Thursday, March 02, 2006

Teaching Speaking (3)


Substitution of a word, phrase, or sentence by another is an elementary method which helps students to produce new utterances and to develop speaking skill.
Students repeat the sentence This is a ball several times, and then are given some names of objects such as mat, cat, rat, one after another to substitute in the proper place. In place of this, they may be given that and the students make the substitution and produce a new sentence That is a mat and so on.
In this way, a sentence frame is practiced first, then suitable slots in the frame are identified for substitution. When substitution is made, a number of new sentences are produced with ease by students.
The substitution drill has been used very much by teachers of TESOL in the past. Although the substitution drill is highly useful for the production of new sentences, it is of limited value (like imitation and repetition) and may not be used as the chief means to develop speaking skill.
Substitution of sounds in minimally different words is a common practice in listening exercises to develop auditory discrimination of sounds. Substitution of one word or phrase by another in the same slot in a frame is a common practice in speaking exercises at the beginners’ level.
From single word substitution, one may proceed to multiple word substitution in the same slot, without making grammatical changes in the frame: This is a pencil : This is a long pencil.
Consider the following:
Let’s go to the cinema. (theater)
Let’s go to the theater (library).
Let’s go to the library (football).
Let’s play football (hockey).
Let’s play hockey (pizza).
Let’s eat pizza (milk).
Let’s drink milk.
Likewise we may proceed to multiple word substitution in the same slot which necessitates making some grammatical changes in the frame: This is a cat (cats) : These are cats.
Substitution drills can be made more complex as students learn more structures and words. Combining the substitution drill with processes of addition, deletion and transposition of words/phrases makes these more complex and challenging to students.


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