Guided description

With this slideshow we go beyond the traditional picture description by deciding when and how we show to students vocabulary and prompts  to help them describe the picture.

We can start by displaying the image and eliciting some sentences and vocabulary. If they get stuck, or if we are interested in giving them some specific vocabulary or practice, then we can show the text which is hidden in a text box. On mouse click, the hidden text appears.

This is an example of a “Guided description

This slideshow helps teachers to:

  • Get students’ attention: the screen attracts their attention and giving them some help prevents some students from feeling lost and switching off sometimes.
  • Check previous knowledge: before showing the vocabulary, we can ask students some questions about the picture to see what structures and vocabulary they remember.
  • Activate schemata: students start thinking about the topic related to the picture.
  • Pre-teach vocabulary: we may show the vocabulary from the very beginning so that students learn it and use it.
  • Use different groupings: this can be a whole-class activity, but it can also be run as pair work, where pairs have to come up with, say, 2 or 3 sentences about the picture. Group work is also possible, especially if we set up some kind of competition (for example, build sentences about the picture using at least two of the words in the box).
  • Create challenge or opportunity: by showing the picture without any help we create a challenge, by giving students words and structures we create opportunities.


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