TEACHING ENGLISH TO YOUNG LEARNERS THROUGH INTEGRATED SKILLS APPROACH M.A. THESIS BY ESRA ÖZTÜRK MAY – 2007
TEACHING ENGLISH TO YOUNG LEARNERS THROUGH INTEGRATED SKILLS APPROACH
BY Esra ÖZTÜRK
SUPERVISOR Prof. Dr. Aydan ERSÖZ
tarihinde jürimiz tarafından İNGİLİZ DİLİ ve EĞİTİMİ Anabilim Dalında YÜKSEK LİSANS TEZİ olarak kabul edilmiştir.
Adı Soyadı İmza
(Tez Danışmanı): Prof. Dr Aydan ERSÖZ ………
Üye: Assist. Prof. Dr Nurdan ÖZBEK ………
of those who may read this and believe that their influence in my life should have been given attention to.
First of all, I would like to thank my thesis advisor, Prof. Dr.Aydan ERSÖZ for her enduring support, guidance and assistance at every phase of this thesis.
I also owe my deepest gratitude to the administration, my colleagues and students at ANKARA MAYA PRIVATE PRIMARY SCHOOL. It would not have been possible to conduct this study without their support.
Besides, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to my family for their ongoing support.
Finally, I would like to express how grateful I am with Erhan SARISU for his invaluable support and understanding.
v Öztürk, Esra
Yüksek Lisans, İngiliz Dili Eğitim ABD. Tez Danışmanı: Prof..Dr. Aydan ERSÖZ
Bu çalışmanın temel amacı, küçük yaştaki çocuklara İngilizce öğretirken okuma, dinleme, yazma ve konuşma gibi dil becerilerinin entegre edilerek öğretilmesi ve bunun sonucunda da öğrencilerin Avrupa Birliği Ortak Dil
Kriterleri’nde A1 seviyesine ulaşıp ulaşmadıklarını göstermektir. Bu çalışma için Özel Ankara Maya İlköğretim Okulu’nda okuyan 3. sınıf öğrencileri ile birlikte çalışılmıştır. Öğrencilerin hedeflenen düzeye erişip erişmediklerinin saptamak için tüm dil becerilerinin aynı konu çerçevesinde entegre bir biçimde kullanıldığı bir ders planı hazırlanmış ve uygulanmıştır.Bu çalışma takip eden araştırma sorularına dayanmaktadır:1. Küçük çocukların özellikleri nelerdir? 2. Dinleme, okuma, yazma ve konuşma dil becerilerini öğretme yöntem ve teknikleri nelerdir?3. Dil becerileri odaklı öğretme tekniği nedir? 4. Dil becerileri odaklı öğretme tekniğinin önemi nedir? 5. Avrupa Birliği Ortak Dil Kriterleri’nde A1 seviyesinin hedefleri nelerdir? 6. Avrupa Birliği Ortak Dil Kriterleri’nde A1 seviyesinin hedeflerine ulaşmak için İngilizce becerilerin entegre edilmesi yoluyla nasıl öğretilebilir?
Bu çalışmada nitel araştırma teknikleri kullanılmıştır. Bu soruları yanıtlamak için iki gözlemciden ve 3. sınıf öğrencilerinden nitel veri toplanmıştır. Veri, gözlem formları ve mülakatlar şeklinde düzenlenmiş ve değerlendirilmiştir.
vi Öztürk, Esra
MA English Language Teaching Department. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Aydan ERSÖZ
The purpose of the study is to teach English to young learners by implementing four skills in an integrated manner for the third year students in Ankara Maya Private Primary School in order to fulfil the objectives and demands of A1 Level in Common European Framework. In this study, a lesson plan has been applied to evaluate whether the students can use four skills in an integrated manner in order to carry out the objectives of A1 Level in Common European framework. This study is based onthe following research questions: 1. What are the
characteristics of young learners? 2. What are the principles and techniques of teaching receptive and productive skills?3. What is the skill-based teaching? 4. What is the importance of skill-based teaching?5. What are the objectives of A1 Level in Common European Framework? 6. How can English be taught integratedly to young learners in order to realize the objectives of A1 Level in English Language Passport?
In order to answer these questions, qualitative research techniques have been applied. The data have been collected through observations and interviews. The results have been associated with the findings of the thesis.
1.0 PRESENTATION ... 2
1.1 AIM OF THE STUDY... 2
1.2 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK ... 3
1.3 LIMITATIONS AND SCOPE ... 8
1.4 ASSUMPTIONS... 8
1.5 DATA COLLECTION ... 9
CHAPTER 2 ... 10
REVIEW OF LITERATURE ... 10
2.1 YOUNG LEARNERS ... 10
2.2 MOTIVATING CHILDREN TO LEARN ENGLISH ... 12
2.2.1 TOPICS, SITUATIONS AND LANGUAGE FUNCTIONS... 12
2.2.2 LEARNING THROUGH ACTIVITIES, GAMES AND SONGS... 14
2.2.3 TENSION – FREE LEARNING... 15
2.3 INTEGRATED LANGUAGE LEARNING ... 17
2.3.1 SEGREGATED-SKILL INSTRUCTION... 18
2.3.2 TWO FORMS OF INTEGRATED SKILLS INSTRUCTION... 19
220.127.116.11 Content-based instruction ... 19
18.104.22.168 Task-based instruction ... 20
2.3.3 ADVANTAGES OF THE INTEGRATED SKILLS APPROACH... 20
2.4 TEACHING ENGLISH TO YOUNG LEARNERS ... 22
2.4.1 TEACHING GRAMMAR... 24
22.214.171.124 Techniques In Teaching Grammar ... 28
2.4.2 VOCABULARY TEACHING... 34 2.4.3 TEACHING SKILLS... 43 126.96.36.199. Receptive Skills ... 44 188.8.131.52.1 Teaching Reading... 46 184.108.40.206.2 Teaching Listening... 59 220.127.116.11 Productive Skills ... 67 18.104.22.168.1 Teaching Writing ... 69
22.214.171.124.1.1 Controlled Writing Activities... 75
126.96.36.199.1.2 Guided Written Activities ... 79
188.8.131.52.1.3 Creative Writing Activities ... 80
184.108.40.206.2 Teaching Speaking ... 83
3.1 THE DEFINITION OF COMMON EUROPEAN FRAMEWORK... 91
3.2 THE LEVELS IN COMMON EUROPEAN FRAMEWORK ... 92
3.3 THE CHARACTERISTICS OF CEF IN LANGUAGE LEARNING... 94
3.4 LEVEL A1 (BREAKTHROUGH) IN COMMON EUROPEAN FRAMEWORK... 96
CHAPTER 4 ... 99
SUGGESTED LESSON PLAN... 99
4.1 PROCEDURE ... 99
4.2 SAMPLE LESSON PLAN ... 99
CHAPTER 5 ... 109
5.0 PRESENTATION ... 109
5.1 PARTICIPANTS... 109
5.2 DATA COLLECTION TECHNIQUES... 109
5.2.1 INTERVIEWS... 113 5.2.2 OBSERVATIONS... 114 5.3. DATA ANALYSIS ... 115 5.3.1 OBSERVATION... 115 220.127.116.11 Observation Guide ... 115 18.104.22.168 Observation Report ... 116 22.214.171.124 Observation Implications ... 121 5.3.2 INTERVIEW... 122
126.96.36.199 Interview With The Teacher ... 122
188.8.131.52.1 Implications of the Interview with the Teacher ... 123
184.108.40.206 Interview with the Students ... 125
220.127.116.11.1 Implications of the Interview with the Students ... 126
CHAPTER 6 ... 127
Chapter 1 Introduction
This chapter aims to present an overview of the present study “ Teaching English to Young Learners Using Skill-Based Approach”. Chapter 1 has five sections, 1.1 gives the aim of the study; section 1.2 introduces theoretical framework to the study; section 1.3 presents the scope of the study; section 1.4 lists the assumptions and finally the last section describes the methodology of the study.
