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Skip to 0 minutes and 10 seconds At the end of the lesson, for example, if it’s been mainly using text, watching video, having a discussion with your group mates about the topic, I may ask at the end for a group to get together and be able to write a short paragraph summary of the topic because it depends on the strength of their writing skills a lot. Because having to put something down on paper or having to put it into words, they really do need to be clear about their understanding of the subject. And if they’re not, they’re going to struggle to make it concrete in that way.

Skip to 0 minutes and 53 seconds Before doing that, I may ask for a one- or two- minute oral summary from the groups after they’ve had a chance to chat about it themselves. And then follow that with a written summary, which they could also do together as a group. They could then exchange them, and see if they agree, what they may have forgotten that was significant in the lesson. At the end of the lesson, it’s always good to do a few activities to wrap-up. And that once again, depends on the content and the language level. It’s a question of finding the balance between routines and novelty. Some of the activities that I use for wrap up are activities that I do on a regular basis.

Skip to 1 minute and 39 seconds But from time to time I like to introduce something new, so that everybody is on the alert and trying to think of new ideas. Graphic organisers, visuals and linguistic summaries are always very useful. I agree that it’s important to bring it together at the end of an activity, end of a lesson, but also at the end of a topic before you go on to a completely new subject topic. And I like learners to reflect not just on what they think they’ve achieved, but specifically, what they’ve achieved in subject learning and what they think how their English has improved to communicate the subject. So that they’re also feeling good about how much their English has developed through learning a subject.

Skip to 2 minutes and 26 seconds A final step may be to ask them to try to think of some application of the topic of what they’ve learned to their own lives, to the real world, or evidence of it in their community. So taking the learning out of the classroom, seeing how it can relate to them in the school, in the community, in the larger society. If they can make some connections there, then it makes the learning still deeper I find, if they can. Not always possible. One thing I didn’t mention before, I think the use of video clips is so important. And to find video clips for subject concepts to consolidate learning is quite hard.

Skip to 3 minutes and 11 seconds So often, you’ll find a brilliant one but it’s done for native speakers. So I turn the sound down and do my own commentary. But it gives learners a chance to ask questions and that you can then explain again or summarise. And that’s a nice way to finish a topic. It gives them different stimulus, doesn’t it? Yes. You could even ask them to do the description themselves. Or create the video.

Summarising and emphasising

In the final part of the course we’ll look at what teachers do at the end of a lesson, a unit or a topic: how they get learners to summarise and how our teachers emphasise the main points that learners should know.

For example:

What did you find out about in this science topic?

To sum up, we discovered that there are different types of aquatic ecosystems and they are classified in different ways.

Watch our teachers talking about how they check achievement and understanding of learning objectives and answer these ‘Why does’ questions.

Why does:

  • John ask his learners to write a paragraph summary in groups?
  • Claudia include some new activities at the end of her lessons?
  • Kay get learners to think about what they have improved in their subject as well as how their English has improved?
  • John ask his learners to think of applications of the topic to their own lives?
  • Kay use video clips to finish a topic?

    Check your answers and read the extra notes in the pdf in the documents section.


    Do you summarise the key points of a topic you’ve completed or do you get the learners to summarise key points themselves? Join in the discussion and let us know.
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    Teaching Your Subject in English

    Cambridge Assessment English

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