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BRI3043

TEACHING OF LANGUAGE
SKILLS IN ENGLISH FOR
PRIMARY SCHOOLS

(MODULE)

BRI3043
TEACHING OF LANGUAGE SKILLS IN
ENGLISH FOR PRIMARY SCHOOLS

Writers
Goh Hock Seng
Seva Bala Sundaram
Abdul Halim Ibrahim
Mahendran Maniam

Faculty of Languages and Communication


University Pendidikan Sultan Idris
Tanjong Malim, Perak
2013

PREFACE
This module is written as a primary resource for the students taking the course BRI3143
Teaching of Language Skills in English for Primary Schools and especially for those
undergoing the distant learning programme. Indeed, there is abundant research and
discussion on the teaching of each individual language skill and that covering all that
literature is certainly impossible. Hence, the learning points covered in this module is
highly selective and more importantly, deemed essential in meeting the learning
outcomes of the course.
There are 12 units in this module covering much of the syllabus outlined in the
Instructional Plan of the course. Undoubtedly, it should be noted that these units will only
cover highly selected points in both the theoretical and pedagogical aspects of each
language skill with special emphasis to the primary school level. Tasks and sample
activities are provided to consolidate the learning points in each unit.

COURSE GUIDE

INTRODUCTION
This course guide is aimed at giving essential information to students with regards to the
content of the course so as to enable successful completion of the course. BRI 3143
Teaching of Language Skills in English for Primary Schools seeks to provide students
the necessary theoretical and pedagogical knowledge with regards to the teaching of
English language skills i.e. reading, writing, listening and speaking with particular focus
on the context of the primary schools. This module will cover the teaching of the four
skills as well as the aspect of grammar. Besides that, the integration of the skills within
lessons and between lessons will also be given emphasis. It is hoped that having gone
through the course, students will be equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to
teach the four skills effectively and to improve further in their practice.

TARGET AUDIENCE
This course is designed specifically for students taking the B.Ed (Teaching of English as
a Second Language) programme.

STUDENT LEARNING TIME


Based on the UPSI and MQA Standards, 40 hours of student learning time (SLT)
contributes to every credit. As this course is a 3-credit course, the estimated SLTT is 120
hours and the distribution can be seen in Table 1 below.
Table 1 Estimated Course Student Learning Time
Learning Time
Learning Activity
Face-to Face
Independent
Reading the Module, revision and completing
60
assignments
Face to face tutorial at centres
10
10
On-line Tutorial (E-learning, for example via
6
22
BigBlueButton, Skype, etc.)
Online Forum (Using MyGuru3)
12
Sub Total
16
104
Total Learning Time
120 hours

ii

COURSE LEARNING OUCOMES


At the end of the course, students will be able to:
1. explain theoretical and pedagogical principles in teaching language skills;
2. explain methods, approaches and techniques in teaching primary school students
in the ESL context;
3. devise lesson plans that integrate various language skills in English;
4. demonstrate appropriate activities and self evaluation in teaching language skills.

COURSE SYNOPSIS
This course gives exposure to some approaches and techniques concerning the teaching
and learning of the four basic skills, reading, writing, listening and speaking and not
forgetting grammar to the primary school students. Where classroom teaching and
learning are concerned, the skills should be integrated and therefore this course gives
some ideas about how these skills are integrated in English lessons. Students are also
taught on how to write lesson plans integrating these four skills. Macro-teaching sessions
at the end of the course provide students with the practice and exposure in teaching
English confidently in the future.
(Kursus ini memberi pendedahan kepada pendekatan dan teknik pengajaran dan
pembelajaran dalam keempat-empat kemahiran berbahasa iaitu membaca, menulis,
mendengar dan bertutur dan tata bahasa kepada pelajar-pelajar sekolah rendah. Untuk
pengajaran dan pembelajaran di dalam kelas kemahiran-kemahiran ini hendaklah
bersepadu dan oleh kerana itu kursus ini memberi cara dan pendapat untuk
menyatupadukan kemahiran-kemahiran tersebut. Pelajar juga diajar cara menyediakan
rancangan pelajaran dengan menyatupadukan kemahiran-kemahiran tersebut. Sesi
pengajaran-makro di penghujung kursus memberi pelajar latihan dan pendedahan dalam
pengajaran Bahasa Inggeris dengan yakin pada masa akan datang).

iii

CONTENTS
Preface

Course Guide

ii

Contents

iv

UNIT 1

Teaching of English Language Skills


(Goh Hock Seng)

Learning Outcomes

Introduction

Learning Points
1.1 Teaching English at the primary level

1.2 Teaching English in Malaysian primary schools

1.3 Methods, approaches and techniques in language

teaching
1.4 Which Method?
References

UNIT 2

12
15

Teaching of Listening I
(Seva Bala Sundaram)

Learning Outcomes

16

Introduction

16

Learning Points
2.1 Perception skills

16

2.2 Language skills

17

2.3 Using knowledge of the world

17

2.4 Dealing with information

17

2.5 Interacting with a speaker

17

2.6 Listening for Information

18
iv

2.7 Listening for Judgmental Purposes

19

2.8 Five parts of critical listening skills that will help you

22

really hear the other person.


2.8.1 Focus and Pay Attention
2.8.2 Listen Actively
2.8.3 Offer Feedback
2.8.4 Wait to Pass Judgment
2.8.5 Respond Accordingly
2.9 Listening for Pleasure or Entertainment

23

2.10 Improving Your Listening Skills During a Lesson

23

2.11 Listening in Daily Life

25

References

UNIT 3

28

Teaching of Listening II
(Seva Bala Sundaram)

Learning Outcomes

29

Introduction

29

Learning Points
3.1 Listening and Speaking

29

3.2 Listening Comprehension

31

Sample lesson 3.1

36

3.3 What is successful listening?

37

3.4 Creating listening texts and tasks

38

3.5 Listening with a purpose

39

3.5.1 Performing physical tasks


3.5.2 Transferring information
3.5.3 Reformulating and evaluating information
3.6 Telephoning
Sample lesson 3.2
References

40
42
43
v

UNIT 4

Speaking Skills
(Abdul Halim Ibrahim)

Learning Outcomes

44

Introduction

44

Learning Points
4.1 Definition of speaking skills

45

4.2 Becoming a confident speaker

50

4.3 Being aware of fluency and accuracy

52

4.4 Right Vocabulary

52

4.5 Keeping the listener interested

53

4.6 Being a supportive listener

53

4.7 Sounding natural

54

4.8 Finding a speaking model

54

4.9 Main Idea

57

4.10 Effective Delivering

57

4.11 Clarify your objective

58

4.12 Structure your thinking

59

4.13 A conversation for action

63

4.14 Manage your time

65

4.15 Find common ground

66

4.16 Move beyond argument

67

4.17 Summarise your speech

68

4.18 Use visuals

69

4.19 Speaking in public

70

4.20 Assess Your Audience and Purpose

70

4.21 Deliver the Oral Presentation Professionally

70

4.22 Types of oral presentations

71

References

73

vi

UNIT 5

Teaching of Speaking
(Abdul Halim Ibrahim)

Learning Outcomes

74

Introduction

74

Learning Points
5.1 The English language syllabus in primary schools

76

5.1.1 Learning Contents


5.1.2 The Spoken Language
5.1.3 Oral Work
5.2 Learning outcomes and specifications

77

5.3 Stages of conducting a speaking activity

81

5.4 Students cognitive development

83

5.5 Starting personal talk

86

5.6 Procedures of conducting activities

87

5.7 Presenting the Main Idea

88

5.8 Speaking activities

89

5.8.1 Pass the ball Game


5.8.2 Guess the mime Game
5.8.3 Children speaking in groups
5.8.4 Starting to speak freely - eliciting personal talk
5.8.5 Role play
5.8.6 Personal information
5.8.7 Guess what is in my pocket
References

96

vii

UNIT 6

Teaching of Reading I
(Goh Hock Seng)

Learning Outcomes

97

Introduction

97

Learning Points
6.1. What is reading?

98

6.2. The reading process

99

6.2.1 Bottom-up Models

99

6.2.2. Top-down Models

101

6.2.3 Interactive Models

102

6.3. Reading in a second language

104

6.4. Schema theory

105

References

UNIT 7

108

Teaching of Reading II
(Goh Hock Seng)

Learning Outcomes

111

Introduction

111

Learning Points

7. 1 Word recognition

112

Sample activity 7. 1

113

Sample activity 7. 2

114

7. 2 Vocabulary development

114

Sample activity 7. 2

116

7. 3 Comprehension
Sample Activity 7. 4
References

117
120
121

viii

UNIT 8

Teaching of Writing I
(Mahendran Maniam)

Learning Outcomes

122

Introduction

122

Learning Points
8. 1 The Development of the Teaching of Writing

123

8.1.1 Composition in the First Language Classroom


8.1.2 Features of the traditional approach
8.1.3 Features of the process approach
8. 2 Development of the Teaching of Writing in ESL

123

8. 3 Writing Issues and Concerns in the ESL Writing

125

Classroom
8.3.1 Issues in the Teaching of Writing
8.3.2 Traditions of Recognition
8. 4 Approaches to the Teaching of Writing in ESL

126

8.4.1 The Traditional Approach to Teaching Writing


8.4.2 Overview of the difference between the Process
and Product Approach
8.4.2.1 Product Approach
8.4.2.2 Process Approach
8.4.2.3 Genre-based Process Approach to the
Teaching of Writing
8. 5 Classroom Techniques in the Teaching of Writing in

129

ESL
8.5.1 Writing Goals and General Techniques of
Teaching Writing in ESL
8.5.2 Getting started
8.5.3 Writing Assignments and Responding to Students
Writings
8. 6 Writing Activities- Initial Steps

130
ix

8.6.1 Gathering Information


Sample Activity 8.1

131

8.6.2 Brainstorming
Sample Activity 8.2

132

8.6.3 Making Mind Maps


Sample Activity 8.3

133

8.6.4 Giving Feedback to Students Writing


References

UNIT 9

136

Teaching of Writing II
(Mahendran Maniam)

Learning Outcomes

138

Introduction

138

Learning Points
9.1 Journal Writing (Guidelines)

139

9.2 Journal Writing Activity

139

9.3 Journal Writing Activity based on a Reading Text

140

Sample Activity 9.1


9.4 Writing Activity based on a Reading Text

140
142

Sample Activity 9.2

142

Sample Activity 9.3

143

9.5 Writing Activity Conducting a Survey


Sample Activity 9.4
9.6 Writing Activity Observing and Note-making
Sample Activity 9.5
9.7 Collaboration

144
144
145
145
146

Sample Activity 9.6

146

9.8 Peer Editing / Feedback

147

Sample Activity 9.7

147

Sample Activity 9.8

148
x

References

UNIT 10

149

Teaching of Grammar
(Abdul Halim Ibrahim)

Learning Outcomes

150

Introduction

150

Learning Points
10. 1 Teaching Approach

151

10. 2. Learner language learning setting

155

10. 3 Quality of input

158

10. 4 Communicative Approach in Malaysian Classrooms

165

10. 5 Constraints of Second Language Acquisition (SLA)

169

10. 6 Focus-on-form instruction

170

References

UNIT 11

Integration of Language Skills in a Lesson


(Seva Bala Sundaram)

Learning Outcomes

174

Introduction

174

Learning Points
11.1. Beginning reading and writing: introducing letters

175

11.1.1 The sound system of English


11.1.2 Introducing letters
11.1.3 Phonics approach
11.2. Beginning reading and writing: internalising letters

178

11.3 Beginning reading and writing: learning words

179

11.4 Beginning reading and writing: recognition games

183

11.5 Reading and writing: beginning vocabulary

185

11.5.1 Beginning vocabulary: introduction


xi

11.5.2 Beginning vocabulary: practice activities


11.5.3 Beginning vocabulary: presenting new
vocabulary
11.5.4

Beginning vocabulary: pronunciation and


drilling

11.6. Teaching children: speaking and listening


References

UNIT 12

190
194

Macro Teaching
(Mahendran Maniam)

Learning Outcomes

195

Introduction

195

Learning Points
12.1 Micro Teaching

196

12.2 Macro Teaching and Micro Teaching

196

12.3 The Training Program Process and Issues

198

12.4 Issues to Deal With in Micro Teaching

198

12.5 Issues to Deal With in Macro Teaching

198

12.6 Sample Lesson Plans for Macro-Teaching

200

Sample lesson plan 1

200

Sample lesson plan 2

204

Sample lesson plan 3

208

Specimen Lesson plan for Macro-teaching

211

References

212

xii

UNIT 1
Teaching of English Language Skills
Learning Outcomes
At the end of the unit, students should be able to:
1. identify the main reasons of teaching English at the primary level.
2. describe the standards found in the Malaysian English language Curriculum for Primary
Schools
3. compare and contrast between language teaching methods.
4. evaluate own teaching practices.

Introduction
Learning English is presently a global phenomenon and being proficient in English has become
essential to millions around the world for numerous reasons. It is undeniable that the English language
is the lingua franca in many spheres of our daily lives such as in technology, politics, business, social
networking and so on. Of course, one seeks (or is encouraged, e.g. in the countrys educational
system) to learn English for his or her own reasons.
If the learning of English is so important, the teaching of it is certainly no less important and
more so in the primary schools when young children are required to learn the language. Hence, it is
essential that English language teachers in the primary schools are grounded with sound theoretical
and pedagogical knowledge to enable them to become effective teachers. This module is aimed at
contributing towards that quest of preparing teachers to teach English language skills effectively in the
primary schools.

Learning Points
1. 1 Teaching English at the primary level
As much as the English language has gained popularity and importance throughout the world,
it is well to note that the teaching of English is carried out in a wide variety of contexts of English as
a foreign language or English as a second language. Similarly, the age of the learners varies from
the very young to the very old. We will focus our attention to learners who at the primary school level.
In the context of Malaysia, this would mean students who studying in Primary 1 to Primary 6 where
every student is taught English.
While it is debatable with regards to when is the best time to learn (and teach) another
language, many scholars believe that the best time to learn a language is when one is young as
compared to when one is an adult already. Brumfit (1991, p. vi) offers a few other reasons for the
teaching of English at the primary level:

the need to expose children from an early age to an understanding of foreign cultures so
that they grow up tolerant and sympathetic to others

the need to link communication to the understanding of new concepts

the need for maximum learning time for important languages the earlier you start the
more time you get

the advantage of starting with early second language instruction so that the language can be
used as a medium of teaching

These reasons are indeed applicable to a multicultural and multilingual country such as
Malaysia. Nonetheless, it is also these cultural and linguistic diversity that an English language teacher
in Malaysia should take into consideration and be aware of the sensitivities that exist.

1. 2 Teaching English in Malaysian Primary Schools


The teaching of English has always been an important agenda in the Malaysian education system.
Recently, a new curriculum was introduced and it will replace the old one progressively. The new curriculum,
Kurikulum Standard Sekolah Rendah (Primary School Curriculum Standards) or popularly known with the
acronym KSSR will be fully implemented in 2016. At present, the new Malaysian English Language
Curriculum for Primary Schools was introduced in stages beginning 2011 starting with Year 1, Year 2 in 2012
and Year 3 in 2013 (Kementerian Pelajaran Malaysia, 2012, p. v)
The aim of the new syllabus is to equip pupils with basic language skills to enable them to
communicate effectively in a variety of contexts thats appropriate to the pupils level of development (ibid,
p.3). The syllabus also laid down five objectives of the curriculum and states that by the end of Year 6, pupils
should be able to:
1. communicate with peers and adults confidently and appropriately in formal and informal situations.
2. read and comprehend a range of English texts for information and enjoyment
3. write a range of texts using appropriate language, style and form through a variety of media
4. use correct and appropriate rules of grammar in speech and writing
5. appreciate and demonstrate understanding of English language literary or creative works for
enjoyment

Based on the objectives outlined above, it can be seen that the curriculum revolves around the teaching
of language skills (i.e. listening, speaking, reading and writing) and grammar. These elements make up what is
called the language focus which is the first strand in the overall design of the curriculum. The second strand is
Language Arts which is included to allow pupils to engage and enjoy stories, poems, songs, rhymes and
plays written in English (Kementerian Pelajaran Malaysia, 2012, p. 4)
Given in Table 1.1 below are details of how the language skills and language arts should be taught and
also the standards (Core standards and Learning standards) set for the primary school students to achieve. The
Core Standards specify the essential knowledge, skills, understandings and strategies that pupils need to learn
while the Learning Standards describe in detail the degree or quality of proficiency that pupils need to display
in relation to the Content Standards for a particular year (Kementerian Pelajaran Malaysia, 2013, p. 10).

Table 1.1: Language Skills and Standards in the KSSR English Language Curriculum
SKILLS

Content Standards

Learning Standards

Listening and Speaking Skills


Listening and speaking are seen as core skills of
early literacy. As such, pupils should be taught:

By the end of the six-year primary schooling,


pupils will be able to:

The learning standards begin with basic listening


and speaking skills which have been developed
incrementally in this manner :

how to listen carefully;


to speak from the basic level of sound, word,
phrase and structural sentences in various
situational contexts;
the stress, rhythm and intonation patterns and
how to use them correctly;
to recognise, understand and use not only verbal
but also non-verbal communication; and
oral communication practice by means of
repeating, responding,
understanding and applying structures of the
language in order to prepare them for
communication.

Reading Skills
The teaching of reading skills:
enables pupils to become independent readers
who are able to comprehend a text effectively
and efficiently.
begins at the word and phrase levels before
progressing to sentence recognition and reading
at the paragraph level.
focuses on basic literacy with the use of phonics
in Year 1 and 2.
teaches pupils to extract specific information
from a text and respond to a text with their own
ideas and opinions.

1.1 pronounce words and speak confidently with


the correct stress, rhythm and intonation.
1.2 listen and respond appropriately in formal and
informal situations for a variety of purposes.
1.3 understand and respond to oral texts in a
variety of contexts.

By the end of the six-year primary schooling,


pupils will be able to:
2.1 apply knowledge of sounds of letters to
recognize words in linear and non-linear texts.

2.2 demonstrate understanding of a variety of


linear and nonlinear texts in the form of print
and non-print materials using a range of
strategies to construct meaning.
2.3 read independently for information and
enjoyment.

develop pupils phonemic awareness


engage in fun learning activities such as reciting
rhymes, poems and tongue twisters as well as
singing songs
participate in daily conversations
follow and give instructions and directions
able to participate in conversations
talk on topics of interest

The learning standards begin with basic literacy


which has been developed incrementally in this
manner :
distinguish the shapes of the letters;
recognise and articulate phonemes;
blend and segment words;
apply word recognition and word attack skills to
acquire vocabulary;
read and understand phrases, simple sentences
and texts; and
read independently for information and
enjoyment.

Table 1.1: Language Skills and Standards in the KSSR English Language Curriculum (Continue)
SKILLS

Content Standards

Learning Standards

Writing Skill

By the end of the six year primary schooling,


pupils will be able to:

Content standards are achieved through learning


standards that have been devised carefully
throughout primary schooling. Learning standards
have been developed progressively, from acquiring
fine motor control of hands and fingers to copying
writing activities, before being taught to write with
guidance linear and non-linear texts using
appropriate language, form and style. The use of
various media is also encouraged and pupils can
create both linear and non-linear texts with
guidance or independently.

It is expected that by the end of Year 6 :


pupils will be able to express their ideas clearly
on paper in legible handwriting or to
communicate via the electronic media.
the focus of writing is on developing pupils
writing ability beginning at the word and phrase
levels before progressing to the sentence and
paragraph levels.
pupils who are capable must be encouraged to
write simple compositions comprising several
paragraphs.
attention is also paid to penmanship so that even
from a young age, pupils are taught to write
clearly and legibly including cursive writing.
simple compositions and the various steps
involved in writing, such as planning, drafting,
revising, and editing are taught. In the process,
pupils learn the genre approach to writing as they
are taught to use appropriate vocabulary and
correct grammar to get their meaning across
clearly.
all pupils will be encouraged to write for
different purposes and for different audiences.
although much of the writing at this level is
guided, the amount of control is relaxed for
pupils who are able and proficient in the
language.
spelling and dictation are also given emphasis.

3.1 form letters and words in neat legible print


including cursive writing.
3.2 write using appropriate language, form and
style for a range of purposes.
3.3 write and present ideas through a variety of
media.

Table 1.1: Language Skills and Standards in the KSSR English Language Curriculum (Continue)
SKILLS

Content Standards

Learning Standards

Language Arts

By the end of the six year primary schooling,


pupils will be able to:

The culmination of all content standards in


language arts will be shown in practice when
pupils are able to come up with their very own
production. By the end of Year 6, pupils will learn
the art of acting out, play-acting and producing
works of creativity such as drawings, poems or
singing. Pupils will also learn values of
cooperating with people of different race, gender,
ability, cultural heritage, religion, economic, social
background, and, understand and appreciate the
values, beliefs and attitudes of others. Each pupil
will also develop knowledge, skills and attitudes,
which will enhance his or her own personal life
management and promote positive attitudes.

The rationale behind Language Arts is to steer the


continuous growth and development of pupils
thinking and language abilities. The standards for
Language Arts:
cover a range of creative and literary works in
English such as rhymes, songs, poems, stories
and plays to activate pupils imagination and
interest.
allow pupils to benefit from hearing and using
language from fictional as well as non-fictional
sources.
allow pupils to gain rich and invaluable
experiences using the English language through
fun-filled and meaningful activities.
train pupils to be able to appreciate, demonstrate
understanding and express personal responses to
literary and creative works for enjoyment. Hence
they will also be able to use English for both
functional as well as aesthetic purposes,
confidently and competently by the end of Year
6.

4.1 enjoy and appreciate rhymes, poems and songs


through performance.
4.2 express personal response to literary texts.
4.3 plan, organise and produce creative works for
enjoyment.

As can be seen from the table above, all the four language skills of listening,
speaking, reading and grammar are given emphases with the intention of helping students
develop these skills. As for the language arts strand, teachers may plan lessons in
relation to the language skills taught or they may come up with generic lessons. Teachers
should incorporate the fun element in specified contexts to make their lessons
meaningful. (ibid, p. 5).
With regards to the four language skills, they are often placed under two
categories which are receptive skills and productive skills. The skills of listening and
reading are categorized as receptive skills because the user receives information
through the skills. Productive skills, then, are speaking and writing skills whereby the
user produce the language that is required in a discourse. Nonetheless, it should be
noted that the skills are seldom used in isolation in real life contexts. For example, the
skills of listening and speaking goes hand in hand during a conversation or discussion.
Additionally, the all the skills would probably be used in a situation such as a lecture.
Hence, it is important to note that integration of language skills is an important
consideration in the curriculum.
Indeed the new curriculum is well thought through and it is hoped the English
language teachers in Malaysian primary schools will be able to implement the curriculum
effectively and efficiently. Should that happen, the teaching and learning of English at the
primary level in Malaysia should lead the achieving the aim of the curriculum.

1. 3 Methods, approaches and techniques in language teaching


Teaching of English certainly comes under the purview of teaching a second language or
teaching a foreign language in the many countries where it is taught. There is abundant
literature and rich history on language teaching methodology i.e. how language is or
should be taught. Inevitably, many varied ways have been suggested as answers to the
question of how a language should be taught and one can certainly anticipate that more
answers will be mooted. The methodologies in language teaching often revolves around
the discussion pertaining to a few key terms such as approach, procedures and

techniques. Although a quick survey of the literature involving these terms would show
that there is not a general consensus as to what these terms actually mean and how they
are use, a few common strands would emerge to provide generally accepted
understanding of the terms. To simplify matters, the meanings of the terms provided here
are based on two sources i.e. Richards and Rodgers (1987) and Harmers (2007) work.
Richards and Rodgers (1987) place the term method as the umbrella term under
which three interrelated elements of organization upon which language teaching
practices are founded (p. 146). These elements are approach, design and procedure.
Harmer (2007) does not propose a system to show how the elements are interrelated but
merely defines the terms approach, method, procedure and technique. Nonetheless, it is
clear from the definitions that these terms are related to one another.
Richards and Rodgers (1987) and Harmer (2007) agree that the term approach
refer to the theories on the nature of language and the nature of language learning. These
theories provide the theoretical underpinnings of a method where designs, procedures and
techniques are utilized. While, as mentioned earlier, Richards and Rodgers see the term
method as consisting the three other interrelated terms, Harmer defines method as
practical realization of an approach and that Methods include various procedures and
techniques as part of their standard fare (ibid, p. 62).
Different approaches would of course lead to different designs. According to
Richards and Rodgers (1987), a design includes specifications of 1) the content of
instruction i.e. the syllabus, 2) learner roles in the system, 3) teacher roles in the system,
4) instructional materials types and functions (p. 148). Based on the design, the aspect of
procedures and techniques are considered as practical implementations of the methods in
the language classrooms. Richards and Rodgers (1987) explain that procedure describes
the actual moment-to-moment techniques, practices, and activities that operate in
teaching and learning a language according to a particular method (p. 153). Harmer
(2007, p. 62) describes procedure as a sequence which can be described in terms such as
First you do this, then you do that , Smaller than a method, it is bigger than a
technique.
Based on the descriptions above, it may be seen that the terms essentially points
to two core aspects of language teaching methodology i.e. theoretical aspect and practical

or implementation aspect. Harmer (2007, p. 79) provided an interesting note regarding


the terms discussed above as follow:
Many teachers use metaphors to separate out these different levels of
abstraction. For example, the trainer David Valente turns to the art of
cooking. The approach is our belief about cooking, the method is the recipe
book, the procedures are actions such as mixing, chopping, marinating, etc,
and the techniques are how we mix and chop, for example.
Johnson (2001) noted that the history of language teaching does indeed display a
bewildering variety of different methods and approaches, all jostling for our attention
(p. 161). Examples of the more commonly known methods of language teaching
throughout that rich history are given in Table 1.2 below
Table 1.2 : Language Teaching Methods
(Source: Harmer, 2001)
Method
Grammartranslation

Direct method

Audiolingual
method

Presentation,
practice and
production (PPP)

Brief Description
Students were given explanations of individual points of grammar,
and then they were given sentences which exemplified these
points. These sentences had to be translated from the target
language (L2) back to the students first language (L1) and vice
versa
Translation was abandoned in favour of the teacher and the
students speaking together, relating the grammatical forms they
were studying to objects and pictures, etc, in order to establish
their meaning. The sentence was still the main object of interest,
and accuracy was all important.
When behaviorist accounts of language learning became popular in
the 1920s and 1930s the Direct method morphed, especially in
the USA, into the Audiolingual method. Using the stimulusresponse-reinforcement model, it attempted, through a continuous
process of such positive reinforcement, to engender good habits in
language learners.
The teacher introduces a situation which contextualizes the
language to be taught. The language, too, is then presented. The
students now practice the language using accurate reproduction
techniques such as choral repetition, individual repetition and cueresponse drills. Later, the students, using the new language, make
sentences of their own, and this is referred to as production.

Community
Language Learning

Suggestopaedia

A knower stands outside a circle of students and helps the


students say what to say by translating, suggesting or amending the
students utterances. The students utterances may then be
recorded so that they can be analysed at a later date. Students, with
the teachers help, reflect on how they felt about the activities.
It is concerned above all with the physical environment in which
the learning takes place. Students need to be comfortable and
relaxed so that their affective filter is lowered. Students take on
different names and exist in a chil-parent relationship with the
teacher.

Total Physical
Response (TPR)

A typical TPR lesson might involve the teacher telling students to


pick up the triangle from the table and give it to me or walk
quickly to the door and hit it (Asher 1977: 54-56). When the
students can all respond to commands correctly, one of them can
then start giving instructions to other classmates.

The Silent Way

In the Silent Way, the teacher frequently points to different sounds


on a phonemic chart, modeling them before indicating that
students should say the sounds. The teacher is then silent,
indicating only by gesture or action when individual students
should speak (they keep trying to work out whether they are saying
the sound correctly) and then showing when sounds and words are
said correctly by moving to the next item.

Communicative
Language Teaching
(CLT)

A major strand of CLT centres around the essential belief that if


students are involved in meaning-focused communicative tasks,
then language learning will take care of itself and that plentiful
exposure to language in use and plenty of opportunities to use it
are vitally important for a students development of knowledge
and skill. Activities in CLT typically involve students in real or
realistic communication, where a successful achievement of the
communicative task they are performing is at least as important as
the accuracy of their language use.

Task-based learning TBL makes the performance of meaningful tasks central to the
(TBL)
learning process. It is informed by a belief that if students are
focused on the completion of the task, they are just as likely to
learn language as they are if they are focusing on langue forms.
Instead of a language structure or function to be learnt, students are
presented with a task they have to perform or a problem they have
to solve.

10

Johnson (2001) went on to suggest seven questions that one should attempt to
answer in distinguishing one method from another. In a way, the answers to the questions
posed will enable one to further understand the what, why, and how about a
particular methodology. Additionally, answers to them will help one to view the differing
methods in relation to each other. These questions can be seen in Table 1.3 below.

Table 1.3 : Seven questions to ask about a method


(Source: Johnson, 2001, p. 162 & 163)
1. What are the methods Big Ideas? Many are based on a small number of central
insights, which act as guiding inspirations
2. What are the theoretical underpinnings behind the method? In an ideal world, it would
be supported by a view both of language and of language learning.
3. How much engagement of the mind does the method expect? Different learning
theories have very different views about the role of the mind in learning.
4. Is the method deductive or inductive in approach? Deductive learning is where the
learner is first given a rule. These rules are then demonstrated working in practice.
5. Does the method allow the use of the L1 in the classroom? Some methods shun this at
all costs; the L1 must never be used, however desperate the struggle to communicate
becomes is a common dogma. In some others, you may find a major part of the
lesson is given in the learners L1, with the target language only making an
occasional guest appearance.
6. Which of the four skills are given emphasis in the method? The four skills are listening
and speaking (the spoken skill), reading and writing (the written skills).
7. How much importance does a method give to authenticity of language? there are
methods which take great pains to make the language the learner is exposed to as
realistic as possible. In other methods, no effort at all is made in this direction.

11

Task 1.1

1) Select any two methods for language teaching and answer the questions set by Johnson
(2001) with regards to the selected methods.
2) Based on the two selected methods again, provide the descriptions for the elements of
approach, design, procedure, and technique as explained by Richards and Rodgers
(1987) and Harmer (2007).

1. 4 Which Method?
With the long history of language teaching methodology and the numerous methods
proposed, one would think that language teachers are spoilt for choice and that it is
merely a matter of selecting the best or most appropriate method to be used in the
classroom. Unfortunately, that is definitely not the case as each method is designed based
on certain contexts and theoretical assumptions that may not be applicable to the local
context in which a foreign language is taught. Harmer (2007, p. 77) rightly give the
following advise.

Applying a particular methodology thoughtlessly to any and every


learning context we come into contact with may not always be
appropriate. What we need to ask ourselves, therefore, is how to decide
what is appropriate, and how to apply the methodological beliefs that
guide our teaching practice.
Geyser (2006, p. 43) reminds us that what approach best works in your classroom will
depend on the age of your students, the dynamics of the relationships, cultural
backgrounds, their level of study and of course your preferences. It may be argued that
the actual practices of a teacher in the classroom is very much a mixture of theoretical

12

knowledge as well as personal preferences and competence in providing what is thought


best for the students.

Task 1.2

1) Consider your own practice in the classroom thus far. What are your answers to the
seven questions posed by Johnson (2001) given above. For example, what are the big
ideas that influence you when you teach? How do you view about the nature of
language learning?
2) Based on a lesson that you have taught, briefly state your practices based on the terms
approach, design, procedure and technique.

What about teaching English in the Malaysian primary schools? The authors of
the KSSR Guidebook for English Year 3 (Kementerian Pelajaran Malaysia, 2012, p. vi)
have this to say:
There is no single best way and teachers have to use their pedagogical
content knowledge, experience, skills and creativity to plan their lessons in
order to help their pupils learn better. Teachers should decide on a
theme/topic and then select suitable listening and speaking, reading,
writing and language arts activities to be used for teaching that topic.

Indeed, no single method is prescribed or sanctioned for use in the curriculum


for the reasons given above. What is given, however, is a set of pedagogical principles to
guide teachers in their planning (see Table 1.4 below).

13

Table 1.4: Underlying Pedagogical Principles of the Curriculum


(Source: Kementerian Pelajaran Malaysia, 2013, p. ix & x)
The approach adopted in the Standard-based curriculum is underpinned by the following
principles:
i. Back to basics where the emphasis is on basic literacy skills in order to build a strong
foundation of language skills. The strategy of phonics is introduced in order to help
pupils begin to read and a good foundation in penmanship will help pupils acquire
good handwriting.
ii. Learning is fun, meaningful and purposeful. Lessons, which emphasise
meaningful contexts and the integration of language skills, allow pupils to learn by
doing in fun-filled activities. Contextualised as well as purposeful activities will
promote the fun element in language learning.
iii. Teaching is learner-centred so teaching approaches, lessons and curriculum
materials must suit the differing needs and abilities of pupils. It is important that
appropriate activities and materials are used with pupils of different learning
capabilities so that their full potential can be realised.
iv. Integration of salient new technologies in line with growing globalisation.
Technology is used extensively in our daily communication. Information available on
the internet and other electronic media will be vital for knowledge acquisition.
Networking facilities will be useful for pupils to communicate and share knowledge.
v. Assessment for learning includes continuous assessment as an integral part of
learning which enables teachers to assess whether pupils have acquired the learning
standards taught. Formative assessment is conducted as an on-going process, while
summative assessment is conducted at the end of a particular unit or term.
vi. Character-building is an important principle which needs to be inculcated through
the curriculum to infuse character building. Lessons based on values have to be
incorporated in teaching and learning in order to impart the importance of good
values for the wholesome development of individuals.

