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ING303 Teaching Language Skills. Lecture 3: The text. Things to cover in this chapter. What is a text ?: A definition of what we mean by text in ELT Teaching the text : What we want learners to get from text study Comprehension of content : Procedures that help comprehension

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ing303 teaching language skills

ING303TeachingLanguageSkills

Asst. Prof. Dr. Emrah Görgülü

Lecture 3: Thetext

things to cover in this chapter
Thingstocover in thischapter
  • What is a text?: A definition of whatwemeanbytext in ELT
  • Teachingthetext: Whatwewantlearnerstogetfromtextstudy
  • Comprehension of content: Proceduresthathelpcomprehension
  • Languagelearning: Ways of selectingandteachinggrammaticalandvocabularyitemsfrom a text
  • Discourseanalysis: Aspects of discourse: genres, stylesandstructure
what is a text
What is a text?
  • A text in thecontext of EnglishLanguageTeaching is a piece of writingorspeechthat is usedforlanguagelearning.
  • A text can be studied as a completeandautonomousunit: thereaderorlistener can understand it withoutknowingthecontext.
  • A text is coherent in the sense that it has a beginning, a middleand an endwhichmake a clearsequence of thoughtsorevents.
  • Thus a text is differentfrom a list of wordsto be learnedorsentencesthatgiveexamples.
what is a text1
What is a text?
  • A coursebooktextrangesfrom a paragrapghto a pageormore in length.
  • Thetext is normallyusedforintensivelanguagelearning in variousways: forcomprehensionwork, forlearninglanguageitemsthatappear in it, foranalysis of content.
  • Wemake a distinctionbetweenintensiveandextensivetextstudy. Intensivemeansthatthetext is not onlyunderstood, but alsostudied in detail. It is alsoused as a springboardforfurtherlanguagestudy.
  • Extensivemeansthatthetext is readorheardforpleasureand/orinformation. The main aim is toprovidereadingandlisteningfluencyandlanguagelearning is incidental.

Q: Whichone do wefocus on?

teaching the text
Teachingthetext
  • Thereare a number of reasonsstudentsread a text in class:
    • Studentsread a giventexttounderstanditscontent (i.e. Whatthe text is about)
    • Students then answer thequestionsaboutthetextto check comprehension
    • Studentslearnnewwords, phrases and grammatical structures, andusethem in andoutsidetheclassroom.
teaching the text the goals
Teachingthetext: thegoals
  • The main goals of teachingthetextarecomprehension of content, languagelearninganddiscourseanalysis.
  • Comprehension of content
  • General gist: Theteacherneedstomake sure thatstudentsunderstandthe general content of thetext.
  • Detailedunderstanding: Thenextstage is moredetailedcomprehension of thedifferentparts of thetext. Thismeanssentence-bysentencestudy, providingexplanations of newwords.
  • Reading betweenthelines: Youcould ask studentstoinfermeaningsthatare not statedexplicitly. In a literarytext, thespeech of differentcharactersshowstheirpersonalityandmotives.
teaching the text the goals cont d
Teachingthetext: thegoals (cont’d)
  • Critical analysis: Thetextmay be studiedcritically: studentsareinvitedtojudge how truthful, consistentorlogicalthetext is.
  • Language learning
  • Vocabulary: Onebenefit of intensivestudy of a text is vocabularyexpansionorreview. Allthewordsneedto be understoodbySs. Do vocabulary-focusedactivitiesandhelpthemlearnnewwords!
  • Grammar: Anotherbenefit is thelearning of wordorsentencegrammar. Sshave an opportunitytolearndifferentgramamticalfeatures. It is usefulto pay attentiontoonesthatareharder.
teaching the text the goals cont d1
Teachingthetext: thegoals (cont’d)
  • Discourseanalysis: Itis thediscussion of thetext as a whole, ratherthanparticularlinguisticfeaturessuch as grammarandvocabulary. It can onlytakeplaceafterstudentshaveunderstoodthecontent.
  • Follow-uptasks: Afteryouhavefinishedcomprehension, youmayfindthatmanytextsproviderichstimuliforfurtherlanguage-learningtaskswhichinvolvestudentproduction (speechorwriting).

(do actiontask on page 30)

comprehension of content
Comprehension of content
  • Thepriority in dealingwith a text is togetstudentstounderstand it: firstthegist, then in moredetail.
  • Preparation:Preparatorywork can be extremelyhelpfulforcomprehension. It can includediscussingthetopic, pre-teachingvocabularyandaskingpreliminaryquestions.
  • Presentingthetopic: Previousknowledge of thetopic is probablythefactorwhichmosthelpstextcomprehension. It is a good idea togivestudentsinformationaboutthecontent of thetext in advance.
  • Pre-teachingvocabulary: A lot of booksandteachers do thisbut teachingtoomanywords in advanceoverloadsstudents’ short-termmemory. They do not rememberthemeanings in thetext.
comprehension of content cont d
Comprehension of content (cont’d)
  • Raisingexpectationsandcuriosity: It is importanttomotivatestudentstoreadthetext. A usefulstrategy is toarousetheircuriositybygivingthemquestionstodiscuss, towhichthetextwillprovidetheanswers.
  • Alternatively, letthemglance at thetitle, headingsandanyillustrations, andmakeguessesor ask questionsaboutthecontent of thetext. (do thetask on p. 31)
  • Reading forunderstanding: Therearethreeways a newtext is actuallyread in class: (i) theteacherreadsaloudwhilestudentsreadalong; (ii) studentsread it silently; (iii) studentsreadsectionsaloud, in turn. (do thetask on p. 32)
comprehension of content cont d1
Comprehension of content (cont’d)

