Visual learner (flashcards, mindmaps, etc.)

5 types of pitfalls for intermediate for advanced learners.

Jack C Richards identifies 5 common pitfalls which can arise on the journey from intermediate to advanced levels of English. These are: the existence of a gap between receptive and productive competence; the persistence of fossilized language errors; fluency which has evolved at the expense of complexity; a lack of vocabulary; and an adequate but unnatural sounding fluency.

First Problem: Use exercises such as those on Breaking News English, students have to read a story, and then complete missing words in the text. Another exercise: rewriting sentences in different formats, similar to the TRANSFORM exercise. For students who have trouble noticing new language, they could listen to a recording, and then read the transcript; it is necessary for them to note any differences between what they hear and what they read.

Second problem: Studies have shown that fossilized errors are difficult to change. Speakers often lack of motivation to overcome such mistakes. If the teacher plays dumb, this will force the student to notice and fix their mistakes. Another idea: record students making mistakes, and then play the recording back to them.

Students who have strong elements of the 3rd problem can be given the following assignment: they will sent a list of conversation questions which they need to complete for homework. However, instead of speaking spontaneously, they have to write several sentences of answers for each question. This will force them to use more advanced grammar in the following lesson.

Students who have strong elements of the 4th problem can be encouraged to develop their own ways of learning new vocabulary through contextual guesswork and guided discovery. Instead of telling them the meaning of a specific word which they don't understand, using the Google translator, I should keep a note of that word and ask them to find it out by themselves.

Causes of the 5th problem: excessive pride in their own native language.