Курсовая: Oxford's teachhing methods of english language
Theory part: The use of games
Practical part : Grammar games:
Spot the differences
Picture the past
Impersonating members of a set
One question behind
Sit down then
The world of take
A dictionary game
Listening to time
Guess my grammar
Word ordwer dictation
|Grammar lessons taking notes:|
Context and meaning
|Subject matter note taking|
This course work presents two teaching methods widely approved in Oxfrord
Universities: grammar and vocabulary games and the variations of taking notes
during the lesson.
Both of methods are embodied in the theory and practical part. As a theory
part I give research works of professional lavguage teachers who studied the
methods they considered as useful and effective and put their opinion and
reseach works on the press. I’m very grateful to them for sharing their
experiences with us. So this part of my work describes the method itself,
gives tests proving its effectiveness and touches some problem spots of it.
Next I offer practical part containing examples of taking these methods in
None of these methods presented here is any brand new discovery for the
language teacher. Every teacher used to practice them in his/her work,
there’s only a try to add something new to well known and allegedebly usual
techiques (like note-taking), to study them deeper and show more interesting
and useful side of them. In short words some suggestions to make them work
The reason I’ve chosen this theme is the wish to know more about how to make
the lesson more interesting and useful at the same time. I’ve benefitted much
by collectiong and studing all this material I present here and hope you’ll
find this work worth reviewing.
The Use of Games
For Vocabulary Presentation and Revision
by Agnieszka Uberman
Vocabulary teaching techniques
There are numerous techniques concerned with vocabulary presentation.
However, there are a few things that have to be remembered irrespective of
the way new lexical items are presented. If teachers want students to
remember new vocabulary, it needs to be learnt in context, practised, and
then revised to prevent students from forgetting. We can tell the same about
grammar.Teachers must make sure students have understood the new words, which
will be remembered better if introduced in a "memorable way". Bearing all
this in mind, teachers have to remember to employ a variety of techniques for
new vocabulary presentation and revision.
Gairns and Redman (1986) suggest the following types of vocabulary
1. Visual techniques. These pertain to visual
memory, which is considered especially helpful with vocabulary retention.
Learners remember better the material that has been presented by means of
visual aids. Visual techniques lend themselves well to presenting concrete
items of vocabulary-nouns; many are also helpful in conveying meanings of verbs
and adjectives. They help students associate presented material in a meaningful
way and incorporate it into their system of language values.
2. Verbal explanation. This pertains to the use of
illustrative situations, synonymy, opposites, scales (Gairns and Redman ),
definition (Nation) and categories (Allen and Valette ).
3. Use of dictionaries. Using a dictionary is
another technique of finding out meanings of unfamiliar words and expressions.
Students can make use of a variety of dictionaries: bilingual, monolingual,
pictorial, thesauri, and the like. As French Allen perceives them, dictionaries
are "passports to independence," and using them is one of the student-centered
The advantages of using games. Many experienced textbook and
methodology manuals writers have argued that games are not just time-filling
activities but have a great educational value. W. R. Lee holds that most
language games make learners use the language instead of thinking about
learning the correct forms. He also says that games should be treated as
central not peripheral to the foreign language teaching programme. A similar
opinion is expressed by Richard-Amato, who believes games to be fun but warns
against overlooking their pedagogical value, particularly in foreign language
teaching. There are many advantages of using games. "Games can lower anxiety,
thus making the acquisition of input more likely" (Richard-Amato). They are
highly motivating and entertaining, and they can give shy students more
opportunity to express their opinions and feelings (Hansen). They also enable
learners to acquire new experiences within a foreign language which are not
always possible during a typical lesson. Furthermore, to quote Richard-Amato,
they, "add diversion to the regular classroom activities," break the ice, "[but
also] they are used to introduce new ideas". In the easy, relaxed atmosphere
which is created by using games, students remember things faster and better
(Wierus and Wierus ). Further support comes from Zdybiewska, who believes games
to be a good way of practising language, for they provide a model of what
learners will use the language for in real life in the future.
Games encourage, entertain, teach, and promote fluency. If not for any of
these reasons, they should be used just because they help students see beauty
in a foreign language and not just problems .
Choosing appropriate games. There are many factors to consider
while discussing games, one of which is appropriacy. Teachers should be very
careful about choosing games if they want to make them profitable for the
learning process. If games are to bring desired results, they must correspond
to either the student's level, or age, or to the material that is to be
introduced or practised. Not all games are appropriate for all students
irrespective of their age. Different age groups require various topics,
materials, and modes of games. For example, children benefit most from games
which require moving around, imitating a model, competing between groups and
the like. Furthermore, structural games that practise or reinforce a certain
grammatical aspect of language have to relate to students' abilities and prior
knowledge. Games become difficult when the task or the topic is unsuitable or
outside the student'sexperience.
Another factor influencing the choice of a game is its length and the time
necessary for its completion. Many games have a time limit, but according to
Siek-Piskozub, the teacher can either allocate more or less time depending on
the students' level, the number of people in a group, or the knowledge of the
rules of a game etc.
When to use games. Games are often used as short warm-up
activities or when there is some time left at the end of a lesson. Yet, as Lee
observes, a game "should not be regarded as a marginal activity filling in odd
moments when the teacher and class have nothing better to do". Games ought to
be at the heart of teaching foreign languages. Rixon suggests that games be
used at all stages of the lesson, provided that they are suitable and carefully
chosen. At different stages of the lesson, the teacher's aims connected with a
game may vary:
1. Presentation. Provide a good model making its meaning clear;
2. Controlled practise. Elicit good imitation of new language and
3. Communicative prastice. Give students a chance to use the language .
Games also lend themselves well to revision exercises helping learners recall
material in a pleasant, entertaining way. All authors referred to in this
article agree that even if games resulted only in noise and entertained
students, they are still worth paying attention to and implementing in the
classroom since they motivate learners, promote communicative competence, and
generate fluency. However, can they be more successful for presentation and
revision than other techniques? The following part of this article is an
attempt at finding the answer to this question.
The use of games for presenting and revising vocabulary
Vocabulary presentation. After the teacher chooses what items to
teach, Haycraft suggests following certain guidelines. These include teaching
the vocabulary "in spoken form first" to prevent students from pronouncing the
words in the form they are written, placing the new items in context, and
revising them..I shall now proceed to present practical examples of games I
have used for vocabulary introduction and revision.
Description of the groups. For the purpose of vocabulary
presentation, I chose two groups of third form students. With one of them I
used a presentation game and with the other translation and context guessing.
In both groups, students' abilities varied-ranging from those whose command of
English was very good, able to communicate easily using a wide range of
vocabulary and grammatical structures, and those who found it difficult to
After covering the first conditional and time clauses in the textbook, I decided
to present students with a set of idioms relating to bodily parts-mainly those
connected with the head (taken from The Penguin Dictionary of English
Idioms ). The choice of these expressions was determined by students'
requests to learn colloquial expressions to describe people's moods, behavior,
etc. Moreover, in one of the exercises the authors of the textbook called for
examples of expressions which contain parts of the body. For the purpose of the
lesson I adapted Gear and Gear's "Vocabulary Picture-Puzzle" from the
English Teaching Forum (1988). Students were to work out the meanings of
sixteen idiomatic expressions. All of them have Polish equivalents, which made
it easier for students to remember them.
Description of vocabulary picture-puzzle
To prepare the puzzle, I cut two equal-sized pieces of cardboard paper into
rectangles. The selected idioms were written onto the rectangles in the
puzzle-pieces board and their definitions on the game board. On the reverse
side of the puzzle-pieces board, I glued colorful photographs of landscapes
and then cut the puzzle-pieces board into individual pieces, each with an
idiom on it. The important thing was the distribution of the idioms and their
definitions on the boards. The definitions were placed in the same horizontal
row opposite to the idioms so that when put together face to face each idiom
faced its definition.
