Sunday, December 25, 2005

BBC Business News
Lesson Plan

The British Broadcasting Corporation has been in the English language teaching business for a long time, so you'd expect high quality lesson plans from them.

I learned a lot from a Business lesson plan that I found on their site. The table format used to present the lesson makes it easy to get the big picture of how to teach the lesson. Column headings include: 1) the part of lesson, 2) activity, 3) approx time in minutes, 4) teacher (what the teacher does), and 5) boardwork.

This lesson plan exudes an overall feeling of reasonableness and bite-sized-ness (sorry). At five paragraphs the size of the article should be manageable for most students. The twelve words and phrases that the lesson's activity and definitions focus on seem to be just the right number.

The strategy of reading in two passes is a good general strategy for reading news articles. News articles always seem to be a little too long for teaching second language learners in the classroom. First, skim reading to find out how many different brands are mentioned in the text (page 7). The brand names mentioned can be checked off from the list that students generated during the the warm-up, brainstorming section of the lesson. Next, students read for a second time, this time more intensively for answers to true-false questions (Worksheet A). After this there is a direct vocabulary instruction activity, matching words and phrases with definitions (Worksheet B).

The supplementary activities include filling in two semantic maps (Worksheet C). A mini-project suggestion is given at the end, namely having students design their own advertisement (page 9). Some teachers (like myself) feel the need to integrate and tie everything together at the end (even if this would probably take more time than the lesson itself). This will make these more project-oriented teachers happy.

Here is the full list of BBC lessons.

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