MINISTRY OF PUBLIC EDUCATION
NATIONAL ENGLISH ADVISORY
THE CAROUSEL CLASSROOM
(A Methodological Alternative to Transform the English Classroom)
By Leonor Eugenia Cabrera Monge
National English Advisor
MINISTERIO DE EDUCACIÓN PÚBLICA
Lic. Manuel Antonio Bolaños Salas
M.Sc. Wilfrido Blanco Mora
Lic. Marlen Gómez Calderón
M.Sc. Zahyra Morgan Lobo
Directora División Curricular
M.Ed. Carmen Barrantes Vega
Directora Educación Académica
PROGRAMA DE MEJORAMIENTO DE LA CALIDAD DE LA EDUCACIÓN
PREESCOLAR Y GENERAL BÁSICA
M.Sc. Carlos Barrantes Rivera
M.Sc. Rose Mary Rodríguez Oviedo
Leonor Eugenia Cabrera Monge M.A.
Asesora Nacional de Inglés
Module revised by :
Table of Contents
I. What´s the Carousel Classroom? --------------- page
II. What to teach in the Carousel Classroom?---- page
III. Planning for the Carousel Classroom-------- page
IV. How to evaluate in the Carousel Classroom---- page
V. Some references for searching the WEB---- page
VI. Your own reflection --------------------------- page
VII. Bibliography------------------------------------- page
I. WHAT IS THE CAROUSEL CLASSROOM?
The Carousel Classroom is the ideal classroom set up for teaching and learning
a foreign language because it provides the students with different
environments for developing the four basic skills.
The Carousel Classroom is based on the technique of the same name, where
the facilitators create “stations” where different activities are presented at
the same time. For example, rather than a group of forty people going through
four activities for two hours, four groups of ten participants are divided
among four activities. After thirty minutes at one activity, each group rotates
to another station and another activity. In this way all participants are
actively involved and the pace is lively (especially helpful when participants are
tired). The technique works best when the different stations illustrate
different activities:” taken from The Human Rights Education Handbook.
The Carousel Classroom, or the Innovation Lab for learning English of the
Ministry of Public Education, has six different interactive environments,
created to cope with this new setting for the language classroom. They
facilitate the acquisition of the skills, and offer the possibility for the
students to advance at their own rate. The teacher is vital as a core for the
organization and assignment of tasks.
To promote language learning through a series of well defined environments
which help the students acquire a new language through the use of diverse
human, physical and electronic resources.
Listening This section of the class emphasizes the listening
skill and provides opportunities to the learners
to improve the sound, stress and intonation by
constant exposure to oral texts and other types
of exercises. Students are seated at hexagonal/
round shaped tables, carrying out assigned tasks.
Speaking This section only has the round or hexagonal table
with chairs. Students discuss the topics provided
by the instructor and try to arrive at conclusions
which will be used for further discussion. If the
group decides, the activity could be recorded for
further feed back and analysis.
Reading There is also a setting that allows students to
read at their own pace. Of course, common tasks
are assigned by the teacher as well.
Writing This section promotes the development of the
written ability through a series of tasks assigned to
the group of students as a team or individually.
Independent This activity is an integral part of the class and
Studies it is reinforced by the use of computers, as tools
for language learning, information researching and
production of pieces of the oral and written language.
The use of multimedia resources and specialized
software offers the opportunity for the students to
progress at their own pace. This tool also helps them
to improve their language performance by practicing
a series of exercises using recorded native speakers
Special This is an action directed by the teacher who has to
Attention have a record of each students. It is a wonderful
opportunity to provide special assistance to the
students, who may show learning difficulties in
one area, or who have a higher level of proficiency in
some or all of the skills. Special work will be
provided for each student and additional recom-
mendations will be given for their own language
development by using the computers as a means to
exercise the skills.
Storage space The class is fully equipped with electric outlets,
equipment (computers, scanner, projection system,
tape recorder, T.V. set, video cassette player,
printer, photocopy machine, video beam), but it also
has storage space to keep the equipment, books,
tapes, video tapes and all sorts of educational
The communicative approach for language teaching and learning is one of the
methodological approaches recommended to be used when developing the
English Syllabus for secondary education. In this sense, learning has to be
carried out in context. It means that whenever a learning task is considered
for the classroom, it should be part of the current theme and must be part of
the whole. When dealing with the skills, the development of one has to be
interconnected to the other skills to allow a normal development of the
language. For example, if a topic has been introduced through listening at the
beginning levels, students should react to the oral stimulus by identifying a
series of events, placing written word groups into the correct order, etc. If it
is through an oral stimulus, students should be able to demonstrate they
understand by answering, using small pieces of information, by pointing at
different objects, etc. When developing reading, the students should
complete charts, diagrams and other types of exercises which lead to
comprehension of the texts, etc. , and when dealing with speaking, the theme
of the unit is the starting point for a discussion or for providing the solution
to a common problem.
The Role of the teacher
The teacher in the Carousel Classroom has to be an innovator who, taking
advantage of the resources and the training opportunities, activates learning
in their students by provided challenging and motivated learning situations.
The role of the teacher, besides being a specialist in the field, should be that
of a source of knowledge of the classroom, the institution and the community
where he/she is immersed. He/she has to be an expert in the use of all
sources of materials, audio visuals, electronic devices, teaching and evaluating
techniques and be familiar with the international and national current
situation. He/she should be a facilitator of the learning process for his/her
pupils. He/she should help the students arrive at generalizations on the use
and usage of the language during the discussion periods within the speaking
environment or during the whole group sessions.
The Role of the Student
The student in the Carousel Classroom is no longer a passive observer of what
is going on in the class; on the contrary, he/she is the active participant of the
class. He/she can transform him/herself into a facilitator, as he/she may have
a valid knowledge of the electronic devices and their operation. But, at the
same time, he/she should take advantage of the different learning settings in
order to improve his/her competence in the language. He/she can also keep a
record of his/her progress by registering comments in a classroom portfolio.
The experience of working and learning in the Carousel Classroom allows
him/her to teach and share his/her findings and expertise.
The Carousel Classroom is not only the physical environment where learning
takes place, but a methodology.
The flexibility of the classroom arrangement allows the instructor to play with
the principles of language teaching (presentation, practice, production and
consolidation). To initiate the process, the teacher can simply ask for a
traditional whole class arrangement to introduce the unit, the lesson, or the
topic or skill, taking into account the need to activate prior knowledge by using
warm-up activities that help the students relate the theme with their prior
knowledge and the experience they have in their own language.
The practice can be done in the same arrangement for some minutes and then
the teacher will ask the students to divide into the six different settings. To
decide who goes where, the teacher must use some sorting technique to group
them. Typical techniques might use birthdays, favorite colors, favorite soccer
Of course, once the teacher has taken the time to identify each student’s
needs, the arrangement of the class will be assigned by him/her according to
the information gathered by the teacher.
The production part of the unit is a time for developing independent skills,
but is joined by a common set of objectives that leads to activities to be
developed from one setting to the others.
The consolidation is, then, time to show how much learning has taken place
during the unit. Students should choose among the skills to present their final
work of the unit. As the Carousel indicates, students should rotate their
presentations on different skills, in order to show progress in all of them. The
teacher should be aware of this particular situation to advise the students on
developing the four skills.
