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Helping the Unsuccessful Language Learner continued from page 7
learn them. It is true that context always supplies the best background for vocabulary learning. Yet, other cognitive approaches to learning vocabulary in and out of contexts should also be developed in order to help students remember and use various words and expressions easily and readily. Analyses and critical observation of structures and expressions, and discussions of the differences and similarities between spoken and written language are also true assets to an enlargement of vocabulary
REFERENCES Bejan, Nicolae. 1976. Notes on word-formation in scientific and tech
nical English. English Teaching Forum, 14, 1 (January 1976), pp.
40-41. Bowen, J. Donald. 1972. A multiple register approach to teaching En
glish. In Readings on English as a second language, ed. Kenneth
Croft, pp. 409–21. Cambridge, Mass.: Winthrop. Broughton, Geoffrey. 1978. Native speaker insight. English Language
Teaching, 32, 4 (July 1978), pp. 253–57. Campbell, Jill. 1976. Another view of teaching vocabulary. English
Teaching Forum, 14, 1 (January 1976), p. 42. Carver, David. 1978. Reading comprehension: is there such a thing?
English Language Teaching, 32, 4 (July 1978), pp. 291-97. Green, J.F. 1970. The use of the mother tongue and the teaching of
translation. English Language Teaching, 24, 3, (May 1970), pp.
217-23. Kruse, Anna Fisher. 1979. Vocabulary in context. English Language
Teaching, 33, 3 (April 1979), pp. 207–13. Lado, Robert. 1972. Patterns of difficulty in vocabulary. In Readings
on English as a second language, ed. Kenneth Croft, pp. 277-91.
Cambridge, Mass.: Winthrop. Levenston, E.A. 1968. Only for telling a man he was wrong. English
Language Teaching, 23, 1 (October 1968), pp. 43–47. Marckwardt, Albert H. 1974. Getting the most out of the dictionary.
English Teaching Forum, 12, 2 (April-June 1974), pp. 6-12. Masanori, Higa. 1972. The psycholinguistic concept of difficulty, and
the teaching of foreign language vocabulary. In Readings on English as a second language, ed. Kenneth Croft, pp. 292–303. Cam
bridge, Mass.: Winthrop. Nation, I.S.P. 1978. Translation and the teaching of meaning: some
techniques. English Language Teaching, 32, 3 (April 1978), pp.
171-75. Ndomba Benda. 1978. Common errors in Zairian students' papers:
some learning problems and suggestions for a better teaching method. Unpublished monograph, I.S.P. Kisangani, Dec. 1978,
successful strategies and techniques for language learning. Then, with the help and cooperation of better language learners, they can help less successful students increase their level of competency. Specifically, foreignlanguage teachers can: (1) inform students honestly about the task of learning a language, the work involved, and the rewards to be gained; (2) create the kind of classroom climate in which students feel comfortable and involved; (3) aid students in developing certain cognitive styles helpful in language learning by assigning tasks such as those suggested by Omaggio and Birckbichler; (4) help students develop the art of inferencing by making them aware of clues for intelligent guessing; (5) personalize language instruction whenever feasible in order to motivate students to express themselves readily; (6) ask students to monitor each other's speech and thus take an active part, not only in learning, but also in teaching; (7) seek out opportunities for students to use the language outside the classroom; (8) present all material in a meaningful manner and, in turn, expect students to attend to both structure and meaning from the outset; (9) ask successful language learners to serve as informants regarding strategies, techniques, and study skills; (10) encourage slow students to experiment freely until they find their own particular learning style.
A New Look at the Passive continued from page 11
1979. Teaching English idioms and stereotyped expressions: a theory on the acquisition of ready-made pieces of language in English. Zaire English Teachers' Review (Kinshasa), 2, 1 (June 1979), pp. 8-21.
.. Teaching English idioms, stereotyped expressions and some special structures to Zairian students. Unpublished monograph,
I.S.P. Kisangani, 1979, pp. 81. Prator, Clifford H. 1969. Adding a second language, TESOL Quarter.
ly, 3, 2 (1969), pp. 95–104. Reprinted in Readings on English as a second language, ed. Kenneth Croft (1972), pp. 23-35. Cam
bridge, Mass.: Winthrop. Rivers, Wilga M. and Mary S. Temperley. 1977. Building and main
taining an adequate vocabulary. English Teaching Forum, 15, 1
(January 1977), pp.2–7. Trivedi, H.C. 1979. Culture in language learning. English Language
Teaching, 32, 2 (January 1979), pp.92-97.
To native speakers, and others fluent in English, the mental leap from active to passive seems easy-far easier than the step-by-step approach. But those who have not yet mastered the passive take a different view. They welcome discovery of steps that lead to successful sentence-building. This has been true for a wide range of learners, from fourth-grade children to adults in universities.
The students most grateful for this kind of help are those whose language is structurally very different from English. For them, especially, it is a satisfying thing to succeed in forming correct sentences, with a few directions as guides.
