How to correct students’ mistakes in speaking
- Tips & Strategies
How many words in English are used in chunks?
The answer is up to 70% of everything we say. That is why teaching students individual words doesn’t seem to be effective.
Learners encounter language chunks at all levels — from A1 to C2. ‘Have breakfast’, ‘go to work’ are examples from lower-level course books. ‘Peer pressure’, ‘my hands are tied’ could be found in higher level ones. I would like to share some activities that my colleagues and I use to practise those common groups of words.
Let’s start with lower-level classes. After completing the unit where some language chunks were presented, learners need practice. The following activity provides controlled practice of the target language. Students work in pairs. Student A says the beginning of the phrase and student B has to finish it with the words which student A has got printed in bold. Then it is student B’s turn to begin, and student A finishes the expression.
For any level classes a reading passage can be used for learning the target groups of words in context. Students are asked to identify and underline lexical chunks in the text. Let’s look at the example:
The condition of our bodies is something we all know is important. Keeping fit is something that most of us try to do, and going on a diet is easy enough when we become overweight. It is also important to have regular check-ups, especially if you do a lot of exercise. However, we all occasionally suffer from an illness and visit our doctor. He will probably take your temperature and will prescribe pills to cure the problem. But what if you went to a doctor and he then began to stick still needles into your skin? I think most of us would consider this a very painful way to get cured.
However, acupuncture is used to treat many illnesses, and often cures back pain and headaches. People who broke an arm or a leg can get great relief from pain with this method, …
Students underline the chunks of the language. You can see them in bold in the example.
After that, you could ask the learners to match the parts of the chunks for practice.
2. go on
3. suffer from
regular check ups
an illness; a pain
a lot of exercise
Some other possible activities are:
Fill in the gaps with the first part of the collocations.
Use them in the correct form.
The condition of our bodies is something we all know is important. 1.___________fit is something that most of us try to do, and 2. __________ a diet is easy enough when we 3. ________overweight. It is also important to 4. ______ regular check-ups, especially if you 5. ________ a lot of exercise. However, we all occasionally 6. ________ an illness, and visit our doctor. He will probably 7._______your temperature and will 8.___________ pills to 9.________ the illness. But what if you went to a doctor and he then began to stick steel needles into your skin? I think most of us would consider this a very painful way to get cured.
However, acupuncture is used to 10.________many illnesses, and often 11._________ back pain and headaches. People who 12._______ an arm or a leg can get great relief from pain with this method, …
The odd one out. Cross out one word which doesn’t collocate with the verb in each group.
Using charts. Tick the appropriate boxes.
There are a lot of activities that could be used to practise chunks of the language, such as:
Use this effective way of teaching vocabulary.
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