Oxford's teachhing methods of english language

Oxford's teachhing methods of english language


|Contents |2 |

|Introduction |3 |

|Theory part: The use of games |4 |

| Note-taking |10 |

|Practical part : Grammar games: |14 |

|Speed |14 |

|Spot the differences |15 |

|Tipycal questions |16 |

|Achievements |16 |

|Reported advioce |17 |

|Picture the past |18 |

|Impersonating members of a set |18 |

|No backshift |19 |

|Incomparable |20 |

|One question behind |20 |

|Sit down then |22 |

|Only if |22 |

|Two-word verbs |23 |

|The world of take |25 |

|A dictionary game |26 |

|Eyes |27 |

|Umbrella |28 |

|Listening to time |29 |

|Guess my grammar |30 |

|Puzzle stories |30 |

|Word ordwer dictation |31 |

|Grammar lessons taking notes: |33 |

|Passive voice |33 |

|Context and meaning |34 |

|Subject matter note taking |36 |

|Conclusion |37 |

|References |38 |


This course work presents two teaching methods widely approved in

Oxfrord Universities: grammar and vocabulary games and the variations of

taking notes during the lesson.

Both of methods are embodied in the theory and practical part. As a

theory part I give research works of professional lavguage teachers who

studied the methods they considered as useful and effective and put their

opinion and reseach works on the press. Im very grateful to them for

sharing their experiences with us. So this part of my work describes the

method itself, gives tests proving its effectiveness and touches some

problem spots of it. Next I offer practical part containing examples of

taking these methods in the classroom.

None of these methods presented here is any brand new discovery for the

language teacher. Every teacher used to practice them in his/her work,

theres only a try to add something new to well known and allegedebly usual

techiques (like note-taking), to study them deeper and show more

interesting and useful side of them. In short words some suggestions to

make them work better.

The reason Ive chosen this theme is the wish to know more about how to

make the lesson more interesting and useful at the same time. Ive

benefitted much by collectiong and studing all this material I present here

and hope youll find this work worth reviewing.

The Use of Games

For Vocabulary Presentation and Revision

by Agnieszka Uberman

|Vocabulary acquisition is increasingly viewed as |

|crucial to language acquisition. However, there is |

|much disagreement as to the effectiveness of |

|different approaches for presenting vocabulary |

|items. Moreover, learning vocabulary is often |

|perceived as a tedious and laborious process. |

|In this article I would like to examine some |

|traditional techniques and compare them with the |

|use of language games for vocabulary presentation |

|and revision, in order to determine whether they |

|are more successful in presenting and revising |

|vocabulary than other methods. |

|From my teaching experience I have noticed how |

|enthusiastic students are about practising language|

|by means of games. I believe games are not only fun|

|but help students learn without a conscious |

|analysis or understanding of the learning process |

|while they acquire communicative competence as |

|second language users. |

Vocabulary teaching techniques

There are numerous techniques concerned with vocabulary presentation.

However, there are a few things that have to be remembered irrespective of

the way new lexical items are presented. If teachers want students to

remember new vocabulary, it needs to be learnt in context, practised, and

then revised to prevent students from forgetting. We can tell the same

about grammar.Teachers must make sure students have understood the new

words, which will be remembered better if introduced in a "memorable way".

Bearing all this in mind, teachers have to remember to employ a variety of

techniques for new vocabulary presentation and revision.

Gairns and Redman (1986) suggest the following types of vocabulary

presentation techniques:

1. Visual techniques. These pertain to visual memory, which is considered

especially helpful with vocabulary retention. Learners remember better

the material that has been presented by means of visual aids. Visual

techniques lend themselves well to presenting concrete items of

vocabulary-nouns; many are also helpful in conveying meanings of verbs

and adjectives. They help students associate presented material in a

meaningful way and incorporate it into their system of language


2. Verbal explanation. This pertains to the use of illustrative

situations, synonymy, opposites, scales (Gairns and Redman ),

definition (Nation) and categories (Allen and Valette ).

3. Use of dictionaries. Using a dictionary is another technique of

finding out meanings of unfamiliar words and expressions. Students can

make use of a variety of dictionaries: bilingual, monolingual,

pictorial, thesauri, and the like. As French Allen perceives them,

dictionaries are "passports to independence," and using them is one of

the student-centered learning activities.

Using games

The advantages of using games. Many experienced textbook and methodology

manuals writers have argued that games are not just time-filling activities

but have a great educational value. W. R. Lee holds that most language

games make learners use the language instead of thinking about learning the

correct forms. He also says that games should be treated as central not

peripheral to the foreign language teaching programme. A similar opinion is

expressed by Richard-Amato, who believes games to be fun but warns against

overlooking their pedagogical value, particularly in foreign language

teaching. There are many advantages of using games. "Games can lower

anxiety, thus making the acquisition of input more likely" (Richard-Amato).

They are highly motivating and entertaining, and they can give shy students

more opportunity to express their opinions and feelings (Hansen). They also

enable learners to acquire new experiences within a foreign language which

are not always possible during a typical lesson. Furthermore, to quote

Richard-Amato, they, "add diversion to the regular classroom activities,"

break the ice, "[but also] they are used to introduce new ideas". In the

easy, relaxed atmosphere which is created by using games, students remember

things faster and better (Wierus and Wierus ). Further support comes from

Zdybiewska, who believes games to be a good way of practising language, for

they provide a model of what learners will use the language for in real

life in the future.

Games encourage, entertain, teach, and promote fluency. If not for any of

these reasons, they should be used just because they help students see

beauty in a foreign language and not just problems .

Choosing appropriate games. There are many factors to consider while

discussing games, one of which is appropriacy. Teachers should be very

careful about choosing games if they want to make them profitable for the

learning process. If games are to bring desired results, they must

correspond to either the student's level, or age, or to the material that

is to be introduced or practised. Not all games are appropriate for all

students irrespective of their age. Different age groups require various

topics, materials, and modes of games. For example, children benefit most

from games which require moving around, imitating a model, competing

between groups and the like. Furthermore, structural games that practise or

reinforce a certain grammatical aspect of language have to relate to

students' abilities and prior knowledge. Games become difficult when the

task or the topic is unsuitable or outside the student'sexperience.

Another factor influencing the choice of a game is its length and the time

necessary for its completion. Many games have a time limit, but according

to Siek-Piskozub, the teacher can either allocate more or less time

depending on the students' level, the number of people in a group, or the

knowledge of the rules of a game etc.

When to use games. Games are often used as short warm-up activities or when

there is some time left at the end of a lesson. Yet, as Lee observes, a

game "should not be regarded as a marginal activity filling in odd moments

when the teacher and class have nothing better to do". Games ought to be at

the heart of teaching foreign languages. Rixon suggests that games be used

at all stages of the lesson, provided that they are suitable and carefully

chosen. At different stages of the lesson, the teacher's aims connected

with a game may vary:

1. Presentation. Provide a good model making its meaning clear;

2. Controlled practise. Elicit good imitation of new language and

appropriate responses;

3. Communicative prastice. Give students a chance to use the language .

Games also lend themselves well to revision exercises helping learners

recall material in a pleasant, entertaining way. All authors referred to in

this article agree that even if games resulted only in noise and

entertained students, they are still worth paying attention to and

implementing in the classroom since they motivate learners, promote

communicative competence, and generate fluency. However, can they be more

successful for presentation and revision than other techniques? The

following part of this article is an attempt at finding the answer to this


The use of games for presenting and revising vocabulary

Vocabulary presentation. After the teacher chooses what items to teach,

Haycraft suggests following certain guidelines. These include teaching the

vocabulary "in spoken form first" to prevent students from pronouncing the

words in the form they are written, placing the new items in context, and

revising them..I shall now proceed to present practical examples of games I

have used for vocabulary introduction and revision.

Description of the groups. For the purpose of vocabulary presentation, I

chose two groups of third form students. With one of them I used a

presentation game and with the other translation and context guessing. In

both groups, students' abilities varied-ranging from those whose command of

English was very good, able to communicate easily using a wide range of

vocabulary and grammatical structures, and those who found it difficult to


After covering the first conditional and time clauses in the textbook, I

decided to present students with a set of idioms relating to bodily parts-

mainly those connected with the head (taken from The Penguin Dictionary of

English Idioms ). The choice of these expressions was determined by

students' requests to learn colloquial expressions to describe people's

moods, behavior, etc. Moreover, in one of the exercises the authors of the

textbook called for examples of expressions which contain parts of the

body. For the purpose of the lesson I adapted Gear and Gear's "Vocabulary

Picture-Puzzle" from the English Teaching Forum (1988). Students were to

work out the meanings of sixteen idiomatic expressions. All of them have

Polish equivalents, which made it easier for students to remember them.

