Choice of material
I have chosen a Cycle Hire leaflet as my material. I would use it with a group of elementary learners. It is a leaflet which describes how to rent bikes in London, how much does it cost, what are the benefits of becoming a member, how and where to use it.
On the other side of the leaflet there is a map of central London with the docking locations where to rent the bikes. I have chosen this authentic material because I believe it is a good reading task for the students, it??™s informative, easy to understand and use, it explains the costs, the usage and payment options. It gives an idea how to travel and enjoy London in a different way and maybe even for some students it is a cheaper option to travel than by public transport.
Students might have some experience how to rent these bikes or might feel motivated to try them out. In the second half of the lesson they can speak about it more easily once they have interest in the subject.
Reading is a constant process of guessing, and what one brings to the text is often more important than what one finds in it. This is why, from the very beginning, the students should be taught to use what they know to understand unknown elements, whether these are ideas or simple words. Reading is an active skill. Reading comprehension should not be separated from the other skills. There are few cases in real life when we do not talk or write about what we have read. It is therefore important, to link the different skills through the reading activities chosen:
-reading and writing, e.g. summarizing, note-making
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-reading and listening, e.g. matching opinions and texts
-reading and speaking, e.g. discussions, debates
Reading to oneself (as opposed to reading aloud) is, like listening, a ???receptive??™ skill. The most obvious differences are to do with the fact that people read at different speeds and in different ways. Many learners approach reading texts expecting to read them thoroughly and to stop only when they have understood every word.
This kind of approach does not necessarily make them into better readers, because this word-by-word approach is not the way that we most often do our reading in real life. In order to make students better readers, we need first of all raise their awareness that it??™s not always essential to understand every word, and that practising some different reading techniques in English may be very useful to them. And if their basic strategy is read slowly, then a good first strategy could be to help them learn to read fast; not worrying about understanding every word, but still achieving a specific goal.
Many activities designed to increase reading speed are variations on the following two ideas:
-read quickly and get the gist of a passage.
-read quickly and find a specific piece of information.
The first of these is also known as skimming. It is fast reading for: key topics, main ideas, overall themes, etc.
The second of the ideas is also known as scanning. It is fast reading for: specific individual pieces of information (e.g. names, dates, prices, numbers, dates, etc.)Many reading lessons move from ???top-down??™-from overview to details. Using the task-feedback circle as a starting point, we can plan a route map for a basic reading lesson.
Introduction and lead-in get the learners interested in the topic; make an explicit link between the topic of the text and the students??™ own lives and experiences.
First task, (pre-reading), predict some information (key words, headlines), read questions about the text.
Tasks to focus on fast reading for gist (skimming), e.g. check texts against predictions made beforehand.
Tasks to focus on fast reading for specific details (scanning), e.g. find single items of information in the text.
Tasks to focus on meaning, discuss issues, compare viewpoints.
Follow on task, role play, debate, and personalisation.
(Have you ever had an experience like this one)
Conclusion, tie up loose ends, review what has been learned. (Scrivener, 2005)
Speaking is a skill by which students are judged while first impressions are being formed.
But learning to speak competently is a complex task (Hedge, 2000).
For many learners, their ???passive??™ knowledge is much larger than their ???active??™ language. Without experience in using the language, learners may tend to be nervous about trying to say things. The aim of a conversation class is for learners to ???become more fluent and confident??™. One of the best ways to help learners activate this knowledge is to put them in ???safe??™ situations in class where they are inspired and encouraged to try using language from their ???store??™. These would not mainly be activities that teach new language; rather, they would allow learners to try out language that they already understand and have learned, but not yet made part of their active personal repertoire.
A few keys to getting a good discussion going:
1. Frame the discussion well
Don??™t jump to the deep end. It usually helps to find ways to lead in at the beginning and ways to close at the end. A lead in could be a text that everyone reads and which naturally flows into the topic.
2. Preparation time
Students may need some quiet time before the speaking activity, think through their thoughts, make a note or two.
3. Don??™t interrupt the flow
If at all possible, avoid classroom management techniques that interfere with the natural flow of conversation.
4. Specific problems are more productive then general issues
Rather than giving the students general topic to discuss, trey setting a specific, related problem. This is often more challenging, more interesting and more realistic. (Scrivener, 2005)
Description of how to use the material
In the first half of my 60-minute lesson I would use the leaflet as a reading task, where students can practise to improve their receptive skills.
I would do the following steps:
1. Introduce the topic, elicit information from students:
-how they are travelling to work/school
-what are the different ways of travelling in London
-elicit cycling as a way of travelling
-have they heard about the cycle hiring
-personalize the questions, have they ever used it
2. Handout leaflet.
Show them both sides of the leaflet, explain that this is a reading exercise. Demonstrate which parts they should read to get a gist of the text and put some specific questions on the board for students and ask them to answer these questions.
-How many ways can you buy your access
-How much is the access fee for 7days
-How much is the usage charge for 2 hours
3. Check answers together.
Write the correct answers on the board.
In the second half I would give them speaking exercises where they can practise their productive skills.
1, Pair work exercise.
Put students in pairs and ask them to tell each other the do??™s and don??™ts, the users??™ code of conduct when riding a bike. There are examples on the leaflet.
2, Group work task.
Divide students into two groups. One group should talk about the positives and negatives of public transport.
The other group should discuss the positives and negatives of cycling.
Compare the answers together.
1. Learning teaching, Scrivener, J.
2. Developing reading skills, Grellet, F.