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GAZI UNIVERSITY INSTITUTE OF EDUCATIONAL SCIENCES DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING
TEACHING ENGLISH TO YOUNG LEARNERS THROUGH INTEGRATED SKILLS APPROACH
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
BY Esra ÖZTÜRK
SUPERVISOR Prof. Dr. Aydan ERSÖZ
MAY - 2007
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 Üye (Tez Danışmanı): Prof. Dr Aydan ERSÖZ Üye: Assist. Prof. Dr Nurdan ÖZBEK Üye: Assist. Prof Gültekin BORAN ………………………… ………………………… ………………………… İmza
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.
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.
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.
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 18.104.22.168 Content-based instruction ...................................................................... 19 22.214.171.124 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 .................................................................................... 24 126.96.36.199 Techniques In Teaching Grammar ........................................................ 28 2.4.2 VOCABULARY TEACHING ............................................................................... 34 2.4.3 TEACHING SKILLS .......................................................................................... 43 188.8.131.52. Receptive Skills ..................................................................................... 44 184.108.40.206.1 Teaching Reading.......................................................................... 46 220.127.116.11.2 Teaching Listening ........................................................................ 59 18.104.22.168 Productive Skills .................................................................................... 67 22.214.171.124.1 Teaching Writing .......................................................................... 69 126.96.36.199.1.1 Controlled Writing Activities................................................... 75 188.8.131.52.1.2 Guided Written Activities ........................................................ 79 184.108.40.206.1.3 Creative Writing Activities ...................................................... 80 220.127.116.11.2 Teaching Speaking ........................................................................ 83 THE COMMON EUROPEAN FRAMEWORK .................................................. 91
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 18.104.22.168 Observation Guide ............................................................................... 115 22.214.171.124 Observation Report .............................................................................. 116 126.96.36.199 Observation Implications ..................................................................... 121 5.3.2 INTERVIEW ................................................................................................... 122 188.8.131.52 Interview With The Teacher ................................................................. 122 184.108.40.206.1 Implications of the Interview with the Teacher ....................... 123 220.127.116.11 Interview with the Students .................................................................. 125 18.104.22.168.1 Implications of the Interview with the Students ...................... 126 CHAPTER 6 ........................................................................................................... 127 CONCLUSION....................................................................................................... 128 BIBLIOGRAPHY .................................................................................................. 131
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. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. What are the characteristics of young learners? What are the principles and techniques of teaching reading? What are the principles and techniques of teaching listening? What are the principles and techniques of teaching writing? What are the principles and techniques of teaching speaking? What is skill-based teaching? What is the importance of skill-based teaching? What are the objectives of A1 Level of English Language Passport? How can English be taught integratedly to young learners in order to realize the objectives of A1 Level of English Language Passport?
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.
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.
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.
• • • •
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.
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
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.
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.
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 They can talk about what they are doing. They can plan activities.
They can argue for something and tell you why they think what they think. They can use logical reasoning. They can use their vivid imaginations. They can use a wide range of intonation pattern in their mother tongue. They can understand direct human interaction
Eight to ten year olds What eight to ten year olds can do ………….. They can tell the difference between fact and fiction. They rely on the spoken word as well as the physical world to convey and understand meaning They are able to make some decisions about their own learning. They have definite views about what they like and don’t like doing. They have a developed sense of fairness about what happens in the classroom and begin to question the teacher’s decisions. 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.
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.
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
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.
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 selfexpression. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 22.214.171.124 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.
126.96.36.199 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
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: Learn more about the various ways to integrate language skills in the classroom (e.g., content-based, task-based, or a combination). Reflect on their current approach and evaluate the extent to which the skills are integrated. 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. 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. Teach language-learning strategies and emphasise that a given strategy can often enhance performance in multiple skills.
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
vary from culture to culture as well. Nonetheless, Brumfit (1991:2) lists some of the characteristics which young learners share: Young learners are at the beginning of their school life so teachers have a great opportunity to fulfil their expectations in school. They are more differentiated than secondary or adult learners and new to the conformity imposed across cultural groupings by the school. They are without the inhibitions, which older children bring to school; they are keen and enthusiastic learners. Learning can be linked with their development of ideas because it is close to their initial experience of formal education. 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.’
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): Exposing children from an early age to an understanding of foreign cultures can make them tolerant and sympathetic to others. Providing the need to the understanding of new concepts to link communication. Providing the need for learning time for important languages. 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
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
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. b. John has a few food ideas. 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
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
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. 188.8.131.52 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.
Listening and responding: Many methodologists feel that adult secondlanguage 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 (CelceMurcia, 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 CelceMurcia (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
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
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.
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. CelceMurcia 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
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
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
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.
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: Make classrooms a lively place through the use of attractive wall displays. Motivate pupils to want to learn English by using interesting and enjoyable learning activities, for example games and drama. 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
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
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 workwhen 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
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.
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: 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.)
Vocabulary is best learned when someone feels that a certain word is needed. Vocabulary for the first stage of ESL usually names certain things and persons in the classroom. 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. 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. We can have simple communication experiences in the classroom if we make time for them. 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
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 rulebased 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: 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. 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.
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. 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. 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. Personal organising: The judgement that learners make about a word are most effective if they are personalised. 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. 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. 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. 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
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 SKILL RECEPTIVE PRODUCTIVE Listening understanding Speaking and Reading understanding Writing and WRITTEN WORD
184.108.40.206. 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:
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: 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. 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
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. Ss listen/read for task: The students then read or listen to a text to perform the task the teacher has set. 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. 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. 220.127.116.11.1 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
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).
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
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: Learners can have further practice of language that they have already met through listening and speaking. Learners can practise language in order to re-use it in writing. Learners can learn how to make sense of texts, in order to extract the information they need from them. 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.
