Sorry for all the mistakes, I am so nervous about this lesson.
I have an observed class and I have no idea what to prepare. It will be based on ridiculous online class which consists of a dialoque over the phone in which the product is being offered, grammar focus seems to be comparatives. I sometimes really base my class on those lessons but more often do something very loosely connected with itm this time is must be closely on the topic. Unfortunately the class in pretty advanced - upper intermediate level and I don't think they need to be taught fast-faster-the fastest. It is all in the context of selling telcom services. I have been thinking of role-play: 1 person who offeres one service, the competitor and 2 people who will be asking questions and discussing stuff. I think I should provide them with propmpts- info about the service they offer but also let them add some features. .Since teaching to them the basics comparatives doesn't seem a good idea, I could do some exercises about strong comparatives. Students sometimes have problems with more / less/much more/much less/ far more / etc so I could include that as well. The most difficult part is spoken practice. Give them sth to compare? What do you think of giving them some brochures from different telcom companies and have them discuss in pairs which one is better and then report?
Do you know any sites or books with this kind of stuff (making a business offer, negotiating) ? I have checked Market Leader and In Company but I can't find anyting helpful for this class, maybe you will know something.
Sorry for all the mistakes, I am so nervous about this lesson.
Without knowing more details about your working relationship with the company sponsoring the online course that you mention in your post, it's difficult to suggest the most effective means to help you.
As I see it, there should be some obligation on the part of the sponsoring company to provide you with teaching materials which should include a broadly proscribed set of lessons / lesson plans. So as a teacher in your position, I would first be making sure that I had exhausted ALL POSSIBLE teaching resources that are available from the sponsoring company. Since ultimately, any lesson plans that you might be expected to develop should be supporting the online course you mention, I would think that your first concern in providing such an effective classroom experience would first need to be negotiated through your employer.
One note of caution: There are issues of confidentiality for you to consider in posting to a public forum such as this. You should be cautious about providing any information about any of your business relationships that you do not wish to share with the rest of the world here.
So with this concern in mind, my advice would be to explore exhausting all possible teaching resources from the sponsoring company. If additional teaching resources are required of you in this current position -- and it appears from your post here that is in fact the case -- then I would suggest using your current situation as an opportunity to develop a set of teaching plans to suit the needs of the sponsoring company. You should expect, of course, to be compensated for this kind of work!
Last edited by Monticello; 21-Feb-2009 at 13:55.
I know that they should provide teaching meterials but they don't. The company does not provide any help - all I get are script of online classes in pdf , that's all. It's up to me what I do with the material as long as I deal with main language points in the lesson. And they pay as for any regular, textbook- based lesson. It's Poland:)
Without knowing anything at all about the circumstances of the current Polish economy, I can understand what you are saying. But just one more thing regarding the business aspects of your situation:
Whatever lesson plans and materials that you do end up developing for this employment engagement, take care to keep these materials "proprietary." That is, this will be your own "intellectual property," so be very careful about how you share this with the sponsoring company. To share any materials that you may develop without being compensated for its development is really the equivalent of giving away your own personal property. So as much as you can, keep these materials "proprietary." The best way to do this is to share only hardcopy materials as necessary, i.e., never share any digitized copies of any materials you develop.
Once again, I have absolutely no knowledge of the legal implications in your country. In the US, where I'm from, I would definitely seek out an attorney who could advise me about all legal protections due for such work. As to whether you can do the same in your country, and to what extent you may do so, at this point you are the best judge. If you don't already have some reliable information concerning this, however, it would appear to me to be worth the time to research it.
Continuing from my previous post:
I hope that you can understand that without the details of the online scripts, which you mention in your previous post as your sole resource and from which you're currently working, it's next to impossible for anyone who does not have these to provide you with any kind of detailed advice about lesson planning.
Here are some general pointers:
(1) Develop Lessons That Use the Scripts as Exercises. I know you've already made mention of this in your initial post. The only thing that I can add here -- again without knowing anything specific about these scripts -- would be to suggest that, as you lead your students through these scripts during your initial lessons with them, you pay careful attention to your students' levels of aptitudes. Your keen assessments of their aptitudes -- i.e., their strengths and their weaknesses in pronunciation; their fluency and comprehension levels; their understanding of the business aspects that they need to converse about -- will then permit you to focus your future lessons on those areas that need strengthening.
(2) Role Playing As your students acquire a degree of fluency and competence with the knowledge of key portions of the script materials, have them pair up in teams of varying aptitudes -- a strong student with a not so strong student -- and practice role playing the portions of the scripts they have mastered.
The uneven aptitude pairings should be made strategically so that no student feels too stressed. There's sure to be some level of discomfort for some students. Acquiring mastery of a new language always is not without some level of discomfort. The important thing to gauge here is one of making sure that these role playing exercises always remain a positive catalyst for each student's progress, rather than an overwhelming and inhibiting experience that may only lead to discouragement. -- You will need to become keenly aware of all your students' individual aptitudes, as well as who each should be best paired to work with, in order to make these role playing exercises work to the best of everyone's abilities and in support of each student's development.
(3) Introduce Greater Levels of Improvisation within the role playing exercises as students progress through greater mastery of the scripts. Again, this will be largely dependent upon your on-going assessments of your students’ progress. To what degree and as to how you will introduce various levels of improvisation around the scripts will be a judgment call that you'll need to make based upon your assessments and the materials at hand.
This would be my general plan of action. Once again, given the limits I've already pointed out above, I hope that you can understand my inability to go beyond such general suggestions.
Good Luck Magdalena!
