Skills: reading 5. Tasks for reading activities: answering multiple choice questions.

Skills: reading 5. Tasks for reading activities: answering multiple choice questions.

A standard test for reading in exams used in the TEFL classroom is the multiple choice. This is where the student has to choose the correct statement about a text from a number of possibilities (usually 4). The incorrect options often have similar wording to the text or the statement is mistaken chosen as correct because the candidate has failed to interpret the meaning that the grammar conveys. Often one option is easily discarded because it is flagrantly incorrect, but often two options are awkward to distinguish between.

In order for the TEFL teacher to raise student awareness to how incorrect statements are arrived at by the creators of the exams and to give them practice at distinguishing between correct and incorrect statements, part of the 'TEFL Centre Malaga' syllabus shows how it is good to give students authentic exam material where they have to edit the options themselves by removing the incorrect choices and replacing them with their own incorrect choices.

In order to do this, the students have to look in depth at the text and create plausible (but incorrect) options by appreciating possible misunderstandings caused by misinterpreting grammar, vocabulary (particularly false friends*) or the sequence in which information is given and the adverbs acting on it (particularly adverbs of time and connectors).

The activity is not only fun because the final product is presented to other students to do as a home made exam, but because the process of students trying to outwit their peers is motivating. Added to that, it forces the students to think hard about the meaning of a text and often results in exposing misconceptions and allows the teacher to do remedial correction.

This kind of activity can form part of the free stage or the controlled stage, depending on whether the focus is desired to be on target language or general exam technique.

*’false friends’ is a term used to describe words in the target language (the language being taught) that are very similar to words in the student’s native language and thus cause confusion and error.

An example is the word ‘actualmente’ in Spanish which is translated as ‘currently’ in English, leading to students saying things like ‘Actually, I am staying in a friend’s flat.’ They mean to say ‘Currently, (a temporary situation) I am staying in a friend’s flat.’, but what they have really said is ‘Actually, (to the contrary of what you may think) I am staying in a friend’s flat.’


Tags: TEFL course malaga, TEFL training, reading skills, multiple choice
Posted on September 18th, 2017


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