Almost a month ago, I tested the CAE group on the usage of tenses in graphic form. You can read about it here. It worked very well and the students’ response was positive – they believed that it was useful . So, today, I decided to try it on the FCE group. However, I made some modifications, which I believed made the concepts clearer. The sentences were replaced and I added a few fixed points in time, e.g. 3pm, 6pm, 9pm, on the line. I took the photos before the sentences were displayed, so they only appear on the answer slide.
Again, before we started, I explained what the graphics meant: the dots referred to points in time, the double-headed arrows between two lines represented something in progress during this period, and the arc linking two points meant that they were somehow connected.
As to be expected, they had a little more difficulty than the CAE group, but once they got the hang of it, it was plain sailing. I asked them if they found it useful, and their reply was positive.
On a few occasions, I asked them questions to check they understood the concepts:
- If you rang me at 9am, what time did I start having breakfast? Any time before 9am.
- Which action happens earlier? My finishing the homework or your coming home? Finishing the homework.
- If it started to rain at 5am, at what time did I fall asleep? Midnight.
- If I started to watch the film at 6pm, what time did my mum come home? 8pm.
After this, we did some controlled practice off the coursebook.
For free practice, I did a circular narrative writing activity while monitoring and correcting on the spot. In a few instances, I stopped the class to go through language issues I considered important enough for everyone.