This issue offers a wide range of topics to browse such as individualized learning and self-directed projects, adapting textbook activities, instructional writing tools, and pragmatics. Classroom technique articles include "Counseling and Oral Communication," "Techniques for Students New to the Language Laboratory," and "Passion for Life!"
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This article discusses the difficulty of understanding noun compounds in professional texts in science and technology, business, medicine, law, and other areas of English for Specific Purposes (ESP). It provides techniques and activities to teach students how to decode noun compounds to see the link between definitions, which are usually familiar, and noun compounds, which are usually not familiar. These strategies can help students overcome this difficulty in reading advanced and specialized texts.
This article discusses the use of self-directed projects to develop learner independence in academic settings. It describes and gives examples of how self-directed projects are integrated into a teaching situation at Arabian Gulf University. The article discusses how getting students involved in doing self-directed projects can lead to a gain in confidence in their ability to manage their own learning and progress in becoming independent language learners.
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This article discusses how textbooks can be adapted to include more communicative and cooperative activities in language classes, especially for teachers who are cautious about using Communicative Language Teaching and cooperative learning. It describes how small modifications can be made with minimal extra preparation, with results that help change textbook exercises into more communicative, authentic activities.
This article discusses a variety of ways to incorporate E-Prime, the idea that all forms of the verb “to be” need to be replaced in writing and speaking. The author shows how this can force ESL and EFL students to improve their writing and make them to spend more time with their essays, to think critically about acceptable grammar and vocabulary, and to search for new vocabulary.
This article describes a sociocultural view of interaction, in which teachers construct knowledge with learners. Language is a mediating factor in cognitive development. The article discusses Vygotsky and the Zone of Proximal Development. According to Vygotsky, students are capable of doing more with guidance and support than they can alone. This principle leads instructors to scaffold material just beyond the leaner’s level. When teachers and students have meaningful interaction, learning is enhanced.
Two publications are summarized. First, Controversies in Applied Linguistics, edited by Barbara Seidlhofer, clarifies the issues that are at the center of controversies. The book explores and analyzes the arguments and “subcontroversies” in a neutral manner. The book does not require previous knowledge of the arguments. The second book is Linguistic Genocide in Education—or Worldwide Diversity and Human Rights? by Tove Skutnabb-Kangas. It discusses the dying off of minority languages and the importance of language diversity.
Second and foreign language learners use English differently than native speakers do, especially in regard to greetings, closings, and managing conversations. Pragmatics does not receive the attention it should even though mistakes can be interpreted on a social and personal level. This article introduces a rationale for teaching pragmatics and discusses the goals. Teaching materials should include authentic language, and input should precede interpretation or production. Instructors may decide to use the L1 for raising awareness since these types of lessons are useful even for beginners.
This lesson plan considers pragmatic violations of openings, closings, and requests. These humorous role plays involve continuing a conversation when one person is trying to end it, being overly direct, and providing an overly informative answer to the greeting “How are you?” Textbooks may lack complete openings and closings, so it is worthwhile to spend time on post-openings and pre-closings. Politeness in English may be problematic for EFL learners because of the lack of grammatical forms that mark it.
This lesson plan aims to raise awareness of problems that can be caused by using inappropriate forms of address. It is meant for intermediate to advanced students. After students are familiar with the topic of terms of address, they discuss two situations where an inappropriate form of address was used. This specifically looks at the addressing of those who hold doctorate level degrees such as M.D. or Ph.D. as well as potential assumptions of gender. EFL students are often unaware that professionals in a university setting are rarely called “Mr.” or “Mrs.”
This article addresses a social divide that occurs between university students who have attended English secondary schools and those who have not. The lower proficiency students tend to be from lower socio-economic status and hesitate to speak because they fear humiliation. This article reminds instructors that low-proficiency learners need a safe place to make mistakes and build confidence. As an icebreaker, students discuss what hinders them from speaking to an audience. They then give speeches introducing themselves. Finally, they give a formal speech.
This article presents techniques that can be used in the university language lab to improve listening and speaking skills. The article describes several tasks for pairs and groups. Lessons begin with a popular English song and a warm up activity. Materials expose students to the formal and informal language of native speakers and fluent non-native speakers. Drills, stories, songs, and conversations make the language lab a beneficial resource. An initial session highlights the unique aspects of spoken language.
In “Passion for Life,” the author promotes the use of drawing to make the classroom a positive and pleasant place. This technique can help even shy students become active. After reading the poem “Life” by Mother Teresa, students choose their favorite line from the poem and draw a picture to represent it. Secondary students are asked to learn the poem by heart.
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