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NATIONAL AND KAPODISTRIAN UNIVERSITY OF ATHENS

SCHOOL OF PHILOSOPHY
FACULTY OF ENGLISH STUDIES
DEPARTMENT OF LANGUAGE AND LINGUISTICS

ENGLISH LANGUAGE
TEACHING METHODS AND
PRACTICES

WORKBOOK

ATHENS 2009

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UNIT 1

Classroom Practices and Teaching Aids

The types of pedagogic practices teachers involve their students in, the types of teaching-
learning materials (including textbooks) they select and the teaching-learning aids they use
depend on:
♦ the language teaching approach they adopt
♦ different teaching-learning situations and conditions
♦ the age and the level of the students

TASK 1
Below you can see lists of common CLASSROOM PRACTICES. Which approach to language
teaching and learning would you associate them with most closely?

Transmitting/acquiring new knowledge and development of language awareness

Presentation by explaining rules of the language system and vocabulary


Presentation by explaining rules of language use (meaning and use of new
utterances and vocabulary in context).
Presentation by having learners deal with new material and deducing rules of
usage or use and the meaning of new vocabulary.
Presentation through involvement in a task.
Presentation through involvement in ‘discovery learning’.
Presentation through exposure to authentic-like material.
Peer presentation of new knowledge and information concerning language use.

Practising new language and developing communication skills

Drilling new grammar points and vocabulary.


Question and answer exercises with no information-opinion-reasoning gap.
Producing paragraphs or larger texts in written form with correct grammar and
vocabulary.
Producing dialogues using correct grammar and vocabulary.
Reading comprehension exercises during which learners must ‘decode’ the
meaning of particular utterances.
Listening comprehension exercises during which learners must ‘decode’ the
meaning of particular utterances in dialogues and other oral texts in spoken
clearly in standard English with RP.
Authentic reading or listening activities or tasks involving learners in the

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comprehension of authentic like texts, deducing meanings, guessing, predicting
meaning, etc. and acting in ways that are required in a variety of social contexts.
Producing oral or written discourse following specific instructions for carrying
out the task in a guided manner.
Producing an oral or written authentic-like text on the basis of another authentic
or authentic-like text in different mode, genre or language.
Explaining what is meant by someone speaking or writing, using different
language, genre or discourse.

Managing the class and motivating learners

Teacher poses questions that s/he already knows the answer to for students to
answer.
Students pose questions to their peers that both already know the answer to so
that they can display their knowledge.
Students pose questions to the teacher so s/he can answer despite that they both
know the answer.
Teacher asks information-opinion-reasoning gap questions for students to
practice acquired knowledge.
Students ask each other information-opinion-reasoning gap questions so they
can practice acquired knowledge.
Students are guided to work in pairs or groups to carry out fully controlled,
semi-controlled or free (but always guided) language activity.
Class is organized in groups or teams to carry out fully controlled, semi-
controlled or free (but always guided) fun activities.
Students are fully guided to do role plays or simulations in order to produce
socially meaningful language use.

TASK 2
Which of the practices above would you associate most closely with the following teaching-
learning situations?

Situation 1: EFL classes in Greek state secondary schools with large number of students with
differential language competence.

Situation 2: Homogenous level EFL classes in schools and language centres preparing to take
an exam for certification of proficiency at independent user level.

Situation 3: Class with intermediate adult learners needing to use spoken English as a contact
language with speakers of other languages.

Situation 4: EFL classes in primary schools.

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Situation 5: Class of Greek university students needing to use English for academic purposes
– primarily to read books and articles in their field of interest published in
English.

TASK 3
Below is a table containing a list of the most common teaching-learning aids traditionally
used in the foreign language class. Which would you most closely associate with (a) young
learners, (b) teenagers and (c) adult learners of English?

COMMON TEACHING-LEARNING AIDS

Flashcards
The most widely used visual aid in foreign language teaching. It simply
requires a picture or drawing stuck on a piece of card. It’s usually
designed in topic sets. They are motivating and eye catching, and can be
used again and again. Their primary function is to present the meaning of
lexical items, especially when the use of L1 is not permitted by the
approach adopted.

Blackboard
The most widely used classroom teaching aid. It is useful especially when
the teacher (and students) write clearly, making sure that everyone in the
classroom can share the experience.
If no other aids are available and systematic use of the bb is made to
present material, one should be careful not to cover the whole board with
writing. Items no longer needed should be erased before writing anything
else important.
Some tips for teachers:
Stand on the right of the board. This forces you to write in straight lines.
Talk to students as you write and turn around frequently to face them.

Realia
Everyday objects that most of us recognise. Personal objects or objects
from the classroom, useful for presenting vocabulary, especially when the
use of L1 is not permitted by the approach adopted. They can be used to
help particularly young learners get into character when acting out a
dialogue. Specific objects can be used to illustrate stories with children
(e.g. story about a jungle is more attractive if Ss have toy animals they
can see and touch).
Realia also include maps, theatre tickets or programmes, leaflets from art
and other types of exhibitions empty food tins and boxes with ingredients
and cooking instructions, manuals with instructions and anything which
can create a context for authentic and meaningful language use.

Visuals and mutlimodal texts from various authentic sources


Visuals without or with texts, comics, drawings and many other combined
texts can be easily obtained from magazines, newspapers, brochures,
maps, and other kinds of authentic sources. They can prove stimulating as
they are often attractive and associated with language use in the real
world. They can be used for presentation of new language, for
comprehension exercises or to trigger speaking or writing production.

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Cassette or CD player
Allows students to listen to a variety of different accents and varieties of
English, to songs, poetry readings, lectures, etc. It also provides
opportunities for learners to listen to conversations involving more than
two speakers in real situations with background noise, etc. The way the
material is exploited depends on what the teaching/learning objective of
the activity is in each situation.

Video and multimedia


Video is commonly used for listening comprehension but can also be used
to provide models of English in use or as a stimulus for discussion.
Multimedia programmes are available for the teaching of grammar,
vocabulary, etc., as computer-assisted language learning is becoming
more and more common. One can also use multimedia games and other
computer programmes for teaching and learning but both video and
multimedia programmes must be used judiciously. The teacher must
consider carefully what his/her objectives are in using them and not use
them simply because they are available. They need to be at the
appropriate level of difficulty and relevant to the course syllabus.
Video observation and the use of multimedia can be challenging and
enjoyable for students. However, unwise use can prove time consuming
and boring. The teacher should select them in connection with his/her
objectives and design worksheets so that students can work on the
material they are using.

OHP
Material can be prepared beforehand and a library of these can be used
for future use. It is also possible to photocopy directly on transparencies. It
is less messy than chalk and can prove useful with large classes as the
teacher can face the class.

TASK 4
Other types of teaching-learning aids include readers and the internet. Think about the
advantages of using them as part of your EFL programme.

Readers
…………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………………………

The internet
…………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………………………

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CLASSROOM DISCOURSE

Why is language in the classroom so important?


• How students talk and the contributions they make greatly influence how and what they
learn.
• Vygotsky: cognitive development is a result of social interaction as the child learns to
complete a task with the help of an adult.
• The teachers’ use of language socialises students into particular ways of thinking and
talking.
• In second language classrooms language is more important because it the medium of
instruction and the subject of study. Since the TL is rarely used outside the classroom, the
kind of interaction that goes on in class will determine the kind of learning that will take
place.
• Fillmore (1982): Language in the second language classroom serves two purposes: 1) to
convey the content of what is being taught and 2) to provide students with linguistic input
and to provide students with opportunities to generate language.
• Meaningful and genuine communication is the “life-blood” of CLT

What are the functions of teacher talk in the classroom?


• To give explanations
• To elicit information from students
• To prepare learners for what is to come next
• To check on students’ understanding
• To give instructions
• To explain lesson objectives
• To organise students/activities
• To control students’ behaviour
• To correct students’ language

Some findings from classroom language analysis related to teacher talk


• Teachers in first and second language classrooms are the dominant conversational
partners. Almost 70% of the total classroom talk is taken up by the teacher.
• Teachers tend to modify their talk to make it comprehensible to learners. They tend to
slow down their speech rate, use fewer contraction and more exaggerated pronunciation,
use well-formed short sentences, avoid subordinate clauses, use concrete proper nouns,
avoid colloquial expressions and indefinite pronouns and they also tend to self repeat more
frequently.
• Teachers tend to have “action zones” in the classroom. Some students are up to 25 times
more likely to speak in class; also high achieving students tend to get praised more often
and criticised less often for their answers than low-achieving students.
• Research has shown that in the majority of classrooms the I-R-F pattern predominates.
• 20% to 40% of classroom talk is taken up by teacher questions. The overwhelming
majority of teacher questions are “display” which require students to display their

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knowledge of information already known by the teacher. Referential questions or other
question types which signify the exchange of new unknown information and the
negotiation of meaning are extremely rare in second language classrooms.
• Teachers ask questions at an astonishing pace (4 questions per minute) and leave very little
time for students to process the information in the question and respond. Teachers tend to
repeat or rephrase questions to enable students to respond.

Giving instructions

TASK 5
On the basis of your experience as a learner of English, what are three of the most
important characteristics that effective instructions to activities should have?
(a) …………………………………………………………............................................
(b) …………………………………………………………............................................
(c) ……………………………………………………………………………………....
Now, read the following extract of teacher talk and decide how effective the
instructions are. Note that they are related to the activity at the end of this worksheet..

T: … now go to page 54, 54. Here we´ve got some titles of some TV serials (teacher reads
titles) “fight for freedom”, “the invisible man”, “best friend”, “young club”, “the world of
adventure” and “after the battle”. Now…you´re asked to choose one of them, of these
serials and without saying which serial you are commenting on, write a commentary as the
one we read at the back of the book. One, only one, OK? You´re going to write only one,
whichever you like. Then don´t, don´t, don´t mention the serial you are talking about. You
are-stop it!-you are going to read it and the rest of the class should have to guess the
serial you are talking about. That´s it.

GUIDELINES FOR EFFECTIVE INSTRUCTIONS

• Prepare: Plan exactly what information the students will need; think about the
words/expressions/ illustrations you will use
• Make sure you’ve got everybody’s attention: Give instructions before handing out
materials and organising students into groups
• Present information more than once: Repetition and paraphrase are necessary because
students’ attention wanders occasionally.
• Be brief, clear and concise: Learners’ attention span is brief
• Illustrate wherever possible with examples: It often helps to rehearse an activity with the
whole class or a volunteer student before letting students do the work on their own
• Get feedback before starting the activity: Asking “Do you understand?” “All right?” at the
end is not enough. Ask feedback questions throughout; ask students to paraphrase your
instructions at the end.

Writing/thinking about instructions:


• Identify the information that students must know in order to carry out the activity
successfully.
• Think about the language: simple sentences, words that students understand
• Consider whether visual support may be necessary
• Put instructions in a logical sequence
• Write/think about questions that would seek comprehension.

