Giving advice may not be an entire chapter in your textbook so devoting just one lesson to it may be sufficient.
If this is the case, introduce only the very simple “you should ~.” or “You shouldn’t ~.” structures. If you want to devote more time to this topic, you can introduce other advice related structures and vocabulary such as “You ought to ~.” and “If I were you, I would ~.”
How To Teach Giving Advice
Start out by having students give examples of when and who people ask for advice. Elicit from students the types of problems people face especially ones they may face as students such as having too much homework or not getting enough sleep at night. Write the problems on the board to refer to later and add in any you would particularly like to discuss. Be sure to include problems such as “headache” or “stomachache” because this is definitely a real life situation where students would give advice.
Introduce Giving Advice
Introduce the structures “You should ~.” and “You shouldn’t ~.” Have students repeat these two phrases after you several times for pronunciation practice. Use one of the problems written on the board as an example. First turn the problem into a sentence to make half of your model dialogue. For example, “headache” would become “I have a headache.” Then show how to use these new structures to give advice. Using several examples, practice both the problem and advice sentences as a class until students are familiar with the structures and confident enough to perform individually as well.
Practice Giving Advice
Have a worksheet ready where students work in pairs or groups to match problem sentences with advice sentences. Using images on your worksheet can make this task easier while leaving them off will make it more challenging. Using simple sentences and vocabulary your students know well, will ensure that the whole class can complete this activity with confidence. While reviewing the answers, be sure to check students’ comprehension of all the sentences on the worksheet and any vocabulary they have difficulties with.
Make a worksheet with several problem sentences and have students write advice sentences for each problem. If you chose to introduce more than one structure for giving advice, encourage or require students to use different ones in their answers. To make this activity more challenging, have students write two advice sentences, one using the positive structure and the other using the negative structure. If students are struggling to work independently at this stage, have students work in pairs or groups for this activity so that they can brainstorm and come up with more creative sentences.
In section two you created a model dialogue of a problem sentence and an advice sentence. At this stage, if you want to expand the dialogue, you can include sentences such as “I agree/disagree with you.” or “You’re right. Thank you!” Whatever dialogue you choose, be sure to write it out on the board and clearly mark who says each line by writing an A or B before each sentence. Have students work in pairs. Student A should make a sentence using a problem written on the board such as “I am so tired all the time.” and Student B should give advice such as “You should go to bed earlier.” and complete the model dialogue. Students should take turns being Student A and B and practice this dialogue for five to ten minutes. Have students volunteer to demonstrate their conversation to the class and correct grammar and pronunciation mistakes when necessary.
Ask students to volunteer to give you advice about problems. If there is plenty of time, you can turn this into a group activity where the first group to volunteer the answer and answer correctly, gets a point and when the bell rings, the group with the most points wins.
Giving advice is an important part of conversational English and your students will benefit greatly from studying this if they ever have the opportunity to speak English extensively outside the classroom.
Tara Arntsen has worked with English Language Learners of all ages for many years and has taught in Japan, Cambodia, and China as well as online. When she is not teaching, she enjoys cooking, traveling around the world, and scuba diving. She is a member of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi and is currently pursuing an M.A. in Teaching-TESOL at the University of Southern California.