ESL etc.

Global Issues and Activism in English Language Teaching

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Global Issues — Week 2

September 27th, 2008 by Dave · No Comments

Materials Used

First, let me give a little background on this class. It is an elective for level 4 and 5 students, our top two levels. We meet twice a week, on Tuesday and Thursday, for an hour and fifteen minutes each time. This class has never been taught before at the ELI, no materials exist for it, and we do not have a textbook.

This week, adaptation was the name of the game. I went into my Tuesday class with the bulk of my lesson plan based around using the Internet, only to find that the computer console in the room was mysteriously powerless. I began class on Tuesday by having students discuss their writing homework from last week in small groups. They told their groupmates what item they had chosen, why they had chosen it, and what issues it related to. I then collected their writing.

Next, I introduced the reading circle assignment. I’m a big fan of reading circles, and I think they work particularly well in advanced classes that look critically at meaningful content. Next, I had students read through the reading circle demo, and then quickly modeled the role of reading circle leader for them. I had planned to give them the reading for homework, and to do a more thorough demonstration on Thursday, but the loss of the Internet forced me to improvise. During the demo, we talked about various phrases that leaders could use to elicit language from quiet group members and to politely steer conversation away from more dominant members.

Overall, I think Tuesday’s class was OK. It was a bit too teacher-centered for my taste, but I think it went fine under the circumstances.

On Thursday, we did the activity that I had planned for Tuesday. I gave students the Miniature Earth Handout and had them make guesses for the top section, and discuss it in small groups. We then watched the video Miniature Earth, a neat, short video that contains a lot of demographic information on the world, and touches on issues such as wealth and education. Students seemed to enjoy the video very much. We watched it a second time, and I paused it periodically to discuss vocabulary and answer questions.

Next, I had students discuss the questions in the middle section of the handout. This discussion was very animated, and students really seemed to enjoy it. As they were discussing them, I wrote a simple table on the board. It listed the continents, and the percentage of the world’s population each contained. I got the data here. I then asked students to guess, in groups, what percentage of the world’s wealth each of these regions had. Again, I got the data here. After a few minutes, I had people share their guesses and wrote them on the board. Then I wrote the actual numbers. Students were surprised by some, and again seemed very interested.

Finally, I had them discuss the bottom set of questions on the handout. I put them in new groups for this. Again, the discussions were very active. This last part of our lesson plan was basically a pared down version of Poverty and World Wealth, an activity from the book Rethinking Globalization.

All in all, this was a great class. In an hour and 15 minutes, we did 3 active group discussions, covered meaningful content and focused a bit on vocabulary. I will definitely use this activity again in the future, undoubtedly tweaked in some form or another. One thing I would be interested in adding is a writing component.

Tags: CALL · ESL activity · global issues activities · Global Issues class · lesson plans · poverty & wealth · reading · speaking · video · writing

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