The importance of predicting and interacting
with texts in developing learners reading skills
by Malgorzata Bryndal
Lesson plan - preliminary information
Aims and Objectives
- To help students develop the predictive skills of reading via the use simulated authentic text (stages 2, 3, 4, 5).
- To develop students’ ability to read a text (using skimming and scanning) by getting them to answer comprehension questions and respond to the text on a personal level (stages 3, 4, and 5).
- To provide students with an opportunity to practise the use of and reinforce the learning of the second conditional via a speaking activity derived from the reading (stage 6, 7).
- To give clear instructions and check their understanding by the students.
- To give the students appropriate guidance with different tasks in the lesson.
There are 7 female students in the group: Sumera, Maryam, Jamila, Maryam-Naz, Nadia, Samina and Rhuksana. Their ages range from early to mid 20s. They all have arrived in the UK only recently and are still trying to settle in the local community. Their first language is Urdu; some of the learners also speak Punjabi and Arabic. It is the first ESOL course they embarked on since they moved to the UK. They have been studying together since April and show a lot of enthusiasm, commitment and motivation. They arrive on time, are eager to learn and leave the class reluctantly. We meet twice a week on Tuesdays (9.30 – 12.00) and Thursdays (13.00- 15.00). The course has been planned in response to the learners’ requirements stated in the needs analysis carried out during the first session, and will be supported with a variety of materials. It has been scheduled to run for 10 weeks, but will most likely restart after summer holidays.
The students are all housewives at the moment but are actively looking for employment. They want to improve their English skills to have better job prospects, communicate with family and people in the community and to get a qualification in English (ESOL Entry 3). They have a very positive attitude towards the English language, and although they consider it to be a rather difficult language they all stated they liked it, and using English gives them a lot of satisfaction.
The learners have been educated in Pakistan, however to a different level: Sumera, Maryam and Nadia completed Master’s degrees, whereas Jamila, Samina, Rhuksana and Maryam-Naz graduated high school. Except for this English class, Maryam and Nadia are attending an IT course, and other ladies are thinking of enrolling on a few vocational courses to pursue their different hobbies.
There is some diversity in their English language abilities. Jamila, is the weakest student in the group and needs to put a lot of work in to bring her English competence (which is now at higher-elementary level across all the skills), to the level of the other students in the group. She does however put a lot of effort to keep up with other learners, who in turn are very encouraging and supportive of her. Sumera comes across as a shy learner, who is, nevertheless, quite able, understands a lot and can express her opinions on any subject when prompted by the teacher. Nadia, Maryam and Maryam-Naz are quite confident and fluent though lack accuracy and range of lexis and grammar. If allowed, Maryam, as the most able student in the class, tends to dominate the group. Samina and Rhuksana joined the group only 2 weeks ago and are still trying to assimilate with the rest of the group. The students are very supportive of each other despite their English competence and personality differences.
In the learning needs analysis carried out at the beginning of the course, the students express the desire to work on all four skills of the English language especially speaking. Recently however, they have approached me with the request to change the focus of our lessons and introduce more reading practice.
In terms of their reading skills, Jamila needs the most help; other learners can cope with different text types with medium teacher support. They are keen to work with authentic materials and are not deterred by unknown lexis. We have started working on developing their autonomy and introduced monolingual dictionary into the repertoire of their learning aids.
They are a very lively group, with a good sense of humour and inner dynamics. Using Nunan’s terminology (Nunan 1995), they could be described as ‘communicative’, i.e. they like to learn by listening to native speakers, talking to friends in English and watching TV in English, using English out of class, learning words by hearing them and learning by conversation. The learning style questionnaire I carried out at the beginning of the course revealed that they are fairly balanced in their visual and auditory learning preferences, and none of them is particularly fond of kinaesthetic type activities. They enjoy learning in small groups and appreciate homework.
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