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Principles of Second-Language Teaching (Lesson Plan)

Last year, I taught a continuing education class of students who had well-developed language and literacy skills. Many of the students had taken English classes before they came to the United States. Some students had come to the United States to work as au pairs, some were visiting family members here, and a few had been living in the United States for several years. All of the students wanted to fine-tune their English reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills. They also expressed a strong interest in broadening their vocabulary. The lesson below details how they worked on these areas.


1. Freewrite to activate background knowledge: Where and when do you listen to music? How do you get access to music? (Radio? YouTube? File sharing? CD purchase?) What are some pros and cons of the different ways to get access to music?

2. Paired discussion & then class discussion

3. Textbook:

  • Intro. to tonight’s music downloading article
  • Vocabulary discussion: music downloading, taken to court, pending, churned out, mediocre, cracking down, consumers, monopoly, compensated, emerging, Soundcloud
  • I posted a copy of the article on the front projector and read the first paragraph, pausing to ask students occasional vocabulary/comprehension questions.
  • The students worked in pairs to read/discuss the next three paragraphs and answer vocabulary/comprehension questions.
  • Class discussion

4. Mini project: Students worked in pairs to create a project on that briefly identified/analyzed two pros and two cons of music downloading. Each project had four pictures with captions. The captions contained vocabulary and grammatical structures that we had been practicing in class that week.

5. The students presented their projects to the class.

6. During the presentations, the students jotted down notes on a peer presentation feedback handout. (The students did not write their names on the handouts. The students felt more comfortable adding specific feedback once they knew the handouts were anonymous.)

7. I compiled the details on the peer presentation feedback handouts and shared this information with the students later on in the week.


Susan Finn Miller's picture
One hundred

Hello Alyssa, Thanks for sharing your lesson plan on downloading music with us here on LINCS. This sounds like a highly engaging lesson since everyone loves music and learners were involved in conversation, vocabulary study, and using technology to conduct research to compare and contrast different ways of downloading music and then presenting their ideas to their classmates.

Cheers, Susan Finn Miller

Moderator, English Language Acquisition CoP