Types of exercises in teaching speaking
1. Drills – reproductive exercises which help to practice accuracy in speech: pronunciation of sounds, phrases, grammatical structures (learners listen to words, phrases, sentences, songs, poems and repeat, substitute, transform). Drills usually require teacher’s control.
2. Interactive and speech exercises –exercises which help to practice fluency more than accuracy.
1. Ask and answering questions.
3. Speaking on a topic.
7. Problem solving activity.
The content of teaching reading
Reading is one of the main skills of mastering a foreign language at school. Through reading learners enrich their knowledge of the world around them, get acquainted with the countries where the FL language is spoken. Reading develops pupils’ intelligence, memory, will, imagination and critical thinking.
Reasons for reading:
1. reading for pleasure
2. reading for practical usage (reading outside the classroom — reading of letters, signs, e-mails, etc.)
3. reading for study — reading is not only an aim in itself; it is also a means of learning a FL. When reading, learners review sounds and letters, vocabulary and grammar, memorizes the spelling of words, the meaning of words and word combinations. Reading gives models of sentence, paragraph and text construction, it links written and spoken language.
Kinds of reading:
1. Extensive – reading for pleasure. It develops reading skills and increases vocabulary.
2. Intensive – reading and doing study activities (what kind of text it is, details of meaning, vocabulary and grammar, etc.)
Types of texts for reading:
Authentic texts - texts which are not written especially for language learners. Beginners can read only simple authentic texts (menus, signs, timetables, etc.)
Simplified (adapted) texts – texts for graded readers.
Skimming – learners read to get an idea of what it is about. Pictures, title help to catch the gist of the text.
Scanning — learners search through a text for a specific details (e.g. looking for the telephone number) and ignore everything else.
Reading for detailed comprehension – learners read more slowly to look for detailed information or to give examples of the language usage (grammar, vocabulary items).
1. Encourage learners to read as often and as much as possible (support of extensive reading).
2. Learners should be interested in what they are reading (selection of interesting, according to the age, level and interests of learners, up-to-date, real-life, easy enough for comprehension material).
3. Encourage pupils to respond to the content of a text (learners should show their feelings about it), not only concentrate on its construction.
4. Learners should predict in reading (teacher should pay learners’ attention to book covers, headlines, pictures to guess what they are going to read about).
5. Match the task to the topic (when using intensive reading texts)
6. Good teacher uses reading texts to the full (uses integrated tasks based on learners’ level to revise and practice grammar and vocabulary, to develop writing and speaking skills, uses visual aids – pictures, mime, voice, cards with new vocabulary, etc.)
7. Develop learners’ abilities to read accurately and fluently with correct pronunciation, stress, intonation, pause and articulation of voice
Difficulties in reading:
1. Linguistic — reading in the English language is one of the most difficult things because there are 26 letters and 146 graphemes which represent 46 phonemes. It is necessary that learners should know how this or that vowel, vowel combination, consonant, or consonant combination is read in different positions in the words.
2. Comprehensive — the most difficult thing in learning to read is to get information from a sentence or a paragraph on the basis of the knowledge of structures and meaning of words. Learners often ignore grammar (syntax) and try to understand what they read relying on separate words. It is sometimes difficult for learners to find topical sentences in the text which express the main ideas.
Ways of reading:
1. Aloud — the aim is to improve learners’ reading skills. In reading aloud the teacher uses:
Diagnostic reading (learners read and he can see their weak points in reading).
Instructive reading (learners follow the pattern read by the teacher or the speaker).
Control (test) reading (learners read the text trying to keep as close to the pattern as possible).
2. Silently — the aim is to improve learner’s comprehensive abilities, to develop learners’ abilities of making lexical and grammatical analysis, guessing of new words.
In teaching a foreign language in school both ways should be developed.
Methods of teaching reading
All the methods of teaching reading are divided according to the three approaches: bottom-up approach, top-down approach and intergrated approach.
