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Reflecting pretexts and exercises

Ovidiu Albi

2008

CONTENTS
1. Towards Teacher Proficiency.3
2. Language Methods and Techniques...........................................................................3
The Direct Method
The Audio-Lingual Method
Suggestopedia
The Community Language Learning Method
The Communicative Approach
Communicative Syllabi towards a Communicative Methodology
3. Class Management........................................................................................................9
Classroom Observation: Class Management
Reflection as Exercise
4. Lesson Planning..........................................................................................................10
Layout
Example
5. Teaching Vocabulary.................................................................................................12
Classroom Observation: Lexis
Reflection as Exercise
6. Teaching Grammar....................................................................................................14
Classroom Observation: Grammar
Reflection as Exercise
7. Teaching Pronunciation..............................................................................................16
Classroom Observation: Phonology
Reflection as Exercise
8. Teaching Reading........................................................................................................18
Classroom Observation: Reading
Reflection as Exercise
9. Teaching Listening......................................................................................................21
Classroom Observation : Listening
Reflection as Exercise
10. Teaching writing..........................................................................................................24
Classroom Observation: Writing
Reflection as Exercise
11. Teaching Speaking......................................................................................................28
Classroom Observation: Speaking
Reflection as Exercise
12. Teaching Literary Skills.............................................................................................32
Reflection as Exercise
13. Correction....................................................................................................................33
Classroom Observation: Error Correction
Reflection as Exercise
14. Testing..........................................................................................................................35
Reflection as Exercise
15. Materials Evaluation Criteria....................................................................................36
16. Glossary of Some Common Modes of Teaching and Learning...............................37
17. Bibliography.................................................................................................................38

1.

TOWARDS TEACHER PROFICIENCY

Its good to remember that the more successful English teacher is likely to be better endowed than
many of his colleagues with:
- energy
- acting talent
- artistic imagination and skill
- patience and kindness
- organising ability
- powers of reflection and self-criticism, etc.
STILL, the indispensable constituents which will always make a successful teacher are connected with
three crucially important components of the foreign language teacher behaviour:
1. knowledge of language use
2. knowledge of language analysis
3. knowledge of language teaching.
To these three, an overarching concept should be added: reflective practice.

Reflection as Exercise

If there are qualities which distinguish the outstanding teacher from the competent one (congruence,
prizing, empathy), to what extent can these qualities be trained or developed?

2.

LANGUAGE METHODS AND TECHNIQUES

THE DIRECT METHOD

1. GOALS: to communicate in target language (TL); to think in TL.


2. ROLES: Teacher (T) directs class activities; T & Ss are partners.
3. TEACHING / LEARNING PROCESS: Ss associate meaning & the TL through realia, pictures,
pantomime. Ss speak as if in real situations. Grammar is taught inductively.
4. INTERACTION: Teacher-directed & Student-directed
5. DEALING WITH FEELINGS: no principles that relate to the area.
6. VIEW OF LANGUAGE AND CULTURE: Language is primarily spoken. Ss study everyday
speech in the TL. Aspects of foreign culture are taught.
7. LANGUAGE AREAS & SKILLS THE APPROACH EMPHASIZES: Vocabulary over Grammar.
Oral Communication over Reading and Writing. Pronunciation is primordial.
8. ROLE OF Ss NATIVE LANGUAGE: Not used.
9. MEANS OF EVALUATION: Through actual use as in oral interviews. They may also be assigned
written paragraphs.
10. RESPONSE TO Ss ERRORS: Self-correction encouraged.

LET GO IDEAS

1. Choose a particular situation (such as at the bank, at the railway station, or at the doctors)
or a particular topic and write a short passage or a dialogue on the theme you have chosen. Now think
about how you will convey its meaning to a class.
2. Select a grammar point from the passage. Plan how you will get students to practice the
grammar point. What examples can you provide them with so that they can induce the rule
themselves?

PONDER AND HYPOTHESISE

3. REMINISCE about your past learning experiences and say how often this method was used
by your teacher and how successful it proved.
4. Are there techniques of the Direct Method which you would consider adopting? Which
ones?
5. What do you think Stevick (1982) might have meant when he said Making informed
choices is, after all, what teaching is all about.
THE AUDIO-LINGUAL METHOD
1. GOALS: to use TL communicatively; to overlearn TL by forming new habits in TL. and
overcoming old habits of native language (NL).
2. ROLES: T is a good model for imitation like an orchestra leader, directing and controlling; Ss are
imitators of Ts model or tapes she supplies of model speakers.
3 TEACHING/LEARNING PROCESS: Vocabulary and structures are presented through dialogues
learned through imitation and practice (excessive drilling). Grammar is taught inductively. Cultural
information is contextualized. Oral work precedes reading and writing.
4. INTERACTION: T -Ss; T-initiatedS-S interaction (drilling; role-playing)
5. DEALING WITH FEELINGS: no principles that relate to the area.
6. VIEW OF LANGUAGE AND CULTURE: generated by descriptive linguistics (Language seen as a
system). Gradation of level of complexity. Culture is seen as everyday behaviour of TL speakers.
7. LANGUAGE AREAS AND SKILLS THE APPROACH EMPHASIZES: Acquisition of the
patterns of the language through structure practice. The oral skills are overemphasized (order:
listening, speaking, reading, writing). Pronunciation is taught from the beginning.
8. ROLE OF Ss NATIVE LANGUAGE: TL used exclusively. NL is considered a source of
interference (T expected to undertake Contrastive Analysis (CA) studies so as to prevent negative
transfer)
9. MEANS OF EVALUATION: through discrete-point tests (one point of the language at a time).
10. RESPONSE TO Ss ERRORS: through anticipation and restriction of taught areas.
4

LET GO IDEAS:
1. Consider the following dialogue. What structure is it trying to teach?
PAUL: Lous going to go to college next summer.
BETTY: What is he going to study?
PAUL: Hes going to study architecture. Hes going to be an architect.
BETTY: Where is he going to study?
PAUL: Hes going to study at Edinburgh University.
Prepare a series of drills (backward build-up, repetition, chain, single-slot substitution,
multiple-slot substitution, transformation, and Q-A) designed to give beginning level EFL students
some practice with this structure.
2. Prepare your own dialogue to introduce your Ss to the be going to structure.
PONDER AND HYPOTHESISE

3. REMINISCE about your past learning experiences and say how often this method was used
by your teacher and how successful it proved.
4. Are there techniques of the AUDIO-LINGUAL Method which you would consider
adopting? Which ones?

SUGGESTOPEDIA

ORIGINATOR: Georgi Lozanov


PURPOSE: to help Ss eliminate the feeling that they cannot be successful and, thus, to help them
overcome the barriers to learning.
1. GOALS: to accelerate learning for everyday communication by desuggesting the psychological
barriers learners bring along to the language situation.
2. ROLES: T is the authority Ss must wholly trust and respect. Infantilization is the consequence of
this unconditional relationship.
3. TEACHING/ LEARNING PROCESS: It takes place in a relaxing atmosphere (music, comfortable
chairs, pleasant lighting). Peripheral learning ensured (posters display). Ss adopt new identities.
Lengthy dialogues in TL are practiced at varying speed rhythms so as not to stress Ss (translation
provided). Learning activities: dramatizations, games, songs, and Q & A.
4. INTERACTION: T is the initiator of all relationships (T - class, T - S, S-S).
5. DEALING WITH FEELINGS: Building up student-confidence. New identities are considered
carriers of self-confidence and security.
6. VIEW OF LANGUAGE AND CULTURE: The two-plane process of communication is considered
(linguistic and non-linguistic). Culture is seen as everyday life of native speakers. Fine arts become
instrumental.
7. LANGUAGE AREAS AND SKILLS THE APPROACH EMPHASIZES: Vocabulary is very
important. Grammar is explicitly but minimally taught. Speaking communicatively becomes the main
concern. Reading and writing are subsequent.
8. ROLE OF Ss NATIVE LANGUAGE: for clarifying meaning whenever necessary.

9. MEANS OF EVALUATION: conducted on Ss in-class performance and not through formal tests.
10. RESPONSE TO Ss ERRORS: Correction is postponed until it is harmless.
LET GO IDEAS
1. Think of ways of ensuring an environment designed to reduce psychological barriers in a
school classroom you are familiar with.
2. Choose a thematic dialogue, select some music, and plan a visualization exercise.
3. Make a list of five grammatical points about the TL that you would want to display on
posters to encourage beginning Ss peripheral learning.
PONDER AND HYPOTHESISE

3. REMINISCE about your past learning experiences and say how often this method was used
by your teacher and how successful it proved.
4. Are there techniques of SUGGESTOPEDIA which you would consider adopting? Which
ones?

COMMUNITY LANGUAGE LEARNING METHOD

The method was inspired from COUNSELING-LEARNING APPROACH, developed by Charles A.


