Communication The Exchange of Information

The nature of speaking and oral interaction. Communicative approach and language teaching. Types of communicative exercises and approaches. Games as a way at breaking the routine of classroom drill. Some Practical Techniques for Language Teaching.

Рубрика Иностранные языки и языкознание
Вид дипломная работа
Язык английский
Дата добавления 21.07.2009
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(8) Remove the paper.

(9) Open the box.

(10) Look surprised as you see a sweater inside the box.

(11) Take the sweater out of the box.

(12) Try the sweater on.

(13) Look at yourself in the mirror.

(14) Take the sweater off.

(15) Lay the sweater on the table.

(16) Fold the paper up neatly.

(17) Put the paper and ribbon in a drawer.

(18) Hang the sweater in the closet.

Since this sequence represents a typical birthday ritual in an English-speaking country, it contains elements that may contrast with birthday customs in the students' country. After the group has completed the pantomime, the teacher might want to lead a discussion on such matters as birthday cards, gift wrapping, and birthday celebrations in general.

A project that provides abundant material for conversation is an imaginary trip to a real town in an English-speaking country. You can select from a map of the United States, for instance, a medium-sized town in a section of the country that interests your class. Your students may then write a letter to the Chamber of Commerce in the town, explaining their interest in the community and asking for pertinent information. This might include brochures describing the town, postcards, a street map, telephone book, parking ticket, restaurant menus, local newspapers, and the like. If the Chamber of Commerce cannot answer the request directly, they may put your students in touch with local schools or service clubs that might be willing to send these items. When the material is received, you and your students can inspect and discuss the various items at length.

A lasting relationship between citizens of the two towns may sometimes result from such a project. In an article entitled "Teaching the Telephone Book," Clifford Harrington describes his Japanese students' experience with a "city-to-city" project: "One unexpected benefit was brought about by an article concerning our class that appeared in an issue of the local newspaper we were studying. A young American who was planning to vacation in Japan and whose family had lived in our' town since 1885 learned about us through this article. His visit to our class when he arrived in Tokyo was one of the highlights of the course. Perhaps the most rewarding result was the fact that one young Japanese woman who was planning to take a trip to the United States after completing her studies decided to visit the community we had studied. She now knew so much about it that she wanted to see with her own eyes the places she had visited in her imagination."

Content-based instruction (CBI)

In recent years, increasing numbers of language educators have turned to content-based instruction and project work to promote meaningful student engagement with language and content learning. Through content-based instruction, learners develop language skills while simultaneously becoming more knowledgeable citizens of the world. By integrating project work into content-based classrooms, educators create vibrant learning environments that require active student involvement, stimulate higher level thinking skills, and give students responsibility for their own learning. When incorporating project work into content-based classrooms, instructors distance themselves from teacher-dominated instruction and move towards creating a student community of inquiry involving authentic communication, cooperative learning, collaboration, and problem-solving.

In this article, I shall provide a rationale for content-based instruction and demonstrate how project work can be integrated into content-based classrooms. I will then outline the primary characteristics of project work, introduce project work in its various configurations, and present practical guidelines for sequencing and developing a project. It is my hope that language teachers and teacher educators will be able to adapt the ideas presented here to enhance their classroom instruction.

Content-based instruction (CBI) has been used in a variety of language learning contexts for the last 25 years, though its popularity and wider applicability have increased dramatically in the past 10 years. There are numerous practical features of CBI which make it an appealing approach to language instruction:

In a content-based approach, the activities of the language class are specific to the subject matter being taught, and are geared to stimulate students to think and learn through the use of the target language. Such an approach lends itself quite naturally to the integrated teaching of the four traditional language skills.

For example, it employs authentic reading materials which require students not only to understand information but to interpret and evaluate it as well. It provides a forum in which students can respond orally to reading and lecture materials. It recognizes that academic writing follows from listening and reading, and thus requires students to synthesize facts and ideas from multiple sources as preparation for writing. In this approach, students are exposed to study skills and learn a variety of language skills which prepare them for the range of academic tasks they will encounter (Brinton, Snow, and Wesche 1989:2) Brinton D., M. Show and M. Welshe. 1989. Content based second language instruction. New York: Heinle and Heinle.

