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Language Provision:
Exemplars

INTRODUCTION: The rationale for using exemplars is that they can be adapted to any teaching and learning context and take account of the needs of students. They are written in a ‘recipe’ format which is designed to enable practitioners to internalise the procedures and take ownership of the tasks. In other words, a generic approach has been adopted in order to allow considerable variation of use and exploitation and to ensure that anyone using the materials can make them their own. Ownership is regarded as being essential to successful implementation of alternative approaches.

A number of important principles have been followed, based on what is considered to represent good practice both in higher education teaching and learning and in current approaches to second language teaching:-

  • The tasks are student-centred and provide for a high degree of student autonomy

  • Where possible, there has been an endeavour to include a certain amount of cognitive challenge designed to increase motivation and stimulate thinking

  • Most tasks involve (or will involve) a degree of problem-solving. Problem-posing and -solving are considered central to the learning process and to promoting reflection on learning. By reflecting on learning, learners are more likely to adopt appropriate and effective learning strategies

  • Manipulation of the target language is considered central to acquisition. Attention to form and meaning are given equal weighting in each of the samples included here

  • Some tasks allow skills integration so that reading, writing, listening and speaking are practised through the use of tasks which naturally involve their use

  • The essential theoretical characteristics of the approach to teaching and learning adopted here are based on a socio-cultural tradition which stresses the need for dialogue, for negotiation, for interaction with others and for collaborative meaning-making

In the exemplars which follow, there is an emphasis on promoting independent learning. Many of the tasks can be completed by students working alone. However, it is also possible to use the materials in small group teaching contexts, where interaction in the target language can be maximised and where learning opportunities can be created.

Each exemplar follows a set template which includes important information such as focus, level, rationale and resources needed. This is not intended to be in any way restrictive. It is simply included for guidance. The most important principle is ownership; it is up to you, the teachers, how to use the exemplars and how to make them your own.

Table of Exemplars

Use Table 1 below to find an exemplar that focuses on a particular skill or system at a particular level of proficiency.

Beginners

Elementary

Pre-Inter.

Intermediate

Upper Intermediate

Advanced

Reading

1, 6, 14, 17,

1, 6, 14, 17,

1, 6, 14, 17,

1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 17,

1, 2, 3, 6, 17,

1, 2, 3, 6, 17,

Writing

1,

1, 19

1, 7, 19

1, 3, 7, 8, 19

1, 3, 7, 8, 19

1, 3, 7, 8, 19

Listening

1, 5, 9, 12, 13, 15,

1, 5, 12, 13,

1, 5, 12, 13,

1, 5, 10, 13,

1, 5, 10,

1, 5, 10,

Speaking

1, 5, 6, 9, 13, 14,

1, 5, 6, 9, 13, 14,

1, 5, 6, 7, 13, 14, 18,

1, 5, 6, 7, 8, 13,

1, 5, 6, 7, 8,

1, 5, 6, 7, 8,

Pronun-ciation

1, 9, 12, 20, 21

1, 9, 12, 20, 21

1, 12, 20, 21

1, 20

1, 20

1, 20

Grammar

1, 5, 16,

1, 5, 16,

1, 5, 16, 18,

1, 4, 5, 8, 10, 16,

1, 3, 5, 8, 10, 16,

1, 3, 5, 8, 10, 16,

Lexis

1, 6, 9, 11, 13, 17

1, 6, 9, 11, 13, 17

1, 6, 13, 17, 18,

1, 2, 6, 13, 17

1, 2, 3, 6,

1, 2, 3, 6,

Table 1

Exemplars

1. Dictogloss

Focus

Integrated skills, problem-solving, sharing ideas and collaborative learning.

Level

Any (adjust material to level).

Time

40-50 minutes

Resources

A short text (200-250 words)

Before class

Find a short text (200-250 words) which falls well within the world and linguistic knowledge of your students.  Make sure that the lexical density is not too high and that any technical terms of ‘jargon’ are known to your students. You could select a text which students have already worked on.

In class

  1. Introduce the text by putting 4-5 key words on the board and getting student to predict what it is about.  You could include more words, some of which appear in the text, some which are not and get students (in pairs) to create the text using some of the words.
  2. Tell the students that you are going to read the text several times; their task is reproduce the sense of the original, BUT not using the exact same words.
  3. Read the text once; students’ task is to get an overall understanding of the main ideas.
  4. In pairs, students talk about the context of the text and exchange ideas relating to their understanding of it (4-5 minutes).
  5. Read the text aloud a second time. Students take notes as they listen.
  6. Students compare notes, making changes or additions (4-5 minutes).
  7. Working in pairs and using their notes, students re-write the text using their own words, but still retaining as much of the sense of the original as possible.
  8. Read the text a third and final time for students to check their version against the original. As a final check, hand out a copy of the original.

Variation

Ask students to bring their own texts to class and use some of them.

Have one student read the text.

Practise specific grammar areas by using texts which contain many examples of one or two grammar areas.

Rationale

This is an excellent means of ensuring that all four language skills are practised in an integrated and motivated way.


2. Do you need to know this word?

Focus

Extracting meaning from context – exact vs. approximate meaning.

Level

Intermediate plus

Time

30 minutes

Resources

A short authentic text.

Before class

Prepare copies of the text which should contain a relatively high number of unknown vocabulary items (high lexical density). 

In class

  1. Divide students into pairs and give each pair a copy of the text.
  2. Students read the text and identify which words they need to know in order to understand the text.
  3. One student reads the list of words to the class for comparison. Teacher collects the words on the board.
  4. If any student can explain a word, it is eliminated from the list.
  5. In pairs, students re-read the text and look for clues which will help them guess the meanings of unknown words. Some words from the original list may be removed as students decide they are not necessary.
  6. Students present their ‘guesses’ to the rest of the class and explain where the clues came from.
  7. Teacher explains any remaining unknown words.

Variation

  1. The text could be presented as a cloze and accompanied by a set of definitions to match the gaps. There should be more definitions than gaps. Students decide which words are necessary to understand the text.
  2. Take a text and insert nonsense words for words which are thought to be unknown to the students. Students have to (a) decide which of the nonsense words they need to know to understand the text; (b) guess the meanings of nonsense words by using clues (e.g., part of speech, co-text, etc).

3. Why not translation?

Focus

Developing and fine-tuning translation skills.

Level

Intermediate plus

Time

30-45 minutes

Resources

A short authentic text in L1.

Before class

Prepare enough copies of the text you have selected.

In class

  1. Divide the class into an equal number of groups.
  2. Distribute copies of the L1 text to everyone.
  3. Working in groups, students translate the text into L2.
  4. When they have finished, students exchange texts.
  5. Groups then discuss, edit and modify the text they have been given (belonging to another group). Then, texts are handed back to the original groups.
  6. Collect in the original L1 text and ask students to translate their L2 version into L1.
  7. When finished, give out the original L1 text and get students to compare their translation with the original L1.
  8. Plenary discussion of the problems student must face when translating L1-L2 and L2-L1. Elicit strategies for dealing with some of the problems identified.

Variation

Divide a longer text (in L2) into paragraphs. Each student works on one paragraph and translates L2-L1. Then, students exchange their L1 translations and translate back to L2.

Rationale

Provides student with an opportunity to work very closely with the target language and mother tongue and presents them with problems to solve which relate directly to the study of the language. Raises awareness of appropriate strategies for dealing with linguistic phenomena such as faux-amis and double-entendres.


4. Inflection of Nouns

Focus

Developing understanding of noun inflection and promoting grammatical accuracy.

Level

Intermediate

Time

20-30 minutes

Resources

List of familiar nouns (nominative & inflected forms); a short simple text in L2 (200 words) appropriate to task; whiteboard & marker.

Before class

Prepare a list of familiar nouns with which the group will be comfortable plus a short simple text in L2 (200 words) featuring these familiar nouns in their inflected forms. 

In class

  1. Play brief ‘noun game’, writing word on board to enable students to use it in a simple structure (e.g. the copula). 
  2. Add second noun (inflected form) to each example and repeat ‘noun game’.
  3. Distribute short simple text in L2, which includes a number of examples of inflected nouns.
  4. Read the text aloud to ensure difficulties with pronunciation are avoided.
  5. Now familiar with the text, ask a student to reread the text aloud.
  6. Highlight the example of noun inflection in the first sentence, illustrating the difference between nominative and inflected form on whiteboard.
  7. Divide students into pairs and ask them to highlight the further examples of noun inflection throughout the passage (3 minutes).
  8. Have student reread the passage in pairs, one sentence per group, one member reading aloud, the other identifying the inflected noun.
  9. Patterns in inflected forms may be observed and nouns grouped accordingly.

Variation

Ask students to compose sentence of their own using the inflected nouns from the passage.

Play a matching game on OHP, where students match the inflected form to the nominative form.

Gaps could be left in the passage where inflected nouns should be and students may be asked for suggestions on how gaps should be filled. A list of nouns (inflected or in original nominative form) may not be provided.