Curran (a priest).
RATIONALE: Premises of discussions: (1) Ss are whole persons. (2) Ts must be language
counselors= a skillful understander of the struggle Ss face as they attempt to internalize another
language.
PRINCIPLES behind learning: (1) learning is persons= both T and Ss must make a
commitment of trust to one another and the learning process. (2) Learning is dynamic and creative =
learning is a living and developmental process.
1. GOALS: to use TL communicatively while becoming responsively aware of their own learning in a
nondefensive, nonthreatening atmosphere.
2. ROALS: T= Counselor in as much s/he supports Ss master TL. S initially a client and finally an
independent learner.
3. TEACHING / LEARNING PROCESS: Ss are helped to generate language (T provides TL
translations in chunks) which will later become text for further explorations. (e.g. examination of a
grammar point, pronunciation work, etc.)
4. INTERACTION: T = facilitatorS-S; T = directorS-S & T-S centered (both equally important
in decision-making).
5. DEELING WITH FEELINGS: T shows Ss he understands how they feel which will help them
overcome negative feelings that might otherwise block their learning.
6. VIEW OF LANGUAGE AND CULTURE: Language is for communication and developing creative
thinking. Culture is integrated with language.
7. LANGUAGE AREAS AND SKILLS THE APPROACH EMPHASIZES: Grammar, pronunciation,
and vocabulary are practised on the language generated by Ss. Listening and speaking come first.
8. ROLE OF Ss NATIVE LANGUAGE: NL is used for Ss security (both when generating their own
corpus of texts and when expressing their feelings). TL eventually replaces NL.
6

9. MEANS OF EVALUATION: Integrative tests are better valued than discrete-point ones. Selfevaluation is also encouraged.
10. RESPONSE TO Ss ERRORS: In a nonthreatening way: T repeats correctly what the S has said
incorrectly.
LET GO IDEAS
1. Design a lesson plan on a transcript of a conversation Ss may have led in Romanian.
Provide five separate activities you could use to teach them the TL version.
PONDER AND HYPOTHESISE

2. Are there techniques of COMMUNITY LANGUAGE LEARNING METHOD which you


would consider adopting? Which ones?

THE COMMUNICATIVE APPROACH

RATIONALE: (1) Communication means use of functional language in social context.


(2) Communication also presupposes negotiating-meaning skill (through the interaction between
speaker/reader and listener/writer)
1. GOALS: To make Ss become communicatively competent (= being able to use the language
appropriate to a given social context). To manage the process of negotiating meaning with their
interlocutors.
2. ROLES: T=Facilitator (1) manager of classroom activities (i.e. setting situations for
communicationadvisor) (2) co-communicator (Littlewood, 1981- engaging in the communicative
activity along with Ss). Ss are both communicators and managers responsible of their own learning.
3. TEACHING/LEARNING PROCESS: Language in use through communicative activities such as
games, role-plays, problem-solving tasks (Morrow, 1981 identifies three features of genuinely
communicative activities: information gap, choice, and feedback). Authentic material is a must.
Negotiation of meaning can best occur in small groups.
4. INTERACTION: T is initiator of communication activitiesco-communicator and prompter of SS communication. All types of S-S Interaction (pair, triads, small groups, whole group).
5. DEALING WITH FEELINGS: Ss are more motivated since they feel they learn to do things with
words and they can share their opinions on a regular basis.
6. VIEW OF LANGUAGE AND CULTURE: Communicative competence is based on linguistic
competence (knowledge of forms and meanings) + functional language + social context + nonverbal
behaviour. Culture is everyday lifestyle of native people.
7. LANGUAGE AREAS AND SKILLS THE APPROACH EMPHASIZES: Language functions over
forms (functional syllabus). Gradation of degree of difficulty. Discourse is envisaged (cohesion,
coherence). All four skills are practised in a communicative perspective (purpose, audience).
8. ROLE OF Ss NATIVE LANGUAGE: not used. TL should be used almost exclusively (in
classroom management exchanges as well) so as to acquire the value of an authentic vehicle of
communication.
9. MEANS OF EVALUATION: Accuracy + fluency in integrative tests.
10. RESPONSE TO Ss ERRORS: Errors of form are tolerated and seen as a natural outcome of the
development of communication skills.

LET GO IDEAS
1. Why is communication a process? And, what does negotiation of meaning represent?
(Consider communicative competence in all its aspects)
2. List linguistic forms you can use for the function of complaining. Which would you teach to
beginners/ intermediates/ advanced students and how?
3. Design a communicative game or problem-solving task or role-play in which the timetable is
used to give your Ss practice in requesting information.
PONDER AND HYPOTHESISE

4. REMINISCE about your past learning experiences and say how often this method was used
by your teacher and how successful it proved.
5. Are there techniques of THE COMMUNICATIVE APPROACH which you would consider
adopting? Which ones?
6. What do you think is the correct ratio of both accuracy and fluency for all levels and all Ss?

COMMUNICATIVE SYLLABI TOWARDS A COMMUNICATIVE METHODOLOGY

1. A structural syllabus introduces grammatical items and phrases under functional headings.
2. A functional syllabus introduces grammatical items and phrases under functional headings.
3. A task-based syllabus consists of a sequence of activities or tasks introducing language structures
and functions.
To replace language learning by language acquisition is more commonsensical since learning is a
rather subconscious process which cannot be directly controlled or shaped.

Language Learning and Teaching Theories


1. Behaviourism (Skinner): stimulus - response - reinforcementthe Audio-Lingual Method.
3. Cognitivism (Mentalism)
Communicative Approach.

(N.

Chomsky,

1959):

competence

and

performancethe

3. Acquisition and Learning (S. Krashen): the former based on a subconscious process resulting in
the knowledge of a language; the latter results only in knowing about the language.
4. Task-based Learning (Allwright, 1970): Solving communicative problems in the TL by necessity
will ensure language learning.
5.

Humanistic Approaches: Community Language Learning; Suggestopedia; Silent Way; Total


Physical Response.

3. CLASS MANAGEMENT
LOCKSTEP: the class grouping where all the students are working with the teacher, where all the
students are locked into the same rhythm and pace, the same activity.
PAIRWORK: the class grouping where activities are carried out in twos.
GROUPWORK: the class organization where activities are carried out in groups.

CLASSROOM OBSERVATION: CLASS MANAGEMENT

1. Did the teacher maintain good eye contact? (always/sometimes/not enough/never)


2. Did the teacher change position appropriately with action?
3. Did the students work well together?
4. The teacher rearranged the seating when necessary.
5. The instructions were clear.
6. The teacher checked that the students had understood the instructions.
7. The teacher did not obscure the blackboard.
8. The teachers voice was clearly audible at all times. Speech was not slow/fast/unclear.
9. The students were clearly audible to each other.
10. The teacher was aware of students learning difficulties and responded in a supportive way.
11. The students took away useful and clearly illustrated language copied from the blackboard or in the
form of a handout.

1.
2.
3.

4.
5.
6.
7.

8.

Reflection as Exercise
Think back of your own learning situation and state advantages and disadvantages of each type of
interaction.
Draw a list of expected problems and possible solutions with group work.
Reflect on your own experience of learning a language successfully. Share with your friend your
memories on:
(a) how much of your success in learning English you would attribute to formal teaching, and how
much to your own independent effort or experience.
(b) Certain strategies or techniques you used, which you feel contributed to your success.
Which of the things you have mentioned do you think are teachable and which are not? Were you
taught any yourself? If not, how did you acquire them?
One way of avoiding disruptive behaviour (though not all) is by making sure all your students of
whatever age know where you stand. Somehow you and they have to agree upon a code of
conduct. Write such a code you would like observed by your students.
Mention three possible causes for discipline problems.
Think of ways of teachers discouraging use of mother tongue in groupwork and pairwork.
Here are some tips for monitoring group work. Please fill in the missing parts.
(a) Stand back
(b) Quickly check
(c) Dont interrupt, unless: .
(d) Spread your attention.
(e) Dont correct, unless: .
(f) Be easily accessible
(g) Jolly them, if necessary
(h) Take notes
(i) If you need to feed in ideas, it is better to .
Think of common techniques of constituting groups; mention varying roles the teacher must play
during one and the same class.

9. Organizing the class (explaining the task; seating arrangements; getting the timing right) is very
important for the success of the group work. Devise a scenario of a lesson in which you use group
and pair work. Pay attention to how clearly you state objectives, and organize activities. Mention
level, age, and number.
10. Finally, dont be afraid of students using their mother tongue. A lot depends on your attitude,
although its worth remembering that if you are doing group work as an alternative to whole-class
work then even if only two people are using English simultaneously you have doubled the amount
of student talk for that time!

4. LESSON PLANNING

LAYOUT

1. Name of (student) teacher


2. Date:
3. Level of students:
4. Number of students
5. Time:
6. Topic of lesson/textbook:
7. Timetable fit: within the respective unit of teaching
8. Aims: overall and specific
9. Assumptions: with reference to previous knowledge
10. Anticipated problems: with reference to common cases of interference in pronunciation,
vocabulary, grammar, etc.
11. Aids: materials to be used
PROCEDURE: STAGE ACTIVITIES
(A) PERSONALISATION
(B) GUIDE TO MEANING
(C) HIGHLIGHT THE FORM
(D) INITIAL PRACTICE
(E) SECONDARY PRACTICE
(F) GUIDED CREATIVITY
(G) ASSIGNMENT
NB: Class management (types of interaction) and timing have to be mentioned next to each
stage activity.

