The Free Stage. Aspect 1: reflecting language use in real life tasks.

The Free Stage. Aspect 1: reflecting language use in real life tasks.

Take your average TEFL text book for learning English as a foreign language and as a trained TEFL teacher you will recognise the thinking behind the layout. There are presentations, grammar exercises and skills activities (reading, writing, speaking, and listening), but all too often, there is relatively little time dedicated to simply giving the students a task outline and letting them get on with it.

By saying this, I am not referring to exercises in a book that ask the student to enter into conversation by sharing opinions or talking about topics, describing experiences, preferences or speculating about an image. Instructions such as ‘Talk to your partner about your last holiday’ do not come under the heading of free stage, because the task is non-specific and is not realistic. How often in real life will you receive an instruction from one person to tell another person about their last holiday except for in a classroom? It can happen, in a court of law for example (What were you doing on the night of the murder?), but the vast majority of communication results from a stimulus or need in the environment, triggering an interaction. Examples of a ‘stimulus’ could be:
  • ‘Your car has broken down. Call the pick up truck.’
  • ‘Your tooth aches. Make a dental appointment.’
  • ‘You’re hungry. Order a meal.’
  • ‘Your girl/boyfriend wants to go with you to a concert of an artist you hate! Try to get out of going to the concert.’
This is real situational English and forms the idea behind the free stage.


Tags: TEFL teacher training, free stage, real life situations
Posted on August 21st, 2017


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