by Ruth Hamilton


Think about / discuss the following questions:

· What's the purpose of traffic lights?
· What would happen if there were no traffic lights?
· What's the order of change of traffic lights? Why?
· What would happen if the lights went from green to red? And red to green?
· What could happen if you sped through amber?
· What's your attitude to a red light?
- annoying?
- a chance to dream?
- a chance to plan your evening, do your shopping list, etc.?
· How are traffic lights like a language classroom?

What classroom activity or 'stage' of the lesson could each colour represent?




Now think about the order of these stages in a lesson.
Describe what may be happening in the following lesson:

a) red - yellow - green
b) green - red - yellow
c) yellow - red - yellow
d) green - red - green

Can you identify any problems in the following lessons:

a) The teacher explains at length, and at random, a number of different grammar points until the bell rings.
b) The teacher hasn't planned the lesson beforehand, so opens the book and says: "Do exercise 1, 2, 3 etc.
c) The teacher wants to make the lesson fun, so does a whole series of lively, communicative activities, one after the other, then sets an essay.

Put a coloured dot beside the stages on your lesson plans to help detect any potential problems!