Bad service and how to deal with it

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Today let’s look at a lesson I made after watching a reality show called Undercover Boss.

Similarly to the Youngblood lesson, I used it to practice modal verbs with stronger students.

The video will be paused to divide it into parts according to my plan.

Let’s get started:

1) Start the lesson by asking your students some questions:
1. What do you think of the saying “The customer is always right”?
2. Is it common in your country to complain about bad service?
3. What are some reasons why we might need to complain in a store or restaurant?
4. Have you ever gotten angry at a worker in a store or a restaurant?

Follow up the last question by asking what happened and whether your students complained to the manager.

2) Tell your students that there’s a show called Undercover Boss where CEOs of companies start working for their company and see how it works inside out. Show your students the first part of the video and ask them what their first impression of Brad is.

3) To check what they know about modal verbs, give them a handout with 6 sentences and ask them to complete them with their own ideas

1) He may be4) He could
2) He must5) He might
3) He can’t be6) He couldn’t

4) After getting feedback, ask your students if they think the first impression that John (The CEO) has of Brad is positive or negative and show them the second part to check their answers.

5) Show your students the third part and ask them how Brad handles his job. You can also ask them how they think the customer felt after she got his assistance.

6) Before showing them the fourth part, ask your students if they think that Brad can go too far in his job. After watching the video, ask them how they would react to Brad’s remarks if they were in the CEO’s place and whether they would punish him.

7) After watching the last part, tell your students that in the end of the show, the boss has to show the employees that he is the boss. Ask your students what they think happened to Brad after the show.

8) To clarify the meaning of the modal verbs, you can write the following on the board:

Might, may, could

And put a vertical line from 0 to 100% and ask your students to draw a line from the modal verbs to the vertical line to indicate how sure they are about something.

To check their understanding, you can also ask them:
Which modal verbs mean it’s possible?
Which modal verb means it’s very probable?
Which modal verb means it’s impossible?

9) Have your students match the sentence halves so they’d make sense.

10) Give them the following sentences to make a small list of ideas about what could happen to Brad:

1. Brad may
2. Brad could
3. John might
4. The customers might
5. Brad must
6. John can’t have
7. Brad may not have
8. His colleagues might

11) Ask your students to complete the sentences below and make them true about them. Ask them why if you have extra time and have the fast finishers think of 2 more sentences about them using the modal verbs.

12) As a final activity, ask your students to work in pairs.

Student A will be the CEO of a company who’s recently heard that one of their employees has been behaving badly at work. They must talk to the employee, make the employee admit his wrongdoing and warn the employee what may happen in case they’re caught at it again.

Student B is the employee of the company that was called to their CEO’s office. They can’t admit that they’ve done the things the Boss heard them do so they must speculate why people have been complaining about them using modals (e.g. “She must really hate me to say that”, “That could be anybody else”).

Once your students are done, ask them to switch roles.

13) Get feedback from each pair by asking what the CEOs told them and whether they’ve found a compromise. You can also ask if anybody’s been fired.

And there you have it. Another way to practice modal verbs which may be more suitable for your business classes.

Feel free to share any extra ideas in the comments section and see you next week! 🙂

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