Skip to 0 minutes and 11 secondsWelcome to Week 1. I'm here with Paul and Kay. And this week we're discussing language for helping to get learners ready to learn at the start of the lesson, how to engage them from the very beginning. So Kay, how do you get learners ready to learn in your subject lessons? I like to write learning objectives on the board. And why do you share the learning objectives? I think it helps learners to focus on what they're doing in that lesson. And it helps them focus on English, because they may have come out of another lesson taught in their L1. So they're not thinking in English when they come in. So if they see those, that helps I think, the English.

Skip to 0 minutes and 55 secondsI'd agree with that. I think it's very important for it to be clear from the beginning what they're going to be doing. They may indeed, as Kay says, have come from another classroom altogether, entirely different subject area, perhaps using their L1. And so they need to almost make some kind of break there, some kind of cut-off point to say, OK, here I am in this lesson. This is what I'm going to be learning in this lesson. These are going to be the objectives. The teacher themself then becomes very clear so we know exactly what we're doing. It almost helps reset us in our own minds. OK.

Skip to 1 minute and 24 secondsAnd anything else, any other techniques or strategies that you use to get learners focused on what they're going to be doing, or where they are in the content? I also like to do a quick review at the start. So I may write words on the board, or put some images on there. And if I use an image, I'll put questions around it. For example, which polygon has a right angle? Or I'll ask a more open question and say, what do you know about polygons? Again, a quick review of learning to activate their prior knowledge. So we've talked about sharing learning objectives and thinking about what they've done in previous lessons.

Skip to 2 minutes and 3 secondsBut how do you get learners ready to learn the content that's coming in the lesson?

Skip to 2 minutes and 11 secondsI'd agree with the fact that you need to work out where they're at with something initially. So to try to work out and find out from them what base level they're at almost, to ask some fairly low-level questions. But then gradually build that up into higher order thinking skills perhaps so that you can gradually draw more and more out of them. I agree. But I think sometimes I need to elicit more specifically, because it's another language. So I might ask them questions so that they can give me the words, the subject words. Or, if they're at a higher level, elicit the knowledge more than just a word. But I think that's very important to find out what they know.

Skip to 2 minutes and 54 secondsAlso I think there's an argument that they could use some L1 at the beginning of a lesson if you're eliciting new words. Because then you can quickly translate. I know that's contentious. But it can be effective. I think what you were saying, Kay, is actually very interesting. Because if you're asking open questions about what learners know, or what they don't know, you'll get back ideas from learners. Maybe they can't express those in English yet. But you're creating a frame where they can then learn the words that they need to express their ideas, or express their knowledge. Yes. Otherwise it's too frustrating, if they know it in their first language and they just can't say it. That's true.

Skip to 3 minutes and 29 secondsIt makes them really keen to want to know it in English then, doesn't it? And it's a very rich experience to share the language. Yeah.

Welcome to Week 1

You’re going to watch Helen, Kay and Paul talk about getting learners actively engaged at the start of a lesson so that they are motivated and ready to learn.

While you watch, take notes to complete this table. You may need to listen more than once and you can slow down the video and use subtitles if you wish.

Ways to start a lesson  
Reasons for preparing learners for learning  

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Why do you think the start of the lesson is such an important stage of a lesson? How do you start your lessons?

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Teaching Your Subject in English

Cambridge Assessment English

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