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Methodology 7, 2005

Lesson Planning and Timetabling


By the end of this lecture you should:

have a good idea of what needs to be included in a lesson plan and how to go about
writing one

have some idea of the basic considerations involved in timetabling i.e. planning a
sequence of lessons

Introduction to Lesson Planning


Most teachers have some idea, in advance, of any lesson they are about to teach i.e. they have an idea of what theyll try to cover and how. However, fewer teachers
prepare their lessons in detail. Lesson-planning is both an important and useful skill and
for the purposes of an undergraduate methodology course it is essential. From now on
you will be encouraged both to look at and write a wide range of lesson-plans, and even
though you may subsequently choose to plan your lessons more skeletally, the awareness
of and exposure to thorough and disciplined planning that you will derive from this
lecture will provide an insight which thereafter will make lesson-planning much easier
and much more effective.
Lesson-planning and timetabling are sometimes seen as something of a chore, but
in fact the advantages of planning are enormous, both for students and teachers.
1. planning means anticipation, coherence, balance and clarity of purpose.
2. planning makes execution easier.
3. planning saves time in the long run.
4. planning allows for flexibility in execution.
5. planning forces you to see the wood for the trees.
6. planning looks professional, especially to your students.
7. planning makes self-appraisal much easier.
Clearly, a coherent, well-targeted and well-shaped lesson will be appreciated by
students. Equally, a timetable which hangs together and promotes a sense of direction and
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progress will be appreciated by students. Notwithstanding the intrinsic advantages of


planning skills for teachers, there are further advantages in the presentation of your plans
for anybody observing your teaching, or reading about your lessons and timetables.
1. lesson plans help your observer or reader see how you went about preparing for your
lesson and the factors you took into consideration.
2. lesson plans make the task of commenting upon lessons much easier - they help to
explain why you are doing something at a particular point in a lesson, and to locate
and identify any problems.
3. the lesson plan is something concrete that can be referred to either in feedback with
your observer or by your reader, and serves to reflect many of the important features
of the lesson, e.g.

the perception of main and subsidiary aims

the degree of language awareness exhibited

the ability to anticipate problems

the aims of each stage of the lesson

the balance of activities in the lesson

whether or not whole stages of the lesson are missing

the allocation of time to particular stages and their perceived importance in the
lesson as a whole
We therefore need to look at writing lesson plans and consider what they should

contain.

The Content of Lesson Plans


A lesson plan should normally contain preliminary information under the
following headings:
1. Timetable fit
2. Level
3. Time
4. Class profile
5. Aims:
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- main aims
2

- subsidiary aims
6. Assumed knowledge
7. Anticipated problems
8. Materials and aids
This preliminary information sheet is usually about 1 or 2 pages.

A. Preliminary Information
1. Timetable fit - this shows how your lesson relates to other lessons that have
gone before and those that will follow, i.e. it fits into a sequence of lessons you have
timetabled and is not a one off. State if you are using a coursebook with the class, the
work you have covered which is relevant to the lesson, and give some indication of how
the lesson ,will be consolidated in future lessons. Be brief.
2. Level: Elementary, Late/Upper Intermediate, Advanced, etc. (not level 1, 2 ,3,
etc. as this will not be universally understood).
3. Time: length of lesson.
4. Class profile: make some brief general comments about the class as a whole
(atmosphere, etc) and any points about individual students if you feel they may be
relevant to the lesson (age, particular strengths or weaknesses, etc). This information is
particularly useful if your reader has not seen your lesson, so include it on the lesson
plans. You should definitely include this heading on the lesson plan for your practical
exam and you also could chat about the class with your tutor before the lesson.
5. Aims: this is probably the most important part of your lesson plan since your
lesson will ultimately be judged in terms of your aims. It is therefore essential that they
are clearly and unambiguously specified and that you give realistic and achievable aims.
If you are unsure about the aims of your lesson, use this maxim: What is it that students
should be able to do by the end of the lesson that they couldnt do at the beginning?
Firstly, deal with aims under two headings: main and subsidiary; in a lesson of
50 minutes you will normally have 2 or 3 main aims. These aims should encapsulate what
the lesson is basically about, what its major objectives are. The aims may be primarily
language-oriented (e.g. introduction and controlled oral practice of grammatical structure
X) or they may be primarily skill-oriented (e.g. to increase students confidence and
ability to listen for gist). Subsidiary aims will be those that can be dovetailed coherently
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into the body and shape of the lesson. So for an example of the expression of aims, we
might have:
Main aim: Remedial introduction and controlled practice of language related to
illnesses, i.e. (i) have got (ii) lexis of illness and pain.
Subsidiary aims:
a) to practise dictionary-using skills
b) to practise selective listening (i.e. tape of doctor recalling memorable patients)
c) to practise natural pronunciation from phonemic script, especially soundlinking.
Two things to note here are: (i) where a language item may have several meanings
(e.g. have got) its particular target meaning for the lesson is specified. (ii) the lesson has
limited aims and the teacher is not trying to achieve too much. Note that it is also useful
to list the lexical items that will be dealt with.
Avoid expressing aims such as to teach the present perfect. This is an
unachievable aim in a 50 minute lesson and the term teach is best not used. It is better,
for example, to say your aim is to introduce and give controlled practice in the
experience use of the present perfect. Try to give aims that are learner-centred, e.g. to
enable students to use the present perfect with a greater degree of accuracy. Similarly,
to do a listening exercise is a poorly expressed aim - you need to state which aspect of
the listening skill is being developed.
Remember to distinguish between what are teaching aims and learning aims.
You may well have aims for yourself in the lesson (e.g. I want to improve the clarity of
my instructions) but these should be expressed in a separate section. It is also important
not to confuse aims with activities. You cannot say your aim is to do a role play since
this is an activity, not an aim. You would need to specify what our aim for the activity is,
e.g. it could be to consolidate vocabulary related to previous work in class or to
recycle functional exponents for making polite requests, or to develop fluency in the
functional areas X, Y and Z etc.
6. Assumed knowledge: specify briefly what language you assume students will
already know (vocabulary, structure, etc) without which you could not easily teach what
it is you are aiming to. If you intend to do some kind of skills work, state the level of
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ability students have with reading, listening, etc.


7. Anticipated problems: these should be the specific things students might have
problems with. They must be relevant to the aims of your lesson.
This is an important part of your lesson plan since it gives some idea of your
ability to analyse language. Analyse anticipated problems under the following headings
on your lesson plan:
a) Meaning
b) Form
c) Phonology
d) Level of skill
e) Socio-cultural problems
If you are dealing with skills in part of your lesson, for instance, then you might
anticipate the following problems:
i)

present level of students ability in coping with extensive reading/listening


tasks

ii)

degree of familiarity with vocabulary in text, length and difficulty of text


for students, time taken by slow readers, etc.

On occasion you may need to add a fifth heading Socio-cultural problems - if


you are dealing with something alien to a particular culture in your lesson, e.g. reading
comics may be unfamiliar to some students and you would therefore need to anticipate
this if you wanted to use them as part of a reading lesson.
8. Materials/Aids: list any coursebook references, tapes, pictures, board drawings,
board diagrams, handouts, realia, etc. you intend to use. State also if the material is your
own.

