One of the coolest things I did while I was in Korea was host a little segment on the radio, teaching English as a Second Language. Not only did it give me a little exposure in the town and raise my name recognition, but it gave me all sorts of ideas for class. I have a number of classes that were inspired by something I taught on the radio.
This is the first ESL role-play based on my old radio show that I will present on this site. Role-plays are a great way to introduce new vocabulary and idiomatic phrases. Another thing I used them for was to point out common mistakes that Korean students made in English. Depending on the country, students may have different common mistakes. In Korea, we used the term “Konglish.”
At the Office (An ESL Role Play Activity)
At the Office
corporate ladder = series of ascending steps to important job titles in an organization
burn the candle at both ends = work hard all day and half the night too
ax to grind = having another, usually selfish, motive
bite the bullet = put up with something unpleasant
glass ceiling = invisible limit of movement to important positions in an organization (said of women and minorities)
in the black = out of debt
in the red = in debt
pass the buck = give someone else a responsibility that’s yours
talk turkey = talk honestly and plainly about business or other practical matters
wet behind the ears = young and inexperienced
tighten one’s belt = spend less money
drop the ball = make a mistake, fail
fast track = accelerated movement to an important position in an organization
keep your nose to the grindstone = Keep busy; work hard
pull one’s weight = do your fair share of the work
At the Office
Ji-Ho: Good morning, Jim. Do you have the time?
Jim: Yes. It’s 10:00.
Ji-Ho: No, I mean do you have the time to help me with my work? I have been burning the candle at both ends this month.
Jim: Me too. In fact, I overslept and I missed the meeting this morning.
Ji-Ho: Jim! You must keep time. I heard the new guy is on the fast track up the corporate ladder.
Jim: I guess I really dropped the ball.
Ji-Ho: Does the new guy have an ax to grind with you?
Jim: Maybe, why do you ask?
Ji-Ho: I saw him talking to the boss this morning and I think he was pointing out that you were late. I think he wants to get you cut.
Jim: Ugh! He is still wet behind the ears and he doesn’t even pull his own weight around here. I guess I am going to have to keep my nose to the grindstone.
Try To See if you can figure out the meaning or the correct use of the following terms:
Do you have the time? ________________
Burning the candle at both ends _________________
Keep time _____________________
Fast track _________________
Corporate ladder _____________
Drop the ball ____________________
Have an axe to grind __________________
Wet behind the ears _________________
Pull one’s own weight ________________
To keep one’s nose to the grindstone ____________________
Match the definitions below with the correct idiomatic phrase
pull one’s weight * * in the red * * glass ceiling * fast track * burn the candle at both ends * talk turkey * drop the ball* bite the bullet * pass the buck * corporate ladder * ax to grind * Keep your nose to the grindstone * tighten one’s belt * in the black *
1._________________= series of ascending steps to important job titles in an organization
2.__________________ = work hard all day and half the night too
3.__________________ = having another, usually selfish, motive
3._______________________= put up with something unpleasant
4.___________________= invisible limit of movement to important positions in an organization (said of women and minorities)
5.__________________ = out of debt
6.__________________ = in debt
7.__________________=give someone else a responsibility that’s yours
8.__________________=spend less money
9.__________________=make a mistake, fail
10.________________ = accelerated movement to an important position in an organization
11.___________________________=keep busy; work hard
12.____________________= do your fair share of the work
I Hope This Class is Fun and Entertaining
Use this activity as you see fit. These expressions are American English so I included the answers just in case you have to peek. I remember I found this awesome exercise once but there was no answer sheet posted! I had to cut out one of the questions to make sure I didn’t look foolish^^
I’ll be posting more soon and I’m going to start up video tutorials of certain classes. Stay tuned to this site and remember Teaching English is Fun!