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During the course of my reading of the third unit, I’ve learnt about the different methods and techniques that English teachers use.
One of the methods is called Grammar translation during which the students learn about a language through finding equivalents in their own language.
Another technique I’ve learnt about, called Audio - lingualism, concentrates on large repetition-drills in which the students are conditioned into using the language correctly and concentrate on extensive repetition-drills.
I also read about the method called Presentation, Practice and Production (PPP) where the teachers first present the context for the language, then explain its meaning and form. Then the students practice making sentences in a controlled way and go on the production stage where they’re able to be more creative.
Another technique I read about is called Task-based Learning and focuses more on the task than the language. First, the students are given a task to complete, then the teacher provides some language study to help them better understand some of the problems they had.
I’ve also learnt about the method called Communicative Language Learning where the students sit in a circle and decide what they want to talk about. The teacher, on the other hand, helps when it is necessary.
There’s also a method called Communicative Language Teaching which emphasizes on language functions rather than grammar and vocabulary. It suggests that if students have enough exposure to the language and opportunity to use it, they will learn it.
Another technique I’ve learnt about is The Silent Way where the teacher says as little as possible. The idea behind it suggests that if the students discover the language for themselves, learning will be facilitated.
The method called Suggestopaedia, on the other hand, focuses on the need to be comfortable, confident and relaxed for learning to be more effective. In this activity, the teacher and students act as if they were in a parent-children relationship and the students are given new names. A lesson has three parts :
-Oral review of the previous lesson.
-Presentation and discussion of the new language
-Listening to relaxing music while the teacher reads the new dialogue.
Finally, the Lexical Approach suggests that words and phrases are far better for language acquisition than a grammatical structure.
When determining which methodology is best, we need to take the circumstances under consideration and the following conclusions can be drawn :
-Students need as much exposure to language as possible.
-Students need a certain amount of input from the teacher.
-Communicative tasks offer real learning possibilities but are not enough on their own.
-Anxiety and stress need to be low for effective language learning.
-When it is possible, students should be encouraged to discover language for themselves.
Finally, in the third unit, the ESA (Engage, Study, Activate) methodology is explained more in depth than the other techniques since it allows all of those conditions to be applied and gives the teacher more flexibility in the classroom. ESA is also particularly appropriate for trainee and new teachers. It is divided in three phases :
-The Engage phase consists of trying to stimulate the students interest and get them involved in the lesson. The aim is to warm up the students and to get them thinking and speaking in English as much as possible.
-During the Study phase, the students should be learning new English language concepts. The teacher needs to elicit the students as much as possible and to avoid giving them too much information.
-During the Activate stage, the teacher needs to encourage the students to be creative with the English language knowledge they already have and combine it with what they have just learnt. It is important to make sure that the activities allow the individuals creativity.
There are many types of ESA lessons. One of them is called Straight Arrow where the teacher takes the lesson in the ESA order. I also found out about a type of lesson called Boomerang which follows the following pattern : Engage, Activate 1, Study and Activate 2. The last type of lesson is called Patchwork where the lessons aren't straightforward and can be in any order and have as many Engage, Study and Activate phases as the teacher wants as long as the lesson starts with an Engage phase and finishes with an Activate phase.
The meaning of “elicitation” was also underlined in the unit. Eliciting means asking thought-provoking questions and is a very useful component of the ESA process.
During my reading, I’ve also learnt about the correction techniques. I read that, in teaching EFL, we need to be able to distinguish mistakes and errors. A mistake is something made inadvertently and the students are usually able to correct themselves. An error is something that is deeply ingrained. Here are some of its possible causes :
-The students believe that what they are saying is correct.
-The students do not know the correct form.
-The students know the correct form, but can't get it right.
The positive side of errors, however are the following :
-At least the students are trying.
-By making errors, the learners are experimenting with language and experimentation is part of the learning process.
-By noting errors, the teacher can see what needs focusing on in future lessons.
Now that I’ve read the third unit, I am also able to determine who should correct. Self-correction should be the first option as it provides the student with the opportunity to reflect upon what he/she has said and to try again.
Before the students can correct themselves, they must be aware of the following:
? Something is not accurate.
? Where the error is.
? What kind of error it is.
If the student is unable to correct his/her own mistake, it can be useful to allow the other students to do it. The teacher however needs to make sure that it doesn’t make the student who made the mistake feel uncomfortable or confused.
The last method is the Teacher-student correction. This should be the last resort since, unlike the two previous methods, it doesn’t allow the students to identify the problem and correct it. They are therefore less likely to remember.
I’ve also learnt that an effective way of correcting written work is by using codes in the margin or the body of the writing. There is a list of typical codes that can be used, but the teachers can also come up with their own codes as long as they explain their meaning to the students.