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INTRODUCTION: The rationale for using exemplars is that they can be adapted to any teaching and learning context and take account of the needs of students. Each exemplar follows a set template which includes important information such as focus, level, rationale and resources needed. Use Table 1 below to find an exemplar that focuses on a particular skill or system at a particular level of proficiency. Tell the students that you are going to read the text several times; their task is reproduce the sense of the original, BUT not using the exact same words. In pairs, students talk about the context of the text and exchange ideas relating to their understanding of it (4-5 minutes). Working in pairs and using their notes, students re-write the text using their own words, but still retaining as much of the sense of the original as possible.
Read the text a third and final time for students to check their version against the original.
Practise specific grammar areas by using texts which contain many examples of one or two grammar areas.
This is an excellent means of ensuring that all four language skills are practised in an integrated and motivated way. Students read the text and identify which words they need to know in order to understand the text.
In pairs, students re-read the text and look for clues which will help them guess the meanings of unknown words. Students present their a€?guessesa€™ to the rest of the class and explain where the clues came from.
The text could be presented as a cloze and accompanied by a set of definitions to match the gaps.
Take a text and insert nonsense words for words which are thought to be unknown to the students.
Groups then discuss, edit and modify the text they have been given (belonging to another group). When finished, give out the original L1 text and get students to compare their translation with the original L1. Provides student with an opportunity to work very closely with the target language and mother tongue and presents them with problems to solve which relate directly to the study of the language. Play brief a€?noun gamea€™, writing word on board to enable students to use it in a simple structure (e.g. Distribute short simple text in L2, which includes a number of examples of inflected nouns. Highlight the example of noun inflection in the first sentence, illustrating the difference between nominative and inflected form on whiteboard.
Divide students into pairs and ask them to highlight the further examples of noun inflection throughout the passage (3 minutes). Have student reread the passage in pairs, one sentence per group, one member reading aloud, the other identifying the inflected noun. Play a matching game on OHP, where students match the inflected form to the nominative form.
Gaps could be left in the passage where inflected nouns should be and students may be asked for suggestions on how gaps should be filled. Explain that they will hear the dialogue again twice and they are to listen carefully for a particular language form and take notes. If there is a grammar rule that would help students to remember the form, present examples of use on the board and give students time to formulate a rule for themselves. This exercise enables students to notice a new language form, formulate a rule (hypothesise) about its use, test out the rule in practice and then reformulate the rule.
Find a selection of L2 books that are not lexically dense and are likely to be of interest to learners.
Students complete the questionnaire again, this time thinking about their reading habits in L2.
If students dona€™t know the vocabulary, and dona€™t have access to bilingual dictionaries, you can help by providing the words to students who can paraphrase their intended meaning. An extensive reading programme improves reading fluency, consolidates language that students have already encountered and enables them to notice new language forms. To introduce book reviews, show students an L2 book that you have read and tell them briefly what it was about, who wrote it, what genre it belongs to and why you liked or didna€™t like it. This activity integrates the four skills, incorporates focused language work (in step 6) and enables students to give and receive feedback on their self-directed study.
Conversationally ask students some questions that are similar to the questions that will arise in the task, e.g., Do you smoke? Explain to students that they will receive a set of answers that someone has given in an interview.
Explain that students will now work individually to choose a topic on which they would like to interview their classmates.
A short video recording of a TV programme in the target language containing several examples of characters greeting each other.
Play a scene or several scenes from the TV recording and students watch and listen to get the gist.
Give students the list of greetings in the target language and read through them for pronunciation. Like exemplars 4 (Noticing language in a dialogue) and 9 (Tenses), this activity encourages students to notice new language. Ask students to watch and listen a second time, noting down examples of verbs in certain forms. Students compare answers with their partners before you collect their answers (on the board).
Where possible, encourage students to formulate a rule arising from the examples of verb forms. This activity enables students to notice grammar in context and to formulate their own grammar rules a€“ cognitive activities that play an important role in language acquisition.
Think of the names of some well-known people, films and books (as well as some general words) that are in L2 or have an L2 origin.
To introduce the activity, write on the board your chosen L2 words, along with others that are not from L2.
In a later lesson, once students have learned the language for expressing likes, dislikes and preferences, students discuss which of the films, books and people they like or dislike. This activity helps to activate the existing knowledge (a€?schemaa€™ or a€?schemataa€™) that students may have of the target language.