Description of vocabulary picture-puzzle

To prepare the puzzle, I cut two equal-sized pieces of cardboard paper into

rectangles. The selected idioms were written onto the rectangles in the

puzzle-pieces board and their definitions on the game board. On the reverse

side of the puzzle-pieces board, I glued colorful photographs of landscapes

and then cut the puzzle-pieces board into individual pieces, each with an

idiom on it. The important thing was the distribution of the idioms and

their definitions on the boards. The definitions were placed in the same

horizontal row opposite to the idioms so that when put together face to

face each idiom faced its definition.

Puzzle Pieces Board

The idioms and their definitions were the following (all taken from The

Penguin Dictionary of English Idioms p.77):

1. to be soft in the head: foolish, not very intelligent;

2. to have one's hair stand on end: to be terrified;

3. to be two-faced: to agree with a person to his face but disagree with

him behind his back;

4. to make a face: to make a grimace which may express disgust, anger;

5. to be all eyes: to be very attentive;

6. to be an eye-opener: to be a revelation;

7. to be nosy: to be inquisitive, to ask too many questions;

8. to be led by the nose: to be completely dominated by, totally

influenced by;

9. long ears: an inquisitive person who is always asking too many


10. to be all ears: to listen very attentively;

11. to be wet behind the ears: to be naive, inexperienced;

12. a loose mouth: an indiscrete person;

13. one's lips are sealed: to be obliged to keep a secret;

14. to have a sweet tooth: to have a liking for sweet food, sugar, honey,

ice cream, etc.;

15. to grind one's teeth: to express one's fury;

16. to hold one's tongue: to say nothing, to be discrete;

The task for students. Work out the puzzle by matching the idioms and

their definitions. First, put puzzle-pieces on the desk with the word

facing up. Take one and match the idiom to the definition. Having done

that, place the puzzle-piece, word-side-up, in the chosen rectangle. When

you have used up all the pieces, turn them over. If they form a picture of

a landscape, the choices are correct. If not, rearrange the picture and

check the idiom-definition correspondences.

The game objectives. To work out the puzzle, students had to match

idioms with their definitions. The objective of the game was for each pair

to cooperate in completing the activity successfully in order to expand

their vocabulary with, in this case, colloquial expressions.

All students were active and enjoyed the activity. Some of their

comments were as follows: "Very interesting and motivating" "Learning can

be a lot of fun" etc.

Students also had to find the appropriate matches in the shortest time

possible to beat other participating groups. The element of competition

among the groups made them concentrate and think intensively.

Translation activity. The other group of students had to work out the

meanings of the idioms by means of translation. Unlike the previously

described group, they did not know the definitions. The expressions were

listed on the board, and students tried to guess their proper meanings

giving different options. My role was to direct them to those that were

appropriate. Students translated the idioms into Polish and endeavored to

find similar or corresponding expressions in their mother tongue. Unlike

the game used for the purpose of idiom introduction, this activity did not

require the preparation of any aids. Fewer learners participated actively

or enthusiastically in this lesson and most did not show great interest in

the activity.

Administering the test. In order to find out which group acquired new

vocabulary better, I designed a short test, for both groups containing a

translation into English and a game. This allowed learners to activate

their memory with the type of activity they had been exposed to in the


The test checking the acquisition of newly-introduced reading vocabulary

I. Match the definitions of the idioms with the pictures and write

which idiom is depicted and described:

1. to be inexperienced

2. to listen very attentively

3. to be terrified

4. to be dominated by someone

5. to be attentive

6. to be insincere, dishonest

The proper answers are the following:

1. d ., to be wet behind the ears

2. a ., to be all ears

3. e ., to have one's hair stand on end

4. f ., to be led by the nose

5. b ., to be all eyes

6. c ., to be two-faced.

II. Translate into English (the translated sentences should be the


1. He is soft in the head.

2. She is two-faced, always criticizes me behind my back.

3. Mark has a sweet tooth, so he is not too slim.

4. Will you hold your tongue if I tell you something?

5. Why are you such a loose mouth?

6. Don't be nosy! This is none of your business.

Analysis of the results. Group I received an average mark of 3.9 as

compared to 3.4 obtained by group II. In other words, the group which had

learned vocabulary through games performed significantly better. However,

it is especially interesting and surprising that group II also received

high scores for the game. Even though learners in group I had the material

presented by means of translation, most students got better marks for the


Summing up. Even though the results of one activity can hardly lead to

informative conclusions, I believe that the results suggest that the use of

games for presentation of new vocabulary is very effective and enjoyable

for students. Despite the fact that the preparation of a game may be time-

consuming and suitable material may be hard to find, teachers should try to

use them to add diversion to presentational techniques.

Revising vocabulary

Many sources referred to in this article emphasise the importance of

vocabulary revision. This process aims at helping students acquire active,

productive vocabularies. Students need to practise regularly what they have

learnt; otherwise, the material will fade away. Teachers can resort to many

techniques for vocabulary consolidation and revision. To begin with, a

choice of graphs and grids can be used. Students may give a definition of a

given item to be found by other students. Multiple choice and gap filling

exercises will activate the vocabulary while students select the

appropriate response. Teachers can use lists of synonyms or antonyms to be

matched, sentences to be paraphrased, or just some words or expressions in

context to be substituted by synonymous expressions. Doing cloze tests will

show students' understanding of a passage, its organisation, and determine

the choice of lexical items. Visual aids can be of great help with

revision. Pictures, photographs, or drawings can facilitate the

consolidation of both individual words as well as idioms, phrases and

structures. There is also a large variety of word games that are "useful

for practising and revising vocabulary after it has been introduced"

(Haycraft). Numerous puzzles, word squares, crosswords, etc., are useful

especially for pair or group work.

I shall now present the games I have used for vocabulary revision.

Description of the group. I gave teachers a questionnaire to determine

their view of using games for vocabulary teaching. In response to the

questionnaire, many teachers said they often used games for vocabulary

revision. Some claimed they were successful and usually more effective than

other methods. To see if this is really true, I decided to use a crossword

puzzle with a group of first year students.

The crossword puzzle. After completing a unit about Van Gogh, students

wanted to expand their vocabulary with words connected with art. The

students compiled lists of words, which they had learnt. In order to revise

the vocabulary, one of the groups had to work out the crossword puzzle.

Students worked in pairs. One person in each pair was provided with part A

of the crossword puzzle and the other with part B. The students' task was

to fill in their part of the puzzle with the missing words known to their

partner. To complete the activity, learners had to ask each other for the

explanations, definitions, or examples to arrive at the appropriate

answers. Only after getting the answer right could they put it down in the

suitable place of their part of the crossword. Having completed the puzzle,

students were supposed to find out what word was formed from the letters

found in the shaded squares.

Students enjoyed the activity very much and did not resort to

translation at any point. They used various strategies to successfully

convey the meanings of the words in question-e.g., definitions, association

techniques, and examples. When everyone was ready, the answers were checked

and students were asked to give examples of definitions, explanations,

etc., they had used to get the missing words.

The other group performed a similar task. Students were to define as


I. Define the following words: shade, icon, marker, fresco, perspective,

hue, daub, sculptor, still life, watercolor, palette, background.

II. Find the words these definitions describe:

1. a public show of objects

2. a variety of a colour

3. a wooden frame to hold a picture while it is being painted

4. a pale or a delicate shade of a colour

5. a picture of a wide view of country scenery

6. an instrument for painting made of sticks, stiff hair, nylon

7. a painting, drawing, or a photograph of a real person

8. a piece of work, especially art which is the best of its type or the

best a person has made

9. painting, music, sculpture, and others chiefly concerned with

producing beautiful rather than useful things

10. a line showing the shape (of something)

11. a person who is painted, drawn, photographed by an artist

12. a picture made with a pen, pencil, etc.

Analysis of results. The results show that the crossword puzzle, though

seemingly more difficult since it required the knowledge of words and their

definitions and not mere recognition and matching, was easier for 27.4% of

the learners and granted them more points for this part of the test. For

the majority of the students (nearly 60%) both activities proved equally

easy and out of the group of thirteen, eleven students had the highest

possible score.

Summing up

These numbers suggest that games are effective activities as a technique

for vocabulary revision. Students also prefer games and puzzles to other

activities. Games motivate and entertain students but also help them learn

in a way which aids the retention and retrieval of the material (This is

what the learners stated themselves).

However, the numbers also show that not everyone feels comfortable with

games and puzzles and not everyone obtains better results.

Although one cannot overgeneralise from one game, student feedback

indicates that many students may benefit from games in revision of



Recently, using games has become a popular technique exercised by many

educators in the classrooms and recommended by methodologists. Many

sources, including the ones quoted in this work, list the advantages of the

use of games in foreign language classrooms. Yet, nowhere have I found any

empirical evidence for their usefulness in vocabulary presentation and


Though the main objectives of the games were to acquaint students with new

words or phrases and help them consolidate lexical items, they also helped

develop the students' communicative competence.

