Controlled practice: too much gap-filling?

There’s just no escaping gap-fill exercises for controlled practice (I’m using activity, exercise and task interchangeably in this post). When Headway came along in the mid 80s and grammar made its humongous comeback, gap-filling was catapulted back into ELT limelight and, since then, has pervaded every crevice of our profession, for both the right and the wrong reasons. Continue reading Controlled practice: too much gap-filling?

texts full of present perfect examples

Teaching grammar is, indeed, a juggling act. Give students a drill or a very controlled practice activity and, in the end, they might not be able to say what they wanted to say. Give them an open-ended task and they probably won’t use the language you wanted them to practice.

That’s where input-oriented activities that try to “trap” the new grammar receptively come in. And thanks to the Internet, every now and then we come across texts that are just perfect for input flooding. Here are two examples of authentic texts that you can use to expose students to the present perfect in context.

1. Amazon.com customer reviews.

Example 1:

Example 2:
Example 3:
These amazon.com texts are short, authentic (whatever this term means…), can be easily used as models for an end-of-lesson writing task and, above all, are packed with present perfect examples. Plus, anyone can publish a product review on Amazon, which means that students’ pieces might well wind up on the site.
2. Weight loss testimonials.
The web is full of success stories of people who have managed to lose weight. Here are a few examples from runwalkjog.com:
“The past 8 months of my life have been amazing. I cant begin to tell you how much has changed and what has happened.” Complete Story

“I’ve gone from not being able to walk down the driveway to running my first 10k.”  View Complete Story

“We began on March 14th, 2009, with my weight at 286 lbs. Today, I am at 220 lbs.” Weight Watchers Story

I purchased a pedometer and started walking with weights. I have lost 70 lbs and I feel great.”  View Story

If you do decide to use some of these texts in class, though, please bear in mind that weight loss might be a sensitive issue to some of your students.
Thanks for reading. And be sure to check out my present perfect cartoons.