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Here are some resources received recently. Hope they will be useful to all teachers. Please share your feedback.

LearnEnglish Kids - http://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/en/ - free online games to help children learn English the fun way.

The Effortless English Blog http://effortlessenglishclub.com/blog-and-video-podcast- hundreds of free resources, videos and podcasts.

English Grammar Basics - http://www.talkenglish.com/grammar/grammar.aspx - 30 lessons on the principles of grammar.

Here are some of the questions raised by the Sahay ESL Advanced Curriculum Facilitators. These questions have been discussed during the workshop but are included here for further discussion.

1. How to overcome the shyness of the students?

2. How to control the naughty student or students who disturb the others in class?

3. Some students are not at all present in class, so how to cope with this matter?

4. Sometimes the students are not at all serious in class until the teacher scolds them. How can we avoid being harsh with them?

5. Some students learn wrong grammar in school and when we teach proper grammar they do not believe us. How can we handle this?

6. Some students use inappropriate language such as shit & damn. How do we handle this in class?

7. Some students use language such as wanna, ganna, gotta, etc. Please advice how to control it.

8. During the board exams in schools and about a month before the exam they do not want to come to our class. How to motivate them to come to the Sahay Centre?

9. Should we complete all the exercises in the workbook?

10. How to motivate the parents to send the students to our class?

11. How to prepare the teaching aids? Need some suggestions.

12. Most of the students are in class X. They hesitate to come to class by mid November. Please suggest ways of handling this problem.

13. Tips on Endline Assessment Question Paper, keeping in mind five competencies - Listening, Speaking, Reading Aloud, Reading Comprehension and Writing.

14. Please suggest the scoring pattern. Should we prepare the question paper level-wise?

15. Please suggest some examples of HW as per level and DVD.

16. Please suggest some activities for speaking, grammar and spelling.

17. Suppose during the class the teacher makes the students play an activity or watch DVD but after some time if the students lack interest and express dissatisfaction what should be the teacher's next step?

18. Teachers already conduct a lot of activities in class. Hence what additional activities can be conducted during the week-end club activities?

19. How can teachers keep themselves motivated during adverse situations such as students not turning up for class?

20. Please provide the names of some websites from where we can get some guidance / tips for improving our teaching and preparing interactive classroom activities.


Let us first group the questions. The following are the problems expressed by the facilitators:

I Classroom Activities & HW To Suit All Types Of Learners

II Relating Regular School Work & ESL Course at Sahay

III Teaching Aids

IV Endline Assessment

V Web Resources

Let us now think of ways of handling these problems. Add your own ideas in the community.

I Classroom Activities & HW To Suit All Types Of Learners

I In the lesson plans, demo classes and the discussions after the demo we discussed a number of activities and actually watched how all the students are kept engaged.

Unless the students get something that suits their level, interest and style of learning, they will not participate actively in class. The students at this ESL curriculum are studying at different class levels and they are working at different levels of competencies within one class too. 

The very first step is to watch the DVD and look at the workbook activities keeping in mind this diversity. You watched 9 demos wherein each class was easily managed and kept engaged for 2 hours on a variety of activities.

For example, in one of the classes, we paused the DVD where a story was being narrated with pictures. We did not show the end of the story to the students. We asked the advanced students to complete the story in their own way. One group completed it as a horror story and another group completed it as a funny story. A third group which was working at a lower level completed a given set of sentences with their own ideas. All these were shared in class and marks were given for this group work activity.

In another class the lower level students gave a few ideas while the advanced ones gave more ideas. Simply by increasing the amount of production we catered to different levels of learners. We start asking the lower level students to first share their ideas and then prod the higher level ones to think of other ideas that have not been given by anybody else.

In yet another class the students were in heterogeneous groups. The higher level ones prepared a skit and gave such roles to the lower level ones that they can easily manage. The group activity helped them learn from each other.

