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The courtroom – Learners on trial for bad behaviour

You would think that adult business English learners would understand the meaning of manners and respect and would also comply with these principles, wouldn’t you?  Not always the case unfortunately!  In one of my classes today, 2 adult male learners (aged 27…ish) first of all arrived 20 minutes late during a learner’s presentation (I know what you’re thinking – that’s not too bad, probably got other work commitments, happens all the time.) Then later during another learner’s presentation they were occasionally playing their own little soundtrack of German chit-chat and giggles in the background.   This was distracting and annoying for me and needless to say must have been for the learner doing their talk and the learners listening.

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I had a choice to make as this was breaking one of my strong values “respect”, so the blood was soon bubbling and pumping.  Do I try to calmly stop the talk and try to tactfully address the disruption and run the risk of creating conflict or a dark, an awkward or a negative atmosphere?  This is difficult to avoid when the fight or flight emotions are flowing.  Or do I turn a blind eye to it, ignore it and focus on the learner who is conducting the presentation?

I have been thinking about how to solve this challenge but even better still, how to avoid it in the first place.

I am sure many of you have read, heared of or used the following method.  First of all….

  • As a group, brainstorm, discuss and create the values and rules of the classroom.  (ideally done at the start of a program)
  • Define and clarify the rules and values
  • Again as a group, create the guidelines on how the rule will be enforced
  • Get some kind of personal tag or symbol to enhance commitment. (Via a contract with a signature or a fingerprint)
  • The contract / code of conduct (whatever you want to call it) is distributed to the learners and also visibly hung on the wall.
  • The contract is also referred to periodically to check the values are being met or rules followed.  If necessary update / amend the rules and values.

How we can enforce the values and rules?   This is an idea / task I have come up with.

Rather than alternative  more direct and confrontational methods, this task should give the learners ample opportunity to practise their speaking skills and using functional language like making suggestions, giving advice, handling conflict, consequences, giving reasons and explanations and decision making.  I also think even though the context can be seen as negative and serious it can be done in a light hearted, fun and enjoyable way that should avoid hostility and conflict.

The task (The courtroom)

Towards the end of each class ask the students to identify & report any acts of non-compliance.  This is the accusation.  It can and possibly should be done anonymously to avoid any possible hard feelings or conflict.

A report or identification of non-compliance can also be done by the trainer.   Also bear in mind that the trainer can also be accused and trialled.

  • Nominate a judge (this could be the trainer) – If you prefer and if they are available you could wear an English crown court judge wig and use a wooden hammer to keep order and to add humour.
  • The other learners act together as the prosecutor and importantly the Jury.
  • The accused is his / her own defender
  • The judge reads out all the accusations one at a time and the accused is put on trial.
  • The accused can speak freely to defend him/herself
  • The jury discusses and decides upon a suitable sentence.

The sentences

The sentences could be a small fine, where the learner has to put money into a fine pot / money jar, or it could be something more productive to their English learning like they get extra homework or they have to prepare & conduct something in the next lesson.  Of course in the case of the money collection this can be put to good use and put towards a team building or social event at a later time (one my favourites is night out at a German beer keller / garden with the learners).

Now remember we are working with adult learners who have their own opinions, experiences,  ego’s, attitude and beliefs, so they probably won’t enjoy being lectured, patronized and talked down to.   In light of this, I think the points below need emphasizing;

  • It’s not a real courtroom or a school headmasters office…..so have fun and have a laugh.
  • Really sell the importance of the values (e.g respect) and explain why it is so important.
  • Explain how you feel about the rules and values and how you feel when they are broken.  (this shows your emotions and shows that you are only human, thus helps with rapport )
  • Really get the learners involved in the task.  Get their buy-in / commitment.

So thanks for reading.  I now invite you to comment and also feel free to make any suggestions / recommendations on how you handle disruptions or incidents that touch your inner raw nerves and trigger your fight & flight emotions.