Students remain in each setting for periods of 15 to 20 minutes. When the
period ends the students move to another skill setting. The distribution of
settings is a responsibility of the teacher or facilitator who will assign the
work to the students. In this time distribution, he/she will have a record that
tells him/her the environments the students have completed.
The multimedia setting provides the learner with a variety of software. This is
a unique opportunity for them to advance at their own pace and choose
exercises they need to improve their knowledge, or perform the ones assigned
by the teacher.
In the Special Needs setting, the teacher works closely with the students,
reinforcing and assigning work at their own pace, according to each student’s
ability and level of achievement ( from low to advanced).
The Students Portfolio
The portfolio is a collection of student’s work through the teaching and
learning period and it should demonstrate a reflective practice. “ Reflective
portfolios offer the students an opportunity to compare their present level of
achievement with their prior performance level. Thus, students become
involved in self-evaluation and begin to monitor their own progress over time.”
TESOL Journal, Autumn 1995.
The portfolio should contain general questions on the unit or topic being
studied and on the skill and exercises students have just performed. If the
students have had the chance to redo an exercise, he/she should report on
the process and on the time it took him/her to complete it.
Students should be asked to report on the general classroom dynamics and the
way they feel in the class, the best way they have found for learning, their
favorite environment, and they should also comment on how they feel doing
individual or group work.
Finally, academic achievement is another aspect that has to be taken into
consideration when reflecting on learning. It should be clearly stated how
much help has been received from the different environments and from the
teacher, as a means to improve the student’s own performance. This should be
done by the students themselves who can compare their present performance
with their previous one.
The Teaching portfolio
The teacher must complete his/her own reflecting teaching portfolio as a tool
for becoming a reflective teacher. The task of updating the students’ and the
teacher’s reflective portfolios must be short and precise and should become
part of the classroom routine.
The teaching portfolio provides the teacher with an opportunity to become a
reflective practitioner. “Teachers who want to begin a process of serious
reflection, need to look for more effective ways to assess their teaching
practices, and the TP can constitute one of these alternatives. ”English
Teaching Forum, October 1996.
The rubrics used to evaluate the performance in the Carousel Classroom must
correspond to those in the Reglamento de Evaluación de los Aprendizajes.
However, the progress in the Carousel Classroom must be recorded in the
Every task designed by the teacher must have a solution. This solution must be
a part of the input given to each skill group, once they have started their
performance in one of the skills. The is one of the teacher’s responsibilities
that should be done right after he/she finishes with the unit planning.
The completion of the tasks assigned is a good indicator of the student’s
performance in the Carousel Classroom. However, the final product must be
evaluated through the same criteria: short tests and partial and final exams
including the four basic skills. Models for evaluating the four skills are shown
in chapter IV of this module.
II. WHAT TO TEACH IN THE CAROUSEL CLASSROOM
Teaching in the Carousel Classroom is not a difficult task but it needs time to
have all of the details under the control of the instructor before the teaching
The instructor must:
know the teaching and learning approach and some variations.
know the language he/she is teaching with a high level of performance.
know how to develop the four basic language skills.
handle technique to evaluate each skill.
produce different scales to record the students progress.
understand each student learning process.
apply the appropriate didactic alternatives to cope with individual needs.
know how to act when dealing with special needs.
keep records of each student progress.
use a variety of materials to make learning more real and accessible.
be able to evaluate and select electronic materials to complement
his/her teaching practice.
handle technology effectively in order to transform his/her language
class into a dynamic process.
take advantage of all training opportunities to improve their own
understand diversity in the language class.
share with parents and community his/her research and findings
through the use of the Carousel Classroom.
be able to share with other colleagues the results of his/her Carousel
When to use the Carousel Classroom?
The ideal is that each language classroom should transform into a Carousel
Classroom. However, at the beginning, each of the 11 institutions under the
BID loan 1010, will have one Carousel Classroom. This one must be used by all
of the English teachers according to an assigned schedule as part of the
SOME IDEAS FOR THE WARM-UPS PREVIOUS TO THE PRESENTATION STAGE
There are many strategies a teacher can use to help learners activate prior
knowledge. Developing semantic webs together to organize knowledge related
to the topic help the students fill their own semantic schema.
If the topic just introduced deals with means of transportation, the web will
include the following related subtopics:
Means of Transportation
Buses planes public private
Producing this web is a whole classroom activity that can be done either by
using the computer connected to the video beam or data show, or by drawing
on a big piece of paper, or on the magic, chalk or electronic board. Either the
teacher or one student, at random, can be in charge of putting the ideas
There are other links that can be drawn from the one already in the web. For
example; when describing the type of service, other branches are tourist
buses, vans, etc., and for private use, automobiles, campers, station wagons,
Other categories may include brands, speed, comfort and others.
With this exercise, the teacher guarantees the learners that the topic is
familiar to them in their own language, and it will be an adventure to deal with
it in the language he/she is learning.
This technique can be also used with a set of questions already prepared by
the instructor, who will write down everything that comes to the students
minds in English or in Spanish.
The teacher then records the expressions. After this is carried out, he/she is
ready for the introduction of the topic.
Another activity that can be used to activate prior knowledge can be done by
letting the students look for materials related to Means of Transportation in
old magazines, internet and other sources students have brought to class. By
using cardboard, scissors and glue, one or two groups can prepare the visuals
to be displayed on the classroom walls, another group can look for readings in
books and other sources brought by the students and still another group will
search the web to locate resources that will be filed and will be ready to for
Once the material is ready, each one of the groups will show theirs and with
the teacher, the students will mention the characteristics of the material
shown and the uses it will have during the learning process.
Taking advantage of the electronic devices available, the teacher can
introduce the topic by choosing a video or by projecting a set of situations
recorded by native speakers of the language while showing visuals illustrating
the theme. Comprehension questions must follow the introductory part to
assure learning is taking place.
After using a the warm-up activity, the teacher or instructor can introduce
the topic by choosing from the variety of possibilities the Carousel Classroom
offers the teachers: a video projected thought the TV and DVD, or by
projecting a video from a software by connecting the computer to the video
beam or data show, by showing a situation, by listening to a dialogue, by looking
at some illustrations or animations, or even by carrying on an informal
conversation with the class.
The level of difficulty of the language material presented can be a little
higher than the level of the language the students have to respect Krashen’s
hypothesis of i + 1, which means that the level of difficulty the materials
have, must be higher than the knowledge of the topic the learners have, in
order to make the new learning experience more challenging.
These two stages are key in language learning. They are two basic steps for
setting the bricks to build a solid wall of information. At the same time, the
students are filling in their own internal schema with information already
stored in their minds or prior knowledge, with the new information from the
The presentation stage as mentioned above can include a different skill to
introduce the topic of the whole unit.
Some ideas to develop listening comprehension techniques in the language
Before introducing the listening activity, there are three listening strategies
teachers must be aware of:
a) extract an important detail from ongoing speech
b) identify the gist of a segment
c) predict what will come next in a segment
It is important then to give enough practice to the students in listening to
activate their strategies to get the details out a recorded speech, or get the
general idea of the text, as well as, to predict what comes next.
