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"Creative" ways to teach the difference between tw
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Augustus



Joined: 16 Oct 2012
Posts: 98

PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2014 10:17 pm    Post subject: "Creative" ways to teach the difference between tw Reply with quote

Hello

I'm in the process of tackling the task of finding a creative way to teach the difference between two similar sounding words (for instance practical and practice) , which in fact have nothing in common.

At the moment I am thinking along the lines of asking the class to define them as they are intermediate level so hopefully would be able to do this. Then ask them to come up with examples of each for instance practical - likes to do things with the hands / gets on with the task. Then compare to the word practice; to work on a skill repeatedly. This would take around 2 / 3 mins of time. Then I'm thinking maybe I could organise a activity such as snap; the two words in different places in the room and print off pictures of different actions

practical - person doing woodwork / clearly defined list of rules

vs

practice - child writing slowly and carefully - reading the alphabet

Please note this is not the actual set activity I've been asked to do, I am not looking to plagerise or steal work from someone else - links to ideas would be great. Plus its not the best example due to the practise / practice element but its what I can come up with at this moment.

Thank you for any advice
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 13 Mar 2005
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Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 9:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can I ask who's set you this activity or task? Is it for something like a job interview? If so, it would be better that you submit your own ideas (even if that means you don't get the job). Some things have to be learnt and appreciated through experience, after all, and you wouldn't want to misrepresent yourself, would you?

All I can really suggest for now is that you invest in some books on vocabulary and how to teach it, or at least consult a number of dictionaries for a better or wider range of definitions, examples, contexts, and thus possible activities. TBH your ideas seem a little hazy and weak at the moment LOL. I did by the way post some findings and practical suggestions here weeks ago, but as you haven't replied, I've deleted them (and see also my first paragraph!).
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Augustus



Joined: 16 Oct 2012
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2014 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello

Thank you for your suggestions - I didn't get chance to make any notes as I had a temporary family issue which may have meant I wouldn't be able to consider going to summer school anyway. But have a lot of thought I've decided that this is something I've wanted to do (teach, abroad) for such a long time that I'm going to be selfish and at least throw my hat in the ring.

The example I gave is not the one given in the task nor is it particularly similar - as I said I am looking for ideas more on the "creative" side as I can justifiably say that Augustus, the guinea pig has more creative talent than me.
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 13 Mar 2005
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2014 6:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So you not only didn't post the actual task, you didn't even post a particularly similar or well thought out one, yet you want others to sweat it and tell you how to "teach vocabulary creatively" LOL. But I'll try to be helpful (as ever).

Some elementary ideas here (note particularly Heath's list):
http://forums.eslcafe.com/teacher/viewtopic.php?t=9904

And FWIW, here's how I tackled your non-activity.

Quote:
The two example words you've given (perhaps just off the top of your head) share etymology, so that's at least one thing they have in common. On the other hand, do they really sound that similar? (I mean, one has an extra syllable). Leaving all that aside however, I'm not sure why you'd seek potentially vague definitions (though consulting a good thesaurus such as the Oxford Concise or Paperback can be useful for establishing broad semantic if not always quite pragmatic synonyms) when there are a number of clearer options:

Translation into the language(s) of the student(s)

Parts of speech, in rough frequency order (codes are from the Longman DoCE):
practice = noun, S2W3
practice (US) vs. practise (UK) = verb, S3W3
practical = adjective, S3W2; noun

Examples, contexts, collocations (for last see esp http://ozdic.com ). Here are some starting suggestions for core usages (alter the phrasing and supply sufficient non-technical examples if giving the activities more to students than completing them yourself LOL):

What activities or things can you practise (or ~ doing, ~ for, ~ on)? Superordinate/umbrella terms (e.g. musical instruments) will help you think, but it's best if your examples get down to suborindate specifics (e.g. the piano; scales; Beethoven's sonatas). Check your possible answers in any learner dictionary (or their free online versions). Can you think of any adverbs or adverbials to place after this verb?

What compound nouns can you form by placing other nouns before or after the noun 'practice'?

And what adjectives might come before the noun 'practice'?

Is there anything that you are rusty at or out of practice regarding?

Some sayings: Practice makes perfect; Practise/practice what you preach. Are there equivalents in the language(s) of the student(s)?

