Delta Assignment 1 – Developing Storytelling Skills

I started my Delta in early 2012 and did a face-to-face intensive Module 2 over eight weeks. There are four assignments, or LSAs, one needs to pass in order to pass Module 2, two of which need to be skills-based and two systems-based.

I thought I’ll start easy and chose to focus on skills for my first LSA. I thought I could teach speaking but I was quite surprised that I was expected to plan a whole 60-minute lesson focusing on speaking skills.

Until this point, I had only taught speaking as an incidental part of teaching reading, listening, writing, grammar, or vocabulary lessons. But speaking to our amazing Delta tutor, Beth Grant (if you get a chance to work with her, jump at it), I thought I could take this on as a challenge and learn to teach speaking not just in the brainstormingactivating schemata, or post-reading/listening discussions, but as a rightful skill in itself that deserved focused teaching of its various nuances. Come to think of it, this is why most students go to language centers or freelance teachers – to learn how to speak – and yet, most ESL teachers do not know or realize the value of teaching speaking as a skill in itself.  (more…)

IELTS Speaking 3: Behaviour – Model answer

Here is the answer to last week’s question on behaviour. 

I cannot tolerate rude and narrow minded behavior towards myself or other people. I dislike people being extremely egoistic and refusing to listen to other people’s opinion. I feel regardless of our belief, we should be considerate towards everyone else’s viewpoints and give them a chance to state their point. Cutting someone off or arguing with them about the rationality of their belief is unnecessary as it is not important that you have to agree with whatever anyone else feels. As they say, you can agree to disagree. Raisin your volume and patronizing someone else is unacceptable behavior.

Similarly in my country, impolite behavior especially towards elders is unacceptable. You are taught basic courtesy towards anyone you interact with. People older than you are always spoken to with more respect than usual keeping in mind their experiences and that they want the best for you. Answering back to them, not heeding their advice and being inconsiderate towards their needs is all forms of unacceptable behavior. In a lot of homes in my country elders live with their children and grandchildren and so, the emphasis on being kind to them is greater.

The media promotes kinds of behavior that are acceptable or that which are not and as media evolves, these standards evolve as well. Earlier opposing your parents’ choice for your marriage partner was considered unacceptable whereas now with changing times and perceptions of people choosing their own partner, it has become common to do so. Not all changes are good though because media also glorifies celebrities, fame and money and this can lead to people choosing to behave in a manner that focuses on these. The media needs to be taken with a pinch of salt as well, knowing what constitutes changing for the better and behavior that can lead to downfall.

IELTS Speaking Part 3: Industry – Model answer

Here is the answer to the question on industrialization I posted last week.

My country has various industries ranging from steel, gems, coal, hand looms, pharmaceuticals, textiles, cement, mining and software. Globalization of industry has its pros and cons. While it is now simpler to obtain goods from other countries, we are also competing on a global scale. This leads to every decision for such an industry to be made keeping in mind the competition worldwide. Customers are now spread across the world leading to a growth in the customer base for domestic industries. Ease of doing business has increase with the ability to source raw materials and other necessities from their point of origin if it is not available domestically. Such advantages have led to a better state of business today than before. There are also problems because of global competition such as overproduction by one country can greatly impact the demand and supply of a product as is happening with Steel at the moment because of excessive production by China.

Countries should have a fair limit on importing goods that can be produced in your country. Not doing so renders such producers at a disadvantage. Their prices will be affected and initiatives in such an industry might reduce because there is enough competition already. At the same time, imports can force local manufactures to improve the quality of their products or services to match global standards.

Industries have becoming more automated and computerized over the last few decades. Agriculture which used to be a huge sector has now lost out to people moving from rural areas to cities in order to work in such areas. Industries are given land to build their facilities often at the expense of farming causing livelihood of the farmers to be jeopardized. E-commerce has become a vast industry now with the rise in citizens having computers and access to the internet.

IELTS Speaking Part 2: Birthdays – Model answer

Here is the model answer to the question I posted last week about Birthdays. 

