In this project we are going to elaborate a middle-term planning, this is, we are going to plan a whole unit.
We have chosen a class that is composed by 2nd course of Bachillerato students. The textbook that we are going to follow is LAWLEY, JIM & RODRIGO FERNÁNDEZ CARMONA, Citizens 2 (2002); Longman: Madrid.
According to the official calendar, we have seven hours to develop the whole unit, and one more hour to make a final test. That makes a total of eight hours.
In order to develop the contents we are going to follow the cognitive proposal. This means that we want our students to reach an autonomous stage in the use of language. In order to get this, we have to put our emphasis on free practice.
So, if we consider the seven sessions as a whole, we can say that the contents would be organized in the next manner:
Controlled practice: 35%
Free practice: 50%
Later on we will explain in a more detailed manner these percentages and the reason why we have chosen them.
2.- Setting objectives
First of all, we are going to present the objectives that we want to reach in this unit. In order to do it, we are going to distinguish between communicative skills/ functions, and linguistic contents.
Communicative skills are useful for the students that want to make a practical use of English. This is, the development of these functions allows them to use spoken and written language in real contexts, as a means of communication.
In this unit, communicative skills are divided into two groups, depending on the function that we may want to practise. That way, if we want to focus our attention on listening and speaking, the unit is focused on Listening for specific information and Giving opinions. On the other hand, in writing practice this unit is focused on Organising information and Writing a composition.
If we look for linguistic contents, we know that we can find four different subtypes: grammatical, lexical, phonological and discoursive. This chart shows the contents that we are going to deal with in this unit:
– Conditional clauses
I wish / If only
– Workbook extension: Unless / providing that / as long as
– Order of adjectives
– The /h/ sound and silent “h”
– Listening for specific information
– Giving opinions
– Organising information
– Writing a composition
These are going to be the main contents in this unit. Now, we have to be able to choose the necessary activities and programme them in order to be able to treat all these contents in a proper way without exceeding the total amount of time that we dispose of.
3.- Pedagogical structure
Now we are going to analyze, exercise by exercise, the structure of this unit. In order to do that, we are going to focus our attention on two different aspects: the structure of the unit and the integration of the different linguistic skills.
3.1.- Unit structure
The contents in the unit can be classified into three different groups: presentation, controlled practice and free practice. Now, we are going identify the activities in the unit according to this criterion.
o Reading strategies: in a chart in page 38.
o A reading about the topic of the unit (“Books and films”), introducing in an implicit way the grammatical structure that we are going to study in this unit, as well as the vocabulary point, dealing with the order of adjectives.
o Grammar: explicitly in charts in pages 40 and 41, and in a written explanation with examples in the Grammar book (pages 31 – 36)
o Vocabulary: explicitly in page 36 (Grammar book)
o Pronunciation: implicitly in page 42
o Discoursive contents: Implicitly in pages 44-45
– Controlled practice:
o Reading: exercises 6, 7, 9 page 39 (Student’s book) and 1, 2, 4 pages 28-29 (Workbook)
o Grammar: exercises 1, 4, 5, 7 pages 40-41 (Student’s book) and 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 pages 30-32 (Workbook)
o Vocabulary: exercise 8 page 42 (Student’s book) and 8 page 33 (Workbook)
o Listening and speaking: exercises 9, 10, 11, 1, 3, 4 pages 42-43 (Student’s book) and 1 page 34 (Workbook)
o Writing: 1, 2 pages 44-45 (Student’s book) and 1 page 35 (Workbook).
– Free practice:
o Reading: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8 pages 38-39 (Student’s book) and 3 page 29 (Workbook)
o Grammar: 2, 3, 6 pages 40-41 (Student’s book) and 7 page 32 (Workbook)
o Vocabulary: 9 page 33 (Workbook)
o Listening and speaking: 2, 5, 6 page 43 (Student’s book) and 2, 3 page 34 (Workbook)
o Writing: 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, page 45 (Student’s book) and 2 page 35 (Workbook)
3.2.- Integration of linguistic skills
Now we are going to analyze the way in which the four skills are integrated in the unit.
– Reading: page 39 (Student’s book) and 28 (Workbook)
– Listening: 1, 2, 3, 4 page 43 (Student’s book)
– Speaking: 5, 6 page 43 (Student’s book) and 1, 2, 3 page 34 (Workbook)
– Writing: pages 44 and 45 (Student’s book) and 35 (Workbook)
As we can see, the four skills are present in the unit.
