Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Engineering interaction

Here's a quick idea:

Sometimes my students are more focussed on their textbooks and handouts than on interacting with each other. Let's say we're working on something like this:

Match the word with its definition and with the most appropriate sentence:

adaptation, successive, innovation, termination, displacement,
arbitrary, reinforce, denote, offset, predominantly

1.    (countable & uncountable) ~ is the act of ending something.
2.   (countable & uncountable) ~ is when something is made to move out of its place.
3.   (countable) An ~ is a change to fit a different situation or the result of that change, especially when a story goes from book to TV or movie.
4.   (transitive) If x ~ y, the loss (because) of y is balanced by x.
5.    (transitive) If x ~ y, x is a sign of or has the meaning of y.
6.   (transitive) If you ~ something, you make it stronger.
7.   (uncountable) ~ is the process of making something new and original.
8.   ~ things follow in order, one after another.
9.   An ~ decision, date, manner, etc. has no logical reason for it.
10.                  mostly, mainly

a.    Cancers were developing at younger and younger ages with each ~ generation in each family.
b.    He is also disabled and requires special ~ to his home.
c.    Her work during this period was ~ concerned with children learning to read.
d.    Let's take 10,000 as an ~ number.
e.    Our company has stayed in the lead largely by encouraging ~.
f.     Recent mistakes only ~ the view that nobody cares.
g.    The school will provide limited scholarships to ~ the cost of tuition.
h.   The term `sales mix' is used to ~ the percentage of total sales of each product.
i.     The war has caused the ~ of tens of thousands of people.
j.     We will continue to do business in Asia even after ~ of the Japan program.

This is a fairly dull activity if you're doing it individually, but it becomes much more useful if you interact with somebody else, discussing your guesses, explaining words to each other, and generally being helpful.

Of course, many factors such as classroom atmosphere, personalities, and time of day will affect the amount of interaction, but one easy way to increase it is simply to make copies for only half (or one third) of the class and hand them out accordingly.

(All definitions and examples from Simple English Wiktionary.)


Randy Alexander said...

Passing out papers to only half or a third of the students would make me worry that doing so would just create an awkward silence.

But it might be a good idea to pass out the words to a third, the definitions to a third, and the sentences to the remaining third.

I'm glad to see you posting teaching ideas here more now.

Brett said...

That would certainly work too. I should clarify that I pass them out to pairs rather than, say, the front half of the class.