My own Birthday is not important to me but the ones of my friends and family are. I used to enjoy my birthday when I was a child but for the past 5 years I have not celebrated it. My family are also not much into celebrating borthdays and so, we don’t usually make a big deal of our birthdays. Many of my friends get excited about theirs work hard to make sure it’s always a grand affair.  The only good thing about birthdays, I think, is that you get to catch up with friends becaues everyone usually makes it a point to call or text or meet up on your birthday.

I think birthday celebrations have gotten fancier over the years. When I was a child, birthdays used to be cozy affairs but now there are people who hire professional event managers to celebrate their kids’ birthdays. Some people have DJs and bouncy castles for birthdays. I would go as far as to say that birthdays are now only second to weddings, in terms of the amount of money spent and grandeur people have come to expect at birthday parties.

I have to admit there is one more thing I like about birthdays and that is presents. I love receiving presents, of course, but I also love giving presents to my near and dear ones on their birthdays. For kids, I prefer giving toys because I find parents often focus on education and children, at least the ones I know, don’t have enough toys. When I choose toys though, I try to avoid gender prejudices, so I tend to buy handmade dolls and figurines for little boys and what may be considered more boyish toys such as cars and truck and dinosaurs to the girls.

I think the best birthday presents for adults are electronic gadgets. Most people I know now are addicted to their smartphones, so any accessories usually go down well as presents. There are books of course, and I feel like, even if the people I know may not spend much time reading, they do like having books in their home. I gift books a lot – perhaps one day, my friends will pick them up and read a few pages.

IELTS Speaking Part 3: Food production – Model answer

Here is a sample answer to the question I posted last week.

My country produces rice, wheat, sugarcane, coffee, tea and spices. It imports pulses, corn and a few fruits. Pulses are the biggest food time it imports. It bodes well for a country to be self sufficient as it has a multitude of wide ranging benefits.  A self sufficient country has the ability to sustain its population; lesser people will go hungry when you can afford to meet the food demand through native production of items. The currency you save by not having to import items can be spent on improving facilities and other welfare activities for the masses. In my country a significant number of people live below the poverty line and a self sustaining system would render lesser people hungry. More people would have access to food which has a domino effect in increasing public health, decrease in mortality rates, rise in employment and a growth in economy eventually. This leads to an overall increase in contentment and prosperity of the population. Other items can be imported then instead of food items majorly.  Self sufficiency in every aspect is not possible but achieving it in the food sector has many ramifications that can help the country progress.

In a country like mine where large number of people are employed in agriculture, buying from the farmers is better than buying from a supermarket. This is because buying from farmers is cheaper for the consumer; it eliminates the need of middlemen and ensures that the farmer gets his due price. It promotes agriculture and ensures its survival as a means of livelihood. Supermarkets may have more variety and maybe even better quality but they also increase food wastage by selecting only sustainable products. This pressurizes farmers to use genetically modified crops to ensure that their crops preserve longer.

IELTS Speaking Part 3: Conversations – Model answer

Here is a model answer to the question I posted last week about conversations. 

Most of my conversations with strangers would happen only because of books. Apart from that unless I am asking for directions or seeking help of that nature, I do not talk to strangers. Strangers often start conversations with me though. People usually start conversations with strangers if they are bored, curious or need help.  Waiting in airports for example you are more likely to start a conversation with a stranger who is waiting for the same flight. Some people like me can be curious about book strangers are reading and strike up a conversation to know what the book is about or how it is as well. You are more likely to talk to strangers if you are facing an emergency like an urgent phone call when your phone is not working.

Social media has provided more avenues for strangers to interact from specific websites for strangers to connect or a website like Facebook where you see you have mutual friends and hence add someone who is unknown to you but not a complete stranger altogether. In that sense we are all a little bit more connected now and the definition of a stranger has changed post the advent of social media. So talking to strangers is not only more acceptable but common as well now. I think people are less hesitant to talk to strangers as mentioned because there are more platforms available to do so. Through the Internet people have found a medium to be share problems, feel less lonely and make more friends making it easier for people to have conversations with strangers now.

IELTS Speaking Part 3: Art – Model answer

Here is a sample answer to the question about art I posted last week.

Art plays an important part in our life. Not only does it add meaning and bring beauty into our lives but it also makes us feel but evoking out emotions. It exposes us to new ideas, ways of being and philosophies. It has the potential to make us smarter by introducing to us diverse perspectives and challenging the accepted norm. They make us aware of our environment; make us contemplate on things that do not occur to us on our own. Art can also serve as a way to comment on society and bring to forefront the issues in our society.