This quotation reflects a consistent set of descriptions by CBI practitioners who have come to appreciate the many ways that CBI offers ideal conditions for language learning. Research in second language acquisition offers additional support for CBI; yet some of the most persuasive evidence stems from research in educational and cognitive psychology, even though it is somewhat removed from language learning contexts. Worth noting here are four findings from research in educational and cognitive psychology that emphasize the benefits of content-based instruction:

1. Thematically organized materials, typical of content-based classrooms, are easier to remember and learn (Singer 1990) Singer, M. (1990) Psychology of Language: An Introduction to Sentence and Discourse Processing. Hillsdale, N.J.: L. Erlbaum..

2. The presentation of coherent and meaningful information, characteristic of well-organized content-based curricula, leads to deeper processing and better learning (Anderson 1990) Anderson, J. 1990 Cognitive psychology and its mplications. New York: W. H. Freeman.

3. There is a relationship between student motivation and student interest--common outcomes of content-based classes--and a student's ability to process challenging materials, recall information, and elaborate (Alexander, Kulikowich, and Jetton 1994) Alexander,P., J. Kulikowich and T. Jetton (1994) The role of subject - matter knowledge and interest in the processing of linear and non linear texts. Review of educational Research, 64, 2, pp. 201-252.

4. Expertise in a topic develops when learners reinvest their knowledge in a sequence of progressively more complex tasks (Bereiter and Scardamalia 1993) Bereiter, C. and M. Scardamalia (1993) Surpassing purselves. Chicago. Open Court Press., feasible in content-based classrooms and usually absent from more traditional language classrooms because of the narrow focus on language rules or limited time on superficially developed and disparate topics (e.g., a curriculum based on a short reading passage on the skyscrapers of New York, followed by a passage on the history of bubble gum, later followed by an essay on the volcanos of the American Northwest).

These empirical research findings, when combined with the practical advantages of integrating content and language learning, provide persuasive arguments in favor of content-based instruction. Language educators who adopt a content-based orientation will find that CBI also allows for the incorporation of explicit language instruction (covering, for example, grammar, conversational gambits, functions, notions, and skills), thereby satisfying students' language and content learning needs in context (see Grabe and Stoller Grabe, W. and F. Stoller 1997. Content-based instruction . New York: Addison Wesley London 1997 for a more developed rationale for CBI.)

Content-based instruction allows for the natural integration of sound language teaching practices such as alternative means of assessment, apprenticeship learning, cooperative learning, integrated-skills instruction, project work, scaffolding, strategy training, and the use of graphic organizers. Although each of these teaching practices, is worthy of extended discussion, wewill focus solely on project work and its role in content-based instructional formats.

Some language professionals equate project work with in-class group work, cooperative learning, or more elaborate task-based activities. The purpose is to illustrate how project work represents much more than group work per se. Project-based learning should be viewed as a versatile vehicle for fully integrated language and content learning,- making it a viable option for language educators working in a variety of instructional settings including general English, English for academic purposes (EAP), English for specific purposes (ESP), and English for occupational/vocational/professional purposes, in addition to pre-service and in-service teacher training. Project work is viewed by most of its advocates "not as a replacement for other teaching methods" but rather as "an approach to learning which complements mainstream methods and which can be used with almost all levels, ages and abilities of students" (Haines 1989:1).

In classrooms where a commitment has been made to content learning as well as language learning (i.e., content-based classrooms), project work is particularly effective because it represents a natural extension of what is already taking place in class. So, for example, in an EAP class structured around environmental topics, a project which involves the development of poster displays suggesting ways in which the students' school might engage in more environmentally sound practices would be a natural outcome of the content and language learning activities taking place in class. In a vocational English course focusing on tourism, the development of a promotional brochure highlighting points of interest in the students' home town would be a natural outgrowth of the curriculum. In a general English course focusing on cities in English-speaking countries, students could create public bulletin board displays with pictorial and written information on targeted cities. In an ESP course on international law, a written report comparing and contrasting the American legal system and the students' home country legal system represents a meaningful project that allows for the synthesis, analysis, and evaluation of course content. Project work is equally effective in teacher training courses. Thus, in a course on materials development, a student-generated handbook comprising generic exercises for language skills practice at different levels of English proficiency represents a useful and practical project that can be used later as a teacher-reference tool. The hands-on experience that the teachers-in-training have with project-based learning could, in turn, transfer to their own lesson planning in the future These examples represent only some of the possibilities available to teachers and students when incorporating project work into content-based curricula.

