I don’t often win things – just like the football team I support! However, I was lucky enough to be the Onestopenglish Lesson Share winner for February. Woohoo! Check out the competition here.
What was the lesson?
Resources based on my own short story called ‘Instant Coffee’. The resources should last around 2.5 hours of class time. They follow a text-driven approach (see my lesson here). B2 Level +.
The short story in 10 words…
Popular social media foodographer gets ‘eye camera implant’. It malfunctions.
I was really chuffed that Onestopenglish chose to edit and share my lesson. Some reasons why…
Tried and tested
Well, in one context. These materials weren’t produced for the Lesson Share competition, they were produced with my learners at British Council Thailand in mind. I wrote this lesson specifically for one awesome group of teens and it worked really well. Lots of debate, creativity, critical thinking, challenge, lots of opportunities to share personal responses to the text. Based on their engagement, output and feedback I think they took a lot from it. One of my rare successes, so nice to see it out there!
Me as teacher, not writer
I’ve been working as a materials writer for a few years now. While I get a lot of satisfaction from having work published, I’m often writing to a specific brief. With this lesson though the shackles were off. It’s nice to share something that is representative of what my learners and I are doing in the classroom.
I’m always harping on about Brian Tomlinson and his text-driven approach. I love it, and from experience I find it really effective. Hopefully this lesson provides teachers with some ideas for how to apply Tomlinson’s approach. Of course, Tomlinson does that pretty well himself, but there’s no harm in adding to the materials bank!
They recorded the story?!
Macmillan edited the lesson – that’s what you get as a Lesson Share winner. Cool! They even recorded the short story I wrote. It’s so weird listening to someone tell a story that you’ve said in your own voice, in your own head, hundreds of times! He makes it sound better than I do with my Bognor accent, that’s for sure!
The problem with my writing experience is that most of my work has been digital. It’s good experience, but not easy to share, especially if log-ins are needed etc. This lesson is mainly a print resource, edited by a major publisher, so it’s great for the portfolio.
Why enter the competition?
I recommend entering this competition if you’re looking to get into materials writing. I think this is a good way of showcasing your skills, and you get something tangible to show for your efforts. Some articles about getting into writing mention that these competitions are a good way to get noticed. I second that for sure.
I really welcome feedback on this lesson. Link again here if interested. And if you end up using it, please let me know how it goes!
END OF POST (unless you care about text-driven approach)
TEXT-DRIVEN APPROACH GEEK OUT
If you’re into the text-driven approach and you wonder about my headings in the lesson, this is what I did…
Prepare: this aligns with Tomlinson’s ‘Readiness activities’, which help orientate learners to the text and explore content and themes without actually encountering the text yet.
Explore: these, similar to the above in a way, relate to Tomlinson’s ‘Experiential activities’.
Listen: this section is broken up into 3 parts and is full of ‘Intake response’ activities. There is flexibility in this stage – teachers can select and reject certain activities if they only want to focus on certain aspects/skills or if time is limited.
Develop: this is a chance for learners to continue the text (Tomlinson refers to the stage as ‘Development activities’)
Language Focus: this is Tomlinson’s ‘Input response’ stage. I have used this stage to pick out parts of the text and explore the language the author has used. This will help learners upgrade their story and align it more with the writer’s style (bit weird that the writer is me though!)