CAMBRIDGE DELTA COURSE

PRACTICAL TEACHING ASSIGNMENT 1 PART 1 BACKGROUND ASSIGNMENT FOCUS ON PRESENT PERFECT VS. PAST SIMPLE

Candidate’s name: Paraskevi Andreopoulou Centre Number: GR 108 Candidate’s Number: Number of Words: 2454

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1. Introduction………………………………………………………3 2. Rationale for Research……………………………………………4 2.1 Past Simple vs. Present Perfect……………………………….4 2.2 Differences in Use…………………………………………….4 3. Problems…………………………………………………………..5 3.1 Morphological ………………………………………………..5 3.2 Spelling and Pronunciation…………………………………....6 3.3 Attitudinal……………………………………………………..6 3.4 Conceptual…………………………………………………….6 3.5 How to help Learners…………………………………………..7 4. Remedies………………………………………………………….7 4.1 Remedies for Morphological Difficulties……………………..7 4.2 Solution for Spelling and Pronunciation………………….........8 4.3 Remedies for Conceptual Problems……………………………8 4.4 Attitudinal Solutions……………………………………………8 5. Conclusion………………………………………………………….9 6. Bibliography………………………………………………………..10

1. Introduction Acquiring and learning a second language has always been problematic for the majority of adult learners, as they tend to believe that [Type text] Page 2

learning a second language involves developing only knowledge of the grammatical system, and the meanings which it helps to signal (Bat stone 1994). Skinner (1957) argued that language was learned through a process of stimulus-response, with large amounts of controlled repetition (Riddle1986:269), so that there wouldn’t be any trouble with mastering grammatical precision of forms. Chomsky (1959), argues that language could never be learned in this way, and that we are all endowed at birth with a language acquisition device which provides essential assistance in the learning process (Riddle 1986: 269). Lewis (1993) states that mastery of grammatical system is acquired and not learned , and that acquisition is aided by making students aware of features of the target language, and, of how their own production of the target language differs from its norms. There is the assertion that it is the students` ability to observe accurately, and perceive similarity and difference within target language data which is most likely to aid the acquisition of the grammatical system; grammar as a receptive skill has an important role in language acquisition. Adults acquire at a faster rate because they obtain more comprehensible input due to greater experience and knowledge of the world, earlier participation in conversations by falling back on first language; thus, adults excel in conversational management and have low affective filter to allow native-like attainment. The need for a more modern and effective way of language learning has given way to the Communicative Language Teaching ; a method that approaches language in a more meaningful way with language presented and taught authentically in context , using lots of pair and group work . The target grammar points are embedded in some sort of authentic context where the adult learners are encouraged to discover the rules themselves inductively. Afterwards, learners are engaged in controlled practice of the two tenses with realistic, meaningful, oral and manipulative contexts for accurate reproduction. Finally, learners are engaged in “free” production of desired language points through an activity calling for a high frequency of use for these points in groups (Constantinides 2003).

2. Rationale for research In spite of the background knowledge ,experience of the world and handy linguistic resources adult learners bring along in the classroom, they do still seem to be confused with the time difference between past and present, as well as whether an action has ended or still continues up [Type text] Page 3

to the present with obvious results . The learning of irregular verbs can also be a source of difficulties for them, as well as the idea of expressing future-in-the past might mislead most adult learners of English.

2.1 Past Simple vs. Present Perfect 2.2 Difference in Uses There is a difference in past- time happening between past and present; the past tense is used when the happening is related to a definite time in the past, which we call “then”. In contrast , the Perfect Aspect is used for a past happening which is seen in relation to a later event of time ; thus , the present perfect, means “ past – time – related – topresent – time ( Leech , Svartvik 1975 ). More specifically: The past tense refers to a definite time in the past, which may be identified by • • • • • • A past time adverbial in the same sentence, i.e. Mary was born in 1972 The preceding language context, i.e. Joan has become engaged; it took us completely by surprise. The context outside language, i.e. Did the postman bring any letters? A proper noun can also provide the conditions for the past tense, because of its definite meaning, i.e. Elvis Presley was a great singer. The past tense can sometimes be used when no definite time ‘then “is easily apparent, i.e. they told me you were ill. The past tense also implies a gap between the time referred to and the present moment, i.e. his sister was an invalid all her life / his sister has been an invalid all her life

