Circular roleplay with advisers
Here's a variation on a traditional roleplay.
Centre it around a 'conflict-based' or problem-solving
situation. For example, there is a couple living in a fairly
small house with the wife's parents & four children. The son-in-law
would like the parents to move to an old people's home down
the road, the daughter would too but is caught in the middle,
while the parents want to stay put. The son-in-law & the mother
hate each other & the father is a bit senile. The four are
getting together over a cup of tea to discuss the situation.
A note of warning with this situation as it might not go down
too well in certain cultures - it's the technique that is
So there are four major roles & they all
sit in a square, as if around a table. Behind each there is
an 'adviser' who cannot participate in the conversation but
can only whisper advice on what to say to the character sitting
in front of them. The roleplay begins & after every 2/3 minutes
you change the roles by the people in the main roles moving
to an adviser role to their left & the advisers moving to
a front role on their right. As the roleplay continues each
person takes on varying main & advisor roles. It gets a bit
chaotic when moving everyone the first time so don't worry.
To set up this situation it would be a good
idea to brainstorm, as a class, the arguments for & against
older people staying with their families & of old people's
While the roleplay is going on you could
take notes or tape the conversation & use the information
to give feedback on the language used by the students.
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A couple of weeks ago we looked
at lesson beginnings. Now here are some things you could
do at the end of a lesson: - set the homework - be reasonable
about the amount & when it should be in.- go through the 'menu' that
you put up at the beginning again i.e. review & summarise
what you actually did. This is important as the students
might only remember the last thing you did. - a variation
of the above - give out an activity sheet.
Here they have a list of skills & activities which they
look through & put the day's date next to what they did.
They keep adding to this each lesson & can see the balance
& variety in what they are covering. To
see a couple of ideas on this. - Even better, give the students
a blank timetable at the beginning of the month & after
each lesson they fill in the space for that lesson. They
could put down the topic, the new language & the sub-skills
that they worked on. At the end of the month they then have
a record of the work covered. - Give a 'cooler' activity
- the same as a warmer but after a challenging lesson it
is a fun activity to finish with. To
see the list of warmers on the site. All leave with
a smile of their faces. - Preview the next lesson/week & ask the students to have a think about the area so that
they come more prepared.
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Scan reading - materials & assessing ability
When using reading material in
class it is always a good idea to match the materials you
are using to the skills that native speakers use with that
material. So, if you were using an entertainment guide we
would usually look for specific information e.g. a particular
film, a cinema, the times etc - we would scan the material.
If it were a newspaper article we would probably read it very
generally to get the general idea - we would skim the article.
Using this approach is more authentic & helpful for the students;
they will know what to do with this type of material when
they meet it outside the classroom.
When developing the skill of scan reading
in class we usually give out a list of questions for the students
to answer & a time limit in which to do the task. The questions
for the entertainment guide mentioned above could be: What
time is 'Pokemon' showing?, Where can you see 'The English
Patient', What's the phone number of the Odeon cinema? etc.
Try this as well; have the list of questions
ready & read out a question & the students look quickly for
the answer & then they put their hands up when they have found
the answer. Here you can see the varying levels of ability
in the group. When about three-quarters have their hands up,
elicit the answer & identify where it is in the text for the
weaker readers to find it. Then you go on to the next questions
etc. Vary who you elicit the answer from.
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the Past Teaching Tips