1.1 Aim Of The Study
The aim of this study is to teach English to young learners by implementing four skills integratedly for the third year students in Ankara Maya Private Primary School in order to fulfil the objectives and demands of A1 Level of English Language Passport.
In order to realize this aim, the following questions will be answered: 1. What are the characteristics of young learners?
2. What are the principles and techniques of teaching reading? 3. What are the principles and techniques of teaching listening? 4. What are the principles and techniques of teaching writing? 5. What are the principles and techniques of teaching speaking? 6. What is skill-based teaching?
7. What is the importance of skill-based teaching?
8. What are the objectives of A1 Level of English Language Passport? 9. How can English be taught integratedly to young learners in order to
1.2 Theoretical Framework
The function of schools is to broaden children’s range of experiences, introduce new possibilities, systematise the process of learning, help develop thinking skills and, ultimately, empower students to take responsibility for their own learning. Knowledge cannot be transmitted in isolation, but must be related to the background knowledge and past experiences. By the time children come to school, they are already successful communicators. They know what the language is for, and how to use it competently. As they experience new situations and interact with new adults and children, the continue to use language to interpret, ask questions, negotiate, comment and wonder.
Teaching young learners is different from teaching adults. Young children tend to change their mood every other minute; their attention span is limited. On the other hand, they show a greater motivation than adults to do things that appeal to them.
The early primary years are crucial in determining children’s attitude towards themselves as learners, and towards school. In English as in other subjects, it is important to foster feelings of confidence and success. In the early primary years (aged 5-6 approximately), children have particular needs and interests, and they may learn in a variety of ways. The principal characteristics of learners of this age group are as follows:
1. They depend heavily on the teacher for directions in lessons. They need help to become autonomous.
2. They are inquisitive and receptive, easily motivated, and show an uninhibited attitude towards participation in class activities.
3. Their interests are focused on the here and now. They are not able to concentrate for long.
4. Their learning is intuitive rather than analytical. Repetition, recycling and patient building on earlier acquisitions play a key role.
6. Social relations are loose. Friendships are largely a matter of who children happen to be playing with or sitting next to.
7. The affective aspects of teaching are important for them. 8. They are receptive to the world of fantasy and imagination.
9. They are not yet mature enough to see error as a stage of learning. They may be upset if they are told they are wrong. Activities need to be set up so as to allow everyone to succeed.
Under the light of what has been mentioned so far, it is possible to assert that teaching language skills is highly important.Reading is central to the learning process. One of the most difficult tasks of a language teacher, both in first and second language contexts, is to foster a positive attitude toward reading. Unfortunately, due to time limits and other constraints, teachers are often unable to actively encourage children to seek entertainment and information in reading materials.
There have been frequent discussions about what kinds of reading texts are suitable for English language students. The greatest controversy has centred on whether the texts should be authentic or not. A balance has to be struck between real English on the one hand and the students’ capabilities and interest on the other.
There are basic principles behind the teaching of reading: • Reading is not a passive skill.
• Students need to be engaged with what they are reading.
• Students should be encouraged to respond to the content of a reading text, not just to the language.
• Prediction is a major factor in reading.
• Reading texts should be integrated into the interesting class sequences; i.e. using the topic of the text for discussion and further discussions.
It has been popular in ELT literature to describe listening as the ‘neglected’, ‘overlooked’, or ‘taken for granted’ skill. Certainly some ELT methods have assumed that listening ability will develop automatically through exposure to the language and through practice of grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation. Given the role of listening in everyday life, such neglect was surprising. The point has frequently been made (Rivers and Temperly, 1978; Oxford, 1993; Celce-Murcia, 1995) that of the time an individual is engaged in communication, approximately 9 per cent is devoted to writing, 16 per cent to reading, 3o per cent to speaking, and 45 per cent to listening.
It is quite clear that listening is the skill that children acquire first, especially if they have not yet learnt to read. When the pupils start to learn a foreign language, it is going in mainly through their ears and what the pupils hear is their main source of the language. Input gained from listening can have a key role in language acquisition. So the development of effective strategies for listening becomes important for the process of acquiring language. Listening input should be made comprehensible for learners through simplification. Teachers should stress the importance of learners having a ‘silent period’ in the early stages of learning and wait for ‘readiness’ to produce the language (Krashen, 1982; Krashen and Terrell, 1983).
Some students acquire languages in a purely oral/aural way, but most of them benefit greatly from seeing the language written down. Even if there are difficulties in writing the foreign language, it is still a useful, essential, integral and enjoyable part of the foreign language lesson.
• It adds another physical dimension to the learning process. Hands are added to eyes and ears.
• It lets pupils express their personalities.
• Children, like older students need a break from oral work. Writing activities provide a very important quiet period for them in the lesson, after which they usually return to oral work refreshed and less restless.
• Writing gives children an opportunity to work at their own pace, which is very relaxing for them.
• Writing activities provide an opportunity for personal contact. When they are writing, teacher can go and work with them individually.
• Children like and need to have a record of many of the things they do in the classroom.
• Children need something to show their parents.
Two things especially should be kept in mind while teaching children of this age to write. First, writing must not impair oral fluency. There is no reason why this should happen provided the pupils get plenty of opportunities for hearing and using English and if writing is treated as an extension of oral work. Secondly, teachers should not try to teach aspects of the written language which learners at this age cannot be expected to understand and cope with. For example, they are too young to do sentence linking activities and the kind of texts they write are more likely to be imaginative than coherent. Writing activities, like oral activities, go from being tightly controlled and guided activities are being done to practise the language and concentration is on the language itself.