Project work has been described by a number of language educators, including Carter and Thomas (1986), Ferragatti and Carminati (1984), Fried-Booth (1982, 1986), Haines (1989), Legutke (1984, 1985), Legutke and Thiel (1983), Papandreou (1994), Sheppard and Stoller (1995), and Ward (1988). Although each of these educators has approached project work from a different perspective, project work, in its various configurations, shares these features:

1. Project work focuses on content learning rather than on specific language targets. Real-world subject matter and topics of interest to students can become central to projects.

2. Project work is student centered, though the teacher plays a major role in offering support and guidance throughout the process.

3. Project work is cooperative rather than competitive. Students can work on their own, in small groups, or as a class to complete a project, sharing resources, ideas, and expertise along the way.

4. Project work leads to the authentic integration of skills and processing of information from varied sources, mirroring real-life tasks.

5. Project work culminates in an end product (e.g., an oral presentation, a poster session, a bulletin board display, a report, or a stage performance) that can be shared with others, giving the project a real purpose. The value of the project, however, lies not just in the final product but in the process of working towards the end point. Thus, project work has both a process and product orientation, and provides students with opportunities to focus on fluency and accuracy at different project-work stages.

6. Project work is potentially motivating, stimulating, empowering, and challenging. It usually results in building student confidence, self-esteem, and autonomy as well as improving students' language skills, content learning, and cognitive abilities.

Though similar in many ways, project work can take on diverse configurations. The most suitable format for a given context depends on a variety of factors including curricular objectives, course expectations, students' proficiency levels, student interests, time constraints, and availability of materials. A review of different types of projects will demonstrate the scope, versatility, and adaptability of project work.

Projects differ in the degree to which the teacher and students decide on the nature and sequencing of project-related activities, as demonstrated by three types of projects proposed by Henry Henry. J. 1994 Teaching thruogh projects. London. Kogan Page Limited. (1994): Structured projects are determined, specified, and organized by the teacher in terms of topic, materials, methodology, and presentation; unstructured projects are defined largely by students themselves; and semi-structured projects are defined and organized in part by the teacher and in part by students.

Projects can be linked to real-world concerns (e.g., when Italian ESP students designed a leaflet for foreign travel agencies outside of Europe describing the advantages of the European Community's standardization of electrical systems as a step towards European unity.

This ESP project, titled "Connecting Europe with a New Plug," was designed by Italian instructors Laura Chiozzotto, Innocenza Giannasi, Laura Paperini, and Antonio Ragosa for students of electrotechnics and electronics.

Projects can also be linked to simulated real-world issues when EAP students staged a debate on the pros and cons of censorship as part of a content-based unit on censorship. Projects can also be tied to student interests, with or without real-world significance when general English students planned an elaborate field trip to an international airport where they conducted extensive interviews and videotaping of international travelers.

Projects can also differ in data collection techniques and sources of information as demonstrated by these project types. Research projects necessitate the gathering of information through library research. Similarly, text projects involve encounters with "texts" (e.g., literature, reports, news media, video and audio material, or computer-based information) rather than people. Correspondence projects require communication with individuals (or businesses, governmental agencies, schools, or chambers of commerce) to solicit information by means of letters, faxes, phone calls, or electronic mail. Survey projects entail creating a survey instrument and then collecting and analyzing data from "informants." Encounter projects result in face-to-face contact with guest speakers or individuals outside the classroom Projects may also differ in the ways that information is "reported" as part of a culminating activity. Production projects involve the creation of bulletin board displays, videos, radio programs, poster sessions, written reports, photo essays, letters, handbooks, brochures, banquet menus, travel itineraries, and so forth.

