Friday, 6 July 2012


This activity was inspired by Jamie Keddie at After using a couple of his lessons where L2> L1>L2 translation is used, it was obvious that our learners really enjoyed the activity. Not only does this method focus on the target language but it gives us an excellent opportunity to celebrate the many varied and wonderful languages in our group. In formal ESL lessons learners are usually deterred from using their own languages (L1) and encouraged to use only English (L2). In this activity learners sit in their own language groups and collaborate with the translations which I think helps them to relax and to enjoy working and learning together. We all attempt to say phrases in each other's languages which is interesting, challenging and often quite funny. That said, the target language is effectively dealt with and with good results too.

This activity uses translation to encourage students to notice the difference between uses of the modal verb 'must'. The activity uses 20 phrases with images to supply the language for study.

Lead in
Ask the learners to make 3 sentences each using the word 'must' (2 minutes). Learners feedback answers to the class and discuss the meaning of 'must'.

Present differing uses of 'must' using the board and provided worksheet.

Explain that phrases and images will be shown and instruct learners to translate the phrases into their own language, it is very important that the students DO NOT write anything in English at this point. Encourage the learners to think about what function 'must' has in each phrase. Get the learners to compare some of the words in their own languages (I particularly like asking some of our Arabic speakers to say words in Chinese and visa versa - lots of fun and giggles).
Once the slideshow is finished ask the learners to translate the phrases back into English.

In order to check answers and get feedback from the learners I use the interactive white board to slowly reveal the phrases accompanying the images. Take this opportunity to correct any errors and drill pronunciation when needed.

Modal Verb - MUST - Slideshow

Modal Verb- Must - Worksheets