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Applying and analysing

June 05, 2008

Hello again,

According to Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy, once new material has been understood it should be applied. Here the learner has the opportunity to explore how the items learnt can be used. It is best to begin with transfer to situations similar...

... to the original context. If, for example, you are teaching sequencing discourse markers, you might teach them using a simple process such as making a cup of tea. The new context could be making an omelette and the exercise might be a gap-fill.

The exercises in applying the new material can then become increasingly the responsibility of the learners. It is also important to vary the mode of delivering the new items. If the main exercises have been written, remember to transfer to speaking: students could make their own presentations: how I do ….. In this application stage the learners gain both awareness of the range of possibilities for the new items and confidence in using them.

Analysis is essentially a learning tool as opposed to a practcie tool. It is the process that helps students to integrate the new material with what they already know. They may find, for example, that certain lexical items are synonymous with items they already know, or perhaps they are antonyms. They may find that the new material is consistent with rules they have learnt or in some way, or anomalous (a frequent experience in learning English).

Thus some of the key words associated with analysing are:
• comparing (e.g. how is handsome different from beautiful?)
• organising (e.g. sorting lexical items into categories)
• deconstructing (e.g. working out how modal verbs work differently from finite verbs)
• integrating (e.g. seeing how the new language fits with what is already known).
This is the stage at which they find out what doesn’t work as well as what does! Take for example the question tag: I’m late, aren’t I? When a learner meets this for the first time, it appears anomalous. Analysis of the item reveals that it does not obey the rule because “I’m late, amn’t I?” is not attested. Thus analysis reveals gradually more about the mechanics of the language and so further helps understanding.

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  1. E R Gavalek Says:

    One of my pet peeves : "aren't I" .... should be : Am I not?" ... it may sound stilted and old-timey, but it is correct ... "Amn't" isn't making it either ...

    Another peeve: The use of If/were ... I always hear : If I WAS ... instead of If I WERE ... the subjunctive ... always takes the WERE ...

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