Whatever the configuration, projects can be carried out intensively over a short period of time or extended over a few weeks, or a full semester; they can be completed by students individually, in small groups, or as a class; and they can take place entirely within the confines of the classroom or can extend beyond the walls of the classroom into the community or with others via different forms of correspondence.

Project work, whether it is integrated into a content-based thematic unit or introduced as a special sequence of activities in a more traditional classroom, requires multiple stages of development to succeed. Fried-Booth (1986) Fried - Booth , D. 1982. Project work with advanced classes. ELT journal, 36, 2, pp. 98 - 103 proposes an easy-to-follow multiple-step process that can guide teachers in developing and sequencing project work for their classrooms. Similarly, Haines (1989) presents a straightforward and useful description of project work and the steps needed for successful implementation. Both the Fried-Booth and Haines volumes include detailed descriptions of projects that can be adapted for many language classroom settings. They also offer suggestions for introducing students to the idea of student-centered activity through bridging strategies (Fried-Booth 1986)2 and lead-in activities (Haines 1989), particularly useful if one's students are unfamiliar with project work and its emphasis on student initiative and autonomy.

The new 10-step sequence (see Figure 1) is described here in detail. The revised model gives easy-to-man-age structure to project work and guides teachers and students in developing meaningful projects that facilitate content learning and provide opportunities for explicit language instruction at critical moments in the project. These language "intervention" lessons will help students complete their projects successfully and will be appreciated by students because of their immediate applicability and relevance. The language intervention steps (IV, VI, and VIII) are optional in teacher education courses, depending on the language proficiency and needs of the teachers-in-training.

Developing a Project in a Language Classroom

Step I: Agree on a theme for the project

Step II: Determine the final outcome

Step III: Structure the project

Step IV:

Prepare students for

the language demands

of Step V

Step V:

Gather information

Step VI:

Prepare students for

the language demands

of Step VII

Step VII:

Compile and analyze information

Step VIII:

Prepare students for

the language demands

of Step IX

Step IX: Present final product

Step X: Evaluate the prodject.

To understand the function of each proposed step, imagine a content-based EAP classroom focusing on American elections.(A parallel discussion could be developed for classrooms--general English, EAP, ESP, vocational English, and so forth--focusing on American institutions, demography, energy alternatives, farming safety, fashion design, health, the ideal automobile, insects, Native Americans, pollution, rain forests, the solar system, etc.). The thematic unit is structured so that the instructor and students can explore various topics: the branches of the U.S. government, the election process, political parties with their corresponding ideologies and platforms, and voting behaviors. Information on these topics is introduced by means of readings from books, newspapers, and news magazines; graphs and charts; videos; dicto-comps; teacher-generated lectures and note-taking activities; formal and informal class discussions and group work; guest speakers; and U.S. political party promotional materials. While exploring these topics and developing some level of expertise about American elections, students improve their listening and note-taking skills, reading proficiency, accuracy and fluency in speaking, writing abilities, study skills, and critical thinking skills. To frame this discussion, it should be noted that the thematic unit is embedded into an integrated-skills, content-based course with the following objectives:

1. To encourage students to use language to learn something new about topics of interest

2. To prepare students to learn subject matter through English

3. To expose students to content from a variety of informational sources to help stu dents improve their academic language and study skills

4. To provide students with contextualized resources for understanding language and content

5. To simulate the rigors of academic courses in a sheltered environment

6. To promote students' self-reliance and engagement with learning

After being introduced to the theme unit and its most fundamental vocabulary and concepts, the instructor introduces a semi-structured project to the class that will be woven into class lessons and that will span the length of the thematic unit. The teacher has already made some decisions about the project: Students will stage a simulated political debate that addresses contemporary political and social issues. To stimulate interest and a sense of ownership in the process, the instructor will work with the students to decide on the issues to be debated, the number and types of political parties represented in the debate, the format of the debate, and a means for judging the debate. To move from the initial conception of the project to the actual debate, the instructor and students follow 10 steps.

