Making the language syllabus visible when not using a coursebook

A week or so in, managed to wean an adult class off the designated coursebook.

Needs analysis final Q


I think some of them were being polite when they answered that, but still I think it was fair to pull away from the book.

Didn’t want to completely cut and run though, so continued creating materials (and gradually getting students to create materials) that I could link to the book syllabus.

Today was one week before the mid course test: ‘Big Language Review’.


  • Sushi lines conversation about the weekend
  • Feedback: write some sentences about people you talked to trying to incorporate some of the language from the slide:
Language previously studied in class
  • Students open their coursebook to the syllabus page at the start.

They circle items in the second half of the book that we have studied in class:

I got my grubby mitts on this group at mid unit-10 on the schedule
  • I gave students this handout, containing all the language that we had actually studied in class through the materials and texts I’d prepared / they had helped me to prepare:
Underlined rows are Quizlet sets containing all the vocabulary / phrases / chunks / whatever you want to call them from class
  • Students then rated each square out of 10 for how confident they feel using that language feature.
  • They stuck this Actual Syllabus in their book.


  • In 2s/3s, students then prepared either a conversation, a story or a rap (very surprised they suggested this one), trying to incorporate as many of these features.
  • All groups actually managed to record something! Not had the chance to listen to them yet, but the great thing is, not matter what the quality…

… it’s another piece of learner output that can become input in a future lesson.

In fact, I billed it as an opportunity for us to do some pronunciation work in the next lesson,  focusing on errors I picked out from the recordings.

Not quite sure exactly how that next lesson is going to play out but pretty happy overall with today.

First time doing coursebook-less teaching that I’ve managed to present to students physical evidence of what we have studied while at the same time mapping it onto what they would have studied if we following the coursebook.

I do share a similar digital syllabus on a Google Doc with them, but no one looks at it much so having this ten minute bit in the lesson where they stuck the syllabus on p.1 in their book quite literally put everyone on the same page.


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