Came across this post on my Google Drive. I think I wrote it with someone like NALDIC in mind, but not sure they responded/I sent it. It’s not the best, but if you’re interested in Brian Tomlinson’s work it might be of interest.
A text-driven approach: making reading more meaningful
There is far more to reading than just comprehension. When I first started teaching over a decade ago I felt that many global English language coursebooks tended to prioritise comprehension in reading sections. Resources these days seem to include more meaning-building tasks, such as those I outlined in this blog post, and those mentioned by Rachael Roberts. I find tasks that develop meaning-building skills are more engaging for my learners, as they are often more personalised, more challenging and give learners more chance to process a text.
Egghead (Michael Lacey Freeman, 2015) is an A2 level graded reader for teens from ELI Publishing. It is an autobiographical story of the author’s experience of being bullied at school, and how friendship helped him overcome his difficulties. (more…)
The latest offering from Alphabet Publishing looks like a great resource for bringing drama into the language classroom. Her Own Worst Enemy is written by Alice Savage, a Professor of ESOL in Texas who has previous publications with Longman and OUP.
The book is based around a short one-act play. A complete curriculum is built around the play (pitched at ‘low intermediate to high intermediate’ level), including:
preparation tasks such as discussions, background reading, understanding pragmatics and attentive listening practice
the script itself along with post-reading discussion questions
a step-by-step production section which helps learners analyse the play, learn their lines, get into character, and develop pronunciation skills for their performance
post-performance tasks including debates, follow up tasks and resources for peer and teacher feedback
The deal-breaker for me with a resource like this is whether the play is actually engaging. Can I see my learners getting into it? Here’s a blurb on the play from Alphabet Publishing:
Aida, a high-school student, wants to get a university degree in science. But her performance in a school play has caught the attention of the theatre director at a famous performing arts college. Which passion should she pursue, her love of science or her talent for acting?
Of course, such a topic won’t suit every context, but it’s definitely a topic that many teens and young adults will be able to relate to. My studious teen classes would certainly enjoy debating some of the issues that the characters face. In other contexts I’ve worked in, especially summer schools back in Europe and short courses with closed groups back in the UK, I can see this topic would be relevant and generate a lot of interest. (more…)
In Developing Materials for Language Teaching (2013) Tomlinson introduces a text-driven approach to materials development. He goes into quite a bit of detail regarding text selection, offers a suggested framework for the approach and provides a practical example (pages 99-114). I won’t attempt to summarise, I’ll just say read the chapter! It was the most useful and applicable reading I undertook on my recent MA course.
We had to plan a lesson using the text-driven approach for a unit assignment. I chose to use my favourite poem as the text – Blessing by Imtiaz Dharker. Here’s a nice dramatization of it (I think originally BBC):