Archive for April, 2010
What do feet have to do with romance and your ESL, EFL, ESOL lesson plans?
Well, if you want a lot ! and it’s easy to combine them with the help of blogs!
Reviewing and Expanding ESL, EFL ESOL Foot and Footwear Language with blogs!
Here’s a great blog, Your Chance For Romance that you can integrate into your English language lesson plan and review language for:
- the parts of the body
- foot-related language and feet problems
- the suffix “-wear” and its various collocations
- as well as strong adjectives vs regular adjectives and their intensifiers
and give your ESL, EFL, ESOL students an enjoyable lesson.
Here’s the website and blog article: The Most Romantic Footwear Is…..
An ESL, EFL, ESOL Lesson Plan with Romantic Feet Language!
I used this blog article with intermediate/upper-intermediate adult ESL, EFL, ESOL students.
- I started by asking them to tell me what they thought of as being romantic.
- Then I asked them if they ever thought of their feet as being romantic.
- Then I reviewed with them 8 words or terms that I knew could be new for them:
- fashion spreads
- the state of Minnesota and where its located
- the 2 meanings of heel, as well as high heels
- calves – in relation to the legs and the animals
- bunions, blisters and other foot-related problems
- hideous, and reviewed other strong adjectives and their intensifiers
- boomer and boomer age
- rhinestones and trim
- bare and its other collocations
My busy young university adults and business people found this blog post enjoyable and we had great discussions about what they considered romantic, their feet, their footwear and local customs.
Ah, one question to the author, Sonya…. the women want to know if some or all handbags could be considered romantic?
Enjoy teaching English!
An ESL/EFL Lesson Pause with Social Media!
Today I’m not going to focus on strictly ESL or EFL lesson material. No, I think you need a break. Ok, we will be using one of the social media, but I think you’ll enjoy the wonderful way this video helps us relate to our language. So let’s take 5 and go see one of my favorite YouTube videos.
Oh, yes, I have shown it to my more advanced ESL/EFL students. I wanted them to feast on the beauty of English.
The voice actor is excellent; he seems to give life and breath to the very words. And the graphics – the graphic designer was fantastic. I love the way they took the words and played with them as if they were in a sandbox – and in a certain sense they were !
Their sandbox, as ours, is our fantastic language. It allows us to take the 26 letters, about 42 sounds and the vast heritage we have received from our past. With this wealth we then create, share and hand on to coming generations our thoughts, hopes, experiences, lives… expressed in words, sounds and images.
This is the English language that ESL/EFL/ESOL teachers strive to hand on to those they teach.
Take a break and feast your eyes and ears on English!
ESL/EFL Lessons with a YouTube video can make our classes much more interesting and memorable for our students.
First of all, videos provide ESL/EFL learners with real-life English. The English is spoken at normal speed and uses vocabulary and sentence structure that native English-speaking people employ.
Moreover, good YouTube videos are free to access, short in duration and therefore, much easier to plan into an ESL/EFL lesson – and planning is important if we want to make sure we incorporate the videos into the overall class objectives.
A Sample ESL Lesson Plan for a YouTube video
As I noted in a previous post, it is important to prepare our students for the material they are going to watch. We need to give them background to what they are going to watch so that they can put it in context and link it to what they already know in their own language, as well as what they have already learned in their ESL/EFL/ESOL classes. Remember we want to stretch their English – not overwhelm them with unrelated information or grammatical and lexical material.
For this reason, it is very important that we preview the video first. We know our English learners and we know which lexical expressions or grammatical structure could be too challenging for them.
The basic ESL/EFL lesson plans have 3 parts: Preparation, Presentation of new language material, Application – and that is the organization I will be following in this lesson plan for this YouTube video.
The YouTube video I’ve chosen is called “Break Up”. It has won several awards and was produced in 2007 for the Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions. It appears to be a story about a romantic relationship that is coming to an end… but is it? It brings in the some of the vocabulary and body language of dating… But it is more…. Read the shirts of the man and the woman. What is the real story here?
With a general group of ESL/EFL learners, we could use in lessons dealing with vocabulary dealing with relationships. With business ESL/EFL clients the video could be incorporated into a training with dealing with communication skills and body language. These are just some ideas; there are many other ways that this video could be tied into a lesson.
ESL Learner: upper-intermediate to advanced
Class time: about 90 minutes
Material Needed: YouTube video, video player or computer large enough for your ESL learners to see and hear.
