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Dogme ELT
by Małgorzata Bryndal
- 5 - the lesson plan

Preliminary information

Time: 60' (first lesson of a 2.5 hours session)

Level: Pre-Intermediate

No. of students: 8

Class profile There are 8 students in the class, all Pakistani females, ages ranging from 18 to 45. They are all Urdu speakers and some of them can also speak Punjabi. They have lived in Nelson, Lancashire, for a few years. The mature students: P, N, G and Ch are stay-at-home mums and want to improve their spoken and written English to be able to better communicate with teachers at school, doctors and other people in the community; the younger students: Nd, A, S and B need to work on their English to be able to go to college in the next couple of years. They are a very motivated group, (the classes were organised in response to their request) who show a lot of commitment and exemplary attendance. We meet twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays, for a 2.5 hour’s session each time. The course follows a scheme of work, based on initial needs analysis and ESOL Core Curriculum, and is supported by a variety of published teaching materials. The students have different educational backgrounds: P and N have not attended any learning courses since they moved to Britain and they had very little education in Pakistan; G and Ch have not been to a college in Britain, but they are educated to a degree level in Pakistan; Nd, A, S and B went to primary and secondary schools in Pakistan and now, except English, they are also attending a few other short courses organised by the local library in Nelson (e.g. a computer course). Their speaking and listening skills in English are at a pre-intermediate level, with rather small skill diversity between the students. A, G and Ch, are the most talkative, but not the most accurate learners in the group and have a tendency to dominate the class if the teacher allows them to. Nd, B and S, are quite fluent, though they do need help with pronunciation and need more encouragement from the teacher and the peers to actively participate in classroom activities. P and N are the least fluent speakers and lack confidence to take part in class discussions. All the learners need to work on increasing their vocabulary range and grammar accuracy. Reading and writing skills on the other hand, indicates a wider range of diversity among these students, setting apart the weaker ones: P and N, who struggle with reading comprehension and free writing tasks and require a lot of guidance and support, from the most able ones: A and G, who can handle writing tasks in different genres (letters, postcards, descriptions, short stories) and are also quite independent readers. B, Nd, Ch and S can cope with reading and writing tasks with medium teacher support. They are generally a lively class with good inner-group dynamics. Initial assessment and ensuing classes revealed that the majority of them are auditory-visual learners, e.g. they would ask me to spell an unknown word first and only then to write it on the board for them. They also enjoy occasional kinaesthetic activities (involving moving around the classroom, or language exercises involving reordering, matching or selecting target language written on cut-out paper bits, etc). They prefer group or pair work to working individually, and are happy to change partners for different activities.

Timetable fit
In the previous lesson, students were introduced to a wide range of lexis related to the topic of home/house and were working on a mini project involving designing and furnishing their dream home. In the experimental practice lesson, students will continue with the same topic but will focus on problems and breakdowns at home. This will give them a chance to recycle the vocabulary they studied last week in a new context and an opportunity to introduce new useful phrases and functional language. The lesson will be followed up with a practical homework where students will have to search for information about local services on the Internet using website. In the next lesson, students will look at different ways of making complaints and writing a complaint letter about a faulty appliance to a producer or about a badly performed service to a service provider.

Aims and Objectives

Main aims:

  • To introduce and practise vocabulary pertaining to household problems.
  • To practise the skill of speaking in the context of household problems and making a phone call to book a service call.
Sub aims:
  • To foster learner autonomy and confidence.
  • To practice the reading skill of scanning to quickly find required information.
  • To revise and recycle lexis pertaining to the topic of home covered in previous lessons.
Personal aims
  • To lower my profile in the classroom and allow more student-driven input, output and feedback.
Assumed knowledge
  • Students are familiar with the basic vocabulary related to managing a household.
  • Students are familiar with the concept of a role play.
  • Students are familiar with the organisation of Yellow Pages and other telephone directories.
Anticipated problems and solutions
  • Students do not generate enough target language
Solution: Teacher intervenes by asking open questions to elicit language, uses picture prompts, mime etc.
  • Several students lack confidence in speaking and tend to shy away from participating in class discussions.
Solution: Group and pair work activities will be set to avoid putting shy students on the spot. Correction activities will be done at the end of the session, collectively.
  • More confident students dominate initial class discussion.
Solution: Teacher gives the role of a discussion moderator to the dominant student indicating that she has to get everybody involved in the talk.
  • Students find teacher’s profile too low and want to see the teacher as the focus of the group.
Solution: Teacher sets pair activities, monitors work and gives support only when other support options failed (peer correction, dictionary).
  • There are not enough telephone directories in the library.

Solution: Teacher brings in a few extra copies just in case.

Materials and teaching aids

  • Bare essentials of the classroom in the library (whiteboard, markers)
  • Library resources, if required.
  • Extra Yellow pages and phone directories, if required.

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