ESL Lesson Plan: LC, Pair Work & Assignment for "Honesty"
WikiLeaks and the economic crisis
As WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and whistle blower Edward Snowden are in the news with much debate on whether it is legal to divulge the secret documents they have published on a site or revealed to the press, I have decided to look at different ways of exploiting this narrative. I suggest below an approach that you of course wish to modify or improve on.
The narrative has been divided into two parts with an introduction and a listen-and-repeat section for each part. There are also "opinion" questions in the recording that students can take down in dictation and prepare orally or silently after completing each part. These exercises are appropriate for all levels from A2 to C1—thus good for mixed level classes. The oral files can be used in labs, in class or as "oral" homework when students have access to computers.
Two podcasts from "Your English" on "Honesty"
So now you can use these two podcasts:
- "Honesty" - entire text with fill-ins and vocabulary explained in English:
- You can download the audio files here or go to iTunes, type my name "Marianne Raynaud", and get the whole series of "Your English".
Working with the oral worksheet
As many teachers have to deal with fairly large classes with 20 or more students, I thought it might be good for the students to work on the listening comprehension in pairs—after listening to the recorded version once. This is also another way of working on listening comprehension "orally" instead of just using a gap-fill grid.
One recto-verso paper for part one
After playing the recording of part one twice to the class or having them listen to it on their mobile devices (perhaps at home before coming to class) with or without the cloze exercise, you hand out one recto-verso paper (worksheet number one below) to each pair of students. They take turns being the "teacher", i.e. they read the text aloud (without letting their partner see the text), they do the listen-and-repeat part having their partner repeat, and then they ask the sort of questions we teachers tend to ask the whole class.
On the paper the questions to be asked by the “student teacher” are printed with (in parentheses) some words that the “student” should be using in the answer. Again the “student teacher” is instructed not to show the paper to his to her partner.
The teacher will have to walk around to see and hear whether the students are speaking correctly, but I can assure you they will all be active and they will enjoy this activity much more than having the teacher put the questions to the whole class and answering one after another.
A short list of debate questions
There is an additional page (below), which the teacher should not print out or give to the students. It a page of advice. It also has the short list of debate questions found at the end of the recording (Podcast 18) that the teacher can write on the board or project to the class. I strongly suggest that before discussing these questions in pair work the students should change partners. These activities (reading, easy questions and then debate questions) should take about 30 minutes after which the teacher may decide to open up the discussion to the whole class—in that case please look at my suggestions on the "Questions for Debate" page.
Part 2 of "Honesty" on a different day
Personally, I think it is advisable to do "Honesty part 2" on a different day. The students should first be asked to memorize part one and be ready to recite it to a partner at the next session. If they seem reluctant, tell them that this narrative is full of exactly the type of expressions that are on international tests and that they will be reciting to a partner and not in front of the whole class. That should reassure and motivate them. I would like to point out that all the verbs in part one are in the simple present (giving opinions and information) and all the verbs in part two are in the simple past (telling what happened). So this narrative provides practice with useful structures and important tenses.
The assignment (below) now includes a question about WikiLeaks and another one about the banking crisis. The students need not write about Julian Assange or the world’s economy. These are just two of the options to choose from. This assignment can be given at the end of the first class or at the end of the second session depending on whether you want the students to prepare ahead of time for their discussions.
One recto-verso paper for part two & debate questions
During the second class you put the students in pairs. First they recite part one to each other—very important. Second they listen to the recording of part two (or you read it aloud yourself). Then you give out the worksheet for part two (below), and they start the different exercises leading up the debate questions that you project or write on the board. It is best to ask the students to change partners for this second pair work activity.
Groups of three or four to "talk" about their essays
At the end of the second session instead of having a whole class discussion this time you can ask the students to get up, form different groups of three or four, and (while they are standing) "talk" about what they wrote in their assigned essays. But they must leave their papers on their desks to avoid any reading.
Reading and correcting their partner’s essay
To finish the class you can have them read their partner’s essay and try to find any mistakes. These mistakes should be corrected of course by the authors themselves. The students can raise their hands, and ask you questions directly as you walk around the classroom. Tell them they should ask you if they have any doubts. Chances are you will have fewer mistakes to correct when you get home with the essays.
The assignment after the second session should be to learn that second part by heart and to write the essay—if you did not have them do it after the first session.
Great success with this theme
I have always had great success with this theme of "honesty", which today seems just as valid and up-to-date as in the past. With the lesson plan mentioned above all the students will be participating actively and will wind up expressing their ideas far more than when the teacher asks them to express their personal opinion in front of everyone else.
I’d love some feedback
I would really enjoy getting some feedback from teachers using these podcasts and worksheets. Just write to Marianne Raynaud. You can also contact me if you have any questions.
All the files available in MS Word
If you purchase my digital book (see below), you will get all these files in MS Word. Then you’ll be able to customize them, i.e. add vocabulary in your students’ native language, additional explanations or instructions like the due date of the essay assignment. Teachers who buy the book say they are overwhelmed by the quantity of excellent materials. In fact there are 3.9 GB (with audio and video), and that’s why it is on a DVD as there is no way to use a downloading system. it would take 24 hours to download it, and first 36 hours for me to uploaded!
Effective teaching materials
If you are looking for effective teaching materials, read about QualityTime-ESL: The Digital Resource Book on a DVD or in a downloadable version which includes a selection of scripts and worksheets from our different series plus more than 1,000 other files (MS Word, MP3, PPT and video). The DVD costs €29 plus shipping according to the destination. The downloadable version sells for €14.99. Just go to the store for more information and to order..