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Elements of instructions
1. Aim of activity
2. Classroom organisation
3. Materials and how they will be used
4. Procedure
5. Timing
6. Feedback

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UNIT 2

Teaching and Learning Vocabulary

TASK 1
Reflect on the following questions, discuss them first with your partner and then discuss the
issues in class with your instructor.

1) Dealing with vocabulary in a language class means dealing with words. But, what are
“words”? Decide if the following are words: complexity, book, irregularity, freeze-dry,
Oh, no! Oh…, bookmark, may, two, they, so, to bite the dust, to make up, to go cold
turkey, read, unlikely, yea, Ouch!, A!, a-ha…

2) Traditional grammar books talk about words on the basis of the notions below. Which
is which above?
 Single morphemes or roots: e.g. book, car
 Derived words: e.g. organisation, assistance, remake
 Compound words: e.g. bookmark, pathfinder, postman
 Multi-word verbs:
verb + preposition, e.g. look into
verb+ adverb particle, e.g. break down
verb+ adverb particle + preposition, e.g. put up with
 Idioms (Sequence of words which usually operates as a single semantic unit): e.g.
under the weather, chip on his shoulder, bite the dust

3) Dealing with vocabulary vs. teaching vocabulary: What is the difference between the
two expressions pedagogically speaking?

4) What does it mean “to know a word”? What kind of knowledge does one have when
s/he knows a word? Decide if one must have any or all types of knowledge listed below:
 knowledge of its form (morphosyntactic features)
 knowledge of the word’s spelling and pronunciation
 knowledge of its position in an utterance (syntactic relations)
 knowledge of the word’s meaning: referential, affective, pragmatic
 knowledge of sense relations
 knowledge of the word’s use
 knowledge of its common collocations

5) Below you can see a number of utterances by people for whom English is not their
mother tongue. Though most of them seem to communicate the speaker’s message, there
is a minor problem in each of them. Can you detect what it is and explain what kind of
knowledge the speaker is missing?
- Can you take me in your car to the station John?
- He made a complain about the food.
- There was a high difference between the two teams.
- Mary: What are you doing tonight Claus?
- Claus: I have a meeting with a class colleague in a pub
- There isn’t sufficient milk for breakfast.
- She made a photo.
- My mother is a very good cooker

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- Bill’s evidence was rather skinny
- “Casablanca” is a white and black film
- What’s the opposite of “hard exam”?
- S: smooth exam

6) Within the framework of communicative approaches to language teaching and


learning, FL teachers are advised to deal with vocabulary in context (used in utterance
and text). Why, do you think?

Principles of vocabulary classification for teaching purposes


1) On the basis of morphosyntactic features
2) On the basis of sound
3) On the basis of meaning
 Dictionary meaning
 Text meaning (discourse, genre, register, style)
 Metaphorical meaning
4) Classifying words on the basis of sense relations
 Synonymy: Two or more words that have similar meaning, e.g. begin/start,
below/beneath/under
Antonymy: Refers to items which are opposite in meaning
- ungradable antonyms: forms which truly represent oppositeness of meaning and
cannot be graded. e.g. dead, alive
- gradable antonyms: forms which have many degrees in between, e.g. hot, cold
 Hyponymy: Expresses the relationship of inclusion. Organises words into taxonomies
(e.g., Fruit orange: apple, banana
 Collocation: When two items co-occur or are used together frequently they are
said to collocate
problem amoun shame man
t
Large ? + - +
Great + + + +
Big + + - +
Major + ? - -

+=collocates, ? = questionable, - = does not collocate

TASK 2
Look at the vocabulary activities at the end of your handout and identify which classification
principles they are based on.

TASK 3
Below are some important findings from L1 and L2 vocabulary acquisition research. On
the basis of these findings what do you think are the implications for the teaching/learning of
vocabulary?
• Short term and long term memory. The importance of repetition and active involvement by
learner
• Inferring meaning of unknown words from contextual and grammatical clues increases the
chances of retaining word in long term memory (Hulstijn 1992)
• Regular revision of a word distributed over a period of time also helps in long term
memory retention (Gairns and Redman 1986)

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• Our mental lexicon is highly organised and complex. Words are organised in our minds in
terms of their form, in terms of their semantic and conceptual properties and are related to
encyclopaedic and general world knowledge (Brown & McNeil 1966, Ellis 1997). Forster
(1976) argued that in our mental lexicon, items are organised in one “master file” with a
variety of “peripheral access files”.
• Mental lexicon is never static; it is continuously expanding.
• For L2 learners, acquisition of L2 words involves mapping the new word form onto pre-
existing conceptual meanings or L1 translation equivalents.
• Vocabulary can be acquired incidentally (Singleton 1997).
• Learners employ a variety of strategies in learning new vocabulary. Good learners use
many different strategies, are aware of their learning, know the importance of learning
words in context, and are conscious of the semantic relationships between new and
previously learned L2 words.

HOMEWORK PROJECT

Vocabulary activities for EFL learners

TASK 4
Look at the activities on the following pages and, working with a partner, decide on the questions
below regarding each activity and fill in the Table:

a) What age-range of learners is it likely to be for (8-11/12-16/17-24)?


b) For what level of learners is it most appropriate, do you think
(elementary/intermediate/post intermediate)?
c) Is it most appropriate for presentation, practice or production?
d) Does it facilitate dependent or autonomous learning?
e) Does it present/practice form + independent meaning, form + social meaning, form +
meaning + use?

Activity Age- Learner level Teaching stage Type of learning Language aware-
No. range ness / use
1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

11
9.

10.

TASK 5

See the material on p. 10 and decide what tasks you could design to get learners to deal with the
vocabulary they are unfamiliar with.

TASK 6

Study the material on p. 11 and decide what tasks you could assign to your students, responding
to principles of individualized teaching.

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______________________________________________ACTIVITY 1

From: Task Way English 3, p. 45


Learner task
Work in pairs. Student A choose an object and ask your partner what it is
made of. Student B respond.

Teacher’s Note
You could organize this activity to be carried out in class as a game between
two teams. Make a relevant plan.

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______________________________________________ACTIVITY 2

From: Task Way English 3, p.129

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ACTIVITY 3

From: Hotline (pre-intermediate), pp. 70-71

DESCRIBING THINGS

Match these descriptions to


objects in the pictures.

electrical human plastic


colourful metal
sticky pointed
long and thin tall
black and round
white flat
soft

Work in pairs. One person chooses


an object and describes it. The other
person must guess what it is.
It's... . / It has got . .. .

Match these descriptions to the


correct pictures.

a It's something that you use for


cooking.
b It's something which you find in
the kitchen.
c It's a bird that can't fly.
d. It's a bird which lives in Africa.
e It's someone who sells things.
f. It's a person that works in a shop.

, Practise describing things


a Write these things on a piece of
paper.
 the name of something that
you need to buy
 an animal
 a job

b. Fold the piece οf paper and give it


to another person in the class.

Work in pairs. Look at the paper that


you have received but don't show it to
your partner. Describe the things to
your partner without using the names.
He/she must try to guess what you
want to say.

Example
The thing that / need to buy is
something that you drink.

Change roles. Now describe the


things on his/her paper.

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ACTIVITY 4

From: Hotline (pre-intermediate), p. 103

16
______________________________________________ACTIVITY 5

From: Task Way English 3, p.23

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______________________________________________ACTIVITY 6

From: Open Up Through English 2, p.31

Learners are instructed to listen twice to a boy explain how he makes his
favourite sandwich and write the correct word next to each picture.

______________________________________________ACTIVITY 7

From: Open Up Through English 2, p.30

Learners are asked to look at the watches and write True or F for after each
sentence on the right column.

a) The time on the blue and T


yellow watch is half past
nine.
a) The time on the clock
radio is eight o’clock.
c) The time on the black
digital watch is half past ten.
d) The time on the red alarm
clock is twelve o’clock.
e) The time on the orange
alarm clock is half past four.
f) The time on the old watch
is two o’clock.

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______________________________________________ACTIVITY 8

From: Take Off 2, p. 14

Students listen to the teacher talking about the people below in terms of their
appearance. They must identify who s/he is talking about each time.
Example
Teacher: She’s a tall slim girl, with dark hair, wearing glasses.
Student: [You’re talking about] 1a

As a follow up the teacher can ask individual students to choose and describe
someone in the class. The rest of the class tries to understand who it is that their
classmate is talking about.
Alternatively this activity can be carried out as pair or group work. Plan the activity.

19
______________________________________________ACTIVITY 9

From: Take Off 2, p. 48

20
_____________________________________________ACTIVITY 10

From: Hotline (pre-intermediate), p. 34

21
UNIT 3

Dealing with Pronunciation and Intonation skills


TASK 1
Below is a list of statements relating to various central issues regarding the “teaching” of
pronunciation. Indicate which statements you think are true and which are false.

 The way we pronounce and stress words, our tone of voice and the rhythm of our speech
can reveal things about our social identity.
 If we pronounce words incorrectly we are totally unable to communicate our meanings.
 The younger a foreign language learner is, the more likely s/he is to improve his/her
ability to pronounce words well in a foreign language.
 The aim of pronunciation teaching is to help the learner of English acquire a native
speaker accent.
 Pronunciation practice should focus on those sounds which are different in the learner’s
mother tongue.
 The most effective way to improve one’s pronunciation is pronunciation practice is to
listen to native speakers and to repeat what they say..
 Learners’ level of competence in pronunciation depends on their needs, learning styles,
attitudes, motivation and cultural background.
 Pronunciation cannot be divorced from communication and other aspects of language
use.

Elements of pronunciation to be tackled


Individual sounds and clusters

The sounds and clusters Greek learners find difficult to recognise and, therefore, to produce
(something that can affect their intelligibility) are mainly (a) the ones they perceive as similar
to Greek sounds, and (b) English minimal pairs which they perceive as the same Greek
phoneme. Therefore, these sounds and pairs need to be contrasted and not merely tackled on
their own (sources: Householder, 1964: 18-24; Kenworthy, 1987: 139-141; Koutsoudas &
Koutsoudas, 1962; as well as my own observations).

Spelling and pronunciation

In Greek, the spelling-pronunciation correspondence is quite straightforward; that is, apart


from a few exceptions there is a one-to-one correspondence (Koutsoudas & Koutsoudas,
1962: 230). Since learners will encounter both the written and spoken language from the
beginning of the course they may impose a Greek reading/pronunciation on English words.

Any regularities of spelling-pronunciation correspondence will be pointed out and discussed,


since the two languages are quite different in that respect. The table below shows the
problematic vowel and consonant phonemes of each language paired as the average Greek
speaker would perceive (and consequently produce) them. English phonemes are presented as
in Brown (1990: 35), Greek phonemes are presented as in Mackridge (1985: 15).

