Course Planning Notes #2

  • Finding out for yourself (Guided learning/discovery)
    • Provision of motivating tasks
    • Provision of interesting material
    • Provision of guide questions
    • Provision of time
    • The capacity to respond to investigatory questions by the students
    • Encouragement for the students to recognise what they have achieved
  • Things made plain
    • Opening (activate relevant schemata)
    • Exposition (explain using mime, demo, pictures)
    • Recap (emphasis of key points)
    • Question and answer dialogue (clarify and check understanding)
    • Summary
  • Periphery learning
    • Unconscious exposure to the material
  • Use and refinement
    • Recycling material in different ways, examining various methods of application


Tessa Woodward, 2001. Planning Lessons and Courses: Designing Sequences of Work for the Language Classroom (Cambridge Handbooks for Language Teachers). Edition. Cambridge University Press.


Diagnostic testing

J. Charles Alderson, 1995. Language Test Construction and Evaluation (Cambridge Language Teaching Library). Edition. Cambridge University Press. P12

Diagnostic tests seek to identify those areas in which a student needs further help. These tests can be fairly general, and show, for example, whether a student needs help with one of the four main language skills; or they can be more specific, seeking perhaps to identify weaknesses in a students use of grammar. These more specific diagnostic tests are not so easy to design since it is difficult to diagnose precisely strengths and weaknesses in the complexities of language ability. For this reason there are very few purely diagnostic tests. However, achievement and proficiency tests are themselves frequently used, albeit unsystematically, for diagnostic purposes.

Course Planning Notes #1

Notes from:

Tessa Woodward, 2001. Planning Lessons and Courses: Designing Sequences of Work for the Language Classroom (Cambridge Handbooks for Language Teachers). Edition. Cambridge University Press.


Return to the same topic for a section of a class over a period of lessons


Stimulus Based Blocks

Much like vertical threads, you stay with a whole topic (stimulus) for the whole class building up in one sustained block, or class.

Generalizable procedures

Activities that can often be applied to different texts.

  • Expansion
  • Reduction
  • Media transfer
  • Matching
  • Reformulation
  • Concluding

Lexis Terminology


Something that is at the top of the hierarchy when grouping things together ie transport


Things within a superordinate group ie a car, a train, a ferry

Lexical set

The collective name for a group of hyponyms


Prefixes – re-run

Suffixes – Fun-nier


Verbs – nouns ie an absolute must

Let’s brunch tomorrow


The combination of two words together ie second-hand, gatekeeper


Two words that sound the same used in close sequence to each other ie walkie-talkie, easy-peasy


The shortening of a word ie email (electronic mail), comp (computer)


Letters that represent words ie cpu (computer processing unit), UN (United Nations)

Blended words

Infographic, breakfast + lunch = brunch

Pronunciation Terminology

Cuisenaire Rods

Technique for visualizing the difference in sound


Concerned with phonemes (sounds at word level)


How phonemes sound in connected speech, including stress and intonation

Plosive sounds

For example /b/ and /p/ – where a build up of air is released to create a sound


Concerned with how airflow is restricted to make certain sounds ie /f/ and /v/

Using Authentic Vs Graded Text



  • It will be authentic to its genre. This will mean that students who are familiar with that genre will be equipped to understand certain features within the text. For example, if its a newspaper, they will understand its about something that happened in real life.

  • It will have face value. Students will believe in the value of the text because it has already had value outside of the classroom.

  • Its in line with what the students will face in real life. This will ensure that students understand exactly what they may come across when dealing with English across cultures.


  • Some language may be inappropriate for the level of learner it is intended for. You cannot always guarantee the lexis and vocabulary will always be of the correct level.

  • Some features within the genre may get in the way of the TL. If the format of the text is not simple enough, or the font is unclear, or the layout is confusing, this may lead to interference from the text before any learning can be done.

  • Finding quality, authentic texts which are at the right level for a class is difficult and time consuming for the teacher.



  • The language is specifically targeted for the level of students. This means that we can ensure that there examples of the target language in the text.

  • The text is pre-prepared, and easy to find for teachers. This allows the teacher to have more time thinking about they are going to use the text, rather than finding the text in the first place.

  • Graded texts are generally presented in a flat neutral style. They will be free of any design, layout or font complications. There is will no interference from the text itself.


  • They may give a false impression of how authentic text is actually conveyed. In the rewriting of a text the original meaning may get compromised for the sake of the grading itself.

  • It very difficult to grade a text consistently for one particular level of learner, and can often be down to the quality of the author, and their understanding and generic competency levels of learners.

  • The recycling and re-writing of authentic texts by publishers will have copyright obstacles to overcome.