Introduction ................................................................................................................... 2 Legislative Framework ................................................................................................... 3 Methodological Criteria .................................................................................................. 7 The Continuum of Approaches centered on the diverse components of language .. 9 The Process of Language Learning and Factors in Foreign Language Learning .... 18 Teaching Techniques, Tasks and Complementary Strategies ........................................ 20 Students And Levels: The Integrative Communicative Syllabus .......................…..... 29 Teachers and Teaching Materials: The English Department & Resources ................... 35 ESP. Project on English for Specific Purposes ................................................................ 42 References ...................................................................................................................... 54 General Bibliography ..................................................................................................... 55
INTRODUCTION This document is written in compliance with the current legislation for the acquisition of the professional category of Professor at the Escuelas Oficiales de Idiomas in Castilla La Mancha (Spain). It consists of a presentation of the legislative framework governing the teaching of languages at these institutions, followed by some methodological criteria which include the approach to apply to language teaching with a description of the teaching techniques, tasks and strategies for each level, a reference to the materials available and to the bibliography cited. A final section presents a Project on English for Specific Purposes. The first part of this document, then, deals with the laws and principles which govern the teaching of English, with the appropriate methodological criteria, based on the most recent theories of language research, studying the process of language learning, the elements which take part in language acquisition, considering the participants, the teachers and mainly the students, their circumstances, including the techniques, strategies and materials necessary to achieve a systematic progress in the management of the primary language skills. A section about the new trends in learning with information and communication technologies follows. New technologies have extended the curriculum for English, mostly when considering the last focus on the communicative components of language. New kinds of texts and textual practices using electronic communications have created new areas of learning (eLearning) in the worlds of work, home and school. A study on the academic and pedagogical objectives of the courses of English for Special Purposes finalizes the document.
LEGISLATIVE FRAMEWORK The academic objective of the Escuelas Oficiales de Idiomas is the teaching of modern languages. This is explicitly referred in the laws Ley 29/1981 (June, 24th), in the L.O.G.S.E. 1/1990 (October, 3rd) and in the L.O.C.E 10/2002 (December, 23rd). These laws were developed for the current organization of the Spanish educational system and clearly state the central function of these educational institutions as the ones which will officially provide the specialized teaching of languages. The first law (Ley 29/1981) established the bases for the reorganization of these studies, whose origins date from 1915. The teaching of languages was to be staged in two levels. The first level would be divided in two cycles or grades: the Elementary Grade and the Superior Grade. The Elementary Grade would have 360 hours tuition minimum distributed in 3 academic years and the students should achieve an intermediate level in their command of the language. The Superior Grade would consist of two courses (120 hrs/each) and the students would progress to an advanced level of language knowledge. The second level was planned to provide those students having an advanced knowledge of language with advanced practical skills and the professional qualification required to become professional translators. The qualification referred in the Law was 'University Graduate', but the Spanish University blocked the development and application of this article since the Escuelas Oficiales de Idiomas do not belong to the Spanish University system and there are no established agreements for co-operation in education. However, a great number of university students, even the most specialized ones in Modern Philology,
It describes in a comprehensive way what language 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. These objectives were stated by law after seventyfive years of continuing application in the Escuelas Oficiales de Idiomas and as a result of their practical success which caused their expansion. curriculum guidelines.attend the full five courses at the Escuelas Oficiales de Idiomas to get a really advanced knowledge of the language. Currently. examinations. In the years 1989 and 1992 a set of Royal Decrees (Real Decreto 1523/89 of December 1st. “the Common European Framework provides a common basis for the elaboration of language syllabuses. establishing the minimal compulsory contents and levels of language skills to acquire for the Elementary and Superior Grades and the way to evaluate the acquisition of those learning objectives. across Europe. etc. As stated in its opening paragraph. the system is going to be reorganized in three levels: basic. The description also covers the cultural context in which language is set. promoted by the people from mediumsize towns and their Town Halls. The Framework also defines levels of proficiency which allow learners’ progress to be measured
. family and professional environment. and Real Decreto 47/92 of January 24th) developed the organization of the First Level of these studies. thus matching the recommendations proposed by the Common European Framework of Reference of the Council of Europe (CEF). textbooks. which has been passed recently. consisting of 6 courses in total. intermediate and advanced. with the LOCE Act. It is this level that focuses the core of our everyday effort to continue achieving the high standards of success so much appreciated and demanded by our students and their social.
to work in group. too-. to identify and solve problems. Levels of Proficiency compared
120 hours 240 hours 360 hours 480 hours 600 hours 720 hours
There is a special reference to adult learners and teachers in the LOCE Act. and to make use of the new technologies for all this”. These levels would match this way:
Escuelas Oficiales de LOCE new Cambridge University Council of Europe Idiomas organization A1 1st 1st Key English Test (KET) A Breakthrough Preliminary English Test A2 2nd 2nd A (PET) Waystage Certificate of First Certificate B1 3rd B Elementary Grade -3rd in English (FCE) Threshold Advanced Certificate in B2 4th 4th B English (CAE) Vantage Certificate of Certificate of Aptitude th C1 5 Proficiency C in English . learning at EOIs should focus on “developing skills such as the ability to communicate -in other languages. The LOCE Act seems to follow the directions given by the European Union regarding education. These should be offered courses for updating their knowledge of foreign languages.5th Effectiveness in English (CPE) C2 6th C Mastery Table 1. and to the development of research and innovation plans. This is a must for all the countries in the European Union. which the EOIs should foster. Following the European Community directions on language education. 2001).
. language learning in particular.at each stage of learning and on a life-long basis” (CEF. Students at Secondary Schools should be offered the possibility to take officially approved tests aimed to get the corresponding certificates which the EOI schools provide. There are also references to distance education of languages.
Additionally. A study on the academic and pedagogical objectives based on methodological principles. The eLearning initiative promotes new on-line ways of learning throughout the European Union. Within the Lingua Programme (promotion of language teaching and learning).
.The European Union undertook a series of initiatives to promote language learning in the field of education. The Socrates programme promotes European co-operation throughout all stages of education through actions that relate specifically to the promotion of language learning and teaching. improve access and disseminate innovation encourage the creation of innovative tools for language learning and testing More specifically. a real challenge for the EOIs that the Junta de Comunidades de Castilla La Mancha is currently putting into practice. This references makes it necessary to present a section on the use of new technologies in the English classroom. the European Union have in place an eLearning Programme to implement an eLearning Action Plan in 2004-2006. these actions aim to encourage the acquisition of sufficient
knowledge of foreign languages to meet the requirements of particular situations and contexts. among others) to be provided through lifelong learning. This is now considered as a crucial role of this type of educational centers. The Royal Decree 967/88 Act (September 2nd) also established the possibility of providing courses on languages for specialized purposes. there are actions to :
raise awareness about language learning. strategies and techniques established by experienced ESP researchers follows in the final part of this document. In this framework Europe has defined new basic skills (including ICTs skills and foreign languages.
Many theories about the learning and teaching of languages have been proposed. Since language is a system and teaching a programmed activity. and if so what the nature of the contribution is likely to be. a varied or 'balanced syllabus' (Gateway). it is natural to ask whether a knowledge of linguistic grammars can make any contribution to language teaching methodology. (J. a 'multisyllabus' (Cambridge English Course). or a 'flexible approach' (Language Issues: a textbook whose main objective is stated in this declaration sentence: 'The ability to work out at least a rough idea of a grammar rule from examples. These theories. linguists and language teachers. However.METHODOLOGICAL CRITERIA ANALYSIS OF THE GENERAL METHODOLOGICAL CRITERIA APPLICABLE TO THE TEACHING OF ENGLISH AS A FOREIGN LANGUAGE
Since linguists and language teachers are both concerned in different ways with the same language material. Whether these principles derive from the description of the system or they really arise as a practical result from the application of the system deserves to be the eternal dilemma. have inspired many approaches to the teaching of second and foreign languages. Allen. it seems obvious that language teaching should be based on some kind of principles. 1974). an 'eclectic approach'. normally influenced by developments in the fields of linguistics and psychology.P.B. to use dictionaries
The question of whether to follow any theoretical or formal linguistic principles to apply to practical language teaching or not is still a matter for discussion among language professionals. more and more often textbooks introduce their objectives and foundations as based on 'multiapproach' principles and techniques.
most of them work in some way and even most of them introduce new techniques that reflect some practical innovation in language teaching and learning. conceiving that skill of passing an exam not as a means but as an end itself. The failure of do-it-yourself courses. such as the so-called First Certificate or Proficiency Courses (Think First Certificate. but will use all the interesting techniques they come across to develop an attractive and effective coursebook.for connotation or collocation work. They do not follow a method based on linguistics or learning processes. and other Cambridge First Certificate and Proficiency courses). p. confirms the importance of the teacher’s guidance and the students' motivation as the central integrating elements in the systematic process of teaching and learning a foreign language. This integrating participation in language learning will be dealt below. but I think this is as a result of experienced teachers' intuition. Of course. Other courses clearly define themselves as textbooks to be studied to pass an exam. but a systematic activity based on a secondary skill of passing specific exams. to organize learning so that it is effective are examples of skills which are implicitly or explicitly taught in the book'. This is virtually tantamount to saying that they will not follow any systematic method. even those including the most advanced technological improvements.5). with particular tasks to evaluate certain language knowledge.
