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T.C.

GAZI UNIVERSITY
INSTITUTE OF EDUCATIONAL SCIENCES
DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING

TEACHING ENGLISH TO YOUNG LEARNERS THROUGH INTEGRATED


SKILLS APPROACH

M.A. THESIS

BY

ESRA ÖZTÜRK

MAY – 2007
T.C.
GAZI UNIVERSITY
INSTITUTE OF EDUCATIONAL SCIENCES
DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING

TEACHING ENGLISH TO YOUNG LEARNERS THROUGH INTEGRATED


SKILLS APPROACH

M.A. THESIS

BY

Esra ÖZTÜRK

SUPERVISOR

Prof. Dr. Aydan ERSÖZ

MAY - 2007

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Gazi Üniversitesi Eğitim Bilimleri Enstitüsü Müdürlüğü’ne
Esra Öztürk’e ait TEACHING ENGLISH TO YOUNG LEARNERS
THROUGH INTEGRATED SKILLS APPROACH adlı çalışma 25/05/2007
tarihinde jürimiz tarafından İNGİLİZ DİLİ ve EĞİTİMİ Anabilim Dalında
YÜKSEK LİSANS TEZİ olarak kabul edilmiştir.

Adı Soyadı İmza

Üye
(Tez Danışmanı): Prof. Dr Aydan ERSÖZ …………………………

Üye: Assist. Prof. Dr Nurdan ÖZBEK …………………………

Üye: Assist. Prof Gültekin BORAN …………………………

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to express my appreciation to the people that have provided


assistance with the effort put forth in completing this thesis. I ask for the forgiveness
of those who may read this and believe that their influence in my life should have
been given attention to.

First of all, I would like to thank my thesis advisor, Prof. Dr.Aydan ERSÖZ
for her enduring support, guidance and assistance at every phase of this thesis.

I also owe my deepest gratitude to the administration, my colleagues and


students at ANKARA MAYA PRIVATE PRIMARY SCHOOL. It would not have
been possible to conduct this study without their support.

Besides, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to my family for their


ongoing support.

Finally, I would like to express how grateful I am with Erhan SARISU for
his invaluable support and understanding.

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ÖZET

KÜÇÜK YAŞTAKİ ÇOCUKLARA DİL BECERİLERİNİN ENTEGRE EDİLMESİ


YOLUYLA İNGİLİZCE ÖĞRETİLMESİ
Öztürk, Esra
Yüksek Lisans, İngiliz Dili Eğitim ABD.
Tez Danışmanı: Prof..Dr. Aydan ERSÖZ
Mayıs, 2007

Bu çalışmanın temel amacı, küçük yaştaki çocuklara İngilizce öğretirken


okuma, dinleme, yazma ve konuşma gibi dil becerilerinin entegre edilerek
öğretilmesi ve bunun sonucunda da öğrencilerin Avrupa Birliği Ortak Dil
Kriterleri’nde A1 seviyesine ulaşıp ulaşmadıklarını göstermektir. Bu çalışma için
Özel Ankara Maya İlköğretim Okulu’nda okuyan 3. sınıf öğrencileri ile birlikte
çalışılmıştır. Öğrencilerin hedeflenen düzeye erişip erişmediklerinin saptamak için
tüm dil becerilerinin aynı konu çerçevesinde entegre bir biçimde kullanıldığı bir ders
planı hazırlanmış ve uygulanmıştır.Bu çalışma takip eden araştırma sorularına
dayanmaktadır:1. Küçük çocukların özellikleri nelerdir? 2. Dinleme, okuma, yazma
ve konuşma dil becerilerini öğretme yöntem ve teknikleri nelerdir?3. Dil becerileri
odaklı öğretme tekniği nedir? 4. Dil becerileri odaklı öğretme tekniğinin önemi
nedir? 5. Avrupa Birliği Ortak Dil Kriterleri’nde A1 seviyesinin hedefleri nelerdir?
6. Avrupa Birliği Ortak Dil Kriterleri’nde A1 seviyesinin hedeflerine ulaşmak için
İngilizce becerilerin entegre edilmesi yoluyla nasıl öğretilebilir?

Bu çalışmada nitel araştırma teknikleri kullanılmıştır. Bu soruları yanıtlamak


için iki gözlemciden ve 3. sınıf öğrencilerinden nitel veri toplanmıştır. Veri, gözlem
formları ve mülakatlar şeklinde düzenlenmiş ve değerlendirilmiştir.

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ABSTRACT
TEACHING ENGLISH TO YOUNG LEARNERS THROUGH INTEGRATED
SKILLS APPROACH
Öztürk, Esra
MA English Language Teaching Department.
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Aydan ERSÖZ
May, 2007

The purpose of the study is to teach English to young learners by


implementing four skills in an integrated manner for the third year students in
Ankara Maya Private Primary School in order to fulfil the objectives and demands
of A1 Level in Common European Framework. In this study, a lesson plan has been
applied to evaluate whether the students can use four skills in an integrated manner
in order to carry out the objectives of A1 Level in Common European framework.
This study is based onthe following research questions: 1. What are the
characteristics of young learners? 2. What are the principles and techniques of
teaching receptive and productive skills?3. What is the skill-based teaching? 4. What
is the importance of skill-based teaching?5. What are the objectives of A1 Level in
Common European Framework? 6. How can English be taught integratedly to young
learners in order to realize the objectives of A1 Level in English Language Passport?

In order to answer these questions, qualitative research techniques have been


applied. The data have been collected through observations and interviews. The
results have been associated with the findings of the thesis.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER 1 ............................................................................................................... 2
INTRODUCTION...................................................................................................... 2
1.0 PRESENTATION .......................................................................................... 2
1.1 AIM OF THE STUDY ......................................................................................... 2
1.2 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK ..................................................................... 3
1.3 LIMITATIONS AND SCOPE ............................................................................ 8
1.4 ASSUMPTIONS................................................................................................... 8
1.5 DATA COLLECTION ........................................................................................ 9
CHAPTER 2 ............................................................................................................. 10
REVIEW OF LITERATURE ................................................................................. 10
2.1 YOUNG LEARNERS ........................................................................................ 10
2.2 MOTIVATING CHILDREN TO LEARN ENGLISH ................................... 12
2.2.1 TOPICS, SITUATIONS AND LANGUAGE FUNCTIONS ........................................ 12
2.2.2 LEARNING THROUGH ACTIVITIES, GAMES AND SONGS .................................. 14
2.2.3 TENSION – FREE LEARNING............................................................................ 15
2.3 INTEGRATED LANGUAGE LEARNING .................................................... 17
2.3.1 SEGREGATED-SKILL INSTRUCTION ................................................................. 18
2.3.2 TWO FORMS OF INTEGRATED SKILLS INSTRUCTION ...................................... 19
2.3.2.1 Content-based instruction ...................................................................... 19
2.3.2.2 Task-based instruction ........................................................................... 20
2.3.3 ADVANTAGES OF THE INTEGRATED SKILLS APPROACH ................................ 20
2.4 TEACHING ENGLISH TO YOUNG LEARNERS ....................................... 22
2.4.1 TEACHING GRAMMAR .................................................................................... 24
2.4.1.1 Techniques In Teaching Grammar ........................................................ 28
2.4.2 VOCABULARY TEACHING ............................................................................... 34
2.4.3 TEACHING SKILLS .......................................................................................... 43
2.4.3.1. Receptive Skills ..................................................................................... 44
2.4.3.1.1 Teaching Reading.......................................................................... 46
2.4.3.1.2 Teaching Listening ........................................................................ 59
2.4.3.2 Productive Skills .................................................................................... 67
2.4.3.2.1 Teaching Writing .......................................................................... 69
2.4.3.2.1.1 Controlled Writing Activities................................................... 75
2.4.3.2.1.2 Guided Written Activities ........................................................ 79
2.4.3.2.1.3 Creative Writing Activities ...................................................... 80
2.4.3.2.2 Teaching Speaking ........................................................................ 83
THE COMMON EUROPEAN FRAMEWORK .................................................. 91
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3.1 THE DEFINITION OF COMMON EUROPEAN FRAMEWORK............. 91


3.2 THE LEVELS IN COMMON EUROPEAN FRAMEWORK ...................... 92
3.3 THE CHARACTERISTICS OF CEF IN LANGUAGE LEARNING.......... 94
3.4 LEVEL A1 (BREAKTHROUGH) IN COMMON EUROPEAN
FRAMEWORK ........................................................................................................ 96
CHAPTER 4 ............................................................................................................. 99
SUGGESTED LESSON PLAN............................................................................... 99
4.1 PROCEDURE .............................................................................................. 99
4.2 SAMPLE LESSON PLAN ................................................................................ 99
CHAPTER 5 ........................................................................................................... 109
METHODOLOGY................................................................................................. 109
5.0 PRESENTATION ............................................................................................ 109
5.1 PARTICIPANTS.............................................................................................. 109
5.2 DATA COLLECTION TECHNIQUES......................................................... 109
5.2.1 INTERVIEWS ................................................................................................. 113
5.2.2 OBSERVATIONS ............................................................................................ 114
5.3. DATA ANALYSIS .......................................................................................... 115
5.3.1 OBSERVATION .............................................................................................. 115
5.3.1.1 Observation Guide ............................................................................... 115
5.3.1.2 Observation Report .............................................................................. 116
5.3.1.3 Observation Implications ..................................................................... 121
5.3.2 INTERVIEW ................................................................................................... 122
5.3.2.1 Interview With The Teacher ................................................................. 122
5.3.2.1.1 Implications of the Interview with the Teacher ....................... 123
5.3.2.2 Interview with the Students .................................................................. 125
5.3.2.2.1 Implications of the Interview with the Students ...................... 126
CHAPTER 6 ........................................................................................................... 127
CONCLUSION....................................................................................................... 128
BIBLIOGRAPHY .................................................................................................. 131
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Chapter 1
Introduction

1.0 Presentation

This chapter aims to present an overview of the present study “ Teaching


English to Young Learners Using Skill-Based Approach”. Chapter 1 has five
sections, 1.1 gives the aim of the study; section 1.2 introduces theoretical framework
to the study; section 1.3 presents the scope of the study; section 1.4 lists the
assumptions and finally the last section describes the methodology of the study.

1.1 Aim Of The Study

The aim of this study is to teach English to young learners by implementing


four skills integratedly for the third year students in Ankara Maya Private Primary
School in order to fulfil the objectives and demands of A1 Level of English
Language Passport.
In order to realize this aim, the following questions will be answered:
1. What are the characteristics of young learners?
2. What are the principles and techniques of teaching reading?
3. What are the principles and techniques of teaching listening?
4. What are the principles and techniques of teaching writing?
5. What are the principles and techniques of teaching speaking?
6. What is skill-based teaching?
7. What is the importance of skill-based teaching?
8. What are the objectives of A1 Level of English Language Passport?
9. How can English be taught integratedly to young learners in order to
realize the objectives of A1 Level of English Language Passport?
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1.2 Theoretical Framework

The function of schools is to broaden children’s range of experiences, introduce


new possibilities, systematise the process of learning, help develop thinking skills
and, ultimately, empower students to take responsibility for their own learning.
Knowledge cannot be transmitted in isolation, but must be related to the background
knowledge and past experiences. By the time children come to school, they are
already successful communicators. They know what the language is for, and how to
use it competently. As they experience new situations and interact with new adults
and children, the continue to use language to interpret, ask questions, negotiate,
comment and wonder.

Teaching young learners is different from teaching adults. Young children tend
to change their mood every other minute; their attention span is limited. On the other
hand, they show a greater motivation than adults to do things that appeal to them.

The early primary years are crucial in determining children’s attitude towards
themselves as learners, and towards school. In English as in other subjects, it is
important to foster feelings of confidence and success. In the early primary years
(aged 5-6 approximately), children have particular needs and interests, and they may
learn in a variety of ways. The principal characteristics of learners of this age group
are as follows:
1. They depend heavily on the teacher for directions in lessons. They need help
to become autonomous.
2. They are inquisitive and receptive, easily motivated, and show an uninhibited
attitude towards participation in class activities.
3. Their interests are focused on the here and now. They are not able to
concentrate for long.
4. Their learning is intuitive rather than analytical. Repetition, recycling and
patient building on earlier acquisitions play a key role.
5. They need activities involving physical movement and co-ordination.
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6. Social relations are loose. Friendships are largely a matter of who children
happen to be playing with or sitting next to.
7. The affective aspects of teaching are important for them.
8. They are receptive to the world of fantasy and imagination.
9. They are not yet mature enough to see error as a stage of learning. They may
be upset if they are told they are wrong. Activities need to be set up so as to
allow everyone to succeed.

Under the light of what has been mentioned so far, it is possible to assert that
teaching language skills is highly important.Reading is central to the learning
process. One of the most difficult tasks of a language teacher, both in first and
second language contexts, is to foster a positive attitude toward reading.
Unfortunately, due to time limits and other constraints, teachers are often unable to
actively encourage children to seek entertainment and information in reading
materials.

There have been frequent discussions about what kinds of reading texts are
suitable for English language students. The greatest controversy has centred on
whether the texts should be authentic or not. A balance has to be struck between real
English on the one hand and the students’ capabilities and interest on the other.

There are basic principles behind the teaching of reading:


• Reading is not a passive skill.
• Students need to be engaged with what they are reading.
• Students should be encouraged to respond to the content of a reading text,
not just to the language.
• Prediction is a major factor in reading.
• Reading texts should be integrated into the interesting class sequences; i.e.
using the topic of the text for discussion and further discussions.
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It has been popular in ELT literature to describe listening as the ‘neglected’,


‘overlooked’, or ‘taken for granted’ skill. Certainly some ELT methods have
assumed that listening ability will develop automatically through exposure to the
language and through practice of grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation. Given the
role of listening in everyday life, such neglect was surprising. The point has
frequently been made (Rivers and Temperly, 1978; Oxford, 1993; Celce-Murcia,
1995) that of the time an individual is engaged in communication, approximately 9
per cent is devoted to writing, 16 per cent to reading, 3o per cent to speaking, and 45
per cent to listening.

It is quite clear that listening is the skill that children acquire first, especially if
they have not yet learnt to read. When the pupils start to learn a foreign language, it
is going in mainly through their ears and what the pupils hear is their main source of
the language. Input gained from listening can have a key role in language acquisition.
So the development of effective strategies for listening becomes important for the
process of acquiring language. Listening input should be made comprehensible for
learners through simplification. Teachers should stress the importance of learners
having a ‘silent period’ in the early stages of learning and wait for ‘readiness’ to
produce the language (Krashen, 1982; Krashen and Terrell, 1983).

Some students acquire languages in a purely oral/aural way, but most of them
benefit greatly from seeing the language written down. Even if there are difficulties
in writing the foreign language, it is still a useful, essential, integral and enjoyable
part of the foreign language lesson.

• It adds another physical dimension to the learning process. Hands are added
to eyes and ears.
• It lets pupils express their personalities.
• Children, like older students need a break from oral work. Writing activities
provide a very important quiet period for them in the lesson, after which they
usually return to oral work refreshed and less restless.
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• Writing gives children an opportunity to work at their own pace, which is


very relaxing for them.
• Writing activities provide an opportunity for personal contact. When they are
writing, teacher can go and work with them individually.
• Children like and need to have a record of many of the things they do in the
classroom.
• Children need something to show their parents.
Two things especially should be kept in mind while teaching children of this
age to write. First, writing must not impair oral fluency. There is no reason why this
should happen provided the pupils get plenty of opportunities for hearing and using
English and if writing is treated as an extension of oral work. Secondly, teachers
should not try to teach aspects of the written language which learners at this age
cannot be expected to understand and cope with. For example, they are too young to
do sentence linking activities and the kind of texts they write are more likely to be
imaginative than coherent. Writing activities, like oral activities, go from being
tightly controlled and guided activities are being done to practise the language and
concentration is on the language itself.

It has become apparent in recent years that there have been marked changes in
the goals of language education programs (Morley, 1987; Richards & Rodgers,
1987b). Today, language students are considered successful if they can communicate
effectively in their second or foreign language, whereas two decades ago the
accuracy of the language produced would most likely be the major criterion
contributing to the judgement of a student’s success or lack of success. There is little
doubt now that these developments in language teaching – called the “proficiency
movement” by some and the promotion of “functional” or “communicative” ability
by others (Higgs, 1984; Mohan, 1986) have focused on fluency and communicative
effectiveness rather than the goal of accuracy. Thus, the teaching of the speaking
skill has become increasingly important.
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As communicative approaches have developed, teachers have been concerned


to ensure that students not only practise speaking in a controlled way in order to
produce features of pronunciation, vocabulary, and structure accurately, but also
practise using these features of pronunciation, vocabulary, and structure accurately,
but also practise using these features more freely in purposeful communication. The
aim of such “fluency activities”, as Brumfit (1984:69) calls them, is to develop a
pattern of language interaction within the classroom that is as close as possible to
that used by competent performers in normal life. What is important with beginners
is finding the balance between providing languages through controlled and guided
activities and at the same time letting them enjoy natural talk. Most of the pupils
have little opportunity to practise speaking English outside the classroom and so
need lots of practice when they are in class. When using communicative activities, it
is important to strive for a classroom in which students feel comfortable and
confident, feel to take risks, and have sufficient opportunities to speak. Simply put,
the goal of a speaking component in a language class should be to encourage the
acquisition of communication skills and to foster real communication in and out of
the classroom.

The Common European Framework has been described as one of the most
important documents about language teaching. The framework has been produced by
the Language Policy Division of the Council of Europe and is the outcome of more
than 40 years of work on language education by the Council. The Council of
Europe’s 40 years of involvement in language teaching has been influenced by the
functional, notional approach, and the Framework is a continuation of the approach
used in the 1970s and which described the language needed to travel comfortably in
a foreign country, in terms of functions rather than of grammatical knowledge.
Language learning is viewed as offering educative opportunities for both individual
and social development.

At the core of CEF are the descriptor scales, which illustrate the view of
language learning and teaching. An action-centred view of language learning and
use, which is described in “can do” statements, rather than as knowledge about
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language. A1 Level is under the term of ‘Basic User’ the language user who has got
A1 level can:
• Understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases
aimed at the satisfaction of needs of concrete type.
• Introduce him/herself and others and can ask and answer questions about
personal details such as where he/she lives, people he/she knows and things
he/she has.
• Interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly
and is prepared to help.

In this study, skill-based teaching of English will be designed for young


learners by taking into consideration the demands and objectives of A1 Level of
English Language Passport (ELP) suggested by the Council of Europe (CE).
1.3 Limitations and Scope

In this research young learners are limited to private primary school students.
This study will be limited to the syllabus of third graders. The lesson plan, which will
be employed in, the study is in the frame of third year syllabus. In this research the
students’ ages, English levels and individual differences are accepted as equal. They
are all elementary level learners.As they follow the curriculum designed by the
school, they achieve the same objectives upon finishing the second grade. The
researcher started teaching this group at the beginning of the year and knows their
level of English.
1.4 Assumptions

This study is based on the following assumptions:


1. There is a need for the integration of the four skills in order to fulfil the
objectives of A1 Level in English Language Passport.
2. The observation forms will be designed in the way that the activities and
the students’ responses are reflected clearly.
3. The observers who fill in the forms are objective in their observations.
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1.5 Data Collection

Qualitative research techniques are used in this study. As the data collection
devices, observation and interviews are used. First, observation report is presented,
followed by the implications of the observation. Then, the interviews are
administrated to one of the teachers and the students. The results suppoted the
findings of the observation.
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Chapter 2
Review Of Literature

2.1 Young Learners

Children differ from adult learners in many ways. It was commonly thought
that infants lack the ability to form complex ideas. For much of this century, the
dominant models offered in educational psychology courses have been
Behaviourism, particularly by B. F. Skinner (1974), and the radically different model
of Developmental Psychology proposed by Jean Piaget (1971). The behaviourist
psychologists accepted the thesis that children learn by passively reacting to stimuli
and to the reinforcements which the environment or people within that environment
provide. The child learns by passively reacting to stimuli and to the reinforcements,
which the environment or people within that environment provide. At other extreme,
the Piagetian view has presented the child as actively constructing his or her own
thinking by acting upon the physical and social environment. Although these theories
differed in important ways, they shared an emphasis on considering children as
active learners who are able to set goals, play and revise.

As Philips (1993:5) states the term ‘young learners’ refers to the children from
the first of formal schooling to eleven or twelve years of age. However as Scott and
Ytreberg (1990:1) emphasise, there is a big difference between what children of five
can do and what children of ten can do. Furthermore, children display individual
differences; some children develop early, some later. Some children develop
gradually, others in leaps and bound. Scoot and Ytreberg (1990) list the
characteristics of different age groups as follows:

Five to seven year olds

What five to seven year olds can do

ƒ They can talk about what they are doing.

ƒ They can plan activities.


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ƒ They can argue for something and tell you why they think what they think.

ƒ They can use logical reasoning.

ƒ They can use their vivid imaginations.

ƒ They can use a wide range of intonation pattern in their mother tongue.

ƒ They can understand direct human interaction

Eight to ten year olds

What eight to ten year olds can do …………..

ƒ They can tell the difference between fact and fiction.

ƒ They rely on the spoken word as well as the physical world to convey and
understand meaning

ƒ They are able to make some decisions about their own learning.

ƒ They have definite views about what they like and don’t like doing.

ƒ They have a developed sense of fairness about what happens in the


classroom and begin to question the teacher’s decisions.

ƒ They are able to work with others and learn from others.

A traditional view of learning and development is that young children know


and can do little, but with age (maturation) and experience (of any kind) they become
increasingly competent. From this view, learning is development and development is
learning. Children are equipped with the means necessary for understanding their
worlds when considering physical and biological concepts. It should not be
surprising that infants also possess such a mechanism for learning language. They
begin at an early age to develop knowledge of their linguistic environments, using a
set of specific mechanisms that guides language development.
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2.2 Motivating Children To Learn English

Unlike adults, children are not self-motivated and do not have an immediate
need to learn English. They are not concerned with jobs or university degrees that
require the knowledge of English. Their world is their daily games, events of interest
to them, new knowledge that they may come across in their natural environment, and
questions that their inquisitive minds may ask. The children communicate all their
needs and experiences and receive new knowledge in their mother tongue. Therefore,
the teacher of English has the challenging task of finding ways to motivate them.

As Fröhlich-wand (cited in Brumfit et al, 1991:98) states, motivation plays a


great role in young children’s learning a language. They do not usually ask to learn a
foreign language. Since they fulfil their immediate needs in their own language, they
are not motivated to learn another language in the way that the older might be. If they
are to take part in a foreign language course with success, the motivation has to come
from another source. In that case, the enjoyment and the pleasure experienced in the
learning situation may be the major source of motivation.