Puzzle Pieces Board
The idioms and their definitions were the following (all taken from The
Penguin Dictionary of English Idioms p.77):
1. to be soft in the head: foolish, not very intelligent;
2. to have one's hair stand on end: to be terrified;
3. to be two-faced: to agree with a person to his face but disagree
with him behind his back;
4. to make a face: to make a grimace which may express disgust, anger;
5. to be all eyes: to be very attentive;
6. to be an eye-opener: to be a revelation;
7. to be nosy: to be inquisitive, to ask too many questions;
8. to be led by the nose: to be completely dominated by, totally
9. long ears: an inquisitive person who is always asking too many
10. to be all ears: to listen very attentively;
11. to be wet behind the ears: to be naive, inexperienced;
12. a loose mouth: an indiscrete person;
13. one's lips are sealed: to be obliged to keep a secret;
14. to have a sweet tooth: to have a liking for sweet food, sugar,
honey, ice cream, etc.;
15. to grind one's teeth: to express one's fury;
16. to hold one's tongue: to say nothing, to be discrete;
The task for students. Work out the puzzle by matching the idioms
and their definitions. First, put puzzle-pieces on the desk with the word
facing up. Take one and match the idiom to the definition. Having done that,
place the puzzle-piece, word-side-up, in the chosen rectangle. When you have
used up all the pieces, turn them over. If they form a picture of a landscape,
the choices are correct. If not, rearrange the picture and check the
The game objectives. To work out the puzzle, students had to match
idioms with their definitions. The objective of the game was for each pair to
cooperate in completing the activity successfully in order to expand their
vocabulary with, in this case, colloquial expressions.
All students were active and enjoyed the activity. Some of their comments
were as follows: "Very interesting and motivating" "Learning can be a lot of
Students also had to find the appropriate matches in the shortest time
possible to beat other participating groups. The element of competition among
the groups made them concentrate and think intensively.
Translation activity. The other group of students had to work out
the meanings of the idioms by means of translation. Unlike the previously
described group, they did not know the definitions. The expressions were listed
on the board, and students tried to guess their proper meanings giving
different options. My role was to direct them to those that were appropriate.
Students translated the idioms into Polish and endeavored to find similar or
corresponding expressions in their mother tongue. Unlike the game used for the
purpose of idiom introduction, this activity did not require the preparation of
any aids. Fewer learners participated actively or enthusiastically in this
lesson and most did not show great interest in the activity.
Administering the test. In order to find out which group acquired
new vocabulary better, I designed a short test, for both groups containing a
translation into English and a game. This allowed learners to activate their
memory with the type of activity they had been exposed to in the presentation.
The test checking the acquisition of newly-introduced reading vocabulary
I. Match the definitions of the idioms with the pictures and write which
idiom is depicted and described:
1. to be inexperienced
2. to listen very attentively
3. to be terrified
4. to be dominated by someone
5. to be attentive
6. to be insincere, dishonest
The proper answers are the following:
1. d ., to be wet behind the ears
2. a ., to be all ears
3. e ., to have one's hair stand on end
4. f ., to be led by the nose
5. b ., to be all eyes
6. c ., to be two-faced.
II. Translate into English (the translated sentences should be the following):
1. He is soft in the head.
2. She is two-faced, always criticizes me behind my back.
3. Mark has a sweet tooth, so he is not too slim.
4. Will you hold your tongue if I tell you something?
5. Why are you such a loose mouth?
6. Don't be nosy! This is none of your business.
Analysis of the results. Group I received an average mark of 3.9
as compared to 3.4 obtained by group II. In other words, the group which had
learned vocabulary through games performed significantly better. However, it is
especially interesting and surprising that group II also received high scores
for the game. Even though learners in group I had the material presented by
means of translation, most students got better marks for the game.
Summing up. Even though the results of one activity can hardly
lead to informative conclusions, I believe that the results suggest that the
use of games for presentation of new vocabulary is very effective and enjoyable
for students. Despite the fact that the preparation of a game may be
time-consuming and suitable material may be hard to find, teachers should try
to use them to add diversion to presentational techniques.
Many sources referred to in this article emphasise the importance of
vocabulary revision. This process aims at helping students acquire active,
productive vocabularies. Students need to practise regularly what they have
learnt; otherwise, the material will fade away. Teachers can resort to many
techniques for vocabulary consolidation and revision. To begin with, a choice
of graphs and grids can be used. Students may give a definition of a given
item to be found by other students. Multiple choice and gap filling exercises
will activate the vocabulary while students select the appropriate response.
Teachers can use lists of synonyms or antonyms to be matched, sentences to be
paraphrased, or just some words or expressions in context to be substituted
by synonymous expressions. Doing cloze tests will show students'
understanding of a passage, its organisation, and determine the choice of
lexical items. Visual aids can be of great help with revision. Pictures,
photographs, or drawings can facilitate the consolidation of both individual
words as well as idioms, phrases and structures. There is also a large
variety of word games that are "useful for practising and revising vocabulary
after it has been introduced" (Haycraft). Numerous puzzles, word squares,
crosswords, etc., are useful especially for pair or group work.
I shall now present the games I have used for vocabulary revision.
Description of the group. I gave teachers a questionnaire to
determine their view of using games for vocabulary teaching. In response to the
questionnaire, many teachers said they often used games for vocabulary
revision. Some claimed they were successful and usually more effective than
other methods. To see if this is really true, I decided to use a crossword
puzzle with a group of first year students.
The crossword puzzle. After completing a unit about Van Gogh,
students wanted to expand their vocabulary with words connected with art. The
students compiled lists of words, which they had learnt. In order to revise the
vocabulary, one of the groups had to work out the crossword puzzle.
Students worked in pairs. One person in each pair was provided with part A of
the crossword puzzle and the other with part B. The students' task was to
fill in their part of the puzzle with the missing words known to their
partner. To complete the activity, learners had to ask each other for the
explanations, definitions, or examples to arrive at the appropriate answers.
Only after getting the answer right could they put it down in the suitable
place of their part of the crossword. Having completed the puzzle, students
were supposed to find out what word was formed from the letters found in the
Students enjoyed the activity very much and did not resort to translation at
any point. They used various strategies to successfully convey the meanings
of the words in question-e.g., definitions, association techniques, and
examples. When everyone was ready, the answers were checked and students were
asked to give examples of definitions, explanations, etc., they had used to
get the missing words.
The other group performed a similar task. Students were to define as follows:
I. Define the following words: shade, icon, marker, fresco, perspective,
hue, daub, sculptor, still life, watercolor, palette, background.
II. Find the words these definitions describe:
1. a public show of objects
2. a variety of a colour
3. a wooden frame to hold a picture while it is being painted
4. a pale or a delicate shade of a colour
5. a picture of a wide view of country scenery
6. an instrument for painting made of sticks, stiff hair, nylon
7. a painting, drawing, or a photograph of a real person
8. a piece of work, especially art which is the best of its type or
the best a person has made
9. painting, music, sculpture, and others chiefly concerned with
producing beautiful rather than useful things
10. a line showing the shape (of something)
11. a person who is painted, drawn, photographed by an artist
12. a picture made with a pen, pencil, etc.
Analysis of results. The results show that the crossword puzzle,
though seemingly more difficult since it required the knowledge of words and
their definitions and not mere recognition and matching, was easier for 27.4%
of the learners and granted them more points for this part of the test. For the
majority of the students (nearly 60%) both activities proved equally easy and
out of the group of thirteen, eleven students had the highest possible score.
These numbers suggest that games are effective activities as a technique for
vocabulary revision. Students also prefer games and puzzles to other
activities. Games motivate and entertain students but also help them learn in
a way which aids the retention and retrieval of the material (This is what
the learners stated themselves).
However, the numbers also show that not everyone feels comfortable with games
and puzzles and not everyone obtains better results.
Although one cannot overgeneralise from one game, student feedback indicates
that many students may benefit from games in revision of vocabulary.
Recently, using games has become a popular technique exercised by many
educators in the classrooms and recommended by methodologists. Many sources,
including the ones quoted in this work, list the advantages of the use of
games in foreign language classrooms. Yet, nowhere have I found any empirical
evidence for their usefulness in vocabulary presentation and consolidation.
Though the main objectives of the games were to acquaint students with new
words or phrases and help them consolidate lexical items, they also helped
develop the students' communicative competence.
