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What is ‘Context-Analysis-Practice (Evaluation)'?
And how can it improve your teaching?
CAP(E) is a lesson planning model similar in many ways to Engage, Study, Activate.
Lesson planning models are a fantastic way to help you plan your lesson and structure your class. They can help you think through the stages that you and your students will go through in the class and help to focus on learning.
Like most of the other well-known models, it has three stages — context, analysis and practice — along with an optional fourth stage — evaluation. Here’s a lowdown of the different stages, how it works, and how it differs from other planning models.
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Why Another Model?
We already have several three-stage planning models, so why do we need another? After all, we have loads already; Presentation, Practice, Production, Engage, Study, Activate, Test-Teach-Test and Task-Based Learning, to name a few.
So does CAP(E) add anything new?
Jason Anderson, the creator of the model, observed that none of the current models of lesson planning explicitly incorporate the idea of context. Context is essential for learners — it helps them understand, remember and use new language.
As a result, a model which explicitly incorporates context will potentially be more helpful to learners and teachers.
Let’s take a closer look at each stage in the CAP(E) model.
A context is a clearly defined situation that the language takes place within.
I’ve suggested that we can use four different types of context in the classroom, but as long as the students understand the ‘situation’ that they’re now in mentally, the context-setting has been successful.
It can be set any way a teacher likes — through conversation, story-telling, one or two sentences, a video or audio clip.
This is where the students focus on accuracy. This could be of meaning, form or pronunciation (or a mix of all three).
This is similar to the ‘Study’ section of Engage-Study-Activate, or the ‘Teach’ section of Test-Teach-Test.
This part of the lesson focuses on fluency.
Depending on the lesson and students, it could be a controlled or freer practice. This is similar to the ‘practice’ or ‘production’ section of Presentation, Practice, Production, or the Activate stage in ESA.
This is when the students and/or teacher evaluate the language production that’s occurred. It could be a self-evaluation or teacher-led.
It’s an optional stage but very beneficial for the learners.
Once you’re confident using the model, the creator suggests that it’s possible to switch the Analysis and Practice (so it becomes CPA). This is an excellent way for students to jump in and start using the language, pull it apart, and analyse it after the fact.
Unlike in Engage Study Activate, where the stages can be moved around and duplicated to form a whole new structure, this is the only suggested change.
I do like Context, Analysis, Practice as a model, as I’m a huge proponent of using context in lessons — I feel it’s essential to have an effective lesson.
However, I feel that in practical terms, a lesson created with the CAP(E) model won’t look any different from an ESA model lesson. If you’re observing a class, assuming that both teachers have included a context, I would imagine it would be impossible to tell the difference between a standard ESA and CAP(E) class.
I think the CAP(E) model does shine for newer teachers or teachers that don’t regularly include a context in their classes. Having ‘context’ front and centre in the model's name forces context into the mental checklist of a teacher planning a lesson. And this can only lead to improved results.
See you again in two weeks.
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