Unit 18: Identifying and selecting aims

By Porntip Bodeepongse

What are aims?
• Aims are what we want learners to learn or be able to do at the end of a lesson. Aims may focus on:
– A function or a grammatical structure – Vocabulary of a particular topic – Developing a language skills

Questions to ask in order to identify and select the most appropriate aims:
1. What do my learners already know? 2. What do they need to know? **Now do Task 1.

Task 1
Main aim
To practise making polite requests in the context of making holiday arrangements. Example exponent: Could you give me some information about hotels?

Subsidiary aims
Grammar: to revise modal auxiliary verbs Functional components: Could/Would you…..? Phonology: to focus on intonation. Vocabulary: to consolidate lexis for travel, accommodation Speaking: to give controlled oral practice

Personal aims
To improve my organisation of the whiteboard; to give clearer examples.

Why is setting aims important?
• They provide a purpose and direction for teaching and learning. • They enable teachers to focus on what their learners need to achieve. • They help teachers to select appropriate materials and activities.

• They provide a framework for the lesson. • They help teachers to anticipate possible problems and build in solutions. • They can serve as a reference point for teachers to measure learners’ achievement.

Which is more effective?
1. Learners will be able to use the present perfect simple to describe situations in their lives which began in the past and are still continuing. 3. To teach the present perfect simple with time adverbials

Writing effective aims
• Learning-centred, focus on what learners will be able to do • Say which situation, context, etc. the language will be used in • State exactly which sub-skills will be developed, and the context • Ensure the aims are measurable, i.e., how will teachers know that learners can understand and perform the target language described in the aims

Key concepts
• A main aim describes the most important thing we want to achieve in a lesson or sequence of lessons, e.g.
– To under stand and practise using new language – To reinforce or consolidate (= make stronger) the use of language they already know or to revise the language they have recently learnt.

• It should include an example of the target language we’re planning to teach.

Key concepts
• Subsidiary aims show the language or skills learners must be able to use well in order to achieve the main aim of the lesson. • From Task 1:
– Main aim = to practise making polite requests – Subsidiary aims = language and skills learners need to make these requests

Stating both main and subsidiary aims is a good way of:
• making sure that our lesson plan focuses on what we want our learners to learn or to be able to do. • enabling us to see how the lesson should develop, from one stage (or part) to the next, building up our learners’ knowledge or skills in the best possible order.

Personal aims as teachers
• Show what we would like to improve or focus on in our own teaching. • More examples:
To try different correction techniques To remember to check instructions To write more clearly on the blackboard To make more use of the phonetic chart To get learners to work with different partners – To get quieter learners to answer questions – – – – –

Steps in planning a lesson
1. Identify and select aims. 2. Design or select the most appropriate activities. 3. Put the activities in the best order. 4. Choose the most suitable teaching aids and materials. 5. After the lesson, look back to see whether we’ve achieved our aims.

Key concepts & language teaching
• The syllabus and/or coursebook will give us a general direction for planning our teaching. • To decide on specific aims for a lesson, we should think about learners’ need and stage they have reached in their learning. • Identify and select personal aims by looking back at earlier lessons we have taught and things that worked well and things we want to improve.

Aims & Procedures
• Aims describe what the learners will learn or what they will be able to do with the language. • Procedures are what the teacher and learner will do at each stage of the lesson, e.g. listening to a recording and answering questions about it.

Aims should not be too general.
– ‘To teach the past simple.’ ‘To introduce and practise the past simple for talking about personal experiences’ – ‘To develop learners’ reading skills’ ‘To give learners practice in predicting content, scanning for specific information and guessing meaning from context.’

Key concepts & LT
• The amount we plan to cover in a lesson depends on the length of the lesson and the learners’ level. • It is helpful to announce our aims at the beginning of the lesson, and/or to repeat them at the end. • The aims of a lesson should be described in simple language focusing on what they will do in the lesson and the language knowledge they will take away.

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