This series of posts is aimed as a practical look at random vocabulary or grammar exercises in published coursebooks. In these posts, we will be suggesting examples you might give for words, ideas on how you might exploit these examples as well as maybe giving some questions you could ask about language in the exercises. We hope to show how most, if not all, material can be looked at in more lexical ways – just by using simple repeated techniques. You can comment by adding alternative examples, patterns and questions.

If you want to suggest an exercise from a coursebook you are using, please contact us. If the exercise is based on single words or collocations, just send the list of words. If there are examples in the form of a gap-fill or a matching exercise, then send us the completed list of examples (i.e. no gaps / parts of sentences already matched).

When are questions and teacher talk too much?

We recently had a query from a reader regarding the kind of language-generating concept questions we advocate. Basically, he had received some criticism after a lesson observation that the class was too teacher-centred, too input heavy and students didn't have enough time…

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Questions about words

In my talk at IATEFL (and International House London, where a video was made of it), I explained some of the limitations of asking traditional concept questions, especially when looking at vocabulary. What follows is a list of alternative types…

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Van Gogh’s ear and wordlists

We’ve had a suggested adaptation of some material from a teacher, Amber Nowak, in the Netherlands. It’s a little bit different to what we initially envisaged here in that Amber has already exploited the material in the book, Go for…

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Patterns beyond the past simple

The following grammar exercise on the past simple is from our book Outcomes Elementary (National Geographic Learning). Students complete the sentences with the correct past simple form of verbs given in brackets at the end of sentences - resulting in…

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