With the relative success of the last lesson, I wanted to continue with reported speech and concentrate on some written production.
It just so happened that half of the class were in the previous lesson and the other half had missed it. I paired everyone up so they could inform their partner about exactly what happened in the last class. After a couple of minutes I asked the partner who hadn’t been here in the previous lesson to report back to me on what they had been told. Their accuracy was surprising, despite not being in the class. After telling me the general outline of the lesson, I told them I had written a report about the lesson, for my DOS, and that we should check with that to be sure. I showed them the report on the IWB;
‘In the last lesson, we talked about reported speech. The students completed some speaking activities, and afterwards Adam suggested that when the students reported back to him about what their partner had said, they should use – he/she said or he/she told me. Luis said that after ‘said’ and ‘told’ we could use the word ‘that’. Adam replied that Luis was correct and wrote it on the board. Adam advised the students to use reported speech in the next activity. During the activity, Marcos asked Adam about reporting the present simple. Adam told him that if the information he had been told was still true it should stay in the present. After hearing Marco’s example, Adam recommended that he should change the tense.’
I asked if this is what happened in the lesson, and everyone agreed. I then asked them to highlight all the uses of reported speech, in particular the verbs that were used. They highlighted everyone except the very first one in the first sentence ‘ we talked about‘. I highlighted it and I talked about how we can use this to report general topics and not specific details.
We sat back down and I split the class into three groups. I then handed out a stack of small pieces of paper to each paper. I asked the groups to look through the sentences that had been written on the paper and to make corrections where necessary. The pieces of paper were from the twitter lesson we had done a couple of weeks previously. The students recognised them and set about correcting any errors. This part of the lesson went on a bit longer than I had hoped, but I think it was useful for the students. Spelling, tenses, word order and punctuation all came out of the ensuing conversations.
Once we were happy with the corrections I asked the students to convert the sentences into reported speech, once this was done I wanted to link them together to create a similar report to the one I had created on the board. With only forty-five minutes of the lesson left, I knew that we might be pushing it to get finished. And I was right! The conversion process threw up all sorts of questions and became somewhat of a discovery process for both the students and myself. With every rule that they discovered, I wrote it on the board so that everyone was aware. I spent a lot of time going from group to group, checking, correcting, suggesting. At one point I became involved in a discussion about a sentence that contained a passive, and the student wanted to know why it didn’t change in this particular case. I was stumped and couldn’t explain why. But I did highlight the passive structure on the board for the rest of the class, discussed what it was used for and how it was constructed. I checked my watch and realised we had nearly finished. I was tired, the students were tired and the whole experience had been pretty full on. I did a quick review of what we had covered in the lesson and then it was time to go.
I was happy with the amount of work that we had done in the class. Everyone had worked hard, including myself and we had all learnt a lot. Unfortunately, I think the class was a bit static and the last activity too long. I should have cut down the number of sentences in order to limit the time spent on the conversion process. Allowing for time to either write the report or even to make it a speaking activity between groups, so as to break up the monotony of writing. Nonetheless, lessons were learnt, both during and after the lesson. I enjoyed being able to re-use the sentences from a previous lesson. I think this made it easier for the students to engage with the whole lesson as they were working with material they had produced and not with some de-contextualized sentences from a course book.