It has become apparent in recent years that there have been marked changes in the goals of language education programs (Morley, 1987; Richards & Rodgers, 1987b). Today, language students are considered successful if they can communicate effectively in their second or foreign language, whereas two decades ago the accuracy of the language produced would most likely be the major criterion contributing to the judgement of a student’s success or lack of success. There is little doubt now that these developments in language teaching – called the “proficiency movement” by some and the promotion of “functional” or “communicative” ability by others (Higgs, 1984; Mohan, 1986) have focused on fluency and communicative effectiveness rather than the goal of accuracy. Thus, the teaching of the speaking skill has become increasingly important.
As communicative approaches have developed, teachers have been concerned to ensure that students not only practise speaking in a controlled way in order to produce features of pronunciation, vocabulary, and structure accurately, but also practise using these features of pronunciation, vocabulary, and structure accurately, but also practise using these features more freely in purposeful communication. The aim of such “fluency activities”, as Brumfit (1984:69) calls them, is to develop a pattern of language interaction within the classroom that is as close as possible to that used by competent performers in normal life. What is important with beginners is finding the balance between providing languages through controlled and guided activities and at the same time letting them enjoy natural talk. Most of the pupils have little opportunity to practise speaking English outside the classroom and so need lots of practice when they are in class. When using communicative activities, it is important to strive for a classroom in which students feel comfortable and confident, feel to take risks, and have sufficient opportunities to speak. Simply put, the goal of a speaking component in a language class should be to encourage the acquisition of communication skills and to foster real communication in and out of the classroom.
The Common European Framework has been described as one of the most important documents about language teaching. The framework has been produced by the Language Policy Division of the Council of Europe and is the outcome of more than 40 years of work on language education by the Council. The Council of Europe’s 40 years of involvement in language teaching has been influenced by the functional, notional approach, and the Framework is a continuation of the approach used in the 1970s and which described the language needed to travel comfortably in a foreign country, in terms of functions rather than of grammatical knowledge. Language learning is viewed as offering educative opportunities for both individual and social development.
At the core of CEF are the descriptor scales, which illustrate the view of language learning and teaching. An action-centred view of language learning and use, which is described in “can do” statements, rather than as knowledge about
language. A1 Level is under the term of ‘Basic User’ the language user who has got A1 level can:
• Understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of concrete type.
• Introduce him/herself and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where he/she lives, people he/she knows and things he/she has.
• Interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.
In this study, skill-based teaching of English will be designed for young learners by taking into consideration the demands and objectives of A1 Level of English Language Passport (ELP) suggested by the Council of Europe (CE).
1.3 Limitations and Scope
In this research young learners are limited to private primary school students. This study will be limited to the syllabus of third graders. The lesson plan, which will be employed in, the study is in the frame of third year syllabus. In this research the students’ ages, English levels and individual differences are accepted as equal. They are all elementary level learners.As they follow the curriculum designed by the school, they achieve the same objectives upon finishing the second grade. The researcher started teaching this group at the beginning of the year and knows their level of English.
This study is based on the following assumptions:
1. There is a need for the integration of the four skills in order to fulfil the objectives of A1 Level in English Language Passport.
2. The observation forms will be designed in the way that the activities and the students’ responses are reflected clearly.
1.5 Data Collection
Qualitative research techniques are used in this study. As the data collection devices, observation and interviews are used. First, observation report is presented, followed by the implications of the observation. Then, the interviews are administrated to one of the teachers and the students. The results suppoted the findings of the observation.
Chapter 2 Review Of Literature
2.1 Young Learners
Children differ from adult learners in many ways. It was commonly thought that infants lack the ability to form complex ideas. For much of this century, the dominant models offered in educational psychology courses have been Behaviourism, particularly by B. F. Skinner (1974), and the radically different model of Developmental Psychology proposed by Jean Piaget (1971). The behaviourist psychologists accepted the thesis that children learn by passively reacting to stimuli and to the reinforcements which the environment or people within that environment provide. The child learns by passively reacting to stimuli and to the reinforcements, which the environment or people within that environment provide. At other extreme, the Piagetian view has presented the child as actively constructing his or her own thinking by acting upon the physical and social environment. Although these theories differed in important ways, they shared an emphasis on considering children as active learners who are able to set goals, play and revise.
As Philips (1993:5) states the term ‘young learners’ refers to the children from the first of formal schooling to eleven or twelve years of age. However as Scott and Ytreberg (1990:1) emphasise, there is a big difference between what children of five can do and what children of ten can do. Furthermore, children display individual differences; some children develop early, some later. Some children develop gradually, others in leaps and bound. Scoot and Ytreberg (1990) list the characteristics of different age groups as follows:
Five to seven year olds
What five to seven year olds can do
They can talk about what they are doing. They can plan activities.
They can argue for something and tell you why they think what they think. They can use logical reasoning.
They can use their vivid imaginations.
They can use a wide range of intonation pattern in their mother tongue. They can understand direct human interaction
Eight to ten year olds
What eight to ten year olds can do …………..
They can tell the difference between fact and fiction.
They rely on the spoken word as well as the physical world to convey and understand meaning
They are able to make some decisions about their own learning. They have definite views about what they like and don’t like doing.
They have a developed sense of fairness about what happens in the classroom and begin to question the teacher’s decisions.
They are able to work with others and learn from others.
A traditional view of learning and development is that young children know and can do little, but with age (maturation) and experience (of any kind) they become increasingly competent. From this view, learning is development and development is learning. Children are equipped with the means necessary for understanding their worlds when considering physical and biological concepts. It should not be surprising that infants also possess such a mechanism for learning language. They begin at an early age to develop knowledge of their linguistic environments, using a set of specific mechanisms that guides language development.
2.2 Motivating Children To Learn English
Unlike adults, children are not self-motivated and do not have an immediate need to learn English. They are not concerned with jobs or university degrees that require the knowledge of English. Their world is their daily games, events of interest to them, new knowledge that they may come across in their natural environment, and questions that their inquisitive minds may ask. The children communicate all their needs and experiences and receive new knowledge in their mother tongue. Therefore, the teacher of English has the challenging task of finding ways to motivate them.
As Fröhlich-wand (cited in Brumfit et al, 1991:98) states, motivation plays a great role in young children’s learning a language. They do not usually ask to learn a foreign language. Since they fulfil their immediate needs in their own language, they are not motivated to learn another language in the way that the older might be. If they are to take part in a foreign language course with success, the motivation has to come from another source. In that case, the enjoyment and the pleasure experienced in the learning situation may be the major source of motivation.