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

LESSON PLAN

Level: Upper intermediate


Number of students: 34
Time: 50 min.
Topic: The function of Persuasion from a video lesson on Communicative Language Teaching
Timetable fit: part of a series of lessons introducing functional language

6. Aims:
To make students aware of the importance of negotiating meaning in interpersonal exchanges.
To empower students to manage their interactions
To practice the function of persuasion on a given topic
To elicit meaningful response to stimulus
To make students advance and defend an argument by using connectives correctly and
unhesitatingly.
10

7. Assumptions: Students must be familiar with discourse markers initiating, incrementing and
concluding exchanges; must have some appetite for negotiating meaning in advancing and
defending an argument; must have a good grasp of language.
8. Anticipated problems: Use of mother tongue in workgroup; some cultural interference e.g.
body/sign language.
9. Aids: Posters; map; cued-cards; w/b.

Activity

Timing Class
organisation
3-5
plenary
min

A.

Orientation
Discussion
Set up general situation

B.

Guide to meaning
Set up particular situation
SPEAKING

3-5
min

plenary

C.

Highlight structure
SPEAKING/READING

3-5
min

plenary

D.

Initial Practice SPEAKING

E.

Transferring concepts Giving


Instructions READING +
SPEAKING

3-5
min
10 min

T-S
plenary
Role-play in
groups of 4
(individual
cards)

F.

Feed-back Session
SPEAKING
HOME ASSIGNMENT
WRITING

10 min

plenary

G.

10 min

Purpose

To create the basis of


discussion

To introduce the function


of PERSUASION for making a
case

To make students aware of


the importance of negotiating
meaning

To practice the function of


persuasion on a given topic

To reinforce the idea of


family as strong community

To build on known
vocabulary

To draw attention to
linguistic structure: discourse
markers (initiating, incrementing,
concluding)

To elicit meaningful
response to stimulus

To give students an
opportunity to work on
negotiating meaning when
advancing and defending an
argument

To make students report


back on their choice

To make students further


practice the linguistic function of
persuasion

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5. Teaching VOCABULARY

AIMS:
(1) to empower Students.
(2) to make Ss distinguish between passive/receptive & active/ productive vocabulary.
(3) to encourage Ss read widely outside the classroom.
(4) to encourage Ss to invest in a good monolingual dictionary.

KNOWLEDGE ABOUT VOCABULARY


1. Definition: The potentially infinite number of words in a language.
1.1 word / morpheme / derivatives
2. Classification: (A) active/use; (B) passive/recognition
2.1 Core vocabulary: 2,000-3,000 words > 80% of a text.
KNOWLEDGE OF ELT
1. Students needs.
1.1 Comprehension: understand / store / recognise.
1.2 Production: retrieve / use them in contextually adequate situations
2. To deal with a cline / continuum of approaches:
3. Staging and grading learning and teaching.
3.1 Spoken form first.
3.2 Introduce new words in context.
3.3 Revise.
4. Ways of teaching meaning
4.1 ostensive (realia; visual representation; demonstration; mime.)
4.2 translation
4.3 explanation (definition; examples; semantic fields.)

5. Approaches to teaching vocabulary


5.1 system-oriented
5.2 topic-oriented
5.3 strategic-oriented / coping strategies.
5.3.1 using contextual clues (formal and semantic)
5.3.2 using knowledge of related forms
5.3.3 analysing internal structure
5.3.4 using knowledge of cognates
5.4 discourse-oriented
6. Ways of facilitating learning
6.1 review: interaction with visual aids; physical response to commands; games; vocabulary
notebooks; group activities.
6.2 review: and extension: reading; oral composition; writing exercises (e g. dictionary use; affixes;
collocation; style/register awareness; scales/semantic clusters)
7. Criteria for selecting what words to teach:
7.1 frequency
7.2 range: # of contexts
7.3 familiarity
7.4 usefulness: Students needs.

12

CLASSROOM OBSERVATION: LEXIS

The following are a number of areas you could consider when observing a class.
They will not all be relevant.
Lesson objectives
1. How far does the lesson appear to have specific lexical objectives?
2. If it does have lexical objectives, how would you express them?
Reading/Listening Activities
1.

How does the teacher prepare for anticipated lexical difficulties?

2.
During while and post listening/reading phases, what lexical issues arise and how does the
teacher handle these ?
3.
What techniques does the teacher use to explain/clarify/extend lexis (e.g. explanation,
definition, synonym, paraphrase, example, etc.)?
Students role
1.

What instances are there of students misuse of lexis?

2.

How are these handled by the teacher/students?

3.
What systems of storing lexis do students appear to be operating? Do these systems appear to
be teacher guided/student initiated?
4.
Is there evidence of use of reference materials (dictionaries, etc.)? What is used? How is it
used? Does this use seem to be teacher guided/student initiated?
Post-lesson reflection
Was the approach to lexis different from the way you normally deal with it with your own learners? If
so, what were the differences?

Reflection as Exercise:
1. Try to identify learners problems in coping with vocabulary in text.
2. Review the arguments for and against teaching vocabulary in/with: Semantic sets/bilingual
word lists, context/sense relations and collocations.
3. Look at Lesson X. Textbook X/Y/Z. Comment on the way vocabulary is taught. Refer to
Teachers Book and see how it helps.
Choose the most important words, which you would focus on as active vocabulary and decide
how you would teach them.
4. Discuss the guiding principles any teacher and teaching materials should submit to when
dealing with vocabulary work.
Organization of vocabulary around topics
Distinction between vocabulary for productive use and vocabulary for receptive
recognition.
Focus on form/spelling, meaning and pronunciation
Guessing/inferring meaning from context

13

Use of tasks of graded difficulty (e.g. matching words with their definitions, Word
charts, etc.)
Systemic attention to word formation
Revision and checking activities
Encouragement of students self study skills
Distinction between formal and informal language registers.
5. Formulate the basic criteria for an efficient policy concerning vocabulary learning and
teaching.
6. Guess at what a multi-layered work on new vocabulary might mean and find examples
from the textbooks in use.
7. Design the vocabulary work session of a current language class on a topic you select from
any language course book. Age, level, number of students to be mentioned.
8. Approve or disapprove of the idea that practice of vocabulary for active use, at the lower
level, is more integrated in the communicative activities meant to develop skills.
9. Comment upon the decision of textbook writers to include word lists at the back of
Students Books 5-8 (Pathway to English Series)
10. Make a list of the most widely used lexical activities for testing students verbal power.

6. Teaching GRAMMAR

AIMS: (1) to communicate efficiently (2) to empower the student by freeing him from a
dependency on context and the limitations of a purely lexical categorization of reality

KNOWLEDGE OF GRAMMAR
1. Definition: (David Crystal) (1) = a systemic description of language (2) = the way words and their
component parts combine to form sentences (3) = a device for generating a finite specification of
the sentences of a language.
2. History of Grammar
2.1 Prescriptive: Traditional Grammar
2.2 Descriptive: Structural and Generative Grammar
2.3 Rules of Grammar vs. Rules of Usage
KNOWLEDGE OF TEACHING GRAMMAR
AIM: to ensure that Ss are communicatively efficient with the grammar they have at their level.
1. Grammar as means not end.
1.1 From meaning to form (rather than vice-versa) reflected in notional-functional syllabuses and
classroom practice.
1.2 Errors accepted as natural
2. Grammatical component of efficient communication consists of:
2.1 Formal Fluency: (A) Knowledge of how forms combine to make up the structures of the
language
(B) Skill to combine these forms unhesitatingly.
2.2 Functional Fluency: (A) Knowledge of relationships between forms and meanings
(B) Skill to choose and use an appropriate form unhesitatingly.
3. Methods available to us:
3.1 Analysis
3.2 Controlled practice
3.3 Exposure
4. Two routes to the acquisition of the grammar of a second language: (A) Formal analysis + (B)
Exposure > Practice + Fluency (formal + functional)
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5.
5.1
5.2
5.3

Two ways leading to the understanding of Grammar:


Induction: from particular to general truth
Deduction: from general truth to particular situations
Induction-deduction; Deduction-induction.

CLASSROOM OBSERVATION: GRAMMAR

1.
If the teacher presents a new grammatical item: How was the meaning got across to the
students? How much explicit attention to form was there? Was the approach inductive or deductive?
2.
Was there a progression from controlled to free practice? What types of activities were used?
How much variety was there?
3.
How much interaction was there between students? How early in the lesson did it first occur?
4.
What evidence was there by the end of the lesson that the students had learned something?
5. Any other interesting features?
Reflection as Exercise:
1. Think of ways to make grammar practice activities less of a chore and more of an enjoyable
challenge.
2. Lessons based on the PPP Approach fit within the category of logical line lessons. So, what is your
opinion on the ratio of Presentation and Self-directed discovery approaches in the language
class?
3. Most lessons involving work on grammar are built from three basic components: (1) Clarification
and focus, (2) Restricted use activities and (3) Authentic use. Think of example activities
and tools and techniques enabling the ARC perspective on the grammar class.
4. Language acquisition research (Krashen, Ellis) and recent methodological studies (Lewis)
acknowledge the place of thinking about and talking about language in the language process.
Does this cohere with what type of approach?
5. What approach do you appreciate the tradition of grammar teaching in Romanian ELT used to align
with?
6. Uncover the principles underlying the layered acquisition of new language or the spiral approach.
7. Find examples, from the textbook in use, of concept questions used to help students observe or
notice a new grammar point or check whether the concept is internalized (consciousnessraising questions).
8. Language Focus boxes in the series Pathway to English offer support with language-experimenting
activities. Discuss the usefulness of such prompts in the economy of a language class.
9. Devise a grammar scenario for introducing future perfect (level: intermediate; grade: 8; No: 25).
10. Discuss the efficiency of such language-experimenting activities such as multiple choice, gap
filling, error correction, rephrasing.