B. Procedure
Firstly, if we consider what needs to be included under this heading, the answer is
that it depends on who is going to see the lesson plan. The main criteria for the
Procedure, besides being clear and logical, is that it should make the lesson
reconstructable. In other words (a) dont write a play-written, word-for-word script, and
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(b) dont write it in such brief note form that only you understand it; give just enough
information so that someone else could reconstruct/teach your lesson from the lesson
plan. When teaching the lesson, you may wish to have a simpler working document for
yourself which shows major stages, concept questions, etc. with boxes, arrows, stars, or
coloured pens. Some people even like to use a series of small coloured cards that carry
instructions and contain the main points of a particular stage so that they can be easily
referred to during the lesson. The layout style you adopt for the Procedure part of the
lesson plan is a question of individual taste and you should choose your own, but some
important considerations are:
1. Give a heading to each stage: This will help you to plan logically staged
lessons and make it clear for your observer/reader how the stages of the lesson develop,
e.g.

presenting new language

getting across meaning

highlighting form and pronunciation

controlled practice

less controlled practice

freer practice/personalization/creative stage

This helps to ensure that important stages of the lesson are not missed out and that
appropriate materials are prepared for the practice stages.
2. Indicate the number of each stage and sub-stage: Being able to refer to
stages numerically makes life much easier both for you and your observer or reader. The
following system works well:
1.

a)

2.

a)

b)

b)

c)

c)

etc.

3. State the aims of each stage of the lesson: State the aim of each stage of the
lesson so it is clear to yourself and your observer/reader why you are doing something at
a particular point in your lesson. This also helps your observer to assess the effectiveness
of this part of the lesson, rather than have to spend time wondering precisely what your
aim is. It should also help to clarify the distinction between aims and activities. Your task
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then is to include sufficient detail in your Procedure section to show how you will
achieve the aims of each stage.
4. Show the type of interaction: Show the type of interaction for each stage and
activity, e.g. T - S, S - S, in groups, etc. This will help you to assess if there is sufficient
variety of focus in the lesson.
5. Give approximate timing: Show the amount of time you expect to spend on
each stage/activity in the lesson. Be realistic about this. A lot will depend on your
experience and judgement, and sometimes the timing can go wrong, but dont be afraid of
being flexible in the lesson (see 4 below). The time you give to particular stages/activities
is often a reflection of what you perceive to be important in the lesson, so you will need
to make appropriate decisions about timing. Remember to allow for thinking time dont
rush pupils - and keep in mind that pupils concentration span on anyone activity is only
about 20-30 minutes, so it is probably not a good idea to do listening for 40 minutes.
Giving an approximate timing can also help you to limit your aims e.g. by
adding up the time you have given to all the stages you can see if there is sufficient time
to cover them in the lesson - and it can help you to learn from experience how long some
kinds of activities can take. If you have timing problems with lessons, this may be due
to several causes:

poor perception of aims

confusion over what are Main Aims and Subsidiary Aims

unanticipated problems due to insufficient language analysis

different learning rates among students

degree of student unfamiliarity with concept

poor language grading/instructions

slow pace of the lesson, etc.

One possible solution to timing problems is to build flexible slots into the lesson
plan which can be used or dropped as necessary, e.g. if time/if no problems here, then
move to stage 7.
A point worth adding here is that if you do not do what you might be normally
expected to do in the lesson then state your reason on the lesson plan (e.g. why you will
not be having a correction stage after the roleplay).
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6. Show evidence of language analysis


a) Meaning: show how you will convey meaning and check understanding. Write
concept questions on your lesson plan with the answers you expect. Remember that
you may need to ask questions about style, connotation, etc. If you use time lines,
show these on the lesson plan too. All this demonstrates you have analysed the
language you are teaching.
b) Form: show the form clearly, e.g.
He must have been drunk
must + past infinitive
c) Phonology: where you anticipate pronunciation problems, show awareness of sounds,
stress and intonation. Write your MS (Model Sentence) on the lesson plan, give the
phonemic transcription under problematic segments, and mark stress and intonation
patterns.
This should remind you to highlight weak forms and check where the stress goes,
etc. When teaching vocabulary mark word stress on lexical items.
7. Instructions: Include brief but clear instructions, e.g. for setting up pairwork,
groupwork, the use of worksheets, etc.
8. Board work: Plan this before the lesson so that it is clearly organised and
legible, and show on your lesson plan how you will make use of the whiteboard during
the lesson board work should include titles, rules of form, diagrams, example sentences
to contextualise the meaning of difficult vocabulary, phonological features, i.e. anything
that students write down as a record of the lesson. Remember to go round and check
pupils are copying down accurately. Alternatively, a well designed handout (e.g. a
grammar reference handout) can be given to save time in the lesson. Board work can also
be prepared before the lesson on OHP transparencies.
9. Skills work
a) orientation - show how you will prepare and interest students for these activities, e.g.
questions designed to elicit contributions.
b) comprehension questions - include pre-set questions for reading/listening tasks and
their expected answers. Also indicate the approximate number of times you will play
the tape.
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10. Homework: Include details of a suitable homework task designed to


consolidate what has been covered in the lesson and to check if learning has taken place.
To sum up:

clearly specified aims

evidence of sharp language analysis

logical staging of the lesson

clear and easy to read procedure

C. Thinking it through
Having done all the above, spend some time at the pre-lesson stage considering:

is there sufficient variety of activity, focus, pace, intensity, interaction?

can pupils be more involved at each stage?

what is the nature of the pupil contribution at each stage? i.e. what are pupils required
to do?

how do you perceive your role at each stage? e.g. corrector? monitor? resource?
chairperson?

Layout of Lesson Plans


The layout you choose is completely up to you. Your layout can be linear or
tabular. Linear plans are probably the most familiar type, written as any normal text
would be, with headings and sub-headings. An example of the tabular plan follows:
AIMS

TIME

INTERACTION

AIDS

TEACHER ACTIVITY

STUDENT
ACTIVITY

The advantage of the tabular layout is that you have to think about what you need
to put in each of the columns for each stage of the lesson. It is also easy to see if the
lesson looks too teacher-centred (i.e. there is nothing in the Student Activity column!)
However, some observers/readers say they find this layout difficult to follow.
The following compromise layout has been found to work quite well:

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Stage

Procedure

Aim

Warmer

Get students to move around classroom


looking at one anothers clothes. Teacher
then tells pupils to stand in pairs back to
back and describe what partner is wearing.

To get pupils talking


and to revise clothes
vocabulary

5 min.
S-S

There are several advantages to this layout. Because the name of the stage, the
time and type of interaction all fit neatly into the Stage column, plenty of space is left for
detail in the Procedure column. Also, there is space in the Aim column to indicate the aim
of particular stages and activities in the lesson. The lesson plan is also easy to follow for
your tutor or reader.

Teachers Relationship to the Lesson Plan


Having produced your lesson plan it is now worth considering your relationship to
it. You obviously will not want to follow it slavishly, neither will you want to diverge
from it so much that you fail to achieve any of your stated main aims. Having designed
the lesson and taken into account the anticipated problems, the approximate timing, etc.,
the key word is flexibility. You should fee free to diverge from your lesson plan to deal
with any unanticipated learning difficulties that directly relate to your main aims. This
shows a willingness to respond to the classroom situation as it develops, and you will be
given all credit for doing this. It is not a good idea to plough on with your lesson plan,
regardless of the fact that students have not understood the concept or do not know what
to do in pairs. You cannot achieve your aims if this is the case, so do not be afraid to go
back and clarify, reintroduce, or check concept again, or stop the class and repeat your
instructions. After all, having prepared the lesson, your skill as a teacher now is to
execute the lesson, and this involves you in making a whole series of decisions as the
lesson progresses. You need to show sensitivity to learners and their difficulties, and an
ability to respond appropriately.
The same advice goes for the teaching practice. Do not be afraid to be flexible,
show confidence and independence, and if you do not follow your lesson plan then
explain afterwards why you decided to diverge from it.

