How to Teach 'Reading and Obtaining General Information' in Form Two

Welcome to UNIT 18.3 

PREVIOUSLY: In Unit 18.2, we discussed about the various ways of teaching the sub topic “Talking about future plans/activities" in Form One.  

IN THIS UNIT 18.3, we will cover the sub topic "Reading and obtaining general information" in Form Two.

TOPIC’S INFORMATION
Main Topic: READING FOR COMPREHENSION
Sub Topic: Reading and obtaining general information
Periods per sub topic: 10
Class: Form Two

DESCRIPTION OF THE SUB TOPIC
We read for various reasons and by using various ways. We may read to get the general idea, or read to get the particular or specific idea on something. Reading for general information is one of the purposes of reading various texts. This kind of reading helps the reader gets the big picture of something within a short time instead of concentrating on specific details that can consume more time.

SPECIFIC OBJECTIVE OF THE LESSON
In this sub topic/lesson, the student should be able to answer general questions on a text read.

  1. TEACHER’S PREPARATION STAGE
This stage is about the preparation of the teacher before undertaking the lessons of the particular sub topic. These are all activities, procedures, materials, teaching aids, and games prepared by the teacher for teaching a sub topic:

  1. Putting heads together: Introducing the topic/lesson properly. Organising how students will be able to get to know what is the topic/lesson about. It is where teacher makes sure that students are going to be in his/her train. It includes brainstorming and familiarisation of the topic/lesson with the students.
This makes students stay together with the teacher. It is at this stage students can understand what is going to be discussed in the particular topic.
In this sub topic/lesson; the teacher will guide students to brainstorm on the definition of general information' and how they get the general picture or idea on something. The teacher will ask students to discuss with him/her what they do when;
They want to know what the newspaper is all about.
What is conveyed in a particular book?
What they do when they study or read their notes.
What they do when they read stories.
The students' responses to these aspects can trigger their prior knowledge and understanding of the current topic.

  1. Preparation of Materials. A teacher has to decide on the teaching/learning materials he/she is going to use.
In this sub topic/lesson, a teacher will have to prepare a variety of texts especially those texts on different topics including those of HIV/AIDS, gender, environment, family life, education and child labour. The teacher will also have to have the teaching materials like dictionaries, encyclopaedias, internet, reading cards, and newspapers. The stories about these topics may also be found on the internet sites, and newspapers as well.
  1. Target Practice. Show them/Guide them to the practice of the functions of the sub topic. A teacher has to show or guide students to the target practice of the grammatical functions of the sub topic.
In this sub topic/lesson, the teacher will guide students to practice how to read and obtain the general information through the use of these grammatical patterns/structures:
It is made of....
It consists of....
It means...
How is it spelt?

These expressions can be found in the text or in the comprehension questions.
  1. Context-Based Practice. A teacher leads students to the discussion on how the target grammatical functions practised earlier can be applied or integrated into the contexts and situations. The students are guided by the teacher to apply the learnt skills in relevant contexts and situations like school and library.
In this sub topic/lesson, the teacher will apply a variety of relevant texts which are also relevant to the level of students. The texts should contain moderate vocabulary items and which are meaningful and context-related.

  1. Vocabulary Building Practice. At this time, teacher discusses with the students on the vocabularies and phrases to apply in the already mentioned contexts and situations.
In this sub topic/lesson: The most commonly applied vocabularies are: spelt, pronounced, destroy, chemicals, science and technology, nutrition, economic, weather.
These are just guiding vocabularies. However, the teacher can have a list of vocabularies from the particular texts he/she is going to discuss with students. The important thing in the selection of appropriate vocabularies is to check if they are relevant to the contextual aspects of life like gender, education, family life, environment, HIV/AIDS and other related aspects.

  1. TEACHING AND LEARNING PROCEDURES, ACTIVITIES AND GAMES
Guide the students to the full sub topic/lesson procedures, activities and games for better understanding of the sub topic by following these activities:
ACTIVITY ONE: Brainstorming. The teacher has to brainstorm with the students on the sub topic/lesson's aspects through oral questions with answers, pair works, and group discussions of all important concepts to get students on track.
In this activity, the teacher should guide students to brainstorm about the topic of the passage they are going to read. Here the teacher can introduce something to students and let them respond to the aspects and related questions. For example, the teacher can allow students to discuss what they know about the topic 'A Good Student'. The teacher should ask them the following guiding questions:
What do you know about a good student?
How a good student does looks like?
What are the behaviours of a good student?
Why it is important to have a good behaviour?
Why it is important to be a good student?
These guiding questions will help students familiarise themselves with the topic of the passage/text the teacher is going to supply to them.

ACTIVITY TWO: Teacher's Demonstration. The teacher applies his/models or examples so as to bring the topic/lesson and the students into the real or common sense of the topic/lesson.
In this activity, the teacher should read his/her text and ask students to list down what they know and what they would like to know about the topic. The teacher has to give them guiding questions.
*What students know about the topic? See questions on 'A Good Student' above at Activity One.
*What students would like to know about the topic? At this aspect, the teacher can allow students to ask questions about the topic. For example, students would like know:
How to be a good student.
How to be a successful student.
What are good behaviours of a good student?
What a good student should help other students?

After going through these aspects, teacher can now read the text at hand.
Teacher's Model: Reading Card 10: MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND CULTURE, TANZANIA. ELTSP.
A GOOD STUDENT
Sarah is a good student. She goes to school every day. She's never late and she obeys the school rules. She wants to learn English. She speaks it as much as she can when she's at school. She works hard in all her subjects. She gets good marks in her tests. She tries to answer questions in all her lessons. She looks after the school books too. She's always happy.

