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Ministerul Educaiei i Cercetrii

Unitatea de Management a Proiectului pentru nvmntul Rural

Tel: 021 305 59 99


Fax: 021 305 59 89
http://rural.edu.ro
e-mail: office@ump.kappa.ro

ISBN 00 000-0-00000-0;
ISBN 00 000-000-0-00000-0.

Dana-Anca CEHAN

Str. Spiru Haret nr. 10-12, etaj 2,


sector 1, cod potal 010176,
Bucureti

Program postuniversitar de conversie profesional


pentru cadrele didactice din mediul rural

EFL Methodology II

Specializarea LIMBA I LITERATURA ENGLEZ


Forma de nvmnt ID - semestrul IV

EFL Methodology II

Dana-Anca CEHAN

Tu i poi ajuta!
Tu i poi ajuta!

Program cofinanat de Guvernul Romniei, Banca Mondial i comunitile rurale.

2007

Toi copiii din mediul rural


Toi
copiiisdin
mediulmai
rural
trebuie
mearg
departe!
trebuie s mearg mai departe!
2007

Ministerul Educaiei i Cercetrii


Proiectul pentru nvmntul Rural

LIMBA I LITERATURA ENGLEZ

EFL Methodology II

Anca CEHAN

2007

2007

Ministerul Educaiei i Cercetrii


Proiectul pentru nvmntul Rural
Nici o parte a acestei lucrri
nu poate fi reprodus fr
acordul scris al Ministerului Educaiei i Cercetrii

ISBN 978-973-0-04806-3

Table of contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction .................................................................................................... v

UNIT 1

Materials Evaluation and Adaptation .................................................... 1

Unit Objectives................................................................................................................... 2
1.1
Materials Assessment and Evaluation................................................................... 3
1.2
Assessment Procedure ......................................................................................... 3
1.3
Evaluation Procedure ............................................................................................ 5
1.3.1 Textbook Evaluation ................................................................................. 6
1.3.2 Different Perspectives on Textbook Evaluation ........................................ 8
1.3.3 Criteria of Textbook Evaluation ................................................................ 9
1.3.4 The Textbook and You .......................................................................... 11
1.3.5 The Textbook and Your Pupils .............................................................. 12
1.3.6 The Textbook and Your Teaching Context ............................................. 12
1.4
Evaluating Skills Materials................................................................................... 13
1.4.1 Listening and Reading Texts .................................................................. 13
1.4.2 Evaluating Writing Materials ................................................................... 14
1.4.3 Evaluating Speaking Materials ............................................................... 15
1.5
Adapting Materials............................................................................................... 16
1.5.1 Procedures for Adaptation ...................................................................... 17
1.5.2 A Few Practical Ideas ............................................................................. 20
Summary ................................................................................................ 21
Key Concepts ......................................................................................... 22
Further Reading...................................................................................... 22
SAA No. 1............................................................................................... 22
Answers to SAQs.................................................................................... 23

UNIT 2

Teaching Pronunciation ....................................................................... 25

Unit Objectives................................................................................................................. 26
2.1
Pronunciation and Students Age........................................................................ 27
2.2
The Native Model................................................................................................ 28
2.2.1 What Accent Is Desirable? ..................................................................... 29
2.2.2 Teachers English................................................................................... 29
2.3
Receptive Fluency vs. Productive Fluency ......................................................... 30
2.4
The Components of Pronunciation ..................................................................... 31
2.4.1 The Functions of Intonation.................................................................... 32
2.5
The Flow of Speech ............................................................................................ 33
2.5.1 Sound Changes in the Flow of Speech .................................................. 34
2.6
Improving Pupils Pronunciation.......................................................................... 35
2.6.1 Pupils Pronunciation Errors ................................................................... 35
2.6.2 Assisting the Learning of Pronunciation ................................................. 36
2.6.3 Teaching English Sounds ...................................................................... 37
2.6.4 Teaching Strategies for Stress, Rhythm and Intonation ......................... 41
2.7
Correcting Pronunciation .................................................................................... 45
2.7.1 Techniques of Oral Correction ............................................................... 45
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2.7.2

