By Martin Sketchley
We have been receiving the Mary Glasgow Magazines for nearly 12 months now at our school, LTC Eastbourne, and our learners love them. We keep a folder of all the magazines which corresponds to level and they are a great resource for both teachers and learners.
When you subscribe to the magazine, teachers will receive teaching notes. These will provide additional online resources via the Mary Glasgow website. So it is important to look at these. There are audio, video and online activities available to supplement the magazine, so you it is a good idea to register to the Mary Glasgow Plus website. The magazines are organised with the Common European Framework in mind (A1: Click, A2: Crown, B1: Team, B2: Club and C1: Current). Nevertheless, how could teachers exploit the use of Mary Glasgow Magazines in the ELT classroom?
One idea is to incorporate projects with young or adolescent learners. For example, the most recent topic in Crown is related to David Beckham retiring from professional football. One idea is to get pairs or small groups of learners to create a poster about David Beckham and compare it to a footballer, or another famous sportsman/woman, from their own country. The students could then stick up their posters in the classroom or somewhere within the school. Learners could then present their poster to the rest of the class or the school and share their opinions. This is not a one day activity and is likely to take the learners a few days to prepare their posters. It is best to ensure the learners have access to the technology required to research their own sportsman/woman.
Another idea is to supplement a coursebook with Mary Glasgow Magazines, so if the chapter within your coursebook is related to sport, you could supplement this theme/topic with material from the magazine series. The magazines include teaching tips or ideas, so read these for additional ideas. Learners find that topics within the magazine series rewarding and it offers a chance for teachers to bring in the outside world within the classroom.
On the website, as mentioned earlier, there are various videos available to download or watch live over the internet. It is great if you are able to show the videos in the classroom and they provide learners the opportunity to listen to and watch native speakers of English discuss various topics. This, in itself, provides teachers the opportunity to exploit for classroom use. A wonderful activity is to get learners to watch a video about a topic – for example, a new video available is about “Film and cinema” – and you could get learners to discuss their own opinions of film and cinema or review a film which they went to see. You could set up the video in an interview setting (one learner interviews another learner) and they could compare their own video with the original which they saw online. One tip is to give the learners a microphone and they will naturally interview each other. It does require some setting up with video recording equipment but learners are incredibly engaged with the end-product and are keen to share this with their families if it is accessible on video platforms such as YouTube.
Finally, if you are using audio downloaded from the Mary Glasgow Plus website, there are some wonderful ideas to engage the learners. The most common activity is to get a transcript of a listening activity, cut the transcript up into random order, hand out to learners and then get learners to re-order the dialogue. This is a classic activity but a twist on this engaging and motivating idea could be sticking up key vocabulary up on the whiteboard, put the learners into two teams, and then advise learners that they will hear some audio and that they will have to listen and when they hear a word on the whiteboard, they must grab it and then keep it. It is best to place learners in two rows (one row for each team) and learners keep their vocabulary words. The team with the most vocabulary cards at the end of the activity is the winner. Again Mary Glasgow Magazines have delivered again with the audio as they include transcripts for the teachers or learners.
There is great potential with Mary Glasgow Magazines for both teachers and students. They are incredibly flexible and the topics are highly engaging and stimulating for adolescent learners. I would recommend schools and teachers to supplement their current curriculum with the selection of magazines as well as make use of their website.
Martin Sketchley is the Young Learner Co-ordinator at LTC Eastbourne, with eight years teaching experience in South East Asia, Eastern Europe as well as in the UK. He is responsible for teacher training and the development of the young learner curriculum at the school and is very interested in young learner teaching, especially through the use of technology. Martin runs a successful website related to the teaching of English language: www.eltexperiences.com . You can also follow him on Twitter: @ELTExperiences.