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, 11/1, 36-40. Retrieved 2009-06-23. A “Dogme” approach doesn „t necessarily exclude the use of a coursebook . After all, if you follow the first rule of dogme (Teaching should be done using only the resources that teachers and students bring to the classroom - i.e. themselves - and whatever happens to be in the classroom), you could argue that, in most teaching contexts, the coursebook is a naturally-occurring item of classroom furniture - as natural, say, as the blackboard or the cassette recorder. Love them or hate them, coursebooks are a fact of (classroom) life. To be faithful to the spirit of Dogme, however, coursebooks should not be allowed to become the tail that wags the dog. They are the props, and not the screenplay, of the dogme “film”. When the use of the coursebook either dictates, or distracts from, the main “action” of the film/lesson, then learning opportunities are likely to be prejudiced. This is particularly the case when coursebooks are allowed to set the language agenda, especially if the language agenda comprises a graded list of structures such as will and going to, or the first, second and third conditionals. There is no research evidence to suggest that such lists match the manner nor the order in which language is learned. It is more probably the case that such language items “emerge” naturally in real language use, through repeated cycles of exposure, attention, output and feedback. (Some writers now talk about “second language emergence”, not “second language acquisition”). This presents teachers who are using coursebooks with a dilemma. Do they flog away at the “unlearnable” grammar syllabus; do they abandon the book altogether; or do they try and thrash out a compromise? Here is a compromise. The idea is to use the coursebook, but sparingly, taking its grammar syllabus with a pinch of salt. It does not mean, however, propping up the book‟s weaknesses by bringing in yet more materials in the form of photocopied exercises, for example. At the same time, the idea is to include activities that provide optimal exposure, attention, output and feedback, thereby maximising the chance of language emergence. Whatever grammar work is done is based on what emerges as the outcome of the following planning strategies. Planning strategies:
and then grouping all the number 1s together.e. and tasks. Teacher anecdote: Tell the class a personal story or point of view on the topic: “I hate shopping. If I have to buy new clothes I.While their primary organising principle may be grammatical. making notes of their answers. Students in groups of three prepare a survey to ask other members of the class about shopping. and use this at the “correcting” stage. Others listen and then write up the interview. coursebooks also include the three Ts: topics. with help from the class. They survey each other. Make these your starting point. They then return to the original group to report their findings. (The “guinea pig” does the same). any interesting errors. Student’s story: Interview one of the sts about the topic . a survey can focus on three aspects of any topic o people‟s knowledge (What is that big shop in London called?) o people‟s experience (Have you ever shopped till you dropped?) and o their feelings (Do you feel guilty if you try something on and then don’t buy it?). Monitor the question-writing stage. You note. Monitor and check. all the number 2‟s together. texts. include the following: Questionnaires/surveys: Let‟s say the topic of a coursebook unit is shopping..their knowledge/ experience/attitudes. including the questions. ask the students in groups to write a summary of what you said.. The last time I went shopping was. They can write this up in the form of a short text (Ten out of twelve students really like shopping… etc). and all the number 3‟s together. One or two can put their group‟s summary up on the board and then you can correct it.i. And/or record yourself at the same time as you are telling your story to the class. They present their report to the class. Then they interview each other and report back to class. The results of the survey may trigger a more general discussion about the topic.. and give feedback on.. feeding in ideas and vocabulary. so that learners can compare their summary with your exact words. Ways of activating interest in the topic (without bringing in a load of other materials) and at the same time producing lots of language. Typically.2.3) . the topic. You can do this by giving each student in the group a number (1. . Re-group the students so that each new group includes one representative each of the question-planning groups.. Note any persistent errors for a later review stage. (Give them some sample questions if necessary).” In order to “capture” the language. Real language is always “about” something . Deal with any interesting language points that emerge.
CLL (Community Language Learning). For example. especially those that have generic features (i. party political broadcast etc etc). middle and end .e. Paper conversation: This is like on-line chat: students write their conversation (on the topic) in pairs/groups.before homing in on how the text is held together (linkers.into their first language.the beginning. Students sit in a circle and have a “conversation” about the topic.i. postcard. circle verb-noun collocations etc. Then. Respond to questions about features of the text that interest them. underline all phrasal verbs. In a monlingual class. Free discussion: Generate an open class chat about the theme (using your best dinner party host skills!). This helps slow up their language processing. and keep the focus off heavy correction. going from the very general to the much more specific. do they have the events in order? This may involve explaining unfamiliar words. Ask the students to ”search” the text: e. If/Once the discussion gets going let it run. Treat the text first as a vehicle of information . it may even mean translating the whole text . Then put the students into pairs/threes to write a summary of what was said. with a view to helping students formulate a mental schema of the content. and actual details of sentence structure. Language points that emerge are highlighted and commented on. Real language always takes the form of texts. If a written text. e. It also allows you to monitor and correct. noun groups. allowing time to pay attention to form. as if for an absent class member.g. Situate it (What kind of text is it? Where would you find it? Who is it addressing? What is its function? ). read the text to them aloud).e.g. give students a transcript. Deal with any interesting language issues that emerge. news report. Let them respond to the content of the text: Do they agree? Do they sympathise? Is it funny/sad/unusual? etc. Give students time to engage with text. Monitor and correct. ask questions about the content. use of pronouns etc). to count the number of modal verbs. if it‟s a story. conversational anecdote. Language acquisition begins and ends in text. Some ideas for using the coursebook texts: Go straight to the text (whether a listening or reading text). students in groups/pairs can cover up the text and attempt to reconstruct it (or part of it). (If recorded text. Then the conversation is played back and written up on the board. joke. Focus on the overall organisation . e. Then (when completely satisfied that students have got their heads round it) focus on the text as a linguistic object. The teacher acts solely as a language “consultant”.or parts of it . tense. passing a sheet of paper back and forth. Draw students out.g. article usage etc. before comparing it with the . it is recorded. After each contribution is constructed and checked by the teacher. a sample letter. Exploit the texts that the coursebook provides.