UNIT 3

Tips for Correcting Pronunciation ...........................................................46


Summary ................................................................................................46
Key Concepts .........................................................................................47
Further Reading......................................................................................47
Answers to SAQs ...................................................................................47

Teaching Vocabulary ............................................................................49

Unit Objectives .................................................................................................................50


3.1
Knowing a Word...................................................................................................50
3.2
The Importance of Vocabulary: Comprehension and Production .........................53
3.2.1
Active and Passive Vocabulary ...............................................................53
3.2.2 Classroom Vocabulary ............................................................................55
3.2.3 How Much Vocabulary?...........................................................................56
3.3
Pedagogic Considerations....................................................................................56
3.3.1 Techniques in Teaching Vocabulary........................................................59
Summary .................................................................................................66
Key Concepts ..........................................................................................67
Further Reading.......................................................................................67
Answers to SAQs ....................................................................................67

UNIT 4

Linguistic and Communicative Meaning, and the


Teaching of Grammar.................................................................................70

Unit Objectives .................................................................................................................71


4.1
Communication, Meaning and Interference..........................................................71
4.2
Linguistic and Communicative Meaning ...............................................................72
4.2.1 Linguistic Meaning ..................................................................................75
4.2.2 Communicative Meaning .........................................................................76
4.2.3 Teaching Meaning ...................................................................................77
4.3
Teaching Grammar...............................................................................................80
4.3.1 How Much Grammar? ............................................................................81
4.3.2 Presenting Grammar ...............................................................................82
4.3.3 Tips for Reinforcing Grammar Understanding During Presentation.........84
4.3.4 Types of Grammar Practice Activities......................................................88
4.3.5 Less Formal Grammar Practice Activities................................................91
4.3.6 Personalising Grammar Activities............................................................92
4.4
Correction of Grammar Mistakes..........................................................................93
Summary .................................................................................................95
Key Concepts ..........................................................................................96
Further Reading.......................................................................................96
Answers to SAQs ....................................................................................97

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UNIT 5

Teaching Literature............................................................................. 100

Unit Objectives .............................................................................................................. 101


5.1
Why Teach Literature in the EFL Classroom? ................................................... 101
5.1.1 Authentic Literary Material .................................................................... 101
5.1.2 Cultural Background.............................................................................. 102
5.1.3 Language Awareness ........................................................................... 102
5.1.4 Language Acquisition............................................................................ 103
5.1.5 Interpretative Skills................................................................................ 103
5.1.6 General Educational Value ................................................................... 103
5.1.7 Source of Classroom Activities ............................................................. 103
5.2
The Teaching Context........................................................................................ 104
5.2.1 Pupils Needs ........................................................................................ 104
5.2.2 The Syllabus ......................................................................................... 105
5.2.3 The Selection of Literary Material ......................................................... 105
5.3
Success in Reading Literature ........................................................................... 107
5.4
Teaching Literature ............................................................................................ 108
5.4.1 Pre-reading Activities ............................................................................ 109
5.4.2 While-reading Activities......................................................................... 110
5.4.3 Post-reading Activities........................................................................... 111
5.5
Sample Lesson Plan .......................................................................................... 112
Summary............................................................................................... 114
Key Concepts........................................................................................ 114
Further Reading .................................................................................... 114
Answers to SAQs .................................................................................. 114

UNIT 6

Error and Correction........................................................................... 117

Unit Objectives .............................................................................................................. 118