From the observations, I noticed that those groups of students who practised
vocabulary activity with games felt more motivated and interested in what
they were doing. However, the time they spent working on the words was
usually slightly longer than when other techniques were used with different
groups. This may suggest that more time devoted to activities leads to better
results. The marks students received suggested that the fun and relaxed
atmosphere accompanying the activities facilitated students' learning. But
this is not the only possible explanation of such an outcome. The use of
games during the lessons might have motivated students to work more on the
vocabulary items on their own, so the game might have only been a good
stimulus for extra work.
Although, it cannot be said that games are always better and easier to cope
with for everyone, an overwhelming majority of pupils find games relaxing and
motivating. Games should be an integral part of a lesson, providing the
possibility of intensive practise while at the same time immensely enjoyable
for both students and teachers. My research has produced some evidence which
shows that games are useful and more successful than other methods of
vocabulary presentation and revision. Having such evidence at hand, I wish to
recommend the wide use of games with vocabulary work as a successful way of
acquiring language competence.
A Useful Device
by Clara Perez Fajardo
Has it ever happened that you read or listen to something, and shortly
afterwards when you want to recall it, you can only remember a small part?
Have you ever thought of how many interesting ideas you have missed, just
because you have not taken a few seconds to note them down as they occurred
to you? Everyday happenings pass through time and can never be recalled again
if they are not recorded either on a tape or with a video camera. But, not
many of us have these devices always handy. What we do have available is a
simple sheet of paper, a pencil, and our five senses. Taking notes on what
takes place not only permits us to remember but also facilitates our oral and
Regardless of their age or level, students tend to rely too much on their
memory, instead of taking notes. For this reason, I began devising different
tasks which demand the recall of facts that the students would have only if
they had taken notes. The results have motivated me to do further research on
the topic through interviews, reading, and analysis-all the time noting down
the information I was obtaining.
The note-taking process
In order to reconstruct a complete account of what one perceives through
listening, reading, observing, discussing, or thinking, it is necessary to
take notes either simultaneously with the act of perception or after an
interval of just a few seconds. We cannot expect to remember everything we
perceive, and despite the advantages of training our memory, it is better to
have notes taken at the moment things happen.
Language educators have approached note-taking from different perspectives.
McKeating (1981) sees note-taking as a complex activity which combines
reading and listening with selecting, summarizing, and writing.
Grellet (1986) advises helping students to establish the structure of a text
so they can pull out the key ideas and leave out nonessential information.
Nwokoreze (1990) believes that "it is during the note-taking stage that
students reach the highest level of comprehension."
Two main aspects concerning note-taking:
· It involves the combination of different skills, i.e.; listening or
reading, selecting, summarizing, and writing.
· It requires the selection of relevant information from the
Moreover, most authors see note-taking as a complex activity which must be
approached gradually. When teaching the skill, Raimes suggests that
elementary-level students can be given a skeleton outline to work with when
they take notes, so that their listening is more directed. Advanced students
can listen to longer passages and make notes as they listen.
Murray refers to a "rehearsal for writing," which begins as an unwritten
dialogue within the writer's mind: what the writer hears in his/her head
evolves into notes. This may be simple brainstorming-the jotting down of
random bits of information which may connect themselves into a pattern later
Note-taking involves putting onto paper the data received through any of our
senses. These data could range from simple figures, letters, symbols,
isolated words, or brief phrases to complete sentences and whole ideas.
Most teachers instruct students to take notes while perceiving .
However, Nwokoreze insists on the need for first listening long enough
to make sure the essence of the information is perceived before taking notes.
The decision on whether the notes are to be taken at the moment of perception
or shortly afterwards depends on the complexity of the task and the ability of
the note-taker. Consequently, if we are to take notes with figures, letters, or
single words to fill in a pre-designed skeleton, we can do it at the same time
we receive the information; whereas notes which require selection, summarizing,
and organization ought to be taken later.
As teachers, we must decide what sort of help our students need for every
task we assign. The guidance we give for taking notes will depend on various
aspects. One of them is language level. Raimes suggests providing beginners
with a skeleton outline to fill in or expand to make their listening more
directed. She also proposes letting the advanced students listen to longer
passages and make notes as they listen.
Guidance provided will depend on the degree of difficulty of the task
involved. The reasons for taking notes and the follow-up activities are also
important. If the students only take notes of simple figures, letters, or
single words as the basis for a discussion to take place immediately, they
will not need much guidance. But if they are supposed to take notes of a
higher complexity to use in writing a report for homework, they will need
Using note-taking in our classes
Assuming an extreme position when defining the concept of note-taking, we can
say that even checking or ticking items on a list is a form of note-taking,
as long as what students have to "tick" represents the content of the reading
or listening passage. If we give students a multiple-choice exercise, a list,
or Yes/No questions, and ask them only to tick the correct answer, they will
be taking notes. This could be considered the most basic form of note-taking.
Nevertheless, if we analyze the task in detail, we find it is not as simple
as it seems. To answer accurately, the students will first have to understand
the statements and determine whether their choices are correct or not.
Furthermore, they have to predict and speculate about what they are going to
When revising any topic we may practice it and use this technique giving
students a skeleton to fill in while listening. Example:
Vocabulary acquisition is increasingly viewed as crucial to language acquisition. However, there is much disagreement as to the effectiveness of different approaches for presenting vocabulary items. Moreover, learning vocabulary is often perceived as a tedious and laborious process.
In this article I would like to examine some traditional techniques and compare them with the use of language games for vocabulary presentation and revision, in order to determine whether they are more successful in presenting and revising vocabulary than other methods.
From my teaching experience I have noticed how enthusiastic students are about practising language by means of games. I believe games are not only fun but help students learn without a conscious analysis or understanding of the learning process while they acquire communicative competence as second language users.
With this last question, we are prompting the students to note down other
information, not limiting them only to what the chart asks for. Not all the
students will be able to take further notes, but the most skilled will not
get bored while their classmates are engaged at a more elementary level.
Another instance that calls for note-taking is reporting on medical cases. To
do this, the class may be divided into teams of three or four students. Each
team prepares a case for the others to analyze. One variant would be having
each team first brainstorm, then prepare a skeleton outline with the sort of
information they need the other team to provide in order to write a full case
report. Once ready, they exchange skeletons, brainstorm again, and note down
the information the skeleton forms ask for. The teams should give neither the
diagnosis nor the treatment. As soon as they finish, they swap these
"problem-cases," analyze them, and confer on the diagnosis, treatment, and
prognosis of the patient. Next, they write a full case report that everyone
reads and discusses. The class then moves around, reads, and comments on
them. Finally, they decide which of the skeleton forms are better and which
reports are the most coherent and faithful to the information provided.
A simpler variant would be having each team ask for the information orally
from one another, take notes on it and then report on the case orally or in
In teaching Medically Speaking , I suggest taking notes while listening
to the dialogues or reading the case studies given in the text. Instead of
having the students take down all the information, teams are formed to take
notes on specific parts.
Listen to the interview with the patient and tick (v) the correct answer:
|high blood pressure headache|
|trouble breathing||swollen ankles|
|urinary problems||pain in the back|
|chills and fever|
|heart disease ||chest pain |
|hypertension ||diabetes |
|kidney disease||stroke |
|heart attack |
Any other information?
Before presenting your case orally, copy the outline on the board, ask your
classmates to also copy it in their notebooks. You will all follow this order
for the presentation and discussion of your case. Your classmates will ask
you for the data they need to complete their outlines and discuss the case.
