Fun with Applications and Forms

job application

Sooner or later every adult ESL class will come around to a unit about filling out applications or forms. There are quite a few activities to give students practice with using them.

Read them
Reading improves writing, and filling out applications is a form of writing. Before asking students to fill out their own, give them several filled-out examples to read. Students can circle new vocabulary words, mark the margins with questions they have about the form, and then discuss what position they think the applicant is applying for. Students can also read poorly filled out examples and suggest improvements. After reading several examples, students can select a candidate for an interview.

Fill out Forms for Fictional People
Students can get extra practice by filling out a form using a list of information provided. This keeps confidential information private and allows students to compare and discuss how they fill out their forms.  A variation is student to student dictation in which students work in pairs and each student is given half of the required information. The pairs ask each other questions to get information and complete their forms.

Group Work
Assign students to work in small groups and give each group one form to fill out and one list of fictional information to fill in.  Each group should have a reader, a writer, and a facilitator.  The reader reads the information to fill in, the writer fills in the form and the facilitator asks questions to help get the form filled out and ensure everyone participates.

Use the Writing Process
The writing process begins with brainstorming. Invite students to make lists of key information they will need to fill out the form.  Next is drafting.  Give students extra copies of the form so they can fill it out several times.  After completing a first draft, students can trade papers and give each other feedback.  They should also scan their forms for spelling, grammar, and to make sure they are complete.

Write Instructions
After students have read many examples, filled out many examples, and discussed which applications should result in interviews, they can synthesize their learning by creating a set of instructions for how to fill out the form.

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