Amari Montin’s lesson


The following English language lesson will take place at the Peace Resource Center (PRC) in Seaside, CA. The PRC is a non-profit organization that offers free English classes held Monday through Thursday evenings. The students are adults from a range of ages, literacy rates (in both their L1s and English), and national origins. The majority of students come from a Spanish L1 background.

I designed the following lesson by incorporating Mobile-Assisted Language Learning (MALL), through the use of mobile phones, into a scavenger hunt task. The purpose of the task is to allow students to communicate by using the imperative form and by using new vocabulary related to the physical surroundings of the PRC. The two foremost reasons why I chose to incorporate mobile phone usage are: (1) the students already own and know how to use their mobile phones and (2) mobile phones are integral to maintaining communication between students during the task.

Three of the six language learning ecosystems that constrained my lesson’s incorporation of MALL the most are the technological, institutional, and linguistic ecosystems. The elements of the technological ecosystem that I had to take into account include the lack of reliable wireless Internet at the PRC, the possibility that an application might not download properly onto students’ mobile phones, and the possibility that not every student’s phone will have equal capabilities to even connect to the Internet or be compatible with the same application. For instance, one of the students who regularly comes to class every week does not have built-in Internet capabilities on his mobile phone. Therefore, if the lesson required him to either use the PRC’s Internet or download an application at home, the Internet might not work on the evening of the lesson or he might forget to download the application. Consequently, the lesson requires learners to use their phones’ basic calling capabilities in order to lessen the risk of unforeseen Internet-dependent technological problems. The element of the institutional ecosystem that shaped my lesson plan the most is the students’ background knowledge of mobile phone usage. The students all have mobile phones and understand how to make phone calls. Therefore, the time spent during the pre-task phase does not need to be devoted to scaffolding mobile phone usage, whereas a new application might require significantly more class time devoted to learner training. Additionally, the student’s knowledge of mobile phone usage provides for their greater inclusion and active participation in the lesson by drawing on their own knowledge and resources (Kukulska-Hulme, 2012). The element of the linguistic ecosystem that most informed this lesson’s design is the fact that one of the students has low English literacy. Since the task requires the students to maintain timely communication, the student with low literacy but greater speaking proficiency would benefit more from the task than if she/he were required to struggle with time-sensitive reading and writing.

Puentedura’s (2011) SAMR (substitution, augmentation, modification, redefinition) model heavily influenced my conception and design of this lesson. Additionally, I wanted to “ensure that [the task is] suited to the affordances of the devices used” (Stockwell & Hubbard, 2013, p. 3), meaning that the scavenger hunt task ensures that the lesson’s mobile phone usage requirement would prove not to be a mere substitution of non-mobile technology. The lesson’s task is based on a knowledge gap between the learner who gives directions indoors and the learner who takes pictures outdoors. The learners cannot complete the task without some sort of electronic, mobile communicator to relay their messages to one another. Although walkie talkies and cameras could conceivably be used, the affordances of the mobile phones are that they come with built-in camera capabilities and their users already know how to use them. Since the learners and instructors already own mobile phones, there is no need to purchase walkie-talkies and digital cameras. Therefore, the mobile phones’ affordances encompass convenience, usability, and cost-effectiveness. Due to the mobile phones’ affordances, my lesson’s inclusion of MALL best qualifies as modification according to the SAMR model. The lesson does not qualify as redefinition because walkie talkies and digital cameras could still conceivably be used to complete the task. The lesson does not qualify as substitution or augmentation because the task could not be completed without some sort of mobile communication device.

There are a number of technological problems that could arise during the course of the lesson. For instance, the learners could forget to charge or even bring their mobile phones to class. Despite instructor verification the previous week, the learners could potentially decide that they do not wish to spend their phone minutes for the purposes of the task. If the instructors needed to let the learners borrow their own mobile phones, then more lesson time may have to be devoted to training the learners how to use them. Additionally, mobile phone service may prove to be unreliable during the lesson for reasons such as weather or cellular tower maintenance. Either too many or too few students may arrive to class, or one student may arrive so late that there will not be enough time for proper pre-task scaffolding.

According to Pegrum (2014), mobile technology is best utilized when it encourages mutual student collaboration. The integration of MALL into this lesson’s design has great potential for encouraging learner communication and collaboration. MALL is necessary for the task and, if no technological problems arise, it may engage the learners much more than if they were to complete a paper-based task instead.

