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A foreign language serves the aim and the means of teaching




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This requirement concerns using different kinds of verbal aids to promote mastering communicative activity in the foreign language. One of the kinds of verbal aids is teacher speech. Teacher speech has two important functions. 1) In the first instance, it is the way of organising learning and achieving cultural objectives in a lesson. Teacher speech should be expressive, persuasive, normative and economical. 2) In the second case, English teachers’ speech, unlike the speech of other subject teachers, is a means of teaching. That is, it serves a pattern to follow, a cue for students to refer to, a stimulus inducing to communication. That is why teacher speech should be perfect as a model to follow. It has to be authentic, that is it should correspond to what a native speaker would say in the same situation. It is to be adapted so as to correspond to students’ level of speech experience. Teacher speech should also provide variety in the ways of expressing his thoughts and ideas.

Creating the foreign language atmosphere at the lesson has to become one of the English teacher’s responsibilities. In ideal, he should conduct a lesson entirely in English. At first it is reasonable to translate your commands into students’ own language, reducing the mother tongue use to the most necessary situations later on. Yet, no matter how important teacher speech is, TTT should not exceed 10% of all the lesson time. The rest of the time should be STT. It is essential that techniques be introduced into the classroom to increase the amount of STT. Oral work, pair work and group work are not optional extras – for the students’ spoken language to improve, they are essential.

One word of warning is necessary. There is more and more evidence that good listening practices have a more important part to play in a good language teaching than has sometimes been recognised. A practice, for example, in which students are given two or three questions and then listen to the teacher talking about something can undoubtedly be very useful. It is not necessary that every practice involves lots of STT. The teacher talking as a planned part of the lesson has an important role to play, providing the students are listening actively. Teachers should, nonetheless, be conscious of the amount of unnecessary talking they do. The general principle is that if the teacher is talking, the students are not getting the practice they need.

15.1.2.4. High level of the learners’ thinking and verbal activity

The level of students’ thinking and verbal activity determines the efficiency of a lesson. The teacher’s job is to involve his students into active intrinsic thinking process and extrinsic verbal activity and to support both throughout the lesson. The factors stimulating these activities are:

· the use of meaningful and informative language material;

· providing students with communicative tasks to elicit expressing their own thoughts;

· the use of teaching techniques which provide every students with an opportunity to take active part in communication and to increase their active participation in a lesson to a maximum (students’ autonomous work, individual, pair and group activities, etc.).

Stimulating students’ verbal activity should be closely connected with the development of their communicative initiative. It means that it is the student who is a dominant figure in the lesson, not the teacher. This requirement corresponds to self-directed, personally oriented verbal activity of the student. According to this approach, all teaching is focused on the subject of teaching; i.e. the learner is a central figure to concentrate all the teaching upon. Thus the teacher’s job is to organise, direct and correct the teaching/ learning process with due regard of the student’s needs, his level of knowledge and skills (I.A. Zimnyaya).

15.1.2.5. Maximum variety of forms in students’ activities

While there are many ways of approaching language teaching, it is a mistake to believe that ‘a method’ exists which guarantees success. What works one day with one class, does not necessarily work with a different class, or even on a different day with the same class. A textbook, which is appropriate to one situation, is often not suitable for another. Yet, one statement, which is generally true, can be made – if the teacher always does the same thing in the same way, the students will be bored! Hence, vary what you do, and how you do it.

Each unit of most basic course books is laid out in a similar way. The introduction to the course book, however, usually points out that this is to provide a convenient framework for the teacher, not so that each unit is taught in the same way, using the same method, day after day.

There are many opportunities for variety:

· Teach the unit in a different order – in one case use the dialogue for listening comprehension before the students see the text, on another occasion use the taped dialogue as a summary after studying the printed text and doing the exercises;

· Use different ways of reading texts: prepared, dramatic reading, silent reading, the teacher reading, etc.;

· Vary who performs the task – you or your students. It is not, for example, necessary for you always to ask comprehension questions about a text – the students can ask each other questions;

· Introduce alternative activities from time to time – games, pair work, group work, problem solving, project work, etc.;

· Change the seating plan for different activities and, for example, vary where individual students are sitting for pair work so that on different days they are working with different partners.

A word of warning is necessary. Students like to feel secure in the classroom and they want to know what is going on. Students will be disconcerted if you chop and change in a random fashion. The principle is to have a constant framework within which there is a variety of pace and a variety of activities.

Varying your techniques, give preference to those, which intensify teaching, involve every student in active participation, and at the same time allow him to regulate by himself the tempo and conditions of performing activities. The requirement of variety is essential for teaching oral speech. In contrast to listening and reading, which can be easily organised as synchronic activity, oral speech requires verbal interchange to be provided by the teacher.

The most effective in this respect is combining individual work with group activities. Individual work refers to students’ answering in turn, asking separate students, autonomous synchronic performance of tasks in listening, reading and writing as well as speaking in the way of P – Sp., choral imitation after the teacher or the speaker. Group activities refer to pair work with or without changing the partner (‘moving rank’ or ‘crowd’ techniques and the like), autonomous synchronic activity performance by students in small groups (up to 5 students), choral responding in the way Gr. – Gr., Gr. – P, P – Gr. Group activities are considered perspective for teaching communication. They do not only increase the time of students’ active participation, but lower anxiety, help overcoming the fear of making mistakes, develop co-operation, as well.







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