6.1
What Is Error? .................................................................................................... 118
6.1.1 The Status of Error................................................................................ 118
6.1.2 Some Causes of Error........................................................................... 118
6.1.3 Types of Error ....................................................................................... 119
6.1.4 Feedback and Error Correction............................................................. 120
6.1.5 When and What Should We Correct? ................................................... 120
6.2
How Should We Correct Errors? ........................................................................ 121
6.3
Errors and Mistakes ........................................................................................... 123
6.3.1 Error or Mistake?................................................................................... 124
6.3.2 Categories of Mistakes.......................................................................... 124
6.3.3 Production and Reception Mistakes...................................................... 124
6.4
Errors and the Language Learning Process....................................................... 125
6.4.1 Pre-systematic Stage Errors ................................................................. 125
6.4.2 Systematic Stage Errors ....................................................................... 126
6.4.3 Post-systematic Stage Errors................................................................ 126
6.5
Error Analysis..................................................................................................... 127
6.5.1 Identifying an Error................................................................................ 127
6.5.2 Reconstructing an Error ........................................................................ 128
6.5.3 Classifying Errors .................................................................................. 129
6.5.4 Explaining Errors................................................................................... 129
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6.5.5
6.5.6

UNIT 7

Teachers Response to Error.................................................................131


Correction or Reformulation? ................................................................132
Summary ...............................................................................................132
Key Concepts ........................................................................................133
Further Reading.....................................................................................133
SAA No. 3..............................................................................................133
Answers to SAQs ..................................................................................134

Testing and Evaluation .......................................................................136

Unit Objectives ..............................................................................................................137


7.1
Informal and Formal Testing...............................................................................137
7.1.1 Informal Testing.....................................................................................137
7.1.2 Formal Testing.......................................................................................138
7.2
Approaches to Testing........................................................................................139
7.2.1 What Does a Test Measure? .................................................................139
7.2.2 Progress Tests ......................................................................................140
7.2.3 Diagnostic Tests ....................................................................................141
7.2.4 Placement Tests....................................................................................142
7.3
Assessing Tests .................................................................................................142
7.3.1 Reliability and Validity............................................................................143
7.3.2 Scorability and Administrability ..............................................................144
7.3.3 Marking Tests ........................................................................................145
7.4
Discrete Item vs. Integrative Tests .....................................................................146
7.4.1 Two Popular Techniques: Multiple Choice Tests and Cloze Tests ........150
7.5
Communicative Testing ......................................................................................154
7.6
Involving Pupils in Handling Tests ......................................................................156
7.6.1 Involving Pupils in Marking ....................................................................156
7.6.2 Involving Pupils n Constructing Tests....................................................157
Summary ...............................................................................................158
Key Concepts ........................................................................................159
Further Reading.....................................................................................159
Answers to SAQs ..................................................................................159
Glossary of ELT Terms ................................................................................................162
General Bibliography ...................................................................................................165

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Introduction

INTRODUCTION

Dear students
We are pleased that you have completed successfully the first
module of ELT methodology and that you are now ready to take the
second. ELT Methodology II will help you to update your information
in a few more areas and to reflect on your own classroom practice
while studying these areas.

Module Aims
Like ELT Methodology I, this module encourages you to exploit
your own teaching as data source, to test new ideas, and to try to
improve your mode of delivery and your morale. We hope that it will
contribute to your professional and personal development by helping
you understand and try out new classroom ideas and techniques,
and by reflecting on old and new experiences. It aims at improving
the quality of your English language teaching by increasing your
confidence in your own abilities as professionals.
Not unlike the other modules in this distance programme, ELT
Methodology II tries to achieve the right balance between different
theoretical and practical elements, between educational theory and
classroom practice. It also aims at:

initiating long-term changes in your teaching habits: developing


your critical understanding of the process of language learning
and teaching through encouraging you to reflect not just on your
teaching but also on your own learning and how best to manage
it;
stimulating your acquisition of means through which this process
may be achieved:
by encouraging you to focus first and foremost on what
actually happens in real classrooms and to further develop
your reflection on teaching from observation and experience,
and
by encouraging you to value your own teaching and to learn
from it;
developing your skills of effective organisation of learning.

