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Widgets Inc.: Teach Outside the Box

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Widgets: A task-based course in workplace English (120 pp., A4 paperback) is available from the following distributors: englishbooks.jp . It is published by Atama-ii Books (2018) and was written by Marcos Benevides and Chris Valvona.

Welcome to Widgets Inc., a different kind of English language course.

Widgets is a business themed communication course using a task-based approach to language learning. It is designed for classes of 12 to 40 young adult or older students who are placed into teams in order to complete a series of connected projects.

Great for mixed-ability classes from pre-intermediate to high-intermediate.

  • CEFR B1 and above: students are engaged and challenged at their own level of achievement even while working together in mixed-level teams. Task situations provide useful language and excellent incidental practice for TOEIC speaking and writing components.
  • Integrated skill development: students develop fluency and confidence in speaking, listening, reading, and writing via discussions, presentations, self and team evaluations, report writing, viewing video instructions, and many more highly-contextualized tasks.
  • Meaningful assessment: students are assessed primarily by task outcome in accordance with Communicative Language Teaching and TBLT principles; a secondary focus on the use of language forms is also possible.

Widgets is arranged by task complexity, not language complexity.

The course starts with easy tasks, and quickly builds to more complex projects. This puts the focus and the challenge of the course on the practical use of English, rather than on passing language tests. It also encourages students to develop fluency and confidence in using English in ‘real world’ situations.

The Widgets project sequence, in order of increasing task complexity:

  • Stage 1 Interns join the company orientation
  • Stage 2 Teams prepare and pitch new product proposals
  • Stage 3 Teams discuss and evaluate new product proposals
  • Stage 4 Teams perform market research on the selected product
  • Stage 5 Teams plan and present a multimedia advertising campaign
  • Stage 6 Interns prepare a resume and cover letter, and interview for a job

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About the course

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