Last edited by Monticello; 21-Feb-2009 at 22:31.
Is this a new job? I ask as you seem to be understandably nervous about it, if that were the case.
It seems to me as though you seem to have it quite under control. It all seemed quite promising to me when I was reading it and you're obviously giving this a lot of attention so I'm sure it'll all work out in the end.
Taking on board what you said, I would pretty much do what youre doing.
I'm guessing the company's priority might be employees fluency and pronounciation if they need the English to speak to clients over the phone perhaps selling their products for instance. So lot's and lots of speaking practice and drilling is a really good idea I think and the role play would be a great activity for that.
Of course going through the grammar beforehand is a good idea too.
You say that they are a high level (upp-ints) but I think they can always do with practice/revision on comparatives and superlatives. They tend to still make mistakes with it at most levels, so go for it I think it'll be helpful. Just be sure you pay attention to/note down mistakes so you can draw attention to them later in the feedback afterwards.
You could check comparatives and superlatives (what you think they'll need later) . I'm guessing if they need to sell/rave about a product over the phone superlatives like; the best, the latest, the fastest, the most efficient, the most reputable could be useful.. You could give them a quick gap fill exercise where they have to complete gaps in sentences with the correct form of an adjective that has been provided.
i.e; The product boasts some ____________ technology available (cutting-edge)
*You could use it as an opportunity to also feed them some new lexis/vocab, still paying attention to pronounciation as well as provide them with language they'll need for the role play.
If it were me though, I might want to think about how much time of the lesson I'd like to dedicate to this. I wouldn't want them to lose interest or burn out too early, even before the role play gets started. Just enough to re-check it as remember, they've probably done this grammar many times before but the new vocab on the other hand is refreshing...
After going through the feed-back with the whole group when they've finished the revision exercise I'd move straight onto the role play.
I'd do the phone conversation as you say.
I might ask them to sit in pairs or small groups and take a few minutes to try to come up things/adjectives they could use to describe a particular product or aspect of the business to potential customers. I'd ask them to think about the most positive and imaginative things they could say to describe it and sell it to people encouraging them to be as creative as they like. I'd remind them about the importance here of the superlative adjectives we practiced earlier. I would even feed in a couple of sentences or things they can say to start them off.
Whilst they are doing this I'd go round helping where needed. I'd do one more quick feedback before starting the activity.
I'd now get the pairs to sit with someone from a different pair. One person in the pair could be a client calling to enquire about a product and the other the employee "selling" the product and practising all that langauge we did earlier as well as their own fluency. I'd reassure them not to worry as we would late swap roles.
Again this is an opportunity to go round paying close attention to things I can bring up in the final/closing feed-backs. After getting them to swap round I'd run through a final feed-back with them trying to tie up the lesson as neatly as possible and addressing any queries.
Additionally, depending on the duration of the lesson or how much time I had dedicated to the previous stages of the lesson I might want to do another roleplay as I may want to give them as much controlled speaking practice as possible as speaking and fluency would be my main focus.
As an alernative you could also do role-plays where they need to compare their product with that of a leading rival thus practising and focusing more on comparatives....
I don't know if this helps you out in any way or has anything to do with what you will have to do but I hope that it can at least give you a few ideas. Bear in mind I would probably re-work this some bit if I had to do it myself but ....it got me thinking!
The very best of luck Magdalena,
(If you can post news of how youre own lesson went, whatever you do, please do. It would be interesting to hear about it)
I think it's true what they say that unelss you have confidence in the material you won't be doing your best. They are in their forties or even fifties, they all all ingineers or software programmers, they don't need to sell anything to anyone and the company they work for offers very limited opportunity to speak English. They would do much better with stuff that can actually be useful in everyday life. And the online classes are just ridiculous I am dying every time when I am preparing these classes and always go for some stuff that can be useful, even if it's only loosely linked to online class but this time it must be top-notch because of this observation. Sorry for sounding so negative, it's just - I feel as if I was going to be caught red-handed on cheating. Since it is a telcom company I thought of giving them different calling plans to compare and discuss which one is the best, or best-suited for their needs. Or give them different calling and internet packages to discuss and tell me for whom each plan would be the best (Like VOIP - for home users, not businesses since you can't talk on the phone and surf the same time/ high connection speeds- young people who like to download stuff), maybe I would put them in threes or fours and give each a plan to prepare and then a role like : you are an old perosn who occasionally sends e-mails, you are a teenager who downloads films, you are a businessman who needs cheap VOIP calls and 2 providers who will try to sell them their offer. your ideas are exactly what i am looking for. Thanks for ideas and reassurance!
I gather now from your most recent post that my assumption that your students would in fact be engaged in selling different kinds of products over the phone is entirely incorrect!
So my question to you is: Why is the sponsoring company paying you to increase these professionals' abilities with English? What is the company's ultimate goal?
By the way Luizao, your suggestions for Magdalena are filled with excellent ideas for making classroom interactions among her students both productive and enjoyable.
Finally -- Magdalena, it would greatly help us to help you if you could provide a few more details:
- How long have you been teaching this group of students?
- (As above) What is the sponsoring company's ultimate goal for these students? And here I would like you to be a specific as you possibly can. In other words, for what business purpose is the company paying you to conduct these classes for their employees?
- How will this observation class be assessed? What things will the observer most be looking to see?
- What is the date for this class where you will be observed?
Last edited by Monticello; 22-Feb-2009 at 03:30.
Monticello, it is not the company paying but the school and the reason why this particular programme was chosen is probably because the school won the tender. Brutal but true. I have no idea what are their criteria, probably overall performance. What do you think of my ideas?