Rationale

Raises student awareness of grammatical process, how and why inflection takes place. Exercise may be developed to include greater variety of nouns and could be repeated in future as introduction to lesson on structure pitched at a higher level of competence.


5. Noticing Language in a Dialogue

Focus

Introducing a language form and promoting noticing as a language learning strategy.

Level

Any (adapt material to level)

Time

50-60 minutes

Resources

A short dialogue that contains the target language form.

Before class

Prepare two copies of the dialogue and show them to two confident students in advance. The dialogue should contain examples of the language form you wish to introduce.

In class

  1. Write Who? and Where? on the board and explain that students are going to hear a dialogue and work out who and where the characters could be. This encourages students to focus initially on the general meaning of the dialogue rather than unknown words.
  2. The ‘actor’ students perform the dialogue, while other students listen. Afterwards, discuss the students’ ideas as to who the characters might be and where the dialogue might take place.
  3. Explain that they will hear the dialogue again twice and they are to listen carefully for a particular language form and take notes. For instance, if you are introducing the future tense, you would ask students to note the language that the speakers use when they talk about the future.
  4. The actor students perform the dialogue again twice, while the others listen. When they are finished, students compare their answers in pairs.
  5. Collect the students’ answers. Encourage students to give you the exact phrases used in the dialogue. Write their answers on the board and, if there are any errors, elicit corrections.
  6. If there is a grammar rule that would help students to remember the form, present examples of use on the board and give students time to formulate a rule for themselves. In pairs, they compare their rules before you collect their suggestions and discuss them together.
  7. Students ask each other questions that require using/answering in the target form. For instance, if the target form is the future tense, they could ask each other questions about their ambitions for the future.
  8. Listen closely to the language that the students use and take notes.
  9. Using the board, show examples of the language students used in the task. If there are errors, elicit corrections. If students completed the task without using the target form, elicit from them how they could have used the target form.
  10. Students swap partners and ask and answer their questions in a new pair.

Variation

This lesson is open to great variation. You can introduce a wide range of language forms in this way.

  • Instead of inventing a dialogue, use authentic language that you have recorded, e.g., from radio, TV or by interviewing a native speaker.
  • Instead of asking questions (step 7), students write a dialogue.

This exercise enables students to notice a new language form, formulate a rule (hypothesise) about its use, test out the rule in practice and then reformulate the rule. These cognitive activities help promote language acquisition. By swapping partners to repeat the activity, students gain maximum opportunity to learn through interaction, to practise the newly-acquired language and to reformulate their hypotheses about the language.


6. Extensive Reading Programme

Focus

Extensive reading, motivation, autonomous learning.

Level

Any (adjust material to level)

Time

40-50 minutes

Resources

A selection of L2 literature at various levels. Some monolingual and, if available, bi-lingual dictionaries. A questionnaire on reading habits. (See example on page 5.)

Before class

Find a selection of L2 books that are not lexically dense and are likely to be of interest to learners. Graded readers or abridged versions of classic novels are ideal. Prepare a short questionnaire on reading habits. (See example on page 5.)

In class

  1. Introduce the theme of literature by listing 4-5 genres on the board, e.g., novel, short stories, biography, crime, classic. Show 2-3 books and ask students to identify the genre of each book.
  2. In pairs, students brainstorm other genres. When they are finished, compile their ideas on the board. Elicit key genres such as fiction, non-fiction, travel writing, romance, historical, poetry, drama, horror, mystery, etc.
  3. Students think about their reading habits in L1 and complete part A of the questionnaire.
  4. In groups of 3-4, students discuss their answers before reporting back to the class.
  5. Listen to the language that students use during the task and take notes.
  6. Use your notes and the board to focus on the language used during the task. For instance, you could focus on:
    • students’ errors and invite them to self-correct.
    • an aspect of grammar, e.g., a tense for describing habitual actions.
    • lexis, e.g., language for describing likes, dislikes, preferences, favourites or literature.
    • phonology, e.g., sounds, stress or intonation that proved problematic during the task.
    • consolidating language from a previous lesson that arose again in this task.
  7. Students complete the questionnaire again, this time thinking about their reading habits in L2. Remaining in their groups, they discuss their answers before reporting back to the class.
  8. Each student chooses a book that interests him/her and is at an appropriate level.
    To determine their level, students should try reading a page from the book. Ideally, s/he should be able to read the passage quickly and easily, get the gist and find about 3-4 instances of new language.
  9. Students take their chosen book home and read it for the following week. Continue the programme so that students are reading one book every week.

Variation

  • Use a matching exercise to teach the vocabulary for various genres of literature.
  • If students don’t know the vocabulary, and don’t have access to bilingual dictionaries, you can help by providing the words to students who can paraphrase their intended meaning.
  • Students add questions of their own to the questionnaire and survey their classmates.

Rationale

An extensive reading programme improves reading fluency, consolidates language that students have already encountered and enables them to notice new language forms. When material is at the right level, i.e., just beyond what the student can understand on his/her own, it pushes them to develop their language skills. It is motivating, because students choose and personalise their own learning material and fosters autonomous learning.

Reading Survey

PART A

Think about your reading habits in your first language (L1) and answer questions a-e.

a.  Why do you read? Number your reasons in order of purpose.

for enjoyment

to study

to get information

other _____________

b.  How often do you read for enjoyment?

never rarely sometimes often very often.

c.  What is your favourite form of literature? Number them in order of preference.

novels

short stories

biographies

crime/thrillers

mystery

romance

horror

travel

other _____________________

d.  Who is your favourite author? _________________________

e.  What is your favourite book? _________________________

PART B

Now think about the target language (L2). Answer questions a-e again.


7. Book Review

Focus

Extensive reading, motivation, autonomous learning.

Level

Pre-Intermediate plus.

Time

20-30 mins class time + self-directed study time.

Resources

A selection of L2 literature at various levels. A book review sheet. (See example on page 5.)

Before class

Students read an L2 book that interests them. (See Exemplar 6. Extensive Reading Programme.)

In class

  1. To introduce book reviews, show students an L2 book that you have read and tell them briefly what it was about, who wrote it, what genre it belongs to and why you liked or didn’t like it.
  2. Invite students to talk about their books and whether they enjoyed/didn’t enjoy reading them.
  3. Students use the review sheet below to review what they have read. For each book that they read in the extensive reading programme, students can complete a review like this to build up a record of their reading.
  4. In groups of 3-4, each student discusses his/her book, what the book was about, what they liked/didn’t like about it, whether they would recommend it and why. Encourage students to discuss rather than simply read from the written reviews that they wrote moments earlier.
  5. While students are in discussion, listen to their use of language and take notes.
  6. Use your notes and the board to focus on the language used during the task. For instance, you might like to focus on:
    • students’ errors and invite them to self-correct
    • an aspect of grammar
    • lexis, e.g., language for reviewing literature, describing preferences and making recommendations
    • phonology, e.g., sounds, stress or intonation that proved problematic during the task.
    • consolidating language from a previous lesson that arose again in this task.
  7. Students return their books and choose another book to read for next week.

Variation

  • Lead in to the task using a written book review from an L2 newspaper or magazine. Students write a similar review of the book they have read.
  • Students discuss characterisation and style.
  • Students compare/contrast the L2 book with a similar L1 book they have read.

Follow-on

Lessons on the language for describing character; the language for describing writing style; the language of story-telling; the language of making recommendations.

Rationale

This activity integrates the four skills, incorporates focused language work (in step 6) and enables students to give and receive feedback on their self-directed study.

When used regularly as part of an extensive reading programme (see Exemplar 6. Extensive Reading Programme), it encourages students to participate in the programme — when students know that they will be asked to review their reading, they may be more likely to complete their reading.

It motivates students to read and promotes reading for enjoyment.

Book Review

Title

 

Author

 

Genre

 
   

Write a short summary of what the book is about.

 
 
 

Describe the main character(s)

 
 

Describe the writer’s style

 
 
 

Describe what you liked/didn’t like about the book

 
 
 

Would you recommend this book to other students? Why/Why not?

 
 
 

Do you think reading this book helped you develop your language? Why/why not?

 
 
 

8. Guided Interview

Focus

Question and answer forms.

Level

Intermediate plus

Time

30-40 minutes

Resources

A set of interview questions and answers.

Before class

Prepare a set of answers to which you would like students to create questions, for example:

Interview
1. Yes, I do.
2. About forty a week.
3. Since I was about 17.
4. Yes, in 1998.
5. Because it was affecting my health. And also because they were too expensive and I didn’t have much money.
6. Yes, I found it very difficult.
7. No actually, it was easier than giving up alcohol, which I did last year.
8. The biggest change was to my health. I became much healthier. And I had more money.
9. No, I don’t think so. I think people should be free to smoke in public places if they want to.
10. Yes, I agree that it has worked well in Ireland. But I don’t think it would work well in this country.