Next, try to think of ideas or things that are or were 'more practical' versus 'not very practical' or 'a bit impractical'. Some examples (drawn from the Longman Language Activator First and Second editions (LLA1, 2), the Cambridge International Dictionary of English (CIDE), the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary 6th edition (OALD6), and the Macmillan English Dictionary First edition, American English version (MED1). The OALD6 I'm referring to is in e-dictionary format, which I can search for every occurrence of a word, so not all its examples may be from the actual entries for the words that concern us here. I've indicated when this is the case, by adding: at 'this other word'):

Emma always gets us practical Christmas presents - last year she got us a kettle. (LLA1)

research/subjects of no practical use (MED1)

It's not that fast or stylish, it's just a solid, practical car. (LLA1)

Let's be practical and work out the cost first. (OALD6)

We'd like to have a dog but we're out at work all day so it's just not practical. (LLA1)

Darker colours are more practical and don't show stains. (OALD6, at 'dark')

Silk clothes are so impractical because you can't put them in the washing machine. (CIDE)

A lot of men just pretend to be impractical around the house so that women do their work for them. (CIDE)

The report was strong on criticism, but short on practical suggestions. (OALD6, at 'strong: be strong on sthg')

Telling people to avoid any exposure to the sun is impractical advice. (LLA2)

So in terms of the everyday (well, at least Western everyday), things like types of clothing (and its colours), cars, utensils and the like, and ideas or advice can be practical or impractical.

Finally, try to think of more nouns that the adjective 'practical' might premodify (come before), perhaps looking in a dictionary for examples. And what adverbs can come before 'practical'?

I haven't given examples for the verb 'practise/practice' or especially for the noun 'practice' as the grammar is a bit more involved (again, see ozdic link above), but it should be relatively easy for you to draw up lists or categories of things that one can practise or that form compound nouns etc etc (as per the other questions posed above). One way of presenting or practising further examples could be pictures with form prompts (and if you can't think of examples, again, dictionaries, or corpora like the BNC or COCA @ BYU [I've posted instructions before on how to use this resource] will be helpful).

Production-oriented, thesaurus-like dictionaries such as the Language Activator are useful in that they include words or phrases especially from informal speech, which may help students express themselves in fuzzier but more relaxed-sounding ways. For example, it might sound better to say that a car is simply 'handy' or 'good' or 'useful' for getting around town, rather than that it is 'practical' or 'convenient' or whatever; or that a plain folding table, while nothing to look at, is handy or good for storing away and then for bringing out at parties rather than practical for those reasons, and so on.

Hope this helps, and sorry if it isn't "creative" enough. I'm just trying to show you how I research the language for notional areas and possible activity ideas, and thereby give you something a bit more concrete and detailed to work from.

Again, no reply for weeks=I delete all this stuff again.
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Augustus



Joined: 16 Oct 2012
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2014 12:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I didn't want to cheat as although I think I would love to get this job, it could be hellish if I wasn't able to offer them what they hoped. Plus I wouldn't get as much as I could from it in terms of learning to teach.

I've applied for a summer school in the hope that if I should get a few weeks teaching experience under my belt, I will suffer less in the initial months when I do get a job (hopefully Korea, but open to negotiation). This is one task of six that they asked me to complete to get into the next stage of the application process.

The actual task request is:

Describe a creative way to teach the difference between sensible and sensitive to an intermediate class?

I would begin the class by asking the students to define the difference between a mental state and a emotional state in relation to themselves. Then focusing on one aspect of the two I would one of the words, offering a simple definition.

As the words are quite similar I would point out parts of each of the words to highlight the difference : sensible = could be said to be boring vs sensitive = touch, feelings

I would then offer a range of silly or very unwise contexts to consider along with the same for sensitive (via You tube, actual realia) which I would ask they respond with Yes / No. Initially by shouting out as a group and becoming more complicated, in smaller groups / alone.

The above is not particularly creative, its pretty much the way taught on my CELTA.

I actually have 200 words in which to tackle each question and the above is over that so I looking at ways to cut down too.

Any comments appreciated.

