Extending language

Now is the time! To teach our students more than we normally expect them to know how to say. There is no reason why we shouldn’t raise the game for them. And best of all, they will appreciate it 🙂

I have noticed that my A2 students stick to the same safe expressions they learnt at A1 level and almost never risk saying something they formulated in their heads and cannot translate. They shouldn’t have to. We should provide some options for them to choose from and let them express themselves more precisely and naturally. The most common area, where this seems to be the case, is expressing opinion/ likes/ dislikes/ preferences.

Why not give our students a repertoire of expressions to learn now and see how they become more confident in using this language throughout the year? Below you will find a file with my choice of ‘opinion’ language. Feel free to download and adapt to your students’ needs.


  1. Select the language you want your students to use more freely, fluently and naturally.
  2. ‘Train’ them to use it in many different activities.
  3. Have visual aids they/you can always refer to when it’s needed (e.g. posters).
  4. Incorporate activities that involve the use of this particular language in each class for a few weeks.
  5. Add new expressions to the repertoire as required.


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You can also play games using the language cards, e.g.:

  1. Have students make spidergrams on the board with a few categories (e.g. sports, food, TV programmes).
  2. Organise the cards into 3 types of answer: affirmative, undecided, negative (it helps if they are printed on different colour paper). On the table spread the reaction cards face down and stick the questions you want them to practise on the board.
  3. Students work in pairs. They take turns to ask their partner a question using the question prompt and an idea from the spidergrams. The other student decides what type of answers they want to give, pick a card from that group, flip it and answer with the expression on the card.

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To help students memorize the new language you could play ‘disappearing sentences’ on the board (write a few expressions in a list, ask SS to close their eyes, wipe off a few words, ask SS to take turns and say what the missing words are).

It’s important to recycle new language in other activities, so make sure you keep it on the walls in the classroom and encourage students to use it when appropriate.

Below is a PDF file with the language. You can also find it in the Chelsea Online Resources folder on our Google Drive.

language chunks

reacting language

by Kasia Kepka