You are on page 1of 31


English language learning

Past and Present
Language Teaching: Past and Present

A short history of language teaching

Approaches and methods in language teaching

English Language Teaching Today

English as an international language

Language Standards

Culture, identity, and language


Teaching Priorities
A short history of language teaching
A short history of language teaching

1840s to the 1940s: Grammar-Translation Method


Instruction is given in the native language of the students.


There is little use of the target language for communication.


Focus is on grammatical parsing, i.e., the form and inflection of words.


There is early reading of difficult texts.


A typical exercise is to translate sentences from the target language into the mother tongue (or
vice versa).


The result of this approach is usually an inability on the part of the student to use the language
for communication.
The teacher does not have to be able to speak the target language.
(Celce-Murcia, 2001: 6)
1880s: Reform Movement
Henry Sweet (England)
Wilhelm Vitor (Germany)
Paul Passy (France)

Reform Movement:

The spoken language is primary and this should be reflected in an oral-based methodology.


The findings of phonetics should be applied to teaching and to teacher training.


Learners should hear the language first, before seeing it in written form.


Words should be presented in sentences, and sentences should be practiced in meaningful

contexts and not be taught as isolated, disconnected elements.


The rules of grammar should be taught only after the students have practiced the grammar
points in context in other words, grammar should be taught inductively.


Translation should be avoided, although the native langue could be used in order to explain
new words or to check comprehension.
(Richards & Rodgers, 2001)
Natural Method

L. Sauveur (1826-1907)

F. Franke (1884)
Direct Method:


Classroom instruction was conducted exclusively in the target language.


Only everyday vocabulary and sentences were taught.


Oral communication skills were built up in a carefully graded progression organized around
question-and-answer exchanges between teachers and students in small, intensive classes.


Grammar was taught inductively.


New teaching points were introduced orally.


Concrete vocabulary was taught through demonstration, objects, and pictures; abstract
vocabulary was taught by association of ideas.


Both speech and listening comprehension were taught.


Correct pronunciation and grammar were emphasized.

(Richards & Rodgers, 2001:12)
l920s and 1930s:

Reform Movement - British approach to teaching English as a second language

Coleman Report (1929) United States

reading-based approach
Questions that inspired new directions in language teaching in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries:


What should the goals of language teaching be? Should a language course try to teach
conversational proficiency, reading, translation, or some other skill?


What is the basic nature of language, and how will this affect the teaching method?


What are the principles for the selection of language content in the language teaching?


What principles of organization, sequencing, and presentation best facilitate learning?


What should the role of the native language be?


What processes do learners use in mastering a language, and can these be incorporated into a


What teaching techniques and activities work best and under what circumstances?
(Richards & Rodgers, 2001: 14)
Methods and Approaches in Language Teaching


Audiolingual Method (United States)


Oral Approach (Britain)


Situational Language Teaching (P-P-P)


Communicative Approach or Communicative Language Teaching (CLT)


The Natural Approach (Krashen & Terrell, 1983)


Total Physical Response (Asher, 1977)


Silent Way (Gattegno, 1976)


Community Language Learning or Counseling-Learning (Curran, 1976)


Suggestopedia or Desuggestopedia (Lazanov, 1978)


New approaches to language teaching: Content-Based Instruction, Task-Based Language

Teaching, Competency-Based Instruction, Cooperative Learning, Whole Language Approach, Lexical
Approach, Multiple Intelligences, and Neurolinguistic Programming

Approaches and methods in language teaching

Anthony (1963)

an approach to language teaching is something that reflects a certain model or research

paradigm, that is, a theory

a method is a set of procedures, i.e., a system that spells out rather precisely how to teach a
second or foreign language

a technique is a classroom device or activity

Richards and Rodgers (2001):
Method is theoretically related to an approach, is organizationally determined by a design, and is practically
realized in procedure.

approach refers to theories about the nature of language and language learning that
serve as the source of practices and principles of teaching

design is the level in which objectives, syllabus, and content are specified along with
the roles of teachers, learners and instructional materials
Procedure is the implementation phase


English as an international language

Globalization --> Economic, demographic, and technological changes

=> spread of English
English has become a lingua franca
A lingua franca: a language widely adopted for communication between two speakers whose native
languages are different from each others and where one or both speakers are using it as a second language
(Harmer, 2001:1)

English as an international language

Many countries are changing their educational systems

Introduction of English at the primary school level; others have plans to make their
country bilingual (Graddol, 2006)
e.g. Chile, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan and China

Globalization of universities, e.g. Bologna Process

Today: approx. 1.5 billion speakers of English worldwide, including 329 million native
speakers (Crystal, 2003)
English as a Lingua Franca (ELF)
Communication between non-native speakers common

Not conforming to a native English standard

Better at ELF communication than native speakers

Jennifer Jenkins (2006): need to abandon the native speaker yardstick

Native speakers are no longer the gatekeepers of English

Which varieties should learners learn?

Penny Ur (2012)
Which lexical, grammatical, phonological or orthographical (spelling) forms are most likely to be
understood and used worldwide?
Two weeks or fortnight




Organize or organise


Culture, Identity, and language


Penny Ur (2012)

H. D. Brown (2007):
Culture can be defined as the ideas, customs, skills, arts and tools that characterize a given group of people
in a given period of time.
A language is part of a culture, and a culture is a part of a language; the two are intricately interwoven so
that one cannot separate the two without losing the significance of either language or culture.

