International Women's Day

A lesson plan to help educate students, improve their English skills, think critically about the society in which they live, and of their role in it


Term Paper, 2018

19 Pages


Excerpt

Inhalt

Abstract

Introduction

Background to my personal teaching and assessment beliefs

Rationale for the lesson topic matter

Research Questions and Lesson Procedure

Conclusion

Bibliography

Appendix

Abstract

This paper attempts to show how lesson plans should be created to take into account the needs of individual students or classes, help with a particular EFL or EAP sub-skill, raise cultural awareness in students and have them think critically about issues that are pertinent to them and to society at large. The author believes that lessons should not be or be seen to be isolated from the outside world. Instead, students should be able to instantly use their newfound knowledge to interact with others outside of the classroom. In any subject, be it science, maths or history, there has to be a connection between what students are learning and the reasoning behind it. Although this idea of Content and language Integrated Learning (CLIL) has been around since Confucius’ times, many educators assume the connection between the lesson taught and society at large is implicit. This essay attempts to rationalize reasons for the content of one particular lesson and show how it is expected to raise student awareness of the role of women in society. Upon completion of the lesson, students will answer a survey and the author will use the feedback as the focus of a subsequent paper.

Introduction

Many educators believe the burden is with students to make the connection between classroom instruction and the world outside. It is apparently clear, too, that students are becoming increasingly concerned with final grades and doing well in exams rather than focusing on classroom content and the enjoyment that a stress free learning environment can bring. This author believes, through years of experience and classroom feedback, that lessons should be designed and implemented in such a way as to help enable students to come to the realisation that there is interconnectivity in all that we do.

The paper focuses on how the author created one lesson to inform students about one important issue, help them with various language skills, have them think deeply about the issue(s) raised, and prepare their own presentation. Unlike many academic papers the focus of this one on the content of the lesson and the rationale behind the design rather than on student performance. Many academic papers are written on the back of action research projects numbering a student count of fewer than ten. Conclusions often indicate such startling findings that more research is needed! It is this author’s wish to take a different approach and initiate a paper with the actual lesson plan, provide a rationale behind the reasoning and state the desired objectives from the lesson. It is also hoped that upon completion of the lesson, students will provide detailed feedback. This can be analysed and form the basis of a second paper. Additionally, I would like to highlight my thought processes when preparing lessons and illustrate the rationale behind my pedagogic methodology. The second paper will show my reflections on the lesson, as well as those of the students. Vieira (2005) discusses at length the benefits to both teachers and students of reflection on classes and materials used and of how this reflective process helps inform teaching practice.

The complete lesson plan and teacher’s notes can be found in the appendix.

In the body of this paper, I will firstly explain my rationale for deciding upon the particular topic matter, then I will detail in a step-by-step process the reasoning behind each stage of the lesson and describe the desired and/or expected outcomes. The second part of the paper (next semester) will critically analyse the findings and provide feedback and explanations for parts of the lesson that worked or did not work. The author will then provide actions that will be taken to address any shortcomings in the lesson plan. Additionally, I propose to conduct the lesson and receive feedback from classes at two universities in the Aichi area, one from a class of all female students and the other from a coeducational class. As this particular lesson focuses on women and the role they play in society, I wonder if feedback, from an all female class will differ in any way from a co-ed class. As the first lesson has yet to be used in a classroom environment, this paper will differ from other academic papers in that it cannot offer any valid conclusions. However, I can speculate, and throughout the paper intimate my expectations for each part of the lesson. Additionally, the main aim of the paper is to offer one instructor’s personal rationale for electing to develop and implement a specific lesson and to perhaps, by detailing the thought processes involved, help others to better think about, critically analyse and justify their own lesson methodology and planning.

Background to my personal teaching and assessment beliefs

Delpit (2006) writes about how education policy is suited, due to the changing political environment and belief sets, to raise student test scores. Indeed, in my opinion of education policy in Japan, students spend too much time focusing on test scores and exam results and completely fail to comprehend the meaning behind and pleasure of education. I, and a number of colleagues I have often spoken with complain about student apathy and desire to simply get through the course of study and pass their final exams, without taking the time to appreciate the content of the course. Delpit (2006) does however state that a number of schools (in the U.S.) manage to treat students like the ‘precious resources’ they are. I am also of the firm belief that educators are responsible for helping to make students interested in the world around them, to ask questions of and think about solutions to issues affecting us all. Rohlen (1983, p271) states, ‘If you would form the tree, do so while it is young.’ I am of the opinion that educators play an important role and have an immense responsibility in helping to, not only shape the tree, but to ensure that it is watered and fed the proper nutrients. We should, however, take care to not shape the tree in our own image, but to let it grow tall and find its place among the others in the forest. Rugen (2018) writes extensively on teacher immediacy, and I concur that by engaging students in class discussion, debating issues pertinent to them, and by making use of teacher self-disclosure, the atmosphere in the learning environment is enhanced allowing students to study in a relaxed manner and realise their full potential.

