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ELT EFL ESL CLIL Dogme What's in your bag lesson idea

Second class. Present: 9, but two weren’t present the first time around.

I started with the new students. What have you got in your handbag? What have you got in your pencil case? Occasionally, others were asked to report or to guess what the other person had. Has she got a pen drive in her pencil case?

This activity was, primarily, for revising last week’s explanation of ‘have/have got’. On hindsight, I suppose I could have got them to do it in pairs, and perhaps that would have made the activity more dynamic, but I didn’t want to dedicate too much time to it.

Lexical items which came up with this were:

  • medicine /ˈmedsn̩/, pronunciation drilled
  • lockers
  • fever
  • kidneys
  • wallet
  • purse
  • scarf – scarves
  • pencil sharpener

Next, I showed them a series of images, one by one, and each of them was to come up to the board and write a word associated with the image they saw on the screen. The word had to end in -ing, -ed, -er or -est.

ELT Dogme ESL EFL CLIL Images for Spelling double consonant rule

This was a springboard for a lesson I’d promised them the previous week: the doubling of consonants. I also directed them, post-lesson, to the written explanation in aclil2climb: Doubling Consonant Rules

In addition, they were asked to write a couple of sentences about the last image, which I then asked them to read to the class.

These came up:

  • vowel /ˈvaʊəl/
  • cooker – cook (the person who cooks is not called a ‘cooker’)
  • chef
  • clubbing
  • row – rowing
  • river /ˈrɪvə/
  • poodle
  • surround – the forest surrounds the lake
  • to have a good/bad time
  • on the tip of your tongue
  • ring a bell

To make sure they understood the theory, one or two students had to explain the rules to the rest of the class.

Next, I wrote the word T-E-A-C-H-E-R on the board and tried to elicit what it meant to them. It didn’t develop into the dynamism I’d hoped, but one thing it did lead me into was an off-the-cuff lesson on the pronunciation of the sounds of /ə/ (using Underhill’s idiot demonstration) and /s/ which most Spanish learners insist in pronouncing as /es/.

I tried to instil in them, again, the importance of dedicating more time of their own into learning at home, that I wasn’t their teacher as such, but their guide.

Having five minutes to spare at the end, I went through some body parts. These were some of those they hadn’t known before:

  • thumb
  • toe
  • forehead (drilling of pronunciation /ˈfɒrɪd /)
  • elbow
  • jaw
  • chin
  • eyebrows /ˈaɪbraʊz/
  • eyelashes /ˈaɪlæʃɪz /

Post-lesson, I directed them to these two activities:

What I liked:

They kept a notebook, and was taking notes of my explanations. Perhaps, the negative side of this is when they miss certain facets of the lesson because they were too busy writing.

They were attentive and participative.

What I didn’t like:

It didn’t feel like a good class; it felt slow. Could this be a reaction to their request for me to speak slower? Speaking slower shouldn’t slow the pace of the lesson, though.

They lack fluency – whether this is due to lack of language or lack of confidence remains to be seen. Speaking tasks felt less than ideal. Pace often worries me and I’m constantly asking myself, “Are they bored? Is this the pace they’re most comfortable with?

Do you worry over the pace of your lesson?

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