Applying Discourse Analysis in the Classroom with a Specific Focus
on Teaching Discourse Markers
by Ceri Millward


The introduction of discourse analysis into the classroom has, despite its relative novelty, added a new frame to the understanding of language and its usage, and in this sense has given the teacher new tools with which to cater for students' needs. If we consider that comprehension and understanding are the primary concerns behind most forms of communication, be they written or oral, formal or informal, then our focus as teachers should be centred on ensuring that our students manage to acquire the skills necessary for such comprehension.

Furthermore, discourse analysis can bring to the forefront considerations that may be of use in terms of the students' use of the target language. In this sense it is important to be acquainted with any potential similarities, or differences, between the students' L1 and the L2 they are learning. In this paper we shall look at discourse analysis, focusing on the use of cohesive devises and more specifically on discourse markers as a useful tool to enable students to make logical connections and coherent stretches of both written and spoken discourse.

Discourse Analysis

Discourse analysis can be characterised as the study of the relationship between language and the contexts in which it is used. Crystal (1992:25) defines discourse as, 'a continuous stretch of language larger than a sentence, often constituting a coherent unit'. In practical terms it centres on the actual operation of language, beyond the restrictions of grammar. Its overriding focus is on context and on the behavioural patterns that structure the social functions of a language, above and beyond the construction of structural models.

Any communicative function must include grammatical and phonological elements, but in real life situations: context, situation, purpose, pitch, intonation and gesture can play a decisive role in the process of comprehension. Given that the goal behind any communicative interaction is to get a message across, there can be no doubt that a coherent message will also be a more effective and efficient one. So much is this so, that in one's native language, we can consider that there is an innate expectation of coherence and meaning when performing the act of reading or listening.

Before analysing the differences between oral and written discourse we need to look at some general aspects of discourse. Discourse may have any number of interlocutors, from a single signpost to a heated parliamentary debate. Discourse may vary in degrees of formality and structure, as well as in the object it pursues.
When interpreting discourse, a certain amount of procedures are activated within the listener/reader, which facilitate its interpretation. The listener/reader will search for coherence, and meaning, within the linguistic and contextual knowledge of the language and the situation, as well as in the conceptual and formal schemata at his disposal.

The objective of discourse analysis is, therefore, to make explicit the interaction of all these factors that lead to coherence. In order to achieve this, spoken and written language must be dissected in various ways to permit a better understanding of discourse.

Spoken Discourse

Spoken discourse, especially conversation, is possibly the form of discourse that poses the greatest problems in terms of analysis given its apparently unstructured nature. The number of interlocutors may vary and the use of non-verbal expressions can add to the difficulty of its analysis, given the use of 'talking turns' as McCarthy (1991:69) calls them, and the real possibility of interruptions and interjections, which nonetheless are part of discourse.

Sinclair and Coulthard (1975) suggest a three tier approach, beginning-middle-end, to focus on the distinct 'moves' that take place in discourse, be they 'question-answer-comment' as in a classroom environment, or 'command-acknowledgment-polite formality', as occurs in a shop between the client and the shopkeeper. What is more, there is no need for the moves to be verbal, as a grunt of approval or a mere 'uh-huh' may serve as a 'move' in many cases.

Written Discourse

When analysing a written text, the situation would seem different, as we are dealing with a structured, pre-planned, possibly revised discourse from one sole interlocutor. Furthermore, writing can be construed as more of a stand alone medium, as compared to spoken discourse, which is more contextual or situational. Another important difference lies in that written discourse does not allow for the possibility of playing with intonation and pitch, which can serve as discourse markers in verbal discourse.

Having said this, we must not assume that an excerpt of speech will be necessarily more complex than an excerpt of written discourse; taken out of context they should both pose similar problems. It would seem clear that in terms of analysis, a sentence will be a more effective unit of discourse within written discourse, as compared with spoken discourse, but in terms of written discourse analysis a paragraph or a longer section may prove to be more effective.

Assuming that discourse, of any kind, can be fragmented into sections, or 'moves', understanding the meaning of the discourse requires that the segments not only explain the purpose but that they be coherent, to avoid misunderstanding the message. Furthermore, these segments must be signalled, to ensure that other parties understand them as such. The use of 'cohesive devices', or clues, in discourse can therefore serve to send signals as to the fact that these sections are differentiated, and as to how this should be interpreted.


Whereas coherence is a necessary element for comprehension, it may not be sufficient, especially when confronted with a larger text or listening exercise. At this point we must refer to another element - cohesion. Nunan (1993:59) believes that, 'coherent texts are distinguished from random sentences by the existence of certain text-forming, cohesive devises.'