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Introduction

Tasks
The material in this module is broken into manageable units
interspersed with revision and reflection tasks. There is plenty of inbuilt interactivity between you and the materials.
You will use the materials in solving the as-you-go selfassessment tasks (SAQs), and also draw on resources available in
the classroom and on your own experience to solve the Think first!
tasks. These are signalled by this icon:

The answers to self-assessment tasks can be found at the end


of each unit. The SAQs are signalled by this icon:

There are also three send-away assignment (SAA), at the end


of units 3, 4 and 6, which ask you to review the main points of the
respective units. The SAAs encourage the interaction between you
and your tutor. To do these tasks, you need first to deconstruct the
text of the unit, assimilate the new information into your existing
schemata, reconstruct it and produce your own output. Then, you
will send your answers to SAAs to your tutor. SAAs are signalled by
this icon:

SAQs and SAAs encourage you to look analytically at your own


teaching context, asking you to reflect on and refer constantly to it,
including your pupils and your own teaching in your analyses. The
tasks implicitly encourage self-evaluation and enable you to set your
own agenda for change: you are asked to search for alternatives in
your teaching, through reading and reflecting, to integrate theory and
practice but also to generate your own theories out of practice. They
promote long-term changes in your teaching.
The marks received on the three SAAs count for forty per cent
of your final grade. Sixty per cent of the final grade will come from
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Introduction

your final exam, which consists in the oral presentation of your


portfolio and an essay.

The Portfolio

This term's portfolio should include:


answers to "Think First!" tasks. Some "Think First!" tasks require
that you include your answers in the portfolio and take them to the
tutorials, in order to discuss them with your classmates and tutor.
Keep your answers in your portfolio, together with the alternative
answers given by your classmates during the tutorials;
three lesson plans accompanied by self-evaluative post-lesson
comments;
supplementary materials used during these three lessons;
tests designed and administered to your classes during the current
term, together with the pupils' scores and your comments on the
tests' reliability, validity, scorability and administrability;
your reading notes for two or three materials recommended in the
Further Reading sections;
a reflective essay (of about 1000 words). In writing this essay, you
could address one or several questions like:

how is an EFL teacher different from other teachers?


why do you want to teach EFL? What are the relevance and
the potential of this subject in the present-day context?
what were your most significant experiences as a future
teacher of EFL in this programme? What helped you most?
has anything changed in your approach to teaching in
general? If so, what has changed and how?
what are the personal and professional values that you
would never give up as a teacher?
what are your needs for further professional development?

You will present this essay to you classmates and tutor as part
of the final examination.
You will be allowed about 15 minutes to present the materials in
your portfolio and your essay. You could think of any means of
presenting them, from OHP transparencies, charts, video and audio
cassettes, to PowerPoint presentations.
The quality of the presentation of your essay and that of the
materials in the portfolio, and your ability of sustaining the importance
of each piece in the portfolio will count. The evaluation of the portfolio
and of your presentation will also take into account the authenticity of
the materials and the extent to which they reflect your class activity.
In addition, the following will be appreciated:

the number and variety of the materials the portfolio contains;


the accuracy, coherence, and correlation of the materials (lesson
plans, tests, supplementary materials);
the appropriacy of the materials to your teaching context.

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vii

Introduction

Module Outline
This module covers the equivalent of 56 hours of face-to-face
teaching: 28 hours of lecturing and 28 seminar hours.
Two face-to-face tutorials will be organised, meant to provide
you with support, reassurance, and feedback on your study and the
send-away assignments.
Unit 1
Unit 2
Unit 3
Unit 4
Unit 5
Unit 6
Unit 7

Materials Evaluation and Adaptation


Teaching Pronunciation
Teaching Vocabulary
Linguistic and Communicative Meaning, and the Teaching
of Grammar
Teaching Literature
Error and Correction
Testing and Evaluation

8 hours
8 hours
8 hours
8 hours
8 hours
8 hours
8 hours

The Glossary of ELT Terms at the end of the module is meant


to help you solve the problems you may have with the new
language used in the module. The words explained in the Glossary
are marked in the text by an asterisk (*).

