Teaching Speaking trough Problem Solving

Level : Intermediate


Goal : By the end of the lesson students are hoped to be able to develop their speaking ability especially in the case of:


1. finding solutions to the problem given and tell them to other people


2. responding to other people’s opinions on the solutions they offer to their problems, whether the solutions can work effectivelly or not, by giving plausible reason


Teaching Steps:


  • Divide the students into some groups. Each group may consist of 6 students. Then get each group to choose a leader.
  • Tell the students that the lesson today is problem solving. Explain to them that problem solving is the process of finding solutions to problems. Since it is a process so there are always steps to run to get the desired results. About the steps of solving problem, you may see them below.
  • Ask the leader of the groups to take the small rolled paper which contain the topic to be discussed and the sequential number of presentations.
  • Tell the students that they may present their work in conversation group with each student has his/her own rule. Remind them that one of the language expressions they will frequently use in this lesson is asking and giving opinion.
  • Give them 45 minutes to discuss/ find the solutions of their problems with the plausible reasons. Tell them that they require a group consensus to come to solution. Voting may be necessary in this case.
  • You must control the process of the discussion and give the students a help when they need.
  • When the discussion time is up, ask the first group to present their work.
  • Make a note while the students presenting their works in front of the class.
  • Write the incorrect sentences they produce either grammatically or the inappropriate use of vocabulary or you may record some other mistakes.
  • Don’t forget to ask the audience students to pay attention to each group solutions to their problems. Tell them to consider whether such solutions can work effectively for the problem they have. If they think the solutions can work well, provide the reasons. If not, supply some plausible reasons as well.
  • When the whole groups have presented their works, you may give chance to each group to respond to the other group presentation. Ask them to tell the results of their observations during the presentations.
  • The last, write your note on the board about the incorrect sentences. Before giving your own explanation, offer the students if they have opinion to correct the mistakes.
  • Then you may add/complete the students’ answer.

Steps in Solving a Problem

  • Identifying the problem

What you need to do in this step is defining the real problem clearly. Try to figure out what is actually happening.

  • Analyzing the problem

finding the root cause. You may make a list of the root causes you get. Then make a rank of what most likely the main causes of the problem. This will help you to save time and energy in the rest process.

  • Proposing potential solutions

Then propose possible solutions for each of your hypotheses (to the root causes) you have got.

  • Creating a plan of action for each of the possible solution

Make an action plan for each of the possible solution in detail since detailed problem solving plan is usually more effective than the general one. A detailed plan will be easier to be operated and so as measuring the results. Arrage the plan step by step and don’t forget to include time estimation for the plan you make.

  • Implementing the plan based on the order

Apply step by step the plan that you have created previously in accordance with the order.

  • Evaluating the results

Check or evaluate if the possible solutions and planning you have applied can work well in solving the problem. If they fail you may find some other solutions. If some can work or if there is something imperfect, you may find out the weaknesses and try it again by giving improvement. Eventually when completing your work well, you may congratulate your self for having done a good job.


Since the following topics are the hot/universal issues so the students are considered to have been familiar with the topics and have had background knowledge about them.

1. Corruption

Corruption is dishonest or illegal behaviour by officials or people in positions of power, especially when they accept money in exchange for doing things for someone.

Related words to corruption: corrupt, corruptor, stolen money, cheat, dishonest, deceit, deception, sleaze, foul play, misconduct, power, abuse, guile, duplicity, punishment, law, attorney, prosecutor, judge, fair, case,court, prison, crime against humanity, sour, heavy sentence , death sentence, hell, poverty, illegal, accuse, prosecute, police, arrest

2. Nepotism

Nepotism is the practice of using your power and influence to give jobs to people in your family instead of to people who deserve to have them.

Related words to nepotism: favouritism, inequality, partiality, injustice, imbalance, inequity, cronyism, unfairness, family members, relatives, friends, jobs, opportunity, occupation, qualification, unskillful, chance, incompetent, social jealousy, bad culture, disappointed, public service, bad precedent, unfair competition, habit, relationship, power abuse, unprofessional, kill creativity, the wrong person in the wrong place, appropriate person

3. Piracy at Sea

Piracy is the crime of stealing or robbing things from ships while they are sailing.

