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CREATING INTERESTING EXERCISES, AND MAKING BORING EXERCISES INTERESTING

CREATING INTERESTING EXERCISES, AND MAKING BORING EXERCISES INTERESTING
What IS interest?
Its very difficult to define. Its easiest to do so so by results, or symptoms of interest in the classroom: attention is voluntary + the learner is involved in doing the task + there is enjoyment
In this workshop Ill be looking at activities that provide practice in spelling, vocabulary and grammar, and exploring ways of increasing interest without an inordinate amount of preparation: tweaking rather than creating.
Spelling
We can take the words we want to practise the spelling of, ask students to learn them and then do a dictation

1. bicycle
2. because
3. people
4. independent
5. embarrassed
6. friend
7. encourage
8. privilege
9. building
10. enough

Or we can do a recall and share activity:
[Ask students to study the words for a minute and photograph them in their minds; then delete or hide the words and invite them to write down as many as they remember on their own; then let them share with neighbours and help each other to recall more and check spelling; finally show them the original list again for self-checking.]
Why the rise in interest?
Task involving clear, achievable goal with tangible result
Game-like challenge (task + constraints or rules)
Collaboration
Full participation
Success-orientation



Vocabulary (1)
afraid of
touch
competition
muscles
dolphin
wind
snow
international
disabled
twice
swim
freezing
therapy
connection
lie down



We can ask learners to make up a sentence contextualizing each word
Or we can ask them to do any of the following:
Make a sentence contextualizing two words
Make a true sentence from a word
Make an obviously false sentence
Make a negative sentence
Make up a story including them all
Why the rise in interest?
Challenge through using higher-order thinking skills:
convergent (logical, critical)
divergent (creative, lateral)
Some examples of convergent (critical) thinking

connecting
prioritizing
classifying
identifying causality / lack of causality
evaluating truth/falsehood
identifying inclusion / exclusion
detecting contradictions or tautologies
identifying logical necessity


Some examples of divergent thinking

Creative thinking:
associations
solutions to a problem
answers to a question
questions to an answer
Lateral thinking:
thinking of unusual or original solutions to problems
looking at things from an unconventional angle
breaking rules


Vocabulary (2)
jealous
disappointed
happy
amused
apathetic
hurt
angry
relaxed
excited
sad
doubtful
confident
afraid
tense

We can do a matching exercise
1. angry a. unhappy and angry because someone has something you want
2. sad b. feeling pleasure or satisfaction
3. jealous c. lacking interest or energy
4. confident d. having a strong feeling against someone or something that makes you want to shout or hurt them
5. tense e. unhappy or sorry
6. doubtful f. nervous, anxious, unable to relax
7. apathetic g. uncertain about something
8. happy h. sure or trusting
Or a sentence completion exercise:
1. I felt angry because_____________________________________________
2. I felt sad although_____________________________________________
3. I felt jealous when _____________________________________________
4. I felt confident so _____________________________________________
5. I felt tense although _____________________________________________
6. I felt doubtful because _____________________________________________
7. I felt apathetic so _____________________________________________
8. I felt happy when _____________________________________________

Why the rise in interest?
Logical relations (cause/result/opposition)
Personalization
Specific and concrete rather than general and abstract
Open-ended
(Deeper thinking about the target items, and more quantity of engagement with them)

Grammar (1): Present perfect
We can do a closed-ended sentence completion exercise:
Write sentences using the present perfect
Lina cant find her key; (lose).
Peter weighed 80 kilos before, now he weighs 60; (be on a diet).
Mark and Dana are delighted; (pass the test).
Becky wont be playing today; (break her leg).
Sam will be late; (have an accident).
We arent going on holiday after all;(change plans).

Or we can mutilate the textbook: delete the cue verb phrase, and allow students to invent their own endings.
What has happened?
Peter cant find his key.
Lina weighed 80 kilos before, now she weighs 60.
Mark and Dan are delighted.
Becky wont be playing today.
Sam will be late.
We arent going on holiday after all.

Why the rise in interest?
Open-ended:
o creativity
o originality
o humour
More participation
More focus on real situations
Critical thinking: causality, justification
(More quantity of engagement with the target feature)

Grammar (2): There is/are + prepositions
Make sentences with there is / there are about the picture
Ideas
Say sentences about the picture using the target feature
Achieve a set number of sentences (20? 30?)
Say as many sentences as you can in limited time (one minute/ two minutes)
Why the rise in interest?
Open-ended
Full participation
Task (clearly defined,achievable goal - outcome)
Game-like challenge
task + constraints (rules)
To summarize
Interest in doing a classroom activity can be identified in terms of its outcomes:
voluntary attention
enjoyment
active involvement in doing the activity
Some key features that are likely to produce boredom
Form-focused exercises
Closed-ended exercises
Low participation (IRF: activating one member of the class at a time)
Features that are not necessarily conducive to interest
interesting topic
(information-gap-based) communication
real-world relevance or authenticity


Features that are conducive to interest
1: Activation
Activate students in some kind of (even minimal) production rather than just reception
Activate most class members simultaneously
2. Open-endedness
Invite a large number of right responses
Encourage original, unusual responses
Be willing to mutilate the textbook
3. Tasks
Provide for a clear outcome as the task goal
Make sure this goal is obviously easily achievable
Have a feedback stage at the end
4. HOTS
Minimalize the use of LOTS (simple recall-based) exercises: closed-ended matching, gapfills, m/c
Use tasks that get learners to use HOTS: think critically or creatively
o Ask them to connect, contrast, classify, criticize, prioritize, identify causes / results, invent, problem-solve, innovate
5. Personal relevance
Get students to apply the target items to themselves
or to the real world as they know it (experiences, true / false statements, cultural differences)
6. Game-like features
Transform into a game by adding an artificial constraint to a task (time limit, not allowed to look, competition, guessing)

Try it out!
What might you do with this exercise to make it more interesting?
Practise questions: match questions to answers.

Are you a nurse? How are you? Whats your name? How old are you? Where are you from? Is today Thursday?

1. ________________________? Fine!
2. ____________________? No, it isnt.
3. ____________________________? Mexico.
4. ____________________________? Rita.
5. _____________________? Yes, I am.
6. ____________________________? Sixteen.


Further reading
Ur, P., & Wright, A. (1992). Five minute activities. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Ur, P. (1996). A course in language teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Ur, P. (2009). Grammar practice activities (2nd edition). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.



Create Date : 06 Ҿѹ 2554
Last Update : 6 Ҿѹ 2554 9:10:14 . 1 comments
Counter : 365 Pageviews.

 
very nice details about present perfect tense Thanks ФѺ


: س ⵹ ѹ: 19 ѹ¹ 2554 :14:24:33 .  

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