Additionally, some other points about the curriculum should also be noted.
Firstly, the four language skills are to be integrated within a lesson or over a few lessons
based on a topic. For example, it is noted that activities are contextualized and fun-filled
with integration of language skills in meaningful contexts (Kementerian Pelajaran
Malaysia, 2012, p. 4). Besides that, the aspects of vocabulary, grammar and sound

14

systems that are needed to perform the language skills are to be included and taught.
Furthermore, grammar should not be taught in isolation but in context.
The teaching of English in the primary school is indeed a crucial element in the
overall educational system in Malaysia and the importance of English proficiency in the
human resources of the nation is undeniable. Hence, the English teachers in the primary
school have the challenging task of teaching the language effectively in varied contexts
found in multicultural and multilingual Malaysia. It is hoped that the teachers will rise to
the occasion.

References
Geyser, J. P. (2006). English to the world: Teaching methodology made easy. Subang
Jaya: August Publishing.
Harmer, J. (2007). The practice of English language teaching (4th ed.). Harlow: Pearson
Education.
Johnson, K. (2001). An introduction to foreign language learning and teaching. Harlow:
Pearson Education.
Kementerian Pelajaran Malaysia. (2012). Kurikulum Standard Sekolah Rendah (KSSR):
Teachers Guide SK & SJK: English Language Year 3. Bahagian Pembangunan
Kurikulum. Retrieved from
http://www.moe.gov.my/bpk/v2/kssr/dokumen_kurikulum/tahap_ii/mata_pelajara
n_teras/bahasa_inggeris
Kementerian Pelajaran Malaysia. (2013). Kurikulum Standard Sekolah Rendah (KSSR):
Teachers Guide Book English Year 4. Bahagian Pembangunan Kurikulum.
Retrieved from
http://www.moe.gov.my/bpk/v2/kssr/dokumen_kurikulum/tahap_ii/mata_pelajara
n_teras/bahasa_inggeris
Richards, J. C. & Rodgers, T. (1987). Method: Approach, design and procedure. In M. H.
Long & J. C. Richards (Eds.). Methodology in TESOL: A book of readings
(pp.145-157). Boston, MA: Heinle & Heinle Publishers.

15

UNIT 2
Teaching of Listening I
Learning Outcomes
At the end of the unit, students should be able to:

1. differentiate between the various types of listening;


2. analyse the different factors which affects a persons judgment;
3. recognize the different listening skills.

Introduction

istening is not merely not talkingit means taking a vigorous human interest in

what is being told us. You can listen like a blank wall or like a splendid auditorium
where every sound comes back fuller and richer.
Alice Duer Miller

Learning Points
2. 1 Perception skills
- recognizing individual sounds
- discriminating between sounds
- identifying reduced forms in fast speech
- identifying stressed syllables
- identifying stressed words in utterances
- recognizing intonation patterns.

16

2. 2 Language skills
- identifying individual words and groups and building up possible meanings for
them.
- identifying discourse markers which organize what is being said, for e.g. then, as
I was saying, as a matter of fact, to start with.

2. 3 Using knowledge of the world


- connecting groups of words to non-linguistic features such as expressions,
gestures or objects in order to get clues to meaning
- using knowledge of a topic to guess what the speaker might be saying
- using knowledge about the patterns certain oral interactions take in order to
predict what is being said, e.g. ordering in a restaurant, making a phone call.

2.4 Dealing with information


- understanding the gist meaning (the overall idea)
- understanding the main points
- understanding details, for e.g. Train times
- inferring information which is not explicitly stated or is missing.

2.5 Interacting with a speaker


- coping with variation among speakers e.g. speed, accent etc
- recognizing the speakers intention
- identifying the speakers mood/attitude
- recognizing the speakers cues about things, e.g. when to speak, change in topic
- predicting what the speaker will say next.
(Goodith,2003).

17

In order to listen well you need to combine sub-skills at the same time when
listening to someone speaking. And these sub-skills depend on the type of text you are
listening to and why you are listening to the text. So, it is the duty of the teacher to teach
the strategies for listening.
Strategies

here

could

include

making

inferences,

realizing

where

misunderstandings have occurred and asking for clarification. As the students become
more competent listeners they will need less of these strategies, although even very
proficient listeners will have to resort to these strategies sometimes (Kathleen,. 2005).
It is thus important to interrupt the listening process and get students to reflect on
what they have been just doing in order to teach these strategies.
There are various reasons for our listening. We may listen to get information,
maintain or improve relationship, make judgment and for pleasure or entertainment. For
each of the listening situation we will require different listening skills.

2.6 Listening for Information


Here the listener needs to listen in order to understand what the speaker is saying.
When the listener is able to get the message the speaker intends then the listener is
successful and the listening is effective.
In this kind of situation we listen to lectures, listen to new procedures at the
workplace, listen to instructions, briefing, reports and speeches. Careful listening is
required to get the correct information as very often getting the correct message is
important and sometimes it may even save lives, and at other times may end in
aggravation or misunderstanding.
For effective listening for information the listener has to have good vocabulary.
Concentration is another important factor for effective listening. The listener should not
try to divide his attention to competing stimuli. The listener should succumb to any
listening barriers. Memory too plays an important role in effective listening. We have
discussed this earlier.

18

2.7 Listening for Judgmental Purposes


Critical listening is important almost in any situation. Politicians, the media,
salesperson, advocates of policies and procedures, our own financial, emotional,
intellectual, physical and spiritual needs require us to place a premium on judgmental
listening and reasoning. Essentially, as listeners we are affected by factors such as ethos,
logos and pathos. When we attend conferences, it is impossible to attend parallel sessions
concurrently. Conference participants will select paper presentations to listen to by
considering the speakers credibility and/or the topic being presented.
According to Aristotle, there are three factors to be considered for critical
listening and they are:
i.

Ethos: There will be people (speakers) who are experts in certain


things but not trustworthy and we may not be able to trust whatever
they say. On the other hand there may be people who we can trust but
are not experts on the topic of conversation. In this case the listener
has to ask himself if the speaker has credibility, that is, is the speaker
honest, unbiased and straightforward. Effective critical listening
requires careful judgment (John, A. K, 2003).

Ethos or speaker credibility and trustworthiness are important


factors for effective critical listening. When you listen to a message
that requires critical judgment or response, you need to evaluate
carefully and ask yourself whether the speaker is credible, is
knowledgeable on the subject and can be trusted to be honest,
straightforward and unbiased.

However, you can still write down

informational type questions that can be asked at the end of the lecture,
for example I dont understand Can you please explain? You can
also write down clarifying type questions while listening to the lecture,
for example Is it true that ?

19

Another example of a situation in which you need to be wary of


speaker ethos is when you receive information or messages through
someone. Your coursemate is trustworthy and has high ethos. He or
she informs you of the dates and number of times you need to
participate in online forums of the courses that you have registered for
the semesters distance learning programme. But you still have to
check the online announcement to find out whether the message from
your friend is true and check the deadlines for the forums.
Additionally, you listen critically to arguments put forth by speakers in
your daily life. You need to concentrate and be deliberate with your
listening even when a person has a high ethos. You still need to be
aware that a message or an argument can be affected by the speakers
logos.

ii.

Logos: Sometimes speakers with high ethos make errors in


reasoning by accident, being careless, not paying attention or lacking
of analysis. In order to assess logos one need to ask questions such as:
a. Are the data true?
b. What is the source of the data?
c. Are the data the best that can be obtained?
d. Are the data accurately portrayed?
e. Does the speakers conclusion follow from the data?
f. Is the conclusion a certainty, or are exceptions possible?

Speakers who have a high ethos may make errors in logic due to
carelessness or inattention to detail. Ethos cannot exist without logos. As a
critical listener, you will expect well supported arguments that consist of
propositions and valid conclusions from speakers. You will also again need to
ask clarifying questions to verify whether statements, data and data sources
heard from speakers are true and accurate.

20

When drawing conclusions and making inferences, we analyze based


on logic. Sometimes the logic may be faulty and data may not lead to or
justify the inferences and conclusions drawn. Therefore, we may ask ourselves
the following questions:
b. Is the conclusion certain? Can there be exceptions?
c. Are the cause-effect relationships established without any doubt?
d. Does the inference follow from the data? Is there a non sequitor?
e. Is there evidence that the speaker used strong logical thinking?

When listening, we can capitalize on our faster thought speed. While


listening to a talk, we can use the time wisely to predict what will be discussed
next, to evaluate evidence that is presented, to find links among topics or
details, and to think of additional comments or questions that can be made to
the speaker.

iii.

Pathos: The psychological or emotional element of communication is


often misunderstood and misused. Listeners have to carefully
determine the speakers message. The speakers may make use of our
weakness to gain desired response from the listener. We can assess the
pathos by asking the following questions:
a. Is the speaker attempting to manipulate rather than
persuade me?
b. What is the speakers intent?
c. Is the speaker combining logos with pathos?
d. Am I responding merely to the pathos?
e. Next week or next year will I be satisfied with the decision
I am making today based on my response to this speaker?
Speakers may appeal to our emotional need, desire and values that are

important to listeners. Without critical listening and evaluation, those who


want adventure and companionship are tricked into becoming drug mules.
Similarly, without pathos we may be cheated when people take advantage of

21

our curiosity, fear, creativity, companionship, guilt, independence, loyalty,


power, pride, sympathy, altruism. Critical listeners should ask themselves
questions when assessing the pathos element:
Is the speaker attempting to manipulate or to persuade me?
What is the speakers intent?
Is the speaker combining logos with pathos, or merely pathos?
Will I be satisfied with the decision I am making today?
Critical listening is effective if the listener considers all three elements of the
message in the analysis and in perspective: ethos, or source credibility; logos, or
logical argument; and pathos, or psychological appeals.

2.8 Five parts of critical listening skills that will help you really hear the
other person.
2.8.1 Focus and Pay Attention
Focus on the speaker and pay attention to him. Match your nonverbal
body language with your words so he knows you are listening. Look at him
while he speaks and don't let distractions get in the way. In a group setting,
don't talk to others if a main speaker has the floor. Don't try to find something
to counter the speaker's thoughts.
2.8.2 Listen Actively
Communicate through your body language that you are focusing on the
speaker. You want to not only understand the meaning of the conversation but
you want to connect emotionally through a smile and interested expressions.
Remain engaged by nodding from time to time, keeping an open stance and
encouraging the speaker with little verbal affirmations.

22

2.8.3 Offer Feedback


Provide input into the conversation so that you can better understand what
the speaker says. This will probably mean that you need to paraphrase what
the speaker's own words. Say something like the following, "I am hearing you
say....." or "Do you mean....." Ask additional questions or ask for extra
information if needed for clarification.
2.8.4 Wait to Pass Judgment
You have filters, beliefs and life history that can distort your perception of
a conversation. This can cause you to judge what you hear before you know
the whole story. Wait to speak until the speaker finishes. Don't interrupt. It
frustrates both you and the speaker. Allow the speaker to state his thoughts so
you can grasp his full meaning. Be aware of any of your own biases toward
the subject or toward the speaker.
2.8.5 Respond Accordingly
Be respectful in the conversation. State your opinions clearly but nicely.
You don't need to be obnoxious. As you engage in active listening, you
demonstrate understanding and honoring the other person. Your intention is to
gather information and see his perspective. You will not benefit by putting
anyone down (Goodith, W, 2003).

23

2. 9 Listening for Pleasure or Entertainment


This form of listening is for enjoyment and it can be listening to music, a speaker,
theatre, television, radio or a film. It is not the source that makes it entertaining but the
listener who finds it entertaining (Anne, A. & Tony, L, 2008). Some input may be
entertaining to some and not others and what we appreciate will depend on:

i.

Presentation: It is the way something is presented. Two things can be


presented in two different ways and one may entertain you while the
other may not.

ii.

Perception: Sometimes it is the perception of the listener that makes


something entertaining and may not be the actual presentation and
expectation plays a large role in perception.

iii.

Previous experience: Our previous experience may or may not make


us enjoy something and usually we will enjoy something which we
know a lot about. If what we listen to is associated with something
pleasant then we will enjoy and vice-versa.

2. 10 Improving Your Listening Skills During a Lesson


As students you spend a lot of hours listening (or perhaps I should say
"hearing"by now you should already know that there is a difference between listening
and hearing). See if you can improve your listening skills by following some of the
strategies below:
Maintain eye contact with the teacher.
Of course you will need to look at your notebook to write your notes, but eye
contact keeps you focused on the job at hand and keeps you involved in the
lecture.
Focus on content, not delivery.
Have you ever counted the number of times a teacher clears his/her throat in a
fifteen minute period? If so, you weren't focusing on content.

24

Avoid emotional involvement.


When you are too emotionally involved in listening, you tend to hear what you
want to hear--not what is actually being said. Try to remain objective and openminded.
Avoid distractions.
Don't let your mind wander or be distracted by the person shuffling papers near
you. If the classroom is too hot or too cold try to remedy that situation if you
can. The solution may require that you dress more appropriately to the room
temperature.
Treat listening as a challenging mental task.
Listening to an academic lecture is not a passive act--at least it shouldn't be.
You need to concentrate on what is said so that you can process the information
into your notes.
Stay active by asking mental questions.
Active listening keeps you on your toes. Here are some questions you can ask
yourself as you listen. What key point is the professor making? How does this
fit with what I know from previous lectures? How is this lecture organized?
Use the gap between the rate of speech and your rate of thought.
You can think faster than the lecturer can talk. That's one reason your mind may
tend to wander. All the above suggestions will help you keep your mind
occupied and focused on what being said. You can actually begin to anticipate
what the professor is going to say as a way to keep your mind from straying.
Your mind does have the capacity to listen, think, write and ponder at the same
time, but it does take practice.

25

2. 11 Listening in Daily Life


Listening skills is vital for our social, emotional and professional success, and it has been
proven that listening is a skill we can learn (John, 2003).
Active listening is really an important skill. To know how to listen to someone else, think
about how you would want to be listened to. While the ideas are largely intuitive, it might
take some practice to develop (or re-develop) the skills (Anne, A. & Tony, L, 2008)..
Heres what good listeners know and you should, too:
a. Face the speaker: Sit up straight or lean forward slightly to show your attentiveness
through body language.
b. Maintain eye contact, to the degree that you all remain comfortable.
c. Minimize external distractions
d. Turn off the TV. Put down your book or magazine, and ask the speaker and other
listeners to do the same.
e.

Respond appropriately: Show that you understand. Murmur (uh-huh and umhmm) and nod. Raise your eyebrows. Say words such as Really, Interesting, as
well as more direct prompts: What did you do then? and What did she say?

f. Focus solely on what the speaker is saying: Try not to think about what you are going
to say next. The conversation will follow a logical flow after the speaker makes her
point.
g. Minimize internal distractions: If your own thoughts keep horning in, simply let them
go and continuously re-focus your attention on the speaker, much as you would
during meditation.
h. Keep an open mind: Wait until the speaker is finished before deciding that you
disagree. Try not to make assumptions about what the speaker is thinking.

26

i.

Avoid letting the speaker know how you handled a similar situation: Unless they
specifically ask for advice, assume they just need to talk it out.

j.

Even if the speaker is launching a complaint against you, wait until they finish to
defend yourself. The speaker will feel as though their point had been made. They
wont feel the need to repeat it, and youll know the whole argument before you
respond. Research shows that, on average, we can hear four times faster than we can
talk, so we have the ability to sort ideas as they come inand be ready for more.

k.

Engage yourself: Ask questions for clarification, but, once again, wait until the
speaker has finished. That way, you wont interrupt their train of thought. After you
ask questions, paraphrase their point to make sure you didnt misunderstand. Start
with: So youre saying

As you work on developing your listening skills, you may feel a bit panicky when there is
a natural pause in the conversation. What should you say next? Learn to settle into the
silence and use it to better understand all points of view.
Ironically, as your listening skills improve, so will your aptitude for conversation. A
friend once complimented me on my conversational skills. I hadnt said more than four
words, but I had listened to him for 25 minutes.

27

Task 2.1

Call a friend to carry out this activity. You were absent from school as you were not
feeling well. Call your friend to inquire about the days lesson and whether there is any
homework to be completed.

You
Call your friend to find out what happened in class that day and ask about whatever
homework there is that you need to complete.
Your friend
Tell your friend about the lessons for the day and if there is any homework to be
completed.

Task 2.2

1. List and explain the four types of listening.


2. What are the three factors to be considered for critical listening?

References
Anne, A., & Tony, L.(2008). Language teaching: Listening. Oxford: Oxford University
Press.
Goodith, W. (2003). Resource books for teachers: Listening effectively. Alabama:
Prentice Hall.
John, A. K. (2003). Listening effectively: Achieving high standards inc. Ohio: Prentice
Hall.

28

UNIT 3
Teaching of Listening II
Learning Outcomes
By the end of the unit, students should be able to:
1. identify most of the skills and strategies in order to teach listening skills more
effectively;
2. to create suitable listening tasks for your students using the examples given in this
topic;
3. get students to participate actively in tasks which are related to their daily lives.

Introduction
This topic contains some sub-skills which actually make up the overall skill of listening.
They involve recognizing small bits of language and larger clues, such as knowledge of
the topic a speaker is talking about, the setting he/she is speaking in or the gestures used
in order to make listening more accurate. Although, others may use different terms or
categorize in different ways, this topic contains a wide range of possible skills as seen by
Goodith, W. (2003)

Learning Points
3.1 Listening and Speaking
In listening the settings may range from individual, for example, listening to your
favourite cd, to interpersonal, for example, gossiping on the phone with your best friend,
and to group-based, for example, hearing to announcements over the PA system. Some

29

form of listening may involve a response to others, interactional, while others may not,
non-interactional (Anne. & Tony, 2008).

Firstly, we must understand that listening and speaking always go together. We


cannot communicate effectively unless the two skills are developed in sequence. In many
circumstances, listening is a reciprocal skill, that is, speakers and listeners always
exchange roles.

Task 3.1
1. When you read, do you read aloud to yourself in your head and listen to your mental
voice? Are you reading or actually listening?

2. To communicate effectively, do you think it is essential for us to be skillful in listening


and speaking? Why?

I am sure you have sometimes in your live experienced learning part of a


language, a phrase or sentence, in another language and used it with a person who speaks
the other language only to find yourself bombarded with a torrent of unintelligible
language. This shows that listening and speaking are complementary skills, equally
important for successful communication. So, it is important to be skilled in both listening
and speaking and be able to integrate them. Anne, A. & Tony, L. (2008), say that
effective speaking depends on successful listening for both L1 and L2 learners.

30

Task 3.2

How has your listening and speaking skills improved over the years? In your opinion,
what are the reasons for this evolution?

3.2 Listening Comprehension


How do we hear sounds?
In simple terms, when sound waves from the outside world strike the eardrum, it
vibrates. These vibrations from the eardrum pass through the bones of the middle ear
(ossicles) and into the inner ear through the oval window. They then are disseminated
into the cochlea where they are converted into electrical impulses and are transmitted to
the

brain

via

the

auditory

nerve.

For

further

information

visit:

http://www.theearfound.com/anatomy.html
Speech perception takes place by identifying phonemes. English phonemes are
classified into consonants and vowels. Consonants are described in terms of:

Voicing;

place of articulation;

manner of articulation.

While vowels are described in terms of:

lip rounding;

tongue height;

tongue position.

In normal speech, phonemes do not occur in isolation but it the sounds that flow
into each other. During speech, the articulators are in constant movement. Assimilation

31

makes a sound become more like an adjacent sound due to articulatory features such as
voicing, place or manner of articulation. For example, the pronunciation of the plural
suffix (-s) usually agrees with the final consonants of words, that is, the voiceless /s/ is
used for words ending with a voiceless consonant (cats [kats]) and the voiced /z/ is used
for words ending with a voiced consonant (dogs [dagz]). Sometimes speakers insert
sounds into words, for example when doing it consciously for the single syllable word
please in order to emphasize it - /pli:z/. And very often native speakers delete sounds
especially unstressed vowels, for example, in the word mathematics is pronounced
/mmtiks/ and family is pronounced /famli:/ (Gerald, K. 2004)
Continuous speech is always perceived within a context and not in isolation. In
order to learn a language we must learn words in that language as without words there
will be no communication. We also need to learn to infer meanings from key words in
order to make meaningful interpretations. Here stress, intonation and non-verbal clues
will help us perceive words more clearly. Content words (nouns, verbs, adjectives)
carry the most information in a phrase and therefore are important while the less
prominent parts are function words (prepositions, articles, pronouns).

How quickly we recognize words will depend on:

word frequency (how often do we listen to the words);

the presence of competitors (similar words);

meaning and context (a words relationship to the larger meaning).

Estimating the meaning of words will also be influenced by ambiguity. Ambiguous


words will influence the actual process of interpretation. For example:

32

Names

Aida

: Theres a telephone call for you.

Suzy : Whos it?


Aida

: Paul.

Suzy : Paul who?

It is clear here that Suzy must know more than one Paul. So the name Paul becomes
ambiguous.

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Homophones

These are words with the same sounds but different spelling and meaning. For example:

sum

some

bare

bear

meat -

meet

seen

scene

sea

see

Homonyms
These are words with the same sounds and same spelling but different meanings. For
example:

Bank (of a river)

bank (place of business)

Mole (on the skin)

mole (an animal)

Bark (of a tree)

bark (of a dog)

Both homophones and homonyms will not be a problem in listening to experienced


speakers of a language as the context will nearly rule out the competing word.
Polysemy
These are words with the same or different meaning depending on its usage. For
example:

i.

The words ripe and mature can be used to describe fruits and they mean the
same. But, when they used for animals they mean different things.

ii.

Profound and deep can be used to describe thoughts which would mean the
same. But, only deep can be used to describe water while profound cannot.
Source: Kathleen (2005) Practical English Language Teaching: Speaking

34

Task 3.3

In the following advertisements, identify the ambiguous items. How does the context help
you choose the correct meaning?
1. The best solution is no solution. (On an advertisement for disposable contact
lenses).
2. You can bank on our bank. (On an advertisement for a local savings bank).
3. Vacation in England and gain some pounds. (On a travel advertisement)

35

Sample Lesson 3.1


Interrupting
Level

: Elementary and above

Time : 10 15 minutes
Aims : To encourage the students to ask for clarification and to realize it is not always
their fault when they do not understand; to guess the meaning of words

they

have

missed.

Preparation: Find or write a short text that the students will find interesting, and which
is at their level. It must be fairly chatty. When you read the text you have to obscure
some of the words by coughing or mumbling. Do not have too many of such words. It is
a good idea to underline these words and it should be about one to every 20 words. Try
to find the best words to obscure.

Procedure: Tell the students that they are going to hear a story but you are having a sore
throat. When they are not able to hear any word they have to ask you politely to repeat
the last few words or if they think they can, let them guess the word. Every body in the
class must try to interrupt at least once.
Follow-up: Students can read texts in pairs and one interrupt or guess words.
Follow-up 1: For this story, the students suggest what the howling noise was.
Follow-up 2: In pairs, the students construct similar stories to tell each other. You could
also play short excerpts of news, talks or dialogues and ask students to say what the
topic is and to predict what will be said next. Give the students the opportunity to
become participants rather than overhearers. Allow them to answer back to the speaker
on the tape.
Source: Goodith (2003). Resource Books for Teachers: Listening Effectively

36

3.3 What is successful listening?


There are a number of different ways in which the listener can process or fail to process
incoming speech, which could serve as a basis for evaluating the degree of success of a
particular listening performance.
First the listener may not hear adequately what has been said, due for example, to
competing background noise or unfamiliarity with the speakers accent. Under these
circumstances, the speech may have been heard in a strictly limited sense; the listener
recognizes that he has been spoken to, but has no idea what the message contained in the
speech was.
Secondly, and this is presumably a common problem for the foreign listener,
speech may contain words or phrases that the listener can hear adequately but is unable to
understand because of serious problems with the syntax or semantics of the foreign
language.
Thirdly, there are times when the listener is perfectly able to hear and understand
the speaker but may have switched off consciously or unconsciously. For instance, we
might suddenly remember that we have only ten minutes before the bank closes. In this
sort of situation it is common to find ourselves allowing the incoming speech from our
interlocutor to flow past us as a stream of sound which we make no attempt to process.
Fourth, there are those messages which the listener attends to fully and from
which he tries to construct a coherent interpretation. We might consider this last situation
to be one of maximally co-operative listening, in the sense that the listener is both able
and willing to play his part in the reciprocal activity of communication.
Traditionally, listening has often been regarded, alongside reading, as a passive
language skill. We have already suggested how it involves more than language; we also
need to challenge the view that listening is merely passive or receptive. As we hope to
show the role of the successful listener has to be thought of as an active one.
Understanding is not something that happens because of what a speaker says; the listener
has a crucial part to play in the process, by activating various types of knowledge, and by
applying what he knows to what he hears and trying to understand what the speaker
means.

37

Listening is also closely connected to speaking. Being a good listener involves


collaborating with speakers and taking an active role in asking for clarification when you
do not understand. Some people especially children are quite shy to do this. Effective
listening also involves empathizing with the speaker and trying to see things from his/her
point of view.

3.4 Creating listening texts and tasks


i. Personalizing listening texts
Texts and tasks should build confidence, provide motivation, entertain and generally
make listening a less stressful activity. This can be done by personalizing the listening the
students do. Instead of bringing listening materials recorded outside, try to use the
students voices and deciding on their own goals and reasons for listening. This will
mean they are listening to familiar voices and to topics that will interest and motivate
them. You can also use teacher talk in the classroom. The teacher can also get the
students to make their own listening texts.
ii.

Adapting published materials

Published materials in the form of audio or video tape distances the original speakers in
time, space and culturally from the receivers in the classroom. Here the students will have
to react as an overhearer or judge to something that was not addressed to them. These
create a psychological distance between the students and what they hear. So,
a. adapt the recordings to make them more personal;
b. give the students the opportunity to become participants rather than overhearers;
c. allow them to answer back to the speaker on the tape.

iii.

Using authentic listening materials

This idea is to provide students with some strategies for coping with real-life listening
(radio and television programmes, lectures and so on.) When listening to these types of
texts the listeners cannot stop speakers and ask them to repeat or clarify something. These

38

types of listening give the students information about current world events and other
cultures.
(Source: Goodith (2003). Resource Books for Teachers: Listening Effectively.)

3.5 Listening with a purpose


The active nature of listening means the learner must be motivated by a communicative
purpose. The purpose will determine what he must listen for and what is important for
him. Here are some activities according to the kind of response the learner must produce:

3.5.1 Performing physical tasks


Learners are required to listen for specific meanings related to a task which he must
perform. He does not need to understand every word but enough to perform his task.
a. Identification and selection
The learner has a set of pictures (a wanted person, stolen car etc) and listens to short
dialogues. He then must decide which dialogue refers to the picture. Or, the learner can
hold one picture and listen to a few descriptions or dialogues and determine which
spoken text refers to the picture.

b. Sequencing:
Learners must listen and identify successive pictures that are described in the correct
sequence. The pictures can be events in a story or places visited by tourists. And the
spoken texts can be narratives or a conversation between tourists.

c. Locating:
Here learners are required to place items in their appropriate location, for example, on a
plan of a place. They can also follow a route on a map. The spoken text can be direct
instruction, description of a scene, a conversation or two people discussing.

39

d. Drawing and constructing:


Learners listen to a description or discussion and draw a scene or colour. They can also
construct a model or pattern using blocks or pieces that are provided.

3.5.2 Transforming information


In these kinds of activities learners have to process meanings intensively in short texts or
scan a longer text. Learners will be required to transfer information from a text to a table,
chart or diagram. For example, transferring information about people to a table. Other
example can be recording a series of station announcements, filling in of a form about the
interviewee while listening to an interview, answering true/false questions while listening
to a talk or completing blanks in a number of statements (John, A. K. 2003).

3.5.3 Reformulating and evaluating information


Here learners will be required to reformulate important contents in their own words in the
form of notes or summary. More advanced learners can be asked to evaluate information
for arguments or group discussions.

3.6 Telephoning
Telephoning in English is usually quite difficult because you do this with
strangers. This is because if you are speaking to your family members or friends you will
be using your own language. And through the telephone you will not be able to see the
person you are talking to and will miss all the expressions and gestures which mean you
miss all the clues of listening. Furthermore, some of the 'telephone language' will also be
quite strange if you are not used to them. Telephone habits also differ from culture to
culture. For some people the speaker is important while for others the importance is given
to the listener.
It is important to lead the students slowly through several stages of learning how
to use the telephone before they really make telephone calls in the target language.

40

Stage 1
First, help the students by introducing them to telephone directories. They should be at
ease to look for numbers in the white pages as well as the yellow pages. The students will
understand how these pages are organised and what kind of information can be found in
the directory. The directories will also give the students an opportunity to identify
English speaking individuals and companies.
Stage 2
Teach 'telephone language' and how to be polite on the telephone. For example:
Hello, I wonder if I could speak to .........
Thanks for your help.
Would it be possible to leave a message for him/her?

At this stage the students can also practise role-playing telephone calls to each other in
class.
Stage 3
Get the students to make real telephone calls, but to each other, because they need to
practise speaking and listening to familiar people and people who would listen to them
before they speak and listen to total strangers.

Stage 4

By now the students would be confident enough to speak and listen to strangers. It
would be better if the conversation is first rehearsed in the classroom. A good idea
would be to record answering messages from companies and other lines and playing
them in the classroom

(Source: Goodith (2003). Resource Books for Teachers: Listening Effectively.)

41

Task 3.4
Landlord / Landlady
You have a room for rent. Angela rings you up to enquire about it Give Angela the
information she wants about the room. Give her directions about how to get to you.

Angela
You have seen an advertisement for a room for rent. Ring up the landlord / landlady and
ask for information about the room: price, what the rent includes, house rules and public
transport. Ask if you can come and see the place

Sample Lesson 3.2


Imagining
Level

: Lower intermediate

Time : 15 20 minutes
Aims : To listen to a familiar voice; to listen for details and make a response.
Materials: The beginning of a story which the students are going to finish. A picture of a
scene, which you can describe and use as the setting for the story.

Procedure:
i. Ask the students their opinions on the topic of the story. The example here is a setting
on a beach, so you can ask:

- What are the good and bad things about it?


- What is their favourite time of day or season to go there?
- What can you do there?

42

ii. Tell the students that you are going to tell them a story which they are going to finish.
Suggest that closing their eyes may help them to concentrate better
iii. Read the following story slowly to the students.

It is a hot, late afternoon at the seaside, and the sun is beating down. Most people
have gone home, and you have got the beach to yourself. All you can hear is the gentle
sound of the sea lapping over the sand, and some sea-birds calling. Nothing and nobody
for miles and miles except you, the sea, the sun and the sand... Suddenly, you catch sight
of something on the sea, a long way out to sea. You look very hard but you cannot quite
see what it is. You look harder. It comes closer to you, and you can see that it is a
speedboat with two people in it. At that moment the sun suddenly goes behind a cloud,
and you start to feel cold. You feel a strange sense of fear creeping over you...

iv. The students write the end of the story. They could then read it out to another student,
or teacher can call a few students at random to read what they have written, in front of the
class.
(Source: Goodith (2003). Resource Books for Teachers: Listening Effectively.)

References
Gerald, K. (2004). Teach pronunciation. Essex: Longman.
Goodith, W. (2003). Resource books for teachers: Listening effectively. Alabama:
Prentice Hall.
John, A. K. (2003). Listening effectively: Achieving high standards in communication.
Ohio: Prentice Hall.
Kathleen, M.B. 2005. Practical English Language Teaching: Speaking. New York, NY:
McGraw Hill.
http://www.theearfound.com/anatomy.html

43

UNIT 4
SPEAKING SKILLS

Learning Outcomes
At the end of the module, students will be able to;
1.
2.
3.
4.

define speaking skills


compare speaking to writing
explain the complexities of speaking
describe effective delivery strategies

Introduction
Speaking is one of the most important skills in learning a language. When we speak, we
are imparting information from our mind in order to share the information in a form that
the other person can recognize or understand. Speaking is a productive skill which is
similar to writing. When we speak, we never merely pass over the information but we
create a shared meaning with others. Information or idea which is expressed in words and
sentences in oral forms must be made explicitly by providing evidences or enrich it with
our feelings about it. If the person whom we are trying to speak cannot understand what
we mean, then our attempts to communicate have failed. In learning to speak effectively,
it is important for us to adopt a suitable strategy to suit our purpose in objective. In faceto-face communication, listening is important for effective conversation. Conversation
will not take place without speaking and listening.

44

Learning Points
4.1 Definition of speaking skills
The main reason for speaking is to communicate and interact with others. Speaking is
like writing and both are language production skills. In writing, a writer produces
language in the written forms while in speaking language is produced in the oral mode of
communication. In speaking, a person produces language such as words, phrases,
sentences, paragraphs and discourse in the form of sounds. Speaking is very important
especially for effective conversation and interaction. The ability to speak, inform, and
interact with others is important especially for every students in learning, and for teachers
in instructing students to learn, without forcing them to learn. Teaching is no longer a
matter of command and control but requires the ability to speak and empower learners to
learn independently. The success depends, more than ever before, on teachers who are
able to speak effectively and the quality of their teaching depends directly on the quality
of their speaking with their students.

Task 4.1
1.
2.
3.
4.

Define speaking skills in your own words.


Why is speaking important?
What is it we do when we speak?
What are the differences between speaking and writing?

Generally, speaking is a basic form of human communication. In order to become an


effective speaker, a person must understand how the communication process works.
Communication is a process of creating shared meaning between a speaker and a listener
and in order for the process to take place. Verderber et al. (2011) suggest that six
elements must present; participants (who), messages (what), channels (how),
interference/noise (distractions), feedback (reaction), and contexts (what kind).

45

Receiver

Receiver
messages
channel

context

context
interferences

Figure4 .1. Model of Human Communication

Senders and receivers are the individuals who participate in the interaction (see Figure).
As a sender, a participant forms and transmits messages using verbal symbols (words)
and nonverbal behaviors. Receivers on the hand receive and interpret the messages sent
by the sender. These participants can change their roles as both a sender and a receiver, in
speaking a large audience, one participant acts primarily as sender and presents an
extended message to which the other participants listen, interpret, and provide mostly
nonverbal feedback.

