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Author Topic: Conversations for Beginner Level LINC learners  (Read 9251 times)
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« on: November 07, 2012, 06:58:13 AM »

Hello everyone,

I’d like to chat about the conversations I teach my Level 1 and Level 2 students. In addition to working as a LINC instructor, I have been working as a Mandarin interpreter for a few years, which lets me get to know people like my learners better. In my opinion, for beginner level English learners, they like to make small talk with their neighbours or friends or people at the bus stop about weather or news etc., but more often, they have to use their language skills to handle situations, solve problems, and reach their goals. I remember I wrote this in my United Way speech: “Imagine how worried a mother would be if she couldn’t tell the family doctor what was wrong with her baby! How despairing a senior would be if he called the emergency line and couldn’t get an interpreter to inform them he had a heart attack!” Therefore, we focus more on practical and realistic conversations.
Last week, McDonald’s offered customers free small coffee. After talking with its manager and getting her consent, I took the whole class there and each student enjoyed a cup of coffee.
This is the conversation I taught them on that day:

How to Order coffee

Clerk:  May I help you?
Can I help you?
May I help next person/customer (in line)?
Next please.

Customer: Yes, please. I’d like a small coffee.
I’ll have a small coffee.
A small coffee, please.

Clerk: How would you like your coffee?  
How do you like your coffee?

Customer:  Double, double.
           Triple, triple. (I won’t recommend this, though. That’s quite a lot sugar.)
           One sugar, one cream. (regular)
           One sweetener, no milk.
           I’ll take my coffee black.
           Can I have a decaf, please?
          Two cream and one sugar in the cup and one sugar on the side, please.

Clerk: Here’s your small double double.
Customer: Thank you.
Clerk: You’re welcome.
1.   Coffee, sugar, milk and cream are non-count nouns or uncountable nouns, we normally don’t put a or numbers before these words, but they have special usage at a coffee shop.
2.   According to CBC news, "Double-double," is among the 5,000 new words and definitions added to the Canadian Oxford Dictionary in 2004. http://www.cbc.ca/news/arts/story/2004/06/30/doubledouble040630.html
3.   There is only “a small coffee” in the conversation because McDonald’s only offered small-sized coffee free. When we are doing the review lesson after the trip, we can add “What size coffee would you like?” or “What size?”, and the answer, “small, medium, large, extra large” afterwards.

I’ll put more conversations here later on.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2012, 11:56:40 AM by Bing » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2012, 02:46:35 AM »

Thanks for adding your lesson.  It would make for an interesting task-based lesson. 
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« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2012, 06:17:46 AM »

Thanks for adding your lesson.  It would make for an interesting task-based lesson. 
Thank you. You've just made my day!
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« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2012, 06:24:56 AM »

I realized that there might be two totally different consequences between a person who could speak even limited English and a person who could not speak the language at all after interpreting 9-1-1 emergency calls. So, I started teaching my students how to make 9-1-1 emergency calls from the first year when I started teaching at LINC.

Lucky us, at this link http://www.torontopolice.on.ca/community/newcomer/outreach3.php  , we can find related information and 9-1-1 emergency lessons plans for CLB1-6 learners.

The following conversation is based on a very short conversation from the pamphlet. I added more questions and responses in it.

9-1-1 operator: Emergency. Do you require police, fire or ambulance?
                      9-1-1 emergency. What are you reporting?
                      9-1-1 What’s the nature of your emergency?
Caller: An ambulance.
         I need an ambulance.

9-1-1 operator: What’s the problem?

Caller: My husband had a heart attack.
      My friend passed out on the floor.

9-1-1 operator: What is your address?
             What is the address of your emergency?

Caller: 123 Jones Ave.

9-1-1 operator: What is the nearest intersection?
Caller: Jones and Second Ave.

9-1-1 operator: Where is your husband now?
Caller: He is lying on the sofa.
9-1-1 operator: Is he breathing?
Caller: Yes.
9-1-1 operator: Is he awake?
Caller: Yes.
      No, I think he lost his consciousness.
      No, I think he is unconscious.
      No, he’s sleeping.

9-1-1 operator: What’s the phone number you are calling from?
Caller: (xxx)xxx-xxxx.

9-1-1 operator: Stay on the line. I will connect you to the ambulance service.
            Stay on the line. I’ll connect you to the fire department.  
            Don’t hang up. Help is on the way.

**One of my students helped her friend call 9-1-1 after learning the emergency 9-1-1 lesson and got an ambulance in time for him, when he got a severe pain in his stomach. Her friend later had an emergency surgery at hospital.

1.*Please also teach our learners how to clearly say the English word of their first language (such as Mandarin, Cantonese, Spanish, Arabic…) to speed up the process if they need an interpreter over the phone, as many people, sometimes even higher level ESL learners, feel more challenging to express themselves in their second language when there is an emergency and  nobody wants to waste the precious time trying to get hold of a correct interpreter.

2.* At a pay phone dial 9–1–1, a coin is not necessary.

« Last Edit: November 09, 2012, 01:52:35 PM by Bing » Logged
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