20 Minutes Productive Skill Tasks That Fetch Results

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20 Minutes Productive Skill Tasks That Fetch Results

Postby C.Praveen » Sun, 16 Oct 2011 09:51:06 -0500

During my career as a Teacher Educator, I was often assigned the task of co-ordinating Spoken English/ Communicative English classes for the general public. The crowd which attend such Courses usually comprises people with wide differences in terms of age, motivation, interest and competence. Many who join the Course, assume that at the end of the Course which usually is for a duration of 150 instructional hours, they would be able to speak and write fluently. I also noticed that many of them who wished to improve had a tendency to be withdrawn and be passive participants.

Teachers of language know that if ones language skill is to improve, one should use it regularly. At its simplest it means Practice, Practice and Practice. As the faculty of a leading teacher training institution in Bangalore, I soon realized that if the participants do not show a marked improvement in their linguistic performance, they are likely to complain that the Course offered by my institution doesn’t fetch results. So I had to plan and implement certain strategies which ensured that the participants actually participate and get a feel that they have got something from the Institute and value for their money.

The following are the four tasks which I did every day during the Spoken English/ Communicative English Courses in addition to the use of printed task sheets supplied by the Institute where I taught. The strategy was a great success. I hope you too will find them useful.

Task 1: Maximum: 7 minutes
The teacher asks a simple question, the response may be in a word or a sentence. Eg; When did it last rain in the city? After the answer is given, the person who answered it should ask a simple question to his/her peer. [Eg; Where do you live?] A question each is asked by the teacher to all the participants- one at a time.
If the teacher can come up with a funny question, the group will find the session interesting too.
The advantage of using this strategy is that it will ensure that all those present during a particular instructional hour has spoken and also practices the skill of framing a question.

Task 2 : Maximum : 6 minutes
A volunteer is asked to give a speech on a topic to be given by the teacher. If there are no volunteers the teacher identifies a participant and informs that during the Course, the teacher will give the same activity for all the participants and one day or the other they will have to do it.

Next, the teacher gives a simple topic for delivering a speech. Eg. ‘Evening’. All the participants have to jot down a minimum of two sentences in a time limit of two minutes. [Here, caution them from writing sentences like ‘I like evening’, or ‘I play in the evening’ as the topic given is general in nature and personal impressions are to be avoided]

After two minutes, the volunteer is directed to read out what he/she has written and the participants listen. Then, those present who have written a different sentence are asked to read it out and the teacher corrects glaring mistakes. (Maximum 2 minutes).The volunteer is directed to note down good sentences being read out by his/her peers. Even the whole class can copy down good sentences.

Next, the volunteer is directed to come forward, face the class, introduce him/herself and speak for one minute on the topic. [Encourage the volunteer to speak from memory] Once the speech is delivered appreciate the speaker with a round of applause. Also tell the participants that back home they should practice delivering a speech on the same topic in front of a mirror.

The advantage of this activity is that the participants begin to develop a confidence to face an audience through shared learning.

Task 3 : Maximum:3 minutes
The teacher chooses two participants at random and asks them to give a word each which is written on the Blackboard.
Eg. ‘walk’, ‘morning’
Now the participants are asked to frame a grammatically correct sentence by combining the two.
Eg. ‘I walk in the morning’; ‘My neighbour hates to walk in the morning’.

The advantage of this activity is that it helps activate the Passive Vocabulary of the participants and gives them practice in sentence construction.

Note: At a later stage of the Course, the number of words for use in a single sentence can increase from two to four.

Task 4: Maximum: 4 minutes
Images minimum of A4 size are mounted on a Chart Paper and are numbered. Pairs of learners (or groups of learners) are asked to perform any task related to the picture. The tasks could be the following:

•Write an imaginary dialogue between the characters seen in the visual (During initial stages a single exchange would suffice)
•Describe the visual.

Next, the pair of learners or groups read out what they have written. While the answers are read out, marks are awarded by the other pairs/groups. The pair/group scoring the highest mark is given a round of applause.

The advantage of this activity is that the participants (particularly those not confident enough to work on their own) get an opportunity to learn from their peers. The visuals serve as a stimuli to generate language. There are several language tasks which can be given in the class using visuals, but only a few are mentioned above. Alternatively, visual materials downloaded from the Internet (both still and moving) can be used for teaching.

Though the twenty minutes required for the tasks mentioned above will appear to be encroaching into the original hours allotted for covering the prescribed topics of the Course, it need not be a matter of concern. For, after all, the tasks are aimed at generating language use and all the participants will have a sense of achievement... that they too can speak and write English!

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Re: 20 Minutes Productive Skill Tasks That Fetch Results

Postby lxguy » Wed, 18 Sep 2013 01:40:30 -0500

Thank you for your sharing the four tasks.Task-based language learning method is quite popular here in China.
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Re: 20 Minutes Productive Skill Tasks That Fetch Results

Postby shelleyvernon » Mon, 19 May 2014 11:22:25 -0500

The first of those activities is super if you have a small group but you would not have time to go around the class in 7 minutes with a bigger class, or one where students stumble and take time to answer the questions.

Here's an alternative speaking activity that involves the WHOLE class simultaneously and is good for basic language drilling such as question forms:


And this one is excellent as a writing drill for the whole class too:
http://www.teachingenglishgames.com/adu ... ndrill.htm

Have fun !
Shelley Vernon
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