Do As I Say
Operations, Procedures, and Rituals for Language Acquisition
by: Gayle Nelson,Thomas Winters and Raymond Clark
Level: Beginner to intermediate, All ages
Do As I Say was originally published in 1980 as ESL Operations. This
edition is completely re-designed as a photocopyable teacher resource,
with many new activities.
The basic idea is quite simple. Each activity is based on a highly predictable
series of steps, called a Sequence. There are three types: Operations,
Procedures, and Rituals.
* An Operation involves using a tool or a piece of equipment or a device
such as an ATM. The instructional language that accompanies the use
of the device is the basis for the students' language practice.
* A Procedure typically involves making or doing something, such as
making a cup of tea or sewing on a button.
* A Ritual is a formulaic dialogue such as a greeting, introduction
Each sequence typically includes eight lines of about eight words. The
usual procedure involves a pair of students. One student gives a command
(says) and the other follows it (does).
They also ask and answer questions:
* What are you doing? (present progressive)
* What are you going to do? (future)
* What did you do? (past)
With a little imagination, the students can also ask:
* What is she going to do?
* What was she doing when I told her to stop?
* What were you going to do when I said "wait?"
The sequences require physical activity and active, responsive language
use. The students are energized as they learn by doing.
* Use them one-a-day or as the need arises, and have fun with
* using a calculator
* making popcorn
* playing bingo
* ordering a pizza
* looking up a word
* wiring money
* folding origami
* sending an email
* setting up a chess board
* using a laundromat
* and 65 others
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