This is a great way to get Proficiency students (although it could be adapted for Advanced or FCE students) reading, finding useful vocabulary in the text and sharing it with each other. I got it from the inspiring Elspeth Pollock who gave a talk on teaching CPE students in Seville in February. She reminded us that proficiency students are (at least in Spain) pretty special students and this should be reflected in the classes. I have used her General Text Analysis handout and also adapted it to make my own for my class and I attach both here with her permission.
Here´s what you do: After doing a class activity or exam practice on a certain topic, ask your students to go home and find an article in English on the same sort of general topic – something which interests them – and to follow the instructions on the handout. The instructions are as follows: summarise the text (practice for Part 1 of the Writing paper), highlight the facts and opinions in 2 different colours, and find some collocations and expressions. They then report back in class and share their new vocab.
Even though there are instructions involved, the students are encouraged to read what they want and investigate and share what piques their interest. My students were really motivated to do this task, enjoyed sharing their vocabulary and asked to do it again. I found it really interesting to hear about what interests them and it was great to see them owning their class. Highly recommended!
My version: text summary and analysis