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Hi, and welcome to our blog. This space is designed to share ideas and methodologies that we use to teach Turkish teenagers. In particular, there is a strong focus on ICT-ELT, which means if you like visual and technological support for your style of teaching, this blog is for you. My colleague, Brentson Ramsey, has been working alongside me for three years. He is also a big proponent of the ICT-ELT Paradigm, which means he will also be posting from his own teaching perspective on the blog.

2010 was the beginning of this new journey, and although there is no definitive ICT-ELT road map available for everyone to follow, it is exciting to explore the technological means to make teaching more fun and affective for students. Our main message is for teachers to ADOPT & ADAPT the paradigm shift for their own needs, and remember that

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

HOW to MAKE A PREPOSITIONS ROLE-PLAY (with a cloze-listening exercise)

The meta-language associated with grammar instruction can be rather ineffective with many students.  However, if students have been subjected to acquisition practices for years, and they still don't get it, why not try to use the meta-language as an alternative method of instruction.  We introduce it as such, but we don't labour the point once it has been used as such.  Of course, we still refer to it as articles, prepositions and conditionals, but we make an extra effort to get the students using each compartmentalized language function in context and relatively authentically.  That said, the activity I wish to explain today does involve the terminology, but only at the beginning of the role-play we did with our teenage students.

Having done the preposition Presentation we then did some drills to accustomize all our students, with varying levels of English, of the need for using prepositions, and even more importantly, the correct prepositions. This takes time, but it is my experience that with the vast majority of EFL students (in Turkey at least) accurate grammar acquisition simply does not happen.  A more focused approach is required over several brain-wrenching years. But that topic is for another post. Today is all about role-playing after a listening exercise as the starting-point.


Put students into groups of 3/4 depending on the size and number of your class.  If you don't have the fourth student, you can have another student enter for effect towards the end to assist in completing the role-play.


Have the students choose one "listener & recorder" from their group. That student will listen to the narrated story from the teacher, and record the prepositions in the spaces provided throughout the text. (a section of the  document is below)


After you have finished dictating the story, at normal speech-pace, the students go back to their groups to start the role-play.  They get three minutes to run through the acting/miming themselves, also friends can help add missed prepositions while they practise.


The students, now ready to perform in front of their peers, are asked to gather together at the back of the class, while each group steps up to perform the role-play. 

A video of the only group to complete the role-play is below.  The groups were allowed THREE PREPOSITION MISTAKES before being asked to sit down.

The take-away for the students was by asking them why doing such an activity can benefit their understanding and show that prepositions are necessary for both speaking and writing, if what is being read or said is to be understood by the reader or listener.


  1. Hi, David! This just came right in time. I'm about to teach prepositions. I was searching google and I found this site. Thanks for sharing this cloze exercise and role play. Cheers!

  2. Thanks Val for your comment. If you'd like the word document with the key, just drop me a mail to dmearns@gmail.com and I will send it when I get to work tomorrow. Here is a low level intermediate student (awaiting language feedback for a second draft tomorrow), writing about the activity...

    I like very much the activity because it's fun, teamwork and instructive for our. In the activity we listened the teacher, we tried to understand the article and to show we understand we played the story. The activity is for learning more the preposition with play a game. First Mr.M and Mr.R separated us and made a groups of three. My partner is Talya. Later Mr.M read the article and we filled in the blanks. Mr.M read once and fast. We filled as we can. And then, we read with our partner. We tried to fill in the empty spaces. Then with Mr.M we played the events. All groups did same thing among themselves. The group Sima Rüzgar and Sinan did very well and they won. They received a hundred points. I think all people like very much the activity because it's amusing. I thinking to learn that playing is catchy because we had a good time. When we do some exercise with TOP Grammar it's boring and all people be bored. Before I started writing this, I read the comments for this activity from Edmodo.