WRITING AN ONLINE REVIEW
Age: teens, adults;
Group size: any;
Aim: to write a review;
Grammar: passives, would + infinitive;
Vocabulary: strong adjectives;
Length: 60+ min;
Preparation time: none;
Material: computer or mobile phone with internet connection.
INTRODUCTION: WHAT IS A REVIEW?
Review is one of the genres students are supposed to write at level B2 and up. However, the typical structures (would for recommendation, passive sentences, strong adjectives) are taught at B1 level, so you can start working on reviews at this level.
The genre itself has become difficult to teach. By the book, it is expected to provide details about the product/service itself and about where and when the writer had experience with it, finally, to express opinion and give recommendation to other clients/users/customers.
Yet, if you google your favourite restaurant in town and read the reviews, you will see short and dry ‘reviews’. The number of stars given is way more considered than the description. We understand that our internet manners are being updated with time and patience.
So, let me suggest an activity which makes your student practise how to write a real review – in a real context.
PROCEDURE: HOW TO WRITE A REVIEW?
Nowadays, you can leave a review about everything: in addition to restaurants, pubs and hotels, you can express your opinion about your plumber, your language teacher or the taxi provider you usually call for a ride. So let’s start it here.
Google some of your favourite restaurants and find reviews about them written in English. Ask you students to do the same and first analyze the existing review by reading about 10 of them.
List on the whiteboard what customers liked or disliked about the place. Here are some examples:
LIKED: service, food, selection of drinks, interior, open, welcoming customers back, menu, new dishes, fresh ingredients;
DISLIKED: no pandemic precautions, toilet.
Then analyze the style and language of these reviews:
– Do they use complete sentences?
– Do they use adjectives? How many? What type?
– Do they use passive sentences? etc.
Ask the students to complete the incomplete sentences and highlight all adjectives they can find.
Ask students to decide which of the reviewers write/s about:
a) positive aspects
b) negative aspects
c) details about last visit
Put these points into a logical order with the students (c – a – b – d) and clarify that all these points should be covered in a review.
Now decide with the students what you want to write about (why not your school?). Find it in Google, take a look at previous reviews if you find any in English.
Then give students 10 minutes to write their own review.
Ask yourself in advance if you want them to publish these (so they can write it into the review field on Google straight away) or not to publish them (so they can do it in an email or in their notebook). Whatever your decision will be, correct their mistakes (peer-correction and then your feedback, if possible) and give language and content feedback.
WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO GO NOW?