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Using games and fun activities to recycle vocabulary

For me, word and language games are a great and highly enjoyable way to recycle and repeat language.  Supporting the learner’s language retention and acquisition, they play a significant & important role in my English language training.

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My intention is to write a series of posts and to share and outline some of the fun activities I use in my classroom.

This post has also been written to support & compliment my colleague’s (Charles Rei) highly interesting and insightful blog post relating to learner self-study which is titled “Busy Lives and Homework;  Getting more than 90 min a week”

I would like to make a start by bringing to your attention some of the factors & vital ingredients that I believe contribute to the success of activities like word & vocab games;

•             Performance measuring & scoring system.

•             Learner involvement from the onset.

•             Good rapport with learners.

•             Recognition via short & long term competitions & rewards

•             Team / group games (no individual games).

•             A routine ( E.g  30 mins at start of each lesson).

•             A good and enthusiatic game show host.

For most of my language games, I mainly use simple self-made vocabulary cards.  These cards can contain newly introduced or useful vocabulary or vocabulary that has emerged during the lessons / program.  The vocabulary could be anything (E.g.  a noun, verb, adjective, adverb, collocation, fixed or semi fixed phrase, adverbial etc etc)

I like to use game money (E.g. from Monoply) whenever possible.  I believe this adds extra spice, value and also excitement to the activity.  Additionally, it gives me a method of recording and measuring success (keeping score).

Whenever feasible, I always form teams and play team games.  In addition to the interaction & team building that often takes place,  team activities may provide the learners with more of an incentive to learn the new vocabulary at home in order to avoid letting their team member/s down, losing face, or maybe even winning the booby prize.

The vocabulary recycling games which I use are often part of a bigger and on-going competition.  For each activity there is some kind of scoring / reward system.   At the end of each activity or lesson all the scores are recorded and added to a league table.  I believe this competitive element adds energy, anticipation & excitement to the activities and also provides the learners with a possible reward and some valuable peer and trainer recognition.

Game 1

Form your teams (for a class of 8 learners, I would use 4 teams of 2.  For 9 learners 3 x 3.  No more than 4 teams)

This game only uses word class vocabulary cards (nouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, conjunctions, prepositions, etc)

Select a team member from each team and sit them around the same table.

Lay a set number of random vocabulary cards face up on a the table containing  (for 4 teams I use 11 cards, 3 teams 9 cards, 2 teams 7 cards)

For each question there is a monetary reward for a correct answer.  For a wrong answer the learners lose money.  (the amount is your choice).

Part 1.  This is based on speed.  Learners must grab the correct card/s for the questions I ask within a set time limit.   Once a learner touches a card they must take the card.

I generally ask 10 questions for each round.  Questions could include;

  1. Give me all the verbs
  2. Give me all the adjectives
  3. Give me all the uncountable nouns
  4. Give the word that means…….
  5. Give me the words that collocate with…….
  6. Give me the word that is a synonym of…..
  7. Give me the word that is the antonym of…..
  8. Give the learners a sentence with a gap-fill   (I couldn’t go to the meeting today as I had to ……….the English training (attend)
  9. Give me the words with a positive connotation.
  10. Give me the words with a formal register.

Part 2.  For this part, I simply choose a word from the cards on table and ask / say…

  1. Give me a personal / relevant / crazy sentence using the word….. (for this, the better or crazier the sentence, the more the reward)
  2. Give me some words that collocate with….
  3. Give me the other derived forms for the word…..
  4. Spell the word……..

After this round the learners return to their team and different members from each team come to the desk.  The process is then repeated as many times as you desire.

So to end this post, I invite you use this activity, to pull it apart and take from it whatever you need.  If you decide to use it, I truly hope you find this activity useful and enjoyable and I would be very happy to hear from you with feedback on how it went.  If you are interested in using fun activities in your classroom then keep an eye on my blog as many more posts will follow based on this theme.

