Young Learners, Level 4: This is the best part of the trip …

14th June for Saturday 15th June. Everybody Up 4, Unit 8 Lessons 1 & 2

My manager is very supportive, and concerned over my welfare; she tells me not to expend too much energy in class, especially on a Saturday when I can have three young learner classes. Imagine 50 – 60 children committed to screaming their heads off for as long and as loudly as possible …. Welcome, as the saying goes, to my life.

Last week I prepared quite a bit of work for this class, including general knowledge based on but not in the text book. Unfortunately, it was a minor holiday in Vietnam, and a lot of the top cat students were away and … it became apparent that my multi-media presentation of classical music and classic film, and using the students to represent the movement of the heavenly bodies was … yeah … a waste of time and energy. Not entirely true … three girls were interested, the rest stared at the floor or the ceiling or the clock, while the boys had a contest, who could be the biggest ignoramus. It was a tight contest; they all won.

So, this week, after a debilitating fever, painfully sore throat and constant sneezing, I’m sticking to the book, and devising activities that will make the students use the target language and the target language only (OK, maybe a few new words for the top cats).

It’s a gross generalisation, but in my experience, so many Vietnamese want to do the work as quickly as possible and then do nothing. This covers students from all my centres, TAs, office staff, public servants, contractors, builders … This may explain why my new apartment has cracks inside and out and why so many tenants have had to retile their floor as the original tiles simply broke leaving inches of dust and debris … but, I digress … and so, without further ado, the lesson plan:

Warm Up: Last lesson the subject was future tense and activities. Therefore, I shall board some times – this afternoon / tomorrow / next Monday / next Thursday / next weekend / next month

Under these, I shall write some scrambled nonsense, e.g. ‘who as ees’. The students, placed in teams, have to elect one person to find the corresponding flash card somewhere in the room (‘see a show’) and then say a third-person sentence e.g. “He’s going to see a show this afternoon.’

Information gathering: Class into four groups. One member will be going away and the others in the team have to get information from him or her, then present to the class.

Team 1: Going to Phu Quoc island / is going next month / will be staying in a hotel near the beach / will be going swimming / is going with family

Team 2: Going to London / is going next week / is going to see a show / is staying with family / is going with older sister.

Team 3 : Going to Ha Noi / is going next Tuesday / is going on a bus tour / is going to stay in a big hotel / is going with school

Team 4: Going to Dak Lak Province / is going tomorrow / is going to ride an elephant / will stay in a tent / is going with VUS TAs

The selected member will stand at the front of the class with the information sheet. One teammate must run up, ask one question then tell the rest of the team, who will write the information down. Then a different teammate will run up and ask.

Planning a day out

I have a niece and nephew coming to Saigon. The teams have to plan a day for them including what to see and do, how to travel and what to eat. Of course, they need to but some souvenirs, so where are the best places ?

My ‘niece & nephew’.

We shall probably have to board many ideas first. Where do tourists go in HCM ? What is traditional food ? How can they travel ? Do the girls want to take the niece and the boys take the nephew only ?

Hopefully, this will encourage a lot of speaking and ideas and I can show a map of HCM to help.

And if the students are still drawing a blank (or being too lazy to think), this could inspire them: It’s spoken in English, with text, but with Viet accent: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0tncoIxT1s

As with all ‘real-world’ videos, the film should be stopped and new words or expressions boarded. The students are later made to write the words down (the majority will simply NOT do any kind of writing unless pressured), and then encouraged to use them where appropriate.

That should easily cover the first hour. After the break, we hit the books, do the workbooks and fast-finishers get an activity sheet, while I can spend at least some time checking the pronunciation and grammar.

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