English Greek
/æ/, /ɑ:/, /ʌ/ /a/
/e/, /ɜ:/ /ɛ/

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/ɪ/, /i:/ /i/
/ɒ/, /ɔ:/ /o/
/ʊ/, /u:/ /u/
/ǝ/ Any of the above
/w/ /γ/, /u/
/h/ /x/
/n/, /ŋ/ /n/
/s/, /ʃ/, /s/
/z/, /ʒ/ /z/

Also, note that in Greek the clusters /m/+/p/ and /n/+/t/ can be realised (in free variation) as
[b], [mp], [mb] and [d], [nt], [nd] respectively. So Greek speakers may pronounce: able as
[‘Eimbl], amplify as [‘amblifai] or [‘ablifai], antennae as [ad‘ɛna], enterprise as [‘ɛdɛrpraiz]
or [‘ɛndɛrpraiz]. Finally, Greek /t/ and /p/ are unaspirated and may be perceived by English-
speaking listeners as /d/ and /b/ respectively.

Stress and rhythm

Greek is syllable-timed. Greek learners tend, therefore, to allocate equal time to each syllable
(or, more accurately, to what they perceive as a syllable) and produce full vowels in
unstressed positions. They use the same strategy when they decode rapid speech. In my
experience, this is by far the main reason for their problems in the comprehension of
connected speech. To remedy this, high priority will be given to familiarising learners with
English rhythm and the weakening of unstressed vowels. Production of elements of connected
speech will also be treated, but with high priority given mainly to the weak forms of vowels
(Abbot, 1986; Brown, 1990: 158; Gimson, 1989: 306-307; Kenworthy, 1987: 79).

Materials and Techniques


Presentation materials

A dual approach will be taken. To provide a model for production, words, phrases and short
dialogues/texts in slow colloquial speech are to be used. Tapes in which English speakers
speak Greek with distinct English pronunciation are also helpful [see ‘Production' below].
When perception is the aim, taped material of spoken language as used by native speakers to a
native-speaker audience will be used. In both cases alternation of audio and video tapes will
ensure familiarity of and practice in situations when visual clues are (not) present.

Types of exercises

Perception/Awareness
Learners will be asked to identify the number of words they hear, certain (groups of) words,
the actual utterance heard among written alternatives given to them before listening (Brown,
1975: 112), mark stress on a transcript (before and after listening to the tape) or identify
unstressed vowels and features of connected speech, infer the speaker's intended meaning
based on prosodic and paralinguistic features. A common principle underlying rapid speech
exercises is that since we do not want to grade the input we should pitch the difficulty of the
task at the learners' level, and be ready to re-play the tape as many times as needed (Brown,
1974: 56). The pronunciation of Greek words incorporated into the English lexicon can
facilitate awareness regarding word stress and pronunciation.

Production

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Some use of drilling seems inevitable, but it does not have to be mechanical. Controlled
pseudo-communicative situations (with no real focus on meaning) can be created in which the
learners will have the opportunity to get their tongue around the element practised. Mimicry
(speaking Greek with an English pronunciation) can be utilised to help learners get an overall
feel for the pronunciation. Mimicry can also help lower learner inhibitions, particularly of
those adult learners who would like to ‘drop' their Greek accent but feel embarrassed to do so.
When an individual sound causes intelligibility problems, learners can be made aware of
particular articulatory settings by watching the mouth movements of a speaker, and guided to
reproduce (or approximate) the setting themselves (Brown, 1974: 57).

Context

Lessons presenting new structures or expressions (i.e. exponents of functions) through taped
material, as well as listening-skills lessons will provide a context (and a ‘model') for
practice/awareness of relevant issues of pronunciation.

Integration

Pronunciation teaching is not an end in itself but a means of facilitating communication. It


seems logical, then, to give learners the chance to incorporate the elements practised in their
own productive/receptive use of the language (Cook, 1989: 82-83, Littlewood, 981: 87-88).
Listening and speaking skills development tasks seem the natural environment.

Feedback

After the listening tasks (where the focus is on meaning), the learners can turn their attention
to pronunciation features that posed comprehension problems. Speaking tasks can be taped
and used for self-awareness regarding elements of pronunciation that cause intelligibility
problems. The tasks devised can also be customised to meet individual learners' needs and
done as homework.

Activities to improve intonation


Explaining to your students that the modal ‘must’ can be used to show obligation or
conclusion, but that showing it or showing how strong this obligation or conclusion is
depends on the speaker’s intonation, you could ask them to act out the following:

• Υου must go and νisit your grandmother. She's ill. (OBLlGATlON)


• Υου must be very tired. Υου'νe been working all day. (CONCLUSION)

Now study the sentences below, indicate what they are ands act them out.
1) It must haνe been the neighbour's cat. (_______________________)
2) Αlex must be more careful. (___________________________)
3) Υου must be joking! (___________________________)
4) He must haνe offended her. (___________________________)
5) She mustn't miss that Russian film! (___________________________)
6) They must haνe a good reason to be doing that. (___________________________)

Explaining to your students that the modal ‘can’ is often used to express ability, and that its
negatiνe form (can't) it can be used to express either lack of ability or conclusion, you could
ask them to act out the following:

• He can't speak Chinese. (LACK OF ΑΒILIΤΥ)


• He can't possibly be Chinese (CONCLUSION)

24
Now study the sentences below, indicate what they are and act them out.

1) Υου can't be serious! (___________________________)


2) It can't haνe been Osha. (___________________________)
3) It's all a misunderstanding, but Ι can't explain. (
4) He can't driνe yet. (___________________________)
5) They can't haνe met before. (___________________________)
6) They can't climb that tree! (___________________________)

Homework project
Select a textbook for beginners and look at what pronunciation / intonation activities and
tasks it contains. Categorize them.

A list of useful websites for pronunciation practice


(These sites were active as of March 13, 2000)

Sites for pronunciation


• Sounds of English--http://mason.gmu.edu/~swidmaye/sounds.htm: Sharon's page
with diagrams and .wav files
• The ESL Pronunciation Page-- http://user.gru.net/richardx/pronounce1.html
• English Pronunciation--
http://www.engl.polyu.edu.hk/MATERIALS/Pronunciation/1a-index.htm
• Phonetics and Phonology-- http://www.csulb.edu/~phoneme/pronunciation.html
• ESL Independent Study Lab--
http://www.lclark.edu/~krauss/toppicks/pronunciation.html
• Internet TESL Journal's list of Pronunciation links--
http://www.aitech.ac.jp/~iteslj/links/ESL/Pronunciation/
• Holly's Beginning Word Stress--
http://www.wam.umd.edu/~hgray/stresschapter.html
• Rhymes on English Pronunciation--
http://www.wmich.edu/english/tchg/lit/adv/pronun.html: not a sound page, but a
charming poem on the hazards of pronunciation and spelling correlations
• Foreign Accent Archive--
http://classweb.gmu.edu/classweb/weinberg/foreignaccent.html: not for ESL
per se, but a great resource for examining accented English and predicting
pronunciation problems
Sites with general ESL listening activities
• ILCP Index-Interactive Listening Comprehension Practice
(http://deil.lang.uiuc.edu/lcra/)
• BBC World Service - Learning Zone Home Page
(http://www.bbc.co.uk/education/lzone/): This site has changed recently, but
it's still great for ESL
• Randall's ESL Cyber Listening Lab (http://www.esl-lab.com/): Lots of great Real
Audio quizzes good for a variety of levels
• The English Listening Lounge (http://www.EnglishListening.com/)

25
• Holly's Listening Comprehension Page
(http://www.wam.umd.edu/~hgray/listen.html)
Sites with Authentic Materials
Interviews and news
• RealAudio: National Public Radio
(http://www.realaudio.com/contentp/npr.index.html)
• BBC World Service - Home Page (http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/)
• The Authors Speak (http://www.authorsspeak.com/)--long interviews with many
different authors. Somewhat accurate transcripts provided.
• Car Talk (http://cartalk.cars.com/Radio/)
• Hollywood Online -MovieTalk (http://www.hollywood.com/movietalk/index.html)
--Short interview clips with movie personalities
• The World (http://www.theworld.org/): public radio international news show
• Nightline (ABC news)
(http://www.abcnews.go.com/onair/nightline/NightlineIndex.html): Video clips of
current events in RealAudio. Has some transcripts.
• CNN video select (http://cnn.com/videoselect/): Video clips of current events in
Real Audio
Weather
• http://www.tvweather.com/tv_aud.htm: Listen to the weather throughout the
U.S.
Radio Drama
• The Shadow RealAudio Radio Theater (http://www.shadowradio.org) -features a
different episode from the old radio show each day
Speeches
• Great Speeches---Presented by Elycia's Real Audio and the Chicago Law
Network(http://www.chicago-law.net/speeches/speech.html)--the name says it
all; decades of historic speeches and sound clips
• Webcorp's Audio Archive (http://www.webcorp.com/test/audioarchivefr.htm)--
sound clips from speeches, very short (mostly .wav and .au)
Film and TV
• Screening Room (http://www.film.com/screen/other.jhtml)--movie trailers, video
clips
• Seinfeld sights and sounds in RealAudio (http://ncohafmuta.com/seinfeld/)--has
the complete (yes, complete) audio for lots and lots of Seinfeld episodes
• Jonny's Star Trek Site (http://www.boingweb.com/startrek/index2.html)--
Quicktime short clips
• Xena QuickTime Library (http://www.xenafan.com/quicktime/)-- Quicktime
short clips.
Songs
• Billboard Top 100 (http://www.billboardradio.com)
Poetry
• The Academy of American Poets (http://www.poets.org/lit/boothfst.htm)--
Archive of Poetry with both text & audio usually read by the author).

26
UNIT 4

Dealing with Grammar in a Communicative Context:


Part I

TASK 1
Suppose that a teacher had shown her/his students the contents of the table below. Decide if
her/his intention is to present them with: (a) the meaning of the present continuous tense, (b)
the form of the present continuous tense, (c) a series of meaningful sentences.

I am sitting We are sitting


You are sitting You are sitting
He/she/it is sitting They are sitting

TASK 2
Suppose that a teacher is presenting the present progressive tense to her/his class for the first
time. She follows the steps below. Study them carefully and decide if s/he is presenting: (a)
the form of the tense, (b) the form and the meaning in a situation created to display the
grammar point, (c) a series of commonly used sentences containing the present continuous
tense, (d) form+meaning+use of the new grammar point in real-life context.

Grammar presentation steps


Step 1: S/he mimes certain actions and asks the class to tell her/him what s/he is doing,
choosing sentences among those in Column A from the Table below.
Step 2: S/he hands individual or pairs of pupils in the class pieces of paper with instructions
written on them, telling her/him to mime the action, and asks the class to choose
among those in Column B the sentence that best describes what the pupil(s) is(are)
doing.
Step 3: Now, s/he tells pupils that each will each mime an action choosing among those in
Column C and s/he will ask them questions about what they are doing. They have to
respond by selecting cues from Column C.

