Speaking: Public Transport

I began this lesson by thinking about what public transport is. We focused on mass transit that the public has access to, that travels along a fixed route, and that runs to a timetable. 

Next, students brainstormed ideas for different forms of public transport using this handout (not public transports – it’s an uncountable noun). 

We discussed these in our feedback session, and grouped some together:


  • airplane


  • bus
  • trolleybus
  • coach


  • metro (subway)
  • tram (streetcar)
  • light rail
  • train:
    • commuter train
    • intercity train
    • express train
    • high-speed train
  • funicular (cable railway)
  • maglev 
  • monorail
  • people mover


  • ferry:
    • commuter ferry
    • water bus

We added gondolas and cable cars to the list, which run as public transport in some parts of the world. 

We also considered taxis and bicycles – they’re certainly forms of transport that the public has access to, but do they count as public transport?

In Seoul (and may other cities around the world) there is a popular public bike rental scheme, though this is classed as a bicycle sharing system.  As for taxis, perhaps these complement public transport (although it may depend where you’re from!) 

Speaking, Part 3: What Are the Advantages & Disadvantages of Tourism?

1. What are the advantages and disadvantages of tourism?

Sample answer

That’s an interesting question!

I think there are both advantages and disadvantages.

In terms of advantages, tourism helps to boost the local economy and provides jobs. In Thailand, for example, the tourist industry is incredibly important. Many people are employed in the hospitality sector, working in hotels, restaurants and so on. They can earn a living and provide for their family, and they don’t necessarily need to move away from their hometown.

However, there are drawbacks. In order to accommodate an influx of tourists there can be overdevelopment which impacts on the environment negatively. Land is cleared to construct hotels, with trees being cut down and animals losing their natural habitat.  

So there are pros and cons.

Speaking, Part 3: Do Many Foreign Tourists Come to Your Country?

1. Do many foreign tourists come to your country?

Sample answer

The tourist industry in Korea is booming.

An increasing number of airlines, including low-cost carriers, serve Incheon Airport, making it easier and more affordable than ever before for travellers to get here.

Many visitors from South-East Asia are influenced by the Korean Wave – they watch Korean dramas on TV or are big fans of K-pop and they want to experience the country first hand. They mainly come to stay in the capital Seoul, where they enjoy a range of delicious local dishes and immerse themselves in culture experiences like wearing “hanbok”, which is traditional Korean dress. And of course they shop till they drop in the bustling Myeongdong shopping area and in the tax-free stores.  

Medical tourism is also becoming more popular – cosmetic surgery especially. Foreign patients undergo treatments here not only because of the reputation for excellent doctors and quality aftercare but also because the price can be significantly cheaper than in their own country.

Speaking, Part 1: Education

I had a very insightful lesson on education with my students .

There is an incredible amount pressure on them to perform well academically, with the main focus being on the university entrance exam. Their whole life seems to be focused on that one day. Students not only attend regular classes to get their compulsory education, but study for hours and hours after at private academies – on weekdays and at weekends –  with parents forking out vast sums of money to support their child’s learning. 

It’s all very different from my own school experience in Scotland.

Sample answers

Continue reading “Speaking, Part 1: Education”

Speaking, Part 2: Describe An Old Object

Describe an old object which your family has kept for a long time. 

You should say:

  • what the object is
  • where it came from
  • how long it has been in your family

and explain why your family has kept it.

How old is old? How long is a long time? It’s a matter of opinion, perhaps!

You could think of an antique (older than 100 years) or a family heirloom, if you have one. Maybe you inherited an item from a grandparent – a watch, earrings, or a piece of jewellery for example.   

Sample answer:

Continue reading “Speaking, Part 2: Describe An Old Object”


I used this PDF as a fun warmer activity for a lesson on accommodation – note the spelling – it’s frequently misspelt.

Looking at the pictures only, students discussed each type of housing in pairs. Some types were less familiar to them and they came up with some creative names.