Until the next time……

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Building Rapport & Bonding with your Learners

A comment I read this morning from Chia (http://chiasuanchong.wordpress.com/) got my mind rapidly ticking over and has inspired me to write this post.  In her comment, Chia requested that I should write a post on the tricks for bonding with your learners / students.   One of the area’s which for some reason I seem to quite effortlessly do well.  Until Chia requested this, I had never really asked myself, how do I really manage to connect and bond with my learners so successfully?  So after a morning of reflection, here it is…

Chia requested I do a list of the top 10 tricks on bonding with your learners.  Thinking about this, I wasn’t comfortable with the word ‘trick’.  The work trick implies magic, or some kind of deceit or manipulation.  I certainly have no magic trick and I feel using them would be counter productive.  Let me explain, which brings me to my number 1 and the most important….

1.  Be genuine & be yourself!  Try to be something or someone you are not and your learners will eventually see through you and the act.  I also feel that pretending to be someone you are not can only be destructive to your energy levels and self-esteem.

2.  Your learners will almost certainly be curious about you. (I know mine generally are).  So be open and encourage this curiosity.  Share your stories, your life, your memories (good and bad) and fears.  Encourage your learners to ask questions about you (and other learners).

3.  If you are like me, I love spending my free time reading other EFL blogs, books and literature which is great!  But this isn’t always too interesting to your learners.  So ensure you have an interesting life outside of work that you can share with your learners.

4.  Use a coaching & moderating training style and promote collaboration & teamwork (it’s not a competition).  Don’t be a lecturer (stand at the front, here I am, I am the leader, I am better than you and I know best attitude)

5.  Lose your ego.  Okay you might have something you want to teach, you might have a great story to tell, you might not teach what you had planned, the learners might not learn what you want them to learn, they might not like something or find something useful that you thought they would….SO WHAT!?  Get over it and don’t be stubborn.  Focus on your learners.  Which brings me to……..

6.  Encourage the learners to talk about themselves.  Take a real interest in them.  Take notes on their plans or events, so you don’t forget and you can ask them about it next week. When they do talk don’t just listen, LISTEN properly & carefully.  Don’t talk over them, dismiss what they say and then move on or change the topic. Encourage the other learners to comment or to ask follow-up questions based on what the other learner is saying.

7. Respect and honesty.  This is a two-way thing that I promote and enforce when necessary.  Always treat your learners (no matter how old or where from) with respect and how you would like to be treated.  Be honest to your learners, encourage honest from your learners (for example through feedback), be honest with yourself.  If you are tired, exhausted or worried or even ecstatic.  Be honest and share this.  I do! (again it is a 2 way thing).  Finally on this point.  If you say you will do something, ensure that you carry it out.

8.  Have fun, crack some jokes, take the mickey and of each other or yourself.  Don’t take yourself to seriously.  Laugh at yourself.  Exchange a little bit of banter.

9.  Remember.  Everyone is DIFFERENT!  What works for one, doesn’t always work for another. Don’t challenge or resist but embrace everyone’s differences and uniqueness.  Be sensitive to your learner’s values and opinions.  Adjust your style to suit the dynamics of each group.  (I said adjust – not be someone you are not!)

10.  Gather regular feedback and explain why you want it (to improve yourself, because you value your learners opinions and you want to train them as effectively as possible).  Also and probably more importantly…ACT up on the feedback!

If you haven’t already noticed.  All of these ideas / points can be implemented from the very first lesson, and almost all of them from the moment you first meet them.  So don’t be thinknig that raport and bonding takes time.  Done correctly and sensitively it can happen in a flash.  Remember you don’t get a second chance to make a good 1st impression.

I hope you enjoyed and found this post useful.  Please feel free to share this with you other connections and followers.

Thanks Chia for inspiring me to do this post and for switching a light on in my (at that time, tired, gloomy, weary) head.

