Teach English in Guanyao Zhen - Huanggang Shi

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Speaking and writing are substantially different however they both are used for the same purpose – to communicate. In many ways writing is the more difficult skill, requiring a greater level of accuracy. When speaking, any misunderstandings can be cleared up ‘on the spot’. Speaking requires a greater degree of fluency. The teacher must create the need and desire in the students to communicate. A. SPEAKING SKILLS WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ACCURACY AND FLUENCY ACTIVITIES? Accuracy activities (usually part of the study phase) are concentrated on producing correct language. They are usually controlled. Fluency activities (usually part of the activate phase) are concentrated on allowing the students to experiment and be creative with language. We are less concerned with accuracy and more concerned with the effectiveness and flow of the communication. SPEAKING ACTIVITIES IN THE CLASSROOM • CONTROLLED ACTIVITIES: Accuracy based activities. Language is controlled by the teacher. ◦ Drilling ( a ‘3 by 3 drill’ where possible) ◦ Prompting (pre-planned question and answer is the most obvious example) • GUIDED ACTIVITIES: Accuracy based but a bit more creative and productive. The output is still controlled by the teacher but the exact language isn’t. ◦ Model dialogues ◦ Guided role – play • CREATIVE COMMUNICATION: Fluency based activities. The scenario is usually created by the teacher but the content of the language isn’t. ◦ Free role-play ◦ Discussions ◦ Information gap ◦ Debates ◦ Simulations ◦ Communication games ENCOURAGING STUDENTS TO SPEAK:The aim should be to create a comfortable atmosphere, where students are not afraid to speak or make mistakes and enjoy communicating. TECHNIQUES TO ENCOURAGE INTERACTION: • Pair / Group work • Plenty of controlled and guided practice before fluency activities. • Allow students time to think with certain activities A TYPICAL FREE/CREATIVE SPEAKING ACTIVITY LESSON: • ENGAGE Ask the students about a visit to the doctor and the typical conversation between the doctor and the patient, possible illnesses and injuries and verbs connected with illness and treatment. • STUDY Elicit illnesses and injuries vocabulary and complete various matching and gap-fill activities. • ACTIVATE Students write a visit to the doctor with a problem (illness or injury) on a card in pairs, which is collected by the teacher to be redistributed to another pair. They then have to prepare a typical visit to the doctor with the illness or injury on the card that they now have. GUIDELINES FOR A FREE CREATIVE SPEAKING ACTIVITY • BEFORE THE LESSON ◦ Decide on the aims ◦ Predict students problems and performance ◦ Work out how long the activity will take and tailor it to the time available ◦ Work out your instructions • DURING THE ACTIVITY ◦ Remind students of any structures or vocabulary that might be useful (on the board). ◦ Set up the activity so that the students know what they are to do. This means giving clear instructions and checking they have been understood. ◦ Make sure the students have enough time to prepare, perhaps in pairs or groups, before asking them tackle the main activity. ◦ Make the activity more ‘process’ rather than product based by encouraging rehearsal particularly with role-plays. ◦ Monitor the activity: do not interrupt, try to keep a low profile. ◦ Evaluate the activity and the students’ performance in order to provide feedback but don’t jump in with instant corrections. . • AFTER THE ACTIVITY Provide feedback: ◦ Focus on what they were able to do rather on what they couldn’t do. ◦ Mistakes which are common to the class can be mentioned and then practiced another day when you had a chance to prepare a suitable remedial lesson. Individual mistakes might be discussed in private. B. WRITING SKILLS Written text has quite a number of differences which separates it from speaking. These are: • GRAMMAR: Use of contracted forms in speaking. • VOCABULARY:More formal in written English. • HANDWRITING: Poor handwriting may influence the reader in a negative way. • SPELLING: Spelling in English is made very difficult by the fact that many words that are pronounced the same are written differently (waist/waste, etc..) and some words are written the same but pronounced differently (read/read). • LAYOUT AND PUNCTUATION: To help students learn the different layouts of writing (for example how business letters differ from emails, etc..) they need to practice with many different styles. After students have completed a piece of written work we should get them check it over for grammar, vocabulary usage as well as punctuation, spelling, layout and style of writing (is it too formal/informal?). CREATIVE WRITING: Creative writing should be encouraged, as it engages the students and the finished work usually provides them with a sense of pride. Typical creative tasks may include poetry, stories and plays. A TYPICAL CREATIVE WRITING ACTIVITY LESSON:In this activity, students practice the use of appropriate language for completing speech bubbles in cartoons, and produce a story themselves. • ENGAGE: Show students a picture from a magazine without any text. Ask students to come up with ideas to say what is happening in the picture, along with what happened before and after, etc. • STUDY: Show students an example of a cartoon strip with speech bubbles for dialogue and rectangular boxes for description/action, etc. and elicit the difference. Give them a cartoon strip in pairs with either the speech text or descriptions removed. Get them to fill in the missing material with their own ideas. • ACTIVATE: Give each pair of students a different cartoon strip with a minimum of 5 boxes. Remove both the dialogue and the descriptions. Cut and paste the strips into a vertical sequence of 5 pictures. Draw a dotted line between each set of pictures. The cartoon strips are all different so that every pair of students can create a different story. Different topics could be used for vocabulary revision. Get each pair to read out its sheet to the rest of the group.