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    • #5252
      Nicholas Northall
      Moderator
          @nick-northall
          1. Provide or describe a plan for your last or recent writing lesson you taught. Try to include information about the group and the context, the aims and the staging and state which approach (product, process, genre) you took.
          2. Describe how successful the lesson was and whether it met the aims. With hindsight would you do anything differently (consider what we have covered in this unit including the reflection tasks in Topics 5-7)?

          To attach a plan to your post, use the Choose file button below.

        • #51360
          Gajinder Kaur
          Participant
              @gk

              I have used the story reconstruction activity in class yesterday, pfa the lesson plan below.

              Since this is an online class, I encountered many issues, especially with pairing learners in breakout rooms …. I feel I could have made this an individual activity, but that would cost me learner collaboration and interaction.

              The restructuring of the text was largely a freewriting activity, however, I did direct them to more Process-writing subskills with a cohesive-device list and goading them to edit, proofread and revise.

              I also asked them to listen patiently as each one read out their versions of the story, making a note of a positive and negative point to provide politely. I could see that this suddenly elevated their own personal positions as listeners/audience/ critical feedback providers and you could almost feel the sense of self esteem they provided the feedback with. It was very constructive.

              I think, judging by the entire process of having carried the lesson through, in the stipulated time it was successful. But I am not happy with the quality of student writing. I feel it could have been way better, considering the amount of spoken language is exchanged during class. I am a little disappointed with the creative output. Usage of linking devices seemed forced or even minimal in some cases.

              LESSON PLAN

              Teacher:

              GAJINDER KAUR
              Date:

              16 NOV.’22
              Lesson Aims/Learning Outcomes

              Main aim/learning outcome:

              By the end of the lesson, students will:

              Understand more about sequencing, coherence and cohesion, and be able to construct text similarly.

              Subsidiary aim(s)/learning outcome(s):

              By the end of the lesson, students will:

              Be able to use cohesive devices like linkers and connectors.

               

              Brief overview of the learners and the course

              This is an extra-curricular language class made of mixed age groups and mixed middle-graders. It is conducted online. It is a 90 -minute class.

              CEFR B1/2

               

              Links between this lesson and preceding/subsequent lessons

              We analysed an excerpt from an ancient tale in which the lesson plan prescribed the awareness and usage of sequencing events. I hope to follow this up with making the learners summarizing/rewriting the text in their own words, so it covers multi-subskills. They can also give it their own twistor ending if they like.

               

               

              Materials and resources used

              Worksheets

              Jigsaw text

              Cohesive devices/linkers list

               

               

              Lesson Procedure

              Time
              Stage and stage aims/Learning outcome
              Procedure / Activity
              Interaction
              5-7 mins.
              Intro/warm up
              Welcome learners to class… ask them to recall the activities of previous lesson and say we will be moving forward with the same…

              5 mins.
              Stage 2- develop critical reading skills
              Hand out the jigsaw text- mixed up paragraphs of a story, ask learners to read through and try to make sense of the story.
              Pair-Share
              5mins.

              Ask them to sequence the events numerically  in order of occurrence.
              Pair-Share
              7-8 mins.

              Ask each group to read out a sequence and check if they have the story in order.
              WCF
              5 mins.
              Stage 3- applying what they learnt in previous lessons, language awareness
              Now, starting with the first paragraph, ask them to circle any discourse markers, linkers/connectors that lead from one idea or one sequence to the next. (Note: learners were made aware of linking devices in the previous class…)
              Pair-share
              8 mins.

              Ask learners to share their findings in pairs.

              5 mins.

              Now provide a list of some other linking devices, words and phrases that help to transition between ideas and sequences from beginning/middle/end of story. Ask learners to go through it.

              12 -15 mins.
              Stage 4- developing creative writing skills
              Give them a sentence starter, say Once upon a time… to begin writing their own version of the story they just reorganised, using devices from the list provided. A gentle reminder to keep one idea clearly in one paragraph.

