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Using the News in class by Katie Riley
Lesson plan 1


Preliminary information

Level: Advanced

Timetable Fit:
This lesson is the second part of day 9 in a 15 day course on course planning.
This lesson continues with the theme of news and the media. Throughout the course, students will be looking at listening exercises of various natures. Today the focus is on planned monologues in order to extract information, but previously the focus has been on dialogues. (both planned and unplanned) with the role of the listener as eavesdropper.


Rationale:
Why focus on authentic listening?
In an initial needs analysis, listening was an activity that all students expressed an interest in practising. As we looked at in part 1, authentic listening is extremely motivating and being of an advanced level, this class should have no problems in understanding this.
Compared to living in countries such as Germany/Poland, in Spain students have very little exposure to authentic listening experiences (Films are generally dubbed, very few of my students have satellite TV etc) so therefore it is an intention to expose students to as much of it as possible.

Why focus on listening to news bulletins?
In the same needs analysis most students expressed a lot of interest in the following areas;
1. Current affairs and interests
2. Listening to the radio/TV
3. Small group discussions.
By listening to the news in class I hope to cover all these areas and at the same time look at an area which actively engages my students.

What are students' needs?
From the needs analysis and from generally talking to students we discovered that students need to listen to English in the following situations;

Planned monologues
Lectures
Possibly listening to the news/weather (frequent travelling abroad)

Interpersonal (unfamiliar) dialogues
Interviews
Talking on the telephone

Intrapersonal (familiar) dialogues
Talking to friends

Most students attend class to improve their general level of English. Sts need to listen in various situations. We have therefore tried to include a variety of different listening situations on the course

What are the students' learning styles?
The students have a variety of learning styles, although most of them could be classified under self instruction type or social reaction type (as described by Rost 1990)
Hopefully, listening to the news in this way will encourage them to listen in authentic ways outside of class, and to exploit the few opportunities that they have.
As we can see from the description of the class, some students might not fit into these categories. Hopefully this class will help them see the benefits of different strategies for learning


What is the rationale behind the activities carried out in class?
In part 1 we talked about the importance of carrying out authentic activities in the classroom. In this next part I will explain the rationale for doing them in relation to this.

1. Pre listening
We normally have a purpose and some sort of expectations about what we're going to hear. In terms of the news, this is probably some preconceived idea about the items/people that are going to appear. I have therefore tried to replicate this in the lesson (see stage 1 and 2).
The vocabulary exercise is an attempt to reduce the amount of noise(as defined in part 1) and help students to understand the text better.

2.While listening
The while listening task was also carried out in an attempt to replicate what we do in real life situations. As in the activity in the lesson, when we're listening to the news we often listen to see what the main headlines are and then listen to a second bulletin shortly afterwards to find out about a story that interests us.
Although the concept of listening in different ways had come up earlier in the course, some of the students in my class still thought that they should be able to understand everything. Therefore an explanation of why we were doing the activity proved to be useful

3. Post listening
The post listening activity also represents an authentic listening activity i.e. Chatting about a topic of interest to the students.


Main Aims:
To practise listening out for the main items in the news without any visual support.
To practise selective listening of planned monologues/ listening for more specific information.

Subsidiary Aims:
To decipher the meaning of vocabulary items from context

Assumptions:
Most of the vocabulary presented in this lesson will be new to the students.
With the vocabulary taught, sts will know enough to be able to do the tasks.

Anticipated problems and solutions:
The news broadcast I will be dealing with is recorded from the world service, which has a difference bias to news in Spain, especially this weekend where the dominant story was the ETA attack in the North of Spain. I will therefore provide some background information on the people/situations involved.
As a result of the events in the news this weekend it is possible that talking the news will provoke a lot of discussion. The length of some activities can therefore be shortened/ lengthened as necessary.

Sts may not see the point of the listening task. Therefore I will explain why we are listeing in this particular way.

Materials:
2 recordings of the World Service news separated by the space of one hour - not included here!
Sentences for vocabulary exercise.

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