Assessment and Evaluation


Your class activity and contributions will be assessed
throughout the semester. The cumulated weight of your activity,
contributions and SAAs in your final grade is 50%. The portfolio that
you will present at the end of the semester will add the other 50%.
In the assessment of each SAA, the tutor will take into account:

the extent to which your answers cover the task requirements


(30%). Always make sure you understand what is being asked
of you in an assignment. Pay special attention to the
instructions for each task.
the coherence, clarity, and consistence of your ideas (40%).
the accuracy of your grammar (20%).
the accuracy of your spelling (10%).

Each assignment must be completed and sent to the tutor


before the deadline (deadlines are specified in the study plans that
you are given at the beginning of each semester). Note that a
typewritten paper will make your tutors work easier. If you cannot
type your assignment, at least make sure that your handwriting is
fully legible.

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Materials evaluation and adaptation

UNIT 1
MATERIALS EVALUATION AND ADAPTATION
Unit Outline
Unit Objectives................................................................................................................... 2
1.1
Materials Assessment and Evaluation................................................................... 3
1.2
Assessment Procedure ......................................................................................... 3
1.3
Evaluation Procedure ............................................................................................ 5
1.3.1 Textbook Evaluation ................................................................................. 6
1.3.2 Different Perspectives on Textbook Evaluation ........................................ 8
1.3.3 Criteria of Textbook Evaluation ................................................................ 9
1.3.4 The Textbook and You .......................................................................... 11
1.3.5 The Textbook and Your Pupils .............................................................. 12
1.3.6 The Textbook and Your Teaching Context ............................................. 12
1.4
Evaluating Skills Materials................................................................................... 13
1.4.1 Listening and Reading Texts .................................................................. 13
1.4.2 Evaluating Writing Materials ................................................................... 14
1.4.3 Evaluating Speaking Materials ............................................................... 15
1.5
Adapting Materials............................................................................................... 16
1.5.1 Procedures for Adaptation ...................................................................... 17
1.5.2 A Few Practical Ideas ............................................................................. 20
Summary ................................................................................................ 21
Key Concepts ......................................................................................... 22
Further Reading...................................................................................... 22
SAA No. 1............................................................................................... 22
Answers to SAQs.................................................................................... 23

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Materials evaluation and adaptation

In this unit, we look at some issues related to the evaluation,


selection, and adaptation of teaching materials. When we speak of
evaluating, selecting or adapting teaching materials we may be
thinking of a published textbook, an exercise found in a book, or a
classroom activity recommended by it. Whatever the case, we need
to have a view of language learning on which to base our evaluation
and a clear set of procedures for carrying it out.
Textbooks and materials in general, provide a visible and
tangible interpretation of the syllabus, in terms of linguistic and
experiential content. They give us guidance on language selection
and the amount of attention we need to pay to particular content or
pedagogical tasks. They help us understand the goals of the syllabus
and define the aims of our lessons, decide on our roles and our
learners in the instructional process.
Therefore, when selecting published materials, it is important to
keep in mind the goals and objectives of the syllabus, on one hand,
and our pupils' attitudes, beliefs and preferences, on the other, and
to ensure that in these materials we recognise our own beliefs about
the nature of language and learning.
Although not all of us are involved in the selection of school
textbooks, knowing how to evaluate them is an important part of our
professional expertise. Only by being able to judge what a textbook
has to offer can we know to what extent adaptations and
supplementary materials are necessary for our lessons.
We seldom do materials evaluation systematically in our
context. Many of us tend to rely on their feelings when deciding
whether a textbook or another kind of material works or not, and are
reluctant to spend time on formal evaluation. Yet we need to evaluate
materials in a systematic way to see if our initial assessment was
accurate and whether to continue to use the respective materials or
not.
unit objectives

By the end of this unit, you should be able to:

distinguish between materials assessment and evaluation;


use various methods of evaluating published language
materials;
use a checklist to assess the value of published language
materials for your own teaching situation;
adapt published teaching materials to the particular needs of
your pupils;
develop supplementary activities/materials appropriate to your
own teaching context.