MALL Lesson Plan for an English Class at the PRC

  1. Length: 120 minutes.
  2. Setting: The Peace Resource Center (PRC) in Seaside, CA. Classes are free, open to anyone, and are co-taught by different pairs of MIIS TESOL students each night (Mon-Thurs). This instructor’s classes are held every Thursday evening. Student attendance is optional.
  3. Learner Background Information:
    • 2+ learners in one class (there are always 2 every Thurs, but sometimes a couple more come).
    • Learners are adults ranging from 20 years-old to middle age.
    • L1 is Spanish.
    • Their English listening comprehension is better than their English speaking abilities, which range from High Beginner to Low Intermediate.
    • One of the learners has low literacy in her L1 and very low literacy in English.
  4. Lesson Context: Last week’s homework was for learners to charge and bring their cell phones to class this week. The instructor already confirmed whether or not their phones have camera capabilities that can be utilized while simultaneously talking on the phone. The instructor also already confirmed that they would be willing to use their own phones to make calls and can bring USB cables for computer connection. Both co-instructors brought their own phones in case any learner forgot theirs.
  5. Materials and Equipment: Learner (and instructor) cell phones, whiteboard, markers, helpful phrases poster, picture cards, pen and paper, instructor laptop, and instructor USB cable (for camera connections).
  6. Goal: Understand how to give basic commands in English using the imperative.
  7. Objectives: As a result of this lesson, SWBAT:
    • Complete a scavenger hunt task with the use of cell phones.
    • Use the imperative form and vocabulary correctly in order to carry out the task.


Time, Activity & Materials Teacher and Student Behaviors What This Activity Accomplishes
3-4 min.

  • Business
  • White board, markers, helpful phrases poster
  • Ask Ss how their week was.
  • Review phrases (Appendix A) they can use when asking for clarification during lesson.
  • Draw Ss’ attention to the week’s theme: Environment (i.e. surroundings).
  • Continues the routine that occurs at the beginning of every class.
  • Reminds Ss to ask for clarification in case they don’t understand something.
  • Activates their schemata regarding the week’s theme.
4-5 min.

Schema Activation: Vocabulary

  • Ask Ss if they can describe what things are outside of their houses and in the neighborhood.
  • Ask guiding questions such as:
    • Are there cars parked outside?
    • What’s your street’s name?
    • Is there a sidewalk?
    • Is it a busy street?
    • Are there a lot of houses or apartments?
    • Are there any plants or trees?
Urges Ss to draw on previous knowledge to aid them in the next part of the lesson.

1 min.

Tell Ss that you will now have a vocabulary activity about things that are outside in Seaside.
10-12 min.

·   Vocabulary Mini-Lesson

·   Picture cards, white board, markers

  1. Present Ss with picture cards (Appendix B).
  2. Explain that you will pronounce each vocabulary term in the picture card and that Ss must try to point to the right one.
  3. Give the following commands (using different imperative forms of “find” which are in bolface):
  • Find the sidewalk.
  • Look for a black car.
  • Try to find a building.
  • Try and find a street sign.
  • Go find a parking lot.
  • Find a street light.
  • Look for a restaurant.
  • Try to find a stoplight.

(word choice rationale Appendix C)

  1. Ss will point to the right picture  once you say it.
  2. Then ask individual Ss to give commands to their classmates to point to a picture
  3. Ss will point to the right picture once a classmate says it.
  4. Make sure everyone gets at least one chance to speak.
  5. As Ss talk, pay attention to their imperative use and explicitly explain the concept of the imperative if they fail to use the forms correctly.
  6. Ask Ss if they want you to write the forms of “find” that you said on the board.
  • Prepares Ss for using the necessary vocabulary for the task.
  • Implicitly introduces the imperative.
  • Confirms whether or not Ss are able to produce and recognize the necessary vocabulary.

1 min.

Tell Ss that the class will now discuss how they use their cell phones.
3-4 min.

Schema Activation: Cell phone usage

  • ·   Ask Ss what they normally use their cell phones for (e.g. to call people, play games, etc.).
  • ·   Ask Ss if they have ever used cell phones for language learning.
·   Urges Ss to draw on previous knowledge to aid them in the next part of the lesson.
25-30 min.