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Timetabling
Introduction
Having looked at lesson planning, which is primarily concerned with individual
lessons, let us now look at timetabling, which involves planning and sequencing a whole
series of lessons.
Consider the following questions:
1. Why timetable?
2. How far ahead do you plan in terms of lesson hours?
3. How do you go about organising your teaching timetable?
4. What do you need to include in your timetable?
5. What factors do you need to consider when timetabling?
6. What are some of the problems and solutions?
7. How do you see the role of the coursebook in timetabling?

Timetabling in Practice
Here are some practical guidelines for timetabling:
1. Analyse one units contents of a coursebook in use, and fill in the Unit Analysis Sheet
on the next page. If you dont find this sheet useful, devise an alternative.
2. Review and jot down separately
a) links with previous units work
b) your perceptions of pupils needs:
i) target language needs
ii) remedial pupils requests/recycling
iii) skills
3. Take a look at the next unit.
4. Using the information from 1 and 2 decide:
a) what to teach, omit, add
b) which material is useable or exploitable for input and practice, skills and freer
practice, warmers and homework, etc.
c) where you need to supplement with other material.
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5. Fill in immovable slots that may be given to you by the schools administration (e.g.
self-access/tests).
6. Allocate:
a) input and skills

(NB balance within and between lessons)

b) relevant bits of coursebook '


c) homework

(NB balance and variety)

7. Review and make changes. Questions to think about:

specific

vocabulary slots? pronunciation slots?

recycling as much/as often as possible?

introducing new language receptively for later activation?

grammar preparation homework?

overflow/to be decided slots?

Useful reading
Harmer J The Practice of English Language Teaching (Longman) pp 256-275.
UNIT ANALYSIS SHEET

BOOK

COMMENTS:

STRUCTURES
FUNCTIONS
VOCABULARY AREAS
SPEAKING ACTIVITIES
(controlled and freer)
LISTENING ACTIVITIES:
(authentic or not?)
READING ACTIVITIES (authentic
or not?)
WRITING ACTIVITIES (for
consolidation or as a skill?)
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Useful? Relevant?
Overloaded?
Need to supplement?

PRONUNCIATION,
INTONATION AND STRESS
WORK:
REVISION ACTIVITIES:
HOMEWORK:

Lesson Preparation Worksheet


STRUCTURE / FUNCTION / VOCABULARY:
ANALYSIS

PROBLEMS ANTICIPATED

MEANING:
FORM:
PHONOLOGY:
TYPICAL CONTEXT:

CHECKING MEANING:

(concept questions, time lines, etc. where appropriate)

PLANNING

Useful situation, text, listening for presentation:

Useful ideas, aids, prompts for controlled practice:

Further practice ideas:

Area (s) for personalization:

Related freer practice:

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Planning Skills Lessons


1. Timetable Fit
Systematic approaches to skills development Rivers scheme applied
If you believe in a systematic approach to skills development, then the timetable
should also take this into account. So, alongside questions like text type and
listening/reading style considerations, you will need to think about specific skills in
relation to each other.
Here is a listening timetable based on True to Life Intermediate.
Style/ Register
Page
7

Topic
Reminiscences

12

Study skills

14

Learning skills

21

Games

23

Words

30
35
37

Text type
Interactional
narrative
Transactional
interview
Transactional
interview
Interactional
narrative
Transactional
word game

Aim
past tenses

Magazines

Scripted talk

Family
relationships
Family
relationships

Scripted talk

present
perfect/simple
past
possessive forms

Interactional
interview

prepositions
wh- questions

consultative
unmarked
consultative
unmarked
formal unmarked

predictive 'will'

verb + ing
paraphrasing
words and phrases

consultative
unmarked
casual unmarked
formal unmarked
formal unmarked

in casual unmarked

Listening
style
non-interactive
submissive
non-interactive
assertive
noninteractive
assertive
non-interactive
submissive
non-interactive
submissive then
interactive
non-interactive
assertive
non-interactive
assertive
non-interactive
submissive

Looking at the tasks proposed in True to Life Intermediate, Units 1-5, they all,
save one, fit into Wilga Rivers third stage of listening training: Identification and
guided selection with short-term retention, since the instructions to students all give
prior guidance of what to listen for and require, students to demonstrate immediate
comprehension in some way. So you could treat this timetable as, apart from everything
else, part of a listening training programme centred on identification and guided
selection.
Systematic approaches to skills development - using Browns list
You could, alternatively, use a more bottom-up inspired, step-by-step approach to
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training students to listen. Imagine, for example, that the class you were using True to
Life Intermediate with, had very poor listening skills: they might, for example, have had
instruction in elementary and pre-intermediate grammar, vocabulary and reading without
ever having had the chance to listen to anything but example sentences, a not uncommon
occurrence, unfortunately.
In this case, you might want to timetable in a step-by-step skills development plan
as follows:
Page

Topic

Text type

Aim

Reminiscenc
es

Interactional
narrative

past
tenses

Style/
register
consultative
unmarked

12

Study skills

Transactional
interview

predictive
will

consultative
unmarked

14

Learning
skills

Transactional
interview

21

Games

Interactional
narrative

verb
ing

23

Words

Transactional
word game

Paraphras
ing words
and
phrases

casual
unmarked

30

Magazines

Scripted talk

formal
unmarked

35

Family
relationships

Scripted talk

present
perfect/
simple
past
possessiv
e forms

37

Family
relationships

Interactional
interview

prepositio
ns in wh
questions

casual
unmarked

formal
unmarked
+ consultative
unmarked

formal
unmarked

Listening
style

Skills
development

noninteractive
submissive
noninteractive
assertive
noninteractive
assertive
noninteractive
submissive
noninteractive
submissive
then
interactive
noninteractive
assertive

Recognition of
e.g. /k/ and /g/

noninteractive
assertive
noninteractive
submissive

Recognise .
and .