. to build up vocabulary independently. after presenting a short summary of how the theories of language developed different approaches for language teaching and teachers developed procedures for learning.
seem to follow three main currents depending the focus they set on the three components of human language: the linguistic component. This view was supported by the Direct Approach. They focus merely on the social component of language: a language is learned through the mere use of that language.
. It was the focus on the components of language that first established the basic approaches to language teaching and learning. but fails in developing sociolinguistic components in favour of the pragmatic components. without a systematic teaching of its grammar. sociolinguistic and pragmatic components. without the learners being aware of the formal properties of the language. CEF mentions three components. They considered that a language should be learned as a native child does. which we consider of crucial importance in any learning process. these being linguistic. the sociolinguistic component and the psycholinguistic component. just facing the students with real or stereotyped situations where they are impelled to react. Both ages. It also lacks the reference to cognitive or psycholinguistic components. Emerging Age To start with. which we consider in the same group dealing with social factors influencing language learning. the age of emerging theories and the age of maturing theories. some researchers claim that there is not a direct relation between the analysis of the formal properties of language and the practical techniques for learning the use of a language.A Continuum of Approaches centered on the diverse components of language We can distinguish two ages in the language teaching theories.
the Grammar Translation Method. but it is not the basic procedure to learn a foreign language. There must be an internal innate device for language.In the learning of a foreign language it seems necessary to consider a theoretical formal awareness as the foundation on which to base the practical realization of language learning. We still continue using some successful drilling exercises. and the linguistic components were crucial for the elaboration of teaching materials and exercises. and by means of mechanical repetition (as native learners do) it would make the adult learner of a second language achieve a native-like knowledge of the language. language is not such a simple mechanical
. The Audio-Lingual Approach combined the behaviourist principle of the learning process achieved by means of the
acquisition of habits as a response to environmental stimuli (based on Skinner's behavioristic psychology) and the formal linguistic elements (the grammatical structure and the lexical content). Linguists analysed language formulating the linguistic components of language as a system and establishing formal grammars. which combined the knowledge of the properly linguistic elements in the system of a language: the structure and the vocabulary. On the basis of this theory of language. The psychological components are important when considering the practical setting of techniques and procedures. It is the view supported by the first linguistic trends in language studies. Linguists already found out the existence of a psychological component. a method for the learning of a foreign language was widely established. From the psychological view. a mechanism for learning a language. We can use the technique of repetition drills to manage the correct pronunciation or substitution drills to learn common collocations.
1965). the emerging linguistic sciences looked for scientific partners in their formulation of theoretical principles about language. It was the Transformational Generative Grammar (N. Chomsky. These components include phonological. So taking the componential focus as the axis. taking some specific factors into consideration. psycholinguistics and sociolinguistics. lexical. the theory of language developed into three main branches: formal linguistics or structuralism. becoming multidisciplinar. syntactical knowledge and skills and other dimensions of language as system. As we have commented before. the surface structure. different in every language and even in every person.
. who engaged themselves in the production of diverse teaching materials depending on their particular goals. The advance achieved by Chomsky's transformational grammar is the renewed importance on the linguistic components of language. but a more complex cognitive process. From Chomsky's point of view this surface structure only deserves observation to check if it follows the grammaticality of the code. It was a symbiotic work. Maturing Age: the linguistic component Saussurian structuralism took some cognitive elements into consideration together with the linguistic components. Linguists left the practical application of teaching a language to teachers. till in the late 60s and in the 70s. it was not the role of linguists to set up the theory and of teachers to develop techniques to apply the theory or vice versa. It was a period which led teachers to get fully aware of those distinctive factors of teaching a language as a second or foreign language. which stated the need for acquiring a linguistic competence merged with a mentalistic view.response to stimuli. It is the performance that makes it practical.
and brought up constructivist theories that explain the ineffectiveness of the traditional ruled-based mechanistic approaches to language teaching and later served as a basis for the new communicative approaches. work by the American sociologist Hymes (1968) went further in the Chomskian dichotomy of competence and performance.A lot of materials were elaborated following this view. The growth of sociolinguistics had influencing consequences for the teaching of languages in that they highlighted the importance of realworld language use. but these are not very effective when the students want to produce meaningful language practice or use the language for communication. Hymes argued that a sentence must not only be grammatically correct. rule descriptions. Linguists focused pedagogical attention on the importance of meaning and communication in foreign-language learning. Maturing Age: the psycholinguistic component Psychologists like Piaget (1957) and Vygotsky (1962) combined cognitive components with the social aspects influencing knowledge development. During the early seventies. but that it must also be appropriate in relation to the context in which it is used. diagrams and exercises of the kind of pattern-practice and substitutions enabled students to get an understanding of the deep structure of language and check for grammaticality. Definitions. Maturing Age: the sociolinguistic component That point is the one upon which sociolinguistics developed the teaching of language in use. He added the concept of communicative competence. Hymes' theory attempted to define what an individual needs to know in order to be
classes and social groups. centred on the social aspect of language in use. This concept served as the basis for the Common European Framework theoretical background and it is the aspect proposed here as central in the development of methodological criteria for language learning. EFL.communicatively competent in a speech community.1983). that is. Nevertheless. ESL and exam-oriented textbooks. sexes. Sociocultural components are the rules of governing relations and communication between generations. Finnocchario and Brumfit. and they achieved great success in the primary purposes of language for communication. It gave birth to the Communicative Approach (Littlewood. (1983) have compared the AudioLingual Approach and Communicative Language Teaching by contrasting their characteristics as follows: Audio-Lingual Method
Language learning involves structures Emphasis on structure and form Aim is linguistic competence Errors must be prevented at all costs Students must interact with the language
Language learning involves communicating Emphasis on meaning Aim is communicative competence Errors are part of language learning Students must interact with people
. They retook the previous cognitive considerations of language learning as a conscious process different from first language acquisition. they even elaborated the kind of syllabus depending on the kind of learner and their peculiar communicative purposes. but its success was only partial. usually for survival purposes or for specific purposes. the skills of speaking and understanding speech. It has been widely applied by language teachers and textbooks in the last years. The Communicative Approach established the Functional Notional Syllabus. as its goals were limited to use the language in certain social circumstances. this trend was quite productive in the elaboration of teaching materials. the rituals in the functioning of a community. It proved successful. producing materials for ESP.
The goal of classroom activities is authentic and meaningful communication. such as the morphological features of certain grammatical categories. The teacher sets up the exercise. but because the students' performance is the goal.