              Individual
              6-8 mins.
              Developing process writing skills
              Ask them to edit for sequencing/content ; revise their work once for grammar/ spelling/punctuation.
              Individual
              2 mins.

              Ask learners to give it a title different from the one it originally has.

              10 mins. – Stage 5- developing critical listening and feedback skills
              Share the work by asking them to read it aloud.

              If time permits, ask the learners 1 point of positive/negative feedback for each story created.
              WCF

              2         Mins
              Recap everything we did today- end of lesson

               

               

              • #51490
                Peter Wilson
                Participant
                    @peterw

                    Hello, sounds like an interesting lesson Gajinder. I think as much collaboration as possible is a good idea to get them communicating and sharing ideas in English. It’s a shame their first drafts weren’t great; maybe that’s a good argument for the Process Writing approach so they can get feedback and have another go.

                  • #51530
                    Manuel Flores Lasarte
                    Moderator
                        @manuel

                        Thank you Gajinder @gk for getting this forum started and for providing a clear indication of the aims of your lesson and how it  linked to previous and following lessons. You set up some very useful and engaging activities to help learners develop their understanding of cohesive devices by asking learners to organise a text and then by analysing the cohesive devices used in them. This provides a good model of what learners had to produce. There also seems to be a lot of collaboration between learners, something that not only increases student speaking and confidence but also engagement. The final proofreading/ editing is a nice final touch to encourage learners to check their work before they hand it in, thus imitating what happens in real life.

                        You mention that the lesson was overall successful in meeting the aims in the time given but you were quite disappointed with the quality of student writing. It is true that we cannot expect the first drafts to be perfect and that’s why drafting and redrafting are part of the writing process as @peterw highlights. But in addition to the need for more drafting and redrafting, what other factors may have contributed to this poor quality in writing? Any ideas @everyone?

                        Having said this, the peer feedback seemed to have worked quite well. I’m sure learners were quite happy to learn about their peers’ stories and to give some feedback. Commenting on each others’ writing also works well for the person giving feedback as it encourages them to notice ‘what to do’ and ‘what not to do’ when writing. By the way, @gk did you give them a checklist to help them with peer feedback? Was listening to the story enough to give feedback or did learners need to read the text as well?

                        On a different note, it’s great that all your stages have a clear purpose. It’s very important to consider the purpose of different activities for Paper 2, task 2 in which you need to specify the purpose for different activities and stages in the material so the more you consider the aims of your activities in your lesson planning, the better you’ll be prepared for the exam!

                        PS: Just a terminology point, remember that in a jigsaw reading activity, different learners read different parts of a text rather than the same text.

                    • #51491
                      Peter Wilson
                      Participant
                          @peterw

                          So my writing lesson (hopefully attached below) is a Level 1 writing from a while ago focusing on an email of thanks of complaint following a camping trip. This Level 1 class were preparing for a Functional Skills writing exam so they needed to practise writing specific types of text and under timed conditions as well.  For the Functional Skills writing exam there are a few genres of text the Ls have to know, so a lot of the approach to preparing them focuses on the Product Approach with lots of use of model texts. We’d looked at some models in previous lessons. In this lesson there is some attempt to bring in elements of the Process Approach by doing groups brainstorm activities before, introducing some collaborative writing activities and doing peer-checking after writing. There is also some work on language features e.g. using conjunctions to encourage them to use longer, higher level sentences .

                          The lesson went quite well; I think group level idea generation is a really good idea so they all feel more confident with what to write and sometime some of them get stuck for content ideas. I think if I did it again I’d focus on some more of the Product Approach techniques such as looking at paragraphing. This is something I ended up doing in following lessons.

