Productive and Receptive Skills in the ESL Classroom - Game Example 'Tic Tac Toe'


So, let's take a common game that's been played over the years, which is called Noughts and Crosses or Tic-Tac-Toe. What we're going to do is to adapt this game for classroom use. So, we've taken the normal Tic-Tac-Toe or Noughts and Crosses grid and we've just numbered out each of the particular squares. What we can then do is to form teams and those teams can then be asked a series of questions and they get to choose which question they want from 1 to 9. So, let's say, for example, they choose question 1. That could be on anything that they have studied ,the grammar or vocabulary. If they get that question correct and say they are the Noughts or the zeros then they get to put their mark here. What the next group will probably do is to try to block them in some way by choosing this one, this one or this one and again their choice relates to some grammar or vocabulary point. So, here is a very simple use of Noughts and Crosses for teaching language.

Below you can read feedback from an ITTT graduate regarding one section of their online TEFL certification course. Each of our online courses is broken down into concise units that focus on specific areas of English language teaching. This convenient, highly structured design means that you can quickly get to grips with each section before moving onto the next.

There are many theories, methods and techniques used to help teach a new language. Nine approaches are discussed in this unit; grammar translation, audio-lingualism, presentation, practice and production, task based learning, communication language teaching, community language learning, the silent way, suggestopaedia and the lexical approach, along with their pros and cons. Depending upon the context of each group, different approaches and methods can be used. However, it is made clear that; students need as much exposure to language as possible, students need input from the teacher, communicative tasks are good but not enough on their own, a stress free environment is effective for language learning and students should be encouraged to discover the language for themselves. Engage, Study and Activate (ESA), is the methodology this course is based around and this approach draws upon the positive aspects of the previously mentioned approaches and allows for flexibility within the classroom. Engage Phase - A warmer up to arouse interest, engage students in activities such as; games, music, interesting pictures, stories etc. with the aim to get students thinking and speaking in English as much as possible. You do not want to teach anything new in this phase. Study Phase - Students focus on the language and how it is constructed. Starts with an elicitation (elicit as much information as possible from the students, to know where they are at). Followed by teaching of language point and drilling, if required, for correct pronouciation. Activities ranging from the practice and study of a single sound to an examination and practice of a verb tense. Worksheets could be used to check understanding and to reinforce the material, reviewing as a group the answers and cover any errors. Students focus on the construction of the language in this phase of the lesson. Activate Phase - Here students are encourages to use all the language they know, focussing more on fluency than accuracy. Activities may include role-plays, communication games, debates, story writing, to name a few. All 3 elements must be included in the lessons but flexibility is allowed in order to meet student context, as long as the lesson starts with an engage phase and finishes on activate. Types of lesson structures discussed is; straight arrow lesson, boomerang and patchwork. Correcting students - three occasions when it is relevant to correct: 1. The mistake is with the language point we are teaching 2. The mistake is being regular repeated either by the student or class members and therefore risks becoming ingrained 3. The mistakes seriously impedes understanding.