The fact that children may need external sources of motivation puts a
tremendous responsibility on the teachers. Rivers (1983) advises foreign language
teacher to capitalise on the children’s autonomous impulses such as curiosity, the
desire to know and understand, the desire to play and explore, and the impulse to
manipulate features of the environment. Children need to learn English through
contexts that appeal and make sense to them. These contexts should be a part of their
world. The following sub-sections are all related to various ways of motivating
children to learn English.

2.2.1 Topics, Situations And Language Functions

The material used for teaching children should be consistent with their identity and
developmentally appropriate. When teaching language, we need to think of the whole
child, and enhance general socio-emotional, cognitive, communicative and
educational development. This is one reason why choice of topic is important.
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The topics used should be closely linked to the interests and experiences of the
children, be easily grasped by them, and be presented within the framework of
familiar situations using appropriate language functions. School is an integral part of
the child’s world and, while teaching English, there is no reason not to use other
subjects in the school curriculum, with which the child is already familiar. Because
of this reason, the teacher can use the questions asked by the children as topics for
discussion either at the time they are asked or at a later date. Lessons based on
children’s questions are not only interesting and motivating but also serve as an
excellent source of topics for future lessons. If the teacher tackles the topics that
please most of the students most of the time, they will not lose their desire to
participate at the very beginning of the lesson.

Situations used in the classroom need to be authentic, interesting to children,


and should reflect the culture of the target language. The language used must be
compatible with the children’s maturity level and linguistic ability, appropriate to the
situation at hand, and like that commonly used by native speakers in similar
situations. As Scott and Ytreberg (1990:3) express, young children love to play, and
learn best when they are enjoying themselves. However, they also take themselves
seriously and like to think that what they are doing is “real” work.

As Broughton et al. (1980:169) point out; language functions that appeal to


children and encourage them to talk about what concerns them will facilitate the
learning process. The foreign language teacher may select from the functions
experienced by the child while learning his/her mother tongue. Children best acquire
a foreign language when it is presented to them in a form that closely resembles
“schemata” that they developed while acquiring their native tongue and when it
fulfils their needs as their own language did. Gordon Wells states (date) that
knowledge cannot be transmitted in isolation, but must be reinvented as the learner
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brings to each new situation his own previous experience and background and
interprets new information from that perspective.

2.2.2 Learning Through Activities, Games and Songs

As Klein (1993:14) claims, teaching young learners is different from teaching


adults. Young children tend to change their mood every other minute, and they find it
extremely difficult to sit still as they have short concentration span and are extremely
kinaesthetic. On the other hand, they show a greater motivation than adults to do
things that appeal to them. As is known, due to individual differences, children
perceive and process information in very different ways; hence, the teacher has to be
inventive in selecting interesting activities, and must provide a great variety of them.

According to Wilkins (1972:183) teaching must be planned in such a way that


“learning becomes an interesting, even at times entertaining process.” It is argued
that teaching English through playful activities including songs, games, puzzles, etc.
makes the process of learning more interesting and, thus, motivating for young
learners.

Games are an important part of a teacher’s repertoire. Although they are


recreational activities by nature whose main purpose is enjoyment, in the language
learning process their purpose can be to introduce a teaching item or reinforce what
has already been taught. In the course of a game, learners are engaged in an
enjoyable and challenging activity with a clear goal. Often, students are so involved
in playing the games that they do not realise they are practising language. There are
several game-like activities that may be used as a basis for listening, speaking,
reading, writing, vocabulary and grammar activities, and would add a refreshing
dimension to language teaching and learning. In fact, an ordinary language activity
can be transferred into a game by adding some challenge, competition and fun
element in it.
15

Most language teachers are aware of the advantages of using songs in the
elementary classroom, whether they actually use songs in their teaching or not.
Songs create a positive feeling for language learning, awakening interest during the
lesson, and stimulating students to greater oral participation breaking the monotony
of the lesson. Singing is a happy and stress-free activity that will add to a positive
classroom-learning environment. Furthermore, children’s songs often include a lot of
repetition that helps to make language memorable. Moreover, songs contain chunks
of language that children can remember and use.

Participation by the teacher in games and activities helps the children overcome
any inhibitions they may have. The teacher should nevertheless take every precaution
not to dominate activities in order to give the children the opportunity for self-
expression. She should be also on the lookout for signs of boredom with each activity
and be willing to go to another activity when such signs appear.

2.2.3 Tension – Free Learning

As Rivers (1964:95) observes, motivation techniques succeed better if


atmosphere of the English class is relaxed and if the teacher provides continuous
support and encouragement. To create such an atmosphere the teacher needs to make
every child feel secure and appreciated. Each child is individually evaluated
according to his/her ability. Every child should receive recognition and praise for the
progress he/she makes.

As Read (1998:9) says, praising children is very important. It encourages them.


Valuing children and their work help to enhance children’s self-esteem, and
contribute towards feeling of success. This has a positive influence on their
motivation and levels of achievement. When children are praised for their effort, they
can cope with the problems because they believe that they could do better if they try
harder. Children should be praised for how they do their work rather than for the
final product of their ability.
16

The use of mother tongue in EFL classroom reduces the frustration and loss of
motivation. This is especially significant with very young children whose
communicate skills even in L1 are still developing and who are already facing the
stress of being separated from the familiar home environment. It is a fact that
children will use their mother tongue when speaking to each other, except during
language practice activities. Moreover, children will use their mother tongue to speak
to the teacher until they are ready to use English. Teachers should never pretend that
they couldn’t speak or understand what they are saying. However, they should
answer in English as they are providing a good model for children and displaying the
real communicative value of English.

Krashen and Terrell (1983) state that if we are relaxed and in a pleasant
learning environment, more input will reach the LAD, while if we feel tense or are in
a negative environment, our efforts to provide input will be fruitless. That is why it is
important to provide an appropriate acquisition environment in the classroom,
eliminating anxiety and encouraging students, so they can really acquire the
language. One-way to do this is to allow the silent period to take place; i.e., not to
force children to produce something until they are ready. Reilly and Ward (1997:7)
state that it is important for the language teacher to remember that young children
may spend a long time absorbing language before they actually produce anything.
Because of this reason, it is not a good idea to try to force them to speak in the target
language as this can create a lot of emotional stress.

MacIntyre and Gardner (1994) associate most language anxiety with listening
and speaking. There are methods and approaches, such as Total Physical Response
and Natural Approach that do not require learners to speak before they are ready to
do so. Teachers have to try to lower the stress that accompanies speaking and
listening and to create what Krashen (1986) calls a friendly environment in which
learning can be relaxed and stress-free.
17

2.3 Integrated Language Learning

As Oxford (1992) mentions that one image for teaching English as a second or
foreign language (ESL/EFL) is that of a tapestry. The tapestry is woven from many
strands, such as the characteristics of the teacher, the learner, the setting, and the
relevant languages (i.e., English and the native languages of the learners and the
teacher). For the instructional loom to produce a large, strong, beautiful, colourful
tapestry, all of these strands must be interwoven in positive ways. For example, the
instructor’s teaching style must address the learning style of the learner, the learner
must address the learning style of the learner, the learner must be motivated, and the
setting must provide resources and values that strongly support the teaching of the
language. However, if the strands are not woven together effectively, the
instructional loom is likely to produce something small, weak, ragged, and pale-not
recognisable as a tapestry.

In addition to the four strands mentioned above – teacher, learner, setting, and
relevant languages- other important strands exist in the tapestry. In a practical sense,
one of the most crucial of these strands consists of the four primary skills of
listening, reading, speaking, and writing. This strand also includes associated or
related skills such as knowledge of vocabulary, spelling, pronunciation, syntax,
meaning, and usage. The skill strand of the tapestry leads to optimal ESL/EFL
communication when the skills are interwoven during instruction. This is known as
integrated skills approach.

If this weaving together does not occur, the strand consists merely of discrete,
segregated skills - parallel threads that do not touch, support, or interact with each
other. This is sometimes known as the segregated-skill approach. Another title for
this mode of instruction is the language-based approach, because the language itself
is the focus of instruction (language for language’s sake). In this approach, the
emphasis is not on learning for authentic communication.
18

By examining segregated-skill instruction, we can see the advantages of


integrating the skills and move toward improving teaching for English language
learners.
2.3.1 Segregated-Skill Instruction

In the segregated-skill approach, the mastery of discrete language skills such as


reading and speaking is seen as the key to successful learning, and language learning
is typically separate from content learning (Mohan, 1986). This is contrary to the
integrated way that people use language skills in normal communication.

Even if it were possible to fully develop one or two skills in the absence of all
the others, such an approach would not ensure adequate preparation for the later
success in everyday in the interaction in the language. An extreme example is the
grammar-translation method, which teaches to analyse grammar and to translate
(usually in writing) from one language to another. This method restricts language
learning to a very narrow, non-communicative range that does not prepare students to
use the language in every day life.

Fortunately, in many instances where an ESL or EFL course is labelled by a


single skill, the segregation of language skills might be only partial or even illusory.
If the teacher is creative, a course bearing a discrete-skill title might actually involve
multiple, integrated skills. For example, in a course on intermediate reading, the
teacher probably gives all of the instructions orally in English, thus causing students
to use their listening ability to understand the assignment. In this course, students
might discuss their readings, thus employing speaking and listening skills and certain
associated skills, such as pronunciation, syntax and social usage. Students might be
asked to summarise or analyse readings in written form, thus activating their writing
skills. In a real sense, then, some courses that are labelled according to one specific
skill might actually reflect integrated skills approach after all.

In contrast to segregated-skill instruction, both actual and apparent, there are at


least two forms of instruction that are clearly oriented toward integrating the skills.
19

2.3.2 Two Forms of Integrated Skills Instruction

Two types of integrated skills instruction are content-based language


instruction and task-based instruction. The first of these emphasises learning content
through language, while the second stresses doing tasks that require communicative
language use. Both of these benefit from a diverse range of materials, textbooks, and
technologies for the ESL or EFL classroom.

2.3.2.1 Content-based instruction

In content-based instruction, students practise all the language skills in a highly


integrated, communicative fashion while learning content such as science,
mathematics, and social studies. Content-based language instruction is valuable at all
levels of proficiency, but the nature of the content might differ by proficiency level.
For beginners, the content often involves basic social and interpersonal
communication skills, but past the beginning level, the content can become
increasingly academic and complex. The Cognitive Academic Language learning
Approach (CALLA), created by Chamot and O’Malley (1994) shows how language
learning strategies can be integrated into the simultaneous learning of content and
language.

At least three general models of content-based language instruction exist:


theme-based, adjunct, and sheltered (Scarcella & Oxford, 1992). The theme-based
model integrates the language skills into the study of a theme. The theme must be
very interesting to students and must allow a wide variety of language skills to be
practised, always in the service of communicating about the theme. This is the most
useful and widespread form of content-based instruction today and it is found in
many innovative ESL and EFL textbooks. In the adjunct model, language and
content courses are taught separately but are carefully co-ordinated. In the sheltered
model, the subject matter is taught in simplified English tailored to students’ English
proficiency level.
20

2.3.2.2 Task-based instruction

In task-based instruction, students participate in communicative tasks in


English. Tasks are defined activities that can stand alone as fundamental units and
that require comprehending, producing, manipulating, or interacting in authentic
language while attention is principally paid to meaning rather than form (Nunan,
1989).

The task-based model is beginning to influence the measurement of learning


strategies, not just the teaching of ESL and EFL. In task-based instruction, basic pair
work and group work are often used to increase student interaction and collaboration.
For instance, students work together to write and edit a class newspaper, develop a
television commercial, enact scenes from a play, or take part in other joint tasks.
More structured co-operative learning formats can also be used in task-based
instruction. Task-based instruction is relevant to all levels of language proficiency,
but the nature of the task varies from one level to the other. Tasks become
increasingly complex at higher proficiency levels. For instance, beginners might be
asked to introduce each other and share one item of information about each other.
More advanced students might do more intricate and demanding tasks, such as taking
a public opinion at school, the university, or a shopping mall.

2.3.3 Advantages of Integrated Skills Approach

Integrated skills approach, as contrasted with the purely segregated approach,


exposes English language learners to authentic language and challenges them to
interact naturally in the language. Moreover, this approach stresses that English is
not just an object of academic interest or merely a key to passing an examination;
instead, English becomes a real means of interaction and sharing among people. This
approach allows teachers to track students’ progress in multiple skills at the same
time. Integrating the language skills also promotes the learning of real content, not
just the dissection of language forms. Finally, integrated skills approach, whether
21

found in content-based or task-based language instruction or some hybrid form, can


be highly motivating to students of all ages and backgrounds.

All aspects of language are interwoven. All main skills (listening, reading,
speaking, and writing) and associated skills (syntax, vocabulary, spelling and
pronunciation) function together for effective and successful communication
(Scarcella & Oxford, 1992).

This brings us to the question of which approach to use. The integrated


approaches, as contrasted with the purely segregated approach (also known as
language-based approach), expose learners to authentic language and challenge them
to interact naturally in the language.

Learners rapidly gain a true picture of the richness and complexity of the
English language as employed for communication. Integrating the language skills
promotes the learning of real content, not just the dissection of language forms
(Peregoy & Boyle, 2001). It can be highly motivating to students of all ages and
backgrounds.

In order to integrate the language skills in ESL/EFL instruction, teachers should


consider taking these steps:
¾ Learn more about the various ways to integrate language skills in the classroom
(e.g., content-based, task-based, or a combination).
¾ Reflect on their current approach and evaluate the extent to which the skills are
integrated.
¾ Choose instructional materials, textbooks, and technologies that promote the
integration of listening, reading, speaking, and writing, as well as the associated
skills of syntax, vocabulary, and so on.
¾ Even if a given course is labelled according to just one skill, remember that it is
possible to integrate the other language skills through appropriate tasks.
¾ Teach language-learning strategies and emphasise that a given strategy can
often enhance performance in multiple skills.
22

With careful reflection and planning, any teacher can integrate the language
skills and strengthen the tapestry of language teaching and learning. When the
tapestry is woven well, learners can use English effectively for communication.

If our aim is to provide opportunities in the classroom for students to engage


in real-life communication in the target language, then it will be unnatural to isolate
skills. Real-life situations necessitate the integration of language skills as reading or
listening to a text may result in talking about it or writing a response. Furthermore,
we hardly speak when there is no one to listen to us or write when there is no one to
read it.

2.4 Teaching English To Young Learners

Paul (2003:4) puts forward that understanding the way native speakers first
learn their native language and how second language learners learn their new
language can lead to some valuable insights into how to teach foreign language
learners effectively. However, conditions are different in teaching children. One of
the consequences of this is that when teaching foreign language learners it is a must
to make more efficient use of the time in the classroom. Moon (2000:16) comments
that younger children tend to be influenced by feelings about their teacher, the
general learning atmosphere in the classroom, the methods used in the classroom and
the opinions of their parents. Two of the most important reasons for pupils to like
English appear to be the teacher and the teaching methods. This suggests that
selecting appropriate learning materials, planning interesting learning activities and
creating positive learning environment should be brought into force.

It is known that in many countries there is English Language Teaching in


schools for young age groups or classes. The most important point in the concept of
primary ELT varies considerably from country to country. What is meant by
‘childhood’ itself varies from culture to culture. Teaching and learning in general
23

vary from culture to culture as well. Nonetheless, Brumfit (1991:2) lists some of the
characteristics which young learners share:
¾ Young learners are at the beginning of their school life so teachers have a
great opportunity to fulfil their expectations in school.
¾ They are more differentiated than secondary or adult learners and new to the
conformity imposed across cultural groupings by the school.
¾ They are without the inhibitions, which older children bring to school; they
are keen and enthusiastic learners.
¾ Learning can be linked with their development of ideas because it is close to
their initial experience of formal education.
¾ They need physical movement and activity and stimulation for their thinking.

Vale and Feunteun (1995:27) claim that a key priority for teachers is to
establish a good working relationship with children, and to encourage them to do the
same with their classmates. The teacher’s role is that of parent, teacher, friend,
motivator, co-ordinator, and organiser. The skills for these roles have more to do
with understanding children’s development, children’s needs, children’s interests,
and the children themselves – than with EFL methodology alone.

Moon (2000:3) examines teachers’ beliefs about how children learn a language
and state that children learn a foreign language ...
‘... in a natural way, the way they learn their own language.’
‘... through being motivated. It depends on the teacher’s style. They would learn fast
or quicker.’
‘... by listening and repeating.’
‘... by imitating the teacher. They want to please the teacher.’

‘... by doing and interacting with each other in an atmosphere of trust and
acceptance, through a variety of interesting and fun activities for which they see the
purpose.’
24

Klein (1993) thinks that teaching young learners is different from teaching
adults because young children tend to change their mood every other minute, and
they find it extremely difficult to sit still. Canadian Child Care Federation (2000)
declare that young children are still developing and most are very tactile – they want
and need to be actively involved in order to understand things. Vale and Feunteun
(1995:34) state that it is very important for children to have the opportunity to use
their hands and their bodies to express and experience language. On the other hand,
they show a greater motivation than adults to do things that appeal them. Since it is
almost impossible to cater the interests of all the young individuals, the teacher has to
be inventive in selecting interesting activities, and must provide a great variety of
them.

There is a debate about whether young learners learn language better, more
efficiently than older children or adults. But, there are lots of reasons for teaching
English at primary level that do not rely simply on the claim that it is the best time to
learn languages well. According to Brumfit (1991:6):
¾ Exposing children from an early age to an understanding of foreign cultures can
make them tolerant and sympathetic to others.
¾ Providing the need to the understanding of new concepts to link
communication.
¾ Providing the need for learning time for important languages.
¾ Starting with early second or foreign language instruction may be a good idea
so that later the language can be medium of teaching.
2.4.1 Teaching Grammar

Over the centuries, second language educators have alternated between


favouring teaching approaches which focus on having students analyse language in
order to learn it and those encourage students’ using language in order to acquire it
(Celce-Murcia, 1979). According to Hedge (2000:143) recent years have seen a
resurgence of interest in the role of grammar in English language teaching. That is
not to say that, for many teachers, grammar has ever taken anything other than a
central role in their classroom methodology. However, the 1980s experienced an
25

anti-grammar movement, perhaps influenced primarily by Krashen’s (1982) idea that


grammar can be acquired naturally from meaningful input and opportunities to
interact in the classroom; in other words, that grammatical competence can develop
in a fluency-oriented environment without conscious focus on language forms.
Larsen-Freeman (1995) stated: “It is true that some learners acquire second language
grammar naturally without instruction. For example, there are immigrants to the
United States who acquire proficiency in English on their own. However, this is not
true for all learners”. She also added that learning particular grammatical distinctions
requires a great deal of time even for the most skilled learners. According to
Richards (1985:43), the basic assumption of such an approach is that
“’communicative’ classrooms provide a better environment for second-language
acquisition than classrooms dominated by formal instruction.”
Larsen-Freeman (1995) claims that appropriate grammar focusing techniques
• are embedded in meaningful, communicative contexts
• contribute positively to communicative goals
• promote accuracy within fluent, communicative language
• Do not overwhelm students with linguistic terminology
• Are as lively and intrinsically motivating as possible.

Regardless of a teacher’s methodological preferences, knowledge of grammar


is essential to the ESL/EFL teaching professional. Such knowledge helps in carrying
out several important and fundamental responsibilities, such as integrating form,
meaning, and content in syllabus design; selecting and preparing materials and
classroom activities; selecting and sequencing the grammatical forms to emphasize at
any given time; identifying and analysing which student errors to concentrate on at
any given time; and preparing appropriate exercises and activities for rule
presentation or error correction (Celce-Murcia, 1988:8). If grammar instruction is
deemed appropriate for a class, the teacher’s next step is to integrate grammar
principles into a communicative framework, since the fundamental purpose of
language is communication. As Celce-Murcia (1988:8) indicates that there is a strong
26

tendency for grammar or structural points to occur with one of three other aspects of
language:
• social factors
• Semantic factors
• Discourse factors

As Celce-Murcia (1988) states, social factors refer to the social roles of


interlocutors, their relationship to each other, and the purpose of the communication.
Communicative functions such as requesting, inviting, refusing, agreeing, or
disagreeing are all very sensitive to social factors such as politeness, directness, etc.
For example, in refusing a request, the words and grammatical structures used
depend on two basic variables: how well the individuals know each other and their
social roles.

Celce-Murcia (1988) adds that semantic factors involve meaning. Grammatical


structures that are most naturally taught from a semantic perspective include
expressions of time, space, degree, quantity, and probability. For example, the
difference between the quantifiers few and a few in the following two sentences is
primarily semantic:
a. John has a few food ideas.
b. John has few good ideas.
In (a), the emphasis is positive, while in (b) it is negative. The choice of a form
is not governed by whom one is addressing, but rather by what one wants to say.
Thus, the difference between few and a few is not illuminated by social-interactional
factors because the difference between (a) and (b) does not rest on social factors but
depends crucially on meaning. Therefore, expressions of location, time, space,
degree, quantity, probability, etc. can be taught most effectively with a focus on
morphological, lexical, and syntactic contrasts that signal a difference in meaning.
Discourse factors include notions such as topic continuity, word order, and the
sequencing of new and old information. For example, the use of logical connectors
such as even though, although, or unless is discourse governed. Defining these words
27

semantically is less than satisfying and often leads to a great deal of frustration and
confusion for both students and teacher. On the other hand, giving students a portion
of discourse, which illustrates how these logical connectors function in context or
what they signal in discourse, seems to work remarkably well. The final category,
then, consists of words and elements of language, which are more effectively defined
or explained with reference to their function in discourse than socio-linguistic
function or semantic content.

Current TEFL methodology seems to advocate a two-staged grammar lesson:


presentation and practice. The practice stage consists of a sequence of
activities/tasks ranging from controlled (focusing mainly on form) to free (focusing
on meaning) (Ur, 1988:6). Presentation is less clearly defined. For example, Harmer
(1987:29) presents “awareness tasks” as an alternative to presentation and
incorporates controlled practice (i.e. drills).

Presentation: In this stage learners receive input. Given the multi-dimensional


relation between form, concept and function, the time constraints, and the limited
attention span of children, the aim of a grammar lesson should be limited to dealing
with a single form-concept-function combination (Harmer, 1987:9-11). This
combination should be demonstrated clearly through an appropriate context
(Widdowson, 1990:95). Spratt (1985:6) distinguishes between situational and
linguistic context. She argues that the former should be relevant to the learners’
experience, whereas the latter should be “free from unnecessary language items”.

Awareness raising: Here learners carry out tasks which guide them to focus on
form as opposed to meaning. Such tasks enable learners to formulate a rule regarding
the concept-form combination within the restrictions of the particular context.
Learners are not expected to produce the target structure at this stage. Since the aim
is primarily to call leaner attention to grammatical features, raising their
consciousness of them, non-linguistic responses, or use of L1, particularly at lower
levels, are acceptable. Awareness-raising tasks are at an advantage compared to
28

practice ones in the case of beginners, as such tasks require either L1, or non-verbal
responses, or minimal L2 responses.