Messages are the verbal utterances, visual images, and nonverbal behaviors to which
meaning is attributed during communication. In public speaking situations, messages are
typically speeches that are prepared beforehand and presented by one participant.

Meanings are the interpretations participants make of the messages they send and
receive. Messages are meant to convey the thoughts of the speaker but are easy to
misinterpret. So the meaning that the sender intends may not be the meaning that the
receiver understands.

46

Encoding is the process of putting our proposal messages into words and nonverbal
behaviors, while decoding is the process of interpreting the verbal and nonverbal
messages sent by others.

Feedback messages are sent by receivers as a respond to the sender, this is to ensure the
sender know how the receiver made sense of the original encoded message.

Channels are methods of transmitting the messages and the means of transportation. We
send and receive messages primarily through auditory (speaking and hearing) and visual
(seeing) channels.

Interference, also referred to as noise, is anything that interferes with the process of
making sense or meaning of the encoded messages. Noise can be physical or
psychological. Physical noise is any external sight or sound that distracts us from the
message. For example, when someone makes noise or shout while a speaker, a listener
might not hear the message. Psychological noise refers to the thoughts and feelings in our
heads that compete with the senders message for your attention. So when you visualize
about what you have to do at work today and distracted based on your imagination.

Feedback is the responds and responses to messages that indicate to the sender whether
and how a message was heard, seen, and interpreted. We can express feedback verbally
by telling the sender what we understood or thought about a message, or we may simply
indicate our understanding and reaction through nonverbal behavior, like nodding our
heads to indicate agreement, raising eyebrows to register our surprise, or cocking our
head and furrowing our eyebrows to indicate that we do not understand. When audiences
listen to a speech, most of their feedback is usually nonverbal.

Contexts
Communication research reveals that there are specific contexts in which communication
occurs. These differ by the number of participants and the balance of roles among them.

47

Verderber et. al. (2011) suggest four communication contexts such as intrapersonal,
interpersonal, small group and public communication.

Intrapersonal communication is a communication which occurs within yourself by


doing your own thinking. It may take place when you are thinking about making choices,
strategies, and the possible consequences of taking action. When you are alone or with
others but you are engrossed about considering what to do or where you want to go out
for fun, you are communicating intrapersonally. Intrapersonal communication usually
occurs subconsciously, you probably day dreaming or consciously, imagining. When you
playing tennis, you are thinking about a strategy, you are communicating intrapersonally
at a conscious level and when you are cycling a bicycle, you are thinking subconsciously.

Interpersonal communication is communication between two people. When you are


talking to a friend or your teacher about assignments, your plans for tomorrow, about
your family, or what you did last night, you are engaging in interpersonal
communication. You are also communicating interpersonally when you have serious
discussion with a close friend or family member. Interpersonal communication
sometimes occurs in a public speech setting for example when you are having an
interview or during a question-and-answer session, a speaker directs remarks to one
audience member.

Small group communication is communication that occurs between three to ten people.
There are many kinds of small groups such as a family, a group of friends, a group of
classmates working together on a class project, and a management team in the workplace.
Small group communication occurs in a public speech setting when a team is asked to
work together to research, prepare, and deliver a presentation on a particular topic.

Public communication is communication that occurs among more than ten people. In
public communication, a message is delivered to the receivers or the participants in the
form of public communication is mass communication, which is communication
produced and transmitted via media to massive audiences. Newspapers, magazines,

48

twitters, books, blogs, television programs, movies, websites, Facebook pages, tweets on
Twitter, and YouTube are all examples of mass communication. Public speaking is also
considered as a form of public communication but the intended audience is usually
physically present to witness the speech.

The general objective of your speaking skills is to develop your uniqueness and
fosters a sense of positive perception about yourself. Specific goals of speaking skills in a
speech suggested by Verderber et. al. (2011) are to be appropriate, accurate, clear, and
vivid. Being appropriate means using language that adapts to the audiences needs,
interests, knowledge, and attitudes and that avoids alienating or offending listeners.
Appropriate language demonstrates respect for all audience members. To be appropriate,
practice verbal immediacy by using we language and biasfree language, as well as
adapting to cultural diversity and avoiding offensive humor, profanity, vulgarity, and hate
speech.
Being accurate begins with a realization that words are only representations of
ideas, objects, and feelings. Meaning is a product of both denotation (dictionary meaning)
and connotation (positive, neutral, and negative feelings and evaluations that words
evoke). To ensure that your ideas are interpreted accurately, consider denotation,
connotation, and dialect.
Clear language is specific and precise. Specific language clarifies meaning.
Precise words are those that narrow down a broad idea. The larger your vocabularies, the
more choices you have to select a word you want. Ways to increase your vocabulary are
to study vocabulary-building books, to look up meanings of words you dont understand,
and to use a thesaurus to identify synonyms. Clarity can also be achieved by providing
details and examples. Vividness means full of life, vigorous, bright, and intense. Increase
the vividness of your language by using sensory language as well as rhetorical figures
and structures of speech.

49

4.2 Becoming a confident speaker


Many of us are not confident in speaking English because we are not fluent or accurate
and we find it difficult to choose the right words. Confidence is a very important element
in learning to speak a language. Many learners worry that they are going to make a
mistake or that the people listening will not understand them. Actually spoken language
is not the same as written language. In writing we need to be perfectly accurate in order
for the reader to understand us, but in speaking we do not have to be precisely accurate;
as long as the message can get across to the listener, then we have achieved our goal in
speaking. In real-life speaking, sentences are not grammatically correct and that the
speaker repeats words to give himself time to think about what he is saying. He also uses
fillers like er which are not words but noises to give himself more time.
Although the grammar is not always correct but the message can easily be undertsood.
Thus, if a message is given confidently delivered, the listener wont worry about any
mistakes.
There are a few ways for teachers to develop confidence among students. As a
teacher, we do not worry too much if the students make mistakes in their speech but to
allow them to speak or sound more confident. Teachers should allow more practice
among students. The more often you speak, the easier it becomes. Teachers should
provide the opportunity for students to speak English in classes and bring them out in
places where English is spoken a lot. This will help develop confidence among the
students.
In addition, teachers should help students to relax and help them think about the
message. Its easy to become nervous if you only focus on grammar rules when you are
speaking. Focus on what you want to say is usually more important than how you say it.
The key to relaxing when you are speaking is to talk about something which you find
really interesting. Speaking is easier when you have something to say, and you are
enjoying the conversation.
Confidence can also be developed if we rehearse what we want to say. If you are
very nervous, you can always practise by saying what you want to say to yourself a few
times. Planning and rehearsal can make your speaking more confident. Apart from
rehearsing what we want to say, we should also be prepared with questions and answers

50

by anticipating what we do in the same situation. This can be done by thinking imagining
what people are likely to say in response. For example, how you introduce yourself or
tell other people in the group about yourself if you are joining a class. Thus, you need to
rehearse or practise introducing yourself and asking questions about others.
Speaking English fluently is a goal for many learners of English. Fluency means
being able to communicate your ideas without having to stop and think too much about
what you are saying. However, many learners also have the goal of spoken accuracy.
Speaking accurately means that you speak without errors of grammar and vocabulary. If,
you have a very strong focus on accuracy on getting the grammar and vocabulary
correct you may find that you worry about making mistakes. This can make you shy
about speaking in English and, as a result, your spoken fluency might not improve. This
means that, although you know English well, you might not be able to have a
conversation. On the other hand, you may be someone who really likes to talk, and you
are willing to try out language even though you make mistakes. This can help make you
sound very fluent. However, if you make too many mistakes which you do not stop to
correct, you can find that it is difficult to make others understand your ideas.
Speaking a language well requires both fluency and accuracy. So how can you
make sure that you develop both? Identify your learning style and what kind of learner
are you? Think about situations in which you have used English and how you felt about
making mistakes. Is being correct when you speak the most important thing for you? Or
do you always take risks, trying out new language even though it might not be correct?
The first step towards improving your spoken English is recognising what is easy for you
and then working on what is difficult. Focus on one area at a time When you speak
English, do you notice any mistakes which you make quite often? Maybe you make
mistakes with tenses, or with question forms? Or do you sound slow as if you are
always searching for words and correct grammar? Next time you speak with your friends,
try to work on the problem you have noticed. If its fluency, try to focus on making sure
your friend understands what youve said, not on avoiding mistakes. If you have a
problem with tenses, try to correct yourself only when you make a tense error dont
think about other mistakes. By choosing an area to work on, you can help yourself
overcome problems.

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4.3 Being aware of fluency and accuracy


It is important for us to be aware of how we sound by recording our conversation with a
friend. You can use a recorder in your hand phone to record a conversation with a friend
for a few minutes and when you have finished, you can listen to yourselves again.
Recorded conversation can help you identify and correct any errors that you might use.
You can also evaluate your fluency and your accuracy of your language.

4.4 Right Vocabulary


Vocabulary is important when we are learning a language. Having the right vocabulary to
express your idea is important to becoming a fluent, confident speaker. It is normal for
learners of English to feel that they do not know enough vocabulary. This is usually a
case when we are learning a new language. However, if you have difficulty, do not feel
embarrass but instead, try to explain or describe what you mean. You can paraphrase
idea by describing it using your own words for example if you forget the word theatre,
you might say the place you watch movie or play.
When you are having difficulty in finding a word you want to say, do not stop
talking. If you stop talking, the person who is listening to you will just stop listening, and
communication will break down, however, you can start describing what you want to say
all over again. You should repeat what you want to say because what you are saying is
important to you and to them. This will give yourself more time to think of a word or
definition, go back to the beginning of your sentence and start again. You can also ask the
person listening for help if you get stuck and really cant think of the word you need to
say. This process will help you and your listener to understand the idea you want to
express. Working together with the person who is listening will make life easier for you
and give you both a chance to practise speaking and listening.
Plan what you are going to say. If you are going to give a talk or presentation,
plan the stages in your talk. When you introduce a new idea, show the listener by using
phrases like Let me tell you about or you could start your talk with a question which
you then answer. If you are going to give a list of points, how are you going to show the

52

listener that they link together? Think of phrases such as first of all, another thing
is . And how are you going to finish? Perhaps you could say in conclusion or to
finish off. Use your plan as a map through your talk, showing how things link
together.

4.5 Keeping the listener interested


When we speak, it is important to entice our listener to the message that we want to relay.
Listener should find something interesting to what we are saying. Even though accurate
language is important such as making sure we choose words and grammar to express our
ideas precisely but as a speaker, it is also important to think about how your listener feels.
If what you say is dull, or if the listener is not interested, then she or he may stop
listening.
You can entice your listener by using variety of vocabulary and sentences in
describing your idea. A good speaker do not repeat the same words very often but use
different words or sentences in explaining or describing their ideas or points. A speaker
who wants sound more fluent should have books on synonyms that is, words which
have the same meaning and also dictionary and thesaurus. Apart from using appropriate
words a speaker should organize his idea properly so that a listener can follow the idea
more effectively. Organizing ideas requires planning such as what words to use and what
sort of statements to put forward. This is important especially in meetings or academic
study in English.

4.6 Being a supportive listener


A listener plays an important role in having a good conversation. A person who is
listening in a conversation can help the speaker a lot especially in giving positive
responses. In a conversation, a speaker and a listener will exchange role, a speaker will a
listener and the listener will become a speaker. As a listener you have to play part by
making sure the speakers message is clear. The listener is helping the conversation by
showing that he is interested in what the speaker is saying, showing that he understands
and, by using questions, making sure that the speaker has the opportunity to say some

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more if he wants to. The listener can ask questions to summarize what the speaker has
said this shows he has been listening and, because they are in the form of a question,
they are used as an invitation for the speaker to say some more about the subject. By
being an active listener, the listener helps the speaker to make his points clearly and
makes sure that the conversation is successful.

4.7 Sounding natural


For many people who are learning to speak English, pronunciation is a problem. There
may be sounds in English which are difficult to recognise and pronounce. Correct
pronunciation is important in making sure listener can understand our message.
Pronunciation is often a difficult area for students especially students who are learning
English in a foreign language setting. Good pronunciation in English involves many
things such as stress, intonation and rhythm. A good speaker knows when stress in words
and sentences, such as which syllables to put emphasis on in order to make the meaning
clear. Intonation is a manner of producing or uttering tones, especially with regard to
accuracy of pitch such as the use of changing pitch to convey syntactic information: a
questioning intonation. Intonation is used to show how we feel about the subject we are
talking about. Rhythm is a movement of pronunciation in speech which is marked by the
stress, timing, and quantity of syllables. Rhythm is useful in communication because it
helps us to find the flow through the continuous speech, enabling us to divide speech into
words or other units, to signal changes between topic or speaker, and to spot which items
in the message are the most important.
The most important is to be sure that people can understand you easily even though you
may not sound like native speakers. If you are learning to produce quality sounds, you
may need a good listening model for you to imitate. You can learn firstly by listening to
audiobooks. You can listen to the book and at the same time read the print book. This
way you can learn by listening and the produce the same pronunciation.

4.8 Finding a speaking model


In learning to speak effectively, a student should find a suitable model to follow. You
probably are familiar with TV personalities locally or internationally, whom you like to

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imitate, this provides a good model of pronunciation which you can learn. In learning
by imitating a good model, you need to listen carefully to how he or she speaks and make
effort to follow them closely.
When we speak, we are imparting information from our mind. We create
information inside our heads and we speak in order to share the information in a form that
the other person can recognize or understand. We can write or draw pictures or diagrams
or use certain kind of presentation such as PowerPoint to make our speaking clearer.
When we speak, we never merely pass over the information but we create a shared
meaning with others. If the person whom we are trying to speak cannot understand what
we mean, then our attempts to communicate have failed. An idea is a thought expressed
in words and sentences in oral forms. Thus, the most effective speaking is to make ideas
explicit by providing evidences or enrich it with our feelings about it. Whatever strategy
we adopt, our purpose in speaking is to create and share ideas. Speaking is important for
effective conversation which also requires effective listening. Conversation will not take
place without speaking and listening. And the quality of the conversation depends on the
quality of speaking such as pronouncing the words clearly.

Louma (2004) cites complexities of speaking skills,


i.

composed of idea units (conjoined short phrases and clauses)

ii. may be planned (e.g. lecture) or unplanned (e.g. conversation)


iii. employs more vague or generic words than in written language
iv. employs fixed phrases, fillers and hesitation markers
v. contain slips and errors reflecting monitoring
vi. involved reciprocity (i.e. interactions are jointly constructed)
vii. shows variation (e.g. between formal and causal speech) reflecting speaker roles,
speaking purpose, and the context.

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Task 4.2

In your opinion as an L2 speaker, why is speaking difficult?

Many of our conversations are unorganized or impromptu. We state our view and jump
from point to point. Sometimes we tend to get out of point or making up point or telling
our own story with no reference to what the other person is saying. It is important to have
a clear point or idea in having a conversation. The point of our conversations must have
specific organization derives from our objectives. A clear objective allows us to make
sense of the idea that we are going to speak and the result is translated in spoken
language. The point of our conversation includes describing of an object or an event;
discussing complicated physical process into an equation by simply organizes the idea by
verbally elaborating a landscape of our idea.
The ideas should have two important qualities namely message and reasoning.
Message and reasoning must be present if we want to make our ideas clear. The process
of working out the idea should consist of five key elements Louma (2004):
i. identifying the main idea;
ii. arranging our ideas logically;
iii. developing an appropriate style in the language used;
iv. remembering our ideas;
v. delivering our ideas with words, visual cues and non-verbal behavior.

Task 4.3

1. In impromptu conversation, ideas are not organized, how do we manage to get the
meaning across?
2. Why is reasoning important in speaking?
3. How do you support you idea?

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4.9 Main Idea


In speaking, a speaker must have a message or main idea which he/she wants to convey
to the other person. A message is the idea you want to deliver. A single governing idea is
important than a group of ideas because one strong idea is easier to deliver. The
governing idea can be selected by asking three fundamental questions:

i. What is the objective of the message?


What do I want to achieve?
What is the expected result?
ii. Who is my audience?
What is the reason?
iii. How should I say to convince the audience?
What is the most important thing I have to say to them?
These prompts will help you to choose a very strong idea in a single sentence. An idea is
expressed in one sentence and it should be understood to the listener. A speaker should
consider whether the message is appropriate to the listener before decided to convey the
message in a specific statement. Ideas must be coherent and logically organized. Ideas
should be elaborated to make it clear to the listener and a speaker should provide ample
reasons or examples. A speaker must select words, phrases and sentences to create
pictures and feelings that will stimulate the listener to understand. This is done using
concrete examples such as stories that have the benefit of entertaining the listener,
keeping them in suspense and releasing an emotional response with a surprising
revelation.

4.10 Effective Delivering


When we speak to deliver our idea, we need to support the idea with effective evidences
such as suitable examples, reasons and also positive body language. Ideas must be
supported by reasons and information must come with suitable explanation and also body
language. If you are saying one thing but your body is saying another, no one will believe

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your words. Body language includes eyes and voice is important in delivering your
information more effectively. Speaking involves face-to-face conversations which require
the speakers to alternately listening and speaking, and both of them have a chance to ask
for clarification, repetition, or slower speech from their conversation partner. Some
speaking situations are partially interactive, such as when giving a speech to a live
audience, where usually the audience does not interrupt the speaker. The speaker can
make judgment based on the expressions on their faces and body language to gauge
whether the audience is following his/her speech. In non-interactive situation, the
speakers do not have audience but rather record his/her speech. It can also happen when
one is talking to his/herself.
Speaking involves skills such as the ability to pronounce the words of a language
clearly enough so that people can understand by using appropriate intonation and stress
of the language clearly enough so that people can understand what is said, use the correct
forms of words. Our success as a teacher depends on your ability to hold effective and
productive conversations. Barker (2011) suggests seven proven strategies to help you
improve your conversations.
i. Clarify your objective.
ii. Structure your thinking.
iii. Manage your time.
iv. Find common ground.
v. Move beyond argument.
vi. Summarize often.
vii. Use visuals.

4.11 Clarify your objective


Barker (2011) suggests a conversation is like a journey and usually a traveler can wander
off track if he/she is unclear of the direction and where to go. The journey is effectively
carried out only if the traveler knows clearly where he/she is aiming for. The importance
is to state the objective clearly at the start. Write a specific objective in a sentence. If you
know what your main point is, state it at the start of the conversation.
In a conversation, the speaker might decide to change his/her objective in the
middle of the conversation, just as you might decide to change direction in the middle of
a journey. This can be done by giving a signal the other speaker that you want to change
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the idea and this is fine so long as both the speakers know what the other one is doing.
The objective should be specific enough for both the speakers to understand and it can
always be changed when both the speakers give consent.
Barker (2011) suggests two categories of objective:
i. exploring a problem;
ii. finding a solution.
When you are thinking about the specific sentence for your objective, ask what the
problem is or what is the solution? You may assume that any conversation about a
problem is aiming to find a solution particularly if the other person has started the
conversation. As a result, you may find yourself working towards a solution without
accurately defining or understanding the problem. It may be that the other person doesnt
want you to offer a solution, but rather to talk through the problem with them.
The function of a conversation is important for the speakers to clearly understand.
Then both can proceed to achieve the objective.

4.12 Structure your thinking


Barker (2011) suggests giving a structure for your thinking in order to improve your
conversations enormously. The simplest way to structure a conversation is to break it in
two parts. First-part is thinking about a problem; second part is thinking about a solution.
Many conversations does not focus on first part of a conversation where the
speaker define the objective of their speech but instead leap to second-part of the
conversation thus looking for solutions by almost ignoring the problem. There many
reasons why the objective is not clearly define especially in an organization. Perhaps
defining an objective in term of describing a problem can be frightening. Defining a
problem is always frightening especially to explore it, to try to understand it further, to
confront it and live with it for a few moments is too uncomfortable. People dont like
living with unresolved problems. Better to deal with it: sort it out; solve it; get rid of it.
Barker (2011) suggests method of dealing with defining the objective of a speech by
giving attention and time to the problem. This can be done by linking your conversation

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together. Linking helps you to steer the conversation comfortably. Skilled conversation
holders can steer the conversation by linking the following:

i. the past and the present;


ii. the problem and the solution;
iii. first-stage and second-stage thinking;
iv. requests and answers;
v. negative ideas and positive ideas;
vi. opinions about what is true, with speculation about the consequences.

Barker (2011) suggests a four stage model of conversation which breaks down speaking
strategy into four steps:
i.

Welcome (first-stage thinking). At the start of the conversation, state your


objectives, set the scene and establish your relationship: Why are we talking
about this matter? Why us?

ii. Acquire (first-stage thinking). The second step is information gathering.


Concentrate on finding out as much as possible about the matter, from as many
angles as you can. For both of you, listening is vital. You are acquiring
knowledge from each other. This part of the conversation should be dominated
by questions.
iii. Supply (second-stage thinking). Now, at the third step, we summarise what
weve learnt and begin to work out what to do with the information. We are
beginning to think about how we might move forward: the options that present
themselves. Its important at this stage of the conversation to remind yourselves
of the objective that you set at the start.
iv. Part (second-stage thinking). Finally, you work out what you have agreed. You
state explicitly the conversations outcome: the action that will result from it.
The essence of the parting stage is that you explicitly agree what is going to
happen next. What is going to happen? Who will do it? Is there a deadline?
Who is going to check on progress? From impromptu conversations in the

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corridor to formal interviews, WASP gives you a simple framework to make


sure that the conversation stays on track and results in a practical outcome.

Four types of conversation

Barker (2011) suggests a simple four-stage model which can become more sophisticated.
In this developed model, you hold four conversations, for:

i. relationship;
ii. possibility;
iii. opportunity;
iv. action.

Barker (2011) suggests these four conversations may form part of a single, larger
conversation; they may also take place separately, at different stages of a process or
project.
In making a relationship, you need to bring a conversation to suit the objective of
the relationship. It is an important to survey the topic conversations for a serious
relationship such as in business ventures and should move beyond the introductory topics
such as What do you do? Where do you live? questions. In a serious business
relationship, a conversation should focus on the possibility to continue the exploration: it
develops first-stage thinking. It asks what you might be looking at. A conversation for
possibility is not about whether to do something, or what to do. It seeks to find new ways
of looking at the problem. There are a number of ways of doing this.

i. Look at it from a new angle.


ii. Ask for different interpretations of whats happening.

Barker (2011) suggests 10 key questions for having a relationship conversation.


i. Who are we?
ii. How do we relate to the matter in hand?

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iii. What links us?


iv. How do we see things?
v. What do you see that I cant see?
vi. What do I see that you dont see?
vii. In what ways do we see things similarly, or differently?
vii. How can we understand each other?
viii. Where do we stand?
ix. Can we stand together?
x. Ask what the problem is like. What does it look like, or feel like?

Conversations for possibility are potentially a source of creativity: brainstorming is a


good example. But they can also be uncomfortable: exploring different points of view
may create conflict. Barker (2011) suggests 15 key questions for having a possibility
conversation.

i.

Whats the problem?

ii.

What are we trying to do?

iii. Whats the real problem?


iv. What are we really trying to do?
v. Is this a problem?
vi. How could we look at this from a different angle?
vii. Can we interpret this differently?
viii. How could we do this?
ix. What does it look like from another persons point of view?
x. What makes this different from last time?
xi. Have we ever done anything like this before?
xii. Can we make this simpler?
xiii. Can we look at this in bits?
xiv. What is this like?
xv. What does this feel or look like?

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A conversation for opportunity takes us into second-stage thinking. This is fundamentally


a conversation about planning. Many good ideas never become reality because people
dont map out paths of opportunity. A conversation for opportunity is designed to
construct such a path. You are choosing what to do. You assess what you would need to
make action possible: resources, support and skills. This conversation is more focused
than a conversation for possibility: in choosing from among a number of possibilities,
you are finding a sense of common purpose.
The bridge from possibility to opportunity is measurement. This is where you
begin to set targets, milestones, obstacles, measures of success. How will you be able to
judge when you have achieved an objective?
Barker (2011) suggests 7 key questions for having an opportunity conversation.

i. Where can we act?


ii. What could we do?
iii. Which possibilities do we build on?
iv. Which possibilities are feasible?
v. What target do we set ourselves?
vi. Where are the potential obstacles?
vii. How will we know that weve succeeded?

Recall your original objective. Has it changed? Conversations for opportunity can
become more exciting by placing yourselves in a future where you have achieved your
objective. What does such a future look and feel like? What is happening in this future?
How can you plan your way towards it? Most people plan by starting from where they are
and extrapolate current actions towards a desired objective. By backward planning from
an imagined future, you can find new opportunities for action.

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4.13 A conversation for action


This is where you agree what to do, who will do it and when it will happen. Translating
opportunity into action needs more than agreement; you need to generate a promise, a
commitment to act.
Teachers often remark that getting their students to understand and do certain
actions is one of the hardest aspects of teaching. As teachers have noticed, students never
seem to do what they have been told to do and following up or checking on agreed
actions can become a major time-waster. A conversation for action is the first step in
solving this problem, however to attain certain results it is vital that the promise resulting
from a conversation for action is recorded.
Barker (2011) suggests 2 key questions for action; a dynamic between asking and
promising conversation.
i. You ask a student to do something for example homework or tasks by a certain
time. Make it clear that it is for their own benefit and make sure they are
committed in carrying out the tasks.
ii. They must understand the task and accept it.

This four-stage model of conversation advocated by Barker (2011) is a simple form of


relationship possibilityopportunityaction which can be used to serve you well in wide
range of conversations you will hold as a teacher. Some of your conversations will
include all four stages; some will concentrate on one more than another. These
conversations will only be truly effective if you hold them in order

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4.14 Manage your time


Conversations take time, and time is the one entirely nonrenewable resource. Its vital
that you manage time well, both for and in your conversations. Managing time for the
conversation is important because you do not want to waste too much time on one subject
and it also depends on how much you have. As a teacher, you cannot assume that there is
no time, you have to be realistic and it is also advisable to arrange you appointments so
that you may commit to accepting or declining at a later date, for example you can say
Ill let you know by certain time.
Managing time in the conversation is necessary because most conversations
proceed at a varying rate. Generally, an effective conversation will probably start quite
slowly and get faster as it goes on. But there are no real rules about this. You know that a
conversation is going too fast when people interrupt each other a lot, when parallel
conversations start, when people stop listening to each other and when people start to
show signs of becoming uncomfortable. Conversely, you know that a conversation is
slowing down when one person starts to dominate the conversation, when questions dry
up, when people pause a lot, when the energy level in the conversation starts to drop or
when people show signs of weariness. Barker (2011) suggests 7 reasons why a
conversations can go too fast because:

i.

we become solution-oriented;

ii.

feelings take over;

iii.

we succumb to groupthink

iv.

were enjoying ourselves too much;

v.

assumptions go unchallenged;

vi.

people stop asking questions;

vii.

arguments flare up.

Managing time in the conversation makes you aware of the speed the
conversation is proceeding, and how fast you think it should be going. Here are some

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simple tactics to help you regain control of time in your conversations. Barker (2011)
suggests 7 reasons why a conversation may go too slowly:

i.

the conversation becomes problem-centred;

ii.

too much analysis is going on;

iii.

people talk more about the past than the future;

iv.

more and more questions are asked;

v.

people start to repeat themselves;

vi.

the conversation wanders;

vii.

people hesitate before saying anything.

You may speed up or slow down depend on your goal of a conversation.

4.15 Find common ground


Conversations are ways of finding common ground. You mostly begin in subjects you are
familiar with and then use the conversation to find boundaries and the openings where
you can cross over to the other persons areas. Notice how you ask for, and give,
permission for these moves to happen. If you are asking permission to move into new
territory, you might:

i. make a remark tentatively;


ii. express yourself with lots of hesitant padding: perhaps we might, I suppose I
think, Its possible that;
iii. pause before speaking;
iv. look away or down a lot;
v. explicitly ask permission: Do you mind if I mention? May I speak freely
about?.

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You do not proceed until the other person has given their permission. Such permission
may be explicit: Please say what you like; I would really welcome your honest
opinion; I dont mind you talking about that. Other signs of permission might be

i. Summarise and close one stage of the conversation.


ii. Look for the implications of what the other person is saying. What does that
mean in terms of? How does this affect our plans? So what action is
possible here?
iii. Ask for new ideas and offer some new ones of your own. in the persons body
language or behaviour: nodding, smiling, leaning forward.
Conversely, refusing permission can be explicit Id rather we didnt talk about this
or in code. The person may evade your question, wrap up an answer in clouds of
mystification or reply with another question. Their non-verbal behaviour is more likely to
give you a hint of their real feelings: folding their arms, sitting back in the chair,
becoming restless, evading eye contact.

4.16 Move beyond argument


One of the most effective ways of improving your conversations is to develop them
beyond argument. Most people are better at talking than at listening. At school, we often
learn the skills of debate: of taking a position, holding it, defending it, convincing others
of its worth and attacking any position that threatens it. As a result, conversations have a
habit of becoming adversarial. Instead of searching out the common ground, people hold
their own corner and treat every move by the other person as an attack. Adversarial
conversations set up a boxing match between competing opinions. Opinions are ideas
gone cold. They are assumptions about what should be true, rather than conclusions about
what is true in specific circumstances. Opinions might include:

i. stories (about what happened, what may have happened, why it happened);
ii. explanations (of why something went wrong, why it failed);

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iii. justifications for doing what was done;


iv. gossip (perhaps to make someone feel better at the expense of others);
v. generalisations (to save the bother of thinking);
vi. wrong-making (to establish power over the other person).
Opinions are often mistaken for the truth. Whenever you hear someone maybe yourself
saying that something is a well established fact, you can be certain that they are
voicing an opinion. Adversarial conversation stops the truth from emerging. Arguing
actually stops you exploring and discovering ideas. And the quality of the conversation
rapidly worsens: people are too busy defending themselves, too frightened and too battle
fatigued to do any better.

4.17 Summarise your speech


Perhaps the most important of all the skills of conversation is the skill of summarizing
our ideas so that the main message is successfully through. It can also straighten the
points made by the other person. Providing summary to our speech has a lot of
advantages, for example,

i. allow you to state your objective, return to it and check that you have achieved it;
ii. help you to structure your thinking;
iii. help you to manage time more effectively;
iv. help you to seek the common ground between you;
v. help you to move beyond adversarial thinking.

Simple summaries are useful at making or points clear in a conversation. At the start,
summarise your most important point or your objective. As you want to move on from
one stage to the next, summarise where you think you have both got to and check that the
other person agrees with you. At the end of the conversation, summarise what you have
achieved and the action steps you both need to take.

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Summarizing means to reinterpret the other persons ideas in your own language. It
involves recognizing the specific point theyve made, appreciating the position from
which they say it and understanding the beliefs that inform that position. Recognizing
what someone says doesnt imply that you agree with it. Rather, it implies that you have
taken the point into account. Appreciating the other persons feelings on the matter
doesnt mean that you feel the same way, but it does show that you respect those feelings.
And understanding the belief may not mean that you share it, but it does mean that you
consider it important. Shared problem solving becomes much easier if those three basic
summarizing tactics come into play.
Of course, summaries must be genuine. They must be supported by all the nonverbal cues that demonstrate your recognition, appreciation and understanding. And those
cues will look more genuine if you actually recognize, appreciate and at least seek to
understand.

4.18 Use visuals


Its said that people remember about 20 per cent of what they hear, and over 80 per cent
of what they see. If communication is the process of making your thinking visible, your
conversations will certainly benefit from some way of being able to see your ideas. There
are lots of ways in which you can achieve a visual image of your conversation. The
obvious ways include scribbling on the nearest bit of paper or using a flip chart. Less
obvious visual aids include the gestures and facial expressions you make. Less obvious
still but possibly the most powerful are word pictures: the images people can create in
each others minds with the words they use.

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4.19 Speaking in public


Many people are anxious at the thought of public speaking, particularly people who have
little experience with it. In public speaking, we have to make proper preparation in order
to stay calm. We must be familiar with the topic and of course, conduct a research on
unfamiliar topics. If we have conducted a thorough research then we need to plan our
presentation in detail in order to be confidence. Public speaking is just a way of
communicating a message to a large audience, and as a teacher you will most probably be
asked to give a public speaking presentation. In fact, you are always required to make
public speaking as students. Axelrod & Cooper (2010) give eight practical suggestions
for preparing and giving effective public speaking presentations.

4.20 Assess Your Audience and Purpose


To give effective oral presentations you need to assess your audience and your purpose.
Even for an impromptu presentation, you should take a few moments to think about
whom you are speaking to and why. To assess your audience, ask the same questions you
would ask about readers: Why are the members of my audience here? What do they
already know about my subject? How do they feel about my topic? What objections
might they have to my argument?

4.21 Deliver the Oral Presentation Professionally


Be prepared for your oral presentation. Preparation helps you to relax because you know
what to expect. You can relax by taking a deep breath, drink some water, or step outside
for some fresh air. If someone is introducing you, give that person information about
yourself and your presentation. Otherwise, begin by introducing yourself and your title or
topic. Axelrod & Cooper (2010) suggest these guidelines that will help you to make a
professional impression:

As you speak, try to make eye contact with the people in the room.

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Use your hands to gesture as you would in a conversation; your hands should be
neither clamped rigidly at your sides nor doing something distracting such as
playing with your jewelry.

If you are behind a lectern, avoid slouching, leaning on it, or gripping it tightly
throughout the presentation.

If you are using visuals, be careful not to block the audiences view of them. After
introducing a new visual, resume making eye contact with audience members;
talk to the audience, not the visual.

Try to avoid distracting vocal mannerisms, such as repeatedly saying uh, like,
or you know.

Speak loudly enough so that all members of the audience can hear you, and speak
clearly and distinctly. Nervousness may cause you to speak too rapidly, so watch
your pace.

Do not speak in a monotone. Instead, let the pitch of your voice rise and fall
naturally, especially when giving a scripted presentation.

