From listening to records I just knew what to do I mainly taught myself And you know I did pretty well Except there were a few mistakes But um that I made uh That I’ve just recently cleared up And I’d like to just continue To be able to express myself As best as I can with this instrument And I feel like I have a lot of work to do Still I’m a student of the drums And I’m also a teacher of the drums too
I came across this sentence last weekend and instantly knew I wanted to base a lesson around it, or even use it as a warmer/conversation starter;
If you had 2 minutes to talk to the whole world, what would you say?
I tried out a few formats with my early morning classes. They were a bit rough around the edges but produced some interesting results. One class produced a mini speech about what they would talk about if they had those two minutes, and the other class became a simple discussion class, after I changed the structure various times to allow the students to produce different answers and therefore different discussion points.
I decided to use it for my project to introduce, revise and work with the 2nd conditional.
I told the class I had found a really interesting question, but I couldn’t remember all of it. I wrote this on the board;
What would you say if you had 2 minutes……….
I passed out some slips of paper and asked the students to complete the question with whatever ending they wanted, and then they should swap the question with their partner and answer each others question. Immediately the class was alive with discussion and questions. I walked around helping with the construction of the sentences and vocabulary. I listened in to the answers and helped with pronunciation and corrected where necessary.
‘What would you say if you had 2 minutes with Obama?’
‘What would you say if you had 2 minutes to talk about your whole life?’
‘What would you say if you had 2 minutes to talk in front of Spain’s prime time TV audience?’
Once the discussion had died down, I changed the initial question and asked the students to do the same as before;
What would you do if you had 2 minutes………
The class erupted into even more noise, they seemed to really be enjoying this activity. The questions became more inventive and random, yet produced even more talking and language.
‘What would you do if you had 2 minutes to spend 10,000 euros?’
‘What would you do if you had 2 minutes to eat 3 pizzas?’
‘What would you do if you had 2 minutes to tell the woman of your life you loved her and you saw her in the street?’
‘What would you do if you had 2 minutes before some really important to you died?’
I went to the board and discussed all the points that had come up. I asked if they knew what grammar we were using in the lesson. Instantly the 2nd conditional was shouted out. We put the construction on the board, talked about swapping the clauses around, the position of the comma and why we use the 2nd conditional.
By now 30 minutes had gone by. It was surprising and satisfying that one simple sentence had produced so much already. I told the class we were going to read a text about a BBC programme, and put the title on the board;
I asked them to discuss in their pairs what they thought the programme would be about and what they thought people watchers did. After some feedback and the mixing together of several ideas, we eventually came up with a suggestion. I asked the class to read the article to find out if they were right. They weren’t far off. Next I asked them to complete the five comprehension questions for the text. We did feedback and boarded the answers. We talked about unknown vocabulary and I asked them to pick out the 2nd conditionals. We were running out of time.
I told the class we were going to watch two clips from the BBC programme. Their attention immediately picked up. I wrote the question below, on the board. I asked the class to discuss it in pairs.
If you could steal something from a shop without paying for it, would you?
We did a quick show of hands to see who would and who wouldn’t. Some people were very honest. I asked them to watch a clip of the show to see what the outcome of an experiment was that investigated this question. They had to simply tell me how many people paid for a paper. (4.50mins for the first question and 7mins for the second question)
We did the same for another question;
If a stranger came up to you in the street and asked to use your mobile phone, would you let them?
They watched the related clip and had to tell me whether the man or the woman was successful in getting people to lend them a mobile.
The end of the class was upon us. I asked them to write three 2nd conditional questions for homework and I intend to use them as a review and warm up in the next lesson.
I really enjoyed this lesson. Planning it, teaching it and being able to watch the students enjoy it too. I think this was by far the best lesson we have had together. The amount of talking and language that came out was unbelievable. And it was clear from the students faces that they were having a good time and engaging with the material. I had taken the text from the coursebook that we should be using from the class and also used the same comprehension questions included in the book. The actual planning of the lesson didn’t take long at all, and seemed to come together naturally. The question is, was it Dogme at all? I had planned the lesson and had a clear language point I wanted to cover. I was more than prepared to go off in another direction if necessary. The first half an hour was great, I anticipated maybe 10mins or, at the most, 15 mins for this, but allowed it to flow and continue as the students continued to discuss the questions. The rest of the lesson was straightforward and controlled by me, the teacher, yet highly productive and enjoyable. I could agonize over this, but I’m not going to. The students enjoyed the lesson, participated fully and left the class happy. At the end of the day, Dogme or not, this is what counts.
From watching other teachers I just knew what to do I mainly taught myself And you know I did pretty well Except there were a few mistakes But um that I made uh That I’ve just recently cleared up And I’d like to just continue To be able to express myself As best as I can with teaching And I feel like I have a lot of work to do Still I’m a student of English And I’m also a teacher of English too