COLUMN A COLUMN B COLUMN C

What am I doing? What is …… [pupil’s name] Are you ……ing …….?


doing?
1. You are holding a pen. 1. He/She is reading a book. 1. No, I’m standing next to
2. You are writing a word on 2. He/She knocking on the my desk.
the blackboard. door. 2. No, I’m standing next to
3. You are singing. 3. They are talking. Maria.
4. You are laughing. 4. They are working. 3. No, I’m looking at page
25 in my coursebook.
5. You are showing us an old 5. He/She is opening the door.
photo of somebody. 4. No, I’m looking out the
6. They are listening to music
window.
6. You’re just thinking. and dancing.
5. No, I’m putting my
7. You’re turning in circles. 7. They’re playing hangman.
things in my schoolbag.

27
TASK 3
The teacher has presented the present progressive to her class and now s/he is doing some
additional work with pupils, following the steps below. Study them and decide what the
teaching/learning objective of each step is.

Listening comprehension, grammar presentation/consolidation and language awareness steps


Step 1: The teacher asks the class to listen to a recorded telephone conversation between two
young women, Joan and Mary, and then answer the T or F items in Table A below.
(The pupils do not see the tape-script).
Step 2: S/he then asks them to listen again and answer the questions in Table B. (Without the
tape-script again.)
Step 3: Next, s/he tells them to look carefully through the tape-script, which s/he presents on
OHP, and asks them to write down all utterances that contain the new tense in the two
columns of Table C, explaining that the present continuous tense is used to refer to
things happening at the moment that the person is speaking, but also to refer to things
that are happening in the near future.
Step 4: S/he finally asks the class to work in groups of four to do a role play. S/he hands out a
different role-play card to each of the groups (such as the one below). The class is
given 5 minutes so that all pupils in each group prepare to act out the role assigned.
When they do, the rest of the class must guess what role the pupil is playing. The
group that manages to guess first gets a point and so does the group that has managed
to carry out the task successfully.

ROLE-PLAY CARD
You are a police detective, watching a suspect and reporting back to your partner
who is in the car, parked in an alley nearby. You are in the garden. The lights are on
and you can see what’s happening inside the house. You’re using binoculars.

TABLE A T F

1. Mary and Joan are talking on the phone.


2. Mary’s asking Joan to dinner.
3. Jenny’s coming over to Joan’s house to study with her.
4. David’s going to Mary’s house tonight and bringing some take-out.
5. Joan is not watching TV right now. She’s e-mailing.
6. Mary’s sister is ringing her up while she’s speaking with Joan.
7. Joan and Mary are doing a project together.
8. Joan and Mary are not seeing each another at the gym next Tuesday.

TABLE B
Read the questions Answer the questions
1. What is Mary doing right now?
2. What is she doing tonight?
3. Why is Joan calling Mary?

28
4. What is Joan doing this evening?
5. When is Mary handing in her project?

TAPE-SCRIPT OF THE TELEPHONE CONVERSATION

Mary: Hello, Joan. This is Mary. Are you busy?

Joan: Oh, Mary, hi. Yes, I’m working right now. What about you?

Mary: I’m… [doorbell rings] oops… the doorbell… Just a minute. The doorbell is ringing.
[after a few seconds]… Sorry, Mary. It’s Jenny. She’s coming up. But she has a key.

Joan: Are you coming to the cinema with us tonight?

Mary: Thanks, but no. David is coming over, and he’s cooking dinner.

Joan: That’s great. So, what are you working on?

Mary: I’m answering e-mails and looking for information on the web.

Joan: Aha, for the class project, right? Are you handing it in tomorrow?

Mary: Probably. But I’ve still got a lot of writing to do and… Oh, sorry, my sister is calling
me… I’ve got to go.

Joan: Ok, then. Have a good time tonight. Dave is a fun guy!

Mary: Thanks. You too. Bye. See you at the gym on Tuesday.

TABLE C
COLUMN A COLUMN B
Things happening while the two women Things happening later in the day, not
are talking on the phone while they’re talking on the phone

…………………………………………… ………………………………………………
…………………………………………… ………………………………………………
…………………………………………… ………………………………………………
…………………………………………… ………………………………………………
…………………………………………… ………………………………………………
…………………………………………… ………………………………………………
…………………………………………… ………………………………………………
…………………………………………… ………………………………………………
…………………………………………… ………………………………………………

29
TASK 4
Go back to the various options of class activity related to the new grammar point that has
been dealt with in class and decide:

• Which of them you find most useful for the presentation of form+meaning+use.
Explain why.
• Which of them you find most useful for practice and which for the production of the
new grammar point. Explain why.
• Decide when and for what reason you might use Greek with your students if you were
to take each of the options presented.

HOMEWORK PROJECT

Search through EFL coursebooks that you are familiar with and:
(a) Find two activities with which pupils are presented with a new grammar point. One of
them aims at the presentation of form+meaning and it entails transmissive teaching.
The other aims at the presentation of form+meaning+use and involves pupils in
discovery learning.
(b) Find an activity that provides pupils with opportunity for meaningful practice of the
new grammar point.
(c) Find an activity that provides pupils with opportunity for meaningful production of
the new grammar point.

Different views about grammar


TASK 5
Different theories of language entail and necessarily result in different views of grammar. In
other words, each theory of language is at the same time a theory of grammar. Look at the
statements below and decide:
(a) Which are true and which if any are false?
(b) Which theory of language is each statement warranted by?

STATEMENTS T F

Grammar…
1. ...explains the formal rules of the standard variety of a language.
2. …describes (and some times prescribes) the rules in a language for changing
the form of words and joining them into sentences.
3. …refers to a person’s knowledge of the rules of language usage and use.
4. …is a book containing rules about linguistic categories, the morphology of
words and syntax.
5. …is a book that explains what is considered regular (or irregular) in a
language, what is acceptable and what is not.
6. …explains how words combined together come to have meaning.
7. …explains how people can do things with words and how language is used
in different situations as a meaning-making system.
8. …describes in systematic ways how language is patterned into social
meanings and vice-versa.

30
9. …explains what different choices of language features (e.g. tense and aspect,
modality, negation, transitivity, etc.) entail and encode different meaning.
10. …provides activities that illustrate language usage and/or use in authentic
social contexts.

TASK 6
Nowadays, there are all types of grammars for English in the market. We have, for example,
(a) Current English grammars, (b) Communicative grammars, (c) Functional grammars, (d)
Pedagogical grammars, (e) Student grammars, (e) Reference grammars, (f) Practical
grammars of English language use, (g) Grammars of examples, (h) Grammars of word classes
and collocations, (i) Grammars of meanings. Look at the statements above again, and decide
which statements are linked with what grammar. Put letter next to number.

1. 3. 5. 7. 9.
2. 4. 6. 8. 10.

TASK 7
Now look at the explanations and examples below and decide what kind of grammar book
might contain them.

Past continuous tense


Form: was + V-ing
Meaning: When an action took place in the past over a period of time

Example A
What were they doing five years ago?
Pat was working in a factory
Chris studying law
Peter learning a trade
Bill drawing the dole
Cole and Eddie were living in Manchester
Jenny and Sally travelling around the world
Now make sentences:
Example: Pat was a factory worker. He was working in a factory .

31
Indicating likelihood

The following paragraphs explain the main ways in which modals are used to express
degrees of certainty.

assumption: “will” and “would”


You use “will” when you are assuming that something is the case, and you do not think
there is any reason to doubt it.
Those of you who are familiar with the game will know this.
He will be a little out of touch, although he's a rapid learner.
Most listeners will have heard of hormones.
Similarly, you use “will not” or “won't” when you are assuming that something is
not the case.
The audience will not be aware of such exact details.
You won't know Gordon. He's our new doctor.
After “you”, you can use “would” instead of “will”, if you want to be more polite.
You would agree that the United States should be involved in assisting these countries.

certainty: “would” and “should”


You also use “would” to say that something is certain to happen in particular
circumstances.
Even an illiterate person would understand that.
Few people would_ agree with this as a general principle.
After “I”, you can use “should” instead of “would”.
The very first thing I should do would be to teach you how to cook.

Note: More uses and examples follow.

32
Sentences with comparatives

1. Typical mistakes:
*The weather’s warmer as last week
*I’ve been waiting longer that you

Comparatives are followed by than.


The weather’s warmer than last week
I’ve been waiting longer than you

Which is correct: older than I or older than me?


In informal English, we often use object pronouns (me, him, her, us, them) after than. In a more formal style,
subject pronouns (I, he, etc) are considered more “correct”
She’s older than me (informal)
She is older than I (am) (formal)
When the pronoun is used with a verb, only subject pronouns are possible, of course.
Lucy found more mushrooms than I did. (Not:*…..than me did.)

The…the…
We can use comparatives with the in a special way, to say that two changes happen together.
The older I get, the happier I am.
The more dangerous it is, the more I like it.
The sooner you start, the more quickly you’ll be finished.
The more you work, the less you learn.
The more people you know, the less time you have to see them.
In sentences like these, do not separate more from the adjective, adverb or noun.
Typical mistake: *The more it is dangerous,…
Do not leave out the.
Typical mistake: *More you work, …

The grammar of newspaper headlines


Newspaper headlines often follow rather different grammatical rules from other kinds of writing.
a Headlines are not always complete sentences
MORE EARTHQUAKE DEATHS

b Headlines often contain strings of three, four or more nouns.


FURNITURE FACTORY PAY CUT RIOT
In expressions like this, all the nouns except the last one act as adjectives. The easiest way to understand
headlines of this kind is to read them backwards. FURNITURE FACTORY PAY CUT RIOT refers to a
RIOT about a CUT in PAY for the workers in a FACTORY that makes FURNITURE.
c Articles and the verb to be are often left out
SHAKESPEARE PLAY IMMORAL, SAYS HEADMASTER

d Newspaper headlines have a special tense-system. It is unusual to find complex forms like is coming or
has produced; generally the simple present form (comes, produces) is used , whether the headline is
about something that has happened, something that is happening, or something that happens repeatedly.
BRITAIN SENDS FOOD TO FAMINE VICTIMS
STUDENTS FIGHT FOR COURSE CHANGES
Sometimes the present progressive tense is used (usually to describe something that is changing or
developing), but the auxiliary verb (is, are) is usually left out.
WORLD HEADING FOR ENERGY CRISIS
BRITAIN GETTING WARMER, SAY RESEARCHERS
To refer to the future, headlines often use the infinitive. (This is really a contracted form of the be +
infinitive construction;)
QUEEN TO VISIT SAMOA
PM TO ANNOUNCE CABINET CHANGES ON TUESDAY
e Passive sentences are constructed with no auxiliary verb, just the past participle.
MAN HELD BY POLICE IN MURDER HUNT (= A man is being held…)

33
NUNS KILLED IN EXPLOSION

34
UNIT 5

Dealing with Grammar in a Communicative Context:


Part II

Grammar in discourse, genre and text


Realizing that even the most profound knowledge of the formal grammar of a language does
not necessarily help someone understand how this language is used purposefully in oral and
written discourse, contemporary pedagogic projects for language learning and teaching aim at
providing learners with a developing awareness of how language operates in context to create
socially purposeful meanings, at the level of the sentence but also at the level of text and
genre. Different contexts of language use entail different uses of language and different ways
of saying something constitute different ways of meaning.