The fact that children may need external sources of motivation puts a tremendous responsibility on the teachers. Rivers (1983) advises foreign language teacher to capitalise on the children’s autonomous impulses such as curiosity, the desire to know and understand, the desire to play and explore, and the impulse to manipulate features of the environment. Children need to learn English through contexts that appeal and make sense to them. These contexts should be a part of their world. The following sub-sections are all related to various ways of motivating children to learn English.
2.2.1 Topics, Situations And Language Functions
The material used for teaching children should be consistent with their identity and developmentally appropriate. When teaching language, we need to think of the whole child, and enhance general socio-emotional, cognitive, communicative and educational development. This is one reason why choice of topic is important.
The topics used should be closely linked to the interests and experiences of the children, be easily grasped by them, and be presented within the framework of familiar situations using appropriate language functions. School is an integral part of the child’s world and, while teaching English, there is no reason not to use other subjects in the school curriculum, with which the child is already familiar. Because of this reason, the teacher can use the questions asked by the children as topics for discussion either at the time they are asked or at a later date. Lessons based on children’s questions are not only interesting and motivating but also serve as an excellent source of topics for future lessons. If the teacher tackles the topics that please most of the students most of the time, they will not lose their desire to participate at the very beginning of the lesson.
Situations used in the classroom need to be authentic, interesting to children, and should reflect the culture of the target language. The language used must be compatible with the children’s maturity level and linguistic ability, appropriate to the situation at hand, and like that commonly used by native speakers in similar situations. As Scott and Ytreberg (1990:3) express, young children love to play, and learn best when they are enjoying themselves. However, they also take themselves seriously and like to think that what they are doing is “real” work.
As Broughton et al. (1980:169) point out; language functions that appeal to children and encourage them to talk about what concerns them will facilitate the learning process. The foreign language teacher may select from the functions experienced by the child while learning his/her mother tongue. Children best acquire a foreign language when it is presented to them in a form that closely resembles “schemata” that they developed while acquiring their native tongue and when it fulfils their needs as their own language did. Gordon Wells states (date) that knowledge cannot be transmitted in isolation, but must be reinvented as the learner
brings to each new situation his own previous experience and background and interprets new information from that perspective.
2.2.2 Learning Through Activities, Games and Songs
As Klein (1993:14) claims, teaching young learners is different from teaching adults. Young children tend to change their mood every other minute, and they find it extremely difficult to sit still as they have short concentration span and are extremely kinaesthetic. On the other hand, they show a greater motivation than adults to do things that appeal to them. As is known, due to individual differences, children perceive and process information in very different ways; hence, the teacher has to be inventive in selecting interesting activities, and must provide a great variety of them.
According to Wilkins (1972:183) teaching must be planned in such a way that “learning becomes an interesting, even at times entertaining process.” It is argued that teaching English through playful activities including songs, games, puzzles, etc. makes the process of learning more interesting and, thus, motivating for young learners.
Games are an important part of a teacher’s repertoire. Although they are recreational activities by nature whose main purpose is enjoyment, in the language learning process their purpose can be to introduce a teaching item or reinforce what has already been taught. In the course of a game, learners are engaged in an enjoyable and challenging activity with a clear goal. Often, students are so involved in playing the games that they do not realise they are practising language. There are several game-like activities that may be used as a basis for listening, speaking, reading, writing, vocabulary and grammar activities, and would add a refreshing dimension to language teaching and learning. In fact, an ordinary language activity can be transferred into a game by adding some challenge, competition and fun element in it.
Most language teachers are aware of the advantages of using songs in the elementary classroom, whether they actually use songs in their teaching or not. Songs create a positive feeling for language learning, awakening interest during the lesson, and stimulating students to greater oral participation breaking the monotony of the lesson. Singing is a happy and stress-free activity that will add to a positive classroom-learning environment. Furthermore, children’s songs often include a lot of repetition that helps to make language memorable. Moreover, songs contain chunks of language that children can remember and use.
Participation by the teacher in games and activities helps the children overcome any inhibitions they may have. The teacher should nevertheless take every precaution not to dominate activities in order to give the children the opportunity for self-expression. She should be also on the lookout for signs of boredom with each activity and be willing to go to another activity when such signs appear.
2.2.3 Tension – Free Learning
As Rivers (1964:95) observes, motivation techniques succeed better if atmosphere of the English class is relaxed and if the teacher provides continuous support and encouragement. To create such an atmosphere the teacher needs to make every child feel secure and appreciated. Each child is individually evaluated according to his/her ability. Every child should receive recognition and praise for the progress he/she makes.
As Read (1998:9) says, praising children is very important. It encourages them. Valuing children and their work help to enhance children’s self-esteem, and contribute towards feeling of success. This has a positive influence on their motivation and levels of achievement. When children are praised for their effort, they can cope with the problems because they believe that they could do better if they try harder. Children should be praised for how they do their work rather than for the final product of their ability.
The use of mother tongue in EFL classroom reduces the frustration and loss of motivation. This is especially significant with very young children whose communicate skills even in L1 are still developing and who are already facing the stress of being separated from the familiar home environment. It is a fact that children will use their mother tongue when speaking to each other, except during language practice activities. Moreover, children will use their mother tongue to speak to the teacher until they are ready to use English. Teachers should never pretend that they couldn’t speak or understand what they are saying. However, they should answer in English as they are providing a good model for children and displaying the real communicative value of English.
Krashen and Terrell (1983) state that if we are relaxed and in a pleasant learning environment, more input will reach the LAD, while if we feel tense or are in a negative environment, our efforts to provide input will be fruitless. That is why it is important to provide an appropriate acquisition environment in the classroom, eliminating anxiety and encouraging students, so they can really acquire the language. One-way to do this is to allow the silent period to take place; i.e., not to force children to produce something until they are ready. Reilly and Ward (1997:7) state that it is important for the language teacher to remember that young children may spend a long time absorbing language before they actually produce anything. Because of this reason, it is not a good idea to try to force them to speak in the target language as this can create a lot of emotional stress.
MacIntyre and Gardner (1994) associate most language anxiety with listening and speaking. There are methods and approaches, such as Total Physical Response and Natural Approach that do not require learners to speak before they are ready to do so. Teachers have to try to lower the stress that accompanies speaking and listening and to create what Krashen (1986) calls a friendly environment in which learning can be relaxed and stress-free.
2.3 Integrated Language Learning
As Oxford (1992) mentions that one image for teaching English as a second or foreign language (ESL/EFL) is that of a tapestry. The tapestry is woven from many strands, such as the characteristics of the teacher, the learner, the setting, and the relevant languages (i.e., English and the native languages of the learners and the teacher). For the instructional loom to produce a large, strong, beautiful, colourful tapestry, all of these strands must be interwoven in positive ways. For example, the instructor’s teaching style must address the learning style of the learner, the learner must address the learning style of the learner, the learner must be motivated, and the setting must provide resources and values that strongly support the teaching of the language. However, if the strands are not woven together effectively, the instructional loom is likely to produce something small, weak, ragged, and pale-not recognisable as a tapestry.
