I started the Celta course in September 2011; therefore my only Teaching Practice has been to a group of 16 Level 1 students. This particular group is lively, engaged and eager to learn. It was clear that if after a session they had not learnt new vocabulary or mastered a tricky grammar rule they were disappointed.
For the purpose of this assignment I have chosen an article from the Reader’s Digest January 2012 entitled ‘If I ruled the World’ by Dr Simon Thurley, Chief Executive of English Heritage. I think this text has several advantages; it is suitable for all cultural backgrounds and also gives students descriptions and insight into British culture. The language I think is appropriate for Level 1, neither too easy nor too difficult. With the chosen text students will be able to practice reading skills such as skimming for gist, reading for comprehension and scanning for information.
The text can also be used to give students practice in the productive language skills – speaking and writing, discussion in class about what students would do if they ruled the world and for homework they could research for example the history of Stonehenge. Although not a specific requirement of this assignment students may learn new vocabulary and it reinforces the unreal conditional, which we covered during one of the Teaching Practices in November.
I would introduce the topic of discussion for the day’s lesson by asking students to talk about heritage sites in the UK giving Stonehenge (show a picture) as an example Ask if any of them had visited Stonehenge or any heritage sites. I would also test students’ knowledge of the vocabulary needed to answer the comprehension questions i.e. deciduous species, parochial, etc.
First Reading In the first exercise I would give the students a sheet with the gist questions and ask them to read through them. Then, I would ask the students to skim the text individually in about 5 minutes and ask them to work in pairs to answer the following questions:
1. Who wrote the article? Dr Simon Thurley, Chief Executive of English Heritage 2. What do you think the article is about? What Dr Thurley would do if he ruled the world?
Second Reading Now I would ask the students to look over the detailed task questions, then scan and read the text again and answer the questions in pairs:
1. Simon Thurley would plant a trillion trees, which would be good for climate change. What else would it be good for and what do trees represent in the world? Because they make the world more beautiful as they are always moving and growing and mark the change of the seasons. Trees are the lungs of the world.
2. How would Simon Thurley made sure that every child in the world had a sense of history, identity and belonging? By teaching children the history of the place they live in to give them roots. Everyone needs a sense of belonging and a knowledge of historical background can make a big difference in attitude.
3. Why would Simon Thurley open all our old canals and train lines? We could put freight back on barges and reinstate train halts in villages across the country so as to decrease the number of lorries and cars using the roads causing pollution and traffic jams.
4. Why would Simon Thurley impose a tax on all businesses that put up Christmas decorations before 10 December? He would do this as he believes that Christmas is a time that should be short and special. Also there are many people who cannot afford to spend a great deal at Christmas and they feel alienated by the commercial frenzy. He would then use the revenue from the taxes to help less fortunate families over the Christmas period.
5. Why does Simon Thurley think that although a tunnel under Stonehenge would be expensive it is a priority and should be undertaken in the near future? Because having the main road so close, 25 yards, means that the monument is subject to fumes and noise.
6. Does Simon Thurley believe that the money donated to charities is used or purpose that it was intended? No he thinks that a lot of the money goes towards administrative costs and donors need to be confident that their money will make a difference.
7. How would Simon Thurley make it easier for everyone to get on with their lives? By making it illegal to ban things that people do in the privacy of their own homes. He would repeal five banned things a year and have less interference.
8. Does he think it is a good thing for anyone person to rule the world and why? No he does not because absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Whilst the students are working in pairs I would monitor and help if necessary. After they have completed the task I would ask individual students to give their answers.
I could at this stage reinforce the grammar of the unreal conditional “If I ruled the world I would….” and then open up the discussion and ask students to discuss in pairs what they would do if they ruled the world and then open the discussion to the whole group with an exchange of ideas.
As homework I would ask students to look up The English Heritage Internet site and pick a monument or building of historical importance in this country and describe it.
Courtney from Study Moose
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