Record a group of students performing a communicative activity. Listen to the recording and try to decide on the following:
(a) To what extent does the activity encourage or oblige participation from all of the students? The activity is connected to student's experiences so they both (because it was pair work) were involved in the activity. First St A asks St B and then St B asks St A so they equally participate and are encouraged to do so (information gap)
(b) What examples can you find of conversational adjustments as students try to negotiate meaning, for example, asking for and giving clarification, repetition, further explanation through paraphrasing? One of the students needed to know what "waste" meant and the other student explained to the first one that it meant "throwing the money" and then as Student A kept on asking, Student B told her it meant "desperdiciar"= students negotiated meaning by paraphrasing and then resorting to their mother tongue.
Students also tried to find the right word for "Shop which sells CDs" = they came up with different names such as "record shop", and "musical store" and in the end they could understand each other.
(c) What examples can you find of students correcting each other? "Disparó" (St A) = "shot" (St B)
(d) How would you comment on the general level of accuracy in the students' language? As it was a fluency-oriented activity, the level of accuracy was not so accurate. Students were involved in getting across their message, not that much on accuracy. E.g: "I've wast my money on trainers because I bought it to go to the gym and I never went to the gym". Another example: Have you ever lose a credit card or a wallet? I've losted my wallet on the bus.
(e) If the activity had a focus on some area of grammar or use of vocabulary, to what extent did this appear in the students' language? cStudents were practicing "Present Perfect" with "have you ever..." and contrasting it with Simple Past. Students almost never resorted to their mother tongue. They resorted to L1 when they didn't know a word, for example "disparar", however, Student B said "shot". This grammar appears in students' every day life, maybe Present Perfect not that much (here in Buenos Aires) but Simple Past is used worldwide. Finally:Have you ever been robbed? Yes, in the shop of my father. Five years ago and I working there with my father, he had a shop of CDs. He taked the cash and they pointed with the gun... and "disparó".
Anyway, this activity, as I said, was aimed at fluency (or at least when the girl started telling the story when she was robbed) and the message was more important than accuracy.
When you have considered these points, decide whether you think it was an activity worth doing, and why. Would you change anything in a re-run of it? I think the activity was worth doing because it was a real communication activity and students were engaged in it because they had to tell each other about their experiences. If I were to do the activity again I would let them speak and then correct some mistakes that I would jot down while they are working so as to check them later on (deferred correction).
Let's see if you agree or not. You are welcomed to comment on anything you want to. See you,
HEDGE, Tricia (2000), Teaching and Learning in the Language Classroom, UK, OUP; Chapter 8 "Speaking" (Discussion Topics and Projects # 8- p. 295)
Recording made by Alejandro J. and Paula V. students of intermediate level. Teacher: Gladys Baya (thank you)