fluency and accuracy through planning, telling, transcribing
by Scott Shelton
- lesson plan 1
note that for this lesson you will need 'Inside Out Advanced'
coursebook pp. 106 & 'Inside out Advanced' coursebook
class meets Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:30 to 9:30 PM. The
experimental portion of the lesson will be between 7:30 and
aim: To promote fluency through planning and noticing
language though transcribing and correcting recorded anecdotes.
aims: Provide opportunities for long turns in speaking
and give intensive listening practice.
to this point we have been working through unit 11 of our
course book, Inside out advanced, in which the theme of 'things
not working out as they are planned', or 'things not being
as they first seem', has been explored through a reading text
and subsequent vocabulary work. This lesson stays with the
theme in order to present structural forms to refer to 'the
future seen from the past' as well as related vocabulary items.
initial presentation is dealt with through comparing the scheduled
events for the millennium celebration described in an adapted
newspaper article from The Times, and the resulting outcomes
presented via a radio program broadcast from the following
day (see attached material). The planning and telling of anecdotes
follows, as well as the transcribing and noticing activities,
which are the core of this experimental lesson.
which looks closely at the grammar structures presented in
this lesson and provides controlled practice, will be checked
in the next lesson via a listening and pair work. We will
begin a new unit in the course book next lesson and review
work done in this lesson through students re-telling what
they remember from the transcribed stories and having the
author comment on whether or not they are on the right track.
Knowledge: A general familiarity with story telling
problems and solutions: Students may have trouble coming
up with a clear memory to base their story on or find they
do not have much to say. Providing three different models
before they are asked to even plan and providing them with
three different areas to choose from, should help them immensely
with ideas to base their story on and jog their memories sufficiently.
Providing time to plan should help them in this area as well.
may be reluctance on the part of the students to record themselves
telling a story. First of all, I will explain the reason for
the request to record and explain what we will be doing with
it afterwards and how it will help them improve their English.
Having them tell the story once before recording should help
them feel more confident. Asking for a volunteer from a group
of four will ensure that they are supported by their classmates
and feel less threatened. In the same way, by working in groups
of four, the person who will record his or her anecdote will
not be the center of attention and will be preceded and followed
by peers re-telling their story as well.
When asked to transcribe and amend their classmates recorded
anecdote, students may feel overwhelmed and under-qualified
for the task. Having the class work in groups of four will
allow everyone to help each other and asking them to only
transcribe one minute of the story will make the task more
suitable to their abilities. When they are to amend the text,
I will remind them that they need only repair the parts which
are obviously incorrect speech because of either grammar errors,
wrong syntactical form, or inappropriate vocabulary and to
be aware that they want to keep it sounding like spoken language
and not written prose.
out advanced course book pp. 106
Inside out advanced course book tape
Two cassette recorders and two blank tapes
are eleven students in this class. Many of them have been
together since October. Among them are two students named
Raul, Aranzazu, David, Leticia and Sandra (who had a two-month
absence and has just returned to class). The remainder have
been with the class several months, most of them since before
January. Both of the Rauls are among those at the top of the
group along with Aranzazu, Lecticia, David, Dario, and Begona.
Both students named Carlos are quite chatty and 'fluent' in
that respect but have problems with control and accuracy.
Javier has problems with spoken English more so than written
English and sometimes his pronunciation is quite hard to understand.
He should benefit from the focus on speaking and listening
in this lesson. The majority of the class are doing quite
well at their present level. Lecticia, Diario and David are
among the better writers of the group along with Carlos G.
who is a professional writer for a Spanish Women's magazine.
David is quite good at this level in most are
group gels together quite well and overall there is pretty
good attendance. All of them are young professionals who work
hard and often come tired to class. They are used to working
in pairs and groups although there are a few with quite strong
personalities that tend to dominate group work and I have
to keep a close watch on them sometimes to encourage turn-taking
and to 'agree to disagree'. We have engaged in group work
quite a lot over the months and I am generally pleased with
how they conduct themselves. They often become genuinely interested
in whatever topic or task they are asked to deal with and
generally use only English with no prompting or reminding
on my part. This is the fruit of many months of getting them
used to working autonomously and using their second language
as the primary vehicle for class work.
have been working on improving both fluency and accuracy in
spoken English with this group and think that they would benefit
from a lesson based on these aims. As I have mentioned before,
the group is of somewhat mixed abilities in these areas, some
being more 'fluent' or in other words, having less problem
stringing together a coherent stretch of spoken English, but
not controlling the accuracy of their speech. Others are less
fluent but at times more accurate.
the onset of this lesson they will receive a model through
a listening text of what they will be later asked to do. This
should help activate their schematic knowledge and set the
conditions for this background knowledge to aid them in setting
up the framework or script for their own productive work later
on. We will have previously done other related work as well
with a newspaper text and a radio program broadcast in which
they will have met useful vocabulary words that they will
have an opportunity to use in this lesson. In the lesson,
there are two central activities, both experimental.
first is the planning, telling, and re-telling of a personal
anecdote. As stated in the background assignment for this
lesson, it has been shown that by allowing time to plan and
repeating the telling, speakers will often use more sophisticated
and more accurate language the second time around. The incentive
to concentrate on using more accurate language is also raised
by effectively 'raising the goal posts', and adding a new
dimension to the activity. This is done by informing the class
that they will be recorded the second time.
ensure that student motivation is as high as possible, the
task is arranged in a way that each student can choose the
theme they would like to use but they are also provided with
guiding questions to help them recall details and specific
points of their memory. Allowing student choice is an important
element in maintaining motivation.
second central element to this experimental class is the post-telling
analysis of the language used to convey the story. Because
of class size, time available and availability of resources,
I have arranged to record only one student from each group
of four. This will not only allow for a supportive environment
for all and especially the one being recorded, but also allow
all four students to work together on transcribing, amending
and noticing the language used and the language use that can
be improved on.
doing this together, there will be considerable negotiation
of what was said and later, what should or could have been
said. In this kind of environment, with students working together,
negotiating meaning and form and making what they consider
to be appropriate amendments, they should, through active
reflection and construction, notice the connections between
meaning and form thus becoming more aware of possible mistakes
they themselves make (or have made) as well as store away
this information for future use.
the lesson procedure
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