In addition to the four strands mentioned above – teacher, learner, setting, and relevant languages- other important strands exist in the tapestry. In a practical sense, one of the most crucial of these strands consists of the four primary skills of listening, reading, speaking, and writing. This strand also includes associated or related skills such as knowledge of vocabulary, spelling, pronunciation, syntax, meaning, and usage. The skill strand of the tapestry leads to optimal ESL/EFL communication when the skills are interwoven during instruction. This is known as integrated skills approach.
If this weaving together does not occur, the strand consists merely of discrete, segregated skills - parallel threads that do not touch, support, or interact with each other. This is sometimes known as the segregated-skill approach. Another title for this mode of instruction is the language-based approach, because the language itself is the focus of instruction (language for language’s sake). In this approach, the emphasis is not on learning for authentic communication.
By examining segregated-skill instruction, we can see the advantages of integrating the skills and move toward improving teaching for English language learners.
2.3.1 Segregated-Skill Instruction
In the segregated-skill approach, the mastery of discrete language skills such as reading and speaking is seen as the key to successful learning, and language learning is typically separate from content learning (Mohan, 1986). This is contrary to the integrated way that people use language skills in normal communication.
Even if it were possible to fully develop one or two skills in the absence of all the others, such an approach would not ensure adequate preparation for the later success in everyday in the interaction in the language. An extreme example is the grammar-translation method, which teaches to analyse grammar and to translate (usually in writing) from one language to another. This method restricts language learning to a very narrow, non-communicative range that does not prepare students to use the language in every day life.
Fortunately, in many instances where an ESL or EFL course is labelled by a single skill, the segregation of language skills might be only partial or even illusory. If the teacher is creative, a course bearing a discrete-skill title might actually involve multiple, integrated skills. For example, in a course on intermediate reading, the teacher probably gives all of the instructions orally in English, thus causing students to use their listening ability to understand the assignment. In this course, students might discuss their readings, thus employing speaking and listening skills and certain associated skills, such as pronunciation, syntax and social usage. Students might be asked to summarise or analyse readings in written form, thus activating their writing skills. In a real sense, then, some courses that are labelled according to one specific skill might actually reflect integrated skills approach after all.
In contrast to segregated-skill instruction, both actual and apparent, there are at least two forms of instruction that are clearly oriented toward integrating the skills.
2.3.2 Two Forms of Integrated Skills Instruction
Two types of integrated skills instruction are content-based language instruction and task-based instruction. The first of these emphasises learning content through language, while the second stresses doing tasks that require communicative language use. Both of these benefit from a diverse range of materials, textbooks, and technologies for the ESL or EFL classroom.
18.104.22.168 Content-based instruction
In content-based instruction, students practise all the language skills in a highly integrated, communicative fashion while learning content such as science, mathematics, and social studies. Content-based language instruction is valuable at all levels of proficiency, but the nature of the content might differ by proficiency level. For beginners, the content often involves basic social and interpersonal communication skills, but past the beginning level, the content can become increasingly academic and complex. The Cognitive Academic Language learning Approach (CALLA), created by Chamot and O’Malley (1994) shows how language learning strategies can be integrated into the simultaneous learning of content and language.
At least three general models of content-based language instruction exist: theme-based, adjunct, and sheltered (Scarcella & Oxford, 1992). The theme-based
model integrates the language skills into the study of a theme. The theme must be
very interesting to students and must allow a wide variety of language skills to be practised, always in the service of communicating about the theme. This is the most useful and widespread form of content-based instruction today and it is found in many innovative ESL and EFL textbooks. In the adjunct model, language and content courses are taught separately but are carefully co-ordinated. In the sheltered
model, the subject matter is taught in simplified English tailored to students’ English
22.214.171.124 Task-based instruction
In task-based instruction, students participate in communicative tasks in English. Tasks are defined activities that can stand alone as fundamental units and that require comprehending, producing, manipulating, or interacting in authentic language while attention is principally paid to meaning rather than form (Nunan, 1989).
The task-based model is beginning to influence the measurement of learning strategies, not just the teaching of ESL and EFL. In task-based instruction, basic pair work and group work are often used to increase student interaction and collaboration. For instance, students work together to write and edit a class newspaper, develop a television commercial, enact scenes from a play, or take part in other joint tasks. More structured co-operative learning formats can also be used in task-based instruction. Task-based instruction is relevant to all levels of language proficiency, but the nature of the task varies from one level to the other. Tasks become increasingly complex at higher proficiency levels. For instance, beginners might be asked to introduce each other and share one item of information about each other. More advanced students might do more intricate and demanding tasks, such as taking a public opinion at school, the university, or a shopping mall.
2.3.3 Advantages of Integrated Skills Approach
Integrated skills approach, as contrasted with the purely segregated approach, exposes English language learners to authentic language and challenges them to interact naturally in the language. Moreover, this approach stresses that English is not just an object of academic interest or merely a key to passing an examination; instead, English becomes a real means of interaction and sharing among people. This approach allows teachers to track students’ progress in multiple skills at the same time. Integrating the language skills also promotes the learning of real content, not just the dissection of language forms. Finally, integrated skills approach, whether
found in content-based or task-based language instruction or some hybrid form, can be highly motivating to students of all ages and backgrounds.
All aspects of language are interwoven. All main skills (listening, reading, speaking, and writing) and associated skills (syntax, vocabulary, spelling and pronunciation) function together for effective and successful communication (Scarcella & Oxford, 1992).
This brings us to the question of which approach to use. The integrated approaches, as contrasted with the purely segregated approach (also known as language-based approach), expose learners to authentic language and challenge them to interact naturally in the language.
Learners rapidly gain a true picture of the richness and complexity of the English language as employed for communication. Integrating the language skills promotes the learning of real content, not just the dissection of language forms (Peregoy & Boyle, 2001). It can be highly motivating to students of all ages and backgrounds.
In order to integrate the language skills in ESL/EFL instruction, teachers should consider taking these steps:
¾ Learn more about the various ways to integrate language skills in the classroom (e.g., content-based, task-based, or a combination).
¾ Reflect on their current approach and evaluate the extent to which the skills are integrated.
¾ Choose instructional materials, textbooks, and technologies that promote the integration of listening, reading, speaking, and writing, as well as the associated skills of syntax, vocabulary, and so on.
¾ Even if a given course is labelled according to just one skill, remember that it is possible to integrate the other language skills through appropriate tasks.
¾ Teach language-learning strategies and emphasise that a given strategy can often enhance performance in multiple skills.