Recognition of
/ail:/ = Ill as
opposed to
Recognition of
as opposed to
Identify and
recognise stressed
words
Identify and
recognise stressed
words
Identify and
recognise stressed
words

Recognise 'him'
and 'them'

Systematic approaches to skills development - a top-down application


You might want to be systematic from a top-down point of view: it may be that
your students need specific guidance and training in how to summon an appropriate
schema. This is likely to be the case at low levels, of course, or at higher levels where
students have not been exposed to a range of text types and therefore imagine that, say, an
instruction manual is going to work like a novel.
You may also decide that students need specific instruction on how to approach
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the meaning of unfamiliar language by looking at the whole context. The timetable, still
based on the True to Life units, might then look like this:
Style/
register
consultativ
e unmarked

Listening
style
non-interactive
submissive

predictive
will
verb + ing

consultativ
e unmarked
consultativ
e unmarked

noninteractive
assertive
noninteractive
submissive

paraphrasing
words and
phrases
possessive
forms

casual
unmarked

noninteractive
submissive
then
interactive
noninteractive
assertive

Page
7

Topic
Reminisc
ences

Text type
Interactional
narrative

Aim
past tenses

12
21

Study
skills
Games

Transactional
interview
Interactional
narrative

23

Words

Transactional
word game

35

Family
relationsh
ips

Scripted talk

formal
unmarked

Skills development
Using contextual
and internal cues to
infer the meaning
of words
Ditto
Noticing and understanding discourse
markers
Ditto

Summoning correct
schema: eliciting
distance and
proximity

expressions

Completing the timetable fit section of the lesson plan


The following are statements of Timetable Fit based on the three versions of a
systematic approach to listening skills:
1. The Wilga Rivers approach applied to True to Life Intermediate Unit X page 23.
Students have had quite a lot of exposure to interview and narrative listening and so I
want to provide a change - the word game will be more light hearted and can lead
naturally into a class version of the same thing, so providing some much needed
interactive listening. They have also been mostly exposed to consultative styles of
speaking, so this will represent a useful balance, dealing as it does in a more casual
style. At the same time, I have been concentrating on helping students through the
identification and guided selection phase of their listening skill development and have
decided that they still need a lot more practice in this before going on to more unguided
work.

2 The 'bottom-up (Gillian Brown) approach applied to True to Life Int. Unit X p.
14.
I have decided to give them a further 'transactional interview' type of listening since they
had quite a bit of difficulty with the one on page 12 and because the content is so useful.
Also, the style of this listening is less formal than the previous piece so it could be useful
to look at in terms of making language comparisons. However, the students in this class
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have got residual problems in coping with listening on the level of individual sounds and
so I will be doing some more on sound recognition, helping them get the difference
between and .

3 The top-down approach, applied to True to Life Intermediate Unit X page12.


Im gradually building up a range of different text types and listening styles, so have
gone for the interview in the book as it is sufficiently different from the narrative in Unit X,
and the assertive approach to listening will be quite a change from the submissive
listening. I discovered that, although the students ability to decode what they hear into
written words is quite good, they tend to get stuck when it comes to sorting out the
meaning of less familiar items. So I have decided to do some more work on using
contextual clues to help work out meaning.

Creating the conditions and letting it happen


If you are of the opinion that skills training is not a good idea and that students
learn to read by reading and learn to listen by listening, then the job of fitting items into a
timetable is, naturally, much easier. Nevertheless, it is a good idea still to plan for a wide
variety of text types (according to the needs and interests of the learners, of course) and
for variety in text style and listening and reading style.

2. Aims
Non-specific aims and saying what you really mean
Aims include either language development, or skills improvement. To recap the
area, look at the list below. The left hand column contains aims which have all been
written by experienced teachers, but which, on closer scrutiny, may not actually add up to
much, as the comments in the middle column should show. The third column is not just
the result of speculation: it comes from having observed lessons with aims like those in
column one and seeing what actually happened.
AIMS
To develop the
listening skill

COMMENTS
Very vague. The particular skills are not
specified
The lesson itself may turn out not to be
developmental at all - more of a test of
listening skills.

PROBABLE ACTUAL AIM


The piece of listening is
probably really (and only) a
vehicle for something else - a
vocabulary presentation,
perhaps, or a lead-in to a
discussion.

To practise the skill


of listening for

Students practise this skill in practically


every lesson: they are usually required to

The tasks set are probably to


test students' recognition of

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detailed information.

To practise gist
listening.

listen to their teacher for information which,


in the case of instructions, for example, is
pretty detailed. The aim should make clear
what is different e.g. - listening to recorded
message information.
The Late Intermediate class the lesson is
directed towards are already expert at
listening for gist and do not require any
further practice.

To practise reading As opposed to practising reading for not


for understanding.,
understanding! Some would say that the
definition of reading is understanding. Yet
again, the aim does not say enough about
what will really take place for the students.
To practise skim The assumptions behind this sort of aim are
reading a long text.
crucial. If the teacher has noticed that
learners have particular difficulty in skimreading and has presented ways of doing it
effectively, then this lesson aim is fine. The
text itself may not, however, be one that we
would normally read so assertively.
To practise scanning The text is a light-hearted magazine article,
for specific
intended to be read for pleasure. It does not
information
inform the reader of anything in particular.

particular vocabulary items,


which provides the real aim of
the lesson.
The set 'gist-listening' task
probably serves to acquaint
students with the taped piece
before moving on to exploiting
it for something else.
The teacher is probably going
to do some 'skimming'
activities first, and then move
on to more intensive reading
for understanding, possibly
with the aim of highlighting
some grammar.
There may be an initial task
aimed at helping learners
increase their confidence when
faced with a long text.

Again, what the teacher is


probably aiming to do is focus
learners attention on some
linguistic information.

Making aims more specific and honest


We looked at how lesson aims for reading and listening lessons can be shaped
according to language input or practice, or skills training. Also, we looked at ways of
specifying aims by referring to text type, style and register, listening and reading style.
The following headings can help you specify aims for a reading or listening lesson:

Text type, style and register

Reading or listening style

Specific language aim

Specific skills aim

Here are some example lesson aims:


Text type, style and register

To provide practice in reading popular magazine articles in informal style.

To present a learned journal text (formal style, marked register - engineering)

To provide practice in listening to loudspeaker announcements

To provide practice in listening to formal speeches

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Reading or listening style

To test students submissive reading abilities

To provide practice in assertive listening

Specific language aim

To provide receptive practice of contrastive discourse linkers - e.g. however,


although, though

To present comment segments introduced by which (I got there nice and early,
which is why I had to wait so long etc.)
Specific skills aim

To help students to use their extensive background knowledge to make correct


inferences

To present a way of dealing with unfamiliar words by breaking them down into parts
It is perfectly likely, and very often desirable, to kill two or more birds with one

stone and set aims thus:

To provide practice in submissive reading of popular magazines in informal style


and in particular to help learners to use background knowledge to make correct
inferences.

To present contrastive discourse linkers - however, although, though


Or, if you prefer to state your aims in a more learner-centred way:

By the end of the lesson the students will have increased their awareness and
understanding of how language is used in popular magazines and their ability to
make correct inferences using background knowledge.

They will also have consolidated their understanding of the function of contrastive
discourse linkers (e.g. however, although, though) and of their place in the sentence.

Assumptions and Anticipated Problems


Assumptions
Thinking about your learners is as crucial with reading and listening lessons as it is
when planning grammar or vocabulary input lessons. As we have seen with the list of
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unspecific aims, it is no good aiming to provide practice in reading or listening for gist if
your students are perfectly practised in the skill and need no further development. That
said, it is normally much more difficult to make assumptions about levels of skill than it
is about levels of knowledge. If you have been taking your class through a systematic
skills development programme, then it makes sense to refer to this, and how far along it
your learners are, in your statement of assumptions. If you have recently taken over a
class, then you may need to test out reading and listening skills before you can make any
safe assumptions. If you are using a letting it happen approach, then you will have to
think hard about what you can assume in terms of general knowledge which will form a
background to the text or listening piece.
Here are some example statements of assumptions:

The students have good gist listening skills but are not very used to listening to radio
news.

The students have come across most of the vocabulary before, but only in their
reading.

The students are familiar with the topic area - it was the subject of a discussion in a
previous lesson.

