Levels: strong pre-intermediate to advanced.
Scope: teens; adults.
Type: working with unusual inventions; giving presentations.
Skills: listening; speaking; reading; writing; pronunciation (showing positivity through intonation patterns); public speaking.
Language focus: vocabulary – register for public presentations; all other vocab and grammar points as they arise.
Preparation: Copies of these 12 chindogu inventions (one invention for each group of three students), and paper and pens.
- Pair your students and ask them to mind-map ideas for a successful presentation – ask them to think about body language, clothes, intonation, and attitude.
- Explain that you want to practice giving presentations, as it will help students understand appropriate formal English and body language, and give them intonation practice.
- Divide the students into groups of three and give out copies of the Chindogu inventions (see below); ask them what they think these are. Explain that they are all types of Japanese inventions (if you want, you can explain the meaning of Chindogu, which is “unuseless,” and is the art of inventing amusing things that have a not-quite useful function, and which are not for sale). Ask them what they think their purpose is – after a few minutes, you can do a whole class feedback on this, helping them discover what they are.
- Ask the students in their groups to choose their favourite invention – one per group.
- Elicit what these are and make sure everyone has chosen a different invention.
- Explain that each group will be asking the class for money to fund these inventions – money raised will go towards the costs of manufacture and marketing. Tell them not to worry, as the class is very rich – however, only one group will be able to get the money. Make sure students understand that they will be presenting their ideas to the class, and that they will win by giving the best presentation.
- Let the students get on with pricing manufacture costs and marketing costs, and with preparing their presentation. Go round and monitor, get them to practice their spiel to you, whilst you check their intonation, pausing, use of gestures, and language. Tell each group they are welcome to draw on the whiteboard if they like; and make sure they understand they must all try and speak for the same length of time – this will give them more points, and points mean prizes.
8. Stop them after about 10 – 15 minutes; draw the following table on the board and ask students to copy it in their notebooks (you might want some spare paper for this):
- Explain that they will be marking each student’s part of the presentation out of ten (body language/ intonation) and giving a mark out of ten for the group’s idea. Say that this will be used for feedback at the end, and they shouldn’t say the scores if they are uncomfortable with it – get a class decision on this (it must be unanimously in favour of giving scores, else the scores should be kept secret and just feedback – positive and negative – should be given).
- Ask for volunteers to start first, or spin a pen to find the first speakers. Allow about two minutes for each presentation.
- At the end of each presentation, make sure the listening students score the speakers and their idea – allow them no more than a minute each time for this; and let one of the speakers choose the next group to speak.
- After everyone has spoken, and the scores have all been given, conduct a whole class feedback, asking each group to give feedback (perhaps including scores, perhaps not) to the others about body language, intonation, and their idea.
- Finally, ask each group who is getting their money (they can’t decide to give their money to themselves!) – the group with the most votes gets the cash. If there’s time, conduct some gapfill feedback on the board, where groups can get points for correct answers to the gapfills (you should number each gapped sentence and ask for corrections in random order, to promote careful listening – give a point to whoever answers first correctly, and encourage the more reticent groups to speak out). The gapfills should be based on good things students have said, that you want to share with the class, or with things the students meant to say, and would have if their English had been more precise.