So I'm not going to ask the ELT publishers to be so incredibly radical as to include something like this...
But I'm not a book publisher.
I'm an edu-blogger and I live in Germany and I teach adults.
And I like to get my students speaking.
And people here, like everywhere else, are sometimes straight, sometimes gay and sometimes not anything at all...
- 0 -
But on to the teaching point, shall we?
The other day, I wrote that one of the problems in textbooks lies in having many a pair-work activity and not enough non-even-group activities... and although some of my readers did, quite rightly, point out that you as the teacher can take on the role of one of the people in the activity, I don't actually think this is good all the time - I tend to need to walk around and listen and give feedback on their English.
Yes, of course, sometimes you can get one of the class to help you monitor and feedback on speech, structure but that very much depends on the activity, for that to work, doesn't it? In fact, to be honest the overall let's stick to an evenness of group sizes bugs me a bit - I just don't see why... isn't it much more fun when they're not uniformed...
And isn't it better if the language they need to use is repeated several times...
I'll give you an example:
The book I'm currently using...
(gasp! sometimes I have to and I like this one, gasp! and I can still dogme it, wink!)
...with my group of intensive automotive students called for one person to sell a car and the other to be buying a car. A was told he was at an auto fair and B was provided with details of a fictional car, size of the engine, mpg fuel consumption, number of cylinders that sort of thing.
The standard textbook speaking activity.
But there are three problems with this sort of highly prescriptive activity: one, you really need an even number of students, two it's a bit spoon fed to be giving out random numbers about cars and their costs at random car fairs and it isn't exciting or motivating and finally, three, if you have a large class then they're all going to be talking about the same thing at the same time... and that's sort of naff.
But rather than just moan, I'll tell you how I
I selected some of my students and asked them to think of the next car they'd most like to buy (in some cases if they could afford it) and then I told them that they were all now, officially, car-salespersons. I asked them to jot down notes about this car, the one they liked so much - what was so special about it including things like how many miles to the gallon, the type of engine, the style...
While those students were busy working on that... I chose different students to "be:"
i) a modern business woman climbing to the top of her career - what car did she want to buy?and...
ii) a young husband and wife with no thoughts of children in the near horizonThe mini-groups of different sizes then had to work together to decide if they were in agreement regarding what would be the best type of car for their personal circumstances and to talk about preferences of engine, size, features and general style (lexis we'd covered in the units to date).
iii) a gay couple
iv) a father and son
v) an older husband and wife with their live-at-home son, who would be sharing their car
c) Lastly the purchasers went around the rooms in circles, talking to each salesperson one by one and deciding to buy.
It was super interactive, personalized, fun, the target language was practiced and repeated and yea, we didn't pretend that the entire world revolves around the two-by-twos. :)
I love hearing from you! Have you ever introduced the topic homosexuality into the classroom or simply ever let it slide in? Have you found ways to get out of the mould of pair-work?
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