Breaking News English is a collection of ESL/EFL lesson plans that use current events news stories to teach English. Each lesson includes an article written specifically for the lesson that can be downloaded as text and audio. There are various exercises for before, during, and after reading and/or listening to the excerpt.
Type of Material:
Text and audio of news articles
Class activity, assignments
Identify Major Learning Goals:
The lessons are designed to use the news as it happens to teach ESL/EFL. The exercises require reading, writing, listening and conversation skills.
Target Student Population:
High School, College General Ed.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
The variety of exercises, listening, reading, vocabulary, cloze, dictation, conversation, role play, allows the teacher to address several skills with one article. The exercises allow the teacher to expand the lesson. For example, vocabulary can be directly related to the article or branch off into synonyms and similar phrases.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The lessons would be most effective for those interesting learning British English via UK tabloid culture. The variety of exercises allows the teacher to choose the articles that focus on a desired learning task. The Easy and Hard lesson options provided in some lessons are useful in adapting the lessons to different age/ability levels.
The effectiveness of the Breaking News English lessons depends upon choice of usage. Using the entire lesson might take too long. Narrowing each lesson down (by the instructor) could be quite effective. Some lessons include an extensive choice of exercises, some not as many. The topic content may not engage all learners. Consideration of students cultural background, interests and ages is critical.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
Providing this lesson via PodCast (and .wav) is an excellent method. Options for downloading the lessons in Microsoft Word or PDF format make it easy to save, edit and distribute the lessons/exercises to a class.
The website is very difficult to navigate (poor layout). Some of the lessons are very long. Links at the top of the page to specific exercises would be helpful
Other Issues and Comments:
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