Language reporter is a way to organise almost any speaking activity that can be done in pairs and small groups, regardless of the topic, but with some quality time to spend on feedback, which is the most important part of it. To do this you will also need a video camera for each group, it can be the one on students phone if they have it; or if there is only one available for the whole class, groups can rotate the activity.
This idea uses a basic task-based cycle as follows:
In groups of 3, students are given a short speaking task (e.g. three questions in a job interview, exchange of opinions on a news article, comparing two products, etc).Two students perform the task while the third is the language reporter.
Language reporter’s role:
• to video record the task
• to listen carefully and take notes of: interesting comments, good use of language, poor use of language, etc;
• to write at least one sentence verbatim.
• the language reporter should not interfere in the pair’s exchange.
With the video recording:
• students watch their performance
• speakers in the task make a first self-evaluation
• the language reporter gives his/her feedback
• the group highlights areas to be developed
• the group spends some time working on these areas autonomously or with the help of the teacher.
• With an increased awareness of their performance and explicit attention to some areas, students can now repeat the task cycle. They can choose to rotate who takes the role of language reporter. After the second round, students engage in another feedback session.
Open group feedback
• Groups choose bits of their videos to be projected for the whole class.
• Each language reporter gives his/her report to the class and to the teacher.
• The teacher picks some language from the video and the verbatim sentences for further focus on form.
• The teacher can also use the videos to comment on body language, eye contact, and other non-verbal signs.
Hope you like it. And feel free to let us know how it went if you try it.
Willy Cardoso is a freelance teacher trainer based in Europe. He writes Authentic Teaching (http://authenticteaching.wordpress.com) and is particularly interested in teacher development and the philosophy of education. Willy also speaks at international conferences and sits on the committee of IATEFL Teacher Development SIG.