R. Phillipson (1992)

Graddol (2006)
Motivation - learning process
- L2 learning
Drnyei (2005):

L2 learning involves aspects of a learners personal core and forms an important part of an
individuals identity
Arnett (2002):

Globalisation and the spread of English as world language: development of a bicultural


Many individuals want to learn English as a means of being part of the globalised
The Second Language Motivational System (L2MSS):


Ideal L2 Self


Ought-to L2 Self


L2 Learning Experiences

Motivation and learning experiences

Drnyei (2001) suggests a practical framework of motivational strategies which teachers can
use in the classroom
Key elements :


Creating the basic motivational conditions (involves setting the scene for the effective use of
motivational strategies)


Generating student motivation (by enhancing learners L2-related values and attitudes, for


Maintaining and protecting motivation (for instance, by making learning stimulating and


Encouraging positive self-evaluation (by providing motivational feedback)

The Ten commandments for motivating language learners



Set a personal example with your own behaviour.


Create a pleasant, relaxed atmosphere in the classroom.


Present the tasks properly.


Develop a good relationship with the learners.


Increase the learners linguistic self-confidence.


Make the language classes interesting.


Promote learner autonomy.


Personalise the learning process.


Increase the learners goal-orientedness.


Familiarise learners with the target language culture.

(Drnyei and Csizr, 1998: 215)
Teaching Priorities

Fluency and accuracy; Different styles; Vocabulary; Writing


Functions of the teacher in the classroom
Lesson preparation
Roles and functions of the teacher in the classroom
Lesson preparation
Language teaching method (Richards & Rodgers, 2001):
Approach, Design, Procedure
Level of design: teacher roles

the types of functions teachers fulfill

the degree of teacher influence over learning

the degree to which the teacher determines the content of learning

the types of interaction between teachers and learners

How do teachers describe what they do?

Teacher roles

transmitters of knowledge?

create conditions: students learn for themselves?

Teacher-centred teaching:

Knowledge transmitted from expert knower to inexperienced learner


Superior socially

Legitimised authority

Teacher responsible for learning

Learner-centred teaching


Student activity

performance of teacher
(Zoltan Drnyei & Tim Murphey, 2003)
Teachers role: Group leadership --> Democratic teaching

A learner-centred approach to language teaching

A teacher is a facilitator, he/she is democratic, nurtures learner autonomy

Teacher roles
















Observer (Harmer, 2001)

Organiser: engages > instructs (by demonstrating) > initiates > organizes feedback


Instructor provides information about the language


Activator provides tasks that activate students to use the language


Model represents the prototype of the English speaker during a lesson


Provider of feedback provides feedback on student oral or written production


Supporter - encourages students, helps them understand and produce appropriate language,
and suggests learning strategies or resources that may be useful


Assessor - assesses students either formally (tests), or informally (quizzes, dictations)



Manager - manages the classroom process (tasks, activities, group work, classroom


Motivator responsible for encouraging and maintaining student motivation (Ur (2012)
Successful interaction with students depends on four key characteristics:

recognising students (know students names)

listening to students (be interested in what students have to say)

respecting students (be careful not to be too critical)

being even-handed (treat all students equally)

Interaction patterns in the lesson:
Initiation-Response-Feedback (IRF)

Interaction patterns


Teacher talk


Choral responses


Closed-ended teacher questioning (IRF)


Open-ended teacher questioning


Full-class interaction


Student initiates, teacher answers


Individual work




Group work



Teaching objectives

Comprehension check


Familiarization with text


Oral fluency


Grammar check




Grammar practice


New vocabulary
Teacher talk:

Teachers language:

Adjusted to meet the level and needs of learners

Clear, simple, minimal language when instructing and explaining

Language properly graded for the level of students

Teacher talk should be reduced

Show how to do, rather than speak too much

Each instruction should be checked to make sure students have understood

Give an example or demonstration of tasks in open class

Model language or stimulate production

Lesson preparation

An English lesson may include:

A listening or reading text, which is usually accompanied with comprehension tasks

An oral communicative task, such as discussion of a controversial topic

Presentation and explanation of a grammatical point

Presentation and explanation of vocabulary

Exercises on linguistic usages, such as grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, spelling or


A writing task; Silent reading of simplified readers chosen by the students; Review of
homework; Preparation for a test; A test (Ur, 2012: 21)
Lesson variation

Tempo; Organization; Material; Mode and skill; Difficulty; Topic; Mood; Stir-settle; Activepassive (Ur, 2012: 22)

Sequence of lessons:
Practical tips

Put the harder tasks earlier


Do quieter activities before lively ones


Keep an eye on your watch


Pull the class together at the beginning and end of the lesson


End on a positive note


Dont leave homework-giving to the end


Prepare a reserve

Written lesson plans:

A lesson-plan template

Provides a framework so that the teacher can note systematically the various stages in the
lesson and the order in which they will occur (beginning, main activities, ending)

Makes the teacher think about and note down what the teaching aims are, along with the
content of what is planned

Provides space to write down the particular language items (new words, grammar, spelling
rules and so on) that are planned

Reminds the teacher to prepare a reserve activity, if needed

Leaves space for later comments

Using the lesson plan:
Share with the class; Adapt; Add later comment


Teaching the text
The language-learning task
Communicative Language Teaching today

Process-based approaches


Product-based approaches
Ten Core Assumptions of Current Communicative Language Teaching:


Second language learning is facilitated when learners are engaged in interaction and
meaningful communication.