Step I: Students and instructor agree on a theme for the project

To set the stage, the instructor gives students an opportunity to shape the project and develop some sense of shared perspective and commitment. Even if the teacher has decided to pursue a structured project, for which most decisions are made by the instructor, students can be encouraged to fine-tune the project theme. While shaping the project together, students often find it useful to make reference to previous readings, videos, discussions, and classroom activities. During the initial stage of the American elections project, students brainstormed issues that might be featured in an American political debate. Through discussion and negotiation, students identified the following issues for consideration: taxes, crime, welfare, gun control, abortion, family leave, foreign policy, affirmative action, election reform, immigration, censorship, the environment, and environmental legislation. By pooling resources, information, ideas, and relevant experiences, students narrowed the scope of the debate by choosing select issues from within the larger set of brainstormed issues that were of special interest to the class and that were "researchable," meaning that resources were available or accessible for student research.

Step II: Students and instructor determine the final outcome whereas the first stage of project work involves establishing a starting point, the second step entails defining an end point, or the final outcome. Students and instructor consider the nature of the project, its objectives, and the most appropriate means to culminate the project. They can choose from a variety of options including a written report, letter, poster or bulletin board display, debate, oral presentation, information packet, handbook, scrapbook, brochure, newspaper, or video. In the case of the American elections project, the teacher had already decided that the final outcome would be a public debate between two fictitious political parties. In this second stage of the project, students took part in defining the nature and format of the debate and designating the intended audience. With the help of the instructor, it was decided that the class would divide itself into five topical teams, each one responsible for debating one of the issues previously identified; topical teams would generate debatable propositions on their designated issue and then divide into two subgroups so that each side of the issue could be represented in the debate. Students would also be grouped into two political parties, which they would name themselves, with one side of each issue represented in the political party; the issues and corresponding perspectives would form the party platform.

The class decided to invite English-speaking friends and graduate students enrolled in a TESL/TEFL program to serve as their audience and judges. It was decided that the audience would vote on which team presented the most persuasive arguments during the debate.

Step III: Students and instructor structure the project.

After students have determined the starting and end points of the project, they need to structure the "body" of the project. Questions that students should consider are as follows: What information is needed to complete the project? How can that information be obtained (e.g., a library search, interviews, letters, faxes, e-mail, the World Wide Web, field trips, viewing of videos)? How will the information, once gathered, be compiled and analyzed? What role does each student play in the evolution of the project (i.e., Who does what?)? What time line will students follow to get from the starting point to the end point? The answers to many of these questions depend on the location of the language program and the types of information that are within easy reach (perhaps collected beforehand by the instructor) and those that must be solicited by "snail" mail, electronic mail, fax, or phone call. In this American elections project, it was decided that topical team members would work together to gather information that could be used by supporters and opponents of their proposition before actually taking sides. In this way, topical team members would share all their resources, later using it to take a stand and plan a rebuttal. Rather than keeping information secret, as might be done in a real debate setting, the idea was to establish a cooperative and collaborative working atmosphere. Topical team members would work as a group to compile gathered information (in the form of facts, opinions, and statistics) and then analyze it to determine what was most suitable to the sides supporting and opposing their proposition. At this point, students would subdivide into groups of supporters and opponents and then work separately (and with other party members) to prepare for the debate. At that time, students would decide on different roles: the spokespersons, the "artists" who would create visuals (charts and graphs) to be used during the debate, and so forth.

Step IV: Instructor prepares students for the language demands of information gathering

It is at this point that the instructor determines, perhaps in consultation with the students, the language demands of the information gathering stage (Step V). The instructor can then plan language instruction activities to prepare students for information gathering tasks. If, for example, students are going to collect information by means of interviews, the instructor might plan exercises on question formation, introduce conversational gambits, and set aside time for role-plays to provide feedback on pronunciation and to allow students to practice listening and note-taking or audio-taping. If, on the other hand, students are going to use a library to gather materials, the instructor might review steps for finding resources and practice skimming and note-taking with sample texts. The teacher may also help students devise a grid for organized data collection. If students will be writing letters to solicit information for their project, the teacher can introduce or review letter formatting conventions and audience considerations, including levels of formality and word choice. If students will be using the World Wide Web for information gathering, the instructor can review the efficient use of this technology.

