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Teaching with a purpose

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© British Council

In the video in the last step, you saw part of a lesson in which a teacher was preparing her learners for a story. We can call this the pre-reading stage of her lesson.

In this stage, the teacher did a number of things, and each had a purpose, or aim. A course can have an aim, individual lessons can have an aim, and stages within a lesson have aims too.

Let’s look at what the teacher did in her pre-reading stage, and why.

Procedure: What did she do? Aim: Why did she do it?
Show the cover of the book and introducing the character Create interest in the story
Mime and ask questions to show meaning Check that learners understand key vocabulary from the story
Show pictures from the story and ask learners to put them in the order they think they will happen Provide learners with a reason for reading

Aims can add focus to lessons and stages. A stage can have more than one aim, as in the lesson that you saw, but having a lot of different aims can lead to a lack of focus. It’s often a good idea to think about your main lesson aim first, and then to ensure that the stages in your lesson work towards that aim. In other words – think about what you want your learners to achieve and how you will help them achieve it. This should help you to plan your lessons with your learners’ needs in mind.

  • Should teachers inform their learners of the aims of a lesson or activity?
  • Is it OK to teach without a purpose, or aim? In what situations?
    Share your ideas by writing a comment below.
© British Council
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