Life without art would be a lot more controlled, predictable and dull. We would not have had entertainment to distract us from reality or new ideas that change us. Most importantly, there would be no channel to focus our creativity and energy. Less inspiration would exist and motivation to change would decrease since there would no art to showcase the things unheard of.

Photography is definitely an art as capturing the essence of a moment whether in candid photography of people or clicking the vista of a place and creating an aesthetic model of it in a photograph requires skill and talent.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words and so, photography clearly makes enough of an impression upon humans to be considered an art.

I feel art is inspired by life but may not necessarily imitate life. If we only created art that we see around in life, its scope would be much less. Our imagination is not limited to simply imitating life which is why art is so importance because it goes beyond the conventions. It is the artist’s imagination that is art, it is a medium of expression for them which does not always imitate life.

IELTS Speaking Part 3: Movies – Model answer

Here is the sample answer to the question about movies I posted last week.

Movies are a very important form of art. Cinema is a melting pot of different kinds of creativity in the form of storytelling, acting, direction and many other aspects that are involved in its execution. They evoke emotions through their stories and that is the basic premise of any art form. Movies are a medium of expression as well, one that combines skill and imagination just like a book. Whether all movies come under the category of art is debatable as this term is generally applied to though provoking films as opposed to commercial entertainment ones.

Movies should be a mix of education and entertainment. They exist to make citizens aware but entertain them at the same time as well. Categorizing them as only education or entertainment is not beneficial to the society. People have preferences as to what they enjoy and as such, all types of movie should be made to cater to the difference in tastes. Even purely educational films cannot be as successful without being entertaining and at the same time, only entertainment films in abundance will tire people. Movies serve as a medium to get the society to wonder and discuss about issues and so, there is a need for cinema as art while maintaining the inherent quality of it providing entertainment.

The last few decades have seen bolder concepts being portrayed in cinema such as homosexuality. New technology has led to better quality of movies, more accessibility to these movies so now a movie can have a much larger audience especially globally. Animated movies have become very popular these days. Action and superhero films have also become more common often spawning a sequel or movie series of its own. Literature is being captured in this medium more too, today with several movies releasing that are adaptations of books.

IELTS Speaking Part 3: Youth – Model answer

Here is the model answer to the question I gave you last week. 

I do not think the youth of today are more selfish than the older generations or that the youth of tomorrow will be more selfish than our generation. Every generation thinks that they are better than the next one but I feel since every generation grows up in different circumstances compared to the previous ones, a comparison is futile. The environment we grew up in is vastly different from our parents and will be even more different from the next one but that is not to say that our choices are more selfish than the ones of the prior generation. With each successive generation arise better technology and more opportunities which result in the options available for each being distinct and unique to them. So while some of our choices can seem selfish to our elders, for us our priorities are probably different. Like a lot of women today choose to focus on their career and not stay at home with their children and while that might seem selfish to a person from an older generation, it is a perfectly reasonable choice.

The youth of today can learnt a lot from the older generation as they can be great source of knowledge and advice. They have seen  things we have not and maybe never will and this experience that comes with age must be respected by younger individuals.  It is easy for the older generation to be out of touch because our world involves so much more options in every aspect today which seems unfamiliar to them. It makes our lifestyles sometimes even incomprehensible to them but any open minded elder can still keep in touch with the youth today as long as there is communication from both sides.

IELTS Speaking Part 3: Age – Model Answer

Here is a sample answer to last week’s question relating to age.

I think every age is unique to a person’s life so there is no perfect or best age to be.  Being younger in your 20s is generally seen as the best time since you have fewer responsibilities and you can take more risks. The next decade is probably when you start settling down so each age has its charm.

The appropriate age for getting married in my culture differs for men and women. While the latter are expected to get married starting the age of 23, men are given time till their late 20s to settle down. This might not be true for everyone but is by and large indicative of the societal expectations. (more…)

IELTS Speaking Part 3: Advertising – Model answer

Here is the answer to a question on advertising I posted last week. 