From the observations, I noticed that those groups of students who

practised vocabulary activity with games felt more motivated and interested

in what they were doing. However, the time they spent working on the words

was usually slightly longer than when other techniques were used with

different groups. This may suggest that more time devoted to activities

leads to better results. The marks students received suggested that the fun

and relaxed atmosphere accompanying the activities facilitated students'

learning. But this is not the only possible explanation of such an outcome.

The use of games during the lessons might have motivated students to work

more on the vocabulary items on their own, so the game might have only been

a good stimulus for extra work.

Although, it cannot be said that games are always better and easier to cope

with for everyone, an overwhelming majority of pupils find games relaxing

and motivating. Games should be an integral part of a lesson, providing the

possibility of intensive practise while at the same time immensely

enjoyable for both students and teachers. My research has produced some

evidence which shows that games are useful and more successful than other

methods of vocabulary presentation and revision. Having such evidence at

hand, I wish to recommend the wide use of games with vocabulary work as a

successful way of acquiring language competence.


A Useful Device

by Clara Perez Fajardo

Has it ever happened that you read or listen to something, and

shortly afterwards when you want to recall it, you can only remember

a small part? Have you ever thought of how many interesting ideas you

have missed, just because you have not taken a few seconds to note

them down as they occurred to you? Everyday happenings pass through

time and can never be recalled again if they are not recorded either

on a tape or with a video camera. But, not many of us have these

devices always handy. What we do have available is a simple sheet of

paper, a pencil, and our five senses. Taking notes on what takes

place not only permits us to remember but also facilitates our oral

and written communication.

Regardless of their age or level, students tend to rely too much on

their memory, instead of taking notes. For this reason, I began

devising different tasks which demand the recall of facts that the

students would have only if they had taken notes. The results have

motivated me to do further research on the topic through interviews,

reading, and analysis-all the time noting down the information I was


The note-taking process

In order to reconstruct a complete account of what one perceives through

listening, reading, observing, discussing, or thinking, it is necessary to

take notes either simultaneously with the act of perception or after an

interval of just a few seconds. We cannot expect to remember everything we

perceive, and despite the advantages of training our memory, it is better

to have notes taken at the moment things happen.

Language educators have approached note-taking from different perspectives.

McKeating (1981) sees note-taking as a complex activity which combines

reading and listening with selecting, summarizing, and writing.

Grellet (1986) advises helping students to establish the structure of a

text so they can pull out the key ideas and leave out nonessential

information. Nwokoreze (1990) believes that "it is during the note-taking

stage that students reach the highest level of comprehension."

Two main aspects concerning note-taking:

It involves the combination of different skills, i.e.; listening or

reading, selecting, summarizing, and writing.

It requires the selection of relevant information from the nonessential.

Moreover, most authors see note-taking as a complex activity which must be

approached gradually. When teaching the skill, Raimes suggests that

elementary-level students can be given a skeleton outline to work with when

they take notes, so that their listening is more directed. Advanced

students can listen to longer passages and make notes as they listen.

Murray refers to a "rehearsal for writing," which begins as an unwritten

dialogue within the writer's mind: what the writer hears in his/her head

evolves into notes. This may be simple brainstorming-the jotting down of

random bits of information which may connect themselves into a pattern

later on.

Note-taking involves putting onto paper the data received through any of

our senses. These data could range from simple figures, letters, symbols,

isolated words, or brief phrases to complete sentences and whole ideas.

Most teachers instruct students to take notes while perceiving . However,

Nwokoreze insists on the need for first listening long enough to make sure

the essence of the information is perceived before taking notes. The

decision on whether the notes are to be taken at the moment of perception

or shortly afterwards depends on the complexity of the task and the ability

of the note-taker. Consequently, if we are to take notes with figures,

letters, or single words to fill in a pre-designed skeleton, we can do it

at the same time we receive the information; whereas notes which require

selection, summarizing, and organization ought to be taken later.

Guided note-taking

As teachers, we must decide what sort of help our students need for every

task we assign. The guidance we give for taking notes will depend on

various aspects. One of them is language level. Raimes suggests providing

beginners with a skeleton outline to fill in or expand to make their

listening more directed. She also proposes letting the advanced students

listen to longer passages and make notes as they listen.

Guidance provided will depend on the degree of difficulty of the task

involved. The reasons for taking notes and the follow-up activities are

also important. If the students only take notes of simple figures, letters,

or single words as the basis for a discussion to take place immediately,

they will not need much guidance. But if they are supposed to take notes of

a higher complexity to use in writing a report for homework, they will need

more preparation.

Using note-taking in our classes

Assuming an extreme position when defining the concept of note-taking, we

can say that even checking or ticking items on a list is a form of note-

taking, as long as what students have to "tick" represents the content of

the reading or listening passage. If we give students a multiple-choice

exercise, a list, or Yes/No questions, and ask them only to tick the

correct answer, they will be taking notes. This could be considered the

most basic form of note-taking. Nevertheless, if we analyze the task in

detail, we find it is not as simple as it seems. To answer accurately, the

students will first have to understand the statements and determine whether

their choices are correct or not. Furthermore, they have to predict and

speculate about what they are going to perceive.

When revising any topic we may practice it and use this technique giving

students a skeleton to fill in while listening. Example:

|Hypertension |

|Instructions: |

|Listen to the interview with the patient and tick (v) the correct |

|answer: |

|Patient's |Mrs. Kelly. | |

|name: | | |

|Main |high blood pressure headache | |

|Symptoms: | | |

| |dizziness | | |

|Other |obesity |blurred vision | |

|Symptoms: | | | |

| |trouble breathing |swollen ankles | |

| |urinary problems |pain in the back | |

| |chills and fever | | |

|Past |heart disease |chest pain | |

|History: | | | |

| |kidney infection | | |

|Family |hypertension |diabetes | |

|History | | | |

| |kidney disease |stroke | |

| |heart attack | | |

|Any other information? |

With this last question, we are prompting the students to note down

other information, not limiting them only to what the chart asks for. Not

all the students will be able to take further notes, but the most skilled

will not get bored while their classmates are engaged at a more elementary


Another instance that calls for note-taking is reporting on medical cases.

To do this, the class may be divided into teams of three or four students.

Each team prepares a case for the others to analyze. One variant would be

having each team first brainstorm, then prepare a skeleton outline with the

sort of information they need the other team to provide in order to write a

full case report. Once ready, they exchange skeletons, brainstorm again,

and note down the information the skeleton forms ask for. The teams should

give neither the diagnosis nor the treatment. As soon as they finish, they

swap these "problem-cases," analyze them, and confer on the diagnosis,

treatment, and prognosis of the patient. Next, they write a full case

report that everyone reads and discusses. The class then moves around,

reads, and comments on them. Finally, they decide which of the skeleton

forms are better and which reports are the most coherent and faithful to

the information provided.

A simpler variant would be having each team ask for the information orally

from one another, take notes on it and then report on the case orally or in


In teaching Medically Speaking , I suggest taking notes while listening to

the dialogues or reading the case studies given in the text. Instead of

having the students take down all the information, teams are formed to take

notes on specific parts.


|Instructions for preparing and presenting a case report |

|First think of an interesting case you would like to report on |

|and discuss with your classmates. Consult your professors, look|

|for information about your case and associated diseases or |

|cases in magazines, books, journals, etc. Note down this |

|information. Then make an outline of the elements you need in |

|order to report on a case |

|1. Patient's |Age: |Sex: Race: |

|characteristics: | | |

| |Weight: |Height: |

|2. Main symptom: |8. Physical findings |

|3. Other symptoms: |9. Diagnostic procedure: |

|4. Past history: |10. Differential and definitive|

| |diagnosis: |

|5. Family history: |11. Therapeutic procedures: |

|6. (Toxic) habits: |12. Possible complications |

|7. Medications: |13. Prognosis |

Before presenting your case orally, copy the outline on the board, ask your

classmates to also copy it in their notebooks. You will all follow this

order for the presentation and discussion of your case. Your classmates

will ask you for the data they need to complete their outlines and discuss

the case. Once the discussion is over, they will use their notes to write a

report on the case you presented.

