It is very easy to colour-code words with computers using the text highlight colour function. This button, between text effects and font colour in Microsoft Word 2010, can be used to create many visually appealing teaching activities. Font colour can also be used, and the two features can be used in combination. This technique will probably work best using a projector and screen, or working one to one with a laptop, so you can apply/change the colours mid-activity, and move words as necessary.
Eight activities are given in the article – but you will only be able to see them by clicking on the pdf icon top right. They cannot be reproduced below because this blog platform does not permit the same use of colour. However the titles are these:
1 Colour word-class
2 Colourful sentence
3 Word snap (intensive listening)
4 Understanding complex language
5 Reading from memory
6 Colourful errors
7 Highlighting language
8 Colour clues
Simon’s conclusion is that a simple function such as text highlight colour can be used in many language learning activities. There may be many other possibilities for using coloured text, and it is easy to save material and reuse it many times. Noticing is especially important in language education, and we can easily draw attention to any aspect of language simply with the click of a mouse.
I really liked these activities and as I read I could see how they could be used with my engineering ss here in France where trying to get them move up from a B2 level is always a problem. While not on the same level, the colour coding activities could also get my students into the habit of reading texts with highlighters to get them to select certain vocab. Most still think of colour as for the ‘maternelle’ !