15

7. Teaching PRONUNCIATION
Aims: (1) to encode and decode messages correctly.
(2) to give variety, life to repetition.
Knowledge about Pronunciation
1. Sciences dealing with Pronunciation
1.1 Basic elements of Pronunciation
1.1.1 word stress: variable: main/secondary/unstressed
1.1.2 sounds: how sounds are formed: E. Sound System vs. Sound System
1.1.3 phonemic alphabet
1.1.4 word linking
1.1.5 sentence stress/ voice range/ intonation patterns
1.1.5.1
two basic intonation tunes: fall/rise
1.1.5.2
functions of intonation: accentual/syntactic/attitudinal.
1.1.6 fluency
1.1.6.1
static elements in Pronunciation: sounds/word-stress/word-linking
1.1.6.2
expressive forms: sentence-stress/voice range/intonation pattern
1.7
R.P. (received pronunciation)
1.8
Tone patterns/ groups.
1.8.1 three tones: falling./rising/fall-rise
Knowledge of ELT
1. Ways of preventing Pronunciation mistakes
.1 drilling exercises for Recognition
1.2 drilling exercises for Production
1.3 Correct students mistakes!
1.4 Expose students to authentic language!
2. Problems with English Pronunciation
2.1 Consonant Clusters: sounds disappear or change
2.2 Vowel clusters
2.3 Homophones

CLASSROOM OBSERVATION: PHONOLOGY

1. List the major non-native features of pronunciation that you hear:


1.1 Note who makes the major non-natives features of pronunciation: all students; some; a few.
1.2 Listen to one student and see if he/she consistently makes the same errors.
2. Can you identify a pattern of/rationale for correction of non-native pronunciation?
3. List the correction methods the teacher uses.
4. What is the source of language produced in the classroom: teacher %; student
%; other
%.
5. Is the language produced (by teachers, students, other)naturally produced (eg. vis--vis weak
forms, elision, rhythm, speed, etc.)?
6. Can you identify any listening comprehension problems that relate to phonological features (e.g.
weak forms)? How does the teacher resolve any problems?

Reflection as Exercise:
1. Pronunciation skills overlap with rhetorical skills (posture, loudness, pace, eye contact,
compensation strategies, and use of feedback). How much practice is given to the latter ones in the
English class? Reminiscence your own learning experience.
2. It is considered that many apparent pronunciation problems, e.g. in stress and intonation, are
really processing problems created by artificial or too difficult tasks. Agree or disagree in wellarticulated discourse.

16

3. Phonological awareness (especially of weak forms etc.) is important for listening as well as
speaking. Think of ways to efficiently train students in this strategy.
4. Approve or disapprove of the idea that intonation is always a matter of tendencies not rules.
5. Add to the list of compensation strategies: rephrasing; repetition and redundancy; slower/louder
speech; spelling out; miming; use of visuals; (translation); checking with listeners; .
6. The following correction/feedback features are in-built dimensions of the language class
learning/teaching activities: positive (what to do) not error-based; built into task design; from other
learners, not just from teacher; global before detailed. Think back of your learning experience and
tick off those features you are most accustomed with.
7. What should be the criteria for text choice for teaching/learning materials to be used when
teaching pronunciation?
8. Below is a dialogue without punctuation. Decide upon two possible scenarios:
-

What is the situation?


Who are the people?
How do they feel? What is their attitude?
How will they speak?

Practise speaking the dialogue with different stress and intonation patterns for the two situations.
A Where were you last night
B Why
A Well I rang at ten oclock and you werent in
B No I went to the cinema.
A Oh really Who with
B Just an old friend from university
A Oh

9. Consider this piece of writing:


Ive live derl ife thats full
Ive travel dee chan devery byway
But morm uch more than this
Id idit my way.

What helped you make sense of it; if any?


10. Along with theatre techniques to spur creative language learning, jazz chanting represents an
instance of spontaneous communication which appeals to students emotional and imaginative
potentials, Here is an example of a jazz chanting based on Q&A pattern:
How do you like your coffee?
Black! Black!
How do you like your tea?
With lemon, please.
How do you like your steak?
Medium rare.
How do you like your eggs?
I dont care!
Sunny-side up?
I dont care!
Poached on toast?
I dont care!
Over-easy?
I dont care
Soft-boiled? Hard-boiled?!
I dont care!
How about an omelet?
I dont care!
Come on, tell me!
This isnt fair.
I told you the truth.
I really dont care! (Major Decisions)

What are the advantages of using such jazz chanting in the language class?

17

8.

Teaching READING
We are not trying to put something in his head,
but instead we are trying to get him to take it in himself.
(Nuttall)

Aims: (1) to help learners to independence in their private reading.


(2) to achieve functional literacy i.e. to show our learners that being literate is part of day-today life in a personal and social sense.

KNOWLEDGE OF READING

1. Definition: (a) the process by which an actual reader and writer engage in a discourse in a context
where the onus is on the reader to approximate to the intended meanings of the writer. (b) what the
reader does in order to integrate the text into their real world and make sense of it within their own
knowledge, interests and needs.
2. Applying L1 higher-order strategies knowledge to the new language involves admitting and
encouraging risk-taking strategies as READING IS COMMUNICATION.
3. COMPREHENSION = what the reader does in order to integrate the text into their real world and
make sense of it within their own knowledge, interests and needs.
3. The TOP-DOWN model of Reading trying to show the psycholinguistic processes involved in
reading and the complex relationships between Reader and Text as a backward and forward process
that may require many reversals and revisions before the final message is extracted and committed
to the long-term memory.
writer
text
initial text

interim text (task environment: readers


purpose)

graphological processing
linguistic processing(readers short-term memory)
semantic processing
draft text

final text

knowledge of topic and world


knowledge of text plans
knowledge of writer
Stanovich(1980) proposes an interactive-compensatory model: readers process texts by utilizing
information provided simultaneously from several different sources and that they can compensate for
deficiencies at one level by drawing on knowledge at other (either higher or lower) levels(i.e.
phonological, lexical, syntactic, semantic and discoursal knowledge).
KNOWLEDGE ABOUT TEACHING READING
1. The nature of Reading Difficulties
1.1 Decoding stage: greater or less depending on the degree of correspondence between L1 and L2.
1.2 Encoding stage: relate to: text, topic, purpose.
18

2. What can be taught?


2.1 SKILLS: lower-order approaches i.e. enable readers to use the strategies.
2.2 STRATEGIES: higher-order approaches: give the reader independence.
Examples of Skills and Strategies: Word-attack/ use of grammatical context/ understanding
significance of cohesion devicescontext-deduction strategy;
Distinguishing main ideas from supporting detail, identifying topic sentences skimming
3. How can Reading be taught?
NB. As Reading is communication the Reading lesson must be very active and full of discussion and
cooperation through a wide variety and grading of:
3.1 texts (authentic whenever possible)
3.2 topics
3.2 tasks
4. Training/helping Ss with Prediction = giving a springboard to their understanding (in point of
content, direction of story, mood, vocabulary, grammar)
5. Comprehension and Prediction Ideas
6. Qualities of the reading class: interactive, stimulating, challenging, providing a sense of security we
all need before we will take risks.
Some Truisms:
A person learns to read by reading
Teaching Reading Skills can mean teaching deliberate attack strategies.
Reading is much more than decoding a text, figuring out a message. It is interacting with a text,
synthesizing ideas, drawing conclusions, forming new ideas.
Process Skills List
Observing: recognizing, identifying, listening, isolating, and discriminating.
Predicting: anticipating, choosing, supplying, broadening, focusing, judging, assessing, and surveying.
Classifying: listing, sorting, distinguishing, naming, labelling, arranging, organizing.
Inferring: applying, associating, connecting, linking, matching, weighing, discarding, rearranging.
Analyzing: questioning, considering, inquiring, pondering, exploring, parsing, reassembling, and
criticizing.
Communicating: demonstrating, following directions, explaining, pronouncing, discussing.
Interpretation: decoding, relating, drawing conclusions, generalizing, specifying, organizing,
cataloguing.

CLASSROOM OBSERVATION: READING

1.

What do you think were the objectives of the reading lesson i.e. what reading
sub-skills were being developed/practised?

2.

How was the reading lesson set up? Which of the following types of activity were
present and what did they consist of?
a) pre-reading task(s)
b) while-reading task(s)
c) post-listening task(s)

3.
4.