Effective classroom learning tasks and exercises provide opportunities for students to
negotiate meaning, expand their language resources, notice how language is used, and take part in
meaningful interpersonal exchange.


Meaningful communication results from students processing content that is relevant,

purposeful, interesting, and engaging.


Communication is a holistic process that often calls upon the use of several language skills or


Language learning is facilitated both by activities that involve inductive or discovery learning
of underlying rules of language use and organization, as well as by those involving language analysis and
6. Language learning is a gradual process that involves creative
use of language, and trial and error.
Although errors are a normal product of learning, the ultimate goal of learning is to be able to use the new
language both accurately and fluently.
7. Learners develop their own routes to language learning, progress at different rates, and have different
needs and motivations for language learning.
8. Successful language learning involves the use of effective learning and communication strategies.

9. The role of the teacher in the language classroom is that of a facilitator, who creates a classroom
climate conducive to language learning and provides opportunities for students to use and practice the
language and to reflect on language use and language learning.
10. The classroom is a community where learners learn through collaboration and sharing.
Richards (2006: 22)
CLT Classroom activities

Aim: to develop students communicative competence by linking grammatical development to

the ability to communicate

grammar not taught in isolation

need for specific items of grammar arises out of a communicative task

Students execute a task and then reflect on some of the linguistic characteristics of
their performance

create the need for communication, interaction, and negotiation of meaning, for example,
problem solving, information sharing, and role play activities

provide opportunities for both inductive and deductive learning of grammar

use content that connects to students lives and interests

personalizes student learning by applying what they have learned to their own lives

use of authentic texts to create interest and to present valid models of language

Different syllabus types within a communicative orientation to language teaching use

different routes to developing communicative competence

a language syllabus should include a systematic coverage of the many different components
of communicative competence, including language skills, content, grammar, vocabulary, and functions
Process-Based CLT Approaches
Two major methodologies:

Content-based instruction (CBI)

Task-based instruction (TBI).

Content-based instruction (CBI)

Use of content as the main focus of classroom activities

link all the different dimensions of communicative competence (for example, grammatical
competence) to content.

According to Krahnke (1987: 65), CBI is the teaching of content or information in the
language being learned with little or no direct or explicit effort to teaching the language itself separately
from the content being taught.

Task-Based Instruction


Focus of TBI: language learning will result from creating the right kinds of interactional
processess in the classroom

Use of specially designed instructional tasks

grammar and other dimensions of communicative competence can be developed as a byproduct of engaging learners in interactive tasks
A Task

A task is a learner activity that has two objectives: learning of some aspect of the language;
and an outcome that can be discussed or evaluated. Penny Ur (2012: 43)

Tasks are activities which have meaning as their primary focus. Success in tasks is
evaluated in terms of achievement of an outcome, and tasks generally bear some resemblance to real-life
language use (Skehan, 1996).

The task should also have a sense of completeness, being able to stand alone as a
communicative act in its own right. (Nunan, 1989)

Characteristics of a task:

It is something that learners do or carry out using their existing language resources.

It has an outcome which is not simply linked to learning language, though language
acquisition may occur as the learner carries out the task.
It involves a focus on meaning.
In the case of tasks involving two or more learners, it calls upon the learners use of
communication strategies and interactional skills.
Task-based instruction (TBI)
Two kinds of tasks:


Pedogogical tasks


Real-world tasks
Types of tasks:

Listing tasks; Sorting and ordering; Comparing; Problem-solving; Sharing personal

experience; Creative tasks (Willis (1996)
TBI: Sequence of activities

Pretask Activities
Introduction to Topic and Task

Task Cycle




Language Focus


Issues in Implementing a Task-Based Approach

little evidence that it works any more effectively than the P-P-P approach it attempts to

Criteria for selecting and sequencing tasks are problematic, as well as the problem of
language accuracy (e.g. task work may develop fluency at the expense of accuracy)

Content issues are of secondary importance

TBI may seem too vague as a methodology to be widely adopted in courses that have specific
instructional outcomes to attain (e.g., examination targets) and where specific language needs have to be
addressed rather than the general communication skills targeted in task work

Product-Based CLT Approaches

Two major methodologies:

Text-Based Instruction (TBI)

Competency-Based Instruction (CBI)

Text-Based Instruction

Text-based instruction (genre-based approach) views communicative competence as

involving the mastery of different types of texts.