In class

  1. Conversationally ask students some questions that are similar to the questions that will arise in the task, e.g., Do you smoke? How much do you smoke? Have you ever tried to give it up?
  2. Explain to students that they will receive a set of answers that someone has given in an interview. They will work in pairs to create a question for each answer.
  3. When they have completed the task, collect each group’s questions. Write them on the board and if there are errors, elicit corrections.
  4. Explain that students will now work individually to choose a topic on which they would like to interview their classmates. Each student writes 3-4 interview questions based on that topic.
  5. Remaining in their groups, each student uses his/her questions to interview the other group members. Then each group reports back to the class on what they learned.
  6. Listen closely to the language that students use during the interviews and take notes. Afterwards, use the board to focus on question and answer forms. If there are errors, elicit corrections.

Variation

  • Students write their questions on transparency (in step 4). Use the transparencies to focus on question forms.
  • If the class is small enough, students can survey the entire class in step 7. 

Rationale

This activity integrates the four skills with a focus on form. The group-based activity gives students maximum opportunity to learn through interaction, because they can hear and practise question and answer forms several times over as each group member conducts his/her short interview.


9. Greetings

Focus

Greetings and responses.

Level

Beginner

Time

50-60 minutes

Resources

A short video recording of a TV programme in the target language containing several examples of characters greeting each other. Scenes from a soap opera are ideal.

Before class

Record a suitable TV programme, e.g., a soap opera, in the target language. You may wish to clip the scenes to focus attention on the greetings, or alternatively, you can fast forward through the scenes in class. Prepare a handout with examples of greetings (translated into L1) that appear in the video, plus  some additional greetings that aren’t in the video. Don’t include responses.

In class

  1. Write a greeting on the board, e.g., Dia duit if the target language is Irish. Elicit a response from students, e.g., Dia is Muire duit.
  2. Play a scene or several scenes from the TV recording and students watch and listen to get the gist.
  3. Students watch the scene(s) again. Elicit from them any greetings they noticed while listening.
  4. Give students the list of greetings in the target language and read through them for pronunciation. Explain that students will watch more of the video and that they are to listen and tick the greetings that they hear. Some of the greetings on the list do not feature in the video.
  5. Play the video. Students tick the greetings that they hear and compare their choices with partners.
  6. With partners, students guess/work out suitable responses to each greeting.
  7. Students listen again and note the actual response used in the TV programme.
  8. Use the board/OHP to collect correct responses to the greetings. Focus on correct pronunciation, stress and intonation.
  9. Students practise greeting and responding with partners. Listen closely to their pronunciation, stress and intonation and take notes to focus on afterwards.

Variation

  • When playing the video for the first time, play it with the sound off. Then elicit from students their understanding of the scene, characters, plot, etc. This shows students that to understand a text, they don’t need to understand every word.
  • Some video/DVD recorders can record a programme with teletext. If you can record with teletext, you can then use the subtitles for teaching purposes. By placing a page over the subtitles, students can listen without reading first to practise listening skills. Then remove the page so that students can listen while reading to focus on form and meaning.

Rationale

Like exemplars 4 (Noticing language in a dialogue) and 9 (Tenses), this activity encourages students to notice new language. It is an integrated skills exercise, as students work on listening, reading and speaking. It also exposes students to authentic language as spoken by native speakers with regional accents. While students won’t need to reproduce regional accents, they will need to have a passive understanding if they are to communicate with native speakers. It also encourages students to use authentic texts from beginner level.


10. Tenses
  • Focus

    Verb forms and tenses.

    Level

    Intermediate plus

    Time

    50-60 minutes

    Resources

    Short scenes from a suitable TV programme in the target language.

    Before class

    Record a short clip from a suitable TV programme, e.g., a documentary or news broadcast. Choose some verb forms that appear in the recording and which you would like students to focus on, e.g., active/passive, positive/negative, past, present, future or conditional forms. These may be verb forms that students have already studied and that you would like to consolidate.

    In class

    1. Play the recording once to enable students to get the gist. Afterwards, discuss what type of programme is shown, and the general meaning of the sequence.
    2. Ask students to watch and listen a second time, noting down examples of verbs in certain forms. For instance, you might ask students to listen for verbs in the past, present, future or conditional.
    3. Students compare answers with their partners before you collect their answers (on the board).
    4. Students then work in pairs to answer the following questions for each verb form:
      •     Is it affirmative/negative?
      •     Is it a question or a statement?
      •     Is it active or passive?
      •     What time does it refer to?
    5. Collect and discuss answers.
    6. Where possible, encourage students to formulate a rule arising from the examples of verb forms. For instance, if the target language is Irish, and the focus is on affirmatives/negatives and questions/statements, the verb forms will feature séimhiú and urú, e.g., Briseann/ní bhriseann; dúnfaidh/an ndúnfaidh?, etc. Rather than present a grammar explanation, ask students to study the examples and to formulate their own rules. Give them feedback on their hypotheses.

    Variation

    If you have access to a video/DVD recorder that records teletext, record the programme with subtitles. ‘Blue-tack’ a page over the subtitles, so that students must listen without reading first to practise listening and noticing skills. Then they can listen while reading to check their answers.

    Rationale

    This activity enables students to notice grammar in context and to formulate their own grammar rules – cognitive activities that play an important role in language acquisition. It also exposes students to authentic language as spoken by native speakers with regional accents and it integrates skills practice (in listening) with systems practice (grammar) and a focus on form.


    11. Activating Prior Knowledge

    Focus

    Activating knowledge of the target language.

    Level

    Absolute beginners

    Time

    15-20 minutes

    Resources

    none

    Before class

    Think of the names of some well-known people, films and books (as well as some general words) that are in L2 or have an L2 origin.

    In class

    1. To introduce the activity, write on the board your chosen L2 words, along with others that are not from L2. Ask students to identify the L2 words. Students may be surprised to learn that some L1 or even internationally-recognised words have an L2 origin (e.g., “Whisky” has an Irish language origin). 
    2. In pairs or small groups, students brainstorm:
      • the titles of some L2 films and/or
      • the titles of some L2 books and/or
      • the names of well-known L2 speakers and/or
      • L2 words or phrases that are used in L1.
    3. Collect their answers.
    4. For each L2 item, students work out a translation or explanation in L1.
    5. Give feedback on their answers.

    Variation

    In a later lesson, once students have learned the language for expressing likes, dislikes and preferences, students discuss which of the films, books and people they like or dislike.

    Rationale

    This activity helps to activate the existing knowledge (‘schema’ or ‘schemata’) that students may have of the target language. According to the schema theories of language learning, activities that activate schemata are beneficial because they help students to make sense of new material. They are often used as a warm up or lead in to another activity, such as a reading task, because they help to prepare the student by activating their interest and existing knowledge.

    Adapted from Grundy, P. (1994) Beginners. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


    12. Place Names

    Focus

    Lexis (the names of countries, cities and regions) and integrated skills.

    Level

    Beginners to pre-intermediate

    Time

    40-50 minutes

    Resources

    none

    Before class

    Make A3 photocopies of a world map – one photocopy per pair of students.

    Decide which place names you would like students to learn. You might like to include place names that have a significant grammatical feature, such as the use of an article (e.g., France is an Fhrainc in Irish, Italy is an Iodáil, but Éire, Ceanada, Sasana); gender (an Fhrainc, an Ghearmáin, an Bhriotáin are all feminine); or consonant change (China is an tSín).

    The focus is on lexis here and not grammar, so you don’t need to prepare a grammar lesson.

    In class

    1. Distribute one map between each pair of students. Explain that they will hear you say the names of various places and they are to mark those places with numbers on the map. Do one example as a model before you begin. For example, in the case of Irish, you might say uimhir a h-aon, an Fhrainc (number one, France), and show students that they are to mark France number 1 on their map.
    2. In pairs, students listen and mark the place names on the map. Where they don’t recognise the place name, they can use reasoning or guesswork.
    3. Collect and correct their answers.
    4. Students listen again, but this time they write the place names as they hear them. Explain that they’re unlikely to spell the names correctly, but that this isn’t important at this stage. They should just write whatever they hear.
    5. Present the written place names on the board or OHP. (Make sure they’re not in the same order as in step 1.) In pairs, students match the written form with the number and phonetic form that they wrote on their maps.
    6. Collect/correct their answers and emphasise correct pronunciation.

    Variation

    Follow the activity with one that focuses more specifically on significant place names within the region of the target language. One way to do this is to give students a football league table in L2 and ask them to mark each team’s location on the map. Afterwards, focus on pronunciation of the team names/locations.

    Rationale

    This is a problem-based integrated skills activity that combines listening, with a focus on lexis, phonology and writing. Although it is not a grammar lesson, students will be exposed to some grammatical features, such as articles, genders, lenition, etc. By the time you come to focus on these grammar points in a subsequent lesson, students will already have encountered them.


    13. Personalised Learning

    Focus

    Speaking. Giving reasons. Personalised learning. 

    Level

    Beginners to intermediate (suitable for a small class and one-to-one teaching)

    Time

    10 minutes per student + practice time

    Resources

    One tape recorder/dictaphone per student.

    Before class

    You will need one tape recorder or dictaphone for every student.

