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Active Voice into Passive Voice through Dialogic Pedagogy

by Ashani Gunawardana |

This lesson provides an opportunity for the students to identify the basics in verb phrases in passive voice sentences. This lesson incorporates dialogic pedagogical approach (with the ample use of classroom talk) by changing the stereotypical approaches of teaching grammar, which are considered dull and tedious.

Resource Type: Lesson Plan

Audience: Secondary, Adult

Audience Language Proficiency: Intermediate

Duration: 90 minutes

Materials And Technology:
  • access to internet
  • virtual classroom (google classroom)
  • holiday photographs


Lesson aims to enable students to

  • construct grammatically accurate passive voice sentences
  • use passive voice sentences where necessary


By the end of the lesson students will be able to

  • Identify past participle form of a verb
  • Differentiate active and passive voice
  • Understand why active or passive voice is appropriate to use in certain contexts

Language Skill: Grammar
Content Area:
  • grammar
  • dialogic pedagogy
  • English as a Second Language

Prepare (15 minutes)

  • Recall past participle forms of verbs by providing some example sentences using past participle form (using holiday photographs)
    •  Eg: I have gone to Jaffna.
    • We have climbed the mountains
  • Initiate a discussion (group work - 10 minutes) on inquiring about their knowledge of active voice and passive voice
    •  What are the two voices in English?
    • Do you know if those two voices are available in your mother tongue?
    • Do you use those two voices in your communication?

Present (25 minutes, while providing an opportunity for learner autonomy through dialogic pedagogy)

  • Instruct students to discuss on the uses of passive voice as groups
    •  When do we use passive voice?
  • Introduce the uses of passive voice by eliciting from the class
  • Introduce passive voice formulas for the present simple, present continuous and present perfect tenses

Practice (10 minutes)

  • Drill active voice sentences and passive voice sentences giving emphasis to the differences in verb phrases

Perform (10 minutes)

  • Instruct students (group work) to construct passive sentences for the different situations (uses) and present to the classroom
    •  When the doer of the action is unknown
    • When the doer of the action is unimportant
    • When the result is more important
    • When the doer of the action is obvious
    • In order to maintain formality in writings
  • Compare the answers of all groups and give feedback
    • You return home after work and when you open your hand bag you realize your wallet is not in it. But you are sure it was there when you were in the bus (My wallet is stolen.)

Grammar Game: Convert active voice sentences in to passive voice (30 minutes)

Class is divided into two teams

Each team directs 20 (should tally with the number of students on a team) sentences (one at a time) to the other team to convert them into the passive voice. Each student gets to direct an active voice sentence to the other team and a chance to convert a sentence into the passive voice. Two marks for a correct answer and minus one mark for a wrong answer. Accepts only one attempt.

Instruct students to answer active/passive exercises on educational websites

TESOL Interest Section: Adult Education, Applied Linguistics

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