1. Bottom-up approach implies the process of reading as a process of decoding. Learners learn to read through the development of linguistic skills without connection to the context and their prior knowledge on the topic. Reading is taught here only as a means of sound, letter, word recognition, revision and practice of grammar and vocabulary, as a model of of sentence, paragraph and text construction, but not as the aim in itself (Demonstrative, Audio-lingual method, Situational Language Teaching)
2. Top-down process implies the process of reading as a process of guessing meaning from the context and prior knowledge on the topic. Top-down approach pays less attention on decoding. Reading is taught here only as a means of comprehension of the meaning (Direct method, Suggestopedia, etc.)
3. Intergrated approach implies the process of reading as a process of both decoding and comprehension. Reading is taught here is an aim in itself (Communicative method).
There are three stages of the Communicative method in teaching reading:
1. Pre-reading stage (what teacher and learners do before reading). Teacher: set purposes what to read for, think if the background or linguistic knowledge is necessary, what approach (bottom-up or top-dow) to use, set tasks for the leaners, help learners to prepare for the task (vocabulary, pictures), motivate the learners to read (interesting topic). Learners: predict, answer the questions, drawing, brainstorm, discuss etc.
2. While reading stage – (what teacher and learners do during reading). Learners check predictions and guesses, make reading activities (on worksheets) on linguistic and comprehensive competence – orderning, t/f sentences, identify the pictures to the text, draw a picture, choose a title, define main ideas, define the bold parts of speech, define the tense of verbs, etc. Teacher: monitor, ask questions, help.
3. Post-reading stage – (what teacher and learners do after reading). Learners: react to the text: give personal opinions, answer the questions, complete the sentences, retell, problem solving, write an essay. Teacher: evaluate reading: linguistic and comprehensive competences.
Types of exercises in teaching reading
The aims of reading exercises:
Introduce and develop reading skills which are useful outside the classroom
Introduce or practice language
Types of exercises in teaching reading
Graphemic-phonemic exercises — help learners to master graphemic-phonemic correspondence in the English language. Teaching begins with presenting a letter to learners, or a combination of letters. The use of flash cards and the board is necessary. The visual aids are used also to teach learners to read words.
Structural-informative exercises — help learners how to read sentences, paragraphs and texts correctly. Special attention is given to intonation and stress because they are very important in the actual division of sentences. At an early stage of teaching reading the teacher should read a sentence or a passage to the class by himself. When the learners understand the passage he can set individual and the class to repeat the sentences after him. This kind of elementary reading practice should be carried on for a limited number of lessons only. When a class has advanced far enough to be ready for more independent reading, reading in chorus might be decreased, but not eliminated. Structural-information exercises help also to find the subject and predicate in the sentences, to fulfill lexical and grammar analysis, Grammar and lexical analysis helps learners to define structural words, the meaning of a word according to its position in the sentence, to find the meanings of unfamiliar words, and those which seem to be familiar but do not correspond to the structure of the sentence (I saw him book a ticket).
Some examples of tasks:
Read the following sentences and guess the meaning of the words you don’t know.
These sentences are too complicated. Break them into shorter sentences.
What is the significance of the tense difference?
Structural-information exercises are done both in reading aloud and in silent reading.
Semantic-communicative exercises – help learners to get information from the text. The learner is to be taught to compare, to contrast, to guess and to foresee events.
Questions before may be very helpful for reading comprehension. Semantic-communicative exercises are all connected with silent reading. These may be:
Read and say why…
Read and find answers to the following questions
Read the text. Find the words which describe.
Read the text and say what made somebody do something.
Read the text and prove that.
Comprehension may also be checked using the following tasks:
Read and draw or colour.
Find the following information
Correct the following statements
Find the most important sentences in the text.
Read and put the pictures in order.
Some of the assignments may be done in writing.
Methods of teaching writing
1. Bottom-up approach (Demonstrative, Audio-lingual, Practical ) is based on skill billding - teaching penmanship and accuracy (spelling).