|Patient's characteristics: Age: 22 |Race: white Sex: M |

|Weight: 70 kg. | |Height: 1.70m. |

|Main symptom: |pain in the right lower quadrant (sporadic and|

| |colicky in nature) |

| |*began in epigastrium two days ago |

| |*moved to periumbilical region and right lower|

| |quadrant |

|Other symptoms:|fever, vomits (3), anorexia, constipation for |

| |two days (no bowel movement). No diarrhea |

|Past history: |-none |

|Family history:|-none |

|Toxic habits: |-none |

|Medications: |-none |

|Physical |-patient well oriented as to time, place and |

|findings: |person |

| |-well nourished |

| |-extreme tenderness to palpation mainly |

| |over McBurney's point |

| |-guarding, muscle rigidity, rebound |

| |tenderness |

| |-difference: axillary & rectal temperature |

| |-bowel sounds: absent |

|Definitive diagnosis: acute appendicitis |

|Therapeutic procedures: appendectomy |

|Possible complications: perforation, necrosis, peritonitis |

|Prognosis: Anceps |


Today we discussed the case of a 22-year-old white man who was in good

health prior to two days ago, when he began to have an abdominal pain. This

pain was sporadic and colicky in nature. It began in the epigastrium and

has since migrated to the right lower quadrant. The patient has had three

episodes of vomiting associated with the pain. He has been anorectic and

feverish. He has had no bowel movements for two days. He reported no

diarrhea, coughing with expectoration or shortness of breath. He has no

past history or family history of abdominal pain or any other disease. The

pertinent physical findings are related to the abdomen. There is extreme

tenderness to palpation, especially over McBurney's point. Guarding, muscle

rigidity and rebound tenderness are all present. Bowel sounds are absent.

There is a difference between the axillary and the rectal temperature. His

urinalysis, hemoglobin and hematocrit are within normal limits.

Nevertheless, both white blood count and red rate are elevated. His chest

film is clear, but in the abdominal film we observed the psoas line is


Finally, we decided the definitive diagnosis is acute appendicitis. Among

the possible complications to consider are perforation, necrosis and

peritonitis. Therefore, the prognosis is anceps. The only possible

treatment is surgical: appendectomy.


As we have seen, there are numerous opportunities to help students develop

the skill of note-taking. Note-taking assists the listener, reader, or

observer in achieving a better understanding of what is presented, and it

facilitates recall of facts as well as oral and written expression. The

student's language level and the purpose which the notes are to serve will

determine the type of guidance the teacher must provide to help them to

take notes in class and later on the job.

Grammar games

Competitive games


|Grammar: |Collocations with wide, narrow, and broad. |

|Level: |Intermediate to advanced |

|Time: |15-20 minutes |

|Materials:|Three cards, with wide on one, narrow on the second and|

| |broad on the third |


Prepare three large cards with wide on one, narrow on the second and broad

on the third.

In class

Clear as much space as you can in your classroom so that students have

access to all the walls and ask two students to act as secretaries at the

board. Steak each of your card on one of the other three walls of the room.

Ask the rest of the students to gather in the middle of the space.

Tell the students that youre going to read out sentences with a word

missing. If they think that the right word for that sentence is wide they

should rush over and touch the wide card. If they think the word should be

narrow or broad they touch the respective card instead. Tell them that in

some cases there are two right answers (they choose either).

Tell the secretaries at the board to write down the correct versions of the

sentences in full as the game progresses.

Read out the first gapped sentence and have the students rush to what they

think is the appropriate wall. Give the correct versions and make sure it

goes up in the board. Continue with the second sentence etc.

At the end of the strenuous part ask the students to tale down the

sentences in their books. A relief from running! ( If the students want a

challenge they should get a partner and together write down as many

sentences as they remember with their backs to the board before turning

round to complete their notes. Or else have their partner to dictate the

sentences with a gap for them to try to complete.)

Sentences to read out

|They used a angled lens |Wide |

|He looked at her with a smile |Broad |

|The socialists won by a . Margin |Narrow/broad |

|She is very minded |Broad/narrow |

|He speaks the language with a |Broad |

|London accent | |

|You were wrong what you said was of|Wide |

|the mark | |

|You had a escape |Narrow |

|Of course theyre open to criticism|Wide |

|They went down the canal in a boat |Narrow |

|She opened her eyes |Wide |

|The news was broadcast nation |Wide |

|The path was three meters |Wide |

|The light was so bright that she |Narrowed |

|her eyes | |


You can play this game with many sets of grammar exponents:

. Forms of the article; a, the and zero article

. Prepositions


Cognitive games

Spot the differences

|Grammar: |Common mistakes |

|Level: |Elementary |

|Time: |20-30 minutes |

|Materials:|One copy of Late-comer A and Late-comer B for each |

| |student |

In class

Pair the students and give them the two texts. Ask them to spot all the

differences they can between them. Tell them that there may be more than

one pair of differences per pair of parallel sentences. Tell them one item

in each pair of alternatives is correct.

They are to choose the correct form from each pair.

|Late-comer A |Late-comer B |

|This women was often very late |This woman was often very late |

|She was late for meetings |She was late for meeting |

|She were late for dinners |She was late for dinners |

|She was late when she went to |She was late as she went to the |

|the cinema |cinema |

|One day she arrive for a meeting|One day she arrived for meeting |

|half an hour early |half ah hour early |

|Nobody could understand because |Nobody couldnt understand why |

|she was early |she was early |

|Of course, someone said, |Of course, someone say, the |

|clocks put back last night. |clocks were put back last |

| |night. |

3. Ask them to dictate the correct text to you at the board. Write down

exactly what they say so students have a chance to correct each other both

in terms of grammar and in terms of their pronunciation. If a student

pronounces dis voman for this woman then write up the wrong version.

Only write it correctly when the student pronounces it right. Your task in

this exercise is to allow the students to try out their hypotheses about

sound and grammar without putting them right too soon and so reducing their

energy and blocking their learning. Being too kind can be cognitively



To make this exercise more oral, pair the students and ask them to sit

facing each other. Give Later-comer A to one student and Late-comer B to

the other in each pair. They then have to do very detailed listening to

each others texts.

Feeling and grammar

Typical questions

|Grammar: |Question formation-varied interrogatives |

|Level: |Beginner to elementary |

|Time: |20-30 minutes |

|Materials:|None |

In class

1. Ask the students to draw a quick sketch of a four-year-old they know

well. Give them these typical questions such a person may ask, e.g.

Mummy, does the moon go for a wee-wee? Where did I come from?. Ask

each student to write half a dozen questions such a person might ask,

writing them in speech bubbles on the drawing. Go round and help with the


2. Get the students to fill the board with their most interesting four-year-

old questions.


This can be used with various question situations. The following examples

work well:

- Ask the students to imagine a court room-the prosecution barrister is

questioning a defense witness. Tell the students to write a dozen questions

the prosecution might ask.

- What kind of questions might a woman going to a foreign country want to

ask a woman friend living in this country about the man or the woman in the

country? And what might a man want to ask a man?

- What kind of questions are you shocked to be asked in an English-speaking

country and what questions are you surprised not to be asked?


|Grammar: |By+time-phrases Past perfect |

|Level: |Lower intermediate |

|Time: |20-30 minutes |

|Materials:|Set of prepared sentences |


1. Think of your achievements in the period of your life that corresponds

to the average age of your class. If youre teaching seventeen-year-olds,

pick your first seventeen years. Also think of a few of the times when

you were slow to achieve. Write the sentences about yourself like these:

By the age of six I had learnt to read.

I still hadnt learnt to ride a bike by then.

I had got over my fear of water by the time I was eight.

By the time I was nine I had got the hang of riding a bike.

By thirteen I had read a mass of books.

Id got over my fear of the dark by around ten.

2. Write ten to twelve sentences using the patterns above. If youre

working in a culture that is anti-boasting then pick achievements that do

not make you stand out.

3. Your class will relate well to sentences that tell them something new

about you, as much as you feel comfortable telling them. Communication

works best when its for real.

In class

1. Ask the students to have two different colored pens ready. Tell them

youre going to dictate sentences about yourself. Theyre to take down

the sentences that are also true for them in one color and the sentences

that are not true about them in another color.

2. Put the students in fours to explain to each other which of your

sentences were also true of their lives.

3. Run a quick question and answer session round the groups e.g. At what

age had you learnt to ski/dance/sing/ play table tennis etc by? Id

learnt to ski by seven.

4. Ask each students to write a couple of fresh sentences about things

achieved by a certain date/time and come up and write them on a board.

Wait till the board is full, without correcting what theyre putting up.

Now point silently at problem sentences and get the students to correct



You can use the above activity for any area of grammar you want ti

personalize. You might write sentences about:

- Things you havent got round to doing (present perfect + yet)

- Things you like having done for you versus things you like doing for


- Things you ought to do and feel you cant do (the whole modal area

is easily treated within this frame)

Reported advice

|Grammar: |Modals and modals reported |

|Level: |Elementary to intermadiate |

|Time: |15-20 minutes |

|Materials:|None |

In class

1. Divide your class into two groups: problem people and advice-givers.

2. Ask the problem people to each think up a minor problem they have and

are willing to talk about.

