I have this class consisting of 9 students who are all adult women (actually they’re teenagers and young women). They are supposedly at upper-intermediate level. Up to now, they’ve been taught using Total English books and they’re going to continue using this series. The last term I had with them was UI2 (Upper course, here, is divided to 5 terms, each term 21 sessions, and each session is about an hour an a half. Classes are held 3 times a week). The thing is, they are not strong enough for this level! They know the grammar, but it hasn’t been internalized, so they make a lot of mistakes when speaking and writing, and they use too many simple words which makes it worse, though again they know enough words for their level. To remedy the situation, I’ve been charged with forming an extra class for them. Now, I’m not really sure what I should do, especially considering the fact that these classes are going to be one hour per session only. There will probably be about 15 sessions overall.
The lesson plan I’ve been considering is like this:
- Since using proper tense and maintaining the correct point of view is a major issue, I’m going to start the term by working on tenses. The framework for this part will be the first 4 chapters of the book “Understanding and Using English Grammar” by Betty Schrampfer Azar. These chapters are about all past, present and future tenses. The students will study and do the related exercises at home and in the class we will troubleshoot and focus on the use of particular tenses when speaking. One the main exercises will be telling stories and changing their perspective to a particular time. They can be provided with very short stories in order to have basis to build on.
- Each week, one whole session will be dedicated to debates and free discussion. The topics will be decided one week before in order to give the students ample time to prepare themselves. Meanwhile they will be provided with related vocabularies and information. These will be chosen from different sources, including documentary films, recorded lectures and radio talks, some lessons from the book “English Collocations in Use”, etc. They’ll also be asked to do research on the topic using the Internet.
- The study of the book “Common mistakes in English” will be another task that the students should do. They each will be assigned 50 pages of the book. They are expected to study these pages to the end of the term and each session, one of them will explain a tip or two for her fellow classmates. (The book is not very long and it’s easy to read.)
- To improve the students’ pronunciation, some sessions they will read out short passages from different books. They will prepare themselves for this part beforehand. These texts will be chosen from different sources and some of them will be accompanied with audio versions to give the students a source to compare their pronunciation and accents with. This part will also include the audio course of “New Headway Pronunciation Course (Upper-Intermediate)” and a few lessons from the book “American Accent Training” by Ann Cook. The lessons about accent will be practical and not theoretical, meaning mainly the exercises will be used, although the whole book will be available for self study.
- Some story books, in the form of Audio, will be another part of the lesson plan for this term. The stories will be chosen from MacMillan series and will be listened to rather than being read. These books will be discussed in the class.
Obviously we won’t be able to cover all of these and even if we try it’ll be overwhelming for the students, especially because they’re mostly students and have many other commitments.
Now I want to know what you think I should do. Which parts are more important and which parts should I put aside? I’m sure many of you have had similar problems, one time or another, during you careers as English teachers. I’d be eternally grateful if you could share your experiences and expertise with me. I’m looking forward to your suggestion.
For general discussion between ESL teachers.