Just Start! Teacher Notes

Lesson 1b: Yes/No Questions (2)
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Student Preparation Overview
Prepare Feedback Train

In this lesson, students observed a few different ways to answer simple Yes/No questions without hesitating, which contributes to fluency.

Just Start
Just Start
Just Start
Just Start
Overview Explanation 15

The purpose of the first video in each set is to show students an example of an alternative way to answer a yes or no question on the test. Since it is test, it is advantageous for students to become aware of how to increase their perceived ability in front of the interviewer. One way is to use a range of lexis and grammar within set expressions in a meaningful context.

Review and Extra Notes from Lesson
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Exercise 16

Go to the student portion of this lesson and make a note about the depth of grammatical explanation in each video. Note the length of the video and begin to think about some questions your student might want to ask you during the preparation feedback stage of the live class.

Extra Notes

When you want to answer No to a question that begins with Do you..., you can answer with:

No I can't say that I do

For example:
A: Do you enjoy painting?
B: No, I can't say that I do.

Prepare for class:

Do you enjoy dancing?
Do you like swimming in the ocean?
Do you listen to the radio?

*Your teacher might ask you these questions in class. Prepare your answer beforehand.

Extra Notes

When you answer No with this expression, make sure you place the main stress on don't

No, I DON'T unfortunately.

You can also use this same pattern with Have you questions.

For example:
A: Have you ever been to a really hot country?
B: No I haven't unfortunately.

Prepare for class:

Have you ever sailed in a ship?
Have you ever travelled alone?
Have you ever had a job?

*Your teacher might ask you these questions in class. Prepare your answer beforehand.

Extra Notes

Prepare for your training session by memorizing fixed expressions like the one Rennie used in his response.

No I can't say that I have

For example:
A: Have you ever played a musical instrument?
B: No I can't say that I have.

Prepare for class:

Write down some yes/no questions that you could answer with this vocabulary phrase.

*Your teacher might ask your classmates to ask you these questions in class so you can practice. Prepare your answer beforehand.

Rep #4: Yes/No Questions (2)
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A: Have you ever been to a really hot country?
B: __________________
A: Why?
B: I suppose it's because I live up here in Canada and I just haven't had enough money to fly anywhere warm. I'm a student, so there are a lot of student loans to pay back.

Choose the most appropriate expression from the choices below.
A. No I can't say that I do.

B. I haven't unfortunately.

C. I don't unfortunately.

Exercise 17

Think about which word carries the prominent stress (the loudest and strongest word) in the most appropriate answer. If you are not sure, go back to to interview videos yourself and see if any of the speakers provide a model that you can point your students to should they need help with this during the preparation feedback stage of your live class.

Checkpoint #5: Yes/No Questions (2)
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Do you enjoy dancing? [Why/Why not?]
Do you like swimming in the ocean? [Why/Why not?]
Do you listen to the radio? [Why/Why not?]
Have you ever sailed in a ship? [Why/Why not?]
Have you ever travelled alone? [Why/Why not?]
Have you ever had a job? [Why/Why not?]

Your teacher may choose to focus on language from a specific lesson during the preparation feedback stage of the live class.

Prepare Feedback Train
The teacher is not well prepared for her class as she needs to check her student's notebook page.

The teacher sees that her student does not need any help with the yes or no question, so she decides to focus on extending his language.

In my opinion, Darby Laai should ask his teacher for some pronunciation practice before trying it again. However, the teacher might decide provide some later.

Darby Laai does well to keep his mouth shut as Miss Swiss tends to give him the evil eye for at least a week when she is angry, which is worse than getting hit by a freight train.

