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Meeting Middle School students needs through a theme-based approach Sheila Brannigan.

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1 Meeting Middle School students needs through a theme-based approach Sheila Brannigan

2 Elementary M2 Theme: Space (lesson 6/8) Learners have just watched a video clip of the 1969 moon landing. Tomás: How do you say pegada? Teacher: Its footprint Tomás: In my book Fisicoquímica I have this picture. (Hes talking about the moon landing footprint) Rita: Nikki, why they put the capsule in ocean? Teacher: Yes. Why did they put the capsule in the ocean? Can anybody say?

3 A theme-based approach: Aims to get learners using English in a purposeful way to find out things and do things which have meaning and interest for them and to communicate the results to others Jayne Moon Children Learning English

4 In theme-based teaching …many different activities are linked together by their content; the theme or topic runs through everything that happens in the classroom and acts as a connecting thread for pupils and teacher. Lynne Cameron Teaching Language to Young learners

5 Benefits of a theme-based approach enhancing language learning by providing motivating topics to communicate about enhancing language learning by providing meaningful, purposeful language practice opportunities drawn from a variety of topics Myriam Met

6 Topic web: Spies Beginner level Spies dramastoriesartcitizenship History/ geography technologymaths

7 Spies Stories: Spycat Write a story about a spy character Lexis related to spies Present simple and continuous tenses

8 Spies citizenship Find out about CIA K-9 Corps (Spy dogs) Reading (website) Info swap Lexis: spy dogs Process language

9 Hi, my name is Arno. I am a Belgian Malinois. I was born in the Netherlands. At the CIA, my main job is to find explosives, but I am also trained to find bad guys.

10 Spies Maths Read and write messages using secret codes Consolidation of alphabet Lexis related to codes

11 theme: subject areas: tasks: language outcomes Spies dramastoriesartcitizenship History/ geography technologymaths

12 CONTENT-BASED LANGUAGE TEACHING: A CONTINUUM OF CONTENT AND LANGUAGE INTEGRATION (Myriam Met) Content-Driven Language-Driven Total and Partial Immersion Subject Courses Taught in L2 Sheltered classes (Brinton, Snow & Wesche) Foreign language- enriched university courses (Jurasek, et al.) LxC (Straight) Content-based FLES (Curtain & Pesola) Subject Courses Plus Language Instruction Adjunct model (Brinton, Snow & Wesche) English for Academic/Soci al Purposes, Business French Content- enriched FLES (Curtain & Pesola) Language Classes Based on Themes Theme-based courses (Brinton, Snow & Wesche) Thematic units Area studies (Leaver & Stryker) Language Classes with Frequent Use of Content for Practice Multi- disciplinary activities used to improve language proficiency Content-related FLES (Curtain & Pesola)

13 Benefits of a theme-based approach enhancing language learning by providing motivating topics to communicate about enhancing language learning by providing meaningful, purposeful language practice opportunities drawn from a variety of topics Myriam Met

14 Researching 10-12 year old learners wants and needs What things do you want to do in class? We want play games, listen music and see a film; songs; school work; never, never read!; group work What other topics do you want to study? Animals, the UK, favourite food, Dog hotel, sports, Brainiac, football players, countries and nationalities, celebrities, ordinal numbers and dates

15 Meaning in YLs language learning Language learners develop their language by: accumulating memory-based chunks of language which they then combine to build language. inducing underlying rules from the language they see and hear (gaining implicit knowledge of the language rules), or become consciously aware of rules by studying the language (gaining explicit knowledge of the language rules). McKay

16 Meaning in YLs language learning …older elementary age learners still tend to rely strongly on a formulaic system (using chunks to understand and get their meaning across). Skehans theory helps to highlight the differences between adult and child SLA, in particular childrens greater reliance on the formulaic system, and their subsequent need for a rich language use environment. McKay

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18 Theme: Adventures in the Past Beginner level (Week 1/5) The class were looking at a page from a factual authentic book on the first people (show page) Diogo: How do you say extinto? T: Its extinct. Diogo: The mamuth (Portuguese word) is extinct. T: Yes, thats right Diogo. Mammoths are extinct. Which other animals in the picture are extinct? … (No responses from students) OK, are elephants extinct? Various learners: No. T: What about tigers? Etc. through the animals. What about sabre toothed tigers? Gonçalo: Extinto T: Yes, they are extinct, arent they.

19 Two weeks later: T: Who are they? (Showing an image of cavemen) Ana Rita: The cavemen live in Africa and they espalhar for the rest of world. T: They spread to the rest of the world. Thats great Ana Rita.

20 Language in a theme-based approach Language is used to explore content, and language growth emerges as students need to comprehend or produce language related to content. Myriam Met

21 Adventures In the past Quiz: Ancient Egypt Read: the first people Order past peoples Story: Sacagawea Make a map: the American west Film clip Night at Museum Create a classbook

22 The first people: Reading comprehension Read and complete the sentences Ancestor = antepassado The first people lived on the continent of …………………………….. Other animals have ……………………. and …………………… to protect them. Other animals have ………… to keep them warm. The first people didnt have …………………….. or …………………………. They had to use their brains to …………………………. things. The first people invented ……………………., ………………, …………………….. and ways of making …………………………… Adapted from Wow! People and Places by Gerard Cheshire, Salariya Books 2008

23 The first people: speaking activity Student A: Look at the map. Talk about the animals to your partner. Try to say a lot. The bear has got fur. The tiger has got … and …. Student B: Look at the map. Talk about the people to your partner. The people have got clothing. That man has got... and …

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26 Theme: Space Elementary M2 Create an invention for an astronaut My invention is a special cooker that prepares and cooks food for the astronaut. The astronaut puts ingredients in the cooker. The cooker prepares a delicious meal. The ingredients dont float away. The astronaut puts her face inside the cooker and eats the meal. I think you will agree it is an excellent invention. Draw and describe your invention

27 Theme: Up in the sky (4/6 lessons) Pre-intermediate level M3 Children learn about Daedalus and Icarus and reconstruct the text in groups through dictogloss. Children learn about wings, flying and birds.

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29 Theme: Roald Dahl project term 1 Intermediate level M4 Roald Dahl Find out about Roald Dahl Class reader: Fantastic Mr Fox Term ends with a project related to Dahl and Fantastic Mr Fox.

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31 Input in relation to Intake How much of the language learning that goes on in a classroom is in the control of the teacher? Dave Willis

32 Input in relation to Intake …students learn a great deal directly from exposure to language through reading and listening, without the need for the teacher to impose a description on what is learnt. Dave Willis The Lexical Syllabus Collins ELT iv

33 A theme-based approach requires: Knowledge of a wide repertoire of activity types and resources for planning Avoiding children spending too long on activities like drawing or making without using English Time to find or create or adapt materials Process language which is essential for a large number of activities Language outcomes suitable for level and a language rich environment giving learners sufficient exposure Good idea to plan with other teachers – experiment, learn

34 English for the future Learning how to communicate in English in meaningful ways drawn from a variety of discourse areas is essential for our YLs future use of English Sheila Brannigan sheila.brannigan@pt.britishcouncil.org


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