We are presenting Meldelsohn (1995, 1998) outlines to teach strategy-based
1. Raise learners awareness of the power and value of
2. Use pre-listening activities to activate learners’
3. Make clear to learners what they are going to listen to
4. Provide guided listening activities designed to provide a
lot of practice in using a particular strategy (e.g.,
listening for names of dates) using simplified data
initial, if needed
5. Practice the strategy using real data with focus on
content and meaning
6. Use what has been comprehended: take notes on a
lecture to prepare a summary, fill in a form to gather
data , and so forth
7. Allow for self-evaluation so that learners can assess
how accurate and complete their listening has been
John Morley (1991), organizes the types of language use for listening tasks as
The purpose here is to give students practice in listening to get information
and specifically, to do something with it immediately. This encompasses
specific Listen-and-do communicative outcomes such as the following:
1. Listening and performing actions (e.g., command games and songs
such as “Do the Hokey Pokey ,” “May I?” “Simon Says”).
2. Listening and performing operations (e.g., listening and constructing
a figure, drawing a map).
3. Listening and solving problems (e.g. riddles, “intellectual” of “logic”
puzzles, real-life numerical, spatial, or chronological problems.)
4. Listening and transcribing (e.g., taking telephone messages, writing
5. Listening and summarizing information (e.g., outline, giving the gist of
a message in either speaking or writing).
6. Interactive listening and negotiating meaning through
questioning/answering routines (e.g. questions to get repetition of
information, questions to get verification, questions to get
clarification, questions to get elaboration).
Communicative outcomes for listening comprehension Morley (1991).
1. listening and performing actions and operations
2. listening and transferring information
3. listening and solving problems
4. listening, evaluating, and manipulating information
5. interactive listening and negotiating meaning through questioning /
6. listening for enjoyment, pleasure, sociability
Listening and Performing Actions and Operations
These examples are taken from Morley and they all require listening and…
1. drawing a picture, figure, or design
2. locating routes of specific points on a map
3. selecting a picture of a person, place, or thing from description
4. identifying a person, place, or thing from description
5. Performing hand or body movements as in songs and games such as
“Simon Says” or “Hokey Pokey”.
6. operation of a piece of equipment, such as a camera, a recorder, a
microwave oven, pencil sharpener
7. carrying out steps in a process, such as steps solving a math problem,
a science experiment, a cooking sequence
Whenever the teacher is ready to teach and develop listening comprehension
in the classroom, it is necessary to follow Peterson’s principles to get the most
out of the learning activity.
1. Increase the Amount of Listening Time in the Second Language
Class. Make listening the primary channel for learning new material.
Input must be interesting, comprehensible, supported by extra linguistic
materials, and keyed to the language lesson.
2. Use Listening Before Other Activities. Have students listen to the
material before they are required to speak, read, or write about it.
3. Include both Global and Selective Listening. Global listening
encourages students to get the gist, the main idea, the topic,
situation, or setting. Selective listening points student attention to
details of form and encourages accuracy in generating the language
4. Activate Top-Level Skills. Give advance organizers, script activators,
or discussions which call up student’s background knowledge. Do this
before students listen. Encourage top-down processing at every
5. Work Towards Automaticity in Processing. Include exercises which
build both recognition and retention of the material. Use familiar
material in recombinations. Encourage overlearning through focus on
selected formal features. Practice bottom-up processing at every
6. Develop Conscious Listening Strategies. Raise students’ awareness of
the text features and of their own comprehension processes.
Encourage them to notice how their processing operations interact
with the text. Promote flexibility in the many ways that they can use
to understand the language. Practice interactive listening, so that
they can use their botton-up and their top-down processes to check
one against the other.
Some ideas to develop speaking in the language class
It is recommended to use the other skills to introduce the unit in beginning
levels; on the other hand, if we are dealing with higher levels, to beginning
with the speaking skill all depends on the teacher.
Once the topic has been introduced and time has been given to develop the
skills, speaking should be exercised. At the very beginning of the learning
process, the speaking practices must be controlled. This means that the
answers are already programmed by the instructor. In this way, the learner
practices the correct use of the language in context through gradual
structures which will help him/her internalize them and begin to fill in his/her
schemata. At first, the responses will be as a response to a stimulus, but
latter they will become part of the unconscious repertoire that can only be
acquired through constant practice of the oral language.
Once the students have responded to controlled exercises and they have
acquired some language, it is time to ask them to perform a series of tasks
where situations are assigned for a communicative purpose. Each activity must
focus on a particular topic or situation, i.e., what the students in the class did
last night, how to order food in a restaurant, how to apologize, how to refuse a
request, what they ate for breakfast, what they like to watch on television,
etc. The purpose of the activity is not to handle a particular structure, but to
supply comprehensible input.
According to Krashen: (1983), the effectiveness of any acquisition activity can
be measured by the interests it evokes in the students to comment on or ask
questions about the topics which have been treated.
Krashen’s categories for acquisition activities are:
1) affective humanistic
2) problem solving
The most important, when developing these activities, is content; although
there are structures involved.
These activities attempt to involve the student’s feelings, opinions, desires,
reactions, ideas and experiences.
My favorite summer activity
_________ reading novels
The teacher asked the students the following questions: Who ranked
swimming as number one? Where do you swim? How often? Etc.
Personal Charts and Tables
Weekly routine of class members
Monday Wednesday Sunday
María studies has swimming goes out
Juan listens to music works goes to church
Ileana works studies reads a book
Mario does exercises plays tennis visits friends
The level of difficulty of the questions depends on the students’ level of the
language. Survey charts can also be filled in with personal information, which
will be used later to show the number of students preferring a certain type of
food, activity, music, place, etc.
Teachers can also ask for opinions, etc. in relation to different topics. The
students have to say if the activity is good, bad or irrelevant.
Students study some commandments and order them according to their
criteria. This can be done in small groups or with the whole class.
Revealing information about yourself
The idea is that students supply personal information as a basis for
discussions, in charts of stating opinions about a topic, etc.
(1) breakfast (a) soft drinks
(2) lunch (b) coffee
What do you drink for breakfast? How many drink coffee?
How frequently do you eat the following foods? Use 1 for a lot, 2 sometimes,
3 almost never, 4 never
1. For breakfast I eat: 2. For lunch I eat:
a. eggs a. a sandwich
b. ham b. spaghetti
c. cereal c. fried potatoes
d. hamburgers d. a salad
e. beans e. fried chicken
f. bananas f. pancakes
For this activity, the teacher asks the students different questions related to
the two situations.
Plan a party, a picnic or a potluck meal
The teacher will tell the class that each one of them will bring something
different for the event and that they have to decide what to bring and to fill
out the table or chart:
Activities using the imagination
There are various sorts of experiences in which the students are asked to
imagine some situation, some person, or some interaction which might take
place. After a period, they are asked to describe to the class what they “saw”
Ask the students to close their eyes and to imagine a place or situations with
certain characteristics. After they have finished their visualization, they
voluntarily describe what they imagined either to the class as a whole or in
These activities are good to generate comprehensible input.
The objective of this type of activity is that the students have to provide the
correct answer to a problem or a situation. The class and the teacher can
solve the problem together.
Tasks and series
Both teacher and students choose an activity and they describe the
components of the activity. The topic could be “baking a cake”. There will be
three stages: 1) the instructor will guide the students in developing the
vocabulary necessary to talk about the activity. Together they will create the
utterances to describe the sequence of events to complete the activity. For
example, the class may say: First you need to measure three cups of flour.
