Most language teachers are likely familiar with the Cloze Test – the omission of specific words in a written passage (every 5th or 9th word, for example) to assess students’ reading comprehension and vocabulary knowledge. I have also found them to be extremely useful to teach listening skills.
When creating your own Cloze Tests, the first step is to find a passage that is at the students’ language level or no more than —as Krashen would advise— i+1 (just ONE above the students’ comprehensible input). The first two sentences and last sentence in the passage should also be kept intact as they give students important background information about the text.
The following steps outline one possible way for instructors to incorporate the Close Test to help students hone their listening skills:
Activate students’ prior knowledge by discussing the topic;
Allow students to listen to the text without reading it;
Introduce the written Cloze passage (no audio) for students to complete on their own;
Double space the text so that students
Write their guesses on the blank spaces;
Have space above their guesses to later make corrections as needed;
Group students to share their vocabulary choices;
Play the recording a second time and ask students to compare their guesses with the audio;
Students should do this on their own first
Then, they should compare and share their answers in their groups;
Play the audio again (twice if necessary) for students to do a final check;
Share the list of correct words with students;
Ask students to discuss their vocabulary choices, including
Parts of speech
Errors and omissions
Give students time to reflect and share with the whole class.
I have found that using the Cloze Test to enhance students’ listening skills gives them more opportunities to make connections between what they hear and what the written word. It also opens opportunities for sharing, practicing pronunciation, and learning from each other.
Can you think of other ways that the Cloze test could be used in the language classroom?
On April 30, 2021 people in the TESL Ontario community discussed teaching the English language skills on Twitter. The guest moderator of the evening was Cecilia Aponte-de-Hanna (@capontedehanna). Cecilia is a full-time professor at Centennial College, where she teaches English communications courses to local and international students. With over 15 years of teaching experience, Cecilia has taught children as young as 3 years old to adults in their golden years.
Happy 75th to #CdnELTchat! When Nathan Hall (@nathanghall)
and Svetlana Lupasco (@StanzaSL) started #CdnELTchat (also known as
#LINCchat) in 2015, I taught evenings as a LINC instructor, and I had been
feeling a bit isolated at the time. #CdnELTchat gave me a chance to connect
with other Canadian ELT educators. I feel very fortunate to have the
opportunity to be a part of the #CdnELTchat team and community of practice.
As teachers, we often encourage learners to expose themselves to as much English as possible. One way for learners to do this is by listening to English songs. They are readily available through apps like Spotify and YouTube and can be enjoyed ‘on the go’ as people go about their busy lives. In the classroom, many teachers use songs to enhance their lessons, especially when teaching children. Using a song from a children’s story, one study found songs could potentially contribute to vocabulary learning (Medina, 1993). However, we know very little about the impact of listening to popular ‘everyday’ songs on vocabulary learning as very little research has been conducted in this area (Maneshi, 2017).
Last Spring, as I was sitting listening despondently to students mangling stress, I decided to give up on words, and create a sound pattern that was so visually simple, they’d be compelled to listen.
If you can’t hear a sound, it is very difficult to reproduce it. Our students hear stressed syllables, which would be okay, except in English over 60% of our syllables are unstressed, and we often forget to teach them how to listen for those unstressed syllables.
Happy Monday TESL ON members! Did you know that April is National Poetry Month? I don’t know about you, but I love poetry! Although most of us may not use it very much to teach English to our students, many are aware that it can be a good way to teach the rhythm of English. However, I think there are so many more ways that we could use this rich form of the English language. Continue reading →
No matter what language you speak, music has a universal tongue, wouldn’t you agree? Its power in bringing people together, no matter what language they speak, is priceless. So, if music has the ability to unite us, why not use it in the classroom to help your students learn English?
I have my kids to thank for inspiring this post, partly due to their love of watching Daniel Tiger’s Neighbourhood every day. You find inspiration everywhere.
On the show they sing the lesson of the day repeatedly throughout each episode. It sticks in your head and is really catchy, and the nice thing is that the lessons are useful for children in helping to problem solve or deal with certain emotions that may arise out of unpleasant situations. Continue reading →
During my TESL practicum, I was privileged to work with a wonderful instructor in an EAP class. My practicum supervisor* was great at scaffolding and layering; as the course progressed, each language skill was incorporated into subsequent lesson activities until it all culminated in a final project. The class was in oral skills with the final project being a presentation. Along with using the targeted language from the semester, the presentations also included a focus on appropriate body language, strategies to engage the audience, and the use of technology.
While presentations are common in English language classes, they can be very stressful and time consuming. In order to add variety to the assessments during the course, another activity that was required of the students, and that could easily be adapted for any type of ESL classroom, was leading a discussion group. Not only did we use this in the EAP context, I used the same activity in an EFL class that I taught in Ecuador in which the students were preparing to take the First Cambridge Exam. Here is how I did it!
One of the five classes in my EAP course is a 50-minute a day listening class. It’s always been the most difficult for me to teach, partly because it’s directly after lunch, when students are not the most awake!
Over the years I’ve tried various teaching resources, searching for the most effective texts and material to help students. These are the best ones I’ve come across for teaching listening skills in EAP:
English for Academic Study: Listening
I love Garnet Education’s EAS series, and use the Vocabulary and Reading & Writing books as a major part of my curriculum. When my course first began, our listening curriculum was based entirely on the EAS: Listening book. Continue reading →