Cohesion as such can be considered as a guide to coherence, a means to ensure, or simplify, coherence and comprehension. Certain words, or phrases, and their location within the discourse will activate a set of assumptions as to the meaning of what has gone beforehand or will generate a set of expectations as to what may follow. These words can be described as 'cohesive devices', as they create links across the boundaries of mere fragments, or can chain related items together.

A cohesive device can be defined as a word, phrase or clause, which organises and manages a stretch of discourse. Halliday and Hasan (1976) give a very comprehensive description and analysis of these devices by categorising them into five distinct types of cohesion: reference, substitution, ellipsis, conjunction and lexical cohesion.

• Reference items are those, which refer to something or someone, within the framework of the discourse. They can be pronouns ('he', 'she', 'it', 'they', 'him'), demonstratives ('that', 'those'), the article 'the', or other items ('such as').

• Ellipsis involves the deliberate omittance of elements, despite being generally required by grammar, if they are considered to be obvious within the specific context.

• Substitution relates to the substitution of words or clauses with a generic word or phrase.

• Lexical cohesion is created by repetition of a word or by using two words in a text that are semantically related .

Discourse markers

Discourse markers, although similar to the previous cohesive devices, given that they presuppose a textual sequence and signal a relationship between the segments of discourse, deserve to be treated in a separate manner, as they do not lead to a search for a referent or meaning. Furthermore, they are fairly elusive as single word conjunctions and can easily become phrasal, or clausal conjunctions.

Parrot (2002:302) gives a clear definition and states some of the different functions and uses of discourse markers:

• To 'signpost' logical relationships and sequences - to point out how bits of what we say and write relate to each other.

• To 'manage' conversations - to negotiate who speaks and when, to monitor and express involvement in the topic.

• To influence how the listeners or readers react.

• To express our attitude to what we say and write.

As Parrot goes on to state, 'there is no universally agreed way of classifying discourse markers; nor is there an exhaustive inventory of them'. The term discourse marker itself, and what it applies to is under debate. Most grammars and teaching materials, use it to cover a wide variety of words and expressions, although some use the term conjunction for written linkers and discourse markers only for those in a spoken context. In this paper I have used the terms discourse marker, conjunction and connector interchangeably to cover cohesive devices that join sentences or clauses together.

There are several different classifications for the meaning and functions of discourse markers, though the most often referred to are :

• Adversative - The information in the second sentence qualifies the information in the first.

• Additive - To present additional information.

• Temporal - When the events in the text are related in terms of the time of the occurrence.

• Causal - The relationship highlighted here is one of cause and effect.

Having said this, Halliday (1985:302-9) believes that these categories are not sufficient to truly describe the form and functions of each conjunction, he suggests other categories which we can simplify into three types: elaboration, extension and enhancement, each with two sub types: apposition and clarification, addition and variation, spatio-temporal and causal conditional, respectively.

Most authors suggest the use of tables to categorise discourse markers into groups according to meaning, though Bolitho & Tomlinson (1980) also divide conjunctions into three different types according to their usage within a text. This is a useful classroom aid as it clarifies the functions of each conjunction and makes their correct usage explicit

I believe that categorising discourse markers, though useful as a written record, can lead to some confusion and misuse, as students may believe that they are interchangeable within a text. For this reason I will continue to discuss this point under the heading of classroom applications.

Classroom Applications

Focusing specifically on the practical applications of teaching discourse markers, I believe that some methods of teaching these linkers in the classroom can be confusing and lead to the misuse of certain markers. Many students misuse or over use discourse markers in the belief that it will add a logical argument to their writing or simply improve its style. This of course, could be due to the traditional methods of teaching discourse markers in the classroom.

Traditionally, we find that most course books present discourse markers out of context in isolated sentences that bear no relation to each other, thereby not allowing students to see the 'big picture' and the form and function of these connectors within that picture. Often, students are presented with large lists of discourse markers, again out of context, which are loosely categorised into groups according to meaning and function. This of course, can lead students to believe that those discourse markers within the same categories are interchangeable in a text, as subtle differences in meaning and the positioning of each conjunction are not highlighted.

W.J.Crewe (1990) suggests three different approaches, which he believes may be adopted to remedy the misuse of connectives by second language students; he refers to these as reductionist, expansionist, and deductionist.

• The reductionist approach - students are taught only a small selection of connectors and through practice are able to understand the semantic and discoursal value of each selected item .

