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Towards an approach to the teaching of grammar, which is both more learner-centred and more effective in terms of the learners' long-term acquisition and deployment of the structures concerned by Nicola Holmes

Lesson Plan - 2


Assumed Knowledge:

I am assuming that the students will already be familiar with most of the verbs and expressions on page 76 of their books, with the exception of 'buy' and 'meet' in the sense of meeting friends, and possibly also 'see', (the students being more familiar with the verbs 'look at' and 'watch').

The stronger students will probably already have a degree of passive familiarity with past simple regular and irregular forms, although they may be unsure of their pronunciation and use. Hopefully, the grammar analysis stage of this lesson will allow these students to draw directly on their previous knowledge, whilst not proving too difficult for the weaker students.


Anticipated Problems and Proposed Solutions:

As mentioned above, two of the students missed the previous class, but l am hoping that the introductory activities will give them an opportunity to catch up on what they missed, whilst providing the other students with revision and further practice.

I generally have a problem with timings, and am hoping that I will be able to get through all the activities planned. I was a little unsure about the inclusion of extensive drilling at stage 5 and concerned that it might render the survey in stage 6 a little repetitive or even communicatively redundant. However, I have chosen to retain it, both to assist the students who were absent in the previous class and as a review for the students who attended the previous class. In stage 6, the students will be asking a different person their questions and will probably also have different questions from the person they ask, so will be encouraged to listen to each other. I have also included a couple a different verbs in the survey.

Overall, I hope to keep the pace quick and snappy in the first half of the class and may even cut short stages 2 and 5 if the students are managing the tasks well. I probably won't use
all the picture cues in stage 5, although I have copies of all of them if I feel that more drilling is necessary.

Students with less imagination may struggle with the prediction activities in stage 7. Also the asking of closed yes/no questions may seem a little strange and unnatural in the context of prediction. However, the students in the class are used to prediction activities and usually enter into this kind of activity with a sense of fun and creativity (something they demonstrated in the predictions they made about the suspects in the murder mystery which featured in the last unit).

Some of the weaker students might feel anxious at the delay in the grammar focus or, alternatively, the stronger students may feel impatient. In general, however, I prefer to take this approach, which gives them more time to absorb what we are studying before they openly analyse or talk about it. I hope that, by keeping the students both active and relaxed, I can counter any anxiety or frustration.

The feedback after the first listening at stage 9 may also prove a little difficult, as some students may feel that they are expected to produce past simple forms here already. If students ask me about it, I will give them pointers to help them here. Otherwise, I feel that it is sufficient at this stage if the students can simply indicate which verbs or other vocabulary they heard, and I have designed the ticking task to enable them to feedback on the listening with as much or as little accuracy as they can.

Some of the vocabulary which comes up could present difficulties, although most of the important vocabulary is dealt with in the first part of the lesson and clarified by the pictures. The students probably will not know 'herbal tea', but I should be able to explain this quite easily, possibly resorting to quick translation for the sake of economy.


Materials: to see the materials page

- eggtimer for warmer (optional)
- English File One Students' book, page 76
- blown up copies Of pictures from page 76 for chain drill
- class survey in two parts (A and 3)
- pictures of Ronnie and Paolo and accompanying questions and verbs for prediction and listening task
- English File One, File 73, tape 5
- handout of tapescripts with past simple verbs in bold
- handout for grammar analysis and focus on form
- time expression cue cards to pass round in final freer practice activity
- page 54 of English File One workbook for homework (not included here - simple gap fill tasks)

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