The following lesson plan works well with all levels and topics and students could be given as much autonomy as the teacher wishes them to have. Also there are plenty of opportunities for input and feedback. I love the fact this activity involves every single student. I encourage you all to give it a try.


  • Choose an exam text you want students to read. In my class last week I chose a text about a scientific approach to modern art (CAE 1 Use of English and Reading, part 7)
  • Ask students to read the text quietly and ignore the questions for the time being
  • Time students while they are reading, but not to put pressure on them but rather to give them an idea of how much time they need (give students 10 minutes to read the text, most students are ready after 8 minutes though)
  • Put students in pairs. Ask them to compare their view of modern art with the ideas expressed in the text
  • In the same pairs, ask students to tell each other which text they didn’t understand (students often choose different texts which results in them explaining the texts to each other)
  • In the same pairs students decide which out of four texts would be the easiest to summarize and consequently summarize it to each other
  • Get feedback
  • In their pairs, ask them to write 4 comprehension questions (one per text) for the other teams. Make sure the students come up with the questions together, which forces them to negotiate the meaning of the text yet again and facilitate understanding
  • Make sure they each have a copy of the questions as they will be moving around
  • The pairs now split and form new pairs
  • In their new pairs, they must answer/ask each other’s questions
  • Students return to their original pairs and now individually answer the questions in the text book
  • Students compare in pairs, in threes and then as a whole class
  • Do not provide correct answers until they are able to provide you with one set of answers. By this point the students are usually so involved in the text they are hardly ever willing to give up
  • Check answers and get feedback


HOMEWORK: students choose 8 verb phrases from the text that they would like to incorporate into their vocabulary and prepare questions for an interview with a modern artist of their choice (it forces them to use the words in a new context). Next class: journalist (student A) and an artist (student B) work together and both get an opportunity to recycle vocabulary from the previous class.

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