    In class

    1. Ask students to think about their reasons for studying the language.
    2. Each student says why s/he is learning the language in two or three short sentences. Record these onto the tape and immediately afterwards record your L2 translation of what the student has said.
    3. Do this for every student in the group. Depending on class size, you may need to make sure students have something to work on while they are waiting their turn.
    4. Give students time to listen to and practise the sentences on their tape several times.
    5. Give feedback on pronunciation. 

    Variation

    The activity could be repeated regularly with topics chosen by the students. 

    Students can make notes in their own time of what they would like to be able to say in the target language and bring those sentences to class for translation and practice using this technique.

    Students can record their L1 sentences in their own time and bring them to class as homework.

    Where students and teachers have access to digital recorders (e.g., a minidisk player), and are willing and able to communicate outside of class time, students and teacher can email their short recordings to each other.

    Use the recordings as a source for a dictogloss activity. (See Exemplar 1. Dictogloss.)

    Rationale

    In this activity, learning is personalised. Students choose for themselves what they want to learn. As a result, the language will be relevant to students’ needs and the activity is likely to be motivating.

    If the activity is done regularly, and if students take care not to erase their recordings, they will soon build up a bank of personalised language. That bank of language can be used for review and will aid motivation by giving students a record of their progress over time

    Adapted from Grundy, P. (1994) Beginners. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


    14. Newspapers for Beginners

    Focus

    Reading for gist.

    Level

    Beginners to pre-intermediate

    Time

    30-40 minutes

    Resources

    One newspaper for every 3-4 students.

    Before class

    Bring enough L2 newspapers for every 3-4 students.

    In class

    1. Lead-in to the task with a short discussion of newspapers, e.g., discuss whether students read newspapers, if they have a favourite paper that they read regularly, which sections they read, etc.
    2. Organise students into small groups of 3-4 and give each group a newspaper.
    3. Each student takes a page from their group’s newspaper and skim reads the stories. They try to understand the general meaning of each story and for every story a student understands, s/he writes near it “This story is about…”.
    4. When a student is unable to understand the general meaning of a story, s/he works with the other group members to try to figure out the general meaning.
    5. Each group chooses the story that they think is the most interesting out of all the stories read by the students in that group.
    6. Each group reports back to the class with their chosen story using a few brief sentences of beginner level, e.g., “This story is about…”.

    Variation

    Students identify parts of the newspaper that they understand, e.g., Letters, Editorial, Sport, Headline, etc. You may need to provide or elicit some relevant language, e.g., the words for headline, subheading, column, journalist, etc.

    Each student chooses from their newspaper a story that they think the other students would understand. The stories are cut out and circulated amongst the students. Each student reads each story and keeps a record “I read a story about…”.

    Students read L2 newspapers in their own time and bring to class a story that they can present to their classmates. This can be done regularly as part of an extensive reading programme. (See Exemplar 6. Extensive Reading Programme.)

    Rationale

    This is a student-centred problem-based activity, where students gain the benefit of working alone and working in a group. When they work alone, students have an opportunity to study the language that they encounter in the task and to figure out its meaning. When they work in their group, students have the opportunity to learn from peers through problem solving.

    By skim reading, students learn that they don’t need to understand every word to understand the general meaning of a text.

    Students are familiar with newspapers from their first language and so they already have a wealth of knowledge about the genre and the likely content. This activity takes advantage of that existing knowledge (in a similar way to exemplar 10, Activating Prior Knowledge) and enables students to do things with the target language that native speakers regularly do, i.e., read newspapers. It is motivating for students to realise that they can carry out some authentic tasks in the target language from the earliest stage.

    Adapted from Grundy, P. (1994) Beginners. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


    15. What does it sound like?

    Focus

    Listening, phonology, student perceptions of the target language.

    Level

    Absolute beginners (suitable for a first lesson with beginners)

    Time

    10-15 minutes

    Resources

    A short recording.

    Before class

    Choose a short recording of 1-2 minutes in the target language. 

    In class

    1. Play the recording, without any preparation or other activities.
    2. Using L1, students discuss in pairs what the recording sounded like.  Then discuss as a whole class.
    3. Play the recording again and ask students to listen for more specific aspects of the language, e.g., stress, intonation, speed, rhythm, etc.
    4. Discuss again in pairs and in the whole class.

    Variation

    Give students questions which they are likely to be able to answer or make an educated guess at. For instance, questions could be related to genre (e.g., Is this a news report, a conversation, or a radio ad?) or speaker (e.g., Is the speaker male or female, young or old?), etc.

    Rationale

    Students may have preconceived ideas about the target language, e.g., that it is unpleasant sounding, that it’s spoken too quickly, etc. This activity helps to debunk myths and to challenge students’ perceptions of the target language.

    It also helps to familiarise students from the earliest stages with authentic language as spoken by native speakers. It focuses attention on the sound of the language – stress, intonation, rhythm, phonemes, etc.


    16. Discover Grammar

    Focus

    Grammar in context.

    Level

    All (adapt material to level).

    Time

    10-15 minutes

    Resources

    A short text featuring examples of a particular grammatical structure, pattern or rule.

    Before class

    Write or find a short text that features examples of a particular grammatical structure, pattern or rule. For example, you could use a dialogue where people are speaking about others and then ask students to find the personal pronouns. Or ask them to identify verbs endings. (See worked examples in Irish on pages 5 and 5.)

    In class

    1. Give each student a copy of the text and ask them to find a particular grammatical feature.
    2. Students work in pairs to solve the task and find a pattern or formulate a rule.
    3. Check afterwards in a grammar book or with the teacher. 

    Variation

    This activity lends itself to great variation and can be used to teach pronouns, verb forms, gender of nouns, etc. See worked examples on pages 5 and 5 for variation.

    Rationale

    Students are more likely to remember grammar when they notice it and figure it out for themselves. This activity enables students to notice grammatical features and to formulate a rule that they will remember. Studying the text, discussing it with a partner, working out a problem, making guesses and correcting their guesses are all part of the language learning process.


    17. Grammar Terms

    Focus

    Language awareness – identifying features of the language.

    Terms used in grammar – verb, noun, pronoun, adjective, genitive case, etc.

    Level

    All (adapt materials to level).

    Time

    60-120 minutes (depending on the materials you choose).

    Resources

    • A matching exercise featuring grammatical terms with examples.
    • A short text featuring those grammatical forms.

    Before class

    Prepare a matching exercise of terms used in grammar and their definitions/examples. If your students are beginners to low intermediate, you may need to prepare this in their first language. The worked example in Irish on page x is aimed at strong intermediate learners, but could be adapted to suit lower proficiency students.

    Find a suitable text with examples of the target grammar. Write some questions that require students to find the grammar in the text, e.g., Find two singular nouns; Find two plural nouns; Find a verb in the third person; Find two plural adjectives; Find three personal pronouns; Find two examples of the genitive case, etc. (See the worked example in Irish on page 5.)

    In class

    1. Working individually, students do the matching exercise. Allow plenty of time for this.
    2. Students compare their answers with a partner before you discuss the answers with the class.
    3. In small groups, students work together to think of L1 equivalents for each of the grammar terms. If a direct translation doesn’t exist in their first language (or if they don’t know it), they can create one or they can paraphrase.
    4. Discuss their translations and give feedback.
    5. Working individually, students read the text and answer the questions.
    6. Students compare their answers with a partner before you discuss the class’ answers and give feedback.

    Variation

    Choose only those grammatical forms that you feel students need to know at their level. For instance, conditionals, passive voice or genitive case may be unsuitable for beginners.

    For low proficiency students, prepare the matching exercise and reading questions in their first language.

    Students could prepare for this lesson in their own time by studying some reference material and familiarising themselves with the grammatical terms. Then, you could skip steps 1-2 or even 1-4.

    If you are using the worked example provided in Irish, note that the text (Rodrigo agus Gabriela) is available on the web at www.beo.ie/2002-05/grafton_st.asp. Students can visit the web page in their own time and try the hyperlinked explanations and glossary.

    Rationale

    This lesson takes a problem-based approach to the teaching of grammar. Through observation and reasoning, students become aware of language forms.

    Various forms of interaction are used. Working individually helps students to develop their own cognitive abilities. Working in pairs helps them to learn through interaction with peers. Teacher-student interaction enables students to learn from your feedback.

    Finally, the activity provides some lexical development. Students learn words and phrases for describing features of the target language.


    18. Information Gap

    Focus

    Prepositions of place: on, under, beside, inside, on top of, between, etc.

    Vocabulary for everyday objects in a room: table, chair, lamp, wall, shelf, TV, etc.

    Level

    Elementary to Pre-Intermediate

    Time

    50-60 minutes 

    Resources

    This is a pairwork activity. You will need two pictures of the same room. In picture A, the room is empty. In picture B, the room has been filled with objects, such as books, furniture, CDs, etc.

    You could use drawings, photographs, or you could adapt the materials shown overleaf (Richards Room), taken from Watcyn-Jones and Howard-Williams (2002).

    In this activity, student A has a picture of a bedroom before someone has moved in to it. Student B has a picture of the same room after the person has moved in. Without looking at each others’ pictures, they must ask and answer questions to complete the picture. They’ll use language like Where’s the TV? On the stool at the end of the bed.

