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The Development of Interactive Oral
Proficiency in the Classroom
by Jake Haymes
- lesson plan 1

Time: 60 minutes

Level: Pre-Intermediate

Class profile:
The group comprises 10 adult learners. They are mostly unemployed graduates or undergraduates. There are two university lecturers who are combining work with higher degrees. One student is considerably weaker than the others, and one, Bernardo, the eldest member has a slightly higher level. This class will be their eighth hour of English on this course but only the second with me.

Main Aims:
To provide extended oral fluency practice in anecdote telling. (stage 5)-To increase learners' awareness of and give practice in some of the sub-skills of fluency speaking. e.g. intensifiers and fillers. (stage 3)
To encourage students to listen to and interact with each other. e.g. ways of showing interest etc. (stages1 & 5)

Subsidiary Aims:
To provide listening comprehension practice. Specific detail. (stage 2)-To transfer recently studied language (past simple and adjectives of feeling 'fed up', 'embarrassed' etc) into active language via a personalised situation. (stages 4&5)
To raise awareness of phonological aspects of anecdote telling. Intonation to show interest, surprise etc. (stage 3)

Timetable fit:

This will be the students' eighth hour of English together. They have recently reviewed the past simple tense and studied adjectives of mood and feelings. This would seem an ideal opportunity to allow students extended oral fluency practice using both tense and lexis in a personalised way. Until now much of the student/student interaction has been very controlled. I hope that by allowing the learners an opportunity to relate personal experiences to others the speaking skill, group dynamics and linguistic competence will benefit.

Assumptions:

Learners may have used past simple and adjectives of mood and feeling productively during previous learning experiences.
This group have recently reviewed these language areas in isolation and should be able to form the past simple tense and adjectives of mood/feeling.
The students will have been made aware of the value of relating new lexis to personal situations.
Students have been made aware of the importance of speaking only English in the classroom, they have been provided with a classroom vocabulary sheet to enable them to ask questions, request repetition, explanation etc. from the teacher and other group members without recourse to L1.

Anticipated Problems and solutions
(stage order)
Understanding Instructions (all stages) This will be quite a 'busy' lesson with lots of mini-tasks within the stages. Some learners may have difficulty in understanding the instructions. I will try to explain both verbally and visually and do an example with the group whenever possible. Checking questions will be important.
Listening Comprehension (stage 2)As there is some difference in level within the group, some learners may not be able to answer all the comprehension questions. The students will be given the chance to compare their responses after the first listening and if they are still having problems after the second playing the provision of the transcript will allow them the opportunity to find the required information.
Anecdote Preparation (stage 4)If some learners are unable to think of a suitable anecdote, I will refer them back to the lead-in which provides numerous possibilities.
Delivery (stage 5)Students may feel shy and self-conscious, they may not have the confidence to deliver an anecdote in English. With this in mind, I will give them a preparation sheet on which they can make notes and plan their anecdote. They will be able to refer to this, if necessary, during the speaking activity. The learners will only be relating their anecdote to their partner and I will not interrupt them during this time unless a complete breakdown in communication occurs.
Inability to Incorporate Language Features Productively (stages 4&5)Even though these learners have recently been looking at the past simple and adjectives of feelings, I don't think it is reasonable to expect them to produce them completely accurately. Some learners will be unable to do so and others may lose a lot of fluency in trying. I will make the aim of the activity clear at the start and the feedback will focus on the communicative performance of the learners.

Materials:
Home-made listening. (anecdote)
All other materials home-made and included.
Highlighter pens (blue and green)
Original idea taken from Cutting Edge Pre-Intermediate pp 20-21

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