Dress appropriately for your audience and the formality of the situation in which
you are speaking. The focus should be on your message, not on how you are
dressed.

4.22 Types of oral presentations


The list that follows identifies the four basic types of oral presentations.

Impromptu presentation. An impromptu oral presentation is given without


preparation. In a English class, for example, your lecturer may call on you to
explain briefly a word based on context that you are learning. Usually, you would
recall what you have read and summarize the information. While impromptu
presentations are given without preparation, they do require knowledge of the
subject matter.

Extemporaneous presentation. In an extemporaneous presentation, you prepare


beforehand and speak from notes or an outline. For example, in your English
class, you might prepare a report on a project that you recently conducted. In most
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academic and business situations, extemporaneous talks are preferred because


they are informal yet well organized. Extemporaneous presentation often includes
outlining your major points on a board or on a projector.

Scripted presentation. Reading from a script is one way to ensure that you say
exactly what you want to say and that you take no more than the time you have
been allotted. Because you read to your audience, a scripted presentation can be
stiff and boring unless it is carefully planned and rehearsed. Scripted presentations
also need to be written so that the audience can easily follow the presentation by
just hearing it. Sentences often need to be shorter than in a document that is read.
You will also need to provide more transitions and cues than in documents that
are read. A simple guideline to remember is that if your writing is difficult for you
to read aloud, it will be difficult to listen to as well.

Memorized presentation. This type of oral presentation is written and committed


to memory beforehand. For instance, in a class, you might evaluate a story in
relation to its plots. However, most people prefer scripted talks because of the
difficulty of memorizing a lengthy oral presentation.

The most difficult task in teaching speaking faced by teachers is to balance between the
topic, accuracy and fluency. The students need to know the topic; this means teachers
need to focus on the knowledge of the word such as vocabulary and other related
concepts. Fluent speech with errors can distort meaning. Accuracy without the rule of
appropriateness can be a sign of inadequate teaching.

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Task 4.4

a) Briefly describe the model of human communication.


b) Define accuracy and fluency.
c) How can you become a confident speaker?
d) According to Louma (2004), why are speaking skills very complex?
e) What are the seven proven strategies to improve your conversations suggested by
Barker (2011)?
f) What are the 10 key questions for having a relationship conversation suggested by
Barker (2011)?

References
Axelrod, R. B., & Cooper, C. R. (2010). The St. Martins guide to writing. Boston:
Bedford / St. Martins
Barker, A. (2011). Improve your communication skills(2nd ed). United Kingdom: Kogan
Page.
Louma, S. (2004). Assessing speaking. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Verderber, R., Verderber, K., & Sellnow, D. (2011). The challenge of effective speaking.
USA:Wadsworth Publishing.

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UNIT 5
TEACHING OF SPEAKING
LEARNING OUTCOMES
At the end of the unit, students will be able to
1. describe the content of The English language syllabus in primary schools
pertaining to speaking skills
2. define the content for accuracy and fluency
3. explain the stages of conducting a speaking activity
4. promote thinking in speaking activities
5. present a lesson on delivering the main idea
6. apply games in the teaching of speaking

Introduction
The reason of speaking is primarily to communicate, and just as when speaking our
mother tongue, gaining confidence is usually an uphill battle for most students. Many
students require proper guidance from teachers even in their first language. For this
reason, language knowledge and specific speaking skills should be incorporate together
in order to achieve a successful outcome even though their skills and language fluency is
less than perfect. Learning speaking in L2 is a challenge because the pupils not only must
be able to use the language but also to apply it in natural setting effectively. Teachers
need to find a suitable balance between focusing on knowledge of language or accuracy
and also skill building or fluency.
It is a challenge for all teachers in providing lessons which incorporate the
relevant amount of fluency and accuracy. Fluent speech with errors can often be better to
motivate pupils to speak but too many errors can also be frustrating for both teachers and

74

pupils. Thus, it is important for teachers to choose when to focus on accuracy and when is
the most appropriate time to focus on fluency. Teachers however, can include both
accuracy and fluency in a lesson by firstly, guide students on accuracy specifically on
mastering a language model and secondly apply the language in a more free activity for
the students to apply the language and skills.
In general, the approach of teaching must be pupil centered. This can be achieved
by introducing essential language content in stages for the pupils to learn. Teacher can
focus on discreet language item for the pupils to apply in specific setting. Thus, the
amount of language content should be limited or enough for them to learn in a lesson.
Once this is done, teachers can monitor the progress of their pupils and giving help where
necessary.
It is important for teachers to allow the pupils to speak without interfering too
much. Stopping an activity should be avoided unless it has become haywire and difficult
for teachers to control the class and learning is not taking place. Teachers however can
monitor by reminding the pupils while the activity is in progress. Teachers should note or
collect sample vocabulary and sentences for class correction after the activities or for
teacher to address in the next lesson.

75

LEARNING POINTS
5.1 The English language syllabus in primary schools
The English language syllabus for primary school aims to equip pupils with skills and
provide a basic understanding of the English language so that they are able to
communicate, both orally and in writing, in and out of school. The speaking syllabus for
the primary school expects learners to be able to speak and respond clearly and
appropriately in common everyday situations using simple language;

5.1.1 Learning Contents


In teaching English to pupils, specific contexts are used to make lessons meaningful.
Some themes have been identified to help teachers decide upon topics that are suitable for
their class. When planning lessons, topics for teaching are initially based on the
immediate learning environment of the child. Later on, these are expanded to town,
country and more distant foreign locations.

5.1.2 The Spoken Language


In teaching children the sounds of English, the aim is for them to be understood by
others. As such, teachers should ensure that learners produce the sounds of English well
and pronounce words clearly with the correct stress and intonation so as to enable the
listener to understand what is being said.
To this end, specific sounds such as blends and diphthongs have been identified for
teaching. These sounds can be found in the section entitled Sound System. The objective
of this exercise is to aim for clear speech and intelligibility.

5.1.3 Oral Work


Pupils should be given lots of opportunities to talk in class so that they gain confidence to
speak in the language. Opportunities should be given to pupils to role-play, participate in
drama activities that make them use the language appropriate to the role or situation. In
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this respect, pair and group work activities allow for all pupils to engage in speaking
activities at the same time. Pupils should also be encouraged to talk in English to other
pupils and teachers in the school.

5.2 Learning outcomes and specifications


The Learning Outcomes have been taken from the syllabus in its original form. They are
the skills to be achieved by the end of Year 5. Teachers, however, should be guided by
the second column (called Specifications) when planning lessons for the year. In this
column, the learning outcomes are broken down into smaller skills to be achieved by
pupils in Year 5 in national schools.

This module will help you with some ideas on teaching speaking skills in different areas,
including:
Starting, continuing, directing, adding to and ending informal conversations
Dealing with interruptions in a conversation
Asking for clarification; apologizing
Making and responding to requests, suggestions, complaints
Sharing opinions
Giving and accepting advice, compliments and negative news

The Malaysian Primary School syllabus has specifically defined the speaking skill
outcomes expected of Year 5 pupils. Learning outcomes or behavior objectives which
are expected for the students to master begin 2.1 correct pronunciation with intonation
and stress (2.2) asking questions using Wh-q and responses (2.3) giving information
(2.4) tell

stories (2.5) talk about people (2.6) express thought and (2.7) language

functions such as greetings, introducing and others.

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Table 1. Year 5 Speaking Skill Syllabus Specifications.


LEARNING OUTCOMES

SPECIFICATIONS

By the end of their primary


schooling, pupils should be
able to:
2.1 Speak clearly by
pronouncing
words
accurately.

Level 1
2.1.1 Pronounce words that
have the following sounds:
a) vowel u and x in initial
position
b) diphthongs
c) double consonants

EXAMPLES/ACTIVITIES/
NOTES

Example: use; x-ray.


Example: dad, bad, red, sad.
For more examples, look at the
sound system at the back of the
document

d) initial blends
e) final blends

Example: foot/ball, sun/flowers.


Note the stress on the second
f) initial digraphs
element.
g) final digraphs
Get pupils to repeat after the
h) silent letters
teacher words, phrases and
expressions used in natural
2.1.2 Pronounce compound everyday situations.
words correctly.
e.g. .come in.
Level 2
Please come in.
2.1.3 Repeat phrases and
expressions with the correct Check that pupils have a rising
intonation and stress.
tone in questions.
Level 3
2.1.4 Ask questions with the
correct intonation.
e.g. Is this a hibiscus flower? No.
How many petals are there? -5.
e.g. Did you say 5 petals?
2.2.2 Ask questions to seek Yes.
clarification.

2.2 Ask questions politely to All levels


obtain
information
and 2.2.1 Ask Wh-questions to get
clarification.
information.

2.3
Give
relevant Level 1
information
politely
in
response to enquiries made.
2.3.1 Respond to simple
questions.
2.3.2 Give replies pertaining
to numbers.
Level 2
2.3.3 Talk about things heard,
seen or read.
2.3.4 Give replies pertaining
to numbers 41-50; and

e.g. A: Did he come out first in


the race?
B: No, he did not.
He was sixth.
e.g. There are forty pupils in
that class.

Relate to topics e.g. what I saw


yesterday on my way home
from school...

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Numbers in tens: 10
50.

These ordinal numbers are


taught best in the context of
dates.
e.g. Find out your friends
birthday.

Level 3
Teach ordinal numbers in the
2.3.5 Give replies pertaining context of dates
th

to ordinal numbers 6 th
10 .
2.4 Tell stories based on Levels 1 & 2
pictures and other stimuli, 2.4.1 Recite simple poems, e.g. She sell seashells on the
and recite poems.
tongue-twisters,
.
nonsense rhymes, and
Betty Botter bought a pat of ..
sing
songs
by
pronouncing
words
correctly.
Get pupils to complete the story.
Level 3
Use pictures to help children
2.4.2 Complete parts of a story recall.
heard before
e.g. And the sun said to the
trees,
I will give you a lot of
sunshine.
And the rain said,
2.5 Talk about the people, Level 1
places and moral values of 2.5.1 Give details about the
the stories heard, read and
people and animals of a
viewed in simple language.
story heard or read.
Level 2
2.5.2 Talk about the actions of
the people and animals
in a story heard or read.

Examples of details include


names, number, size.

e.g. The Princess was called


Pei-Pei.
E.g. Princess Pei-Pei was very
sad.
Suddenly, she saw a frog.
The frog talked to her.
Level 3
Tell stories where the characters
are clearly good or bad. It is
2.5.3 Name the good and bad easier for pupils to relate to such
characters and talk a characters.
little about them.
Teachers can prompt pupils
2.5.4 Take part in teacher- with questions such as: Why was
guided discussions on Princess Pei-Pei sad?
characters and story line. Who talked to her?

Level 1
2.6 Express thoughts and 2.6.1 Say whether one likes or
feelings and give
does not like the story
opinions on things
heard or read.

What did she do after that?


e. g. I like the story.
I do not like the story.
e.g. I like the story because
Princess Pei-Pei married the

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read, seen, heard and

Level 2

prince

2.6.2 Give reasons why one


likes or does not like the
story.
Level 3
2.6.3 Take part in teacher-guided discussions.
Get pupils to role-play these
2.7 Perform a variety of Level 1
situations so that they learn the
functions in a social context
sentence patterns in context.
such
as
exchanging 2.7.1 To invite.
greetings,
making 2.7.2 To decline or accept
See sentence patterns at the back of
introductions,
inviting
invitations.
this document
people, etc.
Level 2
2.7.3 To ask for help from
friends.
Level 3
2.7.4 Suggest ideas to do
things.
2.7.5 Talk about oneself and
family to friends.

In language teaching, a teacher should include two main language components namely
competence and performance. Competence is about knowledge of language which
includes the knowledge of vocabulary and sentences in addition it also includes
knowledge of language skills specifically knowledge on how perform the skills
effectively. Performance is the ability to use the language effectively in language skills
which include accuracy and fluency.
The Malaysian Year 5 syllabus specifies the learning outcomes in terms of the
speaking skill behavior expected at the end of the course. It specifies the knowledge but it
does not make any suggestions on how to perform the skills, thus is very important for
teachers to include both knowledge of language and skills in their lessons. For example,
Specification 2.5 Talk about the people; suggestions on the language is given but how to
go about talking about the people is not. So it is important for teachers to provide suitable
description of the skills for the pupils to learn.

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Task 5.1

1) Briefly explain the speaking skills specificied in the Malaysian school syllabus?
2) Choose one speaking skill specificied in the Malaysian school syllabus and explain the
language required for the skill.

5.3 Stages of conducting a speaking activity


In conducting a speaking activity, teachers should encourage pupils to participate in the
activities and in is important to have small talk, and pupils do not have to say something
brilliant for the lesson to be successful. Speaking activity is about commenting on and
asking about ordinary things with interest and enthusiasm. Thus in order to have a
successful lessons, teachers should be able to:
Try to find something in common for the pupils to talk about themselves.
Try to match the mood of the pupils.

Speaking in L2 is difficult for students in EFL setting, however teachers must not show
disappointment and do not try to be light-hearted if they seem seriously inadequate.
Pupils should be encouraged to speak in full sentences and not to answer in one-word
sentences. Pupils must also be encouraged and helped in giving more information or say
something interesting about the topics being taught for example, where they come from,
interest, etc. Teachers must also encourage pupils to ask questions too and do not just talk
about themselves.
In providing, suitable input for learning speaking, teachers can plan their speaking
lessons in two stages. In the first stage, teachers should provide language knowledge to
pupils. This can be done by doing the following:

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encourage pupils to use set expressions.


introduce useful phrases in the context of games:
stay within a familiar topic framework
develop a topic to extend pupils vocabulary
rephrase and extend what pupils say
accept and respect pupils efforts at communication even if they don't produce
perfect words or phrases
create a positive environment so that pupils can learn happily without being
embarrassed.

Set of expressions include words, phrases, clauses and sentences for the pupils to use in
selected activities where certain context is given for the pupils to use. Topics are chosen
based on the type of vocabulary the teacher want to focus and also the expressions that
can be practiced by the pupils. In addition topics provide the context for learning the
language which might be difficult for the pupils to learn meaningfully.
Secondly, teachers can provide more time for pupils to involve and continue speaking
for a longer time. Teachers need to produce and encourage general cognitive and
educational development. This is one reason why choice of topics is important, familiar
ones, but should be built on or extended and also to learn something new. For example,
when talking about animals, tell pupils one or two points that they may not know. When
talking about families, tell pupils about family young pupils are naturally curious about
their teachers. The teacher may have to use one or two words of mother tongue to bridge
their understanding, but teacher can then repeat it all again in English.

Task 5.2

1) Explain the stages of teaching speaking skills.


2) How do you integrate skills and grammar?

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5.4

Students cognitive development

Cognitive development is important for teacher to include in their speaking lesson. This
help to inculcating positive thinking skills among the pupils from the primary schools.
There are many way teachers can promote pupils cognitive development, Slattery and
Willis (2009), suggest seven types of activities:
1.

Listing

2.

Ordering and sorting

3.

Matching

4.

Comparing

5.

Predicting and problem solving

6.

Sharing personal experiences

7.

Creative work

Listing helps pupils to think about things in a similar category such listing things that can
be brought for camping. Listing is probably the simplest skill and is usually the first
method writers use to generate ideas. Listing means exactly what the name implies-listing your ideas and experiences. First set a time limit for this activity; 5-10 minutes is
more than enough. Then write down as many ideas as you can without stopping to
analyze any of them. An ordering is basically a set of rules that determine what items
come before, or after, what other items. Sorting is the process of actually arranging a
sequence of items in accordance with a given ordering. It's typically only done with
ordered collections...as it doesn't make much sense to put one item before another in a
container that has no concept of "before" or it won't let you rearrange items in the first
place. Ordering and sorting also help students to analyze things or action in certain order
of importance or on certain criteria. Matching provides pupil knowledge and skills in
grouping things which exactly like another; a counterpart. Comparing teaches pupils with
skills in considering or describing things which have similar or equal properties or
characteristics and als to examine in order to note the similarities or differences.
Predicting is to say or estimate that (a specified thing) will happen in the future or will be

83

a consequence of something and in problem solving pupils are given a problem and they
need to solve it.
These activities:
- will help develop pupils thinking skills
- help the pupils to work from the most basic use of language and more complex
uses
- can encourage sharing and co-operation
- could form a graded sequence of speaking activities and working in groups.

The following are example activities that small groups of pupils can do in order to
develop cognitive thinking and fluency in speaking:
think of the names of things they can see or remember in a picture
classify items according to category (e.g. big animals, small animals) or put
actions in a sequence
find pairs of similar things, or match pictures to words or numbers
Find what is similar and what is different in two pictures or stories and say what
will happen in a story or decide what to do if you lose your purse or find
something valuable that is not yours speak about themselves and say what they
like and dislike do projects on chosen topics, or retell stories and make up
endings.

Teachers can combine different types of speaking activities which require the use of
usual language or phrases, for example Slattery and Willis, (2009) suggest for the class to
compare the story proposed by each group or individual. The pupils can compare how
start and end a story and teachers have to show the pupils the language requires to
perform the activity because as language learners, the pupils need
- to hear clear pronunciation and intonation
- to feel successful when using English
- plenty of opportunities to communicate
- to enjoy their efforts at speaking in English
- to know they have achieved something worthwhile.

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In addition teacher can promote activities which engage pupils with the use of language
and ensure them to speak a lot of English and repeat pupils words or phrases when
answering their questions. Teachers should,
- react to the meaning of what they are trying to say
- encourage them by showing that what they are saying is more important than your
correction
- wait until they finish speaking before you repeat and rephrase
- show your approval for all your pupils' speaking - however short it maybe
- provide activities that are fun and that have a purpose or a goal, and that have an
end-product that they can feel proud of.

Set up activities so that pupils can do them in pairs and groups. Then they will get
opportunities to use English not just to respond to questions, but also to ask questions.
They will also have the satisfaction of completing a task on their own. You can help
pupils by;
- showing them what to do first
- practising an activity first with the whole class
- arranging pupils into groups so that you can easily get around to listen and talk to
them all.

The teacher needs to guide and support the pupils as they speak by introducing teacherled activities. When pupils feel confident and happy using English, teacher can move to
group activities so that they can speak more. As pupils learn to speak they will naturally
do more individual and group work.

Task 5.3

Discuss the types of activity that will encourage students to speak.

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5.5 Starting personal talk


Pupils generally like to talk about themselves, and to hear their classmates doing the
same. They enjoy talking about their favourite things, their hobbies, sports, families, and
so on. In real-life setting, young pupils usually like to speak about their families. Usually
their speech is short and their responses are also very short. Teachers can encourage the
pupils to make longer sentences or description by,
- the teacher rephrases and adds to what the pupils say
- praises the pupils efforts
- the context is real and meaningful.

The context in this interaction must be very clear and simple so that pupils can relate
appropriate responses as well as making easy for them to speak. The context is real and
the pupils are thinking of the meaning, repeating words to practise pronunciation. The
communication is;
- controlled because of the limitations of the language used, more than a language
exercise. With fluent pupils teachers can apply teacher-led question and organize activity
to do a survey of some kind, for example,
- find the average number of brothers and sisters in the class,
- find out whether there are more boys than girls in all their family.

You can follow on from this activity by asking pupils to:


- ask questions and give short answers about each other, for example, How many
brothers has Ali got?
- focus on the use of he/she
- join the information together to prepare for more sustained speaking.
Personal presentation is an example of more sustained talk with fluent pupils.

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Task 5.4

Explain the reasons why the choice of topics are very important in encouraging students
to speak.

5.6 Procedures of conducting activities


There are many ways teachers can format their lessons. Hoe ever, in a typical classroom
interaction activity, the procedure teachers can apply is:
- initiation (usually a question from the teacher)
- response (an answer from the pupils)
- follow-up (feedback from the teacher).
Support pupils early efforts by waiting for their responses and teacher should give
students lots of opportunities to speak. Teacher should not put pressure on pupils to speak
if they are not ready. Learning English in a foreign setting require patience and silent
pupils are still likely to be listening and learning. Repeating what they say in your
response summarizing what different pupils say, for example, in teaching the topic
Families, teachers ask the students the following:
1. Think of two families you know that are quite different from each other. Prepare
to describe each family and compare them. Record what you could say about
them.
2. If you were going to talk about your own family to a class of young pupils Year
5, what would you tell them? What might you write or draw on the board?
3. If you were going to do the same lesson with a group of Year 1, how would you
change it? Plan what you would do and say.
4. Finally record yourself telling both classes about your family.
5. Find a story book that the children know with a story about a family.

87

Teacher can use pictures as stimulus in initiating pupils to speak. The pictures do not
have to be in English, but it should have familiar pictures. Teachers can ask pupils in
English about the characters, and suggest possible answers they might make. In order to
provide meaningful speaking lessons, teacher should also plan some possible follow-ups,
too, e.g.
- Who is this person? Who knows?
- Grandmother
- Yes, it's Red Riding Hood's grandmother isn't it ... she's smiling and has lots of
grey hair.

5.7 Presenting the Main Idea


Teachers should also focus on delivery and organizing of ideas in their lessons because
many of our conversations are unorganized or impromptu. Delivering of ideas should
have two important qualities namely message and reasoning. Message and reasoning
must be present organized and delivered clearly. The process of working out the idea
should consist of five key elements Louma (2004):
i.
ii.
iii.
iv.
v.

identifying the main idea;


arranging our ideas logically;
developing an appropriate style in the language used;
remembering our ideas;
delivering our ideas with words, visual cues and non-verbal behavior.

In teaching speaking, teacher can help learners to present their ideas by asking three
fundamental questions Louma (2004):
i.

What is the objective of the message?

ii.

Who is my audience?

iii.

What do I want to achieve?


What is the expected result?

What is the reason for speaking?

How should I say to convince the audience?

What is the most important thing I have to say to them?


88

Teachers can use this procedure by asking students to talk on certain topics which they
are familiar with.

Task 5.5
Give your rule of thumb in making an effective presentation of main idea.

5.8 Speaking Activities


5.8.1 Pass the ball Game
You can encourage children to use English by playing a game at the same time. The
games can be led by teachers. For example in a game 'Pass the ball'
To play 'Pass the ball' you need a tape recorder, a music cassette, and a ball. This is how
you play it:
- Put on the music.
- The children keep passing the ball to the child next to them.
- When the music stops, the child with the ball has to answer a question or talk
about a picture.
- If a child does not want to answer, he or she can say Pass!.
- When the music starts again, the ball continues around the room.
- You can say change at any time and the ball will go in the opposite direction.
The teacher shows pupils pictures of different rooms. When the music stops the children
have to name three things in the room they are looking at. For example, in a class the
teacher is using pictures of rooms to remind the children of particular things. In this way
the language is controlled by the topic. The pupils can stand in a circle or at their desks
and:
- are listening to the music and passing the ball
- are not thinking all the time about answering in English.

89

Extension ideas
After playing this game you could play a memory game. The pupils could:
- try to remember who said which things for each room
-look at the pictures again in pairs, then turn them over and name as many things as
they can
- without seeing the pictures again:
- list five things in each room
- say what colours those things in that room were
- say where they were.

Use a story the pupils know well, and:


- ask questions about characters
- ask what happens next

5.8.2 Guess the mime Game


To play 'Guess the mime' you need some pictures of people and different things.
Put the pictures on the board. The pupils can:
- work in pairs
- choose any picture they like
- become the person in the picture and behave like this person
- perform the mime together.
The rest of the class watch and try to guess which activity the students are miming.

90

5.8.3 Children speaking in groups

The activities require the support of teachers while the pupils speak with lots of
rephrasing and additional language. In any activity, teachers may find that some pupils:
- speak more and others speak less
- are embarrassed speaking in front of the whole class
- feel more confident speaking in pairs or small groups.

When your pupils work in pairs and groups they:


- get more opportunities to speak
- ask and answer questions
- learn a lot from each other
- gain confidence because they are speaking in private rather than to the whole
class.

5.8.4 Starting to speak freely - eliciting personal talk


Children generally like to talk about themselves, and to hear their classmates doing the
same. They enjoy talking about their favourite things, their hobbies, sports, families, and
so on.
Teacher can initiate speaking by asking the pupils to speak about their fare. Usually
- the pupils responses are very short
- the teacher rephrases and adds to what the pupils say
- she praises her pupils' efforts
- the context is real and meaningful.

Teachers should promote speaking by


- encourage pupils to use set expressions for classroom routines
- introduce useful phrases in the context of games and activities
- stay within a familiar topic framework

91

- develop a topic to extend pupils vocabulary


- rephrase and extend what pupils say
- accept and respect pupils efforts at communicating meaning, even if they do not
produce perfect words or phrases

5.8.5 Role play


Choose a partner and choose a new identity a new name, job, hobbies etc. Now
introduce ourselves and find out about each other. Who has the most interesting new
identity?

Personal Information
1. Tell students to imagine they are at a party and to imagine that they meet some
one new. Ask any information they want to know about the person. Write their
ideas on the board.
2. Use their ideas to check/revise making questions. Help them to make some
questions about some of the information they wanted to know.
3. Tell students to go round the classroom and find out about the other people. Put
them in pairs and give them a handout. Tell them to look at the words and ask
their friend about any words they do not know.
4. Ask if there any words they still do not know and ask other students to explain
them before giving the meaning yourself.
5. Explain that they should work with their partner and help each other to write two
questions for each of the five subjects. They can use the words with each subject
for help or other words if they choose. They can use the words with each subject
for help, or other words they want. Explain that they can avoid any information if
they wish. Do n example or two together on the board for example
How are you?
How many brothers and sisters have you got?
6. Teacher facilitates by checking whether students are able to form correct
questions.

92

7. Ask students to talk with their partner and compare their own answer to the
questions.
8. Ask students to go around asking other students to tell them about themselves.
9. Check their results. How many similar and different answers? Are there any
surprising answers.
10. Ask students to write 10 questions and answers on a piece of paper without
writing their names on the on the papers.
11. Exchange the papers without names. In pairs students try to identify the people
from the questions and answers.

WORKSHEET (Asking questions about some one)


Birth
1.
2.

Family
1.
2.

Friends
1.
2.

Interest
1.
2.

Study
1.
2.

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Keywords
BIRTH = city, country, birthday, nationality, old
FRIENDS oldest, best, name, girlfriend, boyfriend
INTERESTS hobby, film, book, sport, favourite
STUDY school, subject, principal, teacher, enjoy
FAMILY = brother, sister, mother, father, name

5.8.6 Personal information


Stimulus - What was your happiest moment, when you were small?

Ask students to talk with their neighbours about the questions.


Teacher asks each student if their neighbours had any interesting answers. Encourage
comments and questions from the class.

1. Tell students that they are going to talk to each other about their lives and
experiences. Put them in pairs and give out the handouts, making sure that both
partners have the same sheets: Student A with Student A, and Student B with
Student B.
2. Ask students to interview each other using the questions. Explain that they should
write a short composition about each others answers. The students should help
each other with vocabulary. Reassure students that they do not have to answer any
questions they do not want to by using phrases like I would rather not say.
3. When they have finished, ask them to exchange sheets.
4. Ask the students to change partners, Student A with Student B, and now they have
to inform their new partners about their former partner.
5. Ask what was the most interesting information they heard from their partner.
Encourage comments and questions from the class.

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5.8.7 Guess what is in my pocket

This activity allows students to listen carefully to all the questions that have been asked
by their friend and choose a suitable question to guess. It also helps students with
thinking skill such as analyzing and categorizing.
1. Call a student to the fornt of the class and ask him to write one thing that he/she
would like to have in his/her pocket.
2. Ask students to guess what is the pocket by asking questions using Tag and
Yes/No questions. Wh-q questions are not allowed
Do you use it to write?

No, it isnt.

Is it a pen?
Is it a marker?

Yes it is.

You can also ask students to guess other things such as Guess what is in my faourite
food?, football player and so forth to practice asking and answering questions.

Task 5.6

Choose one section from this unit, and decide which activity to try out in class. Write
down
- the instructions you will give in English
- the phrases you want your children to say when they are doing the activity.
Teach the activity, using as much English as possible. If possible, record the lesson.
- After the lesson, write down how it went in your notebook.
- Listen to the recording if you made one.
- Write down what you might change if you do it again.

95

Task 5.7

Based on the Syllabus Specification of Year 5, plan a lesson which exploit games as a
technique.

References
Axelrod, R. B., & Cooper, C. R. (2010). The St. Martins guide to writing. Boston:
Bedford / St. Martins
Barker, A. (2011). Improve your communication skills (2nd ed.). United Kingdom: Kogan
Page.
British Broadcasting Corporation. (2003). English learning. A guide to improving your
spoken English.
Gammidge, M. (2004). Speaking Extra. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Huraian Sukatan Pelajaran for Year 5 (2003)
Louma, S. (2004). Assessing speaking. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Slattery, M., & Willis, J. (2009) English for primary teachers. Oxford: Oxford University
Press
Verderber, R., Verderber, K., & Sellnow, D. (2011) The challenge of effective speaking.
USA: Wadsworth Publishing.

96

UNIT 6
Teaching of Reading I
Learning Outcomes
By the end of the unit, students should be able to:
1. state the importance of reading;
2. compare and contrast the models of reading process;
3. identify the components of second language reading;
4. explain the role of schema theory in reading instruction.

Introduction
Learning to read is essential in any educational setting. The ability to read is basic in any
forms of communications and is a means to learning. In other words, reading is the key to
gaining knowledge and opens doors to a world of opportunities. Few people would
question the importance of reading in our globalised world connected through ever
advancing technologies.
Teachers inevitably play an important role in helping students develop this
essential skill of reading. To do so, teachers need to be clear about what reading involves
and how to guide their students on the path to being proficient and effective readers. Such
students will also see the importance of acquiring reading ability for performing
everyday tasks effectively and the value of reading as a source of information,
enjoyment, and recreation (Roe, Smith & Burns, 2005, p. 1).
In this unit, a brief theoretical foundation is laid on what reading is and what are
the processes involved when one reads. It is hoped that such basic theoretical
understanding will provide teachers the professional knowledge that will lead to effective
reading instruction.

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LEARNING POINTS
6. 1. What is reading?
Understanding what reading is and knowing what readers do when they read is important
in helping teachers to be effective in their reading instruction. However, despite the fact
that many people are able to read in this modern era it is not an easy task defining
reading. Moreover, one would agree that even though proficient reading is usually a
silent activity it is certainly not a passive activity but one that involves active interaction
between the reader and the text, and hence with the author of the text too. Different
researchers will provide different explanations and given below are just four definitions.

Reading is a process in which information from the text and the knowledge
possessed by the reader act together to produce meaning (Anderson, Hiebert,
Scott, Wilkinson, 1985, p. 8)
Reading is a complex, dynamic process that involves the bringing of meaning to,
and the getting of meaning from the printed page (Rubin, 1993, p. 5)
reading as the active process of constructing meaning from written text in
relation to the experiences and knowledge of the reader (Heilman, Blair, &
Ripley, 1998, p. 4).
Reading is about understanding written texts a complex activity that involves
both perception and thought (Pang, Muaka, Bernhardt, & Kamil, 2003, p. 6)
The definitions above have some similar basic elements. One element is that reading involves,
obviously, both the reader and the text. Of course, it can also be inferred that it will also include
the author of the text and by extension, an interaction between the reader and the author
mediated by the text. Another important element is that understanding or getting of meaning and
constructing meaning would necessarily involve a certain reading process. Pang et al. (2003, p.
6) noted that reading consists of two related processes: word recognition and comprehension.
This reading process has been well researched, documented and debated. The next section will
look briefly at the reading process.

98

Task 6.1

Search for at least five other definitions of reading (cite the author and the
source) and do the following:
a) identify similarities and differences in the definitions
b) write your own definition of reading

6. 2. The Reading Process


Research into the nature of the reading process is abundant and various reading
models have been proposed (see Ruddell, Ruddell, and Singer, 1994) based on a variety
of theoretical perspectives.

Barnett (1989, p. 10) pointed out that a reading model

provides an imagined representation of the reading process. Models of the reading


process can generally be placed across a continuum of two opposing approaches in
understanding the reading process, namely, bottom-up approaches and top-down
approaches. However, as Hudson (1998, p. 46) noted, most current researchers adhere to
what has been termed as interactive approaches. These three approaches are based on
the reading activity that necessarily involves two elements: the text and the reader. A
third element, by extension, is the writer of the text. The major distinction between the
approaches is the emphasis given to text-based variables such as vocabulary, syntax, and
grammatical structure and reader-based variables such as the readers background
knowledge, cognitive development, strategy use, interest, and purpose (Lally, 1998).
6.2.1 Bottom-up Models
Models based the bottom-up approach generally hold the assumption that readers
construct meaning from letters, words, phrases, clauses and sentences, sequentially
processing into phonemic units that represent lexical meaning, and then building a
meaning in a linear manner (Hudson, 1998). In other words, reading is viewed as a
decoding process whereby meaning or comprehension is reconstructed from the smallest

99

textual units. In what Hudson (1998, p.46) called the most prototypic model of the
uncompromising bottom-up approach is Goughs (1972) model.
Goughs model posits that the reading process is linear, with letters being
recognised first by a visual system. These letters are then transferred to a sound or
phonemic system for recognition. Words that are recognised are processed in the working
memory for underlying meaning and finally understood as sentences and ultimately texts
(Purcell-Gates, 1997). Hence, the text input is transformed from lower-level sensory
information into ever higherlevel encoding sequentially with the information flow being
totally bottom-up (Rumelhart, 1994). This view can be illustrated in Figure 6.1 below.

Comprehension of Text
Reading Full Text
Reading Paragraphs
Reading Sentences
Reading Words
Reading Letters
Figure 6.1 Bottom-up Models (Source: Barchers, 1998)
In such a view, letter and word recognition hold the key to successful (or
unsuccessful) comprehension of a text. Thus, a lot of emphasis is placed on the readers
ability to recognise words rapidly or other issues pertaining to the rapid processing of text
and word identification (Hudson, 1998). As such, it can be seen that bottom-up
approaches hold essentially linguistic views of comprehension where meaning is
conceived to be in the text and not in the reader who is seen to play a passive role in the
process.