The Communicative Approach makes teachers in communicative classrooms talk less and listen more.Accuracy is a primary goal Fluency is a primary goal Language is habit Language is creation Teachers control the learners Teachers assist the learner Table 2. methodology links theory and practice. Students gain confidence in using the target language in general. and they are active participants. based on the following principles:
• • • • •
Learners learn a language by using it to communicate. standing up and walking around to complete a task.1983) implies a more interactive view of language teaching. the difficulty in
The Communicative Approach (Savignon. Comparison of the Audio Lingual Method and the Communicative Approach (Finnocchario and Brumfit. and the Communicative Approach seemed to be excessively practical. producing a series of basic mistakes. During a communicative exercise the students speak a lot. The teaching of more advanced levels of language practice lacked the necessary linguistic knowledge required to acquire not only fluency but also accuracy in general communication. Fluency is an important aspect of communication. the teacher must keep back and watch. However. becoming active facilitators of their students' learning. acting as monitor. Communication integrates different language skills. The lack of a theoretical background and the omission of the linguistic components in this first communicative trend led to the partial failure in language teaching as a complete unitary task. Communication involves negotiation of meaning and structure.
Finally. and pattern-practice exercises. it was relegated to letter writing (see Streamline and Synthesis textbooks) or to ESP courses.distinguishing modality from functional formulas. 1983). Discourse Analysis considers
. As writing was not a very general communicative activity any more. The common reaction to solve these problems was the reinforced acceptance that language teachers should use materials from diverse formal sources to complete the advice given by the current trend of linguistics. the students feel strangely disappointed and dissatisfied with their results. Discourse Analysis: the theoretical background The theory of language which integrated the three components (social. accomplishing a unitary objective of the process of learning a foreign language. repetition and substitution exercises. the difficulty in distinguishing the different levels of registers in the writing production and in reading comprehension. cognitive and linguistic components) as three intended meanings or functions governing language was established by the pragmatics of Halliday (1978) and developed in an combining theory known as Discourse Analysis (Brown and Yule. We need a general approach including the necessary stress on the three focusing components from both the most recent views on the theory of language and the most complete set of multisyllabus procedures and techniques. and so this Communicative Approach was loaded with grammatical explanations and terminology (modals became 'defective verbs followed by infinitive without to' again). When faced with real use of language in an accurate skillful formal situation. Widdowson (1990) pointed out the need of negotiating lexis and grammar from a communicative point of view. the reaction to a widely proposed asystematic mixture of a multisyllabus solution does not seem to be very effective.
as signalled by the Speech Acts Theory (Searle. As we can see.1957). It deals with the representation of the users' experience of the world through language with the help of fundamental logical relations. The ideational component focuses on the content of the meaning. 1977) and some social conditions.1976. 1981) which will justify the different techniques in the language teaching materials necessary for the most complete pragmatic learning activities. and Schrank and Albenson. The central aspect of the textual function is the information structure. It is a reflection of what has been called the semantics of language. The textual component deals with the message as conveying meaning through context: the context of text and the context of situation. already introduced an element focusing on the linguistic aspects: the textual meaning. ideational and interpersonal meanings. The system has a series of components. a vision reinforced by the Schema Theory (Rumelhart. Halliday (1978) distinguishes three metafunctions as the various kinds of meanings reflected by language in use: textual. The interpersonal component is seen as the social exchange of information with assignment of speech roles (mood) and users' attitudes. a basically linguistic component comprising some cognitive constraints.language as a system of signs rather than a enclosed structure of linguistic elements (Firth. as stated by the Schema theory (Rumelhart. 1969). linguistic elements which determine the organization of the text into discourse units in the context of situation. and discourse as language in use. 1983) can help us determine a practical syllabus based on text superstructures (De Beaugrande and Dressler. combining all these
. and Schrank and Albenson. 1977). Thus.1976. the basis for the cognitive component. Discourse Analysis. the most outstanding method to analyse language from the pragmatic perspective of language as social communication. Textual coherence (Van Dijk and Kintsch. based on New and Given information.
MATURING AGE (+practical) Communicative Approach ┘ ---------------------
DISCOURS E ANALYSIS Interpersonal Function Ideational Function Textual
Social components Psychological components Linguistic components
Direct Approach AudioLingual Approach Grammar Translation
Function (+ formal) Table 3. but inferred. since it is an evolution of the Communicative Approach. and from the general framework to the particular detailsfollowing. to the bottom of the house.theories of language and adapting them to language teaching we can make a description of the resulting multicomponential syllabus which we may call Integrative Communicative Approach. relative constructions. The description of a house by students in a classroom situation.
. prepositional phrases as noun determiners. etc. usually features a common order of the description sequence (a strategy) -from the outside. verb 'to be'. integrating the three kinds of components in a multisyllabus fashion.) over others and specific lexical items. apart from using a higher proportion of certain syntactic structures (adjectives. in this way.
In analysing language for an integrating vision of learning. we are more interested in the communicative linguistic effects and also in the
determinants of those effects. through the entrance hall. a plan of description with stereotyped
schemas where a great quantity of details are not referred. Component-based Classification of Approaches.
with inferring expectations. through cohesion and coherence. In this case our goal is to make students able to communicate in English as a second or foreign language for general or specific purposes. To establish an effective syllabus we must consider.
Internal factors Interaction External factors
. It also concerns the mastery of discourse. Language acquisition was achieved by the interaction of motivation between internal and external factors. then. There must be specific knowledge structures (schemas or macrostructures) for different discourse conventions and those macrostructures can be the same in different languages. The same process seems to apply to linguistic units of a higher level. There are different factors intervening in the learning of a foreign language. And these are involved in the production of language functions. Krashen (1982) presents a twofold view. the different aspects or factors influencing the process of learning a particular foreign language in particular situations with different goals. The Process of Language Learning and Factors in Foreign Language Learning Every systematic methodology must have clear objectives. the speech acts.This is due to the previous acquisition of a common global pattern in the shared knowledge of students about the description of a house. and the identification of text types (Sánchez Villalón. 1999). drawing on scenarios or scripts of interactional exchanges.
. as an instrument to do something or exchange information). we perceive a coherent link between language and the situational context. Monolingual or bilingual. a qualification. They are factors interacting with the language (the input as the linguistic factor) and have a great importance in the effective process of learning as knowledge construction.Use of Memory (STM & LTM) Input (linguistic component) Motivation
Settings and circumstances ( Situational context. based on integrating motivation. Motivation is the central aspect as the activation trigger of the
learning process. react by imitation or repetition and act by thinking and creation. which influenced Krashen’s view (1982). and foreign language learning. Motivation holds the core of the difference between first language acquisition. …) Table 4: Krashen’s factors in the language learning process
When learning a foreign language. where language is seen as necessary to survive and to develop knowledge. The environment or situational context and the participants in collaboration can be considered as the set of sociolinguistic factors. It is seen as the degree of attention a student places upon the input language material. based usually on instrumental motivation (learning a foreign language to get a job. Motivation makes learners able to receive and store information. in a scaffolding constructivist process that Vygotsky (1978) calls internalization of language (the psycholinguistic factor). Classroom size. Our more integrating component-based threefold view makes use of Vygotsky’s aspects (1978) of internalisation of language and environment. linguistic and social components. Here we can clearly find the three different components as the categories to classify the diverse factors intervening in the language learning process: psychological.
Our approach makes use of the Activity Theory (Engeström. Then. TASKS AND COMPLEMENTARY STRATEGIES First we present here different techniques. such as strategic decision making. problem-solving and skill-based tasks.TEACHING TECHNIQUES. Learning should be closer to socialization. The directives of the Council of Europe determines that language teaching should be based on an action-oriented approach. As mentioned before. involving the use of tools and techniques to support human communication.) providing a holistic view of language as a dynamic activity which is highly context dependent (the context of text and the social context or environment). where an individual internalizes. Firth (1957) points out that language is interaction. it is interpersonal activity and has a clear relationship with society. speech acts and social
. Since language learning is a construction process. teachers have taken advantage of the recent theories specifying new techniques to apply to the practical teaching of a language. by collaborating in common activities with other humans and by sharing the means of communicating information: language knowledge. based on the different teaching principles. we will go on analysing the procedure of learning a foreign language in the appropriate environment and with the available tools. we should establish diverse integrating procedures to activate the
graded progressive internalization of the language to get to a final communicative performance. as social interaction. developing an Integrative Communicative Approach. regarding language learning as preparation for the active use of the language for communication. tasks and strategies. Winograd.
