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Lesson plan to accompany the article 'Information & Communication Technology' by Darron Board

Lesson plan by Darron Board

Preliminary Information

Time: 60 minutes

Level: 3 (Pre-Intermediate)

Timetable fit:
This is a follow-up class on work already done on Egypt and the Pyramids of Giza. The work done so far has been on the simple past and past continuous. Today’s class will be skills based and revise the use of the past tenses.

Main aims:
to revise use of past continuous/simple past
to give learners writing sub-skills practice in editing and drafting
to give learners fluency speaking practice

Subsidiary aims:
to introduce learners to web-based lessons
to expose learners to cultural information about historical monuments
to teach/extend learners’ WWW-user knowledge

Personal aims:
to plan and execute a successful, integrated web-based lesson and to learn from the experience with a view to future teaching

Lesson Rationale:
The class is a pre-intermediate class that comes once a week for three hours. In class we have used occasionally a CD-ROM support course called “Network English” (produced in-house) but we have never had a class which used the WWW as its main resource. I wish to explore this area more and see how I can integrate the use of computers into my classes. The centre library has recently had new computers installed. This means that there is sufficient space for conventional teaching (i.e. desk space) as well as a computer area. I do not wish the class to seem like a “computer class”, so I will use the library for the class (which can be booked for individual classes) to give the class the “feel” of being different from conventional classes or “computer classes”. This means that the whole class will take place there and some stages of the class will not require the use of computers.

The web sites chosen for learners to browse and search for information have tested to ensure that the language is simple enough for them to understand without having to resort to translating the texts word for word. The Encarta web site begins with simple, basic information before going into great detail about individual areas such as architecture or historical background. Since the information the students will be searching for will be basic information e.g. dates, places, statistics, etc, then they should be able to understand the main ideas easily. The on-line dictionaries have also been tested to ensure that any words the learners may not understand are given. This ensures that the tasks should be completed using exclusively the web sites, with no need to look at paper version dictionaries or books (the class will be done in the library).

Apart from the “web-based” part of the class, I will also be using the computers’ word processing software for other stages of the class, for example brainstorming. This again is a personal wish to try out teaching a common classroom activity using ICT. I also wish to see how the students react to the activity. This again is an attempt to “integrate” ICT into the class.

I do not feel worried about the learners having “techno-fear” since they are young adult learners who have been brought up with IT. Therefore the lesson will be fairly ambitious in allowing learners to freely search on-line encyclopaedias and dictionaries. This I hope will lead to greater learner autonomy, as they will be deciding in groups what to look for and to what depth. After the class I hope to be able to reflect and see how successful I was, and what I need to do improve the integration of ICT into my classes.

Class Profile
The class has 9 members, all of which have been studying at the centre for 3 years.

Barbara is a 17-year-old attending school. She has been learning English for 3 years and previously studied French. She has a good aptitude for languages, helped by the fact that she has a good level of French (she attends a French/Spanish school). She is motivated, and seems to enjoy almost all aspects of the classes.

Rodrigo is a 19-year-old university student. He has been learning English at the centre for 3 years and previously learnt English at school. He feels frustrated by his relatively low level of English, but feels that he has progressed considerably since studying English out of school. He is currently not attending many classes due to his forthcoming examinations.

Nancy is a 16-year old school student. She has considerable problems with English and often does not do any homework, let alone out of class learning. She feels that she is not learning enough, and I have tried to convince her that out of class learning strategies are important. It is unlikely that she will pass the examinations and “go up” a level this year. Having said all this, she does try hard in class, and I feel she would improve her English if she made more effort outside class.

Eugenio is a 20-year-old Medicine student. He is hardworking and motivated, but again his attendance recently has been poor due to examinations. He does not feel he needs English except for reading scientific journals and books; he says he comes to class for “cultural” interest.

Marta is an 18-year-old student at school. She enjoys activities where she works alone for a period of time such as reading activities. She also has enjoyed activities we have done before in the computer room (e.g. using the Network English CD) and I will be interested to see how she responds to the activities today.

Leticia is a 17-year old school student. She attends class with her twin sister Susana. She is shy and sometimes lacks confidence. This behaviour can be contrasted to Susana – it seems that one twin overshadows the other. She finds it hard to concentrate sometimes in class and gets distracted by the smallest of things and initially relied heavily on Susana for help in class (i.e. asking for translations of everything). I tried to remedy the situation by splitting the twins only to find that they only have one book between them!

Susana is the 17-year-old twin sister of Leticia. She is dominant and has a relatively good level of English for this level. She is very keen and likes to help out other students in class. Her computer skills are perhaps the weakest in class and I will have to make sure she sits on a PC with stronger students so that they can help her perform the tasks today.

Adolfo is a 21-year-old university student. He used to study German and French at school and apparently has a good level of German. He is therefore a good language learner, and this can be seen by the strategies he uses in class. He has only been learning English for three years and he is progressing well. He thoroughly enjoys using computers in class and I know will enjoy today’s class. I will be interested to know what he thinks of the activities we do today.

Claudio is an 18-year-old university student who also works part time as a model. Apart from being somewhat of a class heart throb, he is also an intelligent and motivated language learner. He is the only university student in class who has not missed classes despite the examinations they all have this month. In class I have noticed he prefers language skills work to certain freer activities and I do not know how he react to today’s class.

Assumed knowledge:
It is assumed that:
· learners will have remembered the work done last session on the use and formation of past tenses

· they are computer literate to the extent that they will be able to use Internet Explorer, although they may need some guidance

· they will find the idea of having a whole lesson in the library, with the possibility to mix conventional teaching with ICT, motivating

Anticipated problems and solutions:
· As always, punctuality is a problem, and today since we will not be in class, this could lead to problems. I have already tried to avoid problems by telling students that we will not be in class and that they should make their way immediately to the library.

· They had a few problems with the use of the past tenses and so today may still need help or correction. Since one of the activities will be writing about historical places, they will get more practice and I can go around and monitor their work

· The net might be “down”. This really puts an end to the class and there is nothing I can do about it. I have a “spare” lesson plan ready, should this be the case. Since the lesson will take place in an area where conventional teaching can also take place, I will not have to “move” the students again to the usual classroom

Materials:
The materials for today’s class are web-based. Due to the nature of the class (ICT based) I feel software and hardware is more an appropriate name rather than materials. For today’s class I will use:

· 4 GTI-approved Pentium III PCs, connected to a local network

· Each PC has, amongst other software, Office 2000 and Internet Explorer 5.1

· The network is connected to a laser printer and has Internet connections.

· I will also be using “standard” classroom equipment (e.g. whiteboard)

Main research sites:
http://encarta.msn.com

http:// britannica.com

Online dictionaries:
http://www.m-w.com

http://www.cup.cam.ac.uk/elt/dictionary


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