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Here Below you can check out the feedback (for one of our units) of one of the 16.000 students that last year took an online course with ITTT!
As with some previous lessons, I was happy to see some specific, full lesson plan ideas about lessons that focus on reading/listening. I love the idea of doing a unit on a famous person, such as Elvis or Tom Cruise, where students can start out with a focused conversation on one person--talking about the person, reading/listening about the person, and writing about the person--and then using that to talk about a person THEY'RE interested in. I want to do a better job of providing my students with Activate activities that allow them to take more ownership of the content.
After reading this unit, I could also verbalize a problem I had in a lesson about a month ago. Following a natural disaster in Japan, I made a list of the most common words that pop up in the news when these events occur. I made the list, and then used real sentences from the news as examples for the students. The students found the lesson interesting and relevant to their lives, BUT it was clear that using REAL material was beyond their level in a way that crossed the line into the content being inaccessible to the lower-level students. (It's a severely mixed-level class.) In the future, I think I should provide an appendix of the real news lines, for the advanced/curious students, but I should simplify the language so that there isn't too much new information for the lower-level students.
In future lessons, I'd like to give my students chances to practice different kinds of reading. A reading that forces students to scan or skim, for example, can help students to let go of their obsession with understanding 100% of the content every time. Predicting, skimming or scanning, reading for details, deducing information--these are skills that many people don't have when dealing with their own native language. Metacognition of these different skills will help students effectively process language in both their native language and in English, and this unit provides some tools for fostering that.