Teaching penmanship and spelling has some stages:
1. The teacher shows the learners a letter or both a capital and a small letter, for example, B b. He can use special cards. On one side of the card the letters are written. On the other side there is a word with this letter.
2. The teacher shows learners how to write the letter. He can use the blackboard. For example, V and W are made with one continuous zigzag movement. Then the teacher writes a word in which the new letter occurs. For example, W w, word.
When the teacher writes on the blackboard he should always give some explanations how the letter is made, and then how the word is written. His learners should try to imitate them; they should make similar movements with their pens in the air, looking at the blackboard.
The teacher should pay much attention to the words whose spelling does not follow the rules, for example, daughter, busy, sure, usual, colonel, clerk, soldier, etc. Learners master the spelling of such words by repetitions in writing them.
The teacher shows his learners how to rely on grammar in spelling the words. For example, the learners have learned the plural of nouns in the English language. Now they know that the ending s is added, though it sounds either [s] as in maps or [z] as in pens; in both cases they must write s.
In the words famous, continuous it is necessary to write ous, as it is an adjective-forming suffix. In the words dislike, disadvantage it is necessary to write i and not e as the negative prefix is dis.
The teacher should use copying in the work (especially for two years) to help learners to remember how to write words, phrases and sentences. Every new word, phrase or sentence pattern, after it has been thoroughly learnt, should be practiced by copying.
In copying at home the learners must be given some additional task so that they don’t do the work mechanically. The following tasks may be suggested:
(a) underline a given letter or letter combination for a certain sound;
(b) underline a certain grammar item;
(c) underline certain words, for example, the names of school things.
2. Top-down approach (Communicative method) is based on the teaching of making composition (text). Teaching writing starts here with the topic and works down to grammatical and semantic units. In communicative method each learner completes writing in a group, exchanging ideas with others and getting help in various stages of composition. Writing process here is an example of cooperative learning through communication (communicative writing).
Writing compositions have three stages:
Pre-writing stage: the teacher sets the task, learners prepare for what they will write. They can:
Think about the audience or reader.
Brainstorm – learners can make notes, brainstorm vocabulary.
Gather information (making questionnaire, reading something, using pictures, title).
Practice specific writing skills – using punctuation, linking words.
Practice language forms.
Decide on the content — what to include or nor include.
Look at a model text – the punctuation, use of paragraphs, layout, etc.
Write an outline or a plan.
2. Writing stage: Learners can:
Write first draft
Edit content for meaning
Write second draft
Edit language and spelling (proof-reading)
Write final draft
3. Post writing stage:
(proof-reading — checking for mistakes in accuracy), editing, sharing the writing with the group mates, redrafting)
Display their finished work and share with the group -mates for checking and redrafting.
Explain how successful their works are.
Do follow-up work on language.
Skill building exercises:
1. To develop learners’ accuracy in penmanship, spelling and punctuation.
2. To fix the linguistic material in learners’ memory
3. To provide conditions for developing learners’ skills in free writing (fluency).
Examples of exercises:
2. Exercises on penmanship, spelling and punctuation.
3. Dictation. This kind of writing exercise is much more difficult than copying. Some methodologists think that it should never be given as a test to young beginners. Dictation is a valuable exercise because it trains the ear , the hand and the eye. Dictations can vary in forms and in the way they are conducted:
3. Writing sentences on a given pattern. This kind of writing exercise is more difficult because pupils choose words they are to use themselves:
(a) Substitution: Nick has a sister. The pupils should use other words instead of a sister.
(b) Completion: How many … are there in the room? He came late because … .
(c) Extension: Ann brought some flowers. (The pupils are expected to use an adjective before flowers.)
Practice of this kind can lead pupils to long sentences.
(d) Writing words to pictures.
4. Writing answers to given questions. The question helps the pupil both with the words and with the pattern required for the answer.
Guided and Free writing exercises:
To develop learners’ skills in written form to express thoughts, reproduce the content of a story, describe, write letters, etc.
A written reproduction of a story either heard or read. Difficult words must be written on the blackboard.