Then you need to add three teaspoons of baking powder, etc. In the final
stage, there should be time for questions and discussion.
Following a procedure
The instructor brings to class as many props as possible. In a preliminary
conversation: 1) The instructor talks about the props and introduces the
students to the context in series. 2) This is an initial conversation
demonstration of the series in which the instructor repeats the sentences
one, by one demonstrating the action described by each sentence. This may
require several repetitions. 3) This stage involves the class, and as the
instructor reads the statements, the class performs the actions.
1. It’s seven o’clock in the morning.
2. Wake up.
3. Stretch and yawn and rub you eyes.
4. Get up.
5. Do your exercises.
6. Go to the bathroom.
7. Wash your face.
8. Go back to your bedroom.
9. Get dressed.
10. Make the bed.
11. Go to the kitchen.
12. Eat breakfast.
13. Read the newspaper.
14. Go to the bathroom and brush your teeth.
15. Put on your coat.
16. Kiss your family goodbye.
17. Leave the house.
Give the class a series of photographs or drawings which make a story. The
instructor may ask the students to imagine that this is what is going to
happen, or to give their reaction to each event.
The teacher will provide a series of questions to guide the conversation. The
students can also provide their own stories.
Charts, Graphs and Maps
Charts, graphs, maps, diagrams and so forth are found in newspapers,
magazines and brochures in the target language.
A bus timetable, which includes fares, departure times, arrival times and
locations, provides real life situations. This timetable can be used for students
of all levels of English. For beginners the teacher should ask about the ticket
price; while in higher levels, the questions could be deal with comparisons
between fares, distance, etc.
After performing the above activity, the teacher may use the travel
information from the students in the class.
Maps are authentic sources for getting around a place and if form A has the
information form B needs, and vice versa, the students should complete the
task by asking real language questions. This activity is an information-gap.
Developing speech for particular situations
Specific situations are given to the students for them to prepare and produce
pieces of oral language.
1. Your washing machine is broken. You called the repair service two days
ago and they made an appointment with you for today at 11 a.m. You
have waited all morning and no one has shown up. What will you do ?
2. You are at the bank. The teller is in the middle of taking care of you
when she is called away by her superior. Fifteen minutes later you are
still waiting. What should you do?
A variation of this activity could assign to small groups for them to discuss
and provide the most appropriate solution to the situation.
Newspapers or magazine advertisements are an excellent source of topics for
The ads can be classified for different levels and given to the students to
find out as much information as possible in order to provide the right advice
for purchasing goods. They can be advertisements of clothes, luggage,
electronic devices, housing, tours, etc.
Find someone who
Who am I
The games used must be useful for problem solving.
Some ideas to develop reading in the language class
Before arriving at some of the techniques used to develop reading
comprehension, it is important to ask what reading comprehension is. To
answer the question, we will use François Grellet’s definition.
“Understanding a written text means extracting the required information
from it as efficiently as possible.”
The type of reading depends on the type of text we read. For example, if
it is a street sign or a scientific journal, the purpose of the reading will
vary from a simple extraction of the information to a more detailed
reading to understand the meaning of the whole piece or some particular
Dr. Neil Anderson:(1999) presents the integration of the theory and
practice through eight teaching strategies for second language reading
classes, in his book Exploring Second Language Reading-Issues and
ACTIVE is the word the author chooses not only because it helps people
remember the first six steps of his philosophy, but also because reading is
an active process.
A Active prior knowledge
C Cultivate vocabulary
T Teach for comprehension
I Increase reading rate
V Verify reading strategies
E Evaluate progress
The other two strategies he adds to these six are a) motivation and
planning, and b) selecting appropriate reading materials.
Anderson thinks that a reader’s background knowledge can influence
reading comprehension skills. Background knowledge includes all the
experience that a reader brings to a text: life experiences, educational
experiences, knowledge of how texts can be organized rhetorically,
knowledge of how one’s first language works, knowledge of how the second
language works, and cultural background and knowledge, to name a few
areas. Background knowledge is also referred to as schema in the reading
What do we read?
There are several types of materials and text types:
Novels, short stories, tales; other literary texts and passages (e.g.
essays, diaries, anecdotes, biographies).
Poems, limericks, nursery rhymes
Letters, postcards, telegrams, notes
Newspapers and magazines (headlines, articles, editorials, letters to the
editor, stop press, classified ads, weather forecast, radio/TV/theater
Specialized articles, reports, reviews, essays, business letters,
summaries, accounts, pamphlets (political and other)
Handbooks, textbooks, guidelines
Avertissements, tavel brochures, catalogues
Puzzles, problems, rules for games
Instructions (e.g. warnings), directions (e.g. How to use…), notices,
rules and regulations, posters , signs, (road signs), forms (e.g.
application forms, landing cards), graffiti, menus, price lists, tickets
Comic strips, cartoons and caricatures, legends (of maps, pictures).
Why do we read?
There are two main reasons for reading:
Reading for pleasure
Reading for information (in order to find out something or in order to
do something with the information you get)
How do we read?
There are different ways of reading:
Skimming: quickly running one’s eyes over a text to get the gist of it.
Scanning: quickly going through a text to find a particular piece of
Extensive reading: reading longer texts, usually for one’s own understanding
Intensive reading: reading shorter texts, to extract specific information. This
is more an accuracy activity involving reading for detail.
Reading involves a variety of skills. The following are some skills listed by
Munby and they are comprehended in the National English teaching syllabus.
Recognizing the script of a language
Deducing the meaning and use of unfamiliar lexical items
Understanding explicitly stated information
Understanding information when not explicitly stated
Understanding conceptual meaning
Understanding the communicative value (function) of sentences and
Understanding relations within the sentence
Understanding relations between parts of a text through grammatical
Interpreting text by going outside it
Recognizing indicators in discourse
Identifying the main point of important information in a piece of
Distinguishing the main idea from supporting details
Extracting salient points in order to summarize (the text, an idea, etc.)
Selective extraction of relevant points from a text
Basic reference skills
Scanning to locate specifically required information
Grellet: (1981), presents several types of exercises that can be used.
According to him, the question types can have two different functions. 1) To
clarify the organization of the passage, and 2) To clarify the contents of the
1. To clarify the organization of 2. To clarify the contents of the
the passage. passage.
o the questions can be: o plain fact (direct reference)
o the function of the passage o implied fact (inference)
o the general organization o deduced meaning ( supposition)
(argumentation.) o evaluation
o the rhetorical organization
o the cohesive devices (linking
o the intrasentential relations
Grettel’s Reading Comprehension Exercise-Types
Reading techniques How the aim is Understanding meaning Assessing the
I. SENSITIZING I NON-LINGUISTIC
I AIM AND RESPONSE TO THE I FACT
1.Inference: FUNCTION FO THE TEXT VERSUS
through the TEXT OPINION
context 1. Function of 1. Ordering a
Inference: the text sequence of 2. WRITER’S
through word- 2. Functions pictures INTENTION
formation within the 2. Comparing texts
text and pictures
2.Understanding 3. Matching
relations within 2. ORGANIZATION 4. Using
the sentence. OF THE TEXT: illustrations
DIFFERENT 5. Completing a
3.Linking PATTERNS document
sentences and 6. Mapping it out
ideas:reference 1.Main idea and 7. Using the
Linking sentences supporting details information in
and ideas: linking 2.Chronological the text
words sequence 8. Jigsaw reading
2. IMPROVING 4. Analogy and 2.LINGUISTIC
READING SPEED contrast RESPONSE TO THE
3.FROM SKIMMING 6. Argumentative and 1. Reorganizing the
TO SCANNING logical information:
1. Predicting organization reordering events
3. Anticipation 3. THEMATIZATION
4. Skimming 2. Comparing several
5. Scanning texts
3. Completing a
5. Study skills:
Examples of types of exercises following Grellet’s chart
Inference : Deducing the meaning and use of unfamiliar lexical items through
Specific aim: To train the students to recognize synonyms and antonyms
Skills involved: Deducing the meaning and use of unfamiliar lexical items.