• The expanstionist approach - Discourse markers are categorised into Implicit and explicit items. Students are encouraged to use more explicit items such as connectors with more than one word, which make the connection clearer. Crewe (1990: 322) believes that, 'with these, the student writer might more easily be called to account for the logical structure of his or her argument and made to explicate the links'.

• The deductionist approach - When writing, students focus first on the content of the text. Crewe suggests that the students should write their first draft without the aid of any discourse markers, to ensure that the content of the text has a logical progression before the connectors are added.

Crewe goes on to expand on these three approaches in his paper (1990) and although he makes some important points and practical remedies for the misuse or overuse of discourse markers, I personally feel that some of his solutions could lead to misunderstanding. For example, he suggests the use of a table which refers to less connectors yet breaks them down into even smaller categories, this is suppose to clarify meaning yet seems to only serve to confuse students even more. I believe, that the table Thornbury (1996:247) suggest would be clearer and therefore more beneficial to students on a practical level, though this alone will not overcome the problem of the inappropriate use of discourse markers.

Not only must meaning be clarified, but also form and appropriacy so as to avoid incorrect usage of discourse markers. One of the most effective ways to clarify meaning, form and appropriacy is to allow students to infer the correct usage from context by means of inductive exercises.

The extent to which the students are familiar with certain discourse markers, must play a central role when deciding which connectors to teach, and the list should be reduced or expanded accordingly. However, before deciding this, we have to take into consideration several different factors, the most important of these being the learners' reasons for learning English: do they need to use it in a written or spoken context, or whether they need it for formal or informal situations. In addition, frequency should be another central consideration: how often are these connectors used, and how they are used in relation to particular kinds of texts and contexts. How much we break down the meaning of each marker, highlighting subtle differences between them, depends on the level of the class and how many discourse markers they have seen before.

Overuse is also an issue, which needs to be avoided, given that students tend to use discourse markers randomly under the misapprehension that this will add to the cohesiveness of their discourse, regardless of whether a logical connexion exists within the text. As Nunan (1993:27) points out, ' cohesive devices themselves do not create the relationships in a text; what they do is to make the relationships explicit', this should be made clear to the students. Cohesion, in itself, is not enough to make a text coherent. The content of the text has to have its own logic, which the reader should be able to recognise even without the aid of explicit cohesive devices.


Discourse analysis provides us with a greater knowledge of the mechanisms that can be used to improve and heighten discourse. In a sense, the purpose behind using discourse analysis in a classroom situation is to make sure that the students are acquainted with the different possibilities that English allows to make their discourse, written or verbal, more 'natural'. Similarly, in terms of comprehension, discourse analysis should aid the students' understanding of the existence, and meaning, of the greater picture in a piece of discourse.


Bolitho, R. and Tomlinson, B. 1980. Discover English, George Allen and Unwin.

Brown, B. and Yule, G. 1983. Discourse Analysis, Cambridge University Press.

Crewe, W.J. 1990. 'The illogic of logical connectives', ELT Journal, Volume 44/4 October 1990, Oxford University Press.

Crystal, D. 1992. Introducing Linguistics, Penguin.

Edmondson, W. 1981. Spoken Discourse; A Model for Analysis, Longman.

Halliday, M.A.K. 1985. An Introduction into Functional Grammar, Edward Arnold.

Halliday, M.A.K., and Hasan, R. 1976. Cohesion in English, Longman.

McCarthy, M. 1991. Discourse Analysis for Language Teachers, Cambridge University Press.

McCarthy, M. and Carter, R. 1994. Language as Discourse; Perspectives for Language Teaching, Longman.

Nunan, D. 1993. Introducing Discourse Analysis, Penguin Group.

Parrot, M. 2002. Grammar for English Language Teachers, Cambridge University Press.

Sinclair, J.McH., and Coulthard, R.M. 1975. 'Towards an Analysis of Discourse', Oxford University Press.

Swan, M 1997. Practical English Usage, Oxford University Press.

Thornbury, S. 1997. About English; Tasks for Teachers, Cambridge University Press.


Ceri taught English in Madrid for more than five years. During this period she taught all ages and levels, both business and general English. Her particular interests include designing materials, especially visuals, and using drama techniques in the classroom. Ceri is presently the Course Director for a Trinity TESOL Cert. course in European Language Centres in Seville.

Appendix I


Reference - Personal
- Demonstrative
- Comparative
Substitution & Ellipsis - Nominal
- Verbal
- Clausal
Conjunction - Adversative
- Additive
- Temporal
- Causal
Lexical cohesion - Reiteration
- Collocation

Nunan, D. 1993. Introducing Discourse Analysis, Penguin. p. 3.

