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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 the units on the past and present tenses, I'm glad I now have a complete list of the usages of the different future tenses. Just today, one of my Japanese coworkers said, "OK, I will go back to the other school now." After reading this unit, I could quickly give an explanation for why he should have said, "OK, I'm going to go to the other school now." (or "I'm gonna go to the other school now," since it was verbal.) I could point to the "going to future" tense, used for "Plans (decisions made before speaking)." The future simple tense--which the coworker used here--would be used only if he were making a prediction with no evidence. Clearly, that wasn't the case!
As I read this unit, I wrote down a few other thoughts/reflections:
1. As a teaching strategy for the future perfect tense, the text suggests using a "famous historical personage" and writing about what that person "will have done" by a certain point in their life. Practically speaking, I think this activity would be confusing for some students because the activity has them focusing 100% on PAST events. In everyday conversations, we don't use the future perfect tense to talk about things that are 100% in the past. So, activities about the students' own futures are far more useful and are less likely to create confusion as students work to remember the differences between each of the tenses and their usages.
2. For using the present simple tense to describe the future, the text suggested using airplane/train schedules. I really liked that idea, and it made me want to find audio recordings of real train announcements from local stations in my city. The announcements will be a little bit familiar to students; they'll get to see the tense in action; and they'll have some extra motivation to pay attention to the announcements the next time they take a train. (Most students here take a train at least once a week. I think this'll be a really relevant lesson for them!)
3. For the present continuous tense, the text suggests students do a role-play of a secretary and a client, trying to arrange a meeting with a busy boss. I like the idea of doing the role-play, and of practicing the present continuous form to discuss the future in this way. However, I think my students would be bored to tears if they were asked to act out a situation between a secretary and a client. However, it's a very real reality here that people's schedules are ALWAYS packed, and no one ever has time to meet with their friends. "How about....next month? that second Friday?" I think it'd be possible to do a fun, relevant activity about trying desperately to find a time to meet with a certain friend.
The future tense is, as the text notes from the start, one of the most complex parts of the English language. There were seven future tenses provided in the text, and some languages barely have one future tense! I'm so curious to study the reasons why certain languages developed to have such complex future-tense systems, where other languages did not. Different languages have different priorities, and clearly English prioritizes the tenses. Why is that, I wonder?