Understanding relations between parts of a text through
lexical cohesion devices such as synonymy and antonym.
Why? Many texts make use of synonyms and antonyms to convey
their message more clearly. It is important for the
students to be aware of these lexical relations as they
often help to infer the meaning of unfamiliar words.
Programming people means getting others to act consistently as you want them to act. Stern parents or
employers often are pretty good at this, at least while the subjects are under observation. Hypnotists can
obtain excellent results in achieving desired behavior from suggestible subjects for short periods.
What interest us here are precise techniques for altering long-term behavior patterns in predictable ways.
These new patterns may be considered desirable by the subject or to the programmer or by the organization
For achieving certain kinds of long-term programmed behavior the programmer need not be a scientifically
trained technologist. Consider how the intense and unattractive Charles Manson horrified and fascinated
millions of people a few years ago by his control methods. He had the ability to induce sustained zombie-
like behavior in his followers, mostly girls. They committed random murders in the Los Angeles area.
When a number of his “slaves” faced trial they vigorously asserted that the murders were their idea. They
wanted to protect Charles, who was always somewhere else when the butcheries occurred.
In order to prove his theory that Manson had master-minded the killings the prosecutor, Vincent Bugliosi,
had to spend months uncovering and analyzing the sources of Mason’s control over the presumably free and
footloose young people. His most important findings were these:
Mason was gifted at perceiving the psychological needs of others. He assured runaway girls needing a
father that he would be their father. He assured plain-looking girls that they were beautiful.
He was careful to destroy preexisting identities. All the members of his clan had to take on new names.
He systematically destroyed inhibitions as part of this obedience training.
He offered these insecure youngsters a bizarre religion, in which he was the Infinite Being who would lead
them to a world of milk and honey.
He was careful to identify and probe what each recruit was most afraid of, and to play on it.
Finally, Mason apparently had some hypnotic powers.
Buglosi succeeded in convincing the jury that Mason was, indeed, responsible for the murders.
(From Vance Packard: The People Shapers (Macdonald, 1978)
a) In paragraph 3, find two nouns meaning more or less the same as “killings” :
b) In paragraphs 2 and 3, find the equivalents of the following words:
take place ______________________
c) In paragraph 3
- find an adjective which means the opposite of “for short
- find a noun which means the opposite of “free and footloose young people” (para.4)
d) In paragraph 4, find the words which mean the opposite of :
The students could also be asked to match two lists of words (words and their synonyms or antonyms).
Specific aim: To train the students to recognize related words in a
Skills involved: Understanding relations between parts of a text through
lexical cohesion devices: lexical sets and collocation.
Why? In a text about a given subject, there will usually be a
number of related words that may not be synonyms but
that help to create an atmosphere or convey an idea.
Being aware that such relations exist and looking for
them in a text is important in developing the strategy of
In the text ·Programming People·, one of the recurring ideas is the loss of one’s
independence and personality. Read the text again to find all the words related to that idea
and fill in the following table.
nouns adjectives verbs
dependence e.g. slaves
Can you think of other words to complete the table ?
Specific information: To train the students to infer the meaning of
unfamiliar words by asking them to do a cloze
exercise in their native language before doing
one in English.
Skills involved: Deducing the meaning of unfamiliar lexical items
through contextual clues.
Why ? Most students can infer the meaning of un-
familiar words much more quickly if only they
realize this is something they already do all the
time in their native language.
The following text contains a number of imaginary words. Can you guess their meaning ?
Plicks are believed to have caused the dolling
of a two-car diesel passenger train yesterday.
The train, with 24 biners on board, hit a metal
object and ratted 100 yards of track before
stopping four pars from Middles-brought.
Three people were taken to hospital, one
slightly rapped, the others tiding from shock.
(The Daily Telegraph)
Improving reading speed
Specific aim: To develop word-recognition and word comprehension
Skills involved: Recognizing the meaning of words as quickly as possible.
Why? Besides the more common speed reading exercises that
consist in timing one’s reading of a text, some preliminary
exercises can help the students to overcome their
difficulties in recognizing words and their meaning.
The following exercise should be done as quickly as possible and timed. In order to be
efficient, each question should contain many items.
a) Underline the word which is the same as the first one given.
Cat cab told bold
b) Here is a series of two expressions. They are sometimes the same and sometimes
different. Go through the list and when the expressions are different, underline the
word that differs in the second expression.
cat nap cat nap
well paid well paid
old looking old looking
one-way one day
happy few happy few
He’s bound to see the lamp. He’s bound to see the lamp.
Can you heat the tin? Can you heat the tin?
They pricked my fingers. They pricked my fingers.
You startled the party. You started the party.
c) Decide whether the following words have similar or different meanings.
d) Find the word which means the same thing as the first word mentioned.
wood oak grab hold
3. From skimming to scanning
Specific aim: To train the students to make predictions and guesses
When reading a text.
Skills involved: Predicting
Why? Reading is an activity involving constant guesses that are
later rejected or confirmed. This means that one does
not read the sentences in the same way, but one relies
on a number of words or cues to get an idea of what kind
sentence (an example, an explanation) is likely to follow
The instructions for the exercise could be:
After reading each of the sentences in column 1, look at column 2 and choose the sentence
which you think is most likely to follow ( the first column could be covered by a strip of
paper while you are considering the possibilities in the second column).
Go on in the same way until you reach the end of the text.
Specific aim: To train the students to make predictions and
guesses when reading a text.
Skills involved: Predicting
Why? When the punctuation of a text is missing,
we try to predict where the sentences are likely to
end and look for certain words functioning as
signals of a new sentence or paragraph.
In the following text, all punctuation has been removed. Can you put it back?
start a new paragraph.
The students can be given unfinished passages and asked to propose an ending.
Take a text and divide it into utterances. Asking the students to ask pertinent questions
about what should follow at different points in the passage.
Specific aim: To train the students to use titles and tables of
contents to get an idea of what a passage is about.
Skills involved: Reference skill.
Why? This exercise is one of many that can be used to s
show the students how much they can guess about a
passage by simply looking at its title and at the
table of contents. This will be useful to most
students later in the course of their studies.
You have been given a page from a book to read. It is entitled ----- What do think the
passage is about? Think of at least three possibilities. The title of the book is_____ and
here is the beginning of the table of contents. Does this lead to reconsidering your former
opinion and making a more accurate guess at the contents of the passage?