Appendix II


Reference items are those, which refer to something or someone, within the framework of the discourse. They can be pronouns ('he', 'she', 'it', 'they', 'him'), demonstratives ('that', 'those'), the article 'the', or other items ('such as').

Within reference items we can distinguish between those that refer to something concrete that is traceable within the previous discourse - anaphoric references. Anaphoric references, such as 'it' often lead towards pronominal references to the focus of attention, which requires that a distinctive focus be marked. 'That' on the other hand tends to be used when referring to different foci of attention, whereas 'this' can create new foci of attention.

A distinction can also be made for those references that refer to a future referent, cataphoric references; or to something which must be assumed outside the actual discourse, an exophoric reference. Exophoric references although not cohesive per se, are necessary for coherence. It is often the case that such exophoric references relate to an immediate context in the present, or to a known or assumed context. In this case the need for cultural referents may pose a problem for L2 learners, another important reason for ensuring that students fully understand the context of the discourse.


When ellipsis is used as a grammatical link, the interlocutor purposely omits elements, despite being generally required by grammar, if they are considered to be obvious within the specific context. In this case, we are dealing with a voluntary choice made by the interlocutor upon the assessment of the situation. In some cases it may be anaphoric, or cataphoric, in relation to the specific clauses, in the latter case it tends to occur at the beginning of the clause.

Ellipsis can be nominal, when the noun headword is omitted. On the other hand, they can also be verbal, in which case they may either echo the verb, or contrast it by changing the auxiliary. Finally, an ellipsis can be defined as clausal when what are omitted are the clausal elements, as in 'Philip said he would have a bath, and he has'.


Substitution can be considered as a very similar grammatical link to ellipsis, and in the same manner can be subdivided into nominal, verbal and clausal forms. Substitution can be prompted by words such as: 'one', 'do', 'does', 'so not', 'same' or 'think so'.

Lexical Cohesion

Cohesion can also be created by repetition of a word or by using two words in a text that are semantically related. Halliday and Hasan (1976) divide lexical cohesion into two categories: reiteration and collocation.

Reiteration performs a similar function to a cohesive reference, however instead of using a pronoun, demonstrative, or article the subject is either repeated or a synonym, or superordinate, is used in its place. Lexical collocations include those items in a text that are semantically related, for this reason it is one of the most problematic areas of discourse analysis to define. Though, Martin (1981:1) believes that, 'its contribution to coherence in text is so significant that it can not be ignored'.

Appendix III

Table to group Discourse markers into different categories.


Thornbury, S. 1997. About English. Page 246. Cambridge University Press.

Appendix IV

W.J. Crewe, (1990:322) suggests ways of breaking these categories down further so as to avoid confusion and misuse:


And, also

In addition

That is
For example
On the other hand



A vowel
But, however


Consequence As a result
Reversed Causal
With reference to (this)
Sequential: Most words acceptable, e.g. then, next, after, that,Finally, first(ly), second(ly), last, etc.

Bolitho and Tomlinson (1980) suggest other categories:

Exemplification Sequence Reason Result Purpose Comparison

For instance
For example


for this reason
in that case
on account of
As a result
Because of this
For this purpose
With this in mind
In this same way


Addition Contrast Correction Dismissal Reinforcement Time
And also
As well as
Even so
Despite this
On the other hand
On the contrary
At least
On the other hand
Anyhow Moreover
In fact
As a matter of fact
In any case
At the same time

Bolitho, R. and Tomlinson, B. 1980. Discover English, George Allen and Unwin.

Appendix V

Bolitho, R. and Tomlinson, B. (1980) define categories for the usage of discourse markers:

Type 1: And, but - Joins two clauses within the same sentence; must come in between them.

Type 2: As well as, although - Joins two clauses within the same sentence; can come at the beginning of the first clause or in between the first and second.

Type 3: However, also - Joins two sentences together.


Lesson plan 1

Preliminary information

Time: 60 minutes

Level: Intermediate

Main aims:

To highlight the use of discourse markers (refer to chart on page 3) in context, I shall use a written film review taken from the Internet.

To clarify the meaning, form and appropriacy of each discourse marker.

Help students to infer meaning and correct usage of target language through context by means of inductive exercises.

As part of a three-part lesson dealing with the structuring of authentic written materials, especially focusing on coherence and cohesion, I aim to prepare students to write their own film review.

Subsidiary aims:

To introduce the students to authentic written materials from the Internet.

To develop the skills of reading for gist and scanning for information.

To further develop the skills of listening for gist and information.

