Learn how to use authentic texts to teach mediation skills to your students. There is also a sample worksheet and teacher’s notes with tips for you to download.
What is mediation
Mediation is the fifth skill introduced in the CEFR (Common European Framework) along reading, listening, writing and speaking. Mediating means interpreting and passing meaning between a source such as text and another person, or between two people who cannot understand each other. It is an essential part of communication, especially between languages in a multilingual setting. Mediation involves many subskills such as writing notes, explaining, summarising, paraphrasing etc. In this lesson, we’ll show you step by step how to use an authentic news source to teach mediating a text.
How to choose a suitable source
Mediating a text involves paraphrasing and summarizing a text you received and producing a related text or speech to be read or heard by another person. To use authentic texts for mediation, you need to create a plausible and realistic scenario in which the student would have to relate the information from the text to someone else.
Consider the following questions:
- Why would someone be interested in this text? (e.g., interest in the topic, need for the specific information or guidelines from the text)
- Why would the students need to narrate the text? (e.g., the text is too difficult for the other person, they have no access to it, or they don’t’ speak English)
- What information from the text is relevant for the receiver that the student needs to pick from it? (e.g., do they need simple instructions, a summary of all main points, the numbers, such as dates or amounts mentioned in the text?)
- What language should students use in their mediation? (e.g., formal, academic, or plain, elementary English, quoting and/or translating specific phrases, etc.)
- Think about potential skills or language that you need to pre-teach before too.
How to structure your lesson
Mediation can be introduced with any teaching approach, such as Task-Based learning or Presentation–Practice–Production. When introducing a text for the purpose of teaching mediation, start with engaging students with both the topic of the text and its character. This will activate students’ schemata.
Follow these steps for using authentic news articles for teaching mediation:
Activate students’ schemata when using authentic materials
When using an authentic text, it is important to keep in mind where students might encounter it. Nowadays students are likely to see news articles on the internet or in their social media feed. Activate their knowledge about the topic of an article by having them read the title and subtitle and eliciting what they may know about the topic before reading. You can ask students what they think about the topic in general, or create a few quick discussion questions as a lead-in.
Get students engaged with authentic texts
Have students read the text quickly to see if their predictions from the title and subtitle were correct. Hold a fast class discussion, and then turn to asking how they feel about the text and topic so far. For engagement with authentic materials, let students express their real opinions. Ask if they find the text interesting or not and why and if they’d choose to read if they saw it on the internet.
Introduce scaffolded exercises to facilitate understanding of the text
Before students can mediate the text, they need to have a good overall understanding of its contents. You can help them with this by asking them to summarise each paragraph, or write a list of key information from each section.
Create a realistic mediation purpose. For example, the text could contain information that a friend interested in the topic could find interesting, or numbers and facts useful for a presentation. Give students time to prepare and then practice the task.
A good follow up of a mediation lesson is to encourage students to mediate the text in real life. For example, they could tell their friend about the interesting things they just learned. Remember, mediation also involves mediating between languages, so they can do this in their mother tongue.
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Teaching with Authentic Materials — Mediation