I also want to give you some background info and bring to your attention that all of my current learners / participants are business-based learners in Germany.  Most of my learners are aged between 25 – 63.  I would say the average is around the late 30s / early 40s.  I’m not sure what you know about Frankonians, but (excusing the generalisations) during their everyday life when meeting someone for the first time (in business and play) they are generally quite serious, cautious and restrained. So in theory not be easiest people in the world to connect with and to get to open up.  In a nutshell, basically the total opposite to me.   So how do I connect and build a rapport with these people?  How do I break down these walls of restraint and seriousness?  How do I bring out their warm, fun nature in such a short time?  I shouldn’t blow my own trumpet but maybe I am a natural, cos I admittedly find it quite easy to do (most of the time)

Thanks for reading

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The needs of the business V’s the desires of the learner

The lesson has begun.  We have conducted and have our super detailed needs analysis to hand. We make a start on the lesson’s based on our interpretation of the needs analysis ( handling conflict on a telephone,  vocabulary relating to merges and take-overs, analysing data, writing effective business emails etc).  However something is wrong. 4 weeks, 2 months, 1/4 year  (whenever) into the course and motivation seems to be going down, energy is low, the fun is disappearing, attendance is dropping, the learners are beginning to prioritize other things, the lessons are becoming slow and painful and just getting the learners to talk becomes a hardship……what could be wrong?

Now I want to state as I’m sure you would agree, there isn’t one sole reason for this happening.  It could one of a number reasons.  Even so, I have recently had a discussion with one of my colleagues Charles Rei (click here for his blog) that relates to the above scenario and also one of the possible causes of it, which to a degree is a problem we both face & also  that many other Business English trainers possibly face on a regular basis.  Now admittedly the above scenario is a bit extreme, and I have to say it certainly doesn’t happen like that in mine or Charles’s lessons (If it did, I would certainly think about finding a new career!), but it did prompt me to delve a little bit deeper into my thoughts and to think about this challenge which I would like to share with you today.  The challenge I pose is….

If there is a clear gap or difference, do we as Business language trainers focus on the needs and expectations of the business &  investor or do we focus on the desires & expectations of the learners?

The first thing I want to mention is the needs analysis.   In the past and quite recently I have read  many great articles and blogs on how to conduct an effective needs analysis and also read plenty of stimulating literature covering what information & details should / must be obtained.  This is all well and good.   However, even assuming we created & used simply the best and most amazing method of gathering this business informationand  the information gathered is complete and accurate.  Let’s assume this enables us to clearly understand the functions, communication exchanges, tasks and responsibilities of our learners, departments and business.  This in turn then allows us to create an all thrills singing and dancing syllabus / program.  Doall these assumptions then equate to highly effective and productive learning, activation and retention?  Does is it even significantly contribute to the cause?  I guess at the very best..it is possible (a maybe).  I don’t want to dismiss the importance of the needs analysis, but I think we shouldn’t fall into the trap of assuming if we do a good analysis and we learly cunderstand the leaners job and their business English needs, we in-turn really know their true desires.

Of course sometimes we work with learners that have genuine business English desires who are driven, who want to succeed and progress in their careers, these people have desires which are in-line with the business’s expectations, thus there is no issue and usually no problem with attendance and motivation when sticking to pure business themes which are harmonious to the learner and business and thus no conflict with the investor.

However there is a flip-side to this.  Quite surprisingly, there seems to be more and more learners taking part in company based business English courses that are financed by the company, who have no or very little desire to learn out-and-out Business English.  These learners for this post are my focus…

First of all we have the learners with zero or next to no exposure to English in their jobs who somehow manage to slip through this net (with ever-increasing surprisingly big holes).  Why don’t these learner have a desire for business English?  This should be easy & clear to understand and explain, but just becuase they don’t use English in their jobs, does this mean we don’t necesssarily have to focus on business contexts.  After all  the company is paying for the lessons!  Why is the company financing it you may ask?  That is for a different post.