3. Arm the advice-givers with these suggestion forms:

|You could |You should |You might as well |

|You might |You ought to |You might trying |

4. Get the class moving round the room. Tell each problem person to pair

off with an advice-giver. The problem person explains her problem and

the other person gives two bits of advice using the grammar suggested.

Each problem person now moves to another advice-giver. The problem

people get advice from five or six advice-givers

5. Call class back into the plenary. Ask some of the problem people to

state their problem and report to the whole group the best and the worst

piece of advice they were offered, naming the advice-giver e.g. Juan

was telling me I should give her up. Jane suggested I ought to get a

girlfriend of hers to talk to her for me.


If you have a classroom with space that allows it, form the students into

two concentric circles, the outer one facing in and the inner one facing

out. All the inner circle students are advice-givers and all the outer

circle students are problem people. After each round, the outer circle

people move round three places. This is much more cohesive than the above.

Picture the past

|Grammar: |Past simple, past perfect, future in the past |

|Level: |Lower intermediate |

|Time: |20-40 minutes |

|Materials:|None |


1. Ask three students to come out and help you demonstrate the exercise.

Draw a picture on the board of something interesting you have done. Do

not speak about it. Student A then writes a past simple sentence about

it. Student B write about what had already happened before the picture

action and student C about something that was going to happen, using the

appropriate grammar.

I got up at eight a.m.

Ive just got off the bus

Im going to work today

2. Put the students in fours. Each draws a picture of a real past action of

theirs. They pass their picture silently to a neighbor in the foursome

who adds a past tense sentence. Pass the picture again and each adds a

past perfect sentence. They pass again and each adds a was going to

sentence. All this is done in silence with you going round helping and


Impersonating members of a set

|Grammar: |Present and past simple-active and passive |

|Level: |Elementary to intermediate |

|Time: |20-30 minutes |

|Materials:|None |

In class

1. Ask people to brainstorm all the things they can think of that give off


2. Choose one of this yourself and become the thing chosen. Describe

yourself in around five to six sentences, e.g.:

I am a candle

I start very big and end up as nothig

My head is lit and I produce a flame

I burn down slowly

In some countries I am put on Christmas tree

I am old-fashioned and very fashionable

3. Ask a couple of other students to choose other light sourses and do the

same as you have just done. Help them with language. It could be I am a

light bulb-I was invented by Edison.

4. Group the students in sixes. Give them a new category. Ask them to work

silently, writing four or six forst-person sentences in role. Go round

and help especially with the formation of the present simple passive

(when this help is needed).

5. In their groups the students read out their sentences.

6. Ask each group to choose their six interesting sentences and then read

out to the whole group.


The exercise is sometimes more excitingif done with fairly abstract sets,

e.g. numbers between 50 and 149, musical notes, distances, weights. The

abstract nature of the set makes people concretise interestingly, e.g.:

I am a kilometre.

My son is a metre and my baby is centimetre.

On the motorway I am driven in 30 seconds. (120 kms. per hour)

We have also used these sets: types of stone/countries/items of clothing

(e.g.socks, skirts, jackets/times of day/smells/family roles (e.g.son,

mother etc.)/types of weather.


The sentences students produce in this exercise are nor repeat runs of

things they have already thought and said in mother tongue. New

standpoints, new thoughts, new language. The English is fresh because the

thought is.

Listening to people

No backshift

|Grammar: |Reported speech after past reporting verb |

|Level: |Elementary to lower intermediate |

|Time: |15-20 minutes |

|Material: |None |

In class

1. Pair the students. Ask one person in each pair to prepare to speak for

two minutes about a pleasurable future event. Give them a minute to


2. Ask the listener in each pair to prepare to give their whole attention

to the speaker. They are not to take notes. Ask the speaker in each pair

to get going. You time two minutes.

3. Pair the pairs. The two listeners now report on what they heard using

this kind of form:

She was telling me shes going to Thailand for her holiday and she

added that shell be going by plane.

The speakers have the right to fill in things the listeners have left out

but only after the listeners have finished speaking.

4. The students go back into their original pairs and repeat the above but

this time with the other one as speaker, so everybody has been able to

share their future event thoughts.


|Grammar: |Comparative structures |

|Level: |Elementary |

|Time: |15-20 minutes |

|Materials:|None |

In class

1. Tell the students a bit about yourself by comparing yourself to some

people you know:

Im more than my husband.

Im not asas my eldest boy.

I reckon my uncle is than me

Write six or seven of these sentences up on the board as a grammar pattern


2. Tell the students to work in threes. Two of the three listen very

closely while the third compares herself to people she knows. The

speakers speak without interruption for 90 seconds and you time them.

3. The two listeners in each group feedback to the speaker exactly what

they had heard. If they miss things the speaker will want to prompt them.

4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 so that everybody in the group has had a go at

producing a comparative self-portrait.

One question behind

|Grammar: |Assorted interrogative forms |

|Level: |Beginner to intermediate |

|Time: |5-10 minutes |

|Materials:|One question set for each pair of students |

In class

1. Demonstrate the exercise to your students. Get one of them to ask you

the question of a set. You answer Mmmm, with closed lips. The student

asks you the second question you give the answer that would have been

right for the first question. The student asks the third question and you

reply with the answer to the second question, and so on. The wrong

combination of question and answer can be quite funny.

2. Pair the students and give each pair a question set. One student fires

the questions and the other gives delayed-by-one replies. The activity is

competitive. The first pair to finish a question set is the winner.

Question set A

Where do you sleep? (the other says nothing)

Where do you eat? (the other answers the first question)

Where do you go swimming?

Where do you wash your clothes?

Where do you read?

Where do you cook?

Where do you listen to music?

Where do you get angry?

Where do you do your shopping?

Where do you sometimes drive to?

Question set B

What do you eat your soup with?

What do you cut your meat with?

What do you write on?

What do you wipe your mouth with?

What do you blow your nose with?

What do you brush your hair with?

What do you sleep on?

What do you write with?

What do you wear in bed?

What do you wear in restaurant?

Question set C

Can you tell me something you ate last week?

Tell me something you saw last week?

Is there something you have come to appreciate recently?

What about something you really want to do next week?

Where have you spent most of this last week?

Where would you have you liked to spend this last week?

Where are you thinking of going on holiday?

Which is the best holiday place you have ever been to?

Variation 1

Have students devise their own sets of questions to then be used as above.

Variation 2

Group the students in fours: one acts as a time-keeper, one as a

question master and person 3 and 4 are the players.

The question master fires five rapid questions at player A which she has

to answer falsely. The time-keeper notes the time questioning takes. The

question master fires five similar questions at B, who answers

truthfully. The quickest answerer wins. (The problem lies in choosing the

right wrong answer fast enough.)

Possible questions:

How old are you?

Where do you live?

Which color do you like best?

What time is it?

How did you get here?

What time did you get up today?

What did you have for breakfast?

Where does your best friend live?

What sort of music do you dislike?

How many brothers and sisters do you have?

Movement and grammar

Sit down then

|Grammar: |Who + simple past interrogative/Telling the time |

|Level: |Beginner to elementary |

|Time: |10-20 minutes |

|Materials:|None |

In class

1. Ask everybody to stand up. Tell them youre going to shout out bedtimes.

When they hear the time they went to bed yesterday, they shout I did

and sit down. You start like this:

|Who went to bed at two a.m.? |Who went to bed at quarter to |

| |two? |

|Who went to bed at ten to two? |Who went to bed at half past |

| |one? |

2. Continue until all the students have sat down.

3. Get people back on their feet. Ask one of the better students to come

out and run the same exercise but this time about when people got up,


Who woke up at four thirty this morning?

Who woke up at twenty to five?

4. Repeat with a new question master but asking about shopping, e.g.:

Who went shopping yesterday?

Who went shopping on(day of the week)

Only if

|Grammar: |Polite requests, -ing participle |

| |Only if + target verb structure of your choice |

|Level: |Elementary + |

|Time: |15-20 minutes |

|Materials:|None |

In class

1. Make or find as much space in your room as possible and ask the class to

stand at one end of it.

2. Explain that their end is one river bank and the opposite end of the

room is the other bank. Between is the golden river and youre the

keeper of the golden river. Before crossing the river the students have

to say the following sentence:

Can we cross your golden river sitting on your golden boat?

3. They need to be able to say this sentence reasonably fluently.

4. Get the students to say the sentence. You answer:

Only if youre wearing

Only if youve got

Only if youve got on you

5. Supposing you say Only if youre wearing trousers. All the students

who wear trousers can boat across the river without hindrance. The

others have to try to sneak across without being tagged by you. The first

person who is tagged, changes places with you and becomes it (the

keeper who tags the others in the next round).