With careful reflection and planning, any teacher can integrate the language skills and strengthen the tapestry of language teaching and learning. When the tapestry is woven well, learners can use English effectively for communication.
Ifour aim is to provide opportunities in the classroom for students to engage in real-life communication in the target language, then it will be unnatural to isolate skills. Real-life situations necessitate the integration of language skills as reading or listening to a text may result in talking about it or writing a response. Furthermore, we hardly speak when there is no one to listen to us or write when there is no one to read it.
2.4 Teaching English To Young Learners
Paul (2003:4) puts forward that understanding the way native speakers first learn their native language and how second language learners learn their new language can lead to some valuable insights into how to teach foreign language learners effectively. However, conditions are different in teaching children. One of the consequences of this is that when teaching foreign language learners it is a must to make more efficient use of the time in the classroom. Moon (2000:16) comments that younger children tend to be influenced by feelings about their teacher, the general learning atmosphere in the classroom, the methods used in the classroom and the opinions of their parents. Two of the most important reasons for pupils to like English appear to be the teacher and the teaching methods. This suggests that selecting appropriate learning materials, planning interesting learning activities and creating positive learning environment should be brought into force.
It is known that in many countries there is English Language Teaching in schools for young age groups or classes. The most important point in the concept of primary ELT varies considerably from country to country. What is meant by ‘childhood’ itself varies from culture to culture. Teaching and learning in general
vary from culture to culture as well. Nonetheless, Brumfit (1991:2) lists some of the characteristics which young learners share:
¾ Young learners are at the beginning of their school life so teachers have a great opportunity to fulfil their expectations in school.
¾ They are more differentiated than secondary or adult learners and new to the conformity imposed across cultural groupings by the school.
¾ They are without the inhibitions, which older children bring to school; they are keen and enthusiastic learners.
¾ Learning can be linked with their development of ideas because it is close to their initial experience of formal education.
¾ They need physical movement and activity and stimulation for their thinking.
Vale and Feunteun (1995:27) claim that a key priority for teachers is to establish a good working relationship with children, and to encourage them to do the same with their classmates. The teacher’s role is that of parent, teacher, friend, motivator, co-ordinator, and organiser. The skills for these roles have more to do with understanding children’s development, children’s needs, children’s interests, and the children themselves – than with EFL methodology alone.
Moon (2000:3) examines teachers’ beliefs about how children learn a language and state that children learn a foreign language ...
‘... in a natural way, the way they learn their own language.’
‘... through being motivated. It depends on the teacher’s style. They would learn fast or quicker.’
‘... by listening and repeating.’
‘... by imitating the teacher. They want to please the teacher.’
‘... by doing and interacting with each other in an atmosphere of trust and acceptance, through a variety of interesting and fun activities for which they see the purpose.’
Klein (1993) thinks that teaching young learners is different from teaching adults because young children tend to change their mood every other minute, and they find it extremely difficult to sit still. Canadian Child Care Federation (2000) declare that young children are still developing and most are very tactile – they want and need to be actively involved in order to understand things. Vale and Feunteun (1995:34) state that it is very important for children to have the opportunity to use their hands and their bodies to express and experience language. On the other hand, they show a greater motivation than adults to do things that appeal them. Since it is almost impossible to cater the interests of all the young individuals, the teacher has to be inventive in selecting interesting activities, and must provide a great variety of them.
There is a debate about whether young learners learn language better, more efficiently than older children or adults. But, there are lots of reasons for teaching English at primary level that do not rely simply on the claim that it is the best time to learn languages well. According to Brumfit (1991:6):
¾ Exposing children from an early age to an understanding of foreign cultures can make them tolerant and sympathetic to others.
¾ Providing the need to the understanding of new concepts to link communication.
¾ Providing the need for learning time for important languages.
¾ Starting with early second or foreign language instruction may be a good idea so that later the language can be medium of teaching.
2.4.1 Teaching Grammar
Over the centuries, second language educators have alternated between favouring teaching approaches which focus on having students analyse language in order to learn it and those encourage students’ using language in order to acquire it (Celce-Murcia, 1979). According to Hedge (2000:143) recent years have seen a resurgence of interest in the role of grammar in English language teaching. That is not to say that, for many teachers, grammar has ever taken anything other than a central role in their classroom methodology. However, the 1980s experienced an
anti-grammar movement, perhaps influenced primarily by Krashen’s (1982) idea that grammar can be acquired naturally from meaningful input and opportunities to interact in the classroom; in other words, that grammatical competence can develop in a fluency-oriented environment without conscious focus on language forms. Larsen-Freeman (1995) stated: “It is true that some learners acquire second language grammar naturally without instruction. For example, there are immigrants to the United States who acquire proficiency in English on their own. However, this is not true for all learners”. She also added that learning particular grammatical distinctions requires a great deal of time even for the most skilled learners. According to Richards (1985:43), the basic assumption of such an approach is that “’communicative’ classrooms provide a better environment for second-language acquisition than classrooms dominated by formal instruction.”
Larsen-Freeman (1995) claims that appropriate grammar focusing techniques • are embedded in meaningful, communicative contexts
• contribute positively to communicative goals
• promote accuracy within fluent, communicative language • Do not overwhelm students with linguistic terminology • Are as lively and intrinsically motivating as possible.
Regardless of a teacher’s methodological preferences, knowledge of grammar is essential to the ESL/EFL teaching professional. Such knowledge helps in carrying out several important and fundamental responsibilities, such as integrating form, meaning, and content in syllabus design; selecting and preparing materials and classroom activities; selecting and sequencing the grammatical forms to emphasize at any given time; identifying and analysing which student errors to concentrate on at any given time; and preparing appropriate exercises and activities for rule presentation or error correction (Celce-Murcia, 1988:8). If grammar instruction is deemed appropriate for a class, the teacher’s next step is to integrate grammar principles into a communicative framework, since the fundamental purpose of language is communication. As Celce-Murcia (1988:8) indicates that there is a strong
tendency for grammar or structural points to occur with one of three other aspects of language:
• social factors • Semantic factors • Discourse factors
As Celce-Murcia (1988) states, social factors refer to the social roles of interlocutors, their relationship to each other, and the purpose of the communication. Communicative functions such as requesting, inviting, refusing, agreeing, or disagreeing are all very sensitive to social factors such as politeness, directness, etc. For example, in refusing a request, the words and grammatical structures used depend on two basic variables: how well the individuals know each other and their social roles.
Celce-Murcia (1988) adds that semantic factors involve meaning. Grammatical structures that are most naturally taught from a semantic perspective include expressions of time, space, degree, quantity, and probability. For example, the difference between the quantifiers few and a few in the following two sentences is primarily semantic:
a. John has a few food ideas. b. John has few good ideas.
