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Planning the activities
According to Jeremy Harmer (1994) the best techniques and
activities will not have any use if they are not integrated into a
programme of studies and few teachers would use an activity or
material during a lesson without having a reason to do it. he best
teachers are those who thin! carefully about what they are going to do
in their classes and who plan how they are going to organise the
teaching and learning.
"ecisions about the syllabus
and general course content are
often ta!en by a school authority or #inistry of $ducation in our
country. he syllabus is planned according to the main te%tboo! to be
used& teachers are e%pected to cover a certain number of units in a
certain time. eachers can also use supplementary material and
available activities. he units in the boo! are supposed to be new for
the students and introduced in the order of the syllabus.
'ood te%tboo!s have several advantages& they have interesting
material( the language is progressively included in the units( they have
clear definitions and e%planations( they are systematic about the
amount of vocabulary and grammar and allow students to study
outside the class. hey are also a help for the teacher because he does
not have to thin! of original material for every class. )ut te%tboo!s
also tend to use the same format from one unit to the ne%t( which
*yllabus& the sub+ects studied for a particular course.
involves a rigid sequence. ,eading and listening generally have a set
place in the sequence and each unit loo!s more or less li!e those that
come before and after it.
eachers should choose the material they want to teach(
although they are supposed to teach everything( as being part of a
programme of study (curriculum
). eachers who use a te%tboo! too
much and repeatedly follow the sequence in each unit may become
boring over a period of time( and thus students may find the study of
$nglish becoming routine and monotonous( and less motivating. .ne
strong point of good planning is the use of variety in teaching.
/nother disadvantage of te%tboo!s is that they are not written
for your class. $ach group of students is different and unique( while
most published boo!s are written for the general students. he
students need to be treated individually.
/nother aim of the teacher is to have a balanced teaching and he
is the right person to do it( because the teacher !nows the students and
their needs. he te%tboo! rarely has the perfect balance that the
teacher is loo!ing for. he te%tboo! is an aid and a guide and not a
sacred scroll. eachers will have to thin! of the best ways to use their
boo!s and should never let the te%tboo! use them.
Planning principles
The two main principles for a good lesson planning( as stated
by Harmer (1994)( are variety and flexibility. 0ariety means involving
1urriculum& all the courses of study offered by a school or college.
students in a number of different types of activities( planning
interesting learning. 2le%ibility is used when dealing with the plan in
the classroom& what the teacher has planned may not be appropriate
for that class on that day. he fle%ible teacher will be able to change
the plan in such a situation.
3f the activities for the students are varied( there will be the
interest of doing different things. 3f new language is always introduced
in the same way( then the introduction stages of the class will become
gradually less and less challenging. *tudents need to !now why they
are doing something and what it is supposed they will achieve.
eachers must have a purpose for all the activities they organise in a
class and they should communicate that purpose to their students.
0ariety is a principle that applies especially to a series of
classes. .ver a two4wee! period( for e%ample( the teacher will try to
do different things in the classes. /lthough there are some activities
that can last for fifty minutes( it seems generally true that changes of
activity during that time are advisable. 1hildren( especially( need to do
different things in rather rapid succession since they will generally not
be able to concentrate on one activity for a long stretch of time.
he teacher who believes in variety will have to be fle%ible
since the only way to provide variety is to use a number of different
techniques which will not all fit into one methodology. 'ood lesson
planning is the art of mi%ing techniques( activities and materials in
such a way that an ideal balance is created for the class. 3n a general
*ome research has found out that children can concentrate for five minutes in
one hour( while adults6 concentration lasts for twenty minutes.
language course there will be wor! on the four s!ills (reading(
spea!ing( writing( listening) and communicative activities.
3f teachers have a large variety of techniques and activities that
they can use with students( they can as! themselves the central
question of lesson planning& 67hat is it that my students will feel(
!now or be able to do at the end of the class that they did not !now or
were not able to do at the beginning of the class86 hey may answer
that they li!e more learning $nglish or they will !now new language
or will be able to write a letter( for e%ample.
o be a good teacher one should have !nowledge about&
1) he +ob of teaching9
-) he institution9
5) he students.
1) ,egarding the +ob of teaching( teachers should !now&
a) he language they will teach& they must be able to
use the language themselves and !now the rules that governs
b) he s!ills they are going to as! their students to
perform. 3t is not good as!ing students what you yourself
cannot do9
c) 7hat teaching material is available and appropriate
for the level they are teaching8 hese may include wall
pictures( flashcards( flipcharts( cards( charts( tapes( video
playbac! machines( overhead pro+ectors( computer hardware
and software( sets of boo!s and materials and the board9
") "ifferent teaching techniques and stages( to be able
to recognise stages in the te%tboo!( so that they realise when
an activity is controlled rather than free9
e) 7ell4prepared teachers have a large number of
activities for their classes that enable them to have varied
plans and achieve an activity balance.
2) 7ell4prepared teachers will have good
classroom management s!ills and be able to adopt a number
of different roles( different student grouping and will be able
to maintain discipline. 7ithout these areas of !nowledge a
teacher is in a poor position to ma!e decisions about lesson
-) ,egarding the institution teachers should !now&
a) ime( length( frequency& teachers should !now at
what time( for how long and how often classes ta!e place(
because this influences all planning9
)) :hysical conditions& teachers should !now the
physical conditions that e%ist in the place where they teach 4
electricity for soc!et( condition of the chairs and board( the
brightness of the light( the si;e of the room9
c) *yllabus& teachers should be familiar with the
syllabus the institution has for the levels that are being taught
and be sure they can cover the most part of it9
") $%ams& teachers should !now what types of e%ams
(if any) the students will have to ta!e and when( because they
will try to ensure that the students are successful in tests and
e) ,estrictions& teachers should be aware of any
restrictions imposed by the institution upon their teaching
(class si;e( availability of teaching materials( and physical
5) ,egarding the students teachers should !now&
a) 7ho they are& age( se%( social bac!ground(
occupation (when teaching to adults)9
b) he students6 feelings about learning $nglish 4
motivation and attitude( educational bac!ground( !nowledge
(they may be false beginners
)( interests (a primary ingredient
of motivation)9
c) 7hat students need& they learn $nglish for a variety
of reasons 4 for instance( for their professional lives (they read
scientific +ournals( want to become travel guides( etc).
he ma+ority of students will be studying $nglish for a reason
that ma!es their needs difficult to identify. 3n such cases the teacher
will teach the four s!ills( ma!ing his decision about how much weight
to give each s!ill as best as he can.
The pre-plan
Before writing down the e%act contents of the plan the teacher
needs to thin! about what he is going to do in a general way( so that
2alse beginner& a person who has !nowledge of $nglish from different
sources e%cept going to regular classes or being tutored by a teacher
his decisions are reasonably ta!en. Harmer (1994) considers four main
areas& activities( language s!ills( language type( and sub+ect and
content. 7hen the teacher has !nowledge of what he wants to do as a
result of considering these areas( he can decide whether his ideas are
feasible( given the institution and its restrictions. he concept of the
pre4plan can be summarised li!e this&

Fig ! he concept of the pre4plan (after
Jeremy Harmer)
here are four ma+or elements of the pre4plan&
eacher6s !nowledge of the students
eacher6s !nowledge of the syllabus
/ctivities ?anguage s!ills
?anguage type
*ub+ect and content
he institution and its restrictions
he plan
1) Activities& is a term for a general description of what will
happen in the class 4 games( a simulation( introduction of new
language( parallel writing or story reconstruction( listening(
information gap tas!( etc.
eachers should ma!e decisions about activities independently
of what language or language s!ills they have to teach. heir first
planning thought should centre round what !ind of class would be
appropriate for the particular group of students on a particular day.
he decision about what activities are to be included in a plan is a
vital first stage in the planning process. he teacher has to consider
what would be the best and motivating for their students.
-) Lang"age s#ills& teachers will have to decide what language
s!ills to include in the class( depending on the activity chosen 4 to
concentrate on one s!ill or a combination of s!ills.
5) Lang"age t$pe& teachers will have to decide what language
is to be focused on during the class 4 general and unpredictable( yes@no
questions( tal! about the past( etc.
4) S"%&ect an' c(ntent& the last and sometimes most important
decision is what !ind of content the class will have 4 a grammar issue(
a reading passage will be chosen in terms of the students and their
interests( as it is very important for the communication of ideas.
7hen a teacher has a general idea of what he is going to do in
the class( he will consider the institution and the imposed restrictions.
3f he has decided to ta!e a song into class( he must ma!e sure that this
is possible& if there is a tape of the song available( if there is a good
tape recorder( if the room is provided with functional soc!ets( if the
activity is suitable for the number and age of the students. He must as!
himself if he will be able to do all the things he wants in the available
$%perienced teachers consider all these details without
consciously realising they are doing so. he new teacher or the teacher
starting the +ob in a new school or institute will have to bear all these
in mind.
The plan
The plan has five ma+or components&
a) / description of the class which include a description of
the students( a statement of time( frequency and duration of the
class( and comments about physical conditions and@or restrictions.
b) ,ecent wor! implies details of recent wor! the students
have done& the activities they have been involved in( the sub+ect
and content of their lessons and the language s!ills and type they
have studied.
c) .b+ectives& teachers usually have more than one
because there are more than one stage in the class and each one
will achieve some !ind of ob+ective. .b+ectives are the aims
teachers have for the students and are written in terms of what the
students will do or achieve. hey are written in general terms
(e.g.( to rela% the students)( in terms of s!ills (e.g.( practice in
e%tracting specific information from a te%t)( and in terms of
language (e.g.( practice the use of the past tense simple with
regular and irregular verbs( questions and answers).
d) 1ontents& the most detailed part of the plan is the
section in which the contents are written down 4 teachers write
e%actly what they are going to do in the class. his section has
five headings&
- conte%t about the situation 4 what the sub+ect of the
learning is9
- activity and class organisation 4 what the activity will
be and whether the class will be wor!ing in pairs( groups or
- teaching materials 4 teachers indicate what will be
used& the board( wall pictures( tape recording( etc.9
- ?anguage 4 teachers describe the language that will be
used. 3f new language is to be introduced( they will list some
or all of the models. 3f the activity is an oral communicative
one( they could write 6unpredictable6. .therwise they can write
6advice language6( e.g.( and give some indication of what !ind
of language items they e%pect9
- eachers should ta!e into consideration possible
problems and have in mind ways of solving them because
certain activities have complicated organisation and it would
be good to !now how to overcome them.
e) /dditional possibilities 4 teachers write down other
activities they could use( if it becomes necessary.
)h$ plan*
In his article on Lesson Planning 2arrell (in Meto!ology in
Lang"age Tea#ing -BB-) says that language teachers may as!
themselves why they should bother writing plans for every lesson.
*ome teachers write down detailed daily plans9 others do the planning
mentally. :re4service
teachers say they write daily lesson plans only
because a supervisor( cooperating teacher( or school administrator
requires them to do so. /fter they graduate( many teachers give up
writing lesson plans. However( not many teachers enter a classroom
without some !ind of plan. ?esson plans are systematic records of a
teacher6s thoughts about what will be covered during a lesson.
,ichards (199A) suggests that lesson plans help the teacher thin! about
the lesson in advance to Cresolve problems and difficulties( to provide
a structure for a lesson( to provide a 6map6 for the teacher to follow(
and to provide a record of what has been taughtC (p. 1B5).
here are also internal and e%ternal reasons for planning
lessons. eachers plan for internal reasons in order to feel more
confident( to learn the sub+ect matter better( to enable lessons to run
more smoothly( and to anticipate problems before they happen.
eachers plan for e%ternal reasons in order to satisfy the e%pectations
of the principal or supervisor and to guide a substitute teacher in case
the class needs one. ?esson planning is especially important for pre4
service teachers because they may feel more of a need to be in control
:re4service training is instruction which ta!es place before a person begins a +ob
or tas!.
before the lesson begins.
"aily lesson planning can benefit $nglish teachers in the
following ways&
/ plan can help the teacher thin! about content(
materials( sequencing( timing( and activities.
/ plan provides security (in the form of a map) in the
sometimes unpredictable atmosphere of a classroom.
/ plan is a log of what has been taught.
/ plan can help a substitute to smoothly ta!e over a
class when the teacher cannot teach. "aily planning of lessons also
benefits students because it ta!es into account the different
bac!grounds( interests( learning styles( and abilities of the students in
one class.
M('els (+ less(n planning
There are a number of approaches to lesson planning. he
dominant model of lesson planning is yler6s (1949) rational4linear
framewor!. yler6s model has four steps that run sequentially&
(1) specify ob+ectives9
(-) select learning activities9
(5) organi;e learning activities9 and
(4) specify methods of evaluation.
yler6s model is still used widely in spite of evidence that
suggests that teachers rarely follow the sequential( linear process
outlined in the steps. 2or e%ample( aylor (19>B) studied what
teachers actually did when they planned their lessons and found that
they focused mostly on the interests and needs of their students. #ore
important( he found that teachers were not well prepared in teacher4
education programs for lesson planning.
3n response to these findings( Dinger (19AB) developed an
alternative model in which planning ta!es place in stages. he first
stage consists of Cproblem conceptionC in which planning starts with a
discovery cycle of the integration of the teacher6s goals( !nowledge(
and e%perience. he second stage sees the problem formulated and a
solution achieved.
he third stage involves implementing the plan along with its
evaluation. Dinger sees this process as becoming routine( whereby
each planning event is influenced by what went on before and what
may happen in the future. He also sees a place for considering each
teacher6s e%periences as influencing this ongoing process of planning.
,esearch on what $nglish language teachers actually do when
planning lessons has shown that many teachers( when they do write
lesson plans( tend to deviate from the original plan. /lso( when
$nglish language teachers do write daily lesson plans( they do not
state them in terms of behavioral ob+ectives( even though they are
taught this method in pre4service teacher education courses. 3nstead(
$nglish language teachers( especially more e%perienced teachers( are
more li!ely to plan their lessons as sequences of activities( teaching
routines( or to focus on the need of particular students.
)ailey6s (199=( p. 5A) study of si% e%perienced $nglish language
teachers came up with the following interesting reasons (stated as
principles) why teachers deviate from the original lesson plan&
(1) C*erve the common good.C Here teachers are willing to
deviate from the original lesson plan because one student raised an
issue that the teacher perceives to be relevant for the other students.
(-) Ceach to the moment.C *ometimes( teachers may
completely abandon the lesson plan to discuss some unplanned event
because the teacher thin!s it is timely for the class.
(5) C2urther the lesson.C eachers ma!e a procedural change
during the lesson as a means of promoting the progress of the lesson.
(4) C/ccommodate students6 learning styles.C eachers may
sometimes depart from their lesson plans in order to accommodate
their students6 learning styles if the original plan has not accounted for
(<) C:romote students6 involvement.C eachers sometimes
eliminate some steps in their lesson plans in order to have more
student involvement( especially if the students are not responding.
(=) C"istribute the wealth.C his last principle has teachers
changing lesson plans to encourage quiet students to participate more
and to !eep the more active students from dominating the class time.
hese findings show that teacher decision ma!ing is a dynamic
process involving teachers ma!ing choices before$ !"ring( and after
each lesson.
he question that arises out of these studies is( 7hat !inds of
lesson plans should $nglish language teachers write8
Devel(ping the plan
An effective lesson plan starts with appropriate and clearly
written ob+ectives. An ob%e#tive is a !es#ri&tion of a learning o"t#o'e.
.b+ectives describe the destination (not the +ourney) we want our
students to reach. 1lear( well4written ob+ectives are the first step in
daily lesson planning. hese ob+ectives help to state precisely what we
want our students to learn( help to guide the selection of appropriate
activities( and help to provide overall lesson focus and direction. hey
also give teachers a way to evaluate what their students have learned
at the end of the lesson. 1learly written ob+ectives can also be used to
focus the students (they !now what is e%pected from them).
2or $nglish language lessons( *hrum and 'lisan (1994) point
out that effective ob+ectives Cdescribe what students will be able to do
in terms of observable behavior and when using the foreign languageC
(p. 4A). Hence( the language a teacher uses for stating ob+ectives is
important. /ction verbs can be used to identify desired student
behavior. 0ague verbs such as "n!erstan!$ a&&re#iate$ en%oy (although
these can still be used for certain types of lessons( e.g.( $nglish poetry
or reading novels)( or learn should be avoided because they are
difficult to quantify. /ction verbs such as i!entify$ &resent$ !es#ribe$
ex&lain$ !e'onstrate$ list$ #ontrast( and !ebate are clearer and easier
for teachers to design a lesson around. Ese of these action verbs also
ma!es it easier for the students to understand what will be e%pected
from them in each lesson.
/fter writing the lesson ob+ectives( teachers must decide the
activities and procedures they will use to ensure the successful
attainment of these ob+ectives. :lanning at this stage means thin!ing
through the purposes and structures of the activities. his step
involves planning the shape of the lesson.
Less(n Phase ,(le (+ Teacher ,(le (+ St"'ents
33. Sti'"lation
30. Clos"re
0. Follo()"&
/s!s what students have
learned in previous lesson
:reviews new lesson
:repares students for new
:resents attention grabber
:resents activity
1hec!s for understanding
$ncourages involvement
/s!s what students have
:reviews future lessons
:resents other activities to
reinforce same concepts
:resents opportunities for
ell what they6ve
learned previously
,espond to preview
,elate activity to their
,espond to attention
"o activity
*how understanding
3nteract with others
ell what they have
'ive input on future
"o new activities
3nteract with others
Fig - 'eneric 1omponents of a ?esson :lan. (from *hrum F
'lisan. 1994)
he generic lesson plan as shown in 2igure 3 has five phases&
I Perspective (r (pening. he teacher as!s the students (or
himself or herself) the following questions& 7hat was the previous
activity (what was previously learned)8 7hat concepts have they
learned8 he teacher then gives a preview of the new lesson.
II Sti."lati(n. he teacher
(a) poses a question to get the students thin!ing about the
coming activity9
(b) helps the students to relate the activity to their lives9
(c) begins with an attention grabber& an anecdote( a little scene
acted out by peer teachers or lay assistants( a picture( or a song9 and
(d) uses it (the response to the attention grabber) as a lead into
the activity.
III Instr"cti(n/participati(n. he teacher presents the activity(
chec!s for student understanding( and encourages active student
involvement. eachers can get students to interact by the use of pair
wor! and@or group wor!.
I0 Cl(s"re. 2or this phase the teacher chec!s what the students
have learned by as!ing questions such as C7hat did you learn8C and
CHow did you feel about these activities8C he teacher then gives a
preview about the possibilities for future lessons.
0 F(ll(1-"p. he last phase of the lesson has the teacher using
other activities to reinforce some concepts and even to introduce some
new ones. he teacher gives the students opportunities to do
independent wor! and can set certain activities or tas!s ta!en from the
lesson as homewor!.
eachers can have variations on this generic model. *hrum and
'lisan (1994) point out that as time passes in language lessons and as
students gain competence( the students Ccan gradually ta!e on a larger
role in choosing the content and even in the structure of the lessons
themselvesC (pp. 1A>41AA). $nglish language teachers should also
reali;e that language lessons may be different from other content
lessons because the same concepts may need to be reinforced time and
again using different methods. he following questions may be useful
for language teachers to answer before planning their lessons&
7hat do you want the students to learn and why8
/re all the tas!s necessary 4 worth doing and at the
right level8
7hat materials( aids( and so on( will you use and
7hat type of interaction will you encourage 4 pair
wor! or group wor! 4 and why8
7hat instructions will you have to give and how will
you give them (written( oral( etc.)8 7hat questions will you
How will you monitor student understanding during
the different stages of the lesson8
he lesson plan should not be seen as a prescription or Chow
to(C because each teaching conte%t will be different. /fter writing the
plan( the ne%t step is to implement it by teaching the class.
Speci.en plan
(e%ample from 2arrell)
Ti.e2 1-&BB :.#. to 1-&5< :.#.
S"%&ect& $nglish language opic& *port
Class& *econdary - $nglish (mi%ed4ability level)
Lang"age F(c"s& ,eading
o teach the students how to s!im for main idea of the passage 4
identify !ey words.
Pri(r 3n(1le'ge&
*tudents have learned how to locate information by reading and
finding the main sentence of each paragraph.
3. ,eading materials 4 article from boo! on *port
-. .verhead pro+ector@.Hs
5. 7hiteboard
*tep as!s (eacher) as!s (:upils) 3nte
1 <41B
3ntroduction to the topic
sport. activates
schema for sport.
as!s *s to help him or
her write down as many
different !inds of sport
on the whiteboard
within 5 minutes.
as!s *s to ran! their
favorite sports in order
*s call out the
answer to the
question as the
writes the
answers on the
writes the
G *s (
H teacher9
*s H
for sport.
< mins
of importance.
distributes handout
on sports schedule from
the newspaper.
as!s *s to read it
quic!ly and answer the
true@false questions that
follow it within 5
goes over the answers
and shows *s how he or
she found the answers
based on !ey words in
the article.
tells *s that they +ust
practiced s!imming to
get the general meaning
or gist of a passage.
gives another
handout on sports from
the te%tboo! (Iew
as!s *s to read and
answer the true@false
questions written on the
paper within < to >
as!s *s for answers
and writes them on the
board. e%plains how
!ey words can give the
summari;es the
importance of reading a
passage quic!ly first in
order to get the gist.
*s read the
handout and
answer the
*s call out
their answers
to the .
*s chec! their
*s read the
handout and
answer the
*s call out
their answers
to the
*s chec! their
*s listen.
G *s
*s G
G *s
*s G
(* G *
G *s
G *s
of *s on
concept of
for general
gist with
'etting *s
to read
quic!ly to
get the
o remind
*s what
they have
+ust done
and why 4
gives homewor! of
reading the ne%t day6s
newspaper6s front4page
story and writing down
the gist of the story in 4
Ie%t lesson& o teach
the students to find the
main idea of the
passage by scanning.
to develop
Fig 4 *pecimen plan (homas *. 1. 2arrell)
Jey& 3nteraction& G *s means teacher interacts with the whole
Speci.en plan
(e%ample from Harmer)
"ate and time& 1- Iov. -BB-9 A49 a.m.
A - "escription of the class& beginners@intermediate@advanced9
B - ,ecent wor!& present progressive in sentences of their own9
reading and summarising9
C 4 itle of unit( lesson& 2ood 4 $ating Habits9
.b+ectives& 1. o stir interest in the topic of food.
-. o create involvement in a reading tas!.
5. o read correctly and at a proper speed.
4. o study !ey words.
<. o write the recipe of a favourite dish.
D - 1ontents&
7arm4up& any activity that brings students6 attention to class
.b+ective 1&
4 conte%t& students6 eating habits
- activity& group discussion
- materials& menus( pictures
- language& everyday tal!
.b+ective -&
4 conte%t& creating opinions about healthy eating 4
whole class give suggestions to the teacher
- materials& board9 chal!( etc.
- language& vocabulary connected with food.
.b+ective 5&
4 conte%t& a te%t about food
4 activity& students read individually. he teacher leads
the feedbac! session and discusses with the whole
4 materials& the te%t in the boo!s9 the e%planations on
the blac!board.
4 language& all 4 especially vocabulary connected with
.b+ective 4&
4 conte%t& words about different !inds of food.
4 activity& students have to put 6food6 words in different
orders (food belonging to brea!fast etc.( words
denoting vegetables( meat and so on.)
4 materials& wordlist( te%tboo!
4 language& discussion language9 6food6 words.
.b+ective <&
4 conte%t& food K the world@studentsL lives
- activity@class& and *s tal! about paragraph
organi;ing of the te%t
- materials & the board@handouts
- language& as above
- possible problems& *s might not !now much a
bout special food or food from other countries
E 5 /dditional possibilities
4 find the differences
4 describe and draw
4 a cooperative writing e%ercise
Speci.en plan
(e%ample from #ures 1ounty 3nspectorat)
Ti.e (+ less(n2 +r(.666t(66
Gra'e2666Level (+ st"'$2666666
Less(n ai.s2 ! $nriching vocabulary( reinforcing words
internationally used
- *canning a te%t
4 ,aising awareness of false friends
9 o read and complete activities in order to use the
new words
: 6
Materials2 e%tboo!
ACTI0IT; ! 7arm up
Ai.2 o raise *sL awareness of the foreign words in the $nglish
! 3nformal conversation( greetings
- Homewor! chec! M *sL
comments@opinions about it
4 ?ist of foreign words borrowed
in $nglish& matching words with their
area of origin
N *s

*s N
< min.
ACTI0IT; - *pea!ing M vocabulary wor!
Ai.2 o raise *sL awareness of the origin of some nouns
! *s match the drawings with the
- 3dentify the nouns which come
from names of people and places
N *s
:air wor!
1B min.
ACTI0IT; 4 :re4reading
Ai.2 o draw *sL attention to new words
! *s wor! with some words that
have recently entered the vocabulary and
e%plain what they mean
N *s
< min.
ACTI0IT; 9 ,eading
Ai.2 o practise scanning
! *s read the te%t( while reading
they find e%amples of words that are new
and that have changed their meanings
- *s re4read the te%t to find more
information referring to areas and sources
of change& social( political relationships
with the language and the /merican
influence (e%. 5a@p. 1>B)
N *s
> min.
A min.
ACTI0IT; : 2ollow up& vocabulary wor!
Ai.2 o raise awareness of words used
o draw *sL attention to false friends
! *s find common words which are
< min.
used internationally
- *s focus on words which have a
similar form in $nglish and ,omanian but
their meaning is totally different (e%. 5@p.
:air wor! 1B min.
$%. 4. 1 M -@p. 1>1 4 language related idioms
$%. <@p. 1>1. 4 $rror correction
Class .anage.ent
The teacher plays different roles in the process of learning
teaching. /s Harmer asserts( he can be&
C(ntr(ller. eachers as controllers are in complete charge
of the class. hey control not only what the students do( but also
when they spea! and what language they use. 1ertain stages of a
lesson can be taught in this role( e.g. introduction of new language
when all attention is focused on the front of the class. *ome
teachers appear to be natural leaders and performers( some are
quieter and feel better when students are interacting among
themselves. 7hen teachers are acting as controllers( they tend to do
a lot of the tal!ing( ta!ing from the students6 time of spea!ing. 3t is
very important that control should be rela%ed if students are to be
allowed a chance to learn( rather than be taught. "uring immediate
creativity teachers will have to rela% their teaching( and during
communicative spea!ing and writing their role must be totally
different( to let students have a chance to participate properly.
eachers influence the classroom atmosphere by motivating
unmotivated students. here are many ways in which students can
be inattentive or Ooff4tas!L& they do not ta!e part in the activities by
sitting silent( they distract other students by tal!ing off the topic( and
they provide Onon4languageL entertainment. $%perienced teachers
usually have a set of responses to off4tas! behaviour( which helps
them decide whether to ignore or attend to the problem. ?ewis
(-BB-& 4-45) gives us three e%amples of how a teacher might move
through stages in managing a particular type of behaviour.
1) he bac!4row distractor
he same student always sits at the bac! and distracts the
Ese eye contact while continuing to spea!.
*top mid4sentence and stare until the student stops.
al! with the student after class to investigate the
-) he non4participants
*everal students are not ta!ing part in the assigned
3gnore them if they are not distracting others.
7al! past their des!s and as! if there is a problem.
/s! colleagues how the same students participate in other
5) 3n a language class( teachers want students to spea!.
*ometimes one student dominates question time( comment time and
all the rest of tal!ing time. his calls for tact( because the person is
often a good language model for others.
3nterrupt with Phan!s for thatQ and call on someone
else to continue.
,emind the student that there will be more tal!ing time
al! to the student individually later.
