Friday, 28 May 2021

Ways of creating an information gap

As I gradually sift through pre-microsoft / word documents and convert them to a digital format which I can store, I plan to use this blog as a place to share them.

In the mid-1980s I went to a wonderful course in Southampton which introduced me to the term 'information gap'.  I think the speaker was Ann Miller.  (Apologies - I did not write her name on the sheet - if anyone can confirm / correct me, I'd be grateful!).  She demonstrated how every single stage of the learning process could be made more 'authentic' by creating or exploiting 'information gaps'.

Ways of creating an information gap.

1) of grammatical items and functions

hide it
partially obscure it
show range of items from which class must guess your choice
remove it change it
offer information so surprising as to require verification

2) of spoken texts
mystery to be clarified
décalage between spoken and written text, pictures different information different sequence, missing information etc

3) of written texts
anticipation of content
comparison of more than one text 
shock information
interesting narrative


(Replication of above activities in teacher/class, pupil / class,  pupil /pupil format

Ways of using cards

face down/up 
one partner only has information other has to guess draw etc 
pelmanism principle [e.g. 
number of items from which one partner makes secret choice
‘Cherchez la femme’ principle
partial information to each partner
collect set
find person with same information

Ways of justifying giving information people already have

in role: famous people, panellists swap roles
displacement of time or place
official demands
teen magazines
yes / no interlude,
personality tests
how much do you know about your partner?
add in an emotion: anger, remorse, etc

Suggestions for exploiting various types of texts

(what would normally be the readers way of processing the information?)

Information texts

what do pupils already know?
what do other texts say?
compare partners choice at most important sentence in each paragraph, subheadings etc
diagram of chronology,  cause-effect
role play take point of view and justify


relate information to pupils, self famous people etc
do on behalf of self and partner
make up more answers/questions

Daily routine

what do you expect her to do?
things she does/ doesn't do
pleasure/ work
order of priority
act out dialogue
relate answers to questions
manifesto of candidate
account of week as apology
angry husband

Cosmetic advert

what adjectives would you expect to describe a lipstick?
give the adjectives- what is the product?
give list of some adjectives in the ad, some not
put adjectives in order of effectiveness
write advert for aftershave
turn into a video

Before/ after

whose improvement the greatest?
invent more dramatic before and afters
different product

Carte d’identité

some information to each partner
memory test
which one do you like best?
surmise other categories
apply to self, partner et cetera

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