Office English 5 – Meetings

I can’t believe we’re already halfway through the course. This was another great lesson. The plan was very simple – two videos, two roleplays. I kept the plan deliberately that minimalistic because I wanted to have time for the roleplays and speaking. Too bad there were only three people one of whom was very late. Everybody seems to be enjoying the course but as it is in the middle of the working day and week, not everyone can always make it.

When I was preparing for the lesson, I checked some literature on meetings in English. I brought a pile of books home from our library and ….used none. Would you believe there are entire books on English for meetings? I didn’t know how to streamline all the knowledge into a 90-min module.

In the end, I decided to use two videos and a scenario from the Paul Walsh’s book At Work – it’s a Scandal!

The first set of tasks revolved around introducing oneself at the start of a meeting. I believe this is a useful skill that can be used at any meeting of conference call. And Christina puts forward such a useful structure:

Next we moved onto the notion of a scandal, completed the definition of a scandal and one student told us about a recent scandal at our institution (!). Then I gave them two objects I’d brought with me and asked them to work together to create two scandals around the objects. These were a collection of gemstones (kindly provided from my youngest’s treasure box) and a bag with suspicious white (baking) powder:



My two students came up with these two scenarios:

1, An Ambassador of an unnamed country gave the collection of gemstones to the museum as a gift. On the ceremonial opening, he finds the gemstones had been forged. Later investigation reveals they had been taken one by one by one of the security guards and replaced by cheap fakes. A meeting is held to make a decision about what to do and to pacify the Ambassador.

2, At a ceremonial opening of a school in Prague, a suspicious bag with white powder fall out of the pocket of an unnamed Mayor of Prague. A meeting is held between the Mayor, the school director and a PR person to see how things can be best hushed-up.

We carried out the first meeting and the roleplay went incredibly well. The students really put their souls in playing the roles. We followed with a short feedback session.

Then I played this video on making decisions at meetings.

Vicky Hollet’s videos are really nice, funny, simple and useful. I’d made a gap fill of the language used and we listened to the video twice. Then we discussed the language and meeting structure proposed in the video.

After that we carried out the meeting. The late-coming student was the chair and again, everybody did an excellent job. Predictably, the Mayor denied everything and the heroin was hushed up.

Finally, I asked the students to draw some emojis of how they felt or write a sentence about the lesson (I am starting to run out of ideas for exit tickets and need five more). The chair made an interesting comment that it wasn’t easy to chair meetings and everybody felt really energized and happy.

The homework is to transcribe a 2-3 min section (which I recorded) of the second interview.


2 thoughts on “Office English 5 – Meetings

  1. Pingback: Office English 6 – Business Reports – Kamila of Prague

  2. Pingback: Office English 9 and 10 – Finito! – Kamila of Prague

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