Once the discussion is over, they will use their notes to write a report on
the case you presented.
|Instructions for preparing and presenting a case report|
|First think of an interesting case you would like to report on and discuss with your classmates. Consult your professors, look for information about your case and associated diseases or cases in magazines, books, journals, etc. Note down this information. Then make an outline of the elements you need in order to report on a case|
|2. Main symptom:||8. Physical findings|
|3. Other symptoms:||9. Diagnostic procedure:|
|4. Past history:||10. Differential and definitive diagnosis:|
|5. Family history:||11. Therapeutic procedures:|
6. (Toxic) habits:
|12. Possible complications|
|7. Medications:||13. Prognosis|
Today we discussed the case of a 22-year-old white man who was in good health
prior to two days ago, when he began to have an abdominal pain. This pain was
sporadic and colicky in nature. It began in the epigastrium and has since
migrated to the right lower quadrant. The patient has had three episodes of
vomiting associated with the pain. He has been anorectic and feverish. He has
had no bowel movements for two days. He reported no diarrhea, coughing with
expectoration or shortness of breath. He has no past history or family history
of abdominal pain or any other disease. The pertinent physical findings are
related to the abdomen. There is extreme tenderness to palpation, especially
over McBurney's point. Guarding, muscle rigidity and rebound tenderness are all
present. Bowel sounds are absent. There is a difference between the axillary
and the rectal temperature. His urinalysis, hemoglobin and hematocrit are
within normal limits. Nevertheless, both white blood count and red rate are
elevated. His chest film is clear, but in the abdominal film we observed the
psoas line is absent.
Finally, we decided the definitive diagnosis is acute appendicitis. Among the
possible complications to consider are perforation, necrosis and peritonitis.
Therefore, the prognosis is anceps. The only possible treatment is surgical:
As we have seen, there are numerous opportunities to help students develop
the skill of note-taking. Note-taking assists the listener, reader, or
observer in achieving a better understanding of what is presented, and it
facilitates recall of facts as well as oral and written expression. The
student's language level and the purpose which the notes are to serve will
determine the type of guidance the teacher must provide to help them to take
notes in class and later on the job.
Patient's characteristics: Age: 22
Race: white Sex: M
Weight: 70 kg.
pain in the right lower quadrant (sporadic and colicky in nature)
*began in epigastrium two days ago
*moved to periumbilical region and right lower quadrant
fever, vomits (3), anorexia, constipation for two days (no bowel movement). No diarrhea
-patient well oriented as to time, place and
-extreme tenderness to palpation mainly
over McBurney's point
-guarding, muscle rigidity, rebound
-difference: axillary & rectal temperature
-bowel sounds: absent
Definitive diagnosis: acute appendicitis
Therapeutic procedures: appendectomy
Possible complications: perforation, necrosis, peritonitis
Collocations with wide, narrow, and broad.
Intermediate to advanced
Three cards, with wide on one, narrow on the second and broad on the third
Prepare three large cards with wide on one, narrow on the second
and broad on the third.
1. Clear as much space as you can in your classroom so that
students have access to all the walls and ask two students to act as
secretaries at the board. Steak each of your card on one of the other three
walls of the room. Ask the rest of the students to gather in the middle of
2. Tell the students that you’re going to read out sentences with a
word missing. If they think that the right word for that sentence is
wide they should rush over and touch the wide card. If
they think the word should be narrow or broad
they touch the respective card instead. Tell them that in some cases there are
two right answers (they choose either).
3. Tell the secretaries at the board to write down the correct
versions of the sentences in full as the game progresses.
4. Read out the first gapped sentence and have the students rush to
what they think is the appropriate wall. Give the correct versions and make
sure it goes up in the board. Continue with the second sentence etc.
5. At the end of the strenuous part ask the students to tale down
the sentences in their books. A relief from running! ( If the students want a
challenge they should get a partner and together write down as many sentences
as they remember with their backs to the board before turning round to
complete their notes. Or else have their partner to dictate the sentences
with a gap for them to try to complete.)
Sentences to read out
|They used a . angled lens||Wide|
|He looked at her with a . smile||Broad|
|The socialists won by a .. Margin||Narrow/broad|
|She is very . minded||Broad/narrow|
|He speaks the language with a . London accent||Broad|
|You were wrong what you said was . of the mark||Wide|
|You had a . escape||Narrow|
|Of course they’re . open to criticism||Wide|
|They went down the canal in a . boat||Narrow|
|She opened her eyes .||Wide|
|The news was broadcast nation .||Wide|
|The path was three meters .||Wide|
|The light was so bright that she . her eyes||Narrowed |
You can play this game with many sets of grammar exponents:
§ Forms of the article; a, the and zero article
Spot the differences
|This activity can be adapted for use with all levels|
One copy of Late-comer A and Late-comer B for each student
1. Pair the students and give them the two texts. Ask them to spot
all the differences they can between them. Tell them that there may be more
than one pair of differences per pair of parallel sentences. Tell them one
item in each pair of alternatives is correct.
2. They are to choose the correct form from each pair.
3. Ask them to dictate the correct text to you at the board. Write down
exactly what they say so students have a chance to correct each other both in
terms of grammar and in terms of their pronunciation. If a student pronounces
‘dis voman’ for ‘this woman’ then write up the wrong version. Only write it
correctly when the student pronounces it right. Your task in this exercise is
to allow the students to try out their hypotheses about sound and grammar
without putting them right too soon and so reducing their energy and blocking
their learning. Being too kind can be cognitively unkind.
|This women was often very late||This woman was often very late|
|She was late for meetings||She was late for meeting|
|She were late for dinners||She was late for dinners|
|She was late when she went to the cinema||She was late as she went to the cinema|
|One day she arrive for a meeting half an hour early||One day she arrived for meeting half ah hour early|
|Nobody could understand because she was early||Nobody couldn’t understand why she was early|
|‘Of course,’ someone said, ‘clocks put back last night.’||‘Of course,’ someone say, ‘the clocks were put back last night.’|
To make this exercise more oral, pair the students and ask them to sit facing
each other. Give Later-comer A to one student and Late-comer B to the other
in each pair. They then have to do very detailed listening to each other’s
Feeling and grammar
Question formation-varied interrogatives
Beginner to elementary
Ask the students to draw a quick sketch of a four-year-old they know well. Give
them these typical questions such a person may ask, e.g. ‘Mummy, does the moon
go for a wee-wee?’ ‘Where did I come from?’. Ask each student to write half a
dozen questions such a person might ask, writing them in speech bubbles on the
drawing. Go round and help with the grammar.
2. Get the students to fill the board with their most interesting
This can be used with various question situations. The following examples
- Ask the students to imagine a court room-the prosecution barrister
is questioning a defense witness. Tell the students to write a dozen
questions the prosecution might ask.
- What kind of questions might a woman going to a foreign country
want to ask a woman friend living in this country about the man or the woman
in the country? And what might a man want to ask a man?
- What kind of questions are you shocked to be asked in an English-
speaking country and what questions are you surprised not to be asked?
By+time-phrases Past perfect
This activity also works well with: present perfect+yet, like doing, like having done, and modals
Set of prepared sentences
1. Think of your achievements in the period of your life that
corresponds to the average age of your class. If you’re teaching seventeen-
year-olds, pick your first seventeen years. Also think of a few of the times
when you were slow to achieve. Write the sentences about yourself like these:
By the age of six I had learnt to read.
I still hadn’t learnt to ride a bike by then.
I had got over my fear of water by the time I was eight.
By the time I was nine I had got the hang of riding a bike.
By thirteen I had read a mass of books.
I’d got over my fear of the dark by around ten.
2. Write ten to twelve sentences using the patterns above. If you’re
working in a culture that is anti-boasting then pick achievements that do not
make you stand out.
3. Your class will relate well to sentences that tell them something
new about you, as much as you feel comfortable telling them. Communication
works best when it’s for real.
1. Ask the students to have two different colored pens ready. Tell
them you’re going to dictate sentences about yourself. They’re to take down
the sentences that are also true for them in one color and the sentences that
are not true about them in another color.
2. Put the students in fours to explain to each other which of your
sentences were also true of their lives.
3. Run a quick question and answer session round the groups e.g. ‘
At what age had you learnt to ski/dance/sing/ play table tennis etc by?’ ‘I’d
learnt to ski by seven.’
4. Ask each students to write a couple of fresh sentences about things
achieved by a certain date/time and come up and write them on a board. Wait
till the board is full, without correcting what they’re putting up. Now point
silently at problem sentences and get the students to correct them.
You can use the above activity for any area of grammar you want ti
personalize. You might write sentences about:
- Things you haven’t got round to doing (present perfect + yet)
- Things you like having done for you versus things you like doing
- Things you ought to do and feel you can’t do (the whole modal
area is easily treated within this frame)
Modals and modals reported
Elementary to intermadiate
1. Divide your class into two groups: ‘problem people’ and ‘advice-
2. Ask the ‘problem people’ to each think up a minor problem they have
and are willing to talk about.