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:
re-presented and practised in
listening 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
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:
Figure 2 Reading Through Language
learner achievement of purposes through using language (speaking / listening /reading / writing)
development in learner’s language system and strategies for using system
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
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: to read texts of a general nature with comprehension to read flexibly according to purpose to learn language and content from reading 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. 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. 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
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. 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. 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.
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 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. 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
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.
• • • •
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.
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
that are found in the native country, especially if the materials the teachers have depict English-speaking environments that are unfamiliar to students. 18.104.22.168.2 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:
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
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 (topdown 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.
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
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).
‘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. 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 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
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. 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.
‘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) b) c) Charts and tables Schedules Graphs
Text-based exercises and activities: • Text replication (dictation and dicto-comp)
• Text completion • Text manipulation and imitation • Text elicitation • Grammaticality judgments • Text editing and grammar correction and feedback 22.214.171.124 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 has a communicative purpose selects from language store wants to listen to something 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
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 noncommunicative activities with the following figure: Figure 4 The Communication Continuum
NON-COMMUNICATIVE ACTIVITIES COMMUNICATIVE ACTIVITIES
no comunicative desire no communicative purpose form not content one language item teacher intervention materials control
a desire to communicate a communicative purpose content not form variety of language no teacher intervention no materials control
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 ‘noncommunicative’ 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 noncommunicative 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. 126.96.36.199.1 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
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: 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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
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:
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:
Figure 5 Producing a Piece of Writing
SYNTAX Sentence structure, sentence boundaries, stylistic choices,etc. GRAMMAR Rules for verbs, agreement, articles, pronouns, etc. MECHANICS Handwriting, spelling, punctuation, etc.
CONTENT Relevance, clarity, originality, logic,etc.
THE WRITER’S PROCESS getting ideas, getting started, writing drafts, revising.
Clear, fluent and effective communication of ideas
AUDIENCE The reader/s
PURPOSE The reason for writing WORD CHOICE Vocabulary, idiom, tone
ORGANIZATION paragraphs, topic and support, cohesion and unity
The Controlled-to-free approach: In the 1950s and early 1960s, the audiolingual 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
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.
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. 188.8.131.52.1.1 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
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.
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: Things they would like to eat, Countries they would like to visit, Animals they would like to see 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.
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.
184.108.40.206.1.2 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.
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: Ask for something (e.g. one of a number of picture cards which another pupil has in front of him); Ask for some personal information; 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 Be short Be made up of sentences which can be said in one breath Have a purpose, and be connected to work which has gone before or comes after Be read or said at normal speed. 220.127.116.11.1.3 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
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.
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 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.
18.104.22.168.2 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
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
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
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 roleplaying 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
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 taskbased 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:
• 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
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
'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 To hear clear pronunciation To feel successful when using English Plenty of opportunities to communicate To enjoy their efforts at speaking in English To know they have achieved something worthwhile. The teacher should Speak a lot of English and repeat children’s words or phrases when you are answering them React to the meaning of what they are trying to say. Encourage them by showing that what they are saying is more impotent than your correction Wait until they finish speaking before you repeat and rephrase Show your approval for all your pupils’ speaking – however short it may be Provide activities that are fun and have a purpose or a goal, and that have an end-product that they can feel proud of
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:
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).
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. Proficient User C2 Can summarise information from different spoken and written sources, reconstructing arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation. 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. C1 Can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use 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. Independent User B2 Can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.
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. 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). A2 Can describe in simple terms aspects of his/her background, immediate environment and 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.
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. Can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.
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.
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
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 19945 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 schoollearning 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
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:
Table 3 DIALANG Scale for A1 Level SKILLS READING CEF A1 LEVEL 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.
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.
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.
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..
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.
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.
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.
Look and match. a) b) c) d)
1. a cup of tea 4. a bowl of soup 7. a piece of bread 10. a cup of coffee
2. a piece of pizza
3. a bottle ofwater 6. a bowl of cereal
5. a glass of orange juice 8. a cup of hot chocolate
11. a piece of cake
9. a glass of milk
12. a bowl of salad
(adapted from Excellent 2 (2005), ENGLAND:Longman)
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.
Soup …….. £ 2,00
Tea …….. £ 1,00
Ham burger … £ 3,00
Orange Juice…£ 2,00 Hot Chocolate... £ 3,00
Pizza …….. £ 5,00
Coke …….. £ 1,00 Cake …….. £ 3,00
Chips …….. £ 2,00
Ice Cream ... £ 4,00 Salad …….. £ 3,00
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.
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
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.
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
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).
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) semistructured interviews; and 3) standardized, open-ended interviews.
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
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 22.214.171.124 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? . Students’ sensitivity to the topic 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
• 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? Authenticity in selection of the topic, materials and tasks Integration of the skills in the frame of same topic Are the objectives of A1 Level in CEF carried out during the lesson? Being able to understand the general idea of simple texts. Being able to understand simple messages and signs. Being able to fill in forms with personal details. Being able to understand everyday expressions dealing with simple and concrete everyday needs. Being able to follow speech which is very slow. Being able to understand numbers and prices in spoken interaction. Being able to ask people for things and give people things. Being able to ask and answer simple questions. 126.96.36.199 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.
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
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?
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.
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.
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.
188.8.131.52 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
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 184.108.40.206 Interview With The Teacher
Interview Guide for the Teacher Questions 1. Do you pay attention to using four skills in your lessons? If yes – Do you use them integratedly? 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?
4. What do you think about whether the tasks in the lesson fulfilled the objectives of A1 Level in Common European Framework? 220.127.116.11.1 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
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
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.
18.104.22.168 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
22.214.171.124.1 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
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.
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.
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
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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