Augustus
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 13 Mar 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2014 8:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Although those two words might to some "sound the same", and are false friends in Italian (i.e. English and Italian both have the word 'sensible', but in Italian that apparently means 'sensitive'), I've never quite understood a lot of these 'teach the difference between' exercises (right corker here: http://forums.eslcafe.com/teacher/viewtopic.php?t=2229&highlight=banana ). I think they make the teacher and the students "think" too much and work "too hard" but for little practical linguistic gain. So again, I would point you to dictionaries and collocations to gain a better understanding of what people actually say, how they actually use those words. A very brief look in just the COBUILD Learner's Dictionary produced the following:

Oh come on, let's be sensible about this.
Wear loose clothing and sensible footwear.
Young people can be very sensitive about their appearance.
sensitive subjects, issues, documents
very sensitive scientific equipment


To give a brief example of how you might approach the word 'sensitive', how about drawing a picture of scientists taking radiation, tectonic, EVP, whatever readings. You zoom in on the meter needle jumping from zero to max at the slightest signal. Or maybe you show a girl who is very concerned about her looks, and somebody tells her "You look very pretty today" and she bursts into tears and runs off screaming. Either thing (but esp. the scientific equipment) could be described as 'very sensitive' and lead into the other and more.

You are right that there is a mental/think "versus" emotional/feel aspect to the (some) definitions of the words, but I think these need to be separated from the (possibly quite unthinking, unfeeling) USE of the words. Just because we might say that somebody is sensitive about their looks or height doesn't mean or imply that we are ourselves wringing our hands with anxiety on their behalf, for example. (One could be dismissive or even contemptuous of the feelings the other has). And your 'sensible = could be said to be boring', while interesting from the POV of connotation (versus denotation), could fly right over a tired or impatient reader's head. So again, you aren't really giving me much idea of how these items are actually used.

My advice would therefore again be to get some examples and contexts lined up and only then start to think about how you might creatively present those examples and contexts. There is the "risk" of course that the examples speak too much for themselves, leave little room for doubt or creativity, but I'd find it ironic if teacher posturing and hand-waving began to take precedence, merely to make the teacher look creative and busy enough. (This isn't so much a criticism of you but of what the task would seem to be demanding). Yes, vocabulary sometimes needs to be engaged with a bit more deeply (and this is where stuff like connotation can indeed come in), but if you aren't ultimately giving the students much more than opinion dressed up as fact to go on then I don't see where the language learning is quite taking place. (I wouldn't be so glib as to say that students should just go read a dictionary instead, but I do think teachers should be mining 'em and distilling the best findings for their and their students' convenience and benefit). Why re-invent or re-write the definition parts of a dictionary but leave the actual examples out so much? Why not make them your starting point?

Your idea of using YT clips and having students shout out Yes or No to "Is X sensible?" or "Is Y sensitive?" (clips of Eastenders goons endlessly shouting at their wives about whatever? One might be more inclined to sum such goons up as 'horrible' or 'morons' say than [in]sensitive lol) could work, but it may be tougher than you think to find enough short n clear contexts. Plus you'd then have the logistics of setting up a PC screen large enough for all to see (unless you burn the scenes to DVD or something). Ultimately it sounds like a lot of incidental work to just confirm the meanings of a few words.

None of this may help you to complete the application, but I'd be surprised if the interviewers would quite argue against the points I'm making LOL.


Last edited by fluffyhamster on Tue Apr 29, 2014 11:37 am; edited 1 time in total
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Augustus



Joined: 16 Oct 2012
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2014 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks - hoping to finish this sometime this evening. I'll post what I eventually end up submitting. Its really given me some food for thought.

Well I finished that question .... and now I have to tackle another on relative clauses:

Describe a challenging activity for a group of advanced 14-16 year olds to extend their use of defining and non-defining relative clauses.


This is what I have come up with so far.

Following a quick review of the concepts I would set up games similar to “Guess Who”, splitting the class into groups of around 3 individuals and ask them to develop a description of a well known person (although I would provide possible candidates, along with personality traits), on a large sheet of paper illustrating as many defining and non-defining relative clauses in different colours. The other groups' will attempt to guess the name of the person concerned. The group who manages to find the most relative clauses will receive a momentary reward for each one successfully executed.

I'm not particularly happy as the two clauses are not differentiated, plus it doesn't seem particularly challenging to me.