Four related uses of the present perfect may be noted: • State leading up to the present time • Indefinite events in a period leading up to the present time; here, the present perfect often refers to the recentindefinite past, i.e. Have you eaten yet? , whereas in American usage the past tense is referred to, i.e. did you eat yet? • Habit in a period leading up to the present time; there is an idiomatic use of the past tense with always, ever and never to refer to a state or habit leading up to the present. • Past event with results in the present time The Past Tense, indicating a point of orientation in the past, is to be expected in temporal clauses introduced by when, while, since, etc., [Type text] Page 4

because the time specified in such clauses is normally assumed to be already given; when followed by the Present Perfect is not frequent, and must be understood in a past – in- the- future or habit- up – to- thepresent sense (Leech 1992). If the when clause contains a Past Tense verb, the main clause must also be in the Past Tense, the when clause being classed as an adverbial expression of time – when equivalent to last week, three years ago, etc. There is an idiomatic exception to the rule that the Simple Past Tense indicates definite meaning: the construction of always, whichis simply a colloquial variant of the Present Perfect with “state verbs” , and can always be replaced by the equivalent Present Perfect form. The Present Perfect appears to be used less widely in American English than in British English, and in particular, it is quite common to hear in North America the Simple Past where in Great Britain the Present Perfect in its recent – indefinite- past sense would be standard ( Leech 1992).

3. Problems Drawing upon the relevant literature and my personal teaching experience with adults in the Greek EFL context, a number of conclusions can be reached with regard to Past Simple vs. Present Perfect as well as used to vs. would: • 3.1 Morphological: Adult learners tend to confuse regularity with the irregularity of verbs and past participles of Past Simple and Present Perfect end in using the wrong tense in inappropriate situations. In interrogative and negative forms of these two contradictory tenses, they may lead in putting the wrong auxiliary (do, have) in the not fitting tense. Furthermore, adult learners have a tendency to omit the auxiliaries or create interrogatives and negatives from the full form in the respective tenses and produce semi- made sentences; another problem is the addition of the auxiliaries to the past form to create the emphatic. 3.2 Spelling and pronunciation:Based on the schematic and ( Greek) systemic knowledge ( Bat stone 1994) the adults bring along in the classroom, find it hard to hear or over- pronounce the -ed ending and therefore not produce it correctly ; the same also applies to the contracted `s /has as is – they confuse it with the passive or sometimes lose it as a contracted form altogether. As far as the spelling is concerned, adults fail to form the correct past and participle forms of the two tenses. Page 5

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3.3 Attitudinal: The very first problem Greek adults usually encounter is the way they try to find out to memorize vast areas of irregular verbs (past and past participles). Another trouble they have to deal with is the tiredness of the day, so that they cannot focus on the lesson of the day. Other points to consider include their educational background (not relevant to the teaching of these grammar points), as well as the traditional way of teaching they were used to being taught (in a lockstep fashion and not accustomed to working in pairs or in groups) communicatively. 3.4 Conceptual: There is a state of confusion with Simple Past and Present Perfect, since adult learners do not have clearly fixed ideas in their minds about when to implement one tense or the other, since they do translate from their mother tongue; they mix up the definite time of the past with the indefinite time of the perfect or the resultative point of the perfect with the finished period in the past due to mother tongue interference, which does not make this kind of distinction. Greek adult learners especially manage quite successfully tightly controlled written exercises of two tenses, but, where things break down is their oral production in speaking and written activities; what Greek adults do is to translate directly concepts and tenses from their mother tongue, i.e. mother tongue interference or negative transfer. Furthermore, when adults select between Past and Present Perfect in Greek, they seem to prefer the former, because they get their meaning across in English, using the same tense in English. Moreover, if proper instruction of forms, meanings concepts and uses of tenses has not been made clear to students, then, they are not able to retrieve and use them effortlessly and naturally (Constantinides 1991). In addition, American usage confuses adults even more with the adverbials of the present perfect, since they are used with the simple past.

3.5 How to Help Learners The need for an effective way of language learning has given way to the Lexical Approach; a method that approaches grammar through a student – cent red exploration with real language data (situation and co-text) being in priority and masters grammatical forms as vocabulary items first. More specifically, learners are presented with the target grammar points and, usually, in small groups create a context with language from authentic sources and describe what they ‘see”, “write their own grammar rules” (Lewis 1993). [Type text] Page 6

Next, our adult learners are invited to notice the two tenses embedded in the text, to make any observations about any regularities of them, to use contrastive analysis of two tenses by checking concepts, use, function of them in small groups; afterwards, opportunities for controlled oral and written practice of two tenses is provided in the form of personalization tasks. Finally, our adult learners are engaged in a speaking activity (role play, problem-solving) in which they are encouraged to use Past and Present Perfect in a freer and more creative way.

