I’ve recently been particularly keen on information gap activities, i.e. activities which require students to communicate with each other (usually in pairs) to solve a problem or complete a task. I find IGAs highly motivating and I appreciate the fact that they require sub-skills such as clarifying meaning and re-phrasing. Most importantly, though, IGAs represent real communication and increase overall student talking time.
In this quick post, I’d like to share a couple of activities I’ve recently done with my students. I’d like to point out that these activities were elements of a larger block – they didn’t stand on their own but were followed or preceded by other stages.
You may know from this blog that I love working with inspiring quotes. I normally use these as warm-ups or as an introduction to a new topic. For example, in one of my recent lessons, we talked about health so I prepared this handout.
As you can see, Student A had the same set of quotes as Student B, but a different word was missing in each of the sentences. The students worked in pairs and their task was to exchange the information in order to complete the quotes. Although they practically only needed to define the words I had left out, I saw them reading the whole sentences in an attempt to get more context. Apart from the fact that it was a meaningful speaking activity, it spiced up an otherwise boring gap-fill.
In the next stage of the lesson, we worked with a text about trending tips on healthy eating. It was a rather long, authentic article so I decided to ease the load a bit: I decreased the amount of text by creating another IGA. Student A only got part of the text (see page 1, on the left) while the rest was in the form of headings (see page 2, on the right). Student B got a complete version of page 2 while page 1 only contained the headings.
Ss then shared the information and took notes as their partner was paraphrasing/summarising their text. Again, Ss had to communicate actively to achieve the goal – to learn about the concepts. Also, I believe it livened up an otherwise long and dull reading activity.