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Tutorial letter 201/0/2013

Home and First Additional Language

Semester 1 & 2
Department Language Education,
Arts and Culture
This tutorial letter contains important information
about your module.

Dear Student
The second semester is drawing to a close and I hope that you are already preparing for the
examinations. I do not discuss the assignments in detail in this tutorial letter, but I share a few ideas
about the teaching of languages.
I want to thank those students who have really made an effort to do the assignments.


Hearing, reading, speaking and writing are language skills that need to be taught. Quite a number of
activities can help learners to acquire these skills.


Separate the different frames of cartoons and ask learners to work in groups to put the cartoons
together in the correct sequence.


This includes wordplay, sentence completion, listening to directions, listening to a story told or read by
the teacher, listening to oral instructions or directions and identifying sounds. Invite different speakers to
address your learners about different interesting topics.


Try our new starting points, encourage discussion during the writing process, encourage a wide range
of writing activities such as keeping a journal and involve learners in self-assessment. Beware of too
much writing. Display learners' work and publish or make a book (a story or poetry) written and
illustrated by the class.


Show the learners a cartoon and ask them to pretend they are the characters in the cartoon. In other
words, the learners should interpret the characters in the cartoon and talk to one another without the
original cartoon in front of them. They have to react spontaneously.



We often think of language skills only include listening, speaking, reading and writing. However,
underlying all of these is the ability to think. The ability to think is an important aspect of language.
Experience has taught us that learners improve their ability to think if they have a school programme
rich with challenging and authentic language experiences. A good teacher focuses on the intimate
connection between thinking and language.

Developing hearing skills

The following three examples of activities can help learners to acquire hearing skills:
The learners listen to a song while reading the lyrics of the song. The lyrics should have missing
or wrong words and the learners should fill in the missing words or correct the wrong ones.
The learners listen to a talk by the headmaster or to a discussion on a radio talk show. They
should identify five main points and write them down, or answer questions about what they
have heard.
The learners listen to a talk on the radio and discuss it in their groups afterwards.

The importance of listening

Learners have no information on the first additional language in their long-term memory (LTM)
when they start to learn the language. Teachers should ensure that they give the learners the
opportunity to listen to something (not too long at first) and then to repeat the information
aloud and write it down to ensure that it is transferred to their LTM. The more information there
is in the learners' LTM, the easier it will be for them to make the connection between new
information they hear and what they already know.
Can you see why themes should be chosen that reflect the child's everyday life? These things are
already familiar to them in the mother tongue and are stored in their LTM. In additionallanguage instruction where the teacher is not a mother-tongue speaker, it is important that the
learners should regularly listen to mother-tongue speakers. Additional-language learners should
be given enough time to get used to listening, speaking, moods, situations and so on. Tape
recordings play an important role here; however, the teacher should always remember that
when a tape recorder is used in the classroom, the learners are expected to do something that is
quite difficult and in fact unnatural (namely to listen to a speaker they cannot see). There are no
facial expressions, gestures or body language, which usually help a speaker to get the message

Reading logs

When learners use a variety of reading materials in different situations during the day, it may be a good
idea that individual learners keep a reading logbook in which they record what they have read. This
logbook serves as a diary of reading experiences and should be a separate notebook with an index page.

Reading conferences

Teachers should hold regular reading conferences with their learners. Conferences consist mainly
of the following:
Checking and discussing learners' logs, and discussing what they have read or found interesting
Reading the same text silently and discussing it to enable the teacher to assess the learner's
Reading aloud from familiar material to give the teacher the opportunity to listen as the learner
interprets the text with voice tones, inflections and so forth
Reading aloud from unfamiliar material that contains unknown words and language usage
Undertaking interesting tasks identified by the teacher
Writing at the teacher's request or voluntarily in response to a text that has been read (to share it
with the teacher)
Assessment of reading
The following should be taken into account when you evaluate reading: intonation, reading speed,
fluency, volume and accent.
Assessment of oral competency
Examples of criteria are: participation frequency, fluency, shyness, tentativeness, stuttering,
enthusiasm, politeness, courage, self-confidence, clarity, creativeness, sense of humour, sense
of drama, level of abstract ideas used, and a child's favourite topics chosen to talk about.
Assessment of listening
Ask the following questions: Does the child

Listen to others attentively?

