Working Collaboratively in the College EFL Classroom
Lesson Plan Provided by John Baker MAed TESL
Grade level(s) College Freshman - Seniors
Level: Upper Intermediate - Advanced
Student Number: Expected Maximum 16 Students
Facilities: Standard Language Institute Classroom: movable desks, white board, air conditioning, heating
Materials: A4 paper, pencils, tailless sentences, cut up story, consensus cards, white board, and board markers.
Major Concepts: Critical Thinking and Reading, Dialogical Thinking, and
Proposed Lesson Focus
The lesson focuses on a story about a medical student who was badly injured in a car accident when a drunken driver hit her. The students learn, through the course of the lesson, that many other parties may also be responsible. During the lesson, they work collaboratively in the pre and while reading stages focusing on comprehension activities surrounding the text. Then, in the post reading stage, they engage in critical reading and thinking, dialogical reasoning, and argumentation to decide which parties are at fault and how much each party should pay.
Proposed Lesson Summary
The lesson is divided into three stages, the pre, while, and post reading stage. In the prereading stage, the students begin working collaboratively to complete some conditional tailless sentences to activate their schemata about drunk driving, product liability, road conditions, and car accidents. Then, using the ideas they developed in the tailless sentence stage, the class discusses problems specific to the country they live in to further activating their schemata. Afterwards, the instructor discusses the upcoming text with them to build interest in the text. In the while reading stage, they begin a communicative jumble activity where the students work collaboratively using their knowledge of structure, lexis, and cohesion to reorder a text. Then, they collaboratively answer some follow up comprehension questions. In the post reading stage, they conduct a consensus ordering activity which utilizes critical reading and thinking, dialogical reasoning, and argumentation. Finally, the instructor conducts a closing discussion.
Proposed Lesson Plan
I. Prereading Stage
The instructor generates interest in the upcoming subject and text through a short tailless sentence exercise which the students complete in pairs:
If a drunk driver causes a car accident, he/she should
If a company makes defective cars that hurt people, it should
If a person drives too fast and has a car accident, he/she should
If a city doesn't take care of its roads and someone has a car accident, the city should
* Activity adopted from Kippel's Keep Talking
To further generate interest in the upcoming text, the teacher leads a discussion about the students' responses to the previous tailless sentence exercise, similar problems in the country they live in, and the upcoming text.
II. While Reading Stage
The class is broken up into groups of three. Each group is given a jumbled paragraph and asked to put it back together in the proper order. Collaboratively, they use their knowledge of structural, lexical, and cohesive clues to put it back together. The instructor helps only where absolutely necessary.
Example of Jumbled Material:
*On the night of December 1, Ms. Melissa Brown, a 29-year-old third year medical student,
*According to the testimony at the trial, Mr. Jones' car was traveling
*15 mph over the speed limit when it went out of control and hit Ms. Brown's car on an icy poorly lit street. The resulting collision caused
*Cadillac Seville driven by Mr. James Jones, a 56-year-old millionaire vice president of a local architectural firm.
*was returning home from a New Year's eve party.
At approximately 12:45 AM, her Ford Pinto was hit from the rear by a
*completely disfiguring her from the neck down. Doctors say she will never be able to move that part of her body again unless she receives
*extensive medical help. For these reasons, Ms. Brown filed the largest civil suit in U.S history --25 million dollars.
*the Pinto' s bumper to crumple and its gas tank caught fire.
*Mrs. Brown suffered third degree burns over the top half of her body,
Example of Reconstructed Material:
On the night of December 1, Ms. Melissa Brown, a 29-year-old third year medical student, was returning home from a New Year's eve party.
At approximately 12:45 AM, her Ford Pinto was hit from the rear by a Cadillac Seville driven by Mr. James Jones, a 56-year-old millionaire vice president of a local architectural firm.
According to the testimony at the trial, Mr. Jones' car was traveling 15 mph over the speed limit when it went out of control and hit Ms. Brown's car on an icy poorly lit street. The resulting collision caused the Pinto' s bumper to crumple and its gas tank caught fire.
Mrs. Brown suffered third degree burns over the top half of her body, completely disfiguring her from the neck down. Doctors say she will never be able to move that part of her body again unless she receives extensive medical help. For these reasons, Ms. Brown filed the largest civil suit in U.S history --25 million dollars.
* Material adapted from Brook's The Non-Stop Discussion Workbook: Problems for Intermediate and Advanced Students of English.
*Activity adapted from Peter Grundy's Newspapers: Resource Books for Teachers
The students remain in their groups and answer some comprehension questions about the text:
Who hit Ms. Browns car?
