What's in the News?

"Pick a card, any card.

Share with us what you heard in the news today /this week/ this month..."

"Interesting!  I didn't hear about that, did you Frank?"

"No way!"

"He said what?  Anna, what do you think about people who do that sort of thing?"

"Uh huh, I agree."

"So what happened next- oh, the word you need for that is prejudice - preh.djew.dis - golly! Oh yes, Stefan, do write it down, it's spelt p-r-e... that is terrible and then what did they do?"

"Well done.  That was a very, very good story.  Thanks for sharing it with us, I hadn't followed the story myself... oh yes, you can put the card back on the table, yes face-up's fine.   By the way, Stefan, great grammar, I didn't hear you make more than one or two mistakes - perhaps you can work on your past perfect when you get home this evening - uh, huh, use link to the games I gave you last week.

So, who wants to go next?  Jakob?

Pick a card, any card..."

"Tiger, really - back, is he?  Funny."

~ ~


p.s. Teaching dogme-style (or in any other communicative way) means that you put the student at the center of your classroom, or... let me see if I can say this in other words - Der Weg ist das Ziel (the journey is the reward) and not getting to page 65 by next Tuesday :-).  

It means your work is in the classroom, not before or after - but intensely paying attention to your students in TT focused listening; it means you encourage them and help make sure that the words that need to come out come out.

It means they spend most of the class time simply speaking.

7 Responses to “What's in the News?”

  • Janet Bianchini says:
    March 16, 2010

    So simple, so perfect, so just what students need!! A great idea and one I'll make a note to use next month. Thanks a lot, Karenne.

  • Neil Barker says:
    March 16, 2010

    I really enjoy this method. Once I finish my current job, I'll be able to get back and do this sort of thing. I think it's helpful for students and really forces them to use the language in so many different and unexpected ways.

  • Anonymous says:
    March 16, 2010

    I love the idea Karenne. I'll put it into practice on Thursday with my in company students. I'll let you know how it goes...

    March 17, 2010

    Thanks Sabrina & Janet, do let me know how it goes!

    Neil - yes, the beauty of this exercise is that you have no idea what stories the student have been following in the news and they like having the choice to decide what to talk about and it doesn't matter if 8 out of 10 decide to do sports stories - the point being that the students simply talk.

    A word of caution for those visiting who teach teens and young adults who don't really follow the news - if I remember rightly (this one of those lessons I've kept in my "head" since forever and do so often but these days mainly with adults) is...

    you'll have to use different cards and create more "entertainment" oriented ones - 1 tip may be to simply ask them what themes they talk about when they're in MacDonalds (or the ilk) - but off my head, rather than the card entertainment you write things like

    -computer games

    And if you're teaching ESPs (the above pic was with bankers) then add a few cards that will focus in on the subjects they're interested in as a general rule of thumb!

  • dani lyra says:
    March 18, 2010

    Hi Karenne,
    Thank you so very much for the tip. I have a group of advanced students who are willing to talk about what's on the news.I believe your suggestion will work wonders.
    Thank you!

  • Alex says:
    March 19, 2010

    "(the journey is the reward) and not getting to page 65 by next Tuesday :-)"

    Hi, Karenne! Amazing quote!

    I always begin my courses telling students that they are about to begin a journey. And ,sometimes, I even bring along Kavafis' poem "The Road to Ithaca" to motivate them a little into thinking over what they want this journey to be(Here is a video version read by Sean Connery with music by Vangelis http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1n3n2Ox4Yfk).

    Btw, a really powerful activity! :-)


    March 19, 2010

    Hi Alex, Wow! What an amazing video and beautiful poem - thank you, have bookmarked it and can't wait to try out this exercise, thanks so much for sharing.

    Hi ya Dani - am very pleased!

    By the way, you can use these "topic" cards whenever and for a multitude of uses - I carry a set of them around with me at all times (especially good when you have to sub for another teacher at short notice and have no idea what the students have been learning) - and they work at all most levels as long as they understand the words on the cards.

    The beauty is in the "nothingness" - just a topic (any topic) on a card.

    Last night I used my set with an A2 class as a review - all they had to do was say a sentence in the past, another in the present and the third using the future...

    i.e. Money: we used to use checkbooks, today we use credit and debit cards and in the future our money will be on our mobile phones."

    So, yes, the point is making a set is handy even for students who don't follow the news and is one of those invaluable lesson materials to carry around in the backpack at all times...


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