English Speaking Exercises for B2 – Collaborative task

Imagine that you are discussing practical ways in which people can help to combat pollution. How effective is each of the five measures?


1. Read the task above and listen to two students doing the task. Answer the questions. Which three measures do the students agree will be particularly effective?

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using more renewable energy, using public transport more often, using fewer pesticides and chemical fertiliser


Examiner I’d like you to imagine that you are discussing practical ways in which people can help to combat pollution. How effective are each of the five suggestions?

Student 1 Shall we start with banning aerosol cans?

Student 2 OK. Personally, I would say that wouldn’t be particularly effective, because not many people use aerosol cans these days.

Student 1 Yes, I think you’re right. Although they damage the ozone layer in the atmosphere, I don’t think banning aerosols would make a huge difference. I’m of the opinion that using more renewable energy is a very effective measure because so much pollution is caused by burning fossil fuels to make electricity.

Student 2 Absolutely. I couldn’t agree more. Personally, I’d say that banning cars from city centres is quite effective, but less so than using renewable energy.

Student 1 That’s not quite how I see it. I think the air in city centres can get really polluted, especially during the rush hour.

Student 2 Yes, good point, I suppose. I feel quite strongly that using public transport is very important because there would certainly be fewer cars on the road if we all took buses, trams, trains and so on.

Student 1 Yes, I think you’re right. We should all use public transport more often. The final measure is using fewer pesticides and chemical fertilisers. What do you think?

Student 2 That would definitely be a good measure, because they get into rivers and streams. Not only that, they can kill other plants and wildlife as well as the pests.

Student 1 I’m with you on that!

Examiner  OK, thank you very much.

2. KEY PHRASES   Match the sentence halves in each group below to make phrases.

Starting a discussion

1) Shall we

a with ___ , shall we?

2) Let’s begin

b by talking about ___

3) We could start

c start with ___ ?

Expressing an opinion

4) I’m of the

d chief consideration is ___

5) For me, the

e strongly that ___

6) Personally, I’d

f say that ___

7) I feel quite

g opinion that ___

Adding an opinion

8) Not

h only that, ___

9) Yes, and another

i also believe that ___

10) Good point. And I

j thing. ___

Agreeing and disagreeing

11) Absolutely. I couldn’t

k some extent. however, ___

12) I’m with

l agree more.

13) Yes, I think

m you on that.

14) That’s true to

n you’re right.

15) I’m not sure I

o different view on that.

16) I take a rather

p how I see it.

17) That’s not quite

q agree.

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1) c   2)3) b   4) g   5) d   6) f   7) e   8) h   9) j

10) I   11) l   12) m   13) n   14) k   15) q   16) o   17) p

3. Listen again and tick the phrases in exercise 2 that you hear.

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1, 4, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 17


See exercise 1.

4. Listen to students doing the second part of the task. Which two measures do they choose?

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banning cars from city centres, using public transport more often


Examiner Which are the two easiest measures to put into effect?

Student 1 In opinion, banning cars from the city centres would be a very quick and easy measure. What’s your view on that?

Student 2 And the second easiest would be —

Student 1 Hang on a moment. What’s your view on banning cars, first?

Student 2 Oh. Yes, I agree with you. And the second easiest would be using more renewable energy.

Student 1 I take a rather different view on renewable energy. It is very expensive and isn’t always reliable because you rely on the wind and the sun. What if the sun doesn’t shine much or there isn’t much wind?

Student 2 That’s a good point. What do you think about banning aerosol cans?

Student 1 I think that would be very easy, although people might not like it! The other measure that would be easy to put into effect would be using public transport more.

Student 2 Yes, I agree. It could be made much cheaper or even free so that people are encouraged to use it.

Student 1  Using fewer pesticides and fertilisers isn’t so easy to put into effect, don’t you think?

Student 2  Yes, I agree. Until there are alternatives, I think it’s impossible to ban them.

Student 1  OK ___ We need to come to a decision.

Student 2  Can we agree that banning cars from the city centres is the easiest?

Student 1  Yes, I’m with you on that. And the second easiest is either using public transport more often or banning aerosol cans.

Student 2 Yes. Personally I’d go for using public transport.

Student 1 Me too.

Student 2 That’s settled, then.

Speaking Strategy

In a discussion, listen carefully and respond to what your partner says. Learn phrases for interacting with your partner so that you take turns and both contribute to the discussion.

5. KEY PHRASES   Read the Speaking Strategy. Then complete the phrases with the words below.

agree      Can      come      interrupt      moment      need

only      reach      settled      think      What      view

Involving your partner

Would you 1) _______ with that?

__ , don’t you 2) _______ ?

3) _______ we agree that ___ ?

What’s your 4) _______ on that?


Sorry to 6) _______, but ___

Hang on a 7) _____ I think ___

Yes, and not 8) _______ that, ___

Reaching an agreement

So, shall we 9) _______ a decision?

We need to 10) _______ to a decision.

We 11) _______ to decide what / which ___

That’s 12) _______ , then.

Show answers

1) agree   2) think   3) Can   4) view   5) What

6) interrupt   7) moment   8) only   9) reach

10) come   11) need   12) settled

6. Listen again and tick the phrases in exercise 5 that you hear.

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3, 4, 5, 7, 10, 12


See exercise 4.

7. Look at the task in exercise 1 again and the options below. Write notes about how effective each measure is.







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your own answers

8. Which two measures will you choose? Make a note of your choices and your reasons.




9. Now do the task using your notes from exercise 7 and 8.

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your own answers

Extra exercises


A situational role-play tests your ability to negotiate with a partner in order to reach an agreement. There will be times when you don’t agree with your partner, in which case, you need to disagree tactfully, e.g. I’m not sure about that.

1. Read the Strategy. Complete the useful phrases below for disagreeing tactfully with someone.

1) I don’t think that’s such a good ____________

2) I’m not convinced that will ____________

3) That might not be the right ____________ to go about it.

4) I don’t ____________ if that’s what we need here.

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1) idea 2) work  3) way 4) know

2. Work in pairs. You and a friend have been asked to design a poster to publicise an environmental campaign among teenagers. Discuss and agree on the following points to decide what the poster should look like.

–  topic

–  image

–  slogan