[Miss Swiss is already sitting at the table when Darby Laai arrives with his coffee and notebook in hand. Her glasses are up on her forehead, which means she is not in a bad mood or about to get angry]

Miss Swiss: Hello Darby Laai. Let me just pull out my laptop and check your notebook page.
Darby Laai: Sure thing.
Miss Swiss: I see that you got a yellow flag on this lesson. Umm should we practice some questions from this checkpoint?
Darby Laai: Sure...you are the teacher.
Miss Swiss: Ok...Umm..Do you like dancing?
Darby Laai: For sure yeah.
Miss Swiss: Why?
Darby Laai: Why? Oh well I suppose the reason is that I like certain kinds of music and that..well it's just natural.
Miss Swiss: I liked your reason. I think it is the natural thing to do as well. Darby Laai, I would like to know why you repeated my why question after I asked you?
Darby Laai: Because I wasn't expecting it I suppose.
Miss Swiss: Did you have to think for a little bit?
Darby Laai: I figure I did...I don't know...yeah I guess so.
Miss Swiss: Ask me that question like you are really thinking and not surprised.
Darby Laai: Hmmm...why...?
Miss Swiss: And surprised?
Darby Laai: Why?
Miss Swiss: Which one matched your meaning in your checkpoint task?
Darby Laai: I suppose it would be the first one.
Miss Swiss: Let's try this task again shall we? Do you like dancing?
Darby Laai: I do.
Miss Swiss: Why?
Darby Laai: Hmm...why...? I am not really sure. I just made up the answer I just said. Do you remember what I said?

[Miss Swiss puts her pen down and pulls her glasses down to her nose and leers at him with everyone in the coffee shop watching]

Miss Swiss: Sorry can you repeat that?

[Darby Laai looks down at his blank notepad and pretends to think]

Preparation Tip 18

If you have checked your student's notebook and feedback page and you have copied information about which reps, checkpoints and assessments you plan to run through onto the PFT Assessment Sheet, you can start your live class from the Train page on this website. However, it can be useful to justify your choice of checkpoint by identifying the feedback flag assigned to the student for the corresponding lesson.

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Assessment #6: Yes/No Questions (2)
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Beware of overambition (Message to students)

You don't have to always use the same simple expressions to answer yes/no questions on the test. In fact, it will be to your advantage to include a range of expressions in your set of responses. However, you only saw three possibilities in this lesson. There are so many more depending on the context and the situation.

Having said that, it is important for you to approach the training session with patience in your ability to learn whatever you want to learn and practice whatever you want to practice. Choose an assessment task that you have some genuine interest in if this is your first time taking this live class.

If you follow the green flag path and aim to receive green flag feedback on the assessment task, you will have confidence in the language that you have used for the task. Being overly ambitious can distract you from reaching this objective in an efficient manner.

#6i. Dancing (Part 1)

  • Do you like dancing? [Why/Why not?]
  • Is dancing popular among young people in your country?
  • Do you think dancing is a good skill for young people to learn? [Why/Why not?]
  • Do you prefer dancing or watching other people dance?
Extra Notes (Assessment #6i. Dancing (Part 1) )
Red Flag
English Teacher: Do you like dancing?
Darby Laai: For sure yeah?
English Teacher: Why?
Darby Laai: Hmmm...let me see...Why do I like dancing? I suppose it's because I like certain types of music and dancing to that music is just the natural thing to do! I mean, I am not very good...
English Teacher: Is dancing popular among young people in your country?
Darby Laai: Teacher, I have heard this question before and I want to answer it in a more advanced way. How can I do that?
English Teacher: Use the response that you have thought about before coming to class and I will provide some feedback afterwards.
Darby Laai: Ok...can you please repeat the question?
English Teacher: Sure...is dancing popular among young people in your country?
Darby Laai: I don't unfortunately.
English Teacher: Why not?
Darby Laai: I would have to say the reason is that some people like to dance...but I wouldn't necessarily say it is popular.
English Teacher: Do you think that dancing is a good skill for young people to learn?
Darby Laai: Absolutely.
English Teacher: Why?
Darby Laai: I guess I would have to say it's because I feel that dancing can give some people confidence.
English Teacher: Do you prefer dancing or watching other people dance?
Darby Laai: I like both actually, but if I had to choose one, I guess I would have to go with watching other people dance.
English Teacher: Why?
Darby Laai: The reason is simple. I won't spill the soft drink I am holding while watching.
English Teacher: Uh huh...ok...yeah right. Darby Laai, let me give you some feedback to when you answered the question about dancing being popular. The question was, "Is dancing popular among young people in your country?" You gave me an answer with "Unfortunately". Do you remember what you said?
Darby Laai: I don't unfortunately...oh I mean it isn't unfortunately.
English Teacher: The second one matches the question. Would you like to try that question again?
Darby Laai: Yes please.
English Teacher: Is dancing popular among young people in your country?
Darby Laai: It isn't unfortunately.
English Teacher: Much better. By the way, I thought your reason was interesting.
Darby Laai: Thank you.