6. Continue with students saying Can we cross your golden river, sitting

on your golden boat? It might say, Only if youre wearing ear-rings.


Variation 1

To make this game more lively, instead of having just one keeper, everyone

is tagged becomes keeper. Repeat until everyone has been tagged.

Meaning and translation

Two-word verbs

|Grammar: |Compound verbs |

|Level: |Upper intermediate to advanced |

|Time: |40-50 minutes |

|Materials:|One Mixed-up verb sheet per pair of students. The |

| |Jumbled sentences on a large separate piece of card |

In class

1. Pair the students and ask them to match the verbs on the mixed-up verb

sheet you give them. Tell them to use dictionaries and to call you over.

Be everywhere at once.

|Mixed-up verb sheet |

|Please match words from column 1 with words from |

|column 2to form correct compound verbs. |

|Column 1 |Column 2 |

|back- |dry |

|cross- |soap |

|ghost- |treat |

|soft- |write |

|blow- |reference |

|double- |cross |

|ill- |dry |

|spin- |comb |

| | |

|cold- |manage |

|double- |feed |

|pooh- |read |

|spoon- |pooh |

|court- |glaze |

|dry- |clean |

|proof- |shoulder |

|stage- |martial |

| | |

|frog- |march |

|wrong- |record |

|toilet- |foot |

|tape- |train |

|short- |change |

|rubber- |feed |

|force- |stamp |

|field- |test |

|cross- |question |

|cross- |examine |

|cross- |check |

Key to first group of verbs:

To back-comb/to cross-reference/to ghost-write/to soft-soap/to blow-dry/to

double-cross/to ill-treat/to spin-dry

Key to the second group of verbs:

To cold-shoulder/to double-glaze/to pooh-pooh/to spoon-feed/to court-

martial/to dry-clean/to proof-read/to stage-manage

Key to third group of verbs

To frog-match/to wrong-foot/to toilet-train/to tape-record/to short-

change/to rubber-stamp/to force-feed/to field-test/to cross-question/to

cross-examine/to cross-check

2. Ask them to take a clean sheet of paper and a pen or pencil suitable for

drawing. Tell them youre going to give them a few phrases to illustrate.

Theyre to draw a situation that brings out the meaning of the phrases.

Here are the phrases do not give them more than 30 seconds per drawing

(they will groan):

To toilet-train a child

To soft-soap a superior

To force-feed an anorexic

To court-martial a soldier

To back-comb a persons hair

To cross-examine a witness

To spin-dry your clothes

To cold-shoulder a friend

3. Give them time to compare their drawings. The drawings often make

misunderstanding manifest.

4. Split the class into teams of four. Tell them youre going to show them

Jumbled sentences (see below) and their task will be to shout out the

unjumbled sentence. The first team to shout out a correct sentence gets a


Jumbled sentences

Will still can you and it it dry retain its spin shape

You can spin-dry it and it will still retain its shape

Cold him we shouldered first at

At first we cold-shouldered him

Our ill ancestors treated they

They ill-treated our ancestors

Clean it dont dry

Dont dry-clean it

Black frog they Maria to the marched him

They frog-marched him to the Black Maria

Double your windows glaze to like wed

Wed like to double-glaze your windows

Pooh just his poohed offer they

They just pooh-poohed his offer

Dont soap me you soft dare

Dont you dare soft-soap me!

The world of take

|Grammar: |Some basic meanings of the verb take |

|Level: |Intermediate to advanced |

|Time: |40-50 minutes |

|Materials:|Set of sentences below (for dictation) |

In class

1. Put the students in small groups to brainstorm all the uses of the verb

take they can think of.

2. Ask each group to send a messenger to the next group to pass on their


3. Dictate the sentences below which they are to write down in their mother

tongue. Tell them only to write in mother tongue, not English. Be ready

to help explain any sentences that students do not understand.

The new president took over in January.

The man took the womans anger seriously.

You havent done the washing up, I take it, his wife said to him.

The little boy took the old watch apart to see how it worked.

I think we ought to take the car, he said to her.

This bloke always takes his problems to his mother.

We took the village without a shot being fired, she told him.

Take care the woman said, as she left home that morning.

He took charge of the planning team.

The woman asked what size shoes he took.

Yes I really take your point he told her.

If we go to a movie, she told her boyfriend, itll really take you

out of yourself.

The news the boy brought really took the woman aback.

The chair asked him to take the minutes of the meeting.

You can take it from me, its worse than you think

4. Ask the students to work in threes and compare their translations. Go

round helping and checking.

5. Check that theyre clear about the usual direct translation of take into

their language. Now ask them to mark all the translations where take is

not rendered by its direct equivalent.

Problem Solving

A dictionary game

|Grammar: |Comparatives, it (referring back) |

|Level: |Elementary (or as a review at higher levels) |

|Time: |45 minutes |

|Materials:|One dictionary per two students |


On the board write the following:


Its got more letters than

Its got fewer letters than

Its the same length as.

Its earlier in the dictionary than

Its later in the dictionary than

Its further on

Back a bit.

The first letters right

The first two/three/four letters are right

(or you could dictate this to the students if you want a quiet settling in

period at the start of the class)

In class

1. Explain to the students that youre going out of the room for a short

time and theyre to select one word for you to guess when you come back.

They find the word in their dictionaries.

2. Go back in and have a first wild guess at the classs word. The students

should tell you whether their word is longer, shorter or the same length

as your guess and whether its earlier or later in the dictionary. Here

is an example (teachers can correct pronunciation as they go along ):

|teacher: |Middle |

|students: |Its shorter. And its later in the dictionary. |

|teacher: |Train. |

|students: |Its Earlier. Its Got The Same Number Of Letters. |

|teacher: |Plane. |

|students: |Its Later. |

|teacher: |Rains. |

|students: |Its Later. Its Got The Same Number Of Letters. |

|teacher: |Seat. |

|students: |Its Longer.The First Letter Is Right. Its Later In |

| |The Dictionary. |

|teacher: |Stops. |

|students: |Its Earlier. |

|teacher: |Skirt. |

|students: |Its Later |

|teacher: |Spend. |

|students: |The First Two Letters Are Right. Its Later. |

|teacher: |Spine. |

|students: |Its Later. |

|teacher: |Spore. |

|students: |The First Four Letters Are Right. Youre Really Warm |

| |Now. Its A Bit Further On. |

|teacher: |Sport. |

|students: |Yes. |

3. You can write the words you guess and notes of the students answers on

the board as you go along, to help you to remember where you are. At the

beginning, you can prompt the students by asking questions such as Is it

shorter, longer or the same length as my word? Is it earlier or later in

the dictionary? etc.

4. When the students have got the idea of the game, reverse the process;

you think of a word (one from a recent lesson works well) and students

guess. You give them information as to length, place in dictionary and

any letters theyve guessed right.

5. Now hand over the exercise to the students. They should scan their

notes, textbooks and /or minds (but not dictionaries) and create a short

wordlist. Then in pairs or small groups they can repeat the activity.


This is a good game for teaching scan reading and alphabetical order when

using dictionaries. The revision or introduction of the grammatical

structures in a meaningful context is disguised since the students usually

see this is vocabulary game. Because it has a pretty tight structure and

build-up, its a good exercise for establishing the principle of

group/pairwork with a class that does not take readily to working in

different formats.


With some classes we have asked the students to analyze their own guessing

processes. Some students have written interesting short compositions on the

best guessing strategies.


|Grammar: |Second conditional |

|Level: |Lower to upper intermediate |

|Time: |30-45 minutes |

|Materials:|None |

In class

1. Ask a student to draw a head in profile on the board. Ask the student to

add eyes in the back of his head.

2. Give the students this sentence beginning on the board and ask them to

complete it using a grammar suggested:

If people had eyes in the back of their heads, then they

would/might/could/would have to (+ infinitive)

For example:

If people had eyes on the back of their heads they could read two

books at once (so two pairs of eyes).

3. Tell the students to write the above sentence stem at the top of their

paper and then complete it with fifteen separate ideas. Encourage the use

of dictionaries. Help students all you can with vocabulary and go round

checking and correcting.

4. Once students have all written a good number of sentences (at least ten)

ask them to form teams of four. In the fours they read each others

sentences and pick the four most interesting ones.

5. Each team puts their four best sentences on the board.

6. The students come up to the board and tick the two sentences they find

the most interesting. The team that gets the most ticks wins.


Students come up with a good range of social, medical and other hypotheses.

Here are some examples:

then they would not need driving mirrors.

they would make really good traffic wardens.

then you could kiss someone while looking away!


|Grammar: |Modals and present simple |

|Level: |Elementary to intermediate |

|Time: |30-40 minutes |

|Materials:|One large sheet of paper per student |

In class

1. Ask a student to draw a picture on the board of a person holding an

umbrella. The umbrella looks like this.