Questions you could ask ESL/EFL learners
In your country/culture:
- How do young people date? (you might need to explain ”date”.)
- How did you first meet your boyfriend/girlfriend or wife/husband?
- Did you go out to eat in special places? Who paid for the meal?
- Do you feel that men understand women? How or How not?
- Do you feel that men listen to women? How or how not?
- Do women understand and listen to men? How or how not?
Presentation of new language material
New vocabulary in context:
Prepare your ESL students for the English language they are going to hear by either explaining or having exercises ready for them to do. Some words or phrases they might have difficult understanding could be the following:
- “I just put down a mil on a TV commercial just to talk to you.” What does “mil” mean here?
- “We don’t even hang out in the same places anymore.” What does the phrasal verb “hang out” mean?
- “You can’t tell me you missed the billboard in Times Square?” What does the verb “miss” mean here? “Billboard”? What is that?
- “Coupons, you want coupons.” What are “coupons”?
- “Let’s just hug.” What is “hug”?
- “I’m out of here!” What does the idiomatic expression”to be out of here” mean?
- “Let’s be like the old days.” Old days? What does this expression mean here?
The Video “Break Up”:
Show the introductory part of the video. Stop, check for oral comprehension, answer any questions students might have.
Continue showing video, stopping and checking for comprehension as needed. Then show the video all the way through from start to finish.
Application and Follow-up questions
- who does the man represent?
- who does the woman represent?
- what does the woman want?
- what’s the man’s reaction?
- what’s her main compliant?
- what does he know about the woman?
- how does he think he can make her happy?
- what is her reaction to his suggestions?
- As a customer do you want to be in dialogue with your service and product producers?
- How do you let your service and product producers know what you want?
- Why do you start using a service or product?
- Why do you stop using a service or product?
There are any number of questions, role plays, etc., that you can could use here in the application part of the ESL/EFL lesson…. How would you apply this video?
“Latin is a dead language
as dead as dead can be…..
Once it killed the Romans,
and NOW it’s killing me!
Did you ever recite this?
As high school freshmen, we would chant these words to each other as we entered and exited Latin class.
Did you study Latin at some point in your life?
Amo, amas, amat… Do you still remember the Latin verb conjugations? or what about…
Hic, Haec, Hoc… can you decline it?
And Caesar’s Wars? Ugh!
Studying Latin in high school was an obligation – but – it was irksome! “Once it killed the Romans – and NOW it’s killing me….” These words frequently echoed in my head.
Years laters, arriving in Rome from Pakistan, I was registering for theological studies at the Gregorian University; however, Latin and New Testment Greek were required subjects starting from the first year. I wanted, at all costs, to avoid doing another course in Latin. The killing effects of high school Latin were still with me.
The Dean of Theology, Fr. Jared Wicks, informed me that if I passed the required test of Latin knowledge, I would be exempt from taking the Latin class. Before the date for the exam I studied day and night for weeks, reviewing and trying to revive my memory cells of the bitter Latin language.
When the Dean informed me that I had passed the test, I was delighted. No mind-draining, demoralizing Latin course for me, I thought. However, Fr. Wicks’ concluding words stayed with me and picqued my curosity: “If you want to really teach,” he advized, “take Reginald Foster’s Latin course. If nothing else, to learn from him how to teach.”
Three years later, I finally had an opening in my schedule that would allow the twice-weekly classes. However, during those three years, I had met “Reggie” as his students called him. You couldn’t miss him at the University. Clad in a simple blue plumber-looking shirt, jacket and trousers, bald head, rowdy face and frameless eyeglasses, Fr. Foster, who worked at the Vatican’s Latin Office, would arrive before 2 pm and go up to his classroom on the second floor. I would hear his 70 plus students, excitedly talking about their Latin class. Interestingly, none of them had that “Latin is killing me” attitude…. I was intrigued. Who could make Caesar and Cicero palatable?
“No dead wood!” Foster’s voice boomed on the first day of the basic class which Foster called, The First Experience. “I don’t want you here if you don’t want to learn Latin. Got it!” There was silence in the class. He had a contract for each of us to sign that we would attend the twice-weekly classes and do the homework after each class. He would personally correct each of the legal-sized, single spaced “Ludi” that he freshly created for each class. “I will know AND you will know – if you know Latin. Got it!”
Before the whining excuses could surface and be voiced of how hard Latin was, Foster informed us: “Friends, even the prostitutes and bums in Rome knew Latin. Got it!”