    Before class

    Prepare pictures A and B (e.g., by adapting the materials overleaf) and make enough copies.

    In class

    1. Introduce the topic and elicit vocabulary by asking students to name ten things that they see in the classroom.
    2. Elicit prepositional phrases by asking students where certain things are in the room, e.g., “Where’s the map?” “On the back wall beside the window.” You may need to reformulate their answers and ‘feed in’ prepositional phrases.
    3. Write the answers on the board. You will have phrases like on top of the cabinet, beside the window, etc. Or in Irish, phrases like in aice na fuinneoige, ar an gcathaoir, cois na tine, etc.
    4. Students look at the phrases and identify the prepositions and prepositional phrases, i.e., on top of, beside, etc. (Or in Irish, phrases like in aice, ar chúl, taobh thiar de, ar an, faoin, etc.)
    5. The language you’re teaching may require grammatical changes following a preposition, such as a noun inflection (an fhuinneog ? in aice na fuinneoige; an chathaoir ? ar an gcathaoir). Ask students to point out any changes they notice. Students then formulate their own grammar rules. Afterwards, briefly discuss their rules and give feedback.
    6. To elicit vocabulary for the task, each student brainstorms ten things they have in their bedroom. Answers may include things like CDs, books, desk, lamp, etc.
    7. Distribute the materials and explain the task. Provide a model question and answer on the board, such as A: Where is the TV? B: On the stool at the end of the bed.
    8. Student A asks questions of student B until they have gathered the information and completed the picture.
    9. Listen closely to the language they use and take notes. Afterwards, write some of what you heard on the board and invite students to self-correct.
    10. Students switch roles (A becomes B and B becomes A) and repeat the activity with a new partner.
    11. Give feedback.

    Rationale

    Information Gap is a problem-based communicative activity that draws students’ attention to certain language forms, and enables them to practise those forms and to test out their newly-formed hypotheses about the language. The language focus in step 9 draws attention to form and meaning. Repeating the activity in step 10 enables students to correct their errors and improve their language production.

    Information Gap example A

    Information Gap example B


    19. Process Writing

    Focus

    Writing; lexis; grammar; sentence, paragraph and text structure.

    Level

    Elementary plus. (Adapt topic to level)

    Time

    60-120 minutes

    Resources

    none

    Before class

    Choose a topic that is of interest to your students and that they are likely to be able to write a short text about. Encourage students to suggest topics. The topic used below is music.

    In class

    1. Lead in to the topic. You can do this in several ways, e.g., with a vocabulary matching exercise; by chatting about the topic; using a reading or listening text.

    2. Students work in pairs to brainstorm vocabulary. Encourage the creation of mind maps like this one, adapted from Anderson (2003).

    Process Writing example

    3. Students use freewriting to develop ideas. Set a time limit of, say, 10 minutes. Students write as quickly and freely as they can, without crossing out text or worrying about errors.

    4. Students examine their freewriting and identify key ideas by underlining them.

    5. Students use those ideas to write a first draft.

    6. Give feedback to students on their first drafts. After feedback, students revise their drafts.

    7. Students proofread and edit their drafts, focusing on correct spelling, grammar, sentence structure, etc. Keep error correction to a minimum.

    8. Students produce a final draft, which is reviewed by their peers. 

    Variation

    Students write in pairs or groups. Students use feedback forms to give each other feedback in step 6.

    Rationale

    Cultivates vocabulary, encourages students to be independent writers, teaches writing as a process.


    20. Tracking

    Focus

    Pronunciation. Fluency. Confidence in speaking.

    Level

    All levels. (Adapt material to level)

    Time

    30-40 minutes

    Resources

    A short audio recording with transcript

    Before class

    Choose a short audio or video recording on a topic that is accessible to students. Make photocopies of the transcript.

    In class

    1. Working alone students read the transcript closely.

    2. Working in pairs, students compile a glossary of new words in the text that they think are necessary for comprehension.

    3. Once students are familiar with the transcript, play the audio or video recording. Students listen.

    4. Play the recording again. Students say the material aloud concurrent with the recording. Note that they are not repeating after the recording – they are speaking along in time with it.

    5. Give feedback.

    6. Repeat the process as many times as students find useful.

    Variation

    If the recording is a dialogue, students can practise saying the dialogue in pairs before you play the recording and again after they have ‘tracked’ the recording a few times. 

    Rationale

    Builds confidence, develops speed, and avoids the teaching of individual sounds in isolation.


    21. Slow Motion Speaking

    Focus

    Accurate Pronunciation. Fluency. Confidence in speaking.

    Level

    Beginners to Pre-Intermediate

    Time

    30-40 minutes

    Resources

    A short excerpt of scripted language

    Before class

    Choose a short excerpt of scripted language for students to practise speaking aloud. The meaning of the text should be comprehensible to students.

    In class

    1.   Introduce slow motion speaking (SMS) by modelling to students how to deliberately slow down your speech.

    2.   Give students a short excerpt of scripted language to practise aloud. 

    3.   Once students are familiar with the text, you say the excerpt aloud, taking care to slow down your speech in a dramatically, exaggerated and deliberate way (so that students can see how your tongue and lips form the sounds), but at the same time maintaining accurate sound articulation, rhythm, intonation and pauses. While you speak in SMS, students say the script along with you.

    4.   Repeat the process as many times as students find useful.

    5.    Give feedback.

    Rationale

    Slows down speech (without distorting sound, intonation and stress), so that students can see close up how sounds are formed.

    Adapted from Murphy, J. (2003).


    22. Write your own grammar examples

    Focus

    Grammar, formulating one’s own grammar rules and examples, writing.

    Level

    Intermediate to advanced

    Time

    15-20 minutes

    Resources

    A grammar reference, i.e., grammar book or handouts.

    Before class

    Choose a grammar point that you would like students to focus on. It could be a grammar point already studied, which you would like to consolidate. Or it could be a language form that students have already encountered, e.g., in a text, but which you haven’t focused in terms of grammar. Or, it could be an entirely new grammar form.

    Bring to class (or make sure students bring) relevant grammar reference material, such as grammar books handouts

    In class

    1. Students study a grammar rule, e.g., by studying a grammar book or handout, or following a lesson based on the Discover Grammar exemplar.

    2. Students put away their grammar reference and work in pairs to write their own examples to illustrate the grammar point.

    3. Each pair presents their examples to the class (e.g., using the board or OHP).

    4. Discuss the students’ examples and give feedback. Highlight relevant errors and invite students to self-correct. 

    Rationale

    This activity encourages students to think about the grammar point, internalise the rule and work out their own examples. They are more likely to remember their own examples than examples provided by the teacher or book. Furthermore, they are more likely to remember a rule that they have figured out for themselves, than a rule simply given to them by the teacher. This problem-based, student-centred activity is communicative and facilitates a cognitive approach to learning through interaction.

    In addition, the examples that students provide will reveal to the teacher whether students have correctly understood the grammar point.

    Adapted from Norman, Levihn and Hedenquist (1986).


    23. Film-making

    Focus

    Speaking, functional language.

    Level

    Any (adjust language to level)

    Time

    Two lessons of about 60 minutes + students’ own time.

    Resources

    Audio-visual equipment, i.e., camcorder(s) and TV.

    In this activity, students make a short video of themselves engaging in role play in the target language. Students choose a scenario in which they would like to be able to communicate, e.g., buying food in a market, asking for directions, ordering in a restaurant, etc. They then investigate what language is needed for the role play, before enacting the role play on camera.

    Before class

    Find a short video clip of two or more speakers engaging in the kind of interaction you would like students to practise, e.g., a customer buying goods in a market; two passengers on a bus making conversation, etc. TV soap operas or language learning videos generally provide plenty of examples. Arrange also for students to borrow audio-visual equipment, i.e., camcorder(s) and TV.

    In class

    1. Show the short video clip.

    2. Students listen for the functional language used in the exchange. (See also Exemplar 5. Noticing language in a dialogue.)

    3. Students re-enact the role play in pairs, changing the ending if they wish. Listen to the language they use and make notes.

    4. Give feedback on the language that students used in the exchange. Write on the board examples of good usage. Write also any errors and invite students to self-correct.

    5. Elicit from students examples of other situations in which they would like to be able to communicate in the target language.

    6. Assign the following project, which students will work on in their own time.
    Working in small groups of about three, students agree on a role play. They write a script and submit it to you. You review the scripts, and then give them useful phrases and idioms; correct errors; and help with pronunciation. Each group then goes away to a suitable location and films their role play.

    7. Students return to class and present their films. 

    8. Follow each short film with a language focus, where you highlight positive aspects of the linguistic content of the film, e.g., phrases or idioms used, a point of grammar, or pronunciation.

    Variation

    Students themselves provide the language focus (step 8) as part of their presentation.

    Rationale

    An integrated skills activity that incorporates writing with speaking, lexis, and pronunciation. Can also incorporate focus on form. Is problem-based, communicative and student-centred. Facilitates ‘noticing’ as a language learning strategy. Fosters creativity and autonomous learning. A personalised learning activity, where students choose functions that are of interest or use to them.