listening. This is the technique practised by the Generative
. I shall step onto the interactional level to outline the design of the syllabus with the different techniques to practise the four primary skills (speaking. language users and learners activate language skills and communicative procedures organized in a set of actions that we call strategies. i. This enables the learner to internalize the experience of language acquired by understanding. whereas a strategy is the organization or plan of a set of actions to carry out a communicative task. the macrostructures of language. searching for regularities.e. We can center on the concept of a communicative task as the language action to take in order to achieve a communicative goal. It is in the long term memory (LTM) where the cognitive universals. in a specific environment and within a particular field of action’. CEF considers ‘users and learners of a language primarily as social agents. Recovering several aspects from previously presented approaches. reside and where remembering takes place. With the procedural strategies in mind. as well as technical tools necessary to communicate. CEF distinguishes 4 types of communicative activities: receptive. To fulfil the demands of communication in context.conventions. members of society who have tasks (not exclusively language-related) to accomplish in a given set of circumstances. and reading) as a means and as an end for language communication. productive. collaborative interaction is crucial in the process of learning. interactive and mediating activities. The coherent textual function develops strategies for remembering through progressive practice of receptive skills (listening and reading). writing. storing the rules for the target language acquired by inductive learning. Thus. we can draw an integrating set of techniques of developing skills for teaching and learning a foreign
Transformational Approach where the formation of language grammatical patterns serves as facilitation strategies for learning a second language, perceiving linguistic regularities (cohesion) and checking out for grammaticality. Example of these techniques for learning are the language activities based on the linguistic components: •
Question and Answer exercises, Structural Conversion exercises (1st to 3rd person, Active to Passive Voice, Direct to Indirect Speech), Error Correction, Transformation exercises, Substitution drills.
• • •
But transformationalists neglected the situational context and the experience of the world that would establish the coherence of that language knowledge into macrostructures for communication. At the production stage we make use of language activating the short term memory STM, developing a series of strategies for communication, where the interpersonal function provides the language situational context with a reason to exist: language in use, language as a systematic instrument for communication. The Communicative Approach worked successfully in creating techniques to develop the communicative techniques, achieving an effective practice of the productive skills: speaking and writing. Then, more communicative techniques, based on the sociolinguistic components, are:
• • • •
Pair work, Fill-in exercises, Guessing from Context, Comprehension exercises.
These techniques are so demanding that the learning objectives are strongly skilloriented influencing that way the syllabus design, limiting the general purpose courses to the most basic skill of speaking and the specific purpose courses to the more elaborated skill of writing. This can be solved with a syllabus where these three strategic principles of learning, taking the three functions (ideational, interpersonal and textual) into account, would give coherence to the three components of language as a system: knowledge, communication and text (in its widest sense). This is the foundation of the Integrative Communicative Approach, thus integrating the learning process, the language functions and its components. More integrating techniques (combining psycholinguistic and sociolinguistic
components) are currently being used (referred to as Interaction in CEF): • • • • • • Group work, collaborative projects Interchanging relevant information (personal, public, experiences, opinions), Interviewing, Note-taking, Role play and simulations, Real communication.
Tasks and strategies are language actions based on objectives and they are indefinitely large in number and can be complex in their performance. They should respond to the communicative needs of the learners, which should match and balance the teaching objectives. Some task-based syllabuses (Nunan, 1989) propose an analysis of the learners’ needs. To make a general categorization of the tasks and strategies to use in English language teaching, we should consider the different functions and speech acts which govern communication, as well as their progressive internalization in the learner’s language knowledge as the scaffolding process of learning takes place. The learning environment (towards Mediation and eLearning) The language learning environment in Castilla La Mancha is the traditional classroom. The learners are all Spanish-speaking students and their experience on the English languages is focused on the school and some possible media at reach at home or in their community. Important drawbacks of the current language classroom in the schools of Castilla La Mancha are the restricted number of contact hours with the language, the minimal opportunities for interacting with native English speakers, and limited exposure to the variety of functions, speech events, genres, and discourse types outside the classroom. The classroom has generally physically designed to be teacher-centered with a blackboard at the front facing rows of student desks. The role of the teacher has been the transmitter of knowledge and the common tools are textbooks, workbooks, and photocopied material. The photocopier together with the use of tape and video-tape are the new technological devices extensively used in the classroom of the end of the 20th century.
many language classes have. the social context for learning is transforming as well.
. Therefore. Whereas collaboration and peer instruction was once only possible in shared physical space. Such change presents new possibilities and potential for learning.In the 21st century we are entering an age of exponential change. not had such opportunities for meaningful communication. The structure of our schools do not reflect the rapid changes our society is experiencing. However. If schools do not follow this structural change. the coming of age of communication. the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are now facilitating the realization of the goals of Communicative Approach by making electronic communicative tools available. Computer technology is a cultural tool that students can use to communicate and internalize their learning. students will be not be well prepared for the world they will live. 1996). learning relationships can now be formed from distances through the Web. The introduction and integration of Web-based communication and computer technology in society has tremendously increased the opportunities for social interaction. In the communicative environment there is a complementary feature which is demanding closer attention: the emergence of new technologies combined with an interest in constructivism provides the conditions for a change in approaches to the teaching of EFL. In spite of the importance of providing ways for communication. until now. The physical environment of schools impacts on the types of activities that take place and on the types of communication that exist. Recent research suggests changing the learning contexts with technology is a powerful learning activity (Crawford.
becoming less important as the Communicative Approach emerged. but the integration of the computer as a standalone desktop device is difficult in the traditional classroom. transmissionist style of learning. Now. Audio and video have definitely been integrated in the language classroom to provide meaningful audiovisual materials for language presentation. Whereas traditional learning environments often support a teacher-centered. as a tool. in a very large way. The Internet facilitates. Online learning environments (eLearning) offer many benefits for foreign language education. authentic and meaningful communication and presents significant potential for making language learning both more purposeful and
. online learning environments support a more learner-centered. It is the online connection of diverse computational devices which seems appropriate for a really communicative environment. the computer-based instruction (CBI) and Computer-assisted Language Learning (CALL) have their supporters. However. The language laboratory had its functionality in the Audio-Lingual Approach. constructivist approach to teaching and learning. Although one of the most important differences in the two environments relies on these differing learning theories. And the Internet is the widest connection. the traditional environment of the classroom contrasts with online learning environments. driven by the "knowledge. it can be the ground for the development of a series of strategic techniques to implement the Integrative Communicative Approach. the Internet by itself does not make a theory of language learning. From a pedagogical perspective. even as an environment. the most advanced means of communication. skills and attitudes" of the students.In this context we have to consider the use of technology: as a medium.
conversations and messaging with English-speaking keypals. communicative language activities by recreating a virtual English environment in their classroom. construction and sharing to an
. Nor can the new era of language learning be achieved effectively without use of eLearning. sequential pattern Teacher-directed Didactic teaching
Online learning environments (elearning) Support constructivist approaches Asynchronous synch. eLearning presents certain possibilities and potential for language learning that cannot be achieved otherwise. It allows for a focus on knowledge production. It provides tools that support a level of collaboration and communication which cannot be provided by any other learning environment. sites. It has the capacity to generate reality and thus to provide access to the real world to an extent that would not be possible otherwise. Virtual communities. Comparison of traditional versus online learning environments (eLearning)
The use of eLearning in foreign-language teaching provides certain advantages. Furthermore. projects and activities for learning EFL increase daily as interest in the Internet grows in education circles. access to English libraries are examples of developments on the Internet which offer students of EFL opportunities for authentic. Communication Non-linear/hypertextual pattern Student exploration Interactive modes of instruction
Short blocks of instruction on a single Extended blocks of authentic and multi-disciplinary subject work Individual work Collaborative work
Traditional learning environments Support instructional approaches Synchronous communication Linear. meaningful.more meaningful for students.
As Ryder (1994) remarks. which will finally make the computer “disappear”. In a similar way to the audiovisual material which shifted from the language lab to the traditional classroom space. too. the Internet is "a powerful environment for constructivist learning". Video conferencing.unprecedented extent. interactive whiteboards and "wearable computers" as electronic notebooks. keypals. adaptive systems and hypermedia environments are now characteristic of the digital world for learning. virtual travel. web publishing. eLearning provides unparalleled support for constructivist learning. The oncoming years will bring the age of "ubiquitous computing" with small smart devices. global networks. Finally. I am sure about that. intelligent and simulated environments. Virtual worlds. email correspondence.