Red Flag
Resist the temptation to be overambitious during the training session. Gain some idea from other sources before coming to class and try a new expression out in front of your teacher during the first part of the live class instead of during the training session.

Warning 19

If you choose to answer a question about how to make a response more advanced during the training session, you must be sure to check meaning, deal with form and model pronunciation. In addition, you should be aware that your subjective opinion about what is advanced and what is not advanced will most likely fix itself in your student's mind.

We encourage you to bring the student back on task should they wander into this territory during the training session. In this way, you are emphasizing both the importance of preparation and the importance of focus on the objective of the assessment task, which is to receive feedback and not input.

#6ii. The ocean (Part 1)

  • Do you live near the ocean?
  • Is the ocean a popular place to visit in your country? [Why/Why not?]
  • Have you ever sailed in a boat on the ocean? [When?]
  • Do you like swimming in the ocean? [Why/Why not?]
Extra Notes (Assessment #6ii. The ocean (Part 1)
Yellow Flag
English Teacher: Do you live near the ocean?
Darby Laai: I suppose I do.
English Teacher: Why?
Darby Laai: Well, I suppose it's because I live right here in Vancouver...and Vancouver is right on the ocean. As a result, I live near the ocean right? I was wondering about this, teacher? I want to sound more advanced here. How can I answer this kind of question with a more advanced expression?
English Teacher: It's a better idea for you to plan to ask this kind of question in the first part of the live class or before the training session. Shall we move on?
Darby Laai: Right. Sure.
English Teacher: Is the ocean a popular place to visit in your country?
Darby Laai: I wouldn't say it is that popular.
English Teacher: Why not?
Darby Laai: A couple of reasons. First of all, most people who live in Canada do not live near the ocean...I mean, it's a pretty big country. Second, when people want to visit a place near water, they go to a river or a lake or some other body of water other than the ocean. That's what I think anyway.
English Teacher: Have you ever sailed in a boat on the ocean?
Darby Laai: I have.
English Teacher: Why?
Darby Laai: I suppose it's because I was invited to go on a cruise for one of those parties around English Bay. Those are always fun and the views are incredible.
English Teacher: Do you like swimming in the ocean?
Darby Laai: I can't say that I do.
English Teacher: Why not?
Darby Laai: A couple of reasons. A because the ocean here in Vancouver is not very clean. What I mean to say is that there is a lot of pollution in the water at the popular beaches here in Vancouver. And B, it's just too cold. Although there is a popular swimming event in the ocean that happens on every New Year's Day. It's called the polar bear swim.
English Teacher: I see. I think you used natural expressions to answer the yes/no questions in this task. Well done!
Darby Laai: Thank you. Can I ask you a question after class about living near the ocean?
English Teacher: You certainly can. Let me make a note and we'll talk about it briefly afterwards. Now let's move on to the next assessment task that you selected during your preparation.

Yellow Flag
Concentrate on the task at hand with a focus on the feedback comment. Being overambitious does not help you at this stage, and your teacher will simply direct you back to the questions in the task.