To review coherent structuring of texts and give implicit exposure to the cohesive device of referencing, which they will have already seen in the previous class.

Student profile:

This is an intermediate class comprised of a group of twelve young to middle-aged students that, a colleague and myself have been teaching for ten weeks. The majority of the students are not studying for any particular purpose other than as a social pastime, though most of them believe that English will be useful for them in the future to improve their work prospects. Given this, most of the students have cited listening and speaking as areas that they wished to improve, though all agreed that reading and writing are also important.

Elsa, an Art student, has spent some time in Britain and is one of the stronger students in the class. She works well with other students and seems to be very motivated.

Cristina, also an Art student, does not have such a high level as Elsa but interacts well in class and is able to keep up with the rest of the students.

Jordi has just finished a degree in Business Studies and is now actively looking for work. For this reason he is a highly motivated student with a 100% attendance record, though he is quite shy and needs to be paired with particularly talkative students so that he gets involved in activities.

Victoria has a good level and feels comfortable talking freely in open class activities. She, like many other students, is particularly interested in English for travel.

Carmen is an out of work schoolteacher who gives classes at home. Her knowledge of grammar is very good though sometimes she has problems with listening activities.

Nerea, a university student, has a good level but is a little under confident when it comes to speaking.

Irene, also a university student, seems to have the same problem as Nerea though her level is a little weaker.

Maria Teresa, is one of the newer students. Her level seems to be a bit weaker than the rest of the class, although her knowledge of vocabulary is quite high. She seems to be too teacher dependant and does not work very well with other students; she often interrupts the class by asking questions that are not relevant to the lesson. However, I noticed that she appeared to be more integrated with the rest of the class in the last lesson.

Gabriel, also a new student, seems to have a good level and feels particularly comfortable talking during open class activities. He works well with other students and is very motivated.

Antonio and Elena have just joined the course, though both seem to have a good level and work well within the class.


I am assuming that the students have come across most of the discourse markers before but will not have looked at their meaning, form and appropriacy.

Some students may have seen the film 'Chicago' and some may not, but all would have heard something about the hype surrounding it.

Some students may have seen the Oscar ceremony or know the outcome, these students can inform the others, another opportunity for real communication.

I am assuming that most of the students have been to the cinema recently and I will be able to group together students that have seen the same film for the brainstorm activity. However, even though most of the students have expressed interest in the cinema there may be a few that do not have time to go, so these students will have to brainstorm their film alone and then discuss it with their partners.

Anticipated problems & solutions:

Language problems/solutions:
As I will be looking at a wide range of discourse markers in this lesson, with various subtle differences in meaning and usage, I have decided to break down the problem areas to be looked at, into four different categories -meaning, form, appropriacy and phonology.

Meaning - It is possible that some students will be unable to identify the difference in meaning and function of certain discourse markers, so in stage three they will put the linkers from the text into a table (as below) categorising them into groups with similar meanings. It is also important to point out that discourse markers only highlight logical connections and contrasts if a logical link already exists within the text.

As a result
To draw attention to the fact that something is caused by, or is the result of something else.
Emphasises the fact that the second point contrasts with the first or highlights contrast of surprising facts.
Overall To generalise about a subject or give a general summary of the text.
As well as
Used to add information, or argument, to what has already been said.

Form - It is also possible that students may think that as these linkers have similar meanings they are interchangeable in a text, so it is important to clarify that certain discourse markers are found in different positions within a sentence and that some perform different functions. At this stage, I plan to let the students infer the rules of usage from context, by categorising them into three different types of discourse marker according to their form and function (see table below). I also plan to point out a few features of punctuation specific to certain conjunctions.

Links clauses- usually comes between clauses/in the middle of a sentence
Type 1
Links clauses- can come between clauses or at the beginning of a sentence.
Type 2

Links sentences- usually at the beginning of a sentence.
Type 3


Appropriacy -Students may use some of these discourse markers inappropriately. They may start to use 'nonetheless' in a spoken context, for example, therefore it is also important to stress that some discourse markers, such as 'nonetheless ', 'overall' and 'as a result,' are more formal and are usually only found in a written context. Out of the linkers that I will be teaching 'however' and 'so' are used the most in both written and spoken English, this will also be brought to the students', attention.

Phonology - I believe that this area will cause the least problems for the students as they will have already seen, or heard, most of these discourse markers in context. However, 'nonetheless' may be new to them and for this reason it may need to be drilled and the stress might have to be marked.