                           

                           

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                          • #51540
                            Manuel Flores Lasarte
                            Moderator
                                @manuel

                                Thanks Peter @peterw for your reflections on your writing lesson and for attaching the slides (it really helps to understand how the lesson was constructed). It is great to see a combination of a product approach (by referring to the models introduced in earlier lessons) and a process approach with a nice focus on specific language features, drafting and peer feedback. As you mention, encouraging learners to work in groups can be really useful especially when generating ideas and I really like how you divided the class into two groups for this and then asked students to pair up with someone from the other group, thus allowing learners to focus on one thing at a time. It is also great to see a clear context for the writing task: learners know exactly who they are writing to and why. This, in combination with their genre awareness (developed in previous lessons) must have helped learners a lot in their confidence and probably contributed to the success of your lesson.

                                Of course, it is impossible to focus on everything in one lesson so it is great to see your reflections and how you use them to inform the content of future lessons (e.g. looking at paragraphs).

                              • #51655
                                Gajinder Kaur
                                Participant
                                    @gk

                                    Hello Peter!

                                    I think your lesson plan has full clarity and was very well thought of, from providing sentence starters/ linking words and phrases and the peer assessment.

                                    I’m just wondering how smoothly it went off!

                                    Didn’t you encounter any unanticipated glitches at all?

                                    I was very disappointed with my learners’ output…

                                • #51538
                                  Manuel Flores Lasarte
                                  Moderator
                                      @manuel

                                      Hi @everyone,

                                      Feel free to add more ideas and thoughts on your writing lessons. If you don’t have a lesson plan to hand, a short description will do. Feel free to ask any questions about writing lessons you may have as well.

                                      I look forward to reading your thoughts and lessons on writing.

                                      Best,

                                      Manuel

                                    • #51612
                                      Robert Dailey
                                      Participant
                                          @robertd

                                          A student arrived in a B2 class today (a small group, maximum 4 learners) and she said that she needed some guidance about writing an email to a client. So taking the class from there, and putting to one side the plan for another day, the students (there were 3 in total) drafted the email to the client. Using a process approach (there was no other option), the students did the following:

                                          a) We discussed the content of the email, i.e. what the writer wanted to communicate, and the type of relationship that existed between the writer and the sender.

                                          b) This led to a discussion about register which was interesting because the students explained that the language used with clients in the USA is very informal, while in the emails they receive from India the language is very formal.

                                          c) We brainstormed ideas firstly about a structure and then the content. We asked and answered the question: what was the key information that the writer wanted to convey?

                                          d) The students created a draft and I left them to it and gave input only when some of the language went fairly far off course. The draft took about 15 minutes.

                                          e) One of the students adopted the role of “scribe” and the others dictated to him the content of the email which he wrote on the board.

                                          f) Once there, we stepped back and had a look at it and after making one or two positive comments I asked where they thought improvements could be made.

                                          g) The class finished with me replacing some parts of the language and explaining the changes.

                                          The class took 60 minutes and ended with the students having gone through the process of writing a draft email and then seeing at the end how their work could be improved. I would award this class a 4 out 5. The students said the class was very useful (especially because one of the students had to write the email in “real life”!) They were thoroughly engaged throughout and some interesting questions emerged about language. I had to think on my feet throughout the lesson, but I was pleased with it.

                                           

                                           

                                          • #51641
                                            Aytaj Suleymanova
                                            Participant
                                                @aytajs93

                                                Now this is one of the best feelings, when the students can transfer what they have learned from class to real life.

                                                Definitely something I need to work on and make my writing lessons more applicable to the students’ needs.

                                              • #51645
                                                Manuel Flores Lasarte
                                                Moderator
                                                    @manuel

                                                    That’s a proper Dogme class, and a very successful one it seems Rob! Making writing activities relevant to learners can be difficult so using the learner’s real need to write an email seems a great choice! Using a process approach here is also a good idea for two reasons: (1) it allows you to focus on the learner’s need without having to find a model and analyse it and (2) you can do this because learners are probably very familiar with what an email to a client looks like.

                                                    Your lesson seems very nicely scaffolded and I really like your discussion about register based on the relationship they have with the client and the client’s cultural background (e.g. Indian VS American).