#6iii. The radio (Part 1)

  • Is listening to the radio common in your country? [Why do you think so?]
  • Do you listen to the radio? [Why/Why not?]
  • How often do you listen to the radio? [Why/Why not?]
  • What kind of radio stations do you listen to? [Why/Why not?]
Extra Notes (Assessment #6iii. The radio)
Yellow Flag
English Teacher: Is listening to the radio common in your country?
Darby Laai: No I can't say that it is unfortunately.
English Teacher: Why not?
Darby Laai: I suppose it's because most people use the internet or other internet applications to get their news or listen to their favorite music....so the radio just doesn't get turned on.
English Teacher: Do you listen to the radio?
Darby Laai: I do actually.
English Teacher: Why?
Darby Laai: A couple of reasons. First of all, the radio is live and the people on the radio have to be really talented to create language and convey ideas on the spot. It's not like making a recording and having the opportunity to change what they said afterwards. And second, the quality of sound on the radio is better in my opinion.
English Teacher: I see. How often do you listen to the radio?
Darby Laai: Around once a week. Whenever I take the car out for a drive.
English Teacher: Why?
Darby Laai: It's just that...I don't have a CD player in my car! Teacher, do I always have to start a reason with an expression from the lesson? I mean, I want to try out different ways to give reasons and the ones in the lesson seem really easy.
English Teacher: It's a good starting place. Better to learn those ones and try new ones during the preparation feedback or assessment feedback part of the live class.
Darby Laai: I see...ok.
English Teacher: Shall we move on to the next question?
Darby Laai: Ok.
English Teacher: What kind of radio stations do you listen to?
Darby Laai: Well, I am eclectic when it comes to the the kind of radio stations I listen to...I mean I like talk radio, classic rock, new music...but I suppose if I had to choose one kind it would be radio stations that play jazz music late at night.
English Teacher: Why?
Darby Laai: Hmmm....I think I would have to say that it is relaxing and cool. I have some friends who are jazz musicians...they seem to have everything under control in the moment you know what I mean? Not like those musicians who only worry about what other people think about them and who spend hours and hours on the computer fixing each note and each line and then expecting other people to like them because they got some views on social media or something...but maybe it's worth it...I don't know I don't play music.
English Teacher: Ok...uh huh...I see. Sounds like another rant.
Darby Laai: There is that word again...I suppose you are just going to tell me to look it up myself right?
English Teacher: Your feedback comment is green here: You were natural in your responses to the yes/no questions and you responded without hesitation. You can work this into future assessment tasks that have a different focus, but for now, let's move on. Let me write a couple of notes down to discuss with you after the training session.
Darby Laai: Ok, thank you.

Yellow Flag
Stay focused on the feedback comment for the task and resist the temptation to ask about everything that comes into your mind right in the moment during the training session assessment task.

#6iv. Sailing (Part 1)

  • Have you ever sailed in a ship? [Why/Why not?]
  • What do/would you like or dislike about sailing in a ship? [Why?]
  • Do you think sailing in a ship is safe? [Why/Why not?]
  • Would you like to sail in a ship in the future? [Why/Why not?]
Extra Notes (Assessment #6iv. Sailing)
Yellow Flag
English Teacher: Have you ever sailed in a ship?
Darby Laai: I have actually.
English Teacher: Why?
Darby Laai: Well, my friend and I...well he is famous now so I shouldn't say his name...were at the port city of Brindisi many years ago, and we had to get to the island of Corfu in Greece. So we bought a ticket and got on an overnight boat and in the early morning, we woke up on the deck next to two very nice people from the States...it was July the 4th in the morning and they asked us where we were from. Then after we said from Vancouver, they asked us how we celebrated the 4th.
English Teacher: Of course he thought you were from the state of Washington.
Darby Laai: Uhh...yeah. Of course.
English Teacher: Of course. Well then, what do you like about sailing in a ship?
Darby Laai: I love the smell of the sea and the appearance of the horizon.
English Teacher: Why?
Darby Laai: The horizon is most beautiful when the color of the ocean matches the color of the water and you can barely see any horizon line. How can I say this sentence with correct grammar?
English Teacher: I think it would be more beneficial to focus on the feedback comments for this task. We can discuss this later after the training session. Let me make a quick note.
Darby Laai: Ok sure.
English Teacher: Do you think sailing on a ship is safe?
Darby Laai: As long as the captain of the ship is not drinking alcohol for sure yeah.
English Teacher: Why?
Darby Laai: I think I would have to say the reason is that there are so many rules for people in boats to follow now. Safety rules you know. And uhhh...in addition to that, there are radios and communication devices that allow ships to communicate with the coast guard in case something goes wrong.
English Teacher: Would you like to sail in a ship in the future?
Darby Laai: Absolutely.
English Teacher: Why?
Darby Laai: Because I want to buy my own boat and what is the point of having a boat if you don't sail in it?
English Teacher: Indeed. Especially if you have told everyone already. Your feedback comment for this task is as follows: You used alternatives to yes and no that were meaningful and without hesitation. We'll talk about your question about the horizon after the training session. I have made a note. Shall we move on to the next assessment task?
Darby Laai: Thank you and ok.