    Thank you to Mícheál Ó Flaithearta of Uppsala University for suggesting this activity.


    24. Tongue Twisters

    Focus

    Pronunciation and language play.

    Level

    Any (adapt material to level)

    Time

    15-30 minutes

    Resources

    A tongue twister in the target language.

    Before class

    Choose (or write) a tongue twister in the target language that is suitable for the level of your students. You may choose a tongue twister that repeats a particular sound that has proved problematic for your students.

    In class

    1.  If you speak your students’ first language, elicit from them a tongue twister in their language and get them to teach it to you.

    2.  Write your chosen L2 tongue twister on the board.

    3.  Explain the meaning of any unknown words and check that students understand the meaning.

    4.  Repeat the tongue twister a few times to model the sounds, stress and intonation.

    5.  Say it again slowly a few times and have students ‘track’ it with you, i.e., say it simultaneously with you.

    6.  Say the twister again repeatedly, gradually increasing the speed, while students continue to track your speech.

    7.  Once you feel students have grasped the pronunciation, stress and intonation, divide the class into teams of 3-4. 

    8.  The students in team 1 say the tongue twister one-by-one. Use a stopwatch to time how long it takes the team to say the twister. Repeat for every team in the class.

    9.  Decide on a winning team, based on best time and best pronunciation.

    Variation

  •     Use a short poem with plenty of rhymes, e.g., a nursery rhyme. Rhymes often provide a rich source of pronunciation practise and can be motivating for adults as well as children.
  •     Decide on a winning team based solely on best pronunciation and not on speed.

    Rationale

    Play with words, sounds and meaning is a common occurrence in language use and language learning. This is a fun activity, which also gives students practise in pronunciation, stress, and intonation.

    For more on language play, see Cook 2000.


    25. Musical Cloze

    Focus

    Listening comprehension, reading, and inferring from context. 

    Level

    Any (adapt material to level)

    Time

    5-15 minutes

    Resources

    song with printed lyrics

    Before class

    Choose a song with lyrics that are suitable for the level of your students. Type out the lyrics. Then replace some of the words with blanks. To make this a language awareness exercise, you might remove a particular class of word (prepositions, adjectives, verbs, etc.).

    In class

    1. Distribute the song lyrics, one per pair of students.

    2. Students read the text for gist, then work in pairs to think of words to fill the blanks. Help them with any words they don’t understand.

    3. Play the song.

    4. Students listen and check their answers and fill any missing blanks. 

    5. Collect their answers. For controversial answers, replay the relevant part of the track to resolve any doubt.

    Variation

  •     Pre-teach words and phrases that occur in the song.
  •     Instead of removing individual words, remove idiomatic expressions. Put a number in brackets to indicate the number of missing words. 
  •     For beginners or elementary learners, include a glossary at the bottom of the handout, containing the missing words and some extra ones.
  •     For beginners or elementary learners, leave as many dashes as there are letters in the missing word. You could also leave in the first letter of the missing word.
  •     Instead of removing words, insert additional ones. Students must listen closely for what they don’t hear.
  •     Don’t add or remove words, but change them.  Students must listen closely and change the lyrics back to the original.
  •     Don’t provide a text. Students listen for certain phrases and/or language forms and count the number of times they occur.

    Rationale

    A problem-based, integrated reading and listening activity that is motivating and enjoyable. Can also have a grammatical, lexical and phonological focus.

    Adapted from Murphey (1992).


    26. Biographies

    Focus

    Writing, talking about past events, referring to years and dates.

    Level

    Elementary to pre-intermediate

    Time

    30-60 minutes

    Resources

    A short biography of a famous person.

    Before class

    Find or write a short biography of a famous person. Photocopy for each student.

    In class

    1.  Draw the person’s lifeline on the board. For example, below is Pelé’s lifeline.

    Biographies example

    2.  Students guess the person’s identity.

    3.  Each student writes their lifeline, with five or six of their most important life events.

    4.  Give some feedback on form and content.

    5.  Students read the short biography of the famous person. They underline any useful phrases that they would like to use in writing their own biographies.

    6.  Students write their own short biographies in class, in their own time, or in a subsequent writing lesson.

    7.  Give feedback on the form and content of the biographies.

    8.  Students revise their work and write a final draft.

    9.  Photocopy the final drafts with names removed. Students guess who wrote each biography.

    Variation

    In step 7, use peer feedback, where students exchange papers and comment helpfully on each other’s writing. Students can use a structured feedback form like this one:

    Peer Comment written by _________________________ for ______________________________.

    Read your partner’s paper. Answer these questions:

    1.  Is the introduction effective? Explain your answer.

    2.  What is the writer’s purpose?

    3.  Is any important information missing or incomplete?

    4.  What questions do you have about this writing?

    5.  Is the conclusion effective? How would you improve it?

    6.  Do you notice any grammar or word choice errors? Underline them.

    Give this form back to your partner, and then discuss your answers.

    Rationale

    Enables students to generate ideas before attempting a writing task. The short text provides a model with useful linguistic content. Peer review enables students to learn from each other. The entire activity gives practise in process writing (brainstorming, writing and editing.

    Adapted from Sokolik (2003: 98).


    27. Jumbled Lyrics

    Focus

    Listening comprehension, raising awareness of discourse markers and contextual clues.

    Level

    Any (adapt material to level)

    Time

    15-30 minutes

    Resources

    song with printed lyrics

    Before class

    Choose a song with lyrics that are suitable for the level of your students. Type out the lyrics and cut up the verses, so that you are left with the individual lines of the song. Shuffle the lyrics and place them in an envelope – one envelope per pair of students.

    In class

    1.  Distribute the envelopes – one per pair of students.

    2.  Students read the lyrics and try to guess a logical order for the lyrics.

    3.  Collect the students’ guesses and ask them to explain their choices. By asking them to explain, you elicit from students discourse markers in the text, which show the logical relationship between one line of text and another.

    4.  Play the song, but stop after every second line or so, to enable students to adjust their choices and guess what might come next.

    5.  Play the song again straight through. Students finalise their choices.

    6.  Discuss the activity. Focus on key language in the text, e.g., discourse markers, lexis, phonology or grammatical forms.

    Variation

  •     Cut the lyrics vertically instead of horizontally, so that students are listening for the end of a line, rather than a subsequent line. This will focus on sentence structure and/or discourse markers at sentence level, rather than text level.
  •     Use the completed text as the basis of a reading activity.

    Rationale

    A problem-based, integrated reading and listening activity that raises awareness of discourse markers, and promotes text-level (rather than word- or sentence-level) comprehension. Can also have a grammatical, lexical and phonological focus.

    The decision to ask students to explain their choices (in step 2) is an example of teaching rather than testing reading comprehension. When they have to explain their choices, students’ awareness is drawn to the contextual clues in the text. When this technique is used frequently, it helps students to develop the strategy of using contextual clues to understand text. This can be useful for training learners who have the habit of approaching language purely at word- or sentence-level.

    Adapted from Murphey (1992).


    28. My Numbers

    Focus

    Writing and speaking. Using numbers to refer to age, height, size, telephone numbers, dates of birth, etc. Talking about ideals (“I would like”).

    Level

    Beginners

    Time

    30 minutes

    Resources

    none

    In class

    1.  Draw a table on the board as follows:

     

    My real

    My ideal

  • Height
  •  

     

  •  

     

  •  

     

  •  

     

  •  

     

    2.  Explain the concept to students, e.g., I might say that my real height is 1.7m, but that, ideally, I would like to be 1.8m.

    3.  Students draw a similar table and fill the left-most column with entries, e.g., age, weight, shoe size, birthday, post code, amount of money in bank account, etc.

    4.  Students complete the tables with their real and ideal numbers. (Answers needn’t be truthful!)

    5.  When students have completed their profiles, read out yours, allowing enough time for students to notice the sentence structure, .e.g, “I’m 49, but I would like to be 29” or “I’m 100kg, but my ideal weight is 90kg” etc. Pause after each sentence to allow any student who wishes to turn their numbers into a spoken sentence.

    6.  Students work alone to convert their notes into written sentences. Give help where needed.

    7.  Students work in pairs to talk about themselves. Listen closely and take notes.

    8.  Write on the board examples of language the students used during practice. Where there are errors, elicit self-correction.

    9.  Students practise again, this time with new partners.

    Rationale

    A personalised learning activity that integrates writing, speaking, and focus on form. The language focus (in step 8) provides a focus on form. Students have opportunity to notice the target forms and four opportunities to practise them. But because the interaction varies from listening, to speaking alone, to writing, to speaking in pairs, to speaking with new partners, the repeated practice is not tedious.

    Adapted from Grundy (1994).


    29. Language Play with Proverbs

    Focus

    Language play.

    Level

    Any (adapt material to level)

    Time

    15-30 minutes

    Resources

    A set of proverbs written on index cards.

    Before class

    Collect as many proverbs as you can in the target language. Write each proverb on an index card, with one half of the proverb on one side of the card, and the second half on the other. For instance, with the Irish proverb Tús maith, leath na hoibre (a good start is half the battle), write Tús maith… on one side and …leath na hoibre on the other.

