Lifting it off
You're using a listening text & you've done an extensive listen followed by an intensive
listen, both focussing on the content of the text. You now
want to highlight some useful language in the text, how
do you go about it?
You could give out the script & ask the students to listen to the tape & read
at the same time. You stop the tape just after the language
you want to highlight. You then focus on the language by
checking form & meaning.
You could give out the script & ask for examples of 'X' language. The
students find it & give it to you & then you can
focus on it. The problem here is that they might not be
able to find it in the first place. Depends on what you
ask them to look for e.g. 'Find examples of 'could' or 'Find
examples of polite requests.' From the first you then move
to the 'polite request' idea in your checking.
You could play the tape &
stop after the interesting language & elicit it from
the students. You would need to stop immediately after the
utterance, ask them to listen carefully for that bit &
play it again. Then you could model the form on your fingers
to show them the component parts & get into the meaning
& form some more.
This last way is more taxing
as the visual aspect is missing. It is an appropriate way
of introducing functional exponents - the context is there,
the intonation is clear within the context & a constant
model is given (from the tape, rather than the teacher repeating
it & varying the intonation) - it is easy then to drill
from the tape - play it again & ask the students to
repeat the utterance, possibly then using a substitution
to the contents
You've just presented a language item & you need to check that the students understand the concept.
You could ask concept questions - more on this in a future
Tip, or, depending on the item in question, you could check
by eliciting the extension of a sentence stem.
With 'used to' for talking about past discontinued habits & states you might give the following stem & ask
a std to continue it, assuming that s/he did play football
Tch: I used to play football
Std A: But now I play tennis/I
don't do any sport/I don't anymore.
Std B: But now I play football.
The stds must be encouraged
to answer truthfully for the check to have any personalised
meaning. Assuming that you know that Std A does play tennis,
then you know the concept is understood. You could check
the tennis by asking 'when do you play?'. Std B clearly
hasn't got the idea unless s/he it trying to express the
idea that the activity never stopped, & needs '& I still do now'.
The stds could continue the
above sentence for you, changing the pronoun, using information
you've given them about yourself.
Std C: But now you go running.
Or from using a situation:
'They used to live in London....
(but now they live in New York)'
Other language items you can check this way:
- You don't need to go to
work tomorrow because.... (it's Saturday)
- By the time he arrives...
(Pete will have arrived)
- You've got to arrive on
time, if not.... (we won't get the contract)
- If it's raining tomorrow,
(from a list of alternatives - 'we might go to the cinema'
- not the beach!)
- He hasn't finished yet,
but.... (he'll be done in an hour)
- They managed to get there,
although.... (it was very tricky)
You could do this orally or give out written prompts for
an individual thoughtful activity. If written, stds could
then compare their ideas to see if they have any similarities.
to the contents
Clearly connecting to the learners' interests,
the more engaging, enjoyable & rewarding a lesson can
be. This is even more important when dealing with the younger
Food & sweets tend to
be near the top of their 'like' lists. Watch them sit up
when you get out a packet of sweets!
When teaching/revising offers
- 'would you like'/'do you want' & the short answers
- take in & use a packet of biscuits or sweets. Sweets,
in particular, are excellent for teaching colours, preferences,
numbers, comparatives & superlatives etc. With the preferences
you could organise a 'sweet tasting' where a variety of
sweets are tasted 'blind' & then the results can be
expressed with the language of quantity - all of us like..,
a few of us...etc.
Even the quietest & most
reticent of children will make a real effort to come out
with English in order to get a sweet reward, bringing what
is perceived by the younger learner as a rather academic
subject very much alive!
Although other realia don't
have the same pay off, it is well worth making the effort
to take in food & clothes, etc. when you are practising
shopping language. Interest & motivation levels shoot
up when you've got the real thing.
Why not use the same for older,
more adult learners, even the corporate class? Competition
prizes of chocolate bars go down very well with all ages
as they add more of a fun spirit to the activity. Chocolate,
sweets, biscuits or crisp variety tastings are lots of fun & make the accompanying language very memorable.
the Past Teaching Tips