How to: Bring Imperatives to Life in the A1 Classroom

Bee as part of her authentic speech in the guided tour of the miniature Jack Sparrow house

“Let’s have a look around” says Bee as part of her authentic speech in the guided tour of the miniature Jack Sparrow house

Authentic video is about engaging classes with real language at their grade, helping them to produce context-relevant English. But when students are enjoying good video content there are opportunities to sweeten the pain of teaching theory points like grammar.

Take a video asset like The Fairy Tale House at A1. In this 2’20” film, Bee and Theo do a show-n-tell in a miniature house, demonstrating some cool design features and also exercising core vocabulary sets for rooms and furniture. It’s an attractive and unusual setting for the “home” topic.

But you could also use it to study imperatives. The video has four easy-to-swallow uses of the imperative in an authentic context

  • Bee invites viewers inside using the first person plural imperative “let’s look around!” (00.32) and the second person: “Welcome to the inside of Jack Sparrow House!” (00.49)
  • Theo twice uses the second person imperative, with phrases  “come inside!” (00.45”) and “just look at it!” (02.06).

These four model imperative simple phrases can be played in the class to demonstrate to students the point that imperative phrases always start with a verb. Then the learning can be applied. It could be in a group exercise where students prepare a tour around their school with phrases like “Let’s go to the cafe” etc. Or students could work individually to make a point-of-view video tour of their home with a smartphone, recording commentary as they go.

At some point of course you’ll probably have to get more formal, explaining the roles of intensifiers like “please”, and covering the change of word order when it’s a negative imperative. But from the video you’ve already got a fun context - furniture and rooms - in which to take that theoretical knowledge painlessly into practical applications of the imperative.