4. Remedies In the light of the approach mentioned above for the lower intermediate level of students, this essay will now attempt to provide some remedial solutions for these contradictory tenses and their implications adults’ face, when being taught the past or the perfect aspect. • 4.1 Remedies for morphological difficulties: For better comprehension of this difficulty , an appropriate solution would be a transformational drill – an outline of a daily routine , using pictures – in which our adult students will have very pleasantly , orally or in written form to get the correct form of regular or irregular forms right in a rather tightly controlled manner. Another useful technique would be an information – gap activity, namely, a diary for given dates in the recent past , in which our adult learners will have to exchange information with others, practicing interrogatives and negatives of Simple Past in a controlled focused way. What is more, our students could also be given another type of information- gap activity, in which there is a list of the day’s necessary tasks and be asked to produce a timetable for another day, by finding out from each other which tasks are already complete and what remains to be done (Aitken 1992), an effective technique to practice Past Simple vs. Present perfect in a controlled activity. 4.2 Solution for spelling and pronunciation: The very first technique for natural authentic comprehensible input is teacher – talk in the classroom (Krashen 1981); adult students listen to their teacher talking to them and develop a rather natural, authentic, clear and comprehensible input of English and gradually begin to open up and express themselves in the target language, hesitantly at first, and with confidence, at later stages. Other sources of natural, authentic input include listening comprehension in the classroom with the use of tapes, using ELT video and the use of computer technology to assist listening comprehension and spelling exercises, too. Outside the classroom, listening to songs on the radio, watching movies on TV. , reading newspapers or magazines of the target Page 7

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language provides a lot of help for the assimilation of proper spelling and pronunciation. • 4.3 Remedies for conceptual problems: Perhaps the most helpful technique to provide adult students with the selection of tenses is for them to see and work it out in context in use , in pairs or in groups; a fine example would be an awareness- raising activity ; an extract of a newspaper using both tenses and students are to work out the meaning and difference of them in use ( Parrot 2000) ; or a timeline with two forms of the same information , varies the time of the context and students are asked to distinguish and use the appropriate tense( Ulm cited in Celce – Murcia 1997). Another useful technique would be some sort of information – gap activity; the fulfillment of a chart with personal information they are to fill – in; and later on, they use it as a basis for exchanging info and practice the correct tense in a controlled way (Celce – Murcia 1997). In the production stage, a story telling activity could provide a solid basis for freer use of the two tenses, as our learners would have the possibility of speaking more freely their minds and sustaining speech for a longer time; with the use of a picture and / or index cards, learners are to practise the target language more freely and speak longer, authentically. As for used to / would, we need to prompt and encourage students to use these forms when they are writing about places or people, describing them now and in the past (Parrot 2000). 4.4 Attitudinal solutions: Perhaps the most serious of all problems because if adults are accustomed to working in a particular way, with difficulty will they have to change. But, if a teacher appears as a pleasant and counseling figure in the classroom and teaches adults the significance of pair and group work – student interaction, remediation of grammatical errors, continuation of improving English upon completion of the course ( Celce - Murcia 1990) – Then, everything will probably start to settle in.

5. Conclusion This essay has made an attempt to present the overall approximation to approach and to touch a difficult and contentious issue of teaching a particularly difficult area of grammar.

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Bibliography Lewis M. 1993 “The Lexical Approach “Language Teaching Publications Krashen St. 1981 “Second language Acquisition and Second language learning” Pergamon Institute of English (Oxford) Celce- Murcia M. 1990 “Integrating Group Work with the Teaching of grammar” Celce Murcia M. 1997 “Understanding and Teaching , The English Tense Aspect System” Constantinides M. 1991 “Focus on teaching Grammar” Leech G. /Svartvik J. 1975 “A Communicative Grammar of English “

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Leech G. 1992 “Meaning and the English Verb “Longman Group Limited 1971 Aitken R. 1992 “Teaching Tenses” ELB Publishing Krashen St. 1985 “The Input Hypothesis” Longman Group U.K. Limited Parrot M. 2000 “Grammar for English Language Teachers” Batstone R. 1994 “Grammar” Oxford University Press

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