Advertising has a huge impact on our shopping habits. It influences us from the very first stage of what we think we need. We are constantly bombarded with ads whether on TV, during movies in a theater, while browsing the Internet or reading a newspaper.The role of advertising traditionally is to inform the masses about what products and services are available. More often than not, what it does is to convince consumers they should have a certain product. Different kinds of companies use different advertising methods depending on whether they are selling a basic commodity or a luxury good.

I strongly feel that advertisers should not be able allowed to target children. This issue evokes criticism regularly as a large section of the society perceives targeting children to be unethical. Some countries like Belgium ban advertisements during the time children shows are aired on television. Advertising also negatively influences children by encouraging unreasonable notions of body sizes, lifestyles and violence. They overestimate the importance of material possessions and promote shopping as an activity.

Kids and teenagers are more affected by advertising because while adults possess the ability to discern between informative ads and manipulative ads, children are still in the stage of forming their minds. Constant exposure to such ads can prevent them from making a sound judgment about the content of advertisements. Ultimately it is the adults who are affected since they are the ones paying because the successful commercials will results in the child making a persistent demand which the parents will have to oblige. Although advertising is of undeniable importance, companies should ensure that they do not manipulate audiences specifically children.

IELTS Speaking Part 3: Culture and Politeness – Model Answer

Here are a sample answer to the question I posted last week on society and culture.

It is very important to be polite in my culture. Your character is based on how you treat people and so it has been ingrained in us from a young age that we should treat everyone with courtesy. Being well mannered is a sign of good upbringing and your behavior in our society reflects on your parents. Being respectful to everyone talks volumes about the values instilled in you by your family. (more…)

IELTS Speaking Part 3: Tourism and hospitality – Model answer

Here is the answer to last week’s question. 

My country is a popular tourist destination and so receives a lot of foreign tourists around the year. Since religion is of profound importance in my country as well, we receive many foreigners who come to reside here in monasteries and such.  They are treated with a lot of respect as in our culture we equate guests to God. However lately there have been incidents of racism against people of African background. Instances of violence towards them have seen a spike with men being beaten up and women even being molested. This however is a very recent occurrence and I think in this specific case, people were more hospitable in the past than today.

At the same time due to expanding technology, people host and receive more foreigners now with the help of websites such as Airbnb that allow natives to put up their houses for rental. This has led to an increase in natives being more hospitable today than before where such concepts were unheard of and people would be more afraid to host strangers especially of a different nationality.

It is definitely better to stay with a friend when visiting a foreign country than staying at the hotel. The added intimacy of friendship makes your trip more worthwhile. You get a peek into how people in a different country live as well such as their food preparations at home and everyday lifestyle.  When you stay with locals, you can visit the hidden gems and not just the destinations that tourists visit. Natives know more about the best places to eat, shop, travel to and the best modes of travelling. This can really help you in having a better trip since otherwise you have to rely on travel guides or tour packages which are not personalized.



IELTS Speaking Part 3: Emotions – Model answer

Here is the answer for the question I posed last week. 

I think men and women can be equally emotional but women tend to be more expressive and so, vocal about their emotions.  It is not fair to decide the emotional depth of an individual based on their gender though the fact that women are more open about their feeling as compared to men is generally known. (more…)

Make shy students speak

Got shy students – use Morfo to make them speak. This app will come in handy if you and your students have Apple devices at school or personal machines. It’s also available on Windows phones but how many of those are there in this world!

Too bad they haven’t released an Android app. I’d love to play with this, especially because I work with Saudi female students. Saudi women usually don’t like having their photos or videos taken by anyone. While selfies are popular, most women don’t share their photos via the internet for fear of private data getting leaked over the internet.

So, in my case, all of my students would be categorized as camera-shy. (more…)

IELTS Speaking Part 3: Beauty – Model answer

Here is a sample Speaking Part 3 answer to a question I posted last week about beauty.

I do think even though it is unfair, beauty does play a role in success. People considered beautiful might be given opportunities not open to others. They have more access to such opportunities as well. In situations where first impressions matter, beauty often plays a large role in determining what that impression might be. While interacting with the opposite gender, such a factor might count for more than when talking to someone of your own gender.

