An area that has really benefited
from the growth of the internet has been the radio. Nowadays
it's easy to pick up hundreds of radio stations from all
around the world & it's well worth pointing your students
to a few English language stations that they might find
I was talking to a colleague
the other day about using the news from the radio in class.
It occurred to us that an interesting way of using the news
would be to record several different broadcasts from the
same day & exploit the differences between the broadcasts,
and if you're lucky, within the stories & how they develop.
The BBC World Service has
the news when you connect & all you need to do is tape
it to your computer - I'm sure the BBC wouldn't mind it
being used for educational purposes.
Begin by sinking the students
into the theme of the news by eliciting recent news. Then
play each broadcast in turn and ask the students to identify
the story topics. Then they compare their ideas to decide
which news items continue from broadcast to broadcast.
The students listen again
to all of the broadcasts, and this time they focus on detail
by taking notes on the stories that evolve. Another paired
comparison could then takes place. If necessary the students
could listen again, maybe giving them the tape recorder
Afterwards comes the 'response'
to the news they heard. Focus on the evolving stories &
have a class discussion about any surprises on how they
changed, how they could have gone, how it might go in future
& generally what they think of them.
One idea amongst many for
using the radio news in class.
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It's Valentine's Day next
Friday, 14th February, so this week the Tip takes the form
of a round up of ideas & links on the Developing Teachers.com
site related to Valentine's Day & the theme of 'romance',
as well as some useful links to other web sites.
A few links on Valentine's
Day to follow up:
The Science of Love from the BBC.
The theme works well if looked at chronologically over a
few lessons, beginning with attraction, through chatting
up etc, then Valentine's Day, on to marriage & finally
divorce, taking in related themes along the way. Ideas
below from the Feb 2000 Newsletter
- Short mystery stories, with a touch of romance connected
to Valentine's Day can be found at www.mysterynet.com/love/valentine
- Debate on V day - commercialism v romance.
- Who to send a V card to - personal/the famous.
- The above could be extended to stds deciding what presents
the famous people give each other, where they go to eat,
what they eat, what they say to each other (reported speech)
etc. Or the game 'Consequences' - name of fam. woman (met)
name of fam. male (at) place ..(he said to her).. (& she
said to him) . (& the consequence was) .- each piece of
information is written on a paper which is folded over each
time obscuring all that came before so that at the end when
all is written it is unfolded & read out - lots of fun.
See the Teaching Tip - Bizarre
- Romantic films - stds make a list of the top ten romantic
films e.g.. Love Story, Casablanca, An Affair To Remember,
The Piano, Brief Encounter, DR Zhivago, Now Voyager, Four
Weddings & A Funeral, Gone With The Wind, When Harry Met
- Lexical set: like, fancy, chat up, ask out, go out with,
get on well, fall/be in love, 'go steady', live together,
get engaged, get married, have children, go off, split up,
get divorced ..rather heterosexual so change to suit.
- Heart to Heart/Lonely Hearts ads, the more diverse the
ads the better - first decide which sex is advertising for
which sex in each
- they could put a M-F code next to each ad & then compare
ideas before general feedback - Then onto some scan reading;
you ask a question e.g. who is looking for a red head &
stds quickly look & when found answer put hand in air &
when half group got hands up ask one for the answer & locate
for those that didn't find it. Could do this with about
ten questions. Could then get them to see if any of the
advertisers could be matched up or do the stds like the
sound of any of them - write their own ads or for others
in the group ....
- Language of physical & character description could be
related to Blind Dates which could be in the form of a letter
describing self, where to meet, etc..
- Language of chatting up - could come from a tape of mini
conversations & then pull out the different language being
used >> practice with mini-roleplays. Useful & lots of fun
for a youngish group.
- Language of invitations..could combine with a What's On
Guide to use for scan reading & the language of preferences
before going onto invitation role-plays, maybe on the phone
which then involves telephone language .
- Role-play about parental disapproval - Mum, Dad, brother & girl who is going out with older boy. Dad is dead against
it, Mum too but is more delicate, brother sides with sister
& girl determined to carry on seeing boyfriend - do battle!
- Marriage: vocab - bride, groom, vows, reception etc./
- Discussions on: British v stds country wedding traditions
compare/civil v church weddings/sex before marriage/alternative
weddings/gay weddings/debate: live together v marriage/4
Weddings & A Funeral - the reception speech is very exploitable
& enjoyable for higher levels - could lead on to a writing
- Problem page - there are many ways to use these e.g..
give out problem & stds write answers/ give half stds problems
& other half advice & they write the opposite & after the
written problem is read out to see if it matches they read
out new written advice/ match up half a dozen short letters
with the advice given leading on to a discussion of whether
the advice given was the appropriate & if not any better..
role-plays from these: writer with friend, couple with marriage
guidance counsellor. Advice language e.g..: It might be
an idea to. Why don't you .?, etc.
-Hypothetical relationship situations - 2nd conditional
practice - What would you do if ..all related to romance.
- The 'Couples' activity in 'Discussions That Work' by Penny
Ur (CUP) works very well (well worth checking out if you
- Divorce - discussion on associated topics e.g.. stay together
for sake of children v split up - Life after marriage /
sex before marriage/life as a single person .
- All You Need Is .a song - songs & more songs.
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Getting it right at the beginning
A quick look at correction
this week. When the students are involved in a controlled
speaking activity, practising some specific aspect of language,
this is the time to get in & correct the problems they
are having with this new aspect. It would probably be a
good idea to leave the other mistakes & concentrate
on the target language. If you're correcting everything
it could get a bit disheartening & if the students know
they are doing this activity to practise some specific language,
they will be putting their efforts into this.
What different techniques
for correcting at the controlled stages do you use? Do you
stick to a couple or do you vary your techniques? Here are
a few in no particular order:
refer to the board
or a time earlier on the the lesson - Tch: 'Do you remember
what G said first? Std: Yes, Have you ever..'
part of speech - Tch: 'Noun?'
finger counting - teacher shows fingers for each
word of the student's wrong utterance& points to the
'wrong finger'. The student then self corrects.
checking questions - Tch: 'Are we talking about the
past or the present?'
pointing to the phonemic chart for sound problems.
emphasis - the teacher say the student's utterance
again but emphasises the word/part that needs correcting.
Tch: 'So you GO to the party yesterday?'
reformulation - the teacher repeats the student but
says it correctly. Hopefully the student notices the mistake.
signal through facial expression or hand movement
that there is a problem & see if the student can self
specific gestures eg.
pointing back over your shoulder for the past, showing prepositions
of place with hands etc.
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the Past Teaching Tips