It’s as easy as ABT

Imagine you are teaching 8-10 year olds and this is the next language point in the course book you are using. In this post we will give some tips on how to prepare using ABT!

Taken from Gateway Gold level 6 grammar book 18/19, Garnet Education. 
So, what does ABT stand for? AnalyseBeforeTeaching
This is something you probably do a lot when you first start teaching- when your language awareness is perhaps more limited. In the lesson above, the language point is used to + infinitive. We use this to talk about habitual states and actions in the past. We often use it when we are contrasting something in the past with the present. The conversation extract above seems to be between a grandparent or parent and child. The older person is perhaps lamenting how life used to be better in the old days 🙂
To plan a lesson around this material we can start by analysing the language point to predict exactly what our learners will need help with AND what they might already know, or find easy. We can then select and design stages and activities that will be relevant and useful. 
For my Spanish speaking learners, they would find the meaning quite easy as there is a similar form to speak about habitual actions and states: SolĂ­a ir a la casa de mis abuelos en el verano (I used to go to my grandparents house in the summer). The form is also quite similar, isn’t it? This shows me I don’t need to focus on the grammar too much in this lesson. There is no need to plan a long clarification stage and I can be inductive in my approach and use contrastive analysis to show the similarities. Maybe a PPP approach is not the best option and a test teach test or task-based learning framework would work best. This would help the learners focus on how they cold use this language in relevant contexts and conversations. As we said in out first post we can be eclectic about what formats we use depending on the goals of the lesson and our learners’ needs. 
On further analysis, I think the pronunciation might be something to spend a little more time on. Spanish speaking learners tend to find it hard to use weak forms and if they see -ed at the end of a verb or adjective, they tend to pronounce it as an extra syllable. I use-ed to go. So, I think I would include a task where they listen and count the syllables and notice the weak form in “I used to go to …..”, followed by some drilling and practise in pairs. I think I would need to supplement the course book to include this focus. 
Also, I think my A2 learners might still have problems with the question and negative forms when using this language so I will make that a focus of my error correction, as well as pronunciation of course.
What aspects of this language point (used to + infinitive) might your learners find difficult in terms of meaning, form and sound (MFS)? Bearing this in mind, what type of lesson framework might work best? 
Analysing these three aspects as we plan a lesson can really help us go in prepared to focus on the key aspects, using an appropriate framework and including any extra tasks to supplement the material we have. 

One comment

  1. Anonymous

    I agree. I teach mature Spanish students at intermediate level so I gave them this video by Vicky Hollett for homework

    It went down well and gave useful examples.


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