From controlled to free practice: At the controlled end the focus is only on
form. On-the-spot correction at that stage is essential, and learners are expected to
repeat incorrect productions correctly (Ur, 1988:7). Tasks situated around the middle
of the practice cline retain focus on correct production, but also ensure that it sounds
more communicatively authentic; here learners are led to recognise the
communicative function of the linguistic form (Littlewood, 1981:10-11). Harmer
(1987:17) adds that such tasks should be personalised (i.e. relevant to the learners’
experience). Usually corrective feedback is delayed, and is given in the form of
awareness-raising tasks.

During the free-practice stage learners are expected to communicate, that is, the
focus is only on meaning. The teacher has no direct control over the language used.
This is when learners are given the opportunity to experiment with the new form and
incorporate it in their own production (Littlewood, 1981:87). To ensure this, tasks
have to provide a context-purpose environment, which will optimise the chances of
particular form arising naturally.

2.4.1.1 Techniques In Teaching Grammar


Techniques that are used in grammar teaching vary according to the
grammatical point, which is emphasized. For example, in structural-social items such
as modals and requests, the degree of politeness depends on the social relationship
between the speaker and his or her interlocutor. In such cases, dramatization and
other dynamic, interactional techniques allow learners to make the connection
between structure and social function. On the other hand, the most useful techniques
are demonstration, illustration, and TPR activities when we teach quantifiers,
locative prepositions, or modals of logical probability. These techniques are more
static than role-play or dramatization, but they help students match linguistic form
with semantic variables. Finally, with discourse aspects, the major techniques include
text generation, manipulation, and explanation.
29

Listening and responding: Many methodologists feel that adult second-


language learners, like children learning their first language, should be allowed to
enjoy a silent period and that if we didn’t force our adult learners to speak and repeat
phrases in the new language immediately, adults would be much better language
learners. Asher’s Total Physical Response Method (1977) is a very effective way to
present imperatives, prepositions, and phrasal verbs. Although it is a presentation
technique for students at all levels, it can also provide structured and communicative
practice for beginning students who don’t have enough language handle a
communicative task. Asher’s research suggests that students benefit from watching
as well as from doing. Students will be delighted when they realize they can
understand and respond to something new in English in so short a time. In this way,
students learn to comprehend the imperative form without even realizing it (Celce-
Murcia, 1988:43).

Telling stories: Stories are used in contemporary ESL materials to promote


communication and expression in the classroom. Stories can be used for both
eliciting and illustrating grammar points. The former employs inductive reasoning,
while the latter requires deductive thought, and it is useful to include both
approaches in lesson planning. Grammar points can be contextualized in stories that
are absorbing and just plain fun if they are selected with the interest of the class in
mind, are told with a high degree of energy, and involve the students. As Celce-
Murcia (1988:59) mentions, a story provides a realistic context for presenting
grammar points and holds and focuses students’ attention in a way that no other
technique can.

Dramatic activities and role-play: Celce-Murcia and Hilles (1988)


recommend that teachers use skits and role-plays when working on the pragmatic
dimension. These techniques facilitate a match between structure and social
functions and can be used for both communicative and focused grammar practice.
Based on her experience with ESL students and her research into the use of drama in
language education, psychotherapy, and speech therapy, Stern (1980) hypothesizes
30

that dramatic activities in the classroom can be helpful in several ways. They appear
to provide or increase motivation, heighten self-esteem, encourage empathy, and
lower sensitivity to rejection. It is interesting to note that these same affective factors
are also posited by Schumann (1975) as being critical in second-language
acquisition. Therefore, it seems reasonable to assume that drama is an excellent tool
for second-language teaching.

Stern (cited in Celce-Murcia, 1988:61) maintains that dramatic activities “are a


curative for the frustration and lagging interest which often occur during second
language learning,” because they provide a compelling reason to learn. In effect,
drama gives a strong instrumental motivation for learning the second language. Stern
(cited in Celce-Murcia, 1988:80) thus concludes that drama raises self-esteem by
demonstrating to second-language learners that they are indeed capable of expressing
themselves in realistic communicative situations. In other words, dramatic activities
can increase oral proficiency by increasing self-esteem.

According to Rosenswing (1974:41), “Role-playing is the dramatization of a


real-life situation in which the students assume roles. It presents the students with a
problem, but instead of reaching a group consensus in solving it, the students act out
their solution”. Rosenswing also argues that correctly chosen role-playing scenes
expose students to the types of situations they are most likely to encounter inside and
outside of the classroom. Feedback from the teacher provides them with the
linguistic and cultural awareness needed to function in such situations, thus
improving their self-confidence and ability to communicate effectively. It is an
excellent technique for communicative practice of structures sensitive to social
factors.

Dramatic activities provide meaningful contexts for integrating writing,


reading, pronunciation, listening, and grammar as well as facilitating a match
between structure and social factors and diagnosing gaps in grammatical knowledge.
Finally, these activities, if properly conducted, provide teachers with delightful
31

lessons and provide students with some of the richest and most memorable
experiences they have in their struggle with the second language.

In addition to the activities mentioned above, there are also resources that
consist of objects, such as pictures, realia, and graphics. These can be used for
matching structural and semantic factors, since semantic distinctions often need
visual reinforcement.

Pictures: Pictures are versatile and useful resources for getting students to
match form with meaning. They can be used in all phases of a grammar lesson (i.e.
in presentation, focused practice, communicative practice, etc.). Interesting or
entertaining pictures motivate students to respond in ways that more routine teaching
aids, such as a textbook or a sentence on the board, cannot. Although they can be
used to advantage at all levels of proficiency, they are especially useful with
beginning and low-intermediate learners, who sometimes have trouble understanding
long or complicated verbal cues. Pictures may focus on one specific object, such as a
house, or an event, such as a boy jumping a fence; alternatively, a picture may evoke
an entire story.

Realia: As a result of her research into memory and second-language learning,


Barbara Schumann (1981:62-63) makes the following suggestions to ESL teachers:
1. In curriculum planning, allow for organization of subject matter, which leads
students from the familiar to a closely related but unfamiliar concept.
2. Aid students in organizing input via imagery and rehearsal situations in which the
student must elaborate on what is presented.
3. Organize input in such a way that it is meaningful for the student and can be
integrated with already existing knowledge and experience; experience is central to
learning.

4. Provide practice situations, which involve use of conscious processes and allow
students to think about and generate associations and relationships between original
input and novel situations by providing a spaced practice.
32

All of these objectives can be met quite straightforwardly by what Heaton


(1979:45) characterizes as “an associative bridge between the classroom and the
world,” namely realia, an old and versatile resource of language teachers. Celce-
Murcia and Hilles (1988) mention that when dealing with the semantic dimension,
realia and pictures are very useful. Realia has many uses in the classroom, not the
least of which are promoting cultural insight and teaching a life-skills lexicon. Realia
can also be used effectively in teaching grammar, especially for a form-meaning
match. For this kind of match, realia can be used in combination with techniques
such as storytelling and role-play in both the presentation phase and the practice
phase of the lesson. Realia can be used in conjunction with storytelling and role-play
techniques to contextualise the grammar lesson, as well as facilitate memory and
learning.

Using the classroom: The classroom itself provides a wealth of realia to use in
teaching grammar. Ordinary items found in most classrooms, such as books, tables,
chairs, a flag, a light switch, windows, walls, can all be used. For instance, the
classroom provides a natural context for teaching phrasal verbs such as turn on and
turn off. The teacher can turn on a light and turn it off, and then invite a student to
come to the light switch and do the same using the TPR technique.

The students are also part of the classroom environment and can be given the
commands sit down and stand up or take off and put on some article of clothing they
all have, such as a jacket or coat. Moreover, the people and the ordinary objects
found in most classrooms can be of great assistance in presenting and practicing
prepositions. For example, to present locative prepositions, one can use a table, a
pencil, a book, a box, and a pen for structured practice of the difference between in
and on.

Graphics: The use of graphics as a resource to teach ESL students was a


proposal specifically advanced by Shaw and Taylor (1978), who referred to such aids
33

as “non-pictorial visuals”. While pictures can be used for presentation, focused


practice, and communicative practice, graphics are generally best suited for focused
or communicative practice because stimuli such as charts, tables, graphs, and
schedules lend themselves well to the development of communicative tasks.

Songs: As Celce-Murcia maintains (1988:116) that contextualization is


essential to any grammar presentation and meaningful practice of structure, and
certainly one of the most delightful and culturally rich resources for contextualization
is song. Dublin (1974) points out that, “Songs can be utilized as presentation
contexts, as reinforcement material, and as vehicles through which to teach all
language skills”. Hulquist (1984) suggests songs can be effective in allowing
students to practice a previously studied, contrasting structure along with a new
structure as well as adding enjoyment and variety to language learning. The
important thing to keep in mind is that songs provide rich, engaging contexts that,
because of their appeal, make it easier to internalise structures.

Games and problem-solving activities: When ESL students are engaged in


games or problem-solving activities, their use of language use is task-oriented and
has a purpose beyond the production of correct speech. This makes these activities
ideal for communicative practice of grammar if, in fact, the activities can be
structured to focus learners’ attention on a few specific forms before the
communicative practice. When this is successfully achieved, problems and games
help reinforce a form-discourse match, since the form(s) targeted for attention occur
naturally within the larger discourse context created by the game or the problem.
Games are excellent learning tools for children when they are geared to students’
proficiency, age, and experience.

Text-based exercises and activities: According to Celce-Murcia (1988:167)


students need text-based grammar exercises and activities in all phases of grammar
instruction: presentation, focused practice, communicative activities in order to make
a match between grammar and discourse. Since reading and writing are text-based
34

skills, grammar will transfer only if it is also practised at the text level, and not
simply at the sentence level.

2.4.2 Vocabulary Teaching

It is widely known that vocabulary is simply all the words known and used by a
particular person. In other words, the ability to understand (receptive) and use
(expressive) words to acquire and convey meaning is what is called vocabulary.
Expressive vocabulary requires a speaker or writer to produce a specific label for a
particular meaning, but receptive vocabulary requires a reader to associate a specific
meaning with a given label as in reading or listening. As a learner begins to read,
reading vocabulary is mapped onto the oral vocabulary the learner brings to the task.

For many years vocabulary was seen as incidental to the main purpose of
language teaching – namely the acquisition of grammatical knowledge about the
language. Vocabulary was necessary to give students something to hang on to when
learning structures, but was frequently not a main focus for learning itself. If
language structures make up the skeleton of language, then it is vocabulary that
provides the vital organs and the flesh (Harmer, 1991:153). An ability to manipulate
grammatical structure does not have any potential for expressing meaning unless
words are used. Then structural accuracy seems to be the dominant focus. In real life,
however, it is even possible that where vocabulary is used correctly it can cancel out
structural inaccuracy. Recently, however, methodologists and linguists have
increasingly been turning their attention to vocabulary, stressing its importance in
language teaching and reassessing some of the ways in which it is taught and learnt.
It is now clear, for example, that the acquisition of vocabulary is just as important as
the acquisition of grammar.

Vocabulary learning is central to language acquisition, whether the language is


first, second, or foreign. As Krashen (1989) points out, “ A large vocabulary is, of
course, essential for mastery of a language” (p.439). Thornbury (2002:13) also points
out “ Without grammar very little can be conveyed, without vocabulary nothing can
35

be conveyed”. In this respect, Pittelman and Heimlich (1991:37) also add that
vocabulary knowledge is important in understanding both spoken and written
language. They state, it is not surprising that vocabulary knowledge is critical to
reading comprehension. In order for children to understand what they are reading,
they must know the meanings of the words they encounter. Children with limited
vocabulary knowledge will experience difficulty comprehending both oral and
written text .

McCarthy (1990:1) contributes that the single, biggest component of any


language course is vocabulary. No matter how well the students learn grammar, no
matter how successfully the sounds of target language are mastered, without words to
express a wide range of meanings, communication in the target language just cannot
take place in any meaningful situations. And yet vocabulary often seems to be the
least systematized and the least well catered for all of the aspects of learning a
foreign language. However, there is now general agreement among vocabulary
specialists that lexical competence is at the very heart of communicative competence,
the ability to communicate successfully and appropriately (Coady and Huckin 1997).
Hymes (1972) was especially concerned with the concept of communicative
competence, which emphasized using language for meaningful communication;
including the appropriate use of language in particular social contexts.

Thornbury (2002:14) summed up the teaching approaches’ view through the


years to the vocabulary teaching. For a long time, teaching methods such as Direct
Method and Audiolingualism gave a greater priority to the teaching of grammatical
structures. The number of words introduced in such courses was kept low. In the
1970s and 1980s, the communicative approach led naturally to a focus on implicit,
incidental learning. Teachers encouraged students to recognize clues to word
meanings in context and to use monolingual dictionaries rather than bilingual
dictionaries, and textbooks emphasized inferring word meaning from context.
36

Moon (2000:5) mentions that children have a good instinct for interpreting the
sense or meaning of a situation. They work out the meaning first and tend not to pay
attention to the words that are used to express the meaning. As children get older,
they begin to pay more attention to the words that are used to express meanings. The
use of communication games, drama, project work, story telling and practical
activities in teaching, all allow children to make use of this ability to go for meaning.

As Brumfit (cited in Kennedy&Jarvis 1991:39) declares young children may


not be better at learning, but may simply have far more favourable opportunities than
adults. They are in a permanenet-learning environment, with parents, friends and
teachers all contributing to their development. Yaverbaum (2003) reports that the
process of language learning is divided into two parts:
“The first part of this process deals with how the new language comes to the
learner; the language environment that surrounds the student; the second part – deals
with how the learner comes to the new language and the strategies that the student
uses in his attempt to learn the language. Therefore, an effective foreign language
teaching program should enable educators to create an environment in class that
would bring the language to the children and would enable them to start learning the
foreign language as naturally as possible” (Yaverbaum, 2003; Moon, 2000:3) has
suggestions for how to create a more favourable environment in the classroom:

¾ Make classrooms a lively place through the use of attractive wall displays.
¾ Motivate pupils to want to learn English by using interesting and enjoyable
learning activities, for example games and drama.
¾ Create a warm and happy atmosphere where teacher and pupils enjoy
working together.

Similarly Scott and Ytreberg (1990:10-14) point that once children feel secure
and content in the classroom, they can be encouraged to become independent and
adventurous in the learning of the language. Moreover, young children respond well
to surrounding which are pleasant and familiar. For this reason they should be
encouraged to bring in objects or pictures or postcards because physical objects are
37

very important to young learners. (Madylus (2004) explains the way young learners
learn simply in a few sentences. With young students vocabulary learning is
relatively easy as the words they need (the words they would use in their mother
tongue too) are concrete – things they can see, touch, taste, play with etc; so it is easy
for the meaning of the words to be made apparent without resorting to translation or
complicated explanations. The sooner students are able to communicate ideas in
English; the more motivated they will be, so giving them a bank of vocabulary to
draw on is necessary – starting with nouns and adjectives. Although children seem to
learn new words very quickly, they will also forget quickly, so it is very important to
give them lots of practice of vocabulary to help them remember. Thornbury
(2002:102) looks at classroom activities designed to integrate newly acquired words
into learner’s mental lexicon. The key principle underlying such activities is the
importance of the judicious use of highly engaging activities such as games.

Thornbury (2002:102) defends that since many word games deal solely with
isolated- rather than contextualised- words, and often require only shallow
processing on the part of the learner, they should be considered judiciously. A game
should be productive, contextualised and cognitively deep. In a similar way Stahl and
Shiel (cited in Kameenui and Simmon 2003) support that while teaching a new word
both context and definition should be used. They also explain that a “deep”
processing should be encouraged by finding a synonym or antonym, making up a
novel sentence with a word, classifying the word with other words, relating the
definition to one’s own experiences.

Slattery and Willis (2001:2) emphasize the importance of playing games in


order to help students remember the words that are learned. Children need to recycle
language without a lot of boring repetition. In order to acquire the new language
children have to hear it spoken in class. If we consider the amount of time young
babies spend listening to people speaking and all the sounds they make before they
begin to speak meaningfully, it becomes more important to note how much repetition
is needed in the classrooms .The more often a word is successfully retrieved from
memory, the easier it becomes to recall it. Therefore, worthwhile games are those
38

that encourage learners to recall words. Uberman (1998) declares that games
encourage, entertain, teach and promote fluency. If not for any of these reasons, they
should be used just because they help students to see the beauty in a foreign
language.

In school, children are learning a lot of other things as well, but they forget
them easily. To prevent this, Slattery and Willis (2001) recommend enjoyable
recycling strategies that do not make children feel that they are repeating the same
language to the point of boredom. One way is to have another focus besides
language. If the children are doing something else- playing a game or creating
something they are thinking about the activity and not about the language. Montague
(2004) highlights that one of the aims for all education, is for every pupil in any
classroom to feel included in the learning process. As Vale and Feunteun (1995:28)
put forward it, what is known is that children learn best when they are involved,
when their work is valued. They learn best when they are the owners of their work-
when they have the opportunity to experience and experiment for themselves.

A key to getting (and keeping) students actively involved in learning lies in


understanding learning style preferences, which can positively or negatively
influence a student’s performance. Perhaps the most important thing a teacher can do
is being aware that there are diverse learning styles in the student population. As
Dunn (1996) says many people prefer to learn in ways that are different from how
other people of the same class, grade, age, nationality, race, culture or region prefer
to learn. Although many people can learn basic information through an incompatible
style, even accomplished professionals learn most easily through their learning styles
strengths. The important thing to remember is that no single style is better or worse
than any other.

There are numerous techniques concerning vocabulary presentation. However,


there are a few things that have to be remembered irrespective of the way new lexical
items are presented. If teachers want students to remember new vocabulary, it needs
to be learnt in context, practiced, and then revised to prevent students from
39

forgetting. Teachers must make sure students have understood the new words, which
will be remembered better if introduced in a “memorable way” (Hubbard, 1983:50).
New words should not be presented in isolation and should not be learned by simple
rote memorization. Isolated words or words in isolated sentences do not present a
psychological reality, because they do not carry a message. For this reason they
cannot evoke emotions or involvement in the learner, a factor which plays an
important part in long-term acquisition. (Schouten-van Parreren 1989:76) It is
important that new vocabulary items be presented in contexts rich enough to provide
clues to meaning and that students be given multiple exposure to items they should
learn.

The presentation of new vocabulary is classified according to verbal and visual


techniques following Gairns and Redman’s (cited in Uberman 1998) classification.
Among visual techniques are flashcards, photographs and pictures, wall charts,
blackboard drawings, word pictures, incongruous visuals, realia, mime, and gesture.
Students can label pictures or objects or perform an action. Verbal techniques consist
of using illustrative situations, descriptions, synonyms and anonyms, scales, and, as
described by Nation (1990:58), using various forms of definition: definition by
demonstration (visual definition), definition by abstraction, contextual definitions,
and definition by translation. Allen and Valette (1972:116) also suggest the use of
categories-organizing words into sets, subclasses and subcategories often aided by
visual presentation. Those learners who are autonomous can make use of other
techniques such as asking others to explain the meaning of an unknown item,
guessing from context or using either of a variety of dictionaries.

Uberman (1998) suggests the following types of vocabulary presentation


techniques:
Visual techniques: These pertain to visual memory, which is considered
especially helpful with vocabulary retention. Visual techniques lend themselves well
to presenting concrete items of vocabulary-nouns; many are also helpful in
conveying meanings of verbs and adjectives. They help students associate presented
material in a meaningful way and incorporate it into their system of language values.
40

Verbal explanation: This pertains to the use of illustrative situations,


synonymy, opposites, scales (Gairns and Redman 1986:74), definition (Nation
1990:58) and categories (Allen and Valette 1972:116).

Use of dictionaries: Using a dictionary is another technique of finding out


meanings of unfamiliar words and expressions. Students can make use of a variety of
dictionaries: bilingual, pictorial, thesauri, and the like. Using them is one of the
student-centred learning activities.

Part of the problem in teaching vocabulary lies in the fact that whilst there is a
consensus about what grammatical structures should be taught at what levels the
same is hardly true of vocabulary (Harmer, 1992:154). Allen (1983:9) stresses that
each word came to the child’s attention as part of an experience that had special
importance for him. Students are very likely to feel that foreign words for familiar
objects are not really needed when the foreign language is not used for
communication outside the language class. When a student feels no real need to learn
something, a feeling of need must be created – by the teacher. To create in students’
minds a sense of personal need for a foreign word, it is not enough to say, “Here is a
word to learn.” “Here is what the word means.” “ The word will be useful to you
someday.” Allen (1983:21) states that understanding the meaning is only the first
step in learning a word. It is a step that should take as little time as possible. Much
more time should be given to other activities – activities that require students to use
the new words for real communication.

Allen (1983:17) puts forward some important points in teaching vocabulary:


¾ When we think about language learning in the classroom, it is useful to
think also of ways in which people learn vocabulary outside of school. (Often
such learning is very successful, for example, among persons who need a
foreign language in business and among children learning their mother tongue.)
41

¾ Vocabulary is best learned when someone feels that a certain word is


needed.

¾ Vocabulary for the first stage of ESL usually names certain things and
persons in the classroom.
¾ Although such vocabulary is essential, foreign words for familiar things
may not seem really necessary to students, especially when English is not used
outside their ESL class, because the words they already know in their mother
tongue satisfy any personal needs for communication.
¾ We can make the basic words in English necessary for communication. To
do so, we engage students in activities that require those English words for the
exchange of information or the expression of personal feelings.
¾ We can have simple communication experiences in the classroom if we
make time for them.
¾ In some classes, the students spend a great deal of time saying English
words without thinking (or caring) about the meanings. In such classes, time
would be better spent on meaningful use of the words.

Uberman (1998) explains that students need to practise regularly what they
have learned; otherwise, the material will fade away. Teachers can resort to many
techniques for vocabulary consolidation and revision. To begin with, a choice of
graphs and grids can be used. Students may give a definition of a given item to be
found by other students. Multiple choice and gap filling exercises will activate the
vocabulary while students select the appropriate response. Teachers can use lists of
synonyms or antonyms to be matched, sentences to be paraphrased, or just some
words or expressions in context to be substituted by synonymous expressions. Doing
cloze tests will show students’ understanding of a passage, its organization, and
determine the choice of lexical items. Visual aids can be of great help with revision.
Pictures, photographs, or drawings can facilitate the consolidation of individual
words as well as idioms, phrases and structures. Haycraft (1978:50) adds that there
are also a large variety of word games that are useful for practising and revising
42

vocabulary after it has been introduced. Numerous puzzles, word squares,


crosswords, etc. are useful especially for pair and group work

In order to explain how words are remembered, Thornbury (2002:23) says that
learning is remembering. Unlike the learning of grammar, which is essentially a rule-
based system, vocabulary knowledge is largely a question of accumulating individual
items. Researchers into the working of memory customarily distinguish between the
following systems: the short-term store, working memory and long-term memory.