Yellow Flag
If you ask about a vocabulary word or grammatical structure outside of the training session task, expect your teacher to bring your attention back to the task and to the feedback comment. Accept this with a positive attitude.

#6v. Travelling (Part 1)

  • Do you like travelling? [Why/Why not?]
  • Is travelling popular in your country? [Why? Why not?]
  • Have you ever travelled alone? [Why/Why not?]
  • When was the last time you travelled to another country?
Extra Notes (Assessment #6v. Travelling)
Yellow Flag
English Teacher: Do you like travelling?
Darby Laai: I love travelling.
English Teacher: Why?
Darby Laai: I suppose it's because travelling gives me a chance to reset? Is that the right word? Or what vocabulary can I use in this situation?
English Teacher: Do your best to focus on the feedback comment for now and we'll discuss it either after the training session or at the beginning during the preparation feedback stage. Let me write it down for now.
Darby Laai: Ok...it gives me a chance to reset.
English Teacher: Is travelling popular in your country?
Darby Laai: Without a doubt, yes.
English Teacher: Why?
Darby Laai: I think I would have to say the reason is that many young people nowadays don't go to university immediately after graduating from high school...from what I have seen anyway...and they get jobs and make some quick money and they want to spend it on something so they decide to go travelling and post it on social media to feel good about themselves or make other people feel jealous. I don't look at social media so I don't care but they all whip out their phones at the bar, shove it in my face and expect me to be excited about looking at pics of the beach that they have no better adjectives to describe with other than "amazing" or "sooo fun" or something completely mundane and ordinary...
English Teacher: Uh huh...Ok...Well then...Ah hem. Let's not hear another rant.
Darby Laai: There is that elusive word again...What does it mean?
English Teacher: Just look it up before coming to class. OK next question...Have you ever travelled alone?
Darby Laai: I have.
English Teacher: Why?
Darby Laai: I find the question vague...but I suppose it's because I have worked or studied in at least 3 other foreign countries...so on my days and weeks off, I decided to take some road trips on my own.
English Teacher: When was the last time you travelled to another country?
Darby Laai: I think it must have been around the time of the Olympics in Vancouver.
English Teacher: Why?
Darby Laai: I was posted at a university near Yokohama...so I took some day trips into the countryside from there.
English Teacher: Thank you...You used an alternative to yes or no that was meaningful and natural. For example, I really liked how you answered the question "Have you ever travelled alone?". Your answer, "I have" was quite natural. Make sure you place the strongest stress on "have" in that situation. Would you like to try that question again?
Darby Laai: I think I am good...can we move on to the next task please?
English Teacher: Certainly. Let's move on to talk about...

Yellow Flag
If you ask about a vocabulary word or grammatical structure outside of the task, expect your teacher to bring your attention back to the task and to the feedback comment. Accept this with a positive attitude.