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Materials evaluation and adaptation

1.1. Materials Assessment and Evaluation


When we assess a material, we try to anticipate how well this
will perform in class. Evaluation, on the other hand, is based on how
the material has already performed.
Both assessment and evaluation can be done using checklists
that analyse various components of the material: language coverage,
topics, and activities. However, in the case of assessment, no matter
how good these checklists are, they may fail to predict what actually
happens when the material is used. Nevertheless, we need some
point of departure in choosing which materials to use or pilot.

1.2. Assessment Procedure


Think First!
Before reading the following section, think of what aspects of
a new textbook you would look at when considering whether to use
it with a specific group of pupils. Write your ideas (no more than
100 words) in the space provided below.

Check your answers as you read on.


Skimming through some of the reading passages and exercises
will tell you whether the book is suitable for the ability level and age
group aimed at. If the texts are lexically or syntactically too dense,
that is to say, if your pupils would be faced by too much unfamiliar
vocabulary or too many complex structures, then the level is perhaps
too high for them. If the content of the texts seems a little childish or
too sophisticated, then the age level is probably wrong.
A glance at the contents page of a textbook tells you how the
material is arranged and what the writers view of language learning
is. However, the contents are only a statement of intent: that is, an
outline of what authors say they are going to do. It will, of course, be
sensible to check whether a book that claims to be communicatively
oriented actually lives up to its promise in the materials and activities
offered.
While browsing through a textbook, try to answer these
questions: Are the activities appropriate? Will your pupils find them
enjoyable and challenging? Does it do what it is intended to do: that
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Materials evaluation and adaptation

is, does it offer practice in the skills or strategies it claims to? Are
there enough activities? Is there enough variety of tasks?
Penny Ur (1996: 189) adds a further consideration, which she
calls administration. This refers to the guidance offered by the
textbook on the most appropriate strategies for teaching specific
components. Would a particular activity best be approached though
group work, through teacher-led question and answer or in some
other way? Does the book offer guidance at all?
It is also sensible to look at any illustration in a textbook. The
first question to ask is whether they are helpful or merely decorative.
Are they just pretty pictures, or do they serve a useful purpose? The
next thing to check is whether they are clear or confusing. Is there
too much unnecessary detail? Bear in mind that illustrations,
particularly coloured ones, add substantially to the cost of a book.
a three-stage
procedure

Jeremy Harmer (2001: 301) suggests the use of a three-stage


procedure for the assessment of materials by teachers based on a)
their own beliefs, b) their assessment of their pupils needs and c)
circumstances.
Stage 1: Selecting areas for assessment: listing the features
one wishes to look at in the textbook, e.g.:

price
availability
layout and design
instructions
methodology
syllabus type, selection and grading
language study activities

The list can be reduced or expanded, depending on what you


want to focus on and your own teaching context.
SAQ 1
What other areas of assessment would you like to add to this
(incomplete) list?
Write your suggestions in the space provided below and then
compare them to the ones given at the end of the unit.

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Materials evaluation and adaptation

Stage 2: Stating beliefs: agreeing (with colleagues) on a set of


beliefs about layout, such as:

clean and uncluttered page;


lesson sequence easy to follow;
attractive and appropriate illustrations;
clear and easy to read instructions, etc.

Stage 3: Using statements for assessment: listing your own


statements and using ticks and crosses to compare different
textbooks, e.g.:
area

Layout
and
design

assessment statements
The page is uncluttered.
The lesson sequence is
easy to follow.
The illustrations are
attractive and appropriate
for my pupils.
The instructions are easy
to read.

textbook x textbook y textbook z


X

1.3. Evaluation Procedure


Evaluation can also be done in three stages:
1.

Teacher record: you need to keep a record of how successfully


you used different materials. You may write your comments in
the textbook itself, or you may keep a diary of what happens in
each lesson. Your comments may be organised by a more
formal evaluation including the following elements:

Unit/lesson: ..
General comments (timing, effectiveness, ease, etc.):
..

