Chapter 9 Productive skills:

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Chapter 9 Productive skills: by Mind Map: Chapter 9 Productive skills:

1. A key technique will be to use ‘open questions’, rather than ‘closed questions’

2. • At the most basic level, your students are likely to be involved in taking down notes in lessons such as yours; this is a skill that is worth focusing on.

3. 4. Process writing

4. Much writing work in the classroom falls on a continuum of how much restriction, help and control is offered, from copying to unguided writing.

4.1. 1. Copying

4.2. 2. Doing exercises:

4.3. 3. Guided writing

4.4. 5. Unguided writing

5. 1 Approaches to speaking

5.1. • Topic and cues

5.1.1. In planning the lesson, it would be a good idea to prepare a number of further cues (eg a follow-on article or question) to keep in reserve in order to move the discussion forward if it starts to drag.

5.2. • Structuring talk

5.2.1. Your main role will be to structure the talk, making sure that all learners get a chance to participate, trying to prevent it getting boring, occasionally adding to the discussion itself in order to keep it interesting.

5.3. • Avoiding the talk–talk loop

5.3.1. you will usually get far more conversation out of a class by asking one clear question and then shutting up – and patiently allowing even quite a long silence, while learners formulate what they want to say.

5.4. • Open questions

5.5. • Playing devil’s advocate

5.5.1. One useful intervention you can make is to sometimes play ‘devil’s advocate’ (ie deliberately taking an opposing or contrasting viewpoint in order to spur on conversation).

5.6. Activities that lead to fluency and confidence

5.6.1. 1 Learners repeat sentences you say.

5.6.2. 2 At the start of the lesson, learners chat with you about their weekend plans.

5.6.3. 3 Learners look at a list of hints and tips for making business presentations.

5.6.4. 4 Learners listen to a recording and practise repeating words with the same difficult vowel sound.

5.6.5. 5 Learners work in pairs and agree their list of the best five films of all time.

5.6.6. 6 Learners listen to and study a recording of a social conversation.

5.6.7. 7 Learners prepare a monologue about their hobbies and then give a five-minute speech to the whole class.

5.6.8. 8 Learners learn by heart a list of useful chunks of language they can use in conversations.

5.7. Ways to start a lively discussion

5.7.1. 1 Small talk at the start of the lesson: the whole class chats about recent events.

5.7.2. 2 You write a controversial question based on the day’s news on the board.

5.7.3. 3 Pairs of learners have different pictures cut from today’s newspaper (which they don’t show each other).

5.7.4. 4 Everyone is given the name of a famous person (which they keep secret).

5.8. A few keys to getting a good discussion going

5.8.1. • Frame the discussion well

5.8.2. • Preparation time

5.8.3. • Don’t interrupt the flow

5.8.4. • Specific problems are more productive than general issues

5.8.5. • Role cards

5.8.6. • Buzz groups

5.8.7. • Break the rules

5.9. How to organise learners in speaking tasks

5.9.1. • make eye contact with those they are speaking to;

5.9.2. • hear clearly what the other person / people are saying;

5.9.3. • be reasonably close together.

6. 2 Communicative activities


6.1.1. The aim of a communicative activity in class is to get learners to use the language they are learning to interact in realistic and meaningful ways, usually involving exchanges of information or opinion

6.2. Communicative activities

6.2.1. 1 Repeating sentence that you say

6.2.2. 2 Doing oral grammar drills

6.2.3. 3 Reading aloud from the coursebook

6.2.4. 4 Giving a prepared speech

6.2.5. 5 Acting out a scripted conversation

6.2.6. 6 Giving instructions so that someone can use a new machine

6.2.7. 7 Improvising a conversation so that it includes lots of examples of a new grammar structure

6.2.8. 8 One learner describes a picture in the textbook while the others look at it.

6.3. Pyramid discussion

6.3.1. 1 Introduce the problem, probably using a list on the board or on handouts.

6.3.2. 2 Start with individual reflection – learners each decide what they think might be a solution.

6.3.3. 3 Combine individuals to make pairs, who now discuss and come to an agreement or compromise. If you demand that there must be an agreed compromise solution before you move on to the next stage, it will significantly help to focus the task.

6.3.4. 4 Combine the pairs to make fours; again, they need to reach an agreement.

6.3.5. 6 When the whole class comes together, see if you can reach one class solution.

7. 3 Role play, real play and simulation

7.1. Writing role cards

7.1.1. 1 You believe that meat-eating is natural for humans and that vegetarians are missing out on an important part of their diet.

7.1.2. 2 You have been vegetarian for six years because you believe it is healthier.

7.1.3. 3 You like the taste of meat, but don’t eat it for moral reasons, as you feel it is wrong to kill animals.

7.2. 5 Join each four with another four or – in a smaller class – with all the others.

7.3. Adding a missing role card

7.3.1. 1 You are a store detective. You can see a suspicious-looking person at a clothes rail who appears to be putting something into her bag.

7.3.2. 2 You bought a sweater from this shop yesterday, but you have brought it back because it is too small.

7.3.3. 3 You are a shop assistant. You have just noticed a customer coming in who was very rude to you yesterday.

