More problematic is providing ‘point of need’
instruction with groups, while still maintaining lesson
ﬂow and engaging the attention of all learners.
‘Instructional detours’ (to use Cazden’s expression)
need to be short, to the point, yet salient: a case of
‘putting the task on hold’ for a minute or two, while an
error is remedied or a grammar point explained. Of
course, involving other students in the intervention is
often a viable means of avoiding the lesson becoming
a series of one-to-ones. Ideally, too, a running record
needs to be kept of these interventions, so that they
can be revisited after the task, and so as to provide a
‘scaffold’ for a possible repetition of the task. A further
stage, in which learners review and record the
grammar and vocabulary issues that arose during the
lesson, serves not only to help ﬁx these in memory,
but to persuade those who crave it that formal
accuracy has not been sacriﬁced for the sake of
Gee, J.P. (2007) What Video Games Have To Teach
Us About Learning and Literacy, New York: Palgrave
Long, M. and Norris, J. (2009) ‘Task-based teaching
and assessment’, in van den Branden, K., Bygate, M.
and Norris, J. (eds), Task-based Language Teaching:
A Reader, Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Nelson, M.W. (1991) At the Point of Need: Teaching
Basic and ESL Writers, Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Samuda, V. (2001) ‘Guiding relationships between