Part 1 questions – sample answers

Q. Do you live in a flat or a house?

I used to live in an apartment in the city but when I got a new job my family moved to the countryside and we bought a newly built bungalow. I’ve lived in apartment buildings all my life so not having to walk up stairs or wait for a lift took a bit of getting used to. Everything is one level, it’s spacious and light, and even though we have neighbours on either side we’re not disturbed by them unlike in our old place.

Q. Do you like the area where you live?

1. I live in a very quiet residential neighbourhood, on the outskirts of a small farming town. There are a handful of convenience stores and cafés, but there isn’t much else in this neck of the woods. I have to drive to the next town for my weekly grocery shop. I am right next to the sea and I enjoy being able to take walks on the beach with my dog every day. The fresh sea air is very invigorating – I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.  

2. I live smack bang in the centre of the city – everything I need is on my doorstep – I’m spoilt for choice. It can be loud, especially at the weekends – that’s one downside for opting to live in such a prime location. I have triple glazing so I’m not bothered by it too much. It’s a stone’s throw from the subway station, so I’m able to get around very easily.  

Convenient or Comfortable?

This might be specific to my current students, but they often confuse these two adjectives, possibly because in their mother tongue there’s one word which means both.

  • convenient – something that fits in well with your needs, suitable for you needs
  • comfortable – something which makes you feel relaxed, physical ease

My new smart phone is very convenient for me to use – I can use it for many things including making calls, surfing the internet and taking photos.

My new smart phone is very comfortable for me to useit’s lightweight and fits comfortably in the palm of my hand.

The convenience store is very convenient because it’s open 24 hours and stocks all the essentials. The temperature is always comfortable because they have air conditioning. 

Speaking, Part 1, Eating Habits

Q. How have your eating habits changed since your childhood?

Sample answer:

When I was young, I was a really fussy eater – my favourite food was spaghetti and tomato ketchup and I ate precious little else. I hated green vegetables and I would pick out anything I didn’t like the look of – it used to drive my parents bananas. These days, I’m much more aware of the importance of a balanced diet and ensure I eat nutritious meals. I’m also much more adventurous – I always like to try new dishes. 

Describing Objects

In this lesson we began by looking at a slideshow of various different objects:

Then, in pairs, students brainstormed words, thinking about the following:

  • shape
  • size
  • texture
  • weight
  • colour
  • material

They wrote down their ideas on this handout and we shared our ideas together as a class.


There was some interesting language that came out of this lesson:


  • This is a luxury watch, luxury timepiece
  • Rolex is a Swiss luxury watchmaker 
  • stainless steel – this watch has a stainless steel bracelet


  • This is an iconic handbag from world-renowned fashion house Chanel
  • It is a designer handbag
  • It is made from leather > aged calfskin
  • It has a metal buckle and chain > gold metal


  • This is an antique Chinese vase > ceramic, porcelain
  • blue and white – “vivid shades of cobalt-blue”
  • pear shaped body


  • wood > hardwoodrosewood 
  • doors with elaborate carvings of dragons
  • brass locks and hinges


  • This phone has curved edges
  • razor-thin
  • fits comfortably in the palm of your hand
  • cutting-edge technology, state-of-the-art

Take a look at the language that is used on each of the websites – they use some interesting language in their descriptions – take note of any words or phrases you think are of use.


Speaking, Part 3: Moving Abroad

This part 3 question followed our part 2 question about moving to a new city.

Q. Is it necessary to know about a country before moving there?

Sample answer:

Relocating overseas is a major step in one’s life so it’s important to be well-informed before packing up and shipping out.

I think finding out about local laws & customs is essential. What might be common in your home country, such as gestures, might not be in your new home, and you wouldn’t want to offend anyone. Etiquette is important too. In South Korea, for example, there are many rules that should be followed when eating and drinking. Foreigners frequently make many a social faux-pas but locals are very forgiving. I think it’s better to be aware, nonetheless.

Furthermore, there are practical elements that must be considered concerning daily life, for instance the cost of living. Someone moving to Norway might be shocked at the price of alcohol – a pint of beer is over $12 in some places. However, if that’s proportional to the salary you’ll receive locally it may not be seem so expensive. 

So I do think doing some research is needed.