8. 4. Fluency, accuracy and communication

8.1. Student views on speaking tasks

8.1.1. 1 But I don’t want to talk to other students. They speak badly. I just want to listen to you speak.

8.1.2. 2 I speak a lot, but what is the point if you never correct me? I will never improve.

8.1.3. 3 You should be teaching us – not just letting us talk. That’s lazy teaching.

8.1.4. 4 I don’t need to speak. Teach me more grammar. I will speak later.

8.1.5. 5 There’s no point doing this task if we use bad English to do it.

8.1.6. 6 This is just a game. I paid a lot of money and now I have to play a game.

8.2. Ideas for correction work after a fluency activity

8.2.1. • Write up a number of sentences used during the activity and discuss them with the students.

8.2.2. • Write a number of sentences on the board. Ask the students to come up to the board and correct the sentences.

8.2.3. • Invent and write out a story that includes a number of errors you overheard during the activity.

8.3. Scaffolding

8.3.1. • does not interfere too much with the flow of conversation;

8.3.2. • offers useful language feedback;

8.3.3. • actually helps the speaker to construct his conversation.

8.4. Scaffolding techniques

8.4.1. • Showing interest and agreeing: nodding, ‘uh-huh’, eye contact, ‘yes’, etc;

8.4.2. • Concisely asking for clarification of unclear information, eg repeating an unclear word;

8.4.3. • Encouragement echo: repeating the last word (perhaps with questioning intonation) in order to encourage the speaker to continue;

8.4.4. • Echoing meaning: picking on a key element of meaning and saying it back to the speaker, eg ‘a foreign holiday’;

8.4.5. • Asking conversation-oiling questions (ones that mainly recap already stated information), eg Is it? Do you? Where was it? etc;

9. 5. Different kinds of speaking

9.1. Varieties of speech genre

9.1.1. • Giving an academic lecture

9.1.2. • Telling a joke

9.1.3. • Greeting a passing colleague

9.1.4. • Making a phone enquiry

9.1.5. • Chatting with a friend

9.1.6. • Explaining medical problems to a doctor

9.1.7. • Giving military orders

9.1.8. • Negotiating a sale

9.1.9. • Giving street directions

9.2. Why is genre important?

9.2.1. it’s apparent that choice of genre is a vital decision a speaker makes before she proceeds with almost any speaking act.

9.2.2. A learner of a language needs to learn not just words, grammar, pronunciation, etc, but also about appropriate ways of speaking in different situations – which may be significantly different in the target language culture compared with their own

9.3. Factors involved in speech acts

9.3.1. • Being aware of appropriate topics and style for the context

9.3.2. • Speaking spontaneously with limited / no preparation time before speaking

9.3.3. • Coping with unpredictable responses

9.3.4. • Showing interest in the person speaking

9.4. Stages in a speaking lesson

9.4.1. • plan how they will do the task;

9.4.2. • rehearse parts (or all) of it;

9.4.3. • hear examples of competent speakers doing the same task;

9.4.4. • get input from you on possible structures, phrases, vocabulary, etc;

9.4.5. • reflect on how well they did the task after they finish;

9.4.6. • replan or revise their original ideas;

9.4.7. • have another go at doing the task a second (third?) time.

10. 6. Approaches to writing

10.1. • Writing involves a different kind of mental process

10.2. Writing in the classroom

10.2.1. • Many students have specific needs that require them to work on writing skills

10.2.2. • It can give you a break, quieten down a noisy class, change the mood and pace of a lesson, etc.

10.3. Planning classroom writing work

10.3.1. 1. Introduce the topic

10.3.2. 2. Introduce and summarise the main writing task.

10.3.3. 3. Brainstorm ideas

10.3.4. 4. Fast-write

10.3.5. 5. Select and reject ideas

10.3.6. 6. Sort and order ideas

10.3.7. 7. Decide on specific requirements: style, information, layout, etc

10.3.8. 8. Focus on useful Models

10.3.9. 9. Plan the text

10.3.10. 10. Get feedback

10.3.11. 11. Prepare draft(s):

10.3.12. 12. Edit:

10.3.13. 13. Prepare final text

10.3.14. 14. Readers!

11. 7. Writing in class

11.1. Brainstorming

11.1.1. • Write the topic or title in a circle in the middle of the board.

11.1.2. • Tell students to call out anything that comes to mind connected with the topic.

11.1.3. • Write up everything on the board.

11.1.4. • There should be no discussion or comments (especially derogatory ones!) – just ideas.

11.2. Text-starts

11.2.1. Supplying ‘text-starts’ can be a good way to provide useful writing work for students and practise reading / writing skills that are useful in professional life and academic research.

11.3. Fast-writing

11.3.1. • start writing about the topic;

11.3.2. • not stop writing;

11.3.3. • not put their pen down at all;

11.3.4. • not worry about spelling, grammar, etc;

11.3.5. • write ‘um, um, um’ or ‘rubbish’ or something else if they can’t think of what to write;

11.3.6. • not stop to go back and read what they have written;

11.3.7. • keep writing till you say ‘stop’ (which will be after five / eight / ten minutes or however long you think is appropriate for your group).