In (a), the emphasis is positive, while in (b) it is negative. The choice of a form is not governed by whom one is addressing, but rather by what one wants to say. Thus, the difference between few and a few is not illuminated by social-interactional factors because the difference between (a) and (b) does not rest on social factors but depends crucially on meaning. Therefore, expressions of location, time, space, degree, quantity, probability, etc. can be taught most effectively with a focus on morphological, lexical, and syntactic contrasts that signal a difference in meaning.
Discourse factors include notions such as topic continuity, word order, and the sequencing of new and old information. For example, the use of logical connectors such as even though, although, or unless is discourse governed. Defining these words
semantically is less than satisfying and often leads to a great deal of frustration and confusion for both students and teacher. On the other hand, giving students a portion of discourse, which illustrates how these logical connectors function in context or what they signal in discourse, seems to work remarkably well. The final category, then, consists of words and elements of language, which are more effectively defined or explained with reference to their function in discourse than socio-linguistic function or semantic content.
Current TEFL methodology seems to advocate a two-staged grammar lesson: presentation and practice. The practice stage consists of a sequence of
activities/tasks ranging from controlled (focusing mainly on form) to free (focusing on meaning) (Ur, 1988:6). Presentation is less clearly defined. For example, Harmer (1987:29) presents “awareness tasks” as an alternative to presentation and incorporates controlled practice (i.e. drills).
Presentation: In this stage learners receive input. Given the multi-dimensional relation between form, concept and function, the time constraints, and the limited attention span of children, the aim of a grammar lesson should be limited to dealing with a single form-concept-function combination (Harmer, 1987:9-11). This combination should be demonstrated clearly through an appropriate context (Widdowson, 1990:95). Spratt (1985:6) distinguishes between situational and linguistic context. She argues that the former should be relevant to the learners’ experience, whereas the latter should be “free from unnecessary language items”.
Awareness raising: Here learners carry out tasks which guide them to focus on form as opposed to meaning. Such tasks enable learners to formulate a rule regarding the concept-form combination within the restrictions of the particular context. Learners are not expected to produce the target structure at this stage. Since the aim is primarily to call leaner attention to grammatical features, raising their consciousness of them, non-linguistic responses, or use of L1, particularly at lower levels, are acceptable. Awareness-raising tasks are at an advantage compared to
practice ones in the case of beginners, as such tasks require either L1, or non-verbal responses, or minimal L2 responses.
From controlled to free practice: At the controlled end the focus is only on form. On-the-spot correction at that stage is essential, and learners are expected to repeat incorrect productions correctly (Ur, 1988:7). Tasks situated around the middle of the practice cline retain focus on correct production, but also ensure that it sounds more communicatively authentic; here learners are led to recognise the communicative function of the linguistic form (Littlewood, 1981:10-11). Harmer (1987:17) adds that such tasks should be personalised (i.e. relevant to the learners’ experience). Usually corrective feedback is delayed, and is given in the form of awareness-raising tasks.
During the free-practice stage learners are expected to communicate, that is, the focus is only on meaning. The teacher has no direct control over the language used. This is when learners are given the opportunity to experiment with the new form and incorporate it in their own production (Littlewood, 1981:87). To ensure this, tasks have to provide a context-purpose environment, which will optimise the chances of particular form arising naturally.
126.96.36.199 Techniques In Teaching Grammar
Techniques that are used in grammar teaching vary according to the grammatical point, which is emphasized. For example, in structural-social items such as modals and requests, the degree of politeness depends on the social relationship between the speaker and his or her interlocutor. In such cases, dramatization and other dynamic, interactional techniques allow learners to make the connection between structure and social function. On the other hand, the most useful techniques are demonstration, illustration, and TPR activities when we teach quantifiers, locative prepositions, or modals of logical probability. These techniques are more static than role-play or dramatization, but they help students match linguistic form with semantic variables. Finally, with discourse aspects, the major techniques include text generation, manipulation, and explanation.
Listening and responding: Many methodologists feel that adult second-language learners, like children learning their first second-language, should be allowed to enjoy a silent period and that if we didn’t force our adult learners to speak and repeat phrases in the new language immediately, adults would be much better language learners. Asher’s Total Physical Response Method (1977) is a very effective way to present imperatives, prepositions, and phrasal verbs. Although it is a presentation technique for students at all levels, it can also provide structured and communicative practice for beginning students who don’t have enough language handle a communicative task. Asher’s research suggests that students benefit from watching as well as from doing. Students will be delighted when they realize they can understand and respond to something new in English in so short a time. In this way, students learn to comprehend the imperative form without even realizing it (Celce-Murcia, 1988:43).
Telling stories: Stories are used in contemporary ESL materials to promote communication and expression in the classroom. Stories can be used for both eliciting and illustrating grammar points. The former employs inductive reasoning, while the latter requires deductive thought, and it is useful to include both approaches in lesson planning. Grammar points can be contextualized in stories that are absorbing and just plain fun if they are selected with the interest of the class in mind, are told with a high degree of energy, and involve the students. As Celce-Murcia (1988:59) mentions, a story provides a realistic context for presenting grammar points and holds and focuses students’ attention in a way that no other technique can.
Dramatic activities and role-play: Celce-Murcia and Hilles (1988) recommend that teachers use skits and role-plays when working on the pragmatic dimension. These techniques facilitate a match between structure and social functions and can be used for both communicative and focused grammar practice. Based on her experience with ESL students and her research into the use of drama in language education, psychotherapy, and speech therapy, Stern (1980) hypothesizes
that dramatic activities in the classroom can be helpful in several ways. They appear to provide or increase motivation, heighten self-esteem, encourage empathy, and lower sensitivity to rejection. It is interesting to note that these same affective factors are also posited by Schumann (1975) as being critical in second-language acquisition. Therefore, it seems reasonable to assume that drama is an excellent tool for second-language teaching.
Stern (cited in Celce-Murcia, 1988:61) maintains that dramatic activities “are a curative for the frustration and lagging interest which often occur during second language learning,” because they provide a compelling reason to learn. In effect, drama gives a strong instrumental motivation for learning the second language. Stern (cited in Celce-Murcia, 1988:80) thus concludes that drama raises self-esteem by demonstrating to second-language learners that they are indeed capable of expressing themselves in realistic communicative situations. In other words, dramatic activities can increase oral proficiency by increasing self-esteem.
According to Rosenswing (1974:41), “Role-playing is the dramatization of a real-life situation in which the students assume roles. It presents the students with a problem, but instead of reaching a group consensus in solving it, the students act out their solution”. Rosenswing also argues that correctly chosen role-playing scenes expose students to the types of situations they are most likely to encounter inside and outside of the classroom. Feedback from the teacher provides them with the linguistic and cultural awareness needed to function in such situations, thus improving their self-confidence and ability to communicate effectively. It is an excellent technique for communicative practice of structures sensitive to social factors.
