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#ELTBITES Challenge

November 23, 2011

In response to the challenge set by ELTbites (read more here), here’s the retrospective plan of a functions lesson which I did last week. I think you could easily use this with almost any level, but my class were C1.

I entered the class at the company with no materials except my pencil case. There is a small white board in the room. I had 3 students that day. I also had no idea what would happen over the 90 minutes: this is one class that I definitely practice Full Dogme with!

Here’s what happened:

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The students noticed that I didn’t have my usual water bottle with me, and commented on this as I always have the same bottle. I told them about how I had actually been incredibly clumsy over the last week, including dropping and breaking my bottle, spilling tea/coffee/you name it, cutting my finger/banging my head etc.. etc… Poor me. We started to share stories of other mishaps in our lives. Seemed we were all in the same boat.

We listed some mishaps on the board which involve other people (spilling your drink over someone/banging into someone on the street/etc…)

We collaboratively worked on a dialogue for one of these on the board. We drilled the dialogue and spoke about how we don’t actually say “I’m terribly sorry.” but rather use intonation (higher voice, greater range of pitch) to highlight the intensity of our apology with “I’m so sorry”, as well as the differences between their L1 and English. They practised this amongst themselves.

They chose one situation each and worked alone to write a dialogue  between the people involved.

We spoke about modality for politeness. They adjusted some of their dialogues.

We worked on some more pronunciation.

They “performed” their dialogues.

Lesson done.

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Why not take part in the challenge yourself? Or follow the results here – http://eltbites.wordpress.com

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. November 23, 2011 10:48 am

    WInging it elevated to an art form! I’m not being negative, completely the opposite. Being confident in your ability and the ambience of the class you have created means whatever crops up, you can do. The language function of apologising is in unit 13 of English Underway anyway.

    • November 23, 2011 12:58 pm

      Thanks for your comment, David!

      Confidence is certainly part of it, and having a back of ideas up your sleeve to pull out at any time. But I find that the most difficult part of teaching like this is actually having confidence in the students, more than in myself. I have to trust that they will go with whatever happens and will be prepared to be the stars of the show, which can be something some students are not used to.

      I just came back to the office after teaching this class again (we meet once a week). Today we ended up “being annoyed” and ranting about things which annoy us (this came from a mini-rant from one of them about getting annoyed at people in their car). We all had a great time letting off steam and getting things off our chests. Therapy, one might call it!!

      Jem

  2. November 23, 2011 4:53 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing this on http://www.eltbites.wordpress.com I’ve also left you a comment there and a few questions about unplugged teaching

    Best wishes
    Richard

  3. November 24, 2011 8:37 am

    As David pointed out, this also prepared students for an activity in their books. So far, great lessons such as your comvince me more that dogme and coursebooks aren’t mutually exclusive, one can use both (wisely, that it is).
    Note: of course, I’m not familiar with any of the books those of you in Lang. schools mention, we use others…

    • November 24, 2011 8:44 am

      Hi Naomi! Thanks for stopping by!

      I think you’re right. For me, teaching unplugged / Dogme can be done to different levels. I don’t see the problem with taking a bit of a coursebook page, removing it from the coursebook and making it completely student centred and letting it become more than it’s original writer intended. I have used one of those little vocab boxes to fill a whole lesson (90 mins), and often see my trainees do the same. When I first started teaching, I would get through those boxes in 3 minutes flat. What a waste!!

      Jem

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