#6vi. Jobs (Part 1)

  • Have you ever had a job? [Why/Why not?]
  • Is it common for young people to have jobs in your country? [Why/Why not?]
  • What kind of job would you like to have in the future?
  • Do you prefer working with people or working alone? [Why?]
Extra Notes (Assessment #6vi. Jobs )
Red Flag
English Teacher: Have you ever had a job?
Darby Laai: I certainly have.
English Teacher: Why?
Darby Laai: I suppose it's because...well, just because I guess. I mean everyone should work right? Even teachers who don't get paid to prepare for their classes still prepare don't they? I guess everyone should work. Should? Must?
English Teacher: Uh huh...ok well...ah hem...Let's go on to the next question in this set.
Darby Laai: Before that, I have a quick question.
English Teacher: Go ahead.
Darby Laai: How can I use the word "should" in English?
English Teacher: Mr. Laai, books and books have been written about that and I can tell you that my one minute answer will not help you.
Darby Laai: OK, what should I do?
English Teacher: Huh...Let's stay focused on the feedback comments for this task...and in the next task stay focussed on the feedback comments and eventually we will have some context to discuss this either before or after the training session.
Darby Laai: Ok fair enough.
English Teacher: Is it common for young people to have jobs in your country?
Darby Laai: It depends. What do you mean by young?
English Teacher: Is it common for young people to have jobs in your country?
Darby Laai: Uhhh...I guess so.
English Teacher: Why?
Darby Laai: I am not really sure about the reason...I suppose it might be because young people need money to go to university or perhaps pay for their living expenses while attending university....so they get various kinds of jobs. Like working in a restaurant or cafe or pub or something. But they don't plan to be there forever although some of them certainly pretend that it is their lifetime job when it isn't really.
English Teacher: Uh huh...ok sure...Umm...Well then next question. What kind of job would you like to have in the future?
Darby Laai: I am doing what I love to do right now.
English Teacher: Why?
Darby Laai: I think it is due to the fact that I can write what I want and how I want whenever I want to as long as it is what I know from study or experience. I mean...is this another rant?
English Teacher: No comment. But I agree that one should teach what they know and no more or no less. Do you prefer working with other people or working alone?
Darby Laai: I like both actually but if I had to choose one I would have to say with other people...as long as we agree on who is in charge.
English Teacher: Why?
Darby Laai: It's just no fun when there are too many chiefs in the room. You know what I am saying?
English Teacher: Uhh...no comment for now...You used a good alternative for yes or no when you said "I guess so", but it wasn't natural because it seems like you were confused by the question.
Darby Laai: Yes, I wasn't sure what you meant by "young people".
English Teacher: Remember, you may not always get an explanation during Part 1 of the exam...but better to check the official test website about that. My job is to ask questions, listen to your answers, manage the time, provide you with feedback and help you move forward.

Red Flag
Asking your teacher for an explanation of how to use a modal such as "should" does not help you and is a complete misuse of time during training session.

Training Session Feedback Comments
Prepare Feedback Train
Green Flag

You responded naturally to the yes/no question without hesitation, which is important for fluency.

Yellow Flag

You responded meaningfully to the yes/no question, but you should work on answering with less hesitation. You can do this with preparation.

Red Flag

It would be a good idea for you to review different ways to respond to simple yes/no questions before moving forward. Try this assessment task again.

Description 20

The training session feedback comments on this IELTS Speaking course are derived from higher band score descriptors provided for public examination on the official IELTS website. This set of comments was designed after a close examination of the IELTS speaking criteria called Fluency and Coherence.

A Mark 30 Live Class
Live Class 21

Note that the guidelines to students encourage them to initiate a greeting with you at the beginning of class. This is a good way to start as it gives them a sense of responsibility. However, you may do whatever you wish to help establish rapport at the beginning of your class.

I would also encourage you to write down the script that you plan to use when you introduce the format of the live class to your student. For example:

This class is 30 minutes long. At the beginning, we will answer questions that you have from your online preparation. I will then give you one minute to think and prepare even further for the main part of the class, which is the training session. During these 15 minutes, I will go through Assessment #A, Assessment #W and Assessment #Y with you. In the last part of the class, I will give you the PFT Assessment Sheet and we can talk about your preparation for this training session and how you can improve for next time.

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