3. Arm the ‘advice-givers’ with these suggestion forms:
4. Get the class moving round the room. Tell each ‘problem person’ to
pair off with an ‘advice-giver’. The ‘problem person’ explains her problem
and the other person gives two bits of advice using the grammar suggested.
Each ‘problem person’ now moves to another ‘advice-giver’. The ‘problem
people’ get advice from five or six ‘advice-givers’
5. Call class back into the plenary. Ask some of the ‘problem people’
to state their problem and report to the whole group the best and the worst
piece of advice they were offered, naming the advice-giver e.g. ‘Juan was
telling me I should give her up.’ ‘ Jane suggested I ought to get a
girlfriend of hers to talk to her for me.’
You might as well.
You ought to.
You might try.ing.
If you have a classroom with space that allows it, form the students into two
concentric circles, the outer one facing in and the inner one facing out. All
the inner circle students are ‘advice-givers’ and all the outer circle
students are ‘problem people’. After each round, the outer circle people move
round three places. This is much more cohesive than the above.
Picture the past
Past simple, past perfect, future in the past
1. Ask three students to come out and help you demonstrate the
exercise. Draw a picture on the board of something interesting you have done.
Do not speak about it. Student A then writes a past simple sentence about it.
Student B write about what had already happened before the picture action and
student C about something that was going to happen, using the appropriate
I got up at eight a.m.
I’ve just got off the bus
I’m going to work today
2. Put the students in fours. Each draws a picture of a real past action
of theirs. They pass their picture silently to a neighbor in the foursome who
adds a past tense sentence. Pass the picture again and each adds a past perfect
sentence. They pass again and each adds a was going to sentence. All
this is done in silence with you going round helping and correcting.
Impersonating members of a set
Present and past simple-active and passive
Elementary to intermediate
1. Ask people to brainstorm all the things they can think of that give
2. Choose one of this yourself and become the thing chosen. Describe
yourself in around five to six sentences, e.g.:
I am a candle
I start very big and end up as nothig
My head is lit and I produce a flame
I burn down slowly
In some countries I am put on Christmas tree
I am old-fashioned and very fashionable
3. Ask a couple of other students to choose other light sourses and do
the same as you have just done. Help them with language. It could be ‘I am a
light bulb-I was invented by Edison.’
4. Group the students in sixes. Give them a new category. Ask them to
work silently, writing four or six forst-person sentences in role. Go round
and help especially with the formation of the present simple passive (when
this help is needed).
5. In their groups the students read out their sentences.
6. Ask each group to choose their six interesting sentences and then
read out to the whole group.
The exercise is sometimes more excitingif done with fairly abstract sets,
e.g. numbers between 50 and 149, musical notes, distances, weights. The
abstract nature of the set makes people concretise interestingly, e.g.:
I am a kilometre.
My son is a metre and my baby is centimetre.
On the motorway I am driven in 30 seconds. (120 kms. per hour)
We have also used these sets: types of stone/countries/items of clothing
(e.g.socks, skirts, jackets/times of day/smells/family roles (e.g.son, mother
etc.)/types of weather.
The sentences students produce in this exercise are nor repeat runs of things
they have already thought and said in mother tongue. New standpoints, new
thoughts, new language. The English is fresh because the thought is.
Listening to people
Reported speech after past reporting verb
Elementary to lower intermediate
1. Pair the students. Ask one person in each pair to prepare to speak
for two minutes about a pleasurable future event. Give them a minute to
2. Ask the listener in each pair to prepare to give their whole
attention to the speaker. They are not to take notes. Ask the speaker in each
pair to get going. You time two minutes.
3. Pair the pairs. The two listeners now report on what they heard
using this kind of form:
She was telling me she’s going to Thailand for her holiday and
she added that she’ll be going by plane.
The speakers have the right to fill in things the listeners have left out but
only after the listeners have finished speaking.
4. The students go back into their original pairs and repeat the above
but this time with the other one as speaker, so everybody has been able to
share their future event thoughts.
1. Tell the students a bit about yourself by comparing yourself to
some people you know:
I’m more . than my husband.
I’m not as.as my eldest boy.
I reckon my uncle is . than me
Write six or seven of these sentences up on the board as a grammar pattern
2. Tell the students to work in threes. Two of the three listen very
closely while the third compares herself to people she knows. The speakers
speak without interruption for 90 seconds and you time them.
3. The two listeners in each group feedback to the speaker exactly
what they had heard. If they miss things the speaker will want to prompt
4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 so that everybody in the group has had a go at
producing a comparative self-portrait.
One question behind
Assorted interrogative forms
|You can adapt this by preparing your own question sets for different interrogative structures|
Beginner to intermediate
One question set for each pair of students
1. Demonstrate the exercise to your students. Get one of them to ask
you the question of a set. You answer ‘Mmmm’, with closed lips. The student
asks you the second question – you give the answer that would have been right
for the first question. The student asks the third question and you reply
with the answer to the second question, and so on. The wrong combination of
question and answer can be quite funny.
2. Pair the students and give each pair a question set. One student
fires the questions and the other gives delayed-by-one replies. The activity
is competitive. The first pair to finish a question set is the winner.
Question set A
Where do you sleep? (the other says nothing)
Where do you eat? (the other answers the first question)
Where do you go swimming?
Where do you wash your clothes?
Where do you read?
Where do you cook?
Where do you listen to music?
Where do you get angry?
Where do you do your shopping?
Where do you sometimes drive to?
Question set B
What do you eat your soup with?
What do you cut your meat with?
What do you write on?
What do you wipe your mouth with?
What do you blow your nose with?
What do you brush your hair with?
What do you sleep on?
What do you write with?
What do you wear in bed?
What do you wear in restaurant?
Question set C
Can you tell me something you ate last week?
Tell me something you saw last week?
Is there something you have come to appreciate recently?
What about something you really want to do next week?
Where have you spent most of this last week?
Where would you have you liked to spend this last week?
Where are you thinking of going on holiday?
Which is the best holiday place you have ever been to?
Have students devise their own sets of questions to then be used as above.
Group the students in fours: one acts as a ‘time-keeper’, one as a ‘question
master’ and person 3 and 4 are the ‘players’.
The ‘question master’ fires five rapid questions at player A which she has to
answer falsely. The ‘time-keeper’ notes the time questioning takes. The
‘question master’ fires five similar questions at B, who answers truthfully.
The quickest answerer wins. (The problem lies in choosing the right wrong
answer fast enough.)
How old are you?
Where do you live?
Which color do you like best?
What time is it?
How did you get here?
What time did you get up today?
What did you have for breakfast?
Where does your best friend live?
What sort of music do you dislike?
How many brothers and sisters do you have?
Movement and grammar
Sit down then
Who + simple past interrogative/Telling the time
Beginner to elementary
1. Ask everybody to stand up. Tell them you’re going to shout out
bedtimes. When they hear the time they went to bed yesterday, they shout ‘I
did’ and sit down. You start like this:
2. Continue until all the students have sat down.
3. Get people back on their feet. Ask one of the better students to
come out and run the same exercise but this time about when people got up,
Who woke up at four thirty this morning?
Who woke up at twenty to five?
4. Repeat with a new question master but asking about shopping, e.g.:
Who went shopping yesterday?
Who went shopping on.(day of the week)
Who went to bed at two a.m.?
Who went to bed at quarter to two?
Who went to bed at ten to two?
Who went to bed at half past one?
Polite requests, -ing participle
Only if + target verb structure of your choice
|This activity is particularly suitable for young learners|
1. Make or find as much space in your room as possible and ask the
class to stand at one end of it.
2. Explain that their end is one river bank and the opposite end of
the room is the other bank. Between is the ‘golden river’ and you’re the
‘keeper’ of the golden river. Before crossing the river the students have to
say the following sentence:
Can we cross your golden river sitting on your golden boat?
3. They need to be able to say this sentence reasonably fluently.
4. Get the students to say the sentence. You answer:
Only if you’re wearing.
