from past Tips to help with phonology:
But don't you mean...
A few weeks ago I mentioned the
value of spot the difference activities in helping to develop
an awareness of corrective prominence. See the Tip
'More than Meets the Eye'
Here are two more
When you have dealt
with the overall understanding of a text, tell the students
that you are going to recap the story & they must correct
you if you get it wrong. For example;
So, Nacho goes along to the restaurant.
Student: No, he goes along to the BAR.
Teacher: Oh yes, that's right. There he meets Josh.
Student: No, he meets BEN!
And so on. The students could
then take over. It makes a good student-student check on
the comprehension of a text as well as practice of corrective
stress. Once you start this with students you can always
slip the odd mistake into the classes which you know the
students will pick up on - lots of fun.
The other idea
is to give out sentence stems & as you read the stem out
the students then choose from three possibilities. The choice
depends on which word you have stressed. For example;
|Ben went to
the party yesterday....
|- not the
|- no Josh
|- not last
|BEN went to
the party yesterday .... not Josh.
|Ben went to
the PARTY yesterday ..... not the museum.
|Ben went to
the party YESTERDAY .... not last Friday.
Again, do a few
with the students & then, in pairs, one reads the stem
& the other says the continuation. You could then ask
them to write some new stems & continuations which they
hand to other pairs to practise with.
Helping your stds to sound more
Have you thought how monotone &
boring your students sound when they are involved in pair
& group work? This could be for a variety of reasons: the
activity might not be particularly interesting, there is no
genuine communication happening, the stds are tired, the activity
is too difficult or they might be concentrating on saying
the right words & forgetting about how they are saying it
- the intonation.
A simple way to help them with
this is to focus on pitch (sometimes called key). This is
the height of the voice & can be high (for interest, surprise,
shock etc.), mid (for information, neutral) or low (for boredom,
disinterest etc.) - it's all to do with how you feel about
what you're talking about.
Here are some ways of encouraging
the stds to sound more interested:
1. Explain that they sound uninteresting
& ask them how they would react to a speaker like that. If
they don't believe you then tape them & play it back to them.
2. Talk to your stds in the
same monotone way & they'll soon get the message!
3. As you monitor mimic them
& tell them to sound more interested.
4. Tape several short conversations
& the stds identify whether the speakers are using a high,
mid or low pitch. Then in threes, two stds read two line dialogues
& the third std identifies the pitch they are using - rotate
speakers & identifier to give all a go.
5. In listening activities focus
on the feelings of the speakers. A classic extensive task
is; how many speakers are there & what's the relationship
between them/how do they feel?
6. Put a sentence on the board
& stds say it together in different ways; surprised,bored,
7. Compare the pitch of your
stds native language with English. If they use a narrow range
in their own language then make them aware of the difference
8. Give out roleplays & not
only give the role but also how they should feel.
9. Mime roleplays - give stds
rolecards with a scene on it & three adjectives to incorporate
into the given scene - the stds practise & then mime the scene
in front of the class who try & guess the three adjectives.
10. Give an 'opposite mood'
roleplay: one std is happy about a few things & the other
is unhappy about the same things so they have to convince
each other to change to their mood. This is similar to the
activity 'Moaning Minnies' in Communication Games - Advanced
by Hadfield (Longman).
11. Informal/formal language
- play two conversations, one informal (usually higher pitch)
& the other formal (usually lower pitch) but the pitch is
wrong - stds discuss the differences - then they can have
the conversation with the script using the right pitch & carry
on the dialogues.
So it's not necessarily what
you say but the way you say it!
More than meets the eye
Do you ever do those 'Spot the difference'
activities that you find in the cartoon & quiz sections
of the newspaper? You've got two almost identical pictures
& you have to find the ten differences between the pictures.
You have probably
used them with your students as well. In pairs each student
has a picture & without looking at each others they have
to describe their picture, listen to their partner's description
& together they discover the differences. Excellent communicative
problem-solving oral practice. If the pictures contain vocabulary
recently covered then all the better. If you can't find any
of these games in newspapers they are easy to make as all
you need is a simple line drawing & some tippex.
They are also great
for practising 'prominence' - the stresses in utterances.
One of the functions of prominence is to help contrast or
correct information. This picture difference activity is ideal
for this. Have a look at this exchange:
Std A: I've got a man walking down a path.
Std B: No, in my picture it's a woman walking down the path.
Std A: OK, that's one difference. There's an airplane flying
Std B: Yes, from left to right.
Std A: No, from right to left.
Std B: OK, another difference.
Well, you hope they might come out with something like this.
The students are
correcting each other. It would be a good to point this function
of prominence out before they do the activity - awareness
is half the battle won, it is said. Fit the activity into
the theme or use it as a warmer or cooler.
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