According to J. Harmer in his book The Practice of English Language Teaching, “receptive skills are the ways in which people extract the meaning from the discourse they see or hear”. In the following text “Playing with your food” the main skill that is being practiced is reading and along with it other sub-skills are being developed such as practicing new vocabulary, reading for gist in order for the students to understand the main idea. Enhancement of receptive skills will increase the rate at which students comprehend English language and allow students to practice new vocabulary in its context from the text.
1. Generating students’ interest in the topic of the text.
The teacher gives the students a picture of a vegetable and then a musical instrument and then writes the title of the text on the board, “ Playing with your food”. The teacher then asks students to take some time and make predictions what they think the text will be about.
After that some of their ideas will be listed on the board.
Rationale: This activity will help students predict the topic and prepare for the vocabulary that might be used in the studied text.
2. Reading for gist.
The teacher will then ask the students to read the text quickly for a couple of minutes after which they will be asked if any of their predictions, from the listed of the board, were mentioned in the text. After discussing the text briefly students will be asked to read and answer the questions in Ex.1 (see attached exercise worksheet) in order to check if they have understood the general idea of the text. After checking their answers the teacher will ask the students “What is the main idea of the text?”, “ Is this something that you would try yourself?”.
Rationale: This task will help students to enhance their ability to read for gist and understand the main idea of the text. And will also help them answer general questions related to the text. (see ex.1 on attached worksheet).
3. Reading for specific information:
Teacher will ask students to read questions related to the text and then read the text itself to support their answers. (see ex.2 on attached worksheet). The students will be working in pairs and will check with the text if they find it necessary.
Rationale: This exercise allows students to practice reading for specific information for which they need to concentrate while reading in order to find the correct piece of information they are looking for.
Practicing productive skills:
As J. Harmer says in his book The Practice of English Language Teaching productive skills are a way of helping students with their receptive skills and in many situations production can only continue in a combination with the practice of a receptive skill. Productive skills are important for students, when they learn them in the classroom, as they help them develop a better and more efficient way to communicate and also in this way they learn the correct context of different uses and meanings of words and phrases. They follow the typical intonation and sounding of a language and naturally prepare for formal or informal conversations.
The teacher will play a video of a short musical performance of the Vegetable Orchestra. After watching the video the teacher asks the students to write a short review about the orchestra and if they feel it necessary they can check with the text. The teacher will write on the board some lead- in questions for the students to begin with. – What was the idea of the musicians from Austria that made the so different from other orchestras? – What happens with the vegetable instruments after the concert is over? -What is your opinion of this music?
– Do you think their art will gain more popularity in the world?
After completing their writings, students will exchange their papers with their partners in order to share opinions and see if they have followed the idea of the text and to correct any spelling or grammatical mistakes they might have made.
Rationale: this activity will help students practice spelling, vocabulary, grammar and text formation which differ quite a lot from speaking.
2. Speaking activity:
The teacher asks the students to divide in groups and of 2 or 3 and elicits that each group is a musical orchestra that uses different materials for their instruments, such as vegetables, old office materials, fruit or things they can find in nature. Each group will have to decide on its name, style of music, instruments and activities. What kind of songs they have and some history that they can imagine.
After this they will have about 5-6 minutes to prepare and then they will have to introduce themselves to the rest of the class. Afterwards the class will vote which musical band might get in the leading positions of the radio charts. This activity will be useful to students as it encourages them to practice new vocabulary from the text, etc. biodegradable, environmentally-conscious, and to interpret the new information in their own way and engage in a spoken dialogue.
Ex.1 Read text and answer the following questions:
1. What makes this orchestra different from others? (they make their own instruments from vegetables) 2. How is the orchestra called? (The Vienna Vegetable Orchestra) 3. What happens to the vegetables after a performance finishes? (they make soup with them for the audience)
Ex.2 Read the text again, and mark with True or False the following statements.
1. The text is about children who don’t eat their food. F
2. The vegetable Orchestra was founded in 2008. F
3. The musical instruments are made from tropical fruit. F
4. The orchestra plays many different kinds of music. T
5. The musicians perform more than 3 times a year. T
6. The Vegetable Orchestra produces its own instruments. T 7. Carrots are turned into flutes. F
8. The sound of each instrument depends on the quality of the vegetables and the temperature on stage. T
Ex. 3 Answer the following questions:
1. Where is the orchestra from? Austria
2. What combinations of vegetables are used together to create instruments? Cucumbers, peppers and carrots and etc.
3. What is used for drums? Pumpkins
4. What makes better instruments, plastic-packed vegetables or fresh vegetables? Fresh vegetables
5. When was the orchestra founded? 1998
6. What is the orchestra musical repertoire formed of ? From classical to electronic
Refrences : J. Harmer The Practice of English Language Teaching, Longman, pages 246, 250-252