The short-term store is the brain’s capacity to hold a limited number of items of
information for periods of time up to a few seconds. It is a kind of memory that a
word that is just heard. Focusing on words long enough to perform operations on
them is the function of working memory.

It is like a workbench, where information is first placed, studied and moved


about before being filed away for later retrieval long-term memory can be thought as
a kind of filling system. Unlike working memory, which has a limited capacity, and
no permanent content, long-term memory has an enormous capacity, and its contents
are durable over time.

Researchers into memory suggest that, in order to ensure that material moves
into permanent long-term memory, a number of principles need to be observed.
Thornbury (2002:25) summarises them as follows:
ƒ Repetition: It has been estimated that, when reading, words stand a good
chance of being remembered if they have been met at least seven times over
spaced intervals.
ƒ Spacing: It is better to distribute memory works across a period of time than
to mass it together in a single block. For example, it is better to present the
first two or three items, then go back and test these, then present some more,
then backtrack again, and so on.
43

ƒ Pacing: Learners have different learning styles, and process data at different
rates, this may require the teacher to allow time during vocabulary learning
for learners to do “memory-work” such as organising or reviewing their
vocabulary silently and individually.
ƒ Use: Putting words to use, preferably in some interesting ways, is the best
way of ensuring they are added to long-term memory. It is the principle
popularly known as Use it or lose it.
ƒ Cognitive depth: The more decisions the learner makes about a word, and the
more cognitively demanding these decisions are, the better the word is
remembered. For example, a relatively superficial judgement might be simply
to match it with a word that rhymes with it.
ƒ Personal organising: The judgement that learners make about a word are
most effective if they are personalised.
ƒ Imaging: Tests have shown that easily visualized words are more memorable
than words that do not immediately evoke a picture. This suggests that – even
with abstract words- it might help if learners associate them with some
mental image.
ƒ Motivation: The difference a strong motivation makes is that the learner is
likely to spend more time on rehearsal and practice, which in the end will pay
off in terms of memory.
ƒ Attention: Some degree of conscious attention is required to improve one’s
vocabulary. Words that trigger a strong emotional response are more easily
recalled than ones that do not.
ƒ Affective depth: Affective information is stored along with cognitive data, and
may play an equally important role on how words are stored and recalled. It
may also be important to make affective judgements.

2.4.3 Teaching Skills

As Harmer (1991:16) mentions, literate people who use language have a


number of different abilities. They will be able to speak on the telephone, write
44

letters, listen to the radio or read books. In other words they possess the four basic
language skills of speaking, writing, listening and reading.

Speaking and writing involve language production and are therefore often
referred to as productive skills. Listening and reading, on the other hand, involve
receiving messages and are therefore often referred to as receptive skills. Very often,
of course, language users employ a combination of skills at the same time. Speaking
and listening usually happen simultaneously, and people may well read and write at
the same time when they make notes or write something based on what they are
reading. Harmer (1991:17) summarizes the four major language skills in the
following figure:

Figure 1
The basic language skills

MEDIUM
SPEECH WRITTEN WORD

SKILL
RECEPTIVE Listening and Reading and
understanding understanding
PRODUCTIVE Speaking Writing

2.4.3.1. Receptive Skills


People read and listen to language because they have a desire to do so and a
purpose to achieve. Usually, too, they will have expectations about the content of the
text before they start. Readers or listeners employ a number of specialist skills when
reading or listening and their success at understanding the content of what they see or
hear depends to a large extent on their expertise in these specialist skills. Harmer
(1991:183) summarizes these skills such as in the following:
45

a) Predictive skills.
b) Extracting specific information
c) Getting the general picture
d) Extracting detailed information
e) Recognising function and discourse patterns
f) Deducing meaning from context

The job of the teacher is to train students in a number of skills they will need
for the understanding of reading and listening texts. Harmer (1991:188) divides these
skills into type 1 and type 2 skills. Type 1 skills are those operations that students
perform on a text when they tackle it for the first time. The first thing students are
asked to do with a text concerns its treatment as a whole. Thus students may be asked
to look at a text and extract specific information. They might read or listen to
perform a task, or they might be attempting to confirm expectations they have about
the text. It is suggested that such tasks form the basis for the first activities that
students are asked to perform when learning receptive skills. Type 2 skills are those
that are subsequently used when studying reading or listening material and they
involve detailed comprehension of the text; the study of vocabulary to develop
guessing strategies; the identification of discourse markers and construction and an
investigation into the speaker’s or writer’s opinion and attitude. Type 2 skills, then,
are generally concerned with a more detailed analysis of text and for this reason is
generally practised after type 1 skills have been worked on.

A basic methodological model for the teaching of receptive skills has five basic
stages, which are:
ƒ Lead – in: Here the students and the teacher prepare themselves for the task
and familiarise themselves with the topic of the reading or listening exercise.
One of the major reasons for this is to create expectations and arouse the
students’ interest in the subject matter of the spoken or written text.
ƒ T directs comprehension task: Here the teacher makes sure that the students
know that they are going to do. Are they going to answer questions, fill in a
46

chart, complete a message pad or try and re-tell what they heard/saw? This is
where the teacher explains and directs the students’ purpose for reading or
listening.
ƒ Ss listen/read for task: The students then read or listen to a text to perform the
task the teacher has set.
ƒ T directs feedback: When the students have performed the task the teacher
will help students to see if they have completed the task successfully and will
find out how well they have done. This may follow a stage in which students
check their answers with each other first.
ƒ T directs text-related task: the teacher will then probably organise some kind
of follow-up task related to the text. Thus if the students have answered
questions about a letter the text-related task might be to answer that letter.

2.4.3.1.1 Teaching Reading

Reading is central to the learning process. One of the most difficult tasks of a
language teacher, both in first and second language contexts, is to foster a positive
attitude toward reading. Unfortunately, due to time limits and other constraints,
teachers are often unable to actively encourage children to seek entertainment and
information in reading materials. There are basic principles behind the teaching of
reading:
• Reading is not a passive skill.
• Students need to be engaged with what they are reading.
• Students should be encouraged to respond to the content of a reading text, not
just to the language.
• Prediction is a major factor in reading.
• Reading texts should be integrated into the interesting class sequences; i.e.
using the topic of the text for discussion and further discussions.

There has been frequent discussion about what kinds of reading texts are
suitable for English language students. The greatest controversy has centred on
47

whether the texts should be authentic or not. A balance has to be struck between real
English on the one hand and the students’ capabilities and interest on the other.

McLaughlin (1987:59) indicated that of all the skills that the child must acquire
in school, reading is the most complex and difficult. Courses for children at
beginner/elementary levels usually concentrate on vocabulary and grammar teaching.
Texts are normally used as vehicles for the presentation of new language, whereas
systematic receptive skills development is reserved for intermediate levels. Teaching
materials may involve some comprehension tasks (usually questions), but this alone
hardly seems to constitute systematic skills development.

Texts can be used for the presentation of language items, but it is not helpful to
equate all text-based lessons with language work. (McDonough & Shaw, 1993). The
main objective of a receptive skills programme is not the teaching of more grammar
and vocabulary, but the development of the learner’s ability to understand /interpret
texts using their existing language knowledge. There is no doubt that receptive skills
development can be combined with language input in the same lesson, but the
procedures need to be staged in such a way so that the ‘language’ component does
not cancel out the ‘skills’ one. For example, explaining all unknown lexis before
learners read or listen to a text will cancel out training in inferring the meanings of
lexis in the text (Gabrielatos, 1995a). If learners think that the meaning is strictly in
the words, they may not see the need to utilize their background knowledge
(Brown&Yule, 1983; Carrell&Eisterhold, 1988). Experimental evidence indicates
that ‘children may not have radically different capacities from those of adults and in
some ways, when they have appropriate experience, their performance can be
superior’ (Sharnocks, 1991:268). An example is the ease with which some children
understand computer operation, which baffles quite a few adults. It seems more
effective than to examine the abilities of each learner individually. A matter of
central importance is that the learners’ limited language knowledge is not mistaken
for equally limited cognitive abilities (Eysank & Keane, 1990:362).
48

Many five to ten year olds are in the process of learning to read in their own
language. There are a number of different ways to approach the introduction of
reading in a foreign language. If there was one correct method for teaching all
children to read, then only one method would exist. This method favours an
approach, which concentrates on meaning from the beginning.

It should be borne in mind that this age grouping is vague, and children have
different characteristics. For example, five-to-seven-year-olds are likely to take
longer to learn to read in a foreign language than eight to ten year olds. Some
children starting school are not familiar with books or what they are used for. They
have to go through the process of doing reading-like activities first – ‘reading’ from
left to right, turning the pages at the right place, going back and reading the same
pages again. Picture books with and without text are invaluable at this stage. If pupils
have not learnt to read in their own language, many will not yet have understood
what a word is, or what the connection is between the spoken and the written word.
Sentence structure, paragraphing, grammar – none of this means anything to most
pupils at this stage. Decoding reading- making sense of what we see on the page – is
a very involved process, and adults make use of all sorts of clues on the written page
– punctuation, paragraphing, use of special words, references to things which have
happened, hints as to what can happen. What five to seven year olds have instead is
often a visual clue and this clue is vital to meaning. On the other hand, the majority
of eight to ten year olds will already be able to read a bit in their own language and
most seem to have little difficulty in transferring their reading skills to English. This
means that much less time can be spent on teaching the mechanics of reading, and
more concentrate on the content.

A simple definition of reading is that it is a process whereby one looks at and


understands what has been written. The key word here is ‘understands’- merely
reading aloud without understanding does not count as reading. This definition of
reading does not mean that a foreign learner needs to understand everything in a text.
Understanding is not an ‘all or nothing’ process, and from that it follows that reading
is not an ‘all or nothing’ process either. Reading can often be a struggle after
49

understanding, especially where language learners are concerned. Part of the


teacher’s job is therefore to develop within the learner strategies that will help him in
this struggle.

Although reading has been defined as a process whereby one looks at and
understands what has been written, the reader does not necessarily need to look at
everything in a given piece of writing. The reader is not simply a passive object, fed
with letters, words and sentences, but is actively working on the text, and is able to
arrive at understanding without look at every letter and word. Reading research
supports the view that the efficient reader generally reads in groups of words, not
word-by-word, far less letter-by-letter.

The role of reading in a general language-learning course is considerably


important. The reasons why teachers want learners to read in a foreign language are
listed below:
¾ Learners can have further practice of language that they have already met
through listening and speaking.
¾ Learners can practise language in order to re-use it in writing.
¾ Learners can learn how to make sense of texts, in order to extract the information
they need from them.
¾ Learners can find enjoyment through reading.

There are two approaches while teaching reading in a foreign language; reading
for language and reading through language.

Reading for language: Those who consider suggestions 1 and 2 as the most
important purposes in reading see it as one way of ‘stamping’ language into the
learner. Alexander (1967:viii) illustrates this view when he says:’the following order
of presentation must be taken as axiomatic.

Nothing should be spoken before it has been heard.

Nothing should be read before it has been spoken.


50

Nothing should be written before it has been read.

Speaking and writing are the most important of these skills, since to some
extent they presuppose the other two. This view is typical of the
structuralism/behaviourist approach to language teaching. Structuralism refers to the
way the language content is organised, progressing from simple to complex language
structures, and using carefully controlled vocabulary, where words are chosen
because they are common, or useful, or easy to teach. Behaviourist refers to the
method by which the selected language is taught, where the emphasis is on repetition
and drill. A crude model of the structuralist /behaviourist approach is the following:

presented in re-presented and practised in


practised in

listening
Selected
languagee speaking reading writing

The shortcomings of the strict structuralist /behaviourist approach as far as


reading is concerned are as follows:

1. There is little attention to reading as a skill in its own right that might need to be
developed in different ways for different purposes. Even at the lower levels of
language learning, extensive as well as intensive reading can be introduced, although
the rapid styles of reading may not be appropriate.

2. There is little use of the possibility what a learner can recognise (passive
knowledge) might be more than he can produce (active knowledge). This is
particularly important for reading, where context may help understanding even at the
lower levels.

3. Recycling is the same language through the four different skills does not alert
students to the stylistic differences between written and spoken language.

4. The structuralist/behaviourist approach does not encourage learners to help


themselves. The emphasis is on teaching rather than learning, and the learner is
51

spoon-fed with selected language, rather than given a chance to reflect upon it in his
own time and try to work things out for himself.

Despite these shortcomings, however, the general structuralist/behaviourist


principles of moving from the known to the unknown, and allowing opportunity for
practice make sound sense.

Reading through language: Two more suggestions for the role of reading were:
‘Learners can learn how to make sense of texts, in order to extract the information
they need from them’ and,‘Learners can find enjoyment through reading.’

The focus here is on reading for a purpose rather than reading for language.
These purposes – reading for information and reading for interest or pleasure – are in
fact similar to those of the fluent native-speaker reader. However, for the foreign
language learner, ignorance of the language can be an obstacle to understanding, no
matter how highly motivated a person may be. The learner should want to read,
whether it is for information, interest or enjoyment. The difficulty for the classroom
teacher is that all the students in a class may not have the same tastes. They might
not all want the information that the text offers, or they may seek interest and
enjoyment in different texts. In such cases, it is for the teacher to try to arouse
motivation through his handling of the text, so as to give learners a purpose in
reading. In short what is needed is either an interesting text or an interesting task.

Reading for a purpose, together with developing strategies for achieving these
purposes, has come to be associated with the ‘communicative’ approach to reading
(White 1981:87). Rather than seeing reading as a matter of ‘stamping in’ selected
pieces of language, the communicative approach sees language learning as a
development in the learner’s language ability, which occurs as the learner carries out
relevant tasks. The stress is on ‘growth’ on the part of the learner, rather than
‘building’ on the part of the teacher. The model for this situation may be represented
as follows:
52

Figure 2
Reading Through Language

learner achievement of Results in development in


purposes through using learner’s language
language (speaking / system and strategies
Enables further
listening /reading / for using system
writing)

None of the skills is necessarily seen as the most important. The aim is that
they should all feed into the learner’s development. When dealing with children at
beginner stage, for example, an important preliminary aim is to establish a positive
attitude to reading. One would therefore select texts that appeal to them and are
within their knowledge of language. This lays the basis for reading with
comprehension, and the other objectives can be left aside for time being.

At secondary school level and above, however, learners should be intellectually


mature enough to begin working towards all four objectives (comprehension,
flexibility, learning language and content, and critical awareness). A very effective
way of working towards the aims and increasing the learners’ knowledge of language
is by using themes or topics as the basic unit for the organisation of the programme.

Whichever approach is preferred – whether reading for language or reading


through language – there are some important points for the teacher to bear in mind.
First the reading material should not contain a large amount of language that is too
difficult for most of the class. If the text is too difficult, then either the pace of the
lesson will be slow, and boredom will set in, or the pace will be too fast, the learners
will not understand enough, and frustration will result.

For a text to be easy to read it does not have to be an artificial text constructed
along structuralist principles. Advertisements and instructions taken from ‘real life’
often involve quite simple language. Furthermore, it is very important to bear in
mind that reading for a purpose does not necessarily have to be carried out with texts
53

taken directly from ‘real life’. Purposeful reading can occur with specially prepared
texts that ‘imitate’ real life counterparts, but with simpler language. It is also worth
remembering that how difficult or easy a text is – its ‘readability’ – depends not only
on the language of the text itself, but what sort of knowledge the learners bring to the
text and how keen they are to read it.

Objectives in Reading: The ultimate objectives in reading for the learner are
that he should be able:
ƒ to read texts of a general nature with comprehension
ƒ to read flexibly according to purpose
ƒ to learn language and content from reading
ƒ to read with some degree of critical awareness.
Of course, these objectives will not be appropriate for all situations. They will
vary according to the learners (their ages, interests, and what they have already
learned), the availability of teaching materials. Nevertheless, these are reasonable
aims for a general language course to work towards. The aims overlap, but can serve
as useful reference points for the teacher who is devising a programme, whatever the
level may be.

ƒ To read texts of a general nature with comprehension


This means that the reader is able to identify the text’s purpose or function, as
well as the main topic is developed through different paragraphs. He should also be
able to interpret sentences. Inevitably there will be language problems from time to
time, so the learner will have to develop techniques for handling vocabulary, and also
learn to tolerate uncertainty. Of course not all texts will need to be read for full
comprehension, but the learner should be able to do so as effectively as possible
when the need arises.

ƒ To read flexibly according to purpose


The learner should be able to skim, scan, read intensively and read extensively
according to his reasons. Variety of text type is important if flexible reading styles
54

are to be developed. Many current course books do in fact have a variety of text type
and using supplementary materials can provide further variety.

ƒ To learn language and content from reading


A great deal of new language is met through reading. Guessing from context is
one way of learning vocabulary. Use of a dictionary, preferably English to English, is
another. However, it is worth remembering that there is a difference between
recognising or guessing a word in context, and learning it. Being able to learn
content from reading means that the learner is able to pick out the relevant
information, evaluate arguments and evidence, and distinguish between main points
and details.

ƒ To read with some degree of critical awareness


This means that the reader should be able to stand back and consider the text
objectively. He should be able to see what the writer is trying to do, and how he is
trying to do it.

Most researchers are convinced that reading is a multifaceted process that goes
beyond the description of any single facet (e.g., Duran, 1987; McLaughlin, 1987b;
Rumelhart, 1977; Schank, 1982; Swaffar, 1988; Weaver, 1980).” Of all the skills that
the child must acquire in school, reading is the most complex and difficult. The child
who accurately and efficiently translates a string of printed letters into meaningful
communication may appear to be accomplishing that task with little mental effort. In
fact, however, the child is engaging in complex interactive processes that are
dependent on multiple sub-skills and enormous amount of coded
information”(McLaughlin, 1987b, p.59). There are various facets, which go into the
reading process. Swaffar (1988) suggested that reading comprehension results from
interactive variables that operate simultaneously rather than sequentially although it
was viewed in the past as either top-down or bottom-up process.
55

All these facets combine together to produce the activity that we call reading.
The followings are some of the various facets that are seen to play a role in the
reading process.

Reading and decoding: English spelling is difficult. Children need to learn


how to recognize sounds and letters. It is better not to teach the names of letters when
starting to teach reading, as of course some of the letters of the English alphabet no
longer match the actual sounds of the language. When you use phonics, you are
teaching the way the letter sounds, not the name of the letter.

Young learners
¾ can learn obvious letter patterns that help with sound recognition and help
them predict words, for example, shop, jam, etc. Visual clues make words and
phrases easier to remember.
¾ will not need to know the formal names of the letters until they start to write
and spell.

The thought is that once learners are able to sound out the letters, they will be
able to read the words, and then, once they are able to read the words, they will be
able to make meaning of the text. This is an example of a “bottom-up” strategy,
whereby it is assumed that understanding the individual sounds will eventually lead
to the understanding of the text.

Although no one would argue that phonetic interpretation of the written symbol
is not part of reading, there are not too many people who believe that it constitutes
the whole, or even the most important part of the reading process. Along these lines,
McLaughlin (1987b) examines reading from the point of view of information
processing. The sequential implications of the phonics approach are clear in terms of
the learning of the sound-symbol correspondences as skills “built up via controlled
processes” which “gradually, through practice, become automatic. In reading the
assumption is that learners acquire sound-symbol correspondences; then, once
decoding skills have been mastered, direct controlled attention to derive meaning
56

from text” McLaughlin proposes that “the more the reader has automatized the
mechanical decoding skills, the more attention is freed up to grasp the overall
meaning of a phrase or sentence”. If this is true, it would mean that as automaticity in
decoding develops, the learner would also improve in terms of comprehension, since
there would be more “freed-up” processing capacity for comprehension as decoding
skills become automatic.

The correct pronunciation and sounding out the word should always be done
aloud and always follow a model from the teacher or the tape when the language is
first being presented.

Reading and prediction: One characteristic of good readers that has been
noted in the literature on reading is that they are able to make predictions about the
text they are reading while they are reading it (Cohen & Hosenfeld, 1981; Goodman,
1967). In fact, second language learners are not able to predict at all in their
beginning stage of reading with much accuracy, since their experience with the
language, in terms of both syntax and semantics, is so limited. This seems to be
particularly true for children who not only are learning a second language but also
are learning to read at the same time. As learners become more proficient in the
second language, they seem much more skilled at making guesses using the semantic
system.

In short, although it is recognized that “good readers” constantly make


predictions about what they are reading while they are reading, and that these
predictions are based on semantic, syntactic, and punctuation cues, the same
behaviour is not easily accessible for ESL readers, especially in the beginning stages
of reading.

Children sometimes put off reading because they are faced with words that they
do not understand and assume, often wrongly so, that these words are obstacles to
their overall understanding of the text. Goodman (1967) proposes some suggestions
for teachers to deal with this problem.
57

• Choose a text from your course book or other course book in the same level.
• Tell the students to read it quietly and underline the words they do not
understand.
• Tell them to read the text again and see how many of the words that they
originally underlined they can now understand.
• Tell them to work with a partner and try to help each other to work out the
meaning. They should look for clues to help them, e.g.
If there is a picture, can they find a clue in it?
Do they know if the word is a verb, a noun or an adjective?
Does the word sound as if it should be something good or bad according to
the context?
Can they think of another word, which would fit the context? Try it out. If it
doesn’t fit, try again.

Reading and schemata: Schemata are the fundamental elements upon which
all information processing depends, and in this sense Rumelhart (1977) calls them
the “building blocks of cognition”. As such, they are used in the process of
“interpreting sensory data, in retrieving information from memory, in organizing, in
determining goals and sub-goals, in allocating resources, and generally, in guiding
the flow of processing in the system”. Schemata are units of knowledge that
represent our beliefs about objects, situations, events, sequences of events, actions
and sequences of actions.

In terms of reading instruction, the idea of schemata has an important role to


play. Weaver (1980) and Mason and Au (1986) speak about the meaning that the
reader brings to the text in order to get meaning from the text. As we sit down to
read, we have a background of experiences that has given us a repertoire of
scripts/schemata through which we understand our world. We interpret the text we
read in the light of these knowledge structures.
58

With respect to teaching children to read, schemata play an obvious role. It is


not only because children are faced with possibly new schemata every time they
approach a text, but also because they need to develop a schema for what reading is
in the first place. This is to say that children do not always understand what it means
to read, let alone what it is that they are reading. They are sometimes led to think that
it is “sounding out letters,” or filling in phonics worksheets, but the real connection
between the spoken word and the written word often eludes them. The first job for
the teacher is, of course, to try to help their students develop a script that lets them in
on the nature of reading as the interpretation of the word.

In summary, the child learning to read needs to understand, first, that print is
meaningful and second, that reading may require developing or changing or
discovering new knowledge of structures. People involved in teaching children to
read may need to spend a great deal of time helping them understand these two
things; and talk about text, especially talk that allows the child to explore the
meaning of the text and how the meaning can be discovered within the text itself, is
essential. Children will need help with decoding and semantic and/or syntactic
prediction, but even more importantly, they will need time spent on interaction about
what it is they are reading.