Only if you’ve got.
Only if you’ve got . on you
5. Supposing you say ‘Only if you’re wearing trousers’. All the
students who wear trousers can ‘boat’ across the river without hindrance. The
others have to try to sneak across without being tagged by you. The first
person who is tagged, changes places with you and becomes ‘it’ (the keeper
who tags the others in the next round).
6. Continue with students saying ‘Can we cross your golden river,
sitting on your golden boat?’ ‘It’ might say, ‘Only if you’re wearing ear-
To make this game more lively, instead of having just one keeper, everyone is
tagged becomes keeper. Repeat until everyone has been tagged.
Meaning and translation
Upper intermediate to advanced
|One Mixed-up verb sheet per pair of students. The Jumbled sentences on a large separate piece of card|
1. Pair the students and ask them to match the verbs on the mixed-up
verb sheet you give them. Tell them to use dictionaries and to call you over.
Be everywhere at once.
Key to first group of verbs:
To back-comb/to cross-reference/to ghost-write/to soft-soap/to blow-dry/to
double-cross/to ill-treat/to spin-dry
Key to the second group of verbs:
To cold-shoulder/to double-glaze/to pooh-pooh/to spoon-feed/to court-
martial/to dry-clean/to proof-read/to stage-manage
Key to third group of verbs
To frog-match/to wrong-foot/to toilet-train/to tape-record/to short-change/to
rubber-stamp/to force-feed/to field-test/to cross-question/to cross-
2. Ask them to take a clean sheet of paper and a pen or pencil
suitable for drawing. Tell them you’re going to give them a few phrases to
illustrate. They’re to draw a situation that brings out the meaning of the
phrases. Here are the phrases – do not give them more than 30 seconds per
drawing (they will groan):
To toilet-train a child
To soft-soap a superior
To force-feed an anorexic
To court-martial a soldier
To back-comb a person’s hair
To cross-examine a witness
To spin-dry your clothes
To cold-shoulder a friend
3. Give them time to compare their drawings. The drawings often make
4. Split the class into teams of four. Tell them you’re going to show
them Jumbled sentences (see below) and their task will be to shout out
the unjumbled sentence. The first team to shout out a correct sentence gets a
Will still can you and it it dry retain its spin shape
You can spin-dry it and it will still retain its shape
Cold him we shouldered first at
At first we cold-shouldered him
Our ill ancestors treated they
They ill-treated our ancestors
Clean it don’t dry
Don’t dry-clean it
Black frog they Maria to the marched him
They frog-marched him to the Black Maria
Double your windows glaze to like we’d
We’d like to double-glaze your windows
Pooh just his poohed offer they
They just pooh-poohed his offer
Don’t soap me you soft dare
Don’t you dare soft-soap me!
|Mixed-up verb sheet|
Please match words from column 1 with words from column 2to form correct compound verbs.
|Column 1||Column 2|
The world of take
Some basic meanings of the verb take
Intermediate to advanced
Set of sentences below (for dictation)
1. Put the students in small groups to brainstorm all the uses of the
verb take they can think of.
2. Ask each group to send a messenger to the next group to pass on
3. Dictate the sentences below which they are to write down in their
mother tongue. Tell them only to write in mother tongue, not English. Be
ready to help explain any sentences that students do not understand.
The new president took over in January.
The man took the woman’s anger seriously.
‘You haven’t done the washing up, I take it,’ his wife said to him.
The little boy took the old watch apart to see how it worked.
‘I think we ought to take the car,’ he said to her.
This bloke always takes his problems to his mother.
‘We took the village without a shot being fired,’ she told him.
‘Take care’ the woman said, as she left home that morning.
He took charge of the planning team.
The woman asked what size shoes he took.
‘Yes I really take your point’ he told her.
‘If we go to a movie,’ she told her boyfriend, ‘it’ll really take you out of
The news the boy brought really took the woman aback.
The chair asked him to take the minutes of the meeting.
‘You can take it from me, it’s worse than you think’
4. Ask the students to work in threes and compare their translations.
Go round helping and checking.
5. Check that they’re clear about the usual direct translation of take
into their language. Now ask them to mark all the translations where take is
not rendered by its direct equivalent.
A dictionary game
Comparatives, it (referring back)
Elementary (or as a review at higher levels)
|This activity provides good skills practice in scan reading a dictionary|
One dictionary per two students
On the board write the following:
It’s got more letters than.
It’s got fewer letters than.
It’s the same length as..
It’s earlier in the dictionary than.
It’s later in the dictionary than.
It’s further on.
Back a bit.
The first letter’s right
The first two/three/four letters are right
(or you could dictate this to the students if you want a quiet settling in
period at the start of the class)
1. Explain to the students that you’re going out of the room for a
short time and they’re to select one word for you to guess when you come
back. They find the word in their dictionaries.
2. Go back in and have a first wild guess at the class’s word. The
students should tell you whether their word is longer, shorter or the same
length as your guess and whether it’s earlier or later in the dictionary.
Here is an example (teachers can correct pronunciation as they go along ):
3. You can write the words you guess and notes of the students’ answers
on the board as you go along, to help you to remember where you are. At the
beginning, you can prompt the students by asking questions such as ‘Is it
shorter, longer or the same length as my word? Is it earlier or later in the
4. When the students have got the idea of the game, reverse the
process; you think of a word (one from a recent lesson works well) and
students guess. You give them information as to length, place in dictionary
and any letters they’ve guessed right.
5. Now hand over the exercise to the students. They should scan their
notes, textbooks and /or minds (but not dictionaries) and create a short
wordlist. Then in pairs or small groups they can repeat the activity.
|students:||It’s shorter. And it’s later in the dictionary.|
|students:||It’s Earlier. It’s Got The Same Number Of Letters.|
|students:||It’s Later. It’s Got The Same Number Of Letters.|
|students:||It’s Longer.The First Letter Is Right. It’s Later In The Dictionary.|
|students:||The First Two Letters Are Right. It’s Later.|
|students:||The First Four Letters Are Right. You’re Really Warm Now. It’s A Bit Further On.|
This is a good game for teaching scan reading and alphabetical order when using
dictionaries. The revision or introduction of the grammatical structures in a
meaningful context is disguised since the students usually see this is
vocabulary game. Because it has a pretty tight structure and build-up, it’s
a good exercise for establishing the principle of group/pairwork with a class
that does not take readily to working in different formats.
With some classes we have asked the students to analyze their own guessing
processes. Some students have written interesting short compositions on the
best guessing strategies.
Lower to upper intermediate
1. Ask a student to draw a head in profile on the board. Ask the
student to add eyes in the back of his head.
2. Give the students this sentence beginning on the board and ask them
to complete it using a grammar suggested:
If people had eyes in the back of their heads, then they .
would/might/could/would have to . (+ infinitive)
‘If people had eyes on the back of their heads they could read two books at
once’ (so two pairs of eyes).
3. Tell the students to write the above sentence stem at the top of
their paper and then complete it with fifteen separate ideas. Encourage the
use of dictionaries. Help students all you can with vocabulary and go round
checking and correcting.
4. Once students have all written a good number of sentences (at least
ten) ask them to form teams of four. In the fours they read each other’s
sentences and pick the four most interesting ones.
5. Each team puts their four best sentences on the board.
6. The students come up to the board and tick the two sentences they
find the most interesting. The team that gets the most ticks wins.
Students come up with a good range of social, medical and other hypotheses.
Here are some examples:
. then they would not need driving mirrors.
. they would make really good traffic wardens.
. then you could kiss someone while looking away!
Modals and present simple
Elementary to intermediate
One large sheet of paper per student
1. Ask a
student to draw a picture on the board of a person holding an umbrella. The
umbrella looks like this.
2. Explain to the class that this ‘tulip-like’ umbrella design is a
new, experimental one.
3. Ask the students to work in small groups and brainstorm all the
advantages and disadvantages of a new design. Ask them to use these sentence
It/you + present simple.
It/you may/may not.
4. For example: ‘It is easy to control in a high wind’, ‘You can see
where you’re going with this umbrella’
5. Give the students large sheets of paper and ask them to list the
advantages and disadvantages in two columns.
