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How to Teach English
How to Teach English
How to Teach English
How to Teach English
How to Teach English
How to Teach English
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How to Teach English

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  • 1. HOW TO TEACH ENGLISH (taken from Jeremy Harmer’s text and Oxford Seminars text) HOW IS LANGUAGE TAUGHT? 1. Grammar-translation method – present students with short grammar rules and word lists and then translation exercises in which they make use of the rules. It teaches people about language but doesn’t really help them to communicate effectively with it. 2. Audio-lingualism – describe the grammatical patterns of English to students, have them repeat and learn them. Habit-forming behaviourist approach – perform the correct response to a stimulus so that a reward is given. Drilling (choral and individual repetition and cue-response drilling) is still considered useful – especially with low-level students. 3. PPP – Presentation, Practice and Production – the teacher presents the context and situation for the language (describe someone’s holiday plans) and both explains and demonstrates the meaning and form of the new language (eg. Going to …. He’s going to visit the Hermitage Museum.) Students then practice sentences with going to … this is called controlled practice. Teachers can use drilling, teach pronunciation and allow students to speak more freely about themselves … next week I am going to …. 4. CLT – Communicative Language Teaching – involves language functions such as inviting, agreeing, disagreeing, suggesting, etc. Teaches appropriacy when talking and writing to people (formal, informal, tentative, technical, etc.) This method assumes that if students get enough exposure to language and opportunities for language use and if they are motivated then language learning will happen! Focus on allowing students to communicate real message and engage in communicative activities where they use all and any language they know to communicate. 5. TBL - Task-Based Learning – emphasizes tasks rather than the language. Students perform real-life tasks such as timetables, schedules, presentations. Students are given a pre-task (introduced to the topic), which is followed by a task cycles (students plan the task, gather language and information) and produce an outcome (writing, oral performance, etc) Which method is best? Use a combination of all! Depends on the situation. Depends on the level of student learning. TEACHING READING 1. extensive – reading for pleasure, refers to reading which students do often, away from the classroom – novels, web pages, newspapers, magazines, students should choose what they want to read, be encouraged to read by the teacher, share their reading experiences 2. intensive – reading texts, study activities, look for meaning, grammar, vocabulary (SCAN – find a bit of information – name, phone number, small detail vs SKIM – get a general idea of what the article is about, READ FOR DETAILED COMPREHENSION) READING PRINCIPLES 1. Encourage students to read as often and as much as possible. 2. Students need to be engaged with what they are reading. 3. Encourage students to respond to the content of a text (and explore their feelings about it), not just concentrate on its construction. 4. Prediction is a major factor in reading. (book covers, photographs, headlines, web page banner) 5. Match the task to the topic when using intensive reading texts – the activity is important! (For preparation – brainstorm, discuss visuals, headlines, phrases, students predict; For Skimming – identify main ideas, match subtitles with paragraphs, create titles or headlines; For Scanning – pre-set questions, chart filling, lists of elements for students to find; For intensive – vocabulary, answer detailed questions, answer inferential questions. 6. Exploit reading texts to the fullest extent … activities, feedback, further tasks! READING ACTIVITIES 1. Guided reading – teacher supports students to become better readers. The teacher provides support for small groups of readers as they learn to use various reading strategies (context clues, letter and sound relationships, word structure, and so forth). How? a) Students should be divided into small groups (4-6 students). The younger the student, the smaller the group. b) Guided reading lessons are to be about 15-20 minutes in duration.