#a!ing quic! decisions on what to do about a problem
depends on answers to questions li!e the following&
"oes the behaviour hinder other studentsL learning8
3s this +ust a single occurrence not worth wasting time on8
3s it a whole4class problem or specific to one or two people8
eachers also !now that if large numbers of students are
failing to attend to the lesson( there could be a problem with the
lesson itself. he tas! may be too difficult( or it may have continued
for too long( or the content may be boring. .n the other hand( the
problem may not be within the class at all. / forthcoming sports
match or even unusual weather can change the mood of a class and
signal the teacher the need for a change of activity. (?ewis -BB-& 4-4
Assess(r. /ssessing is a ma+or part of the teacher6s +ob( to
see how well they are performing or how well they have performed.
his is what students naturally e%pect( even after communicative
activities. here are two types of assessment& #orre#tion and
organising fee!ba#*. "uring an accurate reproduction stage( where
the teacher is totally in control( student error
and mista!e
will be
corrected almost instantly. he teacher6s function is to show where
incorrectness occurs and help the students to see what has gone
wrong so that it can be put right.
Gentle #orre#tion involves showing students that a mista!e
has been made but not ma!ing a big fuss about it. he student does
not have to repeat his@her sentence correctly9 it is enough that a
mista!e has been ac!nowledged. his !ind of gentle correction(
used in the right way( will not seriously damage the atmosphere of
pair wor! or free conversation.
.rganising feedbac! occurs when students have performed
some !ind of tas! and the intention is to see the e%tent of their
success or failure and to be given ideas as to how their (language)
problems might be solved. here are again two !inds of feedbac!&
- Content fee!ba#*( which concerns an assessment of
how well the students performed the activity proper and not as
a language e%ercise. 2or instance( when students have
completed a role4play( the teacher first discusses with the
students the reasons for their decisions in the simulation.
$rror& usually made because of lac! of !nowledge
#ista!e& usually made because of lac! of attention or because of haste.
- 2orm feedbac! tells the students how well they have
performed linguistically( how accurate they have been. 7hen
students are involved in a communicative activity the teacher
will record the errors that are made so that they can be
brought to the students6 attention after whatever content
feedbac! is appropriate.
here are a number of ways of recording errors and organising
:en and paper. he teacher can listen to what is being
said and write down the errors that are made( thus&
'rammar 0ocabulary :ronunciation *pelling #anner of
Fig 9 ?ist of possible mista!es
7hen the activity and the content feedbac! are over the
teacher can write some of the more prominent and serious errors
from the list on the blac!board. 3n pairs the students have to
identify the errors and correct them.
ape recorder. he students6 performance can be
recorded on tape. /fter the activity and the content feedbac!( the
students listen to it and discuss the errors( or the teacher can
transcribe it at home and give the students their errors and a correct
0ideo is more successful for whole class feedbac!
than the tape recorder. 2irst the teacher ma!es sure that the activity
is filmed. 7hen it is over( students can watch the video for content
feedbac!( and then they can watch it again in order to concentrate
on the language. .ne group can be as!ed to watch@ listen for any
grammar mista!es( another group can b as!ed to listen for
pronunciation problems( another for vocabulary problems( etc.
eachers should be aware( however( that feedbac! of this !ind
using audio and videotapes will ta!e a long time and only a small
amount of the recording can be analysed. 2eedbac! also means
telling students what 6went right6. hey need to be told where they
have achieved a successful outcome or where they have used good
and appropriate language.
Organiser 3t is the most important and difficult role. he
success of many activities depends on good organisation and on the
students6 !nowing e%actly what they are to do( to tal! about( write
or read about( what their tas! is. eachers should never assume that
students have understood the instructions. 3t is always good to
chec! that they have grasped what they have to do( and where
possible( the students6 mother tongue can be used for this. eachers
should never use unclear instructions( they should plan out what
they are going to say beforehand and then say it clearly and
concisely. eachers must be careful about when they get students to
loo! at the material they will be using for the activity. 3f they hand
out material and then try to give instructions they will find that the
students are loo!ing at the material and not listening to the
he organisation of an activity can be divided into three
main parts&
- the lead4in( when the teacher and the students may
briefly discuss the topic in order to start thin!ing about it9
- instructions( when the students are told e%actly what
they should do9
- he teacher initiates the activity( and a final chec! is
given that students have understood. he teacher may as! the
students to see if they can be the first to finish( thus adding a
competitive element( which is often highly motivating.
Participant he teacher can participate as an equal in an
activity( especially where activities li!e simulations are ta!ing
place. he danger is that the teacher will tend to dominate( and the
students will both allow and e%pect this to happen. 3t will be up to
the teacher to ma!e sure it does not. eachers should not be afraid
to participate because they may improve the atmosphere in the
class and give the students a chance to practise $nglish with
someone who spea!s it better than they do.
,es("rce here are two other very important roles for
the teacher& to be aware of what is going on as an assessor( as
discreetly as possible( and to be a !ind of wal!ing resource centre.
he teacher should always be ready to offer help if it is needed(
ma!ing himself available so that the students can consult him when
(and only when) they wish.
T"t(r he teacher can act as a coach and as a resource
where students are involved in their own wor!( and call on the
teacher mainly for advice and guidance. his is the role the teacher
adopts where students are involved in self4study or where they are
doing pro+ect wor! of their own choosing. his tutorial role is often
appropriate at intermediate and advanced levels. 3t is a broader role
than the others are( as it includes parts of some other roles&
organiser( prompter and resource.
Investigat(r eachers themselves want to develop their
own s!ills and improve the ways of teaching language. here are
opportunities to go on teacher training courses and to attend
teachers6 seminars. eachers can also develop by themselves or
with colleagues by investigating what is going on( observing what
wor!s well in class and what does not( trying out new techniques
and activities and evaluating their appropriacy. eachers who did
not investigate the efficiency of new methods and who do not
actively see! their own personal and professional development
may find the +ob of teaching becoming increasingly monotonous.
Pr(.pter he teacher often needs to encourage
students to participate or needs to ma!e suggestions about how
students may proceed in an activity when there is silence or when
they are confused about what to do ne%t. he role of prompter has
to be performed with discretion for if teachers are too aggressive(
they start to ta!e over from the students( while the idea is that they
should be helping them only when it is necessary.
St"'ent gr("ping
L oc!step is the class grouping where all the students are
wor!ing with the teacher( where all the students are 6loc!ed into6 the
same rhythm and pace( the same activity. ?oc!step is the traditional
teaching situation( where the teacher controls everything. ?oc!step
has certain advantages& all the students in the class are concentrating
and the teacher can be sure that everyone can hear what is being said.
he students are usually getting a good language model from the
teacher( and it can often be very dynamic. *ome disadvantages are&
students get little chance to practise or tal! at all9 it always goes at the
wrong speed. $ither the teacher is too slow for the good students or
the lesson is too fast for the wea! students. *hy and nervous students
also find loc!step wor! e%tremely bad for the nerves since they are
li!ely to be e%posed in front of the whole class. #oreover( it cannot be
the ideal grouping for communicative wor!( as it involves too much
teaching and too little learning.
7here feedbac! is ta!ing place after a reading or listening tas!(
it will be better to have the whole class involved at the same time so
that they can chec! their answers and the teacher can assess their
performance as a group.
)ea#nesses an' li.itati(ns (+ 'irect instr"cti(n
Wile$ +as ill"strate! above,$ !ire#t instr"#tion is one of te
'ost effe#tive tea#ing strategies available$ it is not ne#essarily te
best strategy to "se in all #ir#"'stan#es-
Dire#t instr"#tion as been fo"n! to be te best 'eto! to tea#
r"les$ &ro#e!"res an! basi# s*ills$ es&e#ially to yo"nger st"!ents
./ro&y an! Goo!$ 01234- Ho(ever$ (en te goals of te lesson are
'ore #o'&lex or o&en)en!e! .e-g- !evelo&ing st"!ents5 tin*ing s*ills$
or !is#"ssing te 'erits of !ifferent ele#toral syste's4$ te str"#t"re!
an! tea#er)!ire#te! a&&roa# tat #ara#teri6es !ire#t instr"#tion is
not te 'ost effe#tive 'o!el- More o&en)en!e! 'o!els 'ay be 'ore
a&&ro&riate for a#ieving tese goals .7oy#e an! 8eill$ 01134-
Te effe#tiveness of !ire#t instr"#tion also see's to !e&en! on
te #ara#teristi#s of te st"!ents ta"gt- Tis a&&roa# see's to be
&arti#"larly effe#tive for st"!ents fro' !isa!vantage! ba#*gro"n!s$
or st"!ents starting fro' a lo( level of a#ieve'ent in a &arti#"lar
s"b%e#t- For exa'&le$ in a re#ent st"!y in Englan! an! 8ales$
relationsi&s bet(een st"!ent a#ieve'ent an! !ire#t instr"#tion)style
tea#er beavio"rs (ere t(i#e as ig in s#ools (it a ig or
average &er#entage of st"!ents fro' !e&rive! ba#*gro"n!s$ tan in
s#ools (it a lo( &er#entage of st"!ents fro' !e&rive! ba#*gro"n!s-
Tis s"ggests tat tese st"!ents are 'ore in nee! of ex&li#it tea#ing-
Ho(ever$ it '"st be re'ar*e! tat &ositive relationsi&s (ere also
evi!ent in lo()!e&rivation s#ools .M"i%s an! 9eynol!s$ :;;;#4-
A f"rter &roble' (it !ire#t instr"#tion is tat te role of
st"!ents 'ay be#o'e too &assive$ lea!ing to over!e&en!en#e on te
tea#er an! "n!er!evelo&'ent of in!e&en!ent learning s*ills .Gi&&s
an! M#Gil#rist$ 01114-
Te evi!en#e on !ire#t instr"#tion is also !istorte! to(ar!s
&ri'ary age st"!ents an! te s"b%e#ts of 'ate'ati#s an! Englis-
More resear# in oter s"b%e#ts an! in se#on!ary s#ools is nee!e! to
see (eter tis 'eto! is s"&&orte! in tose settings as (ell-
F"rter$ it as to be re'ar*e! tat it is entirely &ossible to "se
effe#tive !ire#t tea#ing strategies to tea# "n!e'an!ing an!
"n#allenging #ontent$ or to tea# in a (ay tat !oes not s"itably
#onne#t 'aterial- Finally$ in so'e #ases !ire#t instr"#tion #an
!egenerate into ineffe#tive le#t"re)style .5#al* an! tal*54 lessons (it
little intera#tion (it st"!ents-
Terefore$ (en !e#i!ing (eter or not to "se a !ire#t
instr"#tion 'o!el '"st !e&en! on te goals of te lesson$ an! '"st be
lin*e! to goo! s"b%e#t *no(le!ge an! s"itable lesson #ontent in or!er
to be effe#tive- (from "aniel #ui+s and "avid ,eynolds Effe#tive
Tea#ing( -BB1)
:air wor!. *tudents can be put in pairs for a greater variety of
wor! including writing and reading( and to increase the amount of
student practice. :air wor! allows students to use language (depending
on the tas! set by the teacher) and also encourages student co4
operation which is important for the atmosphere of the class and for
the motivation it gives to learning with others. *tudents can help each
other to use and learn language.
here are some disadvantages& incorrectness cannot always be
chec!ed( there is noise and indiscipline( especially with children and
adolescents (not with adult learners). 3t is better for the teacher to
remain at the front of the class than concentrate on one pair. hen he
can organise feedbac! when the pair wor! tas! is over to see how
successful it was. 7e should try and ma!e sure that the pair wor! is
not carried out for too long as students often become bored( restless
and badly behaved. he type of pair wor! the teacher will organise
depends on the type of activity the class is wor!ing with.
/ decision has to be ta!en about how students are put in pairs&
strong students with wea! students or whether they will vary the
combination of the pairs from class to class.
here seems to be no research to give an answer to the ideal
combinations for either pairs or groups.
'roup wor! increases the amount of student tal!ing time and
the opportunity to communicate with each other. *tudents will be
teaching and learning in the group e%hibiting a degree of self4reliance
that simply is not possible when the teacher is acting as a controller.
3n some ways group wor! is more dynamic than pair wor!&
there are more people to react with and against in a group( therefore(
there is a greater possibility of discussion. here is a greater chance
that at least one member of the group will be able to solve a problem
when it arises( and wor!ing in groups is potentially more rela%ing than
wor!ing in pairs( for the latter puts a greater demand on the student6s
ability to co4operate closely with only one person.
he biggest problem is one of selection of group members.
*ome teachers as! the students to choose their mates( which is not
good for e%ample when the students don6t !now each other. .ther
teachers form groups where wea! and strong students are mi%ed
together. his is good for the wea! students. 7here there students of
different levels and interests in a class( different groups can be formed
so that not all the students are necessarily wor!ing on the same
material at the same time.
'roup si;e is also problematical& a lot depends on the activity
being performed. 7here decisions are to be ta!en as a result of the
activity( it is probably good to have an odd number in each group.
/ ma+or possibility for group wor! is the idea of flexible gro"&.
*tudents start in set groups( and as an activity progresses the groups
split up and re4form9 or they +oin together until the class is fully re4
7hen we have different activities for each group it is better to
have one student acting as a group leader. he group leader could have
two functions& one would be to act as the gro"& organiser( ma!ing
sure that a tas! was properly done( and the other could be as a 'ini)
tea#er( where the student could conduct a drill or a dialogue. 'roup
wor! can be used for oral wor!( tas!s where decisions have to be
ta!en( +oint reading tas!s( listening tas!s( co4operative writing and
many others.
,eas(ns +(r learning lang"ages
There are many reasons for language study among which the
a) *chool curriculum 4 language study is included
among the sub+ect matters to be studied during the school
years. $nglish is a language that both the students and their
parents want to be taught.
b) :romotion 4 some people want to study $nglish or
another foreign language because they thin! it offers an
opportunity for advancement in their professional lives. hey
can get a better +ob( !nowing more than their mother tongue(
especially $nglish( which has become the international
language of communication.
c) arget language community 4 some students can live
in a target language community either temporarily or
permanently. / target language community (?1) is one where
the inhabitants spea! the language which the student is
learning9 for students of $nglish an $nglish4spea!ing country
would be a ?1.
d) $nglish for specific purposes 4 there are some
situations where $nglish is needed& for air traffic controllers to
guide aircraft9 business e%ecutives for international trade9
waiters to serve their customers. hese needs have been
referred to as $.: ($nglish for .ccupational :urposes). he
students who study abroad it is called $/: ($nglish for
/cademic :urposes). *tudents of medicine or science
(studying in their own countries) need to be able to read
articles and te%tboo!s about those sub+ects in $nglish. his is
referred to as $* ($nglish for *cience and echnology). he
type of $nglish students want to learn may be different.
e) 1ulture 4 some students want to study a foreign
language because they want to !now more about the people
who spea! it( the places where it is spo!en and (in some cases)
the writings which it has produced.
f) #iscellaneous 4 some people learn a foreign language
for fun (because they li!e the activity of going to classes)9
some people want to visit the country where the language is
spo!en9 some people do it because all their friends are learning
the language. Iot all the students will be taught in the same
The motivation that students have is the biggest single factor
that affects their success in the acquisition of a foreign language.
#otivation is some !ind of internal !rive that encourages somebody
to pursue a course of action. ?anguage learners who are motivated
perceive goals of various !inds. 7e can ma!e a useful distinction
between sort)ter' goals and long)ter' goals. ?ong4term goals might
have something to do with a wish to get a better +ob at some future
date( or a desire to be able to communicate with members of a ?1.
*hort4term goals might include such things as wanting to pass an end4
of4semester e%am or wanting to finish a unit in a boo!.
*tudents6 motivation can be separated into two main categories&
extrinsi# 'otivation( which is concerned with factors outside the
classroom( and intrinsi# 'otivation( which is concerned with what
ta!es place inside the classroom.
$%trinsic motivation. here are two types of this motivation&
a) 3ntegrative motivation& students need to be attracted
by the culture of the ?1 and they wish to integrate
themselves into that culture.
b) 3nstrumental motivation& students believe that mastery
of the target language will be instrumental in getting them a
better +ob( position or status. he language is an instrument in
their attainment of such goal.
3ntrinsic motivation plays a vital part in most students6 success
or failure as language learners. 2actors which affect intrinsic
motivation are&
a) :hysical conditions 4 bright and pleasant classrooms with a
low number of students( a visible and good blac!board.
b) he method of teaching must not be boring although a
really motivated student will probably succeed whatever method is
used. Ievertheless( if students lose confidence in the method( they
will become de4motivated.
c) he teacher. 7hether the student li!es the teacher or not may
not be very significant. 7hat can be said is that two teachers using the
same method can have very different results. / study done by "enis
'irard in 19>B (in Harmer 1994) shows a list of children6s priorities
(aged between 1- and 1>)( 1Hleast important.
1.He ma!es his course interesting.
-.He teaches good pronunciation.
5.He e%plains clearly.
4.He spea!s good $nglish.
<.He shows the same interest in all his students.
=.He ma!es all the students participate.
>.He shows great patience.
A.He insists on the spo!en language.
9.He ma!es his pupils wor!.
1B. He uses an audio4lingual method.
*tudents were also as!ed to list any additional qualities they
thought were important. he most popular were&
He shows sympathy for his pupils.
He is fair to all his students (whether good or bad at $nglish).
He inspires confidence.
he most important factors in teaching students well are the
teacher6s rapport with the students and the teacher6s personality( who
can motivate students through en+oyable and interesting classes.
eachers clearly need to be able to show that they !now their sub+ect9
they should be able to give clear instructions and e%amples and as far
as possible have answers to the students6 questions.
d) *uccess or lac! of success influences the learning of a foreign
language. )oth complete failure and complete success may be de4
motivating. 3t will be the teacher6s +ob to set goals and tas!s at which
most of the students can be successful. o give students very high
challenge activities where this is not appropriate may have negative
effect on motivation. he same happens with low challenge activities
which are also de4motivating. #uch of the teacher6s wor! in the
classroom concerns getting the level of challenge right& this involves
the type of tas!s set( the speed e%pected from the students.
)hat a lang"age st"'ent sh("l' #n(1
Pron"n#iation. eachers want to be sure that the students can
produce the various sounds that occur in the $nglish language. 3t is
important to differentiate between the sounds because they give
different meanings to the words( e.g. RiS in fit and Ri&S in feat or RTS in
tere and RfS in fair. *tudents need to use rhythm and stress in a
correct manner to ma!e themselves understood. 7hen they learn new
words they must be able to pronounce them with the right stress( to
say sentences with a good intonation.
.ne important thing in teaching pronunciation is that of accent
*hould our students spea! with a )ritish( /merican( 1anadian or
/ustralian $nglish8 3n ,omanian teachers of $nglish usually have a
)ritish accent and the students an /merican one( the latter being
acquired mainly from 0 shows and film. / lot depends on the
/ccent& a way of saying words that shows what country( region( or social class
someone comes from
contact with native spea!ers. 3f students live in the target language
community they are more li!ely to acquire the accent of that
community. #ore important is the aim of understanding and
efficiency to ma!e sure that they can always be understood and
convey their message.
o develop communicative efficiency in pronunciation students
need to hear the language used so that they can both imitate it and also
some of its specific sounds and patterns. he sources for this are the
teacher and other voices that can be heard on tapes or in the target
language community( on radio and 0. *tudents should listen as much
as possible to people spea!ing the language correctly.
Gra''ar. Jnowing grammar is essential for competent users of
a language. he aim in teaching grammar should be to ensure that
students are communicatively efficient with the grammar they have at
their level. 7hen grammar is presented teachers give students clear
definitions and correct te%ts to use and wor! with (but in real life
things are different and they should also be presented different types
of discourse K students need to be aware of all language possibilities
and how it is used). eachers introduce grammar which can be easily
e%plained and presented( usually through reading( listening and
writing. /t grammar lessons discovery activities are very important
and teachers should be prepared to use a variety of techniques to help
students learn and acquire grammar. *ometimes this involves teaching
grammar rules and sometimes it means allowing students to discover
the rules for themselves.
<o#ab"lary. ?anguage students need to learn the vocabulary of
the language and how words are used. *ome words are taught at lower
levels of !nowledge and some uses of words may be more comple%
than others and consequently taught at an intermediate or advanced
level. eachers should be sure that students are aware of the
vocabulary they need for their level and that they can use the words
which they want to use. 7ords are best taught in conte%t( not in lists
learnt by heart. 7ords are rarely used alone and their meanings
depend on one another. 7hen students learn words in conte%t they are
more li!ely to remember them and they can get a better picture of
what the words mean.
Dis#o"rse. *tudents need to be aware of the different ways
language is used in different situations. hey need to !now the
difference between formal and informal language use. such !nowledge
involves learning language functions. 7e decide what we want to say
on the basis of what purpose we wish to achieve& to invite( to agree( to
congratulate etc. he realisation of many functions can often fall
between two e%tremes( from very polite to friendly or sometimes rude(
from overt to suggested( e.g. P7ould you mind opening the window(
please8L( O*hut upUL.
3n deciding what language to teach when wor!ing with
functions teachers need to bear in mind the level of difficulty( the level
of transparency and the level of formality. 3n general we can say that
easy( transparent and neutral performance of a language function is
more appropriate for lower4level students while difficulty( lac! of
transparency and e%treme formality or informality are more suitable
for more advanced students.
S*ills. 1ompetent users of a language are proficient in a series
of language s!ills( though not all in the same way. eachers have to
see that studentsL language s!ills are transferred to the use of the
foreign language. )ecause students study a different language teachers
will need to help them with the s!ills they are already subconsciously
familiar with. 3f teachers concentrate on reading and listening it will
help students to approach the foreign language with more confidence
and a greater e%pectation of success. 3t is possible that some students
may not be proficient at all the s!ills in their own language. hen the
teachersL tas! will be double& to give them confidence in $nglish and
to equip them with un!nown s!ills in either their mother tongue or in
Lang"age varieties. $nglish is spo!en all over the world( as the
mother tongue( the second language or as a foreign language( thus one
can hear many $nglish accents and varieties. hree factors are
important when $nglish is taught&
1) the variety which the teacher uses9
-) which variety is more appropriate for the students (if
they are going to study in a certain country)9
5) what variety of $nglish is dealt with by the teaching
materials used.
2or students at lower levels it is better to use a variety of
$nglish. 3ntermediate students can be e%posed to other accents and
varieties. 3t is important that any competent user of the language be
able to understand as many varieties and accents as possible.
Lang"age learning an' lang"age teaching
Language theories and approaches. 3t is not !nown how people
learn languages but there are certain theories that have already had
some effect on the practice of language teaching.
)ehaviourism. he base of this theory is the idea of
conditioning& you can train an animal to do anything. here are three
stages to follow& stimulus( response and reinforcement. 2or e%ample( a
sound is operated (the stimulus)( the guinea pig goes up to a bar and
presses it (the response) and a bit of tasty food drops at its feet (the
reinforcement). 3f the guinea6s pig behaviour is reinforced a sufficient
number of times( it will always press the bar when the sound is heard.
*!inner( a psychologist suggested that language is a form of
behaviourism in acquiring the first language. he same model of
stimulus4response4reinforcement accounts for how human baby learns
a language. )ehaviourism was adopted for some time by language
teaching methodologists( particularly in the Enited *tates( resulting in
the audio4lingual method still used in many parts of the world. his
method focused on constant e%ercising of the students followed by
positive or negative reinforcement. he language habit was formed by
constant repetition and reinforcement of the teacher. #ista!es were
immediately criticised and correct usage praised.
1ognitivism. his term refers to a group of psychological
theories based on the wor! in linguistics of Ioam 1homs!y( who did
not agree with behaviourism. He said that language is not a form of
behaviourism but a complicated rule4based system and a large part of
language acquisition is the learning of the system. Jnowing the finite
number of grammatical rules( a system has enabled the spea!er to
perform an infinite number of sentences. / child gradually acquires
competence to be creative as language user( that is to be performant.
he idea is that language is not a set of habits and it has influenced
many teaching techniques and methodologies( although it has never
been adopted as a methodology.
/cquisition and learning. /cquisition is characterised as a
subconscious process which results in the !nowledge of a language
while learning is only !nowing about the language. /cquiring a
language is more successful and lasts longer than learning.
*tephen Jrashen suggested that second (or foreign) language
learning needs to be more li!e the child6s acquisition of its native
language. 1hildren6s gradual ability to use language is the result of
many subconscious processes( because they have not consciously
started to learn a language. 3t happens as a result of the input they
receive and the e%perience which accompany it. 3nput is a term used
to mean the language that the students hear or read. his input should
contain language that the students already !now as well as language
that they have not previously seen( i.e.( the input should be at a
slightly higher level than the students are capable of using( but at a
level that they are capable of understanding (the same way parents
tend to simplify the language they use so that the children can more or
less understand).
as!4based learning. #any methodologists have paid more
attention to learning tas!s that students are involved in than on the
nature of language input. here has been an agreement that it is better
to acquire a language as a result of some deeper e%perience than to
learn it by heart or ta!en out of conte%t. 3nstead of being taught
grammatical rules( students are as!ed to perform communicative
activities in which they have to use the foreign language. 3n solving
the problems the students naturally come into contact with language(
and this happens because the students are actively involved in
reaching solutions to tas!s. *uch tas!s consist of things li!e finding
your way on maps( interpreting timetables or answering questions
about dialogues in which the students have to solve problems.
Humanistic approaches. /nother prominent perspective is that
of the students as a 6whole person6( i.e. language teaching is not +ust
about teaching language( but also about helping students to develop
themselves as people. hese beliefs have led to a number of teaching
methodologies and techniques which have stressed the "'anisti#
aspect of learning. 3n such methodologies the e%perience of the
student is what counts and the development of their personalities and
the encouragement of positive feelings are seen as important as their
learning of a language.
*elf4directed learning. #ethodologists have turned their
attention not +ust to the learning of the language but also to training
students how to be good learners. 3f students ma!e the most of their
own resources and if they can ta!e their own decisions about what to
do ne%t and how best to study( their learning is better and they achieve
more. 3deally( a language programme would be a mi%ture of class
wor! and self4study (or self4directed learning).
he main aim of such wor! is to encourage students to ta!e
charge of their own learning& we cannot teach students everything so
we have to train them to teach themselves.
Teaching the pr('"ctive s#ills
Communication is very important and comple% and has
particular relevance for the learning and teaching process. he reasons
why people are engaged in tal!ing could be the following&
1) hey want to say something.
-) hey have some communicative purpose( they want
something to happen as a result of what they say.
5) hey select from their language store( creating new
hese generalisations do not only apply to the spo!en word&
they characterise written communication as well( the radio announcer
and an academic lecture.
$ffective communication means that the communication is
effective both from the point of view of the spea!er and the listener.
hus three points can be made about the listeners&
1) hey want to listen to 6something6.
-) hey are interested in the communicative purpose of
what is being said.
5) hey process a variety of language( being prepared to
process a great variety of grammar and vocabulary to
understand e%actly what is being said.
he information gap. 7hen one person as!s another for some
information we say that there is a gap between the two in the
information they possess and the conversation helps to close that gap.
3n the end both spea!ers have the same information. 3n the classroom
teachers want to create the same !ind of information gap to encourage
real communication.
he communication continuum. 7hatever activity the students
are involved in( if it is to be actually communicative and if it is really
promoting language use( the students should have a desire to
communicate. 3f they do not want to be involved in communication
then that communication will probably not be effective. he students
should be using language in some way to achieve an ob+ective( and
this should be the most important part of the communication. 3f
students do have a purpose of this !ind then their attention should be
centred on the content of what is being said or written and not on the
language form that is being used. 7hile the students are engaged in
the communicative activity the teacher should not intervene( that is(
should not tell the students that they are ma!ing mista!es( insist on
accuracy and as! for repetition. he teacher may be involved in the
activity as a participant( and will also be watching and listening very
carefully in order to be able to conduct feedbac!. o the five
communicative activities (a desire to communicate( a communicative
purpose( content not form( variety of language( no teacher
intervention) we could add a si%th& no materials control so that the
students shouldn6t be forced to use a certain language or be restricted
in the choice of what to say and how to say it.
he si% characteristics for communicative activities can be seen
as forming one end of a continuum of classroom activity in language
teaching( and they can be reached by opposite points at the other end
of the continuum (no communicative desire( no communicative
purpose( form not content( one language item( teacher intervention(
materials control).
*tages in learning4teaching.
