ESL Lesson Plan Based on Writing Term Paper

Pages: 5 (1897 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 10  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Teaching

¶ … ESL lesson plan based on writing a News Report. The lesson is for over 16-year-old students. The critique will cover teaching methodologies, content and structure, the best teaching approach, assessment of learning outcomes, pre-requisite knowledge, and the strengths and weaknesses of the lesson plan.

Second Language Teaching Methodologies

Three of the most recent second language teaching methodologies are: Presentation Practice Production (hereafter referred to as PPP), Task-Based Learning (hereafter referred to as TBL), and the Communicative Approach.

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The PPP method of teaching a second language consists of the teacher presenting the language item, the students practicing the new language in a controlled way, and finally producing the new language in freer practice activities. This method is particularly useful for lower level language learners, and indeed for new language teachers as it gives a safe framework to operate within. The TBL method differs from PPP in that the emphasis is on the task rather than the language. Students are first given the opportunity to try an activity without any prior language input. During this phase the teacher monitors and encourages the students but does not correct them, (as would have taken place in the PPP model). After this, the teacher will provide input according to where he or she perceived there was a problem with the language. Finally, the students attempt the activity again. This method is student centered and better accommodates the different learning styles of a class; however, students may find the method alien at first and prefer a more structured language teaching approach.

TOPIC: Term Paper on ESL Lesson Plan Based on Writing a Assignment

The Communicative Approach to second language learning has two main strands. The first is known as the Functional-Notional Approach. It is not grammar-based but rather it breaks down the language into communicative situations such as inviting, apologizing, requesting, agreeing etc. Students are also made aware of appropriacy in terms of formal or informal language and modes of expression. The second main strand is known as ESA (Engage, Study and Activate). This has similarities to PPP when used with lower level learners, but with higher level learners, it can be made more flexible by changing the order of the different phases to, for example, Engage, Activate and Study and then Activate again. This gives the teacher the opportunity to note where the students are making mistakes and adapt the language teaching phase (Study) to suit. The Communicative Approach is excellent for placing students into situations that mirror real life communication, so giving them the confidence to use the second language in the world outside the classroom. As Harmer said (Harmer 32), "Communicative Language Teaching has had a thoroughly beneficial effect since it reminded teachers that people learn languages not so that they 'know' them, but so that they can communicate."

Content and Structure of the Lesson Plan

The structure of this particular lesson plan -- Writing a News Report -- clearly fits into the TBL model given above, and also into the ESA model. The lesson is task-based rather than grammar based, and it is student centered. It begins with students deciding on their own version of the story of the mystery disappearance of the English teacher. Students then go on to write questions concerning the News story. After that, the class decides on the correct order for the report, and then they write it. All this is done before any language input (Study) from the teacher. The students then correct each other's writing alongside a check list before re-writing it. These reports may be hung on the wall for all the class to read, or other activities such as error correction or studying and writing another similar News Report can be done.

This lesson plan can also fit into the ESA model with some variation. There is first an 'Engage' phase, where the students' interest in the topic is aroused. The second phase comes under 'Activate', where language activation is the goal and the students write their reports. After that, there is some 'Study', where their work is corrected, and then the students are 'Activated' to re-write. The lesson could continue with more 'Study' and then another 'Activate' phase, where students write another similar report.

A Teaching Approach that Best Fits the Plan

Considering the fact that this lesson plan is based on a TBL methodology, and not a PPP model, Stephen Krashen's comprehensible input hypothesis is perhaps the best approach. Krashen recognizes that (Krashen 1), "Improvement comes from supplying communicative and comprehensible input, and not from forcing and correcting production." He also states that (Krashen 1), " the best methods are therefore those that supply 'comprehensible input' in low anxiety situations, containing messages that students really want to hear." Indeed, the low anxiety situation, where the instructor is non-authoritarian and non-directive, plays a large part in encouraging the students to produce language. Furthermore, using topics that interest the students and are student driven means that, hopefully, students will 'really want to hear' about them. Both of these factors are evident in the lesson plan.

Krashen does not advocate the over correcting of student's errors, but rather, opportunities to acquire conversational or written competence. In the case of this lesson plan, there is no teacher correction during the first two phases of the lesson, and grammatical input only comes after the students have produced their first attempt at the written work.

Krashen also states that new input should be just above the students' current level (Krashen 3). This should occur during the 'Study' phase of this lesson plan when the teacher draws attention to errors the students have made.

Evaluating the Aims of the Lesson Plan against the Learning Outcomes

The first aim of the lesson is to organize information and construct a text. This is achieved by asking students to brainstorm for ideas, to order the different sections of the text (which are given to them from the teacher) and then to write their text. The organizing of the information should be successful if students adhere to it, and if the teacher has an opportunity to check it. However, in the plan, it is not clear that the teacher gets this opportunity, and the desired learning outcome may not be achieved. It seems clear that each individual student writes a text (they don't write it as a group), so resulting in all students constructing a text and fulfilling this part of the first aim.

The second aim is to develop students' abilities to revise, redraft and improve their writing. Whether this aim is achieved or not is questionable because the teacher does not do the correcting of their first draft, rather the students correct each others. This could result in their second attempt being worse than their first and the students becoming more confused.

The third aim is to develop the students' abilities to construct questions. This occurs if the teacher returns to the 'Study' phase of the ESA method after the writing is finished. If he or she does not, the learning outcome will not be achieved.

The Role of Pre-requisite Knowledge and Skills

Before the students attempt to write this News Report, it would be important for them to read other newspaper articles so that they understand the layout of a report with its short paragraphs, the common order for a report, and also the type of style used in newspaper writing. They will also need to know the way that newspaper headlines are constructed using special vocabulary and frequently leaving out articles and auxiliary verbs.

Understanding reported speech will be an important pre-requisite, and proper tense usage, including a change from present perfect to past tenses for specific details about where, how and when something happened.

The Strengths and Weaknesses of the Lesson Plan

The Strengths: This lesson plan is very student centered as students are expected to be largely responsible for their own learning, and to create most of the content of the lesson themselves. It should supply comprehensible input in a low anxiety situation as students are working in groups, and the teacher would be expected to be non-authoritarian.

The subject matter of this lesson plan is an interesting topic to engage teenagers so that when new language and grammar is taught it should be naturally and easily acquired. As Krashen pointed out (Krashen 6), "When grammar is taught in the language that is being acquired, it is actually the comprehensible input that the students are receiving, not the content of the lecture itself that is aiding acquisition."

Most levels of students from pre-intermediate up should be able to attempt this report, although at the pre-intermediate level some added framework would benefit the students in their writing.

The lesson plan moves from stage to stage in a logical order according to the TBL model. It should also engage the different learning styles of many students.

The Weaknesses: The lesson plan does not give any time at the start for the teacher to more fully arouse the interest of the class in the topic. Because students immediately go… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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