    In class

    1.  Elicit from students some proverbs in their first language and get them to teach them to you.

    2.  Divide students into pairs or small groups. Give each group a set of cards and make sure they are face down on the table, i.e., with beginning of each proverb face down and the end of each proverb face up.

    3.  Call out the first part a proverb, e.g. Tús maith…. Students must find the second part.

    4.  The first team to correctly identify the answer earns a point.

    5.  Continue until all proverbs have been completed.

    6.  Choose an aspect of the language, which students have recently studied. For example, you could choose gender of nouns, plural forms, a particular tense, the passive voice, conditional, a case, prepositions, etc. Students to look at their proverbs and identify every instance of that language form.

    7.  Check their answers and use the board to focus on the form and consolidate previous learning.

    Variation

  •     To prevent possible cheating, write only the second part of each proverb on each card.
  •     Follow up with a writing task, where students choose a proverb and write a composition on that theme.

    Rationale

    Proverbs are a source of language play, as well as a rich source of lexis and form. This is a problem-based task that incorporates some reading, listening and speaking, with some focus on form and language awareness.

    For more on language play, see Cook 2000.


    30. Quick Writing

    Focus

    Writing.

    Level

    All levels.

    Time

    30 minutes

    Resources

    none

    Quick Writing is a technique for generating ideas before composing a piece of writing. Students write as quickly and freely as they can for, say, ten minutes. They shouldn’t cross out or remove any text. They shouldn’t overly concern themselves with spelling, grammar, or punctuation. (These can be addressed afterwards.) Nor should they worry too much about the quality of their ideas, as even apparently silly ideas can give rise to more sophisticated ones. The aim is for students to generate ideas, which can be developed later. If a student is stuck for a word needed to express an idea, they can try to express the idea in a different way or they can write the L1 equivalent. Students shouldn’t use dictionaries during Quick Writing, but they can use dictionaries afterwards, to check meanings and spellings.

    Before class

    Choose a topic that is of interest to your students and that they are likely to be able to write freely about for about ten minutes. Encourage students to suggest topics. Personalised topics work well.

    In class

    1.  Lead in to the topic by chatting about it, brainstorming vocabulary, using a vocabulary matching exercise; or using a reading or listening text.

    2.  Explain to students the concept of quick writing (see above) and write the topic title on the board.

    3.  Students write quickly, freely and uninterrupted for ten minutes.

    4.  Students then review what they’ve written and identify key or interesting ideas by underlining them. 

    5.  If the class is small enough, review what has been written and, where possible, feed in useful words and phrases. Don’t correct mistakes at this stage, as the student will be editing their own work later during composition. Besides, it would be unfair to correct writing which students had been asked to do without concern for accuracy.

    Variation

    Follow on: Students use their ideas to create a first draft of the essay, either in their own time or in class. (See also Process Writing.)

    Rationale

    Quick writing enables students to produce a relatively long text in little time with little stress. When followed by focused language work, e.g., when used as part of a Process Writing lesson, students learn to improve their own writing, become independent writers, and benefit from peer review.

    Adapted from Sokolik (2003).

  • 1. Dictogloss: Worked Example In Irish

    Any short text that falls within the linguistic and world knowledge of the students is suitable for dictogloss. Below is an example of a text that could be used in an Irish dictogloss lesson, particularly to focus on the copula. It has been adapted from an article Paróiste idir dhá abhainn by Brian Ó Baoill (Beo!, Lúnasa 2001).

    Cois Farraige

    Is Gaeltacht é an ceantar “Cois Fharraige” atá suite ar chósta Chuan na Gaillimhe, ach is Gaeltacht é atá athraithe go mór le cúig bliana is fiche anuas.

    Maidir le gnó, tá dhá phríomhshiopa sa pharóiste, Siopa an Phobail agus Siopa Conroy. Is trí Ghaeilge ar fad a reáchtáiltear iad - bíonn Gaeilge ag na cúntóirí agus ar na comharthaí agus bíonn na nuachtáin agus irisí Gaeilge ar fáil iontu go rialta. Tá dhá theach tábhairne ann, Tigh Chualáin agus An Poitín Stil, agus is í an Ghaeilge atá le fáil iontu. Mar sin, tá an teanga fíorláidir i measc lucht gnó.

    Tá fostaíocht ar fáil sna háiteanna thuasluaite, ar ndóigh, agus sna monarchana ar an dá eastát, gan trácht ar na daoine a thaistealaíonn amach as an bparóiste.

    Tá líon áirithe daoine as an bparóiste ag obair le Raidió na Gaeltachta agus le TG4, mar theicneoirí, léiritheoirí, aisteoirí, scríbhneoirí, eagarthóirí nó riarthóirí. Tá deis ag daoine le hoideachas tríú leibhéal post a fháil go háitiúil, rud nach raibh fíor roimhe seo.

    Tá méadú mór tagtha ar an bpobal – tá fostaíocht iomlán ar fáil, tá na scoileanna agus na siopaí méadaithe, tá feabhas ar na bóithre.

     

    Further activities based on this text are available on the web at www.beo.ie/muinteoiri/.


    6. Extensive Reading Programme: Worked Example In Irish

    Suirbhé

    PÁIRT A

    Smaoinigh ar an méid léitheoireacht a dheineann tú i do theanga dúchais (L1) agus freagair na ceisteanna seo leanas (a-e).

    a.  Cén fath go léann tú? Cuir i n-oird tabhacht do chuid cúiseanna.

    mar baineann tú taitneamh as

    chun staidéir

    chun eolas a fháil ar ábhair éigin

    cúis eile _____________

    b.  Cé comh minic is a léann tu?

    ní léann mé riamh

    léann mé go h-annamh

    léann mé anois is arís

    léann mé go hiondúil

    léann mé go minic

    c.  Cén stíl litríochta is fearr leat? Cuir uimhir in aice leo san oird ab fhearr leat.

    úrscéalta

    gearrscéalta

    beathaisnéis

    sceal dúrúnda

    sceal corraitheach

    leabhair grá

    leabhair scanrach

    scéal taisteal

    stíl eile _____________________

    d.  Cé hiad na scíobhneoirí ab fhearr leat? _________________________

    e.  Cad é an leabhar ab fhearr leat? _________________________

    PÁIRT B

    Anois smaoinigh ar an dteanga a bhfuil tú a fhoghlaim agus freagair ceisteanna (a-e) arís.


    7. Book Review: Worked Example In Irish

    Athbhreithniú Leabhair

    Teideal

     

    Údair

     

    Stíl

     
       

    Dein cuir síos gearr ar an leabhair.

     
     
     

    Dein cuir síos gearr ar na príomh caractéirí.

     
     
     

    Dein cuir síos gearr ar stíl prós an údar.

     
     
     

    Ar thaithin an leabhar leat? Cén fáth?

     
     
     

    Ar dhiriúfeá moladh chuig daltaí an leabhar seo a léamh? Cén fáth?

     
     
     

    Tar éis an leabhar seo bheith léite agat, an doigh leat gur cabhraigh sé leat chun an teanga

    a fhoghlaim?

     
     


    16. Discover Grammar: Worked Example 1 in Irish

    An Forainm Pearsanta

    Maighréad is showing Cathal a photograph of her family.

    Maighréad:

    Sin í Maire; ise an duine is sine. I Chicago atá sí leis na blianta fada. Agus sin iad Séan agus Tomás – cúpla iadsan. San Astráil atá Séan, agus san Aifric Theas atá Tomás – ar na misin.

    Cathal:

    An é sin Pádraig, atá thiar anseo ag feirmeoireacht?

    Maighréad:

    Is é atá ann.

    Cathal:

    Agus cé hí seo?

    Maighréad:

    Sin í Baba. I Leeds atá sí sin. Cailleach a fear céile go tobann anuraidh, beannacht Dé leis.

    Cathal:

    Bhi sibh chomh cosúil lena chéile nuair a bhi sibh beag!

    Maighréad:

    Tá i gconaí. Nach iontach an rud é?

    Find the Irish personal pronouns:

    I    ___     we      ___

    you  tú     you (plural)   ___

    he  ___     they    ___

    she  ___

    Adapted from Ó Dónaill (2004: 17). 


    16. Discover Grammar: Worked Example 2 in Irish

    Find the Verb Forms

    Darach is carrying out a survey about people’s reading habits.

    Darach:

    Gabh mo leithscéal. An bhféadfainn cúpla ceist a chur ort?

    Maighread:

    Abair leat.

    Darach:

    An léann tú mórán nuachtán?

    Maighread:

    M’anam go léim, chuile lá beo.

    Darach:

    Ceard iad na nuachtáin a léann tú?

    Maighread:

    Bhuel, ceannaím an Irish Times chuile mhaidin. Agus faighim an Guardian cúpla lá sa tseachtain le cois.

    Darach:

    Cén fáth go dtaitníonn said sin leat?