How fast was Mr. Jones going?
What were the road conditions?
Why did Ms. Brown's car catch fire?
What happened to Ms. Brown?
How much money did the judge award Ms. Brown?
The instructor leads a short discussion about the answers in preparation for the next activity.
III. Post Reading Stage
The students are told they are going to read more about what happened at the trial. They need to decide which parties are most at fault and order the cards representing the parties from most at fault to least. Then, the students need to award monetary damages.
Consensus Ordering Cards
Mr. James Jones:
Mr. Jones' drunkenness undoubtedly led him to exceed the speed limit and affected his ability to react to treacherous street conditions. As a result of the accident, he was found guilty in criminal court of negligent contribution to the accident.
Amount of money Mr. Jones must pay Ms. Brown:
The Disco bar:
According to California law, the owner of a bar can be held legally responsible for allowing a drunk patron to leave the premises. Mr. Jones had been drinking at the Disco bar for four hours prior to the accident. Testimony revealed that the manager of the bar knew Mr. Jones was drunk and did nothing.
Amount of money the Disco Bar must pay Mrs. Brown.
The city of Los Angeles, Maintenance Department:
At the time of the accident, though unusual, snow had been falling for six hours. According to testimony, the Department had made no attempt either to clear the streets or post warning signs.
Amount the Department must pay Ms. Brown:
The Ford Motor Co.:
Tests of all models of the Pinto revealed a critical deficiency in the structural design that made it easier for the gas tank to rupture on contact. Ford Motor Co. allegedly knew of the defect, yet did nothing. Over 500 similar accidents have been reported nationwide.
Amount Ford must pay Ms. Brown:
The Harper Aluminum company:
According to strict regulations, the bumpers of cars must be built to withstand an impact of 35 miles per hour (mph) without crumpling. Ms. Jones was gong approximately 35 mph in a 20-mph zone when the accident occurred. Nonetheless, the rear bumper crumpled immediately, allowing the gas tank to be exposed.
Amount Harper must pay Ms. Brown
The Department of Health, Education and Welfare WEH, Washington DC.:
This department has the legal responsibility to verify that all car models are free from structural defects. Apparently, inspectors were negligent in checking the Pinto bumper and gas tank.
Amount the Department of Health must pay Ms. Brown
The State of California, Department of Motor Vehicles, Inspection Division:
This division is authorized by the state to retest for structural defects any and every vehicle sold in the state. This was not done in the case of the Ford Pinto because of administrative error.
Amount the Department of Health must pay Ms. Brown
* Material adapted from Brooks' The Non-Stop Discussion Workbook: Problems for Intermediate and Advanced Students of English.
The students begin individually and decide what parties are most at fault and what part of the 25 million dollars each should pay.
The individual students join in small groups and negotiate with their team members about which parties are most at fault and award monetary damages. The members of the group each give reasons for their proposal. Afterwards, the group comes to a consensus.
Each small group is joined with another group of equal size to form larger groups and the activity is repeated.
The large group is joined with another large group to form a whole class activity where the activity is again repeated.
The instructor leads a closing discussion about the activity, the discussion, and the conclusions.
*Activity adapted from Penny Ur's Discussions That Work
Pre Reading Stage:
The students are assessed on how well they participate collaboratively in each step. The tailless sentences are reviewed for grammatical accuracy in oral production, but they are not formally assessed. Instead, the results are used to evaluate the class' needs for future work.
While Reading Stage:
The students are only assessed on how well they participated in the group activity. This is a collaborate activity which utilizes the students' knowledge of structure, lexis, and cohesion, and is not evaluated formally. Problem language areas are noted for future work.
Post Reading Stage:
The students are only assessed on how well they performed in each step of the group activity. This is an activity which encourages language stretching, critical reading and thinking, dialogical reasoning, and argumentation. Formal assessment would not be appropriate as it might hinder the process. Problem language areas are noted for future work.
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Atkinson, D., & Ramanathan, V. (1995). Cultures of writing: An ethnographic comparison of L1 and L2 university writing/language programs. TESOL Quarterly, 29
Brooks, G. (1988). The Non-Stop Discussion Workbook: Problems for Intermediate and Advanced Students of English. English for Foreing Students Program. Boston: Heinle & Heinle Publishers.
Grundy, P. (1991) Newspapers: Resource Books for Teachers. New York: Oxford Publishers.
Kippel, F. (1994). Keep Talking: Communicative Fluency Activities for Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
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Ur, P. (1981). Discussions That Work. London: Cambridge University Press.
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