  • 2. c) Appropriately leveled reading materials must be selected for the group and each student should have his/her own copy of the literature. d) Pre-Reading: The teacher establishes a purpose for reading through making predictions, vocabulary introduction, or discussing ideas that will provide the readers with the background knowledge required for the text. e) Reading: The teacher observes the students as they read the text softly or silently to themselves, provides guidance and coaching to individuals based on her/his observations by providing prompts, asking questions, and encouraging attempts at reading strategy application. f) Post Reading: The teacher asks questions to ensure that the text has been comprehended by the readers and praises their efforts. Further, the teacher may observe gaps in strategy application and address these gaps following the reading in a mini-lesson format. 2. Jigsaw reading – students read different texts and share what they have found out 3. Reading puzzles – reassembling text, out of sequence stories or dialogs, mix up two stories 4. Newspapers – match articles with headlines or pictures, reading for opinion, read ads, reply to the letters written to the editor 5. Fishbowl fun – students write questions about a story they’ve read on a small slip of paper, drop it in a bowl, let students fish for questions from the bowl and attempt to answer them 6. Following instructions – put instructions in the right order, follow recipes 7. Poetry – reassemble poems, find similarities and differences in poems, leave blanks in poems for students to fill in 8. Play extracts – read and act – thinking about how lines are said, concentrating on stress, intonation, speed 9. Predicting from words and pictures – given a number of words, students predict what the story tells then compare with the original text or given phrases – write the story or given pictures … do the same. 10. Different responses – answer comprehension questions, T/F, find words, put information into graphs, tables, diagrams, describe the people in the text, guess the endings of stories 11. Reading Activities Center - song and poetry cards, big books, other book type reading materials are at a centre so that students may browse and read as time permits. 12. Write the Room - students copy any print they see anywhere in the room, even if they can't read everything they write. Beginning writers draw pictures to help them remember the words. 13. Read the Room - reading anything that is posted in the room 14. Rainbow Spelling - Post the week's spelling words on a half sheet of chart paper, students write them 3 times each with colored pencils 15. Spelling Activity Center - using their word lists create tongues twisters, sentences, stories, word scrambles 16. Stamp a Word - take a tub with rubber alphabet stamps, stamp pads, and large sheets of paper to a work area and stamp any words they want to stamp (use potatoes as the stamp) 17. Book Bins - independent, silent, or small group reading 18. Star Authors - A place to read student created work 19. Listening Centers - Record the books you read to the class. Have parents help out - have students record for others. How nice to hear your friend, mom, dad, sister or brother read a story at center time! 20. Word Wall – place a list of common words on a wall, each week add vocabulary or have students add words 21. Making Words Centers - Throughout the week students can go up to a pocket chart when they have a few minutes and try to make words out of the scrambled Mystery Word. On Fridays - students share all of the words that they came up with and decode the mystery word. It's a great activity for your average and high students. 22. Bookmaking Center -place numerous materials in a basket (writing utensils, colored pens, markers, crayons, stickers, etc.), a tablet of story paper and a stapler. Encourage students to make books about topics that interest them. 23. Overhead Journals - Have one student write their journal entry on the overhead. The student reads the journal and gives the class permission to edit the entry. The student gets to correct the errors and the class rereads it out loud. 24. Puzzle Center - Find copies of appropriate word searches, laminate them, and let the students write on them with washable markers. When done, they use towels to clean them off. 25. Making Greeting Cards - have samples of greeting card verses, titles, etc - cut them up for students to refer to for ideas. Add anything from yarn, wiggly eyes, letter and picture stencils, etc....Encourage students to make cards for their family, teachers around the building, and students within the room. 26. Game Center - think word games - Scrabble, Story Scramble, Silly Sentences (cards)
  • 3. 27. Computer Center - reading of living books or student created e-books 28. Message Centers/Student Post Office - for writing to each other on special occasions 29. Dramatic Play – have students act out very simple plays - need costumes & props, give students mood cards (jealousy, silliness, fear) and have them make up a short skit or play of their own 30. Word Hunt - kids get a letter or digraph and see how many words they can find that start with or contain it. 31. Browsing Box - Take interesting writing and place in a box. Have a special privilege for a student to choose from the box and read to the entire class. 32. Literature Circle - A group of students will read a literature selection together and discuss their favourite part. Once they are comfortable with this process, they can map the story on large chart paper, make puppets and put on a play for the class, etc. This allows children to own literature. 