Related words to Piracy: pirate, sail, ship captain, ship crew, sea, break-in, breaking and entering, extortion, hijacking, plunder, gun, shoot, threat, attack, raid, robbery, shakedown, violation, smash-and-grab, hostage, ransom demand, release operation, negotiation, government, crime, transnational, under threat, powerless, navy, commander

4. Caterpillar Outbreak

Caterpillar Outbreak is the outbreak of caterpillars (small long thin insect with many legs that eats plants and develops into a butterfly or moth) in large amount which attack certain place/places.

Related words to Caterpillar Outbreak: insect, appearance, itchy, disgusting, predator, weaver ants, birds, extinct, disruption of ecosystems, hunted, prey, Department of Agriculture and Food Crops, climatic anomaly, residents, spread, worry, insecticide, butterfly, moth, natural phenomena, attack, balance, hard woody trees, food crops, spray, kill, overcome, environment, extraordinary, destroy, keep

5. Illegal logging

Illegal logging is the work of cutting down trees for wood illegally.

Related words to illegal logging: forest, tree, log, logger, timber barons, looting wood, illegally, deforestation, chop down, cut down, chainsaw, defoliate, forester, forestry, lumberjack, smuggled, abroad,by ship, woodcutter, environmental crime, destruction, destroy, natural disaster, flood, landslide, refugee, sorrow, victim, result, planting , afforestation, caring, environment, green, dry

6. Human Trafficking

Human Trafficking is the trade of human illegally for the purposes of reproductive slavery, commercial sexual exploitation, forced labor, or a modern-day form of slavery.

Related words to Human Trafficking: global issue, crime against humanity, modern-day slavery, victim, abuse, cheated, cruel , threat, force, conspiracy, kidnap, trade, smuggling, employed, exploitation, prostitution, forced labor, child labor, commercial sex workers, removal of organs, violate, human rights, combat, poverty, protect, prevention, prosecution, assist, help, law, society, save, stop

7. Poverty in Indonesia

Poverty is a situation in which someone does not have enough money to pay for their basic needs.

Related words to poverty: social problems, hard, condition, poor, hunger, famine, malnutrition, poor health, suffer from, lack of, basic needs, dirty, ignorance, folly, sorrow, drop out from school, scavengers, street singer, steal, pickpocket, beggar, stay under the bridge, homeless, jobless, cause crime, social inequality, help, caring, food, job fields

8. Cheating in an Exam

Cheating is behaving dishonestly, or not obeying rules, for example in order to win a game or do well in an examination.

Related words to Cheating: chronic problem, cheaters, cheating technique, fake, copy, dishonest, tricks, unfair, disobey, bad habit, laziness, folly, undisciplined, skip classes, lack of self confidence, getting caught, fail, bad score, good score, folly, nervous, worry, anxious, guilt, ashamed, sin, punishment, satisfaction, subject matter, study hard, study groups

9. Drug Abuse

Drug Abuse is the use of alcohol or illegal drugs in a way that is harmful to your health.

Related words to Drug Abuse: overdose, addiction, dependence, bust, clean, cold turkey, comedown, crack den, crackhouse, drug czar, drug squad, fix, flashback, habit, high, hit, hookah, mule, pill, tablet, powder, ecstasy, possession, rehabilitate, rush, shooting gallery, solvent abuse, tracks, trip, withdrawal symptoms, illegal, prison, arrested, punishment, drug hustler, drug seller, drug dealers

10. Brainwash

Brainwash is forcing someone to accept a particular set of beliefs by repeating the same idea many times so that the person cannot think in an independent way.

Related words to brainwash: teach, train, instruct, induct, mind control, values, beliefs, perceptions, judgments, mindset, behavior, religious purposes, technique, treatment, mental, psychoterapy, indoctrination, doctrine, controversial, interpretations, persuade, hypnosis, suggestibility, repetition, acceptance, rejection, logic, prevent, encourage, obedience, disorientation, agreement, rules, ideas, eliminate, ego, destruction, personal, dependence, approval, thought, fear

If you experience difficulty in understanding some technical terms related to certain topics above, you may click here to get the solution.

1. http://www.macmillandictionary.com
2. http://www.ehow.com/info_7977907_problem-solving-skills-teaching.html
3. http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Six-Step-Method-for-Problem-Solving&id=764754

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Filed under: English Course (Speaking)

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