Definition of concepts
Discourse
Think of «λόγος» as the equivalent Greek word for this term. The notion, which is
sometimes simplistically defined as a piece of coherent oral speech or piece of
writing, is institutionally delineated and ordered. This is so when we talk about
political discourse, legal discourse, medical discourse, pedagogic discourse or
religious discourse; about the discourse of sports, of advertising, of history and of
science.
Genre
Think of «κειμενικό είδος» as this is a common translation of a term which is
sometimes merely defined as a particular type of discourse, such as a type of
literary, scientific, political, medical text. In other words, it is a piece of talk or
writing that belongs to a particular discourse order and has the similar style and
textual features. For example, doctor and patient talk, a doctor’s report, written
information about a pharmaceutical product or an article in a medical journal are all
within the “logic” of medical discourse. However, they are also different insofar as
the genre of a report is different say than that of an article or a medical warning.
Text
A piece of writing of a particular discourse and genre which is intended to convey
an overall message and particular bits of information, feelings, attitudes, etc.

TASK 1
Look at the two different texts below. They are related discourse-wise, but they lexicalized/
grammaticalized differently because each text is of a different genre. Guess what is which and
explain what helped you decide.

Welcome to Sunset Paradise!


We’re delighted to have you here. Our staff is at your
disposal to make your stay comfortable and pleasant.
Ring us if you need us. Dial 0 for the information desk.

35
For all other calls and for Internet connection look at
the directory on your bedside table. Other services and
facilities in your room: TV, mini-bar, room-service,
cleaners upon request.
The flowers and wine are compliments of the manager
Ms Olivia Sukiyama

Sunset Paradise

A luxurious, five-star hotel in Honolulu, conveniently located near one


of the most beautiful beaches in Waikiki, not far from the centre of
town. With its own shopping centre, two swimming pools, conference
rooms and more services than you can imagine, with staff to please and
service you, and prices to surprise you, watching the Hawaiian sunset in
Paradise is a must!

TASK 2
Different lexicogrammatical choices encode different social meanings. Look at the exchanges
below and say what different meanings they encode.

SITUATION 1
A: Steve, I’d like you to meet Robyn. Robyn, this is Steve. I’m surprised you’ve not
met one another before tonight.
B. Hello, Steve. I’m so pleased to meet you. I’ve heard so much about you – all
good, I assure you.
SITUATION 2
A: Honey, this is Billy. Billy, this is Marion. You go to the same school, don’t you?
B. Hi Billy. I’ve seen you play basketball. Timothy Bailey is my cousin.
C. Cool. He’s the best!

How to deal with grammar in the EFL classroom: Basic principles


Grammar instruction must be integrated into a communicative framework, which means that
all new language should be presented, practiced and produced in a social context. Though it is
important that learners practice with new form, it is vital for them to be provided with ample
opportunity:

36
 To use language to understand and produce authentic texts, by being involved
in authentic tasks.
 To develop an increasing awareness of language use in different contexts.

Types of grammar presentation activity


Below are five different ways for presenting new grammar. Read them carefully and also
notice that there are also a variety of techniques that can be used to “explain” the form and
meaning of new grammar and to help learners understand how the new language is used
purposefully.

TASK 3
Having read the different ways of presenting new grammar points, go back to the previous
UNIT, regarding the teaching/learning of grammar and decide which technique is employed
in Task 2, Step 1, and in Task 3, Step 1.

Type 1 Explaining directly


Learners are provided with examples of the new language point as they are
introduced to basic “rules” about its form, meaning and use. The new
information is provided with examples and through the use of metalanguage.
Sometimes it helps to use charts, a time line and/or to compare L1 and L2.
Type 2 Demonstrating
Learners are introduced to the new grammar point through an oral or written
text, especially constructed so as to demonstrate the form and meaning of the
new point. They are asked to do a listening or reading comprehension
exercise/activity first, and then the teacher provides them with some form of
explanation regarding how the new structure is formed and what its meaning
is. It may also be helpful to demonstrate by personalizing or using a special
text for motivation purposes, such as a song. Audiovisual aids can also be
helpful and motivating, for example, pictures, realia, a recorded conversation,
multimedia programmes.
Type 3 Noticing
Learners are asked to listen or read an authentic-like text which shows how the
new language operates in discourse. The teacher focuses their attention on this
new point and asks them questions related to its form, meaning and use, so
that s/he may elicit the knowledge being developed. The use of audiovisual
aids is useful here also.

Type 4 Presenting through learner involvement


Learners are involved in an activity / task that is based on the new language, in
context, and to use the new language in totally controlled manner. Actually, by
using this technique, the teacher is expecting learners to discover new
knowledge on their own with his/her help.
Type 5 Making learner knowledge explicit
Learners, having been involved in practice and production exercises/activities
involving the new language point in context, are asked to map, organize
and/or talk about their new knowledge, using the target language or L1.

37
TASK 4
Now search in EFL course books to find activities/tasks that employ some other techniques
than those you found in the previous UNIT. Specifically, find grammar presentation activities
that employ one of the following:

1. Using a song or a 3. Explaining directly 5. Presentation through involvement


recorded
conversation
2. Using one or more 4. Presentation through 6. Using a chart, diagram, table or
pictures,drawings,etc. authentic-like text graph.

Types of grammar practice and production activity


Below are different types of grammar practice and production activities, starting from the
most guided and controlled to freer production where the focus is on fluency. Many of the
techniques and aids used for presentation can also be used for practice and production.

Type 1 Awareness
After learners have been introduced to the new grammar point, they are given
opportunities to encounter it within some kind of discourse and do a task that
focuses their attention on its form. Meaning and use.
Type 2 Guided meaningful practice
Learners are given the context and asked to form utterances or short texts of
their own, according to a set pattern but exactly what vocabulary they use is
up to them.
Type 3 Guided production of utterances
Learners are provided with a visual or situational cue and asked to provide
their own responses. The context invites the use of the new grammar point.
Type 4 Guided production of text
Learners hold a discussion or write a text according to a given task. The
rubrics define the conditions of language use (i.e. who’s talking to whom and
for what purpose) and the context invites the use of the language point in text-
genre-discourse.
Type 5 Free production
As in type 4 but, whereas learners are given very clear instructions as to what
to do, they are not guided into use of the new grammar. However, the task
situation is such that instances of it are likely to appear.

Three key phases to teaching/learning grammar

38
• Through noticing and re-noticing learners take in features of the language as these become
significant to them.
• Through restructuring, learners progressively sort out how grammar works and how forms
and meaning map on to each other.
• Through proceduralisation, learners organize their knowledge so that it can be activated
quickly and efficiently in language use.

HOMEWORK PROJECT
Select units from two EFL coursebooks that deal with the same grammatical item (e.g. the
present perfect, passive construction, reported speech etc.) Use the knowledge you have
developed during the last couple of weeks in class by using the two Worksheets on “Dealing
with Grammar” and:

a) See whether they present the new grammar in context and explain how they do this.
b) Explain what presentation techniques they use.
c) Explain also what types of practice and production activities they use and whether they
move from more controlled and guided practice to freer production.
d) Evaluate the effectiveness of each activity for the development of learners’
communicative competence and pick one from each coursebook which responds to the
principles of “communicative” teaching and motivating pedagogy.

39
UNIT 6

Developing Reading Skills


TASK 1
Below is an extract from a book by Roald Dahl. Read the extract and answer the questions that
follow.

“But if you don´t each people like all the others´ Sophie said”, then what do
you live on?”. “That is a squelching tricky problem round here” the BFG
answered ”In this shloshflunking Giant Country, happy eats like pineapples
and pigwinkles is simply not growing. Nothing is growing except for one
extremely icky-poo vegetable. It is called the snozzcumber”
“The snozzcumber!” cried Sophie “There is no such thing”
The BFG looked at Sophie and smiled, showing about twenty of his square
white teeth. “Yesterday”, he said, “we was not believing in giants, was we?”
Today we is not believing in snozzcumbers. Just because we happen not to
have actually seen something with our own two little winkles, we think it is
not existing. What about for instance the great squizzly scotch-hopper?”
“I beg your pardon? “ Sophie said.

1. What sort of book do you think this extract comes from?


…………………………………………………………………………………………………

2. Who is BFG and who is Sophie?

…………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………

3. Where do you think they are?


……………………………………………………………………………………..……………

4. What do think the words in italics may mean?


(a) shloshflunking ……………………………………….
(b) pigwinkles ……………………………………….
(c) snozzcumber ……………………………………..…
(d) squizzly scotch-hopper ……………………………………….

5. In order to answer questions 1-4 you made a number of inferences. What kinds of
knowledge did you draw upon in order to make your inferences?

…………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………

40
…………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………
The reading process

Top down Knowledge of the world:


General, topic, sociocultural
Knowledge of language:
Text source
Text design
Discourse type
Inter-sentential links
Sentence structure
Clause structure
Words
Word structure
Letter sound relationships
Letter Bottom up

• In the bottom up model the reader constructs meaning from decoding the letters, words and
other language features in the text.
• In the top down model the reader reconstructs meaning as he interacts with the text. The
reader brings to this interaction his/her knowledge of the subject, prior background
knowledge (schema), their motivation attitudes and interests. Using this information the
reader forms hypothesis about text elements and then samples the text to determine whether
or not his/her hypotheses are correct.
• In the interactive reading model the reader moves through the text employing various types of
knowledge. The reader draws on bottom up and top down knowledge alternatively or
simultaneously depending on the type of text, the reader´s background knowledge and
language proficiency level.

Text types, reading purposes, and reading strategies


Different text types have different communicative functions, distinctive linguistic characteristics
and their own internal structure. Readers have knowledge of a vast array of text types and of their
characteristics. This knowledge allows them to approach the text with some familiarity and to
adjust their reading expectations and skills to the particular text.

TASK 2
In task 1, the extract was taken from a children´s book by Roald Dahl. Based on your familiarity
with this genre, list some of its main characteristics. Focus on text design/layout, discourse type,
discourse features, grammatical features.

TASK 3
Readers do not approach all texts in the same way. They will adjust their reading style according
to the purposes they have for reading. Think of what are some of the purposes for reading. In

41
order to help you in your answer, think about why you read a newspaper, a poem, a telephone
directory, a manual, an encyclopedia, tour guides.