As we mentioned in the introduction, we can spend seven hours in the development of this unit, apart from one more hour devoted to make a global test of the contents that have been explained and acquired in the unit.
We have already seen the importance that we are going to give to the different kinds of contents, id est, to presentation, controlled practice and free practice. As we mentioned before, we want to spend a 15% of the total hours on presentation, a 35% on controlled practice, and a 50% on free practice. That means that we have to spend approximately one hour dealing with presentation, two hours and a half dealing with controlled practice, and three hours and a half dealing with free practice. According to this, our first intention would be to distribute the hours this way:
Controlled & Free Practice
As we can see, we can devote the first whole session to present the contents of the unit to the students. The second, the third, and part of the fourth session would be devoted to controlled practice. In the fourth session we would introduce free practice. The rest of the sessions would deal with this kind of practice.
But there is a problem with this distribution. Although these students are 17 years old, they are not adults from the cognitive point of view. This means that they are not able to distribute completely their study, because they need someone to guide them. Moreover they usually have concentration problems. That means that they are not able to be concentrated on the explanation of the teacher for a long while.
So, from my point of view, the best thing would be to give out these hours between the sessions that we dispose of. The same thing would happen with controlled practice, as well as with free practice.
4.1.- Structure of the sessions
According to the ideas that I have set out, I propose this structure for the sessions that we dispose of:
– Session 1: Presentation of the unit. This session will deal with reading, so the teacher will explain the reading strategies (page 105 in Student’s book), focusing on the idea of selection of information.
In class, they will make activities 1 to 5 from page 38 of the Student’s book as free practice. Activity 1 will be done in pairs, in order to make them speak. Activity 2 will be done orally, making the students participate in class, establishing a kind of dialogue between them and the teacher. In activity 3, they will make a list of 5 things that they would like to know about the book. Activity 4 will consist on listening and reading the text. That way, they will practice listening. After that, they will, once more time, talk about the list that they had prepared in activity 3 and the answers that they have received. Finally, they will make activity 5. They will look for difficult words in the text, trying to work out their meaning. That way, they will practise the strategy of extracting the sense from context.
As homework, they will make activities 6 to 9 from page 39. Activities 6, 7 and 9 are controlled practice, and activity 8 is free.
– Session 2: The teacher and the students will correct the homework from the previous session.
Later on, the teacher will explain Conditional Sentences Types I and II, using pages 31 and 32 of the Grammar book. After that, they will make in class activities 1, 2 and 3 in pages 40 and 41 in the Student’s book. Activity 1 is controlled. The aim is to prove if they have understood the grammatical explanation. Activities 2 and 3 are free, and they deal with Grammar, too.
As homework, they will make activities 1 and 2 from page 30 (Workbook).
– Session 3: The session will begin with the correction of the homework. In order to correct the exercises, the students will write their answers on the blackboard. That way, the teacher can correct them, and the rest of the students will see how the rights answers are.
Later on, the teacher will explain the Conditional Sentence Type III and the grammatical point dealing with I Wish / If only (pages 33-34 from the Grammar). Students will have to do exercises 4 and 5 from page 41 (Student’s book) at class, as controlled practice.
As homework, students will have to do exercises 6 (free practice) and 7 (controlled practice) from page 41 (Student’s book), as well as exercises 3, 4 and 5 from pages 30-31 (Workbook).
– Session 4: First of all, homework will be corrected. Later on, the teacher will explain the grammatical extension (page 35 in the Grammar), and students will do activities 6 and 7 from page 32 (Workbook). When correcting it, special attention will be focused on this last exercise, which allows free practice to the students.
As homework, students will do exercises 2, 3 and 4 from page 29 (Workbook), in order to revise the reading strategies of the unit.
– Session 5: After correcting the homework, the teacher will explain the order of adjectives (page 36 in the grammar), and the difference between sound and silent ‘h’ (page 42 in the Student’s book).
Students will make exercises 8, 9 and 10 from page 42 (Student’s book) at class, to correct them there.
As homework, they will do exercise 11 (page 42 in Student’s book), and exercises 8 and 9 (page 33 in the Workbook). Exercise 9 belongs to free practice, and it will allow students to practise in their own way the vocabulary point, in order to assimilate it in a correct manner.
