Our Monthly Featured Comment/Question – from a reader of our blog:
About a year ago, I took the highly-regarded [name deleted] TEFL training course which turned out as rewarding as it was cultivating.
However, I have come to realise that I am in desperate need of learning to plan functions lessons because what was offered on the course was minimal at best.
I can choose target language well and I can certainly clarify items, introduce topics, prolong a section, and conclude it smoothly.
My problem is in two areas:
1. How to clearly and quickly set up the functions task
2. How to manipulate students into producing the exact target language without resorting to audiolingual approach.
Please advise a plan sequence or recommend a book (or both) because my whole confidence is kind of hanging by a thread.
My response was as follows:
I am not sure that you are perhaps making it more difficult than it needs to be. But – my first question would be: for whom are you creating these lessons?
Your students will most likely determine how you would organize and create and structure your functions lessons.
Certainly if you are teaching Business English or Hospitality English (as examples) in work settings, the language is going to come right from their work place.
You can easily ask people what they are having trouble with or for what type of interactions do they use English – and build your lessons from there.
But even for kids, a functional lesson like – Asking and Answering Questions about your Favorite Video Game – would not be difficult to get going quickly, no?
Some good resources for getting a better handle on functions lessons? Try these . . .
The Hotel and Resort English eBook is also functions based. Check out that website at: Hotel-TEFL.com
Between those two websites you can get a good feel for what a tightly focused functions lesson is all about. There are lots of examples right on the websites and many are organized such that it would be easy to transfer them right into the classroom, including activities and worksheets.
TED’s Tips™ #1: You might also check out a previous post here called: Don’t Teach Grammar:Teach Functions