100

6.2.2. Top-down Models

In contrast to the approaches discussed above, theories that reflect top-down


approaches placed their emphasis on the active role of the reader in comprehending a
text. Essentially, top-down models assume that the process of translating print to
meaning begins with the readers prior knowledge (Vacca, Vacca, Gove, Burkey,
Lenhart & McKeon, 2009, p. 25). The reader approaches a text with conceptualizations
above the textual level already in operation and then works down to the text itself
(Hudson, 1998, p. 47).
Goodman (1976) is often associated with this approach through his
psycholinguistic model of reading in which he labelled reading as a psycholinguistic
guessing game where the reader is not text dependent through cognitive activities such
as predicting and sampling. Specifically, readers bring in general knowledge of the world
and carry out intelligent guesses about what might come next in the text.

Knowledge and experiences


Purposes for reading
Comprehension of Text
Figure 2.2 Top-down Models (Source: Barchers, 1998)
As can be seen, the act of reading is triggered by the readers prior knowledge
and experience in order to construct meaning (Vacca et al, 2009), p. 26). Hence, in the
top-down approaches reading is seen as an active process on the part of the readers who
bring to bear their conceptual abilities and past experiential background (Carrell, 1984;
Grabe, 1991; Hudson, 1998).

101

6.2.3 Interactive Models


The bottom-up models and the top-down models of the reading process are in some ways
sharply contrastive. However, the relation between the two types of processing is not one
that is mutually exclusive of each other but rather one that is complementary. Such a
view is espoused in the interactive models.
The term interactive can refer to two different conceptions (Grabe, 1991). Firstly,
it can refer to the interaction that occurs between the reader and the text whereby the
reader constructs meaning based partly on the knowledge drawn from the text and partly
from the existing background knowledge that the reader has. Secondly, the term refers to
the interactivity occurring simultaneously between the many component skills that results
in reading comprehension. Therefore, from an interactive approach, the reading process is
seen as involving both an array of low-level rapid, automatic identification skills and an
array of higher-level comprehension / interpretation skills (Grabe, 1991, p. 383).
A model that would be a good example of such an approach is the interactivecompensatory model presented by Stanovich (1980). Hudson, (1998, p. 50) explained
that Stanovichs model incorporates an assumption that a deficit in one of the
component subskills of reading may cause a compensatory reliance on another skill that
is present. For instance, poor word recognition (i.e. lack of ability in a lower level) can
be compensated by extra reliance on contextual factors (higher level skills). On the other
hand, a lack in background knowledge may be compensated by a reliance of bottom-up
processing of a word or phrase in order to construct meaning. Hence, it can be said that
the act of reading is triggered by the readers prior knowledge and experience as well as
graphophonemic information in order to construct meaning. The interactive models can
be represented through Figure 6.3 below.

102

Knowledge and experiences


Purposes for reading
Comprehension of Text
Reading Full Text
Reading Paragraphs
Reading Sentences
Reading Words
Reading Letters
Figure 6.3 Interactive Models (Source: Barchers, 1998)
In summary, interactive models reflect the view that the reading process is an
interactive process between the reader and the text and that it is bi-directional in nature
involving both bottom-up processing and top-down processing. Such a view of the
reading process is widely accepted by researchers in that both the bottom-up process and
top-down process interact (Block, 1992) and that the reader actively interacts with the
text using both processes.

Task 6.2

Consider the three models of reading process and discuss the following:
a) which model is best suited for your students?
b) what are the factors that will influence your choice of model to use in the
class?

103

6. 3 Reading in a second language


Research and theoretical models of the reading process in a second language
context are greatly influenced by the research findings and theoretical models built in
understanding reading in the L1 context. Hudson (2007, p. 31) noted that many of the
concerns for SL reading have evolved from initial research into first language model
building. Clarke and Silberstein (1987) attempted to use psycholinguistic research to
develop a framework for the teaching of reading to second language (L2) learners. Based
on Goodmans summary of the psycholinguistic perspective of reading, they inferred that
reading is an active process that involves both comprehending and comprehension that
also involves an interaction between thought and language. Finally, they believe that
successful reading lessons depend not only on students efficient use of strategies and
knowledge, but also on the nature of the reading passage. Readers, then, need to develop
reading and language skills (e.g. skimming, scanning, guessing from context, making
inferences etc.).Teachers, on the other hand, need to provide students with a range of
effective approaches to reading texts (e.g. pre-reading activities to enhance conceptual
readiness. Besides that teachers also need to provide students strategies to deal with
difficult vocabulary and syntax.
In a similar vein, Coady (1979) extended Goodmans model and proposed a
model suited for second language learners. In this model, as shown in Figure 3.4, the L2
readers background knowledge interacts with conceptual abilities and process strategies
to produce comprehension (Carrell, 1984; Carrell and Eisterhold, 1987; Grabe, 1991,
Lally, 1998).

Conceptual abilities

Background knowledge

Process strategies
Figure 3. 4: Coadys (1979) Model of the ESL Reader (cited in Carrell, 1984, p. 322)

104

Conceptual abilities refer to general intellectual capacity while processing


strategies refer to the various subcomponents of reading ability which include general
language processing skills (e.g grapheme-morphophoneme correspondences, syntactic
information, lexical meaning etc). With regards to background knowledge, beginning
readers are seen to focus on process strategies (e.g. word identification), whereas more
advanced readers use more abstract conceptual abilities and also make better use of
background knowledge using only as much textual information as needed for confirming
and predicting the information in the text (Grabe, 1991). Indeed, L2 reading research (e.g.
Bransford, Stein and Shelton, 1984; Steffensen & Joag-Dev, 1984; Roller and Matambo,
1992) has supported the importance of background knowledge in reading comprehension.
The role of background knowledge in language comprehension has been formalised as
what is widely known as schema theory.

6. 4 Schema theory
Rumelhart (1980, p. 35) explained that schema theory is basically a theory about
knowledge and pertains to how knowledge is represented and about how that
representation facilitates the use of the knowledge in particular ways. Schema theory, as
applied to reading comprehension, holds that a text does not have any meaning in and of
itself. Instead, a text gives direction to readers concerning how they should retrieve and
construct

meaning

from

their

own

previously

acquired

knowledge.

Hence,

comprehending a text is an interactive process between the text and the reader, namely
his previously acquired knowledge structures (schema). This process of relating incoming
information (text) with the existing schema in a reader involves two basic modes of
information processing, called bottom-up processing and top-down processing. Bottomup processing which is also called data-driven processing is evoked by the incoming
data; the features of the data enter the system through the best fitting, bottom-level
schemata (and) as these bottom-level schemata converge into higher level, more general
schemata, these too become activated (Carrell, 1984, p. 333). Top-down processing
which is also called conceptually-driven processing occurs as the system makes general
predictions based on higher level, general schemata and then searches the input for
information to fit into these partially satisfied, higher order schemata (ibid, pg. 333).
105

Based on the role of schemata in reading comprehension, Carrell (1984) and Carrell and
Eisterhold (1987) presented suggestions of implications and applications to the ESL
reading classroom. These suggestions come under various headings like pre-reading
activities, vocabulary instruction, comprehension instruction, material selection and
understanding miscomprehension. On the whole, it can be said that the major pedagogical
implication that can be drawn from schema theory is that students (both L1 and L2) need
to have sufficient prior knowledge of a topic in helping them understand what they read.
Although in schema theory the interactive nature of the reading process is
considered, the emphasis in the theory is on the top-down processing in reading. This
emphasis, together with other top-down models of reading in second language contexts,
has led to strong reactions by researchers who hold the view that bottom-up approaches
are equally important. They have called researchers and teachers to reconsider the
importance of lower-level processes (e.g. word and syntactic processing) essential for a
bottom-up approach in the ESL reading classroom. ESL readers, particularly the
beginners and the less proficient ones, are often stuck on words simply because they do
not yet know many words and are not efficient in bottom-up processing (Grabe, 1991).
This situation suggests a language problem rather than a reading problem. Alderson
(1984), in addressing the question of whether L2 reading is a language problem or a
reading problem, did a critical review of the literature and came to a tentative conclusion
that it appears to be both a language problem and a reading problem, but with firmer
evidence that it is a language problem, for low levels of L2 competence than a reading
problem (p. 24). One of the reactions to this perceived over-emphasis on top-down
processing can be seen in Eskeys (1988) work. As in any interactive model, Eskey
presents an interaction of bottom-up and top-down processing. Nevertheless, he stresses
the need for holding in the bottom. Besides that, Eskey cautions teachers not to lose
sight of the fact that language is a major problem in second language reading, and that
even educated guessing at meaning is no substitute for accurate decoding (Eskey, 1988,
p. 97).

106

Task 6.3

a) Look for and download an article on Schema Theory and how it applies to
reading instruction.
b) Identify the main points whereby Schema Theory is considered in reading
instruction.
c) Discuss the application of Schema Theory in reading lessons.

Task 6.4

a) Is reading in a second language similar to reading in a first language? If yes,


how? If no, how?
b) Are theories or models of reading processes in the first language applicable to
second language readers?

This unit discuss some basic theoretical notions on reading. It is intended as a theoretical
foundation for the next unit where pedagogical considerations and practice are the focus.

107

References
Alderson, .C. (1984). Reading in a foreign language: A reading problem or a language
problem? In C. Alderson & A. Urquhart (Eds.). Reading in a foreign language
(pp. 1-24). London: Longman.
Anderson, R. C., Hiebert, E. H., Scott, J. A., & Wilkinson, I. A. G. (1985). Becoming a
nation of readers: The report of the commission on reading. Washinton, D.C:
National Institute of Education.
Barchers, S. I. (1998). Teaching reading: from process to practice. Belmont, CA:
Wadsworth.
Barnett, M. (1989). More than meets the eyes: Foreign language learner reading.
Englewood Cliffs, NJ. Prentice Hall
Block, E. (1992). See how they read: Comprehension monitoring of L1 and L2 readers.
TESOL Quarterly, 26(2), 319-343
Bransford, J., Stein, B., & Shelton, T. (1984). Learning from the perspective of the
comprehender. In C. Alderson & A. Urquhart (Eds.). Reading in a foreign
language (pp. 28-44). New York, NY: Longman.
Carrell, P. L. (1984). Schema theory and ESL reading: Classroom implications and
applications. Modern Language Journal, 68(4), 332-343. DOI: 10.1111/j.15404781.1984.tb02509.x
Carrell, P. L., &. Eisterhold, J. C. (1987). Schema theory and ESL reading pedagogy. In
M. Long & J. C. Richards (Eds.) Methodology in TESOL: A book of readings
(pp.218-232). Boston. Heinle & Heinle Publishers.
Clarke, M. A. & Silberstein, S. (1987). Toward a realization of psycholinguistic
principles in the ESL reading classroom. In M. Long & J. C. Richards (Eds.)
Methodology in TESOL: A book of readings (pp.233-247). Boston, MA: Heinle
& Heinle Publishers.
Coady, J. (1979). A psycholinguistic model of the ESL reader. In R. Mackay, B.
Barkman, & R. R. Jordan (Eds.), Reading in a second language (pp. 5-12).
Rowley, MA: Newbury House.
Eskey, D. (1988). Holding in the bottom: An interactive approach to the language
problems of second language readers. In P. Carrell, J. Devine, & D. Eskey
(Eds.). Interactive approaches to second language reading (pp. 93-100). New
York: Cambridge University Press.

108

Goodman, K. S. (1976). Reading: A psycholinguistic guessing game. In H. Singer, &


R.B. Ruddell. (Eds.). (1976). Theoretical models and processes of reading (2nd
ed.). (pp, 497-508). International Reading Association.
Gough, P. B. (1972). One second of reading. In J. F. Kavenaugh & I. G. Mattingly (Eds.),
Language by ear and by eye. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Grabe, W. (1991). Current Developments in second language reading research. TESOL
Quarterly, 25(3), 375-397.
Heilman, A. W., Blair, T. R., & Rupley, W. H. (1998). Principles and practices of
teaching reading (9th. ed.). NJ: Prentice Hall.
Hudson, T. (1998). Theoretical perspectives on reading. Annual Review of Applied
Linguistics, 18, 43-60. doi:10.1017/S0267190500003470.
Hudson, T. (2007). Teaching second language reading: A guide to teaching reading
skills for teachers of English as a foreign language. Oxford: Oxford University
Press.
Lally, C. G. (1998). The application of first language reading models to second language
study: a recent historical perspective. Reading Horizons, 38, 267-277
Pang, E. S., Muaka, A., Bernhardt, E. B., & Kamil, M. L. (2003). Teaching reading.
International
Academy
of
Education.
Retrieved
from
http://www.ibe.unesco.org/publications/EducationalPracticesSeriesPdf/prac12e.pd
f
Purcell-Gates, V. (1997). Theres readingand then theres reading: Process models and
instruction.
Focus
on
Basics.
Retrieved
from
http://ncsall.net/index.php@id=460.html
Roe, B. D., Smith, S. H., & Burns, P. C. (2005). Teaching reading in todays elementary
schools (9th. ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Rubin, D. (1993). A practical approach to teaching reading (2nd. ed.). Boston, MA:
Allyn & Bacon.
Ruddell, R. B., Ruddell, M. R., & Singer, H. (Eds.). (1994). Theoretical models and
processes of reading (4th ed). Newark, D.E.: International Reading Association
Rumelhart D. E. (1980). Schemata: the building blocks of cognition. In R. J. Spiro, B. C.
Bruce, & W. E. Brewer (Eds.). Theoretical issues in reading comprehension
(pp. 32-38). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

109

Rumelhart, D. E. (1994). Toward an interactive model of reading. In R. B. Ruddell, M. R.


Ruddell, & H. Singer (Eds.). Theoretical models and processes of reading (4th ed)
(pp. 864-894). Newark, D.E.: International Reading Association
Roller, C. M., & Matambo, A. R. (1992) Bilingual readers use of background knowledge
in learning from text. TESOL Quarterly, 26(1), 1-13.
Stanovich, K. (1980). Toward an interactive-compensatory model of individual
differences in the development of reading fluency. Reading Research Quarterly,
16(1), 32-71.
Steffersen, M., & Joag-Dev, C. (1984). Cultural knowledge and reading. In C. Alderson
& A. Urquhart (Eds.), Reading in a foreign language (pp. 48-61). London:
Longman.
Vacca, J. A. L., Vacca, R. T., Gove, M. K., Burkey, L. C., Lenhart, L. A., & McKeon, C.
A. (2009). Reading and learning to read (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

110

UNIT 7
Teaching of Reading II
Learning Outcomes
At the end of the unit, students should be able to:
1. explain the importance of word recognition, vocabulary development and
comprehension in reading
2. explain the implications of schema theory to reading instruction
3. provide appropriate activities that will help improve reading.
4. plan reading lessons that incorporates pre-reading, during-reading and postreading activities.

Introduction
The previous unit, Reading, introduced some theoretical aspects on reading with the
intention of laying a theoretical foundation for the practical aspects of teaching reading
which is the focus of this unit. It is, of course, impossible to cover every pedagogical
considerations and suggestions in a short unit like this. Hence, this unit will focus only on
a few selected aspects in teaching reading and particularly in the primary school. It
should also be noted that other equally important areas of teaching reading such as
emergent literacy and new literacies are not included. You are advised to consult the
many books on the teaching of reading that are available and that provide a more
comprehensive treatment on the subject (see some references in the reference list).

111

Learning Points
The foci, then, of this unit are three aspects essential in teaching of reading in the primary
schools. These aspects are a) word recognition, b) vocabulary development, and c)
comprehension.

7. 1 Word recognition
It is quite clear that the ability to decode or recognize words is a prerequisite to reading
comprehension. Words that are a reader do not recognize would appear to be meaningless
symbols and more frequently than not leads to inability to understand what is read or
what is written. Researchers speak of sight vocabulary which are words that
recognized instantly (Heilman et al., 1998, p. 148). It follows that higher amount of
sight vocabulary will lead to better comprehension. Moreover, a reader would be able to
enjoy reading and think about what is being read when efficient word recognition occurs.
Graves et al (2001) argue that although efficient word recognition does not
ensure good comprehension: A reader may lack the prior knowledge, conceptual
knowledge, interest, analytical skill, wit, and other factors required to understand a
particular text good comprehension, however, is rarely achieved without efficient word
recognition (p. 148). Thus, developing word recognition skills and building up sight
vocabulary would necessarily be one of the first steps in learning to read. Conversely,
beginning readers in particular who are weak in word recognition skills would frequently
find reading difficult and frustrating.

112

Sample activity 7. 1
Word Recognition Strategies Using Nursery Rhymes
(Retrieved from http://www.readwritethink.org/classroom-resources/lesson-plans/wordrecognition-strategies-using-21.html?tab=4#tabs

A) Student Objectives
Students will
Recite nursery rhymes or familiar children's songs
Identify words with identical endings
Brainstorm words that rhyme
Categorize words according to word families
B) Instructional Plan
Session 1
1. In a small group, display the chart paper featuring the words of Humpty Dumpty.
2. Recite the words as a group and allow for discussion.
3. Draw students' attention to the first two lines of the nursery rhyme and read them
aloud.
4. Ask students if they can identify two words (other than Humpty and Dumpty) that
have similar ending sounds. Lead them to identify the words wall and fall and
underline those words on the chart paper.
5. Ask students to repeat the words as you point to them. Demonstrate how to sound
out the words by blending the letter sounds together. Invite them to brainstorm
how the two words are similar.
6. Point out that the two words end with the same three letters -all.
7. Ask students if they can think of other words that end with the letters -all. Write
each of the words on a separate index cards. Words might include ball, call, fall,
hall, mall, tall, and wall.
8. Display the word cards, and invite students to read the cards as a group. Be sure to
draw attention to the fact that each word sounds the same except for the beginning
letter.
9. Place the index cards in a pocket chart and encourage students to read and interact
with the words on the cards in future lessons or during free time.
Sessions 2 and 3
1. Repeat this lesson using Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater. For this rhyme, feature the
words shell and well. In the same manner as the first activity, invite students to
brainstorm words ending in the letters -ell.
2. Using Jack and Jill, feature the words Jill and hill and words ending in -ill.

113

Sample activity 7. 2
Teaching Sight Words:
(Source: UNESCO, 2004, Module: Teaching reading in the primary school)
1. Teacher reads a printed sentence to the children from a story containing the sight
word.
2. The children read after the teacher.
3. The teacher reads the sentence aloud, but leaves out the word to be supplied by the
children.
4. The children read the sentence, without the teacher.
5. The children write the sentence.
6. The children write a new sentence, containing the sight word.
7. The teacher develops or selects the text containing repeated use of the sight word for
children to read.

Task 7.1

1. Discuss the reasons why word-recognition is important.


2. How is word recognition by itself inadequate in reading comprehension.
3. Search for more strategies and activities on word recognition (in books or through the
internet). Select one and do the following:
a) Share the activity with the class.
b) Provide reasons for your selection
c) Demonstrate the activity.

7. 2 Vocabulary development
Vacca et al. (2009) suggest that vocabulary represents the breadth and depth of all the
words we know the words we use, recognize, and respond to in meaningful acts of
communication. Breadth involves the size and scope of our vocabulary: depth concerns
the level of understanding that we have (p. 281).

114

The importance of vocabulary to comprehension of texts is simple and clear in


that texts are made up of words. It is only logical, and many teachers would agree, that
students frequently do not understand the reading texts because there are just so many
difficult word. Thus, there is an obvious relationship between vocabulary and
comprehension and it vital that teachers help enable their students to develop their
vocabulary. Vacca et al (ibid) also pointed out three hypothesis on the relationship
between vocabulary and comprehension as can be seen in Table 7.1 below.
Table 7.1: Relation between Vocabulary and Comprehension
1

Aptitude Hypothesis

Both vocabulary and comprehension reflect general


intellectual ability. A large vocabulary as measured by test
performance is a solid indicator of verbal and mental
ability. The relationship is explained this way: The more
intellectually able the student, the more she or he will
know the meanings of words and therefore comprehend
better while reading. It is best to guard against the
pessimistic attitude that only the most intelligent child
profits from instruction in vocabulary. A childs
environment and experiences, including those in the
classroom, are crucial in learning concepts and words.

Knowledge Hypothesis

The knowledge hypothesis suggests that vocabulary and


comprehension reflect general knowledge rather than
intellectual ability. In other words, students with large
vocabularies related to a given topic also have knowledge
about the topic, which in turn produces better
comprehension. Closely tied to the schema view of
reading, the knowledge hypothesis proposes that
vocabulary words must be taught within a larger
framework of concept development.

Instrumental Hypothesis

The instrumental hypothesis establishes a causal chain


between vocabulary knowledge and comprehension. The
instrumental hypothesis can be defended thus: If
comprehension depends in part on the knowledge of word
meanings, vocabulary instruction ought to influence
comprehension.

(Source: Vacca et al., 2009, Reading and Learning to Read, p. 280)

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Sample activity 7. 3
PAVE (Prediction, Association, Verification, Evaluation)
Source: http://www.tncurriculumcenter.org/resource/2755/go
Students are encouraged to predict the meaning of an unknown based on the context and
use a dictionary to check the correctness of the prediction. Students are also asked to
create a personal visual clue to help them remember the definition.

1. The teacher assigns a passage to be read by the students along with vocabulary
words or phrases. As they encounter each of their vocabulary words, students
complete a PAVE map.
2. The student writes the sentence in which the word appears.
3. The student writes the word again in isolation.
4. The student predicts the meaning of the word.
5. The student writes a sentence using the word to show an initial understanding of
the words meaning.
6. The student looks up the word in the dictionary and writes its definition.
7. The student compares the dictionarys definition with the sentence she or he wrote
and, if necessary, writes a new sentence.
8. The student draws a visual representation of the word to help her/him remember
its meaning.

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Task 7.2
1. Based on Vacca et al.s (2009) three hypotheses with regards to the relationship
between vocabulary and comprehension, as given in Table X.X, do the following:
a) Decide which hypothesis you think shows the strongest relationship. Justify your
decision.
b) Suggest one pedagogical implication for each hypothesis and share them in the
class.
2. Go to the following websites which provide suggestions for vocabulary development.
West Virginia Department of Education http://wvde.state.wv.us/strategybank/vocabulary.html
Oregon K-12 Literacy Framework Professional Development
http://oregonliteracypd.uoregon.edu/topic/vocabulary-development
Select one strategy or suggestion, and share it with the whole class.

7. 3 Comprehension
The goal of every reader is understanding what he or she is reading. To achieve this goal,
efficient word recognition and a certain level of vocabulary are needed. However, it
should be noted that recognizing words and vocabulary by themselves do not ensure
comprehension as one may be able to read and understand many words in a sentence (or
text) and yet not understanding what it means. In other words, constructing the meaning
of the text does not depend on just text-based activities (bottom-up) but also reader-based
activities such as activating background knowledge (top-down) working together in an
interactive manner (interactive model). Roe et al. (2005) pointed out that readers
approach a text with much background knowledge concerning their world, and they use
this knowledge along with the text to construct the meanings represented by the printed
material that meet their purposes for reading.

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The influence of background knowledge has been well established in reading


research through studies on schema theory. This theory, as described in the previous unit,
helps explain how readers use prior knowledge to comprehend and learn from text
(Heilman et al., 1998, p. 244). Therefore, it is important to consider how schema theory
should be taken into account in reading instruction. Figure 7.1 below is Heilman et al.
(1998, p. 245 - 246) list of pedagogical implications of schema theory in helping the
reading teacher.
Make sure that the materials students are asked to read are within their experiential and
conceptual backgrounds in terms of content and language.
Help students activate their background knowledge prior to reading. Providing students
with specific information to activate and build their background may be most beneficial
when the goal of instruction is comprehension of a given text. Mapping strategies
similar to those used in vocabulary instruction, discussions, student- and teacheridentified reading purposes, study guides, and pre-reading questions can help readers
activate their prior knowledge relevant to the reading task.
Help students develop background knowledge for materials that contain new
information. Field trips, films, filmstrips, pictures, guest speakers, and so forth can help
students build background knowledge to construct meaning for new information.
Discussing new vocabulary, exploring the relationships among new and known
concepts, and diresctly experiencing new ideas help build background knowledge to
which new information can be related.
Demonstrate for students how to use strategies for constructing meaning. That is, if
students are to understand information in what they read, model how to do this, using
familiar materials. If they are to go beyond what is found in the materials, think aloud
(model this) for them, relating the text to their background knowledge.
Monitor students performance closely to determine whether they an appropriate
schema but fail to activate it or whether they lack a schema to construct meaning. This
requires that teachers know their students well. Teachers must be sensitive to
sociocultural factors that impede students comprehension of the cultural aspects of
reading matter.
Figure 7.1. Implications of Schema Theory
(Source: Heilman, Blair and Rupley, 1998, p. 245-246)

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This section on comprehension is a logical continuation to the previous two


sections on word recognition and vocabulary development as they are inter-related and
each play important roles in achieving the goal of reading i.e. understanding of the
written text. As noted by Roe et al (2005), factors related to the reader, the reading
situation, and the text all interact as the student reads in instructional settings (p. 189).
The main reader factor is the readers schemata; the reading situation refers to the
purposes for reading, the audience and the importance of the task to the student; whereas
factors related to the text are sentence comprehension, organizational patterns and types
of text.
In teaching comprehension, various related strategies are usually organised and
incorporated under pre-reading, during-reading, post-reading and general strategies.
Given in Figure 7.2 below are activities listed and described by Roe et al. (2005).

Pre-reading Strategies and Activities

predicting
previews
anticipation guides
semantic mapping
writing before reading
creative drama

During-reading Strategies and Activities

guiding questions
cloze procedure
metacognitive strategies

Post-reading Strategies and Activities

questions
visual representation
readers theater
retelling
application

General Strategies and Activities

discussion
K-W-L teaching model
semantic webbing and story mapping
story grammar activities
reading-writing connection
strategy prompts

Figure 7.2: Reading Strategies and activities


(Source: Roe et. al., 2005)

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Sample Activity 7. 4
Concept Map
(Source: http://www.readwritethink.org/classroom-resources/printouts/concept30699.html)
(Note: Printout of the concept map is in Appendix 1)
Using the concept map printout
Understanding relationships is an essential part of synthesis and comprehension. This
concept web can be used for any topic or content area. Students can show relationships
between vocabulary words, characters in a story, science concepts, or events in history.
Arrows can be added as needed and related words or ideas can be boxed together.
Students can generate the words themselves, or you can provide them with the words and
ask them to place the words appropriately in the concept map. Try using your weekly
vocabulary or spelling words. Concept maps are a great activity for students to work with
partners or in small groups. Students can present their maps to the class and explain the
how and why they placed each word and the relationships between them.
More ideas to try
Use a concept map at the beginning of a new unit to assess students prior knowledge.
Give students a list of vocabulary words or concepts from the unit and ask them to place
them on the concept map. At the end of the unit, repeat the activity and compare the two
maps.
Use a concept map as a writing graphic organizer. Once the concept map is complete,
have students box off related groups and have them turn each box into a paragraph.
Use a concept map to show ideas and relationships about a character in a novel.
Students can draw a picture of the character in the middle and then complete the
concept map. Students can compare and contrast their concept maps with other students
and discuss their different ideas about the same character.
Use a concept map throughout a unit and have students place each vocabulary word or
concept as they go. For example, when working on a science or math unit, as each new
vocabulary word is introduced, ask student to take out their concept maps and place the
word in the appropriate spot. Discuss why students chose that particular place.

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Task 7.3

In groups,
a) plan a reading lesson that shows clearly the use of (at least) a pre-reading activity, a
during-reading activity and a post-reading activity.
b) demonstrate the lesson with the necessary reading text and audio-visual aids (AVA).

References
Graves, M.F., Juel, C., & Graves, B.B. (2001). Teaching reading in the 21 st century (2nd
ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.
Heilman, A. W., Blair, T. R., & Rupley, W. H. (1998). Principles and practices of
teaching reading (9th ed.). NJ: Prentice Hall.
Roe, B. D., Smith, S. H., & Burns, P. C. (2005). Teaching reading in todays elementary
schools (9th. ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
UNESCO. (2004). Module: Teaching reading in the primary school. UNESCO.
Retrieved from http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0013/001351/135162eo.pdf
Vacca, J. A. L., Vacca, R. T., Gove, M. K., Burkey, L. C., Lenhart, L. A., & McKeon, C.
A. (2009). Reading and learning to read (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

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UNIT 8
Teaching of Writing I

Learning Outcomes
By the end of this unit students should be able to:
1. understand the development of the teaching of writing in ESL classroom
2. use different approaches to the teaching of writing in an ESL classroom
3. develop skills for teaching effective writing through controlled and guided
activities
4. promote interactive techniques of teaching effective writing across the curriculum
5. promote creative writing skills among students

Introduction
Writing skill is one of the most effective tools of communication. It helps to develop
critical thinking and it involves the ability to write effectively and creatively. Writing is
more permanent than speaking and requires more careful organization. Unlike speaking,
writing is not spontaneous because it involves a process which includes brainstorming,
planning, drafting and editing before we can see the final product. Writing can be formal
and informal. The teaching of writing involves a long process. Teachers have to take
students through a long journey that involves many steps that need a lot of patience.

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Learning Points
8. 1 The Development of the Teaching of Writing
8.1.1 Composition in the First Language Classroom
Development of English Language Composition Studies

The development of the teaching of writing in ESL is strongly linked to the field
of English language composition studies. Although this field has been enriched by
various approaches through the years, several have made strong and lasting
impressions.
8.1.2 Features of the traditional approach
The traditional approach to teaching writing, popular some decades ago, has some
distinct features:

It places emphasis on the composed product

It stresses expository writing

8.1.3 Features of the process approach

It focuses on the writing process and not the finished written product.
Teachers intervene during the writing process.

It teaches strategies for invention and discovery. Teachers help students discover
purpose for writing and to generate content.

8. 2 Development of the Teaching of Writing in ESL


Focus of the Teaching of Writing in ESL
According to Myles (2002) academic writing requires conscious effort and much
practice in composing, developing, and analyzing ideas. Students writing in a second
language are also faced with social and cognitive challenges related to second language
acquisition. The ability to write well is not a naturally acquired skill; it is usually learned
or culturally transmitted as a set of practices in formal instructional settings or other
environments. Writing skills must be practiced and learned through experience. Writing

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also involves composing, which implies the ability either to tell or retell pieces of
information in the form of narratives or description, or to transform information into new
texts, as in expository or argumentative writing.
He further says that Both the Flower and Hayes(1981), and the Bereiter and
Scardamalia (1987) writing process models have served as the theoretical basis for using
the process approach in both L1 and L2 writing instruction. By incorporating pre-writing
activities such as collaborative brainstorming, choice of personally meaningful topics,
strategy instruction in the stages of composing, drafting, revising, and editing, multiple
drafts and peer-group editing, the instruction takes into consideration what writers do as
they write. Attention to the writing process stresses more of a workshop approach to
instruction, which fosters classroom interaction, and engages students in analyzing and
commenting on a variety of texts.
Teachers teaching in an ESL classroom should realise that there are two important
factors that influence the final product of their students writing. Myles (2002) says that
writing teachers should be aware of how the instrumental motivation of their L2 students
will influence the effectiveness of their lessons. These learners may be less motivated to
write stories or poetry, because they perceive that these tasks are not related to their
needs. Even writing a standard research essay may seem like a waste of time for those
who will need to write project reports and memos. If learners perceive writing tasks to be
useless, they may approach them in a careless manner. Consequently, it is likely that they
will be inattentive to errors, monitoring, and rhetorical concerns. However, if students are
highly motivated, then any type of writing task, expressive or otherwise, are welcomed.
Social factors also influence the quality of contact that learners will experience.
Indeed, we cannot assume that "more contact" with the target language will result in more
acquisition of the L2. Certainly, instructors recommend that students studying English for
academic purposes should read academic texts, attend academic lectures, and even work
with students who are native speakers in order to become more acquainted with the
discourse. However, if they do not engage in the texts, understand the talks, or actively
contribute to the study sessions, these activities will have little effect on student progress.
Interaction is the key. A common complaint among ESL students at university is that they
have difficulty meeting native speakers and getting to know them. Students are often

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disappointed that they do not have as much interaction with native speakers as they had
expected. In addition, they often associate with other students from their L1 and speak
their native language. Unfortunately, this pattern can slow down L2 development in all
skill areas. The instructor is often responsible for providing incentives or opportunities
for interactions with native speakers. Generally speaking, if L2 learners are motivated to
integrate into the L2, they will develop a higher level of proficiency and positive
attitudes, which can have a positive effect on their writing.
In the ESL classroom, the teaching of writing also underwent some major changes
parallel to those that occurred in the first language classroom. The issues surrounding
writing instruction in the ESL classroom, however, has been more diverse and to an
extent, more complicated.

8. 3 Writing Issues and Concerns in the ESL Writing Classroom


8.3.1 Issues in the Teaching of Writing
Teachers and educators of writing in ESL face a host of issues and concerns within the
diverse field of teaching. The different approaches to the teaching of writing offer the
teacher a spectrum of topics to draw upon for use in their writing classes.

8.3.2 Traditions of Recognition


After 25 years of writing instruction in ESL and through numerous debates of issues and
concerns as to how this field should develop, there now seems to be 5 emerging traditions
of recognition as to where this filed currently stands (Raimes, 1993):
a. The complexity of composing
b. Student diversity
c. Learners process
d. Politics of pedagogy
e. Value of practice

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8. 4 Approaches to the Teaching of Writing in ESL


8.4.1 The Traditional Approach to Teaching Writing
Formalism and the Traditional Approach
Teachers of writing have for a long time struggled to find the most appropriate approach
to guide their classroom instruction. Perhaps in the initial approach or orientation towards
the teaching of writing is the traditional or formalist approach.

