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Lesson 4 – Time flies!

September 13, 2011

Uninspiring 4 page course book spread full of stuff they’re going to hate. There is a little anecdote with 10 phrasal verbs in all to do with time management that are quite nice

I prepared a little anecdote about my life in Tokyo containing those verbs in as natural a way as possible – I thought it was ok, not too contrived and fairly realistic.

In classes I lead a discussion about how Ss manage their time, how they keep on top of work etc.

Ss listen to my anecdote, make notes on what they hear, and work together to reconstruct. Read twice more at the same speed because it was a little tricky.

Swap groups and keep working on the reconstruction. Monitor, feeding in bits of language to help with meaning in preparation for analysis.

Finally, write one of their versions up on the board, Ss self-correct. Show original anecdote on IWB and discuss differences.

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Elicit phrasal verbs, underline and check meaning. Elicit verb patterns and write up.

Ss write 3 questions for each other using the language, T checks form, regroup, ask each other the questions and hold discussions.

T answers further questions on language and gives feedback.

90 mins
———-

This was pretty successful. They were challenged by the phrasal verbs but the fact that we used an anecdote based on me really helped maintain interest.

Eliciting substitutions was time-consuming but really valuable as it dealt with meaning thoroughly. Getting Ss to write their own questions and having them checked made sure that the questioner was confident about meaning, so in the practice stage Ss could help each other with any difficulties. This also personalised the language and gave a genuine communicative purpose to the task.

I didn’t think that they’d struggle with the language too much but in retrospect a slightly shorter anecdote and fewer lexical items would have reduced the cognitive load.

With more time I would have spent longer comparing the S-produced version and the original. As it was, I felt like it was a missed opportunity because there wasn’t time to do any grammaring. I guess this would have been a better purpose for the lesson (dictogloss-esque), but I have to say that I feel a need to input language that relates to the book (class meets once a week for 90 mins and book coverage is one unit per lesson!!). Given that, the whole reconstruction stage was perhaps not so meaningful – could I have inputted the language earlier?

I’m not sure about that, but what is for sure is that by the time we came to look at the original text, they had been over it so many times in groups that meaning was 100% clear.

In terms of exploiting an uninspiring course book I felt good about it.

Sure, I brought materials into the classroom, and the language was preselected (two Dogme no-nos), but the extent to which it was personalised meant that I felt that the lesson was very much in the Dogme spirit.

I’d love some ideas on this.

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