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I do really love this phrase because at the end of the day it really is the most important motivator to master your English skills.
So what do we mean by ‘life and death English’?
When you imagine yourself in a situation where the only way you are going to get yourself out of this predicament is to talk to these people in English – why? Because they are in the process of keeping you hostage and English is the only language they know, so you need to explain to them how to set you free!
Every day great teachers are in the classroom putting students to the test. Hopefully without a gun at their head, but more in a fun way, to act out a situation where they need to explain themselves. Games and roleplays are a great way to set up such scenarios. Students tend to enjoy the process, learn something from it, and also get a taste of what reality will be like.
At the same time a great teacher does need to take the students out of their comfortable classroom setting and into the world of real English – real ‘life and death’ English. This is such things as organizing/booking a trip somewhere and going there, buy products in a real supermarket, or going for a job interview.
As soft as these ‘real life’ examples may appear to the teacher, the reality for the students is far more scary. Here are real situations that require the individual to show some mastery with a view to getting a job done, and a job one in real life that if you get it wrong, you could be either out of money, hungry, or without a job.
Life and death English is really the cornerstone of getting students to take learning English seriously. Many students learn many things in school these days and can never see the purpose, life and death English has to be the most important approach to getting students to engage and see the importance of what it can do for you.