Jim Scrivener looks in detail at a question from Module 2 of the TKT – Lesson planning.
Try this question
For questions 1–3, match the learner activities with the teaching aims listed A, B, C or D. There is one extra option which you do not need to use.
A) to give practice in oral fluency
B) to develop the skills of peer correction
C) to recycle vocabulary
D) to give controlled practice of structures
1) Learners complete a gap-fill grammar exercise in a workbook.
2) Learners exchange workbooks and check their partner’s work.
3) Learners have a group discussion on a topic of their choice.
This question asks you to think about why particular activities might be used in class, i.e. what the aim is. To be able to answer this correctly you will need to know about the purposes of different kinds of classroom work – and some terminology to describe the activities and aims.
What you need to know
Oral fluency is the ability to speak naturally at a normal speed and without having too many hesitations or other problems that might make it hard for a listener to follow you. In class, teachers often set up activities such as discussions and games to encourage free speaking.
Peer correction is when students look at each other’s work to find errors (and perhaps help to improve their partner’s text).
When you recycle vocabulary you study items again that you have studied before. For example, perhaps a class learnt about words describing people’s appearance three weeks ago. If today the teacher does an exercise in class to remind the students of this previously studied language, she is recycling vocabulary.
Controlled practice is practice where the students have very little freedom to choose the language they will use or the ideas they will express. Controlled practice exercises are designed in this way in order to focus very precisely on specific language items. By not allowing the students very much freedom (and few chances to be creative), the teacher hopes that the task will help students to learn the particular language she wants to teach. Common controlled-practice activities are repetition drills (oral controlled practice) and gap-fill exercises (written controlled practice).
Controlled practice is also known as restricted practice. In some ways, this term makes the meaning clearer – i.e. the language available for the learner to use is in some way restricted. The learner cannot use any item of language they want to; instead, the exercise asks them to use only certain items in order to focus on a particular point. For example, a grammar exercise might have gaps instead of the auxiliary verbs have and has in some present perfect sentences. The students would need to decide which of these two words to write in each gap. The exercise is very focused so that it works on this one specific language problem.
The word structure is used to refer to grammar. It isn’t used to talk about vocabulary.
So what are the answers?
1D; 2B; 3A. The option which you do not need is C.
All of the example questions are taken from real TKT sample exams but have been shortened. They are reproduced with the kind permission of University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations.
- 4Currently reading
TKT Tip 03: Module 2 – Lesson planning
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