IATEFL Poland: Hugh Dellar's "Live Lesson"

IATEFL Poland: Hugh Dellar's "Live Lesson" - hancockmcdonald.com/blog/iatefl-poland-hugh-dellars-live-lesson

In this live lesson, Hugh taught a class of 11 intermediate students using a unit from Outcomes (Heinle Cengage Learning). During the lesson, students were given the opportunity to describe different dishes and ways of cooking food, and to explain their own cuisine to foreigners.

Hugh gave all present a copy of unit 8, on the theme of Eating, and followed the activities as presented and sequenced on the page. The sections in the lesson were as follows: speaking (warmer), vocabulary (matching cooking verbs with illustration, extension to adjectives to describe food), listening (a conversation between a Peruvian businesswoman and a visitor in a restaurant), lexical chunks for describing dishes and pair/small group work conversation describing what’s on a menu. Each section of the lesson flowed seamlessly to the next.

During the lesson, Hugh very effectively managed board work so that it provided a record of focus language elicited, presented and modelled. Given the emphasis on production, word linking and other pronunciation features were also highlighted. When mistakes occurred, students were gently encouraged to self-correct, with corrected forms, chunks and pronunciation given as necessary.

The students were given plenty of opportunities to use the language throughout the lesson. They clearly enjoyed the experience, and this was reflected in one student’s comment ‘thumbs up’, when they were invited to give their feedback at the end of the lesson. Once the students had left, the participants were invited to comment on aspects of the lesson they had found interesting.

Three particular areas predominated.

  • For some the fact that Hugh got down on his knees so he was at the same level as his students when he was talking to individuals or groups, helping or providing feedback, was a new technique. We had an interesting exchange of ideas on why this might be appropriate at certain stages of a lesson, and how it might not be a good idea to wear your best clothes!
  • Another observation concerned the nature of ‘teacher-speak’, in this case the language Hugh had used when setting up activities. For example, he would tell students that they would hear something twice or suggest that they shouldn’t worry if they couldn’t get all the answers to an exercise. The effect of this was very much to put students at their ease, and lower possible anxiety levels. Clearly, this value of this was acknowledged by all.
  • A third major area of interest was the issue of translation, with one teacher commenting that she had always believed use of the L1 was to be avoided. Hugh led an interesting discussion on the efficacy of using translation in the classroom, the circumstances in which it might be used, and the fact that allowing L1 use acknowledges that translation itself is a useful life-skill.   

Again, as with all these sessions, the ‘live lesson’ experience provided the opportunity for us to  observe others doing what we do, reflect on our classrooms, review our approaches and techniques, and possibly consider different ways of ‘being’ in the classroom.

Add new comment