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About your textbooks and possibilities for our course together

November 9, 2012

Your textbooks are very good, one can see that they’ve been designed by professionals.

However, they have far too many activities and topics in two pages (a lesson — which include back pages, to make matters more complicated!). This doesn’t allow us to interact more freely.

  • I miss time for us listening to, say, 4 people at the beginning of the lesson (you are 28, so we should have 4 people in every lesson, and that would only be 3 weeks or 1 month! You would be speaking at Plenary just once a month!! Fortunately, you also speak when we read together and when you work in small groups, which is brilliant! But you also need Plenary feedback every now and then, right?) and analyze their performances (to increase your knowledge of the language, improve your exam strategies, and develop your listening skill, including learning to listen to others’ English and to your own then, at home).
  • There’s not much time for me to explain things or for you to pose questions. When someone explains, there are various factors that make it more likely for you to remember, than if you read something in silence. Today, thanks to Alicia I realized that I was getting stressed about being so “slow” (this is why people did not repeat, I think, as if they were going to sleep!*) while checking the grammar exercises, when what I was doing — adding explanations, examples, related issues — is precisely, as she said, more enrichening for you all than just checking the answers with the key! True!
  • Moving on with the exercises doesn’t allow us to spontaneously tell stories about things, or comment pieces of news

Then I know that in December (Alexie’s for Av2, a B1-level book with audio for Intermedio 2), in February (Exam Format Month!), and in April (Spring OPs or Plenaries on books and documentaries: South Pacific, for Intermedio 2’s, Story of Stuff, and Baby Human or How Art Made the World, for Avanzado 2’s), we’ll need a few lessons to do special activities!

In December:

  • a couple of days for the novel (you should decide if you want to prepare OPs – teamwork – or if we just share at Plenary; we can have a Plenary and then 1 or 2 days with different teams doing their OPs)
  • a couple of days for sharing the language you picked up while watching TV. (Again, if you wish to prepare something in teams, you’re welcome)

So how on earth are we going to do the 7 units! What do you think?

So this is why I try to design Lesson Plans, but this plan depends heavily on you being ahead of us in class (skipping the listenings till we do then in class).

Here is what I would do, if I could and were a student:

  • I’d work on the textbook in one or two sittings at the weekend (e.g. two hours on Sunday evening)
  • I’d work on listening to English and practicing speaking tasks at home during the weekdays. And also read a bit in bed.

Another possibility is we forget about TV, documentaries and books, and focus on the textbook. Just with that you have more than enough work to do!

A third possibility is that we skip pages in the units (which people with more time could do on their own at home, and still ask questions in class).

A fourth, that we don’t finish the book, because we’ll have been working on other things as well.

What do you think? Post your thoughts, if you like, or comment in class!

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