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TKT: KAL Part 4 Discourse: coherence trainers notes

Description
This activity explores textual coherence in written and spoken texts. Participants examine a
range of texts for coherence and the features which make a coherent text. They also
practise a sample task.
Time required:

5070 minutes (includes optional sections)

Materials
required:

Aims:

Participants Worksheet 1 (one copy for each participant)

Participants Worksheet 2 (one copy for each participant)

Participants Worksheet 3 (one copy for each participant)

Participants Worksheet 4 (optional) (one copy for each participant)

Participants Worksheet 5 (one copy for each participant)

Sample Task (one copy for each participant)

to introduce the different ways in which textual coherence is


achieved

to ensure participants understanding of features which provide


textual coherence

to explore the functions of discourse markers in written and spoken


text

to ensure understanding of the difference between textual


coherence and cohesion

Note: The activity TKT: KAL Part 4: Cohesion should ideally be done with participants before
this one.
Procedure
1. Write the following dialogue on the board:
A

I wish I could fly.

The roses are just starting to bloom.

2. Elicit what is wrong with/ odd about this conversation: aim to elicit the term
coherence. (The dialogue is not coherent/ doesnt make sense.)
3. Give out Participants Worksheet 1. In pairs, participants look at the texts and
decide which are coherent and which arent. Feed back with the whole group (see
Key below).
4. Elicit whether all the texts are cohesive, i.e. whether there is a grammatical/lexical
relationship between parts of the text. (A, E and F are cohesive; there is some lexical
cohesion in B (restaurant/ price/ fish); C and D are not cohesive). Point out that
cohesion doesnt always lead to coherence. Discuss briefly how coherence differs
from cohesion. Dont expect or require exact answers at this stage.
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5. Give out Participants Worksheet 2. In pairs, participants discuss how they would
expect these texts to continue. Feed back with the whole group (see Key below).
Elicit that all these texts are coherent. Discuss how we know what to expect.
(Experience of these genres has taught us how they usually develop.)
6. Give out Participants Worksheet 3. Individually, participants tick the features of a
coherent text, then check with a partner. Feed back (see Key below).
7. Allocate one of the texts on Participants Worksheet 2 to each pair or small group
of participants. Using the checklist on Participants Worksheet 3, they should
identify which of the ticked features can be found in their text. Feed back with the
whole group or by reorganising the groups so that in each new group of 4 there is
one person to speak about each text. Monitor and feed back as required (see Key
below).
8. Give out Participants Worksheet 4, which looks at discourse markers in more
detail. Participants can work through Exercise 1 individually, then check answers in
pairs, then complete Exercise 2 in pairs. Feed back with the whole group (see Key
below). You may prefer to ask participants to complete this at home and to discuss it
in a subsequent session.
9. Give out Participants Worksheet 5. Participants work in small groups to apply their
understanding of coherence to the text, answering the questions. Feed back with the
whole group (see Key below).
10. Review participants understanding now of the difference between coherence and
cohesion. (Coherence is the relationship or connection between ideas in a text, and
between the text and the world, so it is clear and easy to understand. Cohesion is the
relationship or connection between different parts of a piece of writing, or speech,
based on the grammar and/or lexis.)
11. Give out the Sample Task. Participants complete the task individually in no more
than 7 minutes (candidates have an average of 1 minute per question in the TKT:
KAL exam). Check answers (see Key below). Alternatively, participants can
complete the sample task at home.
12. With the whole group, discuss the following questions:

How might knowledge of coherence help the teacher in the classroom?


(Understanding of coherence helps teachers understand why their learners
have problems relating to particular texts, and enables them to design
contexts and lead-ins which help relate learners knowledge of the world to
the topic of the text. At more advanced levels, learners ability to work with
cohesion or lack of it allows them to recognise humour and communication
breakdown in particular.)

Would it be useful or not to teach learners the terms related to


coherence used in this session? (There is no correct answer to this:
teachers may have different and valid arguments either way, according to the
context in which they teach.)

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Additional information
TKT:KAL may test candidates knowledge of this area by focussing on one aspect of
coherence, as in the sample task, or it may work with a range of features, often by asking
candidates to identify them in a text. Some tasks will focus on genre, coherence and
cohesion within the same task.

