Simple ESL Activity for Giving Advice / Making Suggestions
ESL Level: lower-intermediate & intermediate
Target skill: giving advice
Class Time: 10 minutes
Background: This is a simple speaking activity where students practice using the most common structures for giving advice / suggestions.
1) Write the below five (or seven) sentence patterns for giving advice on the board:
If I were you…
[Optional: My advice would be…]
[Optional: Have you thought…]
2) Tell your students that you have a problem, e.g. one of your teeth hurts. Ask them to give you some advice. One will likely say “You should go to the dentist.” Great. Write the suggestion “go to the dentist” on the board beside “You should…”. Next, get the students to fit that idea (go to the dentist) into the other sentence patterns. e.g:
I suggest (that) you go to the dentist.
Why don’t you go to the dentist?
If I were you I would go to the dentist.
Make sure they understand the how to use each pattern for giving advice (especially suggest, which tends to be the hardest).
3) Tell them to get a piece of a paper, and write down two (or more) problems that the following type of people might have:
- the elderly
They can write it down in point form in their own native language if they’d like. It’s not important how they write it down. Give them one minute.
4) When ready, tell one student to start by saying his/her first problem. Have the student say something like : “I am a student. I have a problem. I am failing all of my courses.” Next, get the other students to give advice using one of the patterns on the board. When a student gives a suggestion using one of the patterns, put a check mark on the board beside that pattern for him/her. Then get the next student to tell his/her problem to the class and get advice. The activity is finished when every student has given advice using all of the patterns.
This is a simple speaking activity but practical. If your students are lower-intermediate or intermediate, I suggest that you give it a try.
Matthew Barton of EnglishCurrent.com