Intro!"#ing ne( lang"age. his falls at the non4
communicative end of the continuum as the teacher wor!s with
controlled techniques( as!s students to repeat and do e%ercises( insist
on accuracy and correct the students6 mista!es. hese introduction
stages should be short and the e%ercises not so many although they are
important in helping the students to assimilate facts about new
Pra#ti#e. :ractice activities fall between the two ends of the
continuum. 7hile students performing them may have a
communicative purpose( and while they may be wor!ing in pairs(
there may also be a lac! of language variety( and the materials may
determine what the students do or say. "uring practice stages the
teacher may intervene to help and to point out inaccuracy.
Co''"ni#ative a#tivities. hey show the characteristics at the
communicative end of the continuum. *tudents are involved in
activities that give them both the desire to communicate and a purpose
which involves them in a varied use of language. *uch activities are
very important in a language classroom since here the students can do
their best to use the language as individuals arriving at a degree of
language autonomy.
Te relationsi& bet(een te !ifferent stages- here is a clear
relationship between the introduction and practice stages while the
relationship between communicative activities and the introduction
and practice stages is not so clear. 3f teachers introduce new language
they will often want to practise it in a controlled way. he practice
stage will often not follow the introduction stage immediately9 other
activities might intervene before students again wor! on the same
/t the very early stages of language learning there is more
introduction of new language and practice than there are
communicative activities. his balance should change as the standard
of students6 $nglish rises where there should be more emphasis on
practice and communicative activities than on presentation. However
this balance is often more the result of decisions about what the
students need on a particular day in a particular situation than it is a
decision about the interrelation of stages.
Intr('"cing ne1 lang"age
Students need to get an idea of how the new language is used
by native spea!ers and the best way of doing this is to present
language in conte%t( which should have some characteristics& the new
language should be used in a written te%t or dialogue( it should be
interesting for the students( it should provide the bac!ground for a lot
of language used so that the students can use the information not only
for the repetition of model sentences but also for ma!ing their own
sentences. 3n cases where the boo! is not right for the students( the
teacher will want to create his own conte%t for the language.
ypes of conte%t.
1onte%t means the situation or body of information( which
causes language to be used and can be divided into three main types&
1) he student6s world& which can be a ma+or source of
conte%ts of two !inds&
- the physical surroundings 4 the classroom( school or
- the students6 lives 4 facts about them( their families(
friends and e%periences.
-) he outside world provides the teacher with rich
conte%ts for presentation& stories( situations with special
information for the practice of functional language( and
e%amples of language. hey can be simulated or real.
5) 2ormulated information refers to all the information
which is presented in the form of timetables( notes( charts( etc.
he conte%t the teacher uses depends on the type of language
that is introduced.
he presentation of structural form.
.ne way of e%plaining how the new language is formed and
how the grammar wor!s is to e%plain the grammar in detail( using
grammatical terms and giving a mini4lecture on the sub+ect( more
difficult to achieve in groups of students with different mother
/ more effective way of presenting form is to let the students
see and@or hear the new language( drawing their attention in different
ways to the grammatical elements of which it is made. /dvanced
students may profit from grammatical e%planations to a certain e%tent(
while beginners find simpler and more transparent ways more
appropriate to acquire new grammatical structures.
7hen teaching such structures the teacher can use patterns li!e
* M 0 M ". or * M 0 M /( with changeable units (for present
tense 5
person singular& He lives in Tg- M"res). /s soon as possible
students will be encouraged to use the present simple with other
grammatical patterns.
/ general model for introducing new language.
he model has five components&
1) he lead4in( when the conte%t is introduced and the
meaning or use of the new language is demonstrated. his is
the stage at which students may hear or see some language
(including the new language) and during which students may
become aware of certain !ey concepts (those items of
information about the conte%t that are very important for its
understanding). ($.g.( in the case of formulated information 4
the airline timetable 4 the !ey concepts are !estination$ via$
!e&art"re and arrival.)
-) he elicitation stage( when the teacher tries to see if
the students can produce the new language. 3f the students can6t
produce the new language the teacher will move to the
e%planation stage. 3f they can( but with minor mista!es( the
teacher may move to the accurate reproduction stage to clear
up those problems. 3f they !now the language but need some
practice( the teacher may move directly to the creativity stage.
5) he e%planation stage( when the teacher shows how
the new language is formed. /t this point the teacher may give
a listening drill or e%plain something in the student6s own
language9 grammatical form may be demonstrated on the
blac!board 4 how the new language is constructed.
4) he accurate reproduction stage( when students are
as!ed to repeat and practice a certain number of models. he
emphasis will be on the accuracy of what students say rather
than meaning or use. he teacher ma!es sure that students can
form the new language correctly( getting the grammar right and
perfecting their pronunciation.
<) 3mmediate creativity( when students try to use what
they have +ust learned to ma!e sentences of their own. /t this
stage both teacher and students can see if they have really
understood the meaning( use and form of the new language. 3f
students are able to produce their own sentences they can feel
confident that the presentation was successful.
$%planation techniques.
a) $%plaining statements& the teacher wants to e%plain
the model based on a flight timetable (2light V5B= goes to
)ucharest). here can be the following procedure&
*tage 1. he teacher says the normal sentence9
*tage -. he teacher isolates a particular feature of the model
(e.g. goes)9
*tage 5. he teacher distorts this feature showing how it is
constructed (e.g. go4es)9
*tage 4. he teacher returns to the isolated item (goes)9
*tage <. he teacher gives the normal model again. 7here
there is more than one item that needs isolating the teacher goes
through the above procedure with the first item and then repeats it
with the second.
b) $%plaining question form. $nglish uses inversion to
form questions( even when a question word is used. 7hen
introducing a question( teachers will follow the same procedure
as for (a) above but isolate and distort in a slightly different
way( using the blac!board and gesture. WHe is r"nning. Is e
c) Esing hands and gestures. eachers can use their
hands and different gestures to ma!e grammatical form clearer.
2or e%ample( when the teacher says the sentence( I (o"l! ave
#o'e earlier( he raises five fingers. 7hen he uses the short
forms of the au%iliaries( I5!5ve #o'e( earlier he raises three
fingers. he teacher can pretend to hold the word !o in one
hand and not in the other. )y bringing the words together they
show how !on5t is formed. *ome teachers use gesturing over
their shoulders to indicate the past and pointing ahead of them
to indicate future. /rms can be used to indicate intonation
patterns (rising and falling) and stress patterns( li!e a
conductor in an orchestra.
/ccurate reproduction gives students controlled practice in the
form of the new language. here are three stages in this part of the
1. Coral re&etition 4 the whole class is as!ed to repeat the
model together. his technique is useful because it gives all the
students a chance to say the new language immediately( with the
teacher controlling the speed and the stress. 3t gives students
confidence and the teacher a general idea of whether the students have
grasped the model. eachers should remember three things about
choral repetition&
1learly indicate (by conducting) when the students
should start the chorus9
1learly indicate the correct stress during the chorus9
*tay silent during the chorus so that he can hear how
well the students are performing.
-. In!ivi!"al re&etition 4 is again conducted in three stages. he
teacher selects a student( the student responds( and the teacher gives
feedbac! (approves or shows incorrectness). *electing the students
can be done by calling the student6s name or by pointing. 7hen
conducting individual repetition we should be sure that we do not
nominate students in a clearly discernible order( for this has the effect
of ma!ing the drill less e%citing. / random order !eeps the interest
level high since anyone could be nominated at any minute.
5. C"e)res&onse !rills 4 ta!e place when students are wor!ing
with more than one model. 7hen the teacher has presented the first
model and organised choral and individual repetition then he will
elicit the second model. 3f the students can produce the model the
teacher( the teacher may go straight to choral and individual repetition.
7hen they cannot( the teacher may go through an e%planation stage
again. 7hen there has been adequate repetition of the second model
the teacher starts a cue4response drill in which he as!s students to
choose on of the two models based on a cue&
*tage 1. 3nstruct& the teacher tells the students what he wants
then to do. He might say 6tell me6 to indicate that he wants a statement
or 6question6 to indicate that he wants a question. .ften the instruction
is not actually said( but is understood by the class.
*tage -. 1ue& the teacher indicates which model he wishes the
students to say. He might do this by giving a cue word( for e%ample
6)ucharest6 to get the response. 62light 5B= goes to )ucharest6.
eachers might also mime an action& 6reading6 to get the students
responds& 6He is reading a novel6.
*tage 5. Iominate& the teacher selects the student he wishes to
give the response. he teacher starts the cue4response drill with an
instruction (6tell me6) but drops this the ne%t time because all the
students understand what is required. 7hen introducing subsequent
models the teacher will use less and less e%planation( sometimes
cutting it out completely. /s soon as the teacher is confident that the
students can manage the cue4response drill (after four to si% e%amples)
the students can be put in pairs. .ne student can act as the teacher(
giving the cue and the others can give the response.
his accurate reproduction stage should be dealt with as quic!ly
as possible (not more than ten minutes).
1orrection can be achieved in the following ways&
a) *howing incorrectness 4 the teacher indicates to the student
that he ahs made a mista!e. 3f the student understands this feedbac!(
he will be able to correct the mista!e and this will help him in the
learning process. here area number of techniques for showing
1.9e&eating& the teacher simply as!s the student to repeat what
he has said (using 6again6) with a questioning intonation(
to indicate that the response was not correct.
-.E#oing& the teacher repeats what the student has +ust said(
using a questioning intonation( to indicate doubt about the
accuracy or content of what is being said. (he teacher
can do it with the whole sentence or up to the mista!e)
5.Denial& the teacher tells the student that the response was
incorrect and as!s for the right answer. *ometimes this
method may be a little more discouraging.
4.="estioning& the teacher can as! 4 Is tat #orre#t> addressing
any student in the class to answer the question. his has
the advantage of focusing everybody6s mind on the
problem( though it may ma!e the student who made the
mista!e seem a bit e%posed.
<.Ex&ression& many teachers indicate that a response was
incorrect by their e%pression or some gestures. his is
very economical (sometimes funny) but also dangerous if
the student thin!s that the e%pression or gesture is a form
of moc!ery. *howing incorrectness should be done with
tact and consideration( and should be seen as a positive
act not as a reprimand.
b) Esing correction techniques when students are unable to
correct themselves.
1.St"!ent #orre#ts st"!ent& the teacher can as! if anyone else
can help with the correct response. 3f this technique is
used intensively( students may feel humiliated.
-.Tea#er #orre#ts st"!ent? sometimes the teacher may feel that
he should ta!e charge of correction because the students
are mi%ed4up about what the correct response should be.
3n that case the teacher can re4e%plain the problem of
language which is causing the trouble. /fter the re4
e%planation the teacher can move to choral and individual
repetition before moving4on.
he importance of meaning. 3t is very important for the students
to understand the meaning of the new language. his is done during
the lead4in stage where the !ey concepts demonstrate what is going
on. /nother important factor is to chec! whether the students have
understood the new language( to organise our teaching accordingly.
1hec!ing meaning can be done in three ways( infor'ation #e#*ing(
i''e!iate #reativity and translation.
a) Infor'ation #e#*ing& this can be done by as!ing
questions( or saying sentences that are not correct and as! the
students to correct them( or reading students6 models and
as!ing them to say other whether they are true or false.
b) I''e!iate #reativity an! !ifferent settings. his stage
is a good indicator of whether or not students have understood
the meaning and use of the new language and we do it by
as!ing students to produce sentences of their own. /nother
good chec!ing of meaning is to as! the students something
using the new language( which is not part of the conte%t that is
being used for the presentation.
c) Translation is an e%cellent technique if the teacher is
fluent in the students6 language. he main advantages are that it
is quic! and efficient. ranslation is not really possible with
groups of different nationalities and it is not always possible to
translate e%actly.
"iscovery techniques aim to give students a chance to use
language earlier. Esually students are given a listening or reading te%t
or some other e%amples of $nglish sentences( and are as!ed to
discover how the language wor!s. eachers might give students a te%t
which is a story( for e%ample( and then as! them to loo! at it again to
see how many ways they can find in it for referring to the past. hey
could listen to a tape and write down any sentences which had 6if6 in
them. hen they could see if there was any pattern to those sentences.
here are many techniques where the teacher gets the students
to do most of the wor!. *tudents will be more involved and will have
to use their reasoning processes. 7hen the teacher as!s the students
what they have found and discusses the language with them we have
reached an e%planation stage where the teacher is tal!ing with the
students in a more egalitarian process.
"iscovery techniques are not suitable for all students on all
occasions. 2requently this approach ta!es more time than a more
controlled presentation and the class lac!s the !ind of dynamic tension
met in whole class presentations. "esigning material for discovery
activities or finding a te%t that will suit this approach is easier at
intermediate and advanced levels than is when beginners are taught.
7riting during presentation. 7riting is used as reinforcement
for an oral presentation( either immediately or after the creativity
stage( when the teacher as!s the students to write sentences using the
new language. he sentences may be the original models the teacher
used during the accurate reproduction stage( and the students might be
as!ed to copy those sentences from the blac!board. he students
might be shown model sentences and then be as!ed to write similar
sentences of their own. his is a written version of the immediate
creativity stage( and is often called &arallel (riting. /lthough
unchallenging and boring( the main ob+ect is to relate the spo!en and
written forms of the new language( and to enable the students to write
the new pattern as well as say it.
7here students write in class as part of the introduction of new
language it is often advantageous to 6correct6 the written wor! in front
of the whole class. .ne useful way of doing this is to as! the students
to do the written wor! in their copyboo!s. 7hen the teacher sees a
student has finished( he as!s him@her to write the first sentence on the
blac!board. he second student writes the second sentence( and so on.
7hen all the sentences are on the board the teacher goes through them
one by one( as!ing the class if they are correct. if they are not( the
teacher can as! another student to write the correct sentence or correct
the sentence himself. his technique gives the student feedbac!( and
allows the teacher and the whole class to focus on grammar points if it
is necessary.
Oral practice
Oral drills are usually very controlled and have limited
potential. )ecause they are repetitive and not very creative they
should not be used for too long or too frequently. However they
provide 6safe6 practice and accuracy can be focused on as the students
get a chance to rehearse language.
a) (2our)4phased drills (si% or eight4phase drills). he
students are encouraged to as! a question and on the basis of
the answer follow it up with another question( for e%ample& /&
Is 7on Englis8 )& No$ e isn5t. /& 8ere is e fro'8 )& He5s
fro' Cana!a.
b) #i%ed questions and answer drills. hey have more
questions and can be as!ed in any order. here are some
pictures from which the teacher elicits the questions. hen
students are put in pairs to wor! with similar pictures and they
might use the answers to write short paragraphs. his method
provides a good opportunity for quic! revision of language
previously studied.
c) al!ing about frequency of activities. *tudents wor!
with a specially prepared set of flashcards. he cards show
various activities ta!ing place. *tudents are put in groups of
four and a set of flashcards is placed in front of them( face
downwards. / student pic!s up a card and has to as! another
student how often a relative of that student performs the
activity shown on the card. his is a simple cue4response drill(
but the students are conducting the drill themselves and the
random selection of the cards ma!es the drill en+oyable and
quite challenging. he use of group wor! means that many
students get a chance to participate in a co4operative and
friendly way.
d) 1hain drills are ways of practising a particular
structure over and over again in the conte%t of either a game
and @or a personal element. eachers can use other groups
(when there are many students) or a whole class activity. he
teacher chooses the structure and then says( for e%ample( My
na'e5s Mary an! I5! li*e to go to a &arty. he student ne%t to
the teacher then has to say& Her na'e5s Mary an! se5! li*e to
go to a &arty. My na'e5s 7on an! I5! li*e to eat an i#e #rea'.
he third student then has to remember the first two spea!ers6
goals and then give his own. #ost drills can be adapted for pair
wor! and group wor!.
3nformation gap activities.
7ith information gap activities different students are given
different pieces of information. )y sharing this information they can
complete a tas!. hese activities are drills and because they contain a
communicative element they are more involving and motivating than
many question and answer techniques.
/n e%ample of such an activity is 6/pplication6( designed for
intermediate students( being used not only for oral practice but also for
reading and form4filling. *tudents are divided into pairs with the
restriction not to loo! at each other6s papers. hey are told that they
must each complete the paper in front of them. *tudent / as!s student
) questions to fill in the missing information in the letter of
he material ma!es students as! a large number of questions in
order to complete their tas!. 2or this purpose both students have to
read their material and wor! out what questions to as!. hese
activities are designed to practise more or less specific language.
7hen an activity of this type is over the teacher can conduct
feedbac! by getting students to as! and answer the questions with the
whole class listening. his helps to chec! not only the students
language production( but also whether they have got the information
hey are a very important part of a teacher6s equipment( not
only for the language practice they provide( but also for their effect.
hey can be used at any stage of a class to provide an amusing and
challenging brea! from other classroom activity( and are especially
useful at the end of a long day to send the students away feeling well
about their $nglish class.
a) /s! the right question. *tudents are divided into pairs in
which there is / and ). *tudent / in each pair is given cards such as
the following&
*tudent / then has to as! student ) questions so that ) gives
e%actly the answer written on /6s card. /lthough it is funny( this game
is also difficult since student / has to thin! of e%actly the right
question to get the right answer.
Fig : *amples of cards
b) wenty questions and other yes@no games. wenty questions
is a team game (originally a popular ))1 radio programme). *tudents
are divided into teams and each team must thin! of a number of
ob+ects. he game starts when one student from team / as!s someone
from team ) a question which can only be answered with 6yes6 or 6no6.
if team ) finds out what the ob+ect is after a ma%imum of fifteen
questions they get two points. hey get no points if they do not
discover what the ob+ect is after as!ing twenty questions. 3nstead of
ob+ects the teams could be thin!ing of famous people( or animals( or
anything else. / charade element can be added to the idea so that
students can mime either actions (Are yo" s'o*ing a #igarette8) or
occupations (Do yo" (or* (it oter &eo&le8)
c) Ioughts and crosses. he class is divided into two teams9 one
represents noughts (B) and the other crosses (Y). the teacher puts the
following on the board&
/ car Desterday
here always drin!ing
his may is
aren6t +o!e must
Fig < Ioughts and crosses game
he team selects the square it wishes to play for( and a member
of the team has to say a sentence using the word on that square. 3f the
sentence is correct the square is filled with a nought or a cross(
depending on the team the player comes from. he squares could all
contain question words( for e%ample( or modal au%iliaries( frequency
adverbs( etc.
d) Zui;;es can always be used to practise specific language
items in an en+oyable and motivating way. 3n the following e%ample(
students will be practising the use of the (as@(ere past.
he students are divided into two teams. $ach team is given
time to write a number of general !nowledge questions using the
(as@(ere past. heir questions might be li!e the following& 8o (as
te first 'an on te 'oon> 8ere (as te 011A 8orl! C"&8 :oints are
given according to the time needed or the prompt response or if the
student consults the other members of the team.
:ersonalisation and localisation refer to those stages of practice
where students use language they have recently learned to tal! about
themselves and their lives. *uch stages can be very controlled or very
free. ?anguage teaching materials in general sometimes give students
a highly grammatical idea of how questions are as!ed and answered.
,esearch has suggested that answers to questions in real life are
seldom grammatically parallel to the questions. he answer to a
question such as Are yo" a&&y8 is seldom Des( 3 am. Io( 36m not.
#uch more li!ely are responses such as More or less( Can5t #o'&lain(
or 8y !o yo" as*8 eachers should encourage this type of response
and as! students to add comments to their answers.
"uring these stages the teacher can prompt the use of additional
remar!s and follow4up questions in order to encourage realistic
)ritten practice
Some ways of encouraging written practice are sentence
writing( parallel writing( cohesion( oral composition and dictation.
1.*entence writing.
a) he fill4in. students have to fill in blan!s in sentences.
/lthough it is a limited drill( it is often useful during
presentation stages and as controlled homewor! practice.
b) 7hat are they doing8 *tudents are as!ed to loo! at a
picture and write four sentences about what the people in the
picture are doing. 3n this e%ercise students use specific
language (here present continuous) to ma!e their own
c) 1hristmas. 3n this e%ample students use
personalisation to write time clauses with words li!e 6before6(
6after6( 6when6( 6until6( 6while6 etc. he teacher can use only
national holidays( both sacred and secular.
-.:arallel writing suggests that students should have a model
from which to wor!. *tudents first see a piece of writing and then use
it as a basis for their own wor!. he original piece will show them
how $nglish is written and guide them towards their own ability to
e%press themselves in written $nglish.
5.1ohesion. 1oherent organisation and logical thought is in
some ways more difficult in writing than in spea!ing( especially
because readers are often not in a position to clarify points they do not
understand with the writer in the same way as participants in a
conversation can stop the spea!er and as! for repetition and re4
e%planation. 1ohesion can be done with the help of some devices such
- co4ordinators (e.g.( +oin the following pairs of
sentences using 6and6 or 6but6)
- concession trains the students in the use of concession
language such as 6in spite of6 and 6although6. 3t also reminds
students how spo!en language be formalised for written style.
- :rinces( grandmothers( and bears drills train the
students how to write more coherent by using pronouns as
cohesive devices. hey are as!ed to re4order sentences by
putting the letter of the sentence against the following
numbers (a4-( b4<( [)
4. .ral composition. he teacher and the class together build up
a narrative and then the students are as!ed to write it. his process
allows the teacher and the students to focus in on a variety of language
items from verb tenses to cohesive devices. .ral compositions can be
accompanied by visual or real materials& the teacher can show students
a series of pictures( mime a story( or play them a tape with a series of
<. "ictation has become fashionable again due to the wor! of
:aul "avis and #ario ,involucri( who have found dynamic
alternatives to the dictation of large te%ts of uninteresting prose. wo
of these alternatives are&
a) )eautiful things. he teacher may tell the students to
write the following& of the most beautiful things 3 have
ever seen is[6 and they have to complete the sentence for
b) :oetry dictation. *tudents dictate to each other in an
involving and e%citing way. he teacher brings one copy of a
poem into the classroom and either !eeps it on the des! or pins
it to a board. he students are put into groups. $ach group
sends a member up to the poem where they read only the first
line. hey ta!e this line bac! to their group and dictate it. Iow
a second member of the group goes to the poem and reads the
second line so that it can be dictates to the group. / third
student goes up fort he third line and so on.
eachers can use modern poetry( which is often short and clear
or dialogues and prose passages that are not too long.
C(.."nicative activities
These activities are intended to encourage spo!en
communication between students and@or between students and the
teacher. he activities can be divided into seven categories&
- ,eaching an agreement
- "ebate
- ,elaying instructions
- 1ommunication games
- :roblem solving
- al!ing about yourself
- *imulation and role play.
,eaching an agreement. *tudents have to agree with each other
after a certain amount of discussion. he tas! is complete when they
have reached consensus. hese activities promote free and
spontaneous language use. Here is an e%ample&
Going to te 'o"ntains
*tudents are told that they are going on holiday and have to
decide what ob+ects to ta!e with them (the teacher decides on the
number 4 e.g.( 1-). he students will have to agree on the ob+ects
Stage 0 /ll students are as!ed to write down the twelve ob+ects
they would choose to have in their luggage if they were going to stay
in the mountains for a wee!.
Stage : 7hen all students have completed their lists they are
put into pairs. $ach pair has to negotiate a new list of 1- ob+ects. his
will involve each member of the pair changing their original list to
some e%tent.
Stage B 7hen the pairs have completed their lists two pairs are
+oined together to negotiate a new list that all four students can agree
Stage A 'roups can now be +oined together and the lists re4
Stage C 7hen the teacher thin!s the activity has gone on for
long enough a feedbac! session is conducted with the whole class in
which each group e%plains and +ustifies its choices.
his activity can be used at any level of !nowledge and ma!es
use of a lot of language.
"ebate. *ome teachers say that students are reluctant to discuss.
his is partly due to the topic involved (if it6s too difficult)( and partly
because they are supposed to spea! fluently in a foreign language in
front of their classmates. *ometimes discussions develop
spontaneously( when students e%press their opinions about something
+ust said( but this !ind of debate can6t be planned. here are techniques
that can be used to get students tal!ing&
1.:ut students in groups first. his grouping will allow students
to give opinions at their ease. 3t will give the teacher a chance
to see if the topic is interesting and to change it if needed.
-.'ive students a chance to prepare. 7hen the topic is more
serious and formal students need to prepare their opinions first.
5.'ive students a tas!. *tudents can be given a list of
controversial statements about a topic and as!ed to score them
from B to <. hey can do this in pairs or groups.
hree types of debate activity are&
- Te b"66 gro"&. 'roups of three or four students are
as!ed to thin! of the topic 4 the summer holiday( e.g.( and they
should thin! of as many activities as possible connected with
the topic.
- Controversial to&i#s. he students are given a number
of statements about a topic( e.g.( drug addiction. hey have to
circle which best reflects their agreement or disagreement
with the statement (B H totally disagree( < totally disagree). 1.
"rug consumption of any !ind should be forbidden by law. B
1 - 5 4 <. 7hen they have finished they compare the
answers in pairs and then groups( to agree a score.
- Te !ebate. wo groups argue a case which is then
put to vote. he activity is more suitable for the advanced
students. / variation on the formal debate is the 6)alloon6
debate. *tudents must each choose a character. hey are then
told that all the characters are in the bas!et of a hot4air
balloon. he balloon is losing air and so people must +ump
from the bas!et to save the lives of the others. 7ho should be
chosen as the sole survivor8 he 6characters6 must ma!e
convincing arguments in favour of their own survival. / final
vote decides which characters should +ump and which should
"iscussion activities are an important part of the lesson.
eachers should remember that proper organisation can ensure their
success( and the lac! of it can lead to failure.
,elaying instructions. his activity implies ma!ing students
give instructions. he success relies on how accurate and correct were
the instruction( as the one of the students must perform the tas!.
a) $%ercises
Stage 0 he teacher writes down the names of a number
of common physical e%ercises or has them drawn on cards.
hey are given to individual students without being seen by the
Stage : *tudents have to get their classmates to do the
e%ercises using only words( not gestures.
b) #a!ing models
Stage 0 / small group of students is given material to
ma!e models with (e.g. ?ego). hey are told to ma!e a model.
Stage : the original group now has to instruct another
group or groups so that they can duplicate the original model
(which is hidden).
c) "escribe and draw
.ne student is given a picture which the other student
cannot see. he second student has to draw an identical picture
by listening to the first student6s instructions.
1ommunication games. hey are based on the principle of the
information gap. *tudents are put into a situation in which they have
to use all or any of the language they possess to complete a game4li!e
a) 2ind the differences (or similarities) in pictures that
differ and which have been given to a pair of students.
b) "escribe and arrange. *tudents wor! in pairs and are
given a set of pictures which has to be arranged in a given
c) *tory reconstruction. *tudents are given different
parts of a picture story. hey have to reconstruct the whole
narrative even though individually they have seen only a small
part of it. his is done because each member of the group has
seen a different picture9 by tal!ing about their pictures together
the narrative is reconstructed.
d) :oem reconstruction. he same principle can be
applied to simple poems. *tudents have to reassemble lines
which they are given. he activity combines reading( listening
and discussion.
Stage 0 he students are put into groups.
Stage : 3n each group each of the students is given one card
with a line and instructed not to show it to anyone.
Stage B he groups are told that they must reassemble the
poem 4 it is a one stan;a poem. *tudents can read the lines aloud(
but they may not show them to anyone.
Stage A the groups are told that they must decide on a title
for the poem.
:roblem solving. his activity encourages students to tal!
together to find a solution to a set of problems or tas!s.
a) "esert dilemma. *tudents are given a comple%
situation and told to wor! out a means of survival. he
students read about the situation and then put into groups. $ach
group must follow the instructions and wor! out how to
survive. he teacher can chec! how imaginative the solutions
b) 2ast food is one of a series of computer games where
the user has to ta!e decisions which will affect the outcome of
the game. 3n this program students run a fast food stall and
they have to decide how many rolls( sausages( drin!s etc. to
order for their stall and what price to charge for them. 3f they
ma!e the right decisions they prosper( if not they start to lose
money. /fter the game has been e%plained( the teacher puts
students into small groups. $ach group is assigned to a
computer and told to run their stall. he discussion that ta!es
place is frequently fast and furious with students an%ious to
ensure the success of the activity.
al!ing about yourself. hree simple activities&
1.Dour name. he teacher puts the students in pairs and as!s
them to tell each other how they feel about their first name(
what name they would choose for themselves if they had the
chance of choosing one.