Step V: Students gather information

Students, having practiced the language, skills, and strategies needed to gather information, are now ready to collect information and organize it so that others on their team can make sense of it. In the project highlighted here, students reread course readings in search for relevant materials, used the library to look for new support, wrote letters to political parties to determine their stand on the issue under consideration, looked into finding organizations supporting or opposing some aspect of their proposition (e.g., gun control groups) and solicited information that could possibly be used in the debate. During this data-gathering stage, the instructor, knowing the issues and propositions being researched, also brought in information that was potentially relevant, in the form of readings, videos, dicto-comps, and teacher-generated lectures, for student consideration.

Step VI: Instructor prepares students for the language demands of compiling and analyzing data

After successfully gathering information, students are then confronted with the challenges of organizing and synthesizing information that may have been collected from different sources and by different individuals.

The instructor can prepare students for the demands of the compilation and analysis stage by setting up sessions in which students organize sets of materials, and then evaluate, analyze, and interpret them with an eye towards determining which are most appropriate for the supporters and opponents of a given proposition. Introducing students to graphic representations (e.g., grids and charts) that might highlight relationships among ideas is particularly useful at this point.

Step VII: Students compile and analyze information

With the assistance of a variety of organizational techniques (including graphic organizers), students compile and analyze information to identify data that are particularly relevant to the project. Student teams weigh the value of the collected data, discarding some, because of their inappropriacy for the project, and keeping the rest. Students determine which information represents primary "evidence" for the supporters and opponents of their proposition. It is at this point that topical teams divide themselves into two groups and begin to work separately to build the strongest case for the debate.

Step VIII: Instructor prepares students for the language demands of the culminating activity

At this point in the development of the project, instructors can bring in language improvement activities to help students succeed with the presentation of their final products. This might entail practicing oral presentation skills and receiving feedback on voice projection, pronunciation, organization of ideas, and eye contact. It may involve editing and revising written reports, letters, or bulletin board display text. In the case of the American elections debate project, the instructor focused on conversational gambits to be used during the debate to indicate polite disagreement and to offer divergent perspectives (see Mach, Stoller, and Tardy 1997) Mach, T. , F. Stoller, and C Tardy. 1997 A gambit - driven debate. In New Ways in Content-based Instruction pp. 64-68. Alexandra, VA.: TESOL. . Students practiced their oral presentations and tried to hypothesize the questions that they would be asked by opponents. They timed each other and gave each other feedback on content, word choice, persuasiveness, and intonation. Students also worked with the "artists" in their groups to finalize visual displays, to make sure they were grammatically correct and easily interpretable by the audience. Students also created a flyer announcing the debate (see appendix), which served as an invitation to and reminder for audience members.

Step IX: Students present final product

Students are now ready to present the final outcome of their projects. In the American elections project, students staged their debate in front of an audience, following the format previously agreed upon. The audience voted on the persuasiveness of each political party, and a winner was declared. In the case described here, the debate was videotaped so that students could later review their debate performances and receive feedback from the instructor and their peers.

Step X: Students evaluate the project

Although students and instructors, alike, often view the presentation of the final product as the very last stage in the project work process, it is worthwhile to ask students to reflect on the experience as the last and final step. Students can reflect on the language that they mastered to complete the project, the content that they learned about the targeted theme (in the case highlighted here that would be American elections, party platforms, and the role of debate in the election process), the steps that they followed to complete the project, and the effectiveness of their final product. Students can be asked how they might proceed differently the next time or what suggestions they have for future project work endeavors. Through these reflective activities, students realize how much they have learned and the teacher benefits from students' insights for future classroom projects.

Content-based instruction and project work provide two means for making English language classrooms more vibrant environments for learning and collaboration. Project work, however, need not be limited to content-based language classes. Language teachers in more traditional classrooms can diversify instruction with an occasional project. Similarly, teacher educators can integrate projects into their courses to reinforce important pedagogical issues and provide trainees with hands-on experience, a process that may be integrated into future classrooms of their own.

