One of the ideas I talked about was a using a retrieval placemat that students find on their desks when they enter the class. The aim is to stimulate retrieval of content from the previous class. They should work in pairs to answer the various questions on the mat without looking at their notes. The idea is to push them to retrieve the information from their long-term memory.
I got the idea from Kate Jones’s wonderful book “Retrieval Practice”, which you can find by following this link. Most of her retrieval activities are aimed at teachers of other subjects such as history or politics, so I’ve tweaked her idea for the ESL classroom.
Simply print out the placemat in nice bright colours and put it on your students’ desks for when they arrive. Alternatively, you could just project it onto the board at the beginning of each class. Let me know how you get on!
As I mentioned during the talk, I feel like I’m only just beginning to explore the potential for applying habit formation techniques to the world of ELT and I’m keen to receive feedback or collaborate with likeminded people. So feel free to get in touch either through the comments or via Linkedin.
Come to Innovate ELT at Oxford House in Barcelona! It’s always one of the best ELT conferences because of the combination of inspiring talks, a beautiful setting and a commitment to fostering a welcoming and supportive atmosphere for networking.
I’ll be giving a talk on Saturday May 20th from 18:30-19:15 entitled “Atomic Classroom Habits”. The aim of the talk is to examine how we can apply theories of habit formation from James Clear’s bestselling book “Atomic Habits” to the ESL classroom.
There are loads of other great talks by a range of inspiring speakers such as Scott Thornbury, Teresa Bestwick, Geoff Jordan and many more!
This is a training lesson plan to help students preparing for the C2 Cambridge Proficiency exam tackle part 6 of the reading and use of English paper. Students tend to struggle with this part of the exam and need a lot of guidance.
I’ve based this lesson plan around an example task from the CUP Proficiency Testbook 1 on the topic of expedition rafting. Download the PowerPoint, student handout and a scanned annotated copy of the text below:
First have students activate their schemata on the topic of rafting with the 3 conversation questions in the first slide.
In slide 3 students will look for the ways in which paragraph B fits into the first gap. By giving them the answer to the first gap, we can provide them with an opportunity to analyse the text and find the vocabulary, grammar and story connections that link the paragraph to text on either side. Reveal the answers on slide 4.
Go through the exam strategy on slide 5, then have students complete the clue hunt on slide 6. Reveal the answers to them and remind them to bear the clues in mind while they complete the task.
Negotiate a time limit for the students to complete the rest of the task individually. In the official exam they should dedicate 20 minutes to this part of the exam, however, as you’ve already done some prep work on this text, negotiate a time between 10 and 15 minutes.
Once they’ve completed the task, have them compare their answers in pairs. Make sure they refer back to the clue hunt and explain how each of the clues connect the paragraphs to the text.
Use the final few slides to reveal the answers and annotations.
Set them another part 6 task for homework and share the PowerPoint with them to refer to at home.