is no such thing as a perfect lesson, so we are not looking for one as well. But we think our students achieved the objectives set for the lesson and were highly engaged. We do admit that the activity may not be an authentic one as students of weaker abilities need more guidance, and that our objective is not focusing on students’ writing. We are afraid that if students spend too much time writing their own role cards, they won’t have much time to spend on speaking.

What do you think? Any ideas how we can do better next time? 


2 Responses to “A speaking activity on jobs for P.6 students”

  1. paulsze 2011 年 10 月 02 日 at 3:09 PM #

    It’s almost impossible put all the thinking behind a lesson design on paper. This means that it is not always possible to evaluate a lesson or a lesson design simply by looking at the lesson plan. Also, whether a lesson design is good, or will work or not, is also tied closely with the teacher’s implementation, what I call lesson management skills. These may not always be shown in a written lesson plan.

    Simply by looking at the lesson plan, I would say that the lesson had clear objectives (practising interview techniques) and there was careful progression that led students towards the main interview activity. The speaking activity was richly contextualised, and task-based: the interaction would lead to a result: job matching. Of course as I said, a written lesson plan can’t show all the thinking behind the design, so there will be a couple of things that I may be asking: such as whether this was a basically fluency speaking activity, or whether the activity aimed to develop certain speaking skills (ie.. the speaking skills found in the 2004 curriculum, and those speaking skills often found in an interview). If the former, I would want the actual interaction (see the Speaking Guide) to be freer and more unpredictable. If the latter, I would want to focus on these specific speaking skills somewhere in the lesson.

    But again, my remarks above may not be relevant as a written lesson plan may not capture everything the teacher intends to do during the lesson.

    The issue of authenticity needs to be approached with care. Some writers have contended that there is nothing fully authentic in the classroom, except for a school lesson itself. In the classroom, the most we can do is to simulate authetic social situations, and this is what this lesson has done. A simulated-authentic activity with pre-intermediate learners will often require some scaffolding (which this lesson has exemplified) so that there’s a chance that learners will be able to complete the activity. How much guidance and input should be given to students is not only an art, but also depends on a host of classroom factors.

    Finally, those who know me well will know my stance on lesson observation that involves trained, serving, teachers. Even with the best preparation, a lesson may still go wrong, because the ‘success’ of a lesson hinges on many factors. For me, the primary purpose of lesson observaton should be to stimulate ongoing professional development, NOT evaluation. I personally would rather observe a well-planned, highly creative, enthusiastically conducted, lesson that didn’t always go smoothly, than a conservative, ‘safe’, mechanically taught lesson that made no ‘mistakes’. This is because the former lesson represents the professional spirit that we want to nurture and promote among teachers. My personal approach to lesson observation where serving teachers are concerned is not to look for things that went wrong in the lesson so that I have something to criticise afterwards, but to find out the creative and interesting things that the teacher has tried in the lesson so that I can praise him or her afterwards.

    • missjanetlaw 2011 年 10 月 02 日 at 3:35 PM #

      Thanks so much Paul for spending time reading and writing for such a long reply for me!
      I agree with you about the ‘spirit’ of lesson observation!!!
      Just hope that the ESR officers have the same attitude! I’ll talk to one of them tmw.

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