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Teaching Interaction Management Directly:
Helping Learners with Part 3 of the
CAE Speaking Exam
by Greg Gobel
- lesson plan 4 - the lesson procedure






7 mins

1A. Learners play a conversation game. They can only say one to three utterances at a time, and then their partner does the same. They give the slips to their partner as they say each utterance. They will rotate around the room commenting personally about different work skills (represented by visuals on the walls), saying whether or not they think they are skilled in those areas and why. They do not have to talk about all the visuals. NB: I will likely model this activity after the instruction to make it clearer what learners should do.

  • Interaction pattern: closed pairs (or group of 3 with an odd number of learners); learners standing and moving from visual to visual, all attached to the walls. NB: if learners start to take longer and longer turns before handing over their slips, I may change the partners partway through the activity.
  • Classroom aids: visuals, blue tack, walls, slips
  • Time: 4-5 minutes

For learners to get used to not saying as much as they may want to say at a time.

For learners to interact early in the lesson.

Visuals are used to cater to visual learners.

Hand-away slips are used to cater to kinaesthetic learners.

Learners are standing to energize early in the lesson and to cater to kinaesthetic learners. Also, this class tends to like doing some speaking activities standing up.


20 mins

2A. Learners read dialogue (task sheet 1A) between two CAE learners from another class and decide if either dominates the conversation.

  • Interaction pattern: closed pairs (group of 3 if necessary)
  • Classroom aids: dialogue sheet ‘task sheet 1A’
  • Time: 2 minutes

2B. Learners get a transcript with consciousness-raising questions to identify some turn-taking mechanisms by predicting what the 2 learners will do at certain marked spots on the transcript. The focus is on offering the listener a turn, holding a turn, and trying to gain a turn.

  • Interaction pattern: closed pairs (or group of 3 with an odd number of learners)
  • Classroom aids: transcript ‘task sheet 1B’
  • Time: 10 minutes +/-

2C. Learners listen to the tape to compare with their guesses. Teacher will replay important bits to give learners more opportunity to hear the intonation usage.

  • Interaction pattern: closed pairs (or group of 3 with an odd number of learners)
  • Classroom aids: tape recorder, tape, and transcript ‘worksheet 1’
  • Time: 5 minutes +/-

2D. Learners quickly categorize the 8 C-R questions and mechanisms to reinforce their observations from 2A and 2B.

  • Interaction pattern: closed pairs (or group of 3 with an odd number of learners)
  • Classroom aids: worksheet 1
  • Time: 2 minutes

For learners to analyze the turn-taking of an excerpt of an authentic transcript of two learners doing a Part 3 task.

The dialogue is a short extract to enable focus on main features without overwhelming the learners.

For learners to help each other predict the intonation features of turn-taking.

For learners to listen and check their predictions.


13 mins

3A. In groups, two learners will converse and one (or two) will monitor. The participants’ task is to decide what sort of jobs they would be suitable for based on their work skills discussed in stage 1. The monitor has a checklist and will observe and tick the mechanisms that the learners attempt. Before speaking begins the learners will have a moment to look over their cards. Afterwards, the monitor will give feedback to the two participants. NB: We will do this task two times so multiple learners have a chance to do the monitoring.

  • Interaction pattern: with 6 learners, 2 groups of 3; with 7 learners: one group of 3 and one group of 4; with 8 learners: two groups of 4
  • Classroom aids: monitor cards
  • Time: 2 or 3 minutes for the task; 1 or 2 minutes for learner-learner feedback

To provide goals for the learners in attempting turn-taking mechanisms.

To prompt learners to consciously try these mechanisms and to raise their awareness of their own output. (I have chosen not to give interlocutors turn-taking prompt cards, as I feel these may be more distracting than helpful.)

To encourage learners to monitor their own and their peers’ output. The observation sheet should help them focus on the turn-taking mechanisms.


13 mins

4A. Learners listen to very short dialogue. Their task is to say what B does to A (=he interrupts him). The expression is lifted off the CD, tonal movement analysed. This leads in to 4B.

  • Interaction pattern: Learners-CD/T
  • Classroom aids: homemade CD, remote, CD player notebook/paper and pen/pencil
  • Time: 1 minute

4B. Learners brainstorm expressions that they already know for interrupting.

  • Interaction pattern: Closed pairs (group of three if needed)
  • Classroom aids: learners’ own notebook/paper and pen/pencil
  • Time: 2 minutes

4C. Snappy feedback to 4A, including quick analysis of tonal movement.

  • Interaction pattern: T-learners lockstep
  • Classroom aids: learners’ own notebook/paper and pen/pencil
  • Time: 1-2 minutes

4D. Learners get a list of some expressions for interrupting and work out stress and tonal movement of each. Half the class starts at the top and works down, half the class starts at the bottom and works up. Learners are encouraged to say the expressions to each other aloud to help; mumble drilling is also encouraged. They open the folded sheet to check their work. NB: There are more expressions than they will need for stage 5, but I think it is good for them to have these for future reference.

  • Interaction pattern: Closed pairs/group of 3
  • Classroom aids: recording of conversation; ‘task sheet 2’ with expressions (folded)
  • Time: 8 minutes

To identify an interruption from an audio recording

For learners to work together to recall expressions for interrupting.

To raise learners’ awareness of useful linguistic realizations that can be used to interrupt appropriately as a turn-taking mechanism to gain the floor.

To practice recognizing tonal movement.


10 mins*

5A (optional, time allowing) Before instructing the Part 3 exam task, I will elicit from the learners what we’ve covered in the lesson as a reminder and as a prompt for the learners to keep these turn-taking mechanisms in mind while doing the task. I will also elicit, as a reminder, what Part 3 asks the learners to do.

  • Interaction pattern: T-learners lockstep
  • Classroom aids: -
  • Time: 3-4 minutes

5B. Learners do a real Part 3 exam task with the appropriate exam time limit.

  • Interaction pattern: T-learners lockstep for instructions; closed pairs (group of 3 if necessary because of an odd number of learners)
  • Classroom aids: Visual sheet (1 for each pair); Exam question (for teacher); phone with countdown timer (for teacher)
  • Time: 5 minutes (including instructions)

5C. (optional, time allowing) Learners report back to another group about their decision.

  • Interaction pattern: closed pairs/small groups
  • Classroom aids: -
  • Time: 1-2 minutes

* 10-11 mins is the predicted time for this stage if we move through the earlier stages faster than planned and have time for 5A and 5C. If not, this stage will probably be about 5 to 6 minutes.

To re-activate the skill and language focuses of the previous stages of the lesson.

For learners to have an opportunity to try out some of the turn-taking mechanisms mock exam conditions.

I have chosen not to have learners take the role of monitor for this activity so that they all have more opportunities to converse and try out some of the turn-taking mechanisms.

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