Rationale for the lesson topic matter

I was inspired to develop a lesson to showcase the role and rising status in women (in some countries) over the last one hundred years, to evoke student feedback and involve them in an issue pertinent to they and their children. In a recent U.K. survey, Mhairi Black was second only to Nicola Sturgeon in a vote to find the most influential woman in the UK. Other notable women were Queen Elizabeth, Diana Spencer, J.K. Rowlings and Margaret Thatcher. I initially wondered why three of the top six were politicians and was intrigued to discover how Japanese students might vote; would they vote for a political figure, a TV personality, singer or otherwise? I also wondered if students might change their opinions after completion of the lesson. In the following paragraphs I will explain my reasoning for each step of the lesson plan process. I believe that educators have a responsibility to be creative and to develop lessons they feel students will relate to. Learning English should be secondary to and a natural progression of classroom instruction. Students in Japan spend six years at the junior high and high school level learning grammar and vocabulary, so it is sometimes a shock to them when they are asked to think and express an opinion at the university level. I see it as an imperative precondition of any EFL/EAP instructor to provide opportunities for students to express their opinions and to create a classroom environment that maximises the full potential of student creativity. Obviously, to make the classroom L2 friendly, instructors should make allowances for the limited exposure students may have had to the language in general. Subsequently, I have included a vocabulary list of lower frequency words that students may not have been exposed to. Grabe (2007) discusses the differences between L1 and L2 reading ability and about the vast differential in exposure to L1 and L2 language. He also mentions that in order to enjoy, or fully understand a reading (or listening) passage students have to be able to comprehend more than 90% of the text. Instructors are, therefore, responsible for ensuring that students are well versed with any lexis likely to cause concern.

Research Questions and Lesson Procedure

As stated, the aim of this paper is to expose my teaching methodology and show how I take everyday ideas and try to structure a lesson around them. As a rule of thumb, my lesson plans take between two to four classes to complete. I have found that the following lesson structure proves to be beneficial:

1. Brainstorming

2. Introduction to the material and language work

3. Student preparation for Presentation

4. Final student presentation and feedback.

This complete plan can take up to six lessons, but is dependent on how teachers interpret the material. Brainstorming allows students to think about the issue before doing more detailed research and making a presentation.

Any plan is fluid and open to interpretation and change, often during class time! Instructors should be prepared to change at a moment’s notice any pre-planned procedure if it is seen to be inappropriate for any given class. Students do, however, need to be given guidance in lesson rationale and expected outcomes should be provided after the first phase.

My research questions are to discover the following:

- Do all female classes or coeducational classes respond differently to CLIL instruction when the topic concerns females
- What aspect of the lesson did students find most interesting and why
- What aspect of language instruction did students find most beneficial and why. Students could choose from listening, writing, vocabulary building, note-taking, presentation planning and/or judging.

I plan to write a second paper highlighting these findings in 2019. I also anticipate some other findings, as yet unspecified, will present themselves and I hope to be able to address them in the second paper and show how they help inform modifications I might make to the lesson, or whether I choose to bin the lesson completely!

As stated at the beginning of this paper, I feel it is a great opportunity for instructors to be in a position to conduct research in the classroom in order to reflect and improve upon classroom practice. The following figure (Figure 1.) adapted from Gibb’s (1988) Cycle highlights the processes involved in classroom assessment-related research.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

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Excerpt out of 19 pages

Details

Title
International Women's Day
Subtitle
A lesson plan to help educate students, improve their English skills, think critically about the society in which they live, and of their role in it
Author
Year
2018
Pages
19
Catalog Number
V441755
ISBN (eBook)
9783668801998
ISBN (Book)
9783668802001
Language
English
Tags
international, women, english
Quote paper
Gerry Mclellan (Author), 2018, International Women's Day, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/441755

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