                                                    Thinking on your feet throughout the lesson must have been hard but the fact that you knew what to expect from an email to a client helped you guide the learners well. This is why DELTA can be very useful: the more familiar you become with different genres and learners’ difficulties, the easier it will be to address your learners’ needs!

                                                • #51779
                                                  Erica
                                                  Participant
                                                      @erica

                                                      Provide or describe a plan for your last or recent writing lesson you taught.

                                                      I took the product approach- see the attached lesson plan.

                                                      Describe how successful the lesson was and whether it met the aims. With hindsight would you do anything differently (consider what we have covered in this unit including the reflection tasks in Topics 5-7)?

                                                      The aims were met, and the students managed to supply the necessary vocabulary to complete the writing task without struggling.

                                                      I surprisingly noticed that not all the students used the model to support their own writing. I found that surprising as I deliberately chose the product approach to try to support and enhance my learners’ writing. Even more surprising is the fact that were the weaker students who didn’t use the model at all. As a result, they ended up writing a list of random sentences about their lives, e.g., 1) I have a car, 2) My name is Hind. 3) I don’t like rice. They thus fail to write or attempt to write a cohesive and coherent short paragraph. 

                                                      On the other hand, none of the students who used the model as a “frame” merely copied it, which is positive and rather unusual at that level (beginners).

                                                      All in all, I think I would do things differently now. First, I agree that writing is a skill that needs nurturing regardless of the language used (L1 or L2). Perhaps, developing writing habits is what may help may students gain confidence and thus take the risk of writing something new and/or more difficult (like a short paragraph!).

                                                      I would now mix and use both the process and product approaches. For example, since the lesson also served as a kind of revision / consolidation of some lexis and grammatical items, I could ask the student to come up with a “written model” instead of giving them one. I could give them a photo and some info about an imaginary person, e.g., Yusef (photo), doctor, hospital near the city centre, London, etc., and ask them to use all the information to write sentences. They could do it in pairs. Then we could organise the sentences in a paragraph, and I could still teach and, but (or some students may suggest them, who knows). Perhaps, by doing so I could actually teach them how to construct a short paragraph before asking them to write one about themselves straightaway.

                                                       

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                                                      • #52430
                                                        Manuel Flores Lasarte
                                                        Moderator
                                                            @manuel

                                                            Thanks Erica (@erica) for sharing your lesson plan and your reflections. The lesson plan looks great and nicely scaffolds the writing activity with a good focus on language.  It is interesting what you say about learners not using the model. Why do you think this happened? Typical reasons why learners do not use the model in their writing include:

                                                            • Learners may feel that they have a clear understanding of what to do (and therefore feel they do not need to refer to the model again).
                                                            • Learners may not know exactly how to apply the model to their personal writing. I think this is quite normal at lower levels, when learners may be focusing more on understanding a text rather than imitating it themselves.
                                                            • The level of the model is too high for them and they can’t imitate it.
                                                            • Some learners may be reluctant to use the model as they think that’s cheating.
                                                            • There has been too much focus on language when teaching the model and not enough on typical genre features that they need to include (e.g. organisation, use of paragraphs and linking words).

                                                            I think what you mention to do as a follow-up lesson looks great: once the model has been presented and learners have a clear idea of what they are aiming for, you can spend longer on the process of writing.

                                                        • #51800
                                                          Robert Dailey
                                                          Participant
                                                              @robertd

                                                              Hi Erica,

                                                              Thanks a lot for sharing your lesson plan.

                                                              Like you, I think I favour the use of process and product approaches. My instinct is to favour a process approach, but I also think that learners find it very useful to have a model. (I think I would if were the learner, if only as a kind of psychological point of reference).

                                                              I really like the part in your plan where you ask your learners to analyse the model language: circle the adjectives, find negative forms etc. The lowest level I have at the moment is pre-int and I´de be really interested to know if you used much metalanguage in your instructions and how the learners responded to your instructions in general.

                                                              Thanks!

