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Humanising Language Teaching
Year 6; Issue 2; March 04

Lesson outlines
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1 Student-generated Revision Questions. Upper secondary adult
Chaz Pugliese, Paris, France

This is a simple exercise to get the students to revise language seen in class, to practice questions, and give them a sense of achievement which is often key to helping them stay motivated. It also tells the teacher what the students have learned and which areas need some tinkering with.

  1. On day one of the course I remind my students that it is important to take notes and keep them organized in whichever way works best for them. I say no more at this stage.

  2. Ten lessons or so into the course, I ask the students to go over their notes, and write ten questions based on language we have worked on in class. I offer formats on the board like so:

    What's the difference between . and ?
    How many ways of expressing the future can you remember?
    You are very late for an important meeting: apologize profusely.
    What does .. mean?
    How do you say .. in English?

  3. I ask them to write their answers in brackets. I go over their questions, make sure the questions are fair, I provide advice as needed and help with alternatives if questions are redundant.

  4. Now their job is to test each other in class. They either ask their questions orally, or they exchange their sheets.

  5. Once they are done, we go over the answers, and then I let them think about the following:

  1. Who asked the funniest question? (Once I had a student ask another: what's one word to describe our teacher? The word in question was 'bald'.)

  2. Who asked the toughest question?

  3. How do you rate your progress so far on a scale from 0 to 5?

  4. What skills/strategies are you planning to use to improve/maintain your score?

Sounds - A Vocab Exercise primary, secondary and adult
Chaz Pugliese

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This is a vocabulary exercise that will go down particularly well with musical people (but not just with them ).

  1. Dictate the following:

      the whispering of the wind through the reeds
      the chuckling of children
      the screeching of a car
      the rippling of a brook
      a door slammed shut
      the splattering of the rain on a rooftop
      the purring of a refrigerator/cat
      the murmur of the breeze in the trees

  2. Go over these with your class, make sure the vocabulary is clear.

  3. Tell your students that these sounds suggest music but are not. See if they can think of a reason for this. What would make them music? (answer: music is a sequence of organized sounds)

  4. Now read them out loud again and ask your students to close their eyes and feel/hear the sounds.

  5. Then pair them off and tell them to arrange the sounds above into a coherent sequence and compose a piece of music. They might also want to think of a story the music suggests, the mood, characters, etc. Allow plenty of time for this.

  6. When they are done, ask them to give a title to their piece, and perform it for their peers. This is a lot of fun in particular with teen-agers, but adults like it too once they get over their initial reluctance.

3. Three French Brain Twisters secondary and adult

If this article interests you, Pilgrims offers courses
in this area. Click here for more information.

Marie Agrell ( marieagrell@teacher.com)

Kissing cheeks in Landevennec

We all agree to meet at the pancake place in Landevennec. We arrive one by one, and we each kiss everyone else already in the restaurant three times on the cheek in the best French style. When everyone has arrived and ordered a delicious pancake, 63 kisses have been exchanged. How many of us are there?

Kissing cheeks in Landevennec

63 kisses make 21 "hugs".
Let n be the number of people present. For whatever order of kissing, each one gave n 1 hugs.
But one hug always involves two people.
Thus the equation: n (n 1) = 21 x 2.
n x (n 1) = 42 = 7 x 6.
n = 7.
We are seven people in this wonderful pancake place in Landevennec!

A famous date

I am a famous date. Add 23 to me, multiply me by 2, divide me by 101, then raise me to the power of 5. Then divide me by 243, and you will obtain 100,000. Am I the beginning of World War II, the Discovery of America, the assassination of John F. Kennedy, or the battle of Waterloo?

A Famous date

Let x be this unknown date. We have: [ 2(x+23)/101 ] 5 /243 = 100,000
( 2(x+23)/ 101)5 x ( 1/ 243) = 100 000;
( 2(x+23)/ 101)5 = 243 x 10 5;
that is:
2(x+23) / 101 = 3 x 10.
2x + 46 = 3 030
2x = 2 984 et x = 1492
1492 is the date of the Discovery of America.

Very private diners

When my wife and I are dining alone, just the two of us, we drink one bottle of wine every five days. When I'm alone, I drink one bottle per week. This year, I have a business trip to New Caledonia from the 1st of March to the 13th of June. How many bottles of wine will my wife drink during this time, assuming my absence doesn't make her an alcoholic?

Very private diners

Consumption of wine per day for the couple: 1/5 bottle.
Consumption per day for the man: 1/7 bottle.
Consumption per day for the woman: (1/5) (1/7) = 2/35, that is 2 bottles in 35 days.
During 105 days of absence, the woman will drink three times this quantity, that is 6 bottles.