Aaron Abrook Aaron Abrook

Demo Lesson 1
Intermediate level


A lesson designed to highlight the importance of gleaning meaning from context when reading. This lesson is designed to prevent students from worrying if they don't understand every word in texts, and also to show them that there are preferable alternatives to relying upon translation dictionaries.


Main Aims

  • Students will have also noticed that total comprehension of every lexical item in a text is not necessary to understand the overall meaning of a written text.
  • By the end of the lesson, the learners will have had their awareness raised about the importance of inferring the meanings of unknown words through context when reading texts.

Subsidiary Aims

  • The learners will have exploited cohesive devices of time to understand the correct order of a sequence of events.
  • To provide review and practice of a lexical group connected to air travel.


Warmer: ‘Shout It Out’ + Pre-reading context setting (10-12 minutes) • This warmer will activate Ss schemata about aeroplanes and related lexis. The chaotic and competitive nature of it will get the Ss actively thinking and hopefully relieve tension caused by the observers’ presence.

T will put the Ss into two teams (likely to be 3-4 Ss per team) T will write the word ‘aeroplane’ and elicit related lexical items from the teams. T has a list of ten words. Each time a team shouts out a word on the list, they score one point. All relevant words will be boarded (at the side of the board). Time limit: 2 mins. Afterwards T may ask the Ss to define some phrases for their peers. On this list, to the Ss surprise ‘Nasruddin Hoja’ will be present. T will ask if the Ss know about any connections between him and aeroplanes.

Jigsaw Reading – Putting pieces of a short text together (Reconstruction). (5-6 minutes) • By reconstructing the text, the Ss will have to recognize cohesive devices (time expressions) within the sentences. Not understanding the nonsensical words shouldn’t hinder their progress, although they will probably infer likely meanings from them.

Ss In pairs or small groups. T presents them with six strips of paper that make up a short story. The Ss will have two minutes to put them into the correct order. The story contains some nonsensical words that the Ss are told to ignore. T will discreetly monitor. Pairs will check each others’ texts afterwards.

Learner training stage – How did the Ss organise the sentences? (3-4 minutes) • This stage helps the Ss think about what they noticed within the text – greater consciousness of their reading strategies.

T asks Ss how they decided which places the sentences went in. Ss may point out ‘Shortly afterwards’, ‘a little later’, ‘again spoke’. Ss may also point out the increases in the length of the expected delay. Ss may already know the story too.

Gist questions and inferred meaning of lexis questions (12-14 minutes) • These questions will get the Ss thinking about the overall meaning of the text, and will test their skills for inferring meanings. The words can be replaced by words from the warmer, although T will not tell them this (it may prevent them from testing their top-down skills)

In different pairs, Ss together answer these questions (on a handout, with the full text): • Do you think Nasruddin Hoja has flown before? • Can you think of a title for the story? • These words are not English words. Replace them with English words. mihani(s) = epivati(s) = odhigho = ftano = • How do you think the other people on the aeroplane feel? Is Nasruddin helping them? T will discreetly monitor to make sure Ss are on track

Peer checking and more learner training. (5-7 minutes) • Again, this will help the Ss think about their reading strategies. They should use their existing knowledge and logic to identify whether the words are nouns, verbs, adjectives etc. They should also use their schematic (existing) knowledge activated in the first stage about aeroplanes.

Ss will change pairs and compare their answers Following this, T will ask Ss how they decided which words should replace the nonsensical words. e.g. Ss may say mihani = engine/motor because big aeroplanes have four; they can break down/develop trouble/fail; a plane needs them to fly.

Optional Stage: Speaking – Expansion of text. (10-12 minutes) • This stage allows the students to exploit the text further by gaining more communicative practice and use of relevant lexis.

Ss asked ‘What is missing from the story?’ Ss hopefully notice that there is no introduction. Ss are given 10 minutes to create a short introduction to the story in existing pairs. T will board these questions to get them thinking along the right lines. • When did this story happen? • Where is Nasruddin flying to? • Why is he going there? • Is he going there alone, or with another person? T will also elicit opening phrases i.e. ‘One day..’ , ‘Once upon a time…’ , ‘Many years ago’ etc. T will make himself available for help.

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