TEFL classroom Grammar presentations 4: written exercises 2

TEFL teachers have an abundance of forms of exercise to choose from, and all English courses come with extensive materials in the form of workbooks and online interactive exercises.

However, here is a list of points to bear in mind when choosing the exercises (or if you decide to write out your own).

Make sure all the variations of the structure are present i.e. affirmative/negative/ interrogative, plus contracted forms.

Don't just use "gap fill" exercises; the final written exercise should be a complete sentence produced by the S that can be cued by a visual, or as a response to some other written stimulus (completing a conversation for example). If this is not done, the S hasn't used the written element to its full extent, and the reinforcement will only be partial. Types of exercise include

  1. Gap fills (good for first contact exercise since it is minimal in production output).
  2. Multiple choice.
  3. Correct the error (some TEFL teachers prefer not to present error as they believe that we run the risk of reinforcing it).
  4. Sentence transformations
  5. One structure to another (more challenging and has the benefit of using and reinforcing previous knowledge). e.g. He might go to the park this weekend. > It is quite possible that he will go to the park this weekend (expressing probability).
  6. Changing the sentence form from affirmative to negative and then to interrogative. e.g. He is. He isn’t. Is he?
  7. Changing adverbs of time to provide for sentence structure being put into the TL e.g. Yesterday it rained. > ‘tomorrow’ > Tomorrow it will rain.
  8. Cued production e.g. What is happening in this picture?

  1. What are the 3 boys doing?
    They are playing with 3 different balls.
  2. What is the girl in the pink dress doing?
    She is playing with a hula-hoop.
  3. Are the children going down the slide?
    No, they aren’t (going down the slide).
  4. Is the girl in the yellow dress catching the green and yellow ball?
    Yes, she is.

9. Writing true/false sentences about oneself using the TL e.g. ‘What are your plans for the weekend?

TEFL teachers often forget to pay attention to punctuation. Giving students the following exercise can achieve this:

Rewrite the following using punctuation: ‘helloheshoutedtotom’ = "Hello!", he shouted to Tom. Start with students working in pairs and then end up with them working alone.

Pair work

  1. increases the probability of students encountering errors (given students make different kind of mistake)
  2. increases the chance of resolving a problem
  3. alleviates the effective ratio of teacher-student help required
  4. often means a student has to explain to a classmate how to do something, therefore reinforcing the learning process

Working alone

  1. allows us to check on individual student error
  2. increases learner autonomy
  3. provides work for comparison
  4. allows peer correction
  5. causes each individual to make a greater effort since they have no peer support.

Finally, don’t forget. A TEFL teacher mantra should be to mark/correct everything. Error left uncorrected is as good as error learnt.


Posted on May 23rd, 2017


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