33. Buddy Reading - The students can read with a partner, this can be familiar or unfamiliar texts. Then they work with their buddy to draw or write about their favourite part. 34. Journal Writing: Give students content related pictures or journal prompts. 35. Absurd Sentences – read absurd sentences to students and have them make the corrections (The room was hot, so Jim decided to open a football. For our vacation we drove across the country in a wastebasket.) 36. Hidden clues – read sentences and find the hidden clues or inferences (Mr. Dobbs took the rake from the cellar and walked out to the lawn. What time of year was this? John came in from the barn and took off his dirty chaps. Where does John live? 37. Reactions – read sentences and have students write down how they would feel if this happened to them. (Tony spent hours building a snowman on the front lawn. When he went inside, a big branch broke and fell on the snowman, smashing it to pieces.) 38. Comics – cut off the last frame in a cartoon, have students draw or write to complete what they think happened 39. If it happened – read sentences to students and have them decide how they would feel …. If they heard a strange sound in the night or If I received something I wanted for my birthday or If I tried and tried to do something and couldn’t. 40. Zodiac signs – have students read their horoscope, discuss their qualities and characteristics, decide on the sign of a character in the book you are reading, surmise about others 41. Four corners – S S F W TEACHING WRITING  allows students time to process language  process: plan, draft, review, edit WRITING ACTIVITIES 1. postcards - (leave out words), imagine a holiday and write a postcard (where, what, wish you were here) 2. journals or diaries – daily thoughts / feelings, select journal topics given by teacher (topics: my favourite subject, the worst day, I can’t face it, a secret, a special person, first meeting, gone but not forgotten, dream holiday, swimming upstream, an important lesson, lost in a blizzard, rainy days, the afterlife, surprise!, going home, guilt, my grandparents, temptations, a lottery win, etc. 3. interview - (begin with a short biography), What is your idea of perfect happiness, greatest fear, trait you most deplore in yourself, makes you depressed, most embarrassing moment, greatest extravagance, most treasured possession, favourite smell, favourite book, costume of choice, guiltiest pleasure, greatest regret, single thing that would improve the quality of your life, your greatest achievement, keeps you awake at night? 4. report – analyze topic, gather information, draft, produce: benefits/dangers of mass tourism, business opportunities for women in Mongolia, banning song lyrics, world poverty, freedom to choose (smoking, gun ownership), whether parents should be liable for the actions of their children 5. instant writing – dictate half sentences for students to complete, write two sentences about a topic right now, give 3 words and have students put them into a sentence as quickly as possible 6. use music and pictures – play music and have students write out a film scene, dictate the first line of a story and have students complete the story based on the music they are listening to, look at pictures and write about what they see, the characters within the picture 7. newspapers and magazines – analyze headlines, analyze how an article is written, write a news article 8. brochures and guides – look at a variety of brochures – health clubs, entertainment centers, answer questions
  • 4. 9. poetry – acrostic (letters start each line, read downwards to form a word), poetry alphabet (a line for each letter), sentence frames – I like … because … x3, But I dislike …, Write about this person as if they were a kind of weather, study real poems, imitate given poems 10. Fortune Cookie Forecasts – predict a future for one of the characters in the story 11. Rewrites – Have students choose the final paragraph of a story they’ve read and use it as the starting point for another. 12. Pick your ending – Read a story aloud to the students and have them write the ending. 13. collaborative writing – have students construct texts together – write a story as a class, sentence by sentence or story circle - write one line of a story and when time is up, pass the paper to the next person or dictogloss – have students try to recreate what they have heard 14. Oh, What a Story! Arrange students into groups of 5 or 6. As time passes, the size of the groups may shrink or expand for variety. The Play: Each student begins by writing a story for one minute on a topic of his or her choice. When time is up, the teacher says, “Stop!” Each story is passed to another member in the group who reads and continues the story until “Stop” is called. Repeat this process until stories pass through the entire group, allowing more time as stories get longer. The last person or the person who started can conclude the story. Read some of the stories out loud. 15. pen pals, live chat or keypals 16. other genres – brainstorming ideas TEACHING SPEAKING - speaking activities provide rehearsal opportunities – make them real life situations - use gentle correction, reformulation (teacher repeats correctly) - do it often! SPEAKING ACTIVITIES 1. competition – photography competition, for example where students are shown 4 finalist pictures and must decide the winner 2. role-play – set up a dramatic situation and assign roles for students to play (crime – suspect, police officer, lawyer, concerned parent) 3. portrait interview – show a portrait – Arnolfini Marriage by Jan van Eyck – place students in groups and have them compile a list of questions to ask the others in the portrait …. Jigsaw – and have people answer these questions in their new group 4. discussion – give discussion topics ahead of time, place students in small buzz groups to explore and gather ideas, give statements for students to complete – Boys don’t like shopping. 