How did the teacher deal with any learner difficulties in understanding the text?
(e.g. give explanation, tell them to use dictionaries, etc.)
Do you think all the learners achieved what they were required to do with the text?
If so, why? If not, why not?

19

5.

What in your opinion, were


a) the good features of the lesson?
b) the weak features of the lesson?

Post-lesson reflection
Was this reading lesson different from the way you approach reading in your own classes?
If so, what were the differences?

Reflection as Exercise:
1. Make a list of prediction ideas that may give students a springboard to their understanding of a
text.
2. State the main difference between the following strategies of ensuring comprehension:
Ordering a sequence of pictures vs. reordering events
Mapping it out vs. completing a document
Matching vs. summarizing
3. Throughout most teaching materials reading is viewed as a process involving three stages.
Mention the stages and the corresponding reading strategies to be employed.
4. How do you explain the two-fold role of the reading skill (integrating and integrated) in the
process of teaching?
5. Devise your own list of criteria for selecting text-types for both intensive and extensive reading.
6. Look at Unit 1 Lesson 2 from Perspectives on English to find an illustration of how students are
expected to access textual meaning, Starting from literal meaning (ex.II.2; Ex.III.1a; ex.III.1b;
ex.III.1c; ex.III.1d) through type of text (ex.III.2a) to text assessment/ evaluation (ex.III.2b;
ex.IV.1; ex.IV.2a; ex.IV.2b; ex.IV.2c; ex.IV.2d; ex.IV.3, students are put in charge of their own
building sense out of the text. Reflect upon your own training for becoming the competent
readers you are. Any differences/similarities?
7. Go through the series Pathway to English (5-8) and devise a list with exercises dealing with
direct reference or understanding literal meaning of the text.
8. Go through the series Pathway to English (9-12) and devise a list with exercises dealing with
indirect reference/ meta-content information from a text.
9. Choose a lesson from any textbook in use and devise a possible scenario for giving students
practice in intensive reading. Mention level, age, and number of students.
10. Mention all the books you have read this month.

20

9. Teaching LISTENING
Knowledge on how we reach understanding
1. The map below sketches the relationship between the various information sources that we may
need to refer to in order to understand a spoken or written text.
background knowledge
- factual
- sociocultural
procedural knowledge
- how knowledge is used in discourse

schematic
knowledge

knowledge of situation
- physical setting, participants, etc .
context
knowledge of co-text
- what has been/will be said (written)
knowledge of the language system
- semantic
- syntactic
- phonological

systemic
knowledge

C
O
M
P
R
E
H
E
N
S
I
O
N

Fig.1 from Anne Anderson and Tony Lynch, Listening, OUP, 1988
2. There are two distinct modes of listening: integrated (i.e. where the listener can become the
speaker- in conversation) and isolated (i.e. where the listener cannot respond to the speaker)
3.1 Top-down processing (Fig.1) corresponds to encoding (prediction)
3.2 Bottom-up processing (Fig.2) corresponds to decoding (comprehension)
listeners long term memory
final text
semantic/pragmatic analysis (meaning)
speakers intention and required response
linguistic analysis
(lexical, grammatical and prosodic structure of the text)
auditory analysis
(sounds, word boundaries)
drop-out

noise

speakers output text


Fig.2 Bottom-up Processing

21

NB Anderson & Lynch (1988) contrast the Bottom-Up view of listener as taperecorder with TopDown view of listener as active model builder: the listener constructs an interpretation of a message
by utilizing both bottom-up and top-down knowledge.
4. Types of aural texts:
Aural Texts

monologues
planned

dialogues
unplanned

interpersonal

transactional

unfamiliar
familiar
5. Text vs. Non-Text: Halliday & Hasan (1976) consider that text is defined in terms of the linguistic
elements which serve to bind the texts together i.e. cohesive devices. Widdowson (1978, 1979)
challenges the fact that coherence of a text is created by cohesion by arguing that we can create our
own coherence by recognizing the function that each utterance fulfils within a given context or
situation.
e.g. Edmonson(1981) proves that the example of non-text Van Dijk gives(We will have guests for
lunch. Calderon was a great writer.) is, in fact, a perfectly coherent text.
Conclusion: Successful listening involves the integration of information encoded in the message itself
with broader knowledge of the world viz. successful listeners use both bottom-up and top-down
strategies in reconstructing messages.
Knowledge about Teaching Listening
Aim: to train Ss to understand and respond quickly to: (1) the sort of language they are likely to
encounter in normal use;(2) the sort of situations they are likely to find themselves in. (both verbal
behaviour and non-verbal behaviour should be encouraged)
1. A checklist of listening sub-skills
1.1 Anticipation (develop appropriate expectations; adjust listening strategy to listening purpose; scan
for activated information)
1.2 Recognition (phonemic contrasts; word stress pattern; key morpheme; stress as indicator of
information focus; intonation as cue to information structure; (known) vocabulary; grammatical word
class; syntactic structure; ideas; reference markers; variation between form and meaning; main
discourse markers; fillers; attitude from intonation or word-choice) What did you say?
1.3 Inference (word meaning from context; function of utterances; situations from context; purpose of
discourse; connection between events in the discourse; relationship between topic and sub-topics;
attitude from context; meaning of non-verbal parts of the message such as gesture)What did you
mean when you said?
1.4 Construction (build up a coherent picture on the basis of: Anticipation, Recognition, Inference;
distinguish literal from implied meaning; follow the main thread of the discourse; predict next move
or eventual outcome from ongoing discourse)Why are you telling me this?
2. Enabling skills and enacting skills in listening from Rost, Listening in Language Learning,
Longman, 1990
What the listening skill consists of: (A) Emphasizing perception: Recognizing prominence within
utterances; (B) Emphasizing interpretation: formulating propositional sense for a speakers
utterance; formulating a conceptual framework that links utterances together; interpreting plausible
intention(s) of the speaker in making the utterance; (C) Enacting skills: utilizing representation of
discourse to make appropriate response.
22

3. Types of listening tasks


4. Criteria for evaluating activities and exercises:
4.1 Content validity: Does the activity practice listening or something else?
4.2 Listening comprehension or memory?
4.3 Purposefulness and transferability: Does the activity reflect a purpose for listening and
approximates authentic real-life listening?
4.4 Testing or teaching?
4.5 Authenticity: To what degree does the input resemble natural discourse?
5. Four clusters of factors which can affect the difficulty of oral language tasks as discussed by Brown
& Yule (1983): (1) related to the speaker (2) related to the listener (3) related to the content (4) related
to the support

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.

1.

2.
3.
4.

5.
6.
7.
8.
9.

10.

CLASSROOM OBSERVATION: PRESENTATION OF LANGUAGE VIA


LISTENING/READING

Purpose of presentation
Features of presentation
Activities
Type of interaction
Role of teacher
Degree of control
Correction
Length and pace of lesson
Success of lesson were students using language correctly by the end?
Reflection as Exercise:
The dictogloss approach encourages learners to use both bottom-up and top-down listening
strategies. The 4 stages to go through are: (a) preparation; (b) dictation; (c) reconstruction; (d)
analysis and correction. Hypothesize about advantages and disadvantages of such an approach.
Mainly think about the importance of integrating background, inside the head knowledge with the
clues picked up during the dictation.
Brown and Yule referred to 4 clusters of factors, which can become sources of difficulty of oral
language tasks. Take them in turn and hypothesize about how they can hinder comprehension.
Reflect upon your experience of listeners to news broadcasts, for instance. How can this help you
improve the listening class?
How far do you agree with the following statements?
(a) Listening is an active process.
(b) Classroom listening practice can be used to develop the listeners general linguistic resources.
(c) Authentic listening texts are essential.
(d) Learners should be exposed to as wide a range of listening rtexts as possible from a variety of
sources.
Which phases might you expect to find in a lesson devoted to listening practice?
What are the features of real-life listening and how far do the listening texts in present textbooks
reflect real-life listening?
How can replaying a text at various stages of the lesson be rewarding for both teacher and
students?
What about the practicalities of a listening class? Are they important or not?
Select one listening task from any textbook available to you and carefully plan the activity so as to
make it most profitable for your students. Detail stages and state purposes. Refer to Teachers book
for help. Mention level, age, number of students.
List the listening tasks favoured by textbook writers.

