An information gap activity is an activity where learners are missing the information they need to complete a task and need to talk to each other to find it.
Example Learner A has a biography of a famous person with all the place names missing, whilst Learner B has the same text with all the dates missing. Together they can complete the text by asking each other questions.
In the classroom Information gap activities are useful for various reasons. They provide an opportunity for extended speaking practice, they represent real communication, motivation can be high, and they require sub-skills such as clarifying meaning and re-phrasing. Typical types of information gap activities you might find include; describe and draw, spot the difference, jigsaw readings and listenings and split dictations.
Jigsaw is a cooperative learning strategy that enables each student of a "home" group to specialize in one aspect of a topic (for example, one group studies habitats of rainforest animals, another group studies predators of rainforest animals). Students meet with members from other groups who are assigned the same aspect, and after mastering the material, return to the "home" group and teach the material to their group members. With this strategy, each student in the "home" group serves as a piece of the topic's puzzle and when they work together as a whole, they create the complete jigsaw puzzle.
Why use jigsaw?
· It helps build comprehension.
· It encourages cooperative learning among students.
· It helps improve listening, communication, and problem-solving skills.
How to use jigsaw
1. Introduce the strategy and the topic to be studied.
2. Assign each student to a "home group" of 3-5 students who reflect a range of reading abilities.
3. Determine a set of reading selections and assign one selection to each student.
4. Create "expert groups" that consist of students across "home groups" who will read the same selection.
5. Give all students a framework for managing their time on the various parts of the jigsaw task.
6. Provide key questions to help the "expert groups" gather information in their particular area.
7. Provide materials and resources necessary for all students to learn about their topics and become "experts."
Note: It is important that the reading material assigned is at appropriate instructional levels (90–95% reading accuracy).
8. Discuss the rules for reconvening into "home groups" and provide guidelines as each "expert" reports the information learned.
9. Prepare a summary chart or graphic organizer for each "home group" as a guide for organizing the experts' information report.
10. Remind students that "home group" members are responsible to learn all content from one another.
Oral correction techigues
The more I see teachers grappling with error correction, especially oral correction, the more I convince myself that:
1. The kind of oral correction that maybe matters the most is the one that’s most difficult to pull off in class and; 2. This kind of oral correction is difficult precisely because it depends on our ability towork with what is there.
It’s easy to correct a gap-fill exercise. The student says “afraid of go” and you tactfully remind her that “of” requires an “ing” and that’s it. Oral correction in drills is relatively easy, too. We provide an example and a prompt, which students respond to in a certain way. If they don’t, we correct them. Period.
But what about the oral correction that needs to take place during discussions, simulations and role-plays, in which students are producing extended discourse and conveying the meanings they want to convey? What about oral correction during the usual “how was your weekend” beginning-of-lesson chats? What about things like “someone have a pen to borrow me?”, which will keep surfacing, over and over, despite your best efforts? What’s the best oral correction policy in those cases?
It seems plausible to me that when a student receives feedback on what he or she’s actually trying to say (as opposed to a drill or a gap-fill), oral correction is more likely to stick. This means that I tend to disagree with those who claim that, in free(r) communication, errors should generally be overlooked or dealt with en passant at a later stage in the lesson.