The question was not “why study Latin”, but rather, “why didn’t people want to study Latin”. “If you don’t know Latin, you know nothing!” his growling voice echoed off the walls of the large classroom,
“If you don’t know Latin, you are sitting out there on the sidelines – don’t worry, most of the world is out there with you. But if you want to know what’s going on in this whole stream of two thousand years’ worth of gorgeous literature than you need Latin.”
Then we got a 10-paged, stapled, legal sized booklet of sheets. These sheets filled with samples of Latin from the writings of such greats as Horace, Ovid, Cicero, Augustine, Acquinas, Eramus, all the way down to the most recent papal document… “This is our textbook.” Foster announced. This booklet, a good Latin dictionary, along with the class explanations and Ludi were our means to learn one of the “killer” languages! (To my surprise, in the booklet there was not a quote from Caesar’s Wars! ).
The Dean was right! Reginald Foster, originally fromWisconsin, had a unique way of teaching. And not only did we study the text, but Foster organized day-long trips within Rome and to areas around Rome. The ancient voices in the texts took on new meaning as we visited places such as, the Roman Formum & Palatine, Ostia Antica; Castel Gondalfo; Arpina, Cicero’s birth place, and Formia where he had a home and is buried; Horace’s summer villa in the Sabinan hills; the ancient ruined castle of Aquino north of Naples and down on the plains the ancient mediavel town of Fossanova. Each trip had a picnic atmosphere about it; we were given a new booklet with the ancient Latin texts that dealt with the area or author, read and sang in Latin, walked and shared with other class members and then finished the day’s outing in a local pizza restaurant. Then there was the annual Ides of March tour where we followed in the footsteps of Julius Caesar on that fateful day….
Here is a video of the song sang to Caesar at the end of the Ides of March tour. (The tour was also given during the Aestiva Romae Latinatis as in this video:
Reginald Foster’s passion and love for his subject, his care and concern for each of his students, his joy of life totally changed my whole outlook on Latin, learning and teaching. His:
- command of the material
- well-planned out lessons
- clear rules and guidelines
- passionate commitment to his subject
- engaging of all the internal and external senses in learning
- selfless dedication to his students and their progress
These qualites continue to be an example and inspiration to me of a great language teacher. Reginald Foster turned Latin from a dead to a living and life-giving language.
And you, do you remember any language teacher or teacher who inspired you in your life?How did they help you to appreciate the subject you were studying better? What did you learn from them that you would like to pass on to other teachers?
I have been asked recently for greater clarification about E-Notebooks: are they a computer? software? a blog?
To answer that let me share with you the reaction of my clients/students when I first told them that I had set up a “blog” style digital notebook for each of them so that they could record their written English, audio and video recordings and we could monitor their progress in the various language skills ….
Their initial body language: horrified, scared, taken aback, distressed ….
As I read these reactions in their face, I knew that something was a miss. Had I overstepped an invisible boundary? Walked into quicksand?
I reflected on how I had explained the concept to them and started looking to see which words carried the extra baggage. I spotted one.
So, I asked them to explain what they understood when I said the word “blog”.
“obligation” “time-consuming” “does the company allow us?” “I don’t do that…” were some of the explanations.
So, the problem was with what they understood by the word “blog”. So I dropped the word blog and just call their digital notebooks, “E-Notebooks”. (I could have used D-Notebooks – but that might have had other connotations for English language teachers!)
E-notebooks are a concept. They are meant to be a virtual place where students can keep their written, audio and visual language exercises in a digital format. It is not meant to be a blog in the current sense of the meaning. The students are totally free to chose to keep their material private or to publish it. Nor do we use them in every class. They are worked into the lesson plan and accessed when needed. At this point, in fact, all the students have opted to keep their audio and video productions private. And that is fine: an e-notebook is a teaching and learning tool in this case – not a publishing platform.
I chose to use the WordPress blogging platform because I felt it was easy to use in its most basic form, allowed the students to personalize their own digital notebook to a degree, gave accesible to students and teacher wherever there was a computer internet connection and provided us with the needed controls to protect students’ work and privacy.
So is the “e-notebook” a blog? No. It’s a learning tool where what is practiced and learnt is stored digitally.
Does it use blogging software? In this case, Yes.
Can it become a blog or website? If the person wants it to be.
Now, if you are reading this post, then you are blog-savy…. But how do your family, friends, clients, students see a blog? Do they read blogs? Do they want to write a blog?
Here’s to Using Social Media in ESL, EFL, ESOL…