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Teaching idea


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It's very early in the morning here in Guayaquil, and I am up at this hour because in an hour's time I'm going to get a bus to the terminal and then see about getting a ticket to Cuenca. I was advised to get there as early as possible because it's a holiday weekend. Tomorrow it's All Souls' Day (Day of the Dead) and on Sunday it's the Independence of Cuenca. In order to fill up the time until I leave, I've decided to write about a teaching activity I did recently.

We had a teacher training session yesterday where we were told about dictoglosses/text reconstruction and how to use them. After that we were all supposed to share an activity that we'd done in the last couple of weeks that we thought had gone particularly well, but as it happened there was only enough time for a couple of us to do it. I was asked to share mine, so here's what I did (originally I did this with my Intermediate 1 class). It was about question tags ("You know Dave, don't you? She likes chicken, doesn't she?")

1. Give the class a specified time in which they have to interview as many of their classmates as possible. Try to ensure they ask questions that result in neither very similar kinds of answers nor answers they are likely to know already (there are different ways of ensuring this). Emphasise to them that they have to try to memorise what their classmates tell them, but they must not write anything down!

(At first glance, this activity may not seem to have a connection with the rest of the lesson, unless you work it in as a kind of icebreaker... but all is revealed in time!)

2. Proceed with the rest of the lesson as normal. This could be from a coursebook, with its own context, or your own thing. I set the context as 'at a party' in my lesson, but any social situation where you come across acquaintances and new people would also be good. Then when you get to the freer practice stage at the end...

3. Give students three or four minutes to jot down quickly what information they think they remember their classmates giving them at the start of the lesson.

4. Students have to get up and mingle as if they are at a party/ other social situation, checking with their classmates if they remembered correctly. "You work for _____, don't you?" for example, or "Your brother's a sailor, isn't he?" Encourage students to continue the mini-conversations further, not just asking and answering the questions, in order to sound more natural.

5. Feedback - who remembered the most information correctly?

Just seen the time - I have to go and pack! I was advised to get to the terminal no later than 7am or there'd already be long queues, so I'd better get going!

Posted by 3Traveller 07:37 Archived in Ecuador Tagged ecuador guayaquil english_teaching

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