Specific aim: To train the students to use a newspaper index.
Skills involved: Reference skill.
Why? Being able to use an index is essential when
scanning to locate specific information.
You have just bought “ “ in order to know the latest news. Here is the index to the pages.
1) On what pages would you expect to find an answer to the following questions?
2) On page 2 an article is entitled________.
You can guess it is about an earthquake in South Africa
in the United States
Specific aim: To train the students to use the text on the back cover
of a book, the preface or the table of contents to get
an idea of what the book is about.
Skills involved: Reference skill
Why? It is often important to be able to get a quick idea of
what a book is about.
You have a few minutes to skim through a book called ____ and you first read the few lines
written on the back cover of the book, the table of contents and the beginning of the
preface. What can you tell about the book after reading them? Can you answer the following
Specific information: To encourage the students to think about
the theme of the passage before reading it.
Skills involved: Anticipation
Why? One of the most important factors that can
help us in the process of reading is the desire
we have to read about a given subject. The
more we look forward to reading and anti-
cipate in our minds what the text may hold
in store for us, the easier it will be to grasp
the main points of the passage. In this
exercise, questions are asked before the
text is read to make the students aware of
what they know, what they don’t know, what
they wish to learn about the topic.
HOW THE AIM IS CONVEYED
1. Aim and function of the text
FUNCTION OF THE TEXT
Specific aim: To train the students to recognize the function of the
Skills involved: Understanding the communicative value of the text.
Why? It is impossible to understand a text if one is not aware
of its function. When confronted by a new text students
should encouraged to find out its function first. The
origin of the document, its presentation and layout are
usually very helpful in determining its function, as can be
seen in this exercise.
Match the following passages and their function:
Functions within the text
Specific aim: To train the students to recognize the function of
sentences and utterance in a text.
Skills involved: Understanding the communicative value of
sentences and utterances.
Why? Whereas a given text usually has one main function
only, several language functions often appear
within the text.
Read the following dialogue and match what the characters say and the functions listed
A. Hello, Jane!
B. Hi Sue! How’s life?
C. Fine. But I’ve got to move next term. My roommate’s leaving and I can’t find anyone else to
D. But why don’t you keep looking? You’ve got another month and a half, haven’t you?
E. Yes, but I’ve never quite liked my room anyway. It’s noisy and I’d much rather have something
near your place.
F. That’s a good idea! It’s really a lovely district to live in!
G. Is it expensive?
H. Rather, but if you start looking right away..:
I. Good. I will. And I’ll give you a ring soon. Bye!
1. Demand for evidence
4. Asking for information
6. Evidence (explanation)
7. Giving information
Organization of the text: different thematic patterns
Main idea and supporting details
Specific aim: To sensitize the students to different ways of
conveying the information in a paragraph.
Skills involved: Recognizing the technique used by the writer.
Why? Some exercises can be focused on the technique
used by the writer in a given paragraph as a
preparation to the study of the organization of a
whole text. For instance, if one considers the
opening paragraphs of most articles and stories,
one finds that there are a number of types, e.g.
starting with a question to catch the reader’s
attention, going directly to the main point, starting
with an anecdote, etc.
Read the opening paragraph of the suggested texts and decide which category they fall into:
Names of Summary of Question to Example Anecdote
reading the main point hold the
The above are all examples of reading comprehension exercises taken from Developing
Reading Skills by François Grellet, which are to be studied and adapted to each teacher’s
These exercises are the base to develop a series of reading tasks for each of the
educational levels, in the different workshops develop with the teachers.
Some ideas to develop writing in the language class.
Learning to write in another language means that there is not only a process of identification
of the graphic symbols with the meaning of the words, but it is also a skill development
process that must include recognition of symbols, identification of those symbols with the
sounds of the language and the use of the words correctly within a unit of thought.
Celce-Murcia and Olshtain: 2000, define the process of writng as the production of written
word that results in a text which, however, must be read and comprehended in order for
communication to take place.
Writing is another skill that, according to the communicative approach in language teaching
and learning, must suit the purpose for doing it. Although at beginning levels, students need
to practice how the letters are made and to fill in blanks and answer questions until they are
ready to perform real or authentic writing tasks; such as:
o filling out forms
o writing short dialogues and conversations
o writing questionnaires
o writing personal letters
o writing business letters
o writing personal narratives
o writing essays
o writing fiction or poetry
o writing technical reports
o writing procedures
o writing summaries
At beginning levels students must be familiar with personal information forms that are
normally used when registering in a course or event.
The instructions should be given orally for a classroom activity and in written form whenever
the task is being done for assessment and evaluation purposes.
Fill out the forms with the information requested.
Date of birth:_____________ Age:________Nationality:___________
Home telephone number:_____________Work telephone number________
Student’s name:___________________ID number:__________________
Course name: ___________________________________________
The use of appropriate language expressions are necessary to complete the forms. Teachers
may also ask students to prepare a written dialogue or short conversation.
Fill out the form with the appropriate information.
Name ________________________________ Age ________
Eye color_________________ Hair color_________________
Type of clothes ______________________________________
Year in school _________________________________________
After each student completes his/her form, the teacher will complete the following chart.
Juan Keyna Albert
Type of clothes
Year in shcool
Once the chart is completed, the information can be used to describe each one of the
Use the information in the chart to write a biography if each person in paragraph
NAME DATE OF EDUCATION YEAR OF OCCUPATION DATE OF
BIRTH MARRIAGE DEATH
Mary Baez 12/09/69 Eastern Oregon 1980 engineer 7/7/00
Leslie Opp 4/29/54 New York Univ. 1976 actress 10/4/89
Mary Tripp 8/6/15 Albany Univ. -- advertising 11/24/83
Allan Short 12/20/66 Catholic Univ. -- priest 12/09/03
Mary Baez was born on December 9, 1969. She studied at Eastern Oregon University. She
got married in 1980. She was an engineer. She died on July 7, 2000.
Use a series of pictures to write a story.
Tell the students to look at the pictures carefully in order to write a series of sentences
describing each one of the scenes.
Describe a family photo.
Describe a picture or a chart.
Write the procedure to operate a machine.
The teacher may assign a reading task previously and may ask the students to closely follow
the procedure for operating an eletrical device. At the same time, he/she may ask students
to create a machine and to write the steps onr must follow to make it works.
1) Open lid.
2) Put the clothes inside the tank.
3) Add the soap.
4) Open the water faucet.
5) Shut the lid.
6) Push the start bottom.
6) Wait until the washing machine finishes its cycle to take the clothes out.
Each class will collect as many procedures as there are students in the class. The teacher
should check them in order to provide feedback to each work.
Letter writing tasks
It is a good idea to start teaching students how to write letters to friends, or pen or key
pals. The tasks may be as complex as the level of performance of the students.
Internet provides the students with great possibilities for finding friends around the world
and exchanging personal and general information, culture and other important facts.
The teacher can provide a model of a letter and may ask the students to use it as an
example to write other letters. The following example shows the type of language a seventh
grader should use during the last trimester.
I read your message and I found it I would like to visit your country
sometime in the future. I seems to me it is very beautiful.
Costa Rica is a small country in Central America. It is not a big country
like your country. There are around 4 million “ticos”, which is what people
from the region calls us because of the way we talk.