Secondly, what about the learners who do interact internationally using English, who do have real business English needs, who maybe even want to progress their careers in international business, but for some reason they still have no real desire to really learn & focus on Business English that is important & relevant to their jobs.

The question I ask is not, why don’t they want to learn Business English that is relevant to their jo? But rather, how do we train them, improve their Business English, keep them motivated while at the same time meeting the expectations of the business & investor?  Needless to say this can be a delicate and sensitive problem.  Here are some of my insights and idea’s.

First let’s go back to the needs analysis. Think about it.  Does all this data, input and information from the needs analysis always mean & equate to ‘what the leaners really want & expect’ (i.e  their desires)?  In my humble opinion, certainly not  & sometimes not very often!  What all this info on business, personal and departmental functions  always does mean and equate to though is –  the business’s or investors needs.

When we drill-down, this needs analysis info is simply the needs of the business so their employees can perform more efficiently and make the business more profit!  Take away the employee from the business and those needs for that learner don’t generally exist anymore (unless the learner is highly career orientated and is committed to improving their business English).  However let’s not hide from the fact that the learner is an employee / asset of the business, so those needs are real (for the business), but they are external needs, not normally the powerful  internally motivated needs of the leaner.  The learners powerful desires & expectations are often different (sometimes very different) to the needs of the business.  Fact!

However when you step back from all this ‘the company needs this, the learner wants this’,  there usually is a common interest between the business / investor and a motivated learner?  The wish or interest in the learner learning & improving their English!  That’s why the business is paying for the class and that’s why the learner is giving up his time and sat down in your lesson.  This common interest is what I like to focus on.

I totally understand as an in-house business English trainer that I have 2 customers to satisfy and it would be crazy and unjustified to neglect the business needs and expectations.  But I would be equally if not more so in-sane to neglect the learners desires and expectations.  So how do we progress with learners who want to improve their English but don’t want to deal with business English?  We have some options;

Option 1 = Focus on business needs & business contexts.  Result = demotivated, uninspired, bored & frustrated learners = minimal language acquisition and retention, a drop-off in attendance followed by no learners = no class or course.  Result = Total failure.

Option 2 = Focus on learners desires = motivated, happy & engaged learners = good chance of productive lessons = promotes language improvement & acquisition.  Result = Successful.  However, evenrually the investor learns about the lesson context & direction and pulls the plug = no lessons and no more learning.  Final result = Failure

Excuse the basic nature of my summary above, but this is a snap-shot of the reality I have faced & do face.  Think about option 1.  Would you read a book or watch a documentary on TV week after week that was based on a topic you didn’t have the slightest interest in learning about?  If you were in a bar and you met someone new and you were talking  about a topic that you had no interest in, would you stick around?  It’s a no brainer!  You would be off like I flash.  I think anyone who would rigorously pursue this option by putting the business needs first in my opinion be it in 3 months or 9 months is ultimately destined for failure.

Regarding option 2.  It is obvious this is a more successful & more effective alternative & focus for the promotion of learning.  But it is heavily dependant on having the investor on-board & agreeing to teaching outside his direct business needs and contexts orhim simply not knowing .  Frankly it’s not likely to happen, certainly not too often.  So the success is only partial & temporary until the lessons are stopped by the angry investor who is unhappy with the service I have provided because from his perspective I haven’t met his direct business needs.

There is an option 3:  The option I try to  use but let me assure you it’s not always plain sailing and problem-free.