Comprehensiontasks

  • Comprehensionquesions: Themostcommontype of text is comprehensionquestionsfollowingthereading. But be careful! (do thefirsttask on page 33)
  • Doingcomprehensiontasksdoes not necessarilymeanyourstudentshaveunderstoodthetext/passage.
    • Thereason is thequestions ‘echo’ thetext, andyou can answerthemwithoutthinking. Somequestions do not requirecomprehension!
    • Whatto do then? Ifthequestionsarewordeddifferentlyfromthetextitself, orrequireinterpretation, thentheyarelikelyto be moreeffective

(do thesecondtask on page 33)

comprehension of content cont d2
Comprehension of content (cont’d)
  • Othercomprehensiontasks:
    • Inpairsorsmallgroups, studentscomposetheirowncomprehensionquestions, thenexchangeanswer.
    • Theclassdiscussesthequestionsorissuesthatwerebroughtupbeforereading (raisingexpectationsandcuriosity).
    • Studentssummarizethecontentorallyor in writing.
    • Studentssuggestalternativetitlesandjustifythem.
    • Studentswrite a continuationtothetext.
    • Students re-presentthecontent: as a picture, a list of pointor a table.
    • Studenttranslatesomeor al of thetextto L1.
comprehension of content cont d3
Comprehension of content (cont’d)

PracticalTips

  • Whendoingpreparatorywork, tellstudentstoclosetheirbooks, and not tolook at thetextitself. Otherwisetheymight be distracted.
  • Feelfreetopausebrieflyto slip in quicktranslationor of difficultbitsifyouarereadingaloud a text at firstencounter.
  • Provideglossesforunknownwords in thetextmorethanonce.
  • Ask studentsto do comprehensionquestions on theirownor in pairsbeforegoingthroughthemwiththewholeclass.
  • Adoptthe ‘sandwich’ principlefortextcomprehension.
language learning
Languagelearning
  • Thetextcontains a lot of languageitemsthatwewantourstudentstolearn in orderto be abletousethemlater in theirowncommunic.
  • Afterwehaveensuredcomprehension, thenextstage is tospendsome time focussing on lexicalandotheritems.
  • Selection of vocabulary: It is importanttofocus on themostusefulandcommonvocabularyespeciallywhenyouaretachingbeginnersorintermediateclasses.
  • Grammar, spellingandpunctuation: Youshouldprioritizefeatures tat aremoreimportantandfrequent. Theitemsyoufocus on should be onesyouhaverecentlytaught.
language learning cont d
Languagelearning (cont’d)
  • Teachingselecteditems: Onceyouhaveselectedwhichitemsfromthetextyouwillteach, youneedtothinkabouthowto do it.
  • Q: Whether it is bettertolearnlanguageimplicitlyorexplicitly.
    • Implicitlanguagelearning: absorbing it intuitively, throughreadingorhearing in a communicativecontext.
    • Explicitlanguagelearning: receivingexplanationsaboutthenewlanguageanddeliberatelypractising it.
  • A: Youprobablyneedboth.
  • Whenreading a text, studentsseethelanguagefirstwithin a meaningfulcontextandneedtounderstand it in ordertocomprehendthetext. Thenfocus on specificlanguagepoints!
practical tips
PracticalTips
  • Use online sitestocheckvocab. frequency: Whichwordsaremorefrequentandthereforewrothteacing www.lextutor.ca/vp/bnc
    • Youtypeorcopy-pasteyourtextinto a windowandclick on ‘submit’ andreceiveinformationaboutthefrequency of differentwords.
  • Ask studentstounderlinewordstheyknowratherthanonesthey do not: It is moreencouragingand morale-boosting.
  • Notewhatyouhavetaught: Make sure younotedownforyourselfwhichlanguageitemsyouhavetaughtfrom a textsoyou can comebackandreviewlater.
  • Includewholeexpressions, not justsinglewords: in thevocabularyitemsyouselecttoteachmorethoroughly.
follow up tasks
Follow-uptasks
  • Onceyourclass has finishedstudying a text, thenyou can do follow-uptasks. Theseusetext as a triggerforfurtherlanguagework.
  • Shortenthetext: Delete as manywordsandsentences in thetext as you can, but theresult has to be a grammaticalandcoherenttext!
  • Extendthetext: Addadjectivesandadverbswhereveryou can.
      • Add at leastthreeextrasentenceswithineachparagraph, withoutdestoyingitscoherence.
  • Changethetext: Insertsynonyms of words in thetextwhereveryou can. Changethe tense throughout. Changeactivetopassive.
  • Createyourowntext: Writeyourowntextbased on thestructure of thetextyouhavejuststudied, but on a topic of yourownchoosing.
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