8.4.2 Product and Process Approach


Before a discussion of the different focuses within the Process Approach can begin, a
brief overview of the major differences between these the Product and Process
approaches might be prudent:
a.

Product Approach

b.

The Process Approach

8.4.2.1 Product Approach


Gabrielatos (2002), says that a product approach is a traditional approach in which
students are encouraged to mimic a model text, usually is presented and analyzed at an
early stage. For example, in a typical product approach-oriented classroom, students are
supplied with a standard sample of text and they are expected to follow the standard to
construct a new piece of writing. According to Steele (2004), Product Approach Model
comprises of four stages

Stage one: Students study model texts and then the features of the genre are highlighted.
For example, if studying a formal letter, students attention may be drawn to the
importance of paragraphing and the language used to make formal requests. If a student
reads a story, the focus may be on the techniques used to make the story interesting, and
students focus on where and how the writer employs these techniques.

Stage two: This stage consists of controlled practice of the highlighted features, usually
in isolation. So if students are studying a formal letter, they may be asked to practise the

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language used to make formal requests, for example, practising the I would be grateful if
you would... structure.

Stage three: This is the most important stage where the ideas are organized. Those who
favour this approach believe that the organization of ideas is more important than the
ideas themselves and as important as the control of language.

Stage four: This is the end product of the learning process. Students choose from the
choice of comparable writing tasks. To show what they can be as fluent and competent
users of the language, students individually use the skills, structures and vocabulary they
have been taught to produce the product.

8.4.2.1 Process Approach


Kroll (2001) defines process approach as follows: The process approach serves today
as an umbrella term for many types of writing courses. What the term captures is the fact
that student writers engage in their writing tasks through a cyclical approach rather than a
single-shot approach. They are not expected to produce and submit complete and
polished responses to their writing assignments without going through stages of drafting
and receiving feedback on their drafts, be it from peers and/or from the teacher, followed
by revision of their evolving texts. Hence a process approach tends to focus more on
varied classroom activities which promote the development of language use:
brainstorming, group discussion and rewriting.

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According to Steele (2004), The Process Approach Model comprises of eight stages:

Stage one (Brainstorming): This is generating ideas by brainstorming and discussion.


Students could be discussing the qualities needed to do a certain job.

Stage two (Planning/Structuring): Students exchange ideas into note form and judge
quality and usefulness of the ideas.

Stage three (Mind mapping): Students organize ideas into a mind map, spidergram, or
linear form. This stage helps to make the hierarchical relationship of ideas which helps
students with the structure of their texts.

Stage four (Writing the first draft): Students write the first draft. This is done in the class
frequently in pairs or groups.

Stage five (Peer feedback): Drafts are exchanged, so that students become the readers of
others work. By responding as readers students develop awareness of the fact that a
writer is producing something to be read by someone else and thus they can improve their
own drafts.

Stage six (Editing): Drafts are returned and improvements are made based upon peer
feedback.

Stage seven (Final draft): A final draft is written.


Stage eight (Evaluation and teachers feedback): Students writings are evaluated and
teachers provide a feedback on it.

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8.4.5 Genre-based Process Approach to the Teaching of Writing


The genre-based Process approach to the teaching of writing is a reader-focused approach
which developed from the view that language evolved from the speakers and writers
need to interact for functional purposes (Grabe& Kaplan, 1996). As such, language is
perceived not as separate entities of form and function but as an integrated system.

8. 5 Classroom Techniques in the Teaching of Writing in ESL


8.5.1 Writing Goals and General Techniques of Teaching Writing in ESL
As discussed in previous units, the field of teaching writing has undergone some major
changes resulting in several approaches taking root over time. The present day writing in
ESL should have a good understanding of the variety of writing approaches in prevalent
use and decide which is most suitable for his or her students.

8.5.2 Getting started


The teachers goal in the early part of writing class is to expose students to a variety of
strategies for getting started on any writing task. The teacher should also encourage
students to discover which strategy will work best for them. The following techniques
therefore are meant to help the students begin their writing task.

Technique 1: Brainstorming
Technique 2: Listing
Technique 3: Free-writing
Technique 4: Clustering

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8.5.3 Writing Assignments and Responding to Students Writings


Perhaps the two most difficult tasks any teacher might face in a writing class is deciding
on what kind of assignment to give as well as responding to the students writings. Before
actually assigning writing tasks, writing teachers have a few important decisions to make.
These issues are firefly discussed as follows:

a. The Actual writing


b. The Number of Drafts
c. Length of The Essay
d. Design of the Writing Task
e. Responding to Students Writings

8. 6 Writing Activities- Initial Steps


Students often encounter problems with the motivation to write, what to write and
what words to use when beginning an assigned topic. Teaching invention strategies aimed
at helping students get started on their writing tasks maybe a good idea during the early
sessions of a writing class. The following early writing activities adapted from Tricia
Hedges Writing (1988) are designed to aid students in gathering information before
beginning a writing task. These activities encourage students to prepare, organize, discuss
as well as explore possibilities related to the writing task.

8.6.1 Gathering Information


Requires learners to demonstrate planning skills for writing for a specific purpose,
audience and context. Learners should be able to research topics from a variety of sources
and record findings; Locate access, select, organize and integrate relevant data from a
variety of sources with guidance and convert information from one familiar form to
another, such as from graph to a paragraph.

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Sample Activity 8.1

Topic: My Early Years


Preparation: Make a family tree to introduce to the students. Ask students to bring old
photos from their childhood. Prepare a questionnaire.
In class :
Introduce the idea of an autobiography by describing your own earliest memory or by
reading an excerpt from any famous published autobiography. Elicit from the students
their earliest memory. This could be about a birthday, a new toy or something less
pleasant like being chased by a dog.
In pairs, ask students to show to each other, their old photos and describe the time, place
and event when the photographs were taken. Then get them to jot down any new points
or interesting ideas or insights that arose from their discussions.
Show the class an example of a family tree and elicit suggestions from class who they can
ask to help them in their writing task.
In group, ask students to make a questionnaire which can help them uncover new
material. An example could be:
Things To Ask My parents: What can you tell me about: My personality as a child
My relationship with my brother(s) and sister(s)
My favourite toy
Things that I disliked or was afraid of.
Students are asked to carry out their research at home using the prepared questionnaire.

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8.6.2 Brainstorming
Brainstorming is a technique used to generate ideas or topics to write about. Brainstorming or
thinking out loud is done in an informal way at any time during the writing process. The
important point about brainstorming is that it is a kind of free association.

Sample Activity 8.2

Topic: My Earliest Years- A Childhood Memory.


Preparation: You can begin by telling the class a childhood memory which is vivid with
clear sensations like smell, sound and sight. Or, you may begin by reading to the class a
short text describing a childhood memory.
In class:
Elicit from the students an equally vivid memory and tell them to describe some of the

sensations they remember- was it hot, cold, painful, sweet?


a.
Tell the students to write about 5 minutes as many memories as they can
remember without worrying about grammar or language problems.
b.
If students experience a mental block, suggest to them that they close their eyes
and think about the childhood scene, remembering the sights, sounds, smells and tastes if
appropriate.
c.
In pairs, get students to discuss a few of their memories and to jot down any ideas
or associations the discussion generated.
d.
Students now choose one memory and jot down all the situations associated with
it for example, the time, setting, people, etc.
e.

Students should now have ideas on how to proceed with the writing assignment.

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8.6.3 Making Mind Maps


A mind map is a simple map drawn by hand as rough notes of information, ideas or
concept. Usually a topic is placed in the center and the associated ideas, words and
concepts are added. Major categories radiate from a central node, and lesser categories
are sub-branches of larger branches. This technique helps students to generate, visualize,
structure, and classify ideas before writing.

Sample Activity 8.3


Topic :Eid Festival
Preparation: None
In Class:
a. Tell the students to close their eyes and think of the Eid festival celebrated by
Muslims. Students should jot down all things associated with the topic. They may
even jot down the words in their native language if they do not know the English
equivalents.
b. Elicit key words from the students and write them down on the board. As students
listen to each others responses and the teachers comments, they will learn the
English words for the ideas they have jotted down in their native language.
c. Form a mind map on the board from the elicited responses so students can
observe how to draw out aspects of a topic and subgroup items. Branches can be
added as students suggest new ideas or add new ones. The end result is a map
with a number of subtopics or aspects radiating from the main topic.
d. When the mind map is reasonable full, lead a class discussion on the best order to
organize the points in a composition. Provide a context for the writing activity, an
example could be writing to a pen-pal about the Eid festival.
e. Encourage the students to start writing and to show their work to their peers to get
feedback.

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8.6.4 Giving Feedback to Students Writing


According to Cumming, 1989; White, 1994; Zamel, 1987, ESL teachers must be
aware of the complexities involved in the revision process and respond to writing so that
students can make modifications with confidence and competence. Ideally, learners
should be encouraged to analyze and evaluate feedback themselves in order for it to be
truly effective. Teacher commentary, student reactions to commentaries and student
revisions interact with each other in a formidable way. How teachers intervene in writing
instruction, and how L2 writers react to the feedback influences the composing process.
Should teachers stress early mastery of the mechanical aspects of writing, or should they
urge their students to pay little attention to correctness, at least until after a first draft has
been written? Again, process models of writing instruction allow students time to reflect
and seek input as they reshape their plans, ideas, and language. In classroom practice, the
focus is on idea development, clarity, and coherence before identification and grammar
correction. Ideally, instruction and response serve to motivate revisions, encourage
learning, induce problem-solving and critical thinking, in addition to further writing
practice. Indeed, the process approach may be effective, but if writers' linguistic ability
sets limits to what they can do conceptually or affects the writing process itself, then we
need a combination of process instruction and attention to language development.
Focused error correction can be highly desirable, but problematic;. In addition,
there are many contradictory findings. The initial impulse for many teachers when
reading L2 student writing is to edit the work, that is, focus on the structural aspects so
that the writing closer resembles target language discourse. Teachers can correct errors;
code errors; locate errors, and indicate the number of errors. To its benefit, attention to
errors "provides the negative evidence students often need to reject or modify their
hypotheses about how the target language is formed or functions" (Larsen-Freeman,
1991, p. 293). [-13-] However, if this focus on error becomes the totality of the response,
then language, discourse, and text are equated with structure. It is then assumed that the
instructor has the authority to change the student's text and correct it (Rodby, 1992). In
addition, some feel it may not be worth the instructor's time and effort to provide detailed
feedback on sentence level grammar and syntax, since improvement can be gained by

134

writing practice alone (Robb, Ross, &Shortreed, 1986). Practice alone may improve
fluency, but if errors are not pointed out and corrected, they can become ingrained or
fossilized in student writing, as mentioned earlier. L1 research may advocate for focusing
on conception and organization, and not on mechanical errors, except for a "note
reminding the student that the final copy needs to be edited" (White, 1994, p. 109).
However, survey reports in L2 have indicated that students both attend to and appreciate
their teachers' pointing out of grammar problems (Brice, 1995; Cohen, 1987; Ferris,
1995, 1997; Leki, 1991; Radecki& Swales, 1988). In support of this claim, Fathman and
Whalley (1990), from their research on feedback and revision in an ESL context,
concluded that grammar and content feedback, whether given separately or together,
positively affect rewriting. However, grammatical feedback had more effect on error
correction than content feedback had on the improvement of content. Grammatical and
rhetorical feedback should be attentive to the writers' level of proficiency and degree of
readiness (Ferris, 1995, Hedgcock&Lefkowitz, 1996; Lee, 1997; Leki, 1991). Overly
detailed responses may overwhelm L2 writers and discourage substantive revision,
whereas minimal feedback may result in only surface modifications to the text.
Furthermore, learners may be uncertain about what to do with various suggestions and
how to incorporate them into their own revision processes. More research on the
effectiveness of responses on revision should be examined.

Task 8.1

Taking into consideration of your students language competency, select a few drafts of
your students essay and give constructive feedback whereby the students can improve
their essays.

135

References
Bereiter, C., & Scardamalia, M. (1987). The psychology of written composition.
Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Brice, C. (1995). ESL writers' reactions to teacher commentary: A case study. (ERIC
Document Reproduction Service No.ED 394 312).
Cohen, A. (1987). Student processing of feedback on their compositions. In A. Wendon
and J. Rubin (Eds.), Learner strategies in language learning (pp. 57-69). UK:
Prentice Hall International.
Cumming, A. (1989). Writing expertise and second language proficiency. Language
Learning, 39(1), 81-135.
Ferris, D. (1995). Student reactions to teacher response in multiple-draft composition
classrooms. TESOL Quarterly, 29(1), 33-53.
Flower, L., & Hayes, J. R. (1980). The dynamics of composing: Making plans and
juggling constraints. In L. Gregg & E. Steinberg (Eds.),Cognitive processes in
writing (pp. 31-50). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Flower, L., & Hayes, J. R. (1981).A cognitive process theory of writing. College
Composition and Communication, 32(4), 365-387.
Gabrielatos, C. (2002). EFL writing: product and process. Retrieved August 5, 2013 from
<http:// www.gabrielatos.com/Writing.pdf>Originally published in three parts
in ELT News 133, 134 & 135 (March, April & May 2000). The version used
(February 2002) is available through ERIC. Cite as, ERIC, ED476839.
Kroll, B. (Ed.). (1990). Second language writing: research insights for the classroom.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Leki, I. (1991). The preferences of ESL students for error correction in college-level
writing classes. Foreign Language Annals, 24(3), 203-218.
Raimes, A. (1991). Out of the woods: Traditions in the teaching of writing. TESOL
Quarterly, 25(3), 407-430.
Radecki, P. M., & Swales, J. M. (1988).ESL student reaction to written comments on
their written work. System, 16(3), 355-365.

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Robb, T., Ross, S., & Shortreed, I. (1986).Salience of feedback on error and its effect on
EFL writing quality. TESOL Quarterly, 20(1), 83-93.
Steele, V. (2004).Product and process writing. Retrieved on August 12, 2013 from
http://www.englishonline.org.cn/en/teachers/workshops/teachingwriting/teaching-tips/product-process.

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UNIT 9
Teaching of Writing II

Learning Outcomes
By the end of this unit teachers should be able to:
1. create writing activities that are suitable to their students competence level.
2. use students personal experiences in guided/controlled activities to develop their
writing skills.
3. stimulate their students interests in creative writing.

Introduction
This unit contains a few selected writing activities which can be used to help students
with their writing fluency. The reading texts will serve as models of English of English
writing as well as source of exploration and discussion. This unit also provides guidelines
for journal writing as well as some suggestions of topics for journal entries. These ideas
on journal writing are adopted from Reactions by Lebaur and Scarcella (1993).

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Learning Points
9.1 Journal Writing (Guidelines)
a. Tell students to write at least one page a day.
b. Students should not write a list of events. Instead, students should write down
their thoughts and reactions to a particular event that struck them or about
something they heard, saw or read.
c. Tell students to not be overly concerned about grammar or sentence problems as
the journal writing us for them. Their journal entries will not be marked for
grammar mistakes by the teacher.
d. Half of the journal entries could be on topics or ideas selected by the students.
Others could be responses to questions or topics given in class. Given below are a
few suggested questions in journal writing.
(i)

What is most important in good writing?

(ii)

How do you feel about writing in English?

(iii)

How has the teachers corrections helped you to improve your writing?

(iv)

What are your biggest problems with writing?

(v)

Writers I like reading and why?

9.2 Journal Writing Activity


(Adapted from Exploring Through Writing by Ann Raimes, 1992).

This activity is designed to help students sharpen their powers of observation.


a. Sit or stand in a noisy public place like a shopping mall, bus station or a cafeteria.
b. Take notes on everything you observe happening around you- the sights, sounds,
smells, colours, etc. also, take notes of the people you see, what they look like, the
clothes they wear and what they are doing. Include any other detail that might be
amusing or interesting.

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c. In your journal, write a description of everything you have observed and


experienced. Your reader should feel as if she or he was right there with you.
d. End your description by asking a few questions about the things you would like to
learn about the scene you have described.

9.3 Journal Writing Activity based on a Reading Text

Sample Activity 9.1


Topic: Fish Cheeks by Amy Tan. Adapted from Developing Writers by Pamela Gay
(1995).

Preparation: provide copies of the reading text.

Reading Text:
I fell in love with the minister's son the winter I turned fourteen. He was not Chinese, but
as white as Mary in the manger. For Christmas I prayed for this blond-haired boy, Robert,
and a slim new American nose.
When I found out that my parents had invited the minister's family over for
Christmas Eve dinner, I cried. What would Robert think of our shabby Chinese
Christmas? What would he think of our noisy Chinese relatives who lacked proper
American manners? What terrible disappointment would he feel upon seeing not a
roasted turkey and sweet potatoes but Chinese food?
On Christmas Eve I saw that my mother had outdone herself in creating a strange
menu. She was pulling black veins out of the backs of fleshy prawns. The kitchen was
littered with appalling mounds of raw food: A slimy rock cod with bulging eyes that
pleaded not to be thrown into a pan of hot oil. Tofu, which looked like stacked wedges of
rubbery white sponges. A bowl soaking dried fungus back to life. A plate of squid, their
backs crisscrossed with knife markings so they resembled bicycle tires.
And then they arrived the minister's family and all my relatives in a clamor of
doorbells and rumpled Christmas packages. Robert grunted hello, and I pretended he was
not worthy of existence.
Dinner threw me deeper into despair. My relatives licked the ends of their
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chopsticks and reached across the table, dipping them into the dozen or so plates of food.
Robert and his family waited patiently for platters to be passed to them. My relatives
murmured with pleasure when my mother brought out the whole steamed fish. Robert
grimaced. Then my father poked his chopsticks just below the fish eye and plucked out
the soft meat. "Amy, your favorite," he said, offering me the tender fish cheek. I wanted
to disappear.
At the end of the meal my father leaned back and belched loudly, thanking my
mother for her fine cooking. "It's a polite Chinese custom to show you are satisfied,"
explained my father to our astonished guests. Robert was looking down at his plate with a
reddened face. The minister managed to muster up a quiet burp. I was stunned into
silence for the rest of the night.
After everyone had gone, my mother said to me, "You want to be the same as
American girls on the outside." She handed me an early gift. It was a miniskirt in beige
tweed. "But inside you must always be Chinese. You must be proud you are different.
Your only shame is to have shame."
And even though I didn't agree with her then, I knew that she understood how
much I had suffered during the evening's dinner. It wasn't until many years later long
after I had gotten over my crush on Robert that I was able to fully appreciate her lesson
and the true purpose behind our particular menu. For Christmas Eve that year, she had
chosen all my favorite foods.
Fish Cheeks by Amy Tan (1987)
Journal Writing : Answer the following questions:a.
b.
c.
d.

Do you like the story? Why/ why not?


Why do you think the writer was so unhappy during the dinner?
Why did the mother prepare such a strange menu?
Have you ever felt the same way as the writer?
Describe the day or event explaining why you felt unhappy or ashamed.

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9.4 Writing Activity based on a Reading Text


Sample Activity 9.2
Topic: My name by Sandra Cisneros.
Adapted from Developing Writers by Pamela Gay (1995).
Preparation: Make copies of the reading text.
Reading Text:
In English my name means hope. In Spanish it means too many letters. It means
sadness, it means waiting. It is like the number nine. A muddy color. It is the Mexican
records my father plays on Sunday mornings when he is shaving, songs like sobbing.
It was my great-grandmother's name and now it is mine. She was a horse woman
too, born like me in the Chinese year of the horse--which is supposed to be bad luck if
you're born female-but I think this is a Chinese lie because the Chinese, like the
Mexicans, don't like their women strong.
My great-grandmother. I would've liked to have known her, a wild, horse of a
woman, so wild she wouldn't marry. Until my great-grandfather threw a sack over her
head and carried her off. Just like that, as if she were a fancy chandelier. That's the way
he did it.
And the story goes she never forgave him. She looked out the window her whole
life, the way so many women sit their sadness on an elbow. I wonder if she made the best
with what she got or was she sorry because she couldn't be all the things she wanted to
be. Esperanza. I have inherited her name, but I don't want to inherit her place by the
window.
At school they say my name funny as if the syllables were made out of tin and
hurt the roof of your mouth. But in Spanish my name is made out of a softer something,
like silver, not quite as thick as sister's name Magdalena--which is uglier than mine.
Magdalena who at least- -can come home and become Nenny. But I am always
Esperanza.
In Class:
a) After reading the story, tell the students to write My Name at the top of a piece of
paper and to start writing as if this is a journal entry. Students should answer the
following questions:

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i.
ii.
iii.
iv.

What do you know about your name?


What does your name mean in English/ Arabic/ Chinese/ Indian?
What memories do you have about your name?
Do you like your name? Why/ why not?

b) After writing about their name, tell the students to introduce themselves to someone in
the class who does not know about their name story. Students should read what they have
written and then listen to their classmates story.
c) After listening to a few name stories, students can begin writing about any of the
stories they have heard.

Sample Activity 9.3


Topic: Rice
Adapted from The Process of Composition by Joy Reid (1988)
Preparation: Provide copies of the text for the students.
Reading Text:
The best place for me to forget all my worries is under a palm tree at dusk. When
I am worried about a problem or just want to be alone, I will go to the beach around six in
the afternoon and sit in the shade of a palm tree. The sand is a little hard to sit on, but this
does not bother me. As the wind blows like a whistle, and waves become softer as they
reach the shore, the air will disappear behind the horizon. Others float in the water,
hoping to catch a fish before leaving. As time passes, there is an immense silence; the sun
begins to set, and the sky changes from tones of dark blue to canary yellow and finally to
deep orange. As the sun slips below the horizon, I leave behind my worries.
In Class:
a) After the students have read the text, lead a brief discussion of the text using the
following question:
What is the writers favourite place?
What does she see, smell, hear, and feel?
Why is this place her favourite place?
b) Give students some time to think about their own favourite place. Tell them they
should have a reason for their choice. Also encourage them to think of all
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sensations they can associate with their favourite place.


c) Elicit a few responses from the students and create a mind map for these
responses, adding branches as students suggest more ideas.

9.5 Writing Activity Conducting a Survey

Sample Activity 9.4


Topic: Conducting a Survey.
(Adapted from Writing by Tricia Hedge, 1988)
Preparation: During the activity, the teacher can make copies of questionnaires the
students produce or ask each students to make a few copies.
In Class :
a) Tell the students that they are going to work in groups and make a questionnaire
to conduct a survey on a topic of their own choice.
b) Using an example, discuss what kind of information students would want to
obtain and what kind of information to ask. Some examples of topic could be:

The best eating place in town.


The most watched TV programme
Which is better- single sex or co-ed schools?
The ideal age for a driving license.
Spare time activities of students versus teachers.

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9.6 Writing Activity Observing and Note-making

Sample Activity 9.5


Topic: Food
Preparation: Bring to class some kind of food that the students can see, touch or smell.
Some examples could be sweets, cake or pieces of fruit. Put the food in a box so the
students are not able to see it.
In Class :
a) Tell the students to pick some food item from the box and then to pass the box
around. Encourage discussion by asking questions such as these:
i.
ii.
iii.
iv.

Look at the item, what colour is it?


What does it smell like?
What does it feel like?
Taste it. What does it taste like?
b) Tell the students to write a description of the food items using the words and
phrases as a guide

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9.7 Collaboration
Collaboration through peer sharing, feedback and editing is an integral part of any
Process-Based approach to writing. Through collaborative writing activities, students can
learn from each others strengths. Weaker students can also free the teacher, enabling him
or her to monitor the groups, giving them feedback and help with the process of writing
as needed.

Sample Activity 9.6


Topic: Describing a person.
(Adapted from Writing by Tricia Hedge, 1988)
Preparation: Short reading text describing a person.
In Class:
a) Ask each students to think of someone they like, respect or admire, examples
could be famous actors, athletes or other well-known people. Tell the students to
write 5 sentences about that person. Prompt questions can be used to help
students:
i.
ii.
iii.
iv.

Is he/she tall or short?


What colour is her/his hair?
Is she/he fat/thin/slender?
What is this person famous for?

b) Let the students read a short reading passage describing a person.


Example:
My best friend is tall and slim with curly black hair and smiling brown eyes.
She likes to wear casual clothes like t-shirts and pants. She is very talkative,
lively and fun to be with but she can also be serious at times. Everyone in
my class likes her because she is kind and helpful.
c) Put the students in groups of four and tell each one to read out the sentences
they wrote earlier about a person. The whole group should jot down new words
and ideas gleaned from their readings and discussion.

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9.8 Peer Editing / Feedback


The following exercises are adapted from Reactions by Lebauer and Scarcella (1993)
they are designed to guide students during the process of peer editing and peer feedback.
Activities can be carried out in pairs or in groups. To consolidate the students editing
skills, a discussion of the exercises should follow.

Sample Exercise 9.7


In the following student writing sample, there are a number of different types of grammar
errors. Before correcting the sample, complete the exercises that follow:
a) Avoiding Double Negatives-correct the following sentences.

I dont want nothing

I dont see no one

I cant go nowhere

b) Past Tense- correct the following sentences


1. My mother buy me the cake yesterday.
2. She sing very well at the wedding reception.
3. Ali drived his blue car to town last night.

c) To see + simple verb form + gerund- correct the following sentences.


1. I didnt see her went
2. I saw the man leaves
3. Ive seen john studied

d) To infinitive
1. Sheila loved to sang songs
2. He went away to bought the ring last Monday
3. He wants to tastes my cakes

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Writing sample: In pairs or groups, edit the following composition. Use the
previous exercises to help you as you correct the grammar mistakes.

My father and I immigrated to America a long time ago. My father could


not read nothing in English. When my brother was a little child, he used to
listened to his father tell him stories. My father has always been a great
storyteller. At that time, my brother is too young to realized that his father
could not read or write. As he grow older, I began to fear that he might find
this out and feel ashamed of it. Once he asks me if I could teach father
how to reads and write but I told him that it is too late and it might hurt his
pride. Then I saw him runs out of the house. I was frustrated and confuse
to see him ran out.

Sample Exercise 9.7


In groups, read the passage. Based on your groups thoughts and experiences, use the
following guidelines to help you.
a.

Do you agree or disagree with the point of view. Why?

b.

Pick a few points and explain why you agree or disagree with the points.

c.

Give your own examples to support or contradict the point of view given.

Sample answer: I disagree that schools are bad places for children. I think there is a
reason why students must obey school rules. Primary schools must be places for children
to learn how to obey rules and laws of society as well as learning how to respect others.
They must learn how to live in the society around them. In order to do that, children must
control themselves. There may be better ways to socialize children but at this point, we
have only one way that works. Traditional schooling is the way.

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References
Gay, P. (1995). Developing writers: A dialogic approach (2nd ed.). Belmont, CA:
Wadsworth.
Hedge, T. (1988). Writing. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Lebauer, R. S., Scarcella, R. C., & Stern, S. (1993) Reactions : Multicultural readingbased writing modules Englewood Cliffs, N.J. : Prentice Hall,
Pennington M C. (1996). Writing the natural way on computer. Computer Assisted
Language Learning 9(2-3), 125-142
Raimes, A. (1991). Out of the woods: Traditions in the teaching of writing. TESOL
Quarterly, 25(3), 407-430.
Reid, J. M. (1988). The process of composition. Englewood Cliffs, N.J: Prentice-Hall.

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UNIT 10
Teaching of Grammar

Learning outcomes
At the end of the unit, students should be able to:
1. define grammar
2. explain teaching approach
3. describe learner language learning setting
4. explain Constraints of Second Language Acquisition (SLA)
5. describe the quality of input
6. explain Communicative Approach in Malaysian Classrooms
7. Focus-on-form instruction

Introduction
The term grammar may be defined in many ways. Grammar is the knowledge of
language. Whenever a person speaks or writes, he or she applies grammar which has its
own set of unwritten rules that determine how it is spoken or written (McWhorter, 1998).
It is concerned primarily with correctness and with the formation of words, phrases,
clauses that make up sentences. Weaver (1996) suggests that teachers define grammar in
the following ways: syntax, rhetoric, prescriptive rules, usage, structure, and parts of
speech. Grammar is nothing more than a system for describing the patterns of regularity
that are inherent in language (Williams, 1999, p. 232).This grammar deals with language
rules and is most often associated with accuracy. Grammar is important because it is the
convention that makes it possible for us to talk about language. Linguists refer to
grammar as the rules that govern the structure of language (McWhorter, 1998; Williams,
2003), but many people think of grammar simply as a combination of proper usage,
mechanics, and syntax.

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Learning Points

Task 10.1

1) In your own words, what is grammar?


2) What are the issues in learning grammar?

There are many issues in the teaching of grammar in language teaching in Malaysia; (1)
teaching approaches (1) the different of language setting, (2) the quality of input (3) (4)
process of inter-language (5) teaching technique For and Against Grammar Teaching

Task 10.2
Can students learn grammar without being taught?

10. 1 Teaching Approach


Many researchers believe that students should not be left alone to their own device in
picking up grammar and many studies have shown that there is a continuum of whether
to teach grammar explicitly or implicitly and many ensuing pedagogical decisions have to
be made. In general, learning can take place in the absence of instruction especially in
natural setting. However, as teachers, the issue is not limited to what is merely possible,
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but extends to a determination of what would comprise the most effective and efficient
instructional plan given the normal constraints of acquiring a second language in the
classroom (Doughty and Williams, 1998a).
One of the main issues in the development of second language competence is to
determine the amount of relevant contents on the target language, since it is impossible
for teachers to teach all the grammar rules of the language. Thus a good language
programs requires a positive grammar instruction that help students to develop native-like
accuracy in using the language. Formal instruction in SLA research has been understood
as grammar instruction (Ellis, 2002). Research investigating the question of whether
formal instruction results in better L2 learning has examined the effects of formal
instruction on production accuracy, sequence of acquisition, and its durability. Instruction
directed at the grammar structures is easily associated with rules presented in isolation.
The extent to which that grammar rules are isolated from examples is determined by the
nature of formal instruction, and it is on a continuum with explicit and implicit
instruction at the polar ends. In an implicit treatment, learners are to induce the rules from
the given random language samples. On the other hand, with explicit grammar
instruction, learners are explained the grammar rules which are deductively applied in the
subsequent practice (Ellis, 2002). Explicit grammar instruction is to draw learners
attention to target linguistic structures by clearly and systematically explaining, for
example, how to form a past tense. With a high degree of explicitness, the focus of
teacher candidates is directed to forms, which they learned and used at some point in
time, to enhance their awareness of the linguistic features. Doughty and Williams (1998)
suggested that learning rules deductively through explicit instruction could reduce time
spent discovering the patterns. In addition, explicit grammar instruction could lower the
possibilities that L2 learners make wrong hypotheses about the L2 grammar, which is
likely to happen when learners generate rules on their own based on the language samples
they picked up randomly.
Formal instruction can take the form of an implicit treatment or an explicit
treatment. According to Dekeyser (1995), formal instruction is explicit if explanation of
grammatical rules comprises part of the instructional treatment (deduction) or if learners
are directed to attend to particular forms and try to generate the rules themselves

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(induction). Conversely, an instructional treatment is considered implicit if neither rule


illustration or directions to heed to particular forms are part of the instruction. This
distinction has given rise to some debates about the effectiveness of these two kinds of
instructional treatments on the learning process and/or results. As described in the
previous sections, Krashen (1994) has argued that an unconscious process of abstraction
is called acquisition, and a conscious process is called learning. The knowledge that is
learned consciously, Krashen claims, is limited to rules that are easy. Learned knowledge
can only account for a small part of learner L2 knowledge, and it serves only to monitor
and/or edit production initiated by the unconscious acquired system.
A focus on form refers to grammatical rules that are discretely presented to
learners. On the other hand, focus on form draws students attention to linguistic
elements the learners face in real life communication or the attention is incidentally made
to linguistic features when the difficulties arise in comprehension or production. In other
words, Doughty and Williams (1998) believe a focus on form requires a prerequisite
engagement in meaning before treatments to the problematic linguistic features can be
expected to be effective. The underlying assumption of a focus on form instruction is that
meaning and use must already be evident to the learner at the time that attention is
drawn to the linguistic apparatus needed to get the meaning across.
Krashen (1982) claimed that language learners have two separate knowledge
systems, acquired and learned systems. The acquired system is developed by means of a
subconscious process, which is activated when learners are using language for
communication. In contrast, knowledge in the learned system is a result of a process in
which L2 learners consciously attends to linguistic properties in order to understand
and/or memorize grammatical rules. These two systems, according to Krashen, do not
interact whatsoever. In other words, the learned knowledge can never be converted into
the acquired system regardless of the amount of practice. Advocating the position that
natural communication is geared by the acquired knowledge, Krashen argued that the
learned knowledge can only monitor the utterance when form other than meaning is
focused and when sufficient time is available to learners to retreat information from their
learned system. Therefore, formal grammar instruction, which aims at explicit knowledge
about structural rules, seems unable to contribute to the advancement of implicit

153

knowledge, which is the type of knowledge needed for natural communication.


Following Krashens logic, what classroom instruction can do no more for learners
development in L2 communicative competence than provide 1) comprehensive input,
which may not be always available in authentic L2 environments, and 2) the explicit
knowledge, which can only be used to monitor the form of output in communication. In a
word, Krashens Monitor Theory (1982) proscribes formal instructional devices, such as
grammar teaching and error correction, on the ground of the non-interface theory.
In spite of Krashens advocates, research findings have shown improved
grammatical accuracy during communication and accelerated progress through
developmental sequences result from formal instruction (Ellis, 2002). These findings, as
commented on by Ellis, were not obtained simply because the instruction happened to
supply comprehensible input for the development of implicit knowledge. The increased
accuracy in the research findings suggested that learners actually learned what they had
been taught, at least on some occasions. However, it is important to note that the study
results that lend support to formal instruction do not necessarily claim the necessity for
grammar instruction in SLA. Rather, they suggest a facilitative role for formal
instruction.
Sharwood Smith (1980) pointed out that by drawing learners attention to specific
structural features of the language, instruction can significantly increase the rate of
acquisition under certain conditions. Instructional strategies which drew the attention of
the learner to specifically structural regularities of the language, as distinct from the
message content, will under certain conditions significantly increase the rate of
acquisition over and above the rate expected from learners acquiring that language under
natural circumstances where attention to form may be minimal and sporadic. In addition
Ellis (2002) suggests that even if instruction does not enable learners to fully acquire
what was taught at the time when instruction was being implemented, it is possible that
the instruction has prepared the way for its subsequent acquisition.