First of all I want to point out an opinion I have.  I believe an investor or an English trainer is being too anal and short-sighted if they think talking about travel, the personal lives of the learners or having a debate or a meeting about a non-business topic ( for example racism in sports) has no place in a business English classroom.   Isn’t the whole idea / objective to get the learner producing language to promote retention and activation be it through writing or speaking.  Does it matter is we are debating, having a meeting and discussing football racism instead of a meeting in the context of Quality management or Production or forecasts and sales.   Certainly there is a vast cross-over in language form & structure & lexis that is used in a general context and also in a business context.  For example, when debating racism in sport we are using  language for clarifying, interrupting, putting your point across, controlling the participants, agreeing / disagreeing etc – these are all used in the corporate meeting room too.   Is Business English just general English put packaged differently (packaged meaning same structures and forms – just different vocab & lexis)?…I don’t want to say yes, but I am certainly leaning heavily to the ‘yes’ side.  As long as the learners are engaged, committed and producing language that has similarities and can be related back to business English, that can be reviewed, corrected, improved and built upon, shouldn’t we as trainers be happy, shouldn’t the investors be satisfied?  I certainly think so.

About my personal strategy or approach.  It could possibly be described as quite cute, cleaver, deceitful, manipulative even though I am sure it is shared by many,  more so probably from the Dogme followers.   It’s just based on keeping an open mind, being flexible, spontaneous and creative.  It about looking for and waiting for those moments / opportunities where you can take the lesson into a more business English direction that is more in-line with the need of the business / investor.  Of course it isn’t always possible and I am certainly not saying this allows me to fully meet the needs of the business.  Sometimes a full lesson or 2 might go by that has involved 100% non relevant business specific language and lexis.  But even so, the learners have had a real opportunity to practice & improve their English which in turn benefits the company.

I also believe that a key part of making this ‘needs balancing act’ & also training in general successful is having wide WIDE open communication channels between and with the learners.  An essential part of this is feedback, be it lesson by lesson or periodically.  A little word of caution though, I believe you have to be ready to drop your ego & I know best attitude and any stubbornness you have, and be ready to listen, accept and change.  Remember everyone is different!

Finally I focus a lot on helping the learner to become a more effective, a more responsible and more independant learner.  Helping them build their awareness of the language, of language patterns.  Introducing effective memory and retention techniques for vocabulary.  Discussing new learning and teaching methodologies.  Introducing learning tools and showing them effective effective learning resources on the web and how to use them.  Discussing possible self learning opportunities, how to record language, how not to, using & making a learning port folio…the list goes on and on….!

To summarise.  In my humble  opinion it all simply boils down to..genuine motivated learners need & want to improve their English.  If the learners improve their general or business English, they will improve their work performance relating to their English tasks.  It goes hand-in-hand!  Okay if the focus was specifically focused on their business needs and focused on business language contexts great, but that is not always possible.

My final question:  Isn’t a happy motivated learner who has succeeded in improving his business language say by 50%  achieved by sometimes focusing on general English a better option than a demotivated frustrated learner who was forced to learn Business English and in reality improved their business English by 10% or possibly 0% because he/she left the course?  Only you can answer.

I would like to end the post now, but one other question or issue has just popped in my head is “What do we do when the class has mixed needs and desires – some want to focus on more standard English and others who are career driven want to 100% focus on business & work related skills and language”?

I hope you have enjoyed my post I hope it poses some interesting questions and insights for you to think about.  I would love to gather some feedback on how other trainers deal with or would deal with this problem.  Thanks for reading.

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Bringing a recording & transcript alive…but ditch the rest of the course book!

Hi everyone.

Would love to share something with you which I did in a couple of my lessons a few days ago.  The outcome really surprised me and put a big smile on my face and even more so cos the lessons were after a long long day at work, both for me and my learners.   It’s not exactly pure out & out Dogme, 100% material and preperation free but I did do my best to keep the materials and pre-printed / published garbage to a minimum.  I will let you be the judge on if I succeeded or not regarding Dogme (not sure I did), but what I can say for sure is that it was an outstanding success in the classroom 🙂

In the previous 2 x 90 minute lessons with another trainer (due to me being stuck at home recovering from an op), my two classes who are around and about B2 / C1 levels had been examining & dealing with telephone language.  On receipt of feedback from the trainer and class, I soon realised that the lessons were very study based and didn’t contain a great deal of activation.  This had to be rectified and this would be the focus of my lesson “activation”.