-.7hat we have in common. *tudents are put in pairs at random
and told to discover five things which they have in common.
his encourages them to cover a number of areas and topics
including musical tastes( sports( families.
5.#usical associations. 3n this activity the teacher encourages
the students to use the title of a song to provo!e discussion of
feelings and memories.
*tage 1 he teacher as!s the students to write down the
name of a song which they li!e.
*tage - he teacher then tells the students that they are
going to discuss this song with a partner. hey should tell their
partner the title of their song and how the song ma!es them feel(
thin! of( feel li!e doing( where they would prefer to be when
hearing it.
*tage 5 when the students have had enough time to tell each
other about their songs the teacher can as! if anyone heard
anything particularly interesting that they would li!e to share with
the group.
*imulation and role4play. he idea of simulation is to create the
pretence of a real4life situation in the classroom. 7e can as! them to
imagine themselves shopping at the mar!et or planning a trip. /s
Jones (19A-) says( a simulation wor!s when certain conditions are
complied with& a 5reality of f"n#tion5 (students must accept the
function9 they must not thin! of themselves as language students but
as the people in the simulation)( a si'"late! environ'ent (we do not
ta!e the students to the mar!et) and str"#t"re (there must be some
structure to the simulation and essential facts must be provided).
7ithin these guidelines we can add another variable& sometimes
the students ta!e part themselves (if we as! them to organise a party(
for e%ample( we are not as!ing them to pretend to be someone else)
and sometimes we as! them to &lay a role( pretending to be someone
that they are not. in the second case we are tal!ing about role)&lays.
"uring a simulation teachers must act as participants and thus
help the simulation go on in difficult situations. /fter the simulation
has finished the teacher will conduct feedbac! with the students. he
ob+ect is to discuss with them whether the activity was successful(
why certain decisions were reached etc. 3t is important for the teacher
to conduct feedbac! about the content of an activity such as
simulation as well as discussing the use of language. 3f only the
second is focused on the students will perceive the ob+ect of the
e%ercise as being concerned only with linguistic accuracy rather than
the ability to communicate efficiently 4 which is the main reason for
this !ind of activity.
S(.e +acts a%("t h(.e1(r#
Homewor!( as #ui+s and ,eynolds (-BB1) say( is one of the
most widely used but also one of the more controversial aspects of
teaching. Enpopular with students( and often with teachers and
parents as well( it remains a central part of school life.
Homewor! can be defined as out4of4class activity that is an
e%tension of classroom wor!. 3t can be either individuali;ed or
assigned to the whole class. ?a1onte (Ho'e(or* as a Learning
Ex&erien#e( 19A1) classified the three main types of homewor! as&
o :ractice assignments( which reinforce newly acquired
s!ills or !nowledge. /n e%ample of this can be when students
have learnt about different types of leaves( and are as!ed to
loo! for e%amples in their environment.
o :reparation assignments( which are intended to
provide bac!ground to particular topics. 2or e%ample(
students can prepare for a lesson by reading te%ts or by
collecting material in advance.
o $%tension assignments( which are designed to practise
learnt material or e%tend the students by encouraging them to
do more research on the sub+ect after the topic has been
studied in class.
Homewor! is designed to meet a variety of purposes( such as
4 increase student achievement9
4 reinforce and strengthen topics taught in class9
4 complete unfinished wor!9
4 develop independent study s!ills9
4 develop self4discipline9
4 develop time management s!ills9
4 involve parents in helping their children6s learning9
4 allow preparation for future lessons and topics9
4 develop students6 research s!ills9
4 review and practise topics taught in school9 and
4 e%tend the school day.
he precise form that homewor! will ta!e will depend on the
goals that the teacher is trying to accomplish. However( the bottom
line of all these goals is aiding students6 learning( which leads us to the
question of whether homewor! is an effective learning tool.
Is h(.e1(r# e++ective*
Some research that has attempted to answer this question( often
with ambiguous results( however. he main reason for this ambiguity
is that it is very difficult to isolate the effects of homewor! from a
variety of other factors affecting students6 achievement.
/ ma+or recent overview of research was published by 1ooper
(19A99 1994) who loo!ed at 1-B studies categori;ed into three subsets
based on whether or not the study had been designed to compare
homewor! versus no homewor!( homewor! versus in4school
supervised wor! or were non4e%perimental( loo!ing at the statistical
relationship between the amount of homewor! done and achievement
as found through questionnaires of students and teachers (correlational
studies). ?oo!ing at 1> studies that have compared homewor! with no
homewor!( 1ooper found that homewor! can strongly benefit student
achievement. *eventy per cent of the studies he loo!ed at found that
students who did homewor! made more progress than students who
did not. 2urthermore( students who did more assignments per wee!
achieved better than those who did fewer assignments per wee!( as
measured by how both groups differed from students who did no
homewor!. However( if a homewor! assignment spanned a long
period of time( such as several wee!s( the impact was less strong.
*tudies comparing homewor! with in4school supervised study also
found homewor! to be more beneficial( although the difference was
not as large as for students who did no homewor!.
/ccording to 1ooper the following positive effects for
homewor! have been put forward&
he short4term effects which homewor! can lead to are&
4 better retention of facts and !nowledge(
4 increased understanding(
4 better critical thin!ing(
4 better information processing and
4 the possibility of e%tending the curriculum.
?ong4term effects include
4 he development of better study habits(
4 the development of more positive attitudes towards
school and studying( and
4 the encouragement of learning outside school hours.
Ion4academic long4term effects include
4 the development of greater self4direction(
4 greater self4discipline(
4 more independent learning and problem4solving(
4 better time organi;ation and more inquisitiveness.
2inally( homewor! can be used to complete tas!s that students
were not able to complete in class.
Iegative effects posited include satiation( as students become
tired of studying( which can lead to a loss of motivation and loss of
interest in academic wor!9 cheating( copying either from fellow
students or from published wor!9 and lac! of time for out4of4school
leisure activities.
1ooper6s review also suggests that while homewor! can
significantly benefit student achievement( the e%tent of these benefits
differs by grade and sub+ect. Homewor! appeared to have the largest
positive effect for science and social studies( and the smallest effect
for mathematics. ,eading and $nglish were in the middle.
'rade differences were even stronger. Homewor! had the
largest effect in high school (higher secondary)( where students who
received homewor! outperformed those who did not by =9 per cent. 3n
+unior high school (lower secondary) they outperformed no4homewor!
students by 5< per cent( while in primary school students who
received homewor! did not outperform their peers who did not receive
homewor!. /ccording to 1ooper( homewor! at this level does have a
positive impact( however( as it helps develop good study habits and
attitudes towards school and learning.
.ther /merican reviews have also provided support for the
view that setting homewor! can improve students6 achievement. (e.g.
Jeith 19A>9 2oyle and )ailey( 19AA9 2aul!ner and )3yth( 199<). Jeith
found that homewor! was particularly effective for students from
disadvantaged bac!grounds.
,utter et al. (19>9)( studying )ritish secondary schools( found a
strong positive relationship between the number of minutes of
homewor! assigned and students6 achievement( attitudes towards
school and attendance.
/ study in 3srael li!ewise found a positive effect for homewor!(
students who were said by their teachers to complete more homewor!
receiving higher teacher grades (1hen and $hrenberg( 1995).
However( it is clear that this could be as much the result of higher4
achieving students having more positive attitudes to school and
therefore completing more homewor! than the other way round.
*ome studies do not find positive effects( however. hus( in a
)ritish secondary school study( 1assidy (1999) reported no positive
effects on achievement in classrooms in which more homewor! was
assigned. *ome research has also pointed to negative effects of too
much homewor!
.verall( then( homewor! does seem to be an effective learning
tool( especially for students in the higher grades. However( this
conclusion leaves many questions unanswered( such as how
homewor! should be most effectively employed.

E++ective "se (+ h(.e1(r#
In order for homewor! to be an effective learning tool( it needs
to comply with a number of principles.
he first principle( which goes against a lot of present classroom
practice( is not to use homewor! as a punishment. "oing so will lead
to students resenting homewor!( and to homewor! not being seen as a
learning activity. *tudents will get the impression that the teacher does
not value homewor! as a learning tool( and will attempt to complete it
as quic!ly and perfunctorily as possible. /s a way of motivating
students or e%tending learning outside the classroom( this practice can
be very harmful (1ooper( 19A9).
hat the teacher is ta!ing homewor! seriously is also indicated
by the way she or he does or does not provide feedbac! on homewor!.
Homewor! should be mar!ed and returned as soon as possible. 3t
should always be properly corrected( as uncorrected homewor! gives
students the impression that all that matters is completing the tas!( no
matter how. his will obviously not encourage them to ma!e an effort
to produce correct or quality wor!( and will thus not aid student
learning. .ne way to do this that saves mar!ing time is to let students
correct each other6s homewor!. /s students are usually as!ed to
complete homewor! within a set time frame( mar!ing and returning
homewor! speedily will set the right e%ample and not give students
the impression that different rules apply to student and teacher. .ne of
the findings of 1ooper6s (19A9) overview was that homewor! that is
chec!ed contributes more to student achievement than homewor! that
is assigned but not chec!ed. .rnstein (1994) suggests that it is better
to give less homewor! but correct it( rather than give more homewor!
which remains uncorrected. 1ooper (19A9) suggests that feedbac! on
homewor! should be instructional rather than graded. his because
grading homewor! might lead to students losing intrinsic motivation
to do homewor! and lead to them completing it out of fear of bad
grades instead.
1orrected homewor! can also provide helpful feedbac! to
teachers on students6 progress in the sub+ect. .ne way of increasing
the usefulness of homewor! as a feedbac! tool for teachers is to log
beforehand how long she or he e%pects the homewor! to ta!e.
*tudents can then be as!ed to write on the homewor! sheet how long
it has actually ta!en them to complete it. 3f this period is particularly
long( this could be an indication that the student is having problems
understanding that particular topic.
Homewor! should also be integrated into the lesson or topic
studied. .ne way to do this is to review homewor! at the start of the
lesson. 7hen routinely done( this will ensure that homewor! is seen as
an integral part of the lesson and may also be a good way to lin!
previous and current lessons. 7hile practice of s!ills during
homewor! can be necessary( research does suggest that homewor! is
most effective when it reinforces ma+or curriculum ideas ()lac!(
199>). Homewor! should be challenging( but students should be able
to successfully complete homewor!( which should therefore not be
used as a way of testing students. .ne way to help achieve this( which
can also help overcome some of the problems involved with teaching
a heterogeneous set of students( is to individuali;e homewor!( so that
it is tailored to students6 levels in the sub+ect.
/ way of ma!ing homewor! more relevant to students is to
connect what they have learnt in the classroom to their everyday life(
for e%ample by using television guides to help them learn the time by
loo!ing at when their favourite programmes are on( by measuring
their room and estimating how much paint would be needed to paint it
and how much that would cost( or by interviewing relatives to learn
something about local history or media use habits. :reparing new
topics by as!ing students to bring in material they have collected( such
as leaves of different types for a biology lesson( can also help achieve
this aim. ,esearching something on the 3nternet can li!ewise be both
useful and en+oyable( though inschool provisions need to be available
for those students who do not have a computer or 3nternet lin! at
home. /part from heightening the relevance of homewor!( using real4
life e%perience and materials in homewor! can help students to more
easily remember what they have learnt in school ()oers and 1aspary(
Homewor! planners can help students develop independent
learning and organi;ational s!ills. Homewor! planners can( for
e%ample( ta!e the form of a small calendar( in which students have to
note what homewor! they need to be doing and when they have to
complete it. *tudents will need to be taught how to use homewor!
planners initially( but will find them very useful once taught. Esing
homewor! planners can help students develop good study habits( and
use of planners is recommended practice for other forms of
independent study as well.
3f homewor! is not completed( consequences need to be
attached to this( such as ma!ing students complete homewor! during
brea!s( giving them a negative mar! in a behaviour log( withdrawing
privileges( etc. 3f no negative consequences follow non4completion of
homewor!( students will soon start to ta!e it less seriously leading to
non4completion becoming an endemic problem.
Homewor! does not have to be a solitary activity as it is
possible to set co4operative homewor! tas!s. hese can ta!e the form
of co4operative research assignments or tas!s which require two or
more students to wor! together to complete it. /s with co4operative
wor! in general it is necessary to ascertain that students have the
necessary social s!ills to wor! co4operatively and( if this is not the
case( to teach them these s!ills first (see 1hapter 9). )oth +oint goals
and individual accountability are li!ewise necessary for co4operative
homewor! to be successful.
/s was remar!ed in the overview of research above( the
effectiveness of homewor! seems to differ according to grade level.
/lso( it is a well4!nown fact that as they get older studentsL
concentration levels and independent learning abilities increase. his
leads to the question of how much homewor! to assign at the different
grade levels.
School-wide homework policies
In or!er for o'e(or* to be 'ost effe#tive$ a s#ool)(i!e
a&&roa# is re#o''en!e!- 9esear# in s#ool effe#tiveness as fo"n!
o'e(or* to be i'&ortant .e-g- 9"tter et al-$ 01D14$ an! 'ore
generally s#ool)(i!e &oli#ies tat s"&&ort #lassroo' &ra#ti#e are
#onsi!ere! to #ontrib"te to s#ool effe#tiveness .Cree'ers$ 011A4-
One of te benefits of s#ool)(i!e &oli#ies is tat tey #an
#reate an etos in (i# all st"!ents feel tey are treate! te sa'e$ as
all tea#ers a&&ly te sa'e r"les- Also$ s#ool)(i!e #o)or!ination #an
el& avoi! te &roble's tat #an o##"r (en !ifferent tea#ers give
large a'o"nts of o'e(or* to be #o'&lete! !"ring te sa'e &erio!-
F"rter'ore$ s#ool)(i!e &oli#ies on o'e(or*$ as on oter
as&e#ts of s#ool life$ el& #reate eE"ity (itin te s#ool (it all
st"!ents benefiting fro' te sa'e level of o'e(or* (oever is teir
S#ool)(i!e &oli#ies #an ta*e a variety of for's- A set a'o"nt
of o'e(or* &er (ee* in !ifferent s"b%e#ts #an be el&f"l$ as #an
establising set nigts to !o o'e(or* in !ifferent s"b%e#ts .e-g-
Mon!ay is 'ate'ati#s o'e(or* !ay4- Develo&ing so'e for' of
stan!ar!i6ation for s"# tings as o'e(or* ea!ings #an save ti'e
an! effort$ as #an te "se of stan!ar!i6e! s#ool)(i!e o'e(or*
&lanners- Ho'e(or* &oli#ies so"l! also #ontain g"i!elines for
tea#ers on syste'ati#ally #orre#ting an! ret"rning o'e(or* (itin
a s&e#ifie! ti'e fra'e- Te &oli#y so"l! also set o"t (at is ex&e#te!
fro' &arents- Fse of o'e(or* #l"bs an! o&ening te s#ool library
after o"rs #an el& st"!ents (o ave !iffi#"lty #o'&leting
o'e(or* at o'e- S#ool)(i!e #oor!ination of s"# a#tivities is
ne#essary$ to"g$ so tat fa#ilities !o not be#o'e too f"ll an! a
s"ffi#ient n"'ber of s"&&ort staff are available-(from #ui+s and
,eynolds -BB1)
2or the youngest children too much homewor! can be harmful
as they are already tired when they come home from school and
homewor! can put e%tra pressure on them. hus( in primary school(
some researchers advocate not assigning homewor!( not least in the
light of the fact that no effects on achievement were found. here are a
number of reasons to assign at least some homewor! to primary age
students( though. .ne is to help students develop their independent
learning s!ills and help attain the attitude that learning can ta!e place
outside of school as well as in school. However( it is clear that young
children should not be overburdened by homewor!. 3t is generally
recommended that children from nursery to the first three or four
years of primary school should spend at most -B minutes a day doing
homewor!( and no more than 5B44B minutes a day in the upper
primary years.
/s children move to secondary school( the evidence on the
positive effects of homewor! becomes stronger( and there is clear
support for setting homewor! at this level. he development of young
people allows for more time to be spent on homewor! and( as the
student becomes older( the development of independent learning s!ills
becomes ever more important in the light of the move to higher
education and the wor!force. herefore( daily homewor! is
recommended for secondary school students( which can ta!e up to 9B
minutes a day (1ooper( 19A9).
/part from differences in the amount of time to be spent doing
homewor!( homewor! at different grades will also serve different
purposes and may therefore ta!e different forms. /s students grow up
more comple% tas!s can be assigned( which can be increasingly long
term( including writing papers based on some !ind of e%tended
Parental inv(lve.ent 1ith h(.e1(r#
The attitude of parents to homewor! is often ambiguous. .n the
one hand they believe it may aid their children6s school achievement(
and may see homewor! as a good way of finding out more about what
their children are actually doing at school( on the other hand they may
feel that it ta!es time away from other worthwhile activities( and some
parents may be at a loss as to how best to help their children to do
their homewor! successfully.
.ne of the main ways in which parents can help their children is
to provide a quiet and private space where the child can do her or his
homewor!. his does not necessarily mean that parents should ma!e
sure that children turn the radio off or do not listen to music. .n the
contrary( according to some research listening to music can aid
concentration (Hallam and 1owan( 1999). :robably this will differ
from child to child and children should be allowed to listen to music
while studying or completing homewor! if they feel comfortable
doing so.
:arents should encourage their children to complete their
homewor! and should support their children when they as! for help
without actually doing the homewor! for them. *howing an interest in
homewor! will help give children the feeling that homewor! is
important and valued. :arents can also help by establishing a routine
in which a certain time of the day is set aside for homewor!
completion. 3f possible( parents can help students develop their time
management and organi;ational s!ills( although some guidance from
the school can be necessary to help parents do this. his is particularly
important with younger children( who need more parental help to
successfully complete their homewor! assignments. *econdary school
children should largely be able to complete homewor! independently.
he school can help parents by giving them the information they
need and regularly communicating with them on homewor!. 3f there is
a school4wide homewor! policy this should be communicated to
parents. eachers should let parents !now how much homewor! they
plan to assign and appro%imately how long assignments should ta!e.
he homewor! planner( mentioned above( can be used to
communicate to parents what homewor! has been assigned( and it
might be useful to as! parents to sign the planner as well. 3f there are
consistent problems with a child not completing them to a standard
that is well below what one would e%pect or what the child seems able
to do in class( teachers should discuss this with parents to ascertain
whether there are circumstances at home( such as lac! of a quiet
wor!ing space( that may hinder the child completing homewor!
satisfactorily. 3f possible( teachers should involve parents in
developing a strategy to solve the problem. 3t is important to
remember( though( that parents may not be aware of what is
happening while students do their homewor! due to them returning
late from wor!( for e%ample (Hoover "empsey( )assler and )urow(
199<). 3t is also important to provide support to parents on how to help
students because confusion can result from students receiving
different advice or methods from parents than they do from teachers at
$specially with younger children( parents should be encouraged
to do some homewor! activities with their children( such as reading
aloud to them or playing games with them. $%plaining to parents at
the beginning of the school year how they can help in this way will be
helpful to them( as will designing certain homewor! assignments for
students to wor! on with parents. .ne method that can help involve
parents in their children6s homewor! is to give homewor! in the form
of games that can be played with parents and siblings while
reinforcing principles that needed to be learnt ()ryan and *ullivan4
)urstein( 199>).
2or some parents( especially if they suffer socio4economic
deprivation( it may be impossible to provide the calm( supportive
space needed for children to be able to successfully complete
homewor!. / small minority of parents may not even be willing to do
so. Here the school can help out by providing students with the space
they need by setting up in4school homewor! clubs where students can
come to .study and complete homewor! outside school hours( as has
successfully been done in schools in a wide number of countries(
including the EJ.
/ further problem may be the differential access that children
have to material in the home that they can use for research purposes(
for e%ample. his can be a particular problem with homewor!
assignments that do not provide merely practice of the day6s lesson(
but as! students to do research on a topic or find out something to
prepare for coming topics. Here again the school can help out by
providing library facilities that students can access outside school
Teaching English
Michael *wan writes about seven bad reasons for teaching
grammar and two good (Meto!ology in Lang"age Tea#ing -BB-).
he bad reasons are&
1. )ecause itLs there K we find it in grammar boo!s. )ut
the grammar points in the course boo! may not all be equally
important for a particular class. he boo! may have been written for
students with different purposes( studying in a different environment(
perhaps with different native languages and different problems. 3t may
have been designed for students with more time to spend on grammar
than they do today. he boo! may simply have been written by a
grammar fanatic. 3t is important to choose grammar points relevant to
studentsL needs( rather than blindly going through the syllabus from
left to right.
-.3tLs tidy K grammar loo!s tidy and is teachable. 'rammar can
be presented as a limited series of tidy things which students can
learn( apply in e%ercises( and tic! off one by one. ?earning grammar is
a lot simpler than learning a language.
5.3tLs testable K many students li!e tests. 3t is hard to gauge your
own progress in a foreign language( and a good test can tell you how
you are doing( whether you have learnt what you wanted to( and what
level you have reached. ests show (or appear to show) whether
students are learning and whether teachers are teaching properly9 they
ran! learners9 and (if you incorporate a pass mar!) they can be used to
designate success or create failures.
4. 'rammar as a security blan!et 4 'rammar can be reassuring
and comforting. 3n the convoluted landscape of a foreign language(
grammar rules shine out li!e beacons( giving students the feeling that
they can understand and control what is going on. /lthough this
feeling is partly illusory (structural competence only accounts for a
portion of what is involved in the mastery of a language)( anything
that adds to learners6 confidence is valuable. However( the 6security
blan!et6 aspect can lead students and teachers to concentrate on
grammar to the detriment of other( less codifiable but equally
important( aspects of the language.
<. 3t made me who 3 am 4 #any foreign language teachers spent
a good deal of time when younger learning about tense and aspect( the
use of articles( relative clauses and the li!e9 they naturally feel that
these things matter a good deal and must be incorporated in their own
teaching. 3n this way( the tendency of an earlier generation to
overvalue grammar can be perpetuated.
=.Dou have to teach the whole system 4 :eople often regard
grammar as a single interconnected system( all of which has to be
learnt if it is to wor! properly. his is an illusion. 'rammar is not
something li!e a car engine( where a fault in one component such as
the ignition or fuel supply can cause a complete brea!down. 3t is more
realistic to regard grammar as an accumulation of different elements(
some more systematic than others( some lin!ed together tightly or
loosely( some completely independent and detachable.
>. :ower 4 *ome teachers 4 fortunately( a minority 4 en+oy the
power. /s a teacher( one can get a !ic! from !nowing more than one6s
students( from being the authority( from always being right. 3n
language teaching( grammar is the area where this mechanism
operates most successfully. / teacher may have a worse accent than
some of his or her students9 there may be some irritating student in the
class with a vast vocabulary of /merican pop idiom of which the
teacher !nows nothing9 but there is always grammar to fall bac! on(
with its complicated rules and mysterious terminology. $ven if you
have a native4spea!ing student in your class( he or she will not be able
to tal! coherently and confidently about progressive infinitives or the
use of articles with uncountable nouns. 3f you can( you win.
wo good reasons&
1.1omprehensibility K !nowing how to build and use certain
structures ma!es it possible to communicate common types of
meaning successfully. 7ithout these structures it is difficult to ma!e
comprehensible sentences.
-./cceptability K in some social conte%ts( serious deviance from
native4spea!er norms can hinder integration and raise pre+udice 4 a
person who spea!s ObadlyL may not be ta!en seriously( or may be
considered uneducated or stupid. *tudents may therefore want or need
a higher level of grammatical correctness than is required for mere
Listen an! &ysi#ally res&on!- he first e%ercise( which applies
to otal :hysical ,esponse method( is a very effective way to present
imperatives( prepositions( and phrasal verbs. /lthough it is a
presentation technique for students at all levels( it can also provide
structured and communicative practice for beginning students who
don6t have enough language to handle a communicative tas!. his
research suggests that students benefit from watching as well as from
doing( so you can begin by bringing several students and their chairs
to the front of the room. he rest of the class will watch and learn.
Have students sit down and face the class. )e careful not to use any
language e%cept $nglish. *ay C*tand up(C and do it yourself to show
your students what you mean. "o it several times until the students in
the front of the room get the idea. hen as! individual students to do
it. Ese their names& CJohn( stand up.C 7hen John does it correctly(
ac!nowledge this by saying( CgoodC or C.J.C /fter all the students in
the front of the room can do it( try a new command& C#ary( sit down.C
'o slowly. ,epeat and act out each command as many times as
necessary. 7hen students can stand up or sit down on command( as!
one to wal! to the window. ,emember( you can demonstrate yourself
or use gestures( but don6t answer any questions in the student6s native
language. $verything must be in $nglish. 1ontinue with other
directions( such as( C*tand up(C C*it down(C CJump(C C7al! to the
window(C and C7al! to the chair.C 7hen they have mastered these
commands( you can give them a new command they haven6t heard
before( such as( CJump to the window.C *tudents will be delighted
when they reali;e they can understand and respond to something new
in $nglish in so short a time. 3n this way( students learn to
comprehend the imperative form without even reali;ing it.
Listen an! !ra( 2or wor!ing with students beyond the very
beginning level( the following activity might be used for
communicative practice of prepositions and locations of ob+ects with
various shapes.
/s! students to ta!e out a piece of paper and a pencil. ell them
to listen and to draw what you as!. Dou can ma!e the directions as
simple or comple% as you want. he following e%ample starts out very
simply( but becomes quite comple%&
C"raw a heart in the upper right4hand corner of your
paper. Iow draw a diamond to the left of the heart. "raw a
house in the middle of your paper. Iow draw a tree three
centemetres below the heart. :ut two hori;ontal( parallel lines
three centimetres below the diamond.C
his e%ercise can continue as long as your students are
challenged and can be varied to practice vocabulary and prepositions
Listen an! #olo"r- 2or receptive practice of possessive
ad+ectives( the following activity can be used. 'ive students some
crayons and a mimeographed sheet with line drawings of a boy and a
girl( and their dogs. he pictures can be simple( but students must be
able to tell the boy from the girl. hen give the class the following
C.n your paper there are two people( a boy and a girl. 1olour
his hair red.C
7ait for students to do this( and then say&
C1olour her hair orange. 1olour her s!irt brown. 1olour
his pants blac!. 1olour her 4shirt green. 1olour his 4shirt
purple. 1olour his dog brown and white. 1olour her dog
he actual co1ours used are not important. he main ob+ective
is to give students a chance to follow directions while listening to
colours and possessive ad+ectives in imperative sentences. 7hen the
students are finished( let them compare papers. 2inally( show them
your paper as a final chec! for accuracy. his activity is intended for
children( but adults en+oy it or adaptations of it as well. 3f you cannot
prepare mimeographed sheets for your students( you can draw the
pictures on the board and have students appro%imate them on paper9
two students can also come up to the front of the room and carry out
the commands with coloured chal!. he rest of the students can watch
and correct their classmates if a mista!e is made.
Listen an! 'ani&"late- / particularly effective technique for
presenting or practicing prepositions and phrasal verbs requires your
students to listen and manipulate ob+ects. 2or e%ample( call one
student to the front of the room and say&
CJohn( put the boo! on the table. 'ood. :ut the boo!
under the table. 'ood. :ut the boo! beside the chair. 'ood. :ut
the boo! in the drawer.C
3ntroduce the phrasal verb &i#* "& by continuing this way&
C:ic! up the boo! and put it on the chair. :ic! up the boo! and
put it in the drawer.C
2or more advanced students who have mastered prepositions of
location( you can e%tend the activity to demonstrate other uses of
prepositions( such as the pro%y function of for. o do this( say&
C#i!e( John wants to put the boo! on the table( but he
can6t. His arm is bro!en. :ut the boo! on the table for him.C
/nother e%ercise for teaching phrasal verbs that requires
listening and manipulating ob+ects is as!ing a student to come to the
front of the room. :ut a piece of paper on the des! and say&
CJos\( pic! up the paper. hrow it away. .h( ohU 7e want
to !eep it. :ic! it up again. 'ive it to #arcia. *he6s had it long
enough. a!e it away from her.C
3n most classes( the teacher can even invite one of the students
to ta!e over the role of giving commands. his is usually well
received by the class.