Text is used in a special sense:

refers to structured sequences of language that are used in specific contexts in specific
Specific contexts and various ways a speaker of English may use spoken English:

Casual conversational exchange with a friend

Conversational exchange with a stranger in an elevator

Telephone call to arrange an appointment at a hair salon

An account to friends of an unusual experience

Discussion of a personal problem with a friend to seek advice

Characteristics of TBI
TBI involves:

Teaching explicitly the structures and grammatical features of spoken and written texts

Linking spoken and written texts to the cultural context of their use

Designing units of work which focus on developing skills in relation to whole texts

Providing students with guided practice as they develop language skills for meaningful
communication through whole texts (Feez and Joyce (1998)
Contents of a Text-Based Syllabus

Exchanges; Forms; Procedures; Information texts; Story texts ; Persuasive texts


Procedures e.g., procedures used in carrying out a task

Explanations e.g., explaining how and why things happen

Expositions e.g., reviews, arguments, debates

Factual recounts e.g., magazine articles

Personal recounts

Information reports e.g., fact sheets


Conversations and short functional texts e.g., dialogs, formal/informal letters, postcards, e-

e.g., anecdotes, diary/journal entries, biographies, autobiographies

e.g., stories, fables

mail, notices
Implementing a Text-Based Approach

Phase 1: Building the Context

Phase 2: Modeling and Deconstructing the Text

Phase 3: Joint Construction of the Text

Phase 4: Independent Construction of the Text

Phase 5: Linking to Related Texts (Feez and Joyce (1998)

Problems with Implementing a Text-Based Approach

there is a lack of an emphasis on individual creativity and personal expression in the TBI
model (it is heavily fused to a methodology based on the study of model texts and the creation of texts based
on models)

there is a danger that the approach becomes repetitive and boring over time since the fivephase cycle described above is applied to the teaching of all four skills
Competency-Based Instruction

has been in widespread use since the 1970s

competency-based language teaching (CBLT)

has been widely used as the basis for the design of work-related and survival-oriented
language teaching programs for adults

seeks to teach students the basic skills they need in order to prepare them for situations they
commonly encounter in everyday life

Recently, competency based frameworks have become adopted in many countries,

particularly for vocational and technical education

increasingly being adopted in national language curriculum, for example, in Indonesia,

Thailand, and the Philippines.

Different processes of teaching and learning:

Some focus on the input to the learning process: content-based teaching stresses that the
content or subject matter of teaching drives the whole language learning process

Some focus more directly on instructional processes: task-based instruction stresses the use of
specially designed instructional tasks as the basis of learning

competency-based instruction and text-based teaching focus on the outcomes of learning and
use outcomes or products as the starting point in planning and teaching


Teaching vocabulary and grammar

traditionally grammar has been the focus of language teaching

- recent research has shown that knowledge of vocabulary is an important aspect of language

comprehension-based approaches (esp. reading comprehension)

computer-based language corpora

Ur (2012):

Vocabulary: reading comprehension

Knowledge of several thousand word families is needed to read and understand an

unsimplified text in English.

Deliberate teaching and review of lexical items is necessary to supplement incidental

acquisition of vocabulary.

Comprehension-based approaches to language acquisition:

early development of an extensive vocabulary can enable learners to outperform their


vocabulary learning: not hindered by age

What is vocabulary?
the words in the language (Ur,2012)

Multi-item words (post office); multi-word expressions (call it a day) - items as

opposed to words of a language

grammatical items, e.g. pronouns (she, someone, etc.), or determiners (the, that
any) - closed sets

lexical items: categories of words, e.g. nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs open sets

Teaching vocabulary
A well-planned language course should have a vocabulary component with the following features (Nation
&Chung, 2011):

an appropriate level of vocabulary (what)

a balanced range of opportunities for learning (how to teach)

observation and assessment of the learners vocabulary knowledge (how to assess)

What vocabulary?

Research with second language learners by Hu and Nation (2000), first-language learners by Carver (1994):

at least 98 percent coverage of the running words (tokens) is needed for unassisted reading there should not be more than one unknown word in every 50 running words

Hu and Nation (2011):

order of frequency of occurrence

attention should be placed on words that occur most frequently

Vocabulary lists:

High frequency - British National Corpus (BNC)

Academic - Coxheads (2000) Academic Word List


low-frequency words

Cook (2008): frequency is only one factor in the choice of words to teach

simple meaning demonstration


familiarity of word

Multi-word units

Advantages of learning multi-word units:

Learners will be able to produce grammatically correct utterances.

Learners will be able to produce utterances that are nativelike.

Learners will be able to produce utterances fluently.

Learners will be able to communicate very early in their language learning.

How should vocabulary be taught and learned?


Learning activities for vocabulary learning need to be based on (Nation, 2007):

meaning-focused input

meaning-focused output

language-focused learning

fluency development

1. Meaning-focused input - listening and reading (listening to stories, extensive reading

(glosses), interactive speaking and reading activities)
2. Meaning-focused output - speaking and writing (retelling, role plays, rewriting for a different
purpose, group and pair work)
3. Language-focused learning - deliberate learning (word cards), deliberate study of vocabulary,
vocabulary-learning strategies (dictionary use, word cards, word parts), computer-assisted
4. Fluency development - listening, speaking (4/3/2), reading (timed texts with questions,
repeated reading), and writing (ten-minute writing)
How should vocabulary knowledge be monitored and assessed?