When choosing materials or themes to use, it is important that to find ones that
are appropriate for the students based on their language proficiency and what is of
interest to them. Because young learners, especially very young learners are just
beginning to learn content and stories in their native language in school and are still
developing cognitively, they may have limited knowledge and experience in the
world. This means that the contexts that are used when teaching English, which may
be a completely new and foreign language, should be contexts that are familiar to
them. Use of stories and contexts that they have experience with in their L1 could
help these young learners connect a completely new language with the background
knowledge they already have. Teachers could take a favourite story in the L1 and
translate it into English for students or even teach the language based on situations
59

that are found in the native country, especially if the materials the teachers have
depict English-speaking environments that are unfamiliar to students.

2.4.3.1.2 Teaching Listening

Listening is an important skill for the person who is learning English because in
verbal communication we cannot communicate with each other without listening to
the speaker’s utterances and understanding them. However, listening is a very
demanding and challenging skill for the learners to master. Many students often
encounter trouble in listening to foreign people even though they are doing well in
the English classroom. According to Rubin (1995:8), “For second/foreign language
learners, listening is the skill that makes the heaviest processing demands because
learners must store information in short term memory at the same time as they are
working to understand the information”. Furthermore, as she explains, “Whereas in
reading learners can go over the text at leisure, they generally don’t have the
opportunity to do so in listening”.

As Broughton and et al (1988:65) claim, it appears that listening is a passive


skill, and speaking is an active one. This is not really true, since the decoding of a
message (i.e. listening) calls for active participation in the communication between
the participants. Krashen (1981) has claimed that comprehension plays a central –
and possibly predominant part - in the whole process of language learning. Current
approaches to the role of listening comprehension have their roots in the observation
of two essential features of L1 acquisition. First, young children are typically
allowed a ‘silent period’ in the early part of their lives, during which they are not
expected to attempt to produce adult-like language in response to input addressed to
them. Second, even after they have begun to attempt linguistic production, children
clearly understand more than they can say (Anderson, 1988:33).

According to Nihei (2002:7) listening is an active process for constructing


meaning in which two kinds of processes are involved in simultaneously: bottom-up
and top-down processing. Richards (1990:50-51) explains these two as follows:
60

Bottom-up processing: Bottom-up processing ... refers to the use of incoming


data as a source of information about the meaning of a message. From this
perspective, the process of comprehension begins with the message received, which
is analysed at successive levels of organization – sounds, words, clauses, and
sentences – until the intended meaning is arrived at. Comprehension is thus viewed
as a process of decoding.

Top-down processing: Top-down processing refers to the use of background


knowledge in understanding the meaning of a message. Background knowledge may
take several forms. It may be previous knowledge about the topic discourse, it may
be situational or contextual knowledge, or it may be knowledge stored in long-term
memory in the form of “schemata” and “script” – plans about the overall structure of
events and the relationships between them.

Peterson (2001:88) defines top-down processing as the higher level process


driven by listeners’ expectations and understandings of the context, the topic, the
nature of text, and the nature of the world. On the other hand, he defines bottom-up
processing as the lower level process triggered by the sounds, words, and phrases
which the listener hears as he or she attempts to decode speech and assign meaning.

In listening comprehension, these two, top-down and bottom-up processing, are


correlated in a complex relationship and both are used to construct meaning. To
construct the meaning, listeners are not passively listening to speakers or information
but are actively reconstructing the speakers’ intended meaning and getting
meaningful information by decoding the sounds, words, and phrases. As (Buck: 118)
explains, to arrive at an understanding of the message, listeners must understand the
phonetic input, vocabulary, and syntax (bottom-up processing). They must also use
the context of situation, general knowledge, and past experiences (top-down
processing). According to O’Malley et al. (1989:434), “In general, the effective
listeners make use of both top-down and bottom-up processing strategies, while
61

ineffective listeners become embedded in determining the meaning of individual


words”.

In listening comprehension both bottom-up and top-down processing are used


to arrive at an understanding of the utterances. If either of them is lacking, we cannot
arrive at an exact understanding. For example, if students cannot perceive three or
four words out of five words of one speaker’s utterance (bottom-up processing), they
cannot make guesses or inferences, using their own background knowledge (top-
down processing).

Schemata, or scripts, are closely related to top-down processing in listening


comprehension. O’Malley, Chamot, and Kupper (1989) claim that “listening
comprehension is an active and conscious process in which the listener constitutes
meaning by using cues from contextual information and from existing knowledge”.
As Brown (2001:58) claims that background information (schemata) is an important
factor in listening. Also, Long (1989:33) states that when applied to the process of
comprehending a foreign language, the advantage of activating learners’ scripts in an
appropriate situation is obvious”. Specifically, in a situation where learners must use
a foreign language, if they cannot activate schemata suitable for the situation, they
have difficulty (Nunan, 1999:201). Moreover, Nunan asserts that “without these
schemata, nothing in life would be predictable, and if nothing were predictable, it
would be impossible to function”. In other words, since foreign language learners
don’t have enough linguistic knowledge, they have to predict meaning by activating
schemata, thereby compensating for what they cannot decode in speech. As Dunkel
(1986:103) reports, “Effective communication depends on whether the listener and
speaker share a common ‘semantic field’”. In short, without common schemata or
scripts between the speaker and listener, effective communication will not occur.
Students have to activate schemata to “build this bridge between the ‘new’ that they
are hearing and that which they already know” (Mendelsohn, 1994:55). Therefore,
teachers should “provide listeners with the background information needed to
understand the message before asking students to listen to a segment of discourse”
(Dunkel, 1986:101), thereby activating schemata.
62

How can teachers activate students’ schemata? Different researchers give


different examples. Oxford (1993:210) introduces the following suggestions:

• Pre-listening tasks (e.g. discussing the topic, brainstorming, presenting


vocabulary, sharing related articles) must be used to stimulate the appropriate
background knowledge and help learners identify the purpose of the listening
activity.

• Nihei (2002:19) mentions “In real life, after listening, we never finish verbal
communication without doing something. Listening, speaking, reading, and
writing are interrelated and interdependent. In the light of this point,
appropriate classroom activities should be considered. That is, listening must
be integrated with speaking, reading, and writing. As Mendelsohn (1994:57)
mentions, post-listening activity is a good opportunities to integrate the
listening with work in other skills, for example, by having students do a piece
of writing or oral reporting on what they have been listening to”.

• It is also important to inform learners about the various purposes for listening.
As mentioned earlier, in real-life listening situations, people usually have an
aim for listening beyond understanding what is being heard, such as finding
out something; so, they expect to hear something relevant to their aims.
Therefore, learners should be informed about what they are going to listen to.
Such information, which is provided before instructional listening activities,
helps learners activate relevant schemata and enhance participation (Ur,
1996). Setting a task before listening may also create a purpose that is similar
to real-life aims.

The purpose of language learning is that the learners can come to make use of
the target language in the real world, not just in the classroom. However, if the
learners are accustomed to artificial materials, they cannot fulfill this purpose. As
63

Herron and Seay (1991) claim, “Teachers are urged to exploit more authentic text in
all levels of foreign language instruction in order to involve students in activities that
mirror ‘real life’ listening contexts. Moreover, as H. D. Brown (2001) explains,
“Authentic language and real-world tasks enable students to see the relevance of
classroom activity to their long term communicative goals”. Namely, authentic
materials facilitate students to become involved in the classroom activity.
Furthermore, listening to authentic texts gives learners useful practice to grasp the
information needed without necessarily understanding every word or structure
(Herron and Seay, 1991).

Field (2002) claims authentic materials can and should be used even with
beginner learners. However, it is important to create a good balance between
authentic and pedagogically prepared listening materials because learners can only
learn what is comprehensible to them, not what is incomprehensible to them
(Ridgway, 2000). Using authentic materials does not necessarily mean using real life
listening texts in the classroom. Teachers should adapt authentic texts in terms of
cognitive load and task demand instead of just simplifying the language of the text
(Field, 2002). Adapting texts might be as easy as not having students to respond to
the all of physical task demands, such as listening and marking places on a map.
Teachers of English as a foreign language should consider all of the characteristics of
real-life speech and provide their students with exercises representing as many of its
features as possible.

It’s quite clear that listening is the skill that children acquire first, especially if
they have not yet learned to read. When the pupils start to learn a foreign language, it
is going in mainly through their ears and what the pupils hear is their main source of
the language. Young learners have a very short attention span. This is something,
which increases with age for most pupils. The eight to ten year olds can sit still and
listen for longer periods. But it’s important not to overload children when they are
working on listening tasks (Scott, 1991:22).
64

‘Listen and Do’ activities: The most obvious ‘listen and do’ activity, which
we can and should make use of from the moment we start the English lessons, is
giving genuine instructions. Most classroom language is a type of ‘listen and do’
activity.

• Listen and physically respond


• Listen and draw
• Listen and color
• Listen and manipulate objects or other people
• Look, listen and verbally respond
• Listen and speak (pair or group work: information gap)
• Listen and write
• Listen and fill in the grids or blanks
• Listen and predict
• Listen for the gist
• Listen for specific information

‘Listen and Repeat’ activities: ‘Listen and repeat’ exercises are great fun and
give the pupils the chance to get a feel for the language: the sounds, the stress and the
rhythm and the intonation. When done in combination with movements or with
objects or pictures, this type of activity also helps to establish the link between words
and meaning.

¾ All children love rhymes and like to repeat them again and again.
Rhymes are repetitive, they have natural rhythm and they have an
element of fun, of playing with the language. Children play with
language in their mother tongue, so this is a familiar part of their world,
and it has an important part to play in their learning process
¾ Most second language teachers are aware of the advantages of using
songs in the elementary ESL classroom. The songs are viewed as texts
and the method of working is the same as that commonly used when
65

working with any other type of text in an ESL classroom. There are
several game-like language activities that can be connected to songs,
activities that encourage the use of the various language skills:
speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Some activities may be used to
prepare students for a new song, may follow a song or may take place
while the children are singing the song. Such activities are intended to
aid in language learning and practice.

¾ The most obvious ‘listen and repeat’ exercises are the ones where the
teacher or one of the pupils says something and the others repeat what
has been said – it may be a drill, it may be words with special sounds, it
may be a short dialogue using puppets or toy figures, or it may be a
message to give to someone else.

Listening to stories: Listening to stories should be part of growing up for


every child. Time and time again educationalists and psychologists have shown that
stories have a vital role to play in the child’s development, and, not least, in the
development of language.

Children get the maximum benefit out of listening to stories in English by the
creation of a friendly and secure atmosphere. Listening to stories allows children to
form their inner pictures. They have no problems with animals and objects, which
talk – they can identify with them, and the stories can help them to come to terms
with their own feelings. Also, the structure of stories helps children when they come
to telling and writing their own stories.

Teachers can use stories to give children more practice at listening as well as to
stimulate their imagination and creativity. In the following there are some examples
of using story-telling to practice listening skill:
‘Listen and do’ – the children act like a character in a story.
‘Listen and perform’ – they act out a story.
66

‘Listen and identify’ – they point to the picture in a story.


‘Listen and respond’ – they listen and clap when the teacher makes a
deliberate mistake in the story, for example, Once upon a time there was a
little girl called Blue Riding Hood ...

Dramatization and role-play:


• Skits
• Transcribed conversations
• Role playing
• Puppets

Pictures and realia:


• Look and find the differences between two similar pictures
• Look and find what is wrong in the picture
• Look and answer questions
• Put the pictures into their correct order
• Look and describe
• Look and tell a story
• Look and name the objects
• Look and predict

Graphics:
• Compare/contrast/give information/ask for information/ fill in/make/ write
about/ talk about
a) Charts and tables
b) Schedules
c) Graphs

Text-based exercises and activities:


• Text replication (dictation and dicto-comp)
67

• Text completion
• Text manipulation and imitation
• Text elicitation
• Grammaticality judgments
• Text editing and grammar correction and feedback

2.4.3.2 Productive Skills

Communication between humans is an extremely complex and ever-changing


phenomenon. Whenever communication takes place, of course, there is a speaker
(and/or writer) and a listener (and/or reader). In conversation and, for example, the
exchange of letters, the speaker or writer quickly becomes a listener or reader as the
communication progresses. Harmer (1991:47) summarises some generalisations
about the nature of communication in the following figure:
Figure 3
The Nature of Communication

wants to say something


SPEAKER/WRITER has a communicative purpose
selects from language store

wants to listen to something


LISTENER/READER
interested in communicative purpose
processes a variety of language

Harmer (1991:49) points out that whatever activity the students are involved in
if it is to be genuinely communicative and if it is really promoting language use, the
students should have a desire to communicate. If they do not want to be involved in
communication then that communication will probably not be effective. The students
should have some kind of communicative purpose: in other words they should be
using language in some way to achieve an objective, and this objective (or purpose)
should be the most important part of the communication. If students do have a
purpose of this kind then their attention should be centred on the content of what is
being said or written and not the language form that is being used. The students,
however, will have to deal with a variety of language (either receptively or
68

productively) rather than just one grammatical construction. While the students are
engaged in the communicative activity the teacher should not insist on accuracy and
ask for repetition, etc.unless there is a communication breakdown. This would
undermine the communicative purpose of the activity. Also teacher should not have
control on material choice. Often students work with materials, which force the use
of certain language, or at least restrict the students’ choice of what to say and how to
say it. Restricting the students’ options for the materials is denying the language
variety, which is important for genuine communication.

Thus for non-communicative activities there will be no desire to communicate


on the part of the students and they will have no communicative purpose. In other
words, where students are involved in a drill or in repetition, they will be motivated
not by a desire to reach a communicative objective, but by the need to reach the
objective of accuracy. The emphasis is on the form of the language, not its content.
Often only one language item will be the focus of attention and the teacher will often
intervene to correct mistakes, nominate students, and generally ensure accuracy. And
of course the materials will be specially designed to focus on a restricted amount of
language.

Harmer (1991:50) makes a comparison between communicative and non-


communicative activities with the following figure:

Figure 4
The Communication Continuum

NON-COMMUNICATIVE COMMUNICATIVE
ACTIVITIES ACTIVITIES

ƒ no comunicative desire ƒ a desire to communicate


ƒ no communicative purpose ƒ a communicative purpose
ƒ form not content ƒ content not form
ƒ one language item ƒ variety of language
ƒ teacher intervention ƒ no teacher intervention
ƒ materials control ƒ no materials control
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Based on this communication continuum, working on the productive skills is


divided into three major stages, introducing new language, practice, and
communicative activities.

The introduction of new language is frequently an activity that falls at the ‘non-
communicative’ end of the continuum. Often, here, the teacher will work with
controlled techniques, asking students to repeat and perform in drills. At the same
time teacher insists on accuracy, correcting where students make mistakes. Although
these introduction stages should be kept short, and the drilling abandoned as soon as
possible, they are nevertheless important in helping the students to assimilate facts
about new language and in enabling them to produce the new language for the first
time.

Practice activities are those which take place somewhere between the two
extremes of the continuum. While students performing them may have a
communicative purpose, and while they may be working in pairs, there may also be
lack of language variety, and the materials may determine what the students do or
say. During practice stages the teacher may intervene slightly to help guide and to
point out inaccuracy. Practice activities then, often have some features of both non-
communicative and communicative activities.

Communicative activities are those, which exhibit the characteristics at the


communicative end of the continuum. Students are somehow involved in activities
that give them both the desire to communicate and a purpose, which involves them in
a varied use of language. Such activities are vital in a language classroom since here
the students can do their best to use the language as individuals arriving at a degree
of language autonomy.

2.4.3.2.1 Teaching Writing

As Cameron (2002:129) states, since children about 7 – 9 years old, who have
only recently started elementary school are good at learning to write in their mother
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tongue, it is necessary to explain and perhaps justify why we should want to teach
them to write in another language at this stage, apart from just giving them a few
routine copying exercises. There are many good reasons for teaching writing at this
stage. Some of these apply to learners of all ages. A number, however, are peculiar to
children. Cameron (2002:129) states these reasons as:
ƒ Children usually enjoy writing. This is partly because they have only just
started to write in their mother tongue. Even activities like copying still have
a certain novelty value.
ƒ Most children expect to be taught to write. This is one of the things you have
to do when you go to school and they see it as part of learning a language.
ƒ Children, like older students need a break from oral work. They enjoy talking,
of course, but they soon get tired, even if you keep changing the activities.
Writing activities provide a very important quiet period for them in the
lesson, after which they usually return to oral work refreshed and less
restless.
ƒ Writing gives children an opportunity to work at their own pace, which is
very relaxing for them.
ƒ Writing activities provide an opportunity for personal contact. This is very
important for learners of this age, who are still getting used to the classroom
environment. When they are writing, teacher can go and work with them
individually, sort out difficulties and encourage them. This is sometimes
more important than the writing itself.
ƒ Children need the extra language contact that writing can provide, especially
through some sort of homework activity. This is essential if there is a long
gap between one lesson and the next.
ƒ Children need something to show their parents. Parents are usually pleased
when they hear their children utter a few words in a foreign language but they
are usually more convinced that they are making progress if they have
tangible evidence in the form of written work. They usually expect
homework to be in the form of writing too.
Even if there are difficulties in writing in the foreign language, it is still a
useful, essential, integral and enjoyable part of the foreign language lesson. It adds
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another physical dimension to the learning process; that is to say, hands are added to
eyes and ears. Writing activities help to consolidate learning in the other skill areas.
Balanced activities train the language and help aid memory. Practice in speaking
freely helps when doing free writing activities. Reading helps pupils to see the ‘rules’
of writing, and helps build up their language choices. Also writing lets pupils express
their personalities. Even guided activities can include choices for the pupils.
Particularly as pupils progress in the language, writing activities allow for conscious
development of language. When we speak, we don’t always need to use a large
vocabulary because our meaning is often conveyed with the help of the situation.
Lots of structures in the language appear more frequently in writing, and, perhaps
most important of all, when we write we have time to go back and think about what
we have written. Writing is valuable in itself. There is a special feeling about seeing
your work in print. (House 1997:69).

In the early stages of a language course the principal factor which affects both
the quantity and the kind of writing that can be done is the small amount of language
that the learners have at their disposal – language which to a large extent they have
required orally and to a lesser degree through reading. (Byrne, 1988:31) Two things
should be kept in mind while teaching pupils writing in English. First, writing must
not impair oral fluency. There is no reason why this should happen provided the
pupils get plenty of opportunities for hearing and using English and if writing is
treated as an extension of oral work. Secondly, we should not try to teach aspects of
the written language which learners at this age cannot be expected to understand and
cope with. For example, they are too young to do sentence linking activities and the
kinds of texts they write are more likely to be imaginative than coherent. Cameron
(2002:130) proposed some guidelines for teaching writing to children:
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Give the pupils plenty of opportunities for copying.


This will help them feel at ease with the written language and should also
provide them with records of things they may need, e.g. lists of words, copies of
songs, poems and dialogues.
Give the pupils adequate opportunities to use orally learned language in
writing.
In short, they will need a fair amount of controlled practice, particularly to
reinforce key structures and vocabulary.
Provide activities which the pupils can do at their own speed.
Some pupils finish an activity very quickly. Teacher should be prepared to
extend the activity or have an extra activity ready. Slower pupils should as far as
possible always be given the opportunity to finish an activity in some form.
Work with the pupils wherever possible.
Writing activities provide a break for the pupils. Some pupils actually need
teacher’s help. With all of them writing will provide an opportunity to get to know
them a little better personally.
Make sure that the pupils begin to see writing as a means of communication.
This can be done mainly by getting the pupils to write to one another activity
the learners particularly enjoy at this age.
Encourage the pupils to be creative.
This should balance controlled and language-focused activies. At this stage
they have plenty of imagination and they should be encouraged to use it.

There is no answer to the question of how to teach writing in ESL classes.


There are as many answers as there are teachers and teaching styles. The following
diagram (Raimes, 1983:6) shows what writers have to deal with as they produce a
piece of writing:
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Figure 5
Producing a Piece of Writing

CONTENT THE WRITER’S


SYNTAX Relevance, clarity, PROCESS
Sentence structure, originality, logic,etc. getting ideas,
sentence boundaries, getting started,
stylistic choices,etc. writing drafts,
revising.

GRAMMAR
Rules for verbs,
agreement,
articles, pronouns, Clear, fluent and
etc. effective AUDIENCE
communication of The reader/s
MECHANICS ideas
Handwriting,
spelling,
punctuation, etc. PURPOSE
The reason for
writing
ORGANIZATION
paragraphs, topic WORD CHOICE
and support, Vocabulary,
cohesion and unity idiom, tone

The Controlled-to-free approach: In the 1950s and early 1960s, the audio-
lingual approach dominated second-language learning. Speech was primary and
writing served to reinforce speech in that it is stressed mastery of grammatical and
syntactic forms. ESL teachers developed techniques to move students towards this
mastery. The controlled-to-free approach in writing is sequential: Students are first
given sentence exercises, then paragraphs to copy or manipulate grammatically by,
for instance, changing questions to statements, present to past, or plural to singular.
They might also change words or clauses or combine sentences. They work on given
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material and perform strictly prescribed operations on it. With these controlled
compositions, it is relatively easy for students to write a great deal yet avoid errors.
Because the students have a limited opportunity to make mistakes, the teacher’s jobs
of marking papers is quick and easy. Only after reaching a high intermediate or
advanced level of proficiency students are allowed to try some free compositions, in
which they express their own ideas. This approach stresses three features of the
diagram above: grammar, syntax, and mechanics. It emphasizes accuracy rather than
fluency.

The Free-writing approach: Some teachers and researchers have stressed


quantity of writing rather than quality. They have, that is, approached the teaching of
writing by assigning vast amounts of free writing on given topics, with only minimal
correction of error. The emphasis in this approach is that intermediate-level students
should put content and fluency first and not worry about form. Once ideas are down
on the page, grammatical accuracy, organization, and the rest will gradually follow.

The Paragraph-pattern approach: Instead of accuracy of grammar or fluency


of content, the paragraph-pattern approach stresses the feature of organization.
Students copy paragraphs, analyse the form of model paragraphs, and imitate model
passages. A great deal of writing that goes on in ESL lessons, especially in an
elementary-level class, is sentence writing. Students repeat or complete given
sentences to reinforce the structure, grammar, and vocabulary they have learned.
They work with pattern sentences, performing substitutions or transformations
(Raimes, 1983). They put scrambled sentences into paragraph order, they identify
general and specific statements, they choose or invent an appropriate topic sentence,
they insert or delete sentences. This approach is based on the principle that in
different cultures people construct and organize their communication with each other
in different ways. So even if students organize their ideas well in their first language,
they still need to see, analyse, and practice the particularly “English” features of a
piece of writing.
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The Communicative approach: Byrne (1988:23) indicated that in recent years


classroom methodology has been heavily influenced by the communicative
approach, with its emphasis on task-oriented activities that involve, where possible,
the exchange of information and the free use language without considering mistakes.