Reading strategies

Depending on their reading purpose and the type of text, good readers choose the most
appropriate reading strategy. Below is a list of strategies the effective readers have been found to
employ1:

• Recognise words quickly


• Use text features (i.e. headings, subheadings, pictures) to predict the content of a text
• Deduce the meaning and use of unfamiliar lexical items by using contextual clues
• Read at different speeds for different purposes
• Understand information when not explicitly stated
• Distinguish main ideas from minor ones
• Identify the salient points in a text to summarise
• Distinguish between fact and opinion
• Use prior knowledge to work out the meanings within a text
• Understand the relationships between parts of the text from the use of connectives
• Skimming (quickly reading through a text to get the gist)
• Scanning (quickly searching a text for a particular piece of information)
• Identify the main point in a piece of discourse
• Use a dictionary well and understand its limitations
• Use context to build meaning and aid comprehension
• Continue reading even when unsuccessful, at least for a while
• Adjust strategies to the purpose of reading

TASK 4
Answer the following questions on the basis of the above list of reading strategies.

Which strategies would you use if you, wanted to find a telephone number in the directory ?
…………………………………………………………………………
Your level is intermediate, and you wanted to find out what a British newspaper´s opinion is
towards the Olympic games?
………………………………………………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………
Your level is pre-intermediate and you want to decide which places to visit in London through a
tour guide?

1
Adapted from Munby (1978), and Aebersold and Field (1997).

42
………………………………………………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………

TASK 5
On the basis of the information presented so far regarding the reading process and the profile of
the effective reader, offer five pieces of advice to a Greek EFL teacher who wants to develop
his/her students’ reading skills?

Stages of a reading lesson


1. PRE-READING STAGE
During this stage, learners are prepared for the reading that will follow. The knowledge that
they already have (linguistic and socio-cultural) is activated so that reading may be a
purposeful activity.
During this stage, learners may be:
• oriented to the context of the text
• prepared for the content of the text
• provided with a purpose for reading
• given stimuli to activate background knowledge
• encouraged to express their attitude about the topic
• familiarized with some of the language of the text

2. WHILE-READING STAGE
The basic purpose of this stage is to get learners to practise reading and thus develop a range
of reading strategies. Learners are encouraged to be active, flexible and reflective readers.
During this stage, learners may be encouraged to:
• follow the order of ideas in a text
• react to opinions in a text
• confirm expectations or prior knowledge
• predict the next part of the text from various clues
• distinguish fact from opinion
• distinguish major from minor ideas etc.

3. POST-READING STAGE
Activities and tasks used during this stage usually vary so as to respond to different
pedagogic purposes. They can either focus on the content of the text (e.g. role play, writing a
summary, discussing information not in text) or on the language of the text (sentence or text
grammar activities, vocabulary tasks, etc.). In general, however, they should encourage
learners to check and discuss what they have already done while reading, so that they can
make use of what they have read in a meaningful way.

TASK 6
Go through the list of task types below and decide in which phase of the reading lesson the task is
most likely to be used. Tick the appropriate column in the table to indicate what you think is the
most likely phase.

43
TASK TYPES PRE WHILE POST
Scanning the text for specific facts
Choosing synonyms for vocabulary in the text
Re-enacting a dialogue from the text
Choosing a story to read outside the class
Discussing the opinions of the author
Mapping the discourse organization of the text
Writing a summary of the main ideas of the text
Creating an ending for the text
Creating a text of similar discourse structure
Brainstorming for relevant vocabulary terms
Predicting the content of a text from its title
Retelling the main event in a story
Transferring information from text onto a diagram

HOMEWORK PROJECT
On the basis of the information presented above, look at a unit from an EFL coursebook, and try
to answer the following questions:
1. Which activities are for pre-reading which for while-reading and which for post-reading
2. What are the aims of the activities in the pre-reading stage?
3. What skills do the while reading activities aim at developing?
4. Do the post-reading activities encourage students to make use of what they have read in a
meaningful way?

44
UNIT 7

Developing Listening Skills

TASK 1
Below are some statements relating to reception skills, and listening comprehension skills in
particular. Working with a partner, think about whether the statements are true or false and why.
Revise your answers if necessary after discussion in class and/or relevant reading.

Fact or fiction? T F
Reading and listening comprehension require us to be passive,
whereas speaking and writing require us to be active.
Reading and listening comprehension are “easy” or, in any case,
much easier than speaking and writing.
Listening comprehension is more difficult than reading
comprehension. It involves very complex skills.
Reception skills do not need to be explicitly developed in the foreign
language classroom, since learners can transfer the comprehension
skills they have developed by using their mother tongue.
In our mother tongue, first we develop our reception skills and then
we develop our production skills, whereas in second language
acquisition it is the other way around.
Oral interaction involves both listening and speaking as meaning
making practices.
The time spent by people speaking the official language of their
country in daily communication activities is: 45% listening, 30%
speaking, 16% reading, 9% writing.

Reception skills and comprehension goals


TASK 2
Understanding –which necessarily involves interpretation of meaning– is a very complex process.
It requires that listeners and readers employ a wide variety of receptive skills simultaneously
while they’re preparing to listen or read, during the act of listening or reading, but also after the
act has been completed. Below is table of randomly listed skills used by readers and listeners. Try
to classify them according to the following categories of comprehension goals. Put the category
number on the right-hand side of the table:

1. Understanding single utterances


2. Understanding relations between utterances or parts of a text
3. Obtaining the gist or a general impression of the text
4. Extracting specific information from text
5. Deducing unfamiliar or missing meaning
6. Understanding information not explicitly stated

45
7. Understanding the text so as to perform a task

COMPREHENSION
Skills Goal
Interpreting attitudinal meaning through variation of rising and
falling tone, pitch of voice, tempo of speech and other paralinguistic
features.
Deducing the meaning and use of unfamiliar lexical items, through
understanding word formation, contextual clues.
Making inferences and guesses about feelings, opinions and
attitudes not expressed or expressed indirectly.
Understanding conceptual meaning in utterances (e.g., quantity and
amount, definiteness and indefiniteness, comparison, degree, time,
location, direction, means, instrument, cause, result, purpose,
reason, condition, contrast).
Understanding the communicative value (function) of utterances,
with or without explicit indicators (e.g., an interrogative that is a
polite command; a statement that is in fact a suggestion, warning,
etc. depending on the context; relationships of result; reformulation,
etc.).
Understanding relations within the sentence, especially elements of
sentence structure, modification structure, intra-sentential
connectors, complex embedding, focus and theme.
Understanding relations between parts of a text through lexical
cohesion devices (e.g., through repetition, synonymy, hyponymy,
antithesis, opposition, collocation).
Understanding relations between parts of a text through
grammatical cohesion devices (e.g., through anaphoric and
cataphoric reference, comparison, substitution, ellipsis, time and
place relaters, logical connectors).
Interpreting text by going outside it, using exophoric reference,
‘reading between the lines’, integrating data in the text with own
experience or knowledge of the world.
Recognizing indicators in discourse for introducing, developing or
concluding an idea (e.g. adding points, reinforcing argument, making
transition to another idea, emphasizing, explaining or clarifying point
already made, anticipating an objection or contrary view).
Identifying the main point or important information in a piece of
discourse by recognizing vocal underlining (e.g. decreased speed,
increased volume), end-focus and end-weight, verbal cues (e.g. ‘The
point I want to make is…’), the topic sentence, in paragraphs of
inductive organization or deductive organization.
Distinguishing the main idea from supporting details, by
differentiating primary from secondary significance, the whole from
its parts, a progress from its stages, a category from component,
statement from example, fact from opinion, a preposition from its
argument.
Extracting salient point to summarize the whole text, a specific
idea/topic in the text, the underlying idea or point of the text.

46
Selectively extracting relevant points from a text, involving the
coordination of related information, the ordered rearrangement of
contrasting items, the tabulation of information for comparison and
contrast.
Understanding and use of graphic presentation, viz. headings, sub-
headings, numbering, indentation, bold print, etc.
Storing bits of information in mind.
Locating specifically required information on a whole topic or on
single points, involving a simple or complex search.
Inferring missing information (either because it is not provided in the
specific instance or because though it is provided it cannot be
heard/read).
Predicting what is to follow one or more utterances, a substantial
part of the text or the whole text.
TASK 3
Study at the following schematic representation of the listener/reader as an active participant in
communication (cf. Anderson & Lynch 1988:13), and:
(a) Think about which skills are interrelated with what type of knowledge
(b) Use all the information you have acquired so far to describe the comprehension process.

Schematic Background knowledge


knowledge -factual
C -sociocultural (L1 & Target
O language)
M
Procedural knowledge
P
-how language is used in
R
discourse, genre and text (L1 &
E
Target language)
H
Context Knowledge of situation
E
-who is addressing whom and for
N
what purpose, in which setting,
I
etc.
O
N Knowledge of co-text
Intertextual
-what has been/will be
relations
said/written
-what is said/written in another
text
Systemic Language awareness
knowledge -semantic-level knowledge
-lexicogrammatical knwoledge
-phonological and writing
conventions knowledge

Listening situations and listening purposes


TASK 4
4.1 Resort to your experience as a student of English as a foreign language and think: What types
of oral texts did you listen to and what sort of listening comprehension situations did you
involve yourself most frequently in your EFL classes?

47
THE EFL CLASS
Oral texts Listening comprehension situations

4.2 Now work with a partner. Think for a moment and write down as many types of oral texts
that we listen to in real life, and some of the most common types of listening situations we
find ourselves in. Compare with the table above.
LIFE OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM
Oral texts Listening comprehension situations

TASK 5
What listening comprehension skills we employ, depends largely on why we are listening to
something, what type of text we are listening to, and in what type of social situation. Work with a
partner and think about why you usually do the activities below and which comprehension skills
you are usually obliged to use in order to respond to your communicative purpose.

Activity Purpose Skills


Listen to a lecture in
class at the university
Listen to the evening
news on TV
Read a recipe
Listen to an
announcement at the
airport
Read instructions
accompanying your new
cell phone
Listen to football match
on the radio

Factors affecting listening/reading comprehension


Reflection on the matter and research indicate that there are many factors which may hinder or
facilitate comprehension and that these may or may not be related to one’s linguistic competence.
They may have to do with features related to the following. Read through them and add one more
feature that you can think of. Also indicate which of these features are relevant to the L1 and
which to the F(oreign) L(anguage) user.

Factors affecting comprehension L1 userFL user

48
The way information is organized. For example, there are
some indications that listeners/readers remember more of
the content of an expository text when it has informative
title and when the main points come before the
illustrations of main points.
The reader’s/listener’s familiarity with the topic and way of
delivery, his/her concern with the issues involved and
his/her interest in the topic under consideration.
The reader’s/listener’s Familiarity with the particular type
of discourse and genre.
Purposefulness of text for the reader/listener.
The nature of the text. Texts describing objects/giving
instructions (“static”) are supposed to easier to
understand than texts that focus on people’s opinions and
ideas (“abstract”).
Processing load (amount of information that needs to be
processed and time available).
Visual support (graphics, photographs, tables) plays an
important role in the interpretation of what
readers/listeners are reading/listening to.
Type of reading/listening task: Evaluative listening tasks
(writing summaries or distinguishing fact from opinion) are
more difficult than those involving immediate response.