– Session 6: After correcting the homework, the students will have to do the exercises on page 43 in the Student’s book. In order to do them, the teacher will play a CD where a conversation is presented. After listening to it, students will do exercises 1 to 4. After that, they will be corrected.
Later on, exercises 5 and 6 will be done at class as a group activity. That way, students will practise their speaking skills.
The teacher will explain them the differences between essential and optional information, and students will have to do exercises 1 and 2 from page 35 (Workbook) as homework. That way they will practise writing in a free way.
– Session 7: After correcting the homework, students will do exercises from page 45 in the Student’s book. Except for exercise 3, the rest of them belong to free practice. That way, to the end of the unit, the student will have reached the autonomous stage.
That way, we will get the objectives that we presented in the introduction: to devote a 15% of the time to presentation, a 35% to controlled practice, and a 50% to free practice. Thanks to this structure, the student will be able to reach the cognitive stage, going through the previous stages in an ordered manner. The cognitive stage allows the autonomous use of language, what will be incarnated in their own development of free practice, which becomes an essential factor in our methodology.
5.- Reinforcement and extension activities
We also have to plan special activities for those students who have problems to reach the minimum contents, or for those who are over the general level of the rest of the group.
The most problematic point in the unit deals with the grammatical contents. So, as reinforcement activities, the teacher will prepare several activities dealing with conditional clauses in order to make the students understand the grammar.
For those students who may need extension activities, we have prepared three kinds of activities: Students may write a composition of a free topic using the three kinds of conditional clauses. That way, they will be able to use the grammatical contents in a real context. In order to practice reading, they can look for a new in an English webpage (for example http://www.bbc.co.uk/), focusing on the main information and the secondary one, as they have studied in the unit. Finally, in order to practise listening, they can choose a song that they may like and, using the lyrics, they can make a list of the words that they did not know or those whose pronunciation they did not know.
The last important aspect of the planning of this unit that we have to discuss is the evaluation process. Evaluation consists on the teacher receiving feedback information about the learning-teaching process that students have gone through.
Evaluation does not only mean to asses if students have acquired some knowledge, but also if they are going to be able to develop it in the future.
In order to do that, these are the criteria that we are going to take into account in order to evaluate our students:
– Active participation in class, interacting with the rest of students when they have to make group activities, and showing an active attitude towards the lessons.
– Capacity of producing oral and written messages related to the contents that have been studied in the unit.
– Study of the new words and structures that they have come across in the unit.
– Cooperation with the rest of students.
– Work at home, and execution of the homework.
In order to make this evaluation, the teacher will asses the homework everyday, in order to prove that the students have tried to do it, and in order to identify the possible difficulties that they may experience, in order to solve them.
The execution of optional activities such as writings or readings will also be taken into account.
Along the unit, each student will be asked orally at least twice, focusing on specific aspects about the contents of the unit, in order to reinforce their formation.
The written activity developed in the last two sessions will also become an element of evaluation.
Finally, a global proficiency assessment test will be done in an eighth session. This test will include aspects extracted from all the contents of the unit, in order to assess the learning process of the students.
In this project, we have planned a whole unit, deciding what kind of activities we want our students to do in order to acquire the contents that we want them to acquire.
Our goal was to provide them with, at least, a 50% of free practice of the whole unit. We have distributed this kind of practice between all the sessions, in order to avoid the students to have a whole session devoted to presentation, because that way they may loose their attention, and they may not acquire the knowledge that they need.
Anyway, a group of students is a living entity, and despite all the planning that we may make, we never know if the development of the unit will fit in our programme. So, a good teacher has to be able to move between his planning and the real situation, in order to adapt his goals to the students that he has to teach to.
1.- Introduction………………………………………………………………….. 01
2.- Setting objectives…………………………………………………… 01
3.- Pedagogical structure……………………………………………… 02
3.1.- Unit structure……………………………………………… 02
3.2.- Integration of linguistic skills…………………………….. 03
4.- Timetable……………………………………………………………. 03
4.1.- Structure of the sessions………………………………… 04
5.- Reinforcement and extension activities………………………….. 06
6.- Evaluation…………………………………………………………… 06
7.- Conclusions…………………………………………………………. 07