Comments on the advantages or disadvantages of:


..
(Activity/Exercise 1: ...
Activity/Exercise 2: ...
Activity/Exercise 3, etc.)

How did the pupils react to the lesson?

(after Harmer J., 2001: 302 303)

Alternatively, you can give each activity a score. Whatever you


do, the idea is to have at the end of the year something more than
just a feeling.

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Materials evaluation and adaptation

2.

Teacher discussion: it is always a good idea to consult other


teachers who are using or have used the same textbook or
materials. You may want to discuss a few lessons together or
focus on a certain type of activities (e.g., listening activities).

3.

Pupil response: you can collect your pupils answers to very


simple questionnaires.

SAQ 2
What questions would you include in these materials
evaluation questionnaires that you address to your pupils and
when would you administer them?
Write your questions in the space provided below and then
compare them to the suggestions given at the end of the unit.

1.3.1. Textbook Evaluation


The way a textbook is organised and presented, the types of
content and activities it includes will help to shape your pupils view
of language. However, without your contribution, the grammatical
explanations and the examples a textbook provides may convey a
simplistic and even erroneous notion that a language consists of
objective rules and that language learning is basically a matter of
accumulating objective facts.
There is considerable variation in the content and goals of
different textbooks, although they are supposed to follow a number of
principles, such as:
textbook
content and
goals

specify the language to be learnt;


divide up this language for presentation and practice;
provide an order in which the items should be introduced;
provide a context through which the meaning of new language
is made clear;
illustrate the form of the new language;
provide materials for learners to practice the new language.

English textbooks are usually complex; they include


fictionalised characters and events, general interest topics, academic
subject matter, a focus on language itself, and literature. To all these,
recent textbooks add tasks designed for helping the pupils learn how
to learn.
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Materials evaluation and adaptation

Think first!
Can you give an example of a task in one of the textbooks
you are using, which helps the pupils learn how to learn?

Take your answer to the next tutorial to discuss it with your


classmates and your tutor.
The amount of control and initiative that textbooks allow the
pupils and you to exercise, and the opportunities provided for
cognitive development are expressions of the theories of language
learning that lie at their basis. Textbooks can vary from the empty
bucket view of learning with emphasis on the accumulation of
knowledge about language to a more active approach in which pupils
are encouraged to negotiate and interpret meaning and engage in
problem solving activities.
SAQ 3
Can we say that a textbook provides only a springboard for
our classroom pedagogical action? In about 50 words, write your
answer in the space provided below. Compare your answer with
the one given at the end of this unit.

To conclude, in the evaluation of textbooks, we need to


consider several categories of factors, which relate to:
1.
2.
3.
4.

the material itself;


you, the teacher;
the pupils;
the physical context of learning.

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Materials evaluation and adaptation

1.3.2. Different Perspectives on Textbook Evaluation

The publishers view


In evaluating textbooks, we need to look first of all at the
publishers evaluation. Of course, publishers are in the business of
selling books, so it is most unlikely that they will say that one of their
publications is no good. Nonetheless, although we cannot expect
publishers to be totally unbiased, at least we can use what they say
as a measure of what we might expect to find.
The description of a book which appears on the back cover is
called the publishers blurb. In the case of language teaching
textbooks, this usually states the age group and level of ability aimed
at, the general purpose of the course, the type of learner who will
benefit from it, the format or presentation style, and the view of
language teaching on which the materials are based.
Cunningsworth (1984: 5) identifies three of these views or
perspectives of language teaching:

perspectives on
language

teaching

the communicative (or functional) perspective which views


language as above all a medium of communication between
people;
the structural perspective which sees language as a system of
grammar and vocabulary;
the skills perspective that emphasises the four skills of listening,
speaking, reading and writing.

However, it is quite common to see textbooks listing both


functions and structures side by side on the contents page.

Is the textbook communicative?

Think First!
Before reading on, try to write down what expectations you
have of a communicative textbook.