5. information-gap activities – two speakers have different bits of information and they can only complete the whole picture by sharing that information because there is a ‘gap’ between them eg. Describe and Draw – sit back to back, one person describes the other draws (and is not allowed to ask questions) …. Progress to asking of questions! Compare results. find the differences – students look at similar pictures to one another and they describe their pictures and try to find 5 differences. 6. telling stories – story reconstruction (show pictures out of order and have students reconstruct in order), place objects on a table and have students invent a story, retell a story they read in a newspaper, tell a story about their family vacation, a scar, a goal 7. favourite objects – students bring in an object and talk about its importance 8. meeting and greeting – role-play an occasion where they must meet people and introduce themselves 9. surveys – design a questionnaire and interview one another (sleeping habits, # siblings, climbed a mountain) – good for get-to-know you activity 10. famous people – decide on which famous person, alive or dead, that they would like to invite for dinner, what they would talk about and what food they would give to them 11. student presentations – oral presentations 12. moral dilemmas – present students with a moral dilemma and they must come to group consensus to come to a decision (student gets caught cheating on an exam – ignore the incident or exposing the student publicly or come up with 3 other solutions and decide on 1 course of action) TEACHING LISTENING - taken from recorded extracts – CD, tape, MP3 players
  • 5. - live listening – face to face encounters - show pictures, read the questions first, predict what is coming, listen to the same audio track more than once, play only extracts LISTENING ACTIVITIES 1. live interview – bring in a guest speaker, brainstorm questions ahead of time, have students ask follow-up questions 2. using pictures – show pictures, have students listen to an oral discussion, answer questions about what they heard 3. prerecorded interview-narrative – listen to prerecorded interviews 4. message-taking – students listen to a phone message, airport announcement, etc. and answer questions about what they heard 5. music and sound effects – listen to songs for mood or message they convey, isolate for grammar points or themes 6. news and radio genres – listen to a news broadcast, radio commercials 7. poetry – listen for words, mood, message, predict outcome, decide on punctuation 8. stories – draw a picture about what they heard, graph the results, finish the ending to a story 9. monologues – match the speakers with the opinion 10. complete the picture – give one student half of a completed picture, partner has the whole picture and describes to the first student how to complete the drawing 11. idioms – listening to idioms and guessing what they mean, placing them in context WHAT IF? Students are all at different levels? Use different materials / technology Do different tasks with the same material / technology Use the students The class is very big? Use worksheets Use pairwork and groupwork Use chorus reaction Use group leaders Students keep using their own language?  Talk to them about the issues  Encourage them to use English appropriately  Only respond to English use  Create an English environment  Keep reminding them Students don’t want to talk?  Use pairwork  Allow them to speak in a controlled way at first – in stages  Use reading aloud and acting out  Use role-play  Use recording
  • 6. - live listening – face to face encounters - show pictures, read the questions first, predict what is coming, listen to the same audio track more than once, play only extracts LISTENING ACTIVITIES 1. live interview – bring in a guest speaker, brainstorm questions ahead of time, have students ask follow-up questions 2. using pictures – show pictures, have students listen to an oral discussion, answer questions about what they heard 3. prerecorded interview-narrative – listen to prerecorded interviews 4. message-taking – students listen to a phone message, airport announcement, etc. and answer questions about what they heard 5. music and sound effects – listen to songs for mood or message they convey, isolate for grammar points or themes 6. news and radio genres – listen to a news broadcast, radio commercials 7. poetry – listen for words, mood, message, predict outcome, decide on punctuation 8. stories – draw a picture about what they heard, graph the results, finish the ending to a story 9. monologues – match the speakers with the opinion 10. complete the picture – give one student half of a completed picture, partner has the whole picture and describes to the first student how to complete the drawing 11. idioms – listening to idioms and guessing what they mean, placing them in context WHAT IF? Students are all at different levels? Use different materials / technology Do different tasks with the same material / technology Use the students The class is very big? Use worksheets Use pairwork and groupwork Use chorus reaction Use group leaders Students keep using their own language?  Talk to them about the issues  Encourage them to use English appropriately  Only respond to English use  Create an English environment  Keep reminding them Students don’t want to talk?  Use pairwork  Allow them to speak in a controlled way at first – in stages  Use reading aloud and acting out  Use role-play  Use recording

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