TASK 6
Comprehension is a very complex process even in one’s mother tongue, as we all well realize
when we think about how frequently people misunderstand each other when they speak or when
they read. However, the problems of L2 users are more intense because their language and
cultural awareness is more limited – even when they are relatively proficient in the target
language. Work with a partner and, based on your own experience as EFL learners, list some of
the additional problems that foreign language listeners face when listening and explain why.

Problems of EFL users Reasons why

Stages of listening comprehension activities


The stages of listening comprehension activities are the same as in reading comprehension, and
so are the aims and purposes of each stage. Specifically:
1) Pre-listening: The aim is to establish a framework for listening so that students do not
approach the listening task with no points of reference. It enables learners to use existing
schemata and provides a context. Learners are motivated to listen and they know what to

49
expect. The pre-listening stage ensures a higher level of success and may lead to greater
confidence. Pre-listening may involve reading, writing, speaking tasks or all three, in the
target language or in L1.
2) While-listening: Tasks that learners are asked to do while listening to the text. Their purpose
is to help them develop a variety of comprehension skills and elicit messages from the text. In
training for listening comprehension, it is important to develop learners’ ability to understand
the message(s), not every single word of the text. Training often involves moving from
extensive to intensive listening, with texts and tasks that are interesting for learners,
considering their age, experiences, etc. At initial phases, tasks should not involve production
in the target language, but successively skills should be integrated.
3) Post or Follow-up listening: These are tasks assigned when the listening is completed. They
may require overall understanding or interpretation of the text, attitudes, etc. or they can be
extensions on the work done in pre- or while-listening. They can also only be loosely
connected to the listening text itself.

TASK 7
Go through the list of task types below and decide in which phase of the listening comprehension
activity the task is most likely to be used. Tick the appropriate column in the table to indicate
what you think is the most likely phase

TASK TYPES PRE WHIL POS


E T
Predicting the content of the text from its title
Asking students to follow a route on a map
Asking students to mark items on pictures
Do language work on specific phonological,
grammatical or lexical features in the text.
Answering students’ queries/dealing with
students’ problems with the listening text
Asking students to comment on a picture related
to the listening text.
Asking students to read a short text on a similar
topic
Asking students to role play a dialogue based on
a listening text.
Giving students the listening transcript to confirm
their answers
Brainstorming for relevant vocabulary terms
Asking students to answer multiples-choice or
true-false questions based on the text.
Asking students to read comprehension questions
in advance
Asking students to complete a form, a diagram, a
table based on the listening text.

Developing or testing listening skills?

TASK 8
Work with a partner. Compare what the students are asked to do in each of the situations
below and decide whether there is something seriously wrong with what the teachers, who are

50
attempting to train students in Listening comprehension are asking the students to do in
Situations A, B, C and D.

Situation A
An EFL teacher asks her students to listen to a recorded conversation.
Then, after they’re done listening, she asks them to tell the class as much
as they can remember about the conversation they heard.
Situation B
A second teacher asks his students to listen to a recorded conversation.
Then, after they’re done listening, she asks them if they have any
unknown words.
Situation C
A third teacher informs the class that they will listen to Liz, who’s a
librarian, talk about the things she has to do as part of her job in the
library.
- Before they listen to her though, they should make a list of five things
that they believe she is probably expected to do.
- Then, while they listen the first time, they should see if they made any
correct guesses.
- When they listen a second time, they should revise their list.
Situation D
A fourth teacher informs the class that they will hear a teenage girl
reading to her girlfriend a letter she received from her boyfriend. They
must then work in pairs and write a response letter to the boy on behalf
of the girl that received the letter.

It is important to remember that a listening activity is a training session and not a test. The
teacher’s aim should be to help students understand what listening entails and how they might
approach their task. They should try to build students’ confidence and reward students for
trying to come up with reasonable ideas rather than just the correct answer during the
listening activities. Set manageable, challenging yet realistic goals for each activity.

HOMEWORK PROJECT
Teacher-trainee task 1
Study the listening task below and then:
(a) Decide what the teaching/learning objective is.
(b) If this type of task is more appropriate for training or for testing listening
comprehension.
(c) Think about what receptive skills completion of this task involves.

Learner (while-listening) task


You have a few seconds to read the following statements, which you will have to
tick as True or False, after you listen to someone talking on tape.

Here’s what learners listen to (but they don’t see written.

…I don’t know if I have told you that I’ve started on my plans to take French lessons. Janet
and I decided we’d take this on together, but because in fact I have no evening when I can
actually go to classes, because of my political commitment taking-up five nights a week,
we decided we would get a French tape and try to spend… put aside two or three hours a
week, to work on my French. So I went to the local library and got us a tape called… er…
complete mastering French two. I don’t know… if I really read it very carefully… because
it’s well in advance … we are weaker. So I think I’ll go back and ask for the complete
mastering of French one, which is… well… is placed more on our own side. …. I don’t know

51
if you can hear the thunder….. No, no it’s not that – it isn’t thunder! It’s fireworks. Jean-
Michelle Jarre does a good job. He’s got a… he’s doing two concerts just across the river
and I’m on… very… very close to the river. He’s doing two concerts. He did one last night
and one tonight. And it’s a massive thing of laser beams and fire… you know… sort of
quarter of a million pounds of fireworks were involved in this concert. So I think it’s
obviously begun. So when I drop to my bedroom at night, I’ll sit for a while and watch it. I
suppose it’ll be quite spectacular…

Follow up task
Now, listen again and check your answers.

STATEMENTS True False


1. The speaker is a very busy person. q q
2. Jane went to the library. q q
3. The speaker and Jane are planning to go to a French school. q q
4. The speaker can speak French very well. q q
5. Jane and the speaker went to a concert. q q

Teacher-trainee task 2

Assume that you have this text to work with in your class with 25 EFL intermediate learners.
Make two alternative learner tasks: a while-listening and a post-listening one.
The skills that the completion of the tasks should involve are the following from the skills-
table above:
• Extracting salient point to summarize the whole text.
• Guessing attitude toward interlocutor not expressed directly in the text.
• Inferring missing information.
• Predicting what is to follow the whole text.

52
UNIT 8

Developing Speaking Skills

The nature of the speaking skill

TASK 1
Think about the relation between speaking and listening and speaking and writing. What are
their similarities and differences?
…………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………

The quote below gives an indication of the multiplicity of skills needed in order to take part in
a conversation:

What is involved in producing a conversational utterance?

“Apart from being grammatical, the utterance must also be appropriate on very many levels
at same time; it must conform to the speaker’s aim, to the role relationships between
interactants, to the setting, topic, linguistic context etc. The speaker must also produce his
utterance within severe constraints; he does not know in advance what will be said to him
(and hence what his utterance will be a response to) yet, if the conversation is not to flag, he
must respond extremely quickly. The rapid formulation of utterances which are
simultaneously ‘right’ on several levels is central to the (spoken) communicative skill”
Johnson (1981: 11)

Indeed, speaking and more specifically taking part in a conversation, requires much more than
the ability to construct grammatically correct sentences and the ability to master stress,
rhythm and intonation.
Although speaking and writing are both productive skills and share much in common in terms
of the processes involved in producing language, spontaneous speech takes place under two
conditions which seriously affect the quality and quantity of language produced. These are:

Processing conditions: i.e. time


Speech takes place under the pressure of time. Time constraints have observable effects on
spoken interaction. They affect planning, memory and production. The ability to master
processing conditions of speech enables speakers to deal fluently with a given topic while
being listened to.

Reciprocity conditions: i.e. interlocutors


Refer to the relation between the speaker and the listener in the process of oral interaction.
Because the listener is in front of us we have to take into account the listener and constantly
monitor the listener’s reactions to check that the assumptions we are making are shared and
that the listener understands what we are saying.

53
TASK 2
The following are extracts from the speech of native speakers of English and demonstrate
some of the features of naturally spoken English. Can you identify some of the features of
spoken English which you wouldn’t normally find in a piece of writing?

Extract 1:
It’s erm – an intersection of kind of two – a kind of crossroads – of a minor road going across
a major road – and I was standing there – and there was this erm- kind of ordinary car – on
the minor road- just looking to come out – onto the big road – and coming down towards him
on the big road was a van –followed by a lorry – now- just as he started to come onto the
main road –the van – no the lorry star-started to overtake the van – not having seen the fact
that another car was coming out.

Extract 2:
Teacher: Morning Mrs. Williams. I’ve brought the money
Secretary: Hello Mr James- erm- what money?
Teacher: you know, the money for the books
Secretary: The money for what books?
Teacher: Oh, I thought Mrs Priors had told you about the reading books for the third years.
Secretary: Oh yes, they’ve been ordered.
Teacher: So where shall I put it?
Secretary: What? …oh over there on the filing cabinet…

Characteristics of spoken language

The pressure of time affects the language we use in two ways:


1) speakers use devices to facilitate production.
2) speakers use devices to compensate for difficulties.

TASK 3
Find examples of facilitation and compensation devices from the extracts above. Can you
also provide examples of your own?

Facilitation:
a) Simplified structure: Use of coordinating conjunctions or no conjunction at all.
Avoidance of complex noun groups with many adjectives; repetitions of same sentences
adding further adjectives: ……………………………………………….....................................
b) Ellipsis: Speakers omit parts of sentences………………………..........................................
c) Use of idiomatic, conventional expressions called formulaic: …......................................
d) Use of time creating devices (fillers and hesitation devices): These give the speaker time
to formulate what he/she intends to say next. ………………………………………………….

Compensation
• Speakers frequently correct what they say, e.g. they may substitute a noun or an adjective
for another.
• Speakers use false starts.
• They repeat or rephrase in order to give the listener time to understand and to remind
him/her of things that were said. This helps reduce memory load and lighten planning
load.

54
Interaction skills
Speaking and more specifically taking part in a conversation, require a number of skills which
are called interaction skills.
Interaction skills include: Routines, management skills, negotiation skills, communication
strategies and knowledge of language functions.

Routines:
These are conventional ways of presenting information. They are predictable and help ensure
clarity.
a) Information routines are frequently recurring types of information structure either
expository (narration, description, instruction, comparison) or evaluative (explanation,
justification, prediction, decision)
b) Interaction routines are sequences of kinds of turns typically recurring in given situations
(telephone conversation, job interview). These turns are organised in characteristic ways.

TASK 4
Below is a list of skills used in the management and maintenance of a conversation. Can you
give examples of typical expressions used in each skill?

Management skills:
Generally refer to who is going to speak next and what is going to be said.
A) Openings: …………………………………………………………………………………...
B) Turn - taking:
Strategies for taking a turn: ……………………………………………………………………
Strategies for holding a turn: Indicating that you have more to say……………………………
Strategies for relinquishing a turn: …………………………………………………………….
C) Interrupting: ………………………………………………………………………………
D) Topic- shift: ……………………………………………………………………………….
E) Adjacency pairs: Some utterances (questions, invitations, apologies, compliments) require
an immediate response/reaction from the listener. The utterance and the response is called an
adjacency pair.
A: Would you like to come for dinner on Friday?
B: Yes, I’d love to (preferred answers)
I’m terribly sorry but I can’t. My brother is visiting us. (Dispreferred reaction)
F) Closings: Routines used for closings conversations. ……………………………………..