Finalizing the Preparation of a Lesson
ED JOYCEY is currently working as a senior teacher at the British Council Teaching Centre, Thessaloniki, Greece, where his duties include teaching English as a second language and teacher training. He has had previous experience teaching in England, where he received his M.Ed. degree from Leeds University. "This article," he writes, "has arisen as a result of observing, advising, and assessing teacher-trainees. However, it should be of use to all teachers, especially those new to the profession."
Check sheets used by assessors of lessons to evaluate the success of the lessons they observe usually do include a method of checking the practical details in the execution of those lessons. Such a check also helps to determine whether the aims of the lesson were achieved; perhaps the only valuable factor. So, for example, it is necessary for the teacher's voice to be audible, and for him to give clear instructions or explanations. The language presented has to suit the level of the students, and the method adopted has to be appropriate. It is obvious that if conditions of this type are not met, the lesson will fail.
The rest of the evaluation is likely to be concerned not so much with basic practical matters as with such factors as, for example, the type and range of activities in the lesson plan, or the way the teacher handles the presentation, practice, and production of a new structure. Another point for assessment might be the teacher's ability to handle unforeseen problems that arise in the course of a lesson, especially where the need to deal with such problems is likely to distract from the aims of the lesson.
The teacher/trainee may have access to the check sheet being used, and may refer to it as he prepares his lesson. However, while the points mentioned in the above paragraph deal with practical considerations, they do not help the teacher to make his own, more practical, decisions about how to approach things. Neither do they encourage the teacher/trainee to develop an awareness of potential problems in the lesson.
To make clearer the difference between points of assessment that have to do with the overall lesson and those that relate to specific practical questions, take the question, "Does the teacher use aids in the classroom?" If the teacher is aware that his lesson will be assessed by such a question, then he should make sure that he uses aids in the execution of the lesson. This may seem to satisfy the practical need of having aids. In practice, it often happens that when it comes to the actual lesson execution, the aids don't work, or the teacher/trainee suddenly finds that he doesn't now how to use them. Problems of this latter type are the concern of this article, so in order to avoid such problems, it is suggested that an even more basic, practical approach to the preparation of a lesson is required. It is often the case that a lesson plan which appears to have a good balance of activities, and is ordered in such a way as to appear to lead towards achieving the aims, actually isn't very successful in practice because of small practical details causing problems that have to be dealt with in the execution, and which throw the timing and momentum of the lesson out.
Therefore I feel that all teachers, especially new teachers and trainees, need help in learning how to decide what to include in a lesson. After planning the lesson, the teacher should check it over to see if any basic practical problems may occur. He will then be ready to deal with them, or, if they appear potentially too disastrous, he can alter his lesson plan.
Teachers generally know the types of activities to include in a lesson, and how to present the lesson. However, it is necessary for them to develop a process for making decisions about the basics of their lesson. This is especially true when helping teacher-trainees who need to improve their ability to plan lessons. It is no good just telling them what to do, or even showing them exactly what to do, and what activities to include. Such an approach is too vague, as they do not relate the parts of the lesson to other aspects of learning to become a teacher. It is necessary to help them to make their own decisions about why to include something in a lesson, and whether it will work in practice.
The following check sheet will, I hope, be useful to teachers/trainees in deciding whether to include an activity in a lesson, by making them view the lesson from the basically practical approach referred to in the earli
er paragraphs. I suggest that it be used as a final check of a lesson plan, some time before executing the lesson. It will then illuminate any possible problems. If the teacher/trainee is aware of the possible occurrence of such problems, he can either adopt a strategy in the execution of the lesson which will help to overcome the problem, or he can quickly rethink that part of the lesson so that the problem does not arise.
The list is not exhaustive, and I am sure that teachers, teacher trainers, and trainees will wish to add to it, drawing on their own experience, especially as their own decision-making process develops. For ease of classification, it is divided into three parts: (1) the students, (2) the teacher, (3) the aids. These parts overlap in some of the questions. A brief explanation of the reason for some of the questions follows the check-sheet, where such further explanation is felt necessary.
Some of the points may seem to be too obvious, but it is exactly these points that teachers, especially trainees, overlook.
Reason for arrangement: often, when observing trainees, I have noticed that the pupils have been put into a group, perhaps to impress the examiner. But the grouping may serve no real purpose, and could have been omitted. To avoid this occurrence, the trainees should know why they have chosen such an arrangement, and how this arrangement helps to make the lesson successful. Having a reason for everything he does will help the teacher/trainee to conduct the lesson with more confidence.
1. This question helps to ensure that a lesson requiring communication between the students is not interfered with because of physical restraints in the room or incorrect, badly thought-out arrangements.
2 & 3. Teachers/trainees often decide on a classroom arrangement that serves no real purpose. The mistake becomes apparent in the course of the lesson, but by then it is probably too late to change. These two sections help the teacher/trainee to avoid such a mistake and to develop a decision-making process about such matters.