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TKT: KAL Part 4 Discourse: coherence answer keys


Key to Procedure steps
Step 7
A

recognised text structure, (consistency of topic), readers/listeners knowledge of


topic, consistency of function of text,

logical progression, consistent register, consistency of topic, readers/listeners


knowledge of topic, consistency of function of text,

logical progression, use of conjunctions and discourse markers, consistent register,


consistency of topic, consistency of function of text,

consistent register, recognised text structure, consistency of topic, readers/listeners


knowledge of topic, consistency of function of text, fit with context

Key to Participants Worksheet 1

A and E are coherent.

Some participants may be able to make sense of B and/or F, in which case they
too would be considered coherent.

Coherent texts make sense to the reader/listener.

Key to Participants Worksheet 2


A Youd expect the steps in the recipe.
B Youd expect description and evaluation of the steam room, and possibly of the other
hotel facilities.
C Youd expect arguments for and against cloning to be outlined, followed by a
conclusion taking position on one side or the other.
D Youd expect a description of a place or of things the writers have done or maybe
intend to do.
Experience of these genres has taught us how they usually develop.

Key to Participants Worksheet 3


Logical progression 9
Good use of conjunctions and discourse markers 9
Consistent register 9
A recognised text structure 9
Consistency of topic 9
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Readers/ listener knowledge of topic 9


Consistency of function of text 9
Fit with context 9

Key to Participants Worksheet 3


Exercise 1
All these words/ sets of words signal to the reader/listener what kind of information will come
next.
but (contrast)

unlike
(something
dissimilar)

finally (a last
point)

as a result (a
actually (a
consequence) contrast/
confirmation/
clarification)

generally
speaking (a
generalisation)

whats more
(additional
information)

I mean
(clarification)

for example
(an example)

in conclusion
(a
conclusion)

another point
(more
information)

in fact
(confirmation)

first of all (the


first point on
a list)

and
(additional
information)

after that
(another
subsequent
event)

look
(something
attention
worthy)

well
(hesitation/
doubt)

in other words
(a paraphrase)

oh
(something
surprising)

OK (the
beginning of
a discourse)

Exercise 2
Possible answers
a) an explanation/ clarification - what I mean is
b) the last point to be made - lastly
c) a result or conclusion- so
d) an example for instance
e) a generalisation - on the whole
f)

the start of a list - firstly

g) more information on the same point in addition


h) contrasting information - but
i)

the next thing to happen - then

j)

the next point from a list - next

k) a summary to sum up
l)

some new/ surprising information listen

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Participants Worksheet 5
What helps it to be coherent? It follows an article structure; its on a familiar topic; it
keeps to one topic.
What might make parts of it incoherent to some readers? Maybe all the technical words in
the third paragraph and readers lack of experience of the topic.
What discourse markers does it contain? according to, in fact, although
How do discourse markers contribute to coherence? They help readers/ listeners know
what to expect.

Key to Sample Task


1B

2A

3B

4B

5C

6B

7A

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TKT: KAL Part 4 Discourse: coherence Participants Worksheet 1


Look at the texts. Which are them are coherent? Why? Why not?
A
A

I really love Paris.

Yes, its a fantastic city

B
A
Are you coming to the
restaurant tonight?
B. The price of fish has gone through
the ceiling.

C
A

I wish I could fly.

The roses are just starting to


bloom.

D
Anna: Put the water in the pot.
Rob: Deserts are spreading on most
continents.
Anna: Hi guys.

E
First, place all the pieces on a flat
surface
Then, put the glue, scissors, hammer
and nails on another surface.
Put your gloves on at this point
F
It is deeply mystifying. However, an
etymological study of texts reveals
its consistent use of features, which
would support a more
contextualised approach.

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TKT: KAL Part 4 Discourse: coherence Participants Worksheet 2


Here are some more texts. They are all extracts. How would you expect them to continue?
A
Ingredients
B

170g/6oz self-raising flour


salt
2 tbsp cocoa powder
170g/6oz caster sugar
5 tbsp sunflower oil, plus extra for greasing
230ml/8fl oz sweetened soya milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

The pool was large, deep, and


clean without the overpowering
chlorine smell that usually goes
with the traditional hotel pool. The
steam room was

C
Thepracticeofcloningcanbeusedtobenefitsocietyandthereforeshouldbe
legalised.Eversincethecloningofthefirstadultsheep,Dolly,theideaofcloninghas
becomeamajorissueandthesubjectofmanydebates.Manypeopleareafraidofthe
ideaofcloning ..

