A free downloadable lesson about Sophie Scholl, a young German girl who took the brave decision to stand up to the Nazis, during World War II. The lesson could be used to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27th, or at any other time of the year.
The lesson starts with a couple of lead-in discussion questions and then students watch a short trailer for a film about Sophie Scholl. Note that the film is in German with English subtitles. In this lesson the video is only used as a lead-in, the main input is in a reading text.
After watching the video, the students read the text to check their ideas. They then carry out an exam style note completion task, before matching some possibly unknown words in the text with their definitions.
The lesson is aimed at B2/C1 students.
To round up there is a final discussion task.
Download lesson plan PDF here: elt resourceful – Sophie Scholl and The White Rose
In this lesson plan designed for the British Council Teaching English site, students read a first-person account by a person who stammers, about how he would prefer people to respond when he does so. After some discussion about the topic, the lesson goes on to focus on some different grammatical structures to express preference and sometimes annoyance: would rather/sooner, would prefer, wish. There is some practice using sentence transformation (as found in FCE) and then some more personalised practice.
- To help students understand more about stammering and how (not) to respond when someone stammers
- To practise reading for specific information
- To be able to use a range of structures for expressing preference and/or annoyance: would prefer, would sooner, would rather, wish.
Adults and older teenagers
CEF level B1+/B2 (especially useful for Cambridge First Certificate preparation)
The lesson plan and student worksheets can be found and downloaded here
Considering that our brains are the key tool for learning, it is surprising how rarely teacher education focuses on neuroscience. Education is full of vague statements about only using 10% of our brains, or using the right or left brain, or being a kinaesthetic learner, but are these really based in science?
Friday 5th October 2018 is World Teacher’s Day and to celebrate I presented a free webinar as part of the British Council’s 5 on 5. In my session we looked at what recent research has to tell us about learning, looking specifically at motivation and memory, and how to apply these findings in the classroom to help students learn more easily and effectively.
You can watch a recording of the webinar here
Speaking in English is something that many students find stressful or anxiety provoking. They can fear making mistakes, failing to understand the person they’re speaking too, or simply drying up. So shouldn’t we try to make speaking activities as stress free as possible?
There are certainly benefits to making sure students are well prepared, that they have the necessary language, that they have a clear idea of what the task demands. However, there are also some good arguments for not trying to remove all stress, and even adding some pressure at times
Read the rest of the article here
Most spiders have four pairs of eyes, which enable them to see what is happening all around them. And most teachers can only wish they had the same ability.
Good teachers do appear to have ‘eyes in the back of their heads’ though. They seem able to sense not just when a student is confused or off task, but even the moment before they are about to go off-task. This ability is sometimes referred to as ‘with-it-ness’, a term coined by the educationalist, Jacob Kounin (1977). Through observing many different classes, Kounin came to the conclusion that the most effective teachers were able to pick up on quite subtle changes in their students’ emotions and behaviour and respond quickly and effectively.
More recently, Robert Marzano (2003) wrote a summary of more than 100 experiments designed to find out which classroom management techniques caused the biggest decrease in disruptions. He looked at explaining and negotiating rules, relationships between teachers and students, rewards and punishments and what he called ‘mental set’. This last was a combination of awareness, or with-it-ness, and a conscious control over how the teacher responded to a disruption.
He found that, by quite some margin, mental set had the biggest positive effect, reducing the number of disruptions by 40%.
What Marzano refers to as mental set could equally well be called mindful awareness, meaning that a more mindful teacher can expect a considerably less disruptive classroom, and by extension, his or her students can expect to do better overall.
Kounin, Jacob S. (1977) Discipline and Group Management in Classrooms. Huntington, N. Y
Marzano, R (2003) What works in schools: translating research into action, ASCD
If you’re interested in mindfulness, check out my new site www.life-resourceful.com
Every teacher recognises the concept of the intermediate plateau.
Students at intermediate, or upper intermediate level start to feel that they aren’t making real progress anymore. They just don’t feel as if they’re getting significantly better, despite putting in plenty of hard work.
Feeling this way can be pretty de-motivating and it’s one of the key reasons why learners often give up at this stage.
In this post for the British Council Teaching English site, I explore how recent findings in neuroscience can help us motivate our learners to go beyond the plateau.
Click here to read more.
My latest lesson plan for the British Council Teaching English site looks at the benefits of being bilingual or multilingual, and a few myths, hoping to encourage students to value the languages they speak.
The lesson begins with a few statements about bilingualism. The students decide if these are true or false and then read a text to check their ideas. Having discussed the topic of the text, the students move on to look at impersonal report structures. These are very common in essays, articles and more academic-type writing, and it is useful for students at this level to be aware of them and to be able to produce them accurately.
After some practice with these structures, the lesson ends with a more light-hearted and personalised practice activity.
- To raise awareness of the benefits of speaking more than one language
- To enable students to recognise and use impersonal report structures
- To provide students with practice in making predictions and reading to confirm them
Adults or older teenagers with CEF level B2 and above
The lesson and student worksheet (3 pages) can be downloaded here.