Communicative Activities

Choose from the list of communicative task templates and create an activity that is goal-directed, extended, structured, and controlled (Yule 1997: 30-31).

  • Goal-directed discourse means that the speaker and the listener communicate in order to accomplish a specific goal.
  • Extended discourse requires multiple turns-at-talk between the speakers who control the floor and negotiate aspects of the interaction.
  • Structured discourse results from a task designed to provide both speaker and listener with an easy-to-follow structure as well as an all-important completion point.
  • Controlled discourse means that the topic (e.g., vacations, job, food, etc.) and the task type (e.g., descriptive, procedural, narrative, etc) are controlled by the task and not negotiable.

Communicative Task Templates

A. Assembling an Object

B. Identifying Differences

C. Drawing

D. Information Gap

E. Comic Strip Stories

F. Ranking

The beginning teachers put the design principles into practice. Note how they adapt the same basic ranking activity to different foreign languages (Chinese, Dutch, English, Spanish, and German) and different topics (geography, professions, relationships, literary characters, automobiles).


Job skills activity in Dutch.

Duration: 03:09

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Finding your mate (ESL).

Duration: 02:35

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Ranking German car makers.

Duration: 01:30

View the activity