Listen to an entire presentation and not just certain parts?

Show an understanding of what is heard?

Remember important details?

Remember important details in sequence?

Listen attentively for a long time?

Listen respectfully?

Know how to listen?


Assessment of writing
Among the factors to be considered are: content, sentence length, types of sentences used,
spelling, vocabulary, effectiveness of communication, punctuation, correctness of language,
sequence of ideas and paragraphing.

A theme and a situation

A theme is a specific topic, while a situation is a sub-theme that is related to the main theme.
The theme should come from the world of the learners. If, for example, you choose "Leisure
time" as a topic, "My favourite TV programme", "A sports meeting" and so on can be subthemes. Keep in mind that it is easier to learn vocabulary in the context of a theme.

Word chain/webbing
Another useful method is to construct a word chain about a topic. This helps to develop and
expand the learners' vocabulary. Write down the theme in the middle of the blackboard. Next
write down words that relate to this theme; each word should warrant its own paragraph. Link
these words to the theme. Next, expand each word. The "chain" can subsequently be used to
write a longer assignment.

Teachers may suggest an ordinary topic (for example "My dog") or a more complicated
one (for example "Volcanoes").


The following are examples of flashcards:

What is the name of the dog'?

The dog is called Rover.

When did your dog disappear?





Where did your dog disappear?







Who found your dog?

My father found my dog.

Pictures and posters

A language teacher cannot teach without pictures and posters. Remember that you do not have
to buy expensive pictures; you can draw them yourself or use posters from a magazine. A collage
of pictures from magazines is ideal to depict a story or to use to practise vocabulary. You can
provide the pictures yourself or ask learners to bring their own pictures. The learners could also
draw pictures. For some learners, looking at pictures is the only opportunity they have to
experience the outside world. For example, some of them have never been to the sea and know
it only through pictures.




The way you start a lesson will determine whether the class pays attention or gets bored. You
have to raise their attention during the first few minutes of the lesson by explaining what you
want them to do. Think of creative ways of starting a lesson.
Bear the learners' existing knowledge in mind when you plan a lesson. If this lesson is a follow-up
lesson, find out what they remember about the previous lesson. Try to link new material to their
prior knowledge or experience. This is why it is such a good idea to choose themes from their
daily lives.
Check completed homework to determine whether they have learned what you wanted them to
learn during the previous lesson. Identify gaps in their knowledge and revise the work to ensure
that they understand it.
Ask yourself the following questions when you are planning the introduction to a lesson:

How can I use the introduction to find out what the class already knows about the new

How can I start the lesson by linking it to the learners' previous experience or existing

How can I use the introduction to build a bridge between their prior knowledge and the
new material I plan to teach them?

How can I raise their interest and how can I motivate them?


Presentation of material
The middle phase forms the largest part of the lesson. During this phase the material is
presented systematically in a logical sequence. When planning the lesson, decide exactly what
you and the learners will do during this phase. Make sure that your planning allows all learners to
participate in the lesson and that all of them are kept actively busy. Remember to follow a
learner-oriented approach instead of a teacher-oriented approach. When you present the lesson,
keep checking whether you still have their attention; make sure you remain on track to reach
your objectives. Everything you do has to be planned carefully. If you note that the class does not
understand the work or that some learners are struggling to follow you, there is no point in
proceeding according to plan: you have to take action immediately. In other words, always have
a plan B ready.
Teachers should know precisely what they want to say or do, how much time should be allocated
to activities, how the learners should be motivated and what the learners should do. If your
planning meets these requirements, the lesson will succeed.


The concluding phase of a lesson has to be planned just as carefully as the introduction and
middle phase. A lesson should certainly not conclude with a few hasty words that are rattled off
when your time runs out.
The final phase include a summary or revision. The learners should be given a chance to apply
what they have learned. You have to assess the learners to determine whether they have
achieved the objectives you had in mind. This is done for a number of good reasons:

It gives you the necessary feedback on what they have learned and what comes next. An
assessment will show you whether your objectives have been achieved or not.

It gives the learners the feedback they need to pinpoint their successes and failures.

It helps you to understand your class, their abilities and their needs.