6. Ask the students to move around the room and read each other’s
papers. Individually they mark each idea as ‘good’, ‘bad’ or ‘intriguing’.
7. Ask the student how many advantages they came up with and how many
disadvantages. Ask the students to divide up into three groups according to
which statement applies to them:
I thought mainly of advantages.
I thought of some of both.
I thought mainly of disadvantages.
8. Ask the three groups to come up with five to ten adjectives to
describe their group state of mind and put these up n the board.
9. Round off the exercise by telling the class that when de Bono asked
different groups of people to do this kind of exercise, it turned out that
primary school children mostly saw advantages, business people had plenty of
both while groups of teachers were the most negative.
Advantages the students offered:
In a hot country you can collect rain water.
It won’t drip round the edges.
You can use it for carrying shopping.
It’s not dangerous in a crowd.
It’s an optimistic umbrella.
It’s easy to hold if two people are walking together.
With this umbrella you’ll look special.
It’ll take less floor space to dry.
This umbrella makes people communicate. They can see each other.
You can paint this umbrella to look like a flower.
You’ll get a free supply of ice if it hails.
Listening to time
|You can use this idea to practice a variety of different structures-see variations bellow for some examples|
Upper intermediate to very advanced
Invite a native speaker to your class, preferably not a language teacher as
they sometimes distort their speech. Ask the person to speak about a topic
that has them move through time. This could be his country history. The talk
should last around twenty minutes. Explain to the speaker that the students
will be paying close attention not only to the content but to the language
1. Before the speaker arrives, explain to the students that they are
to jot down all the words and phrases they hear that express time. They don't
need to note all the words!
2. Welcome the speaker and introduce the topic.
3. The speaker takes the floor for fifteen to twenty minutes and you
join the students in taking language notes. If there are questions from the
students, make sure people continue to take notes during the questioning.
4. Put the students in threes to compare their time-phrase notes.
Suggest the speaker joins one of the groups. Some natives are delighted to
look in a ‘speech mirror’.
5. Share your own notes with the class. Round off the lesson by
picking out other useful and normal bits of language the speaker used that
are not yet part of your student’s idiolects.
One speaker mentioned above produced these time words: only about ten
years/there was a gap of nine years/ at roughly the same time/over the next
few hundred years/from 1910 until the present day/it’s been way back/ within
eighteen month there will be/until three years ago/when I was back in September
Choose the speaker who is about to go off on an important trip. In speaking
about this, some of the verbs used will be in a variety of forms used to talk
about the future.
Invite someone to speak about the life and habits of someone significant to
them, but two lives separately from them, say a grandparent. This topic is
likely to evoke a rich mixture of present simple, present continuos, will
used to describe habitual events, ‘ll be –ing etc.
To invite the learners to pick specific grammar features out of a stream of
live speech is a powerful form of grammar presentation. In this technique the
students ‘present’ the grammar to themselves. They go through a process of
realization which is lot stronger than what often happens in their minds
during the type of ‘grammar presentation’ required of trainees on many
teacher training courses. During the realization process, they are usually
Guess my grammar
Elementary to intermediate
1. Choose a grammar area the students need to review. In the example
below there are adjectives, adverbs and relative pronouns.
2. Ask each student to work alone and write a sentence of 12-16 words
(the exact length is not too important). Each sentence should contain an
adjective, and adverb and a relative pronoun, or whatever grammar you’ve
chosen to practise. For example: ‘She sat quietly by the golden river that
stretched to the sea’.
3. Now ask the students to rewrite their sentences on a separate piece
of paper, leaving in the target grammar and any punctuation, but leaving the
rest as blanks, one dash for each letter. The sentence above would look like
--- --- quietly -- --- golden ----- that --------- -- --- ---.
While they are doing this ask any students who are not sure of the
correctness of their sentence to check with you.
4. Now ask the students to draw a picture or pictures which illustrate
as much of the meaning of the sentence as possible.
5. As students finish drawing, put them into groups of three. One person
shows the blanked sentence and the drawing, reserving their original sentence
for their own reference. The other should guess: ‘ Is the first word the
?’ or ask questions ‘Is the second word a verb?’ etc. The student should only
answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’. As they guess the words, they fill in the blanks.
6. They continue until all the blanks are filled and then they do the
other two person’s sentences.
Groups tend to finish this activity at widely different speeds. If a couple
of groups finish early, pair them across the groups, ask them to rub out the
completed blanked out sentences and try them on a new partner.
Ian Jasper originated this exercise. He’s a co-author of Teacher
Development: One group’s experience, edited by Janie Rees Miller.
Simple present and simple past interrogative forms
Puzzle story(to be written on the board)
Ask a couple of students from an advanced class to come to your beginners
group. Explain that they will have some interesting interpreting to do.
1. Introduce the interpreters to your class and welcome them.
2. Write this puzzle story on the board in English. Leave good spaces
between the lines :
There were three people in the room.
A man spoke.
There was a short pause.
The second man spoke.
The woman jumped up and slapped the first man in the face.
3. Ask one of the beginners to come to the board and underline the
words they know. Ask others to come and underline the ones they know. Tell
the group the words none of them know. Ask one of the interpreters to write a
translation into mother tongue. The translation should come under the
respective line of English.
4. Tell the students their task is to find out why the woman slapped
the first man. They are to ask questions that you can answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
Tell them they can try and make questions directly in English, or they can
call the interpreter and ask the questions in their mother tongue. The
interpreter will whisper the English in their ear and they then ask you in
5. Erase the mother tongue translation of the story from the board.
6. One of the interpreters moves round the room interpreting questions
while the other stays at the board and writes up the questions in both
English and mother tongue.
7. You should aim to let the class ask about 15-25 questions, more
will overload them linguistically. To speed the process up you should give
8. Finally, have the students copy all the questions written on the
board into their books. You now have a presentation of the main interrogative
forms of the simple present and past.
9. After the lesson go through any problems the interpreters had-offer
them plenty of parallel translation.
The second man was an interpreter.
Do you know the one about the seven-year-old who went to the baker’s? His Mum
had told him to get three loaves. He went in, bought two and came home. He put
them on the kitchen table. He ran back to the backer’s and bought a third. He
rushed in and put the third one on the kitchen table. The question: Why?
Solution: he had a speech defect and couldn’t say ‘th’.
Word order dictation
Word order at sentence level
The grammar you decide to input in this example: reflexive phrases, e.g. to myself/by myself/in myself
Jumbled extracts (for dictation) One copy of Extract from Sarah’s letter per pair of students
1. Pair the students and ask one person in each pair to prepare to
write on a loose sheet of paper.
2. Dictate the first sentence from the Jumbled extracts. One
person in each pair takes it down.
3. Ask the pairs to rewrite the jumbled words into a meaningful
sentence, using all the words and putting in necessary punctuation.
4. Tell the pairs to pass their papers to the right. The pairs
receiving their neighbours’ sentences check out grammar and spelling,
correcting where necessary.
5. Dictate the second jumbled sentence.
6. Repeat steps 3 and 4.
7. When you’ve dictated all the sentences this way give out the original,
unjumbled Extract from Sarah’s letter and ask the students to compare
with the sentences they’ve got in front of them. They may sometimes have
created excellent, viable alternative sentences.
1. Myself in absorbed more and more becoming am I find I
2. When mix I do other people me inside a confusion have I I find
3. David John and Nick as though I am me I do not feel when I walk
through the park with
4. Strange seems it and a role acting am I like feel I
5. Walk park myself talk aloud myself to I by the through I when
6. Completely feel content I
Extract from Sarah’s letter
I find I am becoming more and more absorbed in myself.
When I do mix with other people I find I have a confusion inside me.
When I walk through the park with David, John and Nick, I do not feel as
though I am me.
I feel like I am acting a role and it seems strange.
When I walk through the park by myself I talk aloud to myself.
I feel completely content.
Grammar lessons Taking notes
During the lecture ask the students to note cases when we use passive:
1. In more formal contexts than active sentences.
For example: Your attention is drawn to Paragraph 6. (But note that using
got, usually makes the sentence less formal, for example: We got beaten.They
2. when the agent is not clear.
