Excellent summary of TBLT from Geoffrey Jordan.
Here is a quick lesson idea that I tried out earlier today and went down very well with my C1/C2 class of lawyers.
I try to listen to a variety of podcasts when I have the time and one that has provided me with food for thought recently has been the Big think/Think again podcast which you can find here. Alternatively, you can listen here;
Other ways to listen:
- RSS Link (for use in podcasting apps such as Podcast, Stitcher, Overcast and Instacast): http://simplecast.fm/podcasts/1201/rss
- On Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/think-again-podcast
- Follow us on Twitter: @bigthinkagain
The premise is quite straightforward. In every episode a guest (professors, artists, actors, poets, writers and leaders in a wide range of fields) is interviewed and asked to react to several audio excerpts picked at random by the podcast producers. The topics are excellent for generating debates and pushing you to think a little bit more outside of the box.
Here is what I did with my class;
- I chose 4 or 5 different episodes which contained a question or statement I thought would get my student’s attention and ultimately produce an in-depth discussion.
- “Monogamy is ridiculous” Episode 2 Henry Rollins(Artist) – Monogamy/sexual opportunism (audio starts at 3m 28s) Warning: Contains explicit language
- “Is attention an endangered species?” Episode 12 George Takei (Actor+Activist) – Ego/Focus/Xenophobia (audio starts at 1m 40s)
- “Is stress good for you” Episode 8 Maria Konnikova (Author) Mindset/Creativity/Suburban B-Boyz (audio starts at 1m 17s)
- “Is it better to be happy or interesting?” Episode 15 Salman Rushdie (Novelist) – Happiness/Monsters (audio starts at 2m 43s)
2. In the classroom I presented the statement to the class and asked them to discuss whether or not they agreed or what they thought about the statement/question. We discussed it as an open group and immediately they were interested. At this point I realised that in another class it would be a good opportunity to practice turn-taking and language for agreeing/disagreeing.
3. Once everyone had spoken and the arguments and discussion died down, I played the audio of the person who proposed the statement/question and why they took this particular stance.
4. Once the audio had finished I asked the class to react to what they heard. Did it confirm what they had already said? Was it completely different to what they thought it would be? Did they agree/disagree with this persons argument? etc. Again, there was a lot more talking and discussion.
5. As an extension and further listening, you could also play the audio of the how the guest reacted to the audio and further talk about whether the students agree with the response or not.
This is a simple activity which produced a large amount of discussion and opportunities for slightly lower Advanced levels to practice there speaking and listening skills. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find any audio scripts for the episodes but the audio doesn’t tend to last any longer than 2 – 3 minutes.
Enjoy the lesson and let me know how it goes.
Here is a quick writing lesson idea which I recently put together. I received some really good feedback from my students about it so I thought it was only fair to share it with you.
The lesson was originally designed for my ILEC (International Legal English Cert) students and the task rubric takes the form of part 1 of the writing exam. The recommended level for this material is Strong upper-intermediate (B2+) and above.
The text for the lesson is a set of lyrics by Scroobius Pip from the UK hip hop duo Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip. A link to the YouTube video can be found here.
The main theme of the lesson is God, religion and what you would say to him if you had the chance. Clearly, this is a difficult subject for some students, so think carefully about whether it can be used in your classroom.
The lead in is entirely up to you. I simply began by asking who believed in God and who didn’t. I then announced that God had written a letter to mankind and that I had a copy. The reason I had a copy was because the people in the room had been tasked with the job of replying to him.
I then distributed a copy of the task rubric to each student;
God has recently contacted the people of Earth and he is not happy with us.
There has been much debate as to who should reply and how to answer. The world’s leaders have elected you to respond, therefore creating a buffer zone between them and any potential blame for the onset of Armageddon if it all goes wrong.
Choose your words carefully.
Read the letter carefully, on which you have made some notes. Then using all the information in your notes, write a letter to God on behalf of the entire population of the Earth.
Write a letter of between 150 –180words in an appropriate style. Do not write a postal address.
Once the students had read the rubric and were clear on what they had to do, I showed them the letter and the notes that had been made. Click here to open the word document. A copy of the rubric is on the second page.
We dealt with any unknown vocabulary and then talked about how the students might respond. I mentioned that they might want to think about their own relationship with God and how this might affect their response, as well as the register they think would be most appropriate.
The students really enjoyed the process and their finished letters were funny, touching and cleverly done. They commented on how difficult it was to begin the letter and how they had to think a lot more about the style they wanted to use, compared to that of the normal coursebook tasks. Overall, it was a successful departure from the standard course material and a fun writing exercise.
Please feel free to edit the word document as you see fit. The comments I made were appropriate to the class and the time, but you may feel the need to change them.
Please comment on the lesson if you used it and let me know how it went. Enjoy!
One of those times my old foe, the hashtag, is useful is showing trending events. Thanks to the #EqualPayDay hashtag I now know this is the day of the year when women start working for free compared with men thanks to unequal pay. I’m not in possession of enough information to say whether this affects ELT directly or not. As far as I know teachers earn the same, pitifully low, pay regardless of gender but I could be wrong. I also don’t know the stats to show the gender make up of managerial, higher paid positions and the equality of those salaries.
I do know, though, how one pay inequality happens in ELT.
It struck me the other day that the continued inequality of plenary/keynote speakers at ELT conferences actually has a financial implication. That unfairness means men have more chance of receiving some kind of financial benefit from…
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You’d have hoped things would have changed but no. FE is still being squeezed, pay is being frozen, and generally things are looking bleak. It’s no surprise, then, that my colleagues in UCU went on strike today. I chose not to, and as I was informed, somewhat spikily, by a committed Union member that the decision about going into work yesterday was a “moral” one, I thought I might explain why.
For one, I’m not a union member, and as such I am a free individual without commitment to any politically motivated organisation. Therefore the decision, for me, is entirely personal. I owe no moral obligation to the union: I made use of their services on two occasions and did so as a result of my then fully paid up membership. I’ve never been a great one for arbitrary loyalty. I paid my dues, I received a service: simple.
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Photo by Martin Seck
Scott Thornbury is a teacher and teacher educator, with over 30 years’ experience in English language teaching, and an MA from the University of Reading. He is currently Curriculum Coordinator of the MA TESOL program at The New School in New York. His previous experience includes teaching and teacher training in Egypt, UK, Spain (where he lives), and in his native New Zealand. HIs writing credits include several award-winning books for teachers on language and methodology, as well as authoring a number of papers and book chapters on language and language teaching. He is series editor for the Cambridge Handbooks for Teachers (CUP). He was also the co-founder of the dogme ELT group (see Articles). And, currently, he is an associate of the International Teacher Development Institute (iTDi), an online campus dedicated to teacher development.
Interviewed by Isabela Villas Boas
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