Harmer explains that the lead in stage is “where we engage students with the topic of the reading and we try to activate their schema” or “pre-existent knowledge of the world” (Harmer, 2007:271) Questions and pictures or visual prompts are two of the best ways to elicit interest and discussion at this stage. This particular reading uses a question as the heading; “Is beauty in the eye of the beholder?” and is also visually supported by two pictures. Hence I chose to combine the Lead in and Prediction stages into one stage using the heading (question) and two accompanying photos as the prompts for predicting the topic of the reading, creating interest and setting the context. Harmer explains that “prediction is vitally important if we want students to engage fully with the text” (Harmer, 2007:271) The students will be asked to discuss the question in pairs or in groups of three. I will also remind students that there are no wrong answers at this stage. The resulting group discussions will have the students forming ideas about beauty and attractiveness and whether they are subjective or objective and will act as a transition into the subsequent reading task. This stage may also require a pre-teach vocab for the word “beholder”. If the students express confusion about the meaning of the phrase, there will be a quick clarification. This will be elicited from students initially and if this proves unfruitful, a brief and simple definition (someone who sees or looks at something or someone) will be given as text written on the WB. This will ensure students are able to discuss and predict in a meaningful way. 1st Reading Task
The purpose of the first reading task is to develop the sub skill of reading for gist or skimming. The students will be given the full text and asked to read quickly and choose the most appropriate summary of the text as outlined on the handout sheet. They will be given a five minute limit for reading and to peer check their responses. An enforced time limit ensures they do not read intensively. The reason for this activity is to ensure that the students understand the general argument presented in the text and the author’s conclusion. Reading for gist is described by Harmer as “top- down processing” and is used most effectively when the students’ “schemata allow them to have appropriate expectations of what they are going to come across” (Harmer, 2007:270). As adult learners, I believe these students have adequate understanding of the concepts presented in the text and will therefore be able to sufficiently garner meaning even if they don’t understand the entire vocabulary. This is the reason I chose this as the first task.
The main topic of the article is beauty and its relationship to science and research. The words chosen are key adjectives that are used to describe either scientific terminology, e.g. objective, and composite, or describing attributes related to beauty e.g. appealing, expressive, ideal etc. Understanding these words is vital to getting a deeper comprehension of the specifics and details of the text. Learning this vocabulary will prepare the students for the 2nd reading task, a reading for detail task which will check their understanding and engage them further in the content of the text. This task could potentially be done before the first reading. I chose this order because I believe the students will be more interested to learn the vocab after reading the text. Harmer suggests that “if we want to give students practice in what it is like to tackle authentic reading and listening texts for general understanding, then getting past words they don’t understand is one of the skills they need to develop”. (Harmer, 2007:272).
2nd Reading Task
Harmer explains that typical procedure for text based reading lessons follows a sequence of engaging students in a Type 1 followed by a Type 2 task. (Harmer, 2007: 270). The first reading task (reading...