    Maighread:

    Ni bhíonn aon tseafóid ag baint leo. Agus tá scríobhneoirí an-mhaith acu. Léim an páipéar Gaeilge chomh maith anois is arís. Agus caithim súil ar an Washington Post ar an idirlíon.

    Darach:

    An léann tú páipéar Domhnaigh?

    Maighread:

    Faighim Foinse ag an deireadh seachtaine I gcónaí.

     

    Find verbs in the first person.

    example

    bhféadfainn, ceannaím, …..

    Find a verb in the second person.

     

     

    Find a verb in the third person plural.

     

     

    Adapted from Ó Dónaill (2004:196).


    17. Grammar Terms: Worked Example in Irish

    Na Téarmaí Gramadaí

    Ceacht 1: Cuir na téarmaí gramadaí seo a leanas (1-18) le chéile lena mhíniú (a-r).

    1. foraimn pearsanta

     
     

    a.  an & na: an fear, na fir; an bhean, na mná.

    2.  forainm réamhfhoclach

     
     

    b.  bíonn ainmfhocail firinscneach (f) nó baininscneach (b):  fear (f), bean (b), buachall (f), cailín (f), múinteoir (f), Fraincís (b)

    3.  an t-alt

     
     

    c.  focal a chuireann gníomh, staid, mothú nó mian in iúl: ritheann, bíonn, cloisim.

    4.  briathar

     
     

    d.  mé, tú, sé, sí ,sinn, sibh, siad.

    5.  dobhriathar

     
     

    e.  ag, ar, as, chuig, dar, de, do, faoi, i, le, ó, roimh, seachas, thar, trí, um.

    6.  ainmfhocal

     
     

    f.    focal a thugann eolas breise faoin briathar dúinn: ag caint go h-íseal.  

    7.  aidiacht

     
     

    g.  focal a cheanglaíonn le chéile dhá fhocal nó dhá fhrása: Séan Máire; Ól agus imigh!

    8.  uimhir

     
     
    h.  bíonn ainmfhocail san uimhir uatha nóiolra.
    Uatha: fear, bean, siopa, scoil
    Iolra: fir, mná, siopaí, scoileanna

    9.  inscne

     
     

    i.    focal a thugann eolas breise faoin ainmfhocal dúinn: siopaí beaga, bia Francach

    10.   tuiseal

     
     

    j.    ag + mé = agam; le + tú = leat; do + é = dó; ag + sibh = agaibh.

    11.   gutaí

     

    k.  An fheidhm atá ag an ainmfhocal de réir an róil atá aige san abairt.
    ainmneach: an t-ainmfochal ina ainmní. D’ith an fear an dinnéar.
    cuspóireach: an t-ainmfochal ina chuspóir. Lean an mac tíre an fear.
    tabhartach: ainmfhocal a bhfuil réamhfhocal roimhe. D’imigh sé leis an bhfear.
    ginideach: athruithe a thagann ar ainmfhocal nuair atá seilbh i gceist (cóta Shin), tar éis ainm briathartha (ag glanadh na fuinneoige); tar éis réamhfhocail comhshuite (i lár an gheimhridh); nuair a thagann dhá ainmfhocal le chéile (solas na gealaí); tar éis chun, cois, dála, timpeall agus trasna (trasna na páirce); agus nuair a chuireann focail méid in iúl (a lán airgid).
    gairmeach
    : athruithe a thagann ar ainmfhocal nuair is duine/rud a bhfuiltear ag caint go díreach leis atá i gceist. Bí i do shuí, a Mhicíl! 

    12.   consain

     

    l.    dhá mhionfhocal nó níos mó agus iad táite le chéile:lena (le + a); (de + a).

    13.   séimhiú

     

    m.  focal a léiríonn duine, rud, áit nó idé.
    bean, ollscoil, Peadar, Éire, eolas.

    14.   urú

     

    n.  ag an bhfoireann, i mBéal Feirste, ár gcairde

    15.   réamhfhocal simplí

     

    o.  Bean – an bhean; Gaeltacht – an Ghaeltacht; páirc – an pháirc

    16.   réamhfhocal comhshuite

     

    p.  réamhfhocal simplí agus ainmfhocal leis: tar éis, i rith, os comhair, ar feadh.

    17.   cónasc

     

    q.  b, c, d, f, g, h, l, m, n, p 

    18.   cumasc

     

    r.    a, e, i, o, u, á, é, í, ó, ú

    Adapted from Mac Murchaidh (2004: 15-27).


    Ceacht 2:

    Roghnaigh as an sliocht seo thíos:

    a.  briathar x 10     ag tabhairt, ag fágáil, ….

    b.  forainm pearsanta x 5    siad, mé …

    c.  forainm réamhfhoclach x 10  

    d.  ainmfhocal san uimhir iolra x 3    

    e.  aidiacht x 7 

    f.  réamhfhocal comhshuite x 5

    g.  tuiseal ginideach x 5

    h.  cónasc x 4

    Rodrigo agus Gabriela

    Tá Rodrigo agus Gabriela ag tabhairt aghaidhe ar Vicar Street, an t-ionad ceoil i lár Bhaile Átha Cliath, an mhí seo agus ag fágáil Shráid Ghrafton ina ndiaidh. Ceoltóirí óga fuinniúla iad an bheirt seo a d'fhág a dtír dhúchais ghrianmhar, Meicsiceo, trí bliana ó shin le cur fúthu in Éirinn. Bhain siad clú agus cáil amach ar Shráid Ghrafton ag seinm ceol bríomhar rithimeach Laidineach agus anois tá an cheolchoirm mhór seo ar na bacáin acu.

    Chas mé le Rodrigo agus Gabriela i gcaife i lár na cathrach ag deireadh mhí an Aibreáin agus is fíor a raibh cloiste agam mar gheall orthu. Daoine iontach gnaíúil, cairdiúil atá iontu gan dabht, gan aon éirí in airde ag baint leo. Iad beirt ag ithe sceallóg go sásta le chéile agus toilteanach fosta iad a roinnt liomsa nuair a bhain mé an áit amach.

     

    Cén fáth ar chinn siad ar Mheicsiceo a thréigean agus teacht go hÉirinn fhliuch ghruama? Thosaigh siad ag tús an scéil, nuair a thosaigh siad beirt ag seinm le chéile i gcathair Mheicsiceo i 1994. Bhí siad ina mbaill de rocghrúpa an tráth sin, ach níor bhraith siad ar an cheol amháin le hairgead a shaothrú. Bhí Gabriela ag obair in oifig ach bhí dubhfhuath aici ar an obair a bhí ar bun aici. Dá dheasca sin, d'éirigh sí as a post le díriú ar an cheol amháin agus le bogadh ó dheas ar thóir na gréine agus na farraige, go dtí "tránna áille agus bia blasta".

    Luigh siad isteach ar an cheol a sheinm i mbaile beag darb ainm Zihuantaneja i gContae Guerrero i ndeisceart Mheicsiceo. Ní ag seinm ar ghiotáir leictreacha a bhí siad anois ach ar ghiotáir níolón-téadacha. D'éirigh go maith leo sa cheantar ó thaobh an cheoil de. Ní raibh oiread cineálacha ceoil le cloisteáil ansin is a bhí i gcathair Mheicsiceo, a deir Gabriela, agus tugadh níos mó airde orthusan dá bharr sin.

    Creid é nó ná creid, is iad na Corrs ba chúis leis an bheirt a theacht go hÉirinn. Níl siad ag maíomh gur spreag ceol na Corrs iad le teacht (buíochas mór le Dia) ach chonaic siad an grúpa sin ar chlár teilifíse maidin amháin agus leag siad súil ar bhodhrán den chéad uair. Músclaíodh a spéis in Éirinn agus i ndiaidh dóibh labhairt le cúpla duine faoin tír, tháinig siad go Baile Átha Cliath. Gan focal Béarla acu agus gan pingin rua ina bpócaí (i ndiaidh seachtaine sa chathair chostasach seo) thosaigh siad ag fánseinm ar Shráid Ghrafton.

    ***********************

    As alt le hÚna Nic Gabhann a bhí i gcló san iris Beo! (www.beo.ie/2002-05/grafton_st.asp) Bealtaine, 2002.

    Also featured in Ó Dónaill, E. (2004:48).


    References

    Anderson, N. (2003) Reading in Nunan, D (2003) “Practical English Language Teaching”. New York: McGraw-Hill.
    Grundy, P. (1994) Beginners. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Mac Murchaidh, C. (2004) Cruinnscríobh na Gaeilge. Dublin: Cois Life Teoranta.
    Murphy, J. (2003) Pronunciation in Nunan, D (2003) “Practical English Language Teaching”. New York: McGraw-Hill.
    Ó Baoill, B. (2001) Paróiste idir dhá abhainn. Beo!, Lúnasa 2001. www.beo.ie
    Ó Dónaill, E. (2004) RTÉ’s Turas Teanga. Dublin: Gill & Macmillan.
    Sherman, J. (2003) Using authentic video in the language classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    Watcyn-Jones, P. and D. Howard-Williams (2002) Pair Work 1 London: Penguin.

     

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