What strategies and what tasks to use in the classroom?

Quite a lot has been written and said about it; it is not my intention to reinvent the wheel; all I intend to do is to collate few ideas on tasks and strategies that I have used in the classroom, I have enjoyed and have resulted in effective learning for my students. Most of these ideas have been magpied from excellent  practitioners like Steve Smith and Gianfranco Conti and others who have kindly shared them on social media, in CPD sessions or just while working together.

Firstly, we should not forget that our students have a GCSE exam to sit and that reading will be one of the skills examined. As a consequence, the list of tasks is filled with  the ones that can be found on papers. Whether we like them or not, our students will need to be familiar with those tasks and feel confident when they appear in their exam.

  • Multiple choice
  • True, False or Not Mentioned
  • Gap Fill
  • Translation
  • questions in TL
  • Questions in English
  • Positive/negative, positive and Negative
  • Find someone who
  • Identify true statements

To train our students in tackling written passages, we provide them with some tasks designed to facilitate their understading and that can help students to break passages down in more manageble chunks. How can we do that?

  • ask students to highlight certain categories of words (cognates/opinion phrases/verbs/adjectives/etc);
  • take words/phrases out the passage and ask students to learn the meaning beforehand (flipped learning);
  • take words out the passage and asked students to put them into categories (positive opinions/negative opinions/ adjectives/ connectives/verbs/etc);
  • match up activity with key words/phrases;
  • cut the passage into smaller chunks and create stations in the rooms; students move from station to station in order to asnwer questions;
  • narrow reading – use the same text 3/4 times, each time with a different detail. Ask the students to spot the “mistakes; provide the students with a translation that contain mistakes, ask students to identify those. More on narrow reading here.
  • Provide the students with a incomplete translation and ask them to fill in the gaps.
  • Find the French/Spanish/Italian for …



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