I selected an authentic reading titled Slow Food Farmers’ Market for this assignment to practice and improve my learners’ reading and listening skills. My students are mostly foreign students from various countries, including Brazil, South Korea, India, Vietnam, and Sudan, to name a handful. International students also face major difficulties when transitioning to new foods; for example, lifestyle risk factors such as weight gain are typical in new students who are not used to dining at buffets on a regular basis. As a result, the reading tackles this problem by introducing the target audience to Melbourne’s freshest local produce. The text explores the Slow Food Farmer’s Market, which prides itself on its good, clean and fair produce (Abbotsford Convent, n.d.). The reading is suitable for my learners because it relates to their interest in knowing the Melbourne culture. The city presents a unique experience where the fourth Saturday of every month is dominated by different producers showcasing a great range of diversity from vegetables and fruits to cheese, eggs, meat and other beautifully crafted delicatessen products. The text also has a universal appeal as it helps the students understand the need to support local produce.
By the end of the lesson, the learners will be able to do the following
Practice skimming in the context of reading about Australian foods.
Read and understand vocabularies and phrases related to asking for items of food at the Slow Market.
Introduce the students to new food vocabularies and have them practice these terminologies through pictures and flashcards.
Lead-In (5-7 minutes)
The People’s Market
Increasing the interest of learners in the topic of the text will be achieved by motivating them, building text-specific knowledge and relating to their lives. In this regard, I will use different activities that interest the students in the text and inspire them to read it. For example, I will bring the $8 pear chutney to discuss some of its health benefits. In addition to that, I would present people testimonies before and after eating the Slow Food Farmer’s Market produce.
Further, research shows that learners sometimes use erroneous or incomplete ideas to learning (Cooper, Robinson, Slansky, and Kiger, 2014). In this light, I will build text-specific knowledge by providing the learners with information from the reading beforehand. Moreover, I will activate their prior knowledge of the topic to help them consciously use it as they read the text. For instance, before reading, I will ask the students what they already know about the heritage of Melbourne.
Relating to students’ lives is another powerful means of motivating them to read and understand the text. According to research, if a learner does not believe a particular activity is relevant, it seldom sinks (Briggs, 2014). Such relevance can be established by demonstrating how the text can be applied and relating the material to everyday applications. The connection is important in that helps students to realize how useful knowledge can be; it fulfills their need for relatedness to their scheme of things and gives them real reasons why the current content would be valuable to them later.
Initial Reading Task (10-15 minutes)
First, I will use matching, where the student will be required to match definitions with appropriate pictures on the board. Furthermore, I will post examples on the board and have the learners match the descriptions to the suitable example. By matching, the students will be practicing visual discrimination and thus will become familiar with different types of print and connecting objects to text.
Learning the sound that each letter makes will also give the students a head start. In this regard, I will introduce different letters and their sounds gradually, starting with those that are relevant to the audience; for instance, I will first introduce letters with a peculiar shape that renders them easily recognizable.
Further, the more experience international students have of language, the faster they will learn to read. In this light, I will read related stories that will broaden learners’ vocabulary base in their fields of interest. Additional, I will ensure the students get plenty of opportunities to interact with the natives as they are instrumental to the whole process. Lastly, I will attempt to teach the pronunciation of the blocking vocabulary and have the learners repeat the pronunciation of the words.
Second Reading Task (10-15 minutes)
While-Reading (about 5 minutes)
In reality, people often use top-down approaches like skimming to help cover a large amount of information rapidly (Scrivener, 2011). I will have the students practice skimming through text and associate each article with the flashcards in the first activity. In the next activity, I will disburse pieces of paper including some statement extracted from the text and have the students differentiate the true phrases from the false ones. Thirdly, I will give the students a paper containing questions about the character types of different readings.
Post-Reading (about 10 minutes)
Next, I will enhance the students’ receptive skill by asking them to apply the blocking vocabulary technique in drafting their text. After drafting, I will request them to submit their writing and the sentences written on each of them for assessment. The other after-reading strategy will involve learning logs. In this regard, I will prepare a learning log handout containing questions regarding the content of the reading for the learners to answer in own words. The task will encourage the students to put into words their understanding of the text and to reflect upon their learning experiences and needs (Ntid.rit.edu, n.d.).
The students will be grouped in pairs after which they will be asked to create a story similar to that modeled in the week reading. In this task, I will assist the learners by clarifying the content of the writing and emphasizing the need for a clear presentation. The students will be given about 9 minutes to write after which they will be allowed to discuss with their partners which piece they think presents the most interesting story. As can be seen, the task possesses contextual relevance and will use the authentic material as a model of what is required.
Abbotsford Convent. (n.d.). Slow Food Farmers’ Market. [Online] Available at http://abbotsfordconvent.com.au/whats-on/events-exhibitions/slow-food-farmers-market [Accessed 30 Jul. 2017].
Briggs, S. (2014). How To Make Learning Relevant To Your Students (And Why It’s Crucial To Their Success). [Online] InformED. Available at: http://www.opencolleges.edu.au/informed/features/how-to-make-learning-relevant/ [Accessed 30 Jul. 2017].
Cooper, J.D., Robinson, M.D., Slansky, J.A. and Kiger, N.D., 2014. Literacy: Helping students construct meaning. Cengage Learning.
Ntid.rit.edu. (n.d.). After Reading: Tasks and Strategies. [online] Available at https://www.ntid.rit.edu/sea/processes/comprehension/process/after [Accessed 31 Jul. 2017].
Scrivener, J. (2011) Learning Teaching (Third Edition). Macmillan
Appendix: Learning Log Questions
Read the following statements and answer with TRUE, FALSE or NOT SURE
1. The Slow Food Farmers’ Market is held at the Convent every Saturday.
2. The Market deal with local produce
3. Holy Goat Cheese, Mount Zero Olives, and Shulz Organics are some of the most notable stallholders in this market
4. Some stallholders in the Slow Food market are not accredited