                                                              • #51810
                                                                Erica
                                                                Participant
                                                                    @erica

                                                                    Hi Robert,

                                                                    thanks for replying to my post.

                                                                    In my opinion, metalanguage is a very useful tool to teach the language – grammar, lexis, etc. – and I use it with all levels – apart from Pre-Entry, especially when the students are pre-literate. Of course, the level tells you what to teach and thus what metalanguage you should / shouldn’t use. At beginner level I do think it’s important to start thinking about word class (verbs, nouns, adjectives, etc.) as it helps to form sentences; and the type of sentences (affirmative/positive, negative or question) as it improves accuracy. It’s true that sometimes you need to “rephrase” the metalanguage in order to make it more learner-level-friendly (the word “contractions” is too difficult, so I call them “short forms”, I am = long form; I’m = short form of the verb to be) but I think that if you are consistent, they will pick it up. Sometimes, you don’t need to use the metalanguage at all, for example “a pen” I don’t say “a” is a determiner as it isn’t necessary. I just say a/an = one and it goes with singular nouns (again at this stage it’s too early to talk about uncountable nouns – so they won’t feature in the exercise). When they make mistakes, I ask them “how many [pens]?” they will say one and then realise ‘a’ is missing.

                                                                    To answer your question, since I use metalanguage when I teach my beginners and then keep using it when I give instructions and the feedback, my students understand it and try to use it as well. Especially during feedback, I think it reinforces their understanding. For instance, during that lesson when I asked to give me an example of the negative form of the present simple in the text, one student said “don’t”. I asked the class whether they were happy with that, and someone said “No teacher, don’t is the help (I hadn’t taught them that do is an auxiliary as it is too difficult to remember). I don’t like” And then I asked what the verb was, and she shouted “like”. So, she remembered how to construct the negative form of the present simple and explained it to me using the same metalanguage I used to teach it. It’s a big class and I’m not saying that metalanguage is easily used or understood by all of them, but my consistent use of it it’s slowly forcing them all to start thinking about it.

                                                                    I wouldn’t be able to teach (at any mainstream levels) without the appropriate metalanguage. What would you call “big” then? A word. But isn’t it still some kind of metalanguage? And what is its position in a sentence? Before another word. Do you think it is clear or easy to understand?

                                                                    As I said sometimes you don’t need to call the items you are teaching by their technical names.

                                                                    this/that these/those – is it important to teach pre-intermediate what they are called in grammatical terms? What about at C1? Is its definition useful when we teach the function and meaning of those determiners?

                                                                    It probably depends on the type of course you are teaching, the level of the learners and what how useful metalanguage is in terms of aiding teaching and learning (students use it to study/learn). When I was teaching in Poland, my students found articles very difficult because there isn’t such a grammatical feature in Polish. I taught this grammatical feature using the metalanguage “article” to all my students (from elementary above) as I wanted them to recall the “words” a/an / the during feedback and/or error correction sessions. Metalanguage was thus useful and beneficial for me and for them.

                                                                  • #52435
                                                                    Manuel Flores Lasarte
                                                                    Moderator
                                                                        @manuel

                                                                        I agree with what Erica says here. Metalanguage can be helpful for learners (and perhaps even more helpful for learners who have been taught in a traditional grammar-translation method using lots of language terminology, as it is the case in Spanish schools). As a learner of language myself, I found the use of some terminology useful to know some rules (e.g. you can’t say ‘beautifully house’ because you can never have an adverb before a noun). However, it is important that terminology does not distract from communication and does not make things more complicated than they are. So in summary:

                                                                        – Use terminology only when it helps and when it makes things easier (the learning background of your learners will be important here).

                                                                        – Be consistent in the use of your terminology (but accept other terms if your learners use them).

                                                                        Nice discussion here, by the way!