at first individually . to finalise an arrangement.e. alibi. but from a personal point of view). to win an argument. Consensus: students produce a ranked list . Students then exchange and read each other‟s texts. Moreover. Coursebooks often have activities that can be turned into language productive tasks. the text type. CLL. find out the person in the class who is the most careful/careless shopper.g.e. and push them to extend themselves by a) repeating the task (with different students for example) and b) “going public” . monitoring and checking of tasks. Having “done” a text in the way described above. set a purpose . to reach a consensus.e. Establish the context. and/or the same topic. Some generic task types: Survey (see above).e. green card type domestic arrangements . original.g. Alibis-type: students in pairs devise scenario . the same genre. those derived from the topic-based activities mentioned above . etc.and then in pairs/groups they negotiate a consensus. opinions.idea is to spot the deliberate “lie” Quiz: students prepare general knowledge quiz. The best classroom tasks are those that incorporate elements of real life language purposes . to confirm an intuition etc. its function etc. paper conversations.g. They compare their version with the original.survey reports. at some stage you could extract the “keywords” of the text on to the board. To help them do this.. real life language use is always purposeful. and respond to questions about language features of the text that might be different from their own.and are then interviewed separately to see if their story holds. and tell them to neighbour . ask students to write/speak their own text (e. Monitor their writing. a joint shopping excursion. Use student-generated texts . Ultimate purpose could be to include this in a tourist info brochure. for example.g. the five best department stores in their town. Spot the lie: similar to above: students individually prepare set of statements. experiences etc. and then test each other .g. They then have a go at writing the text before seeing/hearing it. if they are not in that form already. Allow students to use all and any language resources they command. plus reasons.reporting on the task process and outcome to the whole class.g. make a translation of the text and read it out to them). The successful management of learning involves providing a sense of purpose in classroom activities: this is achieved through the setting. Could be. UFO sighting. Give the students the title and gist of the text in a summarised form before they read/hear it.. E. noting any interesting errors for class correction and discussion. (Alternatively.
etc Material-free role plays: e. tastes.say three groups . They then move round one. so that it takes account of everyone‟s needs. of course. but should be spoken. E. service providers decide which client they would prefer. taking into account relevant factors.either during or after listening . not read aloud. and observer. and then present it to the class. A time limit of three minutes is monitored by the observer. Talk could be recorded. Each “service provider” is paired up and interviewed by a “client”. each group uses their questions to write a connected piece that is then read by other groups.was it easy. Non-directive listening: the focus here is on building a good dynamic as much as on language practice. Listeners ask questions. turning the classroom into student club. let it emerge. other half are schools/agencies/owners etc. shopping for a school/package holiday/flat mate half class are clients. The listener . perhaps. Students are grouped in threes. Interview the teacher: students prepare questions related to the topic to ask the teacher. listener.teacher writes answer on paper (but only if the question is correctly formed) and then. Your job is to “uncover” this natural syllabus i. Remember: if the students are engaged in a range of life-like tasks about a range of real life topics and using/producing a range of real life text types. budgets etc. The teacher can monitor discreetly.with a view. comprehensible. The presentation can also be related to the coursebook topic. design a day‟s shopping in your town for the class. experiences and/or opinions.g. fluid. before letting it submerge again. Other design-type tasks: layout of zoo. get one. accurate etc.e. to persuading other students to take it up. . This can be prepared for homework. related to topic. Design-type tasks: where students in pairs/groups design something. short (2 minute) discussion led by the observer on the process they have just engaged in .“reflects back” what he/she understands the speaker has said and the speaker confirms/ disconfirms/clarifies etc as necessary. they will be “covering” all the grammar they need. weekend excursion for class…. and then write up the “interview” as a piece of journalism. difficult. shape it. Show-and-tell: students tell the class about their interest/hobby/object/favourite film . Afterwards. The speaker tells the listener facts. until everyone has talked to everyone. in the interests of automaticity and fluency. afterwards. see it etc. Clients then decide which service they will choose. One variant on this is to have students submit questions on slips of paper .g. taking turns as speaker.
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