The focus is on lexis here and not grammar, so you dona€™t need to prepare a grammar lesson. Follow the activity with one that focuses more specifically on significant place names within the region of the target language.
This is a problem-based integrated skills activity that combines listening, with a focus on lexis, phonology and writing. Students can make notes in their own time of what they would like to be able to say in the target language and bring those sentences to class for translation and practice using this technique. Students can record their L1 sentences in their own time and bring them to class as homework.
If the activity is done regularly, and if students take care not to erase their recordings, they will soon build up a bank of personalised language. Each group chooses the story that they think is the most interesting out of all the stories read by the students in that group. Each student chooses from their newspaper a story that they think the other students would understand.
Students read L2 newspapers in their own time and bring to class a story that they can present to their classmates. This is a student-centred problem-based activity, where students gain the benefit of working alone and working in a group.
By skim reading, students learn that they dona€™t need to understand every word to understand the general meaning of a text. Students are familiar with newspapers from their first language and so they already have a wealth of knowledge about the genre and the likely content. Give students questions which they are likely to be able to answer or make an educated guess at.
It also helps to familiarise students from the earliest stages with authentic language as spoken by native speakers.
Write or find a short text that features examples of a particular grammatical structure, pattern or rule.

Give each student a copy of the text and ask them to find a particular grammatical feature.
This activity lends itself to great variation and can be used to teach pronouns, verb forms, gender of nouns, etc. Students are more likely to remember grammar when they notice it and figure it out for themselves. Students compare their answers with a partner before you discuss the answers with the class. In small groups, students work together to think of L1 equivalents for each of the grammar terms.
Students compare their answers with a partner before you discuss the classa€™ answers and give feedback.
For low proficiency students, prepare the matching exercise and reading questions in their first language. Students could prepare for this lesson in their own time by studying some reference material and familiarising themselves with the grammatical terms.
You could use drawings, photographs, or you could adapt the materials shown overleaf (Richards Room), taken from Watcyn-Jones and Howard-Williams (2002). Introduce the topic and elicit vocabulary by asking students to name ten things that they see in the classroom.
The language youa€™re teaching may require grammatical changes following a preposition, such as a noun inflection (an fhuinneog ? To elicit vocabulary for the task, each student brainstorms ten things they have in their bedroom.
Student A asks questions of student B until they have gathered the information and completed the picture.
Students switch roles (A becomes B and B becomes A) and repeat the activity with a new partner.
Information Gap is a problem-based communicative activity that draws studentsa€™ attention to certain language forms, and enables them to practise those forms and to test out their newly-formed hypotheses about the language. Choose a topic that is of interest to your students and that they are likely to be able to write a short text about. Cultivates vocabulary, encourages students to be independent writers, teaches writing as a process. Builds confidence, develops speed, and avoids the teaching of individual sounds in isolation.
Slows down speech (without distorting sound, intonation and stress), so that students can see close up how sounds are formed.
This activity encourages students to think about the grammar point, internalise the rule and work out their own examples. In addition, the examples that students provide will reveal to the teacher whether students have correctly understood the grammar point. In this activity, students make a short video of themselves engaging in role play in the target language. An integrated skills activity that incorporates writing with speaking, lexis, and pronunciation.
Choose (or write) a tongue twister in the target language that is suitable for the level of your students.
Play with words, sounds and meaning is a common occurrence in language use and language learning. A problem-based, integrated reading and listening activity that is motivating and enjoyable.
In step 7, use peer feedback, where students exchange papers and comment helpfully on each othera€™s writing.
Katie Bayerl notes that the hero’s journey plot is “comforting in its familiarity and in its emphasis on an individual’s ability to triumph over adversity … it is the dominant American narrative of progress and individualism.
And for Joeseph Campbell (the founder of mythic structure), it turns out he may have had an agenda of empowerment. By creating a story design that is driven by goals and desires, are we saying this is the only way in which to define our worth and success?
When a plot is goal-oriented and revolves around achieving a task (getting the girl, saving the world, winning the race, etc.) does it create a false sense of values? Diane Lefer quotes Ursula Le Guin in questioning if this structure isn’t a rather “gladiatorial view of fiction” one where we’re “… taught to focus our stories on a central struggle, [and] … by default base all our plots on the clash of opposing forces. Young adult author Amy Rose Capetta’s lecture on catharsis discusses how a pleasurable catharsis can be the result of Aristotelian structure, but she goes on to introduce Augusto Boal’s opinions on the matter, wherein he suggests that this type of catharsis is socially coercive.
