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Quick Way One

Shifting from Unit 2 to Unit 3

      By Mubarak Abdessalami


            Teachers normally close up a Unit with a global evaluating review based on the elements studied in that unit. This sort of exercise is done basically to check for errors and mistakes so as to restore them. However, this exercise -when it is explicit- gives the students the impression that something has ended and another is about to emerge. And this provokes a sort of disturbance and disorientation among the students. Therefore, It's forcibly quite a hard task for most novice teachers to shift from one activity to another without avoiding the explicit nature of the alteration or move. In this perspective, there is a lot of what we could call "risk factors" that teachers manage to get rid of and impede the students from taking any impulsive initiatives because they feel vulnerable.

             Impulsive initiatives and risk factors are generally observed among students when the transition is done without the appropriate calculations. Any abrupt alteration from a Unit to another or even from one activity to another especially if they are not of the same temperament may cause the students to have one of two reactions or attitudes:

  1. The students may think they should forget about the previous taught tutorial as being futile and uninteresting.
  2. They may spend a good deal of time before they could realize that something new is being presented.

            Hence a smooth transition should be planned carefully so as to reach the quintessence of the progress that is taking place. Teachers are aware of the confusion that the risk factors in this miscalculated transition may cause, so they try hard to make it as smooth and less perceptible and raising misunderstanding as possible.

Subject Course

            Here is an example from the secondary school first year syllabus "Quick Way One"... With this new curriculum, the shifting from a unit to another is a bit challenging for novice teachers. I'll give a sample of how the switch from unit two to Unit three in "Quick Way One" could be dealt with. And it's up to the concerned teachers to use this as a guide for other transitional activities elsewhere throughout the text book.

      By the end of unit two students should have learned how to:

Whereas in Unit three, the students are introduced to:

            Now what interests us after all is to go from Unit Two to the next Unit without the students even realize that a change is taking place until they discover, later on, when they open their textbooks, that a bridge has been put up. I mean that there should be no disconnection between the global review exercise about Unit two and the opening or presentation of set one in Unit three. All should be intermingled in order not to interrupt the normal flow of the course.

Let's see how we can safely employ this double functional activity:

            First of all (and as we have just mentioned above) the unit covered should be evaluated so as to check for the shakily learnt lessons and intensify students' full understanding of the whole range of sets studied formerly. In this context, the method consists primarily of a concocted assignment, the teacher uses chiefly (allow me to repeat it again) to see what the students have achieved so far and to prepare them for the following lesson at the same time. This activity can be implemented in terms of:

  1. Matching exercise (Example)
  2. What is the question exercise [For good classes] (Example)
            The students are given plenty of time to assimilate and use their own learning strategies.

*/ Match the numbers with the letters.
1. What's your name?a. I'm Moroccan.
2. What time is it?b. I'm sixteen.
3. What do you do?c. I'm from Rabat.
4. Where are you from?d. It's three O'clock.
5. What nationality are you?e. I'm a student.
6. How old are you?f. I'm Ahmed.

      For most students questions (1., 2., 3., and 6.) have already been done and it won't take time to do them. As for questions (4. and 5.) they meet them for the first time and they have to make an effort as to find which of answers (a. and c.) match with which questions. Smart students are supposed to do some thinking and see that the word from is repeated in question (4.) as well as in answer (c.). What remains is question (5.) which will eventually match with answer (a.). Therefore more than a bird are shot by the same stone.

            Alternatively the exercise could be done (with good classes) in terms of :

      */ What is the question to which the underlined words are the answer?

  1. I'm sixteen.
  2. I'm Moroccan.
  3. It's half past nine.
  4. I'm a student.
  5. I've got three brothers and one sister.
  6. I'm from Rabat.
  7. My mother is a housewife.

            Unlike the former, this review exercise is much more interesting because it works as a wrap up for preceding lessons and a warm up for the following Unit. In general, it is somehow very intricate for students, the most excellent ones included, to write the questions for numbers (2. and 6.) respectively. As they have never been seen before, these two question types must generate some brainstorming atmosphere among the students and incite them to get the questions by trying all the learning techniques they acquired. After a relatively longer time than usual, the teacher does the corrections by asking students to write their questions on the chalkboard for all the class to compare, discuss, give alternative suggestions or eventually correct themselves. When the task is done, the two "horrible" challenging questions (2. and 6.) will be the teacher's transitional playground. She may like to drill the corrected exploratory proposals of the students for the two new questions to force the creaking door of unit three open.

STUDENT 1 : What nationality are you? STUDENT 2 : I'm Moroccan.
STUDENT 1 : Where are you from?STUDENT 2 : I'm from Rabat.

While the students practice this in pairs through consistant repitition drills (above), the teacher may like to introduce new "Nationalities" for substitution drills (below), and gradually the capital cities belonging to the countries in question.

STUDENT 1 : What nationality are you? STUDENT 2 : I'm ____________.
STUDENT 1 : Where are you from?STUDENT 2 : I'm from _________.

      Thus the activity expands to include:
What nationality are you?Where are you from?
British London
French Paris
Australian Canberra

            Capital cities and other details are coming ahead in the following sets of the Unit. And increasingly other facts are initiated notably the languages people from different nationalities speak.

STUDENT 1 : What nationality are you? STUDENT 2 : I'm ____________.
STUDENT 1 : Where are you from?STUDENT 2 : I'm from _________.
STUDENT 1 : What language do you speak?STUDENT 2 : I speak _________.

Finally the students are introduced to the different languages of different nationalities. They learn :

What language do you speak?
- French
- Spanish
- Italian
- Arabic
- English
- Chinese
- etc

            All things considered, I guess the transition is smoothly achieved with less risk factors and plenty of landmarks leading safely to unit three through a well paved bridge. The gap which is practically supposed to hinder the class's progress is simply overcome successfully, I hope.