We have very nice weather most of the time. The temperature is never
above 80° and never below 60° in the central plateau. Yes, it is just like
spring. Of course, although the sun may shine in the mornings, there can
be heavy rains in the afternoons. You never know.
At the beach, it is really hot and you can swim in the ocean. I know that
you like water sports. The Caribbean offers spectacular waves to the
surfers. Perhaps this is what you are looking forward to. You are very
wellcome to visit me anytime. Please let me know in advance.
P.S. Keep in touch.
The information exchange in the letters can varied according to the topics studied in the
units and to the interests of the students.
Letters of application
The teacher should present different models of letters of application for the students to
study and choose a model before they are able to write their own.
The instructions should tell the students to write a letter applying for a job, and to tell why
he/she is the best candidate for the position. He/she should describe his/her work skills,
professional expertise and work experience.
Work with examples of other written tasks.
III PLANNING FOR THE CAROUSEL CLASSROOM
Planning is an essential part of the teaching practice. It is to the teacher what the “blue
print” is to the engineer or architect. In both cases, if the bricks are not solid, the
It is recommended when planning for teaching, that one carry out a needs analysis to
determine just who the population is and what their specific interests and abilities are.
Along this line, it is mandatory to apply a diagnostic test to find out what the students
know and if necessary, what is needed to do to refresh knowledge or to develop
strategies to help them reach the expected level of proficiency in the language.
For the Carousel Classroom, the instructor must devote some time to planning the lesson
and choosing the different activities for each one of the environments and for each one
of the students as well. To carry out this task, the teacher must take into consideration
the English teaching syllabus, the resources available and the final goals he/she is
requested to reach.
In order to help you with your planning task, the following template will help you to cope
with the syllabus, the students’ learning needs and the use of different resources and
specific activities for developing each one of units of the teaching syllabus.
Target Content: Level:
Linguistic Language & Functions Mediation Activities Values/Attitude Evaluation of L
& Culture Outcome
Listening PRESENTATION (teacher centered)
Speaking Language Content
PRACTICE (Student centered)
PRODUCTION/USE (Student centered)
DTC y ED-Suggested English Plan Sample 09
To fill in the planning matrix, the teacher must take the national teaching
syllabus, and focus on the whole unit for a while and then, look at the
objectives. He/she must remember that the objectives are written in
terms of skill development. At the end of this chapter, a list of linguistic
competencies of learning outcomes are presented as a summary of what is
required from the students once they have finished each of the school
For each one of the objectives, the teacher must choose a procedure and
develop it, step by step to guarantee that learning takes place and that the
student are acquiring the language elements they are studying. At this
point, the teacher should provide enough time and activities for the most
important teaching steps: Presentation, Practice, Production. It has been
proved that students learn only if they have time for these four phases in
their learning process.
Each time the teacher introduces or changes activities, a warm-up activity
must be used to activate prior knowledge and create the space for the new
learning to take place.
The time teachers take to introduce the unit, topic, theme or situation.
Time spent in practicing what has been taught or introduced. The practice
may be controlled or free
Production and Consolidation
The students are asked to perform orally or in written form. The students
show how much they have learned by producing and presenting their oral or
It is recommended to include a short activity at the end of each learning
situation in order to have a sense of what has gone on in the classroom and
how much learning has taken place.
Just remember to time every single activity. The success of your teaching
practice depends on the amount of time the students have to carry out the
LINGUISTIC COMPETENCIES / LEARNING OUTCOMES
7Th The students can…
• greet and say good bye.
• introduce him/herself to others.
• introduce other people.
• indentify oneself to others.
• understand formal and informal situations to interact
• ask for directions and instructions.
• use numbers.
• tell time.
• listen carefully in order to respond appropriately.
• explain how a dictionary is organized.
• identify classroom objects.
• write short descriptions of the objects studied.
• locate people and objects.
• use a map to get to a particular place.
• ask for a description of something.
• describe people and objects.
• spell words.
• accept and refuse goods and services.
• give and respond to instructions.
• ask for and give information.
• write short descriptions.
• write a set of instructions.
• produce a series of oral interactions
• have a basic conversation
The students can …
• listen to tapes and to their instructor
• understand the instructors oral speech and tapes.
• identify family members and their partners’
• talk about family members and their partners’
• describe people´s physical appearance.
• write desciptions.
• compare people´s features and personality traits.
• understand the meaning of words through context.
• infer the meaning of words through context.
• complete written exercises.
• name characteristics of some means of
• talk about routines.
• write a list of characteristics of different subject
• describe personal travel plans.
• write schedules and timetables.
• describe their own travel plans in oral and written
• accept and refuse goods or services.
• order from a catalogue.
• express likes, dislikes and preferences.
• write a short composition.
• identify grammatical functions of words.
• give and follow directions.
• write a set of instructions or directions.
• identify and describe occupations.
• produce a written description.
• ask for and give information
The students can…
• listen with understanding.
• talk about sports and leisure activities.
• produce a written composition.
• talk about the lives and achievements of famours
athletes and musicians.
• write a short descriptive paragraph.
• understand instructions for operating electrical
• write a set of instructions for opertating a machine.
• extract information from a text ( roots, suffixes and
• complete information with roots, suffixes and
• discuss different means of transportation: quality,
rentability and use.
• write a text.
• express opinions about the use of computers and
technology in everyday life.
• produce a written description of a situation.
• discuss natural resources and the promotion of
• write a letter to the editor ,a letter of complaint ,
• identify registers in a given context.
• complete texts with information from a given
• talk about causes, effects and prevention of
• produce written texts dealing with causes , effects
and prevention of environmental pollution.
• express opinions, emotions and points of view.
• understand style and register.
• analyze environmental issues.
• use present, past and future when interacting or
writing about different issues.
• make suggestions.
• express advantages and disadvanrages.
10th The students can …
• listen to tapes, native speakers or movies.
• discuss the achievements of our national athletes.
• produce written descriptive texts.
• Narrate different topics.
• talk about Costa Rican art, music and crafts.
• produce pieces of writing such as: brochures, flyers with
information, posters and texts.
• identify synonyms and antonyms.
• use synomyms and antonyms in appropriate contexts.
• exchange information about Costa Rican typical food.
• produce written information promoting our typical food.
• follow procedures to make a product.
• write procedures.
• compare holidays and celebrations in Costa Rica with some
celebrations in English speaking countries.
• write comparative texts about holidays, celebrations and
• discuss the causes and effects of the misuse of natural
• write texts using cause and effect.
• identify and use linking words in context.
• use linking words correctly.
• talk about tourist attractions in Costa Rica.
• write promotional material.
• discuss common illnessess and diseases.
• produce pieces of writing to alert and prevent people from
• discuss about our democratic tradition.
• write flyers and prompotional material about the topic.
• comment on careers, jobs and lifestyles.
• write a resume, a letter inquiring information about a job,
letters of complaint, presentation, etc.
• use complex language for different communication
11th The students can …
• listen to different varieties of spoken language.
• talk about types of food, eating habits and behaviors at
• produce pieces of writing describing the situation at the
• describe procedures for setting a table.
• indentify formal and informal situations at the table.
• discus aspects of tourism around the world.
• describe travel plans
• make reservations.
• fill out forms
• write descriptive texts.