I chose a relevant & suitable CD / Mp3 recording of a telphone conversation / exchange suitable for the levels (yes from a course book…sorry!).   Needless to say for your purpose this recorded dialogue could be based on any situation / context.  You will also need to have a copy of the transcript. (again published course book…sorry again!  Please forgive me though as in this case the material was actually not too bad 🙂 )

Prior to the lesson I made a blank dialogue template.  The rows were numbered and also initialled based on the order & the speaker in the dialogue.  This template was named “what’s said?”.  I also made another simple template very similar to the previous one but this one was titled “what’s happening?”.

The task started with me describing the idea, instructions and ultimate goal for the task as a whole and then again for the first stage of the task.  I generally do this explaining and justifying for most tasks / mini-tasks / stages of tasks.  The first stage was to simply listen to the dialogue.

The 2nd stage was to listen again and get a ‘gist’ of the meaning and of what was going on, and also to find out the names of the people involved in the dialogue and also who talks to who.  (obviously these mini tasks can be adjusted based on the dialogue and your preference)

So following the 1st & 2nd listening and a little feedback session we moved on to stage 3.  For stage 3, the recording was played again.  This time the Ss hd to decide what is the function / purpose / for each spoken utterance and also comment on manner, attitude and emotion.  After each person in the recorded dialogue had finished their speech / utterance, the CD was stopped to allow the Ss to make notes on the pre-prepared  “what’s happening” .  The Ss weren’t allowed to write down what was said but rather what was happening – this is very important.  At the end of the dialogue there was review /  sharing via feedback.     The Ss now had an overview of language content & function and an accurate structure of the recorded dialogue.

Stage 4:  Ss in pairs re-created their own version of the dialogue using and sticking to the structure & purpose of the recorded dialogue.  The Ss are encouraged to be creative and to make it relevant to their world and events.  Obviously the idea of doing it in pairs was to encourage discussion, debate and sharing of knowledge.

Stage 5:  The dialogues were swapped with other peers.  The dialogues were then reviewed, corrected and more importantly improved!  (made more professional, more polite, more indirect, given more feeling / emotion / meat on the bone….whatever your focus)

Stage 6:  As a group they would all read out their dialogues.   Then as a group we would deal with any form / pronunciation challenges (I used the task, slightly modified from teaching unpugged where I list a number of utterances / sentences and the groups have to discuss and decide if the utterances are successful or if  it had any fundamental mistakes or if it could be further improved and expressed better)

Stage 7:  This was ‘notes away’ time and ‘real-pla’y time.  Following the real-plays all Ss were encouraged to provide feeedback on performance and improvements.

Stage 8 (which I didnt have time to do):   Ss can then listen to the recorded dialogue again.  They are then given a copy of the transcript but with missing keywords.  Ss have to complete the dialogue and then compare the language used in the recorded dialogue to the language they used in their own dialogue.  Differences / variances are then discussed as a group and new language recored and expanded.

So in a nutshell that is basically it.  This was my first time I used this method.  I kind of created the idea myself even though I am sure many have done exactly or similar things before.  I think there are few rough edges that need to refined to make the task even more productive.  I would love to hear your thoughts and comments and would really like to invite you to use it in your class.  Best of luck!

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Hello world!

My first active day in the world of ELT blogging.  It’s funny that usually I have lots to say and I’m never short of words, but I am currently truely dumbfounded.   Not the best state to be in for a blog!   So I guess I will keep it short and hopefully sweet.

As the title says “Hello world”, I will simply focus my first post on this.  So I just want to say “hi” to everyone and I am really looking forward to reaching out to fellow ELT trainers across the world and sharing ideas, knowledge and the joys and frustrations of the fasinating world of ELT.

Feel free to click on my ‘about me’ tab, where you can get a quick overview about me and my beliefs & experiences.

 

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