Sunday, December 13, 2015

Poster Presentation - Current Affairs

 Watch the Video and Make a Poster

 Duration : 1 hour 40 minutes
Level: Beginner to Advanced
Group Activity 1

Watch the video and make a poster with interesting pictures/ objects from your immediate environment, on the topic ‘Environmental Pollution’ (40 minutes). If you pick up any litter to exhibit during the presentation make sure you use safety precautions.

Activity 2
Present the poster to the class (10 minutes). Each member has to speak for 1 - 2 minutes without a paper. In your presentation discuss the:

·         causes
·         consequences of environmental pollution
·         and suggest what you can do to conserve the environment (eg. recycling , carpooling, etc). 

Peer Grading

Select the best presentation and say why you think so.

Post Teaching Reflections

This activity was a success irrespective of the students' proficiency level. There was 100% student participation.  Specially the beginner level class showed explicit enthusiasm as they prepared themselves for the individual speeches. During the activity for a moment I thought I should give the beginner level class the option to choose two members from the group to present the poster assuming the task would be too difficult for them. But I was glad that each student strived hard to express the information with the limited language skills they had.

Creating a zest for writing in L2

Writing Your Own Newspaper Article

Duration : 1 hr 40 mts
Image result for newspaper articles sri lanka

Write a newspaper article on the topic ‘Banning of Tuition Classes in Sri Lanka’. First do a survey to find out the public opinion on this topic and then write your article presenting interviewees diverse points of view. 

Step 1
In pairs conduct a survey in order to find out the public opinion. Design an appropriate questionnaire with your partner and interview at least 7 - 10 people around (teachers, students in other classes, undergraduate/ graduate students, parents, etc.). (30 minutes).

Step 2
 In groups brainstorm on the key elements of ‘thorough reporting’. 

Tips for Writing a Lead

§  The Five W’s and H: Before writing a lead, decide which aspect of the story – who, what, when, where, why, how – is most important. You should emphasize those aspects in your lead. Wait to explain less important aspects until the second or third sentence.
§  Conflict: Good stories have conflict. So do many good leads.
§  Specificity: Though you are essentially summarizing information in most leads, try to be specific as possible. If your lead is too broad, it won’t be informative or interesting.

§  Brevity: Readers want to know why the story matters to them and they won’t wait long for the answer. Leads are often one sentence, sometimes two. Generally, they are 25 to 30 words and should rarely be more than 40. This is somewhat arbitrary, but it’s important – especially for young journalists – to learn how to deliver information concisely.
Source: Purdue Online Writing Lab

Step 3
In groups of 4 -5 draft the newspaper article based on the survey findings. You can talk about : 

·  the existing situation
·  who is affected by the controversial issue both positively and negatively
·  what changes could improve the situation

Step 4
Exchange your draft with that of another group, edit it and provide peer feedback.

Step 5
Re -write your article and include it in your portfolio of news items. 

Post teaching reflections

Students did the task remarkably well. This activity energized the students to go out and collect information from strangers and students of other classes. After the survey the students were able to see diverse perspectives of people on the controversial issue. Students found the reporting  task immensely interesting.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The ESL Teacher: Native or Non-Native

The ESL Teacher as a Non-Native Speaker of  English
Thus far, research has not resolved the native/ non-native dichotomy in relation to ESL/ EFL teaching. However, there is substantial amount of literature written on the strengths of teachers who are non-native speakers of the target language. Commenting on native/ non-native dimension in a monolingual ELT setting,  Medgyes (1992) point out six assets of being non-native. They are as follows:
a)      Only non-NESTs (non-native-speaking EFL teachers) can serve as imitable models of the successful learner of English.
b)      Non-NESTs can teach learning strategies more effectively.
c)      Non-NESTs can provide learners with more information about the English language.
d)     Non-NESTs are more able to anticipate language difficulties.
e)      Non-NESTs can be more empathetic to the needs and problems of their learners.
f)       Only non-NESTs can benefit from sharing the learner’s mother tongue. (pp. 346-347)

According to Phillipson (1992),
     it is arguable,…that non-native teachers may, in fact, be better qualified than native 
 speakers, if they have gone through the complex process of acquiring English as a second or foreign language, have insight into the linguistic and cultural needs of their learners, a detailed awareness of how mother tongue and target language differ and what is difficult for learners, and first-hand experience of using a second or foreign language. (p. 15)

Speaking on the pedagogical and linguistic abilities non-native English speakers bring in to the English teaching profession, Canagarajah (1999) states, “language teaching is an art, a science, and a skill that requires complex pedagogical preparation and practice. Therefore, not all speakers may make good teachers of their first language. (p. 80)

Thus, it's important that ESL teachers who are non-native speakers of English make good use of their own invaluable experiences in educating their students.


Canagarajah, A. S. (1999). Interrogating the "Native speaker fallacy": Non-linguistic roots, non-pedagogical results. In: Braine, G. (Ed.). Non-native educators in English language teaching. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. 77-92.

Phillipson. (1992). ELT. The native speaker’s burden. English Language Teaching Journal, 46(1), 12-18
Medgyes, P. (1992). Native or Non-native: Who’s worth more?. English Language Teaching Journal, 46(4), 340-349.