Thursday, February 22, 2007

Teaching EFL/ESL using headlines

The basic idea is to use newspaper headlines n order to get students to ask questions and write the opening paragraph of a news story. This is aimed at intermediate students and above and will probably need 15 to 30 minute depending on the level of your students and the length of the article you choose.

Lesson Plan

1 Ask students what's the weirdest news story they heard recently. Student question each other about what the story is about.

2 Write a strange headline on the board (click here and here for some sites that have such stories every day). For example;

"Please don't invite us to your wedding, couple says"

3 Ask students what the story might be about.

4 Now explain that when a journalist writes a story the first paragraph has to answer five questions;


5 The students then write down their five questions, e.g. Who doesn't want to go to a wedding?"

6 They write down their own opening paragraph which answers their own questions.

7 Students check each others writing and make suggestions about how the story could be improved.

8 Give a photocopy of the original story and ask them to compare and contrast their version with the original.

"BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Fed up with spending too many weekends going to weddings, an Argentine couple took out a paid announcement on the social pages of a major newspaper expressing their desire for some social neglect."


Betty C. said...

This is really interesting. I use a lot of press articles for my students in class (post-secondary school level) and am always looking for new ways to deal with them and get interest going. Great blog, BTW.

teacher dude said...

I've been doing this activity all week and it really works. If you want to add a web 2.0 twist then you could ask the students to record a CNN/BBC style report with their mobiles and post it on a blog.

And thank you for the compliment.

Spread Your Wings said...

I think this approach can also be used, with some variation, in teaching conversational English.

I frequented an online English learning group that regularly host skypecasts. Members in that group prepare slides beforehand and show them during each skypecast. Headlines are often included. The question is how to best utilize them for group discussion so that everybody can participate and learn. That's where I think some of your practices can be put into place.