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American schools - Marking the content to support speaking

Uploaded by Sanderin van Hazebrouck, Pädagogische Hochschule Heidelberg (Germany)


These intermediate learners of English are working on a unit on American schools. The task is to compare the time tables. This authentic material motivates the learners to speak and compare the given time table to their own schedules. The IWB tools like the pen or highlighter tool help to emphasise the differences.

Previously, the learners have created a mind map, made up of their pre-knowledge and they have compared the school system and the different school types to their own system.



Target language: English

Resource language: German

Native language of learners: German

Age range: 14+

Language level: B1 - Intermediate

Educational context: Secondary Education

IWB Features: Ad Hoc Annotation, Content marking

Teaching methods: Individual activity at IWB

Language area: Life & Culture, Speaking, Strategies

IWB board used: Promethean

Teacher comment

Here we talked about an American time table and the learners should find out that there are differences between their own time table and the American time table. And they came to the board and marked the differences and they also explained them. So they had to talk while using the whiteboard, the whiteboard helped them to start talking. And they really liked that and had a lot of ideas and wanted to come to the board to show which differences they found.

Sometimes it is important to say things more than once, since they forget so easily. And if you have the nice smart things (on the IWB), it is great to repeat things and check if everybody listened for example. 

Learner comments

Schüler 2: Wir haben heute gelernt wie eine Schule in den USA aussieht und was die Unterschiede zwischen den deutschen Schulen und den amerikanischen Schulen sind.

Learner2: We learned about the differences between german and american schools and what an american school looks like.

Schüler 3: Ja, zum Beispiele vom Stundenplan her, was es da für unterschiedliche Fächer gibt oder auch wie lange, also von der Schulzeit, dass es unterschiedlich ist.

Learner 3: Yes, we talked about the different time tables and subjects and how long they have to go to school in the afternoon.

Schüler 4: Wir haben auch noch gelernt, dass jeder Lehrer ein Klassenzimmer hat und dass die Schüler zu dem Lehrer ins Klassenzimmer kommen, das fand ich auch sehr interessant. 

Learner 4: We also learned that every teacher has his own room and that the learners change rooms and not the teacher. I think this is really interesting.


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iTILT is a European project on Interactive Technologies in Language Teaching which focuses on the use of interactive whiteboards in the communicative language classroom. If you have comments or questions about this project please contact us.