Loo*$ listen$ an! verbally res&on!- / very effective technique
involves the teacher spea!ing to students who can only give one4word
responses (as a class or individually). he word can be yes or no( or it
can be someone6s name( a noun( an ad+ective( a number( etc. his
technique can be used to teach vocabulary( but it can also be used to
present or practice certain structures( such as or4questions( after
students have mastered comprehension of yes@no and (4questions.
3f students already !now each other6s names and some basic
colour vocabulary( the teacher can begin by standing ne%t to a student
and as!ing the class (or an individual student) who it is&
& 3s this #aria or is this *usana8 (demonstrates response)
& 3s this #aria or *usana8 (elicits response) *(s)& *usana.
& 3s *usana6s blouse pin! or is it blue8 (points to blouse
and responds) :in!.
& 3s *usana6s blouse pin! or blue8 (elicits response)
*(s)& :in!.
his should continue with e%amples involving other students
until the teacher is confident the class understands how to comprehend
and respond to alternative questions. /t this point( the teacher can
introduce some well4selected pictures of desserts or sweets (along
with the vocabulary if it is unfamiliar) and say( C7e6re going to a
restaurant. 7e6re going out for dessert.C he conversation can continue
as follows&
& John( do you want ice cream( pie( or ca!e8
J& :ie.
& "o you want apple pie or cherry pie8
J& 1herry.
& *arah( do you want ice cream( pie( or ca!e8
*& 3ce cream.
& "o you want vanilla ice cream or chocolate8
*& 1hocolate.
his should continue until everyone has a chance to respond.
he most common error is for students to answer yes or no when they
should ma!e a specific choice. 7hen this happens( the teacher should
show pictures of all the options in the alternative question and say to
the student(s)( CDou can6t have both@all of them. Dou have to ma!e a
choice. 7hich one do you want8 "o you want this one or that one8C
"uring the e%ercise( the teacher should also include a few recall items(
such as these&
& ?iana( 3 forgot. "oes John want ice cream or pie8
?& 3ce cream.
3f there is a mista!e( as above( or any confusion( yes@no and (4
questions can be used to straighten out the facts&
& 3s that right( John8
J& Io.
& 7hat do you want8
J& :ie (or cherry pie).
3n this way( comprehension of alternative questions is
introduced( while comprehension of yes@no questions and (4
questions is reviewed. his would ta!e place during the presentation
phase of a lesson.
Listen an! s&ea*- .ne of the best communicative e%ercises for
practicing prepositions and phrasal verbs requires some preparation
but is well worth the time and effort. )efore class( you will need to cut
out different shapes (triangles( circles( squares( and rectangles) from
different coloured papers. #a!e the shapes different si;es and colours(
but ma!e two copies of each colour@shape combination. Ese enough
different shapes so that each student can have about si% or eight pieces
of paper. )efore you start( be sure students !now the names of all the
shapes and colours you have used.
2or this e%ercise( each student will need a partner. $ach pair is
given matching sets of coloured shapes. hey can arrange their chairs
so they are sitting bac! to bac!. .ne student in each pair then arranges
his set of shapes on his des! anyway he chooses. he only
requirements are that he must use all the shapes the teacher has given
him( and his partner must not be able to see the arrangement. hen(
when the teacher tells students to begin( the student with the arranged
shapes must tell his partner where to put her pieces of paper so the
arrangement on her des! e%actly matches the arrangement on his. He
might say things such as&
C2ind the little yellow triangle. :ut it three centimetres
down from the left4hand side of your des! and two centimetres
away from the top. Iow find the big red circle and put it to the
right of the triangle.C
:erhaps the other student will as!&
C3s the big circle about five centimetres in diameter8C
he first student will answer&
CIo( that6s the small red circle. 2ind the big one.C
7al! through the class as students do this e%ercise and ma!e
sure they are using $nglish. 3f they forget the word for a particular
shape( let them describe it as best they can( and you can present the
vocabulary they have forgotten after the e%ercise. "on6t let the
students turn around or loo! at each other6s arrangement until the
e%ercise is finished. )oth students can spea! and as! any questions of
the other that they want. he point is to communicate. he e%ercise is
difficult but offers a high return for the effort& it demands
communication( encourages use of new vocabulary( practices
structures already learned( and is e%ceedingly challenging.
Telling st(ries
Tea#er)generate! stories- $veryone loves a story( including
$*? students. *tories are used in contemporary $*? materials to
promote communication and e%pression in the classroom. / dialog
reflecting some version of a CstoryC is central to audio4lingual lessons.
*tories can be used for both eliciting and illustrating grammar
points. he former employs inductive reasoning( while the latter re4
quires deductive thought( and it is useful to include both approaches in
lesson planning. 3n addition( a well4told story is the perfect conte%t for
a structure4discourse match( but the technique can also be used
effectively for a structure4social factor match. *torytelling is one of
these e%tremely adaptable techniques( and it can be a convenient and
natural grammar teaching tool. Dou may even find that it is the
technique that holds students6 attention best( as well as the one they
en+oy most.
'rammar points can be conte%tuali;ed in stories that are
absorbing and +ust plain fun if they are selected with the interest of the
class in mind( are told with a high degree of energy( and involve the
students. *tudents can help create stories and impersonate characters
in them.
*tudents will certainly appreciate and respond to your efforts to
include them in the storytelling process( but they will also en+oy
learning about you through your stories. /dult4school students are
particularly interested in their teacher9 anecdotes about you( your
family( or your friends( as long as they are relevant and used in
moderation( can be very effective.
*tories should last from one to five minutes( and the more e%4
aggerated and bi;arre they are( the more li!ely students will remember
the teaching points they illustrate.
Past Perfe#t- he story centres around students( and student
participation and development of the story is encouraged.
3n an intermediate class( the story could go as follows&
C?et6s say that #rs. 'on;ales gets tired of her +ob. 7hat do you
do( #rs. 'on;ales8C
/llow the student to respond. hen continue&
C.J. ?et6s say that #rs. 'on;ales is tired of wor!ing in a
hospital. *he wants to find a new +ob where she can ma!e more
money. 3s that right( #rs. 'on;ales8C
*ha!e your head up and down to signal to #rs. 'on;ales what
her response should be. he student will usually catch on immediately
and respond in a way that will advance the story. 3f not( continue to
sha!e your head to prompt the correct response. Dou might( perhaps(
even give the correct response yourself( with good humour. /fter a
few stories( you will probably find that students await your cues
eagerly and respond promptly( or occasionally en+oy giving you the
wrong response before agreeing to follow your cues. )oth !inds of
responses can be effective and serve to ma!e the e%perience more
interesting and fun for everyone. 1ontinue the narration&
C*o( #rs. 'on;ales decides to get a new +ob. 7hat !ind of +ob
do you thin! she gets8C
?et students volunteer possible +obs for #rs. 'on;ales( but
re+ect them all. 7hen you6ve e%hausted all of their suggestions(
CIo( these are really good ideas( but #rs. 'on;ales
doesn6t get any of those +obs. Dou6re a really good coo!( aren6t
*ha!e your head up and down to cue a positive response&
C7hat dish do you coo! best8 $nchiladas8 Iow( Ielson( you6re
a rich man( aren6t you8C
*ha!e your head up and down to cue Ielson if necessary&
C7ould you li!e to invest some money8 'ood. 7hy don6t
you give #rs. 'on;ales fifty thousand dollars to open an
enchilada stand8C
$%plain that with Ielson6s help( #rs. 'on;ales opened an
enchilada stand&
C3 thin! #rs. 'on;ales will ma!e a lot of money. 7hat do you
thin!( #i!e8C
/fter #i!e responds&
C7ell( you !now( she did +ust that. #rs. 'on;ales was so
successful that in +ust si% months( she had made enough money
to pay Ielson bac! and had one hundred thousand dollars left
over besides. $ach year( she sold more and more enchiladas.
*he became a very rich woman and moved to )everly Hills.
*he bought a big house with a swimming pool( and what else(
#rs. 'on;ales8C
/fter she responds&
C7owU "oesn6t that sound great8 7ell( you !now( after
two or three years( #rs. 'on;ales decided that she wanted to
retire. *he had made so much money( she didn6t need any more.
Iow( #rs. 'on;ales( let me as! you( how much money had you
made before you retired8C
7ith cues( get #rs. 'on;ales up to a million&
Chat6s right. #rs. 'on;ales retired after she had made a million
dollars. C
he sentence can be written on the board and the form of the
past perfect then elicited( perhaps with the aid of a time line&
gets tire' (+
len's her .(ne$
Mrs G (pens
stan'@ .a#es A
! .illi(n
Mrs G gets
rich an'
:ut the number 1 over the first action( ma!ing the money( and
the number - over the second action( retiring. /s! students what the
difference in form is between the first action and the second action.
Dou want them to notice that the first action is e%pressed by a! M a
past participle and that the second action is e%pressed in the simple
past. he teacher can tell two or three more stories( write the elicited
lines on the board( and point out the parallels in form. *tories based on
sentences such as the following have all been successful( but may
have to be adapted for your students.
o Juan had repeated ?evel 5 four times before he
o 1arlos had had three girlfriends before he fell in love
with ?uisa.
o #arie had eaten three plates of spaghetti before she
was full.
o #r. ?ee had as!ed a number of students before he got
the correct answer.
7hen telling stories( as with all other aspects of teaching( the
teacher must e%ercise good taste and caution( but still communicate
with the class. he appropriate balance varies from class to class( and
only individual teachers will !now what the balance should be and
when it must be ad+usted. .nce the teacher has told the stories and
elicited the conte%t and rules( the presentation( the first phase of the
grammar lesson( is finished. he class should then be ready to go on to
structured e%ercises( followed by communicative e%ercises.
Mo!als- #any teachers find modal au%iliaries and perfect
modals difficult to teach. hey are very problematic for most students
as well because( unli!e other verbs in $nglish( modals act almost li!e
sentential operators. hat is( they convey a quality of probability(
obligation( etc. to the entire sentence. herefore( to communicate the
function and meaning of a modal or perfect modal( lessons must be
richly conte%tuali;ed with a variety of e%amples. *torytelling( of
course( is perfectly suited to the tas!. o teach must( you might tell a
story about one of your students( Jose&
CEsually he6s a very good student who pays close
attention in class. However( today he is ga;ing out the window
with a silly grin on his face. 7hen 3 call on him( he only sighs.
7hen 3 wal! by his chair( 3 see Jose M #aria( with little hearts(
written all over his noteboo!. 7hat can we conclude8C
Here let the class volunteer. hen continue&
C.bviously( Jose '"st be in love.C
7rite the sentence on the board( and then tell another story
which will elicit the inferential use of '"st- 7hen you have two
sentences on the board with which to wor!( draw students6 attention to
the important points.
o illustrate perfect modals( you could tell the story of one of
your students after the last e%am. 2irst set up the conte%t of the e%am&
C?ast month we had an e%am. 7as it difficult( #ario8C
/fter the time period and the difficulty of the e%am have been
established( tell the class about ,ene.
C/fter the e%am( 3 saw ,ene. He was smiling and
whistling. He loo!ed very confident. He wasn6t nervous at all.
Iow we6re all very intelligent. 7e loo! at ,ene( a good student(
and we see him smiling and rela%ed. 7hat #an we conclude8C
he response we are loo!ing for here is( CHe '"st have done
very wellC or CHe '"st have passed the e%am.C
St"!ent)generate! stories- *tudents can be marvellous
storytellers as well as e%cellent listeners( and this ability can be used
to good advantage. 2or e%ample( for communicative practice of the
simple past( the methodologist ,andall )urger had his students
complete the following with a story&
C?ast night 3 got loc!ed out of my house because. . .C
his e%ercise can be oral or written. *tudents love to use their
imagination and often can create very entertaining stories.
rue stories can also be very e%citing. /n occasion for struc4
tured( communicative practice of the past perfect could be provided by
as!ing students to tell their partners or the class about five things they
had never done before they got to some place( e.g. the Enited *tates.
C)efore 3 came to the Enited *tates( 3 had never eaten a
elling each other how they spend national holidays provides an
opportunity for students to use the simple present. elling about ne%t
wee!end6s plans will elicit the future. 1onditional use of perfect
modals can be practiced by discussing what students could have done
if they had wanted to or whom they could have (or should have)
married. *uch past unreal conditionals are appropriate for discussing
what would have happened if they had done so. .ne effective
procedure is for the teacher to model a story first and then to direct
students to tell their stories to their partners. *tudents usually find the
teacher6s story almost as interesting as their own( and modelling the
activity seems to brea! the ice. 3t also gives students an opportunity to
hear the grammatical structure in conte%t once more before they
produce it.
Mo!ifie! #lo6e- / short anecdote or story from which the
structure under consideration is omitted can be used for focused
practice of a particular grammatical structure. 2or e%ample( the
following story about Iasrudin provides students with an opportunity
to practice the correct use of definite and indefinite articles. .mit the
underlined articles( and number each blan! in the story for discussion
and correction purposes.
.nce upon a time there was a carpenter who had so much wor!
to do that he decided he needed an assistant. He put an advertisement
in the paper( and soon someone came to apply for the +ob. he
carpenter was surprised and disappointed when a strange( wea!4
loo!ing man named Iasrudin appeared at the door.
/t first( the carpenter didn6t want to hire Iasrudin because he
didn6t loo! li!e he could even lift a toothpic!9 however( as no one else
had answered the ad( the carpenter finally said&
C.J( 36ll give you a chance. "o you see the forest over there8
a!e my a%e and chop as much lumber as you can.C
/t dus! Iasrudin returned( and the carpenter as!ed&
CHow many trees have you chopped down8C
C/ll the trees in the forest(C Iasrudin replied.
*hoc!ed( the carpenter ran to the window and loo!ed out. here
were no trees left standing on the hillside. Iasrudin had chopped
down the entire forest. he astonished carpenter as!ed Iasrudin&
C7here did you learn to chop lumber8C
C3n the *ahara "esert(C Iasrudin answered.
Chat6s ridiculous(C laughed the carpenter. Chere aren6t
any trees in the *ahara "esert.C
Chere aren6t any now(C Iasrudin replied.
/ny +o!e or anecdote can be put to the same use if it contains
e%amples of the structure being taught. *imply write the story in
language you thin! your students will understand. eachers usually
are better +udges of comple%ity and what their students comprehend
than any formula( whether syntactic or le%ical( for assessing difficulty.
*ometimes it is necessary to introduce !ey le%ical items before the
activity( but these should be !ept to a minimum and introduced a day
or two in advance and reviewed on the day of the e%ercise. his
allows students sufficient time to internali;e the vocabulary items and
gives them the opportunity to focus on form rather than on le%icon
when the lesson is finally presented.
2or e%ample( one might use the old story of Che #ost 3n4
telligent #an in the 7orld.C Jey le%ical items in the story include
&ilot$ a"to'ati# &ilot$ ste(ar!ess$ *na&sa#*( and &ara#"te. hese
words should be introduced a day or two before the story is told. hen
the teacher should write up the story( leaving numbered blan!s for the
structures students are to focus on and fill in. 2or e%ample( if one is
teaching the use of too$ very( and eno"g$ the structured practice story
might loo! li!e this&
The M(st Intelligent Man in the )(rl'
/ private +et with president Y( a priest( a hippie( and the most
intelligent man in the world was travelling through the air when
suddenly one of the engines began to cough and splutter. he pilot
chec!ed the gauge and reali;ed that there wasn6t eno"g fuel to ma!e
it to the airport. He set the plane on automatic pilot and went bac! to
the passenger compartment. he passengers were very frightened
when they saw the pilot. He had a parachute on( and he said&
C36m very sorry( but we don6t have eno"g fuel to ma!e it
to the airport. Enfortunately( we also don6t have eno"g
parachutes for everyone. 36m ta!ing one( and the stewardess is
ta!ing another. hat will leave three. he four of you will have
to decide among yourselves who gets them. "on6t ta!e too long
because you only have eno"g fuel for about three more
minutes. 'oodbye. C
7ith that( the pilot and the stewardess +umped out of the plane
together. :resident Y was the first person to spea!. He said to the
C36m :resident Y. 36m the president of country D. 36m much
too important to die. 3 have a lot of responsibilities( and a lot of
people depend on me. 3 should have a parachute.C
He put on one of the parachutes and +umped out of the plane.
he ne%t person to spea! was the most intelligent man in the world&
C36m the most intelligent man in the world. :eople come
from all over the world to as! my advice. 36ve solved problems
in every country of the world. 36m a very important person. 36m
much too important to die. 36m also very intelligent. he world
needs me more than it needs a priest or a hippie. 3 should have a
parachute. C
7ith that( he too! a parachute and +umped out of the plane.
Iow there was only one parachute left. he hippie loo!ed at the
priest( but the priest didn6t seem very upset. he priest spo!e first&
C?oo!( 36m a man of 'od. 36ve made my peace with my
ma!er. 36m not afraid to die. here aren6t eno"g parachutes for
both of us( so why don6t you ta!e this last one8 'o in peace( my
he hippie +ust smiled. He was very rela%ed and said&
CIo sweat( man. here are eno"g parachutes for both of
us. he most intelligent man in the world +ust +umped out of the
plane with my !napsac!.C
his story has been well received by advanced students( but if it
seems too dated or doesn6t appeal to you( you might try another +o!e
or even a simplified version of a classic short story by someone such
as *omerset #augham or 'uy de #aupassant& the plots are classic
and hold students6 attention in a way that other stories do not. 2or
more advanced students( a story from a local newspaper can be
transformed into a valuable resource by ma!ing it a clo;e e%ercise that
focuses on the relevant grammatical structure.
*tudents are divided into pairs( each member given a different
story. *tudents are allowed only a few minutes to read their stories.
hen they must summari;e their stories for their partners. he stories
can be chosen for the type(s) of structure or tense they will elicit and
used accordingly. 2or e%ample( non4referential it and the future tense
can be used in summari;ing a weather forecast. 2eature stories often
use the present tense( and some news stories are written in the simple
past. eachers should feel free to specify a particular structure or
tense. Esually learners are cooperative and welcome the opportunity
for communicative practice of a specific form.
Dra.atic activities an' r(lepla$
Based on her e%perience with $*? students and her research
into the use of drama in language education( psychotherapy( and
speech therapy( *tern (19AB) thin!s that dramatic activities in the
classroom can be helpful in several ways. hey appear to provide or
increase motivation( heighten self4esteem( encourage empathy( and
lower sensitivity to re+ection.
*tern maintains that dramatic activities Care a curative for the
frustration and lagging interest which often occur during second
language learning(C because they provide a compelling reason to learn.
3n effect( drama gives a Cstrong instrumental motivationC for learning
the second language. *tern thus concludes that drama Craises self4
esteem by demonstrating to second4language learners that they are
indeed capable of e%pressing themselves in realistic communicative
situationsC. 3n other words( dramatic activities can increase oral
proficiency by increasing self4esteem.
#ost second4language learners can recall at least one e%perience
when they were reluctant to use the new language because their com4
mand of it was considerably less than native4li!e. /ccording to *tern(
adults are especially inhibited by embarrassment or fear of re+ection.
However( she points out that Cseveral educators have found that drama
creates a non4threatening situation which can reduce and even
eliminate sensitivity to re+ection.C
*tern also addresses the issue of empathy. *tern thin!s of
empathy as a rela%ation or suspension of psychological mechanisms
which separate us from each other being essential to acquiring target4
li!e pronunciation in a second language. *chumann ta!es this one step
further by suggesting that Cthe natural factors which induce ego
fle%ibility and lower inhibitions are those conditions which ma!e the
learner less an%ious( ma!e him feel accepted( and ma!e him form
positive identification with spea!ers of the target languageC. *tern
feels that dramatic activities provide the second4language learner with
+ust such Cnatural factorsC and she calls this the Cspontaneity state.C
*tern speculates that perhaps this is what an $*? student
observed when he said of a classmate( Che transformation in his
manner was unbelievable. He really 6hammed it up6 during the phone
conversation and everyone in the audience noticedC. he e%perience is
really quite remar!able for students and teachers ali!e( and the fluency
and accuracy e%hibited are often ama;ing. *tern hypothesi;es that this
occurs during the spontaneity state because at that point
P. . . the usual gap between thought and e%pression which
ceases to e%ist in the native language might cease to e%ist in the
second language as well. $qually relevant to second4language
learning is the Cfree4flowingC creativity and the ability of the
person to draw upon heretofore untapped resources.Q
/s *tern says( the communicative strategies students acquire
during such a dramatic activity help them to Cad+ust to becoming a
spea!er of the second language and tends to become a part of their
linguistic repertoire.C
S#its +(r a'vance' revie1
One of the difficulties with teaching advanced4level students is
that although !nowledge of certain grammatical structures is assumed(
not all of the students truly command them. #oreover( it is often
e%ceedingly difficult for the teacher to determine which structures
have been internali;ed. / dramatic activity is an e%cellent tool for
such an assessment. 3t can reveal which structures need to be reviewed
and practiced.
"ivide students into small groups of five to ten. $%plain to them
that they are to write a s!it that they will perform for the others. 3f you
are teaching at a small institution( the whole school can be your
audience. 3f you are teaching at a university or adult school( probably
only one or two other classes have enough in common with your
students to appreciate their production. 3n any case( providing an
audience is the tas! of the teacher and should be dealt with before
beginning the activity. .f course( classmates constitute a sufficient
audience if there are enough of them and there is adequate space to
rehearse in without distracting anyone9 the students themselves are
enough if the production can be videotaped. /n audience of some sort
is essential since it stimulates motivation and provides a CpayoffC for
many class sessions of hard wor!. 3t is vital to tell students who the
audience will consist of before they begin to wor! on their s!it( as the
audience will( to some e%tent( determine the content of the play. / s!it
prepared for classmates or schoolmates might not be appreciated by
family and friends.
he first few sessions should be devoted to brainstorming( in
which groups wor! out their ideas for s!its. he teacher should act
strictly as a facilitator. /llow students to create something of their
own( and intervene only when it becomes apparent that no progress
will be made without your assistance. 3f this happens and a group
appears completely bloc!ed( the teacher can suggest possibilities( such
as acting out a +o!e or anecdote9 or doing a parody on /merican life or
institutions( such as a beauty contest( popular music( or school life9 or
being a foreigner in the Enited *tates. .ne of our groups did a moc!
ballet( all wearing enormous wor! boots9 another did a spoof of the si%
o6cloc! news( complete with commercials. /t this stage( students will
do best if left to their own devices. he best4received s!its always
seem to be the ones the teacher has influenced least. ?et students6 im4
aginations go and avoid censoring. 3f the content of the s!it is such
that school administrators or some other group might be embarrassed
or offended by it( spea! to the potentially offended group to avoid sur4
prises( but defend your students.
/fter one or two planning sessions( it is time for the groups to
wor! on an actual script. #a!e sure they write down the dialog for
their s!it and plan the necessary costumes( ma!eup( and props. 3t is
best to limit these to things that can be brought in from home.
$laborate sets are not necessary( but creative costumes( ma!eup( and
simple props ma!e all the difference in the world. 'ive students about
three sessions to wor! on this step. "uring the first two steps( $nglish
is being used for communicative purposes( and the teacher should not
correct errors or interrupt any creative wor!. *he should ma!e
unobtrusive notes on grammatical errors or le%ical difficulties and
organi;e mini4grammar lessons around those points.
he ne%t step is for the teacher to edit students6 wor! so that the
language is idiomatic and grammatically correct. his is an assess4
ment step and is essential( as it provides a clear picture of which struc4
tures need review. ,ecurrent structural errors and poor word choice
can provide the basis for grammar lessons during the remainder of the
semester( and you will also have a ready4made conte%t (the dramatic
activity) for each lesson. hus( such activities become conte%ts for
grammar lessons that your students will usually remember.
.ne aspect of editing involves meeting with groups in order to
determine what they are trying to say. hey might also need a little
help with ending a scene( planning a prop( or dressing a character.
"uring all of this interaction( both written and spo!en( the teacher
should be alert to grammatical errors and ta!e careful notes for future
.nce the script has been completed( type it up and ma!e enough
copies for all of the actors and yourself. *tudents now need to
rehearse. .ne hour of rehearsal daily for three or four wee!s is not too
much. 1oncurrently( grammar lessons should be conducted on what
the teacher has determined needs review.
7hen students are rehearsing( the teacher can act as a director
by suggesting movements( delivery of lines( etc. He can move around
from group to group and spend about ten or fifteen minutes with each
one. /fter a wee! of rehearsal( the teacher should begin to correct pro4
nunciation. *tudents should be encouraged to put their lines on tape(
and deliver them in front of mirrors( roommates( parents( pets( or
anyone who will listen. hey should be allowed to correct each other
and be reminded to spea! clearly so that they can be understood by
their audience.
Have each group rehearse its production numerous times. $very
rehearsal reinforces grammar points and helps offset stage fright. /s
the performance approaches( students suddenly reali;e they are
nervous. *tage fright can be assuaged to a great degree by preparation.
3f creative control is left to the students( they will not become bored or
lose interest.
he ne%t step is a full dress rehearsal in front of a small
audience. :erhaps you can recruit a colleague or two who have a free
period( a counsellor( or a secretary. 'uests at dress rehearsals are
usually very effusive. :raise and encouragement put students in a
positive frame of mind for the final performance.
.n the day of the performance( give your students plenty of
time to get into costume and prepare. #a!e sure you have a flash
camera and at least one roll of film( and invite the school6s officials.
3ntroduce each s!it (but let your students ta!e their bows alone) and
prepare to e%perience one of the most rewarding moments in your
teaching career.
3t may seem elaborate( but a dramatic activity is a remar!ably
effective way to diagnose and remedy problems with grammar that
advanced students are supposed to have mastered( but haven6t.
Another dramatic activity with which we are all familiar is role
playing. /ccording to ,osensweig (19>4)( C,ole4playing is the
dramati;ation of a real4life situation in which the students assume
roles. 3t . . . presents the students with a problem( but instead of
reaching a group concensus in solving it( the students act out their
solutionC (p. 41). ,osensweig argues that correctly chosen role
playing scenes e%pose students to the types of situations they are most
li!ely to encounter inside and outside of the classroom. 2eedbac!
from the teacher provides them with the linguistic and cultural
awareness needed to function in such situations( thus improving their
self4confidence and ability to communicate effectively. 3t is an
e%cellent technique for communicative practice of structures sensitive
to social factors.
he general procedure he suggests is first to hand out the prob4
lem to the students and answer questions. Ie%t( introduce and e%plain
the vocabulary and structures necessary for the tas!. 3n the following
session( divide students into groups( in which they discuss and prac4
tice how they are going to do the role4play4. ,osensweig suggests that
during this step the teacher allow students to communicate freely and
not interrupt for correction. However( the teacher should ta!e notes on
grammatical( cultural( and phonological errors for subsequent
treatment. Ie%t( the role4play is performed before the class. /fter each
enactment( the teacher comments on selected minor language errors.
#a+or errors are saved for formal grammar lessons later. /fter each
group has performed( the entire class discusses the questions raised by
the situation( such as different interpretations of the scene and
culturally or linguistically appropriate responses. he last step is to
assign a writing e%ercise based on the role4play or a related question.
*ubsequent grammar lessons based on the errors observed during the
e%ercise should be presented.
,osensweig suggests that the entire e%ercise be spread out over
three days& introducing the role4play situation and the initial group
wor! on the first day9 more group wor!( performances( class
evaluations( and written wor! on the second day9 and the grammar
follow4up on the third. He points out that a classroom activity such as
this usually includes wor! on vocabulary( a culture lesson( written
wor!( and a grammar lesson( as well as wor! on pronunciation and
communicative strategies.
o illustrate the procedure( let us consider the following role4
play from ,osensweig. he grammar focus is the social use of modals(
such as May I see yo"r !river5s li#ense$ &lease8( 8o"l! yo" 'in!
ste&&ing over ere$ &lease8( and the logical use of modals( as in I '"st
ave left 'y ins"ran#e verifi#ation at o'e or Te ligt 'igt ave
been yello(.