23

10. Teaching WRITING


Knowledge on written language
1. Written language vs. spoken language: two different kinds of complexity
1.1 complexities at the level of the clauselexical density (# of content words) vs. complexity in the
way clauses are linked together.
1.2 decontextualization, which makes it impossible to adjust the message vs. contextualization due to
permanent feedback from the other person.
2. Definition of writing = a communicative process involving the writer in decisions concerning the
expected reader of the text.
N.B. Textual decisions depend on the writers perception of the audience.
3. Constraints in writing a text:
1. Appropriate
2. Intents

3. Context

4. Possible

5. Feasible

6. Performed

Utterance
Johnson, Keith, Communicative Syllabus Design and Methodology, 1982
4. Functions in everyday life served by written language:
4.1 for action: public signs, recipes, maps, bills, ....,....,....,....,......
4.2 for information: newspapers, non-fiction books, textbooks, advertisements.
4.3.for entertainment: fiction, comic strips, light magazines, etc.
Knowledge about teaching writing

1. Writing is a communicative activity where there is a reason to write and there is a reader.
2. Components of the writing skill:
2.1 mechanical component: e.g. hand-writing; spelling; capitalization; punctuation.
2.2 grammatical component: e.g. tenses; word order; etc.
2.3 discourse component: e.g. ability to paragraph; use of cohesive devices; etc.
2.4 stylistic component: e.g. choice of appropriate vocabulary; ability to vary sentence structure to
avoid repetition; ability to choose language according to the type of writing and writing.
3. Potential problems: spelling; punctuation; stylistic confusion between spoken and written language;
L1 interference; Ss resistance to writing in general.
4. What the student MUST know:
4.1 what the audience will be
4.2 what s/he wants to convey i.e. purpose of writing
4.3 how to write several drafts coming nearer to the message intended at the semantic and grammatical
level.

24

5.

Staging the writing lesson


ideas stage
composing stage
editing stage

6. what will a course of writing include?


a lot of: reading, listening, oral discourse
7.

Role of the writing teacher:


find interesting and relevant writing activities
decide how best to present the activities
provide sufficient guidance and control
provide correction and suggestions for improvement

8.

Techniques used for teaching writing:


pre-reading discussion
spray-charts or visual forms presenting ideas before writing
first draft followed by peer discussion of the message
second draft
editing
recomposition
modelling/ parallel versions for different audiences
text combination (pairs use their best relevant pieces to make the whole text)
incubation (set the writing task a week after pre-writing activity)
writing many different kinds of texts (e.g. newspaper articles; menus; tourist brochures; doctors
records; poetry; etc.)

9. Process-oriented approach vs. product-oriented approach


9.1 focus is on classroom activities, which are believed to promote the development of skilled
language use.
9.2 language at the level of discourse.
9.3 writing teacher more interested in the processes writers go through in composing texts.
10. objectives + activities:
10.1 arouse Ss interesttopic (stimulus for topic: learner choice of topic)
10.2 arouse ideas/new wordsgroup/pair brainstorming
10.3 help organize ideasoutline or jot down ideas
10.4 get down main ideasfirst draft (individual, pair or group)
10.5 clarifying message, editingfeedback from peers and teacher
10.6 optional second draft and feedback
10.7 final versionrewriting
11. Discourse analytic tasks
true/false questions on writers intention
cloze and gap-filling using semantic replacement criteria
given 1st paragraph, learners predict 2nd, etc.
match list of functions with text
rhetorical transformations (e.g. given a description of a product, learners rewrite it as an
advertisement)
modeling (e.g. given text as a topic, learners write a text of the same structure on a different topic).

25

12. Stages of a writing lesson


12.1 copying
12.2 controlled writing
12.3 guided writing
12.4 cued writing
12.5 free writing: reports; summaries; letters; invitations; literary compositions.,
13. Producing a piece of writing.

Syntax

Content

The writers
process

Grammar

Mechanics

Clear, Fluent,
and effective
communication
of ideas

Audience

Purpose

Organization

Word choice
(Raimes, A. Techniques in Teaching Writing, OUP, 1983)

CLASSROOM OBSERVATION: WRITING SKILL


1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

Was it a mini-skills lesson e.g. punctuation, letter format?


What was the degree of control? i.e. controlled/less controlled/freer?
What kind of writing exercise was it? e.g. letter writing, composition, descriptive passage
Was there appropriate guidance for the task?
How was the lesson concluded? NB: it may be set for homework.
Comment on how successful you feel the lesson was. What factors contributed to this?

CLASSROOM OBSERVATION: USING THE BOARD

1. Physical: Was the board visible to all?


Was the layout clear? (Did it appear overcrowded/disorganized?)
2. Was the new language highlighted effectively?
3. Was the board work complete? (e.g. no unfinished sentences)
4. Did the teacher use the board for:
(a) clarifying points on the spot?
(b) correction? (e.g. grammar, pronunciation)
5. Could any of the following have been appropriate?
(a) tabulation (e.g. substitution table)
26

(b) display of visuals (flashcards/drawings)


(c) prompts for practice
(d) preparation (e.g. giving information for an activity)
6. What did the students write down and take away?
Was it representative of the salient points of the lesson, and would the students have understood it
several days later?
7. Was the board overused or underused?
Reflection as Exercise:
1. The writer can choose any structure or lexis, which will appropriately express the intended
meaning to the expected audience. So, will you look at Keith Johnsons diagram of an utterance
and spell out the necessary constraints to be considered when writing.
2. How can you reformulate such a writing task as Describe your room at home so that the
assignment take on new dimensions besides a simple exercise in the use of the present tense and in
prepositions. Consider providing student writers with a context in which to select appropriate
content, language, and levels of formality.
3. When is teacher feedback expected to happen during the writing process?
4. What differences can you highlight between the process-approach to writing and a more traditional
approach?
5. Argue for writing as a group work activity or an isolationist activity.
6. Mention advantages of use of brainstorming activities in the writing class.
7. Consider the textbook English News and Views. Put down all the writing tasks used by the authors
in order to refine students writing skills.
8. Detail a scenario presenting the stages of a lesson teaching writing on a topic of your choice from a
textbook familiar to you.
9. How can the teacher get the balance right between accuracy and fluency in writing?
10. What do you understand by the need to develop the students communicative potential in writing?

27

11. Teaching SPEAKING


Knowledge on spoken language
1. Identifying different types of speaking according to the functional analysis of speaking performed
by Bygate (1987) - see Fig.1.
Expository: description, instruction, comparison
Information routines
Evaluative: explanation, justification, prediction, decision
Routines
Service: job interview
Interaction routines
Social: dinner party
Negotiation of meaning
Negotiations
Management of interaction
Fig.1 Characterizing oral interaction
2. D. Nunans three-dimensional grid as a planning device for designing a syllabus for speaking and
oral interaction - see Fig.2

Information
Expository
Evaluative
narrate describe instruct
explain justify predict
compare

Negotiation of
meaning
Management
of interaction

Interaction
Service:
job interview
booking a
restaurant
etc.
Social:
dinner party
coffee break
theatre queue
etc.
Fig.2 A planning grid for speaking and oral interaction

28

3. Predictability and unpredictability: Communication involves the reduction of uncertainty through a


process of negotiation.
3.1 Transactional encounters contain highly predictable patterns
3.2 Interpersonal encounters (the focus being on the maintenance of social relationships) will be
unpredictable or less predictable
4.
Strategies for accomplishing the vertical expansion (extending messages vertically, i.e.
discoursally), according to Ellis (1984):
4.1 Imitating another speakers utterance and adding to it.
4.2 Building on ones own previous utterance.
4.3 Juxtaposing two formulaic utterances.
5. Spoken communication as negotiation of turn-taking, topic, message, seeking clarification, and
expansion, repeating or summarizing.
Knowledge about Teaching Speaking
Aim: mastering the art of speaking as the most important aspect of learning a foreign language (i.e.
the ability to carry out a conversation in the foreign language)
1. Skills involved in successful oral communication:
1.1 The ability to articulate phonological features of the language comprehensively;
1.2 Mastery of stress, rhythm, intonation patterns;
1.3 Transactional and interpersonal skills;
1.4 Skills in taking short and long speaking turns;
1.5 Skills in the management of interaction;
1.6 Skills in negotiating meaning (as part of what Canale and Swain (1980) call strategic competence)
involve the ability to:
1.6.1 initiate 1.6.2 maintains 1.6.3 interrupt 1.6.4 restore 1.6.5 repair/terminate the interaction;
1.7 Conversational listening skills;
1.8 Skills in knowing about and negotiating purposes for conversations;
1.9 Using appropriate conversational formulae and fillers;
2. The difficulty of speaking tasks: the interlocutor effect (Brown and Yule, 1983,1984)
3. The degree of ascending difficulty of speaking tasks from: static tasksdynamic tasksabstract
tasks.
All three task types involve learners in exploiting basic information-transferring skills.
NB The ability to reflect critically on ones performance as a language user is an important skill, which
should be incorporated into any language programme.
4. Top-down approach to speaking - see Fig.2 on handout.
5. A nine-point scale Yardstick for evaluating speaking - see Carroll & West, 1989 on handout.
6. Consider what is involved in real-life communication - in any language.
Complete the diagram below with your ideas.
We want to communicate

REAL-LIFE
ORAL
COMMUNICATION

29

We choose our own language


We focus on message
7. Consider how these features of real-life communication can be replicated in the classroom.
8. Interaction activities: see Penny Ur (1981)
E.g. Information Gap Activities: describe and draw
describe and arrange
describe and perform
describe and identify
picture sequencing
picture differences
Opinion Gap Activities: open-ended discussions
priority discussions
problem-solving tasks
picture/text interpretation

CLASSROOM OBSERVATION: SKILLS LESSON: SPEAKING

NB:
1. It may be an integrated skills lesson e.g. listening leading to speaking.
2. Try to ascertain if the skills lesson is being used to reinforce language that has recently been
introduced.
3. You may find it helpful to note down the stages of the lesson and approximate time length of each
stage.
SPEAKING SKILL
(a) What type of speaking skill e.g. dialogue building, role-play, discussion, narrative building? What
was the degree of control, i.e. controlled/less controlled/freer?
(b) How was the lesson set up?
(c) What instructions were given and were they clear?
(d) Was the task realistic/appropriate/challenging etc?
(e) How did the teacher deal with correction e.g. did the teacher correct during the activity or at the
end?
(f) Comment on how successful you feel the lesson was? What factors contributed to this?