I would rather be smart because the way your mind works or your knowledge is far more important an asset than physical beauty. Regardless of your physical attributes, if you do not possess knowledge or competence then there is not much you can achieve. You can rely on your smartness to take your forward but not on beauty. Also, the novelty of beauty will eventually be replaced by the strength of your personality and being smart would contribute to a much more interesting personality.

In my opinion, neither being rich nor physically attractive is a proposition to be envied. So, it is difficult to say what I would rather be when I consider both of them equally unworthy of desiring. If I have to decide then it would be beauty because as I said it provides you access to more opportunities and gives you an intangible advantage in ways it is not possible to be aware of.

In my country, fairness used to be considered an important parameter of beauty. We have several products that promote this belief with their advertising as well. I think now over the past decade or so, my society has evolved and this notion that fair is beautiful is changing. You can now find mention of duskier skin tones in the conversation about beauty.

IELTS Speaking Part 3: Pets – Model answer

Here is the model answer to the question I posted last week about pets. 

Some pets can have a lot more advantages than other pets. Dogs have the ability to guard places ensuring safety. Cats on the other hand are useful mostly to keep rats in check. Others like rabbits, fishes and hamsters do not serve any utility as such.

The biggest advantage of a pet such as a dog is psychological in terms of the companionship and affection they provide. They increase the joy in your surroundings often reducing stress as well. They can also boost exercise for example walking your dog. Children who grow up with dogs are also more considerate as it teaches you how to care for someone else at a young age. It is also suggested that kids growing up with dogs are less prone to allergies and asthma. (more…)


Here is the model answer for last week’s Speaking Part 2 question.

 I am going to talk about my favourite city which is Mumbai.

Mumbai is the capital city of the state of Maharashtra in India. It is also known as the financial capital of the country and is home to the Indian Film Industry.

It’s a city that has something for everyone. There are heritage walks for those interested in its rich history, a great nightlife and a number of old Irani cafes and concept restaurants.

I like the city because it’s so resilient. It has survived terror attacks, large-scale immigration and annual monsoons that flood the city. Yet, it has people and a culture that have persevered and haven’t given up on their dreams.

Here’s the IELTS Speaking Part 2 cue card from last week.


Learn more about how to answer questions in speaking part 2 and how to manage time effectively.

IELTS Speaking Part 3 – Q.13 – Model answer

Here’s a sample answer to the question I posted last week on change. 

My country has too many demographic and societal differences within the society to say that people like to or do not like to change. Most people do not have the opportunity to change their social setting so to speak but of the ones that do, more often than not they prefer being settled in a comfortable environment. People looking to change will be less in number compared to those who would not.

People are willing to change for a better job, a different city, any personal reason such wanting to live with their family or when they get married, for the sake of their children’s education and in essence for better opportunities in any field. The advantages of changing something are you get exposed to a new set of ideas, behavior or philosophies. You get acclimatized to different ways of being. Meeting new people and making new friends is the biggest advantage of changing I feel. Expanding your friends circle broadens your mind and introduces you to things and ideologies you might not have had before.

I think it is important for people to change in order to encounter unfamiliar situations maybe even uncomfortable ones, to help them grow. Whether it is professionally or personally, change leads you to evolve. New experiences are invaluable in shaping you and changing aspects of your life leads to diverse experiences as opposed to a settled and risk free life.

All reasons of changing can be clubbed under the decisions you take either out of your own initiative or under unpredictable circumstances. We are surrounded by choices perpetually and those choices determine your reasons of change.

IELTS Speaking Part 2 – Q.10 Model Answer

Last week’s sample question was another in the series of culture-themed questions. The aim of Part 2 questions is to allow candidates to talk about something specific and personal to them, for which no specialist vocabulary is needed. You can probably talk at length about such questions, so does that mean you should not prepare for them?

In fact, the easier questions – about topics that you have a lot of knowledge – are the best ones to impress the examiner on. And you can do this simply by peppering your answer with good vocabulary – collocations, phrasal verbs, and some uncommon words. 

Here’s my model answer. Can you identify instances of good vocabulary in it?

I’m going to talk about the festival of Diwali, which is also called the festival of lights.

Diwali is usually celebrated in late October or early November. The exact date is determined according to the Hindu calendar.  (more…)