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Making Revision Guides Using Communicative Language Teaching

Percival Guevarra, University of California, Irvine
Janella Lee-McGarraugh, University of California, Irvine


Tutor LOs: 
To create a contextualized, student-centered revision process 

  • Tutors will be able to (TWBAT) negotiate the session’s agenda regarding local concerns with the student. 

  • TWBAT focus local grammar concerns to one major grammar concern. 

  • TWBAT guide students with finding patterns in correct and incorrect forms of the grammar concern. 

  • TWBAT foster student participation to encourage student agency in the tutoring session.   

Student LOs:

  • Students Will Be Able To (SWBAT) find examples of a grammar concern in their writing. 

  • SWBAT find patterns in correct and incorrect forms of the grammar concern. 

  • SWBAT articulate a definition of the grammar concern. 

  • SWBAT list steps to identify forms of the grammar concern. 

  • SWBAT develop strategies for revising incorrect forms. 


  • Student writing
  • Something to write with
  • Something to write on


Introduction (10% of entire lesson time) 

Context Building  

  1. Facilitator (F) starts the lesson by eliciting and/or introducing tutoring sessions that have focused on grammar concerns.  
  2. F differentiates systematic grammar concerns from idiomatic concerns:  
    • systematic concerns (e.g., subject-verb agreement or verb tense), where a replicable process that uses student writing can be applied. 
    • idiomatic concerns (e.g., collocations or word choice), where a replicable process that uses outside resources (e.g., dictionaries)  can be applied. 
  3. F describes the lesson as intended for systematic concerns that maintain a process-oriented, student-centered approach without the need for linguistic expertise.
  4. F overviews the training (see “Body of Lesson” below) as the same process they will be able to use with students. Note: The “Body of Lesson” section will use S for students and T for tutors, and the facilitator will take the T role and the tutors will take the S role.   
  5. F distributes sample writing to Ts. 


Body of Lesson (80% of entire lesson time) 

Note: This section will use S for students and T for tutors. For the purposes of this lesson plan, the facilitator will take the T role and the tutors will take the S role. This will also allow facilitators to easily print this section for tutors’ use. 

The student (S) and tutor (T) work together as necessary, i.e., when S can no longer define, identify, or revise the grammar concern. Otherwise, T mostly facilitates S’s process in creating the revision guide. 

Context Gathering (10% of lesson body time) 

  1. S and T agree to focus the session on a grammar concern (or some specific concept).  
  2. T may describe the long-term benefits and applications of creating a custom, revision strategy guide that uses their own writing. 
  3. S writes the name of the grammar concern at the top of a piece of paper (or wherever the S would like to document their notes). 
  4. S finds examples of grammar concern in their writing (doesn’t matter if the form is correct or incorrect). 
  5. S marks the examples for future reference. 
Awareness Building (15% of lesson body time) 
  1. S categorizes examples into correct form vs. incorrect (or questionable) form. 
  2. S articulates a definition of the grammar concern (may include a definition of the grammar’s form, meaning, or use). 
  3. S writes this definition under the name of the grammar concern. 

Scaffolding (35% of lesson time) 

  1. S lists steps to identify the grammar concern (may include steps to identify incorrect forms found in writing). 
  2. S uses the steps to check if they can identify the marked examples in writing. 
  3. S revises the selection of examples, definitions, and steps as necessary. 
  4. S uses examples of correct form in their writing to develop revision strategies for incorrect forms. 
  5. S writes these revision strategies under the identification steps. 

Authentic Revising (30% of lesson body time) 
  1. S uses the strategies to revise incorrect forms for the remainder of the paper. 
  2. S writes 1-2 examples of sentences with the incorrect form being revised to the correct form under the strategies. 
  3. S updates definition of grammar concern, identification steps, and revision strategies as necessary. 

Closing (10% of lesson body time) 

    1. S continues revising their writing and their guide until the session is almost over. 
    2. T closes the session by summarizing the iterative nature of developing a revision guide.  
    3. T refers S to additional resources for the session’s grammar concern, describing how it connects to a specific section of the revision guide.

