Skills: reading 4. Tasks for reading activities: true, false or doesn’t say.

Skills: reading 2. Tasks for reading activities: true, false or doesn’t say.

One of the mantras of the TEFL Centre’s training is to engage the students by allowing the material to be generated by them themselves, thus harnessing their interest in the activity. The reason for this is that if a person generates the material, they will be proud of their contribution and almost certainly have produced something whose content is both relevant and of interest to the student and the group (assuming peers are sufficiently similar in age and taste).

Taking account of this principle, we will now show how an activity that addresses a Cambridge exam task (used in various exams) can be motivating for reading practice and useful for exam skill preparation.

The exam task consists of a text which the student reads and then reads a list if statements. These statements are either true, false or sometimes are neither because there is no information in the text to allow the student to deem the statement true or false. The student is expected to indicate which of these 3 cases applies to each statement.

Here is an activity to practice this.

1)      The teacher tells the students they are to think of someone (living or dead) they consider to be outstanding and admirable in some way. Try to entice them away from more obvious choices such as football stars or singers. The reason for this is that we want the student to have to investigate the life and achievements of the person in question on the internet, and not simply use prior knowledge. This investigation process will require them to read more, which is the skill we are trying to enhance. If using the internet is not possible, then ask students to source books, magazines or newspapers. The teacher can encourage them to use libraries too.

2)      Once they have decided (with collusion from the teacher!) ask them to decide why the person is so impressive and what the person means to them and if they would like to be like them or to emulate them. This is important, because it is a personal touch that they will need to include in the piece of writing they are going to produce about the person they have chosen and it makes the piece they produce relevant to them.

3)      The students then create the written piece and the teacher corrects it for them. This is also an opportunity for the teacher to encourage students to include recently learnt target structures (by example if needed). The students then write out the final corrected draft and they are numbered and put up around the class for all the students to read.

4)      After reading, the teacher hands out a piece of paper which reads as follows:

Writing piece 1:

A true statement:

A False statement:

A statement which isn’t in the writing:

Writing piece 2:

A true statement:

A False statement:

A statement which isn’t in the writing:


5)      The teacher, by example, shows the students how to fill in the sheet of paper, emphasising that their work is TOP SECRET and nobody is to see what they are writing!

The teacher needs to monitor the students work to check that their sentences are indeed true, false or not mentioned.

6)      When everybody has finished, the teacher gives out scissors and the students cut out the statements they have written, excluding the ‘A true statement:’, ‘A false statement:’ and ‘A statement which isn’t in the writing:’

They are then placed by the students under each piece of corresponding writing. We now have pieces of student-generated biographies of people they admire put up around the room and beneath them a considerable number of statements that can be classified as a true statement, a false statement or a statement which isn’t referred to in the writing.

7)      The task now consists of all the students reading the biographies and classifying the statements below. Obviously, students are not allowed to classify the sentences they have generated.

8)      When all the students have finished reading the biographies and classifying the sentences, the authors of the sentence reveal which are true, false and not mentioned in the texts. Students get a point for each sentence correctly classified, giving us a winner at the end of the activity.


Tags: TEFL course malaga, TEFL training, reading skills, true false doesn't say
Posted on September 16th, 2017


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