Whether a project centers around American elections, demography, peace their high school results (matriculation).


Some Practical Techniques for Language Teaching

The English Teacher Working with Groups Groups have to have adequate time to prepare to succeed. This time includes time for all to study the material and time for a modeling activity by the teacher. Then the teacher should give a grade to the group and to the individual. Otherwise the A' students carry the work load to keep their semester grades up and everyone gets an equal grade.

Groups are chosen by a variety of methods. The most common methods are to either let students choose their own groups or to group them according to ability. Allowing students to choose their own groups may result in some people being left out and those who don't relate well to any group being left to work together. Grouping by ability so that there are some capable students in each group usually works well. If you choose the groups, you may unknowing place those students with past relationship problems together. You may then expect them to learn to work together, but be aware that you may not be able to leave the room with such groupings, or even put your attention somewhere else. You may also select the groups by drawing names, numbers, etc. Most students accept the fairness of a random selection, especially if a student draws the choices, but dysfunctional groups may result. In my experience, I wait until I know the class and the individual students before I begin group work and then I select the groups. And I keep a record of the groups and which groupings were most successful. However groups are chosen, don't allow members of one group to talk to members of another group or your group dynamics will be considerably less effective.

Groups where students each do work in their established skill areas may accomplish a good project, may demonstrate good collaborative skills, may gain recognition for the students, but may not accomplish much growth in students' abilities. A class which is totally project oriented may result in a student spending a semester without broadening academic or other desirable skills. An art student may only draw, a music student may only supply the sound, etc.

If the entire class can not work profitably doing group work, then cease that activity. If only one or two groups are not working profitably, then decide whether the other groups are benefitting enough to have the two unproductive groups continue in their actions.

The English Teacher Designing Lessons and Units In developing a class, interlock lessons and units to build and develop skills and to maintain skills and knowledge. Don't teach something that you drop and never teach any part of again.... or never use the knowledge of any part again. If you do totally drop material, you are teaching the student to forget and/or are confirming the concept that it is ok to forget -and/or- that what you are teaching is not important enough to remember.

When you design a lesson, it usually takes two or three times presenting it to a class to work out all the problems. [In my first Methods class we were asked to design a poetry lesson for 11th graders without any prior class instruction in how to accomplish this. Then all the faults of our presentations were pointed out. It was a potentially discouraging experience... leaving the class with the impression that new lessons had to be perfect, without flaws. In the real world, a perfect first lesson rarely happens.] Don't give up the idea of creating some lessons of your own and instead rely solely on 'canned' lessons because of one or two imperfect first results.

It can take two or three years to develop a class. The first time you give a test, if you designed the test, it is the test that is being tested. If it is a test someone else designed, then the first time that you give it, your teaching is being tested. The Teaching Literature page has examples of some test designs as does Teaching Media.

The English Teacher Using Transition Time Activities Transition activities are "halfway" activities to help students make the transition from whatever is distracting them from learning at the beginning of class to full attention on the day's lesson. In our school 9th graders do daily reading. 10th graders do basic writing forms and 11th graders do advanced writing forms for the average 9th grade class it is easier to start a lesson if the class has already made a partial transition. For college preparation level classes this activity may not be as productive, since they may be able to get to work right away, and are already reading regularly. To begin daily reading, have a box that they can put their reading books into so that when they come to class the next day [or when you announce reading time] they can get their books.

When you begin this activity, have the first student in each row get a book [from an assortment of paperbacks that you get from your librarian] for each person in their row. The student lets the 2nd student in the row have first choice; the third student has the next choice, and so forth until all have chosen. The student who selected all the books for the row gets the book that is left after the others have chosen. No one complains, because the first student after all had the total choice and the students in the row won't complain about another student's selections, particularly if that student has the book remaining after every one else has chosen. [NOTE: If you as a teacher tell the class to "get a book" from the book rack, then you will have a lot of talking, complaining about there being no interesting books, etc. Plus there will be conversations around the books, and return trips for students that may never be satisfied with their choices.] They have to read that book until the end of the first reading time.

