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Humanising Language Teaching
Year 1; Issue 4; June 1999

Lesson outlines

* Lesson 1 * Lesson 2 * Lesson 3


LESSON 1

by Christine Frank, author of Challenge to Think, OUP

Level: Intermediate
Time: 45-60 minutes
Purpose:

To simplify writing an account of a news story by using ideas from the class.

Preparation:

Over a week tear out pictures from the newspaper. It can be local, national or international news. With a small class (under 15 students) you should offer one picture per student. With more than 15 students you can have one picture per pair. You should stick each picture on an A 4 sheet of paper.

Lesson outline:

  1. Give out the pictures. If you have more pictures than students in the class let them choose which they want.

  2. Tell them to look at her/his own picture and write down four or five words or phrases that immediately come to mind. They write their ideas on the sheet beneath the picture.

  3. They pass the paper on to their neighbour who reads the words/phrases and adds four or five of her/his own. Then the picture is passed on again and other words/phrases are added. This procedure is repeated about eight times. It becomes increasingly difficult for the students to come up with additional ideas, but in my experience their contributions will be more interesting towards the end.

  4. When each picture with about 30-40 words/phrases is given back to the original student she/he has got a resource with which to write a short report on the picture.

Variation for advanced classes:

While the pictures are going round the students should decide whether their words are fact or opinion and write them into different columns on the sheet. When they have got the 30-40 words/phrases back they have to order them and write their account accordingly.


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LESSON 2

by Christine Frank, author of Challenge to Think, OUP

Level: Intermediate
Time: 40-45 minutes
Purpose:

As an interim stage between question and answer and free writing.

Preparation:

None.

Lesson outline:

  1. Give the class a topic that interests them and write it on the board, e.g.

    My best friend
    Places I have been
    A teacher that I have experienced

  2. Let them write one short sentence at the top of an A 4 sheet of paper, e.g.

    My best friend is called Anna.
    Last year I went to Mexico.
    When I was at school my class teacher was Mr. Evans.

  3. They pass the paper on to the next student, who then writes 15-20 questions about their statement. (Don't be tempted to reduce the number of questions that they have to write the last ones on their list are the most interesting.) Tell them to leave a space between each question. At this stage you should go round correcting any mistakes they have made.

  4. The papers are passed on again. The students read the statement and the questions that go with it and she/he answers them all (inventing answers as she/he wishes). The answers go in the spaces left between the questions. As before you point out any errors that occur.

  5. Once more the papers are passed on. The task now is to write an account based on the statement, the questions and answers she/he receives.

    You might want to set this for homework or for the next lesson. With a weak class I would recommend you to take the papers and check the questions and answers and give them out next lesson for the account to be written.

    In this activity the students do not have to concentrate on the content, which frees them to work on style and expression.

  6. The accounts are each given back to the student who wrote the original statement. After having read the account they can comment either in writing or orally to the whole class.


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LESSON 3

by Christine Frank, author of Challenge to Think, OUP

Level: Lower intermediate
Time: 40-45 minutes
Purpose:

To revise adjectives and adverbs in a context that is provided by the students. These grammar items usually occur spontaneously in the following activity.

Preparation:

Tell the students to bring in a photo of a friend or one of their family.

Lesson outline:

  1. Get the students to pass on the photo to the next student without telling her/him who it is or making any other comment.

  2. Looking at the photo they have to write notes about the person. Physical appearance age / height / figure / build / hair character and personality. Give the students enough time and go round helping with words.

  3. Get them to pass the papers to the next student, but not the photo.

  4. They have to read the notes of the previous student and write an account of the person in the photo (without seeing it).

  5. The photo goes back to its owner together with the account. Each student has to present the photo to the class and say whether or not the account is accurate.


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