Thursday, 31 May 2007

Meaning-focused activities for the communicative lesson

I’ve searched through English File 2 (OUP) by Clive Oxenden c.f. , trying to identify the three types of meaning-focused activity in the classroom that Prabhu describes. Let's see if others agree with my analysis!
  • Information-gap activity: on page 121 I’ve found an activity in which Student A has to read a description and answer B’s questions to complete a chart on page 81. Then Student B turns to page 124 activity 6B and reads the description and answer Students A’s questions and the latter completes the chart on page 81.
  • Reasoning-gap activity: on page 120, unit 2D I’ve found a crossword in which Student A has some information and has to answer Student B questions. Student A has to define the word and Student B has to guess the word and complete his crossword. Student B is on page 123 so he cannot see Student A’s crossword. He has to define the words too and Student A has to guess and complete his crossword.
  • Opinion-gap activity: on page 121, activity 7C. Student A reads and memorizes his problems and then tells B and C who are going to give Student A advice. Student A decides which the best idea is. Then Student B turns to page 124 and Student C to page 125. They do the same as with Student A.
So... what do you think?

Hedge, Tricia (2001); Teaching and Learning in the Language Classroom; chapter 2 (Discussion projects and topics # 4 - p. 73); O.U.P.
Oxenden, Clive ;
English File 2; O.U.P.

Thursday, 10 May 2007

Quality teachers

In my own classes the explicit teaching of grammar, pronunciation and vocabulary are quite important. On the one hand, I mostly base my classes on vocabulary and sometimes I have to show the phonetic symbols so that my students understand where they are making the mistakes. On the other hand, grammar is also very important but I try to make my students notice 'grammar' and then to practice it. That is to say, I explain grammar and everything, but I do not like having a grammar-based approach. The bottom line is that I believe I have to strike a balance as regards grammar and meaning.

I firmly believe that a teacher should have a good sense of humour so that your classes are fun and students enjoy themselves and you, as teacher, too.
We must be self-confident, if not we cannot teach. Someone once told me that teachers have to think they know something and feel confident on that knowledge so we can help our student's process of learning.
Another good quality is to be sensitive to our learners. We cannot expect our students to learn if we do not create a bond between them and us. Besides, they are human beings who are in constant need, and we should help them.
As regards methodology, it is good to know that we need to adapt to our learners. We need to have a bunch of new activities, old ones and things to do with particular students. We have to be flexible so everyone has the chance to learn.