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Essay "New Employee Orientation Program"

by Mirta, Martes-Rivera | 01 Jun 2017
Resource Description: This is an integrated lesson plan using a whole language approach for the essay “Wal-Mart Orientation Program.” This lesson plan is for teachers who teach intermediate English to learners who speak English and Spanish. It includes tasks and activities aimed at developing the students’ literary skills . It also aims at increasing  students’ understanding of the American culture, namely themes related to worksite environment. 
In this lesson plan, students will work with pre-reading  and reading comprehension activities as well as with across-the curriculum ones. Some of the activities are designed to further develop  the skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing, along with the allied linguistic- components of grammar, vocabulary, and critical thinking.
Audience: Adult, Teacher Training, University
Audience Language Proficiency: Intermediate
Duration: It depends on the teaching situation.
Language Skill: Grammar, Listening, Reading, Speaking, Vocabulary, Writing
Language Skill Other:

Critical Thinking

Research (Study Skills)

Content Area: English, Marketing, Anthropology, Sociology,History
Materials and Technology:

1. textbook

2. chalkboard

3. The Internet 
4.  exercise  handouts (interview sample, comparison/contrast essay diagram)

A. Student working in groups (e.g. ,three, four or five)
B. Method of Instruction
1. lecture 
2. experiment
3. demonstration
4. questions    X
5. discussion    X
6. group work  X
7. independent work  X 
8. independent research X

After reading the essay “Wal-Mart Orientation Program” students should be able to:
-retrieve new vocabulary and its definition; apply it to writing.   Grammar
-Use different sentence structure in the writing assignment.
-Listen and respond to peers’ and/or professor’s questions or thoughts. 
-Use a variety of reading strategies(i. e. ,prior knowledge, literal meaning, inference and applied level) to answer questions.
-Identify the central idea.
-Analyze stylistic elements of text such as tone and language level.
Writing (evaluation)
-Learn the elements of the essay (I-TH,B,C).
-Plan, write and revise an essay (i.e., compare/contrast).
- Write an entry journal
Research Skills
-Conduct research using the Internet. (Pre-reading activity)
-Conduct a short  interview (post-reading activity)


-Use a variety of reading strategies(i. e. ,prior knowledge, literal meaning, inference and applied level) to answer questions.
-Identify the central idea.
-Analyze stylistic elements of text such as tone and language level.
Writing (evaluation)
-Learn the elements of the essay (I-TH,B,C).
-Plan, write and revise an essay (i.e., compare/contrast).
- Write an entry Þjournal
Research Skills
-Conduct research using the Internet. (Pre-reading activity)
-Conduct a short  interview (post-reading activity


 A. Pre-Reading Activities (history) (Homework)
Using the Internet, find information about the following: (group work)
- current minimum wage in PR and the  USA 
- leading labor unions in the USA and PR
- some brief data on the history of Wal-Mart 
- some brief notes on Sam Walton’s biography
Q : How was your weekend?
Q:   Will you go shopping this weekend?
Q: About the homework, what information did you find about the following: current minimum wage, leading labor unions in the USA and PR, the history of Wal-Mart, biography on Sam Walton (Speaking Skills) 

-Pre-reading activities
-Reading comprehension 
B. Reading Comprehension (literal level)
1. What is the essay central idea?
2. What is the author’s primary purpose?
-to inform 
-to explain
-to persuade 
-to entertain 

C. Details (inferential level)/ Questions from the textbook
1. In par.#1, Barbara states the following:
“Over and over we hear in voice over or see in graphic display the “three principles,” which are maddeningly, even defiantly, nonparallel: “ respect for the individual, exceeding customers’ expectations; strive for excellence.”(p. 995)   What does she mean? What message she attempts to convey?
2. In par. #2,  Barbara makes reference to the  “associates” and “servant leaders” relationship.  What does she mean? 

(p. 995)
3. In par. # 3, what does Barbara say about unions? (p. 995)
4. In par. # 4 , what does Barbara mean in the following statement?
 “ Sonja the tiny African American woman across from me seems frozen in terror?”  (p. 995)
 D. Analysis/Critical Thinking (applied level)  
* Some questions are modifications of a lesson plan prepared by CSUN. Further data provided upon request.
*1. Barbara does not represent a minority group member? Would the essay be different if she had represented one?
*2. Barbara is not an anthropologist, but she uses lots of observations (in the essay) to describe the orientation process at Wal-Mart. Are the observations positive, negative, biased (i.e. , subjective, predisposed). Explain your answer. (anthropology)
3. Are minimum-wage employees richer because they work with Wal-Mart or more poor? (economics)
4. In PR, why do so many people apply to work at Wal-Mart? (economics)
5. Based on your current incomes and expenses as a first year student, can you survive college life with income coming from minimum wage jobs?  (mathematics, financial literacy)
*6. New hires had an orientation at Wal-Mart. As a first year student, you had an orientation at the institution. How does your orientation contrast with the one described in the essay.? (sociology, psychology)
7. As college students, do you have any health- insurance coverage? If yes, by whom? For what? What does this coverage cost? (health)
 E. Style
1. What tone does the author set in the  essay?
2. What kind of sentence is used in the essay? S(simple), CP (compound), CX (complex), CP-CX (compound-complex)
3. What language level is used in the essay? 

Connecting Across Text
Writing Activity: Essay Writing Comparison/Contrast Essay
Q: What similarities and differences do you find between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sam Walton success? 

Cross -Curricular Extension (social studies, history, politics)

 An Open Research Question: 

Should the minimum wage be paid to all department store employees?

As a group or independently, interview (choose only one )  a 
current public servant, a former public servant, or  college professors on campus. 

Opinion of participant:

A modification of questions prepared by csnu.


Gardner, P.S. (1996). New directions: An integrated approach to reading, writing, and critical thinking. NY: St. Martin‘s Press, Inc., p.214.

Teaching Nickel and Dimed by California State University Northridge. PDF. http:// _Dimed.html., Retrieved  November 2016.

“  Wal-mart orientation program” by Barbara Ehrenreich. Barnet, S. et al. (2014).Introduction to literature: Literature for composition. NY:NY., Pearson. pp. 944-946.
Useful Links:

TESOL Interest Section: Applied Linguistics, Bilingual Education, English as a Foreign Language, English for Specific Purposes, Secondary Schools, Teacher Education