The students have good top-down processing skills but tend to make mistakes ill
interpreting grammatical discourse markers.

Procedures for the Systematic Development of Receptive Skills


Bottom-up listening skills development
If you follow a systematic approach to teaching listening skills according to
Gillian Browns recommendation, then you might want to include phonology teaching
procedures in your listening lessons. You could go beyond the phonological level and
provide lexis and discourse recognition tasks, too.
Procedures for developing aural recognition skills
A. Procedures to develop recognition and discrimination of phonological
features
1. Model, drill, show on board phonemes, consonant clusters at word boundaries, weak
forms, main stress, intonation
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2. Students show recognition (by raising: a left/right hand; a red/blue rod; a card with 1
or a card with 2 written on it; etc. ) of:

word boundary phenomena (Did you hear x or y?)

minimal pairs

stress recognition (Which word was stressed flower or red?)

intonation recognition (Did the intonation on the stressed syllable go or

3. Students listen and mark stress on a transcript.


4. Students listen and mark pause, change in pitch, etc. by drawing a line.
B. Procedures to develop recognition of lexis
1. Students respond to instructions (by, e.g. marking a route on a map, numbering or
lettering a diagram, etc.)
2. Students hold up flashcards of dates, numbers, names, they have heard.
3. Bingo - students cover words they have heard on their bingo cards.
4. Students spot words in a given category (e.g. time words: yesterday, tomorrow, etc.;
transport words: get on, take, get there, etc.) using flashcards or writing them down.
C. Procedures to develop recognition of discourse features
1. Students hold up flashcards, write down, play bingo etc. but for logical connectors
e.g. so, and , but, because, although, in spite of the fact that, besides, etc.; and other
cohesive devices e.g. not only... but also; for one thing ... for another ... besides; etc.
2. and for topic sentences (the sentence in a part of a lecture or monologue which
establishes the topic).
Bottom-up reading skills development
Procedures for developing bottom up reading skills fall into two main categories:
helping learners cope with unfamiliar vocabulary and helping them develop text analysis
skills.
Procedures to help students decode texts from the parts to the whole
(bottom-up strategies)
A. Procedures to develop bottom-up vocabulary decoding skills
1. Provide input on suffixes and prefixes; students have to work out meanings of
unfamiliar words.
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2. Help students recognise words in families by getting them to complete word grids:
Noun

Adjective

Verb

description

descriptive
suggestive

describe
persuade

3. Present compound words and ways of working our their meanings from components,
overflow, bus ride, hairband, lipstick
4. Provide input on cognate words where there is a systematic way of getting from
English to students language.
B. Procedures to develop recognition of discourse features
1. Present grammatical reference words and show how they refer backwards and
forwards to other words and phrases in the text.
2. Do the same with typical lexical reference words. For example, you can put a circle
around a lexical reference word and show, with an arrow, what it refers to.
3. Present discourse linking words (e.g. if, so, because, though, etc.)
4. Students put together a text whose paragraphs have been scrambled, discussing why
they have made their decisions.
Top down listening and reading skills development
If you want to apply a systematic approach to developing top-down reading
skills, then you could choose from this procedure list.
Procedures to help students decode texts from the whole to the parts (topdown strategies)
A. Pre-reading and pre-listening procedures (helping students to summon the
right schemata)
1. Present e.g. language from a popular newspaper compared with a quality newspaper
so that students will be prepared for what they will read according to the text type and
style
2. Present e.g. clear speech features from a TV news bulletin, compared with informal
speech features from a conversation about the news.
3. Present typical discourse patterns: e.g. a typical essay paragraph pattern is Topic Restriction Illustration; a typical advertisement pattern is Problem Solution
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Evaluation; a typical news bulletin pattern is Headline - Background - Points of


view.
B. while-reading procedures (helping students to use schematic knowledge to
understand)
1. Students hear or read topic sentence or introduction - help them to predict what might
come next
2. Tell students to use white correction fluid to cancel unfamiliar words - this may help
them to work out the approximate meaning from context.
3. Stop tape / Uncover text on an OHT and help students to predict next utterance, word
or phrase by:
a. referring them to e.g. discourse markers: not only... helps predict but also..,
and another thing helps predict additional information, opinions, etc.
b. referring them to grammar markers: e.g. When I got home I discovered...
helps predict the past perfect
c. referring them to stress patterns: e.g. No, no, not THIS Wednesday... helps
predict NEXT Wednesday. '
d. referring them to intonation patterns e.g. with TV or radio football results, the
intonation of the first team's score helps predict the second teams.
Training in interactive reading and listening skills
Remember that a sensible and up-to-date approach is interactive - which means
that learners are taught to apply both bottom-up and top-down strategies which interact
with each other. This means that combining procedures from all the boxes so far would
provide a suitable training programme.
Training in assertive reading and non-interactive, assertive listening
Assertive reading is generally characterised by skimming and scanning.
Skimming means glancing over a text in order to get a general idea of what it is about
and, particularly, in order to decide if the text is worth reading. The classic way of
training students in this skill is to give them a time limit. The more impossible the time
limit, the better. You could also get them to read the first sentence of each paragraph, or
the first and last sentence of the whole text. Another idea is to ask them to look out for
capitalised words.
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The listening equivalent of skimming is what some people call gist listening:
listening to get an overall idea of what is going on. This is not to be confused with a first
listening procedure, where teacher allows students to listen to a tape once through to get
a general idea, before going on to more detailed comprehension questions. The point of
this is simply to help learners over the difficulties of alienation from the tape recorder.
Gist-listening training supposes that students are not able to listen and get a general
picture and therefore need to be helped to do so.
The most obvious way of doing this is to expose students to different noninteractive listening pieces and to point out, by comparison, what sort of overall message
is going on. If possible, this should be done with taped material where even a competent
language user could not make out the actual words. For example, you could have students
listen to two supermarket announcements and show them how the general phonological
features indicate if the announcement is for a member of staff or for the public.
Scanning means looking over a text as quickly as possible but with a view to
finding specific information, or if not information, then something else which
corresponds to your previously formulated purpose. Most adult students do not need any
special training in this skill since they are perfectly capable of doing it in their own
language. Most lessons which include scan reading aim, in fact, to test students ability in
this area, rather than help them to do it better. As with skimming, it is extremely
important to clarify whether the procedure in the lesson is to train students to scan read,
or to test their ability to do so, or, as is much more likely, to use scanning merely as a way
of focusing students attention on something, usually grammar or lexis.
There cannot really be a direct listening equivalent of scan reading, but a case
could be made for training students to 'listen out' for information they have already
decided they need. Using, say, airport announcements with a pre-set task would certainly
test their ability to do this.
Allowing skills learning to take place without specific training
If you are of the opinion that specific training in skills work is inappropriate, then
different procedures will suggest themselves. The key ideas here are confidence and
authenticity.
Confidence Building. For skills learning to take place without specific
instruction, as, indeed, for any learning to take place, learners need to be made to feel as
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confident as possible. The following procedures are all tried and tested ways of achieving
this.
Procedures for building confidence with listening pieces and texts
1. If you are planning to make extensive use of a tape recorder or video recorder for
listening, then you can help them to feel confident by using the equipment in the first
instance to play music or to show film with no dialogue.
2. Use a short extracts at first, building up to longer pieces.
3. With both listening and reading, confidence can be built up by providing very easy
tasks initially, moving on to more difficult ones.
4. Students can increase their confidence in reading by underlining everything they
understand (this encourages a positive attitude, focuses attention on meaning rather
than on difficulties, and provides a vocabulary avoidance strategy)
Creating an Authentic Environment. Allowing skills learning to take place
requires the creation of an authentic environment in the classroom: if we assume that
students will pick up the skills (as opposed to learning them systematically), they will
only do so if the conditions are propitious.
Authentic listening and reading in the normal run of things
There are many thoroughly authentic instances of listening and reading in the
classroom which present themselves in the normal run of things.
The following procedures provide, in themselves, authentic listening:
giving instructions, checking registers, answering questions, instructions,
encouraging students, correcting, explaining, checking, answering questions,
solving students problems.