Problems/ solutions with tasks:
The class may have problems with the audio-visual activity as the material is authentic and Listening is one of the students' weakest skills. For this reason, I have made the task for this activity very simple, as the purpose of this exercise is merely to motivate the students and create interest in the subject. Similarly, the students may find the reading material a little difficult due to its authenticity, so again I have decided to keep the tasks simple and focus mainly on the target language.

Students will have implicit exposure to other cohesive devices, such as referencing, though we will not have time to focus on them in the observed lesson. Also due to time restrictions, we will not be able to focus on much of the vocabulary and collocations from the text in the observed hour, though I do plan to focus on this in the third part of this three-part class. I believe that this language will be useful for the final draft of the film review which will be the product of these lessons, though the means of arriving at this point using the process method of writing will be the most beneficial for the students.

Timing is also a factor that may affect the content of the lesson as I have designed a short consolidation task for stage six. However, if there are problems in stage five with the clarification of meaning, form and phonology, I intend to go straight to task eight, which I believe will be more useful for the students to prepare their written work. We will be able to revise and consolidate these discourse markers in the final part of the lesson.

Visual aids & materials:

· Video of a trailer of the film ' Chicago' from the Oscar ceremony.
· Cards of photographs taken from the film 'Chicago'.
· Written text from an Internet web site.
· Tables and charts to help clarify meaning and form.
· Cards of discourse markers.

Timetable fit:

The observed lesson will be part of a three part lesson on coherence and cohesion in written texts, something which the students believe may help them with their job prospects in the future. The final product will be a written film review which will be posted on the Internet, although it will be the process of writing and amending this piece of writing that will be the most valuable for the students.

· 1st Lesson - Coherence: look at the structuring of a piece of text and referencing (cohesion). Explain that some strategies can be transferred from their L1 to the L2. Also look at some cinema language to help students with the final result of the three-part lesson, the film review.

· 2nd Lesson - observed class/ Discourse markers.

· 3rd Lesson - We will go over students' written work (homework -film review); Cohesion continued. Students assess each other's work; how have the linkers been used? Have the students been able to transfer 'referencing' from their L1 to the L2? Look at useful collocations for the review. The students will then take back their own reviews and revise them, taking their peers' and teacher's comments, into consideration. Finally, one review from each group is chosen by the students to be posted on an English language Internet site.

Lesson rationale:

Although most of the class said that they wanted to practice both speaking and listening comprehension in their needs analysis at the beginning of the course, they also cited reading and writing as something, which they believed, would be useful in the work place. Therefore, I have decided to focus on cohesion and more specifically on discourse markers in my observed class, as I believe that this is not only an important consideration when structuring business letters and emails but one that can also be transferred to most written genres.

I chose to introduce these linkers through a written review taken from the Internet, as I believe that the students would find this genre more motivating and interesting than a business context. Cinema was a subject that most of the students expressed an interest in at the beginning of the course and as this class will take place soon after the Oscar award ceremony I believe that this will generate an added interest regarding the chosen text.

The purpose of the audio-visual activity, a trailer of the film 'Chicago,' is mainly to create interest in the subject of the text and increase student motivation, so the extensive task has been made simple. Once the students' schema of the subject of the text has been activated they should find the following task - the jumbled reading - easier. The aims of this task are not only to introduce the text but also to enable the students to use their knowledge of coherence, and to some extent cohesion, to complete the activity, this will be revising and consolidating information learnt in the previous lesson.

The following task is a gist reading exercise so that the students understand the idea of the text as well as facilitating task seven later on in the lesson. At the end of this stage the students will have identified the target language by means of an inductive exercise and will then be asked to find all the discourse markers in the text - a noticing activity.

In stage 5 there are two activities that are intended to enable students to infer meaning and form from context. This will be consolidated in the following stage, in which I will give the students a written record of the target language, clarifying meaning, form and appropriacy.

In the final stage there will be some consolidation exercises for the target language and also some useful brainstorming activities for the homework - the film review. This written review will not only give the students the chance to use the new language but will also serve as the basis for the next lesson, in which we will continue to look at cohesive devices. Furthermore, this piece of writing will give me an opportunity to evaluate to what extent the students have understood the usage and meaning of the target language. The aims behind posting the students' work on an English language Internet site are to give the students a real audience to write for and a real purpose for which to write.

Time Interaction. Procedure Aims
  Warmer Give out Questionnaire-find out what films stus have seen.
Class discussion:
What are the main categories for the Oscars? Who won what?
*Save time for task 8.