Diagnostic testing

level of vocabulary

Vocabulary Levels Test (Read, 2000; Schmitt, Schmitt, & Clapham, 2001)

Proficiency testing

precision of meaning, comprehensive word knowledge, and network knowledge

(Read, 2004)

Achievement testing

Active recall, Passive recall, Active recognition (Lauger & Goldstein, 2004; Laufer et
al., 2004)

What is grammar?


Various meanings of grammar:

1. Mental grammar
2. Prescriptive grammar
3. Descriptive language
4. Linguistic grammar
5. Reference grammar
6. Pedagogical grammar
7. Teachers grammar


Grammar is a system of meaningful structures and patterns that are governed by particular
pragmatic constraints (Larsen-Freeman, 2011: 521).

Three dimensions: form, meaning, and use

Grammar is the way words are put together to make correct sentences (Ur, 2012: 76)

Meaning, smaller or larger sentences, grammatical words or affixes (morphology), or

their combination in phrases or sentences (syntax)

Approaches to Grammar Teaching

1. PPP

Presentation: The new grammar structure is presented, often by means of a conversation or

short text. The teacher explains the new structure and checks students comprehension of it.

Practice: Students practice using the new structure in a controlled context, through drills or
substitution exercises.

Production: Students practice using the new structure in different contexts often using their
own content or information, in order to develop fluency with the new pattern.

2. Non-interventionist
Krashen (1981, 1982): exposure to comprehensible input in the target language in an affectively nonthreatening situation; input is finely tuned to students level of proficiency.
3. Input-processing
Problem: L2 learners have difficulty attending simultaneously to meaning and form (VanPatten,1990)

input processing:learners guided to pay attention to a feature in the target language

input that is likely to cause a problem

4. Focus on form

a focus on form within a communicative or meaning-based approach to language teaching

(Long 1991). For example: task-based or content-based language teaching

Input enhancement

Input flooding/Priming

Output production


5. Grammaring

Focuses on the ability to use grammar structures accurately, meaningfully, and appropriately
as the proper goal of grammar instruction. Students must practice meaningful use of grammar
in a way that takes into account transfer appropriate processing (Larsen-Freeman, 2001,

conscious-raising activities



Explicit versus implicit instruction

Explicit instruction: students are instructed in the rules or patterns (deductive)

Implicit approach makes no reference to rules or patterns students guided to induce them
themselves (inductive)

Norris and Ortega (2000)

found evidence to support the value of explicit teaching (including inductive and deductive

However, the outcomes of instruction that their meta-analysis included tended to be ones
where learners had to demonstrate explicit knowledge or perform on
discrete/decontextualized test items - measures that would presumably favor explicit

Grammatical Assessment
Traditional approach to testing grammar:

Testing of decontextualized, discrete-point items, e.g. sentence unscrambling, fill-inthe-blanks, error correction, sentence completion, sentence combining, picture
description, elicited imitation, judging grammatical correctness, and modified cloze

Problem: test grammar knowledge, but they do not assess whether test takers can use
grammar correctly in real-life speaking or writing.


Teaching Listening and Speaking
Teaching and Testing Listening Comprehension

role of listening in language acquisition and communication has been undervalued and

Second and foreign language (SL/FL) listening was often developed incidentally through
language exercises where oral language was used

earned its rightful place during the communicative language teaching era

theories about human cognition: language development through active learner involvement
and control

cognitive theories provide an important framework for describing SL/FL listening and
instructional methods and techniques
Cognitive and Social Dimensions of Listening

Process of text comprehension: meaning is constructed by listeners based on their knowledge of:

the language system

their prior knowledge

context of the interaction


process is constrained by the limitations of memory

conversational listening: comprehension is an outcome of joint action

Cognitive dimensions
Various cognitive models have been used in SL/FL listening research:

model of perceptual processing, parsing, and utilization (Anderson, 1995)

connectionist model (Bechetel & Abrahamsen, 1991)

Fundamental principles of cognition and implications for SL/FL listening:

1. For processing of information to take place, attention must be directed at the input and some
amount of decoding and analysis of the signals must occur.
2. As new information is being processed, it is acted upon by existing knowledge or schemata
retrieved from long-term memory.
3. The ability to process speech successfully depends on how much linguistic information is
processed quickly.
Social dimensions of listening

comprehension of gesture and other non-verbal or culturally bound cues

status relationships between interlocutors: how these relationships can affect comprehension
and the freedom to negotiate meaning (especially in contexts where listeners are in an unequal
power relationship)

use of efficient clarification strategies appropriate to the setting and the interlocutor

pragmatic and psychological aspects of listening comprehension

Psychological dimensions

often related to the language classroom

anxiety can be associated with listening and may effect listening performance

Approaches to Teaching SL/FL Listening

listening instruction needs to offer scaffolded learning experiences to help listeners discover
and rehearse the listening process (emphasizes learners awareness and control in learning)

students need to be taught how to listen; otherwise, listening activities become a disguised
forms of testing learners existing listening abilities - this can lead to an increase in anxiety
about listening
Bottom-up approaches

Bottom-up processing in listening entails the perception of sounds and words in a speech

When there is adequate perception of lexical information, listeners can use their background
knowledge to interpret the input.