Dramatic activities provide meaningful contexts for integrating writing, reading, pronunciation, listening, and grammar as well as facilitating a match between structure and social factors and diagnosing gaps in grammatical knowledge. Finally, these activities, if properly conducted, provide teachers with delightful
lessons and provide students with some of the richest and most memorable experiences they have in their struggle with the second language.
In addition to the activities mentioned above, there are also resources that consist of objects, such as pictures, realia, and graphics. These can be used for matching structural and semantic factors, since semantic distinctions often need visual reinforcement.
Pictures: Pictures are versatile and useful resources for getting students to match form with meaning. They can be used in all phases of a grammar lesson (i.e. in presentation, focused practice, communicative practice, etc.). Interesting or entertaining pictures motivate students to respond in ways that more routine teaching aids, such as a textbook or a sentence on the board, cannot. Although they can be used to advantage at all levels of proficiency, they are especially useful with beginning and low-intermediate learners, who sometimes have trouble understanding long or complicated verbal cues. Pictures may focus on one specific object, such as a house, or an event, such as a boy jumping a fence; alternatively, a picture may evoke an entire story.
Realia: As a result of her research into memory and second-language learning, Barbara Schumann (1981:62-63) makes the following suggestions to ESL teachers: 1. In curriculum planning, allow for organization of subject matter, which leads students from the familiar to a closely related but unfamiliar concept.
2. Aid students in organizing input via imagery and rehearsal situations in which the student must elaborate on what is presented.
3. Organize input in such a way that it is meaningful for the student and can be integrated with already existing knowledge and experience; experience is central to learning.
4. Provide practice situations, which involve use of conscious processes and allow students to think about and generate associations and relationships between original input and novel situations by providing a spaced practice.
All of these objectives can be met quite straightforwardly by what Heaton (1979:45) characterizes as “an associative bridge between the classroom and the world,” namely realia, an old and versatile resource of language teachers. Celce-Murcia and Hilles (1988) mention that when dealing with the semantic dimension, realia and pictures are very useful. Realia has many uses in the classroom, not the least of which are promoting cultural insight and teaching a life-skills lexicon. Realia can also be used effectively in teaching grammar, especially for a form-meaning match. For this kind of match, realia can be used in combination with techniques such as storytelling and role-play in both the presentation phase and the practice phase of the lesson. Realia can be used in conjunction with storytelling and role-play techniques to contextualise the grammar lesson, as well as facilitate memory and learning.
Using the classroom: The classroom itself provides a wealth of realia to use in teaching grammar. Ordinary items found in most classrooms, such as books, tables, chairs, a flag, a light switch, windows, walls, can all be used. For instance, the classroom provides a natural context for teaching phrasal verbs such as turn on and
turn off. The teacher can turn on a light and turn it off, and then invite a student to
come to the light switch and do the same using the TPR technique.
The students are also part of the classroom environment and can be given the commands sit down and stand up or take off and put on some article of clothing they all have, such as a jacket or coat. Moreover, the people and the ordinary objects found in most classrooms can be of great assistance in presenting and practicing prepositions. For example, to present locative prepositions, one can use a table, a pencil, a book, a box, and a pen for structured practice of the difference between in and on.
Graphics: The use of graphics as a resource to teach ESL students was a proposal specifically advanced by Shaw and Taylor (1978), who referred to such aids
as “non-pictorial visuals”. While pictures can be used for presentation, focused practice, and communicative practice, graphics are generally best suited for focused or communicative practice because stimuli such as charts, tables, graphs, and schedules lend themselves well to the development of communicative tasks.
Songs: As Celce-Murcia maintains (1988:116) that contextualization is essential to any grammar presentation and meaningful practice of structure, and certainly one of the most delightful and culturally rich resources for contextualization is song. Dublin (1974) points out that, “Songs can be utilized as presentation contexts, as reinforcement material, and as vehicles through which to teach all language skills”. Hulquist (1984) suggests songs can be effective in allowing students to practice a previously studied, contrasting structure along with a new structure as well as adding enjoyment and variety to language learning. The important thing to keep in mind is that songs provide rich, engaging contexts that, because of their appeal, make it easier to internalise structures.
Games and problem-solving activities: When ESL students are engaged in games or problem-solving activities, their use of language use is task-oriented and has a purpose beyond the production of correct speech. This makes these activities ideal for communicative practice of grammar if, in fact, the activities can be structured to focus learners’ attention on a few specific forms before the communicative practice. When this is successfully achieved, problems and games help reinforce a form-discourse match, since the form(s) targeted for attention occur naturally within the larger discourse context created by the game or the problem. Games are excellent learning tools for children when they are geared to students’ proficiency, age, and experience.
Text-based exercises and activities: According to Celce-Murcia (1988:167) students need text-based grammar exercises and activities in all phases of grammar instruction: presentation, focused practice, communicative activities in order to make a match between grammar and discourse. Since reading and writing are text-based
skills, grammar will transfer only if it is also practised at the text level, and not simply at the sentence level.
2.4.2 Vocabulary Teaching
It is widely known that vocabulary is simply all the words known and used by a particular person. In other words, the ability to understand (receptive) and use (expressive) words to acquire and convey meaning is what is called vocabulary. Expressive vocabulary requires a speaker or writer to produce a specific label for a particular meaning, but receptive vocabulary requires a reader to associate a specific meaning with a given label as in reading or listening. As a learner begins to read, reading vocabulary is mapped onto the oral vocabulary the learner brings to the task.
For many years vocabulary was seen as incidental to the main purpose of language teaching – namely the acquisition of grammatical knowledge about the language. Vocabulary was necessary to give students something to hang on to when learning structures, but was frequently not a main focus for learning itself. If language structures make up the skeleton of language, then it is vocabulary that provides the vital organs and the flesh (Harmer, 1991:153). An ability to manipulate grammatical structure does not have any potential for expressing meaning unless words are used. Then structural accuracy seems to be the dominant focus. In real life, however, it is even possible that where vocabulary is used correctly it can cancel out structural inaccuracy. Recently, however, methodologists and linguists have increasingly been turning their attention to vocabulary, stressing its importance in language teaching and reassessing some of the ways in which it is taught and learnt. It is now clear, for example, that the acquisition of vocabulary is just as important as the acquisition of grammar.
Vocabulary learning is central to language acquisition, whether the language is first, second, or foreign. As Krashen (1989) points out, “ A large vocabulary is, of course, essential for mastery of a language” (p.439). Thornbury (2002:13) also points out “ Without grammar very little can be conveyed, without vocabulary nothing can