Learning and revising food vocabulary using “practical work”
Ever since we started the In-genious project, the idea has been to transform the classical approach of language teaching into a more experiential one, where students could actually use the language while learning it, where speaking would not be enough, but students would also need to to do to acquire the language.
“Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I’ll remember; involve me and I’ll understand” – Benjamin Franklin
Since in Argentina students don’t have many chances of using the language they are learning for real communicative purposes, our objective, in the school in general and in the different classes in particular, has been to generate as many instances of real language practice as possible.
Below, I’ll explain how some of the teachers have used “practical work” (tasks in which students observe or manipulate real objects or materials) to teach or revise food and cooking vocabulary.
Fernanda Frola and Sabrina Greppo joined their intermediate evening groups to organise a special class where students had to: first, get divided into three groups according to different adjectives they had on their backs. All positive adjectives formed one group; negative adjectives, another and adjectives with a prefix formed the third group.
After students got divided into the different teams, they went around the school looking for clues that told them where the next clue was and also that had a key food ingredient written on.
The next stage was at the kitchen, where the different teams looked for the ingredients they had available (they learned which were the ingredients by collecting the clues) and invented recipes using them. They wrote down the recipes and cooked their creations.
Finally, the different teams read for the whole group the recipes they had created and shared the dishes they had prepared.
Vanina Lompart first revised cooking verbs and food vocabulary by sticking images on the whiteboard and asking students to tell her the words they remembered. Once the students got all the words and practised their correct pronunciation, Vanina handed out copies of a pancake recipe and moved the group into the kitchen to try cooking the pancakes.
Students helped each other following the recipe and cooked in pairs while chatting in English as if they were friends at a kitchen preparing some nice breakfast.
Learning was fun, hands-on-experience and thus memorable.
Blog post written by María Laura De Luca