CLASSROOM OBSERVATION: TEACHER TALKING TIME (TTT)

Answer the questions by making notes of your thoughts and with any specific examples.
1. Did the T. talk more than necessary to explain a point or not enough?
2. Did the T. talk when the students could have been doing the talking?
3. Did the T. speak too quickly/slowly?
4. Was the level of language about right?
5. Did the language sound authentic and natural?
6. In which activities was student talking time more than TTT?
7. Did the T. create enough opportunities for student talking time?
8. Were instructions clear? Was what the trainee/teacher had to say interesting, informative, useful
etc.?
9. If/when TTT was high, was there a good reason for this?
Reflection as Exercise:
1. If you agree that language tasks must have a degree of ascending difficulty covering such scale:
static task > dynamic task> abstract task, and must involve learners in exploiting basic
information-transferring skills, then mention what other very important skill has to be developed in
any language programme.
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2. This is how Carroll and West (1989) appreciate as highest speaking performance:
Handles all general speech situations, as well as those in own specialist areas, with confidence and
competence similar to those in mother tongue. An exceptional level of speaking. Message required
is completely conveyed with total relevance and interest. Message fully adjusted to listeners
knowledge of topic and language. Spoken text is coherently organized with suitable use of
sequencing and cohesion. Total control of fluency in interaction without undue hesitations. Style
effectively matched to context. Language control complete, allowing for high-level interaction.
Complete accuracy apart from occasional slips of tongue. Little L1 accent and appropriate use of
idiom contribute to overall impression. Can you identify the three main criteria at the basis of this
near-perfect speaker portrait?
3. Reading aloud used to be a common test of speaking. Contrast this with a more recent technique
problem-solving working in pairs. Tick off features of each technique when appropriate.
(purposive; spontaneous; interactive; planned language; message bearing; real-world task)
4. The oral interview is open to several criticisms. What are these?
5. Can you predict three objections to linguistic tests of speaking?
6. The traditional one-to-one arrangement (learner-assessor interaction) has three main disadvantages.
Can you predict what these are?
7. The guided instructions technique evolved from the Lego brick-building task described by
Allwright (1977). One learner is asked to give a set of instructions to either another learner or an
interlocutor. There are several possibilities: describe and arrange; describe and draw;
pathfinding. Mention two major advantages of the technique.
8. Check any two textbooks available for how the speaking session is organized. Compare and
contrast: types of materials, assignments, difficulty parameters, sociolinguistic competence
occurrences.
9. Choose one topic from one current textbook. Edit a scenario to give students practice in speaking
on the respective topic/language function. You can compare your scenario with the one below,
inspired by a video-lesson illustrating the communicative approach.
10. In Book 12, English Horizons, authors have included in each unit an assessment form for
presentations (oral/written) that the students can use for themselves and for their peers and with
which to organize their own learning. What might have been the authors hidden agenda in so
doing?

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12. Teaching LITERARY SKILLS


Knowledge of literature from both diachronic and synchronic perspective of the history of
civilization. Appropriate critical jargon and literary theory information should supplement it. And,
what is more, the feeling for literature reading and discussion.
Knowledge of How to teach Literature to teenagers
1. awareness of complexity of situation (cultural awareness raising; information transfer; artistic taste
refinement; creativity enhancement; study skills improvement; language skills development; selfknowledge growth).
2. Adaptation of readers response theory beliefs to the classroom situation: i.e. text seen as a flexible
structure (both closed and open); reader as co-author of the text.
3. Guidelines for achieving literary skills:
(a) make the study of literary texts stimulating, challenging, enjoyable.
(b) make students learn how to think and not what to think; how to handle concepts of literary theory
and not parrot ready-made interpretations;
(c) keep a right balance between focus on information and focus on personal response/creativity.
(d) make the literary text an interesting encounter in time by presenting it in the context of the culture
and civilization of their time.
(e) make both the achievement and behaviour cultures (both English/American and Romanian) meet
on the arena of the literary text.
(f) Observe the spiral principle (from recognition, to guided discovery, to awareness and, finally, to
response) for ensuring success and satisfaction in the development of the critical mind.
4. Here are the teaching/assessment objectives of literaturing as presented by the authors of the
Pathway to English series: At the end of Grade 12, students should be able to:
(A) demonstrate their presentation skills by planning an oral/written presentation of the features of a
literary text which should be relevant to the topic, selective and clear, and which should use the
appropriate terminology and language register;
(B) express their personal response, that is to explore and express their views on a literary text by
articulating informed and independent opinions on literary texts of different types and cultural
epochs;
(C) make a text analysis, i.e. to show their understanding of the ways in which writerschoice of form,
structure, and language reveals meanings, their understanding of the cultural and historical
influences on literary texts, their awareness of the relationships between literary texts.
5. Textbook writers spirally work upon the following concepts when aiming at developing literary
skills: plot-building; character-building; theme; narrative perspective; setting; symbol
discovery; range of language(s) and style(s).
Reflection as Exercise:
1. Look at the text from E. Brontes Wuthering Heights in Book 10, Perspectives on English. Design
a scenario for teaching students the concept of plot uncovering. Detail: stages, purposes, skills,
activities, timing, types of interaction.
2. Look at the text from S. Fitzgeralds The Great Gatsby, in Book 11, News and Views. Design a
scenario for teaching students the concept of character building. Detail: stages, purposes, skills,
activities, timing, types of interaction.
3. Look at the text from Lewis Carrolls Alice in Wonderland, in Book 11, News and Views. Design a
scenario for teaching theme discovery: Detail: stages, purposes, skills, activities, timing, types of
interaction.
4. Look at the text from Henry Jamess The Portrait of a Lady, in Book 11, News and Views. Design a
scenario for teaching narrative perspective discovery: Detail: stages, purposes, skills, activities,
timing, types of interaction
5. Look at the text from Ernest Hemingways The Killers, in Book 11, News and Views. Design a
scenario for teaching language as style: Detail: stages, purposes, skills, activities, timing, types of
interaction
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6. Look at the text from J. Swifts Gullivers Travels, in Book 10, Perspectives. Design a scenario for
teaching language as style: Detail: stages, purposes, skills, activities, timing, types of interaction

13.CORRECTION

What is an error?
Errors are of two types:
(a) forms that are not acceptable according to the rules (syntactic, phonological, lexical) of the
target language.
(b) forms that are themselves acceptable but which are used in a way that is unacceptable (e.g.
errors of style).
It is worth making a distinction between errors/slips/lapses. Slips of the tongue are often
spontaneously corrected by the speaker; lapses caused by tiredness, or inattention can also be
corrected by the speaker if attention is drawn to them.
It has now become clear that many of the errors of a second/foreign language-learner are
developmental: that is, they are a natural part of the learning process, in the same way that the
incorrect utterances of a child learning its native language are seen as natural part of its linguistic
development.
What causes errors?
There are four main causes of error. Two of these are inevitable; the other two are to some degree
avoidable.
(a) errors as indicators of the present state of knowledge: teacher should be prepared to accept
these errors for what they are, and not as evidence of a poor memory or unsuccessful teaching.
(b) Errors as a result of overgeneralization or false analogy on the basis of too little linguistic
evidence. If language-learning proceeds in a sequence (Data>Hypothesis 1> More Data>
Feedback> Hypothesis2> More Data> etc.) then correction can function positively, to assist
learning.
(c) Errors as a result of negative transfer (interference) from the learners mother tongue.
Correction is not always effective in this case.
(d) Errors as a result of wrong hypothesis caused by poor teaching. Here correction is a poor
substitute for re-teaching.
Are most frequent also most serious errors?
Grammatical errors (prepositions, word order, selectional restrictions after a particular verb, etc.),
although extremely resistant to change, interfere with communication to a relatively small extent.
Phonological errors are a much more serious problem since they are a potential source of
irritation to native speakers, while lexical errors can lead to a complete breakdown in
communication.
Teachers must make decisions about what, when, and how to correct and make remedial
intervention.
WHAT we correct will depend partly on whether we consider correction will serve any purpose, and
partly on what we consider important during a particular activity.
WHEN goes both for the teacher and the student(s) who is/are expected to correct himself/each other.
Dont mix up fluency activities with accuracy activities, when correction is important.
NB: Teachers must find ways of encouraging students to monitor and correct, when appropriate, both
their own production and (in a spirit of helpfulness) that of their fellow-learners.
CLASSROOM OBSERVATION: ERROR CORRECTION
1. Note the type of mistakes e.g. Pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary
2. How was the correction achieved? e.g. Student guided to self-correction, student to student
correction or teacher to student correction.
3. Note when the teacher corrected, e.g. on the spot or delayed
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4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.

