Number one for English language teachers

Oh, Whistle and I'll Come to You, My Lad

This advanced-level story, by M R James, is set in Burnstow, a seaside town on the east coast of England. It tells of how university professor makes an interesting discovery with disturbing consequences. It is told in seven parts; each part contains audio and an accompanying lesson plan written by Daniel Barber or Ceri Jones, which includes teacher’s notes, student worksheets and a full transcript and glossary. Part 1 is free to all onestopenglish users.

Oh, Whistle and I'll Come to You, My Lad lesson plans

  • Oh, Whistle and I'll Come to You, My Lad: Part 1

    Author: Daniel Barber

    In Part 1 of this horror story, Professor Parkins discusses with colleagues his plans to spend a few days in Burnstow. In this lesson, the students will: make predictions about the main character; listen for specific information about the main character’s holiday plans; listen in detail to a short extract and look at sentence stress; listen to a longer extract to answer comprehension questions and role-play a phone call between the main character and a hotel receptionist.  

  • Oh, Whistle and I'll Come to You, My Lad: Part 2

    Author: Daniel Barber Staff Room

    In Part 2 of this horror story, Parkins is in Burnstow and explores the site of an old church where he finds a mysterious object. In this lesson, the students will: talk about museums and learn the names of some artefacts; practise listening for gist to order events in the story; listen in detail to a short extract to identify pauses; practise reading out loud, paying attention to chunking and pausing; predict the rest of the story and pitch a film idea to the rest of the class.

  • Oh, Whistle and I'll Come to You, My Lad: Part 3

    Author: Daniel Barber Staff Room

    In Part 3 of this horror story, Professor Parkins walks back to the inn and, after a relaxing evening in the company of the other guests, he retires to his bedroom to examine the mysterious artefact. In this lesson, the students will: take part in a visualization to prepare them for listening; practise listening for gist for the main character’s thoughts and feelings; practise intensive listening to compare punctuation with intonation and pausing; listen for specific information; write ...

  • Oh, Whistle and I'll Come to You, My Lad: Part 4

    Author: Daniel Barber Staff Room

    In Part 4 of this horror story, Parkins’s curiosity gets the better of him and he spends a wakeful night disturbed by distressing visions and morbid thoughts. In this lesson, the students will: recap the story so far and predict what happens after Parkins blows the whistle; listen for gist; talk about their sleep patterns and habits; listen for detail in order to correct an erroneous text; explore the use of onomatopoeic words in the text and describe and interpret dreams.

  • Oh, Whistle and I'll Come to You, My Lad: Part 5

    Author: Ceri Jones Staff Room

    In Part 5 of this horror story, Parkins and the Colonel discuss superstitions and the possible link between the whistle and the wind. In this lesson, the students will: recall the story so far; listen for specific information; listen for gist and attitude; listen for detail; practise intonation patterns in questions and discuss attitudes to superstitions.

  • Oh, Whistle and I'll Come to You, My Lad: Part 6

    Author: Ceri Jones Staff Room

    In Part 6 of this horror story, Parkins and the Colonel return from playing golf and talk to a frightened boy who has seen something strange at the hotel. In this lesson, students will: recall the story so far; listen for gist; retell the main events; listen for detail; re-enact a conversation between the Colonel and the boy; discuss the significance of key events from the story so far; predict what will happen in the final instalment and retell the story from the perspective of the ...

  • Oh, Whistle and I'll Come to You, My Lad: Part 7

    Author: Ceri Jones Staff Room

    In Part 7, the final instalment of this horror story, Parkins finally comes face to face with the mysterious figure that has been haunting him. In this lesson, students will recall the main events of the previous instalments; listen for gist; retell the main events of the story; improve their awareness of the relationship between punctuation and pronunciation; read out a short extract and discuss a modern film adaptation of the story.

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