Being St(ppe' %$ a P(lice O++icer
(*tudent Handout)
3. S#ene
Dou are driving down a freeway in 1alifornia and you are
stopped by a police officer. He is completely unsympathetic to the fact
that you are a foreign student and your nervousness ma!es it difficult
for you to e%press yourself. Dou are not sure why he has stopped you(
but you !now that he is e%tremely angry. Dour are to wor! out a short
s!it with three characters& the driver( a passenger( and the police
officer (a fourth character could be another police officer). he
presentation should be appro%imately five minutes.
33. <o#ab"lary
driver6s license tic!et
vehicle registration citation
insurance to brea! the law
license plate to step out of the car
valid until rear4view mirror
333. ="estions for &lanning yo"r role &laying
7hy has the police officer stopped you8
How should you react to his anger8
3s it possible that he had a good reason to stop you8
7hat is the best way to deal with the matter8
7hat !ind of language do you use when you tal! to a
police officer8
7hat are the possible problems you might have
(e%pired license( forgetting an important document( something
wrong with the car)8
30. Dis#"ssion ="estions
3s bribery a good way to deal with a police officer in
the Enited *tates8 7hy or why not8
7hat is the role of a police officer in the Enited
*tates8 3n your country8
7hat is the best way to treat a police officer in the
Enited *tates8
3f you are stopped by a police officer( how should you
act8 7ould you act the same way if you were stopped by a
police officer in your country8
7hat would you do differently8
0. S"ggeste! To&i#s for 8riting
1. ,ecount a personal e%perience that you have had with
a police officer in the Enited *tates. (his is particularly
suited for practicing the past tense and the narrative mode.)
-. 1ompare and contrast the role of a police officer in
the Enited *tates with the role of a police officer in your
country. (his would elicit the present tense( e%pository
Pictures are fle%ible and useful resources for teaching aspects
of grammar that require a structure4meaning match& they can be used
in all phases of a grammar lesson (i.e.( in presentation( focused
practice( communicative practice( and for feedbac! and correction).
3nteresting or entertaining pictures motivate students to respond in
ways that more routine teaching aids( such as a te%tboo! or a sentence
on the board( cannot. /lthough they can be used to advantage at all
levels of proficiency( they are especially useful with beginning and
low4intermediate learners( who sometimes have trouble understanding
long or complicated verbal cues.
:ictures can also be used in various configurations to enhance
learning and practice. hey introduce a great deal of variety into the
classroom. / picture may focus on one specific ob+ect( such as a
house( or on an event( such as a boy +umping a fence9 alternatively( a
picture may evo!e an entire story. )etween these two e%tremes( there
are pictures of a few people or a few ob+ects. :ictures can be presented
in pairs& the same ob+ect or person on two different occasions (e.g.(
#r. Jones before and after his diet) or two different ob+ects or people
(e.g.( a comb and a brush( a brother and a sister( etc.).
:ictures can be grouped into semantically related sets that
contain from ten to twenty items( representing animals( vehicles(
flowers( fruits( etc. 2inally( a picture can become part of a sequence of
pictures that tells a story( much as comic strips or photo novels do.
Esing pictures of this type allows the teacher to focus on temporal
forms and sequences in the target language.
3n addition to eliciting verbal responses( pictures can form the
basis for pair and group activities. 7hen students move into pairs or
groups( or come to the front of the class for an activity( there is
appropriate physical movement (as opposed to such inappropriate
activities as private conversation( passing of notes( staring at walls( or
loo!ing out windows). $ven the most mature( highly motivated( and
disciplined students have to move about a little during class. /ctivities
that encourage appropriate movement involving students directly or as
observers4will promote and enhance active learning. 7e feel that
pictures can play an important role in this process.
Gr("p 1(r# as a techniB"e
Pair or group activities demand that the teacher prepare all
materials in advance and plan pair or group assignments well( so
students can perform their tas!s efficiently. 3f group wor! is not well
planned( students become confused and demand a great deal of atten4
tion simply because they are trying to understand the tas!. he
classroom becomes quite chaotic when ten or more groups are
demanding clarification or additional directions for a tas!. Ender such
circumstances( it becomes virtually impossible for the class to wor! or
for the teacher to move around the room and chec! each group6s
7hen students first begin doing group and pair wor!( the
teacher should not e%pect them to form optimal groupings without
assistance. hus( in addition to carefully planning and e%plaining the
tas!( the teacher must also thin! about group dynamics (e.g.( how best
to form the groups for learning). 3nitially( the teacher might plan the
groupings in advance and pro+ect them on a transparency that( li!e a
map( indicates the membership and location of each group. 3f the class
is mi%ed ethnically( the teacher may decide to separate people with the
same native language. *ome teachers have found it useful to put in4
hibited students together so they are forced to spea!.
7hile students are wor!ing in pairs or groups( the teacher
should circulate to verify that the activity is being done as planned and
to assist students who are having problems. (*tudents should be
instructed in advance to raise their hands if they have a question or
wish assistance.) he teacher should not remain seated or uninvolved
during such activities but oversee as many of the pairs or groups as
possible and respond or intervene as needed.
/s the teacher circulates( she should ta!e notes on the errors
students are ma!ing 4 especially the systematic errors. *uch informa4
tion can be used in brief follow4up e%ercises in which students are
shown their most frequent and main errors and invited to correct them
and practice the problematic forms.
8sing pict"res t( teach speci+ic str"ct"res
Yes/No C"esti(ns
Pictures can be effective for presentation and structured
practice of yes@no questions. .ne favourite conte%ts is a pet shop. 2or
this you will need large pictures that everyone can see of 1B or 1-
animals that are possible pets (e.g.( a dog( a cat( a pony( a goldfish( a
turtle( a canary( a parrot( a hamster( a mon!ey( a sna!e). /fter
everyone is familiar with the vocabulary for all the animals( the
teacher has one student come to the front of the room and secretly
CbuyC one of the pets. (3f your class is small enough( have the student
sit in the centre of a circle formed by his classmates.) hen the
classmates must guess which pet the student has purchased by as!ing
yes@no questions until someone guesses the correct pet. (Iote that this
format is simple( in that students directly guess the names of the pets9
different question forms are possible)&
1lassmate 1& "id you buy the mon!ey8 3s it the mon!ey8
*tudent& Io.
1lassmate -& "id you buy the dog8 "o you have the dog8
*tudent& Io.
1lassmate 5& 3s it the pony8 "o you have the pony8
*tudent& Des.
he classmate who guesses the right pet then goes to the front
and ma!es the ne%t secret purchase. his can continue for as long as
such practice is useful. he activity can be made more demanding by
allowing students to as! bac!ground questions about the pets (e.g.( C3s
it a large animal8C C1an it fly8C) or by requiring the class to guess the
price of the pet. 2or adult classes( instead of animals the teacher could
propose trips or meals as the conte%t. (C"id you go to )ra;il8C C"id
you have pi;;a8C)
/ similar( though more comple% and more communicative
question4as!ing activity( can be done with pictures of famous
characters or personalities 4 real or fictional( living or dead. he
important thing is that everyone in the class must immediately
recogni;e each famous personality. 3n larger or low4level classes( one
student comes up and selects from the pictures the CpersonC he will
pretend to be (e.g.( Iapoleon). he class then as!s yes@no questions
until someone correctly guesses the identity of the student9
1lassmate 19 /re you alive8
*tudent& Io.
1lassmate -9 /re you a man8
*tudent& Des.
1lassmate 5& "id you really e%ist8
*tudent& Des.
1lassmate 4& 7ere you an /merican8
*tudent& Io.
3n smaller and more advanced classes( the teacher can pin small
pictures of personalities on each student6s bac!. he students then
have to as! their classmates yes@no questions in an attempt to figure
out who they are (i.e.( who the pictures represent). his can be done
with one student as!ing questions of the whole class or a small group(
or it can be done as a freer activity in which everyone circulates
around the room and tal!s to everyone else.
Yes/No an' Wh-B"esti(ns
In an activity that provides communicative practice of both
yes@no and (4questions with reference to location( pairs of students
are given two mismatched pictures of a bedroom. *tudents must be
told in advance not to loo! at each other6s pictures. he two pictures
contain( among other things( some identical ob+ects in different
positions. he tas! of the students is to discover through oral
communication and then to write down (a) which ob+ects are in both
bedrooms and which are not9 and (b) which appear in the same
location and which do not. he questions students would have to as!
each other many times in the course of this activity include&
*1& 3s there a ]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]in your bedroom8
*-& Io( do you have a ]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]in yours8
*3& Des( 3 have a]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]
*-& 7here is the ]]]]]]]]]]]]]]] (in your bedroom)8
/fter the oral and written wor! is completed( students should
compare their lists against the actual pictures to see whether they have
communicated effectively.
Tense an' Ti.e
To elicit structured practice of the simple present tense
(habitual action)( the teacher gives each group of four students a grid
with eight rectangles. / specific time of day is indicated at the top of
each rectangle&
)ob6s *chedule
=&4< a.m. > a.m. >&4< a.m. 9 a.m.
1-&1< p.m. 1-&5B p.m. -&5B p.m. 4&5B p.m.
Fig = / grid with the daily programme
he groups are also given lB picture cards showing )ob engaged
in various activities. 2or e%ample&
get up fi% brea!fast
get dressed eat lunch
go to school wor! out at the gym
tal! to his girlfriend study in the library
attend class read the newspaper
Fig D "ifferent activities performed during the day
o ensure that there is some variety in group accounts and some
negotiation among students( each group is told to use only eight of the
ten pictures to match )ob6s activities with times of the day on the grid.
he tas! is to negotiate what )ob does every day at each time
specified on the grid( and this elicits the simple present tense.
*tudent 1& 7hat does )ob do at =&4<8
*tudent -& He fi%es brea!fast.
*tudent 5& Io( first he gets up. hen he fi%es brea!fast.
*tudent 4& .J. He gets up at =&4< and fi%es brea!fast at
>&BB. 7hat does he do at >&4<8
)ecause the groups choose slightly different sets of eight
pictures and order the pictures somewhat differently( there are
variations in )ob6s schedule among the groups. 3t can be amusing (and
also a good review) to have one person from each group relate their
version of )ob6s daily activities. )y changing the tas!( other tenses
can be practiced using the same materials&
"escribe what )ob did yesterday. (simple past)
"escribe what )ob is going to do tomorrow. (going to
/nother activity uses old photographs as a conte%t for com4
municative practice of past states or habits( contrasted with current
ones. he teacher should as! each of the students( well in advance of
this activity( to bring in a photograph of family members or friends.
he photo should be at least five years old. Iot all students will have
or want to share such photos( but if several students oblige these
photos can form the basis for contrasting past habits and states with
present ones. 2irst( students share the photos with the class. (/n
opaque pro+ector would help9 otherwise( pass them around quic!ly.
he teacher should bring plastic poc!ets or plastic wrap to protect the
photos from finger prints and smudges.)
Ie%t( students provide data about the photos& the names of
everyone pictured( what each was doing then( and what each is doing
now. hese data provide the stimulus for structured practice of the
habitual past tense in contrast with the simple present or the present
progressive. 2or e%ample&
C*even years ago( ,icardo used to be short( but he isn6t
anymore. He6s tall now.C
C*even years ago( ,icardo6s sister 1atarina used to be a
student( but now she6s a dentist.C
C*even years ago( ,icardo6s cousin Juan used to go to
high school. Iow he wor!s in a ban!.C
his can begin as a teacher4directed activity with the whole
class participating and then can change to a group4wor! activity( in
which a student in each group describes his picture.
o elicit a discussion of travel plans using the (ill future and
be#a"se of reason( the teacher as!s students to bring in a picture
postcard of some scenic place in their homeland or any place in the
world of interest to them. (he teacher should have some e%tra
postcards available.) $ach student presents a card and gives a short
narrative about travel plans or suggestions using the (ill future and
be#a"se to signal a reason. he teacher should give the class a few
e%amples so they !now what to do. 2or e%ample( students with cards
from their homeland can say something li!e this&
C7hen (1) te na'e of anoter st"!ent comes to visit me
in my country( 3 will ta!e (-) i'@er to see ]]]]]]]](5)
]]]]]]]]because]]]]]]]](4)]]]]]]]. 7e will also visit
]]]]]]]]]]](<) ]]]]]] and ]]]]]](=) ]]]]]]]]because
]]]]]]](>) ]]]]]].
*tudents with a card from another country can say&
C7hen 3 travel to ]]]]](1)]]]]]]( 3 will visit
]]]]]](-)]]]]] because ]]]]](5)]]]]. 3 will also visit ]]]]]
(4) ]]]]] and ]]]]]] (<) ]]]] because
3f students are at a low level( story frames such as those above
can be written on the board or pro+ected for focused practice. 7ith
more advanced students( it should suffice for the teacher to model the
patterns once or twice( in which case the practice becomes more
SeB"ential L(gical C(nnect(rs
In addition to their usefulness in teaching tense and time( a
series of pictures that tells a story can be used for communicative
practice of con+unctions and subordinators that overtly mar! the
sequence of events in a narrative.
3n the first e%ample activity( which focuses on the use of before
and after( each pair of students is given two pictures representing the
same person or ob+ect at two different points in time9 for e%ample(
*am weighing 5BB lbs. and *am weighing 15B lbs. or *ally6s shiny car
and *ally6s car after an accident. he pair of students has to negotiate
an understanding of which of the two events depicted occurred first
and what happened between the first and second events. (/ctually( in
all cases either order is possible.) he pair then shows its two pictures
to the class and tells the story. *tudents should be instructed to use
either before or after at least once in their stories. 2or e%ample( one
student might say&
C*am decided he was too fat. He went on a diet. /fter he
lost a lot of weight( he loo!ed much better.C
/nother pair might describe the story this way&
C*am was a handsome young man. hen his girlfriend
cancelled their engagement and left town. /fter that( he was so
depressed he ate and ate and became very fat.C
3n an activity that allows practice of e%pressions of temporal
sequence( such as first$ ten( and next( each group is given an identical
set of four to si% pictures in random order that tell a story. he groups
must first reorder the pictures so they tell the story and then write up a
group account using temporal transitional e%pressions to reinforce the
sequence of events. *ome of the cards used to practice tenses in the
earlier e%ercise describing )ob6s daily activities can be used here. 2or
C)ob got up early this morning. 2irst he got dressed9 then he
fi%ed brea!fast9 then he . . .C
.ne member from each group then shows the pictures and reads
the story developed by his group. /lternatively( the groups can write
their stories on transparencies and each story can be put on an
overhead pro+ector. he groups will then see if they have all
reconstructed the same sequence. .ften( at least one of the groups has
decided on a different order( which in turn can stimulate further
discussion of whether one sequence seems more logical (or perhaps
more humorous) than another. 2or e%ample( in the e%ample above( it6s
possible to say that )ob had brea!fast before he got up. 3t would be
less logical (but perhaps more humorous) to have )ob follow this
Pictures of two different people (stic! figures or maga;ine cut4
outs will do) can create a conte%t for structured or communicative
practice of comparisons. he teacher should give each pair of students
two such pictures( along with data for each picture specifying the
person6s name( age( height( weight and other pertinent information.
7ithout access to each other6s pictures or written data( both students
should share their information orally and generate a series of
sentences comparing the two people in their pictures. 2or e%ample&
C)ill is taller than 'eorge.C C'eorge is older than )ill.C
2or the presentation phase( the teacher should show the pictures
and model the sentences. 2or structured practice( the frames would be
provided and students would produce the sentences&
C)ill is ]]]]]]]]] 'eorge.C
C'eorge is ]]]]]]]]] )ill.C
2or communicative practice( students sit bac! to bac! so they
cannot see each other6s pictures. he two students thus have to as!
each other many questions and share a lot of information&
* 1& 3 have a picture of 'eorge. /nd you8
* -& 3 have a picture of )ill.
* 1& 'eorge is thirty years old.
* -& )ill is twenty4five( so 'eorge is older.
/ communicative activity using pictures that will help students
practice the superlative degree requires groups of three. $ach group
receives a set of three pictures of ob+ects such as houses or other
buildings K one picture for each student 4 and students are told not to
loo! at each other6s pictures. $ach group is also given an e%ercise
sheet with a list of cues for questions that must be as!ed and answered
during the activity. 2or e%ample&
1. #ost rooms8
-. 2ewest rooms8
5. .ldest8
4. Iewest8
<. )iggest garage8
=. <ma33est garage8
he first group to correctly complete their e%ercise sheet wins.
/ to!en pri;e for each of the three winners( such as a piece of candy(
is a nice touch.
,elative Cla"ses
For communicative practice of the identification function of
restrictive relative clauses( the teacher gives each pair of students two
identical pictures depicting four or five men( women( cars( or
buildings. .n one picture proper names or noun descriptions appear
below each person or ob+ect9 the other picture has blan!s. Having been
instructed not to loo! at his partner6s picture( the student whose picture
has blan!s must elicit the names by as!ing questions with relative
clauses or reduced relative clauses. 2or e%ample&
C7hat6s the name of the lady wearing the dar! blue coat8C
C7hatLs the name of the lady who6s laughing8C
o practice the same type of relative clause in an imperative
rather than a (4question( the teacher gives each group of four
students four or five pictures representing semantically related nouns
(e.g.( different boys( houses( cars). .ne student in each group holds
the picture cards( while another gives commands with relative clauses
indicating the disposition of the pictures. 2or e%ample&
C'ive the picture of the boy who is playing baseball to
C:ut the picture of the boy who is swimming on my
3t might be a good idea for the teacher to do this group activity
once with the whole class before the group wor! starts. /lso( once
each group has finished practicing with its own set of pictures( the
groups in the classroom can e%change picture sets. hen the other two
students in each group will have a chance to hold the pictures and give
the commands.
,evie1ing several 'i++erent str"ct"res
Pictures can also be used to effectively review a wee!6s worth
of lessons. ,andall )urger draws a big policewoman apprehending a
small criminal on an artist6s pad in front of the class as his students
watch. his immediately captures their attention and interest. /fter he
finishes( he as!s questions which will elicit responses with a specific
grammatical form. 2or e%ample( he might as! the following questions
(form elicited is in parentheses)&
7hat is she8 (copula)
7hat is she wearing8 (present progressive)
7hat does he do8 (present tense)
(pointing to gun) 7hat does she have here8 (present
tense with stative verbs)
Have you ever seen one8 (present perfect)
"o you have one8 (present with stative verbs)
How long has she been a policewoman8 (present
"oes she ma!e a lot of money8 (negative)
7ould you li!e to marry her8 (modal4li!e forms)
7hat was he doing when she caught him8 (past
"o you have policewomen in your country8 (yes or
7hat would you do if you met one8 (present unreal
he list of questions is( of course( limitless. he questions can
be varied to focus on whatever grammatical forms the teacher would
li!e to review. 3t is important that the picture be interesting and@or
amusing( though a picture appropriate for one group may not be
appropriate for another. /lso( be sure to end the e%ercise before
students become bored or tired of loo!ing at the picture.
8sing realia
According to Jelly( the use of realia in language teaching has a
long history. /s he points out&
he first clear information of the use of ob+ects of general
relevance comes from udor $ngland. *ir homas $lyot( for
instance( remar!s( Cthere can be nothyng more convenient than
by little and little to trayne and e%ercise them in spea!ing of
?atin9 infourmyng them to !now first the names in ?atin of all
thynges that cometh in syght( and to name all the parts of their
bodiesC (5=4& 55). 3n the famous scene from Henry 0 in which
:rincess Jatharine6s maid tries to teach her some $nglish( we
see a little of the practical application of $lyot6s advice in the
udor classroom.
,ealia has many uses in the classroom( not the least of which
are promoting cultural insight and teaching a life4s!ills le%icon. ,ealia
can also be used effectively in teaching grammar( especially for a form
meaning match. 2or this !ind of match( realia can be used in com4
bination with techniques such as storytelling and role4play in both the
presentation phase and the practice phase of the lesson.
H(ll$1((' stars
Let6s begin by loo!ing at some ways realia can be used in the
presentation phase. 2or e%ample( if one is teaching a lesson on the
copula with predicate nominals( usually a lesson for beginning
students( realia can help focus students6 attention as well as illustrate
the point.
2or this lesson( the teacher should bring in several items from a
thrift store( garage sale( or child6s toy bo%( such as a blond Halloween
wig( a train engineer6s hat( a stethoscope from a toy doctor6s !it( and
perhaps a doll. 1all five students to the front of the class( put the wig
on one( and say( C*he6s a movie star.C :ut the hat on another student
and say( CHe6s an engineer.C :ut the stethoscope around another6s nec!
and say( C*he6s a doctor.C 'ive the doll to the last student and e%plain(
CHe6s the father.C 0ery quic!ly students in front will get into the spirit
of the lesson and en+oy demonstrating their acting s!ills.
.ne teacher who uses this technique with his beginning students
says that at this point in the lesson( the class is usually very attentive
but high4spirited. He advises student teachers not to be disturbed by
students6 laughter( but en+oy their antics and laugh along with them.
his sets up a conte%t( an e%perience for the grammar point& the more
students en+oy the lesson( the easier it will be for them to recall it later.
"uring his presentation( the teacher waits until the class settles down a
bit and then goes bac! to the student with the blond wig and as!s the
class( C7hat is she8C /fter a student answers that she is a movie star(
he repeats the same routine with the other CactorsC in front of the
room( !eeping the activity light and fast4paced. /lthough students
may be more interested in the roles their classmates are playing( they
are also practicing the copula.
.nce students seem confident( the props can be changed to il4
lustrate the plural (!o#tors$ faters( etc.) and the teacher can illustrate
Go" are st"!ents by indicating the class as a whole. *uch realia( com4
bined with the physical movement of trading props and directing the
class6s attention to different actors( holds students6 interest. Humour
also ma!es the input meaningful and enables students to integrate it
with !nowledge and e%perience already acquired. he sight of a
classmate in a wig is easy to visuali;e and provides an image that
students can associate with the grammatical concept. 7hen dolls or
stethoscopes are given to two people instead of one( and the form
becomes faters or !o#tors( students have the opportunity to thin!
about and generate associations and relationships between the original
input and a novel situation.
Dou can also vary the copula lesson with the use of Halloween
mas!s (e.g.( Tis is Fran*enstein$ Se is Sno( 8ite( etc.).
/lternatively( you can use mas!s to practice predicate ad+ectives that
convey emotion in sentences( such as He is sa! or Tey are a&&y.
/ny realia that students associate with a predicate ad+ective (e.g.( ol!$
yo"ng$ fat$ tin$ intelligent$ bea"tif"l$ strong) or with any persona
(e.g.( a !o#tor$ a la(yer$ a tea#er) can be used to practice the copula.
eachers can even draw mas!s in class rather than buy the usual
commercial Halloween variety. hese same props can be used for
negation. ,ecall that there are two distinct possibilities in $nglish for
sentential negation 4 either post4copula or post4au%iliary negation( as
illustrated below&
1. post4copula& Judy isn5t here.
-. post4au%iliary& #ary !oesn5t have a car.
However( $nglish has le%ical negation as well&
5. le%ical& #artha is an "na&&y person.
3t ma!es sense to teach only one pattern at a time. 2or e%ample(
using the props from the e%ercise above( the teacher can as! (while
pointing at the doctor)( C3s she a movie star8C he class should
respond( CIo( she isn6t.C he teacher can then as! (while pointing at
the doctor)( C3s she a doctor8C thereby triggering the more frequently
occurring affirmative short response( CDes( she is.C
o present sentential negation with !o support( a situation will
have to be created in which the negation of some main verb other than
the copula is elicited. *tudents can again be called to the front of the
room and each one given a familiar item. 2or e%ample( one can be
given a boo!( another a pencil( another a pen( another a noteboo!(
another a purse( etc. he teacher can then point to the student who has
the noteboo! and as!( C"oes he have the purse8C 3n /merican $nglish(
the answer requires sentential negation (No$ e !oesn5t).
*entential negation can also be elicited by bringing two students
to the front of the room and listing items of clothing they are wearing
behind them on the board& red shirt( brown sweater( blac! shoes( etc.
.ne can then as! about the student with the brown sweater( C"oes he
have a red shirt8C /nother list can be made of things that obviously
neither student has. 3t could include some humorous items( such as
pin! soc!s or a ,olls ,oyce. Zuestions about this list will elicit
sentential negation in the plural (Tey !on5t ave &in* so#*s).
Puppets can be used to teach the copula with predicate
ad+ectives. 1all a student to the front of the class and put a puppet on
his hand. *ay to the puppet( CDou are sad.C /ct out sa! until the
student gets the idea and ma!es his puppet act accordingly. 1all
another student and get her to do the same thing. Iow you can
demonstrate and say( Chey are sad(C as well as CHe is sad.Q Dou can
as! the student what6s wrong( eliciting the response( C3 am sad.C
:uppets can also be used to illustrate the meaning of adverbs of
manner. 2or e%ample( the teacher can say( CJudy dances gracefullyC
and C:unch dances clumsilyC9 the students manipulating the puppets
will then ta!e them through the proper movements to show that they
understand the adverbs. Hand puppets also have the advantage of en4
couraging capable but inhibited students. 2requently( shy students will
practice language more willingly when hiding behind a puppet than
they will without a guise.
I'entical %(7es
The presentation phase of teaching demonstratives can also
ma!e effective use of realia. he teacher needs two identical and
interesting ob+ects( such as two brightly coloured bo%es. *he then
places one bo% close to her and one far away. /gain( the teacher6s
movement( as well as curiosity about the bo%es( will hold students6
interest. he teacher can stand ne%t to one bo%( point( and say( Chis
bo% is blueC and Chat bo% is blue.C his sets up a minimal pair& the
only distinction between the two ob+ects is their pro%imity to the
teacher. /s soon as students seem to catch on( the teacher can move to
the other bo% and say( Chis bo% is blue(C thus showing that the
demonstrative changes according to the referent6s distance from the
spea!er. wo sets of bo%es can be used for tese boxes and tose
boxes. $ach point can be underscored by writing it on the board( by
inviting different students to ta!e the place of the teacher( and finally
by allowing students to practice in pairs( placing ob+ects close to and
far from themselves. 3f students already !now the names of colours
and various ob+ects( it is not necessary to limit realia too strictly( but
don6t overload students cognitively. hey should focus on form rather
than wrestle with le%icon.
Na.e the (%&ects
,ealia can also be used in the communicative practice phase of
a grammar lesson. he following e%ercise for practicing attributive
ad+ectives and their order is based on a suggestion from im
)utterworth and "arlene *chult;( who e%ploit an old baby shower
game. :lace a number of small ob+ects( each of which can be
described by more than one ad+ective( on a table. his e%ercise is
particularly challenging if you include items that differ in only one
attribute( such as a small gold cufflin! and a small silver cufflin!.
/llow students to study the ob+ects for a few minutes( and clarify the
names of any ob+ects if necessary. hen cover the items with a cloth
and have students divide into groups to recall as many items as
possible. 3nstruct the groups to use attributive ad+ectives in describing
them. / point is given for listing the item. / point is also given for
each correct ad+ective in the correct position. herefore( only one
point would be given to a student who answers( Ca cufflin!C or Cone
pen red.C 3n the first case( only the noun is provided9 in the second( the
ad+ective is provided( but in the wrong position. herefore( only one
point is given in each case. However( three points would be given for
Ca small( gold cufflin!C 4 two for the ad+ectives in the correct position
and one for the noun. Have each group write its list on an overhead
transparency and let the class score each list to reinforce the e%ercise.
he group with the most points wins.
In'irect (%&ects
Another effective use of realia is to present and practice indirect
ob+ects and indirect ob+ect movement. 3n this case there is a match be4
tween structure and discourse( and the technique used is storytelling.
