We appreciate the chance to tell you a bit about the development of English Safari 1.
A major goal of Safari is to help you maintain an “all English” classroom environment. In fact, as students open the book, they will see a collection of 16 cartoons that show students and a teacher using English in the classroom. These cartoons present useful classroom English in context and in action. Looking at the cartoons, students will see examples of student-teacher interaction (“I think the answer is ’A’”), student-student interaction (“Way to go!”, as above, or in preparation for an information gap exercise, “I’ll be ’Student A’ and you can be ’Student B’, OK?”) and teacher-student interaction (“Nice job!”). This two-page spread is easy to refer throughout the semester, as it is at the very beginning of the book. We hope these pages help your students get used to communicating in English with you – and with each other.
Similarly, each unit starts off with a simple speaking activity. While we could have begun each unit with a listening activity or a vocabulary practice exercise, we decided to have students start off the lesson by talking to each other. The hope is that your class will get off to a good start by using the energy and enthusiasm students have at the beginning of class. Students will have to spend a bit of time preparing their answers — with provided question and answer forms — and then they ask each other questions and compare their answers.
Following several focused speaking and listening exercises, students have the chance to “Share in Pairs” and discover how well they can communicate with each other. This activity starts off as an information gap exercise, with provided question and answer forms for complete support. Students are then encouraged to ask each other similar questions to get related information. We are really excited about how the unit leads up to this activity, and how “Share in Pairs” should help students to use English safely (with support) and then productively on their own and using their own ideas and information.
Each unit ends with a “Challenge” in which students go to the next level. In “Challenge”, students have the opportunity to interview their classmates or engage in simple, but “on their own”, conversations. In “Challenge” students can recycle the language practiced in the unit, so this activity is a great chance for students to realize how much they learned in the course of the unit.
We hope that by the end of the class period your students will primarily think about how enjoyable it was to talk with their friends about things that were important to them, and will also appreciate that they were able to use English to communicate in their classroom.
Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you in Shizuoka at JALT 2009!
Dale Fuller / Kevin Cleary