The bottom-up approach to teaching listening acknowledges the primacy of the acoustic
signal and focuses on helping learners develop critical perception skills.
Developing bottom-up processing
Exercises that develop bottom-up processing help the learner to do such things as the

Retain input while it is being processed

Recognize word and clause divisions

Recognize key words

Recognize key transitions in a discourse

Recognize grammatical relations between key elements in sentences

Use stress and intonation to identify word and sentence functions

Many traditional listening activities focus on bottom-up processing: e.g. dictation, cloze listening,
multiple choice questions after listening the text, true-false answers, etc.
Word segmentation
A six-step procedure (Hulstijn, 2003) :
1. Listen to the oral text without reading the written version
2. Determine your level of comprehension
3. Replay the recording as often as necessary
4. Check the written text
5. Recognize what you should have understood
6. Replay the recording until you understand it without written support.
Top-down approaches

Involves teaching learners to reflect on the nature of listening and to self-regulate their
comprehension processes.

Aim: is to develop learners metacognitive knowledge about listening (Goh, 2008).

Developing top-down processing
Top-down processing refers to the use of background knowledge in understanding the
meaning of the message. Exercises that require top-down processing:

Use key words to construct the schema of a discourse

Infer the setting for a text

Infer the role of the participants and their goals

Infer causes or effects

Infer unstated details of a situation


Anticipate questions related to the topic or situation

In real world listening, both bottom-up and top-down processing generally occur together.
Metacognitive knowledge

refers to an individuals understanding of the ways different factors act and interact to affect
the course and outcome of learning

Several aspects:

person knowledge

task knowledge

strategy knowledge


diaries, discussions, collaborative dialogues, questionnaires (Metacognitive Awareness

Listening Questionnaire (MALQ))

Listening Assessment
Major challenges in the assessment of SL/FL listening:

construct validity

task type

item type

input mode

Teaching and Testing Speaking

Communicative developments: speech viewed as medium rather than as target skill to be


Recently, the testing of speaking has focused on the nature of the construct, and on
operationalizing its assessment.

As a result, there has been more focus on four central issues:

the construct of speaking

the construct of task

the criteria of performance

the construct of oral development

The Construct of Spoken Language

Two main parameters (Bygate, 2005):
1. The repertoire (the range of features and combinations of features that it manifests, along with
their respective probabilities).
2. The range of conditions which explain the occurrence of these features.

The spoken repertoire

Linguistic features:
1. Phonological features (both segmental and supra-segmental)
2. Lexico-grammatical features (including not only morphological and syntactic resources, and a
lexical store, but also formulaic and pragmalinguistic units)
3. Discourse features (including socio-pragmatic features and pragmatic discourse structures)
The conditions of speech
The presence condition
(speech is prototypically used in the presence of an interlocutor)
1. reciprocity condition (interlocutorss speaking rights)
2. time-pressure condition (lack of planning time; interlocutor needs time to speak)
speech editing
Processes of oral language production
Four main phases of processing:

conceptualization (including access of long-term memory, tracking of the discourse, tracking of

interlocutor knowledge and expectations, overall pragmatic purpose, and specific pragmaticconceptual content of utterances)

formulation (involving principally lexico-grammatical selection, sequencing, phonological priming)

articulation (the physical process of segmental and suprasegmental processing);

covert and overt monitoring

Organizing the Oral Language Curriculum
A systematic approach to the teaching of oral language needs to:
a) focus on specific language input (formulaic language in particular) in communicative tasks
b) raise learners awareness of the organizational principles of language use within and beyond the
sentence level
c) sequence communicative tasks more systematically in accordance with a theory of discourse-level
Celce-Murcia et al. (1996; 1997)
Variety of approaches

The mastery of speaking skills in English is a priority for many second or foreign language

Teachers and textbooks make use of a variety of approaches:

direct approaches focusing on specific features of oral interaction (e.g. turn-taking,

topic management, questioning strategies)

indirect approaches which create conditions for oral interaction through group work,
task work and other strategies.

Different functions of speaking

In designing speaking activities it is necessary to recognize the very different functions

speaking performs in daily communication and the different purposes for which the students
need speaking skills.

Distinction between the interactional and transactional functions of speaking (Brown & Yule,
1) Talk as interaction (serves to establish and maintain social relations)
2) Talk as transaction (focus is on exchange of information)
3) Talk as performance

Talk as interaction
Some of the skills involved in using talk as interaction involve knowing how to do the following:
Opening and closing conversations; Choosing topics; Making small talk; Joking; Recounting
personal incidents and experiences; Turn-taking; Interrupting; Reacting to others; Using an
appropriate style of speaking
Talk as transaction
This type of talk refers to situations where the focus is on what is said or done. The message is the central
focus and making oneself understood clearly and accurately (e. g. group discussions and problem solving,
asking for directions, making a phone call to obtain information)
Some skills that are involved:
Explaining a need or intention
Describing something
Asking questions
Asking for clarification
Confirming information
Justifying an opinion
Agreeing or disagreeing
Making suggestions
Talk as performance
This refers to public talk such as morning talks, public announcements, and speeches. Tends to be in the
form of monologue rather than dialogue, closer to written language (e.g. a welcome speech, a report about a
school trip, a class debate)
Some skills which are involved:
Using an appropriate format

Presenting information in an appropriate sequence

Maintaining audience engagement
Creating an effect on the audience
Using appropriate vocabulary
Using appropriate opening and closing
According to Bygate (2011) three aspects which research on testing practices must consider:
1. The development of task content, and their formats (interviews, pair or group role plays, pair
or group problem-solving tasks, or monologue tasks;)
2. A focus on the ways in which testing research can shed light on our understanding of the
variables that can influence performance (task type and interlocutor, planning time, and
3. The development of rating scales (informative set of rating scales would improve the capacity
of teachers to offer students formative feedback)


Teaching reading and writing

What is reading?

