English teaching resources: The conditionals
English Level: Advanced (B2-C1)
Practice using conditional sentences in imaginary or real situations
Traditionally grammar practising has been done through writing because it gives the students time to think about what is and is not correct.
The problem is that when you speak, you must come up with the proper grammar simultaneously. That is when trouble starts.
With some imagination, it shouldn’t be too difficult to make oral, grammar exercises and here is one example. We present these exercises in our TEFL courses not only for teachers to learn to develop this aspect of grammar in class but also to stimulate their students’ creativity and critical spirit.
Activity 1: “What if…”
On the board, you can review the meaning, structure and use of conditionals 1 and 2. Then you can write the following questions on the board:
- What will happen if there is no TV?
- What will happen if all babies are born in test tubes?
- What will happen if scientists find life on other planets?
- What will happen if every government leader is a woman?
- What will happen if there is no more oil in the world?
- What will happen if computers replace teachers?
Some more daring questions could be:
- What will happen if scientists prove that there is a God?
- What will happen if there are no laws against pornography?
- What will happen if marijuana is legal everywhere in the world?
You instruct the students to give two answers to each question, one that they consider quite likely to happen (using the 1st conditional) and one that is more of speculation (using the 2nd conditional).
Activity 2: Debate
When they have finished, you listen to some of their answers and gear up for a debate – one that incites the fury and fire in many a Spanish student. Then, after the embers of the debate have cooled off, you can ask them what they think will be good changes and why.
Make it clear for the students that there are no right or wrong answers; they are predictions. Don’t allow them to get into another grammar debate in this class. More debating is for another day.