The communicative approach stresses the purpose of a piece of writing and the
audience for it. Traditionally, the teacher alone has been the audience for student
writing. But some feel that writers do their best when writing is truly a
communicative act, with a writer writing for a real reader. Teachers using the
communicative approach, therefore, have extended the readership. They extend it to
other students in the class, who not only read the piece but actually do something
with it, such as respond, rewrite in another form, summarize, or make comments-but
not correct. Or the teachers specify readers outside the classroom, thus providing
student writers with a context in which to select appropriate content, language, and
levels of formality. “Describe your room at home” is not merely an exercise in the
use of the present tense and in prepositions.

Writing Activities: These have been divided into three groups – controlled
writing activities, guided writing activities, and creative writing (free) activities – but
there is inevitably some overlap between these groups.

2.4.3.2.1.1 Controlled Writing Activities

Writing activities, like oral activities, go from being tightly controlled to being
completely free. Guided activities should be done with beginners, however very
simple free activities should not be excluded. In general, controlled and guided
activities are being done to practise the language and concentration is on the
language itself. Free activities should allow for self-expression at however low a
level, and content is what matters most.

Copying: Copying is a fairly obvious starting point for writing. It is an activity


that gives the teacher the chance to reinforce language that has been presented orally
76

or through riding. It is a good idea to ask pupils to read aloud quietly to them when
they are copying the words because this helps them to see the connection between
the written and the spoken word. The sound-symbol combination is quite
complicated in English. For children who find even straight copying difficult, you
can start them off by tracing words. Even though they may not understand what they
are writing, they will still end up with a piece of written work, and this in itself will
give valuable encouragement and satisfaction. Straight copying can be varied

Joining up dots to form words: This very basic activity can be useful in the
early stages, partly to give the pupils practice in forming the letters. More than that,
however, it gives the pupils the illusion that they are producing the words for
themselves. It is of course an activity they are familiar with through puzzle books
that contain hidden objects in pictures.

Finding the word that is different: The pupils are given sets of 4-5 words like
those in the diagram and are asked to find and write out the word that is different.
This combines reading with writing. Children enjoy the problem-solving aspect of
this activity.

Labelling items: For this the pupils use words listed for them in a box to
identify and label, for example, individual objects, people in a group, objects in a
scene, etc.

Completing crossword puzzles: The pupils use or select words from a list to
complete simple crossword puzzles like these. The puzzles can be more extensive as
the pupils progress.

Finding words: The pupils have to find and write out the words that have been
hidden in boxes like the one below. The words may belong to a set (e.g. animals,
clothes, etc.) and at a later stage may form a sentence, such as an instruction. The
pupils can also make their own wordboxes, working individually or in groups, using
words, which they have been given.
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Filling in speech bubbles: The pupils have to fill in speech bubbles by


matching the sentences with the situation. The activity is more interesting if the
pictures form a sequence.

Forming dialogues or stories from jumbled sentences: This makes a good


pairwork or group activity and can be based on something the pupils have already
heard.

Playing word bingo: This is a key activity for learners at this level because
vocabulary sets need to be kept fresh in their minds through constant revision. It
helps with pronunciation as well as spelling because the pupils can tell you which
words to write on the board and then hear you read them out.

Making copies of songs: The pupils make their own copies of dialogues; songs
and poems in a book set aside for this purpose and provide their own illustrations.
This is a very important activity as most pupils exhibit a good deal of imagination
when illustrating material of this kind.

Making lists: The pupils may be asked to compile lists of:


ƒ Things they would like to eat,
ƒ Countries they would like to visit,
ƒ Animals they would like to see
ƒ They can then compare their choices with a friend.

Vocabulary charts: Simple drawings or pictures with vocabulary collections


are fun, easy to make and always useful reminders of the words. Make use the idea
of picture dictionaries here. The pupils might like to make a picture dictionary of
their own, using their own themes and ideas. Pupils can try a sentence or two beside
their labelled drawings, too.
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Classifying items: The pupils have to identify and then arrange in categories
(the headings will normally have to be provided or at least worked out with the class
beforehand) things that they can see in a picture.

Word stars: Teacher puts the key word on the blackboard. For instance, pupils
are going to write about pets, so teacher uses ‘dog’ as a key word. S/he puts the class
into groups and asks them to write down all the words they can think about
connected with dogs. Often pupils want to put in a word they don’t know the English
word for. Teacher should let them write it in their own language and s/he can fill it in
English later. When all the groups have made their word stars, teacher can do one on
the blackboard for everyone. This gives the whole class not only words, but also
ideas about what to write.

Completing texts: The pupils put in the missing words in a text. The texts can
be dialogues they have practised, stories accompanied by a picture sequence or
songs, poems and riddles, which they have heard. Fill-in exercises are useful
activities, especially at the beginner stages. They do not require much active
production of language, since most of the language is given, but they do require
understanding. With children who have progressed to level two, they can be used to
focus on specific language items, like prepositions or question forms. Fill-in
exercises can be used for vocabulary work. For example, if the pupils are familiar
with the words for pets and a few adjectives, then this text has a meaning even
though there is no picture to put in a context.

Correcting sentences or texts: These should be accompanied by a picture so


that the pupils are correcting mistakes of fact (not grammar).

Making words: The pupils are given one long word and, working in pairs or
small groups, see how many new words they can make from it. They sometimes like
to look through books to try to find words.
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2.4.3.2.1.2 Guided Written Activities

The purpose of these activities is to reinforce key items of structure (often


together with a good deal of vocabulary). There is no reason why this kind of
manipulative practice needs to be boring (in any case most children enjoy repetition).
Most workbooks provide good activities for this kind of practice.

Writing parallel texts: The pupils have a model and have to write one or more
parallel versions. This is particularly useful if the pupils write dialogues that they can
then practise with one another. Later on, they can be asked to write short narrative
sequences which will give them some practice in basic sentence linking (and, but, so)
and sequencing (first, then, after that).

Completing speech bubbles: Pupils have to supply the sentences for


themselves.

Writing sentence sequences: This is a device for getting the pupils to write
sentences using the same structure. For example, they use the days of the week to
write about themselves or perhaps a character from their coursebook. Although this
involves repetition, there is always room for imagination.

Compiling information: For this activity the pupils have to write some
sentences, which provide information, for example, about one of the characters in the
coursebook or about a topic. It often involves repetition of a structure and may be
done with reference to a picture.

Completing questionnaires: For this the pupils work with questionnaires that
have been prepared for them. It can be a useful way of disguising some very basic
question practice. The pupils can of course use such questionnaires to question one
another.
80

Making notes: This is similar to keeping records while playing a game. Many
activities involve keeping some kind of record in the form of a list. For example, the
pupils can be asked to write down, in sentence form, the differences between two
pictures or the number of mistakes they can find in a picture.

Recording personal information: Young learners like talking and writing


about themselves and they will very happily write down personal data (names, age,
address, family details, etc.) or make lists of their possessions or likes and dislikes.
The activity can be used for some elementary sentence linking practice.

Writing notes: The pupils write to one another in class. This is a key activity
for young learners because it gets them to write quickly. Thus in five minutes they
can get a lot of writing practice sending and answering notes. For sentence practice
the pupils can:
ƒ Ask for something (e.g. one of a number of picture cards which another
pupil has in front of him);
ƒ Ask for some personal information;
ƒ Ask about a character in the coursebook, etc.

Dictation: Dictation is a very safe type of exercise if the language is


elementary and simple because the teacher provides the actual language as well as
the context. For young learners context should
ƒ Be short
ƒ Be made up of sentences which can be said in one breath
ƒ Have a purpose, and be connected to work which has gone before or comes
after
ƒ Be read or said at normal speed.

2.4.3.2.1.3 Creative Writing Activities

Controlled and guided writing activities are designed to develop the pupils’
writing, with most of the language being provided for them. Pupils then need to be
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able to try out their language in a freer way. In free activities the language is the
pupil’s own language, no matter what the level is. The teacher should be the iniator
and helper, and, of course, is responsible for seeing that the task can be done by the
pupils at that level. The more language the children have, the easier it is to work on
free writing activities.

The main difficulty with free writing activities seems to be going from nothing
to something. Even pupils with lots of imagination don’t always know what to write
about. Their vocabulary is limited. They are still not confident about the mechanics
of writing. All pupils need to spend time on pre-writing work –warm-up activities
which are designed to give them language, ideas and encouragement before they
settle down to writing itself. Pupils at this age need plenty of opportunities to use
language imaginatively. Pupils should work together in pairs or small groups
wherever possible.

Free writing covers a much wider range of activities – poems, book reviews,
advertisements, jokes, postcards, messages etc.- anything which has length or
substance. Writing is an exciting and rewarding activity and is the most visible of the
skills.

Writing letters/cards/invitations: Letter writing seems to be a popular


language class activity, and it is indeed a useful way of getting pupils to write short
meaningful pieces of writing.

Writing about pictures: For this creative writing activity teacher should
choose pictures that will encourage the pupils to use fantasy and rehearse the idea
orally first so that they understand the kind of thing you want. Pupils can also draw
pictures for one another to write about. Lots of free writing includes descriptions but
straight picture description can become a bit dull unless teacher spends time on
preparatory work.
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Making up stories: Teacher can start this activity by asking the pupils to write
short dialogues, with two speakers, which they should then cut up and give to
another group to piece together. Then let them try their hand at very simple stories
(5-6 sentences), which they should also cut up for another group to piece together.

Writing notices: Teacher can give the pupils small picture cards for this
activity or let them use their own ideas. Children very often like to exchange things
so the activity can be authentic. The pupils can also write rules and regulations for
their classroom.

House (1997:82) proposed some suggestions for teachers that they should and
shouldn’t do with free writing activities.

Do
ƒ Concentrate first on content
• Spend a lot of time on pre-writing work
• Make sure that it springs naturally from other language work
• Try to make sense of whatever the pupils have written and say something
positive about it.
• Encourage, but don’t insist on, re-writing.
• Display the material whenever possible
• Keep all the pupils’ writings

Don’t
• Announce the subject out of the blue and expect pupils to be able to write
about it.
• Set an exercise as homework without any preparation

• Correct all the mistakes you can find

• Set work, which is beyond the pupils’ language capability.


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2.4.3.2.2 Teaching Speaking

It has become apparent in recent years that there have been marked changes in
the goals of language education programs (Morlay, 1987; Richards & Rodgers,
1987b). Today language students are considered successful if they can communicate
effectively in their second or foreign language. In their own language children are
able to express emotions, communicate intentions and reactions, explore the
language, play with the language and make language puns, so they expect to be able
to do the same in English. Speaking is perhaps the most demanding skill for the
teacher to develop. Part of the magic of teaching young children a foreign language
is their unspoken assumption that the foreign language is just another way of
expressing what they want to express, but there are limitations because of their lack
of actual language. The children often naturally insert their native language when
they cannot find the right words to express what they want to say in English.

Hedge (2000) mentions that as communicative approaches have developed,


teachers have been concerned to ensure that students not only practise speaking in a
controlled way in order to produce features of pronunciation, vocabulary, and
structure accurately, but also practise using these features more freely in purposeful
communication. Accordingly, rather than implementing activities and exercises
which focus strictly on accuracy (such as those using memorization, repetition, and
uncontextualized drills), many classroom teachers have concentrated on promoting
communicative competence in language learners by using “communicative
activities” – those which rely more on the students’ ability to understand and
communicate real information. The aim of such “fluency activities”, as Brumfit
(1984:69) calls them, is to “develop a pattern of language interaction within the
classroom which is as close as possible to that used by competent performers in
normal life.” However, this does not mean that a focus on accuracy has no place in
the communicative classroom. Some research (e.g., Higgs & Clifford, 1982) suggests
that forcing communication too early without any regard for accuracy can result in
early fossilization. Since a linguistic or grammatical base may be necessary before
fluency can be attained, some instructors and researchers believe that grammar
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should be explicitly taught, and that this is possible through communicative means
(e.g., Celce-Murcia & Hilles, 1988).

As Reilly and Ward (1997:7) state, it is important for the language teacher to
remember that young children may spend a long time absorbing language before they
actually produce anything. It is not a good idea to try to force them to speak in the
target language as this can create a lot of emotional stress. By doing repetitive songs,
rhymes, games, and plenty of choral work, children will be able to produce language
without the stress of having to speak individually. Even if small children are not
actually saying anything, they will still be taking in it. Some children say nothing at
all in class but go home and tell their parents what they have learnt.

Hedge (2000) claims that when students personalize the language in activities,
which enable them to express their own ideas, feelings, preferences, and opinions,
personalized practice makes language more memorable. Many students equate being
able to speak a language as knowing the language and, therefore, they view learning
the language as learning how to speak the language, or as Nunan (1991) wrote,
"success is measured in terms of the ability to carry out a conversation in the (target)
language." Therefore, if students do not learn how to speak or do not get any
opportunity to speak in the language classroom they may soon get de-motivated and
lose interest in learning. On the other hand, if the right activities are taught in the
right way, speaking in class can be a lot of fun, raising general learner motivation
and making the English language classroom a fun and dynamic place to be.

As Hedge (2000:272) puts forward, the first need to make the practice
meaningful is contextualized practice, which aims to make clear link between
linguistic form and communicative function. This means finding a situation in which
a structure is commonly used. For example, it used to be common practice to teach
the present continuous tense through classroom actions such as ‘I’m opening the
window’; ‘What are you doing?’ This demonstrates the way the tense is used to
describe current actions, but it is not normal in everyday life for people to give a
85

running commentary on what they are doing. A more useful contextualization would
be a telephone conversation in which the caller asks to speak to a friend.

Most teachers wonder how they can get their students talking more in class.
Since children at primary level are usually extremely limited in the amount of
language they know, free conversation is simply not possible. Hence all oral tasks
such as drills or simple role-plays have to take place in a very well defined
framework. Most of our pupils have little opportunity to practise speaking English
outside the classroom and so they need lots of practice when they are in class (Scott
1991:33). What is important with beginners is finding the balance between providing
languages through controlled and guided activities and at the same time letting them
enjoy natural talk

Controlled Practice: Controlled practice goes hand in hand with presentation


since it is important that pupils try out new language as soon as they have heard it. In
controlled practice there is very little chance that the pupils can make a mistake. For
example, the teacher asks the pupils “Do you like .... ?” . They can then go on to ask
each other in pairs. “Do you like ... ?”, with the other pupil simply answering ‘yes’ or
‘no’. Once the pattern is established with the class, they can happily do it in pairs.

As Scott (1991:38) mentions, activities like these provide the basis for oral
work, but do not always produce ‘real’ language at once. Their purpose is to train
pupils to use correct, simple, useful language within a situation or context. Pupils
may have to repeat sentences, be corrected and go through the same thing several
times. Familiarity and safety are necessary to help build up security in the language.

Guided Practice: Guided practice follows on directly from controlled practice


and will often be done either in pairs or in small groups. Guided oral practice aims to
give the student a limited freedom to use and practise what he has learnt, yet still be
subject to some restraints. In general, it is best to provide the general situation and
content of what is to be said, but allow some freedom in the mode of expression. By
controlling the situation but allowing variety of expression of this kind, the dialogue
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has been changed from controlled to guided oral work. Guided practice usually gives
the pupils some sort of choice, but the choice of language is limited. Below are some
examples:

Dialogues and role play work: Working with dialogues is a useful way to
bridge the gap between guided practice and freer activities. Controlled dialogues can
easily develop into freer work when the pupils are ready for it. Putting pupils into
pairs for doing the dialogues is a simple way of organising even large classes. First
the teacher will have to present the dialogue in whatever way seems most suitable.
Dialogues that involve some sort of action or movement are the ones that work best
with young children. Intonation is terribly important too.

Another way to practise oral proficiency in a guided way is to set up a role-


playing situation. As in the case of the dialogue, role-playing of this kind is a flexible
technique which can be used in a much more structured and predictable way at the
controlled stage, or alternatively with less guidance at a later stage in the lesson
where continued practice is turning into active production. In their formative years
learners are much more receptive to participating in communication activities which
include speaking and role-play. The younger learner is usually less self-conscious
and thus enjoys practising a second language orally and finds it highly motivating.
Incorporating role-play into the classroom adds variety, a change of pace and
opportunities for a lot of language production and also a lot of fun! It can be an
integral part of the class and not a 'one-off' event. If the teacher believes that the
activity will work and the necessary support is provided, it can be very successful.
However, if the teacher isn't convinced about the validity of using role-play the
activity "will fall flat on its face just as you expected it to" (Gillian Porter Ladousse
1987). Therefore, if teachers think positive and have a go, they may be pleasantly
surprised!

In role-play the pupils are pretending to be someone else. Beginners of all ages
can start on role-play dialogues by learning a simple one off by heart and then acting
it out in pairs. With the five to seven year olds teacher can give them a model first by
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acting out the dialogue with a puppet, and getting the pupils to repeat the sentences
after him/her. With the older children teacher can act it out with one of the cleverer
pupils. The teacher should make it clear that when the pupils are working on their
own in pairs, they can add what they want to say even if they have not been
mentioned. In role-play activities pupils have to be familiar with the language
needed.

Scott (1991:41) claims that dialogues and role-play are useful oral activities
because:
• Pupils speak in the first and second person. Texts are often in the third
person, so they feel free to take risks without worrying about mistakes while
talking.
• Pupils learn to ask as well as answer.
• They learn to use short complete bits of language and to respond
appropriately.
• They don’t just use words, but also all the other parts of speaking a
language – tone of voice, stress, intonation, facial expressions, etc.
• They can be used to encourage natural ‘chat’ in the classroom, making up
dialogues about the little things which have happened and which occupy the
children at that moment. If the atmosphere in the classroom is relaxed and
nobody worries too much about formal mistakes or using the mother tongue
now and then, then even beginners can have great fun trying out the little
language they know.

Free Activities: For younger learners communicating in the target language


means creating a more controlled framework for speaking and listening through task-
based activities such as information-gap, role play and extended tasks, working either
in pairs, small groups or as a whole class. Using controlled and guided activities,
which have choices wherever possible provides a good background for activities
where children say what they want to say. The followings are some characteristics of
free activities:
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• They focus attention on the message and not on the language as such,
although the language will usually be limited by the activity itself.
• There is genuine communication even though the situations are sometimes
artificial. However, free activities prepare pupils for their lives outside the
classroom.
• Free activities concentrate on meaning more than on correctness. Formal
mistakes don’t really matter too much unless the pupils can understand the
meaning. In free activities it is more important that the pupils use the
language with a natural flow – with what is called fluency – and so fluency is
more important than accuracy at this stage.
• Teacher control is minimal during the activity, but the teacher must be sure
that the pupils have enough language to do the task.
• The atmosphere should be informal and there should be a game element in
the activity.

Teacher should set up activities so that children can do them in pairs and
groups. Then they will get opportunities to use English not just to respond to
questions, but also to ask questions. They will also have the satisfaction of
completing a task on their own. Hudelson puts forward a generalization about
children’s learning by saying that children learn best in social contexts, ‘in groups
where some group members know more than others’ (1991:2) those who know more
are believed to facilitate the learning of others by motivating them to go beyond their
present level. Young learners should be given the opportunity to use the language
with each other as well as with the teacher. When pupils work in pairs or groups,
they get more opportunities to speak, ask and answer questions, so that they can learn
from each other, and they gain confidence because they are speaking in private rather
than the whole class.

As Hedge (2000) states, speaking activities are probably the most demanding
for students and teachers in terms of affective factors involved. Trying to produce
language in front of other students can generate high levels of anxiety. Some students
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may have cultural inhibitions or shy personalities who do not speak very much in
their first language. Dunn (cited in Göksoy, 1988:3) claims that young children are
willing to use language and it sounds without worrying about mistakes. They rarely
have inhibitions typical to teenagers and adults. This is one of the reasons young
children learn faster than adults, and another is that they have a marvellous ability of
imitation. Thus, they can speak a foreign language without an accent when they have
a good model to imitate whereas adults normally retain an accent.

As Brumfit (1988:81) mentions that it seems that making mistakes and learning
from their correction is a natural part of the learning process, so too great rigidity in
control may well be counter productive. When using communicative activities, it is
important to strive for a classroom in which students feel comfortable and confident,
feel free to take risks, and have sufficient opportunities to speak. It is therefore a
major responsibility for the teacher to create a reassuring classroom environment in
which students are prepared to take risks and experiment with the language.

It can be difficult to determine how often and how much to correct oral work.
Too much correction inhibits the students and too little means that they will learn
incorrect language, which is difficult to change later on. (House 1997:67). When
pupils work with controlled and guided activities, they should be corrected at once if
they make mistakes at this stage. During this type of activity the pupils are using
teacher or textbook language, and the pupils are only imitating or giving an
alternative, so correction is straightforward. However, when the pupils are working
on free oral activities, the emphasis should be on content rather than the language. If
pupils are trying to express themselves on problem solving or role-play activities,
then correction of language mistakes should not be done while the activity is going
on. Also the teacher should vary correction criteria according to his/her expectations
for individual students. Some need lots of encouragement to speak freely and should
not be over-corrected but quicker students may benefit from a little more correction.

Consequently, it's important for elementary students to go beyond simple


repetition and manipulation of form. They sometimes need to get away from mere
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'language practice' and to strive to communicate meaningfully about topics, which


really concern them. Lynee (2002) proposes the following points, which must be
taken into consideration while teaching speaking.

Children as language learners need


ƒ To hear clear pronunciation
ƒ To feel successful when using English
ƒ Plenty of opportunities to communicate
ƒ To enjoy their efforts at speaking in English
ƒ To know they have achieved something worthwhile.