Please do not force the shy learners to produce language before they are ready to share their ideas. Telling them something like, "You have never spoken in class. Come on, now tell me your ideas" is a terrible thing to do. This will only make them worse.

Put the shy learners in groups with such students who like to help others. Get the whole group to come to the front of the class instead of asking one shy student to come and stand there alone. Give them an opportunity to practice within a small group before they face the whole class.

Backward lesson planning wherein you provide the input, provide opportunities for practice in a private setting before a public performance will help such learners come out and share their ideas. Whatever little they say, accept it, expand the idea and convey it to the whole class in such a way that everybody appreciates it. This will make the shy learners have more confidence in the value of their ideas as well as provide them a good exposure of how to translate their ideas into words.

The naughty learners are quick in grasping your ideas and are able to think creatively. If you keep them engaged with challenging activities they will spend their energy in solving the task rather than in disturbing the class.

It is absolutely essential to have a variety of activities at different levels for different types of learners. In some classes at least you can try 'blended learning' wherein each group is doing a different activity, simultaneously, and some are working on technology based tasks, at their own level. The class can be divided into various stations and students can move from one station to another to learn at their own pace what they need to learn through activities that they like to participate in.

II Relating Regular School Work & ESL Course at Sahay

All the examinations have one part of the paper dedicated to grammar questions. The DVDs also focus on specific grammar items or language functions. If you give a homework based on the students exam related topic, they will be preparing for their exams as well as learn the competencies of the ESL Advanced Curriculum.

For example, one of the questions in Class XII paper is a test item on the use of articles and prepositions. Students are given a paragraph from their textbook lesson wherein the articles and prepositions are left out. They are asked to complete the paragraph by supplying the appropriate articles and prepositions. In the DVDs also we have articles and prepositions taught. In the workbook there are exercises on the articles and prepositions. 

You can ask the Class XII students a homework - Copy one paragraph from your textbook lesson. Leave out the articles and prepositions and bring it for the next class. They can cut out pieces of paper and write one article and preposition on them. By keeping the answers on small strips you can reuse the activity with many groups.

After doing the DVD lesson using a variety of activities at different levels when you ask the lower level students to do the workbook activity, you can ask the XII standard students to exchange their passages and complete the paragraph by adding appropriate articles and prepositions.

Everyday by giving homework from their own syllabus you can help the students relate their school work to the advanced ESL curriculum.

III Teaching Aids

You can prepare simple teaching aids related to the teaching point by using waste materials and low cost materials.

1. Simple Strips

You can also take the help of your students in preparing the teaching aids.

For example,

Lesson Plan Six - sample sentences with adverbs


Remove the bulb carefully. Laugh loudly.


Read this paragraph quickly.         Cry loudly.


Turn around slowly. Snore loudly.

These can be written on strips of paper. Students can also write their own sentences on strips. The lower level students can take sentences from the workbook where they are matching verbs with adverbs and giving instructions.

The students can be divided into groups. One person from the group can pick up a chit, mime the activity and the others can guess the sentence. Each group will get 10 marks for guessing the sentences.

It will take only a few minutes to prepare this teaching aid, students can prepare their own strips and add to your collection. You can make your class quite interesting with this simple teaching aid.

Students can also work on different activities, according to their need and interest, if such strips are available.



2. Attractive, Tiny Booklets


If you trace a simple picture, make a template and use that to draw the outline, you can create a tiny booklet. Your students can prepare their own booklets and write groups of words that they need to learn together.




3. Pocket Charts

You can prepare a simple pocket chart. Have strips that students put in the correct pouches.






IV Endline Assessment

I think the endline assessment should have items very close to what was included in the base line and mid line assessments. The question formats should be the same so that the results are comparable.

In addition to the quantitative assessment, facilitators also should note changes such as a shy student beginning to talk, a disinterested learner taking an active part in an activity, etc. This qualitative analysis should be reported along with the statistical data.

V Web Resources

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