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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Comprehensive Classes

Teaching a language implies the developing of reading, listening, speaking and writing skills, which should be integrated when dealing with a certain topic in class. The integration of skills contributes to effective learning and makes it easier for students to fully apprehend what is being taught.

In one of my latest classes with intermediate-level students, I had to introduce the topic "extreme sports". In the lead-in stage, I used the pictures that appeared in the coursebook to present and elicit the new vocabulary so the students were able to speak about these sports. For the students to remember the new vocabulary, we created a mind-map. Then the students were supposed to do a listening task in their coursebooks. They listened to a conversation about extreme sports and completed a chart. After that, they carried out surveys and interviewed their partners. When they finished, they had to express the results of their surveys to the whole group.
To encourage a freer application of the vocabulary, students participated in a problem-solving task through interaction. They exchanged views and ideas to solve a problem: the possible dangers of these activities. For this task, students had to use functional language to agree and disagree and they had to respect turn-taking.
As a follow-up, I´ve uploaded an article about extreme sports in their class blog, which they were supposed to read at home. I've also created a Wallwisher for them to express their views on the topic.

In brief, it was a multi-skill practice of the language: students talked to each other, in small groups and to the whole class; they listened to each other and to the recording; they read an article and they wrote about their opinion in the wallwisher.


  1. This is the absolute bare minimum I would expect from a qualified or experienced language teacher. Of course classes should integrate multiple skills. I'm puzzled as to why you would even describe such a standard lesson unless you are just starting out in the profession.

  2. Hello Frederick,

    Thanks for your comment. I admit the lesson is standard but what is new to me is the application of technology in my classes. I've been using wikis and blogs for two years now. And I'm able to enourage my students to become independent learners and consolidate what we do in class by uploading material in those wikis and blogs.

  3. I think the use of a blog to foster independent learning among your students is an interesting application of the technology. I'm curious to know how your students have responded. Do you make them responsible for updating conent, or is it purely informational?

  4. Hello Jennifer!
    Thanks for your comment! At the beginning the novelty motivated my students to check updates more frequently. But, you see, teenagers´ motivation deflates easily and they have a great deal of excuses (lack of time, broken computer and so on) not to visit the blogs and wikis as often as I'd like. A few of them profit from every new upload and for that reason I keep on with positive feelings that most of them will see the benefits.
    One task I've devised for my students to participate is that every week they have to write a short post about what they've learnt that week, what they have enjoyed and what they haven´t liked doing that week in class. Even though it is a compulsory task not all of them do it.
    I'm determined to go on despite the apathy displayed by some of them and just because others see the benefits. I've received comments from students who share some of the activities with their parents at home and that's rewarding.