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Nelson Mandela, Simple Past Tense Reading Lesson
Intermediate level


In this lesson, students will read for gist, specific information and comprehension related to a mini biography of Nelson Mandela. They will also do a free speaking exercise according to the political heroes' photos which they will be given; and through this, the words and the past expressions they will have learnt will be practised for fluency.


Main Aims

  • To provide gist, scan and deduction reading in the context of life of Nelson Mandela by using simple past tense.

Subsidiary Aims

  • To provide fluency and accuracy in speaking with simple past tense through an activity about political heroes.


Lead-in (4-6 minutes) • To set lesson context and engage students

Greet Ss. Use the material Lead-in Photos about racism, protest, South African flag and the Nobel Prize to elicit the name Nelson Mandela. If they cannot say the name, show them the photo of him. Ask them the questions below so that you can set the context: - What is Nelson Mandela famous for? - Why did he go to prison and how long did he stay in jail? - Why do you think Nelson Mandela won the Nobel Prize?

Pre-Reading (6-8 minutes) • To prepare students for the text and make it accessible

Print two from both Pre-task Vocabulary and Pre-task Vocabulary-Definitions sheets. Cut them and post the definitions on different places of the walls before the lesson. Put Ss into two groups and give them the words. Tell them to walk around and match the words with their definitions. When they finish, give them answer keys and tell them to check their matches and correct if needed.

While-Reading #1 (12-14 minutes) • To provide students with less challenging gist and specific information reading tasks

Show Ss the Nelson Mandela-Reading Handout for Skimming & Scanning sheet. Tell them that they don't need to understand every single word, read quickly and try to understand the text generally. Use ICQ: - Do you use any dictionaries? No. Give them three minutes to read and match the headlines in the activity A with the appropriate paragraph. When they finish, get a whole class feedback. Next, tell them to find just the information wanted in the activity B in pairs. Use ICQs for each question e.g. What do you focus on for question one? Date. What do you focus on for question two? Date. What does question three want? A time period, etc. Demonstrate what scanning is and do the first question if needed. Give them three minutes. When they finish, give them an answer key to check.

While-Reading #2 (8-10 minutes) • To provide students with more challenging detailed, deduction and inference reading tasks

Show Ss the Comprehension Questions worksheet. Tell them that all the statements written are false and they are going to correct them. Tell them to work in pairs. When they finish, get a whole class feedback. -Contingency Plan- If there is time more than twelve minutes, refer back to the three questions you asked during lead-in. Ask them if their opinions changed and what new they learned after reading the biography.

Post-Reading (10-12 minutes) • To provide with an opportunity to respond to the text and expand on what they've learned

Ask Ss if they know some other political heroes and get some answers. Show them the Post-reading Photos beginning with Atatürk, tell why he is your favourite. Give each pair a photo and ask them to tell about this person to the other pair(s). Monitor and take notes of errors and good language use as they talk. When they finish talking, highlight their errors on the table and try to elicit the correction. Highlight also good language use or attempts and praise while you show them the correction of the good attempts.

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