D
Dear all
Were loving it here. The weather is .

How do you know how to expect them to continue?

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TKT: KAL Part 4 Discourse: coherence Participants Worksheet 3


Tick the items in the circle below which help make a text coherent.

Logical progression
Grammatically accurate sentences
Good use of conjunctions and discourse markers
Use of word families
Consistent register
A recognised text structure
A wide range of lexis
Consistency of topic
Readers/ listeners knowledge of topic
Punctuation
Consistency of function of text
Use of collocations
Fit with context

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TKT: KAL Part 4 Discourse: coherence Participants Worksheet 4


Exercise 1
Look at these words and phrases.

What function do they have in common?

What kind of information do they each introduce?

but

unlike

finally

as a result

actually

generally
speaking

whats more

I mean

for example

in conclusion

another point

in fact

first of all

and

after that

look

well

in other words

oh

OK

Exercise 2
What discourse markers could be used for the following functions?

To introduce:
a. an explanation/ clarification
b. the last point to be made
c. a result or conclusion
d. an example
e. a generalisation
f.

the start of a list

g. more information on the same point


h. contrasting information
i.

the next thing to happen

j.

the next point from a list

k. a summary
l.

some new/ surprising information

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TKT: KAL Part 4 Discourse: coherence Participants Worksheet 5


Look at this extract from an article reporting on some scientific findings.

What helps it to be coherent?

What might make parts of it incoherent to some readers?

What discourse markers does it contain?

How do discourse markers contribute to coherence?

Stay in bed that extra hour: it aids thinking, say


researchers
Early tomorrow morning, the clocks go back to herald Greenwich Mean Time - and that extra hour in
bed could do your brain a lot of good, according to a review of research on sleep.
Psychologists at the University of Rome pulled together more than 100 studies of the effects of sleep
on cognitive tasks and found that staying out of bed for too long can have serious effects on ability to
remember and learn new information. In fact, for students, they found that a bad night's sleep could
even result in worse grades.
"Recent studies in molecular genetics, neurophysiology and cognitive and behavioural neuroscience
have strengthened the idea that sleep may play an important role in learning and memory, although
the extent of this role remains hotly debated," wrote Giuseppe Curcioa, Michele Ferrara and Luigi De
Gennaroa in the journal Sleep Medicine Reviews. "There is still poor understanding as regards which
aspects of memory function are affected by sleep and which processes underlie memory
consolidation."

(slightly adapted from Stay in bed that extra hour: it aids thinking, say researchers, by Alok Jha, science
correspondent, Guardian, 28 October 2006)

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TKT: KAL Part 4 Discourse: coherence Sample Task


A teacher has prepared a task on the function of different discourse markers for his class
and is writing the answer key.
For questions 1-7, look at the underlined discourse markers in the dialogues and choose the
function listed A, B or C which the discourse marker carries out.
1

introducing an excuse

introducing strong opposition.

Brian: No way- Ive only just got out of


the shower.

introducing a wish

John: It was a fantastic party

introducing a complaint

Peter: A pity no one told me about it.

introducing bad news

introducing an apology

introducing a command

introducing a new idea

introducing a routine

introducing a conclusion

introducing a generalisation

introducing an opinion

introducing something true

introducing a disagreement

introducing a strong opinion

introducing a softener

Rosie: Forget it. Anyway, Ive got to go


now

introducing a new topic

introducing a reservation

Judy: I really think she needs to work


hard.

introducing a different view

introducing a clarification

introducing an example

Ann: Hurry up, will you? Its nearly time


to leave.

Dave: Theres nothing decent on TV


tonight.
Bill:

Lilly: What do you think of your new flat


then?
Will:

Listen, why dont we play cards?

On the whole I quite like it.

Mike: I wish theyd knock that old


building down.
Jan:
that.

Frankly, Id be horrified if they did

Mat:

Im really sorry I didnt ring

Pat:
does

Actually, I suspect she already

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Acknowledgements
Cambridge ESOL is grateful to the following for copyright permission:
Guardian.co.uk
Stay in bed that extra hour: it aids thinking, say researchers, by Alok Jha, science correspondent,
28 October 2006

Every effort has been made to identify the copyright owners for material used, but it is not always
possible to identify the source or contact the copyright holders. In such cases, Cambridge ESOL
would welcome information from the copyright owners.

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