The Coat with the chart of suggestions for using with different CSWE modulesI had an illuminating session recently talking to some CSWE teachers – both those who’ve been using ESL Extras and those who’d just heard of them. One of the things we talked about was why students might be motivated to read, when there are so many competing demands on their time…

So what would make reading of value?

I know I’m biased, since I spend my time writing reading books (like The Coat), but I certainly believe that:

  • the emotional content of a story, or the way it relates to learners’ lives, can help with remembering words and phrases
  • the moral choices or cultural issues involved in a story lead to ‘real’ discussion and the opportunity to give opinions and to talk about your own culture and background
  • reading at home (or reading in class and doing the exercises at home) is a fun way to do some of that extra practice that’s intrinsically part of a certificate course – and to demonstrate that you’ve ‘got’ the whole idea of independent learning
  • reading along with audio is a way to reinforce unexpected pronunciation or word/sentence stress
    from the teacher’s perspective, reading books can be used with modules other than recount – opinions, conversation, transactions…

A chart with some ideas for different CSWE modules (and levels)

So, expanding on that last point, this post continues the theme of previous posts, but this time looking at higher level students – how could you use The Coat in a post-beginner class, if you’re not teaching recount modules? And what if you’ve got intermediate students in that class too? (Not that I’m recommending mixed level classes, but we all know they can happen, especially in a small centre…)

I’m sorry it’s just about CSWE – that’s what I’m familiar with – but I hope that if you’re teaching EAL or another certificate, you can still get some ideas from this chart that I’ve developed. It shows how you could use The Coat while teaching different modules, including in a mixed CSWE II and CSWE III class. It’s a combination of my own thoughts, with surprising additions from other teachers – surprising in that they’re not things I’d have ever thought of.

I’ll update it if I get more feedback…