And lastly, Malcolm Gladwell’s non-fiction book Outliers, has pretty much de-bunked the modern American myth that if you set yourself out a goal, and you try hard enough to overcome the obstacles, you’ll succeed. But I think you should ask yourself why you’re using it, and not use it blindly because there’s an implication that it’s the only type of design that exists.
Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. They are written in a a€?recipea€™ format which is designed to enable practitioners to internalise the procedures and take ownership of the tasks. Problem-posing and -solving are considered central to the learning process and to promoting reflection on learning.
Some words from the original list may be removed as students decide they are not necessary. Raises awareness of appropriate strategies for dealing with linguistic phenomena such as faux-amis and double-entendres. Exercise may be developed to include greater variety of nouns and could be repeated in future as introduction to lesson on structure pitched at a higher level of competence.
Afterwards, discuss the studentsa€™ ideas as to who the characters might be and where the dialogue might take place.
For instance, if you are introducing the future tense, you would ask students to note the language that the speakers use when they talk about the future.
In pairs, they compare their rules before you collect their suggestions and discuss them together. For instance, if the target form is the future tense, they could ask each other questions about their ambitions for the future. For each book that they read in the extensive reading programme, students can complete a review like this to build up a record of their reading. Encourage students to discuss rather than simply read from the written reviews that they wrote moments earlier.
Extensive Reading Programme), it encourages students to participate in the programme a€” when students know that they will be asked to review their reading, they may be more likely to complete their reading.
You may wish to clip the scenes to focus attention on the greetings, or alternatively, you can fast forward through the scenes in class. Explain that students will watch more of the video and that they are to listen and tick the greetings that they hear. Listen closely to their pronunciation, stress and intonation and take notes to focus on afterwards. Afterwards, discuss what type of programme is shown, and the general meaning of the sequence.
For instance, you might ask students to listen for verbs in the past, present, future or conditional.
It also exposes students to authentic language as spoken by native speakers with regional accents and it integrates skills practice (in listening) with systems practice (grammar) and a focus on form. According to the schema theories of language learning, activities that activate schemata are beneficial because they help students to make sense of new material. Explain that they will hear you say the names of various places and they are to mark those places with numbers on the map. Explain that theya€™re unlikely to spell the names correctly, but that this isna€™t important at this stage. One way to do this is to give students a football league table in L2 and ask them to mark each teama€™s location on the map.
Although it is not a grammar lesson, students will be exposed to some grammatical features, such as articles, genders, lenition, etc. Record these onto the tape and immediately afterwards record your L2 translation of what the student has said. Depending on class size, you may need to make sure students have something to work on while they are waiting their turn. When they work alone, students have an opportunity to study the language that they encounter in the task and to figure out its meaning. This activity helps to debunk myths and to challenge studentsa€™ perceptions of the target language. It focuses attention on the sound of the language a€“ stress, intonation, rhythm, phonemes, etc.

For example, you could use a dialogue where people are speaking about others and then ask students to find the personal pronouns. This activity enables students to notice grammatical features and to formulate a rule that they will remember. If your students are beginners to low intermediate, you may need to prepare this in their first language. If a direct translation doesna€™t exist in their first language (or if they dona€™t know it), they can create one or they can paraphrase. For instance, conditionals, passive voice or genitive case may be unsuitable for beginners. Students can visit the web page in their own time and try the hyperlinked explanations and glossary. Students proofread and edit their drafts, focusing on correct spelling, grammar, sentence structure, etc. Working in pairs, students compile a glossary of new words in the text that they think are necessary for comprehension.
Students put away their grammar reference and work in pairs to write their own examples to illustrate the grammar point.
They are more likely to remember their own examples than examples provided by the teacher or book. Elicit from students examples of other situations in which they would like to be able to communicate in the target language.
Assign the following project, which students will work on in their own time.Working in small groups of about three, students agree on a role play. You may choose a tongue twister that repeats a particular sound that has proved problematic for your students.