2. Explain to the class that this tulip-like umbrella design is a new,

experimental one.

3. Ask the students to work in small groups and brainstorm all the

advantages and disadvantages of a new design. Ask them to use these

sentence stems:

It/you can/cant

It/you + present simple

It/you will/wont

It/you may/may not

4. For example: It is easy to control in a high wind, You can see where

youre going with this umbrella

5. Give the students large sheets of paper and ask them to list the

advantages and disadvantages in two columns.

6. Ask the students to move around the room and read each others papers.

Individually they mark each idea as good, bad or intriguing.

7. Ask the student how many advantages they came up with and how many

disadvantages. Ask the students to divide up into three groups according

to which statement applies to them:

I thought mainly of advantages.

I thought of some of both.

I thought mainly of disadvantages.

8. Ask the three groups to come up with five to ten adjectives to describe

their group state of mind and put these up n the board.

9. Round off the exercise by telling the class that when de Bono asked

different groups of people to do this kind of exercise, it turned out

that primary school children mostly saw advantages, business people had

plenty of both while groups of teachers were the most negative.


Advantages the students offered:

In a hot country you can collect rain water.

It wont drip round the edges.

You can use it for carrying shopping.

Its not dangerous in a crowd.

Its an optimistic umbrella.

Its easy to hold if two people are walking together.

With this umbrella youll look special.

Itll take less floor space to dry.

This umbrella makes people communicate. They can see each other.

You can paint this umbrella to look like a flower.

Youll get a free supply of ice if it hails.


Listening to time

|Grammar: |Time phrases |

|Level: |Upper intermediate to very advanced |

|Time: |40-50 minutes |

|Materials |None |


Invite a native speaker to your class, preferably not a language teacher as

they sometimes distort their speech. Ask the person to speak about a topic

that has them move through time. This could be his country history. The

talk should last around twenty minutes. Explain to the speaker that the

students will be paying close attention not only to the content but to the

language form, too.

In class

1. Before the speaker arrives, explain to the students that they are to jot

down all the words and phrases they hear that express time. They don't

need to note all the words!

2. Welcome the speaker and introduce the topic.

3. The speaker takes the floor for fifteen to twenty minutes and you join

the students in taking language notes. If there are questions from the

students, make sure people continue to take notes during the questioning.

4. Put the students in threes to compare their time-phrase notes. Suggest

the speaker joins one of the groups. Some natives are delighted to look

in a speech mirror.

5. Share your own notes with the class. Round off the lesson by picking out

other useful and normal bits of language the speaker used that are not

yet part of your students idiolects.


One speaker mentioned above produced these time words: only about ten

years/there was a gap of nine years/ at roughly the same time/over the

next few hundred years/from 1910 until the present day/its been way back/

within eighteen month there will be/until three years ago/when I was back

in September


Choose the speaker who is about to go off on an important trip. In speaking

about this, some of the verbs used will be in a variety of forms used to

talk about the future.

Invite someone to speak about the life and habits of someone significant to

them, but two lives separately from them, say a grandparent. This topic is

likely to evoke a rich mixture of present simple, present continuos, will

used to describe habitual events, ll be ing etc.


To invite the learners to pick specific grammar features out of a stream of

live speech is a powerful form of grammar presentation. In this technique

the students present the grammar to themselves. They go through a process

of realization which is lot stronger than what often happens in their minds

during the type of grammar presentation required of trainees on many

teacher training courses. During the realization process, they are usually

not asleep.

Guess my grammar

|Grammar: |Varied+question form |

|Level: |Elementary to intermediate |

|Time: |55 minutes |

|Materials |None |

In class

1. Choose a grammar area the students need to review. In the example below

there are adjectives, adverbs and relative pronouns.

2. Ask each student to work alone and write a sentence of 12-16 words (the

exact length is not too important). Each sentence should contain an

adjective, and adverb and a relative pronoun, or whatever grammar youve

chosen to practise. For example: She sat quietly by the golden river

that stretched to the sea.

3. Now ask the students to rewrite their sentences on a separate piece of

paper, leaving in the target grammar and any punctuation, but leaving the

rest as blanks, one dash for each letter. The sentence above would look

like this:

--- --- quietly -- --- golden ----- that --------- -- --- ---.

While they are doing this ask any students who are not sure of the

correctness of their sentence to check with you.

4. Now ask the students to draw a picture or pictures which illustrate as

much of the meaning of the sentence as possible.

5. As students finish drawing, put them into groups of three. One person

shows the blanked sentence and the drawing, reserving their original

sentence for their own reference. The other should guess: Is the first

word the? or ask questions Is the second word a verb? etc. The student

should only answer yes or no. As they guess the words, they fill in

the blanks.

6. They continue until all the blanks are filled and then they do the other

two persons sentences.


Groups tend to finish this activity at widely different speeds. If a couple

of groups finish early, pair them across the groups, ask them to rub out

the completed blanked out sentences and try them on a new partner.


Ian Jasper originated this exercise. Hes a co-author of Teacher

Development: One groups experience, edited by Janie Rees Miller.

Puzzle stories

|Grammar: |Simple present and simple past interrogative forms |

|Level: |Beginners |

|Time: |30 minutes |

|Materials:|Puzzle story (to be written on the board) |


Ask a couple of students from an advanced class to come to your beginners

group. Explain that they will have some interesting interpreting to do.

In class

1. Introduce the interpreters to your class and welcome them.

2. Write this puzzle story on the board in English. Leave good spaces

between the lines :

There were three people in the room.

A man spoke.

There was a short pause.

The second man spoke.

The woman jumped up and slapped the first man in the face.

3. Ask one of the beginners to come to the board and underline the words

they know. Ask others to come and underline the ones they know. Tell the

group the words none of them know. Ask one of the interpreters to write a

translation into mother tongue. The translation should come under the

respective line of English.

4. Tell the students their task is to find out why the woman slapped the

first man. They are to ask questions that you can answer yes or no.

Tell them they can try and make questions directly in English, or they

can call the interpreter and ask the questions in their mother tongue.

The interpreter will whisper the English in their ear and they then ask

you in English.

5. Erase the mother tongue translation of the story from the board.

6. One of the interpreters moves round the room interpreting questions

while the other stays at the board and writes up the questions in both

English and mother tongue.

7. You should aim to let the class ask about 15-25 questions, more will

overload them linguistically. To speed the process up you should give

them clues.

8. Finally, have the students copy all the questions written on the board

into their books. You now have a presentation of the main interrogative

forms of the simple present and past.

9. After the lesson go through any problems the interpreters had-offer them

plenty of parallel translation.

The solution

The second man was an interpreter.

Further material

Do you know the one about the seven-year-old who went to the bakers? His

Mum had told him to get three loaves. He went in, bought two and came home.

He put them on the kitchen table. He ran back to the backers and bought a

third. He rushed in and put the third one on the kitchen table. The

question: Why? Solution: he had a speech defect and couldnt say th.

Word order dictation

|Grammar: |Word order at sentence level |

| |The grammar you decide to input in this example: |

| |reflexive phrases, e.g. to myself/by myself/in myself |

|Level: |Intermediate |

|Time: |20-30 minutes |

|Materials|Jumbled extracts (for dictation) One copy of Extract |

|: |from Sarahs letter per pair of students |

In class

1. Pair the students and ask one person in each pair to prepare to write on

a loose sheet of paper.

2. Dictate the first sentence from the Jumbled extracts. One person in each

pair takes it down.

3. Ask the pairs to rewrite the jumbled words into a meaningful sentence,

using all the words and putting in necessary punctuation.

4. Tell the pairs to pass their papers to the right. The pairs receiving

their neighbours sentences check out grammar and spelling, correcting

where necessary.

5. Dictate the second jumbled sentence.

6. Repeat steps 3 and 4.

7. When youve dictated all the sentences this way give out the original,

unjumbled Extract from Sarahs letter and ask the students to compare

with the sentences theyve got in front of them. They may sometimes have

created excellent, viable alternative sentences.

Jumbled extracts

1. Myself in absorbed more and more becoming am I find I

2. When mix I do other people me inside a confusion have I I find

3. David John and Nick as though I am me I do not feel when I walk through

the park with

4. Strange seems it and a role acting am I like feel I

5. Walk park myself talk aloud myself to I by the through I when

6. Completely feel content I

Extract from Sarahs letter

I find I am becoming more and more absorbed in myself.

When I do mix with other people I find I have a confusion inside me.

When I walk through the park with David, John and Nick, I do not feel as

though I am me.

I feel like I am acting a role and it seems strange.

When I walk through the park by myself I talk aloud to myself.

I feel completely content.

