On line resources: e-textbooks, dictionaries, websites and corpora including texts dealing with the subject studied.
Access to softwares such as SketchEngine which allow the creation of ad hoc corpora, display KWIC lists of contexts and allow users to calculate frequent collocations.
Jcloze (HotPotatoes) to prepare the cloze for online solution
….. understand the main ideas of complex texts on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in my field of specialization
The teacher has a certain amount of texts in electronic format: (minimum 10000 words) and can prepare a minicorpus with SketchEngine
OR the teacher teaches a subject which is represented in one of the corpora freely accessible online for the language taught.
The teacher should prepare a text of max. 200 words with 12 gaps
The class is already familiar with the text type
Each gap has the same length even if the word deleted has a different number of letters. Using a word processing software it is very easy to obtain gaps of the same length.
If you use Jcloze, or another dedicated software, gaps are already prepared in the right way
Words to be deleted are chosen according to content and language criteria (as explained below in the Process section)
Some dos and don’ts in deleting
No gap in the title, no gap in the first sentence; at least 7 graphic words between a gap and the following one. No more than one gap per sentence.
Avoid deleting words which are not heads of their phrases unless they have a peculiar weight in meaning reconstruction.
Consider that a gap in the first part of the sentence or after a punctuation mark is more difficult to fill in than a gap in the second part of the sentence, all the more in English, a language in which position determines the part of speech of the missing word.
Do not delete a word in a collocation unless your students have already learnt the collocation or you can let them discover the collocation in a corpus
Do not delete a part of a phrasal verb
Consider that deleting a finite verb means to delete three pieces of information in pro-drop languages like Italian or Spanish, i.e. lexical information, person and tense/mood and two pieces of information in languages like English.
The teacher gives the cloze test to the class and explains that some gaps are more content-oriented, i.e. students who are familiar with the subject will fill those gaps easily, some gaps are language oriented and one or two gaps are text –oriented, i.e. adverbs or discourse markers marking the structure of the text were deleted.
S/he asks the class not only to fill in the gaps but also to declare the type of gap: content, language, text. S/he will explain that attribution might be problematic in certain cases but that in such cases students have to chose and can answer “mainly content”, “mainly language”, “mainly text”.
The teacher will encourage students to search some corpora which contain subject related texts, especially if s/he decides to delete a word in a collocation.
Teachers interested in content might encourage students to fill in the gaps also with words in their L1 or with more than one word.
The teacher might delete more than 12 words and exploit some gaps to give an example of filling strategies.
For instance, if you delete the word indicating a part of a whole already mentioned, the gap is very content-oriented.
If you delete a derived adjective such as cellular after one or two occurrences of multiwords made of cell followed by other words such as cell division or cell wall, the gap is academic language-oriented.
If you delete a demonstrative from a final sentence in a test description “This experiment has shown that….” you are requiring to fill a text-oriented gap. All the more if you delete a word like experiment in the same situation.
If you delete the first occurrence of a word which will be repeated further on, such a gap is more comprehension-engaging than the gap obtained deleting the second or third occurrence.
Reinforcers. If a great number of students could not fill in a gap or filled it with wrong words, the teacher should discuss such a gap with the class in order to understand failure reasons.
After some weeks the teacher might propose a disordered text: ordering strategies are very close to those implied by gap filling
To give a cloze with a familiar type of text is an important success factor.
Familiarity with cloze procedures during English language classes is another important success factor.
Teacher might decide that not all gaps have the same value: s/he might give more importance to content gaps and less to language- oriented or text-oriented gaps. However s/he should consider that to fill “This experiment has shown that….” Is much easier than to fill
“This experiment has shown that….”.
Teacher interested in content will give a lower score to gap filled with right words in L1 or filled with more than one word in L2 but will acknowledge and reward the student’s effort.
Not filling a gap should bring a penalization.
Language-oriented gaps might admit filling synonyms as shown by KWIC lists.
Content-oriented gaps of hard sciences have probably only one word as admitted filling.
Restricted collocations will have only one word as admitted filling.
If the cloze is made on the computer, software such as Jcloze usually admit only one right answer.
The first time a teacher gives this type of task with an English text s/he might decide to help students indicating the part of speech of the missing words.
Explain the evaluation criteria for different types of gap, in this way students will understand that a cloze during a CLIL lesson has different purposes.
The task was created to develop textual comprehension skills and to check memorization of notions.
Marello’s long life experience with cloze shows that it is an effective way of acquiring metalinguistic awareness both of language specific features and of information distribution in specialised texts.
This task reinforces the presence of cloze tests in most national syllabuses and foreign language programmes and can be easily modulated according to the taught subject and the age of the students.