I beginning to think they're using the interview process to develop their own textbooks.

Augustus
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Augustus



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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 11:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bump!
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 13 Mar 2005
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Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2014 2:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Textbook writers have whole galleys of monkeys chained to typewriters and fed a diet of only the best Peter and Jane, along with just the occasional snippet of Shakespeare. So they don't need to trawl teaching sites to come up with piffling fare. I thought everyone knew that!

I guess the quiz-style activity you'd run arguably "extends the students' use" of both types of RC. (If they'd wanted you to actually teach something yourself, they should've said LOL). Whether or not the students', even advanced ones', examples will be functionally convincing is another matter though. And why limit things to well-known people (there are many interesting or unusual~rareish words in the dictionary: aardvark, abalone, abbatoir/slaughterhouse, abdicate, abominable snowman/yeti, etc etc etc). Then there are a number of things* that seem to conspire to thwart or circumvent RP use (I guess the natural tendency is to avoid complexity wherever possible), one of which may be fame (i.e. being too well-known a thing):

(QW Who/)He** (was the actor** < RP (W)ho) played Achilles** in the movie Troy(?).
(A) You mean Brad Pitt?

Lastly, I must say I quite like H&P's 'integrated' (necessarily ~) versus 'supplementary' terms for (to replace) defining versus non-defining. Cf. identifying, restrictive (etc?).

*A quick list of items that compete with RCs: attributive adjectives (before the noun); participles (usually in reduced relative clauses); prepositional phrases, following the noun; question words.
**All of these are potential giveaways in quiz terms!
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Augustus



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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 10:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

*sigh*

LOL the monkeys! I can believe it, they definitely wrote the french text books I learned from.

I still haven't been able to come up with a challenging activity to address both issues of defining and non-defining relative clauses.......

This is all I've got, hopefully everything else I've covered will make up for it and make it a reasonable appl. Even if I am not considered its given me loads to consider.

Describe a challenging activity for a group of advanced 14-16 year olds to extend their use of defining and non-defining relative clauses.

Following a quick review of the concept of relative clauses to ensure they understand the difference between the two types of sentence, I would set the group a writing task. They must construct a written description of a person whom they admire or someone they think others would like to know about, using as many relative clauses as they can, but without actually mentioning the name or giving away too many details regarding the person they are referring too. I would prime the group by asking them to describe traits they like in others and give them a short period of time to use reference books or the internet, if possible to develop their description.
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fluffyhamster



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PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2014 12:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, here's what I'd do off the top of my head. I'd pick a well-known story or movie and supply a few examples to give the students some idea of what they could then start doing. Such as, Titanic (I know that isn't that recent but at least it's pretty well-known, and thus suitable for the purposes of this illustrative discussion at least. If you did this activity for real, you'd be best to quickly ask the students the week or so before to e.g. "Please indicate [tick] which of the following recent movies you've seen: ..... . If you've seen none of these, then please write what other movies you've seen in the several blank 'Other: _____' spaces at the bottom of the page."):

The Titanic, which they'd said was unsinkable, obviously wasn't.
(*The Titanic which they'd said was unsinkable obviously wasn't).

The band, who were complete madmen I mean professionals, played on while the ship sank.
(*The band who were complete madmen I mean professionals played on while the ship sank).

Rose, who had never let her hair down before, had the time of her life with Jack.
(As Adam and Joe's Toytanic says, "Being poor is wonderful!").

The dastardly boyfriend, who by the way had awful halitosis, lost no time in seeing a good dentist once on land again.

Jack, who'd once been a champion lifeguard in Alaska, lasted longer in the icy water than most.

Jack was accompanied on the voyage by his girlfriend Gertrude, (who was) a mean gambler.

Rose, who took up an enormous amount of space on that piece of wood, really should've gone on a diet before the ill-fated voyage.


.....

The guard who shot himself used a Webley revolver.
(??The guard*, who shot himself, used a Webley revolver).

The guy who handcuffed Jack has been in loads of horror movies.
(??The guy*, who handcuffed Jack, has been in loads of horror movies).

The waiter who served the champagne at the dinner party had the most impressive handlebar moustache ever committed to celluloid. I mean, he'd tied the ends into his cummerbund, for pity's sake!

The guy who spotted the iceberg was given a medal and a promotion.