A description of a picture, an object or a situation. For example:
— Write not less than three sentences about (the object).
A descriptive paragraph about a text, or a number of texts on a certain subject.
- Describe the place where the action takes place.
An annotation on the text read.
— Pick out sentences which express the main idea (ideas) in the text
A composition on a suggested topic. For example, “My family” or “Our town” or “The sports I like best”. Pupils should be taught to write a plan first and then to write the story to following the plan. The teacher can ask learners to write dialogues, advertisements, poems, etc.
Letter, postcard, e-mail writing. Pupils are usually given forms and patterns in English.
— Write a postcard to your friend who lives in another town.
In testing learners’ skills in writing the teacher should:
1. Use kinds of work learners get used to.
2. Use tasks according to the learners’ abilities and knowledge.
3. Prepare learners, for example, to the test.
4. Set limit of time for doing the task.
Tests which result in mistakes are very dangerous, because learners lose interest in the subject. Indeed, if the results of the test are low, it shows both poor assimilation of the material by the learners, and poor work of the teacher.
The foreign language teacher plans all kinds of work he must do: he plans the essential course (lessons), the optional course (if any), and the extra-curricular work.
Educational work in English in each grade is planned in the form of a blueprint for the whole academic year. A blueprint is a sample theme (calendar) plan.
Thematic (Calendar) Planning is prepared in summer during the holiday. Calendar plan is an educational and methodical document based on the course programme, which is worked out in accordance with the typical educational programme including State educational standards, a course plan, educational aids and a calendar training schedule. Thematic (Calendar) Plan is an obligatory form of teacher’s activity for the whole year. Themes and the number of hours of lesson plans must correspond thematic — calendar plan. It is worked out at the methodological association and approved by the Deputy Director annually in advance of the academic year. Only then it is allowed to be used in the educational process.
Tasks of thematic-calendar planning:
distribution of the content of the educational material provided by the program in lessons;
determination of the sequence and the relationship between the individual units and themes of the program;
distribution of time on units and themes of the discipline;
definition of types of lessons, educational materials, learners’ independent work.
Thematic plan is a table with some columns, amount of which can vary. The obligatory of them are:
the number of hours
the date of lesson
the type of lesson
visual aids and equipment
independent (classroom, home) work of learners
There can be some additional columns as, for example:
methods, techniques and technologies
goals and objectives of the lesson on the formation of competencies: informative, communicative and problem-solving.
Inclusion of the last column in thematic-calendar plans of many educational institutions of Kazakhstan is due to the modernization of Kazakhstan’s educational system. Convincing evidence of the dynamic development of Kazakhstan’s education is the adoption and realization of the Law «On Education», the introduction of new educational state standards , update of the content and structure of the system of education on the basis of traditions of national and world culture and contemporary experience.
According to this fact, this column determines the goals and objectives of each lesson to build competencies — generalized methods of action to ensure productive use of the acquired knowledge into practice. Formation of necessary competencies in a broad sense is to prepare learners of even primary school to life in a rapidly changing informative and technological world, the development of ICT skills and work with information , the development of cognitive , creative, individual abilities of learners, logical and critical thinking , problem-solving abilities, as well as teamwork.
Formation of competences is realized by means of appropriate techniques and technologies, such as informative and communicative, learner-centered, active technologies, gaming, communicative and demonstrative methods.
There are no ready formulas for lesson planning. It may depend on many factors:
learners’ level: are they elementary, pre-intermediate, etc.
learners abilities: are they homogeneous or are they mixed
learners’ needs and interests
learners’ motivation: what activities, topics, materials motivate them
the number of learners
attendance of learners
previous knowledge: what have the learners already studied
anticipated problems: are there any discipline problems?
The reasons of lesson planning:
It is important to conduct an effective lesson.
It develops abilities to select, structure, and organize lesson content.
It provides a framework or “road map” for the lesson: what teacher wants to do
It determines the sequence and timing of activities.
It helps to realize teacher’ principles and beliefs.
