The Development of Interactive
Proficiency in the Classroom
by Jake Haymes
- lesson plan 2
The lesson aims to provide the learners with an opportunity
to combine previously studied language with some of the sub-skills
of speaking to prepare and deliver an anecdote. It is to be
hoped that the students will find the class challenging, achievable
and beneficial. If successful, the learners will begin to
transfer some passive language into oral production, thereby
consolidating knowledge whilst communicating their own ideas
and memories. The speaking activity should also make the learners
aware of the value of student-student interaction and help
to create positive group dynamics.
The lesson can be divided into six main stages, the first
four aim to prepare students to be able to achieve the speaking
In stage one, the students are given the opportunity to start
the anecdote checklist with their L1 knowledge of the skill.
By allowing the learners to express their feelings towards
the subject, I hope to engage their interest and make them
receptive to the later stages of the class.
By showing how this class fits in with previously acquired
knowledge it is hoped that students will see the relevance
of the following stages. The students are then asked to consider
important first experiences. This should prepare the group
for the listening activity which follows and provide ideas,
should they be required, for their own anecdotes.
In order to be successfully exploited, the coursebook listening
(pp 22-23 Cutting Edge Pre-Intermediate) requires vocabulary
input, lead-in, intensive and extensive questions. As the
main aim is extended oral fluency I feel the focus of the
lesson may become confused were the class to follow the material
in the students' book. The home-made listening text is intended
to provide students with an anecdote model.
By starting the language focus at a text level the learners
should become aware of a fairly typical pattern of anecdotes
and this may well be copied by the students in their own anecdotes
thereby extending speaking time. While moving directly from
aural to oral skills is perhaps the most natural approach,
I feel there is a greater possibility that students will grasp
the key ideas if they are given the opportunity to analyse
the features of an anecdote on paper. Having them mark past
tenses and intensified adjectives with highlighter pens should
facilitate the transfer of these language areas to their own
Students' attention is then drawn to intensifiers such as
really, quite and very. I feel that learners could easily
combine these words with the adjectives of mood to substantially
increase their active language.
While students will be made aware of fillers, I believe that
drilling at this stage could be counter-productive and may
lead to stilted and unnatural production
Interaction between speaker and listener will be the next
focus. In order to be truly communicative the anecdotes must
include listener reaction and perhaps some negotiation of
meaning. Indeed the learners will be made aware that communicative
interaction is a vital part of the activity.
The preparation time affords the learners an opportunity
to combine all the relevant components of an anecdote and
include any areas of language they feel are necessary for
the following activity. I will monitor progress and provide
help when required. If students appear slow to start, I may
encourage them to discuss ideas in pairs.
The students will be reminded of the importance of the communicative
element before beginning the fluency activity. This should
promote more interaction.
During the production stage I shall unobtrusively monitor
performance and I will not intervene unless there is a complete
breakdown in communication.
After completing the activity students will be encouraged
to evaluate their own performance via an exchange of views
with other learners. The final stage, in which the learners
reflect on the morning's work is essential to show what has
been achieved and the place of the lesson in their learning
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