The news report
So I am not going to talk about something new, I am just going to write about what I did during a session and maybe someone will read something interesting and do the same in one of their sessions.
Down to business:
Choose a news report that has some drama: I chose an article about a Chinese university student who tried to bribe his university professor and dropped a firearm while doing so (you may know the story).
It is easier to attract the reader when the story has to do with money and guns!
- Prime well:
I used a PPT slide with pictures from the story but did not include the gun. My learners made assumptions and then I added the gun and their guesses became quite adventurous.
- Advance organisers:
My DELTA tutor suggested using these. You get your learners to say what they already know about a story, what they need to find out etc. Students start tapping into their prior knowledge which helps them connect what they know with what they want to find out/expect to find in a text.
News reports can be demanding and the vocabulary can sometimes be even daunting so why not cut it into chunks? This also allows the learners to predict what will follow.
- Pre teaching vocabulary:
I cut the news report into chunks and then got my learners to guess the meaning of unknown words from the news report. Depending on the aim of the lesson (whether it is vocabulary or a reading session) you zero in on vocabulary teaching.
- Q & A:
News reports can be used as stimuli for speaking tasks so choose something that will generate discussion. I chose something that had some moral issues and could engage learners in interesting conversations.
- Pair work:
Pair work is essential here. One student can rely on the other for help. Challenging topics and unknown vocabulary can become less frustrating when tackled with in pairs.
- Jigsaw reading:
Give one learner half the news report, the other, the other half. They read their text, take notes. Then you take away their paper and they have to rebuild the story together. Paraphrasing the story may also be helpful for learners who are reading news reports.
Of course turning a news report into a whole session takes time but it will be very rewarding for the learners.