It provides a record of what has been taught.
It provides a sense of security.
It is necessary for judgment
It shows that the teacher thinks about the class.
It shows the level of teacher’s preparation and professionalism
lack of time for planned activity
not all the students take an active part in the lesson
the students forgot to bring the material done
the teacher has already done the task
the tape/ CD doesn’t work
Solutions: Good teachers should remember that a plan is not a fixed scheme. They should be flexible to cope with problems and adapt a lesson plan. Sometimes learners themselves can propose something interesting in the lesson (topic for conversation, or enjoyable activity). A good teacher should take it into consideration, adapt the proposal and let students do it if it is necessary.
The content of lesson planning
The content of lesson planning includes the solution of the following tasks:
Define the role and place of the lesson in the curriculum
Define the connection of the lesson with last and the next ones
Choose the type (lessons of studying of a new training material, lessons of improving of knowledge, skills, generation and systematization lessons, the combined lessons, lessons of control and correction of knowledge, skills) and shape of the lesson. A good lesson needs to contain the blend of coherence and variety. A coherence means that learners should see the logical sequence of the lesson (preparation, presentation, practice, evaluation, expansion)
Define the peculiarities of the lesson in accordance with the knowledge, level, individual characteristics, interests of learners and class size
Set aims of the lesson
Choose the methodology of the lesson
Choose materials such as textbook, worksheets, or DVDs to interest the learners
Think about environment, space of the classroom to use in the lesson
Define the activities learners will do during the lesson, such as dialogue work, games
Define the order (sequence) of the activities, including opening and closing activities
Support learners in doing activities
Predict problems learners may have in doing activities or with language
Count time to spend on different activities
Choose the ways to involve every learner to do all the classroom activities
Define different forms of work: as a whole class, individually, in pairs or groups
Think over homework
The foreign language teacher must have a written lesson plan for each class. Lesson plan is a document that shows teacher’s thoughts and regulates the activity of a teacher and learners in the classroom and learners’ work at home. The teacher forms lesson plans in accordance with the curriculum and calendar and thematic planning on the subject. In lesson plans some teachers write down exactly what they are going to do in the lesson and note down each sentence that the learners are going to say. Others use notes to themselves. And there are teachers who keep the whole plan in their heads. However it is not good for other teachers, observers, institution and so on, because they can’t guess what the teacher has in his mind. There are a lot of formats of lesson plans. A format of a lesson plan usually depends on the personal preferences of teachers, institution requirements and exam schemes. In spite of a great number of plan formats they all have general components:
Requirements for lesson planning
Teacher should think over a lesson in advance, not at the lesson.
Teacher should think over every lesson daily because the content of foreign language teaching is not constant. It changes continuously as well as the methods, techniques, teaching aids and teaching materials. Also a particular class with its own unique learners requires its own plans.
Teacher should coordinate planning a lesson with calendar-thematic planning and other lessons.
Teacher should have some idea of what the learners are going to achieve in the lesson (outcomes).
Teacher should choose the type and shape of the lesson in accordance with the theme of the lesson, aims, the knowledge, level, individual characteristics, interests of learners and class size.
Teacher should think over the structure of the lesson. The teacher should bear in mind that learners lose all interest in a language that is presented to them by means of endless repetitions, pattern practices, substitutions, and so on without speaking, listening and reading activities. That’s why teacher needs carefully select teaching aids and materials to stimulate and motivate learners and define their sequence.
Teacher should know in advance how to organize class work (what methods and techniques to use, how to organize time on the activities, how to engage learners (pair work, group work, etc.), how to organize classroom space, what instructions to give, what questions to ask, how to appear to the learners, etc.).
Teacher should think over homework.
Teacher should predict in advance possible problems and unforeseen situations.
Teacher must reflect the main steps (selection, structure and organization) of lesson planning in the written form of the lesson plan. He should read the whole plan before going to teach.
Teacher should psychologically prepare for the lesson (support, help).
Teacher should look back at the previous lessons and try not to make mistakes he had done.