Friday, April 14, 2006

Teaching Speaking (8)


In Directed Dialogues, the teacher asks a student to make a comment to, or ask a question of, another student (Bowen et al. 1985). The teacher suggests the content of these remarks: Peter, ask Ann whether she needs some water to drink. Ann, tell Peter that you would like to have a soda.

In such directed dialogues, students must be able to understand what the teacher asks them to do, then identify the appropriate part of the teacher’s utterance that would become their response, manipulate the grammatical structure suitably, and then produce the correct response.

Note that this exercise can be used to elicit full sentence statements or questions. This involves comparable adjustment in word order, choice of appropriate pronouns, verbs, and tense, etc.
In this dialogue, the fading of the teacher is more easily done: “Fading involves the withdrawal of the teacher stimulus and participation in an activity as student interest mounts and the activity no longer needs to be sustained by teacher direction. More and more responsibility is passed on to the students” (Bowen, et al. 1985:110).


In this activity, students are encouraged to bring a favorite toy or object of any kind to class. Let the students bring only those objects which they can handle using the level of competence they have. They show their classmates what they have brought. They also tell them about it: how they got it, where it came from, what is it used for or what it can do, etc. Other students handle the object, try it out, ask questions about it, etc.

This provides a good opportunity for self-expression. More often than not, the class would ask WH-questions. The student will also tend to give answers in a form that is possible for him to frame.


Thursday, April 13, 2006

Teaching Speaking (7)


As we saw in the last chapter, guessing is important for listening comprehension. Guessing can be used also to develop speaking skill. Through the process of guessing, students are encouraged to see the patterns of usage and to “invent” the correct words and sentences. Students will guess words and sentences that have not yet been taught to them. Through guessing, students work out the rules of deriving new words for themselves.

The teacher writes a few pairs of sentences such as the following on the board (Doff 1988):
He drives buses. ----- He’s a bus driver.
She sells books. --- She’s a book seller.
Based on these examples, students would guess the correct answers for the following.
Someone who drives trucks (truck driver)
Someone who owns ships (ship owner)
Someone who robs banks (bank robber)

You can find lots of such sets of words for eliciting. Egypt-Egyptian, Brazil-Brazilian; Russia-Russian, India-Indian; buy-bought, catch-caught, think-thought; leaf-leaves, loaf-loaves, knife-knives, wife-wives; interesting-more interesting, beautiful-more beautiful; sleep-slept, meet-met, feel-felt; short-shorter, big-bigger.

Mime may be used to encourage students to guess and speak about what is being mimed. The teacher writes an act on a sheet of paper and asks a student to mime what is written on the paper. Other students describe the act as in sentences such as You are changing a light bulb; You are brushing your teeth; You are reading a book.

A number of guessing games have been suggested by Doff (1988) and others to help students to produce sentences, to get the students to speak. One student may pretend to be a famous person demonstrating some characteristic features of that person. It may be physical appearance, dress, gait, posture, etc. Other students are required to guess who that person is by asking questions such as Are you alive? Are you American, British, etc.? Are you a writer? Are you a movie actor? Are you a general?

A student may choose a job and mime a typical activity of that job. Other students try to guess the job by asking questions as to whether he is mending a shoe, cooking, is using his stethoscope, etc.

In yet another guessing game, an object is hidden and students are asked to guess the name of the object by asking questions such as, Is it made of wood? Is it a pencil? Is it on this side of the room? Is it high or low? etc.


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Teaching Speaking (6)


Eliciting is related to presentation of the lesson as well as asking questions. Eliciting is an important process which teachers must employ to get the class involved in what is going on in the class. For speaking practice eliciting is highly essential. It helps students to focus their attention, to think, and to use what they already know. It helps teachers to assess what the class already knew.

Presentation of a lesson with eliciting questions helps students remember words and structures, and gives them practice right then and there when the word is introduced. This may be used even to test the learning level achieved so far within that particular lesson. For example, you may present words for the different parts of the face. Then follow it by eliciting each word by pointing to the feature on your face, asking students what it is called, and then how to spell it. If no one knows the answer for a particular item, give the answer yourself. Use the board to write the words.

In straightforward presentation, the teacher gives the word and points to the part, asks the students to repeat, and then writes the word on the board. In presentation with simple eliciting, the teacher presents the words one by one and points to the parts, asks the students to repeat after her, writes the words on the board, points to the feature and elicits the word for it, and elicits the spelling. Note that, in eliciting, students are actually asked to practice speaking.
You can elicit vocabulary from pictures; you can also elicit sentences and phrases which give the description of what is depicted in the pictures. Ask simple and common questions when you show the pictures to the students. Let the student answer according to each picture. For example, show a picture in which a girl is swimming, and ask the question, What is she doing? Show the picture of a doctor and ask the question, What is this man?

Pictures from previous lessons would be most ideal, for students already would be familiar with the words, phrases, and sentences needed to describe the pictures. How about a story known to your students which is now given in pictures and the student is asked to narrate it in English? Picture cues are very helpful in teaching tense in English.

Care should be taken to frame questions in an unambiguous manner and the questions should be such that the students are able to answer without much difficulty.

At least two types of questions may be asked using pictures. In Type 1, the questions relate directly to what is seen in the picture. In Type 2, the questions ask students to imagine and interpret the picture beyond what is seen clearly in it (Doff 1988).

Type 1 Questions: Where is this woman standing? What is she wearing? What is she doing? What is she holding in her hand? What time of day is it?

Type 2 Questions: Why is she standing here? What has happened? How does she feel? Why? What is she thinking? Write some of her thoughts in a few words. Imagine this is a scene from a film. What will happen next?

Type 1 questions elicit important words or structures relating to the picture.
Type 2 Questions, however, ask students to imagine things beyond the picture, and to express possibilities using English. For this the students need to think and compose their thoughts, as well as find appropriate words and structures in English.





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