The teacher should


ƒ Speak a lot of English and repeat children’s words or phrases when you are
answering them
ƒ React to the meaning of what they are trying to say.
ƒ Encourage them by showing that what they are saying is more impotent
than your correction
ƒ Wait until they finish speaking before you repeat and rephrase
ƒ Show your approval for all your pupils’ speaking – however short it may be
ƒ Provide activities that are fun and have a purpose or a goal, and that have an
end-product that they can feel proud of
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Chapter 3
The Common European Framework

3.1 The Definition of Common European Framework

The Common European Framework has been described as one of the most
important documents about language teaching in living memory. The framework has
been produced by the Language Policy Division of the Council of Europe and is the
outcome of more than 40 years of work on language education by the Council.
Because of this, the CEFR has political aims, as well as the educational ones – the
promotion of linguistic diversity in Europe and the encouragement of approaches
which:

“promote methods of modern language teaching which will strengthen


independence of thought, judgment and action, combined with social skills and
responsibility”. (CEFR, p.4)

In different phases of Council of Europe projects, the ultimate objectives of


language teaching and learning have been seen as facilitating mobility in Europe, as
education for democratic citizenship, as languages for social cohesion. The Common
European Framework provides a common basis for the elaboration of language
syllabuses, curriculum guidelines, examinations, textbooks, etc. across Europe. It
describes in a comprehensive way what learners have to learn in order to use a
language for communication and what knowledge and skills they have to develop so
as to be able to act effectively (CEFR p.1). In other words, as Heyworth (2005)
mentions, the CEFR attempts to bring together, under a single umbrella, a
comprehensive tool for enabling syllabus designers, materials writers, examination
bodies, teachers, learners and others to locate their various types of involvement in
modern language teaching in relation to an overall, unified, descriptive frame of
reference. In fact, the CEFR is much more than a set of level descriptors. It can
contribute to teachers’ work in the classroom in a number of ways, including:
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ƒ Standardisation of assessment;

• Resources for learner self-assessment;

• A large range of descriptors for setting clear learning objectives;

• Insights into the different kinds of competences in language learning;

• Encouragement to reflect on methodological issues, with comprehensive


descriptions of possible options;

• A strong statement of the educational and social value of language learning


and teaching.

3.2 The Levels In Common European Framework

At the core of the CEF are the descriptor scales, although this was not the initial
aim of the work. They illustrate the view of language learning and teaching which is
expressed in the whole of the book, namely:

• An action-centred view of language learning and use, which is described in


“can do” statements, rather than as knowledge about language.

• Learning a language involves developing competences, which can be applied


to carry out activities or tasks.

• The competences are “partial” and specific and enable users to do things at
different degrees of complexity.

• They can be described as scales in a framework of levels.

The levels are designed systematically and coherently. All the statements are
positive, even at the lowest level. They are in the same order – reception, production,
interaction and mediation (and not listening, reading, speaking and writing).
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Table 2
The scale, which has received the most attention, is the general or “global” scale

Can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read.


Can summarise information from different spoken and written sources, reconstructing
Proficient C2 arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation.
User Can express him/herself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer
shades of meaning even in more complex situations.

Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise implicit meaning.
Can express him/herself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for
expressions.
Can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes.
Can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use
C1
of organisational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.

Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics,
including technical discussions in his/her field of specialisation.
Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with
native speakers quite possible without strain for either party.
Can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a
Independent B2 topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.
User

Can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly
encountered in work, school, leisure, etc.
Can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is
spoken.
B1
Can produce simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest.
Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes and ambitions and briefly give reasons
and explanations for opinions and plans.

Can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate
relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography,
employment).
Can describe in simple terms aspects of his/her background, immediate environment and
A2 matters in areas of immediate need.
Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of
information on familiar and routine matters.

Basic User Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the
satisfaction of needs of a concrete type.
Can introduce him/herself and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details
such as where he/she lives, people he/she knows and things he/she has.
A1
Can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is
prepared to help.
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3.3 The Characteristics of CEF in Language Learning

The aim of the CEF was to be a coherent and comprehensive account of


language learning, teaching and assessment, and it does express and embody a clear
picture of the principles of communicative language teaching. This is:

Learner-centred – “Language learning activities are based on the needs,


motivations, characteristics of learners:

• What will they need to do with the language?

• What will they need to learn in order to do what they want?

• What makes them want to learn?

• What sort of people are they?

• What knowledge, skill and experiences do their teachers possess?

• What access do they have to resources?

• How much time can they afford to spend?”

(CEFR p.4)

Action-based – language is seen as action, not just as knowledge. The Council


of Europe’s 40 years of involvement in language teaching has been influenced by the
functional, notional approach, and the Framework is a continuation of the approach
used in the Threshold Level written in the 1970s and which described the language
needed to travel comfortably in a foreign country, in terms of functions rather than of
grammatical knowledge. Linguistic competence is seen as just one of a range of
other competences needed – including pragmatic, socio-linguistic, inter-cultural and
strategic competences, all of which are described.
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Value-driven – language learning is viewed as offering educative opportunities


for both individual and social development. Among the aims stated or implied in the
CEFR are:

• The development of European citizenship, with an educated European


understanding several languages, able to study and travel in many countries,
knowledgeable about and with respect for many different nationalities and
national cultures.

• The conviction that knowing different languages is a powerful factor in


intellectual development, encouraging open-mindedness and flexibility;
contributing to the development of other skills.

• The commitment to life-long language learning, accepting that it is unlikely


that schools can predict exactly which languages their students are going to
need, and that therefore the aim should be to train them to become good
language learners, capable of acquiring the particular languages as they meet
the need for them.

• The idea that language study offers opportunities to acquire independence


and autonomy as learners, that it can be learnt in ways which encourage
cooperation and other social values.

Reflective – throughout the CEFR there are invitations to the reader to reflect
on their own practice in relation to the issues raised. This is especially useful on the
processes of language learning and teaching, where readers are asked to reflect on
their own choice of methodological options from the comprehensive list of
possibilities. For example, there is a section dealing with the issue of errors and
mistakes (p.155). It distinguishes the two terms – errors being examples of the
learner’s interlanguage and demonstrating his present level of competence, whereas
mistakes occur when learners, like native speakers sometimes, do not bring their
knowledge and competence into their performance – i.e. they know the correct
version, but produce something which is wrong. This is followed by a list of possible
attitudes to mistakes and errors – e.g. ”errors and mistakes are evidence of failure to
96

learn” and “errors are an inevitable product of the learner’s developing


interlanguage”.

3.4 Level A1 (Breakthrough) in Common European Framework

This level is probably the lowest level of generative language proficiency,


which can be identified. Before this stage is reached, however, there may be a range
of specific tasks, which learners can perform effectively using a very restricted range
of language and which are relevant to the needs of the learners concerned. The 1994-
5 Swiss National Science Research Council Survey, which developed and scaled the
illustrative descriptors, identified a band of language use, limited to the performance
of isolated tasks, which can be presupposed in the definition of Level A1. In certain
contexts, for example with young learners, it may be appropriate to elaborate such a
‘milestone’. The following descriptors relate to simple, general tasks, which were
scaled below level A1, but can constitute useful objectives for beginners:
• Can make simple purchases where pointing or other gesture can support the
verbal reference;
• Can ask and tell day, time of day and date;
• Can use some basic greetings;
• Can say yes, no, excuse me, please, thank you, sorry;
• Can fill in uncomplicated forms with personal details, name, address,
nationality, marital status;
• Can write a short, simple postcard.

The descriptors above concern ‘real life’ tasks of a tourist nature. In a school-
learning context, one could imagine a separate list of ‘pedagogic tasks’, including
ludic aspects of language – especially in primary schools (CEF, 31).

DIALANG is an assessment system intended for language learners who want to


obtain diagnostic information about their proficiency. Self-assessment (SA)
statements are used in the DIALANG system. Self-assessment is considered an
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important activity in itself. It is believed to encourage autonomous learning, to give


learners greater control over their learning and to enhance learner awareness of their
learning process (CEF, 227). Most of the self-assessment statements used in
DIALANG were taken from the English version of the Common European
Framework. In this respect, DIALANG is a direct application of the Framework for
assessment purposes.

In addition to the self-assessment statements, DIALANG uses descriptive


scales, which are based on the CEF. The scales concern reading, writing, listening
and speaking. The scale in the following page demonstrates the statements of A1
level:
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Table 3

DIALANG Scale for A1 Level

SKILLS CEF A1 LEVEL

READING I can understand the general idea of simple informational texts and
short simple descriptions, especially if they contain pictures which
help to explain the text.
I can understand very short, simple texts, putting together familiar
names, words and basic phrases, by for example rereading parts of
the text.
I can follow short, simple written instructions, especially if they
contain pictures.
I can recognise familiar names, words, and very simple phrases in
the most common everyday situations.
I can understand short, simple messages, e.g. on postcards.

WRITING I can write simple notes to friends.


I can describe where I live.
I can fill in forms with personal details.
I can write simple isolated phrases and sentences.
I can write a short simple postcard.
I can write short letters and messages with the help of a dictionary.

LISTENING I can understand everyday expressions dealing with simple and


concrete everyday needs, in clear, slow and repeated speech.
I can follow speech which is very slow and carefully articulated, with
long pauses for me to get the meaning.
I can understand questions and instructions and follow short ,simple
directions.
I can understand numbers, prices and times.

SPEAKING I can introduce somebody and use basic greeting and leave-taking
expressions.
I can make myself understood by using some gestures and some
words.
I can answer simple questions using simple words.
I can ask people questions about where they live, people they know,
things they have, etc. and answer such questions addressed to me
provided they are articulated slowly and clearly.
I can ask people for things and give people things.
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Chapter 4
Suggested Lesson Plan

The aim of this study is to provide a guide to teachers about using four skills,
listening, reading, speaking and writing, integratedly in teaching English to young
learners to fulfil the objectives of A1 Level in CEF. To demonstrate this, a sample
lesson plan on integrated teaching was applied to a class of 9-year-old- students. The
sample lesson plan aims to serve as a guide to any teacher who wishes to teach the
language integratedly. The first section, 4.1 aims to give an overview of the
procedure, whereas 4.2 includes the sample lesson plan. Detailed explanations about
the participants are provided in the following chapter.

4.1 Procedure

The sample lesson plan was prepared according to the level of the participants
who are 3rd grades students in a private school. The sample lesson plan was applied
by the researcher herself at Maya College in Ankara, Turkey.

No extra subjects apart from the school’s curriculum were introduced by this
lesson plan. The objectives of A1 Level in CEF were taken into consideration, thus
activities were chosen accordingly. The worksheets and visual aids used during the
lesson can be found throughout the lesson plan. The integrated lesson plan lasted
three hours, which are an equivalent of 120 minutes. The lesson plan was prepared in
detail so as to be employed by colleagues in other primary schools.
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4.2 Sample Lesson Plan

Integrated Lesson Plan


Aims of the Lesson:
• Brainstorming words related to the topic
• Matching words with sentences
• Using clues to make predictions
• Reading for the gist
• Listening for specific information
• Answering comprehension questions about the text
• Recognizing the signs
• Filling in an ID card with personal information
• Using expressions for ordering food & drinks

Level of Students: 3rd grade students (Elementary)


Duration: 40 – 40- 40 minutes
Materials needed:
• Animals’ pictures and their word cards
• The pictures of endangered animals
• A fake swimming pool made with blue garbage bags
• The pictures of pool signs and the signs on cardboards
• Food & drink flashcards
• Food & drink cards and fake money prepared by students
• Handouts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
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Procedure

CLASS HOUR 1

1.Bring some pictures of endangered animals, such as elephant, panda, rhino,


tiger, etc.
2.On the board put the pictures and word cards on which the endangered
animals’ names are written and ask the students to match the pictures with the
words.

3.Ask the students why these animals are in danger. First, show the following
picture to guide them to find the main reason..
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Then, show the following pictures to elicit the reasons of why hunters kill the
animals.

4.Talk about ‘WWF Organisation’ which aims to protect the nature and the
endangered animals. Then, tell the students that this organisation has sent them
a secret message. Explain the students that they need to work out the message.
First, discuss concept of codes . Then, tell them they are going to look at the
code and try to find the message.
5.Distribute ‘Handout 1’ given in the following page.
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Once students have finished, check the answers together and write the
message on the board.
Message: The animals are in danger. Let’s help them!
6.Then give the ‘Handout 2’ in the following which is a child’s letter about
her sponsored swim.

(adapted from Excellent 2 (2005), ENGLAND:Longman)

Read and listen to Kerry’s letter.


Hi, I’m Kerry. My school is doing

a sponsored swim. We want to

make money for endangered

animals. We swim and people give us money. I am going to

swim two kilometers. I am sad because there are many

endangered animals in the world. I want to help them.

Please sponsor me

Name: Kerry Parker £

Simon Parker: ………..


Wendy Parker: .……….
Sandy Parker: ………..
Richard North: ………..
Carol Smith: ………..
7. Once pupils have listened to and read Kerry’s letter about her sponsored
swim, let them listen to the tape and write how much money her family and
friends are going to give on the sponsorship list.

CLASS HOUR 2

1.Ask students the following context questions about Kerry’s letter to remind
them about the topic of the previous lesson.
• Why is Kerry’s school doing a sponsored swim?
• How far is Kerry going to swim?
• Why is Kerry sad?
• How much money is Kerry going to get?
2.At this point, explain students that they are going to sponsor Kerry in this
organization to help endangered animals
3. Next, explain students that they are going to pretend to be at the swimming
pool where sponsored swim is carried out. To create a swimming pool scene,
put together two or three blue garbage bags using sticky tape and spread it on
the floor.
4.Tell them there are some signs which are supposed to be at the swimming
pool.
5.Put the following pictures on the board and ask the pupils to try to guess the
signs matching these pictures and put the signs, prepared before, on the board.
105

6.Then, remove the signs and ask students to tell the right sign for each picture.

7.At this point, remind the students about that they are going to sponsor Kerry
to make money for endangered animals.Then, give the suggestion that they can
organize a ‘FOOD BAZAAR’ activity to sponsor Kerry for saving endangered
animals.

8.Revise food and drinks and teach students to express portions of food and
drink, such as a piece of ..., a bowl of ...., a cup of ...., a glass of .... .

9.Write the portions on cardboards and stick them on the board as well as food
and drink flashcards. Then, ask the pupils to categorise food & drink items in
terms of their portions and give the hand out in the following page.(Handout 3).

10. Before ending the lesson remind students of preparing their food & drinks
cards at home and bringing them for the ‘FOOD BAZAAR’ which is going to
be held in the following day. Also, ask students to design some fake money for
the shopping activity.

.
106

Look and match.

a) b) c) d)

e) f) g) h)

i) j) k) l)

1. a cup of tea 2. a piece of pizza 3. a bottle ofwater

4. a bowl of soup 5. a glass of orange juice 6. a bowl of cereal

7. a piece of bread 8. a cup of hot chocolate 9. a glass of milk

10. a cup of coffee 11. a piece of cake 12. a bowl of salad

(adapted from Excellent 2 (2005), ENGLAND:Longman)


107

CLASS HOUR 3

1.Explain students that they need to fill in an ID card to attend the sponsorship
organisation. Then, distribute them the following ID card (Handout 4) to fill in.

Name: .................
Age: .................
School’s Name: ......................
Home Address: ......................
......................
......................
Phone Number: ......................

2.Teach the expressions which are commonly used while doing shopping.
What would you like?
I’d like ...... or Can I have ......, please?
How much is this, please?
Here you are.
Thank you!

3.At this point, create a cafe scene by distributing the following menu
(Handout 5) and ask pupils to practise the expressions they have learned.

MENU

Soup …….. £ 2,00


Tea …….. £ 1,00

Orange Juice…£ 2,00


Ham burger … £ 3,00

Hot Chocolate... £ 3,00

Pizza …….. £ 5,00 Coke …….. £ 1,00


Cake …….. £ 3,00

Chips …….. £ 2,00 Ice Cream ... £ 4,00


Salad …….. £ 3,00
108

4.As a last activity, tell students that it’s time to organise ‘ FOOD BAZAAR’ to
sponsor Kerry and make money for endangered animals..
5.On the floor spread the swimming pool made of garbage bags and put the
pool signs on the board to give the sense of that students are carrying out this
organisation by the swimming pool.
6.Then, tell students that they are going to do shopping in FOOD BAZAAR
with their fake money.
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Chapter 5
Methodology

5.0 Presentation
These chapters divided into three main sections. The first section (5.1) deals
with the participants chosen for this study. On the other hand, section two (5.2)
focuses on the data collection techniques. The last section (4.3) is comprised of the
analyses of data.

5.1 Participants
The study was conducted at Ankara Maya Private Primary School. Five (5)
female and eleven (11) male students, and their teacher (i.e. the researcher)
participated in the study. A sample integrated lesson plan was applied to 9-year-old,
3rd grade students. The number of students was 16 and must of the students had been
studying English since 1st grade. The teacher had been teaching for four years at the
same institution. Two teachers observed the lesson. One of them had been teaching
for 29 years, unlike the other one who had a-four-year teaching experience.

5.2 Data Collection Techniques


The main source of data obtained for analysis in this study is through spoken
data and observable data of the participants. Qualitative research, broadly defined,
means "any kind of research that produces findings not arrived at by means of
statistical procedures or other means of quantification" (Strauss and Corbin, 1990, p.
17). Where quantitative researchers seek causal determination, prediction, and
generalization of findings, qualitative researchers seek instead illumination,
understanding, and extrapolation to similar situations. Qualitative analysis results in
a different type of knowledge than does quantitative inquiry.

The aim in this qualitative research is to confirm whether 3rd graders achieve
the objectives of A1 Level within Common European Framework as a result of using
integrated-skill approach during lessons. Qualitative research has been chosen as the
research technique to determine integration of the skills is effective or not due to the
110

fact that quantitative measures cannot adequately describe or interpret this situation.
The researcher attempts to find out how important teaching integratedly is in order to
make learners use the target language effectively for realistic purposes.

There are compelling reasons for the selection of qualitative methodologies


within the educational research arena. There are several considerations when
deciding to adopt a qualitative research methodology. Strauss and Corbin (1990)
claim that qualitative methods can be used to better understand any phenomenon
about which little is yet known. They can also be used to gain new perspectives on
things about which much is already known, or to gain more in-depth information that
may be difficult to convey quantitatively. Thus, qualitative methods are appropriate
for this study because quantitative measures cannot adequately describe or interpret
the students’ attitudes towards the lesson. However, observation and interview,
which are the data collection techniques of qualitative research, cannot explain
students’ attitudes, either. That is to say, observing the students’ participation is not
adequate to explain their attitudes towards the lesson. Their involvement or lack of
participation in the lesson may depend on many other factors rather than the
educational ones that influence students’ learning.

Several writers have identified what they consider to be the prominent


characteristics of qualitative, or naturalistic, research (see, for example: Bogdan and
Biklen, 1982; Lincoln and Guba, 1985; Patton, 1990; Eisner, 1991). The list that
follows represents a synthesis of these authors’ descriptions of qualitative research:
1.Qualitative research uses the natural setting as the source of data. The
researcher attempts to observe, describe and interpret settings as they are.
2. The researcher acts as the "human instrument" of data collection.
3. Qualitative researchers predominantly use inductive data analysis.
4. Qualitative research reports are descriptive, incorporating expressive
language and the "presence of voice in the text" (Eisner, 1991, p. 36).
5. Qualitative research has an interpretive character, aimed at discovering the
meaning events have for the individuals who experience them, and the
interpretations of those meanings by the researcher.
111

6. Qualitative research has an emergent (as opposed to predetermined) design,


and researchers focus on this emerging process as well as the outcomes or
product of the research.
7. Qualitative research is judged using special criteria for trustworthiness.

The particular design of a qualitative study depends on the purpose of the


inquiry, what information will be most useful, and what information will have the
most credibility. There are no strict criteria for sample size (Patton, 1990).
"Qualitative studies typically employ multiple forms of evidence.…[and] there is no
statistical test of significance to determine if results ‘count’" (Eisner, 1991, p. 39).
Judgments about usefulness and credibility are left to the researcher and the reader.

The two prevailing forms of data collection associated with qualitative inquiry
are interviews and observation. Through the administration of the lesson plan, these
data collection techniques were used. The researcher applied the lesson plan and her
two colleagues observed the lesson by taking into consideration the points in the
observation guide form. Moreover, after the lesson, one of the observers and the
students were interviewed to provide better understanding of the implications of
using integrated-skill approach in English language teaching and the degree of
achieving the objectives of A1 Level in CEF. Once the data was collected, relevant
parts were chosen, and put into a coherent and understandable form. The other
teacher whose teaching background and experience was similar to the researcher
interviewed informally. Hence, the results of that interview are not included.

As Zambo (2004) puts forward, procedures for ensuring reliability and validity
used in quantitative research are inappropriate in qualitative research. Alternate
criteria such as credibility, transferability, dependability and conformability have
been proposed to achieve trustworthiness in qualitative research. Credibility is
related to the accurateness of description and to increase the credibility of this study,
three different data collection techniques were used. The participants, methods and
sample group were all stated clearly. Since qualitative research is flexible, the
researcher had the opportunity to add new questions to the interview and vary the
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data collection techniques to increase credibility. Moreover, face-to-face interviews


and observations done in the sample group add to the credibility of the study. Direct
quotations from the interviews were also included in data analysis to increase
credibility (Şimşek & Yıldırım, 1999:77).

Transferability is one of the deficiencies of qualitative research since it depends


on the context. (Şimşek & Yıldırım, 1999:79). As events vary according to the
context they are applied to, they cannot directly be transferred and generalized to
another context. The generalization done in this study is not in the form of rules, but
rather as experiences and samplings. A researcher may read the explanations and
data provided in this study and apply this study to another group with adaptations if
necessary. Detailed explanations were provided to make the results transferable to
other individuals and settings.

Dependability of a study is related to consistency. Qualitative research accepts


the fact that change is inevitable and that dependability is a problem. Since the study
group the lesson plan was applied to will not be exactly the same, the definite same
result cannot be provided.

Conformability refers to the objectiveness of the data collected, and to attain


this the researcher has made use of different data collection techniques. The findings
of the observation were maintained by the results of the interviews carried out with
the students and the observers. Qualitative research has an interpretive character,
aimed at discovering the meaning events have for the individuals who experience

them, and the interpretations of those meanings by the researcher. The results
of the analysis are connected to show similar conclusions. Detailed explanations on
the interviews and observations have also been included to clarify the role of the
researcher. However, it is obvious that observer bias is an issue. Everyone has values
and these cannot be fully avoided during observations. Judgements about usefulness
and credibility are left to the researcher and the reader (Şimşek & Yıldırım, 1999:78).
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In this study, the researcher set her observation criteria on the points and had
identified during the year. These points were related to the occurrence of students’
learning when they had been taught English integratedly, and thus to their
achievement of the objectives of A1 Level in CEF.

As everyone has values and these cannot be fully avoided during the
observations, the researcher has chosen two observers. One of them has been
teaching English for 29 years, unlike the other one who has been a teacher for 4
years. The researcher has been teaching for 4 years, as well. The researcher aimed to
minimize any observer bias and maximise the trustworthiness of the research by
choosing two teachers who differed in being more or less experienced in teaching.

5.2.1 Interviews

One of the most important sources of case study information is the interview.
Such an observation may be surprising because of the usual asciation between
interviews and the survey method. However, interviews also are essential sources of
case study information. The interviews will appear to be guided conversations rather
than structured queries. In other words, although you will be pursuing a consistent
line of inquiry, your actual stream of questions in a case study interview is likely to
be fluid rather than rigid (Rubin & Rubin, 1995).

