Taking exam risks – AKA as putting my money where my mouth is

Graduating Standard 2.d

“Graduating teachers know how to select curriculum content appropriate to the learners and the learning context.”

With my English exam upon me I have decided to take a risk. One of the things I know that is coming up in the exam is that I will need to design a series of lessons designed to meet the learning needs of a group of students from Teaching Experience. The lessons need to build on each other and demonstrate the interconnected nature of English teaching by including some aspects of reading, writing, speaking, listening, viewing and presenting.

However rather than go the traditional route of using books, pencils and paper I’ve challenged myself to design the lessons using only digital technology. There is perhaps a risk in doing something a bit different in exam when the safe route would suffice but I’m hoping that as long as my instructional techniques are sound, I should be fine.

First I need to have knowledge of my learners. I know that that my learners  a creative lot who enjoy drama and acting. They  are level 5 and, according to their test results, are all having trouble with identifying figurative language in texts.

When thinking about figurative language my mind immediately turns to  advertising. Why couldn’t part of the lesson be to design an advertisement for their school? They know their product, and being in the business of deciding on a secondary school, the students know the context well.

Lesson 1 – learning about advertisements.
WALT – identify words that mean something else in safety briefing. (language features)
discuss the who will watch the safety briefing and why they will watch it. (purposes and audience)

In recent years Air NZ has employed a lot of viral marketing (the advertising tends to be a bit tongue and cheek and at times push the boundaries of what is acceptable in a primary classroom). However they take a boring safety video that anybody who has flown (and these students have) will have seen numerous times and turn it into this:

The safety briefing uses a lot figurative language in the advertisement ‘before we kick off’ ‘consider yourself dropped’ ‘crouch, touch and brace’ alludes to the language of rugby. Why has AirNZ decided to use this language in their safety message? Why are the passengers referred to as the team? Using instructions like prompting, questioning and, if needed, explaining I would be using this advertisement as a model for students to help develop their own advertisement.

Which brings me onto:

Lesson 2 writing the script.
WALT – write a 30 second advertisement for a selected audience
– select language that will engage with the audience

I would use a scaffold a guided writing session with my students to help develop their script. Who is our audience? What is our purpose? What are some examples of figurative language we could use in our advertisement to engage with our audience? What are some special features of our school?

Lesson 3
WALT – produce our advertisement.
give meaningful feedback and feed forward to students on their advertisement.

Out of all the lessons this would be the one where I would be a lot less visible and let the students get on with their learning. However I would be there to give feedback and assistance if needed. At the end of the session students would show their advertisement for peer feedback and feedforward. If I was to build on this idea further I would look at ways for the students to distribute their advertisement and what other media and audiences they could incorporate to develop a media campaign.

Phew. Tt’s a bit out there in terms of content however I’ve got some old favourites like Noel Streatfeild and Quentin Blake in there to balance out my more outlandish ideas.

5 thoughts on “Taking exam risks – AKA as putting my money where my mouth is

Add yours

  1. Go you! I think no matter what you do it will be impressive. I am in the memorising phase tonight- so much to remember! Good luck tomorrow.


  2. Thanks for the compliments I hope that the examiners manage to make out my writing, which was once described as a drunken chicken making its way across the page!


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