Authentic listening activities in class which do not necessarily occur normally, but
which can easily be made to occur are, among others, student presentations and prelesson chit-chat.
Authentic reading is less common in the normal run of things and tends to be
restricted to reading what teacher has written on the board and reading homework
corrections.
Creating a purpose, imposing a role
Having decided to introduce reading or listening beyond the normal run of things,
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in other words to do a listening or reading lesson, the first step to take in order to create
an authentic environment is to set up a purpose and a reader/listener role.
Compare the following teachers approaches.
a a) Right, turn to p.67 and read the text Ferryboat to Birkenhead.
b b) Imagine you are in a music store trying to decide which recording of a
particular piece of music to buy. What, in the blurb on the inlay, would you be
looking for to help you decide which recording to buy?
c) Did you know there was a plane crash in Northern Spain yesterday? What do
you know about it? What do you want to know about it? groupwork
feedback... OK, now you can find some of the answers to your questions in this
News broadcast.
d) Teacher walks in with arm in sling and starts teaching. He teaches normally
until finally a student cannot contain his concern/curiosity any longer, and asks
him what happened to his arm. Teacher then tells the story. Students listen and
interact with storyteller by asking for clarification, detail, etc.
With reference to purpose and motivation in these examples:
In example (a) the purpose is only in the teachers mind; there is no reader role.
In examples (b) and (c) the purpose and motivation are fabricated by establishing
previous knowledge and arousing curiosity.
In example (d) the purpose and motivation are authentic.
When using videotape for listening you can use the sound-off procedure to
establish which person on the screen students are supposed to emulate and, therefore,
why they are listening. For example, you might show them a scene in a hotel reception
and assign them the role of the guest. They would then have to listen out for things like
the room number, meal timings, etc.
Providing Adequate Background Information. In an authentic situation, a
reader or listener brings a deal of background information to bear. In class, it may be a
case of providing the background information, if students do not already have it, or
drawing it from students, if they do.
The following procedure is drawn from a lesson where the aim was to provide
practice in listening to interviews. It rested on the assumption that a systematic skills
training was inappropriate and that the piece of listening was just above the students'
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level of competence.
Introduce topic = Life on the dole; get students in pairs to draw up a list of
imagined impressions of life on the dole, ego advantages/disadvantages. Introduce the
characters on tape (Scottish ex-shipwelder and family) students predict what life for
this family is like. Input information about Scotland - Glasgow - The Clyde - decline of
heavy industry jobseekers allowance system, etc. as necessary. Ask if they have any
personal experience of life on the dole and draw out any possible cultural/content
differences between this and Scotland. Get students to discuss, e.g. societys general
attitude towards the jobless. Input any relevant language, especially items which will
come up on the tape.
Reading or listening and responding
If you want students to simulate, as far as possible, an authentic reading or
listening situation, then it is a good idea to encourage them to respond to what they hear
or read in some way or other. You may find this responding referred to as Interactive
listening or Interactive reading. This is potentially confusing because, as we have seen,
the term interactive in this context usually refers to a combination of top-down and
bottom-up strategies.
The following procedures are all intended to help learners to respond while they
are listening or reading.
Procedures for encouraging response to reading and listening
A. Procedures for encouraging response to a reading text
1. Give students a set of comments (What rubbish! That's interesting. I didnt know that,
etc.) Students have to write the comments in the margin while they are reading.
2. Give students a set of headings which they must apply to appropriate paragraphs.
3. Give students a set of sentences which they must fit into the text at appropriate places.
4. Ask students to invent their own paragraph headings and their own sentences for
insertion.
5. Get students to role-play author and reader - give the reader a set of questions; the
author has to re-read the text and try to reply. (e.g. When you wrote... ..., did you
mean or ?)

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B. Procedures for encouraging response to a listening piece


6. Ask students to interrupt/stop the tape and ask for clarification where necessary. Teach
them appropriate language for doing so.
7. Give students a set of comments (What rubbish! That's interesting. I didnt know that.
etc.) Ask them to interrupt/stop the tape and make the comments in appropriate
places.
8. With dialogue material, stop the tape after each line and ask students to say what they
think the other person is going to say.
C. Procedure for encouraging responses to either a text or a listening piece
9. Ask students to fill in charts, forms, etc. where appropriate.
10. Ask students to take notes, especially from lectures, news, current affairs, etc.
11. Provide students with the 'task' that would be carried out if they were
listening/reading outside the classroom. For example, after listening to recorded
messages on an answering machine, learners note down the relevant information to
pass on to their flat mates.

Example Lesson Plans


The first two lesson plans are for lessons whose main aim is to focus on grammar
or vocabulary. The third plan is for lessons whose main aim is to provide students with
reading or listening strategies they can apply to their extensive reading in or out of the
classroom.
LESSON PLAN 1
Preamble: This lesson is really about specific language practice. You could also
justify this lesson in terms of a letting it happen skills approach: this would add to the
rationale for doing some purpose setting activities.
Level

Intermediate

Aims

To provide further practice in passive forms, particularly the


present prefect passive.
To provide submissive reading practice of travel guides.

Time

60 minutes

Aids/Materials

Text from Compact Intermediate, p 37

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+ two tasks, pp. 37 and 38.


Attached quiz. OHT of 'Text type focus' questions
Board (see attached diagram)
Assumptions

Students are quite aware of passives but need more practice to


help them become familiar with them.
Students have done work on tour brochures.
Students have looked up a list of words (oasis, dates, picked,
staging post, trading routes, ) before the lesson.

Anticipated

Students will not be very motivated to want to read the text

problems

The lack of obvious reading purpose will have a negative


effect on their attempts at understanding.

Solutions

Provide quiz material before reading: e.g. Which were the


most civilised cities in the world 2,000 years ago?
Discuss cultural holiday destinations arid criteria for putting
places on a holiday visit list.

Procedure (Lesson Plan 1)


Aim/rationale

Teacher

Students

Est.
time

See 'anticipated problems'- I


also want to help students
with background knowledge
so that their normal (i.e.
authentic) reading processes
will be activated.
To remind students of typical
brochure language and to
prepare them for a different
text type on the same theme.
Personalisation of the text
and creation of a reading
purpose and reader role - in
order to set up as authentic a
reading environment as
possible.
To motivate the reading (see
anticipated problems)

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You are going to read


something about a very old
city. First, see if you know
the answers to these
questions.
Hand out the attached quiz.
Show OHT of text type
focus question

Students attempt to
complete quiz. I will
give help and
information as required

10
mins

Answer question = 1

5
mins

What sort of holiday do you


prefer: seaside,
countryside/mountains,
sightseeing, shopping?
Imagine you have decided
to have a cultural
sightseeing holiday in the
Middle East.
How would you choose
which places to visit?
Which of these factors is
most important for you?
Write on board: (See

Answer questions possibly discuss and


share opinions.