                                                                    • #52436
                                                                      Manuel Flores Lasarte
                                                                      Moderator
                                                                          @manuel

                                                                          Dear All,

                                                                          Thank you for your contribution to this forum. It was a big task designing a lesson plan and then commenting on it. This is good practice though, not only for your day-to-day practice where you may want to spend longer than usual on your lesson plan, but also if you are considering completing DM2.  We really enjoyed reading through your ideas and will incorporate some of them into our next lessons.

                                                                          Here are some ideas you might want to consider when designing your next writing lesson:

                                                                          • It is essential that we attempt to meet our learners’ needs. Perhaps it is impossible to meet every learner’s needs all the time, but attempting to do so ensures motivation levels and learning remain high.
                                                                          • When introducing a new language genre (more in Unit 8) it is really important to include some kind of model to help guide learners to writing their own texts.
                                                                          • As well as the actual writing task, we should include other tasks too. These could include input such as watching videos, or (as mentioned above), analysing models, as well as creative tasks such as discussions.
                                                                          • Writing does not always have to be purely composition tasks. It is a good idea to include writing tasks such as dictoglosses, brainstorming (notes and writing as much as possible without hesitation) and sentence construction.
                                                                          • Effective writing lessons, like all effective lessons, not only include writing tasks, but might also include work (as subsidiary aims) on the other skills as well as language work.
                                                                          • We should consider follow up tasks -either as homework or in subsequent lessons to both recycle language and consolidate learning.
                                                                          • It can be difficult to always evaluate the success of our lessons, but if the learners appear engaged and focused on the tasks then we can assume that the lesson has been, at least, partially successful.
                                                                          • Correction and feedback (see Unit 7) are both important to help learners develop their language and writing skills – as well as to develop their ideas.
                                                                          • Collaboration can be an essential skill not only when actually composing the text (this works well with posters!), but also when brainstorming ideas, planning, drafting and indeed offering feedback on work.
                                                                          • Most writing lessons perhaps don’t follow, to the rule, one particular approach outlined in the unit and will probably be a little ‘eclectic’ in their approach.
                                                                          • It is a good idea to take a process approach to writing: i.e. give our learners the opportunity to draft and then re-draft their work. This could also involve peer correction as well as self- or tutor correction.
                                                                          • Using models gives learners the opportunity to see and analyse a text before they write their own.
                                                                          • Combining both process and productive approaches can help learners through a combination of using models and reflecting on their own work.
                                                                          • Including some form of Dogme in our lessons: that is, let the learners provide the ideas, focus and input while we perhaps just address any queries and offer support.

                                                                          I hope you’ve enjoyed posting here. And if you haven’t done so already, please continue to post your lesson plans!

                                                                          Cheers,

                                                                          Manuel

                                                                        • #53451
                                                                          Andrew Burke
                                                                          Participant
                                                                              @andrew

                                                                              Letter of complaint

                                                                              1. Revision of some modals of suggestion and obligation –  should / ought to / had better
                                                                              2. Introduction to modals in the past should have done / ought to have given
                                                                              3. Revision of conjunctive adverbs / sequence markers / linking words (not sure what their collective name is) however/ in addition / moreover / firstly / overall / finally etc
                                                                              4. Students are given a letter of complaint about a flight and have to complete gaps with conjunctive adverbs / sequence markers  and the correct form of the modals; present or past
                                                                              5. Examine genre / form of letter, including register / politeness despite being a letter of complaint / salutations etc
                                                                              6. Students discuss the complaining cultures of their countries, what they complain about and the complaints procedure
                                                                              7. Students are given something else they might complain about in their culture  – a meal in a restaurant, for example, and brainstorm what problems they might have had and what they expect the restaurant to do about it
                                                                              8. Students write a letter of complaint using the flight complaint letter as a template / model to follow
                                                                              9. Peer correction – students read and correct each other’s letters.
                                                                              • #53520
                                                                                Nicholas Northall
                                                                                Moderator
                                                                                    @nick-northall

                                                                                    Hi Andrew,

                                                                                    Thanks for sharing. Did the lesson meet its aims? What would you change anything?

                                                                                    Cheers,
                                                                                    Nick

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