. the digital material will move from the computer room to the classroom. electronic searches: these are but some of the categories of activities in which students can engage in the context of learning online. unnoticeably pervading in the learning environment.
speaking. professionals. and life-long learners. these aspects are quite varied. In the first year there are some real beginners and most false beginners. but we can distinguish a big number of university students. unemployed young students looking for their first job. The two grades comprehend five courses in total: three years for the Elementary Grade and two years for the Superior Grade. who obviously are taking their secondary education at the time. Both aspects are really two opposing forces for teaching: the negative bulk of the number of students per class. The classroom is monolingual. As to age and educational background. The remaining 75% are quite variable with respect to their occupations and cultural background. Our task is to make them acquire an intermediate level of English language knowledge in the Elementary Grade and make them improve to an advanced level in the Superior Grade. and the positive environmental attitude of highly motivated learners. housewives. The learning process is currently graded in two main parts: the Elementary Grade and the Superior Grade. reading and writing. 25% of the total being under 18. enabling them to understand and use the English language for general purposes by means of developing the four main skills of listening. The learners are young adults with a minimal age of 14.
. consisting of about thirty Spanish native speakers with a really high instrumental motivation.STUDENTS AND LEVELS : THE INTEGRATIVE COMMUNICATIVE SYLLABUS APPLIED TO EOI ENGLISH STUDIES Considering our objectives and the external factors in language learning. our setting and the teaching circumstances are determined by the student’s circumstances and by our task as teachers of English as an international language in the Escuelas Oficiales de Idiomas.
the English vocabulary and its conceptual realization into hierarchical phrases identifying their grammatical categories. interacting through language (requesting and offering things and information. The textual function will give cohesion and coherence to all the language items learned. The practice of the functional interpersonal meanings will provide them with the basic roles they can take to fulfill the goal of social communication through language. They will be able to identify people. things. this is.As mentioned before. Having the Integrative Communicative Approach in mind. or reading ads). establishing social relation. the learning environment is a traditional one. establishing strategies for functional and notional realization into pragmatic textual
. and processes. a language computer room has been received from the Althia Programme. planning. suggesting. which is to develop by learning the basic lexical elements for survival. Phonological and the few remaining morphological features will help students understand the basic
notional contents of English words and their lexical relations. The syllabus for the Elementary Grade will take the students from real beginners as learners of English to intermediate students. an initiative of the Junta de Comunidades de Castilla La Mancha. with classes loaded with desks. However. we must establish learning techniques which will take the different componential functions into account: the cognitive ideational function. They will start using the language by describing. a blackboard and the students using their textbooks and workbooks. narrating. We are in the task of integrating it for use in our current curriculum for some practical lessons and online navigation activities.
* Determiners * Premodification * Tense * Frequency. * Adverts..schemas: giving and understanding information about people. * Coordination * Progressive Aspect * Modality (I)
* Description * Possessions
* Writing short sentences. SAMPLE CONTENTS OF UNITS FOR AN ELEMENTARY SYLLABUS
*People. * Guessing games * Questionnaires * Getting to know each other * Planning a meeting * Interviewing * Exchanging information * Planning a party * Oral Practice * Writing ID cards * Questions and Answers.. things and processes. * Taking notes
* Lexical Formulas
* Requesting and Offering
* Phoning.) * Places * Numbers
Textual Structure Linguistic components
* Nouns and prepositions. referents in grammar (pronouns and connectors) and situational context (inference schemata). * Be operator * Intonation. Address. They will cope with real texts of any kind. writing explanations. giving textual coherence to all these metastrategies through semantics (lexical cohesion).
* Everyday activities. giving prominence to fluency and accuracy in the pragmatic use of the English language.
* Identifying * Introducing * Socializing
Textual Schema Textual Mode Strategies Skills & Techniques
* Meeting partners * Requesting oral Information. * Extracting information from visual resources * Describing photographs. Names. Varied Data (Jobs.
* Things * Qualities. * Habits Arrangements * Abilities
* Oral information. stating assertions and expressing modality.. giving and requesting opinions in oral debates. remembering and communicating. possessions. * Reading basic information.
. the learners will develop more advanced strategies for understanding. * Oral Practice * Note-making
At the Superior Grade. * Dialogues. colours * Quantities * Parts of the body * Actions and Objects * Time * Plans and Predictions * Actions and Manner * Formulas and Actions
* Nouns and Adjectives. reading literature.
understanding formal speeches.
SAMPLE CONTENTS OF UNITS FOR THE SUPERIOR GRADE Cognitive Schema * Factual Information. * Discussions * Advantages * Formal Advice
* Oral debate. * Reporting information * Giving opinions. * Implying negation. and they will have to react in a coherent way. speaking. as well as the associated skills of syntax and vocabulary. and technologies that promote the integration of listening. Textual Mode Skills & Techniques * Reading and Writing explanatory essays
* Preferences. reporting the acquired information orally. * Ordering Paragraphs * Extracting info. * Gist. * Convincing * Deducing Textual Schema Strategies * Reading Comprehension * Ordering sentences. and writing. expressing viewpoints orally and in writing. * Paragraphing * Cloze test. I believe “this is contrary to the integrated way that people use language skills in normal communication. and it clashes with the direction in which language teaching experts have been moving in recent years”. * Hypothesis Functional Tasks * Scanning. * Video viewing
The Council of Europe in CEF (2001) deals grading under a different perspective. which will help them use and progress in their knowledge of the textual world.
. textbooks. * Reading newspapers. reading. reading and writing factual information. We should choose teaching materials. making comments on language. Skills are basically studied in a segregated way rather than in an integrated fashion. and teach language learning strategies that can often enhance performance in multiple skills.spoken or written. Following Oxford (2001). * Disagreeing . All these functional skills would deal with the stereotyped topics common in everyday language in the current western societies. In 1971 the Council decided to divide the task of learning a language into smaller skill-based units. each of which could be credited separately. * Explanations Textual Structure Linguistic components * Nominalizations * Developing ideas into coherent text * Cognates * Connectors.
follow or give a talk on a familiar topic or keep up a conversation on a fairly wide range of topics. A2 Level 1 understand straightforward information within a known area. CEF has determined the contents of the new organizational 6 levels of language learning based on the abilities and objectives the students have to achieve. we can integrate them in our approach:
Writing complete basic forms.
C2 Level 5
understand basic instructions or take understand basic notices. and understand detailed instructions or advice. information.
B2 Level 3
C1 Level 4
contribute effectively to meetings and seminars within own area of work or keep up a casual conversation with a good degree of fluency. write letters on any subject correspondence and and full notes of meetings reports. including the finer or seminars with good points of complex texts. expression and accuracy.
complete forms and write short simple letters or postcards related to personal information.
understand routine write letters or make notes information and articles. take reasonably accurate notes in meetings or write an essay which shows an ability to communicate. on familiar or predictable and the general meaning of matters. such as on products and signs and simple textbooks or reports on familiar matters.Anyway. part in a basic factual conversation instructions or breakthrough on a predictable topic. advise on or talk about complex or sensitive issues.
B1 Level 2
express opinions on abstract/cultural matters in a limited way or offer advice within a known area. make notes while someone is talking or write a letter including non-standard requests. scan texts for relevant information. Although they were drawn for segregated-skill teaching. read quickly enough to cope with an academic course. dates and places. and write notes including times. coping with abstract expressions. level express simple opinions or requirements in a familiar context. to read the media for information or to understand non-standard correspondence. The following tables summarize these general abilities and objectives. understanding colloquial references and dealing confidently with hostile questions. non-routine information within a familiar area. and understand instructions or public announcements.
. prepare/draft professional correspondence.
Table 8. 2001)
. CEF.:Abilities to achieve in the diverse skills (Common Reference Levels.