Have several items on hand( including a set of !eys and a ball. )egin
by throwing the ball up in the air. $licit from the class what you have
done (e.g.( CDou threw the ball in the air and caught itC). 7rite the
sentence on the board. hen throw the ball to a student and elicit from
the class( CDou threw the ball to Jose.C 7rite this sentence on the
board as well. hen change the focus to ball by displaying several
different things you could throw. *elect an ob+ect( show it to the class(
and then throw it to Jose. /s! the class( C7hat did 3 throw to Jose8C
Dou want to elicit indirect movement (e.g.( Go" tre( i' te eraser).
3t is important to remember that the two sentences( with and without
indirect ob+ect movement( are not synonymous. 3ndirect ob+ect
movement is pragmatically motivated( and teaching I gave te boo* to
Mary and I gave er te boo* as synonymous could mislead students.
3t is unnecessary to go into the details of discourse pragmatics
with students unless they are quite advanced. *imply provide an
appropriate situation for each sentence and practice it in that conte%t.
7hen the sentence with indirect ob+ect movement is on the board as
well( let students e%amine the two forms and tell you what the
difference is. hen go to four or five students and as! them to ta!e an
ob+ect out of their purse or poc!et. #a!e sure each student ta!es out a
different ob+ect. ry to get a set of !eys or something else that requires
a plural pronoun among the ob+ects. 1ollect the ob+ects and bring
them to the front of the room. Hold up one and as! the class( C7hose
compact is this8C he class will answer( C3t6s #aria6s.C hen as! the
class( C*hould 3 give #aria a pencil8C :oint to the compact and sha!e
your head so students will say( CIoU 'ive her the compactUC his will
produce a natural situation in which we have indirect ob+ect
movement. 'o through the same routine with a couple of other ob+ects
and then invite a student to ta!e over your role.
/s each sentence is elicited( write it on the board. "raw
students6 attention to the fact that the name of the person you are
giving something to can come before the name of the ob+ect being
given. Dou want them also to discover that when this occurs( the
preposition is deleted. .nce the class has uncovered the pattern and
seems to understand it( divide the class into groups. Have each
member of the group ta!e out an ob+ect and put it in a pile in the
middle of the group. hen one student in each group pic!s up an
ob+ect (not his own) while his group gives directions as to its
disposition. 7al! around and listen to each group. /nswer questions
or intervene as necessary.
8sing the classr((.
Not all teachers have the budget( time( or inclination to prepare
props for the types of e%ercises described above. However( the
classroom itself provides a wealth of realia to use in teaching
grammar. .rdinary items found in most classrooms( such as boo!s(
tables( chairs( a flag( a light switch( windows( walls( and the ceiling(
can all be used. ?et us consider several structures and how they might
be presented or practiced using the classroom.
Phrasal 0er%s
The classroom provides a natural conte%t for teaching phrasal
verbs such as t"rn on and t"rns off. he teacher can turn on a light and
turn it off( and then invite a student to come to the light switch and do
the same( using the :, technique.
he students are also part of the classroom environment and can
be given the commands sit !o(n and stan! "& or ta*e off and &"t on
some article of clothing they all have( such as a +ac!et or coat.
*tudents should be invited to give the commands as soon as possible.
3t is easy to underestimate how long it ta!es to learn these types of
verbs. / great deal of time may be required to internali;e the
difference between turning a radio up( down( on( or off. eachers
should do only a few commands at a time( two or three times a wee!
for about fifteen minutes during class( and repeat and review at regular
.ne final bit of advice regarding phrasal verbs. 7henever the
phrasal verb is separable( ma!e sure that some of your directions
illustrate this by using the commands in both ways& Ta*e off te #oat
as well as Ta*e it off.
The people and the ordinary ob+ects found in most classrooms
can be of great assistance in presenting and practicing prepositions.
2or e%ample( to present locative prepositions( one can use a table( a
pencil( a boo!( a bo%( and a pen for structured practice of the
difference between in and on. 2irst the teacher puts the pen on the
table and as!s( C7here6s the pen8C to which the class responds( Con the
table.C hen the teacher puts the pencil in the bo% and as!s( C7here6s
the pencil8C to which the class responds( Cin the bo%.C his practice
continues as the teacher manipulates the ob+ects to elicit on te box( in
te box$ on te table( etc. 7hen the class is responding quic!ly and
accurately to all the combinations possible( one of the students should
come up( manipulate the ob+ects( and as! fellow students( C7here6s
the pen (boo!@bo%@pencil@etc.)86
/ more advanced version of the :, method ta!es advantage of
the classroom and students for the presentation phase or structured
practice portion of a lesson on reduced relative clauses& using a
classroom set of te%ts (all of which loo! ali!e)( the teacher places one
boo! under the chair( one boo! on the chair( one boo! beside the chair(
and so on around the room. hen she as!s a student to come to the
front of the room( where he is given the following commands&
Couch the boo! under the table. :ic! up the boo! beside
the chair and put it on the chair. :ic! up the boo! on the chair
and put it on top of the boo! in the drawer.C
Dou can even combine :, with storytelling and role4play for
structured practice of locative prepositions( as in&
CJose has five dollars that he wants to hide from #aria.
*omebody tell him where to put the money so #aria won6t find
it. C
/llow the class to give Jose suggestions( such as C:ut it in the
or C:ut it under the boo!.C /s students learn prepositions of
location( you can e%pand the list to encourage other uses of
prepositions. 2or e%ample( to encourage more advanced students to
use the pro%y for( you can say&
Com( #ary wants to open the door( but she is carrying
too many boo!s. *how us your boo!s( #ary. Dou poor thingU
om( help #ary. .pen the door for her.C
?i!e practice with phrasal verbs( these types of e%ercises can be
carried out for a few minutes at the beginning of each class period
after they have been introduced. Ese commands to which all students
can respond at the same time( such as&
C:ic! up your pen. :ut it on your noteboo!. :ut it under
your chair. :ut it on your neighbourLs des!. :ut your boo! ne%t
to your pen. Iow( put everything bac! on your des!. ?oo! up.
?oo! at me. ?et6s get started with today6s lesson.C
his activity is a good way to begin each class. 3t can be used to
review the previous day6s lesson while not requiring a special group of
students in front of the class or any special supplies.
,elative cla"ses
One of the most difficult aspects of teaching relative clauses is
providing sufficient conte%t to +ustify their use. 7e have found an
effective way to do this in the presentation phase of the lesson by
using students and the classroom. 1all two students to the front of the
room who are of the same se%. Have one sit down and the other stand
a few yards away. hen announce to the class that you are going to
give the eraser to the woman who is standing up. hen as! students to
identify which of their colleagues you are going to give the eraser to.
he class will respond( C#ariaUC or CJi!oUC 7hen they have
responded correctly( give the eraser to the woman who is standing.
hen pic! up a boo! and go through the entire routine again. 1all two
different students to the front of the class and continue the routine.
7hen the class as a whole is responding correctly( call up a student
and as! him to give the orders. Dou can then move from those very
concrete relative clauses to more abstract ones. /s! the two students
in front of the room( C7here are you from8C C7hat is your favourite
food8C C/re you married8C C"o you want to get married8C hen as! a
student to give the boo! to Cthe man who is from 1ambodiaC or Cthe
girl who li!es ice cream.C
o present centre4embedded relative clauses (i.e.( relative
clauses that modify the sub+ect)( you can use a variation of the old
C)utton( )uttonC game. Ese pennies instead of buttons( if you want(
since pennies are readily available in the classroom. 3nvite several
students of the same se% to the front of the room. /s! the class to
question them so they will have enough information to form relative
clauses. /s the class elicits information( write several phrases about
each student behind them on the board. 2or e%ample( behind one
student you might write the following in response to your questions&
has never seen a movie star
li!es ice cream
is loo!ing for a +ob
/fter you have written several phrases behind each student( hold
a penny up for the whole class to see( and then put it between your
hands. Have the students in front of the room hold out their hands(
palms together at a 4<4degree angle. :ut your hands between each
student6s hands and have them close them immediately after you
remove yours. *ecretly deposit the penny in the hands of one of the
students. hen as! the class( C7hich person has the penny8C *tudents
have to provide the answer using an embedded relative clause (e.g.(
Che woman who has never seen a movie star has the penny. C).
7henever a correct form is elicited( write it on the board( even if it
doesn6t fit the student who has the penny. 1ontinue until students
discover who has the penny. :erhaps they will guess correctly( or
perhaps you will have to respond( CIo( it6s the woman who6s loo!ing
for a +obUC hen review all sentences you6ve written on the board and
let the class ma!e relative clauses with the phrases that were not used.
3f you !eep things moving fast( students will be interested. hey will
see that relative clauses can distinguish between individual members
of a set( and they will be able to practice the form as well.
Teaching literat"re
Teaching literature to learners of a second or foreign language
has not been given the same importance in the course of time&
sometimes it was as being part of a mandatory syllabus( the reasons
being so obvious especially for philologists that they didnLt need to be
stated( other times it was shadowed by more pragmatic aims(
especially when dealing with teaching language for special purposes.
3n the last decades( though( as 1arter and ?ong (1991) state( teaching
literature has a definite place among other learning sub+ects. hey put
forward three main reasons why teach literature&
4 he cultural model K students having the possibility of getting
in touch with universal cultural values and models9
4 he language model K which gives students a chance of
getting the subtleties and creative varieties of the language9
4 he personal growth model K the interest developed in
studying literature is carried by learners beyond the
classroom( enabling them to understand our roles in society
and culture.
1arter and ?ong also point out the distinctions between studying
literature and its use as a resource( between !nowledge about literature
and !nowledge of literature( between different methods of teaching
literature( such as teacher4centred( language4based approaches and
literature as a pleasure and stimulus to personal development.
Ta7(n(.$ (+ B"esti(ns
The way in which questioning about the te%t is arranged
constitutes one of the most important approaches to the te%t& which
questions to as! at what point and in what order. 1arter and ?ong
emphasi;e the importance of a certain order of the questions( as the
one that follows&
1. he ultimate end of questioning strategies in the classroom
treatment of literature is to help lead students to greater
understanding of particular literary te%ts and of the nature of
literature in general.
-. / useful division can be made into low4order and high4order
questions. ?ow4order questions are those which attempt to
retrieve factual information( literal meanings or the basic
propositions or content of a te%t. hey are useful in assisting
with preliminary orientation to a te%t. High4order questions
are less to do with literal meanings or factual content and
rather more to do with involving the learnerLs own responses(
inferences( !nowledge and e%perience of the world. hey are
of a OhigherL interpretive order and seldom have a OrightL
5. /nother related classification of questions is into categories of
open and closed questions. .pen questions will tend to be
open to e%ploration and probing investigation9 closed
questions require above all an accurate( information4based
response. 1losed( lower4order questions focus on the factual
content of a te%t9 open( higher4order questions focus on the
imaginative or symbolic content of a te%t or the conte%t of
meaning which it generates. (1991& 5=4>)
Basic B"esti(n t$pes
In order to get information we have to use content questions
that relate to the facts or propositions provided by the te%t. 2or
e%ample( we have a fragment from the novel Fn!er te Green(oo!
Tree by homas Hardy&
On a #ol! an! starry Crist'as)eve (itin living 'e'ory a
'an (as &assing "& te lane to(ar!s Mellsto#* Cross in te !ar*ness
of a &lantation tat (is&ere! t"s !istin#tively to is intelligen#e-
7hen did the action happen8
7ho was passing up the lane8
7here was it8
hese questions are used to chec! the understanding of the
reading and must not ta!e a long time to let students en+oy the flow of
the story.
P"rp(se (+ the B"esti(ns
To go deeper into the content of a literary fragment the teacher
can as! students questions to establish a relationship between the
author and the readers. hese are considered open questions which can
have different correct answers and which suppose shared !nowledge(
difficult for the non4native spea!er to detect. hese are called #ontext
of 'eaning E"estions and may be used less frequently than other
questions. 2or e%ample( the following lines belong to the poem
8inter? For an Fntenable Sit"ation by /lan "ugan.
O"tsi!e it is #ol!- Insi!e
alto"g te fire as gone o"t
an! all te f"rnit"re is b"rnt$
it is '"# (ar'er- O let
te (ite refrigerator #ar
of !ay go by in gla#ial t"n!er?
(en it gets !ar*$ an! (en
te bran#es of te tree o"tsi!e
loo* (et be#a"se it is so !ar*H
)esides the questions that are meant to clarify the possible
le%ical problems the teacher can as! questions to engage the learners
more effectively in decoding the meaning of the te%t( such as
7hat time of year is it8
7here do you thin! this happens8
7hat feeling is generated by the setting8
7hat sort of people do you imagine live in such
hese questions establish the wider social setting of the te%t(
without which the reader@learner can ma!e very few assumptions
about what is in the authorLs mind. 3f we cannot establish a conte%t of
meaning we are going to have considerable difficulty in
comprehending the te%t. an' pl(ts
One useful starting point can be in discussing themes( or
getting learners to note how the themes of different te%ts are related.
he role of the teacher in this lies in the careful selection of the te%ts(
and then questioning or prompting to establish comparisons or
hemes( or sub+ect matters( are common to everybody from
personal e%perience or from what we hear( see or read about in
everyday life& love( hate( war( conflict( loneliness etc. o isolate the
plot the learners must loo! at the whole te%t and find more details
about facts and propositions( about literary and non4literary features.
o ma!e this difference clear the teacher can compare two fragments
that treat the same theme( for instance disaster at sea( one from a
newspaper and the other from a literary wor!.
,elating the literar$ te7t t( the st"'entEs pers(nal 1(rl'2
The teacher has an important role in activating studentsL
e%perience and lin!ing it with the study of literature because
1. #any students have limited e%perience of literature as
well as of the world in general( and this may ma!e te%ts
difficult or inaccessible.
-. here is often something in the studentLs e%perience
which has a connection with( or can be compared to the
particular point in the literary te%t which seems not
obvious. he teacher will ma!e the connection between
the two( either by suggesting or questioning.
he teacher will also try to relate the te%t to the world around
the learners and use the bac!ground of the individual learner which
consists of
o e%perience of mother tongue literature
o e%perience of $nglish literature
o e%perience( or !nowledge( of the world( life( people.
In an(ther .e'i".
Students can be motivated to study literature by interpreting a
literary te%t in another medium( for e%ample films( many of them
being based on literary stories and novels. he teacher can first give a
short introductory tal!( e%plaining the setting( describing the
characters and giving some hints about the plot( avoiding e%cessive
details. *tudents then watch the film which is followed up by a few
general questions to find out if they en+oyed it and why.
.ther aids in teaching literature are pictures and songs which
strengthen both the connection with the written te%t and the
motivation of the students. his interaction with a cross4media
production is not limited because it is possible to watch a film( listen
to a recording of a literary wor! and then set up a student4centred
activity or debate which can stimulate their interest.
Wat a&&ens next8 and 8at a&&ens in te en!8 are frequent
questions as!ed when we hear or read a story that is interesting but
told at a slow pace. 3n a written te%t this may be done intentionally(
either to create a feeling of suspense or to give the reader a reason to
go deeper into the te%t (this usually happens with murder@mystery
novels). he reader is constantly invited to predict and very often the
writer uses a Otwist at the endL( as in the short stories of *omerset
#augham( where there is always an element of surprise.
hus prediction can be a reading strategy used by the teacher.
Ion4literary te%ts generally confirm prediction( especially those
containing factual truth value9 literary te%ts sometimes confirm
prediction( sometimes not and they prove to be more difficult for non4
native spea!ers.
:rediction in the literature classroom can be achieved through
e%ercises which are not difficult to construct( are en+oyable and not
too very long (for more practice see 1arter and ?ong 1991).
3n the same boo!( Tea#ing Literat"re( the authors suggest some
ways of approaching the te%t( from the language perspective( such as
+igsaw reading( matching( gap4filling( reading aloud( the uses of
paragraphs( writing creatively in a foreign language. hese approaches
are Pstrategies for generating greater awareness of the properties of
language use in literary te%tsQ. (1991& 95)
hey also propose some activities for the advanced classes such
4 using a cline where teacher and students devise a scale or
cline of literariness( personal and individual for each reader to
place a te%t higher or lower( according to the language used
and to a standard established beforehand9
4 analy;ing metaphor( a traditional approach to figures of
speech and literary tropes9
4 guided rewriting (e.g. rewrite a poem as a newspaper report(
narratives and letter writing( rewriting viewpoints etc)9
4 drama in the literature class9
4 the uses of debate.
eaching literature( li!e teaching grammar( is a great
responsibility of the teacher( especially to develop a sense of the
language and a pleasure to use it correctly. /ctivities( teaching
material and aids( te%ts and e%ercises have to be carefully chosen to
enrich the e%istent material in the school te%tboo!s( where students
need e%tra wor!( or to be processed in such a way as not to be boring
or difficult to solve by the students.
Teaching st"'ents 1ith special e'"cati(nal nee's
)hat are special nee's*
Special needs is a broad term( referring to very different
students with a wide range of different needs and problems. he
"epartment for $ducation and $mployment in the EJ defines special
needs as follows&
A #il! is !efine! as aving s&e#ial e!"#ational nee!s if
e or se as a learning !iffi#"lty (i# nee!s s&e#ial
tea#ing- A learning !iffi#"lty 'eans tat te #il! as
signifi#antly greater !iffi#"lty in learning tan 'ost #il!ren of
te sa'e age- Or$ it 'eans a #il! as a !isability (i# nee!s
!ifferent e!"#ational fa#ilities fro' tose tat s#ools generally
&rovi!e for #il!ren of te sa'e age in te area- Te #il!ren
(o nee! s&e#ial e!"#ational training are not only tose (it
obvio"s learning !iffi#"lties$ s"# as tose (o are &ysi#ally
!isable!$ !eaf or blin!- Tey in#l"!e tose (ose learning !iffi)
#"lties are less a&&arent$ s"# as slo( learners an! e'otionally
v"lnerable #il!ren- It is esti'ate! tat "& to :;I of s#ool
#il!ren 'ay nee! s&e#ial e!"#ational el& at so'e stage in
teir s#ool #areers-
("f$$( -BBB)
.ne group of students with special needs are gifte! st"!ents. /t
the opposite end of the spectrum of academic achievement we find
students with learning !isabilities. Learning !isability( unli!e a
number of other disabilities such as blindness( is an invisible disability
that is connected to problems with lin!ing information in different
parts of the brain. ?earning disabilities ta!e a number of different
forms( which according to the A'eri#an Diagnosti# an! Statisti#al
Man"al of Mental Disor!ers can be broadly categori;ed into three
main subparts (/:/( 1994)&
1. "evelopmental speech and language disorders.
-. /cademic s!ills disorders.
5. 1o4ordination disorders and other learning handicaps.
:eople with !evelo&'ental s&ee# an! lang"age !isor!ers will
typically have difficulties producing speech sounds( spea!ing or
understanding what other people say. hese difficulties can ta!e three
1.1hildren with !evelo&'ental arti#"lation !isor!ers
may have trouble controlling their rate of speech or may lag
behind other children in learning to ma!e speech sounds. his
disorder affects about 1B per cent of young children( but can
often be successfully treated through speech therapy.
-.1hildren who have specific problems e%pressing
themselves in speech suffer from !evelo&'ental ex&ressive
lang"age !isor!er.
5.Develo&'ental re#e&tive lang"age !isor!ers occur
when children or adults have trouble understanding certain
parts of speech( in spite of the fact that they do not have
hearing problems.
*tudents with a#a!e'i# s*ills !isor!ers often lag behind their
classmates in one( or more often more academic s!ills( such as
reading( writing and maths. his lag may be measured in years rather
than months. .nce again this type of disorder can ta!e three forms.
1. Develo&'ental rea!ing !isor!er or !yslexia refers to
problems involved in reading( often caused by problems
distinguishing the sounds in spo!en words( a s!ill that is
crucial in learning to read. 3n the higher grades( when
comprehension becomes more important( other reading
disorders appear such as an inability to relate new ideas to
those stored in memory.
-. .ther children can suffer from !evelo&'ental (riting
!isor!ers( which can result from problems in a number of
areas such as vocabulary( grammar( hand movement and
5. Develo&'ental arit'eti# !isor!er can arise from problems
in memory( recogni;ing symbols and numbers( and under4
standing abstract concepts.
/ number of other categories have also been identified( li!e
'otor s*ills !isor!ers and 6other6 disorders such as !elays in a#E"iring
lang"age$ #oor!ination &roble's and attention !isor!ers.
*tudents with attention disorders tend to&
4 pay little attention to tas!s( have short attention spans(
4 not listen when spo!en to directly(
4 not follow instructions(
4 have difficulty organi;ing tas!s(
4 avoid tas!s that require sustained mental effort(
4 be easily distracted(
4 lose things and
4 be forgetful in daily activities (/:/( 1994).
/ttention disorders seem to have become increasingly
widespread( and include a tendency to daydream e%cessively in some
children. 3n others this problem can ta!e the form of attention !efi#it
y&era#tivity !isor!er (/"H") in which attention problems are
combined with hyperactivity. 1hildren with /"H" will tend to act
impulsively and cannot sit still. hey will tend to run around or blurt
out answers in the classroom( and are incapable of waiting their turn
in games. 3n adolescence( these children tend towards fidgeting and
restlessness. 3n adulthood this problem can ta!e the form of inability
to concentrate or organi;e tas!s at wor!.
?earning disabilities are often related to and may be caused by
social factors. 1hildren from impoverished bac!grounds more often
manifest these problems( as do children with less intellectual ability(
leading some researchers to propose that the concept of learning
disabilities is erroneous and confounded with these two factors (?yon(
.ther disabilities include earing !iffi#"lties( which can range
from mild difficulties in hearing that can be easily remedied by the use
of amplifiers( to deafness( which in some cases can be overcome
through the use of cochlear implants. here are three ma+or types of
hearing disorders.
) Con!"#tive loss occurs when something goes wrong
with the outer or middle ear which results in sound waves not
being conducted to the inner ear.
) Senso)ne"rinal loss refers to damage to the inner ear or
auditory nerve that stops the sound data from being sent to the
) Central a"!itory &ro#essing !isor!er means that the
neural system involved in understanding what is heard is
A"tis' is a neurological developmental disability that affects
people6s ability to communicate( understand language and interact
with others. /utistic children will tend to isolate themselves from
social situations. 3ntellectually some may be mentally retarded( but
others can be intelligent and even gifted. /s well as problems with
social relations( autistic individuals often e%hibit
4 unusual and@or repetitive movements(
4 strong resistance to change(
4 over4 or under4sensitivity to certain stimuli(
4 tantrums and aggressive behaviour.
7hile most students misbehave at some points in time( some
suffer from more or less severe beavio"ral !isor!ers. hese students
consistently demonstrate behaviour that is different from the e%pected
classroom and community norm and are in need of remediation
($,31( 1995).
Mental retar!ation refers to people whose general intellectual
functioning is significantly sub average (an 3Z score below ><)( and
who have problems with such areas as communication( self4care(
home living( social s!ills( self4direction( health and safety and
academic achievement. 3t manifests itself before age 1A. he precise
nature of the retardation can vary significantly from person to person.
*tudents with mental retardation
4 will learn with more difficulty
4 e%perience problems with memory(
4 problem4solving(
4 logical thin!ing and attention compared with their peers.
To"rette5s syn!ro'e is a neurological disorder that is to all
appearances characteri;ed by repeated( involuntary body movements
such as twitching( leg +er!ing or other 6tics6( and repetitive vocal
sounds such as throat clearing. hese tics will occur frequently
throughout the day( often in bouts( but may disappear for periods of
time. he specific tic of the ourette sufferer may also change in type(
number or severity over time. ourette sufferers do not generally
suffer low 3Z( but may often suffer from attention and learning
.nce a child has been diagnosed as possessing a learning or
other disability (different procedures for this e%ist in different
countries) schools need to provide the necessary support for these
children. *everal options e%ist( for e%ample&
4 placing children in 6special schools6 e%plicitly designed
to accommodate disabled children9
4 placing them in regular so4called 6mainstream6 schools(
but in special separate classrooms9
4 placing them in mainstream schools in regular
classrooms( but have them ta!en out of class for special
4 6full inclusion6 in mainstream classrooms (in this latter
case the necessary ad+ustments to this classroom will have to be
made to meet children6s special educational needs).
3n recent years( there has been a clear shift towards inclusion
and away from placement in special schools or classrooms( often for
philosophical reasons pertaining to students6 human rights( as well as
because of arguments concerning students6 social growth. .ne of the
arguments goes that included students will have enhanced self4esteem
as they are not being labelled and secluded from peers to the same
e%tent as when placed in special schools or classrooms. 1onversely(
non4disabled students will get used to being around disabled peers(
leading them to be less li!ely to discriminate against disabled people
in adulthood. 3n this way it is hoped disabled students will be able to
develop into active and respected members of the community.
The incl"si(n 'e%ate
One of the main questions argued over by supporters and
opponents of the inclusion of students with special needs is whether
integration into mainstream classrooms will benefit or harm students6
academic progress. *upporters of placement in special schools@units
usually argue that the smaller class si;es and specific attention given
to special needs students by e%perts will help their academic progress.
.n the other hand( proponents of integration argue that students
in special schools@units may suffer from a lac! of academic press and
may lac! the benefits of interaction with higher4achieving peers.
2urthermore( typical practices in special units@schools have often been
found not to be in accordance with effective classroom practices(
being characteri;ed by
4 lower cognitive demands(
4 little use of higher4order cognitive s!ills(
4 slower pacing(
4 little time devoted to academic tas!s and
4 little direct instruction.
:roponents of programmes in which students spend most of
their time in mainstream classrooms but are pulled out for 1 or - hours
a day to follow lessons in a special unit generally see this as a good
compromise between mainstreaming and segregation( while
opponents claim that this process leads to them missing parts of the
mainstream programme( ma!ing it more difficult for them to follow
the curriculum( especially as there often seems to be inadequate co4
ordination between regular classroom teachers and teachers in these
so4called pull4out programmes.
3n their review of studies up to the mid419ABs (described as
small in number and often methodologically flawed)( *lavin and
#adden (19A=) report that while some studies found students in full4
time special placement did as well as students in mainstream settings(
and others found they did worse (according to *lavin and #adden
these latter tended to be the better designed studies)( no studies
reported that students in full4time placement did better academically
than students in mainstream settings. *ome evidence emerged that
students who did not receive any support in mainstream classrooms
did worse( however. Io clear differences emerged between students in
part4time placement and students in mainstream settings. / meta4
analysis conducted by 7ang and )a!er (19A=) (reviewing 11 studies
conducted between 19>< and 19A4) reports a slightly favourable effect
of mainstreaming over full4time placement for academic outcomes.
*i%ty4five per cent of measured effects were positive( and mainstream
students seemed to ma!e more progress than segregated peers did.
hese results were consistent across grade levels and when controlling
for conte%tual variables.
7hen full4time mainstreaming was compared with pull4out
programmes the former was found to be non4significantly more
effective. 3n an earlier meta4analysis( 1arlberg and Javale (19AB)
found 6educable mentally retarded6 students did worse in special
classes than in mainstream classes. / review of three meta4analyses by
'ersten et al. (1999) found small positive effects for inclusion.
'artner and ?ips!y (19A>)( reviewing a large number of studies(
found that the mean academic performance of special needs students
in mainstream settings was on average in the eightieth percentile
compared with non4special needs students( while the performance of
students in segregated settings was in the fiftieth percentile
/ more recent review (#anset and *emmel( 199>) loo!ed at the
effects of a number of integration programs for students with special
needs in the E*/. hree out of the five reviewed programmes
(*uccess for /ll( /daptive ?earning $nvironments #odel( and an un
titled programme by Jen!ins et al.( 1994) reported significantly higher
achievement gains for students in the programme than for students in
6pull4out6 programmes (students spend most of their time in
mainstream classrooms( but are removed from class for 1 or - hours a
day for teaching in a special unit). hese programmes seemed to share
the common feature of highly focused instruction with individual
basic s!ills tuition. "eno et al. (199B) compared students in three
integrated programmes (/daptive ?earning $nvironments #odel( the
1omparison ,eading :rogramme and "ata4)ased 3ntervention) with
students in resource room programmes( and found that low achievers
and students with mild learning difficulties who participated in the
programmes scored higher on the )asic /cademic *!ills *urvey.