• use linking words in context.
• justify job demands in Costa Rica.
• produce a written text
• compare careers.
• write comparative texts.
• summarize information.
• argue their position towards science and technology.
• produce pieces of writing describing a situation.
• discuss morals and values.
• agree and disagree.
• persuade someone to do something.
• use prefixes, sufixes and root words in context.
• deduce meaning from context.
• justify men´s and women´s roles in our society.
• discuss senior citizens and minority groups.
• invite someone to do something.
• use words with the same pronunciation (homonyms).
• discuss mass media and communications.
• write a set of texts, describing, criticizing, justifying
points of view or demanding explanations.
• use language comprehensibly and appropriately to
• write a letter inquiring information on diverse topics of
• ask for and give information.
• discuss different topics studied.
• analyze information.
• produce well - prepared and spontaneous speeches.
• infer meaning from context.
• express and defend opinions and personal points of view.
• evaluate content.
• write a resume, cover letter, letter of presentation,
letter of application, etc.
Stages of a Receptive Skill Lesson
• contextualize the text or segment, focus
• to provide needed background learners
• recall/review what is known about the topic
• to activate student's knowledge of
the topic • react to visual clues, organization, etc.
• to anticipate content • language preparation/expansion
2. Global Activities
• to train students to consider a text • identify type of text or information
or segment in its entirety
• identify main idea(s)
• to wean students away from the
tendency to translate word for • create/match titles or subtitles for the text
• order or sequence information
• verify predictions
3. Specific Information Activities
• to locate specific information • complete grids, charts, diagrams, etc.
• answer questions (who, what, where, etc.)
• to train students to look or listen
for and find vs. look at and get • recognize cognates
• select/match/identify specific information
• to fulfill students' expectations
• to access precision of
4. Linguistic Activities
• to train students to use the known • focus on specific aspects of language:
to learn the new vocabulary, structures, discourse, and
• to infer meaning, structures, etc.
• inductive reasoning
• to stretch students cognitively and
linguistically • cloze-type activities, match, guess; open-
• to relate • make decisions related to purpose of text
reading/listening/viewing to their
original purpose • discuss/debate issues raised
• to use input to anchor or • express own opinion
• tell the story in own words
• to use input as a springboard for
• analyze point of view, style, etc.
• link to other skills: speaking, writing,
further reading or listening
IV ASSESSING AND EVALUATING IN THE CAROUSEL CLASSROOM
Assessment and evaluation in the Carousel Classroom must become a
continuous process. The teacher and the students must become aware of
progress in the different skills and through the individual assignments each
student performs. The use of reflecting portfolios is a practical way to
keep track of progress.
A reflective portfolio is a document that students complete after each
session in the Carousel Classroom. There they state their thoughts
concerning their learning progress and their needs in relation to a specific
skill or learning difficulty.
Margot Gottlieb defines this device as a “means of reflection. Portfolios
focus on the students’ learning process, as reported by the students. The
teacher’s role is to enhance the students’ metacognitive and affective
awareness in learning. The centerpiece of this portfolio type is the student’s
perceptions, interpretations, and strategies utilized in acquiring knowledge.
How students learn and what their attitudes and reactions might be are as
valuable as what they learn.”
The students may complete their portfolios electronically or on paper. The
teacher in the Carousel Classroom counts on lots of resources to create a
portfolio for each of the students, which at beginning levels may be written
in Spanish to help the students express themselves about the reflecting
process. As they move on to the other levels, the teacher may consider the
possibility of having them complete it in English.
To be fair in evaluating language abilities, using a variety of scales and
rubrics is recommended. The scales and rubrics presented below are
examples. By using the web, teachers will be able to create their own or we
will create instruments together in the different workshops programmed for
In this section of the module, there are models of rubrics and scales taken
from different sources, which are presented as examples for teachers to
create their own. During the workshops prepared for teachers, there should
be lots of opportunities to have hands on experience with the Internet in
order to search the web to create materials for specific classroom needs.
Rubrics and scales examples
Rubric Made Using:
RubiStar ( http://rubistar.4teachers.org )
Literature Circle - Listening and Sharing: Listening Example
Student Name: ________________________________________
CATEGORY 4 3 2 1
Respects Others Student listens Student listens quietly Student interrupts Student interrupts
quietly, does not and does not once or twice, but often by whispering,
interrupt, and stays in interrupt. Moves a comments are making comments or
assigned place couple of times, but relevant. Stays in noises that distract
without distracting or does not distract assigned place others OR moves
fidgeting. others. without distracting around in ways that
movements. distract others.
Comprehension Student seems to Student seems to Student understands Student has trouble
understand entire understand most of some parts of the understanding or
story and accurately the story and story and accurately remembering most
answers 3 questions accurately answers 2 answers 1 question parts of the story.
related to the story. questions related to related to the story.
Participates Willingly Student routinely Student volunteers Student does not Student does not
volunteers answers to once or twice and volunteer answers, willingly participate.
questions and willingly tries to but willing tries to
willingly tries to answer all questions answer questions
answer questions s/he is asked. s/he is asked.
s/he is asked.
Thinks about Student describes Student describes Student describes Student cannot
Characters how a character how a character how a character describe how a
might have felt at might have felt at might have felt at character might have
some point in the some point in the some point in the felt at a certain point
story, and points out story, and points out story, but does NOT in the story.
some pictures or some pictures or provide good support
words to support words to support for the interpretation,
his/her interpretation his/her interpretation even when asked.
without being asked. when asked.
Follows Along Student is on the Student is on the Student is on the Student is on the
correct page and is correct page and correct page and wrong page OR is
actively reading along usually appears to be seems to read along clearly reading ahead
(eyes move along the actively reading, but occasionally. May or behind the person
lines) or finger is looks at the reader or have a little trouble who is reading aloud.
following words being the pictures finding place when
read aloud by others. occasionally. Can find called upon to read.
place easily when
called upon to read.
Date Created: Nov 28, 2003 09:40 am (CST)
Rubric Made Using:
RubiStar ( http://rubistar.4teachers.org )
Reading - Analyzing Information : Reading21
Student Name: ________________________________________
CATEGORY 4 3 2 1
Identifies important Student lists all the The student lists all The student lists all The student cannot
information main points of the the main points, but but one of the main high light important
article without having uses the article for points, using the information with
the article in front of reference. article for reference. accuracy.
him/her. S/he does not
Identifies details Student recalls Student recalls Student is able to Student cannot locate
several details for several details for locate most of the details with accuracy.
each main point each main point, but details when looking
without referring to needs to refer to the at the article.
the article. article, occasionally.
Identifies facts Student accurately Student accurately Student accurately Student has difficulty
locates at least 5 locates 4 facts in the locates 4 facts in the locating facts in an
facts in the article and article and gives a article. Explanation is article.
gives a clear reasonable weak.
explanation of why explanation of why
these are facts, rather they are facts, rather
than opinions. than opinions.
Identifies opinions Student accurately Student accurately Student accurately Student has difficulty
locates at least 5 locates at least 4 locates at least 4 locating opinions in
opinions in the article opinions in the article opinions in the article. an article.
and gives a clear and gives a Explanation is weak.
explanation of why reasonable
these are opinions, explanation of why
rather than facts. these are opinions,
rather than facts.