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Here is a summary of what I’ve learnt while reading the seventh unit.
First, there are four things that students need to do with new language :
- Be exposed to it
- Understand its meaning
- Understand how it's constructed
- Be able to practice and produce it
Lessons that are specifically targeted to grammar or vocabulary commonly use the “straight arrow” ESA approach. Functions-based lessons, on the other hand, are more commonly approached with “boomerang” or “patchwork” ESA structures. Vocabulary is particularly important at the early stages of lessons when students are motivated to learn the basic words.
I also found out that the terms “receptive vocabulary” represent the words the student knows but doesn’t use and the terms “productive vocabulary” represent the ones the student knows and uses. A learner's receptive vocabulary is usually much larger than his or her productive vocabulary. The student can therefore usually understand more words than he or she can actively use.
I’ve also learnt that the difficulty level of a vocabulary item largely depends on a these factors:
- Similarity to students' own language
- Similarity to English words already known
- Spelling and pronunciation
I also read that one of the biggest challenges of vocabulary teaching is the way teachers select which words to teach. Generally speaking, the teacher is guided by the course and teacher's book and the following criteria can be used:
-Appropriacy to the students
-Appropriacy to the task
-Frequency and coverage (how often are the students likely to use or come across the language and can it be applied to different situations)
I also found out that, when teachers introduce new language structures, which ones they begin with is largely determined by the level of the class and the course syllabus they’re using. However, in all cases, the students will need to know what the language means, how it is used, what the grammatical form is and how it is said and written.
On the other hand, I learned that language functions are very useful when learning a new language. They include concepts such as inviting, refusing, agreeing and disagreeing, suggesting, etc. Teaching functions also includes the appropriacy of the language and the kind of language they use (formal, informal, tentative, technical etc). The boomerang and patchwork type ESA lessons are usually the most effective when teaching language functions and the lessons should emphasize on the need for activation of language. Lessons that involve role-plays are often very useful.