Posted: 19 Jul 2011 08:11 AM PDT
Most EFL course books are organized around topics – themes such as the body, transport, clothes, animals or sports. At higher levels the concepts may be more abstract – the environment or culture. This seems logical as we need something to talk about; a topic provides a context making language learning and use more meaningful and purposeful.
The structural approach to language learning emphasizes knowing about and being able to use grammar and vocabulary items. The communicative approach seeks to provide tasks in which learners use language to do the sorts of things they would do in their native language. Activity-based learning realizes that children learn by doing, exploring their interests and experimenting. Teaching through topics can draw on all three approaches. Learners are also using their own knowledge as well as learning something apart from the language.
Your course book uses topics to present and practice language and develop skills.
Click on the image below to see a large pdf version
“Sample Page from Access 1″
Let’s take a topic – animals – and see how we can expand it.
We can firstly brainstorm around the topic and draw up a topic web from which we can select classroom activities relevant to our particular learners’ level, age, interests and needs.
Here are some specific ideas. I’m sure you can add to them.
* Compare different animals (faster / bigger than)
* Perform rhyme Incey Wincy Spider
* Sing song There was an old woman who swallowed a fly
* Match animals to origins
* Guess which animal I am (I live in… / I can… I eat…)
* List your 5 favourite / least liked animals
* Listen to story The hungry caterpillar/ How the leopard got its spots
* Survey who has what pets
* Complete crossword with animal names
* Watch nature documentary and note down how many animals you see
* Make models of animals
* Do a project on endangered species
* Imagine you are an animal. What would you be and why?
* Read and tell elephant jokes. Draw pictures to illustrate them