Speaking: Communication

Warmer

I began this class by looking at some pictures.

In pairs, students had to think about what the photos were of (the clue letters helped to focus their answers), and they also needed to discuss when they may have been used.  

We discussed each form of communication, thinking about when they were used, what the advantages may have been, and why they may no longer be used today. 

  • Homing (carrier) pigeon
  • Morse code
  • Yodelling (yodeling) 
  • Semaphore

Brainstorm

We then brainstormed forms of communication the students themselves use – messenger apps on their smartphones, telephone, email and so on.

We thought about other forms that may not be so common these days such as faxes & telegrams. 

Forms of communication

Part 1 

1. How do you usually keep in touch with members of your family? 

Sample answer

I tend to use messenger apps like Whatsapp on my smartphone. I’m not living in the same country as my family – it’s a great way to keep in contact with them because not only can I send text messages instantly but also photos and video. It also allows me to make voice and video calls, however I prefer to use Skype for this because I find the quality is better. The only thing I have to remember is the time difference – I’ve called my mum at 3am a few times by mistake! 

2. Do you prefer to contact people by phone or by writing emails?

Sample answer

It depends on the situation but I usually prefer to write emails. 

If I’m contacting a company to complain, I prefer to email their customer service department as I’m able to express myself more effectively this way. I can clearly state what the issue is and how I’d like it resolved – I’m not as assertive when I do this over the phone.

If I’m at work, I also prefer to fire off an email. I like to have a written record, so I know exactly what has been said or agreed to and it is there for all to see in black and white. 

3. Do you ever write letters by hand?

Sample answer

It’s been a long time since I’ve written a letter – it can be hard for others to decipher my scrawl! If I have to write a letter, I’ll type it up, print it out and sign it. I think the last time I wrote an entire letter by hand must have been when I was at primary school and I wrote a letter to Santa asking him for a Christmas gift. I do still write cards for special occasions, but the greeting is usually short and succinct.   

4. Is there anything you dislike about mobile phones?

Sample answer

They are a great portable form of communication, and while that can be advantageous in some circumstances, it also means workers can be contacted out with office hours by their colleagues and superiors. I personally believe that work-life balance is crucial, and that there is a clear divide between professional and private life. My company actively enforces a policy that supports this and I always keep my work phone turned off once I clock off for the day.   

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