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TEFL Masterclass – The Power Of Prediction

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Steve Derras Tulk – Principal @Stafford House International

Steve Tulk is an experienced teacher trainer and has held academic management and school management positions in the UK, France and Lebanon. Within the ELT classroom, Steve is particularly interested in diversity and representation, in particular making sure that students see ‘people like them’ in the lessons. Steve is also a big fan of increasing the representation of international accents in class materials.

What you will learn

Prediction is a simple skill that is often undervalued. Yet adding a prediction stage to a reading or listening lesson can have a huge impact on student success when it comes to reading or listening activities. So why does it get overlooked?

In fact, if adding a prediction stage to our receptive skills lesson makes a difference, how much more of a difference would actually teaching the subskill of prediction make to our students? Is the impact only on their receptive skills lessons – or does it have real-life application?

In this session, Steve Tulk will talk us through the power of prediction, and explain how and why prediction increases student success and confidence. With ideas for adding a prediction stage and for teaching the subskill itself, we predict that this will be a fascinating session.

Workshop Summary

Understanding the Power of Prediction

The masterclass hosted by Steve Tulk aims to uncover the power of prediction, presenting it as an underappreciated subskill of receptive skills like reading and listening. Rather than foretelling the future, prediction aids in enhancing the learning experience. Steve plans to discuss its application within teaching methods and explore its role in various contexts.

Prediction as a Receptive Subskill

Receptive skills, reading and listening, hinge on absorbing language. They consist of numerous subskills, such as skimming, scanning, understanding text organisation, and deriving meaning from context, with prediction occupying a distinctive position. Teaching these subskills can facilitate students to grasp receptive skills in a more digestible manner, fostering their confidence and sense of accomplishment.

Applying Prediction in Learning

Prediction pertains to anticipating what follows in written or oral communication, facilitated by cues like headlines, images, graphs, authorship, and context. Its versatility allows application in different scenarios such as hypothesising a news article’s content or deducing a book’s subject from its cover. Encouraging learners to employ this subskill in a second language, akin to its unconscious use in the mother tongue, can stimulate engagement, motivation, and promote practice outside the classroom.

The Role of Prediction in Lessons

Integrating prediction within reading or listening lessons proves beneficial, yet teaching it as an individual subskill remains equally crucial. Lessons usually begin by activating the students’ pre-existing knowledge of the topic, followed by a prediction task involving various clues. Teaching this invaluable subskill enhances learners’ comprehension and enriches their reading and listening abilities, yielding substantial advantages.

Case Study: The Impact of Prediction

Steve presented a Business English class case study to underscore prediction’s significance, where an initial comprehension task resulted in mediocre performance. The same students were then provided with different pieces of information about a similar text and were asked to progressively predict its content. This exercise significantly improved their subsequent comprehension task performance, demonstrating the subskill’s real-world applicability. Steve concludes that embedding prediction as a routine part of the classroom facilitates student success, offering an approachable learning strategy that boosts their confidence and sense of achievement.

Reflective Questions

Have a quick think about the reflective questions below in order to get the most out of the workshop:

  1. Does prediction work for all levels?
  2. What other subskills should we be teaching?
  3. Do we use prediction in L1? How?
  4. Is prediction different to gist?
  • Nuttall, C (2005). Teaching Reading Skills in a Foreign Language. London: Macmillan Education.

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