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Vicky Fang MATESOL 1

Activity 3

Target structure: The Omission of Indefinite and Definite Articles

Level of students: advanced learners in an EAP class

Time: 20 minutes

Notes on prior work: Explicit grammar instructions on the use of articles

Material: a handout with a cloze article: How Immersion Helps to Learn a Language 1 (see p. 2). (I conducted a readability check of the text before I decided to use the article. [p. 3-4]).


1. Give students a handout of a cloze exercise.

2. Give students 5 minutes to fill in the blanks using either “a” or “the”.

3. Ask students to discuss their answers in a group of 3. (5 minutes)

4. Teacher tells students to reconvene and discuss the answers with them.

5. Teacher gives students the article with answer keys.

1 Bhanoo, S. N. (2012, April 2). How immersion helps to learn a language. The New York Times. Retrieved from


Vicky Fang MATESOL 2


Instruction: use “a” or “the” to fill in the blanks in the following article.

How Immersion Helps to Learn a Language


for adults to process

foreign language is never easy, but contrary to common wisdom, it is possible

native speaker does. And over


same way


processing improves even when

skill goes unused, researchers are


For their study, in

words, completely different from English. “It’s totally impractical to follow someone to high

proficiency because it takes years and years,” said neuroscientist at Georgetown University Medical Center. language dealt with pieces and moves in

researchers tested proficiency by asking test subjects to play subjects were split into two groups. One group studied

formal classroom setting, while After five months, both groups retained

and both displayed brain processing similar to that of

immersion group displayed He and his team used brain processing along

research has several applications, Dr. Ullman said. “This should help us understand how foreign-language learners can achieve nativelike

processing with increased practice,” he said. “It makes sense that you’d want to have your brain

process like

And though it may take time, and more research,

rehabilitation of people with traumatic brain injury,” he added.

journal PloS One,

scientists used an artificial language of 13

lead author, Michael Ullman,

computer game, and


language in

other was trained through immersion. language even though they had not used it at all,

native speaker. But native speaker, Dr. Ullman said.

full brain patterns of

technique called electroencephalography, or EEG, which measures


foreign speaker.”

work “also could or should help in

Vicky Fang MATESOL 3

Readability check of the text:

To check if the text is appropriate for the EAP context and the level of the students, I performed the readability tests listed below.

1. From MS word:

the readability tests listed below. 1. From MS word: Flesch Reading Ease ranges from 0 to

Flesch Reading Ease ranges from 0 to 100. The higher the score turns out to be, the more comprehensible the text will be.




easily understood by an average 11-year-old student


easily understood by 13- to 15-year-old students


best understood by university graduates

(Screenshot from Wikipedia 2 , 2012)

Notice here that Flesch Reading Ease scores the text 53.9. Thus, students may have some difficulties to comprehend the text.

2 Flesch Reading Ease. (n.d.). Retrieved October 31, 2012from


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2. VocabProfiler results: http://www.lextutor.ca/vp/eng/

4 2. VocabProfiler results: http://www.lextutor.ca/vp/eng/ (K1 words: the most frequent 1000 word families; K2: the

(K1 words: the most frequent 1000 word families; K2: the second most frequent 1000 word families; AWL: the academic word list)

Considering the results of the readability from the two tests, I conclude that the text is appropriate to use in this context, but teacher needs to be attentive to the comprehension problems students may encounter when they are doing the exercise.