15

29

mins

To re-focus attention on the


text type and what to expect
from it.
Reading and responding
-letting it happen - in two
ways.

Focus on the passive forms


and related practice.

diagram)
In order to decide which
places to visit, would you
look at a tour companys
brochure, or a travel guide
book? Why?
Read the text and decide if
you would like to visit
Palmyra. Read the text
again and do task 3c. Check
with two or three students
that you agree on the
answers to 3c.
Go round helping,
suggesting, correcting as
necessary.
Look at the Language focus
box. Work with your partner
and do a) and b). Go round,
helping, suggesting,
correcting, as necessary.

Discuss, in pairs, the


list of criteria
Students quickly
discuss - elicit that the
guide book would be
more reliable.
Read silently. Quick
discussion.
Read silently again.
Complete task
individually.
Compare results.

Work through language


box tasks.

15
mins

15
mins

LESSON PLAN 1 - PRE-READING QUIZ

Discuss these questions with another student. See how much you know and ask
me for help, if you need it.
1. Which were the most civilised cities in the world 2,000 years ago?
2. Point out Syria on the world map on the classroom wall.
3. What do you know about trade between China and Europe 2,000 years ago?
What were the main products going from east to west?
4. Can you think of any ancient cities in your country?
5. What are they like now?
LESSON PLAN 1

- Text Type - Focus Question - OHT

Which of the following sentences comes from a holiday brochure:


1. If youre looking for ancient charm combined with the exotic delights of the Middle
East while still enjoying the five-star comforts of a luxury hotel, then Palmyra is the
place for you.
2. Palmyra is one of the ancient wonders of the world but a new international hotel has
just been built there to attract tourists.
3. I came to Palmyra quite by chance: older than Rome and just getting into the tourist
markets, I found it charming, yet somehow frustrating.
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LESSON PLAN

1 - Board Diagram

Good night life


Something different from other places
Good quality hotel
Good transport
Good shops
High level of historical importance
Beautiful buildings
LESSON PLAN 2
Preamble: This lesson, like the previous one, has a focus on language form countable and uncountable nouns and their determiners. However, the approach, as far as
the language is concerned, is to let the examples sink in rather than address the issue in a
grammatical way. In any case, it would be very difficult, at elementary level, to explain
why the guest says: Id like some fruit juice, but Id like scrambled eggs, without some.
There is also an element of bottom-up listening training, as there is a focus on the
weak form of some, but this is combined with a largely top-down approach, where
learners are encouraged to use their hotel schema to predict what is likely to happen in
the conversation.
Level

Elementary

Aims

To provide practice in the use of countable and uncountable


nouns with some, any and zero determiners.
To alert students to the weak pronunciation of some to help
them identify when it is used.
To create the conditions under which listening should take
place - letting it happen.

Time

55 minutes

Aids/Materials

True to Life Elementary, p 20. Tapescript in Teachers Book, p


219

Assumptions

Students grasp on the area of countable and uncountable


nouns is still very shaky they have only just been
introduced to it.

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They know most of the relevant vocabulary of food items,


numbers and times.
They have recently practised asking for repetitions: Im
sorry; could you say that again, please?
Anticipated

Students may have problems with the problems disembodied

problems

voices on the tape recorder, especially as they have had very


little experience so far of listening to tapes.

Solutions

Use pictures to establish who and where the speakers are.


Pause tape very frequently.

Procedure (Lesson Plan 2)


Aim/rationale

Teacher

Students

Est.
time

This background information


should help learners cope
with the 'disembodied voice'
problem and go towards
creating an authentic listening
environment.

Show pictures of1. Man in hotel


bedroom holding phone - clock
prominently displaying 7.00.
Daylight. 2. Woman on hotel
reception, holding phone - clock
at 7.00.
Where are they?
What time is it?
Whats the conversation about?
By giving a listener role I
Imagine you are the receptionist
hope to involve students more Point to picture and indicate
and, again, to recreate the
students.
authentic environment in
Listen to the guest and fill in the
which listening should
form.
happen.
Show the form in the book, p.
Listening and responding 20. Play the tape, stopping after
more help with authenticity
every guest line. Elicit gist of
building and part of a Rivers- the receptionists lines before
inspired gradual build-up of
continuing playing. If students
listening skill. Helping
seem not to have understood
students practise asking for
guest, prompt them to ask for I
repetition.
repetition.
Students expect their answers Check with your partner. Have
to be checked. There may,
you got the same information?
also, be students who really
Go round checking and helping.
need encouragement.
Providing practice of
Look at the script on p 20. Show
countable and uncountable
mini script on p 20. Practise
nouns, with determiners.
ordering breakfast.
Pair off students into guest and
receptionist.
Listen for the pronunciation of
Focus on weak form of
write on board: some. Which is
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10
mins

In a hotel
7 ill the morning
He wants breakfast
15
mins

Listen
Im sorry, could
you say that again
please?
Fill in form.
Compare
completed forms
with partners.

5
mins
10
mins

Practise with the


semi scripted
dialogue.

some to help build up


bottom-up listening skill.
Focus on weak form of
some- to help build up
bottom-up listening skill.
Practice of uncountable and
countable nouns and theweak form of some.

better or ? Listen, its


Practise saying it
Co-ordinate oral practice.
Listen again - how many times
do you hear?
Play tape again.
Check back - make sure they all
heard it. If not, play it again.
Practise the dialogue again.
Make sure you say.

Various responses
Repeat
5
mins
Listen
Two times
Practise the
dialogue.

10
mins

LESSON PLAN 3
Preamble: This lesson is quite unlike the previous two: there is no specific
language focus: it is a thoroughgoing skills lesson, designed to meet a specific skillsbased difficulty the learners had been facing.
The approach is top-down this, again, responds to the difficulties voiced by the
learners. They were clearly using only a 'bottom-up' approach to their reading and, as a
result, getting frustrated.
The lesson would need to be carefully balanced with other lessons dealing with
bottom-up skills so that learners did not get the wrong impression that 'top-down' is the
only way to get into a text.
Level

Intermediate

Aims

To increase students awareness of how clarifying your


purpose can make reading or listening more effective.

Time

55 minutes

Aids/Materials

Selection of different texts - newspaper article, magazine,


review, small ad, newspaper information, etc.
OHT with extracted phrases. Worksheet with questions.

Assumptions

A keen group of students who have been trying to read things


at home and who have been coming unstuck - probably
because their only reading purpose has been to increase their
language knowledge.

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Procedure (Lesson Plan 3)


Aim/rationale

Teacher

Students

Est.
time

To focus students on the point I know some of you have told me


of the lesson and link it to
that when you
their own learning needs and
try to read in
difficulties
English at home
you soon give
up because
there is too
much you don't
understand
We're going to
look at how to
help yourself
understand.
Look at these
sentences. Do
you understand
them?
Show OHT
To start to focus attention on
Hand out worksheet.
reading purpose.
Choose which text you need to
read to get each
piece of
information on
the sheet. Point
to texts attached
to the walls of
the classroom in
various places.
Help students as necessary
To refine process of setting a Sit down and check with the
reading purpose.
person next to
you that you
have got the
same answers.
Collect texts off
the walls. Show
them one by one
to the students.
Write down the title of each
piece and what it is. This one is
easy (Show weather forecast)
because the title tells you what it
is.
Divide the class into pairs or
small groups.
You (nominating a pair/group)
work on the weather forecast,
you work on the newspaper
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Look at the OHT.