?ips!y and 'artner (199>) report few differences between
special needs students in mainstream education and in pull4out
programmes. hey also report that the gap in achievement between
students with mild learning difficulties and their mainstream peers did
not widen as fast when these students were mainstreamed as when
they were in pull4out programmes. 3n a study using the #etropolitan
/chievement test to compare learning disabled students in two
schools( Jen!ins et al. (1994) found that students in the integrated
schools showed significantly higher overall gains than students in a
school using a pull4out resource room method. 3n a small4scale study
)aner+i and "ailey (199<) reported that -nd4 to <th4grade students
with specific learning difficulties achieved better in a mainstream
classroom than in a pull4out programme. *chulte( .sborne and
#cJinney (199B) studied elementary school students with learning
difficulties who spent
4 (a) 1 hour per day in a resource room setting(
4 (b) - hours per day in a resource room setting(
4 (c) students permanently in mainstream classrooms in which a
special education teacher provided some additional instruction to the
child and
4 (d) students in mainstream classrooms where special education
teachers provided technical assistance to the mainstream teacher( but
no instruction in class. 3t was found that students in the mainstream
classroom with e%tra teaching did significantly better overall (though
not in specific sub+ects) than students who spent 1 hour a day in the
resource room. Io other significant differences were found.
3n a review of reviews focusing on students with moderate
learning difficulties( 7illiams (1995) reported that studies seemed to
slightly favour mainstreaming. However( the deficiencies of the
studies led the author to state that a no4effects conclusion was safest.
'alloway (19A<) reaches a similar conclusion.
'enerally( then( these studies seem to point to positive effects of
mainstreaming over full4time and( to a lesser e%tent( part4time
placement in special units. However( many studies were
methodologically flawed and sample si;es were small. 1onclusions
must therefore be highly tentative( although there does seem to be
some cumulative evidence for higher effectiveness of mainstreaming
over full4time placement for special needs students in general. he
picture with regards to pull4out programmes must be considered
inconclusive( however. /lso( it seems clear that whether inclusion or
placement is preferable may also depend on the nature and seriousness
of the disability.
3n order for inclusion to wor!( a number of conditions need to
be met. eachers must believe the included student can succeed( and
must prepare the other students in the class to accept the disabled
student. he classroom and school need to be physically prepared if
necessary( and all school staff need to understand the needs of the
students with disabilities. *taff development needs to ta!e place to
prepare staff to support the student( and good wor!ing relationships
need to be established with the special educators in the school.
Teaching st"'ents 1ith learning 'isa%ilities
According to the e%tensive studies carried out by the Iational
3nstitute for 1hild Health and "evelopment in the E*/( the main
predictor of rea!ing !iffi#"lties are problems with
4 phonemic awareness( followed by
4 vocabulary deficits and inadequate bac!ground
!nowledge of information presented in the te%t(
4 lac! of familiarity with semantic and syntactic structures
that can be employed to predict and better understand word and
grammatical relationships( and
4 lac! of !nowledge about different strategies employed
by the author to achieve different purposes( such as humour and
.ne of the most important aspects of treating rea!ing
!isabilities therefore is teaching these students word4sound cor4
respondences to decipher reading codes (te &oni#s syste'). his
decoding s!ill needs to become automatic so memory capacity that
should be used for strong comprehension of the te%t to occur is not
wasted on the decoding process. *trong comprehension is also
influenced by students6 bac!ground !nowledge and vocabulary. hus(
both direct structured instruction in phonics and a literature4rich
environment can help students with reading difficulties.
/nother problem that students with reading difficulties seem to
have is an inability to properly self4monitor while reading a te%t. hey
fail to understand that they must pay attention to how well they
understand the te%t and that they should reread a paragraph or
sentence if they do not understand it. *tudents with this problem can
be taught a number of self4monitoring s!ills( such as as!ing
themselves questions while they read and summari;ing what they
have read. However( once taught these students often e%perience
difficulties in generali;ing these s!ills to other situations.
#ore generally( a meta4analysis of research on students with
learning disabilities but of average intelligence loo!ing at studies
conducted over a 5B4year period found that the most effective strategy
for teaching learning disabled students combined elements of direct
instruction with components focusing on the teaching of learning and
mnemonic (a sentence or short poem that you use for helping you
remember something) strategies. he main components of this
strategy include
4 sequencing (brea!ing down the tas!( providing step4by4step
4 a drill4repetition4practice sequence(
4 segmentation (brea!ing down the tas! into small segments and
then synthesi;ing them as a whole)(
4 directed questioning and response(
4 use of technology( modelling and
4 small group instruction.
he most important factor was found to be control of tas!
difficulty( proceeding from simple to more difficult aspects in small(
teacher4directed steps. he effectiveness of this combined direct
instruction4strategy approach was strongest in reading( and somewhat
less strong in mathematics and social s!ills. Ese of small (three to ten
students) teacher4directed groups rather than the whole class was
found to be beneficial to learning disabled students in a meta4analysis
including -B studies conducted between 19>< and 199>. :eer tutoring
was li!ewise found to be effective. *maller groups (three to five
students) appeared more effective than larger groups. hese grouping
procedures could most usefully be combined with whole class
instruction according to the researchers.
/ problem for many learning disabled students is a negative
self4concept. here are two possible approaches to dealing with this&
4 a s!ills development approach( that aims to enhance students6
academic achievement which should in turn enhance their self4
concept9 and
4 a self4enhancement approach( which uses a therapeutic ap4
proach to change self4concept.
/ meta4analysis on the effectiveness of these two approaches
among learning disabled students concluded that an approach that
combined the two wor!ed best. 1ollaborative wor! appeared to be a
factor that enhanced self4concept in many interventions.
*tudents with attention !isor!ers( which some evidence
suggests are becoming increasingly prevalent( can be particularly
problematic in integrated settings as they can easily disrupt lessons
and disturb other students.
here are a number of things a teacher can do to help maintain
the attention of all and( in particular( attention of disabled students.
$mploying a range of introductory attention grabbers and stressing the
importance of the topic to students6 daily lives could help( as could
presenting material in small steps( e%plaining the relevance of each
step along the way. *tudents should be encouraged to learn from their
mista!es( and be actively involved in the lesson. Helping students to
set short4term( not too hard to reach goals can also be beneficial.
Esing a variety of teaching methods and a quic! succession of
activities can help focus students6 attention and !eep them from
becoming bored too quic!ly.
*tudents with attention disorders often seem to suffer from
!isorgani6ation as well. hey may have difficulty
4 remembering dates and assignments(
4 bringing required materials into class and
4 may incorrectly record assignments(
4 use time inefficiently(
4 fail to properly structure essays and written wor!(
4 fail to e%press themselves in an organi;ed fashion and
4 fail to plan.
3t is important to provide these students with a clear structure
and routines( and specify e%actly what they are e%pected to bring to
class at each point in the day. he teacher needs to give students clear
and simple directions( and have her or him repeat these. /ssignments
need to be clearly presented and written on the same place on the
board each time. *tudents must be made to copy these assignments.
eachers should try to minimi;e untidiness on handouts and
assignments. #odelling problem4solving and essay4writing s!ills can
help( especially when students are given large assignments( which
they may find confusing. 0arious ways of storing material and being
tidy need to be presented to them. hey can be taught mnemonic
techniques and use of memory aids( such as a note attached to the
student6s bac!pac! or satchel. 2urthermore( students should be praised
and rewarded for improvements in their organi;ation( but they should
also receive the consequences of their disorgani;ation in order to
provide them with an incentive to do better.
1hildren suffering from /"H" have been found to have
problems dealing with change. 1onsistency is therefore important.
#ost /"H" children should where possible( be placed at the front of
the class( where they have the least chance of observing other children
move as they write things down and answer questions. However( some
hyperactive children can( when seated at the front( disturb their
classmates through their constant movement and fidgeting. hese
students clearly are not best left at the front. *tudents with /"H"
should be surrounded by students who can act as positive behaviour
models. hey should not be placed near possibly distracting ob+ects(
such as heaters( windows and doors.
Teaching st"'ents 1ith (ther 'isa%ilities
)hen students suffer from behavioural disorders( the first step
is to identify e%actly what it is that the student is doing that ma!es her
or him cause problems in the classroom. hen the teacher has to
identify what he wants the student to do instead( and what means
could be used to get there. eachers should try to avoid focusing on
the undesired behaviours and try to focus on the desired behaviours
instead. .pportunities should be provided for the student to practise
the desired behaviours( such as interacting appropriately with peers
and adults. here are two possible problems that may need to be
addressed with students with behavioural disorders( s!ills deficits and
performance deficits. 7hich of these two situations is present can be
assessed by having the student role4play various situations or by
as!ing him what he would do in a certain situation( such as if the
teacher reprimanded him. 3f he can give the correct response to this
type of question or can perform the appropriate behaviour in role4play
but not display the appropriate behaviour in actual classroom
situations( then the problem is one of performance deficit. 3f he is not
able to give an appropriate response to the question( then the problem
may be a s!ills deficit. 3n the latter case( direct instruction in the
required s!ill will be necessary before proceeding to practise the s!ill.
3f the problem is one of performance( providing more situations to
practice the appropriate response may be sufficient ($,31( 1995).
Parents an' chil'ren 1ith learning 'isa%ilities
A number of tips for parents of students with learning
disabilities have been suggested that can help children become more
independent and better learners. he Iational 1enter for ?earning
"isabilities (-BBB) in the E*/ has suggested the following&
1. ?et children help with household tas!s( using
activities that can help build children6s self4concept and self4
confidence( and show that this activity is meaningful and
appreciated by the rest of the household.
-. Jeep instructions clear and simple( providing verbal
cues if necessary.
5. *et clear routines.
4. #inimi;e distractions when children are studying(
e.g. turn off the television and radio and establish calm wor!
<. )e patient and offer helpful reminders when children
forget things. ,emember( they are not doing it on purpose.
=. ,eward effort as well as outcomes and give the child
a lot of praise. 2eed bac! should be immediate and connected
to the tas! done. 3t is better not to rely on gifts and monetary
rewards( but use praise( smiles etc. instead.
>. ,ead to your child and let her or him read to you.
A. Help other family members and friends understand
the nature of the learning disability your child is suffering
9. )e consistent. $stablish rules that everyone in the
family understands and be consistent with discipline and
1B. "o not be fooled by promises of quic! cures or
treatments( and do not believe all unsubstantiated reports that
appear in the media. 7hen in doubt( contact a professional.
11. $ncourage your child to +oin with peers in social
activities( and see! out parents with whom you can share
:roviding children with oral language and literacy e%periences
from the start is crucial to avoiding reading problems. ,eading to
children( and engaging them in play with language through nursery
rhymes and storyboo!s can also help develop children6s language
awareness (?yon( 1999).
Deaf or ar! of earing students can be educated in a number of
ways. .ne of these is the a"!itory)oral approach. his method
attempts to get hard of hearing children to acquire spo!en language in
an environment in which spo!en language is used e%clusively(
including both the classroom and the school. he home environment is
crucial in this process( as is the use of hearing amplifiers( such as
hearing aids and cochlear implants( depending on the seriousness of
the hearing problem. /s well as listening s!ills( students are taught
speech production s!ills starting at the phonetic level (individual
syllables)( and proceeding from there to the phonological level (whole
words and sentences) immediately. 3f successful( this approach will
allow hard of hearing children to communicate with a wide range of
others. *ome research ('eers and #oog( 19AA) found that 1=41>4year4
olds who had been taught using this technique had a reading age of
about 15414 years( which is almost double that of E* deaf students in
general. / possible problem may be that the hearing loss is too serious
to be overcome even with the use of cochlear implants. he auditory4
verbal approach wor!s from a similar idea. 3n this approach hearing
problems are identified at the earliest possible stage and the best
possible medical treatment or amplifier is then sought out. hen
children are taught listening and speech s!ills. he idea is to identify
the child6s problems as soon as possible and to intervene by teaching
the necessary strategies to the parents of young chilpren.
C"e! s&ee#( another method proposed( is basically a sound4
based hand supplement to speech4reading( designed to improve the
literacy development of deaf children. 3t can be used by both parents
and teachers to teach students phonics and articulation. he system is
easy to learn and can be used to teach words for which there is no sign
language equivalent. /ccording to some research( students taught
using this method read at the same grade level as their non4deaf peers.
/ different option is using a sign lang"age. ?i!e spo!en
languages( sign languages differ from country to country( /merican
*ign ?anguage for e%ample differing from )ritish *ign ?anguage.
#ost sign languages have developed naturally in the deaf community(
but some have been specifically developed to more closely resemble
the spo!en version of the language( adding grammatical features of
that language to the sign language. hese specifically developed
systems are often used by parents and teachers to teach deaf children(
as they allow them more easily to learn $nglish or whatever their
home language is. However( some deaf parents feel this practice
negates their culture.
Io single intervention that is successful with all autistic
children has been identified. However( a number of educationally and
behaviourally orientated methods have shown some success. .verall(
autistic children benefit from a highly structured environment with
very clear guidelines for appropriate and inappropriate behaviour. his
environment should include materials that help autistic people to
clearly comprehend the sequence of events and activities that will
occur( such as written or picture schedules. *!ills taught should be
geared towards helping the autistic person to function day to day( such
as communication( language and social s!ills.
2or students with 'ental retar!ation( especially younger
students( use of hands4on materials is often the most suitable teaching
method( and use of pictures may be more appropriate than verbal
directions. 3t is a good idea to brea! down tas!s into small steps( and
to proceed from simpler to more difficult tas!s. ?earning should ta!e
place in short sessions( and life s!ills instruction could be crucial to
these students6 adaptive development.
7hen dealing with students with To"rette5s syn!ro'e( it is
important to remember that however annoying the tics they may be
showing( they are not done on purpose and are involuntary. :eers must
be encouraged to accept the child. 'iving the ourette sufferer private
time and space to rela% can help lessen the occurrence of tics in the
classroom. :roviding a private space to do testing can prevent the tics
disrupting other students6 concentration during e%ams. 3f the student
has language( learning or attention problems these need to be dealt
with in the ways mentioned above.
Teaching Gi+te' St"'ents
The school system is inevitably geared towards the ma+ority of
students( which means that special additional provisions need to be
made for learning disabled students. /nother group that differs from
the norm( and that therefore may need special provisions( is gifted or
highly able students.
2irst( it is necessary to define e%actly what is meant by gifted(
especially compared with 6merely6 bright students. he term 6gifted6 is
usually used to refer to students who score significantly above average
on ability tests such as the 73*1 333( ,aven6s :rogressive #atrices or
the 1ognitive /bility est. /s a rule of thumb (a simple practical rule
that helps you in doing something)( a score in the top - per cent of the
range of these tests (usually corresponding to a score of over 1-<) is
considered to indicate giftedness. 7ithin schools( a number of other
factors are also ta!en into account in decision4ma!ing on whether or
not to include a certain student in 6gifted6 programmes. hese include
students6 grades( teachers6 professional opinion and sometimes views
of parents and students themselves. / number of elements that have
been proposed as distinguishing bright and gifted children are listed in
the following table&
Bright chil' Gi+te' chil'
4 Jnows the answers 4 /s!s the questions
4 3nterested 4 $%tremely curious
4 :ays attention 4 'ets involved physically and
4 7or!s hard 4 :lays around( but still gets good test
4 /nswers questions 4 Zuestions the answers
4 $n+oys same4age peers 4 :refers adults or older children
4 'ood at memori;ation 4 'ood at guessing
4 ?earns easily 4 $asily gets bored because she or he
already !nows the answers
4 ?istens well 4 *hows strong feelings and opinions
4 *elf4satisfied 4 Highly perfectionist and self4
Fig F )right versus gifted children
7hile use of tests is probably the best way of identifying gifted
students at present( it can be important to identify gifted students early
on in their school career. 2or !indergarten aged students( sitting a
cognitive ability test would obviously not be practical( and therefore a
number of signs indicating giftedness in young students have been
1. he child uses an advanced vocabulary for her or his age.
-. he child has the ability to ma!e interesting or unusual
shapes or patterns using various media.
5. he child has an early understanding of abstract concepts
such as death and time.
4. he child can master new s!ills with few repetitions.
<. he child demonstrates advanced physical s!ills.
=. he child demonstrates advanced reasoning s!ills through
e%planation of occurrences.
>. he child uses spontaneous verbal elaboration with new
A. he child demonstrates a sense of humour during normal
conversation. (*ilverman( 199-)
3t is( however( important to remember that children do develop
at different rates and that therefore scores on a test ta!en at one
particular time are not set in stone. 'iftedness at a particular age can
be merely the result of more rapid development which ceases to e%ist
once other children6s development has caught up. .ne also has to
remember that scores on ability tests do not simply reflect innate
ability( but also result from environmental influences such as parents6
possession of cultural capital such as boo!s and their ability to provide
their children with an intellectually stimulating environment. *cores
on ability tests can also be influenced by a child6s education.
3dentification of giftedness is therefore an empirical question at one
particular moment in time( and will need to be reviewed.
'iftedness can be general( e%tending to a wide range of school
sub+ects( or specific( limited to one particular area such as
mathematics( creative writing or science. hese students will achieve
very well in that sub+ect( while being average or able in other sub+ects.
hey will usually also be particularly interested in the area they are
particularly good at.
/part from being intellectually gifted( students can be gifted in
a number of other ways. ypical e%amples include students who are
artistically gifted( or who are gifted footballers. hese students are not
necessarily intellectual high achievers( but obviously do have specific
Gi+te' st"'ents in classr((. an' sch((l
Teaching gifted students in regular classrooms can lead to a
number of problems. *uch students are liable to find the content of the
lesson unchallenging and boring( and will not be stretched by the
regular curriculum. hey will not benefit to the full from their
classroom e%perience( and will not be able to wor! to their potential.
heir boredom can ma!e them lose interest in school altogether( in
some cases leading to truancy and disruptive behaviour( and more
often to gifted students underachieving. ,esearch has shown that for
these students a lot of what they learn in school can be a waste of
time( as they already !now large parts of the curriculum. / number of
measures have therefore been proposed to deal with gifted students.
/ first way of offering gifted students an education more suited
to their ability is through ability gro"&ing. #any studies have loo!ed
at the effect of ability grouping on students6 achievement. he
conclusion most reached is that ability grouping overall does not
significantly affect achievement( but that it does according to some
studies have a small negative effect on the achievement of low4ability
students and a small positive effect on the achievement of high4ability
students. 3t is therefore not surprising that this method has been
advocated as a way of teaching gifted students. .bviously( being
taught in a high4ability set will allow the teacher to teach higher4level
content at greater speed( and thus counter some of the problems with
regular whole4class teaching of gifted children such as student
boredom. However( research has shown that this practice can be
detrimental to lower achieving students.
/ variation on ability grouping is #l"ster gro"&ing. his means
that the small number of gifted students in a year is put in the same
class. he other students in the class remain of mi%ed ability. his will
more easily allow the teacher to provide the gifted students with the
learning opportunities they need (e.g. an enriched curriculum) than
when they are all in separate classes. /nother advantage is the fact
that the gifted students will have the chance to interact with other
students of the same ability. 2or the other teachers it obviates the need
to have to deal with the one precocious child in their class.
"isadvantages can be pressure from parents to have their children
placed in a 6cluster6 class( and the fact that dealing with a cluster of
gifted students in a mi%ed4ability classroom can ma!e classroom
management more comple%. herefore( this should only be considered
if the teacher who will teach this class has strong classroom
management abilities and receives some training and support on
teaching gifted students.
/nother practice that has been posited as helpful to gifted
students is #o)o&erative learning. 1o4operative group wor! is posited
to have specific advantages for gifted students. he main advantage is
said to be the fact that gifted students can wor! as 'entors to their less
able peers( thus allowing them to ta!e on responsible roles in the class(
which will ma!e them less li!ely to get bored by the lesson content as
they are busy 6teaching6 others. ?earning something with the
e%pectation of teaching it to others is also said to lead to learning at a
higher cognitive level. However( this approach is not without
problems. 'ifted students can start to dominate the group to the e%tent
that they start to ta!e over rather than co4operate. /lso they can end up
doing all the wor! themselves( not allowing lower ability students to
e%perience the full benefits of co4operative group wor!. 'ifted
students can also find it difficult to understand why other students do
not grasp the material( and can get impatient with them. herefore( if
this approach is used( it is best not to let the co4operative groups
become too heterogeneous.
he problem of gifted students mastering the curriculum faster
than average students and not needing to revisit learned parts of the
curriculum as much can be countered through #"rri#"l"' #o'&a#ting.
his means that curricular material that has already been learned is
eliminated from the curriculum and replaced by more demanding new
material for students identified as gifted or highly able. ,eis et al.
(199A) found that they were able to eliminate up to half of the
curriculum in this way in their study of gifted primary age students.
Esing a basic s!ills test( they found that this practice did not harm
students6 achievement( as achievement of students who had used the
compacted curriculum did not differ from achievement of matched
students who had used the full curriculum.
/nother curriculum ad+ustment is the use of an enri#e!
#"rri#"l"'. his means that the curriculum is adapted to the needs of
gifted students by adding activities that require more higher4level
thin!ing( enquiry( e%ploration and discovery. /n enriched curriculum
should include more elaborate( comple% and in4depth study of ma+or
ideas or themes and should encourage students to generate new
!nowledge or to re4conceptuali;e e%isting !nowledge. 3t has also been
recommended that a curriculum for the gifted and talented should
include a large !nowledge base( be inter4disciplinary wherever
possible and e%plore new developments in the field. *ome studies
have shown that gifted students in enriched classes significantly
outperform gifted students in non4enriched classes.
7hile enrichment and curriculum compacting can sometimes
occur in the regular classroom( use is often made of some form of
(it!ra(al gro"&( where the gifted students will be withdrawn from
their regular classroom for some part of the day to enable them to
participate in enrichment activities there.
/n enrichment activity that shows some promise is &eer
t"toring. he gifted student will be lin!ed to an e%pert or a person
e%perienced in a particular field from outside the school. his is
particularly suited to students who have shown strong independent
learning abilities and are highly motivated to wor! on a particular
pro+ect or programme. he mentor( apart from being !nowledgeable in
her or his field( will have to be enthusiastic about the sub+ect( have
good communication s!ills( and be willing and able to wor! with
young people. #entors can be parents( former students( or contacts
from the community( such as members of local arts organi;ations or
businesses. 7hen these conditions are met( a mentoring arrangement
can be a highly enriching e%perience for the student.
A##elerate! learning is another option for gifted students. his
concept usually refers to the practice of allowing gifted students to
move through the curriculum at a faster rate than their peers. his can
ta!e a number of forms( such as early entrance to school or to
secondary school or university( grade4s!ipping or grade advancement(
placing the student with students in a higher grade for part of the day
for one or more sub+ects( placing students in a class in which one or
more grades are combined( or advanced placement in which primary
students are placed in a course at a local secondary school where they
can study a more advanced topic for part of the wee!. /lternatively(
secondary students can be placed in a course in a higher education
institution. his range of practices means that it is difficult to reach
overall conclusions on the effectiveness of acceleration. However( a
number of advantages have been proposed. hese include&
increased learning efficiency9
increased learning effectiveness9
matching the curriculum to students6 needs9
e%posure of the student to a new (more mature) peer
increased time for careers9
increased options for academic e%ploration9
avoiding boredom9
avoiding alienation from less gifted peers.
Gi+te'G learning 'isa%le' st"'ents
A parado%ical finding is the e%istence of students who are both
gifted and learning disabled at the same time. hese students e%hibit
great talents or strengths in one area( while simultaneously showing
disabling wea!nesses in others.
)aum (199B) identified three categories of gifted( learning
disabled students&
(1) identified gifted students who have subtle learning
(-) unidentified students whose gifts and disabilities may be
mas!ed by average achievement9 and
(5) identified learning disabled students who are also gifted.
I!entifie! gifte! st"!ents (it s"btle learning !iffi#"lties are
usually high achievers( or students with high 3Z scores mar!ing them
out as gifted. However( as they grow older( their actual performance
may increasingly fail to live up to their talents. 3n many cases this can
be because their spelling or handwriting do not live up to their verbal
ability. hese students will often be told that they are not putting
enough effort in( but sometimes teachers may be overloo!ing subtle
learning difficulties which have not been diagnosed due to the
student6s overall giftedness. his( however( does not mean that
underachievement in gifted students necessarily results from subtle
learning difficulties. #ore often the cause will be motivational issues.
3n "ni!entifie! st"!ents their disability and gifts mas! each
other. hese students may often be struggling to achieve at their grade
level( their giftedness compensating for their learning difficulties. /n
e%ample of such a disability can be dysle%ia (a medical condition
affecting the brain that ma!es it difficult for someone to read and spell
words correctly). hese students are often only identified when their
giftedness comes out in a different conte%t( often at a later age.
I!entifie! learning !isable! st"!ents who are also gifted are
usually failing at school and have been identified as learning disabled.
However( sometimes their talent can be discovered by teachers or
other adults. #ore often( though( little attention is paid to the student6s
strengths as attention is focused on her or his problems.
However( outside school these students often demonstrate high4
level interests( the ability to deal with comple% matters or high levels
of creativity. )ecause of this( they tend to be acutely aware of their
problems at school and can become increasingly pessimistic and
negative about their school e%perience.
*ome guidelines to help these students in the classroom are the
2ocus attention on the development of the gift. /s well as
providing students with the remediation needed to overcome their
learning disability( it is important to focus on their talent as well.
his will help improve their self4esteem( and can in some cases
lead to stronger gains than focusing on their disability.
$ncourage compensation strategies. 7hile remediation
will help the learner improve her or his s!ills in the area of
wea!ness( it will usually not totally overcome them. hus(
students who have difficulty spelling can be encouraged to use
computer spell4chec!s and students who have problems writing
can be encouraged to use different means of e%pressing their
*tudents who are gifted and learning disabled should be
helped to understand what their abilities and gifts( as well as their
wea!nesses( are. his can help them ma!e the right choices with
respect to education and career.
"isadvantages have also been proposed( however. .ne of the
most important of these is that although students may be academically
more advanced than students of their age( they may not necessarily be
equally advanced socially. herefore( putting them in a group with
older peers may have negative social consequences( with the gifted
child finding it difficult to fit into the group. .lder students may also
be less li!ely to allow the younger( grade4advanced child to participate
in their peer groups( as associating with younger children does not
convey prestige in the peer group. /nother issue is that giftedness can
in some cases be the result of temporary faster development rather
than permanent student characteristics. /cceleration can also be
organi;ationally complicated for schools( especially with respect to
/ number of studies have found acceleration to have positive
effects on the achievement of gifted students( both in the short term
and in the long term. here is not much evidence that acceleration has
negative effects on students6 social4emotional development either(
although it is reasonable to e%pect that these effects will differ
somewhat depending on which form of acceleration is used. hus(
advanced placement is unli!ely to have detrimental effects( whereas
grade s!ipping may( depending on the child. However( many gifted
students have been found to be more socially mature as well and often
see! older friends.
/ number of researchers (e.g. )enbow( 1991) have proposed
guidelines to ta!e into account before a decision to accelerate is ta!en&
he child6s intellectual abilities should be
comprehensively e%amined( using a variety of measures including
ability tests and academic achievement tests to ma!e sure that the
child is intellectually capable of being accelerated.
he child6s social4emotional readiness should be assessed
by a psychologist. he child should have demonstrated an absence
of ad+ustment problems and a high motivation to learn.
)oth the child and her or his parents should be involved in
the decision to accelerate. )oth must be willing to do this( and
there must be no coercion.
he receiving teacher must be enthusiastic about
acceleration and be willing to help the child ad+ust.
'rade advancement should occur at a natural transition
point( such as the start of a new school year.
'rade advancement should be arranged on a trial basis
(e.g. one to two months). /fter the trial period the child should be
able to return to her or his original grade if she or he wants to do
eachers should try not to create e%cessive e%pectations of
grade advancement( so if it does not wor! out the child does not
consider her or himself to have failed.
*ometimes grade advancement can lead to gaps in
students6 !nowledge where they have missed certain topics.
/rrangements need to be made to cover these. However( as most
curricula revisit topics and gifted children learn fast( this is not
usually a ma+or problem.
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