The weekly column
Article 103, July 2002
An EFL Lesson Plan Featuring Authentic Cooking Experience
By Connie Chow
Introduction & Aim
An English exam question of my boy sparked off the idea of an EFL lesson based on authentic, practical language use. My boy did not write a single word on the answer sheet, and upon my inquiry, he confessed that he did not know how to attempt the question. First, he did not understand what instructions were and the language required of him. Second, he had no hands-on experience in baking a cake or cooking noodles, which was more of an excuse than the fact (See appendix).
The purpose of this lesson is to teach authentic language use and provide hands-on experience, catering for learners with different intelligence profiles, namely bodily-kinesthetic and interpersonal talents. It also opens avenue to cross-discipline cooperation between EFL and home science. An added benefit is cultural awareness of western styled food and meal.
Proficiency Level: Elementary and lower-intermediate
Target Learners: Teens and adults
Language: Imperatives used for instructions; vocabulary for food and cooking; adverbs of sequence (first, then, etc.)
Authenticity: Directions from packages
Practicality: Language in real life situation
Comprehensibility: Bilingual instructions
Materials: Instant noodles, canned soup, jelly or pudding powder, popcorns, pancake mixture, cocoa drink, etc; cooking utensils; home science lab
Home assignment: Learners pick their favourite easy-to-prepare recipe and write up the preparation directions. Additional credit will be given if they demonstrate mastery of imperatives and adverbs of sequence.
Next session: Pairs agree on a recipe to prepare. Bring their own ingredients and present their method of preparation. Extra credits are given for pooling of effort to prepare a 3- or 4-course meal with starter, soup, main dish, desert and/or drink.
Lesson Plan Highlights
Appendix - A Question from a Form-One Exam Paper
Giving Instruction (10 marks)
Write a paragraph by using these words ("First", "Then", "Next", "After that", and "Finally") at the beginning of the instruction.
Our class will have a party this coming Friday. First, we have to decide the time and the place for our party. Then, we need to invite our teachers and classmates to come. Next, some of us should stay after school to decorate the place. After that, we have to decide what activities we will do at the party. Finally, let us go to the supermarket together to buy some snacks and soft drink.
Now, you have to write a paragraph to tell us how to make something. For example, you may tell us how to make a cake, cook noodles or make a model car.
About the Author
Connie Chow (email@example.com) is EFL certified, and currently teaching part-time at a vocational institute in Hong Kong.
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