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Teaching Tips 3

Explaining sub-skills
A vocabulary procedure - lesson plan

Explaining Sub-Skills
This is all to do with helping the stds realise why they are doing what you're asking them to do. You're helping them to develop specific skills & if they don't know they are practising them then will they necessarily use them again in the future when they are on their own? Probably not.

So, for example, imagine you are looking at a newspaper article & you want them to skim the text (i.e. read quickly to get the general idea ) ask the stds how they would normally tackle such a text in their native language. Then ask them how they might read it in English & do they use the same skills as in their native language. I would then introduce the term 'skim' & contrast it with 'scan' (e.g. do you skim or scan a telephone directory/a magazine article etc./a television guide?). You can then use these terms again when looking at reading. The students will then know why they are doing the task in such a way & have a much better chance of transferring it to outside the classroom.

Do the same with all the other skills & sub-skills you develop. If you are in doubt as to what sub-skills you are actually developing then look though the teachers' manual of a good coursebook.
Awareness is part of the process & half the battle won.
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This is related to the timetabling tip a couple of weeks ago. Progress tests are an important part of the process but here are a few ways of reviewing work covered;

1. Go through the timetable you gave out at the beginning of the fortnight - elicit what you did in each lesson & how they found it & what they feel they need to go over again. Don't worry if you haven't covered all in the original timetable - it was only a provisional plan after all.

2. Give out a blank timetable grid & ask the stds to look through their notes & the coursebook to fill it in for the last two weeks - in the feedback a discussion ensues.

3. Give out a retrospective timetable & go through it. i.e. write one at the end of the two weeks of what actually happened.

4. Play a 'snail race' - put the stds into two/three groups & they look through their notes & the coursebook to prepare 10-15 questions based on the last two week's work. Then bring the groups together & have a team competition. Rotate the question & the answer teams & the winner is the group who gets most answers right.
So what about the snail? Well, draw & cut out some snails / rabbits / whatever & stick them on the board - draw a grid across the board & the snails move a square each time their team gets a right answer until they reach the other side of the board to win.
Clearly the main aim here is for the stds to review their notes & then they have fun asking their questions to each other.

Make notes on what comes out of these activities so you have a record of areas to feed back into future schemes of work.
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A vocabulary presentation
There are several ways of introducing a lexical set. Here is a teacher-fronted one which employs a fairly comprehensive procedure for introducing active vocab for oral production:

For each item:

-Elicit/give the item - try & get it from a std - if not you'll have to give it

-Model - x2/3 - i.e. say it aloud so that all of the stds can hear it - if the std is saying it well then let her/him model it.

-Elicit the number of syllables 'How many syllables are there?'

-Elicit the stress placement 'Where's the stress?' Model again

-Chorus drill - the whole class say it x3/4

- Individual drill - dot around & elicit it from of the group in turn

- Elicit a sentence with the word in it 'Give me a sentence.' If the sentence can highlight the meaning of the word then all the better.

- Model x2

- Chorus drill

- Individual drill

Before going on to the next item, recap the words introduced so far.
This has to be done swiftly & the more you try it out the smoother & more effective it will be.

To see this procedure in a lesson plan

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