For example: Their office was burgled.
3. or not important
For example: This cake was made from carrots.
4. or obvious
For example: They were all arrested.
5. to give emphasis to the passive subject and add weight to the message.
For example: A state of emergency has been declared.
6. to make our message more impersonal.
For example, as in a letter saying: No police action will be taken.
Read the following newspaper article and ask the students to:
§ note down the six verbs that are in the passive
§ suggest a possible reason for the use of the passive in this article.
1. The six verbs in the passive are:
a. it has been confirmed
b. What is being talked about
c. School children will be invited
d. the main concerts to be staged
e. Massive alterations to the Corn Exchange are being planned
f. which was formed.
(Notice that there are five different forms of the verb be in these sentences.)
2. The reason for so much use of the passive here could be that the events
which have occurred and those which are planned are more important than the
people behind them. It is also an informative article in a newspaper so that
some formality is more appropriate than it would be in a friendly letter or
Context and meaning
Lecture We'll turn now from context and grammar to the importance
of context for meaning. One aspect of meaning is the extent of meaning that a
word has. Imagine you are asked the meaning of the word chair. What do you say?
'It's something you sit on', perhaps.What we need to know are the boundaries of
its use. Can you say chair for what you sit on in a train? In a car? When
milking? On a bike? In church? Suddenly all sorts of judgements have to be made
about whether you are going to introduce related words like bench, stool, pew,
So a simple question about a simple object leads into questions about its
use, and also what it must look like. Must a chair have a back? Legs? Arms?
This is important because although you may be able to translate chair, its
full range of meaning will never overlap 100% with its equivalent in another
Now close your eyes and think white. If that's all I say, you are likely to
think of the colour white, perhaps on a wall or a shirt or paper. But if I
say white wine, you'll think of a yellow colour, or white people, a pinkish
colour, or a white lie, no colour at all. Clearly then, the meaning of words
often depends on the context.
ORCHESTRA'S SCHOOLS BOOST
Schools and community groups will be the winners if the world famous Philharmonia comes to town.
Negotiations are still under way to make Bedford the orchestra's first British residency outside London beginning in 1995, it has been confirmed.
What is being talked about is a strong educational emphasis on the deal, which would see members of the orchestra travelling into the community doing workshops with school and other local groups in the borough. School children will be invited in to the Corn Exchange for afternoon rehearsals of the main concerts to be staged.
Massive alterations to the Corn Exchange are being planned in tandem so that the orchestra, which was formed in 1945, and the audiences watching them, will enjoy superior back and frontstage facilities including new sloped seating going from the stage to the present balcony and a new auditorium.
Some of the possible contexts for these words are:
wings: theatre, bird or car
right-winger: football or politics
term: language, school or maths
rate: currency exchange, tax on housing, or speed of increase/decrease
bar: law, music or drinking.
You have just been thinking about different areas of meaning for the same
word. Sometimes these different areas depend on shared cultural assumptions
and usage. An example of this is a British Rail poster advertising their
Family Railcard, depicting a jungle with some monkeys playing in the trees.
The text under this poster reads:
In what different contexts could the speaker encountere these words? See if you can find at least two different contexts for each.
Note different meanings of the words used here and their sense.
You would first need to establish that the usual meaning of all the words was
understood and then explain that monkeys can be used to refer to children in
English, that it carries the idea of naughtiness but that it's used
affectionately. To explain knuckles, you would have to refer to (or
demonstrate) how monkeys move, using their knuckles, and explain that
knuckles is substituting for the word feet in the phrase 'drag your feet'.
You would need to take the same approach to 'swing by'. It might be wise to
point out that the use of this sort of language can change quite quickly and
could become unfashionable in, say, ten years' time.
Grown-ups get 25% off rail fares. Your little monkeys go for only Ј1.00.
Don't drag your feet (or your knuckles). A family Railcard only costs 20 for a year swing by and pick up a leaflet from any main British Rail Station.
2. You should have suggested:
a. vision: sight (vision doesn't collocate with land)
b. barbecue: party (barbecue doesn't collocate with throw)
c. applause: a (standing) ovation (applause doesn't
collocate with standing)
(Note that we need to add the indefinite article a, because ovation is a
count noun whereas applause is not.)
Bottom of Form 1
Subject matter lessons Taking notes
ü The learners are watching a recorded university lecture on acid
rain. They are taking notes and will write a summary of the content, using
dictionaries (bilingual and monolingual as appropriate). Earlier the teacher
had elicited from them some of the key words used in the lecture, their meaning
and usage, and listed them on the board.
ü Small groups of learners are trying to match some cut-out newspaper
headlines with the relevant articles. The teacher is going round monitoring
each group. Earlier they listened to, discussed and noted some news items on
the radio which introduced some of the vocabulary they are encountering.
ü Individual learners are scattered about outside the classroom asking
people pre-prepared questions about their opinions on a new sports centre that
is proposed in the area. They are talking in the interviewees' mother tongue,
and will then report their findings to the rest of the class in English with
the rest of the students taking notes on the matter they present.
ü Half the class are reading about the early life of a writer they
have chosen to study. The other half are reading about the same writer's later
life. They make notes of what they had learnt about unknown part of writer’s
life.In pairs they'll tell each other what they have found out and then they'll
each write an obituary.
ü In small groups, the learners are looking at examples of different
types of text. Their aim is to identify what they are and note any differences
in style, formality, length, print-size, comprehensibility, grammar patterns,
etc. The examples include: a recipe, a newspaper article, computer
instructions, diary entries, an extract from a novel, a letter to some English
2. AAn advertisement for Remy Martin Champagne Cognac uses three sentences suggesting that the consumers of the product are very special. I have changed one word in each to produce unusual collocations. Identify the word and replace it with a word that collocates better. Ask another person and see if they agree with you.
HAVE YOU EVER CREWED A YACHT BEYOND THE VISION OF LAND?
HAVE YOU EVER THROWN A BARBECUE THAT FRIENDS STILL TALK ABOUT?
HAVE YOU EVER RECEIVED STANDING APPLAUSE?
Each of the two methods has its own advantages and disadvantages and their
aims are quite different, that’s why I included them both in this single work.
Games help students to relax, entertain and encourage them and help to develop
their communicative competence, while note-taking is a very serious work
demanding an amount of concentration and developing and writing practice. Both
of them are to be used in a write time and in a write place. For some students
games are a bit unserious while the other part of students may find note-taking
too fatiguing so the teacher must take into account all these points. All in
all with all these spots to think over I find them necessary in teacher’s work.
While some of the methods are let be omitted by the teacher (like silent way,
synthetic or analytic (every teacher choose his own way to work with students))
the two of these in my opinion must be included in the learning process. They
act like general concepts giving you a full lenth of technics to apply within
one method. They don’t give strict directions of how to apply them but a wide
space for creative work.
· French Allen, V. 1983. Techniques in teaching vocabulary. Oxford:
Oxford University Press.
· Gear, J. and R. Gear. 1988. Incongruous visuals for the EFL
classroom. English Teaching Forum, 26, 2. pp.43.
· Vocabulary picture puzzle. English Teaching Forum, 23, 4, pp. 41-42.
Gulland, D. M. and D. Hinds-Howell. 1986. The penguin dictionary of English
idioms. London: Penguin Books Ltd.
· Haycraft, J. 1978. An introduction to English language teaching.
· Hubbard, P., H. Jones, B. Thornton, and R. Wheeler. 1983. A training
course for TEFL. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
· Lee, W. R. 1979. Language teaching games and contests. Oxford:
Oxford University Press.
· Rixon, S. 1981. How to use games in language teaching. London:
Macmillan Publishers Ltd.
· Mario Rinvolucri and Paul Davis.1992. More grammar games. Cambridge
· Abbott, G., D. McKeating, J. Greenwood, and P. Wingard. 1981. The
teaching of English as an international language. A practical guide. London:
· Raimes, A. 1983. Techniques in teaching writing. New York: Oxford
· Games, Games, Games ( a Woodcraft Folk handbook sold in Oxfam shops
· Berer, Marge and Frank, Christine and Rinvolucri, Mario. Challenge
to think. Oxford University Press, 1982.