Lesson Module – Ancient and Modern Communities

(Mix of TBLT – CLIL – skills-based lessons)

Writing just a very quick blog post, because I am so busy and haven’t got the time to write a longer piece, but I’ve felt so good about this module that I’d like to share.

It’s one of the modules I’ve designed for my general English classes at the uni and I entitled it Ancient and Modern Communities. It sprawled over four lessons. The level is High-Int to Advanced.

I don’t use a course-book for this course and I have compiled materials that are in line with my course design.

Lesson 1: A Fluentize lesson “Nobody wants to help you move” – a funny video from the Kay & Peele comedy series. The aim was to talk about moving places, relationships and reasons for moving places.

Lesson 2: My Neighbourhood – an activity from from Activities for Task-Based Learning in which students list, compare and evaluate the most pressing problems in their neigborhood. (Noisy neighbours “won”, if you interested). A good communicative speaking activity in which students got a lot off their chest.

Lesson 3: A jigsaw reading on the topic of Ancient Greek Gymnasia, taken from this great FREE website: https://www.commonlit.org/en/texts/gymnasium.

Procedure:

I cut up the text into paragraphs. The students worked in pairs, read their paragraph and identified three main ideas in the text. They came to me and I put them in a ppt presentation as bullet points, one paragraph – one slide. Then we ran the presentation and other students had to look at the bullet points and ask questions based on them. The key ideas served here as a focal point, so that the others knew what to ask and the questions were relevant to the text. The pair who read the paragraph answered the question. Whole-class feedback.

The text is really interesting, so there is a lot to talk about. Also, it serves as a nice intro to the English pronunciation of Greek names.

Lesson 4: Authentic listening to the radio.cz interview about the history of the Czech gymnastics Sokol movement in the USA. This is probably only relevant to Czech people, but the topic is fascinating. Although Sokol has a long history in this country and is very famous, neither I nor my students knew it had extended overseas to the USA, so it was quite eye-opening.

I identified several main headings and students listened and took notes; then shared.

Finally, and I believe it was the highlight of the lesson series, I asked the students to compare and contrast the Ancient Greek gymnasium and the Sokol movement. Among the common points, the students mentioned their high focus on identity and the “sound soul in a sound body”)/Kalokagathia principle. The contrasting points were social class (Sokol was/is available to anyone), gender (women have always been welcome to Sokol) and the obvious but amusing aspect of (a lack) nudity.

Overall, I found it was a very enjoyable module nicely tailored to the fairly high level of the class and the fact we are on an academic ground. I also loved how the different parts of the module clicked into one-another.

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