Reading is: an interactive, sociocognitive process (Bernhardt, 1991) involving a text, a reader,
and a social context within which the activity of reading takes place.

In reading: an individual constructs meaning through a transaction with written text that has
been created by symbols that represent language. The transaction involves the readers acting
on or interpreting the text, and the interpretation is influenced by the readers past
experiences, language background, and cultural framework, as well as the readers purpose
for reading (Hudelson, 1994:130).

Aim: our expectation and intent when we read is to make meaning, to comprehend what we
read (Grabe, 1991, Rigg, 1986).


Six general component skills and knowledge areas have been identified:
1. Automatic recognition skills - a virtually unconscious ability, ideally requiring little mental
processing to recognize text, especially for word identification.
2. Vocabulary and structural knowledge - a sound understanding of language structure and a
large recognition vocabulary.
3. Formal discourse structure knowledge - an understanding of how texts are organized and how
information is put together into various genres of text (e.g. a report, a letter,a narrative)


4. Content/world background knowledge - prior knowledge of text-related information and a

shared understanding of the cultural information involved in text.
5. Synthesis and evaluation skills/strategies - the ability to read and compare information from
multiple sources, to think critically about what one reads, and to decide what information is
relevant or useful ones purpose.
6. Metacognitive knowledge and skills monitoring - an awareness of ones mental processes and
the ability to reflect on what one is doing and the strategies one is employing while reading.
(Grabbe, 1991: 379)
The interaction between reader and text

Reading is what happens when people look at a text and assign meaning to the written
symbols in that text...However, it is the interaction between the text and the reader that
constitutes actual reading. (Aebersold & Field, 1997:15)

Interaction between purpose and manner of reading

Interaction through reading strategies

Reading strategies that successful readers use :

Recognize words quickly

Use text features (subheadings, transition, etc.)

Use title(s) to infer what information might follow

Use world knowledge

Analyze unfamiliar words

Identify the grammatical functions of words

Read for meaning, concentrate on constructing meaning

Guess about the meaning of the text

Evaluate guesses and try new guesses if necessary

Monitor comprehension

Keep the purpose for reading the text in mind

Adjust strategies to the purpose for reading

Identify or infer main ideas

Understand the relationships between the parts of a text

Distinguish main ideas from minor ideas

Tolerate ambiguity in a text (at least temporarily)


Use context to build meaning and aid comprehension


Continue reading even when unsuccessful, at least for a while

(Anderson et al., 1991; Barnett, 1989; Clark, 1979)

Interaction through schema

Schema: refers to the knowledge readers bring to a text.

Content schema

Formal schema

Linguistic schema

Models of reading

Bottom-up theory: reader constructs the text from the smallest units (letters to words to
phrases to sentences, etc.) and that the process of constructing the text from those small units
becomes so automatic that readers are not aware of how it operates (Decoding is an earlier
term for this process).

Top-down theory: readers bring a great deal of knowledge, expectations, assumptions, and
questions to the text and, given a basic understanding of the vocabulary, they continue to read
as long as the text confirms their expectation. Readers fit the text into knowledge (cultural,
syntactic, linguistic, historical) they already possess, then check back when new or
unexpected information appears.

The interactive school of theorists: both top-down and bottom-up processes are occurring,
either alternately or at the same time.
depends on the type of text, readers background knowledge, language proficiency
level, motivation, strategy use, and culturally shaped beliefs about reading

Approaches to teaching reading

Extensive approach

is based on the belief that when students read for general comprehension large quantities of
texts of their own choosing, their ability to read will consequently improve

emphasis in extensive reading courses is to use reading as a means to an end

Intensive approach

reading the text is treated as an end in itself

each text is read carefully and thoroughly for maximum comprehension

teachers provide direction and help before, sometimes during, and after reading

students do many exercises that require them to work in depth with various selected aspects of
the text

In an intensive approach exercises can cover a broad range of reading skills by:

Looking at different levels of comprehension (main ideas vs. details)

Understanding what is implied versus what is stated


Discussing the order in which information is presented and its effect on the message

Identifying words that connect one idea to another

Identifying words that signal movement from one section to another

Noting which words indicate authors certainty about the information presented

Types of Written Language

Each type of writing can be said to be an example of a genre of written language. Examples:
non-fiction (reports, editorials, essays, articles, reference, e.g. dictionaries, encylopedias),
fiction (novels, short stories, jokes, drama, poetry), Letters (personal, business), academic
writing (short answer test responses, reports, essays, papers, theses, books), forms,
applications, questionnnaires, directions, labels, signs, recipes, bills, maps, manuals menus,
schedules (e.g. transportation information), advertisements (commercial, personal), emails,
blogs etc.
Characteristics of fluent reading

