Introduction


Note: You can download the complete book (PDF) here: You Are The Course Book – Lesson Plans.

The worksheets and other resources referenced in the lesson plans can be found in this book. Page numbers in the lesson plans usually refer to the PDF version of the book.


This book is for teachers who want to teach English without a course book, using You Are The Course Book Method. (See p.15 for reasons why this method is preferable to teaching with a course book.) In the first YATCB book, I explored the motivations which led me to change my teaching habits and develop this method; in the second YATCB book, I wrote about the first year of my experiences teaching with this method; while in the third YATCB book I compiled a syllabus – a collection of basic material that I believe should be taught on a YATCB course. In this new book I would like to show clearly how to teach each of the many activities.

I hope that this book will be of interest and of use not only to teachers who have been following this method via the previous books, but also to new teachers, who may never have tried this kind of activity before. Instead of wading through the first three books in detail and planning a complete Mode 1 process, for example, they can now simply pick up this book, find out how to run an activity, and try it out with their class at once.

I began my ELT writing career producing worksheets and then books, which were collections of
worksheets at first, then the Talk a Lot series of course books. This book is better because it gives clear bullet-pointed lesson plans for activities which can be used with the same students time after time – while my other books contain worksheets which, once used, cannot be repeated with the same class. It is the difference between teaching teachers techniques, which can be used often, and giving them material that has a single use. My aim in writing this book is to do the former. I love writing and could gladly write Talk a Lot books till the cows come home, but I believe that the material in this book is more useful. It is time to let the students create the lesson material. Do you remember this quotation?

Give a person a fish, and you feed them for a day. Teach a person to fish, and you feed them for a lifetime.

I would adapt it for teachers who are tired of being chained to the course book and want to try something new:

Give a teacher a course book, and they can present what it contains. Teach a teacher the techniques for getting students engaged and learning, and speaking English in class, and together they can learn just about anything.

A few notes about running a series of You Are The Course Book lessons. There are three modes in YATCB (p.20) and each mode contains a number of different sections: vocabulary, text, grammar point, and so on. Teachers can choose to run a standard Mode 1, 2, or 3 process (series of sections), or select different activities from each skill area to build their own mode (see p.21 for the list of activities). Teachers can keep track of what they have done in different classes by using the Blank Progress Tracker (p.24). YATCB Method can be used with a syllabus – the topics, vocabulary, grammar points, and input lessons can be pre-set and ordered, and the texts and activities can be chosen to fit them. There is more about using a syllabus in You Are The Course Books 1 and 2. If you cannot think of a topic to study, try p.23, where there are 101
different ideas. You do not need a lot of resources to run YATCB lessons – that’s part of the point. It is ideal for classrooms where there isn’t a lot of money to buy formal resources. See a typical classroom setup on p.22. There are further notes for teachers on p.17.

This book lists dozens of games for warmers and free practice sessions (from p.96). In writing about them I do not claim to have invented them. I have acknowledged sources where relevant. Part of the material in this book has been reworked from my previous free books, including: Talk a Lot Elementary Handbook, Talk a Lot Elementary Book 3, Talk a Lot Intermediate Book 1, Talk a Lot Foundation Course, Clear Alphabet Dictionary, You Are The Course Book, You Are The Course Book 2: In Practice, and You Are The Course Book – Syllabus. All of these books – plus many more resources – are available to download now.

I would like to thank my family for giving me the time and space to write this book. I would also like to thank all of the students who have been testing these activities over the past couple of years. It has been a fascinating process to watch your ideas and language come to life and your level of English and confidence improve, as the course books remained undisturbed in a corner.

I hope that you will enjoy teaching English with You Are The Course Book Method. If you have any questions or comments please do not hesitate to get in touch with me here. It would be great to hear from you!

With best wishes to you and your students,

Matt Purland
Ostróda, Poland

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