Grammar lessons Taking notes

Passive voice

During the lecture ask the students to note cases when we use passive:

1. In more formal contexts than active sentences.

For example: Your attention is drawn to Paragraph 6. (But note that

using got, usually makes the sentence less formal, for example: We got

beaten.They got married.)

2. when the agent is not clear.

For example: Their office was burgled.

3. or not important

For example: This cake was made from carrots.

4. or obvious

For example: They were all arrested.

5. to give emphasis to the passive subject and add weight to the message.

For example: A state of emergency has been declared.

6. to make our message more impersonal.

For example, as in a letter saying: No police action will be taken.

Read the following newspaper article and ask the students to:

. note down the six verbs that are in the passive

. suggest a possible reason for the use of the passive in this article.


|Schools and community groups will be the winners if the |

|world famous Philharmonia comes to town. |

|Negotiations are still under way to make Bedford the |

|orchestra's first British residency outside London |

|beginning in 1995, it has been confirmed. |

|What is being talked about is a strong educational |

|emphasis on the deal, which would see members of the |

|orchestra travelling into the community doing workshops |

|with school and other local groups in the borough. School|

|children will be invited in to the Corn Exchange for |

|afternoon rehearsals of the main concerts to be staged. |

|Massive alterations to the Corn Exchange are being |

|planned in tandem so that the orchestra, which was formed|

|in 1945, and the audiences watching them, will enjoy |

|superior back and frontstage facilities including new |

|sloped seating going from the stage to the present |

|balcony and a new auditorium. |


1. The six verbs in the passive are:

1. it has been confirmed

2. What is being talked about

3. School children will be invited

4. the main concerts to be staged

5. Massive alterations to the Corn Exchange are being planned

6. which was formed.

(Notice that there are five different forms of the verb be in these


2. The reason for so much use of the passive here could be that the events

which have occurred and those which are planned are more important than the

people behind them. It is also an informative article in a newspaper so

that some formality is more appropriate than it would be in a friendly

letter or in conversation.

Context and meaning

Lecture We'll turn now from context and grammar to the importance of

context for meaning. One aspect of meaning is the extent of meaning that a

word has. Imagine you are asked the meaning of the word chair. What do you

say? 'It's something you sit on', perhaps.What we need to know are the

boundaries of its use. Can you say chair for what you sit on in a train? In

a car? When milking? On a bike? In church? Suddenly all sorts of judgements

have to be made about whether you are going to introduce related words like

bench, stool, pew, seat, armchair.

So a simple question about a simple object leads into questions about its

use, and also what it must look like. Must a chair have a back? Legs? Arms?

This is important because although you may be able to translate chair, its

full range of meaning will never overlap 100% with its equivalent in

another language.

Now close your eyes and think white. If that's all I say, you are likely to

think of the colour white, perhaps on a wall or a shirt or paper. But if I

say white wine, you'll think of a yellow colour, or white people, a pinkish

colour, or a white lie, no colour at all. Clearly then, the meaning of

words often depends on the context.

| |

|In what different contexts could the speaker encountere |

|these words? See if you can find at least two different |

|contexts for each. |

|wings right-winger |

|term rate |

|bar |


Some of the possible contexts for these words are:

wings: theatre, bird or car

right-winger: football or politics

term: language, school or maths

rate: currency exchange, tax on housing, or speed of increase/decrease

bar: law, music or drinking.

You have just been thinking about different areas of meaning for the same

word. Sometimes these different areas depend on shared cultural assumptions

and usage. An example of this is a British Rail poster advertising their

Family Railcard, depicting a jungle with some monkeys playing in the trees.

The text under this poster reads:

|Grown-ups get 25% off rail fares. Your |

|little monkeys go for only 1.00. |

|Don't drag your feet (or your knuckles). A|

|family Railcard only costs 20 for a year |

|swing by and pick up a leaflet from any |

|main British Rail Station. |

Note different meanings of the words used here and their sense.


You would first need to establish that the usual meaning of all the words

was understood and then explain that monkeys can be used to refer to

children in English, that it carries the idea of naughtiness but that it's

used affectionately. To explain knuckles, you would have to refer to (or

demonstrate) how monkeys move, using their knuckles, and explain that

knuckles is substituting for the word feet in the phrase 'drag your feet'.

You would need to take the same approach to 'swing by'. It might be wise to

point out that the use of this sort of language can change quite quickly

and could become unfashionable in, say, ten years' time.

| |

|2. AAn advertisement for Remy Martin Champagne Cognac uses|

|three sentences suggesting that the consumers of the |

|product are very special. I have changed one word in each |

|to produce unusual collocations. Identify the word and |

|replace it with a word that collocates better. Ask another|

|person and see if they agree with you. |






2. You should have suggested:

1. vision: sight (vision doesn't collocate with land)

2. barbecue: party (barbecue doesn't collocate with throw)

3. applause: a (standing) ovation (applause doesn't collocate with


(Note that we need to add the indefinite article a, because ovation is a

count noun whereas applause is not.)

Bottom of Form 1

Subject matter lessons Taking notes

V The learners are watching a recorded university lecture on acid rain.

They are taking notes and will write a summary of the content, using

dictionaries (bilingual and monolingual as appropriate). Earlier the

teacher had elicited from them some of the key words used in the

lecture, their meaning and usage, and listed them on the board.

V Small groups of learners are trying to match some cut-out newspaper

headlines with the relevant articles. The teacher is going round

monitoring each group. Earlier they listened to, discussed and noted

some news items on the radio which introduced some of the vocabulary

they are encountering.

V Individual learners are scattered about outside the classroom asking

people pre-prepared questions about their opinions on a new sports

centre that is proposed in the area. They are talking in the

interviewees' mother tongue, and will then report their findings to the

rest of the class in English with the rest of the students taking notes

on the matter they present.

V Half the class are reading about the early life of a writer they have

chosen to study. The other half are reading about the same writer's

later life. They make notes of what they had learnt about unknown part

of writers life.In pairs they'll tell each other what they have found

out and then they'll each write an obituary.

V In small groups, the learners are looking at examples of different types

of text. Their aim is to identify what they are and note any differences

in style, formality, length, print-size, comprehensibility, grammar

patterns, etc. The examples include: a recipe, a newspaper article,

computer instructions, diary entries, an extract from a novel, a letter

to some English friends.


Each of the two methods has its own advantages and disadvantages and their

aims are quite different, thats why I included them both in this single

work. Games help students to relax, entertain and encourage them and help

to develop their communicative competence, while note-taking is a very

serious work demanding an amount of concentration and developing and

writing practice. Both of them are to be used in a write time and in a

write place. For some students games are a bit unserious while the other

part of students may find note-taking too fatiguing so the teacher must

take into account all these points. All in all with all these spots to

think over I find them necessary in teachers work. While some of the

methods are let be omitted by the teacher (like silent way, synthetic or

analytic (every teacher choose his own way to work with students)) the two

of these in my opinion must be included in the learning process. They act

like general concepts giving you a full lenth of technics to apply within

one method. They dont give strict directions of how to apply them but a

wide space for creative work.


French Allen, V. 1983. Techniques in teaching vocabulary. Oxford: Oxford

University Press.

Gear, J. and R. Gear. 1988. Incongruous visuals for the EFL classroom.

English Teaching Forum, 26, 2. pp.43.

Vocabulary picture puzzle. English Teaching Forum, 23, 4, pp. 41-42.

Gulland, D. M. and D. Hinds-Howell. 1986. The penguin dictionary of English

idioms. London: Penguin Books Ltd.

Haycraft, J. 1978. An introduction to English language teaching. Harlow:


Hubbard, P., H. Jones, B. Thornton, and R. Wheeler. 1983. A training course

for TEFL. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Lee, W. R. 1979. Language teaching games and contests. Oxford: Oxford

University Press.

Rixon, S. 1981. How to use games in language teaching. London: Macmillan

Publishers Ltd.

Mario Rinvolucri and Paul Davis.1992. More grammar games. Cambridge

University Press.

Abbott, G., D. McKeating, J. Greenwood, and P. Wingard. 1981. The teaching

of English as an international language. A practical guide. London:


Raimes, A. 1983. Techniques in teaching writing. New York: Oxford

University Press.

Games, Games, Games ( a Woodcraft Folk handbook sold in Oxfam shops in UK)

Berer, Marge and Frank, Christine and Rinvolucri, Mario. Challenge to

think. Oxford University Press, 1982.

Internet Key





This activity is particularly suitable for young learners

You can adapt this by preparing your own question sets for different

interrogative structures

This activity also works well with: present perfect+yet, like doing, like

having done, and modals

This activity can be adapted for use with all levels

This activity provides good skills practice in scan reading a dictionary



Mommy, where did I come from?