Language Level; Content; Speed; Selective attention; Unknown vocabulary; Prediction

Writing Skills

lower-level skills (physical skills involving forming letters)

higher-level skills (spelling, discourse skills, writing essays)

Microskills for Writing

1. Produced graphemes and orthographic patterns of English.
2. Produce writing at an efficient rate of speed to suit the purpose.
3. Produce an acceptable core of words and use appropriate word order patterns.
4. Use acceptable grammatical systems (e.g. tense, agreement, pluralization), patterns, and rules.
5. Express a particular meaning in different grammatical forms.
6. Use cohesive devices in written discourse.
7. Use the rhetorical forms and conventions of written discourse.
8. Appropriately accomplish the communicative functions of written texts according to form and
9. Convey links and connections between events and communicate such relations as main idea,
supporting idea, new information, given information, generalization, and exemplification.
10. Distinguish between literal and implied meanings when writing.
11. Correctly convey culturally specific references in the context of the written text.
12. Develop and use a battery of writing strategies, such as accurately assessing the audiences
interpretation, using pre-writing devices, writing with fluency in the first drafts, using paraphrases
and synonyms, soliciting peer and instructor feedback, and using feedback for revising and editing.

Characteristics of Writing
1. Permanence
2. Density
3. Time-independent (or asynchronous)
4. Target audience not physically present
5. Learnt and high-prestige form
6. Standard forms
Approaches to student writing
Expressivist approach:
emphasized writing as a process of discovering meaning and personal voice
In the classroom, this approach was manifested as activities to generate and discover
ideas and as a reduced focus on accuracy.
Cognitive approach:
viewed writing as a problem solving activity
Students were encouraged to brainstorm, plan, get feedback, and revise.
Product Approach
Product-oriented approaches to writing focus on the aim of a task and in the end product

includes a focus on the final product or text which is coherent and error-free

uses genre theory to teach the structure of particular genres (for example, reports,
letters to the editor, expository essays, narratives, recounts, summaries, reviews, etc.)

Process Approach

it casts writing as an exploratory and recursive, rather than linear, pre-determined process

pays attention to the various stages that any piece of writing goes through

focuses on pre-writing phases, editing, re-drafting and finally producing a finished version of
learners work

A Procees approach activity:

Teachers may ask learners to:

a. check language use (grammar, vocabulary, linkers)

b. check punctuation (and layout)

c. check your spelling

d. check your writing for unnecessary repetition of words and/or information

e. decide on the information for each paragraph and the order the paragraphs should go in

f. note down various ideas

g. select the best ideas for inclusion

h. write a clean copy of the correct version

i. write out a rough version

Disadvantages of process of writing:

it takes time (brainstorm ideas or collect them; draft a piece of writing and then, with the
teachers help, perhaps, review it and edit it in various ways before, perhaps, changing the
focus, generating more ideas, re-drafting, re-editing, and so on)

various stages may involve discussion, research, language study and a considerable amount of
interaction between teacher and students and between the students themselves - when process
writing is handled appropriately, it stretches across the whole curriculum

students may not be interested in investing so much time on a piece of writing

there may be times when process writing is not appropriate, due to lack of classroom time, or
because a teacher may want students to write quickly as part of a communication game

Genre Approach

students study texts in the genre they are going to be writing before they embark on their own
writing (business letter, newspaper articles, etc.)

is especially appropriate for students of English for Specific Purposes

Students who are writing within a certain genre need to consider a number of different factors:

They need to have knowledge of the topic, the conventions and style of the genre and the
context in which their writing will be read, as well as by whom.

Creative writing

The term creative writing suggest imaginative tasks, such as writing poetry, stories and plays.

Creative writing is a journey of self-discovery, and self-discovery promotes effective


Writing as a cooperative activity

Cooperative writing works well whether the focus is on the writing process or, alternatively,
on genre study.

In the first case, reviewing and evaluation are greatly enhanced by having more than one
person working on a text, and the generation of ideas is frequently livelier with two or more
people involved than it is when writers work on their own.

In genre-based writing, it is probably the case that two heads analyse genre-specific texts as
well as, if not better, than one head would do, and often create genre-specific texts more
successfully as a result.

Cooperative writing is very successful if students are writing on a computer.

Building the writing habit

According to Ur, there are several criteria for the planning or selection of writing tasks to help promote
fluent writing:

Interest The task should be motivation and stimulating.

Level The language required should be appropriate to the level of the class.

Relevance At least some of the tasks should be similar to the kinds of things students may
need to write themselves, now or in the future.

Simplicity The Task should be easy to explain. Often the provision of a model text can help
to clarify.

Personal appropriateness The task should be one that you, the teacher, feel comfortable with
and that fits your own teaching style, goals and preferences.

Writing tasks

1. Creative writing
2. Instructions
3. Interpersonal communication
4. Description
5. Responses to literature
6. Persuasion
7. Information
The roles of the teacher
Motivator one of the principle roles will be to motivate the students, creating the right
conditions for generating ideas, persuading them of the usefulness of the activity and
encouraging them.
Resource provider especially during more extended tasks, teachers should be ready to
supply information and language where necessary.
Feedback provider teachers should respond positively and encouragingly to the content of
what students have written.