At the end of the first reading time, the student can either put the book into the box to reserve books for that class, or they can return it to the student who chose them. This procedure is repeated as many times as necessary, usually less than four to five days. By that time most will have books, or the few that don't can make their own choices. For the loud complainers over this system and the book choices available, simply tell them that they can bring their own books the next day, and then they can either bring them each day, or put them in that class's reading box with the others being read.

Later, when students get involved with their reading, they will read after tests and other activities when they finish before others. Then others follow their actions and you are not telling students to be quiet until the others finish their tests, etc.. This involvement with reading reduces your stress -and- the students' stress.

Language teaching is teaching language

Language is a system which needs to be understood and internalized. Language is a habit which requires repetition and intensive oral practice. Language is a set of conventions, customs which the students needs to learn as well as the structures. Language is a means of communication which is used to accomplish different tasks and purposes. Language is a means to an end and is not used for its own sake. Language is a natural activity, not an academic exercise.

Language is what, how and why

Knowing a language is muvh more than knowing the structure. Vocabulary and grammar is what is said. Prononciation, stress and intonation are how it is said.

Knowing the language is not eonugh

Classroom activities should be planned so that they have a real, natural communicative purpose. It is better to present the language in a text which is studied for a purpose other than language itself (reading a bus shedule to find out what a bus goes form one place to another). Students need to use languge for a real purpose.

Interesting communicative tasks increase motivation

Teachers need to give students tasks which develop the skills necessary to communicate in the new language. These tasks should be similar to things that native speakersw do with the language. Some examples: a) listening to public announcments (at an airport)

b) drawing a picture from spoken instructions;

c) describing what a person looks like

d) conducting interviews or questionaries

e) reading brochures, menus,or schedules

f) following written instructions;

g) writing a note to a classmate

Used literature:

1. Burt, M,K, and H. C. Dulay (eds.) (1975). New Directions in Second Language Learning, Teaching and Bilingual Education. Washington: TESOL.

2. Chamberlin, A. And A. Wright (1974). What Do You Think? London: Longman

3. Cole,P. (1970). “An adaption of group dynamic techniques to foreign language teaching.”TESOL Quaterly Vol. 4 No. 4, pp. 353 - 360

4. Dobson, J.M. (1974). Effective Techniques for English Conversation Groups. Rowley, Mass.: Newbury House.

5. Dubin, F and M. Margol (1977). It's Time To Talk: Communication activities for learning English as a new language. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice - Hall.

6. Green K. (1975). “Values clarification theory in ESL and bilingual education.” TESOL Quaterly Vol. 9 No. 2, pp. 155 - 164.

7. Herbert, D. and G. Sturtridge (1979). Simulations. ELT Guide 2. London: The British Council.

8. Heyworth, F. (1978). The Language of Discussion. Role-play exercises for advanced students. London: Hodder & Stoughton.

9. Johnson, K. and K. Morrow (eds.) (1981). Communication in the Classroom. London: Longman.

10. Jones, K. (1982). Simulations in Language Teaching. Cambridge University Press.

11. Littlewood, W. (1981). Communicative Language Teaching. Cambridge University Press.

12. Omaggio, A. (1976). “Real communication: Speaking a living language.” Foreign Language Annals Vol.9. No. 2, pp. 131 - 133.

13. Revell, J. (1979). Teacing Techniques for Communicative English. London: Macmillan.

14. Rogers, J. (1978). Group Activities for Language Learning. SEAMEO Regional Language Centre Occasional Papers, No. 4. Singapore: SEAMEO Regional Language Centre (MS)

15. Scarcella, R.C. (1978). “Socio-drama for social interaction.” TESOL Quarterly Vol.12 No. 1, pp. 41 - 46

16. Thomas, I. (1978). Communication Activities for Language Learning. Wellington: Victoria University, English Language Institute (MS).

17. Wright, A. D. Betteridge and M. Buckby (1979). Games for Language Learning. Cambridge University Press (2nd ed. 1984).

18. Zelson, N.J. (1974). “Skill using activities in the foreign language classroom.” Vol. 4 No. 3, pp. 33 - 35

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