*Introduce thesubject of film and the Oscars.
5 mins Stage 1
Task 1
T. monitor
F/B Whole class
Watch trailer (from the Oscars) for the film 'Chicago'.
From the trailer what type of film do you think it is?
Would this trailer make you want to see the film?
What film? (open class)
CHICAGO-what type? Ideas?(open class - 3mins)
Has anyone seen it?
If not do these clips make them want to see the film?
What do they think it's about?
*Create interest in the subject and motivate students.

*Activate stus schema of the film world and their knowledge of the film 'Chicago'.

*Develop gist listening skill
5 mins Stage 2
Task 2
T. monitor
F/B Whole class
Jumbled text.
Closed pairs - put the text in the correct order (3 mins)
Check order -why?
What made the students put text in that order?
Coherence (revision from previous class- 2 mins)
Give out text in Web page format (Handout 1)
*Intro text/ stus think about Coherent Structures, which is revision from the first class of the lesson.
8 mins Stage 3
Task 3
T. monitor
F/B Whole class

Is the text positive or negative? (Answer-both)
What does the writer think is positive & negative about the film?

Positive: Songs, Money, Cast -able to sing n dance

Negative: Theatrical, Not sex,
Uninventive camera work

Discuss ideas. How does the writer contrast these negative and positive ideas? Use example sentence to aid stus if necessary*.

*Developing the skill of reading for information.

*Guides students to discover-the way the author has organised the information using discourse markers & other cohesive devises
7 mins Stage 4
Task 4
T. monitor
F/B Whole class
We have talked about Coherence and Cohesion-linking words.
Put example sentence on board *Overall, Marshall's 'Chicago' seems destined to succeed, though there are problems.

Now find as many linkers in the text as you can (there are 11 different ones).
Closed pairs 6 mins.
Elicit / give the 11 linkers that are in the text.( 1min)

However, though, but, and, yet, therefore, as a result, so, Nonetheless, as well as, overall -have cards to put on board as the linkers are elicited (cards 1).
*Inductive exercise so that stus realise the purpose of linkers through context.

*Guided discovery - students are able to notice the target language in context.
*Use cards for quick F/B.
15 mins Stage 5
Task 5
T. monitor F/B
Whole class
Task 6
T. monitor F/B

After identifying the linkers the students use the context to infer their meaning and categorise them - putting them into a meaning table - handout 2. ( closed pairs 5 mins)

At the end of activity give each stu a card.
Check ideas-stus put card on board in correct column.So does that mean that the linkers in each category are interchangeable? Why not? Elicit subtle difference in meaning and grammar differences
Explain differences in the positioning of certain discourse markers. Stus look at linkers in context and put them into a table according to their positioning and function in the sentences. ( closed pairs 5 mins - handout 3)Type 1 -joins clauses and usually in middle of sentenceType 2 - joins clauses & can go in middle or endType 3 - Joins sentences & normally goes at the beginning of the sentence.Use cards again for feedback.

*Infer meaning from context and categorise them into a useful table, which they will have as a reference.

*Ensure stus understand the differences in usage between different linkers, clarifying- meaning, form and appropriacy.

*Use cards to make F/B quicker, get the stus moving and also so that we can all see the table & correct it on the board.
2 mins
Record stage
Whole class
Check ideas and clarify form, appropriacy and meaning by correcting mistakes and also giving out written record for stus to study at home and use for homework task (handout 4) *Clarify meaning, form appropriacy.

*Stus have written record to revise at home.
8 mins
Stage 6
Task 7
T. monitor F/B
Whole class
Stus have cards of sentences and photographs from the story of 'Chicago' - (Cards 2) They need to link the sentences and photos, using linkers from the text.Micro teach- correcting stus sentencesElicit sample sentences and deal with any language problems that might have arisen (during monitoring). *Language consolidation. I can evaluate the stus understanding of the target language.
10 mins Stage 7
Task 8T.
Whole class
Show Web page of Internet site where review will be posted.You are going to write a review for homework using discourse markers.Ask stus-what films have they seen this year?Divide in pairs or groups - brainstorm ideas about your film -positive and negative ideas. (5 mins)Look at ideas-elicit /suggest discourse markers to link or contrast their ideas. *Stus think about review content/ structure & linkers.

*Consolidation andGuidance for the use of linkers.

*Preparation for review/ homework.

*Integrated speaking practice.
  Homework. Write a short review on the film you have been discussing, which we will look at in class and later post on < http// > internet site. *Give an audience/purpose for the written work.



- used in the first of the three-part lesson
ie. before this lesson

Word or expression Definition of word/expression
highlighted in black.

I love going to see Sam play the piano because he plays some great tunes.