.Understand a wide range of demanding. showing controlled use of organisational patterns. school. . employment).Communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters. and recognise implicit meaning. . 2001)
.Summarise information from different spoken and written sources. . reconstructing arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation. detailed text on complex subjects. leisure. .Produce clear. immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need. hopes and ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans. etc. For that purpose CEF establishes the following objectives. .Understand with ease virtually everything heard or read. dreams.Understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type. very basic personal and family information. people he/she knows and things he/she has.Express him/herself spontaneously. . .Introduce him/herself and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where he/she lives.Understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e. very fluently and precisely. . . categorized on the levels:
.Understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics.Produce simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest. local geography.Interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.Interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party.Deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken.The analysis of the learners’ needs together with the institutional directions will help the teacher establish the teaching/learning objectives.
Basic User A2
B1 Independent User B2
C1 Proficient User
Table 9. . longer texts.Understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work. to select the content and the materials and the strategies to use.Express him/herself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions. detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options. connectors and cohesive devices.Describe experiences and events. .Describe in simple terms aspects of his/her background. .Produce clear. . academic and professional purposes.g. . differentiating finer shades of meaning even in more complex situations. . . including technical discussions in his/her field of specialisation. . . Objectives in Common Reference Levels:global scale (CEF. well-structured.Use language flexibly and effectively for social. shopping.
etc. the one that reflects the connection between the theoretical teaching syllabus and the practical teaching situation. meeting and agreeing in the establishment of the objectives for the five stages. Every year a scheduled meeting of the English teachers should be held to analyse the effectiveness of those teaching materials and other global strategies such as extra activities. mainly English language. can have several teachers who must consider the syllabus as a whole. As to teaching materials. educational journeys. Those results must be the field criteria to evaluate the
methodology employed and particularly the setting of teaching. and then at the end of the year. cultural meetings. focusing first on the teaching circumstances where the teaching materials play an important part. So a student.TEACHERS AND TEACHING MATERIALS: THE ENGLISH DEPARTMENT & RESOURCES
One of the main conditions a language school must have to achieve an effective language teaching is the availability of good teaching materials. Some scheduled meetings should be held in order to share experiences and data about the results in the classroom. the central one is the textbook. As to teachers. The job of the English teacher must be oriented to help the students of English achieve a specific level of the language knowledge in a yearly progression. Another one of course is the well coordinated organization of the staff of teachers in a Language Department. the quantity of students demanding the learning of a language. the characteristics of the instruction provided in a language school. along the five courses (six in the near future). and the established way of evaluating language knowledge at the end of the two Grades in the Escuelas Oficiales de Idiomas impose a series of circumstances which should be considered. lectures. A good textbook should be selected for every year and every course. it should be checked for effectiveness and adequacy to the students' needs and both the
where the teachers can easily use activities which were specially fruitful for a particular technique). and cassettes for the practice of dialogues and conversations in the listening activities of the textbook. basic and more advanced grammar books for reference and practice. video and audio players. Currently. A good TV set. diverse written material for sporadic use. audio and video materials. among others:
. audiovisuals are necessary and available. Of course. some of them including drill oral exercises and pronunciation exercises). and video and audio materials (films. Here is a list of essential materials: Resource Books for Teachers and Students: Textbooks (including those used in previous years should be available. we can have. such as newspapers. magazines. Every classroom should be minimally provided with some little library. There are some courses on CD-ROM and some software of computer-based materials. should be available. and an OHP are of great help. books with exercises and writing activities (Workbooks or Practice Books). The Department library should be well provided with resource books for teachers and additional visual. These materials are essential in the English Department. However. English textbooks include a series of additional materials. All these deficiencies could be solve with an Internet connection in every classroom. studying the accommodation to the general syllabus of the Grade. thus providing resources for the oncoming technological change referred above. where good monolingual and bilingual dictionaries. these materials should not be considered enough for the global contextual teaching when applying an Integrative Communicative Syllabus.teachers' and students' expectations. too. To give a short list of the most effective ones from my point of view.
(ed. Introduction to the Grammar of English. A Comprehensive
Grammar of Contemporary English Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (1983). Dictionaries: .). (1991).Swan. Collins COBUILD Essential English
Crossroads. Synthesis Series. & Crystal..(1978). (2000).-
Series. D. .P. A.. . A. S. Cambridge: C. Cambridge: Cambridge U. (ed. (1989).M. . (1992). . (1977).Doff. L. London: Longman. J. Practical English Usage.P
.Doff. 1ª ed.Low. (1985).Eckersley.). S. Greenbaum.P. & J. Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary of Current English. Cambridge Advanced English. .Jones. (1983).Penguin ELT Skills Series. Includes DVD. (1990) Collins COBUILD English Grammar. Penguin. New Headway English Course Series.. Oxford: Press. C. (1992) Collins COBUILD Student's Grammar. London: Richmond Publishing.. (2003). (1984). London: Harper Collins. J. L.A. W. London: Harper Collins.Goldsteing. B.Hornby. R.). .P.Fowler. . (1991).
Longman. London: E. S.S.U.). Oxford. Framework Series. 1960. & Pidcock.Huddlestone. Language in Use.U. First Certificate and Proficiency in English Course and Practice Series.O'Connell . . (1991) Cambridge First Certificate Skills.Soars. Hinton. M.P. Edinburgh: Nelson. M.Quirk.P. Cambridge: Cambridge U.. Arnold. London: Longman . O.E. Cambridge: Cambridge U. & Marsden.Sinclair J. A
Books for practising Skills and for Exams (First Certificate and Proficiency):
. Oxford: Oxford U. Oxford University
-Sinclair. R. G. London: Nelson. & Eckersley J. R. (1992) Cambridge Skills for Fluency. O.
. A. & Jones. Leech.. .
comprehensive English Grammar. (ed. Teaching materials kit. (ed.. . including CDROM. .
Other printed materials
. Yorkshire Television.
Other books for teachers (such as the ones in the Bibliography sections . An Outline of English Phonetics.(1988) Diccionario Moderno Larousse Español-Inglés. Oxford. (1990).
.Play Games in English.Communication Games. R. Cambridge. Video English One.CUNNINGHAM & BOWLER. Oxford: O. . Cambridge U.Original Literary Works
and short stories of the kind in
TAYLOR. F. & ORTIZ.
. A. D. CALL and Web-based applications (WIDA)
Publishers. Modern Short Stories. . The Pronunciation of English.Impact.JONES. (ed). Itaca.P. Cambridge University Press. Recorded literary works. (ed). ed.J. Cambridge.The English Teaching Theatre.FINCH. Cambridge Handbooks for Teachers Series.
. Heinemann .P.García-Pelayo y Gros.Word Selector.That's English.Swan.W. (1990).for this document and for ESP) should also be available at the Department Library. ed. M.U.JONES. Resource Books for Teachers: . D. Headway Intermediate Pronunciation. . A Course in English Phonetics for Spanish Speakers.Maley. (1982). (1956). (1967). Oxford: O. (Streamline Series). . Resource Books for Teachers Series. Macmillan Publishers. London.A Weekend Away.At Home in Britain . P..P. Electronic Dictionaries.D. Yorkshire Television. O. (1976). Films from Speak Up Magazine
Library for the reading of Literature
.U. . CUP. H. TVE . London: Longman
Videos: . .Word Games with English.A good library of abridged Reader's Books .
P. ed. Macmillan
Computer-Based Materials: Courses on CDRom..