Conclusion (10% of entire lesson time) 


  1. Facilitator (F) reiterates that this tutoring strategy can be applied in sessions where students want to focus on revising systematic grammar concerns, with the additional benefit of encouraging student involvement and agency.  

  2. Optionally, the F can also:

    1. F can elicit and share tips on how to integrate this strategy into sessions as well as what they can do to be flexible to a student’s resistance to create flashcards. F can allow time to annotate their guide with these tips. Note: The "tips" are meant to be general and adapted to each facilitator's writing center demographic and tutors. The F doesn't have to share any tips, but if the F has anything to add that can help their tutors integrate the concept more effectively with the students they work with, this closing section of the lesson is where they can add that information. 

    2. F can share any additional resources with the tutors that may extend their learning, show them where to find the needed materials in the Center, and/or create a resource area for the tutors to access materials when needed (e.g., a resource shelf, cabinet, box, shelf for useful reference books or guides, etc.) 


The facilitator and tutors will know whether they have met the learning objectives based on the student’s understanding and notes in these sections:  

  • Definition 
  • Examples 
  • Correct and incorrect forms 
  • Identification steps 
  • Revision strategies 
To maintain the lesson’s focus on a process that uses communicative language teaching, tutors should prioritize overviewing and trying all sections rather than focusing on only one. Leaving one section as a work-in-progress is typical, and thus reinforces an iterative revision process.  

Along these lines, focusing on the quantity or quality of definitions/examples/strategies within a section is a secondary measure to assess a tutor’s progress with their student. 

Finally, the sections will ideally be populated with the student’s language. If a tutor needs to fill a knowledge gap, they should still take the opportunity to help the student recast it into their own language.


  • This lesson plan (LP) describes the revision guide being written on a piece of paper. It can be written on anything as long as the distinct sections, which correspond with the process, remain. For example, it could be a Google Doc with jumpable headings for each section.  

    Alternatively, in a smaller scale session, a tutor could forgo making the guide, and instead use the sections as a framework to guide their session. For example, a tutor could inquire about their student’s current definition about their writing concern and elicit examples of the concern in their writing, before turning the shortened session to a discussion of possible identification and revision steps.  

  • This LP can be modified if the student does not have any writing to pull examples from or apply strategies to. If possible, the tutor can allow the student to generate their own writing; otherwise, the tutor and student can find sample text. The former is preferable because it maintains the student-centered nature of the revision process, keeping the student engaged with more genuine, relevant examples. 

  • This LP describes the guide being used with a sentence-level concern. However, CLT allows this process to be used for any writing topic due to the likelihood of an information gap (e.g., a tutor lacking the student’s context-specific knowledge). For example, the process (of defining something, listing helpful/not helpful examples, identifying opportunities for revision, and developing steps for revision) can be applied to genre (i.e., a student wanting to make sure their writing matches its intended genre conventions) or thesis statements (i.e, a student wanting to know whether their thesis is “strong”). In these situations, the tutor still facilitates the student’s development of knowledge in order to complete a task. 

  • An adaptation for a group tutoring or workshop setting can give the responsibility to the entire group to negotiate as they populate each section, as demonstrated in this training session with the facilitator acting as a single tutor and the tutoring staff acting as students. For example, the group can list each member’s definitions and then decide together their agreed upon definition. If a collaborative paper is being written, a similar negotiation of meaning can occur for helpful examples and identification and revision steps to develop a sort of style guide for the writers. 


Brandl, K. (2008). Principles of communicative language teaching and task-based instruction. In Communicative language teaching in action: Putting principles to work (pp. 5-23). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Griffiths, C. M., Murdock-Perriera, L., & Eberhardt, J. L. (2023). "Can you tell me more about this?": Agentic written feedback, teacher expectations, and student learning. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 73, 102145.

Nunan, D. (1991). Communicative tasks and the language curriculum. TESOL Quarterly, 25(2), 279-295. 

Porter, P., & VanDommelen, D. (2005). Read, write, edit: Grammar for college writers (p. 149). Heinle, Cengage Learning.

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