·   Pre-Task: Picture practice and task directions

·   S cell phones

  1. Ask Ss to pull out their cell phones and turn them on.
  2. Instruct them (using the imperative) to test out the camera function on their phones by giving this command:
  3. Take a picture of me (or of something in the room).
  4. Confirm that their camera functions work.
  5. Confirm that they understand and can say “Take a picture of…”
  6. Now assign pairs and give them these directions:
    1. Choose which partner will be the picture taker and which will be the talker
    2. Both of you go around the room; the talker must tell the picture taker to (1) find something and (2) take a picture of it
    3. The picture taker should take pictures of only one or two things
    4. Then switch roles and do the same procedure.
  7. Ask Ss if they want you to write the directions on the board.
  8. Monitor Ss during the activity to confirm they are on task.
  9. Once the activity is finished, explain that Ss are about to perform an activity outside while using their cell phones.
  10. Give the following directions:
    1. Stay in your same pairs.
    2. Choose who will be the talker and who will be the picture taker.
    3. The talker must choose 4 of the picture cards out of a hat (without the picture taker knowing which ones they are).
    4. One partner must call the other partner on their cell phone.
    5. The picture taker must then go outside.
    6. The talker will begin by telling the picture taker to (1) find the thing on the first card (for example, “Find a black car.”) and (2) take a picure of it – but don’t hang up!
    7. Once the picture taker has taken her/his first picture, then the talker will continue until the picture taker has taken pictures of all four things.
    8. Then the picture taker will come back to the classroom and the two will switch roles, with the new talker having to use the remaining four cards.
  • Serves the purpose of preparing Ss for successful task completion by:
  • Allowing them to practice using the vocabulary and imperative forms with each other face to face.
  • Allowing them to practice using their cell phones’ picture function.
  • Confirms that the technology works/doesn’t work, allowing for T intervention if necessary.

1 min.

Tell Ss that they are about to perform the actual task.
35-40 min.

·   During Task

·   S cell phones, pen and paper

·   You or your co-T must accompany the picture taker while she/he walks around outside in order to monitor whether or not she/he is completing the task, is having technological difficulties, etc.

·   The other co-T must stay in the classroom with the talker in order make sure she/he is on task.

-Ss proceed with the task.

·   The T indoors must write down any errors that the talker S makes when giving commands to the picture taker.

·   Serves as a culmination of Ss’ learning about and usage of the vocabulary and imperative form.

·   Provides proof of Ss’ ability to communicate using the imperative and the vocabulary.


1 min.

Tell Ss that you will put their pictures onto your laptop and that they can go on break.

4-5 min.

·   USB cable

Transfer Ss’ pictures onto your laptop during the break.
10-12 min.

·   Post-Task: Discussion and noticing

·   S cell phones, T laptop, T error notes

·   Let Ss see the laptop screen.

·   Ask for a S to volunteer to talk about her/his pictures.

·   Cue up the S’s pictures on the laptop and ask her/him to talk about what it was like (1) trying to understand the talker and (2) to use the technology to take the pictures.

-The first S explain her/his process.

·   Go through the same procedure with each S.

-The remaining Ss explain their processes.

·   Now bring Ss’ attention to any ill-formed imperatives that they may have produced during the task.

·   Ask Ss to verbally correct the forms.

·   Serves as a wrap-up of the task and lets Ss reflect on what they have learned.

·   Lets Ss see if they got everything right.

·   Lets Ss feel that they have accomplished something.

·   Urges Ss to notice errors and to notice correct forms of the imperative.


1 min.

Tell Ss that before they you are about to end class.
3-5 min.

·   Wrap-up

·   Ask Ss one by one to tell you one thing they learned during the lesson, whether it be about using cell phones for educational purposes, using the imperative, learning all the different ways to say “find,” the vocabulary, etc.

Appendix C: Corpus-derived Word Choice Rationale


The following forms were derived from the Corpus of Contemporary American English (2014) under the category of Spoken language. They are the only forms of find and look for that have a token frequency greater than 100. Therefore, they were included in the lesson.


Token Frequency
look for
try to find
try and find
go find




  •  Kukulska-Hulme, Agnes (2012). Prospects for inclusive mobile learning. In M. Allegra, M. Arrigo, V. Dal Grande, P. Denaro, D. La Guardia, S. Ottaviano, & G. Todaro (Eds.), Mobile learning for visually impaired people (pp. 13–25). Palermo, Italy: Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Istituto per le Tecnologie Didattiche.
  • Pegrum, M. (2014). Mobile learning: Languages, literacies and cultures. New York; Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Puentedura, R. (2011). A brief introduction to TPCK and SAMR. Freeport workshop slides, 8 December. Rueben R. Puentedura’s Weblog.
  • Stockwell, G., & Hubbard, P. (2013). Some emerging principles for mobile-assisted language learning. Monterey, CA: The International Research Foundation for English Language Education. Retrieved from