Among the

proponents of grammar instruction, some researchers view instruction more than a


facilitative device but a must-have tool for learners best interest in some situations. One
of the situations where instruction is considered necessary is when the learners L1 is

154

more general than the L2. As a result of overgeneralization, Malay-speaking learners of


English often omitting be in the same manner as in the construction of Malay sentences.
Regardless of the different theoretical perspectives on formal instruction, teaching
grammar is still a common practice across language classrooms, and learners who have
graduated from those classrooms can speak their L2s to varying degrees. This fact seems
to make the effects of formal instruction already self-evident and formal approaches are
used in order to get maximum effects of formal instructions on L2 learning.

Task 10.3

1. Define implicit and explicit teaching approach.


2. Define inductive and deductive.
3. What is the different between an implicit and explicit teaching approach?

10. 2. Learner language learning setting


Settings refer to places where formal acquisition and learning occur such as schools. A
natural setting for L2 acquisition is one where the L2 is used normally for everyday
communicative purposes. The rural setting is similar to the learning of English as a
foreign language (EFL) where students learn and use English only in the classrooms.
There is no support from the environment that permits students to use the L2
purposefully in a natural interactive communication. The urban setting is similar to ESL
setting where students have a lot of support from the environment especially in the use
of L2 in interactive communication outside their classrooms. The difference of urban
and rural is based on interactive use of language and support from the environment and
not demographic in a normal sense

155

The Malaysian students come from a mixed language background and are being
exposed to the English language in different ways. Different settings permit different
opportunities for language input and use in areas where Malays is the dominant group,
Bahasa Malaysia will usually be the main language used in communication. In the urban
setting, English is used more widely among students since they have the privilege of
interacting with English speakers in the environment apart from their teachers. The use of
English outside the classroom enables the students to practice and improve their
language, especially through conversational interaction. Urban setting therefore is similar
to learning English as an L2 (ESL) where it provides learners with the opportunities for
naturalistic exposure and conversation with fluent English speakers in the classroom as
well as in the community. The rural setting on the hand is similar to learning an L2 in a
foreign language setting (EFL) which limits students exposure to the input provided only
by the teachers and the opportunities for natural use of the language such as conversation
is constrained only with teachers through classroom and textbook experiences. With
different quality of exposure to the target-language (TL), urban students normally have
richer language input as compared to rural students and these differences might affect the
rate of learning English as a second language.
As we are aware that our students come from a different setting and therefore they
learn differently. What is suitable to a group of students may not be to the other. In
selecting a suitable approach in providing positive input and to increase the exposure to
target languages in the development of second language competence and the
impossibility of teaching all the grammar rules in one language. The issues of what is the
positive input to EFL L2 learners in learning grammar may not be the same as those of
ESL learners. The study of Allen, Swain, Harley, and Cummins, 1990) shows that the
development of

develop a native-like all-around competence as a result of

communicating and the findings show that Canadian English-French bilinguals was not
as developed as the natives in their speaking and writing skills. The bilinguals, who had
been immersed in their L2 at school for most of their academic careers, had the most
favorable opportunities for functioning in the L2. However, this best possible context for
L2 learning did not appear to lead to high levels of grammatical competence which

156

suggests g. One of a fully successful classroom language learning requires formal


instruction (Ellis, 2002, p.612).
In preparing suitable learning materials as input, teachers cannot afford not to
understand their students learning styles. In Malaysia, there are two main types of school
students; ESL and EFL students who learn an L2 in two different ways (Abdul Halim,
2009). For example, the different settings of learning an L2, require the students to
employ different learning strategies and employ different language skills for their
language activities. The ESL students are immersed in the language setting and will
employ listening as a receptive skill and speaking as a productive skill while EFL will not
be able to utilize these oral/aural skills. Utilizing oral/aural skills (e.g. the communicative
approach) is like submerging the students in learning; swim or sink. High motivated
students or those who are given extra help (e.g. through to the use of ICT) may survive
the ordeal of learning an L2. In consequent, our teaching approach which emphasizes
oral/aural skills without making any differences among the ESL/EFL students may only
benefit the ESL students who would be able to apply what was learnt in the classroom
outside in their community. Thus, our teaching approaches used in teaching English as a
second language in Malaysia are not aligned with the learning styles of the majority of
Malaysian students especially those learners in the rural areas. As result, their
development of the English language among ESL students fossilizes before it reaches
native-like mastery.
The issue of language learning setting is very significant since it has very
important pedagogical implication in L2 classrooms. For example Krashens model of
teaching and communicative approach is very influential teaching approach adopted in
Malaysia. The belief that L1=L2, has affected the way teachers implement their lessons
in the classrooms. Many teachers believe that teaching L2 should be the same way of
teaching L1 and they do not differentiate between ESL and EFL learners and the
outcomes are obvious; ESL students have better achievement compared to the EFL
students who always lag behind.

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Task 10.4

1. How many settings are there in learning a second language?


2. Describe how a learner learns a language in a (i) natural setting, (ii) classroom
setting (iii) second language setting (iv) foreign language setting (v) Malaysian
settings.

10. 3 Quality of input


The quality of input can be divided into two categories; content and presentation. The
language contents consist of specifications on grammar, skills and topics which are
provided in the English Language Syllabuses for teachers to follow and adopt to suit the
needs of their students. The syllabus specifies general learning outcomes (language skills)
which must be achieved at the end of every lesson. The syllabus however, does not
provide specific language content (language knowledge) that must be taught in order to
achieve the learning outcomes or language skills. These specifications entrust teachers
with the problems of choosing what language content to teach and how to teach them. As
such, many teachers do not consider the need of sequencing the language contents in
integrating language knowledge, skills and topics in their lessons. Manipulating language
contents in order to fulfill the syllabus specifications is a daunting task and many teachers
are not prepared to handle and consequently end-up teaching topics rather than language
contents (Pillay & North, 1997). Burt and Dulay (1973) believed that students find
difficulties to comprehend the morpheme concepts because teachers do not sequence the
English morphemes according to the natural order of English morpheme acquisition of
the learners.

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If grammatical items are addressed randomly, then it will actually reduce the rate
of learning and also it can contribute to fossilization. For example, English has five word
forms such as base, simple, present, past, present participle and past participle. Then
concepts related to these forms can be easy and also complex. For example, the concept
of past (ed and t) should precede the concept of present (base and third person s), or
present participle should precede past participle which includes the structure of activepassive formation. Therefore it is important for teachers to sequence simple items (that
are acquired early) as the prerequisite to learning complex concepts.
Even though some of the English grammatical items are easy to define and
describe, they pose problems for ESL learners at all levels for these items seem to cause a
lot of difficulties for the students to use them correctly and repeatedly they make the
same errors in their speaking and writing. For example, research on L2 morpheme
acquisition (Celcia-Murcia & Larsen-Freeman, 1999) has shown that the third person
singular present tense s inflection (e.g. He plays football every day) causes persistent
problems for learners even at more advanced stages of proficiency. Experienced teachers
know that some of these grammatical items are very difficult to acquire. Even though
students have learned the items from year one and teachers do teach them regularly, they
keep on repeating the same mistakes (Celcia-Murcia & Larsen-Freeman, 1999). These
errors are rampant, if not diehard features in the speech and essays written by secondary
ESL/EFL school students. Even though by the time they enter university and have
completed at least 11 to 13 years of English language classes, yet, many are still unable to
carry on a simple conversation or write sentences free from basic grammatical errors in
the English language (Lim, 1994; Idris, 1997; Harison, 2002) problems of learning these
morphemes can be caused by many factors such as the concept of morphemes which have
many grammatical functions and meaning depending on how they are used in contexts
(Haspelmath, 2002).
The quality of L2 instruction in schools depends on the quality of input provided
by teachers based on suitable teaching techniques used in the classrooms (Ellis, 2006).
Learning L2 in explicit teaching classrooms requires critical comprehensible input,
whether it is from the natural speech or explicit teaching (Norris & Ortega, 2000). A
learner must have perceptual ability that will determine how much the learner will

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receive from the input. The different quality of input significantly provides different pace
of acquisition among the learners. The input reveals how well learners have prepared
themselves to recognize morpheme forms from a continuous speech stream or explicit
classroom teaching. They do not receive the speech stream as a discrete sequence of
individual sounds. The input and the perceptual ability together are the basis for any
learners to acquire a morpheme for understanding and producing larger linguistic units
such as words, phrases or sentences. Without adequate input, a learner will not be able to
develop morphological knowledge or lexicon, let alone a language. Hence, without
proper perception of input, a learner cannot receive adequate input, and therefore cannot
acquire any language properly (Norris & Ortega, 2000).
Effective teachers provide better input to the students in terms of good language
models, easy presentation and suitable learning experiences (Larsen-Freeman, 1990,
Burden & Byrd, 2003; Ornstein & Lasley, 2004). Even though all teachers have to use
the syllabus provided by the Ministry of Education, the interpretation of the syllabus is
crucial in determining a successful learning programme such as using suitable learning
materials and teaching approaches. There is no way a student in a foreign language
acquisition (FLA) environment can get good language input if the teacher does not
provide it. Quality input obviously depends on the quality of teaching and the ability of
the teachers teaching the subject and whether they can motivate learners to learn
effectively. One of the most used teaching methods in Malaysian schools is the
communicative method or approach. However, there is a conflict between the official
syllabus, the textbook syllabus and the examination syllabus putting teachers in a
dilemma over what to teach (Pillay & North, 1997). The official syllabus and the
textbooks stress topics or themes; whereas, teachers focus on examinations by teaching to
the tests rather than developing the language skills. It is therefore unclear whether
teachers develop the skills of segmenting the language units explicitly or implicitly based
on the communicative approach in teaching grammar or specifically vocabulary.
Although immediate beneficial effects of formal instruction on language
proficiency can be observed across studies (Doughty & Williams, 1998b; Fotos, 1993;
Robinson, 1997), the question of whether the improved performance from instruction can
endure consistently over time often remains unknown. Doughty and Varelas (1998)

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study, which will be examined in the Focus on form, found that the experimental group
showed improvement in the accurate use of past time reference in the written labs in their
immediate posttest. However, the gains of accuracy in the immediate posttest were not
observed to be robust in the 2-month delayed oral posttest.
Lightbown (1991) suggested, developmental linguistic features, such as
questions, constitute stable language interlanguage. Once they are learned, they are
more likely to endure than variational features, such as adverbs. Moreover, Ellis (2002)
suggested that durability may relate to the relevance that a learner perceives between
grammatical properties and their communicative importance. That is, the perceived
communicative importance of particular linguistic features can motivate the learner to try
to retain the gains over a period of time. Learners on the other hand must actively try to
retain by practicing what was once learned or taught, even the best pedagogical learning
environment (consisting of best teachers, materials, techniques, and the maximum
exposure to the L2) cannot help the knowledge stay with the learner. Retention takes
diligence and consistent practice. This should be the responsibility of the learner, rather
than a function of teaching approaches.
Input is very important in L2 learning (Yayun Anny Sun, 2008) and many studies
have been conducted to examine how input is processed, the various facilitative attributes
of input, and the effectiveness of pedagogies that directly manipulate input. Gass (1997)
believes that L2 learning simply cannot take place without input of some sort. Her
statement is very true and has been accepted by teachers at all levels of learning L2.
Many issues relating to input have been actively debated by researchers and Yayun
(2008) categorizes them into four categories such as:
(1) how input is processed during SLA and how it is incorporated into a learners
developing interlanguage (IL) systems (Carroll, 1999, 2000; Chaudron, 1985; Gass,
1997; Krashen, 1982; Sharwood Smith, 1986, 1993; VanPatten, 1996, 2002); (2) the
amount of input that is necessary to enable acquisition (Ellis, 2002; Krashen, 1982;
White, 1989); (3) the various attributes of input and how they may facilitate or hinder
acquisition (e.g., frequency, saliency, and transparency); and (4) instructional methods
that may enhance input to promote acquisition (e.g.,various types of input enhancement,
recasts, and processing instruction). These issues can be put into perspective by

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discussing how input is in fact incorporated into the interlanguage grammar, as


highlighted in the first issue.
Corder (1967) raises a significant issue in qualifying teaching of grammar as
input. According to him, teaching of grammar items in the classroom does not necessarily
mean input if students fail to understand it. Input is what goes in and not what is
available for going in, and it is believed that it is the student who controls this input, or
more properly his intake. (p. 165). In determining input, teachers need to understand
learners developmental readiness, teachability, and other cognitive factors in order to
make instruction relevant to the students. The lessons must be able to develop students
current state of knowledge. In other words, teachers waste their time if they teach
something that the students will not able to understand and they will waste their students
time if they teach something the students have known.
Comprehensible input is important even in the immersion or ESL setting as
Swains (1985) study of a French immersion program revealed that, based on
communicative and comprehensible input alone where learners may achieve native-like
proficiency in their comprehension. But their proficiency and accuracy in production lags
behind that of native speakers despite years of exposure. Swains study provides support
that input does not necessarily lead to acquisition. Learners have the natural inclination to
decode linguistic input for meaning to achieve successful communication. But the
unconscious intake derived from processing-for-meaning is not equivalent or sufficient to
that which is needed for acquisition, which entails explicit analysis of the grammar.
The term input has been one of the serious topics in discussing SLA processing
model. Corders (1967) believes the use of input has often been inconsistent in the field
of SLA. Chaudron (1985), Sharwood Smith (1986), Gass (1997), and Carroll (1999,
2000) attempted to disambiguate and reconceptualize input processing. Chaudrons
model provides a stepwise framework that is paralleled by many of the later models.
Chaudrons (1985) model, essentially, consists of three intake stages. They are: (1) the
preliminary intake (i.e., the perception of input), (2) the subsequent stage of recoding and
encoding of the semantic information into long-term memory, and (3) final intake (i.e.,
where learners fully integrate and incorporate the linguistic information in the input into
their developing grammars).

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Smiths model (1986) focuses and elaborated on the acquisitional aspect of input
processing, which is closer to Chaudrons (1985) notion of final intake. Smiths model
consists a five-stage acquisitional procedure, firstly, learners start by making comparisons
between their semantic representations and the total meaning representations which is
derived from competence and extra-linguistic and world knowledge. In the second stage,
learners adjust their semantic representations as they compare the two sets of
representations. Third, learners generate a surface structure from the adjusted semantic
representation, using rules in their current grammar. Fourth, learners compare the original
surface structure with the new surface structure and note any discrepancy. Finally,
learners restructure their current competence system so that the adjusted semantic
representation may be derived from the surface structures encountered in the future.
Without first comprehending the messages, learners would not be able to proceed with
the first step of comparing semantic representations.
Gasss (1997) framework of SLA includes a similar sequence as Chaudrons
(1985) andSharwood Smiths (1986) models with stages of apperceived input,
comprehended input, intake, integration, and output. Gasss apperceived input is a result
of attention which initiates a certain level of recognition and selection though negotiated
interaction. Failure in communicative interaction pushes learners to negotiate for
meaning. Through the act of clarification and elaboration for comprehension, learners
then receive additional and usable input, and their attention may be drawn to specific
problematic features in the L2. Consequently, interaction increases the chance for
learners to make mental comparisons between their IL and the L2. Through negotiated
interaction, the input is enhanced in three ways. First, it is made more comprehensible,
which is a prerequisite of IL development. Second, problematic forms that impede
comprehension are highlighted and forced to be processed to achieve successful
communication. Third, through negotiation, learners receive both positive and negative
feedback that are juxtaposed immediately to the problematic form, and the close
proximity facilitates hypothesis-testing and revision (Doughty, 2001). In light of its
threefold effects on acquisition, the interaction component of Gasss model really should
be regarded as a facilitator of learning, not a mechanism for learning.

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The models by Chaudron (1985), Sharwood Smith (1986), and Gass (1997), touch
on the importance of comprehensible input. Learners must be able to decode enough of
the input to formulate a conceptual representation from their initial competence IL. If IL
and the input have been understood, learners would generally feel no need to attend to
forms, and acquisition of missing structures would not occur. In other words, since IL
does not have the required language items/structures to make meaningful utterances,
learners attention is challenged to come up with the specific structure. Then cognitive
comparison between IL representation and external representation would take place,
which would eventually lead to acquisition (Gass, 1997; VanPatten, 1990; White, 1987).
The discussion of the models above aimed to explore how input is processed and
incorporated in SLA. It also demonstrated that the seemingly common terminologies
(input vs. intake; comprehensible vs. incomprehensible input) in the models have been
conceived by different researchers to encapsulate different components and highlight
various aspects of the process as a whole. It has also been found that all four models
agree that cognitive/structural comparison is the key to development, regardless of the
specific location of operation, though it remains largely beyond conscious control or
instructional manipulation. Alternatively, attention may come in as a mediating factor at
the perceptual level. There is a substantial body of research available now regarding the
actual effect of attention (e.g., Carr & Curran, 1994; Nissen & Bullemer, 1987; Schmidt,
1990, 2001; Tomlin & Villa, 1991).

Task 10.5

1. What is comprehensible input?


2. How can teacher enhance input?
3. Why do students keep repeating their mistakes even after intervention?
4. Does the Malaysian syllabus burden the teachers? Discuss.
5. Discuss the Gass Model of second language acquisition.

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10. 4 Communicative Approach in Malaysian Classrooms


In presenting language activities and learning, the Malaysian English language syllabus
does not differentiate between the teaching of ESL or EFL but advocates the
communicative approach for all teachers to adopt. This is a good approach for ESL
students, which is proven successful in the Canadian immersion program but whether it is
suitable for the Malaysian EFL students is uncertain. After all, the communicative
approach is advocated as a result of SLA research conducted on ESL learners and it
suggests that the teaching of L2 to be conducted the same as L1 and grammar should be
taught implicitly according to topics and situations by emphasizing oral-aural skills.
Hence, teachers focus on topics (Pillay & North, 1997), which reduce time allocated for
the teaching and learning of grammar (Mohd Sofi, 2003) and the grammatical items are
not sequenced according to Burt and Dulays (1974a) natural order of English morpheme
acquisition.
The communicative approach poses constraints especially when it is adopted for
EFL students and it makes the learning of grammar very difficult to master for the
following reasons. Firstly, during the teaching and learning in the classroom, teachers do
not focus on form, but on meaning. Secondly, the grammatical forms are taught
implicitly, so students do not comprehend the rules behind the formation of the language.
Thirdly, when teaching the grammatical forms, teachers do not sequence them according
to the natural order of English morpheme acquisition.
Also a focus on direct instruction in communication strategies fails to transfer the
knowledge to a new situation (Swain, 1985; Bialystok, 1990; Springer & Collins, 2008).
Bialystok (1990) point out that there is a place for these skills and strategies but it is more
useful when presented in an organized way so that the linguistic options are clear to the
learners. Besides the controversy about the effectiveness of skills and strategies,
researchers might agree that an overdependence on strategies often fails to create a
curiosity about the language itself in the minds of the ESL learners and an interest in
learning more about it. And, this is the reason why students do not show continued
improvement after a successful beginning (Long, 1983).

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In instructional approaches that focus on communicative strategies, learners learn


chunks of English: expressions which are related to different functions in English, for
example, How do you do? There is little morphological analysis of the expression. These
types of instruction only enable the learners to reach the level of basic interpersonal
communication skills in the English language (Cummins, 1984). Furthermore, the
communication skills acquired in the classroom which are based on functional/notional
categories such as apologizing, giving directions, taking leave, etc. work most effectively
when situational cues are present to help speakers negotiate meaning. While the
acquisition of basic English skills makes it possible for an individual to survive
linguistically in the new social environment, it is perhaps not sufficient to ensure his/her
success in coping with the demands of a higher academic setting.
The communicative approach may have limitations but a type of instruction that
emphasizes on the teaching of grammatical forms in isolation may only help the learners
procedural knowledge but may not help to develop their skill. This is because the transfer
of knowledge can be accessed only if information is presented in the form that is
comprehensible to the learners and is practical enough for it to be applied to develop
linguistic skill (Sharwood Smith, 1981; Terrell, 1991; de Graff, 1997; Doughty &
Williams, 1998). It would be better if the instruction builds inquiry into the ways the
target language organizes information instead of instruction that merely presents formal
features which are not linked to immediate applicability. Grammar instruction, at the
least, must explain to the learners how a grammatical system functions to enable them to
acquire the system (McLaughlin, 1990; McLaughlin & Heredia, 1996; deKeyser, 1997).
Such acquisition ensures a level of understanding that will enhance performance during
production process. Hence, this suggests that communicative activities are popular in the
communicative teaching approach which focuses on communicative strategies, and
traditional grammar instruction which emphasizes on teaching forms in isolation might
not be adequate for the teaching and learning an L2 in our contexts (Lim, 1994). Perhaps
what is needed, then, are integrative activities which can integrate a focus on form into
existing L2 communicative activities.
Many researchers believe language immersion in communicative language
teaching (CLT) classrooms are better and this has led to a negative perspective on

166

pedagogical interventions in grammar which in their opinion have negative influence on


speaking fluency because attention paid to grammaticality, which aims at accuracy,
retards the development of communicative fluency. In other words they believe focus on
grammar while speaking hinders fluency. However others such as Doughty (2002) and
Harley (1989) support to the view that instructional focus on grammar is a promising
approach for promoting L2 accuracy. In addition, Christensen and Noda (2002) pointed
out that typically fluency can be obtained through repeated practices, and practices can
help second language learners make fluent connection between what they explicitly know
and what they implicitly do.
Intervention on grammar improves accuracy should not be the blame for someones
being not fluent.
The proponents of CLT view language as a system of expressions (Nunan, 1999),
believe that language is for communication and focus on meaning. Hymes (1972) argued
that it is impossible to get meaning from language without the rules of grammar. This
viewpoint of CLT which focuses on meaning has made communicative language
teaching downplay the importance of grammar instruction in the classroom settings.
Many studies have shown that students communicative skills improve with grammar
intervention (Terry, 1986). Swain (1985) also believes communicative functions in
language me the fact that language contains vocabulary words, phrases, and gramatical
structures. Canale and Swain (1980) suggest grammatical competence be included in
Hymes communicative competetional skills. Savignon (1983) also acknowledges the
role of grammatical competence and suggests pedagogical tasks to include grammar
intervention. Swain suggests teachers not to neglect the teaching of grammar and help
students to use correct language. The role of accuracy is important in helping students to
acquire L2 communicative skills and it is even more important for English teacher
candidates teaching quality.
Krashen (1985), Felix (1981), and Dulay and Burt (1973), who promoted purely
communicative L2 teaching and emphasized on unconscious learning which is influential
on learners L2 performance in communication. Similarly Schmidt (1995) states that
explicit instruction on form does not lead directly to a understanding or productive use,
but consciousness-raising is valuable to the extent that it helps learners to understand

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input which supports natural acquisition processes. In order to ensure quality teaching,
English teacher are held accountable in demonstrating correct spoken language.
However, teahing spoken accuracy is not usually emphasized in the classrooms.
Moreover, in review of major teaching methods used in the Malaysian language
classrooms shows that Malaysian teachers introduced grammar rules in isolation,
overemphasis on meanings, and lack of experience using target language. Ibrahim et.al.
(2002)
In Malaysia, CLT was adopted in the early 1970s. CLT is based on the notion that
learners as communicators are naturally endowed with the ability to learn languages and
the target language system in many predictable and unpredictable acts of communication
which arises both in classroom interaction and in real-world situations. Learners develop
language competency from the lessons in the classroom as well as subsequent use of the
language outside the classrooms (Yalden, 1987). This approach is normally associated
with the Canadian immersion programmes which aim at the achievement of both
academic and L2 learning through an integration of language teaching and content
teaching. It generally has great success in many areas of the students' language
development (e.g. listening comprehension, fluency, functional abilities, confidence in
using the L2) However, these learners have also been found to have problems in some
aspects of the target language (TL) grammar, especially in morpho-syntactic areas, even
after many years in these programmes (Harley & Swain 1984; Swain 1985; Harley 1986,
1992). Swain (1985) argues that one of the important reasons for this is that these learners
engage in too little language production, which prevents them from going beyond a
functional level of L2 proficiency. Many teachers adapt the immersion programme
without being aware or without even considering the nature of the learners background.
For example, the immersion programme in Canadian classrooms actually consisted of
French speaking students as well as English speaking students. This situation provides a
good environment for French speaking students to use English with their English
speaking friends and is able to benefit from it. However, the situation in Malaysia is not
the same. Even though students of different races are put together in the national school,
most of them hardly speak English. The situation does not permit Malay students to use

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and improve English as the French students do in the Canadian immersion programme
with their English speaking classmates.
The other important consideration which is normally neglected by teachers is the
students different linguistic backgrounds. Some teachers fail to address the different
needs of students in their classrooms. For example, there are native speakers whose home
language is English, and are bilinguals who learn the language spontaneously from their
parents who use the English language at home or in their neighborhoods. However, the
majority of students learn English in a foreign language setting especially those who live
in rural areas whereby the contact with the English language is very minimal (Mohd Sofi,
2003). These students are normally deprived of quality input and obviously they will
need different types of input to help them learn L2 effectively.

Task 10.6

1. Should the teaching of L2 to be the same as L1?


2. What is language immersion?
3. What is submersion?

10. 5 Constraints of Second Language Acquisition (SLA)


There are many constraints in learning an L2 when compared to L1. The development
processes of L2 and L1 morpheme acquisition may differ significantly. Jiang (2000)
suggests two important constraints which are (1) the poverty of input and (2) the presence
of an established conceptual/semantic system with an L1 lexical system. In learning L1,
learners have rich input and do not experience these constraints, for example, most words
or morphemes are acquired in context which provides the meaning but L2 learners learn
the meaning of words and morphemes explicitly in classrooms which often lack sufficient
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contextualized input in the TL. This makes L2 learning difficult because there is no
integration between semantic, syntactic, and morphological specifications about a word
to provide concrete information to the lexical entry of that word. In explicit learning in
the classrooms, morphemes are acquired primarily by memorizing or learners remember
the L2 morpheme through their L1 translation. An established semantic system or prior
knowledge may discourage meaning extraction and L2 learners may tend to rely on this
system which may cause fossilization or reach a stage where learners unconsciously stop
perfecting their L2 or are unable to fix ingrained errors due to the false rules becoming
permanent (Selinker, 1974). This constraint prevent many L2 learners from achieving
complete L2 language development because they memorize grammatical items or choose
to use L1 translation which may prevent understanding and acquiring meaning as well as
other properties of the word.

Task 10.7

What is the constraint in learning an L2 as suggested by Jiang?

10. 6 Focus-on-form instruction


Focus-on-form instruction is a pedagogical intervention that focuses on learners
recognition of linguistic feature when they make mistakes on certain grammatical items
and they also show problems with comprehension or production (Long & Robinson,
1998). Focus-on form approach extracts linguistic features from content or from a
communicative activity and provide a focus-on-form interventions that focus on meaning
or communication and draw learners attention to a linguistic feature as necessitated by a
communicative demand. The importance of focus-on-form instruction is applied when
they have understood the meaning and use of the grammatical items and are already be
evident to the learner at the time that attention is drawn to the linguistic forms such as
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phrases and sentences needed to get the meaning across (Doughty & Williams, 1998b).
Focus-on-form instruction is typically carried out in two steps. First, pedagogical
activities can be designed to require learners to be primarily engaged in communicative
tasks while also incidentally focusing their attention on particular grammatical
characteristics. Second, L2 teachers can choose to explicitly or implicitly provide
corrective feedback on learners grammatical mistakes during the course of
communication (Ellis, 2002). Explaining reasons for mistakes and how to construct the
correct structures are examples of explicit corrective feedback.
The aim of focus-on-form instruction is to reinforce attention to linguistic properties
to an essentially communicative task rather than to depart from an already
communicative objective; therefore, focus-on-form is potentially effective (Doughty &
Varela, 1998). Based on this notion, Doughty and Varela conducted research to
determine whether and how learners attention can be drawn to formal features without
distracting them from their original communicative intent. The result showed that focuson-form learners improved in both accuracy and total frequency of using past time
reference, particularly in the oral reporting of the science labs. The suggestion that can be
made from the result was that task-natural, incidental focus on form is beneficial to
students. The feasibility of the approach and pointed out some pedagogical implication as
follow.
i.

Focus-on-form intervention should be brief and immediate.

ii.

The participants believed that they could pay attention to meaning,


communication, and form at the same time.

iii.

Not every participant felt comfortable about being corrected more than one or
two times within one exchange.

iv.

Teachers should be aware of the participants desire for comments on their


language.

v.

It was possible to incorporate a focus on form to the content curriculum.

The result of Doughty and Varela study is encouraging in that the focus-on-form
approach can help L2 learners spoken accuracy. More importantly, it can be
implemented in classrooms, not just experimentally possible. Focus-on-form enables

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learners to consciously learn the rules which describe simple structures. This enables
teachers to carry out a pedagogical presentation of complex rules which can help learners
to make to a large-scale overgeneralization. However, explicit instruction without
provision of sufficient examples is ineffective.
In order to help learners understand a specific grammatical structure or property,
teachers and textbook writers often feel the need to resort to various techniques to direct
the learners attention to the aspect of the target language (Sharwood Smith, 1993).
Probably the most straightforward way among these techniques is to provide examples
and explicitly address the relevant structural properties. The focus-on-form activities are
referred as consciousness-raising (Sharwood Smith, 1980). Since consciousness-raising
implies that the learners mental state is altered by the input (Sharwood Smith, 1993),
Ellis (2002) distinguished it from practice. In consciousness-raising activities, learners
are not required to demonstrate their understanding of the target structures through
producing or using the target structures but instead through formulating some kind of
cognitive representation of how the structures work (Ellis, 2002). That is, the learners are
not engaged in repetitive practice, in which learners are typically required to produce the
target forms correctly in isolation or in context and constantly receive corrective
feedback. In other words, whereas practice is intended to develop learners implicit
knowledge of the grammar rules, consciousness raising is aimed only at explicit
knowledge. Thus, formal instruction can function as a pedagogical device to raise learner
consciousness of specific grammatical properties, which then can be noticed by learners
in subsequent meaning focused input (Ellis, 1990; Schmidt, 1990).
The degree of noticing was operationally defined as the amount of the target
forms that were successfully recognized and underlined by the participants when the
forms were embedded in the texts. At no time during the noticing exercises did the
experimenter comment on the presence of the target forms, which were the adverb
placement, indirect object placement, and relative clause usage. Rather, the experimenter
simply required the participants to underline special English words. The special English
words were defined and explained to the participants as anything that they considered
special or noteworthy.

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Task 10.8

1. Define focus-on-form instruction.


2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of focus-on-form instruction?
3. Discus with your friend how to construvt an activity which is focus-on-form.

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UNIT 11
Integration of Language Skills in a Lesson

Learning Outcomes
At the end of the unit, students should be able to:
1. use the materials provided to carry out interesting activities for children;
2. improvise on the materials provided to suit children in their classes;
3. come up with more activities using the ones in this topic as samples

Introduction
This topic contains ideas, games and lesson notes for teachers with young learners in
mind. All four skills are covered for young learner development. Young children are
wonderful processors of new information and can learn to read, write, listen and speak
quickly if well motivated. They must enjoy the process and be in a positive, fun, successoriented learning environment. Children have energy and want to make noise. Songs will
channel these natural inclinations positively. Therefore, a lot of songs have been included
in preparing the lessons.

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Learning Points
11.1 Beginning reading and writing: introducing letters
A selection of tips and activities to help introduce letters to young learners.
Before introducing letters, consider how children learn their mother tongue.
11.1.1 The sound system of English
Begin by teaching children to recognize, understand and produce the spoken word
through games, songs and stories. Allow them to hear plenty of English from you, so try
to maximize your English and minimize Mother Tongue in the classroom (you can also
use videos, tapes, songs etc) so they become accustomed to the sounds of English.
Encourage them to speak English by repeating you, joining in chants and songs and
responding to simple questions. This foundation is vital to make meaningful links to the
sound system of English. Learning sounds and letters without understanding any words is
a purely mechanical and potentially off-putting experience for them. Young children will
quickly learn English words if you introduce them with a picture that clearly shows the
meaning or you can point to the object in the classroom e.g. chair, door, window.
Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_Wikipedia
11.1.2 Introducing letters
It is possible to introduce letters after only a few hours of English classes as long as the
children have already been introduced to English vocabulary they understand the
meaning of words and are able to recognize the word when it is spoken. Doing a little
regularly and incorporating reading and writing into every lesson is a good idea. It gives
the lesson variety and students are not overloaded.
Some suggestions for introducing letters.
a.

A TPR (Total Physical Response) action game. Call out action words like swim,
jump and hop while doing the actions and get the children to copy the actions

175

moving around the classroom as they are listening to the words. This type of
activity ensures that children are learning/practising the words meaningfully and
by being physically involved they are enjoying the game which makes the words
more memorable. Getting children to move around in the lesson helps them to use
up the energy they have or energise and focus them if they are sluggish or
distracted.
b.

Revise new language from previous lesson e.g. children have to point at
appropriate objects in the room as you call out the names. Children do pick up
new words quickly, but they also forget quickly, so its a good idea to keep
revising and recycling vocabulary. When they are able to remember the words,
they will feel a sense of success and be motivated to learn more.

c.

Introduce 7 letters phonically (explained below).

d.

Practise the new letters along with others they have already learnt.

e.

Introduce a new song or chant and practise. Or introduce new vocabulary and
practise.

It is possible to have a lot of input in every lesson. Dont underestimate what children can
learn and give them plenty of opportunities to pick up new language.
a.