Getting feedback from the listener:


• Checking that the listener has understood: Comprehension checks
• Responding to requests for clarification
• Asking for the listeners opinion

Communication strategies:
These are valuable for dealing with communication trouble spots (not knowing a word, not
understanding the speaker). They enhance fluency and add to the efficiency of
communication.
a) Message adjustment/avoidance: Saying what you can say rather than what you want to say;
altering or reducing the message, going off the point or completing avoiding it.
b) Paraphrase: Describing or exemplifying the action/object whose name you do not know.
c) Approximation: Using alternative terms which express the meaning of the target word as
closely as possible or using all purpose words
d) Appeals for help:
e) Asking for repetition/clarification:

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f) Giving an interpretive summary: Reformulating the speaker’s message to check that you
have understood correctly

Knowledge of functions and meaning:


Knowledge of language functions
agreeing/disagreeing, making requests etc.
Knowledge of indirect speech acts: Utterances which rather than conveying information carry
out an action:
Speaking styles:
Adjusting your language on the basis of the roles, age, sex, status of interlocutor and on the
basis of the setting.

TASK 5
Below is a list of activity types for speaking. Read the description of each type and decide
which of the interaction skills students are most likely to develop and use in each type of
activity:

1. Questions and answers: These activities are based on the notion of information
gap where students must interact in order to complete the information which is
missing.
2. Dialogues and role plays: Short dialogues based on small situations: answering
the door, making a telephone call, welcoming visitors etc. or acting out social
roles based on simple situations and character descriptions.
3. Pictures and picture stories: for example spot the difference, describing pictures,
sequencing pictures to tell a story.
4. Puzzles and problems: These require learners to make guesses, draw on their
general knowledge and personal experience, use their imagination and test their
powers of logical reasoning.
5. Discussions and decisions: These require the learner to collect information and
share information to reach a decision.
6. Monologues: These activities help students practise speaking in long turns
(telling jokes, recounting the plot of a film, book, giving a short lecture or
speech).

Problems with fluency with some learners


The following are some of the problems of the “silent learner”- the student who finds great
difficulty in contributing to any kind of discussion in English and who is reluctant to take
advantage of opportunities to develop oral fluency.
a. Inhibition/lack of confidence
b. Fear of making mistakes
c. The feeling of having nothing to say on the subject
d. Lack of appropriate language
e. Lack of practice in conventions of conversational interaction

TASK 6
Below is a list of measures the teacher can take in order help students overcome these
problems. Decide which measure is more appropriate for tackling each of the problems (a-e)
listed above.
• Pre-teach key vocabulary ………..
• Thoroughly prepare for any discussion through brainstorming and exchange of
ideas. ………….
• Organise the class so that activities take place in small groups…………….
• Pursue a policy of placing low priority on correction in certain activities. …

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• Provide stimulus materials (e.g. texts on the topic to be discussed)…………
• Analyse a video tape of native speakers involved in heated discussion…..
Can you suggest any other measures?

HOMEWORK PROJECT
Choose an EFL coursebook for intermediate level learners which states on its back
cover that one of its aims is the development fluency and communication skills. Look
through the course book and identify
a) how many speaking activities there are per unit
b) how many different types of speaking activities are used
c) how many speaking activities focus on the development of students´ fluency
and interaction skills.
d) Which interaction skills do the activities focus on (give examples of 3
activities).

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UNIT 9

Developing Writing Skills


Speaking and writing
TASK 1
Below are statements that refer to the nature of the writing skill and the process of writing.
Based on your knowledge of the nature of speaking skill (unit 8) identify the areas in which
speech differs from writing:

 The primary function of writing is to pass on factual information


(transactional function) whereas we use speech primarily
……………………………………………………………………..
 Written language is permanent whereas speech ……………..
 Written language is more bound by convention (spelling, punctuation,
grammar) whereas spoken language…………………………..
 Writers do not have the pressure of time whereas
speakers……………………………………………………
 Writing is a recursive process not a linear process whereas speaking
………………………………………………………………………………
 Written language is much slower to reflect change whereas spoken
language……………………………………………………………..
Writers cannot see their reader and thus receive no feedback whereas
speakers………………………………………………………….
 Writing is expected to be accurate in every detail, to be coherent whereas
speech……………………………………………………………………….
 Written language is far more condensed than spoken language; more
information is packed into fewer words whereas the spoken language
…………………………………………………………………………………
 The writer cannot depend on a shared context for the communication of
meaning and this makes writing context independent; writers have to invent a
shared context “on the page” whereas
speakers……………………………………………………………………….
 In writing we need to take into account the knowledge and opinions of an
imagined audience whereas in
speaking…………………………………………………………………….

What knowledge does a writer need in order to write


TASK 2

A teacher in a language classroom asks her students to write an article on the effects of toxic
waste on our environment. What kinds of knowledge would the students need to
have/employ in order to perform this task successfully?
…………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………

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Four kinds of knowledge that we need in order to write

1) Knowledge of language
a. Spelling
b. Punctuation
c. Grammatical structures
d. Lexis
e. Cohesion and coherence (how to connect clauses within and between
sentences and how to order information in our sentences and texts)
f. Discourse types (each discourse type e.g. narrative, argument etc. has its own
special features)

2) Knowledge of topic, i.e. knowing what we are writing about. This may seem obvious
but many time we ask students to write about issues/topics they have very little
knowledge of. The teacher must ensure that students have the relevant topic
knowledge either before their writing task or as they proceed. This is the justification
of linking writing work with reference books, research work in libraries etc.
3) Knowledge of audience i.e. knowledge of who we are writing to. The more one
knows about one’s audience the easier the writing is; both the topic and the intended
readers will influence the kind of writing we do. In Task 2, the teacher has not
provided an audience for the students (is it the teacher, fellow students, or the readers
of a particular newspaper the intended audience?)
4) Stored writing plans: Background knowledge (schemata)
e.g. Formal schemata: formal, organisational structures of different types of text
and Content schemata: background knowledge of the content are being written
about.

The writing process


As was mentioned in Task 1, writing is not a straightforward, linear process. It is a recursive
process where the writer goes back and forth, revising, deleting, changing and editing. Flower
and Hayes (1980:39) see it as a problem solving process; they see writing as a sequence of
problems to be solved from the high level problem of deciding on purpose and basic message
to the lower level problems of deciding on sentence structure, vocabulary and spelling.

TASK 3
You are now in the process of writing projects/assignments for various courses you are
attending at University. Think about the stages you go through from the moment you decide
on the assignment topic to the moment you hand in your assignment. What stages/steps do
you usually follow?
…………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………………………….

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The process of writing

 Gathering information (through research, library work, reading on the topic;


the extent to which you gather information of course depends on the topic
and your existing knowledge of the topic).
 Generating ideas (making notes of the ideas you feel are relevant to the topic;
the ideas you generate will be limited by the audience you have in mind).
 Goal setting (deciding what you want to do with all the material you have
generated, deciding on the main messages you want to send)
 Organising (grouping the ideas you have generated and deciding on the order
you want to present them, it will also involve thinking about the links
between different sets of ideas).
 Making a first draft
 Reading you work and redrafting
 Editing (this may occur in brief episodes interrupting other parts of the
process; there are four kinds of editing we do: editing for standard language
conventions, editing for accuracy of meaning, editing for reader
understanding, editing for reader acceptance).
 Final version

Writing as product versus writing as process


The terms product and process are commonly used in various areas of language teaching and
reflect the popularisation of the work in areas of psychological and educational research
which stress the need to focus on the process of language learning (what is going on as
learning takes place) rather than the need to focus exclusively on the product of learning (the
final outcome of an activity). The term “process” is particularly apt as regards writing because
traditionally (but also evident in many classroom practices and coursebooks today) writing is
viewed as a means for consolidating grammar and vocabulary and for assessing student
progress. It is regulated at the end of a coursebook unit and is usually assigned for homework.
The main emphasis has been on the end product (i.e. student’s written work) which is
assessed in terms of grammatical accuracy and correct use of vocabulary. Whether ideas have
been communicated clearly, coherently, and effectively and whether the final product reflect
the characteristics of the genre was not normally a concern. In other words writing in most
EFL classrooms was seen as writing to learn the language (product) rather than learning to
write (process).
If our aim is to develop writing as a skill, then we need to place emphasis on all the stages of
the writing process and to guide and train the students in every step. Learning to write (or
focusing on writing as process) would involve among other things, learning more efficient
ways of thinking, of organising ideas, note taking, learning to consider the readers’ needs and
learning to communicate our ideas effectively, clearly and appropriately. It would necessarily
involve developing students’ knowledge of different discourse types and of their inherent
characteristics, and of training students to developing coherent and cohesive texts. Accurate
use of language is only one feature of a good piece of written work.

Text types
One of our main aims in developing students’ writing skills is to acquaint them with and
provide opportunities for them to practice writing different text types. Of course the range of
text types we introduce in class will depend on the students’ language level and age.

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TASK 4
Consider some text types you would use in a class for young learners at elementary level
…………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………
Consider some text types you would use for a class of teenagers at intermediate level
…………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………

The table below which lists various text types may help you in deciding.

Personal writing Public writing Creative writing


Diaries Letters of enquiry Poems
Journals Letters of complaint Stories
Shopping lists Letters of request Rhymes
Reminders for oneself Form filling Drama
Recipes applications Songs
addresses Autobiography
Social writing Study writing Institutional writing
Letters Making notes whiles Agendas
Invitations reading Minutes
Notes of condolence Taking notes from lectures Memoranda
Notes of thanks Making a card index Reports
Notes of congratulations Summaries Reviews
Emails Synopses Contracts
Telephone messages Reviews Business letters
Instructions to Reports of experiments Public notices
friends/family Reports of workshops Advertisements
Reports of visits Posters
Essays Instructions
bibliographies Speeches
Curriculum vitae
Specifications
Note making (e.g. doctors)

Principles for teaching writing

HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT
Below are certain principles which relate to the development of the writing skills in the
classroom. Based on the information presented in the unit and on your reading from relevant
sources, provide a justification for each principle (i.e. why it is important to approach writing
in the following ways)

1) Instructions to writing tasks should provide a clear purpose for writing and a sense of
audience

2) Writing tasks should be tried out by the teacher in order to identify what the task
demands. This will enable the teacher to set useful pre-writing tasks.

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3) Teachers should emphasise the stages of drafting, redrafting, reading and re-reading
of texts, before students hand in their work.

4) Students should be encouraged either in pairs or individually to do their own proof


reading at the very end of the writing process

5) Teachers should expose students to various examples of text types that they will be
asked to write in real life.

6) Before asking students to write a particular text type, time should be spent reflecting
on and analysing models of the particular text type.

7) Students should be encouraged to produce whole texts and not isolated sentences.

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