They are not
expected to
understand.

2
mins

Go round the room


with the worksheet
writing down text
numbers against
questions.

5-8
mins

Sit down. Check


answers.

15
mins

Look at texts and


write down titles.
Discuss what each
text is. Check back
with T.
Get into
pairs/groups.
Students write
down questions
(with considerable
prompting, help
and guidance from

Testing the purposeful


reading hypothesis. Students
will hopefully read the texts
and be able to answer some
of the questions without
getting bogged down.

To round off the reading


activity and create a sense of
satisfaction.
Pass questions on, receive
texts, read, answer questions.
Focus back on the aim of the
lesson: make students aware
of the process and how it can
be applied.

article, etc. Write down as many


questions as you can which you
think you might get the answer
to in your text. For example
(nominating Steak House group)
How much does a dinner cost?
or (nominating Handy Tips
group) Can you get wine stains
out of clothes?
Pass your questions to the next
pair/group.
Hand out texts
to appropriate
pairs/groups i.e. each
pair/group gets
the text they
have the
questions for.
See how many
questions you
can answer in
two minutes.
Now see how
many more
questions you
can answer in
another two
minutes.
Regroup students so that readers
are working
with people who
set the
questions. Tell
your partner the
answers to their
questions
Show initial phrases on OHT
again. Identify the phrase from
your text. Discuss with your
partner and say it in your own
words/translate it.
So you call understand things
better if you prepare yourself
carefully to understand them.
For homework, find a text,
prepare to read it in the same
way. Bring in your questions,
the text and your answers for the
next lesson.

OHT
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35

teacher)

Receive questions.
Receive texts.
Check questions
match the text.
Read texts and try
to answer
questions.
Try to answer more
questions.

10
mins

Talk to each other,


answer the
questions and show
the part of the text
where they found
the answer.

10
mins

Look at OHT.
Identify phrases.
Discuss and
translate.

10
mins

They burst into blossom in eight or ten days time.


Grab the nearest piece of absorbent paper.
Subdued lighting, lots of red velour and potted plants.
Other benefits are also offered.
W fresh, increasing strong later.
WORKSHEET

For each question, say which text will give you the answer. Write the number of
the text after each question.
QUESTION
Is it a good idea to plan a picnic for tomorrow?
Whats happening in the world at the moment?
Is there a new job possibility for me?
Where can I take my friend for dinner on Saturday?
How can I be a better home-maker/ housewife/
househusband?

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36

TEXT NUMBER

TEXTS
TEXT ONE: Obedient

Flowers

BULGARIAN SCIENTISTS have taught carnations to flower to order.

Previously, after the carnations had been picked in the hothouse, those which had failed
to bloom used to be thrown out. Now they are stored in a refrigerator for one or two
months. And after being put into an artificial nutrient solution, they burst into blossom in
eight or ten days time.
TEXT TWO: Handy

Tips for the Home Wine Stains

If wine is poured accidentally on a tablecloth or somebody's clothing it can be


lifted almost magically by thoroughly neutralising it with white wine. If no wine is
available apply lots of cold water and salt. If wine is spilt on a carpet dont go dashing
about looking for a cloth. Grab the nearest piece of absorbent paper (newspapers or paper
towels are ideal) and soak up as much as you can as quickly as you can. Rubbing with a
cloth only serves to spread the wine to an even wider area absorbing is the right thing to
do. Salt, which absorbs moisture, is very effective. White wine is much less of a problem
as it tends to leave little discolouring behind.
TEXT THREE: Malawi

Applications are invited from suitably qualified candidates for the post of personal
assistant to the Managing Director, to be based in Malawi.
Qualifications: Candidates must be highly qualified in secretarial profession with
high speeds in shorthand and keyboard skills: must be full of initiative to be able to act on
behalf of the Managing Director in his absence.
Salary: This is an executive position with a good salary. Other benefits are also
offered.
Replies to be addressed to
The Group Personnel and Administration Manager,
Limbe Leaf Tobacco Company Limited, PO
Box 44, Kanengo, Lilongwe 4, Malawi

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TEXT FOUR: Weather

Forecast (6am to 6pm)

London, SE England, East


Anglia: Sunny intervals and scattered showers after more general rain at first;
wind W, moderate, increasing fresh; max temp 9c.
Central S, SW England,
Channel Islands: Showers or longer outbreaks of rain, some sunny intervals;
wind fresh, increasing strong, with coastal gales; max temp 10 or 11C.
Midlands E Central N, NE
England, S. Scotland: Sunny intervals, scattered showers; wind NW backing, W
fresh, increasing strong later; max temp 7C.

TEXT FIVE: Aberdeen

Steak Houses

Branches 14, mainly London


Opening Times Every day, 11 am to midnight
Price of our selected meal
17 plus 10 per cent service
Licensed Yes
Service Waiter
Provisions for children None
Smoking area None
Comments Fairly wide choice, with steaks generally agreed to be tender and
cooked as requested.
Vegetables were sometimes described as overcooked and rather expensive at
2.75 per portion. Wine and coffee also thought expensive by some. Most people had
friendly service although some found it unimpressive, and had problems with their bills.
Subdued lighting, lots of red velour and potted plants was a typical description of the
interiors, which were also thought clean.

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Exercises
A. What problems in the development of (i) listening skills and (ii) reading skills
are specific to or exacerbated by the fact that an L 2 learner is learning in his/her native
country?
B.(i) Look at one supplementary textbook containing authentic reading material,
and then answer the following question:
What, in your view, are the characteristics which make one authentic text more
suitable than another for EFL purposes?
NB If you do not have immediate access to a book of this type, try and answer this
question with reference to your commonsense and past experience alone.
(ii) Find one authentic text of your own that you might use with a particular group
of learners (which you should describe) and briefly outline ways in which it could be
exploited in the classroom. We are looking for a few general ideas, not detailed lesson
plans. Dont forget to send us a copy of the text.
Remember to provide a brief explanation of why you think the activities/ideas you
have selected for the text are especially suitable for the particular class you have
described.
Lesson Planning Exercise
1. In the following list of 10 headings, say which is an aim and which is an
activity.
a) Develop scan reading skill
b) Dialogue building
c) Headway p.36
d) Grammar revision - hypothetical conditionals
e) Cut-up story
f) Further practice of /s/ vs. /z/ and / / vs. / /
g) Introduction of language of disagreeing
h) Very quick reading
i) Warmer
j) Elicit use of Present Perfect
2. Look at the copies of two lesson-plans and comment on them.
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3. Complete the lesson preparation worksheet for one of the following three lesson aims:
i)

to introduce and give practice in used + inf. for discontinued past habits.

ii)

to introduce and give practice in Ill + inf. for making spontaneous


decisions, offers, etc.

iii)

to introduce and give practice in should + past infinitive for criticism of


past actions.

4. Write a lesson plan showing just the introduction, controlled practice and board stage
for one of the following:
i)

Going to + infinitive

ii)

I think youd better + infinitive.

NB: Include class level, aims, assumed knowledge, anticipated problems and
materials as headings in your plan.

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40