Story: This is a great way to practise and/or introduce language meaningfully. See
previous webpage on using stories with juniors for more ideas.

b.

A quiet game/task based on the story - drawing and colouring in. Allow for quiet
activities to allow children to process the language, have a rest, and for you to
monitor them and have one-to-one dialogues with them about what they are
doing. For example if they are drawing a picture which includes target vocabulary
of animals, you can say thats a lovely blue tiger or what a funny dog etc:
allowing them to hear the target language in a personalised context.

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11.1.3 Phonics approach


A phonics approach is far more useful initially than learning the names of the letters.
Knowing the alphabet, as in reciting the names of the letters in the correct order, is not
useful if the children arent able to match the sound with the written letter.
a. Phonics lesson
* Prepare 26 flash cards, each one with a letter of the alphabet in lower case (it is also
possible to buy ready-made letter flashcards, as well as cards that show common
letter combinations such as ow, ee, ea etc).
* Show the letters one at a time (not all at once, introduce around 7 each time) and
say the sound the letter makes. For the letter c use the k sound as this will be more
useful initially. Let the children hear the sound and encourage them to repeat it.
b. Practise
* Hold up a letter and ask Is this a /b/? or What is this?'.
* Pin the letters on the board and ask children to run up one at a time and slap the
letter you call out (phonically).
* Ask the children if they know any words that begin with this sound. This is great for
using what they already know and making the strong connection between words,
letters and sounds.
Source: www.onestopenglish.com/skills/news-lessons

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11.2 Beginning reading and writing: internalising letters


Given below is a selection of holistic activities to help give children a strong imprint of
the shape of letters in their mind's eye. Especially if the childrens own language has a
different alphabet it is important that they become familiar with the shapes of letters and
can begin manipulating them. The following holistic (they require using the body and
space rather than pencil and paper) activities help to give children a strong imprint of the
shape of letters in their minds eye.
a. Body letters
Ask children to make themselves into the shape of given letters make yourself an s
etc. Children contort their bodies into what they think the letter looks like.
You can model this easily by showing them an x by standing with your feet apart and
your arms in the air and wide apart. Or you can show a T by standing with your feet
together and your arms stretched out to the sides. Or ask children to make a letter and the
whole class has to try to recognize what the letter is.
b. Tracing letters
Ask students to shut their eyes and with your finger trace a letter on their hand or back.
They must tell you what this is. They can play the game in pairs. There may be giggles
from the ticklish in the class, but the activity requires them to see the letter in their
minds eye and its great fun, too.
c. Air writing
Before writing letters on paper, get all the students to stand up and you stand at the front
of the class with your back to them. Using your writing hand draw a big letter in the air
saying its sound at the same time. Get the students to copy you, moving their arms to
form the letter in the air.

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d. Letter sculptures
Give out plasticine (soft modelling clay) to all the children (half-cooked spaghetti works
too, but is messier). Ask the children to make certain letters (or words). They have to
concentrate on the shape of the letter and its proportions.
The children can choose their own letter and make a big one out of plasticine or card,
then stick it on a large piece of card. Give out magazines and newspapers and let the
children look and find either words or pictures of things that begin with the same letter.
They cut these out and create a collage with their big letter. Decorate the classroom with
these posters.
Source: www.deepenglish.com/LearnEnglish

11.3 Beginning reading and writing: learning words


i. A selection of tips and activities to help you introduce words to children.
It is a short journey from letters to words. In order to introduce words, show pictures and
words together and sound out the phonics.
E.G. /c/ /a/ /t/ = cat
Move you finger under each letter as you sound it. Remember not all languages are
written in the same direction. Encourage the children to read with you.
a. Word building
Word tiles get the children to make 26 letter tiles out of cardboard (old cereal boxes
will do) by simply cutting out small squares and writing each letter on them. a
Each child has their letters spread out in front of them. Call out a word they have learnt
e.g. cat and the first one to find the right tiles and put them in order must put their hand
up. This encourages quick eye movement over the letters, recognition and letter
combining.

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Races for fun you could challenge the children working in pairs or threes (to encourage
cooperation and peer teaching) to make as many words as possible in a specified time.
As each child has their own letters, they can play with them at home or if they finish an
activity early and see how many words they can make. Later they can move into building
short sentences.
Worksheet 11.1
You can produce easy worksheets like this:
What animal?
c_t

d_g

a_t

Children fill in the gaps. If you can add a picture of the word too: it will make it all the
more meaningful.
Worksheet 11.2
atc =

gdo =

npe =

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Children unjumble the letters to make the word. You could also do this on the board with
children coming up and doing the activity one at a time.
Source:www.onestopenglish.com/skills/news-lessons
Word searches
These are good for children to recognise words within a jumble of other words. It makes
them concentrate and see words on the page. Children have to circle or colour the ten
key words in the grid.
Worksheet 11.3
Animals

Children have to find the ten animal words in the box. You can either give them the ten
words at the bottom to help them look. Or attach the pictures of the animals to the
wordsearch.
BIRD, CAT, COW, DOG, ELEPHANT, FISH, LION, MOUSE, SNAKE, TIGER

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Crosswords
Children look at the picture, have to remember the English word and then have to write
the word spelling correctly to fit it into the crossword. This worksheet is also a good
record of vocabulary for them to keep and refer to.

Worksheet 11.4

REMEMBER: Start early. Make it fun. Make it holistic. Encourage life-long skills.

Source:www.onestopenglish.com/skills/news-lessons

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11.4 Beginning reading and writing: recognition games


Selection of games to help young learners practise using letters and sounds.
Games are motivating and help make language memorable, so try to think of lots of fun
ways to practise the new letters and sounds that you are introducing to the children.
a) Run and point
Pin up the letters that you have introduced to the class so far on the walls around the
classroom at a height the children can reach. Nominate one student and say Juan, run
and point to /s/. The child must look around and find the correct letter and run up to it
and touch it or point to it. (Model the activity so that the children are clear about what
they have to do).
You could then turn this into a race. Divide the class into two groups. They stand in two
lines at the front of the class or down the centre of the room (its great if you can move
furniture to the sides of the room). The children at the front of each line are the runners.
You say the sound of the letter and the one to reach and touch it first is the winner. They
then go to the back of the line and the next two children are the runners for the next letter.
It is fine if other children in the team help the runner its not a test but a means of
helping children learn the sound-letter link.
b) What begins with /b/?
Ask the question with all the letters the children have been introduced to. They can tell
you any words they know that begin with that sound. This is great for them to make their
own connections between the letter and the sound. You may be surprised at how many
words they know even ones you havent introduced in class.

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c) Hold up the letter


Get the children to make cards with the letters they know. Call out a sound and the
children have to hold up the corresponding letter. This game allows all the children to
join in and to focus on processing the sound-letter link without having to produce any
language.
d) Recognising the letters
Produce handouts like this:
n

hnm

aodg

Children have to recognise which is the same letter and simply circle it or maybe colour
over it. The letters are actually very similar in shape, so its important that children can
differentiate between them.
e) Copying
There are many good books that allow children to practise writing letters and words.
They simply copy by following the arrows that show them which way their pen/pencil
must move. After having done the air, body, plasticine activities it is good to move onto
paper and allow the children lots of practice with holding a pencil and making the shapes.
It is not easy to begin with and they need lots of practice to control their hand and follow
the shape of the letter. In my experience children enjoy the task and concentrate hard on
producing their letters.
Source: www.onestopenglish.com/skills/news-lessons

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11.5 Reading and writing: beginning vocabulary


11.5.1 Beginning vocabulary: introduction
In this section you will find a selection of tips and activities to help students learn
vocabulary using different techniques.
Words are the building blocks of language and having a good supply of them is very
important for students right from the beginning of their English learning.
With young students vocabulary learning is relatively easy as the words they need (the
words they would use in their mother tongue too) are concrete things they can see,
touch, taste, play with etc; so it easy for the meaning of the words to be made apparent
without resorting to translation or complicated explanations. How better to teach the
word apple than to show the children an apple or a picture of an apple?
The sooner students are able to communicate ideas in English, the more motivated they
will be, so giving them a bank of vocabulary to draw on is necessary starting with
nouns and adjectives.
Although children seem to learn new words very quickly, they will also forget quickly, so
it is very important to give them lots of practice of vocabulary to help them remember.
11.5.2 Beginning vocabulary: practice activities
A selection of activities to help young learners practise new vocabulary.
a. Pizzas
* For food vocabulary and fun
- Give each student a paper plate and ask them to design their favourite pizza by
drawing the things they most like onto it. You can show them your own example with
e.g. cheese, tomato, ham, pineapple and chocolate!

185

- If they are pre-writers, they can tell you and each other what is on their pizza. If they
are able to, they write the words of the ingredients next to them on the pizza. The
pizzas can be displayed on the classroom walls.
b. I went to market
For older students with a bigger bank of vocabulary and for all vocabulary, alphabet
awareness and fun.
- Get students into a circle.
- Start by saying: I went to market and I bought an apple.
- The student to your right must repeat what you said and add another thing beginning
with B.
- Keep going until the last student has to remember 26 things bought in market!
c. Hangman
A quick and effective way of getting students to revise spelling of previously introduced
words. A great warmer at the start of a lesson.
- Think of a word students learnt last lesson e.g. mountain
- Draw eight dashes on the board one for each letter of the word _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
- One at a time students guess which letters may be in the word. If they are correct
the letter is added to the word:
N = _ _ _ n _ _ _ n
If they guess incorrectly, the teacher draws one part of a hangmans noose on the board

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Students can guess the whole word at any time. But the teacher wins if the whole
hangman is drawn before the word is guessed.
d. Bingo
To practise word recognition
Collate a list of 20+ words the students know well they can recognize them in their
written and spoken form and know the meanings. Either write the words on the board or
hand out a list of the words to the students. Students must choose any 9 of the words and
write them onto a piece of paper that looks like this:
tiger

blue

pen

pizza

ten

orange

chair

book

girl

Teacher chooses words form the list at random and reads them aloud. If the student has
the word on his paper he crosses it out. As soon as a student has crossed out three words
in a line up, down or diagonally he shouts Bingo! And is the winner.
Source: www.onestopenglish.com/skills/news-lessons
11.5.3 Beginning vocabulary: presenting new vocabulary
A selection of activities to help young learners practise vocabulary. This section focuses
on the presentation stage.
At the presentation stage it is vital that the meaning of new words is clear. I am a great
advocate of avoiding mother tongue in the English classroom. Translation is unnecessary

187

and indirect and also creates a dependence in students that is later hard to cure. To
present concrete vocabulary: a staged approach
e.g. Fruit
a. bring in a bag of different fruit six to eight items at a time is plenty
b. pick up one fruit and say the word clearly a number of times, encourage the
students to repeat the word
c. go through all the words in this way
d. return regularly to a word they have already been introduced to and check they
have remembered it e.g. pick up a banana and say an apple? or is this an
apple?, students should be able to say yes or no appropriately before you
move on to check the vocabulary further
e. to further check that students have connected the new word to the meaning ask
students individually show me the banana etc. they will get actively involved in
recognizing the target word and indicating the object which it describes.
NB: With vocabulary like animals pictures can be used. With verbs actions can be used
walk, sit, swim, hop etc and students encouraged to respond to the words with the
appropriate actions this is a great game.
Once children have been introduced to the alphabet and have started reading and writing
words, after the introduction of the meaning and sound of new words, introduce the
written form. Make flashcards with words on them, read them aloud with the students and
get them to match the words to the objects or pictures.

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Worksheet 11.4

b_ _ k

c_a_r

p__c_l

Get students to write the words under pictures like this.

11.5.4 Beginning vocabulary: pronunciation and drilling


A selection of activities to help young learners practise vocabulary. This section focuses
on pronunciation and drilling.
Students must hear correct models of the target vocabulary in order to copy the
pronunciation and to recognise the words later. They should also have plenty of practice
of saying the words in order to get the pronunciation right and also to help memorization.
Choral repetition of words is useful but can become meaningless. To keep focused on
meaning, try choral repetition like this. Put these five faces on the board:

When children repeat the words they have to do so conveying these emotions. Try it with
the word chocolate. Children enjoy doing this and they do the activity meaningfully.
Chants and songs are a good way to get students repeating vocabulary and by adding
actions focus on meaning is not lost.

189

Get students moving their arms wide apart when they say big and close together when
they say little to indicate meaning. Students can also make up their own verses with other
animals, which they decide are big or little or even other objects like house and cup.
Source: www.onestopenglish.com/skills/news-lessons
The other good thing about songs and chants is that the words are part of connected
speech at a reasonably fast speed, so that weak forms and sound linking occur naturally.
E.g. knees and toes if said at the speed of the song have a natural link of the s in knees
and the a in and, also the a in and becomes a schwa and not a long sound. Another fun
way of getting childrens tongues around English sounds are tongue twisters:
Yellow lorry, yellow lorry
Sally sells sea shells on the sea shore

11.6. Teaching children: speaking and listening


a. Songs can be an effective way of teaching children and can encourage them to
become actively involved in their learning.
* Why use songs with this age group?
- Children like songs
- Songs can be integrated into language learning - listening, singing and doing
activities around the songs
- In many cultures songs are used to introduce or practise mother tongue with young
children, so this is a medium that children are very comfortable with
- Songs are memorable
- Songs often include a lot of repetition that helps to make language memorable

190

- Songs contain chunks of language that children can remember and use
- Because songs must be sung at a reasonably fast speed they encourage natural
phonological features like linking and weak forms
- Children will be actively involved in their learning, even at a very young age, rather
than passive
- Children have energy and want to make noise. Songs will channel these natural
inclinations positively
- Parents will enjoy hearing their children singing in English
- Singing is a happy and stress-free activity that will add to a positive classroom
learning environment
* What songs should we choose for the classroom?
Choose songs that:
- Contain simple, easily understood lyrics
- Link with a topic or vocabulary that you are studying in class
- Are repetitive
- Children can easily do actions to (to help emphasize meaning)

* Children: songs: lesson plan A for pre-readers (under eight year olds)
This is a lesson plan based on the popular children's song Head and Shoulders which is
aimed at pre-readers under six years' old.
Introduce and practise the vocabulary

191

- Say head clearly pointing to yours and get children to repeat, do same for all
words. Repeat a number of times.
- Dont point now, but say word clearly and encourage children to point to
appropriate part of the body
- Check meaning: Point to head and say shoulders and ask yes or no? Do same for
other parts, sometimes being correct and sometimes not.
- Point to part of the body and encourage children to say the word.
- Go through the song slowly with the movements, first modeling for children to see
what they need to do and then encouraging children to join in. Pick up the speed of
the song as children become more confident.
- Play a game based on the key vocabulary like this it includes basic colour
vocabulary that children should already know. Ensure children have coloured pens
or pencils. Model the activity, so children know what they have to do say the
mouth is blue and hold up the picture and colour the mouth blue. Play the game by
giving similar instructions. Give the children plenty of time to find the right picture,
the right colour and do the colouring. If the children are confident, encourage them
to give you or their classmates similar instructions.
- Sing the song again at the end of the lesson.
- Begin the next lesson with a check of the vocabulary and sing the song again.
Children will enjoy singing a song they already know, but do not assume they will
all remember the song and the vocabulary. Young children learn quickly and forget
quickly if they dont practise.
Source: Owens, R. E. (2012). Language Development, An Introduction. (8th ed.). Upper
Saddle River, New Jersey: Allyn & Bacon.

192

Task 11.1

Show pictures of the parts of the body with the words clearly written beneath. Say the
words while pointing to the words. Give out pictures of the parts of the body and separate
pieces of paper with the words on which children must match. This can be done in groups
of two or three. If the group is bigger some children may not actually participate and be
left out

Task 11.2

Ask the children to draw a person (themselves or maybe you!) and to label the body with
the words they have learnt. They may know some other parts of the body that they can
add you may have to help with spelling.

Task 11.3
Divide the class into teams ideally nine members in each team. Choose a confident and
outgoing child from each team to stand or sit at the front of the class and be THE BODY.
Other members of the team each get a sticker with a word of a part of the body written on
it. Each team stands behind a line away from the front of the class. One at a time a team
member has to run to the front and put the sticker on the appropriate part of THE BODY.
It is a race and the first team to correctly label their BODY are the winners. If the
children know other parts of the body, you can also use these words it can get very
funny if they know the word bottom.

193

Task 11.4

Another good way to practise the vocabulary is to do a picture dictation. E.g. teacher
says: this is a monster. He has two heads and four eyes etc. Children have to draw the
monster according to the teachers description. Ensure you use only vocabulary the
children have come across before this can include numbers, colours, sizes and shapes
e.g. The monster has four, small, blue, triangular ears.

Task 11.5

Children with a larger vocabulary for parts of the body can be encouraged to write a new
verse for the song using other pats of the body and then perform them to each other using
the correct actions

References
Owens, R. E. (2012). Language Development, An Introduction. (8th ed.). Upper Saddle
River, New Jersey: Allyn & Bacon.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_Wikipedia
www.deepenglish.com/LearnEnglish
www.onestopenglish.com/skills/news-lessons

194

UNIT 12
Macro Teaching

Learning Outcomes
By the end of this unit teachers should be able to:

plan and teach a specified topic with the help of a lesson plan

differentiate Micro teaching with Macro teaching

Introduction
Teaching is a way of transferring knowledge from the teacher to the targeted group of
students be it a small or a larger group. For a small group of students a teacher uses micro
teaching while Macro teaching is used when a teacher teaches a larger group of students.
Macro teaching style is utilized in the large lecture halls often seen on college campuses.
This teaching style often involves a larger amount of material because this teaching style
does not utilize repetitive skill practice. There is almost no one-to-one interaction with
this teaching style. However, Macro teaching involves the utilization of the kinetic, audio
and visual learning styles.

195

Learning Points
12.1 Micro Teaching

Micro teaching is to teach within a small group, giving each individual within the group a
chance to practice a concept or skill. The small group size allows for more one-on-one
interaction time between the students and the teacher. Often the students within a micro
teaching environment are required to give presentations or perform tasks in front of the
group. After each student presents or performs a task, he is given feedback on his
performance from both the instructor and his peers.

12.2 Macro Teaching and Micro Teaching


Table 12.1 Essence of Macro and Micro Teaching
Macro Teaching

Micro Teaching

Command
Style.
Immediate
response to a stimulus. Performance
is accurate and immediate. The
teacher makes all the decision; the
learner responds by adhering to all
the decisions.
The same task is designed and
assigned to all learners.
Teacher selects general subject
matter area, learner select the topic,
identifies the questions, collect data,
discover answers and organizes the
information.
Learner initiates her/his learning
experience.

Time is provided for the learners to do


a task individually and privately. Time
is available for the teacher to give
feedback to all learners, individually
and privately.
Same task with different level is
assigned.
Learners work in pairs; Immediate
feedback;
follow
criteria
for
performance designed by the teacher;
develop feedback & socialization
skills.
Teacher initiates learners experience.

(Source: Nicole Ubinger. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.ehow.com/info_8479909_differences-micromacro-teaching.html)

196

Knowing the style and applying them in a deliberate manner maximizes the effectiveness
of teaching and learning.

Similarities
I.

Both styles are performance based, which means that the students' work is judged against
criteria.

II.

The criteria are detailed in lesson plans, guidelines for papers or presentations,
and tests that measure retained knowledge that the student can apply to show a
working knowledge.

Differences

Table 12.2 Differences between Macro and Micro Teaching


Macro Teaching
Micro Teaching
1. Large groups
1. Small groups.
2. Less significant in integrating learning 2. More significant in integrating learning
into the experience.
into the experience.
3. Less kinetic leaning
3. More kinetic learning because the small
group size allows the students more time
for hands-on experience & presentation.
4. Macro teaching style utilizes the 4. Micro teaching style utilizes multiple
auditory style because the large class
learning styles.
size lends itself more to a lecture style.
5. Assessment at the end of term or 5. Must include assessment in the teaching.
semester or topic.
(Source: Nicole Ubinger. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.ehow.com/info_8479909_differences-micromacro-teaching.html)

197

12.3 The Training Program Process and Issues


The Macro/Micro teaching practice has three goals:
a). To understand the structure of each style and its contribution to the developing
student.
b). To develop insight into ones own teaching behavior or pattern.
c). To internalize and use as many styles in the classroom as one can in order to reach
more students and more learning objectives.

12.4 Issues to Deal With in Micro Teaching

Micro teaching invites teachers to REFLECT upon his/her concept of teaching,


past experiences in teaching, degree of flexibility, willingness to accept the existence of
options, willingness to learn to shift from style to style. Micro Teaching involves:i) Practicing the use of each style in safe conditions.
ii) Learning to prepare teaching episodes by using given styles.
iii) Teaching short episodes (5-10 minutes) to 5-10 learners, using the given style.
iv) Videotaping the episodes.
v) Viewing and analyzing the episodes with peer and by oneself.
vi) Using theoretical models of a given styles.
vii) Deciding whether further practice and taping is needed to reach greater
competency.

12.5 Issues to Deal With in Macro Teaching

This phase invites the teacher to refine his/her teaching of a given style, overcome
the initial frustration of learning new behaviors, willingness to behave in new ways,
willingness to trust the learners ability to shift behaviors, ability to receive feedback
from peer in order to ease the learning of a new style and becoming proficient in selfanalysis. Macro Teaching involves:-

198

i) Preparing classroom episodes.


ii) Teaching classroom episodes to the entire class by using various styles.
iii) Overcoming the initial awkward feeling of behaving in a new way.
iv) Becoming aware of corresponding learners behaviors.
v) Developing the ability for self-analysis.
vi) Learning to accept feedback from the visiting trainer who observes the class,
offers feedback and works with the teacher on maximizing the congruity
between intent and action.
vii) Continuing to work with peers in mutual class observations, mutual planning
and reciprocal feedback.

Developing Macro teaching skills strengthens and enhances the teaching-learning


relationship. It increases the confidence of teachers in reaching more students and it
creates conditions for reaching more learning objectives.

199

12.6 Sample Lesson Plans for Macro-Teaching


This is a 2 period (Each period is 40 minutes) lesson plan. Teachers are also encouraged
to write their reflection after every lesson in order to consolidate their teaching in the
future.

Sample Lesson plan-1


Class: __________
Date:
Day:
Week:
Time:
No. of Pupils:
Level of Proficiency: Intermediate
Topics: The Past and the Future
Theme: Values
Skills: 1.1 Make friends and keep friendships by:a. taking part in conversations and discussions;
b. introducing oneself;
c. talking about self, family and friends, interests, part events, feelings,
personal experiences and understanding when others talk about
themselves;

Language aspect: Wh-questions


Learning outcomes: At the end of the lesson, students should be able to:
1. Students should be able to construct 5 sentences using
Wh- questions.
2. Student should be able to carry out a conversation using Whquestions with friends politely.
Previous Knowledge: Students have learnt about Wh- Questions
Moral Values: Cooperation and Politeness

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Teaching Aids: Power Point Slides, Manila Card and Video

Stages

Teaching and Learning Activities

Teaching
Aids

1. Teacher plays a video entitled Dust in the wind


The video displays lyrics for students to sing along.
While listening, students are required to list down words that Videos
Rationale: To they didnt understand for vocabulary purposes
give
early
insights about
2. Teacher asks questions to students
the lesson and Question i) What do you think the song is about?
gain students
ii) Do you believe that singing a song can help
attention.
us relive the moment that had left us?
iii) What is your favourite moment in your life?
Set Induction
(6 minutes)

3. Teacher explains about the importance of appreciating


moment in life.
- The reason we stand here now is because of our
action in the past.
- The choices that we had make define us in the
future.
4. Based on the explanation, teacher asks students on
how to start a conversation.
5. Students answered the question and based on the
answer teacher hints out the usage of Wh- questions to start a
conversation.
Explanation
Stage
(15 minutes)
Rationale: To
explain about
the usage of
WhQuestions to
students.

1. Teacher explains about the usage of Wh- questions.


- There are ways to ask question to anyone. To ask Slides
about feeling you will use How.
- You must understand the situation to use the
correct way of asking question politely.
- You must make sure that you are using the correct
tenses.
2. Based on the slides teacher explains the usage of Whquestions.
- Where is use to ask about places
- When is use to ask about time
- Who is use to ask about a person
3. Students jot down the notes written on the slides and
ask question about the usage of Wh- questions.

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4. Teacher gives out important tips about the usage of


Wh- questions.
5. Teacher uses the slide show to explains about the
usage of Wh-questions and other grammar properties
- Be verbs, auxiliary verbs.
6. Students take down notes and ask question for
confirmation.
7. Teacher gives out example on the slide show and
gives out another example to improve students
understanding.
8. Students listen attentively and ask questions.
Practice Stage
(45 minutes)
Rationale: To
train students
to use Whquestion
correctly and
cooperate with
friends.

1. Teacher asks students to sit in pairs.


2. In a pair, students are given task based on the Whquestions.
3. Teacher gives out instruction
- Based on what you had learnt, I want you to
construct 3 questions using all the Wh-question
that you had learnt.
4. Students write down the sentences and only allowed
to discuss with their pair.
5. Teacher monitors all the pairs to ensure students
understands the usage of Wh- questions.
6. Students ask question for confirmation and to write
correctly.
7. While monitoring, Teacher asks questions to students
- Do you have any problem about the usage of Whquestions?
- Are you using the correct tenses to construct your
question?
8. After students finish with their sentences, teacher
randomly picks a few pair to read out their questions.
9. Student reads the questions and other students listen
attentively.

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10. Teacher listens and rectifies the mistake.


11. Teacher provides a better sentence for students to
understand.
12. Students write down notes and asks question.
13. Teacher states out the importance of asking politely to
students.
- In terms of word choice and sentences used.
- Tone used.

Production
Stage
(45 minutes)

1. Teacher introduces a game called Detective Game


to students.
Manila
card
2. Teacher gives out the instruction on how to play the
game.
- Individually, you must construct questions to ask
your friends. Think like a detective to interrogate
your friend based on the usage of Wh-questions.

Rationale: To
encourage
students
to
speak
confidently
and
ask The suspect will be chosen randomly by me and sometimes
question
by your friends. Prepare yourself to ask and answer the
politely.
question later on.
3. Students prepare their questions.
4. Teacher monitors the progress and check students
question to ensure that it is appropriate.

5. While students are preparing, teacher chooses few of


the students to receive a manila card that contain a
topic for them to ask.
- Place of Birth, favourite colour, habit.
6. Teacher asks the holder of the small card to rise up
their hand.
7. Students obey the order and teacher chooses one of
the students to ask question.
8. Teacher chooses one student to become the suspect.

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9. Student asks question and answered by the student


that become the suspect.
10. The progress of the game repeated until every student
had played the game

Closure
(5 minutes)

1. Teacher sums up the lesson and explains the


importance of a good question to initiate a
conversation.
2. Teacher sums up the usage of Wh-questions
3. Students listen and write down notes.

Extended
Activity

1. Teacher asks students to search the internet or the


library for extra information about the usage of Whquestion.
2. Teacher asks students to search the internet for the
best moment in human history.

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Sample Lesson plan-2


Name: (teacher)
Class:
Date:
Day:
Week:
Time: 2 periods
No. of students:
Level of proficiency: Intermediate
Topic: The synopsis of Rumpelstiltskin drama
Skills: 3.0 Language for aesthetic use
3.1 Listen to, read, view and respond to literary works by:
a) Understanding and telling in ones words the story and poem heard and/ or
read and giving ones opinion.
b) Recognizing elements in a story such as characters and setting.

Specifications:
Level 1: i. Finding out the meaning of unfamiliar words by using contextual clues
and/ or the dictionary.
ii. Retelling the story or content of the poem in ones own words.

Language aspect: Vocabulary


Learning outcomes: At the end of the lesson, students should be able to:
i)
Find at least 2 out of 5 difficult words, and find the
meanings using dictionary
ii)
Identify at least 3 out of 6 characters in the Rumpelstiltskin
drama.
Materials: Dictionary, Form 2 literature textbook
Moral values: Honesty

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STAGES

TEACHING/ LEARNING ACTIVITIES

TEACHING
AIDS

Set induction
1. The teacher draws a spiral on a board.
Whiteboard
2. The students need to imagine the spiral is marker
representing for what.
3. Example: mosquito coil, illusion optic, snake,
fire hose, candy
Explanation

4. The teacher asks the students whether they Form


bring the dictionary and the literature textbook. literature
5. The
teacher
writes
on
the
board textbook
Rumpelstiltskin, the title of the drama.
6. The teacher asks, What is Rumpelstiltskin
representing for?
7. Teacher tells and shares with the students about
the synopsis of the drama. The teacher tells the
synopsis briefly to the students.
8. Later, the students need to read silently of the
first page of the drama.
9. The teacher later writes on the board ten words
that taken from the drama. The words are:
a) Exchange
b) Nod
c) Heap
d) Scratch
e) Stretch
f) Wisp
g) Wave
h) Wheelbarrows
i) Perhaps
j) Bargain
10. Teacher asks the students to find the meaning
of the words by using their own dictionary.

11. Students need to read aloud 2 pages of the text Form


(page 63- page 64)
literature
12. At the same time, students need to underline textbook
the difficult words in the text.

Practice

Production

13. Students are divided into 6 groups. Each group


needs to take one character in the drama.
14. Using the same 2 pages (page 63- page 64),
each group need to read aloud the characters
dialogue in the drama that they have chosen.

206

15. Using a dictionary, students need to find the


meaning of the words that they do not
understand.
16. Teacher picks randomly students and asks
them to share their findings.
17. Students need to construct 2 sentences using
these words.
Closure
18. Teacher
recalls
the
synopsis
of
Rumpelstiltskin. It consists of the characters,
the setting and the plot.
19. Students give their opinions about the synopsis
of the drama.
Extended
activity

20. Students need to identify the characters in the


text.

Reflections
My second day of class, I tried to project my voice to be more loudly, so that the
students can hear my voice. Although it was not my best, I managed to capture the
students attention in the class. Basically, the students were silent when I did my
explanation, although at some points, they tried to talk. I found that the students love to
engage in activities (using my electronic dictionary) as they got excited to use it.
However, when it was a story telling time (the synopsis), I found that the students easily
lose their focus. I believe, to tackle these students easily, I need to do a lot of interesting
activities, so that they can get more excitement in each session of the lesson. This class,
do not like the teacher to talk all the time. They love to engage in classroom activities.

207

Sample Lesson plan-3


Name: (teacher)
Class: ____________
Date:
Day:
Week:
Time: 1 period
No. of students: 30
Level of proficiency: Intermediate
Topic: Characters and Characteristic of Rumpelstiltskin
Skills: 3.0 Language for aesthetic use
3.1 Listen to, read, view and respond to literary works by:
a) Recognizing elements in a story such as characters and setting.
Specifications: Level 3:Talking about characters in a story and writing a simple paragraph on one
or two characters.
Language aspect: Vocabulary
Learning outcomes: At the end of the lesson, students should be able to:
i)
Find at least 5 out of 10 characteristic during the activity.
Materials: Whiteboard marker, characteristic tag, dictionary
Moral values: Honesty
STAGES

Set induction

TEACHING/ LEARNING ACTIVITIES


1. Teacher draws a crown on the board.
2. Students need to answer the teachers questions:
a) What is this?
b) Who use this?
c) Why he use this?
d) Made from what?

TEACHING
AIDS
Whiteboard
marker

Explanation

208

3. Teacher writes on the board Rumpelstiltskin


Form 2
4. Teacher explains briefly about the meaning of literature
characteristic. The students should know and textbook
understand the meaning and the function of the
characteristic in literary text.
5. Teacher lists out the characters in the drama of
Rumpelstilskin. The characters are:
a) Lisa
b) The King
c) Father
d) Mother
e) Rumpelstilskin
6. Three example of the characteristic of Lisa are
given to do students. Example: Lisa- kind hearted,
obedient, sincere.
7. In five minutes, the students need to identify other
characters characteristic that they can get in
Rumpelstiltskin drama.
Practice
8. Teacher picks threestudents(randomly).
9. They need to choose one character and then write
the characteristic of that character on the board.
10. The other students need to pay attention.
Production
11. Teacher explains about the activity.
Characteristic
12. The activity is to identify and match the s tag
characteristic with the characters in the drama.
13. Teacher gives each student with a characteristics
tag.
14. Students need to understand the characteristic that
they get. If they do not understand with the tag,
they need to find the meaning by using a
dictionary.
15. Later, the students need to identify the
characteristics and match it with the characters.
16. Teacher calls each student one by one, and they
need to write on the board the characteristic that
they obtained from the tag, and match the
characteristic with the characters that already
written on the board.
Closure
17. Teacher relates the good characteristics with the
students life.

209

18. Students give their feedback.


Extended
activity

19. Students need to copy the characteristic on the


board and they need to elaborate the one
characteristic in a simple paragraph.

Reflection
The class started at 4.00 pm, but the students were late to class because they were
having their break. I had to wait for about 10 minutes before I decided to start the lesson.
For todays class, I managed to project my voice properly and the whole class could hear
my voice. My teaching was more systematic as I planned my lesson plan properly. I
realised that the students give more attention in the class. They give good respond when I
asked them questions. During the activity session, the students were very excited to
participate. For the next lesson, I will do a lot of activities for them. I realised that the
students love the activities in the class.

Specimen Lesson Plan for Macro-teaching

210

(Source: WestBengal Board of Primary Education. (2013)

211

(Source WestBengal Board of Primary Education. (2013)

References
MuskaMosston (1990). Spectrum of teaching styles. Retrieved August 22, 2013, from
http://www.spectrumofteachingstyles.org/pdfs/literature/Mosston1990_The_3_Rs
.pdf
Nicole Ubinger. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.ehow.com/info_8479909_differencesmicro-macro-teaching.html
WestBengal Board of Primary Education. (2013). Proceedings of the workshop held on
february 13th & 14th, 2013 in the west. Retrieved September 1, 2013, from
http://wbxpress.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Workshop.pdf

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