TEFL Skills: reading 9. Tasks for reading activities: matching descriptions of people to texts.

TEFL Skills: reading 9. Tasks for reading activities: matching descriptions of people to texts.

This article will focus on the principle emphasised on the TEFL Centre’s course in Málaga that students find more motivation in dealing with content that is relevant to them, or in which they are personally involved in, than content where this is not the case.

Starting with the type of exam question that this reading activity provides, it is usually based on descriptions of various people of groups of people (e.g. a family) and what they are looking for and what their needs are. There are then a series of possible places to go or things to. The people then need matching to the place that offers the best profile for satisfying their needs.

The activity can be quite confusing, so it is important to introduce the students to a bit of exam technique first:

1) Read all the information referring to one of the people and underline the most important facts (usually about 4). Here is an example taken from the PET handbook:

‘Joe’s interested in classical music (1) and wants to talk to professional musicians (2) about their work. He’d like to find out more about classical instruments (3), and actually play (4) some music.’

2) So whatever the place or activity this is matched with must satisfy these points. Here is the answer it should be matched with, showing where the different points are satisfied (which the student should underline to justify his choice):

‘Create your own musical experience - record yourself (4)  making music with a huge orchestra (1) as they play on the video background screen – you can even download it to disc to take home! You can also learn about violins, flutes, trumpets (3) and many more with our computer demonstrations, and meet real musicians (2) who are present every day.’

3) Once the candidate has chosen which matches with the first person, they repeat with the next. The selection process accelerates in speed as the candidate becomes more acquainted with the options to match to the people.

4) When finished, it is best to go over the choices to check for any mistakes.

Now, how can this activity be personalised or harnessed in a context whereby the students are more motivated?

The first option is for students to be given a situation to write about themselves and their preferences. For example, tell them they are going to a restaurant with their family tonight and ask them to state who is going (and what special needs they might have), what they would like to eat, how much they can spend and how they will get there.

After this, they describe their imaginary restaurant that satisfies their needs. After the teacher has corrected the work, it is gathered together and presented to the whole class in the same way as the exam task, with students trying to identify the matching texts.

TEFL classroom note: it would be important to do the writing on a computer so that the texts are not matched on the basis of handwriting similarities!

The second option is to repeat the above idea, but ask students to write about a hero of theirs, or someone who they are interested in.


Tags: TEFL, Skills, reading, Tasks for reading activities, matching texts
Posted on October 10th, 2017


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