18 Feb 2013



4 Mar 2012

Experimenting with Error Correction

Having been teaching for over 25 years, I guess I have experimented with most of the techniques in error correction. Generally speaking, I tend to do on the spot correction (mostly recasting) whenever I am presenting new language and focusing on form. My main aim in using this technique is to avoid stopping the flow and to maintain good rapport with the students, as I consider the latter of utmost importance in the class. As to the use stage, I do delayed correction using the interactive whiteboard to show examples of both impeding mistakes and great use of the language. In fact, I must admit that I correct a lot less nowadays as I have realized that, because mistakes are an essential component of learning, and genuine communication is always based on improvisation, they will continue to happen. I believe that focusing on the content and effective communication is much more meaningful and motivating for students.

One of the few resources I had not used for error correction was recording. After reading Steven Herder's description of an error correction activity on his post on the iTDi blog, I decided to use recording with a group of teenagers preparing for the FCE exam. After the students had practised describing a picture in pairs, they were asked to record the description of another pair of pictures using their smart phones or any other device. I then asked them to take their recording home, listen to it and transcribe their description as graphically as possible. They were then to use a different colour pen to correct it and bring the material in the following class.

To my surprise, not only did the students enjoy the activity, they were also able to correct most of their mistakes and were interested in finding out how many right corrections they had made and how many mistakes they hadn’t corrected. To give them answers to their questions, first they were asked to sit with a partner, swap transcripts and try to correct mistakes that had been left uncorrected. As they did this, I walked around and offered help. Then I put the most significant/impeding mistakes on the IWB and elicited the correction from the whole class. If no one was able to correct the mistake, I inductively made them realize what the mistake was (eg by asking questions). The rationale for this is my belief that the class as whole can learn from mistakes made by other students.

The class asked me to use this technique in the following class again, a fact which I took as a positive outcome. I now want to try this technique with another group and I do hope they enjoy the activity and benefit from it as much as my exam preparation class did.

27 Sep 2011

26 Sep 2011

CH1B - Unit 9

CH1B-Unit 9- Adjectives

25 Sep 2011

CH1B- Unit 8

Food: Fruit & Vegetables

Click here to do this online exercise

CH1B- Unit 7 - FOOD & DRINKS

CH1B- Unit 7 - FOOD & DRINKS 

Click here to do this online exercise:


24 Sep 2011


Let's learn the family members

Source: http://www.languageguide.org/english/vocabulary/family/

22 Sep 2011

CH3B- Unit 8

Click here to do this online exercise:

CH3B- Unit 7

Click here to do this online exercise

And this one too:

Watch this video and sing the song

21 Sep 2011

JU 2B - Summaries

UNIT 5 – Part 1
Emma was late for the training. Kathy phoned her but she wasn’t at home. Kathy saw her at break yesterday. Emma finally arrived and the girls started to exercise with Andrew. They thought it was really difficult. Andrew told Kathy that she was a natural athlete! Later Emma told David she was tired because she'd exercised for two hours. She did some exercise, ran for an hour, trained at the gym and did press-ups. She complained that Andrew was very rude. He shouted and insulted them. But Kathy likes him and thinks he’s fantastic.

UNIT - 5 Part 2
Jack doesn’t see Mr. Price because he made a scratch on his car on Saturday. Mr. Price didn’t get angry with Jack because he didn’t see it but Kathy is really angry with him. She thinks he was dishonest and she doesn’t like dishonest people. To make the situation worse, Andrew heard Jack saying what he did to Mr. Price’s car.

UNIT 6 - Part 1      
Andrew is a nasty character and he doesn’t like the fact that Jack had to give him his Dunston Bulls basketball to keep Andrew from telling Mr. Price about the scratch on his car. David thinks Andrew’s going to make more problems for Jack. Jack himself must tell Mr. Price about the scratch.

UNIT 6 - Part 2 
Emma and Jessica are really angry with Andrew. He’s rude and bad-tempered. He says they must go to all training sessions, they must go to bed at 10 o’clock every night, they mustn’t go to bed late and they must eat healthy food: they mustn’t eat junk food. They all think that’s ridiculous, except Kathy. Kathy thinks Andrew is great and he likes her. Emma and Jessica think Kathy is mad.

UNIT 7- Part 1
David and Jack are talking about girls. They were training with Andrew at the sports centre yesterday. They train every day but Kathy wasn’t training on Tuesday. She was getting sponsors for the run. Jack is sad because Andrew was with her. He invites David to get some sponsors at the shopping centre. They meet Kathy there but she doesn’t want to talk to Jack. She tells Andrew that Jack is pathetic. Andrew is very happy. He loves making problems for Jack.

