Teach English in Xinyang Zhen - Tianshui Shi

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4 Basic skills in language i.e. ?Receptive Skills = Reading &Listening ?Productive Skills = Speaking & Writing REASONS FOR READING & LISTEING: ?Reading instructions to operate a microwave?Reading a book for leisure by favourite author? ?Listening to directions from stranger...Listening to our friends? Reasons & motives are different for each. Can divide REASONS & MOTIVES for READIG & LISTENING in two i.e. For a purpose: This type of reading/listening helps accomplish particular aim/goal For entertainment: We listen to or read info for pleasure. Reading & Listening can also be a mix of the two motives. HOW WE READ & LISTEN: Our minds must recognize & understand the words but also understand the meaning from a pre-existing knowledge of the world i.e. if American walked past newspaper stand & read headlines ?Bears destroyed by Cowboys? he would be able to recognize this was probabley about American football game & not animal cruelty. This would be grounded on his pre-existent knowledge. But a non-American seeing the same could reach entirely different conclusion. SKILLS: Predictive Skills: Predicting the content of an article/dialogue from headline/introduction Specific information-scanning: often read/listen for specific information. E.g. looking for rugby result ? ewe don?t read whole newspaper. We listen to news and concentrate only when particular story comes up. General idea-skimming: Read/listen for gist of text/dialogue-don?t focus on every word-just trying to get general understanding of content. Detailed Information: Read in order to understand everything in detail i.e. detailed directions how to get somewhere. We must read/listen in concentrated manner to gain full benefit. Deduction from Context: Be able to understand/deduce the meaning of individual words/phrases from context in which we hear/read them. Must be able to see beyond literal meaning of words i.e. ?You are in a non-smoking zone? isn?t intended just for information but also to tell you not to smoke. PROBLEMS WITH LISTENING & READING: Teaching/learning of receptive skills presents number of potential problems mainly in connection with language contained in the text, the topic & the tasks the students will perform. LANGUAGE: Sentence length, word length as well as unfamiliar words can present difficulties to learners of English. Reading presents fewer problems as the text is ?captured? on paper & students get to read it numerous times. This gives them opportunity to think about it or deduce the difficult language from context. Listening is different. The language isn?t ?captured? & listeners have no time to deduce the meaning & think about the language-they only hear it once. The more language the students are exposed to the more they will learn. Are many ways of approaching language difficulty. Pre ? Teaching Vocabulary: Rather teach difficult/unknown language & structures before commencing a reading/listening activity. But if students never get past the stage of having to understand each & every word they will never feel comfortable with receptive skills. Learning to understand texts without knowing every word is a skill that we should encourage in our students. Some kind of balance must be struck between pre-teaching structures & letting students access unknown language. A solution would be to only pre-teach the words that are essential to understanding and leaving other vocabulary work until later. Careful Selection of Text: If teacher is careful as to the listening/reading materials presented to students, they can expose students to a variety of authentic & non-authentic texts. Authentic texts are not designed for language students whereas non-authentic texts are. Non authentic texts will allow students access to material that contains language more suited to students? abilities, whereas authentic texts will expose students to texts that should give them confidence in their skills. Authentic materials must be carefully selected so as to focus on what the students know rather than how much they don?t know. TOPICS: Topic of text/dialogue can help motivate the students. If topic isn?t interesting it less likely students will engage with material. Teachers must think about how they choose topics & tasks. Knowing students as well as what interests them is vital. Individual students have individual interests so some may be interested while others are not. A variety of topics over period of time is needed to ensure all students are equally catered for. Do not assume that if topic interests you it will interest them. Know them and their interests. CREATE INTEREST: If Teacher get students motivated & engaged in tasks there is greater possibility they will read/listen with enthusiasm. Get students engaged by discussing topic, showing pictures, predicting what the text will be about & other ?engage? phase activities. ##TASKS: Important feature in teaching receptive skills concerns comprehension tasks. Must provide comprehension tasks that promote understanding as opposed to just checking understanding. Tasks mustn?t be too easy or too difficult-must be a challenge that?s realistically achievable i.e. jigsaw reading when students work in pairs & reads part of texts. They then share their information to complete other tasks. Also, a technique is ?jumbled texts?. This is when paragraphs of a text are jumbled up for students to re-order. OUTLINE OF A TYPICAL RECEPTIVE SKILLS LESSON (PATCHWORK): Students will read/listen to a text about life of Elvis Presley. Learner objective would be for students to learn more about his life & be able to write 1 or 2 paragraphs about him. ENGAGE: Start class with extract from famous Elvis song. Who is it? What do you know about him? What would you like to know about him-use this type of question to create more interest amongst students. Allow students to quickly read/listen to a text to see if it answered any of their questions. (Set time limit to ensure quick reading) STUDY: Pre-teach potentially problematic vocabulary. Practice exercise/es to check/reinforce understanding & pronunciation. ENGAGE: Do students know any of his other songs? Elicit. Play any other Elvis song of their choice & discuss. STUDY: Students read text then answer comprehension tasks based on the text, e.g. true/false questions. Students compare answers in pairs & feedback to class. ACTIVATE: Remove texts from their view & ask them to write a brief review of the life of Elvis. Students compare in pairs & feedback to class. STUDY: If needed deal with any language problems from review. Allow students access to the text again & ?discover? meaning of 5 more unknown words from the text. ACTIVATE: In pairs students write brief account of a famous person that they both know/are interested in without mentioning his/her name. Each pair reads out & other class members try to guess the famous person. Note: There are different/equally effective ways of approaching the same lesson. Basic keys to successful receptive skills lessons are: ?Choose material that interests/motivates students ?Build interest before reading/listening ?Pre-teach complex vocabulary or structures if necessary but don?t overdo it. ?Vary type of material. ?Use material to practise different skills. ?Use realistic comprehension tasks that aid understanding. ?Incorporate activate phases that naturally lead on from the text.