Problems & Solutions -
by Emma Worrall
- lesson plan 2
My students are quite a strong group at this
level and I have started to introduce more challenging materials
into the class. The book they are following (English File
2) is very controlled and gives the students security and
guidance they need at this pre-intermediate level. However,
for stronger students it is not challenging enough and the
book and its structure become predictable. The students in
this group are all planning to do the next level in the academy,
which uses a different book (Cutting Edge Intermediate). I
have used English File 2 with a semi-intensive group and then
taken them through to the next level using the Cutting Edge
course book and I found that there was a substantial jump
between the two levels. Colleagues of mine have found the
same and have advised me this year to push my students more
towards the end of the File book. This is to prepare them
for what is considered a fairly difficult change of levels.
The Cutting Edge book is not as controlled and there is a
lot more free practice with speaking activities and more difficult
listenings. The students are often daunted by the new course
book and the teacher of that level is often under more pressure
to get the students up to the level. Phrasal verbs are a big
part of the Cutting Edge vocabulary sections and in the next
unit of English File 2 there is an introduction to some phrasal
verbs. I wanted to introduce my students to multi-word verbs
at this stage using a topic which I think they will be interested
in i.e. the family.
I got my idea for the topic from Workout Pre-intermediate
course book. At the end of the previous class we looked at
family vocabulary and we have recently done a unit on describing
people, using adjectives for personality. For this particular
class, I wanted to provide realia for my students so I used
photocopies of photos of my own family in the form of a family
tree to make the task more personal for them. I also decided
to use only transitive multi-word verbs so as not to confuse
the students at this level. As the verb 'get on' is an intransitive
verb I have decided to not give this explanation and use it
as 'get on with + person' to avoid confusion. All the verbs
take an object (pronouns and nouns) and are inseparable. I
also added extra multi-word verbs (see appendices) because
I did not want to use all of the verbs from the text in the
course book (see appendix 9). I wanted to stage the introduction
of the vocabulary very carefully without overloading the students
with too much information and as the vocabulary has the added
factor of being 'chunks' of vocabulary which follows a certain
pattern I decided to limit the multi-word verbs to eight.
The practice stages (stages 8 and 10) do not
really have much of a communicative purpose. I thought that
the first practice stage (stage 8) is intended more for cohesive
purposes; to allow the students to practice the form and pronunciation.
I feel the students will naturally be curious about their
classmates families, so they will be listening to their partners
(in both stages) without the need to encourage them to listen
for particular information. A quick feedback question "Whose
family is most similar to yours?" should be sufficient
to check the students were listening.
In previous classes we have often rushed through vocabulary
due to the course book constraints and I feel that I have
not guided my students enough for them to assimilate and use
vocabulary confidently and in a meaningful way. I hope to
encourage the students to see that these multi-word verbs
are chunks of vocabulary which form a part of a lexical set
(i.e. the family) and to encourage them to record multi-word
verbs in context.
The students will be interested in the topic
of the family as it is big part of their lives. They should
be motivated by the pictures and information about my family
as students often take an interest in their teachers' lives
and the photos help provide a memorable reference for the
vocabulary. The students will appreciate the introduction
to multi-word verbs as they are often difficult for learners
of English and their confidence will be boosted by their being
able to produce the new vocabulary in talking about their
family and the memorable reference of their family photos
and the Royal family questionnaire (see appendix 7).
Problems and Solutions:
Problem: The students may get
confused with question forms with multi-word verbs (where
there is no object e.g. Who do you look up to?).
Solution: I am not planning to highlight
question forms at this stage. The students will not be expected
to reproduce questions but the students should have no problems
encountering them receptively when I do feedback stages.
Problem: We will not get to
the reproduction stage (stage 10)
Solution: As this is the first time the students
will be introduced to a group of multi-word verbs I want to
make the stages very clear and make sure they have a good
grasp of the meaning and form. Therefore I am not prepared
to rush the students to this stage. Using the photos will
be a perfect warmer/consolidation activity for the follow-up
Problem: Students may forget
to bring their family photos.
Solution: Students can use their circle diagrams
again to show their partner.
Problem: The students may find
the listening too difficult.
Solution: I will play the tape more times of the students
need it so as to make sure that they have a good comprehension
of the tape. Other stronger students can help those in the
comparing stages and if necessary I will use the OHT of the
tape script to go straight to the correction stage of the
Problem: Students may encounter
other unkown vocabulary (especially those students with a
Solution: I will use latinate words for definitions
(for example, shy = timid) or, to speed things up and for
clarity, I will ask the other students for the Spanish word.
Problem: The students might
not understand the meanings through the Royal Family questionnaire.
Solution: I will ask more concept questions
and use board diagrams/pictures to empasise the meaning.
Problem: Generally it is expected
that meaning is highlighted before form when teaching vocabulary.
Solution: I will elicit the vocabulary meaning
for just two of the multi-word verbs (stage 4). Then I will
highlight form so the students can elicit more of the multi-word
verbs from the text but they will have the meanings in the
forms of definitions to lead them to the vocabulary.
White board, board pens (red, green, blue and
black), teacher's family tree (including copies of family
photos), students' family photos, Royal Family questionnaire,
worksheet with circles, copy of teacher's family tape script
for each student (with definition exercise), cards with family
vocabulary and stress marked, tape cassette recorder, tape
cassette, overhead projector, overhead transparencies.
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