UNIT 7- Part 2
The training was terrible for Jessica and Emma. They could do the running but they couldn’t do the press-ups. Emma can’t understand why Andrew is helping them. They don’t like Andrew and Andrew doesn’t like them. Emma thinks he likes Kathy but Jessica tells her that he doesn’t. Andrew was talking to some friends at school and Kathy could hear him. He said he wanted to make problems for Jack and Kathy. Poor Kathy! She really likes Andrew.

UNIT 8 - Part 1
Emma feels they must tell Kathy about Andrew’s real intentions but Jessica doesn’t agree with Emma. She thinks Kathy won’t listen to them and she will be angry. Later Kathy, Emma and Jessica go to the High Street talking to a woman when the girls appear. Kathy tries to get the woman to sponsor their run. Jack is angry because he was talking to the woman before they arrived. They start arguing and make the woman drop all her shopping. The woman thinks they are mad.

UNIT 8 - Part 2
The girls and the boys feel really bad after the incident with the woman on the High Street. They want to understand what’s wrong with them. Emma starts saying that Andrew is responsible for their fights. Kathy gets really angry and sys that Emma is jealous and that they are not her friends anymore. Later Kathy comes back to apologize. She knows they are right about Andrew. They decide to stop fighting. They shouldn’t be separate teams. They should as a team, the Friends United. Kathy apologizes to Jack, too. Jack tells her she’s right about one thing: he should tell Mr. Price about the scratch on his car.

UNIT 9 - Part 1
It’s the day of the run. Jack is not here. Emma and Kathy are worried. If Jack is late, he won’t start the run. What they don’t know is that Jack is at Mr. Price’s house apologizing for the scratch he made on his car. Mr. Price forgives Jack. Andrew starts talking to Kathy. He says Jack is afraid of the run and that he’ll be surprised if Jack finishes the run. Kathy interrupts his nasty comments. She tells him to his face that she knows what he was up to. She tells him to go away. They all get on their marks and the run starts.

UNIT 9 - Part 2
It was a very difficult race. Jessica was tired. She thought she couldn’t finish it. They all supported and encouraged her. About half a mile to go Jack fell off his bike, hurt his leg and he couldn’t walk anymore. Jessica and Kathy helped him. And they did it. They finished the race together, as a team. Congratulations, Friends United!

29 Aug 2011

All For Fun and Fun For All:

                           All For Fun and Fun For All

Ice Breakers, Warmers, Energisers and Fillers

These are some tried and tested favorites. Use them as they are or be ready to adapt them to your particular purpose.
I. Learning one another’s names
1. A circle game.
 Student 1 says “I’m Marcia and I like marshmallow.” Student 2 says “This is Marcia and she likes marshmallow, I’m Kate and I like kiwi.” Student 3 says “This is Marcia and she likes marshmallow, this is Kate and she likes kiwi, I’m Pete and I like peanuts”, etc.  The last person in the circle has the challenge of introducing everyone as well as themselves.
NB. The “like” must start with the same letter as the person’s name. Sts have to find the "secret code".
2. Whose name is it?
 Students write their names on a piece of paper.The papers are collected and redistributed. Everyone walks around the room asking questions and trying to find the person whose name he/she holds. You can extend this by getting students to find out information about the person they are seeking.
3. Alphabetical line
Students arrange themselves in alphabetical order according to their names.
II. Getting to know the class
   Acronyms (What’s in a name?) – Each student writes his/her name vertically down the left-hand side of a sheet of paper, writing each letter separately.  Next, he/she thinks of a word or phrase to match each letter.  The words or phrases must describe this person somehow.  Then, all the students stand up and walk around the room asking one another questions about the information written on their sheets of paper.
     Who Am I? / What am I? New Identity:– The teacher tapes to the back of each student a piece of paper or a sticker with the name of a famous person (or thing) written on it.  The student is not to see what is taped on his/her back.  The teacher tells the class that they have a new identity.  Their task is to find out who they are.  The students are to mill around the room and simultaneously ask each other Yes-No questions. (E.g.: Am I living? Am I a movie star?) If the student receives an affirmative answer, he/she can continue asking that person questions until a negative response is given.  Then, he/she must move to a different classmate and ask another question.  When a student has established his/her new identity, this person is to remove the tag, write his/her name across the top of the paper/sticker and tape the tag to his/her chest. He/she now mills around the room helping the rest of the group discover their identities. Students then say what they have in common with the person on their new identity cards.
       Bingo icebreaker – The teacher writes on the blackboard “I’d like to know if anyone...” and asks students to brainstorm information they would like to discover about their peers individually (e.g.: I’d like to know if anyone smokes/has pets/speaks more than a language/can play a musical instrument/does volunteer work, etc).  Next, the teacher distributes a sheet of paper to each student.  The students are supposed to draw a grid containing 16 squares.  On each square, they should write a piece of information they would like to discover.  If they have brainstormed more than 16 pieces of information, they must choose the ones they are more curious about.  Next, all the students stand up and circulate to find classmates who match the descriptions in the bingo squares.   When a match is found, the player writes the name of the individual in the square.  Different names must be used in each square.  When a player has filled a row with names, he/she yells “Bingo!” (Alternatively, the goal of the game can be to fill the entire card.)
   - If you are a new teacher with an established class, write on the board the answers to some questions about yourself. The students must find the questions to match the answers.
- Students conduct a survey of some kind: e.g. to find out about hobbies, jobs, taste in music.
- “Find someone who…” questionnaires: This can also be useful for practicing question formation of particular grammar structures.
- Students choose between two options. They stand in the middle of the room and choose between, for e.g. sweet things or savory things. Each end of the room represents one choice. They go to the appropriate end of the room and then pair up with students from the other end to discuss their choices.This can be adapted to use the four corners of the room for preferences in seasons, times of the day, types of food, learning styles.
After Holidays/ Monday Morning Activities
The holidays/weekend can be a valuable source of discussion/writing in the EFL classroom. It’s personal, relevant and interesting and everyone should have something to say. It serves as a good first class warmer or a ‘Monday morning’ and gives the students a chance to get into ‘speaking English mode’.
Stand in a circle, make a statement about what you did on your holiday/weekend; ‘I went to the cinema’. Ask; ‘What did you do?’ and throw the ball to one of the students. Repeat until everyone has had a chance to speak.
Chair game/ Change places. Students sit in a circle with the teacher standing in the middle. Teacher says ‘if you went to the cinema, change places’.  Students change places, teacher stays standing. ‘if you had a good weekend, change places.’ Teacher quickly sits down and the students change places, so one of the students is left standing to continue the game.
Weekend/Holidays mine: Students have to mime activities they did during their holidays/at the weekend for the class to guess.
Find someone who…
True/false sentences:
Memory chain. ‘I’m Clare and I went to the cinema’. Student A: ‘She’s Clare and she went to the cinema, I’m John and I went fishing”. Continue.
Students talk to partner for a couple of minutes then present their findings to the class.
Correct 5: Students write five things they did on their holidays on a piece of paper. Fold papers up and them in the middle. Students pick one and read it out and other students have to guess who it was.
Teacher writes about own holiday and uses it as a reading comprehension, vocabulary, exercise, grammar exercise …
Students can draw a picture sequence/cartoon.
Holiday/Weekend alibi. ‘A serious crime was committed during the weekend/holidays and …… are suspects’. Two students go out of the class and work out what they did together. The two are then brought back into the class (one by one) and interrogated. The ‘police investigators’ have to find differences in their alibis.
Crossword composition. Give students an empty grid and in pairs they fill it with vocabulary from their holiday. Black out the empty squares on another grid then students write clues for their words.   HAVE FUN!!!!!!!!!!!! ;))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

12 Jul 2011

My "secret" to language learning

Thomas Edison once wisely stated that “success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration.” Empirical evidence seems to suggest that success in language learning is somewhat the same. If you are not one of those few lucky gifted learners you might agree with me that success is 10% gift, 20% motivation and 70% perspiration. While gift does improve the outcome of perspiration (or perhaps the other way around!), motivation has a major role not only in success in language acquisition, but in most achievements. Research findings show that there is a circular cause and effect relationship between success and motivation: the more motivated you are, the more you succeed. Success, in turn, leads to still greater motivation!

My secret to language learning was perspiration, really! I always had to be very systematic about what I was to learn: I diligently listened to audio cassettes (if you are old enough to understand what I mean by cassettes) in English and wrote down the tapescript (it must be said that this was not as fun as listening to songs and writing down the lyrics, but just as effective!). I also wrote word lists and illustrated the meaning of the words with pictures and/or sentences and memorized loads of chunks of language. Yes, memorization!!! I memorized lists of vocabulary, phrasal verbs and even interviews in English: questions and looooong answers. I can’t say I enjoyed the memorization process, but when I succeeded, I felt really proud and challenged myself with further memorization. I wasn’t aware of the role of memorization in foreign language learning back then... I was just a teen, but I was able to enjoy its benefits anyway. Today, if asked for advice, I’d certainly say: be systematic about what you learn.
International Teacher Development Institute iTDi Associate member

Chiew Pang on RSCON3 2011