Rhymes often provide a rich source of pronunciation practise and can be motivating for adults as well as children. This is a fun activity, which also gives students practise in pronunciation, stress, and intonation. They underline any useful phrases that they would like to use in writing their own biographies. Type out the lyrics and cut up the verses, so that you are left with the individual lines of the song. For writer’s who don’t question those belief systems the hero’s journey may feel like the best way to tell a good story. Bayerl notes that he “became obsessed with the hero’s journey because he was troubled by what he perceived as the despair of his times; he believed that elevating heroic myths would heal the collective psyche. Instead of searching for wisdom, do we put value in the search for an external goal only to find ourselves disappointed? The coming posts will introduce you to the wide variety of plots and structures that will take you beyond arch plot and mythic structure. But I’m finding the argument often is that that type of goal is too abstract and intangible. In other words, a generic approach has been adopted in order to allow considerable variation of use and exploitation and to ensure that anyone using the materials can make them their own.
However, it is also possible to use the materials in small group teaching contexts, where interaction in the target language can be maximised and where learning opportunities can be created.
If students completed the task without using the target form, elicit from them how they could have used the target form.
By swapping partners to repeat the activity, students gain maximum opportunity to learn through interaction, to practise the newly-acquired language and to reformulate their hypotheses about the language.
Elicit key genres such as fiction, non-fiction, travel writing, romance, historical, poetry, drama, horror, mystery, etc. It is motivating, because students choose and personalise their own learning material and fosters autonomous learning. Prepare a handout with examples of greetings (translated into L1) that appear in the video, plus  some additional greetings that arena€™t in the video. By placing a page over the subtitles, students can listen without reading first to practise listening skills. It also exposes students to authentic language as spoken by native speakers with regional accents. These may be verb forms that students have already studied and that you would like to consolidate. Rather than present a grammar explanation, ask students to study the examples and to formulate their own rules. They are often used as a warm up or lead in to another activity, such as a reading task, because they help to prepare the student by activating their interest and existing knowledge. By the time you come to focus on these grammar points in a subsequent lesson, students will already have encountered them. As a result, the language will be relevant to studentsa€™ needs and the activity is likely to be motivating. When they work in their group, students have the opportunity to learn from peers through problem solving.
It is motivating for students to realise that they can carry out some authentic tasks in the target language from the earliest stage.
Studying the text, discussing it with a partner, working out a problem, making guesses and correcting their guesses are all part of the language learning process.
The worked example in Irish on page x is aimed at strong intermediate learners, but could be adapted to suit lower proficiency students. Without looking at each othersa€™ pictures, they must ask and answer questions to complete the picture.
Repeating the activity in step 10 enables students to correct their errors and improve their language production. Furthermore, they are more likely to remember a rule that they have figured out for themselves, than a rule simply given to them by the teacher. They then investigate what language is needed for the role play, before enacting the role play on camera.
How can there only be one story of life, one view of the universe, or one mirror of the human mind?
Campbell explains how the hero myth can support healthy psychological growth when people recognize their own problems in the ordeals of the mythic … and are reassured by the stories that give them abundant, time-tested strategies for survival, success, and happiness.”  This is exactly what Truby and McKee meant when they said structure can be used as a metaphor for how to live our lives. So why do we continually write stories about hero’s overcoming obstacles and succeeding in the end as if it is the natural order of things? I actually think that much of the hero’s journey was intended to have the hero discover wisdom as the side effect of the journey, and that the goal was the external impetus for growth. Ownership is regarded as being essential to successful implementation of alternative approaches. The most important principle is ownership; it is up to you, the teachers, how to use the exemplars and how to make them your own. This encourages students to focus initially on the general meaning of the dialogue rather than unknown words. Then remove the page so that students can listen while reading to focus on form and meaning. While students wona€™t need to reproduce regional accents, they will need to have a passive understanding if they are to communicate with native speakers. For example, in the case of Irish, you might say uimhir a h-aon, an Fhrainc (number one, France), and show students that they are to mark France number 1 on their map.
Students write as quickly and freely as they can, without crossing out text or worrying about errors.
Note that they are not repeating after the recording a€“ they are speaking along in time with it. This problem-based, student-centred activity is communicative and facilitates a cognitive approach to learning through interaction.
To make this a language awareness exercise, you might remove a particular class of word (prepositions, adjectives, verbs, etc.).
But lately, I’m finding that the wisdom part gets second fiddle (or no fiddle) to the search for the goal. In my eyes, it’s a must read, specially for ppl who want to write for children, specially for ppl close to end up in asylum because of story telling. But it’s elevation as the end-all be-all of storytelling started in the 1950’s with Campbell’s research and was greatly escalated by the influence Star Wars on American film. Is it possible that  arch plot and mythic structure are the predominant storytelling paradigm of our time and not a universal story? A personalised learning activity, where students choose functions that are of interest or use to them.

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