Upper Intermediate Matters by Jan Bell and Roger Gower presents a story of a lesson learnt by Julian through his addiction to fruit machines. At a tender age of 13, Julian embarked on playing fruit machines that he was introduced to by friends while in a bowling alley. The gambling game saw him use nearly all of his borrowed, earned, or stolen cash on the frightening addiction. He got to the point that he could even escape from school on a daily basis just to play the fruit machine in a local cafe. The machines became his friends and could use all means possible to get money for playing without considering whether he could win or not. This narrative is suitable for school going children cautioning them on the repercussions associated with the addiction of gambling games. Were it not for the fruit machines, Julian could not have stolen, sold parents properties (antiques), or skive off school daily to go and play (Bell & Roger 54). The language, content, and genre employed best suits learner interests.
The receptive skill that could be practised about Julians story is that of reading and listening. By going through the text, learners will read and comprehend the vocabulary used and lessons learnt in line with addiction more so to gambling games. I would assign students a task to match gaming headings to short paragraphs as part of pre-text work to develop interest and prepare them in advance.
After introducing the text in class, I will open a discussion for learners to discuss questions that are related to the topic such as What matters in a gaming activity? Is winning important when taking part in a game? This will enable students to develop a mind map in line with the topic of discussion thus ready to read or listen. After questioning, I would as well ask them to keep guessing what next by looking at photos related to the topic suggesting what they know of fruit machines.
I will dwell my focus significantly on what they do in class since it accords them a positive first understanding of the discussion unlike when focusing on what they do not comprehend. Learners usually view a headline together with visuals from the text (Gamblers Anonymous) and envisage what it will say (Bell & Roger 58). The sub-skill of prediction enables students to have multiple probable choices on what the text entails. Lessons on receptive skills are vital as they mirror the manner in which we get new information in actual life. Students should, thus, replicate what they undertake in daily reading and listening to ensure that comprehension is attained.
Productive skills involve speaking or writing which is an ordinary follow up to the subject of discussion. According to Jeremy Harmer, Good tutors exploit the text to the full (Harmer 53). An appropriate productive fluency task that could be practised in line with the text is speaking. To promote fluency of the students, I would put them in small groups and ask them to play different roles to capitalise on participation in speaking activities. From the text, students will make use of the language acquired and generate a message via speech for others to understand. Before the learners are in a position to use words rightly, they have to know a bit about them.
For the fact that learners could have already practised receptive skills by listening and reading the text, I will encourage them to group write their own following the example. This will make them gain expertise on active skills as well. In the classroom setup, students will be working on project work together with literature integrating both productive and receptive skills. From the narration, I will put stress on what befalls Julian for learners not to fall victims as well. I was so frantic to acquire some money, so I stole my parents antiques and sold them (Bell & Roger 62). The act of stealing is itself a bad habit condemned in a society that people ought not to engage.
Speaking loud on the challenges Julian encounters would make the students have a good grasp of the subject discussed. This will assist them to take caution when indulging in risky gaming activities that may be addictive and require money for playing. From the text, winning was not even essential for Julian as he always knew he could lose. If a person has not gone through it, he cannot know what it is like. Also, if a learner does not practice to speak, he or she cannot be a good orator. I believe speaking fluently enables students to have a good comprehension of English implying that they understand and can produce the language.
Lesson plan outline
Introduction/ listening task
Introduce the topic
Introduce the text
Teaching the essential vocabulary
Teach learners words they require.
Students check for words and teach one another
Read or listen for general understanding
Read or listen for precise information
Follow up activity
Bell, Jan, and Roger Gower. Upper Intermediate Matters. Harlow, Eng: Longman, 1992. Print.
Harmer, Jeremy. The Practice of English Language Teaching. , 2015. Print.
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