Did the teacher anticipate any mistakes? E.g. pronunciation/grammar?


Did the teacher hear mistakes?
Did the teacher correct too much or too little?
Was the teacher right in their correction?
Did the teacher jot down mistakes?
Comment on the overall success of the correction taking place.

Reflection as Exercise
1. There are different schools of thought on how or even whether to correct during a fluency or
communicative activity. Where do you stand, with those advocating the necessity of correction or
those disfavouring correction altogether?
2. When should correction be more persistent: at lower levels or high levels, according to you?
3. Mario Rinvolucri advocates hot correction (slip of paper with the correction on it, immediately
handed in to the student) in group work. Would you consider the method disruptive or decently
protective to the student?
4. Do you consider recording the activity, using video or sound tape, and playing it back to the
students a valuable source of working on the language?
5. It is said that the greatest irritants to native speakers are not grammar or morphology errors (the
first obsession of classical Error Analysis), but what Thomson (1983) called pragmatic failures,
which mainly occur due to native language transfers. Provide at least one example.
6. It is well known the native speakers tolerance towards errors. How do you explain that there is
always a tendency for deprecatory assessment with the non-native foreign language teacher?
7. Chomsky (1981) refers to feedback given to infants acquiring the NL as positive v. negative
evidence. What was he referring to more exactly?
8. The idea that learners produce forms which, even if corrected, are not quite what the native would
say is developed by Levenston (1978). He shows that an EA that limits itself to reconstruction, i.e.
on putting the grammar right, is flawed: what is left will still display lexical inadequacy, syntactic
blends, conceptual confusion and rhetorical ineptitude. We could say that what learners write may
well be discourse in English but still falls short of being English discourse. Thus the attention,
nowadays, has shifted from clear-cut error to the vaguer notion of infelicity. So, where do you
stand among learners/teachers: those who perform correctly but infelicitously or those who have
the feeling of the language?

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14. TESTING
Test types:
(a) Achievement/attainment tests are based on syllabus. Test what was learned/taught in class.
They look backwards.
(b) Proficiency tests are not based on syllabus. They find out language level and look forwards.
(c) Placement tests are not based on syllabus and are meant to group students of similar
competence and performance together in order to better collaborate to improve their language
skills.
(d) Diagnostic tests are (not) based on syllabus and are meant to find out students areas of
weaknesses. They are looking backwards and forwards, since re-teaching may be necessary.
(e) Aptitude tests find out if students have aptitude for learning a foreign language. They are
looking forwards.
Historical presentation of English testing:
(A) Traditional/pre-scientific, Spolsky (1984)
Grammatico-literary, Carroll & Hall (1985)
Garden of Eden, Morrow (1979)
E.g. written composition; oral interview; translation passage.
Features: non-authentic; disembodied; subjective
(B) Modern/scientific, Spolsky (1984)
Psycho-linguistic, Carroll & Hall (1985)
Vale of tears, Morrow (1979)
E.g. multiple-choice; transformations; cloze; dictation.
Features: non-authentic; disembodied; discrete-point; objective; integrative; objective.
(C) Post-modern, Spolsky (1884)
Socio-communicative, Carroll & Hall (1985)
Promised Land, Morrow (1979)
E.g. authentic texts (reading and listening); authentic tasks (writing and speaking).
Features: authentic; contextualized; integrative; objective and subjective.
Making test items more communicative:
- give students some purpose to communicate
- establish audience/reader
- create some information gap or conflictual situation
- test enabling skills rather than products
- make items integrative rather than discrete-point
- use contextualized language rather than disembodied language
- make them both objective and subjective, e.g. cloze /C-cloze tests
- make them criterion-referenced rather than norm-referenced
NB: make them both relevant to students needs and expectations and reliable!
Reflection as Exercise
Since teachers need to evaluate students performance they have to administer either ready-made tests
or their own tests.
Please, always reflect twice whether the task you give students is meant to teach them something or
just test their competence/performance.

GOOD LUCK!

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15. MATERIALS EVALUATION CRITERIA


1. Subject and content
1.1 If it is relevant to learners needs.
1.2 If it is interesting for the learners.
1.2 If there is enough variety of activities.
2. Activities
2.1 If there is balance of activities.
2.2 If there is enough comprehensible input for the learners.
2.3 If there is enough practice in varying forms of tasks.
2.4 If there is a sufficient amount of communication output in the materials.
2.5 If new vocabulary is introduced in motivating and realistic contexts
3. Skills
3.1 If the materials include and practice the skills learners of the respective age need.
3.2 If there is an appropriate balance of skills.
3.3 If the skills are integrated or practiced in isolation.
4. Guidance
4.1 If the teachers book contains clear guidance for the teacher about how to present and practice the
materials.
4.2 If there are clearly-stated objectives for each sequence of the lesson.
4.3 If there is additional input material to compensate for lack of teachers own materials and time.
4.4 If there are key answers provided to more problematic issues.
5. Language type
5.1 If the language used in the materials is at the right level for students age/assumed competence and
is real-life English.
5.2 If there is explicit reference to appropriateness (the matching of language to its social context and
function).
5.3 If there is a cline of approaches.
5.4 If there is grading and recycling of language content.
6. Supporting materials
6.1 If the materials contain visuals; recorded material; examples of authentic language; an index of
grammar items/ functions; a glossary; testing materials; others

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16. GLOSSARY OF METHODS/ TECHNIQUES OF TEACHING/ LEARNING


BRAINSTORMING
A kind of group activity intended to generate a lot of ideas. Every suggestion is recorded however
unlikely or far-fetched. Decisions about practicality are made later.
CALL
Computer assisted language learning.
ELICITATION/SOCRATIC TECHNIQUE
A form of teaching by question and answer gradually leading to the elicitation of certain truths.
FEEDBACK SESSION
A class activity in which various individuals or groups report back to the class on what they have been
researching or discussing. It may also be a session in which the teacher reports back to students with
an evaluation of their work.
JIGSAW LEARNING
A form of learning/teaching in which different students cover different areas of a topic; they later pool
their knowledge (e.g. by means of seminar/class papers).
PROJECT
A kind of Task-based activity which usually involves an extended amount of independent work, either
by an individual student or by a group of students.
PYRAMID GROUP
A form of group activity in which the class is divided into groups. After some time, pairs of groups are
joined together and continue the discussion. This procedure is repeated until there is only one group,
comprising the whole class. Sometimes called a Snowball group.
ROLE PLAY
A form of SIMULATION in which the participants adopt certain roles or parts.
TASK-BASED (LEARNING)
Used to describe any kind of learning which involves the performance of a specific task or piece of
work.
WORKSHOP
A kind of TASK-BASED group activity which involves the completion of a certain specified task. It is
expected that all the members of the group to contribute something to the completion of the task.

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17. BIBLIOGRAPHY
General Methodology
Harmer, J., The Practice of English Language Teaching. Longman, 1983
Richards, J., Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching. CUP, 1986
Doff, A., Teach English, CUP, 1988
Littlewood, W., Communicative Language Teaching. CUP, 1981
Nunan, D., Language Teaching Methodology. Prentice-Hall, 1991
Freeman, D.L., Techniques and Principles in Language Teaching, Oxford American English, 1986
Grammar Teaching
Harmer, J., Teaching and Learning Grammar. Longman. 1987
Ur, P., Grammar Practice Activities. CUP. 1988
Batstone, R., Grammar. OUP. 1994
Gerngross, G., Creative Grammar Practice. Longman. 1992
Listening
Underwood, M., Teaching Listening. Longman. 1989
Rost, M., Listening in Action. Prentice-Hall. 1991
Rost, M., Listening in Language Learning. Longman. 1990
Anderson, A., Listening. OUP. 1988
Reading
Wallace, C., Reading. OUP. 1992
Nuttall, C., Teaching Reading Skills in a Foreign Language. Heinemann. 1982
Williams, E., Reading in the Language Classroom. MEP. 1984
Alderson, C., Reading in a Foreign Language. Longman. 1984
Writing
Hedge, T., Writing.OUP. 1988
White, R., Process Writing. Longman. 1988
Raines, A., Techniques in Teaching Writing. OUP. 1983
Speaking
Bygate, M., Speaking. OUP. 1087
Byrne, D., Teaching Oral English. Longman. 1987
Littlewood, W., Teaching Oral Communication. Blackwell. 1992
Klippel, F., Keep Talking. CUP. 1983
Ur, P., Discussions that Work. CUP. 1981
Vocabulary
Wallace, M., Teaching Vocabulary. Heinemann. 1982
Gairns, R., Working with Words. CUP. 1984
McCarthy, M., Vocabulary. OUP. 1990
Allen, V., Techniques in Teaching Vocabulary. OUP. 1983

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Classroom Interaction
Wright, T., Roles of Teachers and Learners. OUP. 1987
Hadfield, J., Classroom Dynamics. OUP. 1990
Underwood, M., Effective Class Management. CUP. 1987
Edge, J., Mistakes and Correction. Longman. 1989
Testing
Heaton, J., Classroom Testing. Longman. 1980

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