It motivates and encourages the class. The learners can be given an oral test to find out
whether they followed the main outlines of the lesson. The teacher can check whether
anything was not clearly understood and perhaps remedy any shortcomings right away.


You can also give a homework assignment, which you can mark the following day. Homework
assignments should be given due thought. They usually fall into one of three categories: (1)
preparatory activities, (2) extensions of classroom activities and (3) practical reinforcement or
drill. If you want a class to do preparatory activities, practise role-play or prepare for a reading
lesson, give clear instructions and explain why it is important to do the preparation.

After you have planned and presented a lesson, you have to review it. Ask yourself the following

How do I feel about the lesson satisfied or dissatisfied?

What contributed to the success or failure of the lesson?

If I have to present this lesson again, what changes will I make?

Did I reach my main objectives?

Was the classroom atmosphere tense, relaxed, supportive or restrictive?

Were there any signs of tension or misbehaviour? Why?

How much learner participation did I get? Was it enough?

Which learners did well and which did not?

Did some of them learn nothing at all? What can I do to help them?

Did I motivate them enough?

Did they have an opportunity to apply the new vocabulary, syntax and language functions I
had taught them?

Guidelines for the examinations

The following information about the format of the examination paper are of the utmost importance.
The examination paper consists of FOUR questions.
There are no choices. All four questions are compulsory.
Question 1 (multiple-choice questions) = 20 marks
Question 2 = 25 marks
Question 3 = 30 marks
Question 4 = 25 marks
The question paper is one two-hour paper.
Some questions require factual knowledge, for example knowledge of the principles of the
communicative approach.
Other questions are open-ended questions, where you have to give your own examples such as a
lesson plan or flash cards.
The questions may be similar to (but not the same as) the questions in your assignments.
Write clearly and legibly.
Number your answers correctly in accordance with the numbering system used on the examination
Please remember to enter the numbers of the questions in the column on the front page of the
examination script.
Keep your answers brief and to the point.
Answer only what is expected of you.
Make sure that you give facts were applicable; do not generalise.



I suggest that you prepare for the examinations as follows:

Study ALL the tutorial letters (101, 201, 501 and 502). You do not have to consult the recommended
The following is not a memorandum, but guidelines to help you to assess your assignments.
You will receive the correct answers of the multiple-choice questions automatically.
Question 1
Compare and contrast the behaviourist theory of language acquisition and the nativist theory of
language acquisition
Behaviourist theory

Nativist theory

Individual have capacity for learning but no Nativism essentially says that we have an
specific capacity for language learning

innate predisposition to learn language

Learning a language , results from positive

reinforcement of desirable behaviour and
non-reinforcement of what is not wanted
Treats language learning as essentially Without a biological predisposition, it would
imitation and repetition guided by external be impossible to learn as quickly and as

thoroughly as we do

The stimuli and reinforcement provide

encouragement to children to make


effort and to experiment

Argue that everything we know we have Emphasised the interaction between the
learned through interactions with the child and adults
We learn language through reinforcement

Behaviourist say that this is entirely learned

Ability to learn language is inborn

You can use the following headings when you plan a lesson:


Learning outcomes

Teaching media



Main part of lesson

Teacher activities

Learner activities



Question 3
How to make a word freeze
Collect a set of pictures
Find matching words
Cut them out and put them into envelopes
Separate the words and the pictures
Play the game in pairs
Pictures and words are placed face up between the two players
Question 4
a. Reasons for listening
9 comprehension
9 giving instructions
9 identification and discrimination of sound
9 selecting and rejecting note taking
9 role play


9 To get information and to establish a basis for sharing their concern

9 To consider their own thinking process in order to improve their learning ability
9 c. Ability to understand the spoken word
9 Selection of relevant information
9 Focus on key ideas
9 Improve communication
9 Appreciate music, movies and other audiovisual material
Any 5 (5)
Question 4
c. Rubric to assess listening



Lessons to others attentively

Listens to an entire presentation and not
just part
Show understanding of what is heard
Remember important details in sequence
Listen attentively for a long time
Listen respectfully
Know how to listen

Good luck with the examinations. Please contact me if you have any problems while preparing for the
Best regards
Dr MJ Taole
Tel: 012 429 3541 (w)