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TEACHING ENGLISH AS A FOREIGN LANGUAGE: TOP 20 ADVICE

Понедельник 19 Октябрь 2015

Преподавание в связи со своей многогранностью является таким сложным феноменом, что его реализация очень часто далека от идеальной. Тем не менее некоторые учителя используют различные методы преподавания, которые могут быть инновационными или теми, которыми пользовались их собственные учителя и преподаватели из вуза, предполагая что не существует более логичных и методов чем их. Цель моей статьи — представить некоторые основные принципы и технологии преподавания английского языка разного уровня основанные на советах из книг по методике преподавания иностранных языков а так же на основе личного опыта.

Teaching due to its intricate variable is such complex phenomena that its realization will often be short of perfection. Nevertheless, some teachers follow invariable methods of teaching, which might be their innovations or imitation from their previous teachers and professors in the course of their studies, on the assumption that there are no more logical and fully-fledged procedures than theirs. The aim of my article is to introduce some basic principles and techniques used for teaching English at different levels of study based on the gists of some books concerning teaching skills and also my personal experience teaching English.

настроение: аналитическое

ключевые слова: советы по преподаванию, подход, метод, прагматика, дискурс, социолингвистика

город: Михайловск, Ставропольский край

e-mail: katenika1@rambler.ru

Teaching is such a complex phenomenon that its realization will often be short of perfection. Nevertheless, some teachers follow invariable methods of teaching in the course of their studies, which might be their innovations or imitation from their previous teachers and professors, on the assumption that there are no more logical and fully-fledged procedures than theirs. The aim of my article is to introduce some basic principles and techniques used for teaching English at different levels of study based on the gists of some books concerning teaching English skills and also my personal experience teaching English.

The analysis of the instruction reveal that it is defective in terms of pedagogical foundations including psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics, linguistics, pragmatics, discourse analysis, etc. and consequently it does not facilitate the process of learning. Reviewing some of the fundamental principles and techniques, teachers are expected to do their tasks meticulously to achieve the intended goals. Despite the fact that the procedures have not been attributed to any individual language teaching approach, they can be used in specific and eclectic methods to teach all skills and subskills. The procedures are as follows:

  1. Begin speaking English from the first sessions so that your students feel that they are learning a subject distinct from what they have already experienced. Although at the beginning this may place straits on both teacher and students, it is worth the time and effort. Speaking English in class can compensate for lack of contact with native speakers of English.
  2. The teacher should hold the social relationship with the students appropriately so that learning occurs with the highest interest, attitude and motivation. Establishing a positive classroom climate does not require that the teacher emphasizes social relationships at the cost of learning, but the importance lies in that unless the social and affective filters are opened, students cannot learn, because learning takes place in social situations.
  3. Allowing too much freedom and low standards aggravate and magnify discipline problems. If a teacher cannot have a quiet class, he will not succeed in making students be attentive to him [2, p. 98]. Meanwhile, students accept a teacher who can control the class in many respects.
  4. Talk to all students and ask them to do so. Attention to one or only a few students makes other students indifferent and unmotivated to the course; consequently, it can arouse a sense of repulsion and hatred for the classroom atmosphere.
  5. Study seating arrangements of students; those who affect others adversely may need to be removed. Students having poor sight and hearing should also be aptly identified for special care.
  6. Attune your voice to the number of students and the space of your classroom. Some teachers speak so loudly in all classes that they are always in a state of exhaustion while it would have negative effect on students’ learning. A trade-off should be made to speak in loud and low voice.
  7. Stand and move around the classroom to supervise the students’ activities and attention. This shows that the teacher is actually interested in students’ involvement and can counteract a lack of concentration on the part of students.
  8. State the question before calling on the students; in so doing, you involve all students to think of the problem. Furthermore, call on the students at random or they will anticipate the questions they should respond to and do not pay attention to other questions posed.
  9. Do not punish the whole class for the misbehaviour of one or a few students, or do not punish a student through asking him difficult questions. To create a sense of achievement, you should ask the brighter students difficult questions and the slow ones simple questions, i.e. questions should be distributed in terms of the students’ abilities. Treating students with contempt can also lead to irreparable results.
  10. If you think a student has some problem of any sort (physiological, psychological, financial, etc.) a private talk with him may help to determine the problem and to improve conduct.
  11. Summarize the important points of each lesson at the end of each class and ask your students some related questions as feedback to see whether they have grasped the content or not.
  12. Pedagogically, teaching more than one new point at a time overloads the cognitive ability of students; therefore, in teaching grammar, for example, we should drop out any new vocabulary.
  13. Use simulations, learning games, and audio-visuals appropriately to enhance learning and motivation. The more senses are involved in learning a point, the more profound it will be engraved in the mind. For example, listening to the pronunciation of a content word simultaneous with its touching and seeing can heighten its recall ability and comprehension greatly [1, p.135].
  14. Competition can be a motivating force in class. Students can compete with each other or with other classes. It can make them review the points and estimate their positions for further improvement.
  15. Do not tell the students that the book or the content of a lesson is uninteresting or useless (as we sometimes do in Russia); moreover, the teacher should not tell the students the lack of his interest in teaching the course or he will block the students’ confidence to himself.
  16. Do not label or classify students as superior or inferior groups because this can impose permanent negative effects on their personalities. Students are more positively influenced by hearing their strengths rather than weaknesses, especially in public.
  17. To make the lessons as meaningful as possible, you should create a sense of exigency by presenting preplanned examples from here-and-now contexts instead of artificial ones. The more your examples are meaningful and contextualized, the more effect they superimpose on students’ learning.
  18. You should make it clear to the students that mistakes, especially in speaking are not tragedies. The teacher should not interrupt students’ communication in order to correct their mistakes because constant correction causes students to lose confidence and to be unable to keep their minds on what they are trying to say. Errors can be divided into two categories, global and local [3, p. 357]. Global errors violate rules involving the overall structure of a sentence and the relations among major constituents, but local errors cause trouble in a particular constituent or in a clause of a complex sentence. It is implied that correcting global errors including word order, missing obligatory constituents, etc. is more beneficial than correcting local errors like subject-verb agreement, an omitted article, etc. It is reasonable to alleviate errors indirectly according to their causes explored by the teacher.
  19. It is advisable to pursue the three stages of language teaching and learning (preview, view, and review) to relate previous knowledge with new content and consequently to the actual and creative use of language in real situations.
  20. Teaching students how to use monolingual dictionaries is of importance because in so doing, students encounter words in authentic examples and this can make students be self-reliant when teachers are not available.

It may seem to you that these tips of advice are more of psychological value, but teaching itself is a very personal and emotional process so we can’t ignore the psychological point of view.

[links&resources]

1. Allen, V. F. Techniques in Teaching Vocabulary. London: Oxford University Press, 1983.
2. Chastain, K. Developing Second- Language Skills: Theory and Practice. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Publishers, 1988.
3. Rivers, W. Teaching Foreign Language Skills. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1981.

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