Six Activities to Teach Collocations in the EFL Classroom

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We’ve spoken about collocations before and why they are useful for our learners. However, now we need to look at different activities that we can utilise in the EFL classroom to help our learners learn collocations. We know that learning collocations is not easy so we need to find ways which will help our learners notice and get to grips with collocations, while also keeping them engaged and entertained. Here are our pick of our favourite games to teach and revise collocations.

Gap-fill activities

Using a text, create gap-fill activities by deleting one part of a collocation. Students must read the whole text and try to figure out what the missing word is to complete the collocation. This also works well with songs or video clips.

Odd one out

Write a set of words on the board. Each of these words except one must correlate with another word. The students must decide which are the correct correlations and which is the incorrect one. For example, apply for, get, lose, do, have, make and a job. The odd word here is make.

Matching games

This can be done by playing dominoes or pelmanism. Create sets of cards with half a collocation on each so that the students need to match up two halves to make a complete collocation. You can turn this into a mingling activity by giving each student a half and letting them walk around the classroom trying to find their correct partner.

Bingo

Create Bingo cards and grids with collocations. The teacher reads out a verb, for example, and the students can cross off a noun on their grid if it collocates with the verb. The first student to cross off an entire column or row, wins.

Quizlet

If you’re a fan of using technology in the classroom (and you should be!) Quizlet is the way to go. Quizlet is a web tool which allows you to make flashcard sets or, if you don’t have time, to find flashcard sets made by other teachers. There are two interactive games on Quizlet which can be played in the classroom or given to the students to play for homework.

Dictogloss

A standard dictation exercise, this works well with any language point you wish to revise. The teacher reads a short story to the students, who are not allowed to write anything down and must just listen. Tell the story a second time and this time the students can write down keywords. If you wish you can tell the story a third time. The students must recreate the story word for word, meaning that they will need to think carefully about the collocations you used in the story.

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