What do you know about Belfast?

Published on 2nd February, 2012 in Global Bloggers by Valentina Castellani

This is the most common question we ask students when we first meet them. Murals, stunning views and nature, museums, galleries, restaurants and clubs, the lively music scene … a bit of everything! You might come to know more about its past, or to see where it stands now or where it is heading. Belfast, or Béal Feirste, still remembers its past and cherishes it but it has now moved forward.  A vibrant city, where culture is in the spotlight.

That’s why the Function globally section ‘Making suggestions’ in Global Elementary Unit 10 comes in handy. ‘Why don’t we go to see the murals?’, ‘Let’s walk on the river Lagan’, ‘We can go shopping in Victoria Square’. In my experience students really enjoy practising functional language, especially when they are learning English abroad. It helps students to get to know the city  they live in, and also to get to know each other a little bit better.

When you ask students how they usually make suggestions, the most commonly used is ‘Would you like to go to / visit …?’. Thanks to Global, students have the opportunity to learn new ways to make suggestions.

‘Why don’t we go to see the Titanic quarter?’ This construction is initially quite troublesome for the students, as they see the use of the negative auxiliary. Once you practise it with a few examples of questions and answers, they actually seem to enjoy using it! You can often hear them outside school inviting each other using ‘Why don’t we …?’. Did you know that the Titanic was built in Belfast? In April next year, Belfast will commemorate the 100th anniversary since its sinking, by opening a brand new museum.

‘Let’s go to a concert!’ ‘Let’s’ quickly becomes everyone’s favourite expression! They like the emphasis you put on ‘Let’s’ and therefore they think it makes it quite impossible to say no! Music is an intrinsic element of Belfast life. Wherever you go there will always be music to accompany you, either traditional Irish songs played in a pub or buskers on the street.

‘We can go and see the Ulster museum.’ At this stage, students are familiar with the use of ‘can’ to express ability. They still are not confident enough to use it with the meaning of ‘possibility’. That’s why this expression is one more example that helps to clarify the concept of ‘possibility’ and strengthen their confidence in using it. See the treasures of the Spanish Armada and learn more about the Troubles period at the Ulster Museum.

After practising making suggestions in the safety and comfort of the classroom, students are ready to go and explore the city with a little more confidence and new friends.