For the majority of the ELT world coursebooks and syllabi dominate, consequently teachers have little time for anything unrelated to what they teach from a book and from their set syllabus. This is arguably one of the reasons for the low take up of corpus based teaching.
Frankenberg-Garcia (2012) helpfully outlines several ways teachers can easily integrate corpus information into the classroom without having to outlay much time investment (she does though assume that the teacher knows about corpora, can access them easily and knows the principles of corpus queries, Frankenberg-Garcia, 2012, p.35).
She divides approaches based on production vs reception activities and whole-class vs individual activities.
I have written about reception (e.g. Just the word and TOEIC), whole-class (e.g. general English lexis and DIY corpus) and individual activities (e.g. GloWbE and will suit you; do also see a recent post by Chia Suan Chong/@chiasuan on encouraging learner autonomy via corpora), what caught my attention was the description of the use of corpora in production activities.
Note: I was initially alerted to the Frankenberg-Garcia paper by Wilson (2013), another recommended read for corpora based teaching.
Frankenberg-Garcia gives the example of using collocations of the word beach as a warm-up to speaking or writing about beach holidays.
Looking at Unit 1 Careers in the Cambridge Target Score book (Talcott & Tullis, 2007), Wordandphrase.info gives us the following for career: (click on image for larger resolution)
From the collocates (circled in red above) we can compile say the following list:
- professional career, successful career
- career choice, career path
- begin career, build career
and ask students to use the list to speak say about their current career path, if they know what professional career they want to follow, if so do they know how to build their career and so on. You could give fast finishers the list of synonyms:
and ask them how they would use these when talking about careers.
More interestingly she describes using concordances for the bus that are given to students before they write about something happening on a bus. As the screenshot shows she also highlighted some potentially useful phrases with the bus: (Frankenberg-Garcia, 2012, p.40)
Adapting this for the TOEIC we can use the keyword contract negotiation(s) as appears in Unit 1 Exercise 1 page 9. An extension to this exercise would ask students to write a short news report of the contract negotiation using the picture from the exercise as a prompt:
(Talcott & Tullis, 2007, p.9)
COCA tells us contract negotiation(s) is most frequent in the news register which can guide us in selecting what examples to use. Wordandphrase.info gives concordances to use to help students before the writing task (note some sentences are adapted and not exact example given by Wordandphrase.info):
- They were participating as mediators in contract negotiations and monitoring growers’ compliance with labor contracts.
- This is specifically for contract negotiations and recruitment.
- More than two weeks of contract negotiations between Air Canada and its pilots broke off this Friday.
- The contract negotiations had been confidential.
- Trouble has arisen over his fierce contract negotiations with the management.
- They averted a strike and completed the union’s contract negotiations with the three major North American car makers.
- The strike began last October after 10 months of stalled contract negotiations.
- During contract negotiations a few years later, resentment ran high .
- Randy Mueller handled contract negotiations and made all personnel decisions.
- They attempted to force a new round of contract negotiations.
Students can be asked to highlight words related to contract negotiations e.g. mediators in example 1 above. They can then proceed to the writing exercise.
It is worth looking up Frankenberg-Garcia in full as she makes a great case for teachers to integrate corpora into the classroom. Thanks for reading.
Frankenberg-Garcia, A. (2012). Integrating corpora with everyday language teaching. In: Thomas, J. and Boulton, A. (Eds.) Input, Process and Product: developments in teaching and language corpora. Brno: Masaryk University Press. 33-50. Retrieved from http://www.academia.edu/3368339/Integrating_corpora_with_everyday_language_teaching
Talcott, C. & Tullis, G. (2007). Target Score: A communicative course for TOEIC Test preparation. (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Wilson, J. (2013). Technology, pedagogy and promotion: How can we make the most of corpora and Data-Driven Learning (DDL) in language learning and teaching? Higher Education Academy research report (July 2013). Retrieved from http://www-new1.heacademy.ac.uk/assets/documents/disciplines/Languages/Corpus_Technology_pedagogy_promotion.pdf