Ask them some questions to test their understanding of the text.
1. Suggest another title for the passage above.
2. What other good behaviours a student should have apart from those mentioned in the passage?
i______________________________
ii______________________________
iii_____________________________
3. What could you advise bad students?
i______________________________
ii______________________________
ili______________________________
4. Copy these questions and write short answers. Use only one or two words.
Example: Is Sarah a girl? Yes
1. Does Sarah obey the school rules?
2. What does Sarah want to do?
3. What language does she speak at school?
4. Does she answer questions in class?
5. Does she look after her school books?
5. Write out these words in the correct order to make good sentences. The first word of each sentence is underlined.
Example: works Sarah hard - Sarah works hard (don't copy this example).
1. school likes she
2. works She hard
3. teachers like The Sarah
4. happy is always Sarah

ACTIVITY THREE: Students' Demonstration. The teacher guides students how they can apply a model like that of a teacher. The skills demonstrated by the teacher should now be demonstrated/applied by them. Here students need to be guided on how to use given expressions, structures, vocabulary, and phrases or similar ones.
In this activity, the teacher guides his/her students to read another text silently and find out answers for their given questions.
The Text
MAMA BARAKA
Mama Baraka lives in a small village near Dodoma. Her husband is a farmer. She has one child called Baraka. Life is hard and she has a lot of work to do. Every morning she fetches water in a bucket. The pump is a long way away and water is heavy. She carries Baraka on her back. The heavy bucket of water is on her head. She goes to collect water four times every day. It's hard work and her husband doesn't help her. She also has a lot of other works to do.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
A. Answer these questions by completing the sentences. One word in each space.
1. Where does Mama Baraka lives?
2. How many children does she have?
3. Where does she go four times every day?
4. Where does she carry her child?
5. Where does she carry the bucket?
B. Copy each word, and then next to the word write the opposite. They are all in the passage.
Example: always – never
Fat – thin
1. Big –
2. Easy –
3. Evening –
4. Light –
5. Front –

Also in this activity, the teacher can give his/her students more questions based on the text read. These are the questions that have not been covered in the passage but they are important and taken from the same passage. For example, some questions from the passage can be:
1. Do you think Mama Baraka's husband is fair? Give three reasons why he is not being fair.
i________________________________
ii_______________________________
iii______________________________
2. What can you advise men like husband of Mama Baraka?
The teacher has to guide students to answer all these questions in groups and present them for class discussion.

ACTIVITY FOUR: More Students' Activities. The teacher takes/leads students to other real situations or contexts where they can apply what they have mastered. Here speaking, reading or writing activities are involved.
In this activity, the teacher gives students more activities about the sub topic/lesson. These activities are given in order to reinforce students' understanding of the topic/lesson.

ACTIVITY FIVE: Winding up the topic/lesson. Here teachers summarise the topic/lesson by emphasizing the importance of the sub topic/lesson and suggesting other related aspects of the sub topic/lesson.

Additional Activity: As a teacher, what other activity can be applied in this sub topic/lesson? You can always drop your alternative activity or activities to this article so as to improve teaching and learning of 'O' Level English.
REFLECTION
Ask students to reflect upon the way they read various materials in their everyday experiences. They read a particular kind of general information without knowing if they do. They read road signs; they read stories, cartoons, .magazines, and other writings. Thus, as they read these materials, they get general information of what they want to know about.

ASSESSMENT
A teacher should design an evaluation for students by using appropriate assessment tools like oral questions or assignments so that to see if the student is able to answer general questions on a text read.

ASSESSMENTS
Assessment #01: Group work.
Give students the text to read. Provide them with comprehension questions about the text. After discussion, each group should present the answers before the class.
Assessment #02: Pair works
Ask students to read the passage you have given them. In pairs, allow them to respond to the set questions. Each pair should present the answers to the class and other students will make comparison. 
Assessment #03: Individual work.
Give students a test on comprehension skills. They will tackle this test individually and that is the time the teacher will assess the students by individual performance.

Note: You can give students more individual works, pair works, and group works to facilitate their interaction and understanding of the sub topic or lesson. As English language teacher you have to give students more works to do. Because language is meant to be largely spoken and written, the teacher should rely on written exercises and notes. Instead students have to learn English language by vigorously exercising individually, in pairs, and in groups.

SUMMARY/CONCLUSION
Reading is one of four language skills. This language skill is very important to students because it is one of the two important skills that are extensively applied during final examinations. At any National Examinations, we expect students to do more reading and writing and few listening and speaking. It's not the intention of this sub topic/lesson to say reading and writing are more important, rather all skills are equal and their difference comes only in terms of their usage and their context.

NOTE: These stages explained above are not necessarily covered in a single lesson of single or double period. Remember that this is the guide for teaching the whole sub topic which has periods ranging from 6 to 20. So, the teacher's task is to divide these stages according to the total number of periods for a particular sub topic.

WHAT IS YOUR OPINION?
This article is about how to study and teach "Reading and obtaining general information" in Form Two. As a student or teacher, what is your opinion on how to study and teach this sub topic/lesson?
Your opinion is worth and I believe that it can make these materials better for our own consumption.
You are Welcome!

You can also check the following useful links below:
FORME ONE
FORM THREE
FORM FOUR

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