1. Choosing the text
Both Harmer and Scrivener are very direct with their advice for choosing texts for reading and listening: Grade the tasks, not the material. Despite keeping this in mind I felt anxious about possibly choosing an authentic text that would be discouraging for our group of elementary-level students due to its complexity. I settled on a list of tips for saving energy published on the National Geographic Kids website (see Appendix 1). I chose this text because we have a diverse group ranging from housewives to businessmen to students with various reasons for learning English. However, the energy issue has two major points of interest, one idealistic and one practical: the health of the environment affects our and future generations, and most of us have to (or will have to) pay for the energy we use. Therefore I thought this topic had sufficient appeal to explore with this group. I also expect the students to have sufficient schematic knowledge of the topic, as it is related mostly to things found in the home.
2. Reading for general understanding (skimming)
Before looking at the text, I want students to start thinking about the topic of saving energy. I would frame their thinking in my lead-in, tell them what the content of the text will be, and then ask them in pairs to write three predictions of what tips they expect to be on the list. My example: “Don’t leave the refrigerator door open.” After this, pairs are rearranged (the new pair will have 6 predictions), and new partners compare their predictions. Then each student receives a copy of the text. The students have 2 minutes to read and tick off their predictions that are in the list and answer the question, “Do you think this was written for children or adults?” I would get feedback on the question, ask if my example was in the list, then ask students to tell their new partner how well their predictions fit the text. Finally I would ask the class if they came up...
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