The child that the dastardly boyfriend grabbed to get into the lifeboat was/is my sister (she's still an actress).



Obviously a number of these have been made up. Very Happy And I've not bothered re-watching the film to "fact-check". Anyway, the students could have a lot of fun telling which of the opposing team's statements are true (there should be a few true 'uns just to keep everyone on their toes!) versus more obviously false (which is where the most fun is to potentially be had, in creating and relaying quite silly examples). Then, the examples are somewhat jumbled (they're just in the order that I thought of them), so a pre- or additional task might be to put them in the correct order plot-wise. There are actually more examples here than are really needed (perhaps thus "robbing" the students of ideas or rather opportunities of their own), so you might like to limit the teacher examples to just 2 or 3 at most per RC type.

Note how there is (to my mind, at least) more creative focus in the supplemental clause in the non-defining examples, compared to the focus on the predicate (i.e. whatever is following and complementing the whole relativized noun phrase) in the defining/integrated examples (not that the ultimate predicate isn't at all important in the non-defining examples!). And textbooks often make a point of stating that supplementary clauses could be removed with little effect on comprehension, while integrated clauses can't be (though to demonstrate this, it might be more [un]communicatively effective to start with examples that have had previously integrated parts removed already than to show a perfectly whole example and only then remove that part LOL - "Pretend you didn't see the beating heart of this live specimen, and that you thus have no idea which one I mean when I quickly operate a bit more on it then throw it in where it'll then belong, amongst a pile of already heartless dead ones").

Anyway, I think the key thing with especially defining RC spoken practice is to think of situations where there were lots of similar-looking people, with a few individuals doing certain memorable actions they can then be recalled and defined by. From that we extrapolate to talking about people who are unique enough but whom the listener may not be that familiar with yet or have even see - defining them just serves to help clarify them in relation to you by means of (re)stateable actions etc.

Might not be everyone's or the interviewer's cup of tea, but it's the sort of thing I'd do unobserved at least LOL.

I think your activity - describing a single person "using as many relative clauses of both types as possible" - is quite unnatural, but then, even defining a whole range of people one after the other (as in my activity) is throwing up far more relatives clauses and in a perfect row than would be encountered naturally. But it's made me think of another possible activity for defining RCs similar to yours: describing the perfect partner. For example, a woman might say 'I want a man who...is handsome, kind, good with children, intelligent, has a good job, etc etc etc'. But then again, the list as just typed there, with the qualities simply coming one after the other between commas, and without any repetition of the 'who', is far more natural.


*See how general these nouns (about which we could ask Who?!) are compared to the non-defined/supplemented nouns - the latter are all proper or quite unique, or much better known or established already.


Last edited by fluffyhamster on Wed Jul 02, 2014 2:29 pm; edited 9 times in total
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fluffyhamster



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PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2014 1:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Must say it's a bit of a shame that I'm the only one to have responded so far, but then, there's probably a combination of factors at play: People probably don't want to do or keep doing your work for you; perhaps my posts are perceived as adequate in and by themselves; and relative clauses (especially when dealing with both types at once) don't ever seem an area exactly bursting with good activity suggestions.

Oooh, I think I've just inspired meself to go flick through a few grammary-activity booky wooks to (re-)establish what sort of drivel they might contain! Razz (Their drivel or my drivel, you may well ask! Laughing).


Last edited by fluffyhamster on Tue May 13, 2014 2:16 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Augustus



Joined: 16 Oct 2012
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PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2014 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you!

I've finally sent it!!!!!!!!!!! Just this minute!!!

I feel like the weight of the universe has been lifted. I so wanted to get it just right. Even if I'm not successful, I've learnt loads in completing it.
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fluffyhamster



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PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2014 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great! So all you need to do now is make the cheque payable to: Mr Fluffy Hamster. Ta! Smile Laughing Wink
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Xie Lin



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PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2014 10:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fluffyhamster wrote:
Great! So all you need to do now is make the cheque payable to: Mr Fluffy Hamster. Ta! Smile Laughing Wink


No cheque forthcoming, alas, but I have long admired your generosity in helping others with questions such as this, and also the time you put in helping posters locate suitable resources and reference materials. Kudos to you, FluffyHamster. Smile

.
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