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Use Elaborating Texts as Way of Expanding Grammatical Knowledge

Submitted by Rodney and Graham, UK/Hong Kong

Elaborating refers to activities in which students add to and expand the information contained in a text, and in the process, need to use more sophisticated grammatical features. Elaborating activities can help to dramatize for them the fact that learning grammar is not just about “correctness” but that it is first and foremost about gaining control over resources for making communication more effective. The general procedures used in elaborating are:

  1. Present students with a simple text.
  2. Create a situation in which questions are asked about the text in a way that students notice that additional information would make the text better and that this new information is typically associated with certain grammatical features.
  3. Explore with students why certain kinds of additions in the text require certain grammatical features and others require different ones.
  4. Have students practice by continuing to elaborate on the same text or elaborating on a similar text.
  5. Explore with students why certain kinds of additions in the text require certain grammatical features and others require different ones.
  6. Have students practice by continuing to elaborate on the same text or elaborating on a similar text.

Further reading: Jones RH, Lock G (2011) Functional Grammar in the ESL Classroom: Noticing, Exploring and Practicing. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.