Lesson: sentence stress practice

It’s common for students not to stress the important words in a sentence appropriately and so not convey the right meaning. One way to help them with this is to provoke a response.

You can pretend to mishear some information (ham acting is usually fun with young and adult learners).

Start by asking your student to invent a character or think of a well-known person and then note down their favourite food, last holiday, hobby, plans etc etc

 

Mrs Obama/The Queen/Brad Pitt/Mr Mumble
Favourite food: turnips
Last holiday: driving across Mexico
Hobby: collecting wine bottles
Plans: going shopping in Harrods

Now interview your student as that person (using their notes) but puposefully mishear what they say. It might go something like this:

Teacher: Mrs Obama, thank you for coming on our show
Student: I’m very happy to be here
Teacher: Let me start by asking you about food. What do you enjoy eating?
Student: I love turnips. I eat them every day
Teacher: Why do you like tomatoes so much?
Student: I like turnips, not tomatoes. My mother cooked them for me when I was a little girl.
Teacher: Sorry about that. I need to have my ears cleaned! Now, I know you must be very busy but do you have any time for hobbies?
Student: I collect bottles of wine.
Teacher: Collecting bottles of milk is very unusual!
Student: No bottles of wine, not milk.

etc etc

As you carry out the interview, correct your student if their word stress is not right. Feel free to repeat the interview until it sounds good (it will probably develop as you repeat it). As ever, change or extend this mini-lesson to suit your situation.

This kind of exercise can be done at most levels and taps into the student’s creativity and sense of humour. A good laugh usually aids the learning process. Let me know how it goes!

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