A good way to begin each lesson is with an Activating Schema. This can be a short discussion or activity that activates the students background knowledge related to the general context/usage of what you are teaching. This usually happens after a warm-up activity and serves to fully connect the students to the topic/application of language Presented, Practiced, and Used in the lesson. In this activity, the students aren’t required to use any specific language, but it gets them connected to a natural context in which the language can later be used.
A fun thing to consider for your Activating Schema is having your students generate discussion topics that can then be used by them in final use/production at the end of the lesson. The topics will be student-generated, so more personalized and more likely to be of interest to them. It also allows the production/use stage to be more naturalized and not a role-play that might be far away from the students’ life experience.
One thing to keep in mind if you decide to try out this idea is that you will need to guide the students ideas so that they are sure to fit the language you are teaching. Also, consider how to take their discussion questions and add a communicative purpose to them. For example, if the students decide to discuss a particular topic, give them a goal or conclusion to reach. This will help keep the discussion flowing fluently and naturally.
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