An ESP Skill Syllabus: Reading Strategies The activity of reading: skills. Definition and Stages in ESP Development II. 3. Development of the activity of Reading 3. the instruction of a foreign language was limited to training special lexicon and translating numerous texts. 3. IV. The stress on the setting and circumstances as factors strongly influencing the language learning process and consequently the teaching techniques brought into existence the elaboration of specific syllabuses to meet the special needs of certain students. Exercise types. 3. Techniques.1. Definition. INTRODUCTION For centuries methods Grammar Translation methods governed the exchange of information in the world of international relations. Bibliography. techniques and exercises III. At the beginning of the 20th century.2. Skills. the teaching of languages for special purposes followed some kind of Direct Method or Situational Approach in which people had to learn or
.ESP PROJECT ON ENGLISH FOR SPECIFIC PURPOSES
CONTENTS I. Introduction. Considering as specific purposes the needs of people who wanted to use a foreign language for specific situations only.3. I.4. Conclusion V. Some practical but unstructured learning materials appeared early in the first half of the 20th century: Travel Guides.
i. e. It was the particular features of this kind of specialized language used in these fields that centred the research on the development of more specific syllabuses and teaching techniques for ESP (English for Special Purposes). When the II World War finished. the need to train professionals intensively in learning a foreign language in order to reconstruct Europe made courses for that specific purpose appear. English. The Discourse Analysis research on
.. centred on the needs of the learners to communicate.1991) in a world where international use of information and communication technologies is driven again by the language of the world superpowers. to
advance from the Survival level of a language knowledge to more specific fields of language to enable communication in the specialized technical and scientific disciplines (Van Ek. This happened at the same time as the first communicative research on the Threshold Level (Van Ek. Later. For various reasons. The language of this communication was English again. the Oil Crisis of the early 1970s resulted in the need to establish closer communication with the oil-rich countries. without having learned the language before. These first need-oriented materials were not really specific materials for learning the language. The expansion in technology and commerce “generated a demand for an international language. this role fell to English” (Hutchinson and Waters. It was the Communicative Approach.1975) for the Council of Europe established the need of designing ESP courses that could prepare learners for professional communication.refer to certain set of sentences (usually translated to the user's native language) to enable them to survive in a foreign language speaking society. the one that began to investigate on ESP and elaborate ESP syllabuses to accomplish with the particular requirements of the learners. most notably the economic power of the United States in the post-war world.1987).
genres and registers (Swales. These were the pioneering outcomes on the new trend of the Integrative Communicative Approach.
. P. we can start recalling the most authoritative definitions of the term. effective and intensive way of learning a language for specific purposes as well as for general purposes. Strevens (1978). According to Kennedy and Bolitho (1984) 'ESP has its basis in an investigation of the purposes of the learners and the set of communicative needs arising from those purposes'.or skill-based approaches. 1984) as having common linguistic (in a broad sense) features originated the elaboration of specialized courses focusing on the most useful skills for the particular kind of ESP discipline. Currently. the paradigmatic change in the communication media is shifting the ESP focus onto the use of Information and Communication Technologies. which proves to be the most successful. and bearing in mind the cognitive theories onto the development of task. following the Communicative Approach. Those communicative needs will guide the design and selection of the contents of the ESP syllabus. The content of these ESP courses are determined by a restriction. defines ESP courses as 'a set of notional and functional knowledge of English to cope with the special purpose of the learner's needs'. DEFINITION AND STAGES OF ESP DEVELOPMENT To get to a clear understanding of the courses for ESP. At the same time it shows the previously referred symbiosis between formal theories and practical techniques as this approach arose from the practical needs of specialized learning materials. selection and grading of the four basic skills according to the lexical content deriving from the learner's needs.
Quantitative studies were designed to provide a descriptively-adequate account of distributional frequencies in the target language variety and thus offer a basis for prioritizing teaching items in specialized ESL materials. 1987). deriving from the linguistic properties of functional varieties or registers of a language. These correspond to Krashen's Input
. This is the field where my research activity at the university was engaged in the 90s. The first perspective to this psycholinguistic aspect had been developed from the analysis of the learners’ needs. the restriction and selection of ESP materials and techniques were not only notionally and functionally based. There is growing interest in assessing rhetorical purposes and in accounting for syntactic and lexical choices (as contributions to communicative effectiveness). These involve the study of the learners’ possessions and what learners want to achieve. but also textually.A second stage in the development of ESP syllabuses developed from the Discourse Analysis considerations of the textual identity of the different types of discourse. communicative and cognitive (knowledge-developing) components of learning. parallel to the concept of skill (reading and writing were to recover their prominence in teaching and learning). (see Sánchez Villalón. the linguistic grammatical structure (Barber (1962) pointed out that the progressive verbal aspect was not frequently used in scientific English. both considerations regarding the target language. in this way. so it was not to be an important teaching item in ESP) and the mode of communication. So. the analysis of lexicosyntactic and textual features of the different types of written discourse as stylistic. considering both aspects. 1992). The current trend in ESP has turned from the analysis of the surface forms of the language (notions or topics and functions or purpose) into the analysis of 'the thinking processes that underlie language use' (Hutchinson and Waters.
. abilities and strategies through language use. These considerations bring several conclusions for the appropriateness of a concrete ESP syllabus: a) Since the skills are not specific to any subject matter. The focus should then be on the underlying interpretive strategies. The teacher works as the mediator. b) Since. because the underlying processes are not specific to any subject matter. enable us to extract meaning from discourse. regardless of the surface forms. a ESP teacher does not need to be a specialist professional on the subject matter. A focus on specific subject registers is unnecessary in this approach. which. as it is widely admitted. we
can elaborate more general ESP syllabuses that can be used for diverse branches of scientific or technical disciplines. 'The principal idea behind the skill-centred approach is that underlying all language use there are common reasoning and interpreting processes.' (Hutchinson and Waters. 1987. and their potential. then.13). he can focus best on the teaching strategies with the help of specialized materials.Hypothesis (1985). The common skills used in the register object of study become. the Skills for Learning. which enable the learner to cope with the surface forms. using visual lay-out to determine the type of text. the development of specific knowledge processes. exploiting cognates. bringing them to the second stage of their needs. for example guessing the meaning of words from the context. a career or a discipline. etc. similar to Vygotsky's (1978) concept of the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) in which there are two main stages of an individual's development: what a learners can do by themselves.
especially in the Spanish Escuelas Oficiales de Idiomas educational language centers. A final conclusion deserves being mentioned apart. the segregated skill-based syllabus is appropriate in special purposes courses where the learners’ needs and objectives are clearly delimited. breaking a sentence or word down into parts to understand the meaning. As the most common specific purpose of ESP learners is the reading of specialist literature in English. This seems to contradict my previous reasoning about general purpose language courses and language learning approach in general. What we need in ESP syllabuses is authenticity of roles and situations. It
. when elaborating a general project for a ESP syllabus we have focused on the teaching of reading strategies with the use of authentic material.c)
Since the demand of one-subject ESP courses outside university and enterprise
organizations is not high enough (at least in middle size towns) to convince the public administration to invest on projects for ESP courses. though having different subject matter objectives. and practicing the language with someone else. Examples are guessing meaning based on context. as learning is accomplished through the integration of the cognitive. to improve their learning. However. They should be integrated skill-based. speaking strategies. Segregated-skill courses present instruction in terms of skill-linked learning strategies: reading strategies. adequating the learning of the language to their purposes and needs. sociocultural and linguistic components. “Learning strategies are strategies that students employ. The students should be given ground to develop specific linguistic skills. and writing strategies. and all skills and aspects of the language are interwoven in real communication. most often consciously. share the same skill-oriented purposes can form groups big enough to deserve public investment. all those professionals who. listening strategies.
II. writing answers to questions or making notes. dealing more precisely with reading comprehension skills. This was my perspective for the following section in this document. which will be helpful in facilitating the overall comprehension of a text.to provide the learning with communicative practice in efficient reading. as we have mentioned above. However. such as paying selective attention. which seems to be the basic skill the students need to master. apart from the act of reading. The main objectives of such a syllabus are the following: I . Many strategies.to call the learner’s attention to linguistic items such as word-formation. Teaching students to improve their learning strategies in one skill area can often enhance performance in all language skills. word power. A ESP SKILL-BASED SYLLABUS: READING STRATEGIES
The syllabus design for the teaching of English for Special Purposes (ESP) is essentially concerned with the learner’s needs. asking questions.can be confusing or misleading to believe that a given strategy is associated with only one specific language skill. cognates. synthesizing. 2001). practising the reading strategies can enhance performance in all language skills: doing a reading comprehension exercise in class can involve making oral comments on content. II . planning. listening to others’ comments. self-evaluating.
. analyzing.to develop the learner’s comprehension and recall cognitive abilities. are applicable across skill areas” (Oxford. and predicting.
Nowadays. 1991) of the basic skills of English language and are taking studies of ESP. Van Ek.