Qualitative interviews may be used either as the primary strategy for data
collection, or in conjunction with observation, document analysis, or other
techniques (Bogdan and Biklen, 1982). Qualitative interviewing utilizes open-ended

questions that allow for individual variations. Patton (1990) writes about three
types of qualitative interviewing: 1) informal, conversational interviews; 2) semi-
structured interviews; and 3) standardized, open-ended interviews.
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An interview guide or "schedule" is a list of questions or general topics that


the interviewer wants to explore during each interview. Although it is prepared to
insure that basically the same information is obtained from each person, there are no
predetermined responses, and in semi-structured interviews the interviewer is free to
probe and explore within these predetermined inquiry areas. Interview guides ensure
good use of limited interview time; they make interviewing multiple subjects more
systematic and comprehensive; and they help to keep interactions focused. In
keeping with the flexible nature of qualitative research designs, interview guides can
be modified over time to focus attention on areas of particular importance, or to
exclude questions the researcher has found to be unproductive for the goals of the
research (Lofland and Lofland, 1984).

5.2.2 Observations

The classic form of data collection in naturalistic or field research is


observation of participants in the context of a natural scene. Observational data are
used for the purpose of description—of settings, activities, people, and the meanings
of what is observed from the perspective of the participants. Observation can lead to
deeper understandings than interviews alone, because it provides a knowledge of the
context in which events occur, and may enable the researcher to see things that
participants themselves are not aware of, or that they are unwilling to discuss (Patton,
1990). A skilled observer is one who is trained in the process of monitoring both
verbal and nonverbal cues, and in the use of concrete, unambiguous, descriptive
language. Sours’ (1997) study of teaching and learning styles provides a good
example of descriptive language applied to the technology classroom.

There are several observation strategies available. In some cases it may be


possible and desirable for the researcher to watch from outside, without being
observed. Another option is to maintain a passive presence, being as unobtrusive as
possible and not interacting with participants. A third strategy is to engage in limited
interaction, intervening only when further clarification of actions is needed. Or the
researcher may exercise more active control over the observation, as in the case of a
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formal interview, to elicit specific types of information. Finally, the researcher may
act as a full participant in the situation, with either a hidden or known identity. Each
of these strategies has specific advantages, disadvantages and concerns that must be
carefully examined by the researcher (Schatzman and Strauss, 1973).

The presence of an observer is likely to introduce a distortion of the natural


scene, which the researcher must be aware of, and work to minimize. Critical
decisions, including the degree to which researcher identity and purposes will be
revealed to participants, the length of time spent in the field, and specific observation
techniques used, are wholly dependent on the unique set of questions and resources
brought to each study. In any case, the researcher must consider the legal and ethical
responsibilities associated with naturalistic observation.

5.3. Data Analysis

5.3.1 Observation
5.3.1.1 Observation Guide

Aim: To study the achievement of the objectives of A1 Level in Common


European Framework using integrated skill aprroach with 3rd graders in a private
institution.
Does the integration of the skills make language learning more meaningful
and interesting? .

¾ Students’ sensitivity to the topic


¾ Students’ participation in the lesson
• Asking and answering questions.
• Brainstorming words and ideas related to the topic.
• Using the language they have learned
• Completing the given handouts
• Raising hands to participate
• Being attentive
• Exhibiting curiosity
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• Showing willingness to doing activities and tasks


• Completing activities and tasks
• Acting voluntarily

Does choosing an authentic topic and using authentic materials motivate


students use the target language?

¾ Authenticity in selection of the topic, materials and tasks


¾ Integration of the skills in the frame of same topic

Are the objectives of A1 Level in CEF carried out during the lesson?
¾ Being able to understand the general idea of simple texts.
¾ Being able to understand simple messages and signs.
¾ Being able to fill in forms with personal details.
¾ Being able to understand everyday expressions dealing with simple
and concrete everyday needs.
¾ Being able to follow speech which is very slow.
¾ Being able to understand numbers and prices in spoken interaction.
¾ Being able to ask people for things and give people things.
¾ Being able to ask and answer simple questions.

5.3.1.2 Observation Report

At the beginning of the lesson, the teacher showed the pictures of some
animals, i.e. rhino, tiger, panda, and elephant. Once the teacher showed the animals’
pictures, the students said their names in chorus. Then, the teacher put the pictures on
the board with their word cards and asked students to match the pictures with their
names. All the students were willing to take part in the matching activity, however,
out of sixteen students who raised their hands four of them were chosen to do the
activity.
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Next, she explained to the students that she had chosen these animals to
emphasize since those animals were in danger. Once students heard this, they
expressed their sensitivity and sadness about this issue by saying; ‘What a pity!’ and
‘Poor animals!’ in L1. Next, the teacher asked students whether they had any ideas
about why these animals were in danger. One of the students said ‘People shoot the
animals’. Then, the teacher put the picture of a hunter on the board and asked the
class why hunters were killing the animals. In order to activate learners’ background
knowledge about the topic, she put the pictures of a coat which was made of animal’s
fur; a necklace and a statue made of elephants’ tusks and a panda eating bamboo.
Then, the teacher pointed to the picture of the coat and asked what it is made of.
Most of the students in the class shouted ‘tiger’s fur’ as its colour looked like a
tiger’s. Then, the teacher started to address her guiding questions beginning with the
question word; ‘Why’. With these questions, she let students to practise answering
‘Why’ questions using ‘Because’, which had been the subject matter of the previous
lessons. Once the teacher asked ‘Why do people kill the tigers?’ , a student answered
‘Because they want to make coats with tigers’ fur’. Then, the teacher addressed the
same question related to pandas and elephants, and students answered the questions
in the light of the pictures on the board.

Following the questions, the teacher talked about ‘WWF Organisation’ which
aimed to protect nature and endangered animals. Moreover, she wrote its website
address on the board and asked students to write it in their notebooks if they were
interested in it. Almost all of the students wrote the address in their notebooks. After
that, she told students that this organisation had sent them a secret message. Then,
she distributed the message written in codes (Handout 1) and asked the pupils to find
out the message. All the students worked on the task willingly as it was like a puzzle.
As soon as they found out the message, they were eager to tell the message. The
teacher wrote the message that the students said and the class checked it out.

Next, the teacher told students that there were some people who were
organising some campaigns to help endangered animals. The teacher talked about a
child called Kerry and she said that Kerry was doing a sponsored swim for
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endangered animals. However, the teacher realized that the students could not
understand the meaning of sponsorship, so she tried to explain its meaning by giving
examples from the real life. She said ‘For example, as you remember a group of
students in our school wanted to help the charity working for protecting nature and
the forests ... By the way do you know this charity’s name? ‘Some of the students
said ‘TEMA’ in chorus. Then the teacher continued by saying ‘they wanted to help
this charity, so they organised a ‘FOOD BAZAAR’: they had sold out their food and
drinks, and they had made money to give to TEMA. The students who bought food
& drinks from FOOD BAZAAR had sponsored the school charity organization for
TEMA.’ Almost all students seemed to be satisfied with this explanation and they
showed their understanding through their body language. However, two students
could not understand and their friends explained them in L1.

Then, the teacher distributed Kerry’s letter (Handout 2) and asked the pupils to
listen to Kerry on the tape and follow her. Following listening to the tape, the teacher
asked two pupils to read the letter aloud. All students raised their hands to read it
aloud, whereas, two of them were chosen. Then, the teacher said ‘Kerry’s family and
friends are going to sponsor Kerry, but we don’t know how much money they are
going to give.’ She asked students to listen to the tape and fill in the sponsorship list
in Handout 2. Kerry’s speech was clear and fluent, so students could fill in the list
easily. While the teacher was checking students’ answers, she asked students to
identify the people in the list first. For example, she asked; ‘Who is Wendy Parker?’,
and then she asked ‘How much money is she going to give?’

In the second hour, the teacher started the lesson by asking the students some
context questions about Kerry’s letter which they had read in the 1st hour in order to
remind the students of the previous lesson. All students had no difficulty to
remember the letter and raised their hands to answer the questions. They gave the
answers in full sentences. At this point, the teacher explained to the students that they
were expected to sponsor Kerry in this organisation to help endangered animals. As
soon as the pupils heard this, their willingness and enthusiasm to do something about
it was clearly seen. A student raised her hand and asked ‘How can we help Kerry?
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He is in England. Are we going to go to England?’ .At this point the teacher told
students that they would pretend to be at the swimming pool where Kerry’s
sponsored swim was to be held. To create a swimming pool scene, the teacher had
put together three blue garbage bags with sticky tape before and spread it on the
floor. Then, she announced students that they would play a game which was called
‘In the pool, on the bank’. She asked students to come to the board and make a circle
around the swimming pool. When she said ‘In the pool’, students jumped in the pool;
when she said ‘On the bank’, they got out of it. With this activity, the teacher not
only raised students’ awareness about the swimming pool but also made them have
fun.

Following the game, the teacher explained to the students that there were some
rules which were supposed to be at the swimming pool. She showed students the
pictures of signs and asked them to guess the appropriate sign for each picture. As
students have enough vocabulary and structure knowledge, they were able to find the
signs easily. When student said the signs for each picture, the teacher put the signs
on the board together with their pictures. Then, she removed the signs and left the
pictures on the board and asked students to say the right sign for each picture again.

At this point, the teacher reminded students about that they would organise a
FOOD BAZAAR to sponsor Kerry to save animals. First, she revised food & drink
items by showing their flashcards and asking students to name them. This activity
was very achievable for students, so even the weakest student was able to label food
& drink items. Then, she put all the pictures on the board. Next, the teacher aimed to
teach the portions of food and drink, such as a piece of …, a bowl of …., a glass of
…, a cup of …., a bottle of …. On the board the teacher put the cardboards on which
the expressions of these portions were written and asked students to categorize food
& drink items according to their portions. All students wanted to participate in the
activity, since they would be kinaesthetically active. As there were enough food &
drink items for each student, all of them had the chance to come to the board and put
the picture under its category. Next, she distributed Handout 3 to the students.
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Before ending the lesson, the teacher asked students to prepare food & drink
cards and fake money for FOOD BAZAAR which would be held the following day.
Once students heard that they were expected to carry out the activity with the
materials they would prepare (i.e. food & drink cards and fake money), they felt
highly motivated to hold this organization.

At the beginning of the third hour, the teacher reminded students about that they
would hold the organisation of FOOD BAZAAR to sponsor Kerry. It was clearly
seen that the students were eager to start the activity. Each of them wanted to show
their food & drink cards to the teacher. The teacher asked them to stick their cards on
the board. Then, she told them that they needed to fill in an ID card to take place in
the organisation.. Students seemed to fill in the cards willingly. Then, the teacher
asked students how they would ask for food & drinks during the shopping. She said
‘For example, you‘d like to buy a piece of cake. How do you say it?’. Some of the
students said ‘A piece of cake, please ?’. The teacher agreed the students, but she
said that they could use other expressions while doing shopping. These expressions
were:

• What would you like?

• I’d like ...... or Can I have ......, please?

• How much is this, please?

• Here you are.

• Thank you!

Next, she presented these expressions using puppets and making them talk.
Then the teacher wrote these expressions on the board and asked students if they
wanted to practise these expressions using puppets and making them talk. All of the
students seemed to be enthusiastic to do this activity. However, only three pairs
could carry out this exercise.
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Following the activity, the teacher distributed students the menu (Handout 5)
which she had prepared before. She asked the students to practise the expressions
they had learnerd through the menu. Students walked around the classroom and
communicated with each other using these expressions.

As a last activity, the teacher told students that it was time to organise ‘FOOD
BAZAAR’ to sponsor Kerry and make money for endangered animals.. On the floor,
she spread the fake swimming pool made of garbage bags and put the pool signs on
the board to give the sense of that students were carrying out this organisation by the
swimming pool.Then, she told students that they were expected to do shopping
activity in FOOD BAZAAR with their fake money. It was clearly seen that students
enjoyed the activity a lot and they tried to use the target language during the activity.

5.3.1.3 Observation Implications


Young learners need to interact in a meaningful, interesting context and play
with the language while developing vocabulary and structures. They need the
collaboration of their peers and teachers in creating meaningful contexts and
negotiating meanings in those contexts. Constructivist theory suggests that they must
“build knowledge from inside in interaction with the environment” (Kamii, 1991).
From this discussion one can conclude that students cannot successfully acquire a
new language through decontextualized drill and skill exercises. Young learners feel
more motivated to learn the acquire the target language when they interact with
language in a meaningful context. This situation can be clearly seen in various part of
the lesson where most of the students are actively participated in the tasks and
activities.

The authenticity of the topic and the materials create a certain level of
awareness about using the target language and make learners shift from “focus on
form” to “focus on meaning” during the practice period. Pair work and group work
activities in the lesson create a positive feeling for language learning, awaken
students’ interests and help them to be involved in the lesson. During the lesson, the
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teacher made use of these activities and made the students use the language in
purposeful contexts.

According to Harmer (1991:52), it is clear that in a general class it is the


teacher’s responsibility to see that all the skills are practised. All aspects of language
are interwoven. All main skills (listening, reading, speaking, and writing) and
associated skills (syntax, vocabulary, spelling and pronunciation) function together
for effective and successful communication (Scarcella & Oxford, 1992.) The teacher
used all four skills in the frame of the same topic and helped the students to
internalize the topic and new language items. This was evident in the parts where
students were actively engaged in without losing their focus on the topic.
.
Young learners like playing, drawing, moving around the classroom during the
lessons. Through the activities, the teacher managed to hold the learners’ attention,
enthusiasm, and interest. The students had the opportunity to enjoy themselves by
walking around the classroom and using the target language in a meaningful context
with the ‘FOOD BAZAAR’ activity.

5.3.2 Interview
5.3.2.1 Interview With The Teacher

Interview Guide for the Teacher

Questions

1. Do you pay attention to using four skills in your lessons?

ƒ If yes – Do you use them integratedly?

ƒ If no – Which skill do you emphasize most?

2. Do you give importance to using authentic materials in your lessons?

If yes – How does it influence your students’ behaviour and learning?

3. Does integrated-skill approach promote the learning?


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4. What do you think about whether the tasks in the lesson fulfilled the
objectives of A1 Level in Common European Framework?

5.3.2.1.1 Implications of the Interview with the Teacher

The aim of the first question was targeted at finding out the teacher’s opinion
about using integrated – skill approach while teaching language. The following quote
gives us teacher’s idea about how important is presenting the new language using
four skills in the same lesson.
‘ I do pay attention to using four skills in my lessons. I think teaching and
assessing the four skills is the starting point of my teaching approach. I believe that
students should not only learn about a foreign language but should learn how to do
things in that language. I use the four skills integrally so my students will be able to
communicate and develop their productive and receptive skills. By this way the
teacher will also be able to keep his/her students to see English as a tool for
communication rather than as merely a subject where information is learnt and then
repeated’.

Through the teacher’s words we understand that she gives importance to the
communicative competence. She mentions that using four skills in the same lesson
promotes the communicative aspect of learning a language and helps the students to
use the target language rather than memorizing it through repetitive drills.

The researcher’s purpose in the second question was to find out to get
information about the teacher’s choice of authentic topics and materials while
teaching the language in a communicative framework. Through her response it is
understood that she is familiar with the authenticity in the classroom.
‘Authentic materials bring images of reality into unnaqtural world of the language
classroom. The ideal is exposing students as many varieties of authentic materials
and/or native speaker speech as possible. Authentic materials are ideal for starting
point for a classroom discussion of topical events. Even shy pupils or the ones who
are bad at English can participate fully. And last but least, authentic materials
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enable the learners to cope with real world and teach them something the world they
live in’.

The last point referred to by the teacher is backed up by Nunan (1989), as well.
Nunan mentions that learner’s attention is principally paid to meaning rather than
form when they are i comprehending, producing, manipulating, or interacting in
authentic language.

The following question focuses on the effects of using integrated skill approach
on learning. The teacher gave the following explanation:

‘ I think, integrated skill approach promotes the learning. Integrated skill


approach raises students’ awareness and encourages them to use their independently
acquired language knowledge. With integrated skill approach students will be
assisted academically, socially and emotionally. Students forget what they were
taught. They only remember what they have learnt’.

Through the last question, the researcher aimed at finding out whether the
students achieved the objectives of A1 Level in Common European Framework by
using four skills. She revealed the results of her observation with the following
explanation:

‘First of all, it was amazing to see that the students had a wide range of factual
information and awareness about the world. The students had no difficulty to
understand the general idea in the text and they could recognize the specific
information in the listening activity. They filled in ID cards for the organization,
which was one of the objectives of A1 Level in CEF. During the FOOD BAZAAR
activity, which is the most enjoyable part of the lesson, they could express themselves
fluently and accurately and understand each other, as well. Also, they were able to
say the swimming pool signs which had been demonstrated with the pictures. I think,
understanding the signs is an important issue to use the language for communicative
purpose. Also, it the teacher played an important role to encourage the students to
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shine in the skills they feel confident with as she was aware of the pupils’ strengths
and weaknesses’.

The teacher’s response supports the notion of the positive effects of integrated
skill approach on language learning.. Integrating the language skills promotes the
learning of real content, not just the dissection of language forms. As the teacher
points out that integrated skill approach encourages learners to use what they have
learned up till now rather than practising isolated structures through mechanical drills
and artificial contexts. Also, it is inevitable to say that authenticity in topic and
material choice enhances the learners’ accomplishment in acquiring the target
language. During the sample lesson plan students combined their previous
knowledge with the new structures they learned and they were able to carry out the
tasks which aimed at achieving the objectives of A1 level in CEF.

5.3.2.2 Interview with the Students

Interview Guide for the Students

Questions

1. Did you like the topic of the lesson?

2. How did you feel during the lesson?

- excited, bored, interested, happy

3. Which part of the lesson did you like most?

- the activities (i.e. matching, filling in an ID card, solving the code)

-the pictures

- role playing in a restaurant scene

- FOOD BAZAAR organisation


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5.3.2.2.1 Implications of the Interview with the Students


The interview was carried out in the classroom during the class period.
Students answered the questions as a whole in the format of an informal interview.
The first question in the group interview was aimed at learning students’ general
attitude towards the world facts. They said that they were interested in the animals
and they felt very sorry for endangered animals. They were seemed to be
disappointed about the endangered animals. Moreover, one of them said ‘I want to
kill the hunters’. The other one wanted to write a letter to Kerry and asked me
whether I had Kerry’s address or not. It was clearly understood that they not only
liked the topic but also internalized it.

The second question was about how they felt during the lesson. they said that
they felt disappointment because of endangered animals. However, it showed that
they internalized the topic, which made their learning better. Most children said they
felt very happy while playing the game: In the pool, on the bank. As mentioned
before, young learners willingly take place in kinesthetic activities and they enjoy
them a lot. Students also mentioned that they felt excited a lot when they heard that
their food & drink cards would be used during the FOOD BAZAAR activity. This
situation is backed up the theory that children feel more motivated to learn when they
are actively engaged in the task.

In the third question students were asked about what they liked the most during
the lesson. Most of the pupils said they liked the FOOD BAZAAR activity since they
both used food & drink cards they had prepared before and bought or sold them by
walking around the classroom. Students also mentioned that they liked to be a
waiter/waitress in the role-play activity.. Some of the pupils who heavily tend to use
their logical/mathematical intelligence said that they liked decoding the message.

It can be concluded from these responses that students were actively involved
in the lesson as the topic of the lesson attracted their attention. Also, they
demonstrated great enthusiasm about using some expressions in the target language.
As can be seen in the above examples students did not lose their concentration on the
127

lesson as the teacher varied the activities with different skills in the frame of the
same topic. To sum up, we can say that the students seem to achieve the objectives of
A1 Level in CEF as a result of integrated skill approach being used by the teacher.
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Chapter 6
Conclusion

6.1. Summary
Chapter 1 includes the aim of the study, theoretical framework, limitations and
scope of the study, the assumptions, and data collection technique which has been
used in this study.

In the literature review of the thesis, chapter 2, the characteristics of young


learners and the implications of teaching young learners have been studied. The
language skills have been divided into receptive and productive skills and the
characteristics of integrated skills approach have been examined. Also, it has been
studied how to teach grammar and vocabulary to young learners. moreover, the
components of the language, such as grammar, vocabulary and language skills have
been exemplified through activity types appropriate for young learners.

The subject matter of the thesis includes achieving the objectives of A1 Level
in common European Framework as a result of teaching the target language on the
basis of integrated approach. In Chapter 3, the levels of CEF have been explained,
however, the level of A1 has been explained in detail as its’ achievements have been
taken into the consideration for the young learners.

In Chapter 4, a lesson plan has been applied to evaluate whether the students
can use four skills in an integrated manner in order to carry out the objectives of A1
Level in Common European Framework. Two teachers observed the lesson.

In chapter 5, data collection techniques have been identified and in the


observation report, the process of the lesson has been defined in detail. The interview
has been carried out with one of the observers and the students and their responses
have been associatedc with the findings of the thesis.
129

6.2 Conclusion
The function of schools is to broaden children’s range of experiences.The
greater parts of their experiences are gained through language which is a lifelong
activity and essential component for successful living. Keeping in mind this,
language teachers feel responsible themselves for teaching the target language in
meaningful contexts with purposeful tasks and helping the language learners to use
all skills of the target language effectively. Moreover, they have been trying to have
a basis for standardization in language teaching by setting the objectives of Common
European Framework which has been produced by the Council of Europe. The aim
of this study is to introduce young learners and apply the principles of integrated skill
approach during the lessons in order to make the learners achieve the objectives of
A1 Level in CEF.

Teaching young learners is different from teaching adults. Young children tend
to change their mood every other minute, their attention span is limited. On the other
hand, they show a greater motivation than adults to do things that appeal to them. For
this reason, the exposure to variety of exercises makes their learning better. The
variety of exercises may not be an adequate reason for them being motivated to learn
the language. If they are exposed to the authentic language which makes them to
interact naturally in the language, they feel more satisfied while learning the
language.

Integrating the language skills provide meaningful content for learners and
make them use the language in real contexts provided with task based activities.
Young learners tend to be influenced by the general atmosphere in the classroom, so
the activities, materials and the methods used in the classroom should create a
positive environment for children’s learning. In this research, the techniques used in
teaching skills to young learners are explained in detail.

In this research, integrated skill approach and Common European Framework


were studied together because of the fact that they had similar aspects in terms of
130

teaching and learning language for communicative purpose. In this research the
principles in teaching each skill were provided with their activity types. In addition
to the literature provided, a sample lesson plan was also proposed and applied to test
student reactions. To test students’ reactions to integrated skill approach observations
and interviews with the colleagues and the students were carried out. The results of
the observations were supported by the implications of the interviews... As a result of
the observation and interviews, it was clearly seen that students managed to use the
skills in an integrated way and they successfully carried out the tasks which had been
designed to realize the objectives of A1 Level in CEF. To sum up, teachers should
establish a real content in the classroom by using all four skills in an integrated
manner in order to enhance students’ learning.

This research has raised awareness on the part of the school administration
and resulted in a curriculum study. Ankara Maya Private Primary School has started
a curriculum design project to implement the CEFRL.
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