I was mighty tempted at first to title this post "A coursebook as an accessory after the fact?", but figured it might put unnecessary additional logs on the coursebooks vs. no coursebooks debate. Instead, I'll call it what it is: a coursebook format with content that is built and delivered following a series of unplugged language lessons.
This continues my experimentation with coursebook design, continues my (rather delightful, I might add) personal dilemma when it comes to unplugged teaching and good coursebook writing, and in the end represents a solution to a problem I was encountering with a class of 24 learners following four weeks of unplugged lessons.
What you are looking at there at the top of this post is a simple 2-page unit that I made based on a couple of hours unplugged teaching with that particular group of learners.
As in, they initiated the topic one Monday morning, they drove a lot of the initial communication, and I helped them grow and (at least to some degree) perfect it and practice it with the help of a whiteboard and their blank notebooks.
The characters in the dialogue are myself and one of the students from the class (one of the shy ones, actually). Across the unit, there is a combination of content chunks that the class offered during the lesson (which we worked on improving and enhancing) and my own emphasis on how spoken Australian English sounds in full flight "out there" on the street a couple of metres away from the classroom door, and some effective strategies for comprehending and responding to it.
What I have now is an effective review device that is targeted and clear for learners who otherwise would only have access to this lesson based on their crammed (and in various degrees of tidiness and legibility) notebooks. At only two pages, it is not as inclusive as that initial unplugged lesson, but pretty much every learner from the class has at least something (or some clear link to something) in the unit, and it has a few of those presentation techniques that help to make some coursebooks quite strong in some ways -- clear, organised, progressing through a variety of linked stages, etc.
And now that I have this set up as an easy-to-modify template, technically it shouldn't be a huge task to create similar coursebookish units as direct follow ups for the other unplugged lessons we've had so far.
It's a coursebook after the fact, I guess, or a coursebook extending or taking a snapshot of the fact. Like a workday following the freedom of the weekend? Mmm.....
What do you think of the idea?
Oh, and feel free to download it if you want to print it out and try it in your own classes, remembering that you run the risk of becoming an accessory before the fact rather than after it!
Download -> "After the weeked - A post-unplugged coursebook unit"