Choose Your Own (Grammatical) Adventure – Ambiguous Pronoun References audio narrative

Created for:

Project length:

  • Short (one week).


  • Matt McGowan (solo project/assignment).


  • “Create an audio piece that uses narrative to help teach a topic you know well, but that is typically narrative-free.”

For my “typically narrative-free” topic I chose ambiguous pronoun references, an error I saw time and again when I taught undergraduate composition and literature courses. Here’s the audio narrative (with me reading the script):

And here’s a brief sketch of the target audience, learning goals, and applicable learning theories:

Target audience

Middle school-age, language arts class.

Learning goals

By being immersed in a narrative environment, students will listen for and learn about the lack of clarity that can result from ambiguous pronoun references. As the narrative is audio-only, in addition to learning the grammatical issue addressed, students may also improve their listening (and therefore audio-processing) abilities.

The attached example merely shows one player-student choice for one example of an ambiguous pronoun reference. Further examples/encounters will allow for a certain amount of branching of the storyline. Player-student choice is not about making the right decision, but rather exploring different options for editing and/or rewriting so as to avoid this grammatical problem.

Learning theories

Affective Learning: The relative immersiveness of the (focused, audio-only) narrative aspect of this lesson is designed to engage and motivate students on a certain emotional level.

Gamification: The mild (chose-your-own-adventure-style) gamification of the lesson is designed to increase student motivation and encourage review via replayability.

Information Processing Theory: The focused, deep listening that students are required to do for this lesson should aid in the development of their listening skills–that is, their ability to process, store and eventually draw from information and stimuli that the audio narrative provides.

Self-determination Theory: The choose-your-own-adventure-style format enables students to have a certain amount of autonomy in the way they progress through the lesson.

Audio credits: