METHODS OF TEACHING ENGLISH AND ITS RELATIONS WITH OTHER SCIENCES Topics: 1.
Methods of teaching English and its relation to other sciences. 2. What factors of context should teachers take into account? 3. What roles can teachers and learners play in the learning process? 1. Methods of teaching a foreign language is understood as a body of scientifically tested theory concerning the foreign language teaching in schools and other educational institutions. It covers three main problems: - Competences and subcompetences-that is goal setting that will answer the question what for or why to teach a foreign language - content of foreign language teaching- that is what to teach - methods and techniques of foreign language teaching- that is how to teach a foreign language in order to attain the aims of this science in the most effective way. 1. Methods of foreign language teaching are related to other sciences such as: pedagogies, psychology, physiology and linguistics. Pedagogies is the science concerned with the teaching and education of the younger generation. Since methods also deal with the problems of education and education, it is mostly related with Pedagogies. In order to study a foreign language one must know Pedagogies. One branch of pedagogies is called Didactics. It studies the general ways of teaching in schools. Methods compared to Didactics study the specific ways of teaching a definite subject. Methods of foreign language teaching mean first of all the formation and development of pupils’ habits and skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing. We can not expect to develop such habits and skills in our pupils effectively if we don’t take into account the psych and the thinking processes that constitute Psychology’s main object of study. Furthermore, to master a second language means to acquire another code, another way of receiving and conveying information. In order to create this new code the most effective way the teacher must take into consideration certain psychological factors. Effective learning of a foreign language depends at a great extend on the pupils’ memory. That is why teacher must know how he can help his pupils to successfully memorise and keep in memory the language material they learn. Here again psych investigation of involuntary memory led to the conclusion that memory is retentive. Consequently in teaching a foreign language the
teacher should create favourable conditions for involuntary memorizing like peripheral learning. The experiments made by prominent scientists showed that psych helps methods to determine the following: -the role of mother tongue in different stages of teaching -the amount of material for pupils in order to be assimilated at every stage of instruction -the sequence and ways which are more suitable for presenting the material and for capturing attention. If a teacher wants his pupils speak English he must use all the opportunities to increase their motivation, to train their memory and logical thinking, to captivate their attention, to support their volition and encourage creative thought. Methods of foreign language teaching are closely related to Linguistics as it deals with the study of the connection between language and thinking, language levels like phonological, lexical, grammatical, syntactical, language families, their genesis and classifications etc. So it would be impossible to teach a foreign language without being aware of the language structure and of the lexical, grammatical, syntactical, semantic smallest units. Physiology is another science that teachers may come across while taking up teaching. Since Physiology deals with the study of body systems and organs functioning the awareness of this fact and its usefulness becomes obvious at the moment when changes in the body interfere with learning. This interference is often perceived while working with teenagers. Adolescence is that period when body changes and physical development may have direct connections with learners’ success or failure in learning in general. This is the period when adolescent’s heart growth may precede the growth of veins and arteries that may cause chest pain, sudden arousal and fall of blood pressure, frequent headaches, mood changes and fatigue that may influence the quality of learning. This is also the period when some parts of the body grow sooner then others, when sexual development takes place, when the hormone activity causes pimples and makes them feel discomfort, become rude or vulnerable to any criticism on their part. The teacher should necessarily take all these things into account in order to know how to organize his teaching, how to avoid group troubles, how to divide tasks and how to gain learners’ respect. Methods of foreign language teaching as many other sciences had different ways of investigating the problems which could arise. They are:
1. A critical study of the ways foreign language was taught in our country and abroad. 2. A good study and summing up the experience of the best foreign language teachers in different types of school. 3. Experimenting with the aim of confirming the working hypothesis that may arise during the investigation. Experimenting because more and more popular with methodologists. 2. Social and educational factors determine in a way teachers’ activity within the social attitudes towards the English language. Learning will partly determine how much effort teachers have to put into motivating children. The presence of English in community will immediately facilitate practice opportunities such as writing reviews of English films and TV programmes, keeping a diary of extra – curricular activities, outside visits, or encounter projects. Its absence creates greater but not insuperable challenges for teachers, who will need to think about sources of authentic input, about creating a balance of skills work to make the most productive use of class and out – of – class time. The educational system in which teachers work will be influenced by cultural notions of authority which affect the potential roles of teachers and learners. 3. The teachers roles and responsibilities: It is possible to identify the teacher in a number of roles during a lesson (Pre – Intermediate Choice): As controller in eliciting nationality words; as assessor of accuracy as student try to pronounce the words; as corrector of pronunciation; as organizer in giving instruction for the pair work initiating it monitoring it, and organizing feedback; as prompter while students are working together and as resource if students need help with words and structures during the pair work. General roles of instructor, organizer, counsellor, and helper. Another aspect of teaching competence is the ability to manage activities and interactions successfully in the sense that learners knows what they need to do and why they are doing actively, are monitored and guided when help is needed, and can work undisturbed by discipline problems. TYPES OF COMPETENCES Communicative Area 1. linguistic competences require the learning of the linguistic system of a language together with its levels of communication(phonetic, grammatical, lexical, stylistic). The role of metalanguage ( formation rules, definitions, linguistic terms) is not
emphasizes excepting the simplest notions as gender, number, case, conjugation, etc that will facilitate logical combination of linguistic phenomena with a certain communicative situation. In other words the linguistic competences are included in the learner’s lexical, grammatical, semantic, phonetic orthographic competences. 2. communicative competences will demonstrate learner’s ability to use the linguistic competences, to understand the oral(comprehension, fluent, expressive, speedy, selective reading) and written messages, to produce and reproduce the oral and written messages based on the syllabus material as well as on other situations. a) Recepting oral messages: 1.1. identifying the general(global) meaning of an oral message, presented clearly and at an average speed 1.2. eliciting specific information from a short oral message 1.3. defining a logical order of events in a short, clearly presented text. 1.4.following the speaker’s instructions appropriately b) Recepting written messages: 3.1. identifying the type of text 3.2. identifying the global meaning of a message( silent reading) 3.3. extracting the main ideas from an unknown text 3.4. associating the information from a text with a set of pictures or a picture 3.5. selecting ideas from a text and arranging them into an appropriate scheme c) producing written messages: 4.1.asking for and giving personal information 4.2. providing a complete and clear description of a person or event 4.3. providing a description of the students’ household duties (according to a given plan) 3. pragmatic competences will demonstrate learner’s abilities to choose the communicative strategy that fits to a concrete communication act( using nonverbal means like gestures and mime when the speaker has lexical blanks, the use of synonyms, antonyms, etc.). The learner should be able to apply the linguistic competences
and the nonverbal means in filling his blanks, in writing letters, sending e-mails with the aim to communicate, to contact, to congratulate, to invite, to show initiative in communication, to find out a solution for difficult communicative situations, to pass over the barrier of communication discomfort as a result insufficient knowledge by substituting the unknown grammatical forms with simpler ones, to perceive the constitution, emission of diverse speaking acts. a) producing oral messages and interaction: 2.1. asking for and using information about the student’s families 2.2. participating in a dialogue on a familiar topic to exchange simple information 2.3. synchronistically translating into the students’ native language a sequence of 4-5 short sentences on a familiar topic 2.4. providing a short fluent description of the students’ family members. Cultural Area Social/pluricultural competences show the learner’s ability to acquire the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to increase the cross-cultural awareness concerning the allophone country(traditions, holydays, historical, cultural personalities, etc. This group of competences places the learner within a multidimensional world where there are different races, nationalities, peoples. Graduating from secondary school the learner will show knowledge in geographic, historic, social, cultural peculiarities of the allophone countries, awareness in foreign language and literature importance as means of national and international communication, the recognition of different cultures integration within the context of socio-economic globalization. 1. identifying and respecting the norms of verbal and non-verbal communication while interacting orally and in written form 2. Identifying some elements of the systems of education of English speaking countries (timetable, school subjects, school activities, vacations 3.Knowledge of simple literary texts which belong to the culture of English-speaking countries
4. knowledge of some cartoons for children –their structure , characters, actions, -and identifying the ways of expressing attitudes and feelings 5.indentifying the general meaning of traditional songs 6. knowledge of famous people of the target language community 7. cooperating with classmates to fulfil some study activities showing responsibility respect and tolerance in the course of communication Comparison Area Methodological competences derive from the foreign language teaching-learning-evaluation process because the learner is placed within a specific didactic environment being the subject of it together with his competences. This process is designed for the learner, is realized with his participation being tutored by the teacher. These competences presuppose learner’s awareness concerning the didactic methods and means necessary in teaching a foreign language and their abilities to use the didactic means independently( the copybook, the textbook, the audio, video, CD, DVD recordings, the TV set, the computer, the dictionary, the internet, etc.). The learner must know the methods of working with the didactic material and sometimes be able to identify by himself the didactic means necessary to carry out the given tasks with selfformation and self-evaluation aims. 1. Comparing fairy tales characters in English speaking countries and Moldova 2. Comparing some topics of poems and songs for children in English speaking countries and Moldova 3. Comparing structures and content of cartoons for children in English speaking countries and Moldova 4. Comparing the ways of explaining the rules of games and giving instructions in a standard language 5. Comparing the ways of giving an address. Integrated Skill Combination Interdisciplinary competences constitute a system of knowledge , skills, attitudes, and values acquired during the learning process beginning with the secondary school when the learning of foreign languages and other subjects related to them takes place.
These competences formation let the learner notice, identify, evaluate similarities and differences among the grammatical, lexical, semantic, orthographic systems of the studied languages , among the terms used in the studied languages, among the linguistic, socialcultural, and civic interference blanks. Graduating from secondary school the learner will posess: a. interlinguistic competences based on the foreign languages studied. b. terminological competences based on the domains of languages studied c. intercultural competences based on the languages studied Learning about interlinguistic and intercultural similarities and differences 1. Identifying simple expressions similar to the ones in the students’ mother tongue in simple written and spoken sentences 2. drawing and explaining a plan 3. drawing pictures and collages in the course of study activities 4. correctly writing and pronouncing numbers in the course of study activities 5. making a full description of pets 6. listening to and interpreting songs for children 7. employing non-verbal means of communication- body movements, facial expressions and actions-through active games 8. memorizing and reciting rhymes, short poems and simple dialogues fluently and with proper intonation. Community Area Civic competences (attitudinal and axiological) are destined to self-evaluation and deepening. The foreign language learning within this dimension will contribute to the increase of toleration, altruism, condescension, indulgence, responsibility for one’s own opinions and judgements, stimulating learners to aspire to a continuous improvement of his knowledge and skills in a certain domain.
1. identifying the ways of behaviour and speech acts which are related to various communicative situations: at the library 2. identifying and respecting certain forms of written interaction ! The sample subcompetences were taken from the Moldovan national Curriculum, the Vth grade compartment.
THE CONTENT OF FOREIGN LANGUAGE TEACHING “There is no single acceptable way to go about teaching languages today”. Topics: 1. The first component- four language skills. 2. The second component- linguistic component 3. The third component- methodological component. The component of foreign language teaching or what to teach is one of the main problems the main methodologists deal with. 1. The four language skills. The 1st component of what to teach is: skills which pupils should acquire while learning a foreign language according to the competences of learning this subject (listening, speaking, reading and writing). The four language skills are divided into two groups: a) receptive-these are listening and writing because by their means we receive or input information. b) productive- these are speaking and writing as they help output information or produce or reproduce it. The level of skills and habits is determined by the syllabus for each form. However qualitative and quantitative characters of skill or so called terminal behaviour is not defined yet for different types of schools and strategies of instruction. 2. Linguistic component. The second component of what to teach is a linguistic one which includes language material, sentence patterns, pattern dialogues, texts in different styles, arranged topics and serving as starting points for the development of oral language and written language which allows the teacher to reach the linguistic, communicative, methodological and cultural
competences set by the syllabus. On the other hand, linguistic material for example phonology grammar, vocabulary is carefully selected for this purpose. The selection of the linguistic material is very important . For example minimum vocabulary, grammar has always been one of the most important and difficult problems to be solved. 3. Methodological component. The third component of what to teach is a methodological component. Pupils’ should be taught how to learn the foreign language how to work at the subject to attain the aims. For example how to memorize words and keep them in memory, how to perform drill exercises in the most effective way, how to perform creative exercises which require a personal approach on the part of the pupils. So the content of foreign language teaching involves three main components: 1. Psychological habits and skills which ensure the use of the target language as a means of communication in oral (listening, speaking) and written (reading, writing) forms. 2. Linguistic component- language and linguistic material which should be assimilated to be used in language skills. 3. Methodological component- the techniques which pupils should acquire, to learn a foreign language in a most effective way. THE PRINCIPLES OF FOREIGN LANGUAGE TEACHING Topics: 1. The principle of scientific approach. 2. The principle of information accessibility. 3. The principle of durability. 4. The principle of conscious approach. 5. The principle of activities. 6. The principle of visualisation. 7. The principle of individualization. Principle is defined as a guide to teaching methods of foreign language based on the fundamental principles of Didactics. Every school-subject realises these principles in its own way. Thus didactic principles employed in teaching a certain subject become methodological principles for teaching this subject. 1. The principle of scientific approach. Scientific approach in foreign language teaching implies careful determination of what and how to teach in order to achieve the
competences set by the syllabus. The other aims can be achieved through the practical command of the target language. One of the main methodological principles is the principle of the practical and communicative approach. It means pupils should be involved in written or oral communication. Throughout the whole comes out the learning the foreign language. This principle is realised by means of competences and subcompetences and teaching materials now used in schools. Pupils are taught to use the target language as a means of communication for listening, comprehension, writing, speaking and reading. Each language activity has its own set of actions which are characteristic to this activity. 2. The principle of information accessibility. The next principle is closely connected with the selection of material and its arrangement in order to provide accessibility for language learning on the part of the pupils. As pupils learn the target language for communication the material should be arranged in a more suitable way for the purpose. In modern methodology various approaches to the arrangement of the teaching materials for teaching purposes are observed: 1. Linguistic approach- when in foreign language teaching a certain linguistic theory is applied. The material is arranged and interpreted in accordance with the theory. 2. The structural-functional approach- when material is arranged in structures. 3. The principle of durability. This principle implies the ability of pupils to keep in memory linguistic and language material they learn of ready access. The pupils can use units of language and sentence patterns, whenever they need them for oral and written communication. The durability is insured by: 1. Vivid presentation of the material when pupils are involved in presentations. Their thinking and senses are at work. 2. Constant revision or drill- pupils reproduce the material and review it out of their auditory visual kinaesthetic and motor analyses are at work. 3. The use of the material on the part of the learners for communication. Pupils read texts with various assignment to get information through listening and reading they carry on conversations within the topics: 4. Systematic control.
5. Constant supervision of pupils’ habits and skills on the part of the teacher. Under these conditions pupils keep the material longer in their memory because it is constantly reviewed by them and revised by the teacher. 4. The principle of conscious approach. Language learning comprises comprehension of a linguistic phenomenon of language material usually by means of native language or the arrangement of the material in sentence patterns some elements which are singled out as teaching points. In all cases pupils understand both: the form and content of the material. They are to learn and they are aware of how they should treat the material while performing various exercises the aim of which is to develop habits and skills in using it. Such an approach to language learning is achieved with the help of explanation, drills, clarification exercises, argumentation and examples. The pupils should acquire the rules of the language in order to be able to follow these rules in the act of communication and the teachers’ tasks is to help the pupils in this respect. Preceding to psychological peculiarities or foreign language assimilation and taking into account the basic progress of thought, we may come to the conclusion that in order to master a foreign language, pupils must have a lot of practice in listening, speaking, reading and writing. As for the mother tongue, we can not eliminate it- we should use it as a means of teaching whenever it helps pupils in acquiring knowledge necessary for developing habits and skills. Conscious approach in foreign language teaching implies the pupils’ understanding of the materials they are to learn to be able to transform it and to apply it in communication in the target language. Transformation is connected with pupils’ abilities to make the material fit to any new situation and new tasks. Comprehension is achieved: 1. through situations in which the material is used. 2. through contexts and other linguistic means(synonyms, antonyms, definitions) 3. through translations into the mother tongue 4. through visual presentation(pictures, objects, gestures) 5. pointing out some features which are characteristic for this amount of material 6. through creating so called orientation, to be able to perform a necessary action with the material.
5. The principle of activities. Foreign language teaching is of great importance. The pupil is an active participant in the process- he is involved in language activities. Throughout the whole course of instruction in modern Psychology- activity is now generally considered to be the main characteristic of cognitive progress. Activity arises under certain conditions. The pupil should fulfil a need to learn a subject and have necessary pre-required sets created for a satisfaction of this need. The main sources of activity are: -motivation -desire -interest So in foreign language teaching it is necessary to stimulate pupils’ activity by involving them in the act of communication in the target language either in oral or written form. If pupils are not involved in communication and remain on the level of performing drill of exercises, they soon loose their interest in the subject and become passive at the lesson. It is pupils who should work and not the teacher during the lesson. Some ways to solve these problems are: 1. work in unison. 2. mass work when pupils are invited to listening to a text, to read a text silently, to do some exercises in written form when they learn for themselves and do the same work. 3. work in small groups when pupils are divided into four –five groups and each group received a special assignment either reading or speaking the work results in conversation between group I and the class, group II and the class. 4. work in pairs. 5. individual work in programmed instruction when each pupil can work with the programme he receives either through visual or auditory perception at his own pace. 6. The principle of visualisation. This principle has always been very important for long learning since the gaining of knowledge begins either with perception or with what has been formally perceived with previous experience. Visualization may be defined as a specially organised demonstration of linguistic material and language behaviour characteristic of the target language with the purpose of helping the pupils in understanding, assimilating and utilising this in connection with the task set. Since pupils acquire a second language in artificial conditions visualisation should be expanded.
Visualisation allows the teacher to create natural conditions for pupils of oral and practical activities and free conversation. Visualisation can be used in teaching under various aspects of language: phonology, vocabulary, grammar and the development of four language skills. The use of visualisation makes foreign language lessons emotionally coloured and increases pupils’ interest. Visualisation implies an extensive use of audio-visual aids and audiovisual materials for presenting and memorizing the linguistic material and for developing oral and written language although they are to be used differently according to the stage of instruction, the age of pupils, etc. In foreign language teaching in schools it is necessary to follow the oral approach as it is the one that allows the pupils to deal with the language in its primary functions as a means of communication. 7. The principle of individualization. This principle is of great importance since the subject is an essential one and according to the curriculum each pupil should acquire habits and skills the syllabus sets. Some individuals in a class learn more rapidly than others, sometimes an individual enters in a period of fast learning, sometimes enters in a period of poor-learning. The teacher should assess the progress of each individual and find the way how to manage the classroom activity so that the slowest learners are not depressed by being left behind and the fastest and most able learners are not frustrated by being held back. Individualisation in foreign language teaching is achieved: 2. through the use of individual cards compiled by the teacher who is aware of pupils’ ability. 3. through the use of the programme, materials when each pupil can work at his own pace. 4. by special selection of exercises for each group of pupils in class, bright, average and full. 5. by the use of additional material 6. by arranging pupil’s communication in the target language so that each pupil can do his best as a participant of different activities. So in order to apply the principle of individualisation in a foreign language the teacher should be familiar with the class with its individuals. FOREIGN LANGUAGE TEACHING METHODS
Topics: 1. 2. 3. 4.
Approach. Method. Procedure. Technique Traditional Methods Communicative methods Innovative Methods
Before each group of methods is described together with its specific common features a strong necessity is felt to draw the distinction among the notions of approach, method, procedure and technique. Here are the definitions proposed by Jeremy Harmer: a) Approach refers to theories about the nature of language teaching that serve as a source of practices and language teaching. An approach describes how language is used and how its constituent parts interlock. It also offers a model of language competence, it describes how people acquire their knowledge of language, it makes statements about the conditions which will promote successful language learning. b) Method is the practical realisation of the approach. It implies types of activities, roles of teachers and learners, kinds of helpful material and some model of syllabus organization. It includes procedures and techniques. When methods have clear procedures informed by a clearly articulated approach they are easy to describe. c) Procedure is an ordered sequence of techniques. A sequence can be described as: first you do this, then this and this. It is smaller than a method and bigger than a technique. d) Technique is an activity that is a part of a sequence of activities applying a skill in doing something. ! Methods may easily be mixed up with techniques as sometimes techniques generate methods and vice versa. Traditional Methods of Teaching The Cognitive Theory The Cognitive Theory underlays the Grammar Translation Method and according to it the language is a set of rules whether grammatical or communicative which the teacher explains and the learners assimilate. This theory is considered to be the oldest and the newest in the same time as it implies such a term as Monitor Model by means of which the adult learners consciously monitor their speech and are aware of the rules they are using.
a) The Grammar Translation Method. The Grammar Translation Method appeared in Germany. The leaders of this school were Johann Seidenstuker and Karl Plotz. It looks upon the language as an intellectual activity. This method was commonly used in Europe to teach Latin and Greek and this is why it is also called the Classical Method. In the XXth century the Grammar Translation Method was used to help students read and appreciate foreign literature. It was considered that through the Grammar of the foreign language the students will get familiar with the grammar of their native language, that they will read and write better in their mother tongue, that it will help them grow intellectually. This method dominated from 1840-1940. The main characteristics of the Grammar Translation Method are: 1. The aim of foreign language study is to learn a language in order to read its literature or in order to benefit from the mental discipline and intellectual development that from foreign language study. Grammar Translation is a way of studying a language that approaches the language first through detailed analysis of its grammar rules. 2. Reading and writing are the major focus; little or no systematic attention is paid to speaking or listening. 3. Vocabulary selection is solely on the reading texts used, and words are taught through bilingual word lists, dictionary study and memorization. In a typical Grammar-Translation textbook the grammar rule are presented with their translation equivalents, and translation exercises are presented. 4. The sentence is the unit of reading and language practice. Much of the lesson is devoted to translating sentences into and out of the target language. 5. Accuracy is emphasized, students are expected to attain high standards in translation. 6. Grammar is taught deductively- that is, by presentation and study of grammar rules, which are then practiced through translation exercises. 7. The student’s native language is the medium of instruction. It is used to explain new items and to enable comparison to be made between the foreign language and the students’ native language. 8. Although the Grammar-Translation Method often creates frustration for students, it makes few demands on teachers. It is still used in situations where understanding literary texts is the primary focus of foreign language.
b) The Direct Method Gouin had been one of the first of the 19 th century reformers to attempt to build a methodology around observation of child language learning, that is to naturalistic principles of studying a language. The principal characteristics of the Direct Method are: 1. Classroom instruction was conducted exclusively in the target language. 2. Only everyday vocabulary and sentences were taught. 3. Oral communication skills were built up in a carefully graded progression organized around question-and-answer exchanges between teachers and students in small, intensive classes. 4. Grammar was taught inductively. 5. New teaching points were introduced orally. 6. Concrete vocabulary was taught through demonstration, objects, and pictures, abstract vocabulary was taught by association of ideas. 7. Both speech and listening comprehension were taught. 8. Correct pronunciation and grammar were emphasized. These principles as seen in the following guidelines for teaching oral language are still followed in contemporary Berlitz schools: - never translate: demonstrate. - never explain: act. - never make a speech: ask questions. - never imitate mistakes: correct. - never speak with single words: use sentences. - never speak too much: make students speak much. - never use the book: use your own lesson plan. - never jump around: follow your plan. - never go too fast: keep the pace of the students. - never speak too slowly: speak normally - never speak too quickly: speak naturally. - never speak too loudly: speak naturally. - never be impatient: take it easy. In the Direct Method the four language skills are taught from the beginning, but a special emphasis is placed on speaking. Classes often start with the reading aloud of a specially graded text which introduces the lesson’s vocabulary and grammatical structural. Practice follows with exercises such as guided conversation, where the teacher asks questions on the students answer using full answers.
Teachers sometimes complain that it is time consuming to mime vocabulary, when a simple translation would do. Some words are difficult to mime. It’s necessary to use the common sense in the question of translation. c) Audiolingual Method. This method was influenced by behavioural psychologist who believed that foreign language learning is basically a process of mechanical habit formation like when training an animal to do something. To do this, it’s necessary to follow a three-stage procedure where the stages are: stimulus, response and reinforcement. For example: signal-light –stimulus; the rat presses the bar-response; tasty food- reinforcement. 1. The entry of U.S.A into the Second World War had significant effect on language in America. To supply the U.S. Government with personnel who were fluent in foreign languages (German, French, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, etc.) who could work as interpreters, code – room assistants, and translators, it was necessary to set up a special language training program. The Government commissioned American universities to develop foreign language programs for military personnel. Thus the Army Specialized Training Program was established in 1942. Fifty – five American universities were involved in the program by the beginning of 1943. The objective of the army personnel was for students to attain conversational proficiency in variety of foreign languages. Since this was not the goal of conventional foreign language courses in the US, new approaches were necessary. Linguists, such as Leonard Bloomfield at Yale, had already developed training programs a part of their linguistic research that were designed to give linguistic and anthropologists mastery of American Indian languages and other languages they were studying. Textbooks did not exist for such languages. The technique Bloomfield and his colleagues used was sometimes known as the “informant method”, since it used a native speaker of the language – the informant – who served as a source of phrases and vocabulary who provided sentences for imitation, and a linguist, who supervised the learning experience. The Army Specialized Training Program lasted only about two years but attracted considerable attention in the popular press and in the academic community. But the linguists who developed ASTP were not interested primarily in language teaching. The “methodology” of the Army Method, derived from the intensity of contact with the target language rather than from any well – developed methodological basis. It was innovative mainly in its underling theory. However, it did convince a number of prominent
linguists of the value of an intensive, oral – based approach to the learning of a foreign language. Linguists and applied linguists during this period were becoming increasingly involved in the teaching of English as a foreign language. America had now emerged as a major international power. There was a growing demand for foreign expertise in the teaching of English. Thousands of foreign students entered the United States to study universities, and many of these students required training in English before they could begin their studies. These factors led to the emergence of the American approach to ESL, which by the mid – fifties had become Audiolingualism. Distinguishing features. In the Audio-lingual Method, skills are taught in the natural order: listening, speaking, reading, writing. Audio-lingual classes begin with a dialogue, which introduces the lesson’s sentence patterns. The students memorize this dialogue, then practice grammar in drills such as listen and repeat, substitution, chain, and transformation. Accuracy in pronunciation is emphasized and fostered through minimal pair drills where students learn to differentiate between sounds such as the vowels ‘ship’ or ‘sheep’, ‘hit’ and ‘heat’, ‘bit’ and ‘beat’. Lessons are sequenced according to grammatical complexity. Translation, considered to cause interference from the mother tongue, is not allowed. Learning is tightly controlled by the teacher, who follows the text closely. So, in the Audio-lingual Method: 1. Foreign language learning is basically a process of mechanical habit formation. Good habits are formed by giving correct responses rather than by making mistakes. By memorizing dialogues and performing pattern drills the chances of producing mistakes are minimized. Language is verbal behaviour – that is, the automatic production and comprehension of utterances – and can be learned by inducing the students to do likewise. 2. Language skills are learned more effectively if the items to be learned in the target language are presented in spoken form before they are seen in written form. Aural – oral training is needed to provide the foundation for the development of other language skills. 3. Analogy provides a better foundation for language learning than analysis. Analogy involves the processes of generalization and discrimination. Explanations of rules are therefore not given until students have practiced a pattern in a variety of contexts and are taught to have acquired a perception of the analogies. Hence, the approach to the teaching of grammar is essentially inductive rather than deductive. 4. The meaning that the words of a language have for the native speaker can be learned only in a linguistic and cultural context and not in isolation.
Teaching a language thus involves teaching aspects of the cultural system of the people who speak the language (Rivers 1964:19-2).
Communicative Methods “No one can learn to communicate in a new language if he is never allowed to make mistakes in it”. In late 60s there was seen a shift from the Audio-lingual Method to Communicative language teaching. This shift evolved partly as a result of studies carried out by the Council of Europe, which began to identify the language needed in a variety of social situations by someone immigrating to Common Market countries. The studies sought to evaluate how language itself is used, how native speakers of a language express themselves in various situation. The studies had a major impact on the teaching of English as a foreign language. Teachers and curriculum designers began to look at content, at the kind of language needed when greeting or shopping. The emphasis on form, on explicitly learning grammar rules or practicing grammatical patters, was downplayed in favour of an approach designed to meet learners’ needs when using the language in daily interaction. The table that follows shows some of the language in daily interaction and some of the differences between Grammar Translation, Audio-lingual and Communicative Language Teaching. A comparison of distinguishing features of three approaches to language teaching Grammar Tr. Meth. Grammar rules Meaningful Communication Pronunciation Audiolingual Communic. Method Lang. Learn. Not explained Limited Target native-like Explained when Necessary Central feature Target Comprehensible
Central feature Not important Not considered
Use of translation Sequencing of lesson Teacher- student Roles
Central feature Follows linguistic complexity Teachercentred
Forbidden Follows linguistic complexity Teachercentred
Used when necessary Follows learners’ needs Teacher facilitates student-tostudent interaction Errors part Learning Process Skills taught according to learners’ needs of
Attitudes to errors
Balance of language skills
Reading and writing emphasized
Listening and speaking emphasized
According to the Humanistic Theory the aim of learning the target language is not necessarily to communicate with others but also to develop in learners the potential of human beings. The teacher is more an educator than an instructor who focuses more on students’ personal feelings and emotions. This theory has given birth ot the Communicative language learning. Communicative Language Learning The Communicative Language Learning was developed by H.G. Widdowson. While using this method the emphasis is placed on using the target language to accomplish a function such as complaining, advising, or asking for information; in other words to communicate through interaction. Attention is also paid to the social context in which this function takes place. For instance, different language will be used when complaining to a teacher than when complaining to a close friend.
Distinguishing features: All four language skills are taught from the beginning. In speaking the aim is to be understood, not to speak like a native. In the sequencing of lesson, priority is given to learner interests and needs. This is the contrast to the Grammar Translation Method, which may start with verb tenses, and work through from the preset simple to the conditionals. In a Communicative approach if a learner needs to know how to give advice (“If I were you, I would…”) then this conditional is taught. Interaction between speakers and listeners or readers and writers is at the root of all activities. Chapters on teaching Speaking, Reading Listening give many examples of the kind of activities to be found in a classroom following the communicative approach. Learners usually work in pairs or groups for role play, information sharing or problem solving. Exercises using or recording from the radio, are selected so that learners can practice language in real situations where possible. The Total Physical Response This method was developed by James Asher, a professor of Psychology and encourages teachers to teach the language through physical activity. Involving the use of gamelike movements the Total Physical Response method is intended to reduce learners’ stress, to create a positive mood and to facilitate learning. The comprehension skills development is under the major focus, in other words the comprehension abilities will precede productive skills in learning the language. The teaching of speaking must be delayed until comprehension is achieved. Skills are acquired through listening and teaching emphasizes meaning rather than form. Distinguishing features: Skills are taught in natural order Learners are given different commands After the first stage students will be ready to speak After the second stage they will be ready to direct other students This method is useful and fun and is recommended to be used with beginners. The Acquisition Theory
This theory is based on the distinction between acquisition and learning. Acquisition is the knowledge leading to common performance, a subconscious process. Learning is knowledge leading to the ability to monitor the language, a conscious process. Mirela Codruta Stanisoara proposes 4 theories of acquisition: 1. The Comprehensible Input Acquisition where input is the language that students hear or read and is based on learner’s previous experience in a context at a higher level. 2. Natural Order Hypothesis that stands for teaching languages in a consequent order(from simple to complicated). 3. The Monitor Hypothesis promotes the idea that acquisition and learning intermingle in the process of production ability to produce utterances and to correct them. 4. The Affective Filter Not only the comprehensible input is necessary for foreign language learning but also the affective factor that functions as a block that prevents language to be acquired. The lower these affective filters(negative emotions such as anxiety, fear, stress) are the more probable the learners will be successful in passing over the barrier of communication while learning the target language. The Acquisition Theory gave birth to the Natural Approach. The Natural Approach The Natural Approach was proposed by Tracy Terrell and incorporated “naturalistic principles”. It focuses on teaching communicative abilities and views communication as the primary function of language. Language is left “to emerge” naturally as it is viewed as a vehicle of communicating meanings and messages. This approach also reveals the idea that acquisition can occur when people understand messages in target language. According to the Natural Approach developing the Input Hypothesis is possible when using the following the I+1 formula that stands for having an input before passing to another stage. Learners’ emotional state and attitudes constitute the filter that impedes or blocks the input. In order to increase the language input, these affective filters should be low, in other words motivated
students have better results, those who are self confident are likely to be more successful because their level of anxiety and stress is low and they are not afraid of making mistakes, of feeling discomfort, of looking silly, of being criticized, of participating actively in the learning process. The Competency –Based Approach The Competency-Based Approach was developed and applied in the USA to help immigrants and refugees learn English and life skills in the same time. It is based on theories of adult learning which states that in order effective learning to take place; adults need to know that what they are studying will improve their lives. Distinguishing features: Learners dominate in the Competence-based Approach because language skills, the grammar and vocabulary they study are sequenced according to their needs. Translation is used when necessary for communication. Context is used as much as possible to help the learners induce the meanings of lexical structures or the formation of grammatical structures. Authentic materials are used and the learners are encouraged to practice the language by performing real tasks outside the classroom. Like the Communicative Approach the Competency –Based Approach bases its activities on interaction. Pair work and group work are used to generate communication in activities such as problem solving, filling information gaps, questioning, making surveys, etc. Innovative Methods of Teaching “The teacher works with the student, the student works with the language”. The Silent Way The Silent way is a method introduced by Caleb Gategno, a methodologist who revived the interest in the use of coloured wooden sticks called cuisenaire rods and the series of Words in Colour, an approach to the teaching of initial reading in which sounds are coded by specific colours. His materials are copyrighted
and marked through an organization he operated, called Educational solutions Inc., in New York. The Silent Way method is based on the premise that the teacher should be silent as much as possible in the classroom and the learner should be encouraged to produce as much language as possible. The Silent Way shares a great deal with other learning theories and educational philosophies. The hypotheses that follow belong to Gategno’s work within this method: 1. Learning is facilitated if the learner discovers rather than remembers and repeats what is to be learned. 2. Learning is facilitated by accompanying physical objects. 3. learning is facilitated by problem solving involving the material to be learned, which represent Benjamin Franklin’s words: Tell me and I forget, Teach me and I remember, Involve me and I learn. In the Silent Way learners are actively responsible for their own learning. Learning a language is seen not as a process of habit formation like in the Audiolingual Method, but rather a process whereby the learners discover the rules of the target language and then applies those rules to understand and use the language. Mistakes are considered as a part of the process of discovering the rules and the teacher should not interfere in the process by correcting the learners' mistakes. Distinguishing features: All four language skills are taught from the beginning, though reading and writing are sequenced to follow what has been produced orally. Special charts are used to teach pronunciation. First, there is a sound-colour, each one representing a sound in the target language. The teacher and student point to blocks of colour on the chart to form syllables, words and sentences. Second, there are word charts containing words whose letters are colour coded in the same way as the sound-colour chart. The teacher and students make up sentences, point to words on the chart and read the sentences they have written or told. Third, there are sounds of the language with their spelling. For example “ay”, “ea”, “ei” and “eigh”, which are all different spellings of the sound [ei] in English, they are listed and colourcoded together. Cuisenaire rods(bits of wood varying in length and colour) are used to introduce vocabulary and structures. At the beginning level
they can be used to teach numbers and colours(“take two red rods”). At the intermediate level they can be used to teach comparatives(“the red rod is longer than the blue one”, the prepositions(“ the green rod is above the yellow one”), the difference between the definite and indefinite articles (“take a/ the red rod”) with the help of the finger technique. At a later stage they can be used to teach conditionals (“If I had a red rod I would give it to you”). The Silent way is designed to be used with small groups of learners. Teachers using this method usually undergo intensive training in its techniques and philosophy. The usefulness of this method consists first, in the fact that the knowledge the learners discover for themselves is retained and owned in a more permanent and meaningful way than are materials which have been packaged and only require students to memorize them. Second, there is the idea of peer coaching in a non-competitive environment. Having presented the material, the teacher stands back and lets his students experiment with the rules and generate talk in English. The teacher’s role during this group work is to make sure that the group atmosphere is open to the contribution of all its members. Community Language Learning Community Language Learning is a method developed by Charles A. Curran and his associates. Curran was a specialist in counselling and a professor of psychology at Loyola University. His application of psychological counselling techniques to learning is known as Counselling Learning. Community Language Learning represents the use of Counselling-learning theory to teach languages. In Community Language Learning the aim is to involve the learner’s whole personality. Affective and intellectual well-being is given equal weight. The teacher is the counsellor who gives assistance and support to the learners, who are the clients. The teacher’s role is to understand learners’ fears and vulnerabilities as they struggle to master another language. By being sensitive to the learners’ fears, the teacher can turn their negative energy of these fears into positive energy and enthusiasm to learning. The relationship between the learner and the teacher and among the learners themselves, therefore, take on great importance. The following procedures are typical in a CLL class:
1. Translation. Learners form a small circle. A learner whispers a message or a meaning he or she wants to express. The teacher translates it into the target language and the learner repeats the teacher’s translation. 2. Group Work. Learners may engage in different tasks such as small group discussion on a topic, preparing a conversation, preparing a summary of a topic for presentation to another group, preparing a story that will be presented to the teacher and the rest of the class. 3. Recording. Students record conversations in the target. Language. 4. Transcription. Students transcribe utterances and conversations they have recorded for practice and analysis of the linguistic forms. 5. Analysis. Students analyse and study transcriptions of the target language sentences in order to focus on particular lexical usage or on the application of particular grammar rules 6. Reflection and observation. Learners reflect and report on their experiences as a class or group. They usually consist of expressing feelings-sense of one another, reactions to silence, concern for something to say, etc. 7. Listening. Students listen to a monologue involving elements they might have elicited or overheard in class interaction. 8. Free conversation. Students engage in free conversation with the teacher or with other learners. This might include discussion of what they learned as well as feelings they had about how they learned. Like the Silent Way, CLL is a method which works best in small groups and which requires special training for its teachers. It also includes useful principles which can easily be implemented during the lessons. You can lower the stress of your students by making your goals and expectations clear, by coaching your students in examination strategies, and by providing lively activities which make learning funny. CLL encourages learners to produce their own materials. Helping the students to write their stories which are then published in the school magazine, organizing them to write and act plays or skits, and developing project work, the teacher may accomplish two goals: to give students a sense of ownership and pride and to sidestep the problem of trying to teach with few or inadequate textbooks. Suggestopedia Suggestopedia is a method developed by the Bulgarian psychiatrist educator Georgi Lozanov. Suggestopedia is a specific
set of learning recommendations derived from Suggestology-a study concerned with the systematic study of the nonrational and/or nonconscious influences that human beings are constantly responding to. Lozanov believes that the power of suggestion(learning a foreign language successfully) is in desuggestion(lowering students’ psychological barriers to learning). He has developed the process of “desuggestion” which is designed to promote a relaxed frame of mind and to convert learners’ fear into positive energy and enthusiasm for language learning. So before we suggest, we must desuggest a lot. Distinguishing features: In Suggestopedia great attention is paid to environment. The seating is as comfortable as possible, the light is not harsh, Baroque music plays on the background. Colourful posters and charts are pinned on the wall. The posters show attractive sights in the target language country. The charts contain grammatical information which in causal readings the students will absorb without conscious effort. This is called peripheral learning. The Suggestopedia teacher’s tone is always calm as students are reassured that language learning is easy and fun. The Suggestopedia lesson consists of three stages: 1. Deciphering-the teacher introduces the grammar and the vocabulary. 2. Concert session-that is divided into two substages a) active-the teacher reads the text at a normal speed and students follow; b) passive-the students relax, close their eyes and listen to the teacher reading the text calmly. Music is played in the background. The left column of the text is given in the target language; the right column is in students’ mother tongue. c) Elaboration- students finish what they have learned with dramas, songs and games. For homework, the students are asked to read the text just before going to bed and on getting up in the morning. The teacher leads the class in role play, question and answer and other activities based on the text. During these activities students are invited to use their imagination and to take on new names and new personalities in the target language. They are encouraged to visualize themselves as successful people in their new identities with exciting jobs and good standing in the society.
Having described briefly some of the methods of teaching English as a foreign language, we may conclude that no one is sufficient on its own. Whiled teaching, different learning styles should be taken in consideration; especially those you feel working best with your students in different surroundings. The main thing is that your students should be interested in learning the language.
UNIT II: STUDYING LANGUAGE SYSTEM Topics: 1. Teaching Listening 2. Teaching Speaking 3. Teaching Reading 4. Teaching Writing 5. Teaching Pronunciation 6. Teaching Vocabulary 7. Teaching Grammar 8. Teaching with Video TEACHING LISTENING Listening skills are very important in language learning as we cannot develop speaking skills unless we also develop listening ones; to have a successful conversation learners must understand what is said to them. The language may be also listened to while watching films, listen to radio programs or while listening to foreign visitors. To develop this ability, learners need plenty of practice in listening to English at a normal speed. In real life we listen to a variety of things starting with radio and music and finishing with lectures, talks, instructions, directions, announcements,
conversations, debates, stories, jokes, sounds like footsteps, laughter, screaming, telephone rings, etc. Why do we listen? We may listen for information, for pleasure, for feedback, attitudes, turn-taking, testing. Listening involves more skills and these are: phoneme discrimination, word recognition, identification of stress, intonation, predict and infer the development of message, process/challenge ongoing message, creative/ active perception and linguistic knowledge. Ana Gorea distinguishes two types of listening: a)casual listening-listening with no particular purpose(for example listening to the radio while doing homework) b) focused listening-listening for a particular purpose, to find out the information that we need to know(for example listening to a piece of news on the radio, listening to someone explaining how to operate a machine, or to do some job). In this situation we listen much more closely. Jeremy Harmer proposes two other types of listening: a) extensive listening- where the teacher encourages his students to choose for themselves what they listen to and to do so for pleasure and general language improvement. It will usually take place outside the classroom, in the students’ home, car or on personal stereos as they travel from a place to another. b) intensive listening –listening to taped material during the lesson at the teacher’s choice or provided by the coursebook. If the teacher decides to give students a listening task it is necessary to take the following steps: 1. prepare the students for what they are going to hear; 2. never ask the students just to listen; 3. make sure the tasks you ask students to do are realistic and varied as possible; 4. introduce the topic(predict what it is going to be about); 5. pre-teach the vocabulary; 6. give guiding questions before listening; 7. divide(if necessary) the listening into stages: first step(listen for main idea only, to answer the guiding questions, this helps to focus on main points); second step(listen for details). 8. vary the question types you use with the students;
9. train the students not to expect to understand every word they hear; 10. vary the types of listening(tapes, videos, teacher, other students, visitors, conversations, announcements, songs, news broadcasts, weather forecasts, poems, etc.). If the teacher uses recorded material, he must make sure that the quality of tapes is good, that the recorder functions well, that there is electric power in the classroom when he intends to use it. There are some advantages and disadvantages in using intensive listening: a) advantages: - variety of voices, native speakers; -recorded material is useful for listening to dialogues, interviews; -the cassette can be stopped and played back; - taped materials are extremely portable and readily available; -most coursebooks include listening exercises, cassettes, and tapescripts. b) disadvantages: - in classrooms with bad acoustics listening may be difficult; -listening is more difficult as there is no eye contact, no clues, no gestures, no lip movement; -everybody has to listen at the same speed, a speed dictated by the tape, not by the listeners; Types of Listening Tasks Good listening exercises are characterized by the following: - provide interesting content; - include listening preparation; - offer visual support; - encourage whole-message listening; - encourage listening for specific details; - communicate real meaning; - require listener response Tony Lynch in “Listening” proposes the following listening tasks: Listen and do During or after listening students are asked to perform some nonlinguistic actions: numbering a drawing, completing a map, ordering items in a list, matching items, labelling, ticking.
Listen and do nothing Listen to a story or a poem. Listen and follow Matching what students hear with a visual. Students may have a map or a picture and have to follow a route according to the tape. Listen and respond Affective response. Students listen and are then asked whether they liked/disliked the text, who they sympathized with, etc. Listen and answer Students have to find answers to questions: true/false, Wh-questions, multiple choice, etc. Listen and compare Listening for(dissimilarities, between two(or more) language inputs like jigsaw listening or a mix of print and tape materials( for example radio and press reports on main incident). Listen and complete Gap-filling. Cloze type exercises; listening cloze(with words) masked by noise. Listen and predict Partial text provided and students have to anticipate the next move or outcome. What will Mrs. X say next? How will Mr. Y respond? How will the story end? Listen and correct Students have a printed text which they alter to match the spoken version. Listen and write Students take notes as they listen in order to prepare a summary or to reach agreement as to what was said. Listen and discuss Using tape as information source for oral interaction Deduction or assessment of information, problem-solving, etc.
Listen and react Expressing value judgements. Students are asked to evaluate opinions given or actions described on tape. For example: Did X do the right thing? Pre-Listening Activities Pre-Listening is the period of time before the teacher presses the button “play” on the tape- recorder or before the material is read. The teacher must prepare very well if he wants to hive students a listening task. Mr. Underwood in “Teaching Listening” (1989) suggests the following pre-listening activities: -looking at pictures and talking about them; -looking at a list of items/thoughts; -making lists of possibilities/ideas, suggestions, etc.; -reading a text; -reading through questions (to be answered while listening); -labelling; -completing part of a chart; -predicting/speculating; -pre-listening language -informal teacher talk and class discussion. While-Listening Activities While-listening is the period of time that begins when the teacher starts reading something to students or when he presses the button “play” and ends when he presses the button ”stop” or finishes reading something to students. Here are some while-listening activities: -marking/checking items in pictures; -matching pictures with what is heard; -storyline picture sets; -putting pictures in order; -completing pictures; -picture drawing; -carrying out actions; -making models/arranging items in pictures; -following a route;
-completing grills; -form/chart completion; -labelling; -using lists; listing; -true/false; -multiple-choice questions; -text completion(gap-filling); -spotting mistakes; -predicting; -seeking specific items of information; -extending lists; -sequencing/grading; -matching with a reading text; -extending notes into written responses; -summarizing; -using information for problem solving and decision making activities; -jigsaw listening; -identifying relationships between speakers; -establishing the mood/ attitude/ behaviour of the speaker. Post-Listening Activities Post-listening is the period of time after the teacher presses the button “stop” or finishes reading to students. Here are some post-listening activities: -role-play/simulation; -dictation; -summarizing; -reproduction; -decision-making activities. TEACHING SPEAKING Speaking as a skill has emerged as a need to express one’s thoughts, feelings, experience. This information exchange takes place when there is something that one person does not know and wants to find out, and that is why he or she is asking a question. We can say that a person has a “communicative need”. Very often we talk in order to tell people things they do not know, or to find things
out from other people. The speaking skill implies two characteristics: b)fluency- the ability to speak at a normal speed, not too quickly, not too slowly. The ability to speak fluently presupposes not only a knowledge of language features but also the ability to process information and language “on the spot”. Among the elements of spoken production, are the following: 1. Connected speech: effective speakers of English need to be able not only to produce individual phonemes of English(as in saying I would have gone), but also to use fluent “connected speech” (as in I’d’ve gone). In connected speech sounds are modified(assimilation), omitted(elision), added(linking r), or weakened(through contractions and stress patterning). 2. Expressive devices: native speakers of English change the pitch and stress of particular parts of utterances, vary volume and speed, and show by other non-verbal means how they are feeling. They allow the extra expression of emotion and intensity. 3. Lexis and grammar: spontaneous speech is marked by the use of a number of common lexical phrases, especially in the performance of certain language functions. Teachers should therefore supply a variety of phrases for different functions such as agreeing or disagreeing, expressing surprise, shock, or approval. 4. Negotiation language: effective speaking benefits from the negotiatory language we use to seek clarification and to show the structure of what we are saying. We often need to ask for clarification when we are listening to someone else talk. A useful thing teachers can do is to offer them phrases like “I’m sorry I didn’t quite catch that”, “I’m sorry, I don’t understand”, “Could you explain that again, please?”. When speakers do not know a word or just cannot remember it, they may employ some or all of the strategies to resolve the difficulty they are encountering: 1. Improvising: speakers sometimes try any word or phrase that they can come up with in the hope that it is about right. Such improvisations sometimes work, but they can also obscure meaning. 2. Discarding: when speakers simply cannot find words for what they want to say, they may discard the thought that they cannot put into words.
3. Foreignising: when operating in a foreign language, speakers sometimes choose a word in a language they know well(such as their first language) and ‘foreignise” it in the hope that it will be equivalent to the meaning they wish to express in the foreign language. 4. Paraphrasing: speakers sometimes paraphrase, talking about something for cleaning the teeth if they do not know the word toothbrush , or saying that they are not happy with somebody when they want to say that they are really fed up. Such lexical substitution or circumlocution gets many speakers out of trouble, though it can make communication longer and more convoluted. Besides the strategies mentioned above, there is another factor that has an impact upon good speakers’ productive abilities. These are rapid processing skills that talking necessitates: 1. Language processing: effective speakers need to be able to process language in their own heads and put it into coherent order so that it comes out in forms that are not only comprehensible, but also convey the meanings that are intended. 2. Interacting with others: most speaking involves interaction with one or more participants. This means that effective speaking also involves a good deal of listening an understanding of how the other participants are feeling, and a knowledge of how linguistically to take turns or allow others to do so. 3. On-the-spot information processing: quite apart from our response to others’ feelings, we also need to be able to process the information the moment we get it. The longer the pause between the information is got and the response is formulated, the less effective we are as instant communicators. However, it should be remembered that this instant response is very culture-specific, and is not prized by speakers in many other language communities. The classroom interaction while teaching speaking can be of two types: teacher controlled and learner directed. When it is teacher controlled it gives students practice in grammar and vocabulary (accuracy work). Learner directed is putting the stress on fluency through a combination of pair work and group work. It is important that students benefit from either work. Accuracy activities can be controlled by the teacher and done by the whole class(with such activities like: drills, games, controlled conversation, listening,
writing) or directed by the learners and done in groups and pairs( with such activities like: exercises, controlled conversation, role play, games, questionnaires, listening, writing). Fluency activities can be controlled by the teacher and done by the whole class ( with activities like: conversation, discussion, simulation, games, storytelling, listening, writing) or directed by the learners and done in groups or pairs(with activities like: discussion, games, role play, project work, debate, listening, reading, writing). Communicative activities There are many available ways of making learners speak. A wonderful one is to practice using pictures. Pictures may serve as an endless source of talking. Here are some activities that may improve learners’ speaking skills: 1. Predict the picture You may tell your learners that you have a picture but don’t show it to them. You only say that there is a man, a woman and a train in the picture. The learners must find out exactly what the picture is about by asking questions. You can answer only Yes/ No questions, but you can help by giving hints(for ex: you still don’t know where the train is). After that you can draw the picture on the board as the students describe it. And then show the real one. With senior learners you make take a more complicated picture, show it to the class for an instant, then ask questions of the type : Where do you think the action takes place? What have you seen in the picture? Everybody is given the opportunity to say what he thinks he saw in the picture. After everybody gave his opinion show the picture to the class and describe it, letting the learners give their opinions of what they think it suggests. 2. Put the pictures in order This is a very interesting way of making learners talk. There should be a series of pictures connected by the same content, each picture showing a different action. They are cut separately and each student gets one. They shouldn’t show the pictures to each other. Students take turns in describing what they see in their pictures. When one student talks, the rest must listen attentively as latter they will have to decide on the correct sequence of the actions. When everybody finished describing, students get engaged in discussing
what in their opinion, might be the correct sequence, they may ask any questions, but they mustn’t show the pictures yet. When they believe they reach a final decision, they put the pictures face up in the sequence they have decided upon. During the activity the teacher is silent, though the teacher should foresee what vocabulary the students might need and present the words beforehand. In the end the teacher may give the glue. The most important thing about such an activity is that everybody has the chance to participate in the discussion. Guessing is not central though. It’s a wonderful way of practicing grammar, such as Present Progressive, Present Perfect, etc. 3. Spot the differences For this activity it is necessary to have two identical pictures but which contain some slight differences in them, it may be the colour, a missing button, a different position, etc. The teacher should have enough copies of pictures for each pair of learners. One student will ask questions, and the other will answer them until all the differences are spot. It’s good to tell learners initially how many differences they have to find. 4. Complete the drawing It’s a good activity especially for learning the use of prepositions, things in a flat, pieces of furniture, etc. Two students have the same drawings of a room for example with the difference that in one picture is placed and in the other there is no furniture. By asking questions the student that has the empty picture room must guess where it stands and complete his drawing, so that it is identical with the other student’s. 5. Photos Any photos can also serve as means of developing speech habits. They may be photos of learners’ families, old photos with their grandparents, etc. They may speak about the people in them, the way they look like, the way they are dressed, what relations are among them, when the photo was taken, what was the occasion, etc. 6. Guessing Guessing is a perfect way of making learners ask questions and practice grammar. The teacher, may for example want the learners to
repeat asking general questions in the Past Simple Tense. The teacher says: “Yesterday I went somewhere and I did something. Guess where I went and what I did”. Learners take turns in asking questions of the type: “Did you go to the market? ”Did you go to the hospital?” The teacher might have thought that she went to the bank to pay some bills. If students guess quickly the activity might be continued by asking how the teacher went to the bank. “ Did you go by bus? Did you go by bike?” The activity may be often repeated and students themselves have the role of the ones who think of something to be guessed. 7. Guess who I am? A student may think that he/she is a famous person and the rest ask questions of the type: “Are you dead or alive? Are you English? Are you a writer? Until they guess who the person pretended to be is. 8. Miming Miming is another way of guessing especially when practicing Present Progressive. One student mimes an activity and the rest have to guess the situation: opening a can, changing the light bulb, etc. 9. Unfinished sentences It’s a source of beginning a conversation. Students are given a list with unfinished sentences and picking any at their choice they have to develop it into a discussion. The sentences might be composed according to the age, pupils’ abilities and the taught topics. 10. Find someone who… This kind of conversation implies moving too, getting a list of suggested actions students have to walk round the class talking to the classmates and find two other people who do the activities suggested in the list. 11. Who scores more? The class may be divided into two groups and asked to fill out a list of different things that begin with the same letter of the alphabet. That may be the name of an insect, a kind of sport, an object, an article of clothing, an animal or bird, a town, a means of transport, a
colour. If both groups name the same word, each gets one point, if they name different things, they get two points. In the end the total number of points is counted and the winner is announced. The success of the speaking activities will greatly depend on the teacher’s abilities of organizing the work. Speaking activities should be practiced as often as possible. Speaking may be also done on the basis of a reading or a listening activity, even writing. TEACHING READING In real life we do not normally read because we have to but because we want to. We usually have a purpose in reading: there is something we want to find out, some information we have to check or clarify, some opinions we want to match against our own. David Nunan in Designing Tasks for the Communicative Classroom adopts some other purposes: to obtain instructions on how to perform some tasks for our work or daily work, to act in a play, play a game, do a puzzle, to keep in touch with friends by correspondence or to understand business letters, for enjoyment or excitement, to find out how a story develops “What will happen next?” We do not usually begin reading with a completely empty mind, we have some idea of what we are going to read about. We will usually have some certain questions in our mind(things we want to know) and we may also be able to make a number of predictions or guesses(things that we expect to find out). Newspaper headlines, book titles, chapter headings often make us think about the text before we begin to read. If, for example, we have a newspaper headline “Plane Crashes in Desert” we think that the article will probably give details of the crash, explain how it happened, what caused it, etc. Then we ask questions that we may have in mind: Which desert? Where? Any survivors? How did it happen? Whose fault? Which airline? Was anyone I know involved? Questions and guesses make us want to read (because we want to know the answers), and they also help us read( because we are looking for particular information). As we read, we can partly predict what we will find in the text. It is important to give reasons for reading and to give the students information so that they want to find the answer to. This can be done in two ways:
- be giving a few questions to students to think about as they read and discussing the answers afterwards(they are called guiding questions or support questions. -by organizing an activity before the students read a text, which arouses their interest in the topic and makes them want to read. Teaching Basic Reading If the teacher works with learners beginners, where they only begin to study English, it is necessary first of all to teach Teaching Pronunciation Topic: 1. Pronunciation issues. Pronunciation difficulties. 2. When to teach pronunciation ton. 1. Pronunciation issues. Almost all English language teachers get the students to study grammar and vocabulary, practise functional dialogues, take part in productive skill activities, and become competent in listening and reading. Yet some of these teachers make little attempt to teach pronunciation. However, the fact that some students are able to acquire reasonable pronunciation without specific pronunciation classes and exercises should not blind us to the benefit of a focus on pronunciation in our lessons. Pronunciation teaching not only makes students aware of different sounds, but can also improve their speaking immeasurable. 2. Pronunciation difficulties and problems. Two particular problems occur in much pronunciation teaching and learning: - What students can hear: some students have great difficulty features which we want to reproduce. Speakers of different first languages have problems with different Englipeaking sh sounds (/b/; /v/; /ð/; /θ/) they don’t have in their native language. There are two ways of dealing with this: in the first place we can show students how sounds are made through demonstration, diagrams, and explanation. But we can also draw the sounds to their attention every time they appear on tape or in our conversation.
When they can hear correctly they are on the way to being able to speak correctly. - The intonation problem: for the most teachers the most problematic area of pronunciation is intonation. Some of us find it extremely difficult to hear “tunes” or to identity the patterns of rising and falling tones. The fact that we may have difficulty recognizing specific teaching does not mean that we should abandon intonation teaching altogether. One of our tasks is to give the students opportunities to recognise moods and intentions either on tape, or through the way we model ourselves to them. 3. When to teach pronunciation. Teachers have to decide when to teach pronunciation into a lesson sequence. - Whole lessons: making pronunciation the main focus of a lesson does not mean that every minute of the lesson has to be spent on pronunciation work. Sometimes students may also listen to a longer tape, working on listening skills before moving to the pronunciation part of the sequence. Sometimes students can work on vocabulary before going on to work on word stress, sounds, and spelling. - Discrete slots: some teachers insert short, separate bits of pronunciation work into a lesson sequence. Over a period of weeks they work on all the individual phonemes either separately or in contrasting pairs. At other times they spend a few minutes on a particular aspect of intonation, say, or on the contrast between two or more sounds. -Integrated phrases: when we model words and phrases we draw our students’ attention to the way they are said; one of the things we want to concentrate on during an accurate reproduction stage is the students’ correct pronunciation. Presenting vocabulary Topics: 1. Presenting vocabulary. 2. Developing a variety of techniques for the teaching vocabulary. 3. Vocabulary expansion. 1. Presenting vocabulary. The development of an ability to communicate in English must be a major goal of any effective course or lesson. For any approach to work, certain conditions are essential, such as dynamic lessons and motivation. In this chapter will be discussed about the
importance of vocabulary in communication or expressing certain information and the need to give adequate attention in teaching its items’ meanings. In spite of the fact that for many years vocabulary was neglected, the modern human experience showed that really teaching vocabulary involves more knowledge and skill than many teachers think. For this reason, this chapter is made up to draw teachers’ attention while teaching vocabulary at the words meaning, their use in communication, their pronunciation and spelling and to suggest ways of dealing with them- shorter saying- how can vocabulary be understood and presented. This chapter provides an overview of linguistic approaches to the analysis of the English vocabulary system and uses insights from this analysis to develop principles for the learning and teaching of vocabulary. -Say the word clearly and write it on the board. -Get the class to repeat the word in chorus. -Translate the word into the learners’ own language. -Ask the learners to translate the word. -Draw a picture to show what the word means. -Give an English example to show how to the word is used in context. -Ask questions using the word. To teach the meaning of a word is best in a context and can be introduced by showing real objects such as “window”, “door”, etc. New words may be introduced by showing pictures, which may be drawn on the board, such as “tree”; “cow”; “tractor” etc. or found in books and magazines. Sometimes words may be presented by miming, using actions and facial expressions, such as “sneeze”, “stumble”, and “smile”. Words may be presented in a context. For example: Houses are buildings. This school is also a building. Sometimes it is easier to introduce a new word in a simple sentence instead of giving complicated explanations. A combination of techniques is also good to show the meaning of a word. To introduce the word “smile” we may draw a picture, use the facial expression.
Using pictures is interesting and learners can remember words easily. Facial expression give meaning clearly. Active and Passive Vocabulary It is a good idea for teachers to make often a distinction between ‘active’ and ‘passive’ vocabulary while teaching it. Passive reffers to vocabulary which can be recognised when encountered, in a text for exmple, but which the learner cannot easily produce in speech or writing as active vocabulary. However, this is too simple a characterisation of language learning. There are words which learners can remember or reactualise from memory and use them automatically. There are other for which learners experience a ‘tip of the tongue effect’, recalling something of the word but not its precise form. Yet other words exist in the memory but prove difficult to recall. Let consider learners’ mother tongue, for instance. There will be items which learners are able to recognise and understand, but which they find difficult to recall or do not know sufficiently well to use accurately.30 There can be other items which learners understand, but do not use, perhaps because they occur in contexts or types of discourse which are alien to them. In the language learning situation, must be stressed the importance of decision- making by the teacher about which items are worth learning for productive use and which are only useful for purposes of recognition. This decision- making has several implications; the teacher will need to select what he feels will be most relevant for the students’ productive vocabulary and this, in turn, will affect his treatment of those items in the classroom. Clearly, the teacher has a great responsibility since his knowledge of the complexities and usefulness of the items is likely to be superior to the students’ knowledge. Nevertheless, the learner may be in a much stronger position to decide whether an item is worth acquiring productively.31 It is also worth stating at this point that the learner who perceives the vital personal relevance of an item may well acquire it whether the teacher pays great attention to it or not. Conversely, the learner may consciously or subconsciously reject items which the teacher is trying to teach him. Very often this transition of an item from a student’s receptive (passive) vocabulary to his productive (active) one is a gradual process. Repeatedly hearing or reading the item over a period of time is often the most common way in which this transition
takes place. In the classroom, teachers may at times be attempting to speed up this process by ‘making an issue’ of the item: thus clarifying its meaning and form and encouraging controlled practice. Dividing vocabulary into productive and receptive categories in this way may seem rather artificial and indeed in many cases the decisions to be made are by no means clear- cut. Nonetheless it seems useful to bear the distinction in mind and to strive towards selectivity based on the students’ needs and learning environment. Since vocabulary consists of a series of interrelating systems and is not just a random collection of items, there seems to be a clear case for presenting items to a student in a systematised manner which will both illustrate the organised nature of vocabulary and at the same time enable him to internalise the items in a coherent way. Semantic field, or, as they are commonly called in pedagogical terms, lexical sets, are made up of sets semantically similar items. These fields may range from very broad categories, such as ‘life and living things’ to smaller areas such as ‘kinds of man’ (e.g. man, gentleman, fellow) or ‘kinship relations’ (e.g. son, daughter), and clearly the same item will occur in different fields. ‘Man’ may occur in a semantic field with ‘types of servant’ or ‘human gender’. From the teacher’s point of view, too, many of the groupings listed bellow are convenient. Lexical sets, for example, form useful ‘building blocks’ and can be revised and expanded as learners progress; they often provide a clear context for practice as well. The groupings bellow consists of different types of semantic fields as well as phonological and gramatical sets. 32 Clearly, some groupings are more appropriate at certain levels that at others. Items related by topic One of the most common and useful groupings found in course books e.g. types of fruit, articles of clothing, living room furniture, etc. Items which are similar in meaning These are items which are easily confused e.g. pretty, lovely, attractive. Also to be included within this grouping are commonly taught sets such as ‘ways of walking’ (e.g. limp, tiptoe, amble, etc.) or ‘ways of looking’ (e.g. peer, squint, glance, stare, etc.). This type of group needs to be handled extremely carefully; the items need to be contextualised properly, and it is vital to highlight to learners the differences between items as clearly as possible. One
common danger is that grouping items in this way may force teachers into including items of different levels of usefulness or frequency. Items which form ‘pairs’ These can be synonyms, contrasts and ‘opposites’ e.g.old/ new, buy/ sell, lend/borrow, obstinate/ stubborn. Contextualisation is essential here. Items along a scale or cline, which illustrate differences of degree For example describing an essay- excellent/ very good/ good/ satisfactory/ weak human age- a child/ a teenager/ an adult The meaning of items within a scale or cline is obviously relative; for example, a hot day is not the same as a hot furnace, but this rarely causes confusion in context. Items within ‘word families’ It is often possible to group items of vocabulary to illustrate the principles of word building, the meanings of prefixes and suffixes and the related phonological difficulties: e.g. biology- biologist- biological psychology- psychologist- psychological or pleasant- unpleasant helpful- unhelpful friendly- unfriendly Items grouped by (a) grammatical similarity and (b) notional similarity This can be particularly useful at lower levels when dealing with areas such as adverbs of frequency or prepositions, but may be just as relevant at later levels to group together nouns with irregular plurals, or words expressing probability or possibility (e.g. There is a good chance that…, He’s likely to…, It’s bound to…). Items which connect discourse There are a variety of different types of connectives which act as ‘signposts’ in discourse and can be grouped and treated as lexical items. The grouping of sentence adverbials used in listing, for example, could include ‘to begin with’, ‘in the second place’, ‘last of all’. In a similar type of grouping, one might find items such as ‘unless’, ‘otherwise’, ‘or else’, ‘provided (that)’ which are related in that they impose some form of condition.
Adverbs ending in ‘+ ly’ (e.g. unfortunately, happily, surprisingly) are also important connectives, but may not cause as much difficulty as the examples above e.g. He ran out of cash. Fortunately, he had his American Express card with him. This is an extremely important area since an understanding of these ‘signposts’ is vital in comprehension, and unless they are understood, contextual guesswork may become almost impossible. Items forming a set of idioms or multi- word verbs Certain sets of multi- word verbs or idioms can form coherent groups e.g. to ring up, to call up, to get through, to ring back; out of sorts, under the weather, on top of the world. Items grouped by spelling difficulty or phonological difficulty This can be approached within a topic area e.g. food vocabularymenu, pie, vegetable, recipe, tough meat, steak. Items grouped by style This may be a useful way to distinguish between items which are neutral or colloquial: cigarette= ciggy, toilet= loo. Similarly to deal with British and American English: petrol= gasoline, pavement= sidewalk, lorry= truck. It may therefore be most useful to see vocabulary knowledge as a scale running from recognition of a word at one end to automatic production at the other, with the help of different contexts. However, knowledge of some words will remain at the recognition end of the continuum and will be called on in reading and listening but might never become part of learner’s productive ability. This characterisation of vocabulary knowledge is complicated by the phenomenon of forgetting: this can happen quite rapidly if distracting activities interrupt effective storing of the word, or more slowly if the word has been stored in the memory but it rarely encountered or used. There are various reasons why people remember some words better than others: the nature of the words themselves, under what circumstances they are learnt, the method of teaching and so on. 1.2 TEACHING WRITING. Writing as a skill is very important in teaching and learning a foreign language, first of all, it helps pupils to assimilate letters and sounds of English language, secondly, because together with
speaking, listening and reading, form the four language skills without which a foreign language cannot be taught. It is important for everyone, especially for pupils and students to know how to write essays, letters, compositions, dictations. Writing is the result of employing strategies to manage the composing process, which is one of gradually developing a text. That is why, “Writing is a means of teaching a foreign language”. It involves a number of activities: setting goals, generating ideas, organizing information, setting appropriate language, making a draft, reading and reviewing it, then revising and editing. The writing process was recursive and generative, with students re-reading their work, assessing it, reacting and moving on. Without knowing how to write, we won’t be able even to communicate with people through letters or e-mail. We should know how to write correctly a sentence, because in English there is a specific structure of writing a sentence. It the 1970’s the interest developed that second language writers actually do as they write, motivated largely by a belief that if we wish to influence and improve the outcomes of writing for our learners, then we need to understand how a piece of writing comes into being. A big concern of researchers into second language writing has been to identify these mental operations, and a number of research methods have been used to do this: interviews, observation, audio and video recording. The writing process was recursive and generative, with pupils re-reading their work, assessing it, reacting, and moving on. The greatest disadvantage of teaching writing is that many pupils hate the writing process. Some of them think that it is not so important to write an information or an exercise in their copybooks. From their point of view, it is easier to circle the correct answer in their books, or to try to memorize what teacher says than to put down the information. Many pupils think that writing takes a long time to be taught and beginning with the first steps in studding a foreign language, teachers should know how to attract pupils’ attention and to make the rules easier to be understood. Pupils learn to write letters, words, and sentences in the target language more successfully if the understand what they write, have good patterns to follow, and make a lot of attempts in writing what they are satisfied that the work is well done. The most important thing is that we should teach pupils depending on their age, interests and level. We
can identify the range of written products that any particular group of pupils needs. For example, in English the convention and stile of formal and informal letters differ, and both may differ in format and style from letters written in the pupils’ native language. And many pupils enjoy the change to be creative with writing. We can give beginners to write simple poems, intermediate learners we can give a dictation, and for advanced learners it is better to write an essay. First of all, before writing an essay we should take into account the four stages of writing an essay which are: Prewriting, Writing, Revision and Publishing. Ron White and Valerie Arndt want to stress “that writing is re-writing; that re-vision – seeing with new eyes – has a central role to play in the act of creating text”.3 Beginning with Prewriting, we have to be sure that we have chosen the right theme for the right person or a group of pupils, because we cannot give the beginners the same themes we give to advanced learners. The reason is that the beginners don’t have a sufficient rich vocabulary to make a good essay which can be written by the advanced learners. And again, we cannot give to the four grade pupils the same themes as we give to seven, ten, or twelve grades pupils. Discussing with pupils, teachers have to find an interesting theme for the essay. For example, for the four grade teachers can give pupils to write a short essay about their best friend, or about their pet. Beginning with the seventh and eighth grades, we can give pupils the possibility to choose from such themes as: “My ideal place”, or “The day I will never forget”. Even at these ages (13 – 15), pupils don’t have a large experience of life. They will have to imagine or to think maybe of something impossible. For the eleventh and twelfth grades the best themes for essays can be: If I were millionaire The diseases of the XX-th century. Drugs. Let’s analyze the last one: Theme “Drugs” is too general and it can be difficult for pupils to speak about it, that is why teachers can give some options as: The relation between infected people and the others. Diseases which are connected with drugs.
Pupils can choose one option given by the teacher or to write their own subthemes. Some pupils do very well on essays. If they have learned how to read essays questions, if they have had experience organizing their thoughts quickly, if they have had quick editing skills, they were likely to succeed. It is good for those pupils who are familiar with these skills, but many pupils, still have no idea of how they should write an essay. Many times this happens because the questions are not clear for pupils and some of them are ashamed to ask their teacher for explanation. Well – constructed essay questions often use a series of code words that pupils must understand: describe, discuss, compare, contrast, explain, comment…..If teachers see that pupils are confused with understanding these words, they have to explain and analyze them, by giving examples. The most common mistake is that almost all pupils do not taught the theme they have chosen. In this case the help of the teacher is inevitable. When pupils ask questions, teachers have to help them. If a pupil do not understand the key – word describe the teacher have to give some examples which involves this term. These themes can be given for little children. Describe your mother’s appearance. Describe your first day at school. But if the key – word is not understood by the 12-th grade pupils, they may be ashamed to ask for explanation. The role of the teacher is to be sure that all pupils understand about what they have to write. If they do not understand the word comment, the teacher has to ask questions which involves this word. For example, she can ask pupils to comment on the following proverbs: Never put of till tomorrow what you can do today. The proof of the pudding is in the eating Practice makes perfect If the teacher shows her authority and does not want to explain questions to pupils, she does nothing instead of creating a barrier between whole the whole class and herself. When pupils try to give some of their ideas, teachers have to support them and to encourage them by saying that their ideas are good. Many studies support the need for active participation by pupils in the writing class if affective learning is to take place. Pupils have to think of their own ideas, to
invent, to discover, write and analyze. They must develop themselves some kind of authority, because when pupils write about personal experiences, they are the only one who really know what happened. A very enjoyable activity that involves productive skills of writing and speaking is based on free writing. At the beginning of each lessons the teacher gives pupils not more than five minutes to write everything that comes to their mind in that moment. It can be simple words, word combinations or sentences. All pupils have to start at once and end when the teacher says. After the given period of time, the teacher asks some pupils to tell to the rest of the class what they had written about. It is very interesting because all pupils think in their own way and no one of them do not think at the moment in the same way. The contents of their written work almost depends on their mood and feelings, some of pupils may write about what they want to eat; another, where they would like to go; others, of their friends and family. Some pupils may be shy to read what they have written, but the teacher has to encourage them. Another kind of exercises that involves the writing process is dictations. In a way, dictations are difficult for those pupils who do not have enough knowledge in words spelling that is why dictations cannot be given to the beginners. Dictations are a valuable exercise because it trains the ears as well as the eyes, it fixes in the pupils’ mind the part of each sentence pattern, because the teacher dictates a text part by part. Dictations can be of different forms and the way they are conducted. It can be visual dictations, dictation drill, self – dictations. After a long studding of mistakes made in dictations, the teacher can give those tests. But in testing pupils’ skills in writing the teacher should use those kinds of work with which pupils are used and which they can do because they must be well prepared before they begin to write the test. Each pupil should feel pride in a way when they are completing tests. Whenever pupils are writing, the teacher can walk round the class, looking what pupils are doing and putting a dot at the end of those lines that contain mistakes. The pupils have to find mistakes and correct them. Anyway, the progress in writing a foreign language is possible in condition that pupils have enough preparation for writing, because it is impossible to teach someone the rules of writing if he/she does not have the elementary knowledge of writing.
In order not to create a dislike from pupils’ side, the teacher has to use some visuals and modern technology, and to explain how they influence the writing process. Teaching Speaking Skills People usually when they want to study a foreign language are classified in three levels, beginners, intermediate and advanced learners. All these stages have their specific characteristics. Teachers have to be sure that they teach exactly the specific level, because all methodologies, topics differ from one level to another one. Teachers should know that some techniques and exercises that are welcome for beginners are less good for pupils at high levels. For example, teachers find quite effective to get beginner pupil to repeat sentences in chorus, but advanced learners who already know the rules of reading, will never repeat some sentences in chorus, or just for fun. With advanced learners, teachers can organize debates, discussions around different topics. It is important to match topic to the level, reserving difficult themes for intermediate and advanced learners. Teachers also have to take into account the age and interest of pupils. Not always a beginner is ten or twelve years old, but he/she may be of sixteen or seventeen. People of different age have different needs, competencies. Then the teacher has to find the corresponding way to teach English. A teenage can have different interests than a little girl may have. And we have to know that beginners are not always young learners; it may be adults, too. Some people say that children learn languages faster than adults do. Something, must account for the fact that with language, according to Steven Pinker, “acquisition … is guaranteed for children up to the age of six, is steadily compromised from then until shortly after puberty, and is rare thereafter”, 6 and that this applies not only to the acquisition of the first language, but also to second or foreign language. When pupils go to school, they almost are of the same age, but if they participate at some competitions, teachers have to be sure that they are chosen depending on their interests. If not, between
members of the same team may appear some conflicts which are not benefice for pupils. Another reason that teacher has to take into account is to be sure that all pupils are at the same level, because if there is a difference among member the more advanced pupils do most of the talking or are bored, while the less advanced pupils are afraid to participate. Hopefully, the pupils will subsequently have a chance to participate in conversation practice under more favorable circumstances. • Beginners. Many people thing that beginners are the most difficult learners, because they even do not know any rules of writing sentences and it is also difficult to teach them English. But there are beginners who are familiar with some elementary grammar rules, and they know few words. In the case if pupils are of little age, then the teacher need to work with them individually and in groups developing good relationship. They need to plan a series of activities for a given period of time, and be flexible enough to move on the next exercise when they see their pupils getting bored. It is very good if the teacher uses pictures, views from nature, if she speaks about trees, plants, mountains, insects, animals. If the theme of the lesson is family, then the teacher has to present all members of the family. Then to tell pupils to speak about their own families. Visual aids will help not only teacher to explain the theme better, but also pupils to memorize easier the new vocabulary. Children love to discover things, and because they respond well to being asked to use their imagination, they may well be involved in games, dialogues. The best activities for the pupils who know elementary words are short dialogues. The teacher can ask two pupils or a small group to improvise a situation. If two pupils are participating, it can be like questions – answers: Meg. Maria, how old are you? Maria. I am ten years old. Meg. Where do you come from? Maria. I come from Great Britain. Meg. Maria, do you have a big family?
Maria. Yes, I do. And you, Meg, do you have a big family? Meg. No, just my mother and me. If the teacher sees that the rest of the class are getting bored she can invent something else that will attract pupils attention, because pupils beginners have a need for individual attention and approval from the teacher. But we do not have to forget the fact that little pupils often learn indirectly rather than directly, because they take in information from all sides, learning from everything around them than only focusing on the precise topic they are being taught. One type of speaking activity involves the so-called “information gap” – where two speakers have different parts of information making up a whole. Because they have different information, where is a “gap” between them. And one well known information – gap activity is called “Describe and Draw” 7. In this activity one pupil has a picture which he or she must not show to his/her partner. All the partners have to draw the picture without looking at the original, so the one with the picture will give instructions and descriptions, then will ask questions. After the partner has drawn the picture he/she may invent a story and to try to tell it to the whole class. Pupils who are presenting the story may know all the words in her/his mother tongue, but he/she meet a lot of problems while expressing himself/herself in English. In this case the teacher has to write all unknown words on the blackboard. This activity has many elements of speaking activity. It is highly motivating, there is a real purpose for the communication taking place, and playing this game, the teacher can easily see the level of pupils, even being beginners, some of them know more words than another. Although, beginners do not have enough knowledge in knowing the words spelling, the teacher can give them short dictations where she can check they comprehension and of cause, it will be also good for pupils. Later, when they know all the rules, looking at these dictations will be a fun for them. • Intermediate level learners. At the intermediate level, the possibilities of extended conversation practice increases a lot. Pupils try to express
themselves in English, they always want to be in taught with other pupils of the same level as they are or maybe with the advanced learners. Most teachers think that at the intermediate level of studding pupils have enough knowledge to express their ideas, thoughts, opinions, that is why many of them organize discussion sessions in their classroom. If pupils change opinions, this way of communications provokes spontaneous fluent language use. Teachers can also, involve pupils in group projects, which provide speaking activity during a given task. All pupils need to do is to find a common theme for discussion. Then pupils have to find the right equipment to create successful in their own right as well as in conversation practice. For example, pupils can organize a project around the theme “ Presents for birthdays”. The teacher can give to pupils a list of new words used at this occasion. The project that provides a lot of materials for conversations is an imaginary trip to a real town in an English – speaking country. The teacher can discuss with pupils where they would like to go, social behavior on the trip, safety measures, and so forth. Another way of teaching speaking at the intermediate level deals also with newspaper articles. The teacher introduces pupils to the way newspaper articles are constructed and then gets them to write their own newspaper articles. This activity begins when the teacher asks pupils if they read newspapers, and what they read about. After a short discussion, the teacher gets pupils to match newspaper headlines with the stories they brought. Pupils may be asked to choose one of the topics to think of a short story to go with it. They write the headlines for their stories and write them up for the rest of the class to listen to later. The teacher can suggest change, corrections and notes to them. While the pupils are writing their articles, the teacher goes round the class offering help if necessary. After everybody ends, the teacher can give pupils the task to present their articles to the rest of the class. Pupils can ask questions based on what others say, or just to listen and to make notes. • Advanced learners.
Almost all new teachers wonder of the level of their pupils. From the first days they can understand the level of pupils and their interests. It will better if before beginning to teach the whole class he/she asks some questions about their families, hobbies, interests. Only after being in contact with pupils, the teacher can see their level. Advanced learners are the most easier to be seen. They can express their opinions, can speak fluently and almost without mistakes. But even the most advanced pupil when he/she have a speech in front of a big audience make mistakes. We are all somewhat nervous when we are asked to speak before a group. In fact, many pupils never get over their fear of public speaking. some pupils may rapidly run out of material to talk about. In this way, the advanced pupil has to be encouraged by his/her teacher, and after the pupil finished his/her speech, she can ask class members questions about what he/she has said, while him/her has a few minutes to relax. If pupils have reached the advanced level in English, they may enjoy participating in debates. In order for debates to be successful, the teacher has to make clear the statements “pro” and “con”. Teachers have to do this to improve debating skills. Pupils may speak more fluently during a debate if they can represent their true feelings in an issue. In order not to appear conflicts between teams, the teacher has to take into account some suggestions: 1. Before beginning a debate, the teacher has to put all pupils who are “pro” in one team and pupils who are “con” in another one. 2. The teacher has to describe clearly the debate topic, and to be sure that all pupils has understood correctly. 3. The number of pupils has to be equal in both teams. 4. The teacher has to allow pupils sufficient time to prepare their arguments. They can speak looking in their notes but not to read them. 5. Teams have to sit in front of the class to be seen better by everyone. 6. The teacher has to tell pupils to choose a “captain”, who would summarize the teams ideas.
7. The teacher has to stop the debate when he/she sees that the subject is exhausted or if the pupils get involved in heated argument. Generally speaking, it is best not to have the audience vote on which team they found most impressive since this might touch on pupils’ sensitivities. After ending the debate, the teacher has tell the teams that they made a great job, and their arguments were good. In a case that not all pupils have participated at the debate, the teacher does not have to name them, this way of telling pupils that they did not take part in the discussion may inhibit pupils. In such a way, the teacher does not do anything then to regress the speaking process. All pupils should be encouraged to express their ideas, thoughts, opinions in oral form. If pupils see the encouragement from the teacher’s side, then they will try to speak more than ever. From another point of view, teachers will have participants at their lessons, because all pupils will show their interest toward the speaking process. It is very difficult to teach a conversation class where no one wants to speak, to communicate with the teacher. In this case, both teacher and pupils have to present the interest in making the process of speaking easier and more interesting. Teaching listening Topics: 1. Purpose for listening 2. Designing listening activities for the classroom. 1. Purpose for listening. The usefulness of the interactional distinction for the teaching of listening lies in appreciation of the range and balance of skills involved in each. For example, in order to function successfully in social small talk and avoid mistakes and gaffes, second language listeners will need to appreciate the way in which the language used by other participants marks levels of familiarity and formallty within the group. This king of listening is also called focused listening. There is also non-participatory listening, such as listening to a radio talk or conference presentation. Again, the skills involved will
depend on the precise purpose for listening, whether it is listening to the general content out of curiosity or for enjoyment or listening to jot down examples used by the presenter for one’s own professional work. This is casual listening . The language classroom should help students to develop the listening process described in this section through activities which give a range of purpose for listening. 2. Designing listening activities for the classroom. Creating purpose for listening activities can motivate students. It has become standard practice to use the following procedure when dealing with a listening text in class; pre - listening activities. At the pre – listening stage, the teacher will need to decide what king of listening purpose is appropriate to the text. The learners will need to “tune in “ to the context and the topic of the text, perhaps express attitudes towards that topic certainly bring to the front of their minds anything that they already know about the topic and most probably hear and use some of the less familiar language (vocabulary, proper nouns, numbers, phraseological units,etc.) An important objective for the pre – listening phase is to contextualize the text, providing, any info needed to help learners appreciate the setting. Some topics lend themselves to pre – listening activities which require learners to form an opinion. While listening activities. The work at the while listening stage needs to link in relevant ways to the per – listening work. While they listen, learners will need to be involved in an authentic purpose for listening and encouraged to attend to the text more intensively or more extensively. The choice of activity will depend on the level of response which is appropriate, not only to the type of text but also to the level of students - post – listening activities. Post – listening activities can take students into a more intensive those of study in which of bottom – up listening are practised. Post listening works can also usefully involved integration with other skills through development of the topic into reading, speaking, or writing activities.
Teaching reading Topics: 1. The different “ways” of reading. 2. Stages in a reading skills lesson. 1. As reading, as listening is a receptive skill, a lesson based around the comprehension of a reading text is similar in many ways to that designed to practise listening skills. The different “ways” of reading: skimming -when reading a newspaper we often glance over the headlines until we find on article that cathes our interest. If we are in a hurry we read through the article quickly probably not reading every word, maybe reading only the first sentence of each paragraph. Scanning -next we may want to see what’s on T.V. this evening at 8 o’clock.. We are unlikely to start reading from the beginning of the list of programmes – starting with what’s on at 6 o’clock in the morning. Instead our eyes move quickly over the page until we find 8. p.m and then we start reading the details of the programmes. Intensive reading. In the same newspaper we may find something that we want to read in detail. Perhaps the article we skim read at first is really interesting and we want to read it again in order to make a mental note of some details. Extensive reading. This is the way we usually read when we are reading for pleasure – perhaps a navel or a biography. 2. Stages in a reading skills lesson. before reading Encourage the students to think about and discuss what they are going to read. Consider whether there are any key words which you want to teach before the students read the text. - first reading 1. Set a task to assist overall understanding (question,task,etc). 2. The students read the text. 3. Feedback. - Second reading
CUMPOLSORY BIBLIOGRAPHY: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Hedge, Tricia “Teaching and Learning in Language Classroom”, Oxford, 2000. Harmer, Jeremy “ The English Language Teaching”, Longman, 2001. Harmer, Jeremy “How to teach English”, Longman, 2003. Gorea, Ana “Metodica predarii limbii engleze”, notite de curs Gower, Roger “Teaching Practice Handbook”, Macmillan Heinemann, 1995. Wright, Andrew “ Games for language learning”, Cambridge, 2004. Crowther, Jonathan “Advanced crosswords”, Oxford, 1980. Ito, Nina “The great bingo book”, Pro Lingua, 2002. Kirn, Elaine “ From A to Z: Creative ideas, west los Angeles College, 1995. McCallum, George, “101 word games”, Oxford, 1980.
RECOMENDED BIBLIOGRAPHY: 1. 2. Howatt, A.R.P., „A history of English Language”, Oxford, 1994. Woodward, Tessa „ Models and Metaphors in language Teacher training”, Cambridge, 1991.
Syllabus Design Topics: 1. 2. 2. 3. Syllabus Design Principles The Steps in Course Design. Types of syllabus.
Syllabus is an important matter in the foreign languageteaching field. The syllabus is a form of support to the teaching activity. Generally a syllabus is a statement of what is to be taught, is
a statement of approach, an instrument for tackling most important things. The syllabus is day-to-day, localized guide for the teacher. The mentioned above expression “what is to be taught” either may refer to what is to be done in the classroom or to what is to be learnt as a result. The syllabus is the main document, which lays down the aims of teaching, the extent of knowledge, habits and skills pupils must acquire. It also includes the sequence of topics, which constitute the academic content of the subject or course. The syllabus is an essential document for every teacher and he is responsible for the fulfilment of its requirement. The syllabus is uniform for the teachers working in a school of the given type. The syllabus includes: 1. The explanatory note. Here the teacher will find the aims of a foreign language teaching in school and some suggestions as to the approach to teaching oral language, reading and writing, vocabulary and grammar. Besides the teacher will find some indications about pupils’ independent work, homework, how to carry on extra-curricular work in a foreign language at school. 2. The syllabus itself. The teacher will find the requirements for the command of knowledge: - In speaking and learning - In reading - In writing - Approximate topics for speaking and reading. In the syllabus the teacher will find all the instructions concerning the knowledge he must impart to his pupils, the habits and skills he must develop. The textbook for every form should correspond to the syllabus. When the program requirements are changed, textbooks should undergo all necessary changes as well. Syllabus is the document that gives a detailed description of each subject separately, for an academic year. Syllabus specifies the nature and the volume of the knowledge, abilities, and skills that have to be learned for a certain period. The content of the syllabus is divided into chapters, subchapters, and topics indicating the numbers of hours.
Characteristics. The syllabus has common characteristics. This document consists of a list. The list particularizes all the things that are to be taught in the course for which the syllabus was designed it is therefore comprehensive. The actual components of the list may be either content item that are more common or process ones. The items are ordered usually having components that are considered easier or more essential earlier, and more difficult and less important ones later. This ordering may be quite fairly detailed and rigid, or general and flexible. The syllabus generally has explicit objectives, usually written at the beginning of the document, based on which the components of the list are selected and ordered. The syllabus is a public document. The syllabus is accessible for study not only by the teachers but also by the learners and their parents, by inspectors, school boards and by other interested members of the public such as researchers, teacher trainers, or textbook writers. There are other optional features. One of them is time schedule. Some syllabuses delimit the time structure of their components, prescribing for example that these items should be dealt with the first month, those in the second; the class should have completed this much by the end of the year. In a syllabus may be indicated a preferred methodology or approach, another optional feature is that a syllabus may recommend materials such as course, visual materials or supplementary materials. 1.Syllabus Design Principles. Course designers have to consider some issues when designing their materials. Syllabus design concerns the solution of items to be learnt and the grading of those items into an appropriate sequence. There are a number of different types of the language syllabus all of which might be taken as a starting point in the planning of a new course book, or of terms, or year’s work. Each syllabus needs to be elaborated on the support of certain principles. The principles are a basis for designers to decide if they want to include the item in question and where to put it in the sequence. The principles are: Learnability – some structural or lexical items are easier for students to learn than others are. Thus they are taught easier things first and then extend the level of difficulty as the student’s language level rises. The principle informs the teacher that at the beginner
level it is easier to teach uses of was and were immediately after teaching uses of is and are rather than follow is and are with the third conditional. Learnability might convince the teachers to teach some and any on their own rather than introduce a whole range of quantities all at the same time. Frequency – it would make sense to introduce items that are more frequent in the language than ones are that are only used occasionally by native speakers. Coverage – some words and structures have greater coverage than others do. Thus, we might decide because of coverage, to introduce the going to future before the present continuous with future reference, if it could be possible to show that going to could be used in more situations than the present continuous. Usefulness – the reason that words as look and book figure so highly in classrooms is that they are useful words in that situation. In the same way, words for family members occur early on in a student’s learning life because they are useful in the context of what students are linguistically able to talk. 2. The Steps in Course Design. When designing a course it is preferable to take into account a sequence of steps. The steps are: 1. Considering the students. 2. Considering the context 3. Establishing goals and objectives 4. Designing the syllabus 5. Evaluating 1. Considering the students. With adolescents and adults, teach English for general purposes it is not possible for designers to identify their final wishes for using English. However, a preparatory stage in a course design nevertheless is necessary. The preparatory stage is a stage of collection information that can illuminate the course design process and may include remarks of classroom methodology and review of educational programme and interviews and questionnaire surveys among teachers, students, advisory staff, and the inspectorate. In a course design, teachers can consider their students from four viewpoints: a. Consideration of students as individuals will emphasize such matter as the need to associate age to interests, how materials can be made to stimulate students etc.;
Consideration of students as members of a group will inform decisions about the objectives levels of communicative ability or the methodology to class dimensions; c. Consideration of students as members of a particular educational system will identify such matters as the relationship of course objectives to the examination system or the importance of evaluating to a selective or comprehensive system; d. Consideration of students as members of a social group will make the importance of course objectives to the role of English in society is in a certain state or the quantity of exposure to English that students receive. Course designers can use teacher’s experience, reflection, and observation as well as ask students directly, using simply presented questionnaires, about their motivations for learning English, the methods in which they like to learn, the difficulties they have with studying English. The facts can also be gathered casual in terms of class work in which students’ first answer in written firm to a sequence of question then talk to each other and at last lead to class discussion. The information should be gathered as systematically as possible. After that, the objectives of the course can be formulated. 2. Considering the context. The four viewpoints from the step 1 created to establish contextual constraints within which the course must be planned and taught. Therefore, it is sufficient to emphasize the importance of matching course to context. A wellorganized course design is one that takes into account specific and general factors. Specific factors are class size, time available, the teacher’s own communicative ability, and knowledge of the language system. General factors are educational values, perceptions of the teacher’s role, and expectations of classroom procedures. 3. Establishing goals and objectives. Now I would like to speak about the difference between the terms goals and objectives that is between the general and the specific. For instance, the goal is to develop the student’s reading skills and the objectives are: • To develop productive plan of work for dealing with unknown words;
To be able to differentiate fact from opinion; To build trust in dealing with a vast kind of tests such as news reports, charts, magazine articles, and short stories. Generally, the goals are set out in a national curriculum or by the authors of the institutional programme and the teachers are those who have to interpret these in specific objectives. There are not an exact number of teachers, who use these objectives for their own courses. Making the expressing of objectives a different stage in course planning has some advantages: It allows teachers to evaluate correct course materials; It makes explicit the purposes of the course and how these have been established; It stimulates students to improve their agendas for the course. Students can become involved through consultation and negotiation in this stage of course planning. 4. Designing a course unit. To plan course unit designers need to consider some decisions. Decisions about how to set units and lessons within units are relatively simple while others are more complicated and interrelated involving careful thought. For instance: 1. 2. 3. Which aspect provides the organizing principle in as multi dimensional syllabus? How does the choice of organizing principle determine the sequence of activities in a course unit and the sequence of units in a course? What content does a course offer to students?
This is There is There are
Reading: a text Writing: composition
1. This table shows very clear how a situational syllabus is organized. The situation is the basis of the design. The choice of situation indicates key functions and structures can be selected as formal exponents of those functions. There is the possibility to decide on relevant skills work. Themes can also be used as an organizing principle to create different aspects of a syllabus. There are designers who began with skills by enumerating normal texts or speaking situation associated to the theme. This helps in determining lexical areas within the topic and the language structures needed to express definite tasks. For instance, talking about plans will require the use of future forms or talking about your last journey will imply the vocabulary of places and activities and the use of the past simple tense. 2. The choice of organizing principle can be an outstanding feature in the final sequence of activities in a unit. When structural aspect is primary, it is normal to find a Presentation-Practice-Production structure in materials. However, there are other structures for sequencing activities in a course unit. A skills-based unit can follow the elementary pre-reading, while reading, post-reading sequence. Present – day materials have taken events based approach to sequencing activities. Here the content follows a sequence of events, as they would happen in real life, using each event as the basis for language practice. The choice of organizing principle also establishes the level of flexibility in the sequence of course units. A structural syllabus builds in a linear method, with cautious grouping, which requires to be followed by students in the group sequence. In contrast, a topic-
based syllabus can take a modular structure, each module containing of self-included materials. They can work with the order preferred by teacher and students. 3. In this context, the term content refers to the characters of a book with their backgrounds, experiences, opinions, and the events in which they participate. Some other possibilities are accessible and teachers require choosing the suitability of each for their own students. The plot of a book for younger students with the same characters and places can appeal to their familiarity with the story genre, can develop humour and fun, and can present a pleasant known background kept to home and school. While adults’ students, the plot of a book has the good point of introducing the characters in interaction in order to show the connection between language and role relationship. Topic-based materials are good techniques to organize course units. The key of success is to find tempting, intellectually stimulating, and popular themes. 5. Evaluating. The term “evaluation” means the assessment of students at the end of course. Skillbeck has made a differentiation between assessment and evaluation. “Assessment in the curriculum is a process of determining and passing judgments on students’ learning potential and performance; evaluation means assembling evidence on and making judgments about the curriculum including the process of planning, designing and implementing it”.i From this point of view, evaluation can apply to courses and students in different methods. One of the methods is to examine the course how is planned. Evaluation can try to observe, describe, and estimate what in fact. In classrooms, take place as the course advances. It also can check what students have learned from the course. Nunan calls these three features of evaluation “the planned curriculum”, “the implemented curriculum” and “the assessed curriculum”.ii Thus, if evaluation of a course is tackling only by its first meaning, to assess students at the end of the course, this technique will give just a part of the educational system. The evaluation can be successful if all its techniques are used such as communicate to teacher and students, examine teachers’ work plans, and observing classes.
3. Types of syllabus. Different types of syllabus are used in foreign language teaching. Below is listed most important syllabus. The Grammar syllabus is the commonest type of syllabus. There is a list of items that is arranged in such a way that the students gradually obtain general information of different grammatical structures. Though grammar syllabus has been used successfully for a certain period, there are still methodologists who recognize it as the wrong organizing principles for a syllabus. Thus, they have offered some alternatives as support to hang a language programme on. The lexical syllabus is a list of lexical items with associated collocations and idioms, usually divided into graded parts. Applying syllabus principles to a lexical syllabus can be complex. This occurs because lexis has many features such as: The vocabulary linked to topics Compound lexical items Issues of word formation Connecting and linking words The functional-notional syllabus The language functions are facts that do things, for instance identifying, denying, offering but notions express. There are few pure functional syllabuses. Usually both functions and notions are combined. The situational syllabus Such a syllabus gives the opportunity of selecting and ordering different real-life situations. The divisions might have the titles such as eating a meal, in the street, at the bank, at the supermarket etc. In such syllabus students, have well-defined conversational demands, arranged teaching material by the situations. These syllabuses usually are created not for students of general English because it is problematic to promise that language for one specific situation will be productive in another. Moreover, selecting key situation for an ordinary class is difficult because it depends on whom the students are and where they are learning. The topic-based syllabus This syllabus has some similarities with the situational one except that the titles are topic-based such as food, the family, the weather, sport etc. The themes give an organising criterion since can be established on what students are interesting in. In addition, it is possible to find out what themes are most appropriate to students’ conversational requirements. This may be different from what they want.
The task-based syllabus (procedural) This syllabus has a list of learning tasks. Examples of tasks might be map reading, doing scientific experiments, story writing etc. The most well known task-based syllabus is that associated with the Bangalore Project by N. Prabhu’s tasks are associated to themes as in this example: 1. Clock face Telling the time from clock face; positioning the hands of a clock to show a given time; Calculating durations from the movement of a clock’s hands; working out intervals between given times; Stating the time on a twelve-hour clock and a twenty-four hour clock; relating times to phases of the day and night.iii Some methodologists as Willis and others list six task types can be used with almost any topics.iv These are listing, ordering and sorting, comparing, problem solving, sharing personal experience and creative tasks. The multi-syllabus syllabus This syllabus combines items from grammar, lexis, language functions, situations, topics, tasks, and different language ability tasks. Often course book writers do not follow a syllabus written by an education ministry or educational institution, a multi-syllabus syllabus is the method that is most often followed. Some examples are given at the Appendix 4. PLANNING LESSON Pre-planning. Lesson planning is the art of combining a number of different elements into a coherent whole so that a lesson has an identity that students can recognise, work within and react. Before teacher can start to consider planning their classes, they need to know a considerate amount about three main areas: the job of teaching, the institution, and the students. The job of teaching. Clearly well prepared teachers need to know a lot about the job they are to do before they can start to make successful plans. There are six major areas of necessary knowledge. The language for the level. Teachers must know the language that they are to teach. By “know”, it means that teachers must be to use
the language themselves and have an insight into the rules that govern its form and the factors, which affect its use. This is obviously the result not only of the teacher’s own knowledge of English but also of preparation and study where facts about language can be absorbed. The skills for the level. The teachers need to “know” the skills they are going to ask their students to perform. It is no good asking to do a report if they are not taught to. The learning aids available for the level. The teachers need to know what aids are available and appropriate for the level they are teaching. These may include wall pictures, flashcards, flipcharts, cards, tapes, tape recorders, video playback machines, overhead projectors, set of books and materials, and the board. Stages and techniques in teaching. The teachers need to know and recognize different teaching techniques and stages. The teachers need to know the difference between accurate reproduction and communicative activities so that they do not act as controllers in both cases. The teachers also need to be able to recognize stages in the textbook they are using so that they realize when an activity is controlled rather than free or vice versa. A repertoire of activities. Well-prepared teachers have a large repertoire of activities for their classes. They can organize presentation and controlled output practice; they can direct student in the acquiring of receptive skills and organize genuinely communicative activities enables them to have varied plans and achieves an activities balance. Classroom management skills. Well-prepared teachers will have good classroom management skills. They will be able to adopt a number of different roles, will be able to use different student groupings, and will be able to maintain discipline. These areas are all vitality important for a teacher and they all imply a lot work particularly where a level is being taught for the first time. Without these areas of knowledge, a teacher is in poor position to make decisions about lesson planning. The institution. Teachers need to know a lot about the institution as far as it is involved with their teaching. The following five areas of knowledge are crucial.
Time, length, frequency. The teacher should know at what time, for how long and how often classes take place. Physical conditions. Teachers need to know what physical conditions exist in the place that is going to teach. It is no good taking in an electrically powered tape recorder if there is no socket for a plug in the classroom. It will be important, when planning to bear that rather detail in mind as well as more major considerations like the condition of the chairs and blackboard, the brightness of the lightning, the size of the room. Syllabus. It is clearly important to be familiar with the syllabus the institution has for the levels that are being taught. The teachers will have to be sure in general terms that they can cover the majority of the syllabus where possible. It is impossible to plan within an institution without such knowledge. Exams. It is also extremely important to know what type of exams the students will have to take and when, since clearly a major responsibility of the teacher will be to try to ensure that the students are successful in tests and exams. Restrictions. Teachers should be aware of any restrictions imposed by the institution upon their teaching: apart from the obvious restrictions of physical size and shape of the classroom, there are also the limitations of the class size, availability of aids and physical conditions. The students. Teachers need to know a considerable amount about their students. Each class is unique and as a result, each class will need to be treated differently. Nowhere is this more true than in planning, where the activities are selected that will be suitable for the students. In order to do so the teachers obviously need to know a lot about them. Teachers need to know who the students are and what the students bring to the class (motivation and attitude, educational background, knowledge, interests) and what the students need. Why plan at all? Some teachers with experience seem to give an ability to believe that they do not need to plan their lessons. However, most teachers do on preparing lessons throughout their career, even if the plans are very informal. For students, evidence of a plan shows them that the teacher has devoted time to thinking
about the class. It strongly suggests a level of professionalism and an involvement in the kind of preparation they might reasonably expect. Lack of a plan may suggest the opposite of these teacher attributes. For the teacher, a plan gives the lesson a framework, an overall shape. It is true that, he or she may end up departing from it at stages of the lesson, but at very least it will be something to fall back on. Of course, good teachers are flexible and respond creatively to what happens in the classroom, but they also need to have thought ahead, have a destination they want their students to reach, and know how they are going to get there. Planning helps, because it allows teachers to think about where they are going and gives them time to have ideas for tomorrow and next week’s lessons. In the classroom, a plan helps: 1. 2. To remind teachers what they intended to do – especially if they get distracted or momentarily forget what they intended; Finally, planning helps because it gives students confidence: they know immediately whether a teacher has thought about the lesson, and they respond positively to those that have. The plan is just possibilities for the lesson, which may or may not come about. Of course, the teacher will be happy if things go ‘according to plan’, but they often do not. All sorts of things can go wrong: equipment not working, bored students, students who have ‘done it before’, students who need to ask unexpected questions or who want or need to pursue unexpected pathways. That is when the teacher has to be flexible, has to be able to leave the plan for however long it takes to satisfy the students’ needs at that point in the lesson. Sometimes, the plan has to be abandoned completely and it is only after the lessons that the teacher can look at it again and see some parts of it are recoverable for future lessons. There is one particular situation in which planning is especially important, and that is when a teacher is to be observed as part of an assessment or performance review. The observer needs to have a clear idea of what the teacher intends in order to judge the success of the lesson. A good lesson needs to contain a judicious blend of coherence and variety. A good plan needs to reflect this. Coherence means that students can see a logical pattern to the lesson. Even if there are three separate activities, for example, there has to be some
connection between them – or at the very least a perceptible reason for changing direction. In this context, it would not make sense students listen to a tape, ask a few comprehension questions and then change the activity completely different was then attempted; the teacher might well want to call the lesson incoherent. There has to be some variety in a lesson period. The ideal compromise is to plan that has an internal coherence but which allows students to do different things. Lesson planning. There have to be considered some points such as: 1. Aim of the lesson. There are four main things that a teacher needs to know before going into the class to teach a lesson: The aim of the lesson The main stages of the lesson What new language the lesson contains 1. What to do at each stage
Language. It is also important for the teacher to know what language will be taught in the lesson. Most lessons introduce either new vocabulary or a new structure, or both. Some points are important: New vocabulary. Not all new words in a lesson are equally important; the teacher must decide which must be practiced and which only mentioned. Structure. If a new structure is introduced in the lesson it will need to be presented carefully and practised, the ones introduced in earlier lessons should also be reviewed. Skills. The teacher needs to be aware of what skill will be developed in the lesson: speaking, listening, reading, or writing. If possible, the lesson should include practice of more than one skill – this will increase the variety and interest of the lesson. Stages of the lesson. Any lesson is divided into different stages of activity. Teachers may listen to a dialogue, explain new words, practice orally some material, so it can be named some stages such as: Presentation. The teacher presents new words or structures, gives examples, and writes them on the board.
Practice. Students practice using words or structures in a controlled way e.g. making sentences form prompts, asking and answering questions, giving sentences based on a picture. Practice can be oral and written. Production. Students use the language they learnt, or express them more freely, e.g. to talk or write about their own lives and interests, to express opinions, to imagine themselves in different situations. Like practice, production may be oral and written. Reading. Students read a text and answer questions or do a simple task. Listening. The teacher reads a text or dialogue while pupils listen and answer questions. Where it is possible, students may listen to a cassette. Review. The teacher reviews the language learnt in an earlier lesson to refresh pupils’ memories as a preparation for a new presentation. It must be borne in mind that stages are in no fixed order. The teacher can plan the lesson as he feels to be better. Each stage could occur several times in a single lesson. When it is talked about stages of a lesson, it is thinking of the focus of the lesson. It is important for the learners to know the aim of the lesson as a whole and the purpose of each stage. For the teacher it is important to introduce each stage of the lesson, by saying ‘now, we are going to do this or that…’ Writing a lesson plan. To write a plan is very important and it should be written not for the benefit of the inspector or head teacher, its main purpose should be helping the teacher. Writing a plan helps the teacher not only to prepare for the lesson and to decide exactly what he has to do at very stage and how to do it, but also to appreciate what has been done and how was done. Therefore, looking at the plan again after the lesson the teacher can use it to evaluate what happened. (see the annex) Planning a sequence of lesson. There are number of issues in planning a sequence of lessons such as: Before and during: however carefully teachers plan, in practice, unforeseen things are possible to happen during the course of a lesson and so the plans are continually modified. Even more than a
plan for an individual lesson, a scheme of work for weeks or months of lessons are only a proposal of what teachers hope to achieve in that time. Short and long-term goals: however motivated a student may be at the beginning of a course, the level of that motivation may fall if the student is not engaged or if they cannot see where they are going – or know when they have got there. In order for students to stay motivated, they need goals and rewards. While satisfactory longterm goal may be ‘master the English language’, it can seem only a vague and distant possibility at various stages of the learning cycle. In such circumstances, students need short-term goal too, such as the completion of some piece of work and rewards such as success on small, staged lesson tests, or taking part in activities designed to recycle knowledge and demonstrate acquisition. When teachers plan a sequence of lessons they need to build in goals for both students and themselves to aim at, whether they are end of week tests, or major revision lessons. That way teacher can hope to give our students a staged progression of successfully met challenges. Thematic components: one-way to approach a sequence of lessons is to focus on different content in each individual lesson. This will certainly provide variety. It might be better for themes to carry over more than one lesson, or at least to reappear, so that students perceive some coherent topic components as the course progress. With such thematic threads, teachers and their students can refer backwards and forwards both in terms of language. Language planning: when teachers plan language input over a sequence of lessons they want to propose a sensible progression of syllabus elements such as grammar, lexis, and functions. They also want to build in sufficient opportunities for recycling or remembering language, and for using language in productive skill work. If teachers are following a course book many of these decisions may already have taken, but even in such circumstances they need to keep a constant eye on how things are going, and with the knowledge of ‘before and after’ modify the programme they are working from when necessary. Activity balance: the balance of activities over a sequence of lessons is one of the features that will determine the overall level of student involvement in the course.
Using lesson plans. However carefully teachers’ plan and whatever form their plan takes, they will still have to use that plan in the classroom, and use plans as records of learning for reference. Action and reaction. Planning a lesson is not the same as scripting a lesson. Wherever teachers’ preparations fit on the planning, what they take into the lesson is a proposal for an action, rather than a lesson blueprint to be followed slavishly. Moreover, teachers’ proposal for action, transformed into action in the classroom, is bound to evoke some sort of student reaction. Teachers have to decide how to cope with that reaction and whether they can continue with their plan or whether we need to modify it as teachers go along. There are a number of reasons, why teachers may need to modify the plan for action once a lesson is taking place: Magic moments: some of the most affecting moments in language lessons happen when a conversation develops unexpectedly, or when a topic produces a level of interest in students, which teachers had not predicted. The occurrence of such magic moments helps to provide and sustain a group’s motivation. Teachers have to recognise them when they come along and then take a judgement about whether to allow them to develop, rather than denying them because they do not fit into the plan. Sensible diversion: another reason for diversion from teachers’ original plan is when something happens which teacher cannot ignore, whether this is a surprising student reaction to a reading text, or the sudden announcement. In the case of good teaching teacher take, the opportunity to teach language, that has suddenly come up. Similarly, something might occur to teachers in terms of topic or in terms of a language connection that they suddenly want to develop on the spot. Unforeseen problems: however well teachers plan, unforeseen problem often crop up. Some students may find an activity that teachers thought interesting incredibly boring; an activity may take more or less time than teachers anticipated. It is possible that something teachers thing that it would be simple for students turns out to be very difficult. Teachers may have planned an activity based on the number of students they expected to turn up, only to find that some of them are absent. Occasionally they find that students have already come across material or topics teachers take into class and their common sense suggest that it would be unwise to carry on.
In any of above scenarios, it would be almost impossible to carry on with their plan as if nothing had happed; if an activity finishes quickly, teachers have to find something else to fill the time. If students cannot do what they are asking of them, teachers will have to modify what they are of them. If some students have already finished an activity teachers just leave those students to get bored. It is possible to anticipate potential problems in the class and to plan strategies to deal with them. However, well teachers do this, things will still happen that surprise them and cause them to move away from their plan. However well teachers plan, their plan is just a suggestion of what they might do in class. Everything depends upon how students respond and relate to it. In Jim Scrivener’s words, ‘prepare thoroughly. Nevertheless, in class, teach the learners – not the plan’. This chapter deals with the presentation of the curriculum, syllabus, and planning lesson. Curriculum has another view that of the learner –centred curriculum. This is new sight taken to the curriculum. The leaner should be in the centre of the teaching process.
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Eltis, K. and B. Low (1985) A review of the teaching process in the AMEP, Canberra. 10 Alcorso, C. and M. Kalantzis (1985) The learning process and being a learner in the AMEP, Canberra. 11 Willing, K. (1985) Learning Styles in AME. Sydney: NSW AMES 12 Nunan, D. (1985) Language Teaching Course Design: Trends and Issues. Adelaide: National Curriculum Resource Centre. 13 Candlin, C. (1984) Syllabus design as a critical process Oxford: Pergamon. 14 Long, M. (1985) Modelling and Assessing Sound Language Acquisition. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. 15 Skillbeck, M. (1984) School-based Curriculum Development. London: Harper and Raw. 16 Nunan, D. The Learner-Centred Curriculum A Study in Second Language Teaching. Cambridge University Press. 17 Prabhu, N. (1983) Procedural Syllabuses Singapore. 18 Willis, D. (1990) The Lexical Syllabus: A New Approach to Language Teaching. London: Collins.
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