. The different steps we present here are directed to the students who already have an intermediate level (the Threshold Level. In an ESP course. The approach will be selected according to the objectives". The objectives of the reading activity in an English for Specific Purposes (ESP) course are bound to extract the required information of an specialised written text that our students can encounter in the specific subjects which form the curriculum of their technical studies. The main aim is to make the student feel confidence when dealing with the bibliography in English related to his/her studies and research. We must keep in mind that is our students' world. Technical and scientific research is the one in which we are most interested. not only while they are studying but even once they have finished their studies. reading for informal material. the learning of reading for comprehension is the learners' most important need. literary analysis and translation of the text". direct reading of all kind of materials. Statistics says that about 85 % of all researching work that is done everywhere is written in this language. the English language is the "lingua franca" used as the international instrument for communication throughout the world. (1978) : "There are various ways of approaching the teaching of reading.THE ACTIVITY OF READING We assume that the activity of Reading is acquired through different stages. Five possible objectives for a reading course are: "reading for information. It is of great importance to make the students aware of the different reading skills and techniques that can be applied to a written text in order to achieve a good comprehension of it. For Rivers and Temperley.
The paramount objective for our students is the first one.'To read without help' because the pupil will have to manage by himself when reading English technical texts. i. They show their satisfaction from the ability to draw the information they need quickly from the text. e. This is why from the very beginning. . whether these are ideas or simple words. reading for information. This is best achieved through a global approach of the text. 2nd Reading Further Prediction
Making hypothesis about the contents and function. ours students should be taught to use what they know to understand unknown elements. Confirmation or Revision
Anticipation of where to look for confirmation of these hypothesis according to what one knows of texts of such type Skimming through the passage of one's guesses. visuals in the text. and what one brings to the text is often more important than what one finds in it". Grellet's approach could be summed up in the following way:
1st Reading Study of the layout: title. So it is very advisable to recommend them extensive reading.
. silently with adequate
' Unfamiliar texts'. unfamiliar understanding': 'To enable the student' means that we can help the student to develop his reading capacity. So. we must have in mind that we have to provide our students with texts of their own interest..
texts. Grellet (1981) remarks that "Reading is a constant process of guessing. at appropriate speed.
According to Nuttal (1982). without attention to style. We have to teach the students how to face to unknown texts. length. the main objective of reading is 'To enable the student to read without help.
not only the identification of the symbols on the page where the reader gets the information provided by the writer. we can say that reading is not only a linguistic exercise but a real communicative activity and a knowledgedeveloping process. The student must be trained to read at different speed depending on the text and its aim. The activity of reading is an interactive process where the reader extracts information supplied in the text.
'Silently'. Definition. After presenting different views about the activity of reading and the objective of reading. Here is a list of the skills considered as most important from a long list made by Munby (1981): SKILLS
.'At appropriate speed'. the purpose of reading and on the world knowledge that the reader brings to the text. That is the way the student reads outside the classroom.2.
III. The students must be encouraged to read longer texts within a shorter period of time. DEVELOPMENT OF THE ACTIVITY OF READING: SKILLS. TECHNIQUES AND EXERCISES.1. here are some conclusions about how to teach our students the different skills and techniques to get a successful reading for comprehension. the teacher will have to train the student to get the different skills and techniques through a big variety of exercise types. Everything will depend on the purpose of each reading. So. To fulfil this objective. Reading is not a passive process.
'With adequate understanding' means that they do not have to understand all the words in the text to extract the required information. 3. 3. Skills There are a series of reading skills we can develop to get a good reading comprehension of a written text.
Extracting the main idea 1. Anticipating. Reading for specific information III. Inferring.I. Inferring 3. There are different techniques we can develop to get the skills mentioned above. Extracting the main idea II. Understanding structures and complex sentences. A short list is given and explain for each: SKILL TECHNIQUES 1. tables or charts which will give the student some clues about the ways the text may develop. and he/she expects to find answers to a number of questions and specific information. This 'expectation' is inherent in the process of reading.
. 3. The first skill of extracting the main idea from a text will be reached through an 'extensive' reading. together with motivation. drawings. This technique is developed using the title. he is prepared to find a number of things in it. is of great importance when reading.
Anticipating.3. Techniques. the rest will be achieved through 'intensive' reading as this way of reading is performed when a more detailed information is required. Skimming 4. pictures.
These skills can be achieved through 'extensive' or 'intensive' reading. It involves a permanent interrelationship between the reader and the text. Reading Speed
I. That means that if the student feels motivated when he/she starts reading the text. 2. Deducing unfamiliar words IV. Anticipating 2.
To get this the teacher has to train the student to recognize the key sentences of the text. he will read the text quicker than if he wants to find an answer to very specific questions.In order to be able to read quick and efficiently through a text. SKILL II. If the purpose of reading is to have a general view of the text. students must know where to look for the main information. The technique of inferring includes the activities of Predicting and Previewing. The technique of scanning consists in trying to locate speciTECHNIQUE 1. 4. 1985). However. (The first words of each paragraph often gives us clues of the discourse function as well as the content of what follows). the headings of the paragraphs or even the first sentences. Skimming. this is not always true as we can find different types of paragraphs (see Trimble. This technique consists of running one's eyes quickly over a text to get the gist of it. Reading Speed. The student will check that the key sentence often appears at the beginning of each
. This technique tries to show the student the importance of looking at the first and last paragraphs of a text. Getting specific information 1. and then confirm or reject those guesses. Both are necessary for a quick and efficient reading. that means making constant guesses about what can follow. Scanning Scanning as skimming is a very specific reading technique. 3. This will show the student that one sentence usually sums up the main idea of the paragraph. The student must be taught to read at different speed depending on his reading purposes.
Understanding word Formation 2. When scanning. Deducing unfamiliar words TECHNIQUES 1. This will help the student to deduce the meaning of some unfamiliar words. Recognizing link words. We simply let our eyes 'wander' over the text until we find what we are looking for. Failure to understand such anaphoric or cataphoric links will probably lead to a serious misunderstanding of a text. Referring 2. Recognizing synonyms and antonyms
1. which. SKILL IV. they. One common way of linking structurally independent sentences to get a meaningful comprehension of a text is to use words such as this. we may not even follow the linearity of the passage.fic information. Understanding structures and complex sentences 1. 2. Understanding word formation. those. Recognizing link words (to join sentences and ideas)
. a date or a less specific piece of information. This technique means being aware of how words are formed and understanding the meaning of the most frequent affixes (prefixes and suffixes) in technical English. etc. whether it be a name. 2. or something which is going to be mentioned (cataphora). it. Recognizing synonyms and antonyms. Referring. SKILL III. TECHNIQUES 1. It is extremely helpful to recognize synonym and antonym words when reading a text since both of them give clues to the meaning of words that may not be familiar to the students. which refer to something already mentioned (anaphora).
4. For example. Exercises. All the techniques mentioned
previously can be practised in the classroom through different exercise types. but they will also indicate the rhetorical value of what follows. etc.This technique is very useful not only because it will help to understand ideas or facts mentioned in the passage. 3. contrasting. reinforcing. explaining.
We techniques. tables . Anaphoric reference exercises which consists of matching the pronouns with the nouns they refer to.formation Recognizing synonyms and antonyms
Understanding structures and complex sentences
Referring Recognizing link words (to join sentences and ideas)
Classifying the link words for their rhetorical value.Fill-in-the blanks with the appropriate link word. Timing. Pre-reading questions. It consists of inserting a word or expression in the blank spaces.
Table 10: Some strategic exercises to develop the reading skill
V. match those ones that have the same meaning or any relation between them. It consists of. given two columns. To answer specific questions. It consists of making a table to check how many words the student is able to read in a minute. This exercise needs detailed reading. Multiple choice.
Extracting the main idea
Getting specific information
Deducing unfamiliar words
Understanding word. drawings. charts. To be able to do this exercise the student must be trained to recognize the key sentences of the text that will allow him to answer the pre-reading questions. . Which means making an option of three or four given answers. b) Writing down words which have the same affixes than those found in the text. Fill-in the blanks. This is the most known exercise to improve the reading speed. CONCLUSION
some exercises that can be done in order to apply
EXERCISES Presentation of non-verbal information such as: pictures. a) Underlining the affixes we find in the text and then explaining their meaning. etc Note-taking (of the most outstanding points of the text) Summarising (to get a general idea of the text using all the notes taken before). Matching. The answers to these questions will help the student to get the gist of the text. Given a number of words or word expression locate in the text their correspondent synonym or antonym.
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