Future learn – Week 4

Week 4: Exploring English by British Council

British literature – Shakespeare plus others mentioned.

1. The intro video (1:16) has lots of transitions – not so smooth.

2. Quiz about literature.

Which Shakespearean hero is the Prince of Denmark? (Answer ‘Hamlet’).

This is going to be difficult for many learners.

Questions do not automatically submit when you click on next.

No feedback besides correct / incorrect given. I think extra information could have been given as feedback – for example, “George Eliot was the pen name of Mary Ann Evans” (female English novelist question).

3. Short film about Shakespeare’s Globe

First some background and pre-listening questions.

‘Literature is great’ video (2:29) – the beginning cut is a bit sharp.

Another good video, with the same presenter, and then an interview with an expert (artistic director).

4. Quiz about the video

Five m/c questions – all pretty basic and no real need to watch the video to answer them.

5. Watch the video again

How could the sentences be completed

e.g The original Globe theatre …

The questions are again quite easy, but with some limited feedback.

6. Comparatives and superlatives – watch and read

This time we do cut into the original video to hear the phrase.

Need some more text on the screen, or on for longer.

Qualifying language – quite good.

7. Quiz

Eight m/c questions

Are we looking at grammar or content?

Q1. “Shakespeare is by far the most famous writer in the English language.”

Arguably yes, but it is still an opinion.

Q2.Australia is much biggest than New Zealand.

Incorrect – wrong grammar.

Q8 They were clearly the better team in the league and won all of their matches.

Incorrect – should be ‘best’, but what if the league only had two teams?

8. Dylan Thomas – reading

Four m/c questions about Dylan Thomas

Nice feedback given that explains the key vocabulary: “That’s right. If something is ‘meaningful’ it has a clear meaning which people can understand.”

9. Did you notice?

“In Week 2 we looked at relative pronouns and relative clauses.”

Revision of earlier weeks.

10. What do you think?


“For your final task this week, think about literature from your country. ”

I like this use of the discussions to get participants to interact with each other.


Still looking good. I wonder what the drop out rate is like?

I’ve had my first reply from one of the ‘educators’  – about Scottish independence

There will be a Google hangout in Week 4.

In Week 4 we’re going to have a LIVE Google Hangout. The Hangout will take place on Thursday 25 September from 1330 – 1430 (UK time; find your own time zone here: http://bit.ly/1uZSW4j). The hangout is a chance for you to put to me any questions you have about the language we’ve looked at in the course.

Other thoughts:

  • Make the questions challenging.
  • Get students thinking.
  • Grammar questions can be problematic (not a reason to avoid them, but you need to think through the question carefully)
  • Don’t mix grammar and content – make it clear what you are testing.
  • Give feedback – not just correct / incorrect. Give extra information.
  • From the EDC course – Focus on higher order thinking – synthesis and evaluation, rather than knowledge and comprehension (especially in course description). See Bloom’s taxonomy verbs (from here)