Developing Speaking Skills: Paxman-Brand Interview

Effective speaking skills lessons are difficult. This is not only because it is a skill, which means a lot of the development is down to the individual themself, but also like most skills lessons it can be hard to imagine almost a quarter of the lesson time is spent on developing a single skill.

You can read more about the theory and practice of what goes into an effective Speaking Skills development lesson here.

The Lesson

This lesson is designed for Upper-Intermediate learners. It doesn’t focus on any particular functional language per se but it does require the learners to think about and practise back-channelling devices and body language as well as the opportunity to practise question formation.


There isn’t a Lesson Plan as the PowerPoint Presentation serves as this. You might have to alter this slightly so it suits your learners, which you can find here:

PowerPoint: Speaking Skills Interview

The lesson is based on the first 3 minutes of the Paxman-Brand interview from BBC Newsnight, which you can find here if the codex in the PowerPoint doesn’t work:

Don’t worry if you think your learners won’t know who Paxman or Brand are. The lesson has been designed so they do a little bit of background reading and generate some ideas about these two people. The reading text can be found here:

Worksheet: Speaking Skills Interview


If you try this lesson out, I would love to hear from you. I think there is quite a challenge to designing lessons and materials which can be used by others. If you could share any thoughts or opinions on the design of the materials and the lesson plan (the PowerPoint) as well as how the lesson itself went, I would be very grateful. I look forward to your comments.

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