The would-be starlet is determined to become famous one day.

He is infamous for not arriving on time.

When I read the headlines of the newspaper I realised that America had declared war on Iraq.

She was not the most popular actress but she was determined to steal the limelight from her co-star.

When we saw how well she performed we realised that she was destined to succeed.

Most of the old western films were criticised for their uninventive camerawork.

Most people thought that he was not a very good director, as he was famous for his oppressive close-ups.

When the famous lawyer agreed to take on his case, he knew he would not have to go to prison.

Good music.

Someone who is famous/ a star.

To be famous for doing something-usually negative.

The large print in a newspaper that gives you the important information.

To attract or take away attention from someone else.

To be sure of someone's success.

To make films/use a camera without using imagination.

In films or photographs - when a photograph has been taken very close to the subject.

To defend someone in a court of law.


Handout 1


Tick all the films that you have seen from the list below and put a star next to the film you liked best.

The Lord of the Rings.


The Hours.



The Pianist.

Gangs of New York.

Far from Heaven.

Talk to Her (Spanish)



El Crimen del Padre Amaro (Mexican).

The Man without a Past (Finnish).

About Schmidt.

Road to Perdition.

Saving Grace.

Harry Potter.

Y Tu Mama Tambien.

*If you have not seen any of the above films write the last film that you saw below.


Reading text

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Handout 2



Put these linkers in the correct box according to their meaning:

Overall, though, so, but, as well as, however, and, nonetheless, yet, therefore, as a result.

A.) To draw attention to the fact that something is caused by or is the result of something else.
B.) Emphasise the fact that a second point contrasts with the first or highlights contrast of surprising facts.
C.) To generalise about a subject or give a general summary of the text.
D.) Used to add information or argument to what has already been said.

Handout 3


Put the linkers below in the correct column:

However, though, but, as well as, nonetheless, so, as a result, and, therefore, overall.

Links clauses - usually comes between clauses/in the middle of a sentence

Type 1

Links clauses - can come between clauses or at beginning of a sentence.

Type 2

Links sentences -usually at the beginning of a sentence.

Type 3







Handout 4

Linkers -Meaning and Grammar


It is important to be aware that although some linkers have similar meanings they may not be interchangeable within a text- different linkers are usually found in different positions in a sentence. The positioning of linkers can be put into three categories:

Type 1 - Linkers that usually join two clauses together and are found in the middle of a sentence/ go between two clauses.

Type 2 - Linkers that join two clauses together and can go at the beginning of a sentence or at the end.

Type 3 - Linkers that link ideas between two sentences or paragraphs and are usually placed at the beginning of a sentence.


Balancing contrasting points:
Yet, although, but.
These linkers are used to emphasise a contrast between facts that are surprising but do not contradict each other.

Although my wife prefers the seaside, I like spending my holidays in the mountains. (type 2).
He seemed disappointed with his new house, although he was happy to have a place of his own. (Type 2)
He seemed disappointed with his new house. Yet he was happy to have a place of his own at last. ( more formal)
He seemed disappointed with his new house but he was happy to have a place of his own. (Type 1)

Emphasising contrast or counter-argument:
However, nonetheless, but, yet.
These linkers emphasise the fact that the second point contrasts with the first.

'Nonetheless' and 'yet' are not used as often as the others and are generally used in written contexts.
Our school came last in the athletics competition. However we did have one success, with John's record in the long jump. (Type 3)
…cannot agree with colonialism. Nonetheless some people believe that the British did do some good in…( Type 3/ formal)
He says he's a socialist but he owns three houses and drives a Ferrari. ( less formal)

Overall -other examples; in general, on the whole.
These linkers are used when the speaker/writer wants to generalise about a subject. 'Overall' can also be used to introduce a short summary of a text.

Overall, we think that his work is satisfactory (type 3)

As well as, and.
These linkers can be used to add information, or argument, to what has already been said.

As well as food, the peasants urgently need medical supplies. (Type 2)
The peasants urgently need food as well as medical supplies.
The peasants urgently need food and medical supplies. (Type 1)

Cause and Result
Therefore, so, as a result.

These linkers show that what is said is a result of /or follows logically from what was said before. 'So' is less formal and is used more frequently than the others. In some spoken contexts 'so' can have a different meaning. 'Therefore' and 'as a result' are more formal and are usually only found in written texts.

I felt very ill so I didn't go to work. ( type 2)
….her parents insisted. Therefore she was unable to avoid a marriage of….(type 3)
….her husband died. As a result she was accused of murder and…..(type 3/more formal)

For stage 6 - pics & cards

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