Now compare your answer to the suggestions you found in


the following paragraphs.
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Richards and Rodgers (1986: 25) pointed out that different


methods imply very different roles for the teacher and the pupils. The
same is true for a textbook that is the expression of its author(s)
approach to language teaching. The role of a textbook within the
communicative methodology might be specified in the following
terms:
1.
role of the
textbook

2.
3.

It focuses on the communicative abilities of interpretation,


expression, and negotiation.
It focuses on understandable, relevant, and interesting
exchanges of information, rather than on the presentation of
grammatical form.
It involves different kinds of texts and different kinds of media,
which the pupils can use to develop their competence through a
variety of different activities and tasks.

A communicative textbook provides:

information on how language works;

focused practice in the manipulation of forms;

practice in sub-skills;

opportunities for raising grammatical and language awareness;

opportunities for the simulation of communicative situations;

tasks for testing and self-assessment;

opportunities for increasing learning motivation.


During your evaluation you need to address all these
characteristics to see what kind of textbook you are dealing with,
irrespective of the author(s) claims.
1.3.3. Criteria of Textbook Evaluation

General criteria
Armed with the publishers claims for the textbook, you can now
move towards establishing your own view. Begin by examining the
claims of the publisher one by one and seeking confirmation of them
in the textbook itself.
It is important to bear in mind that there are no materials which
are good for all purposes, at all times and in all conditions. Materials
are only good or bad in relation to your purpose. If they do what you
want them to do, or if they can be adapted to do so, they are
valuable; otherwise, they are to be avoided.
After you have seen whether the language (structure,
vocabulary and functional exponents) selected in the textbook is
useful, natural and appropriate and whether the textbook has internal
links and connections and offers logical progression, try to look for
more specific factors.

More specific criteria


Here is a summary of more specific criteria to consider in
evaluating the intrinsic qualities of the textbook. For each of these
criteria you need to consider if the respective criterion is adequate in
quantity, is varied enough and if its quality is up-to-standard.
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a. Language work (grammar, vocabulary, and phonology):

Is meaning illustrated?
Is form highlighted?
Is function paid attention to?
Is there enough controlled practice?
Is there enough freer practice?
b. Skills work:

Is there a balance of writing, reading, oral interaction, extended


speaking and listening?
c. Subject matter:

How interesting are the story lines and the topics?


Are they up-to-date?
Arent they patronising?
d. Homework:

What kind of homework is recommended?


e. Lists, summaries, indices and tables:

Grammar tables and explanations, vocabulary lists/glossaries,


index to grammar and skills items are all these well
represented?
f.

Supplementary materials:

Are there audio tapes, video tapes CD-ROMs?


Is there a work book?
g. Rubric:

Are the statements of aims, the labelling of language and the


instructions relevant for both you and pupils?
Do the pupils understand what needs to be done?
Do they understand how to do it?
h. Tests:

How many are they?


How often can they be used?
Do they really test what the pupils have studied?
i.

Does it ensure a general recycling of language?


Is there one specific revision unit or are there more?
j.

10

Revision:

Teachers book:

Is there one?
Does it offer lesson plans?
Does it offer grammar analysis?
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Materials evaluation and adaptation

Does it offer tape transcripts?


Does it offer a key to exercises?
Does it offer additional practice material?

These factors are not mutually exclusive and can be relevant to


any book in either a positive or a negative way.

Other criteria
Besides the general and the specific criteria, you also need to
consider whether...

the book would appeal to all pupils;


it is based on a functional or a structural syllabus. If it is
functionally based, then the grammar should be presented
logically so that pupils can make significant generalisations. If it
is structurally-based, then the different uses of language items
which are similar in form should be sufficiently differentiated
according to their meanings.
all units follow the same format, etc.

SAQ 4
Are there still other criteria that you would you like to add to
this list? Write them in the space provided below. Then look at the
suggestions given at the end of the unit.

1.3.4. The Textbook and You


Your taste and personal preference is another factor to be
taken into consideration when evaluating a textbook for a specific
learning/teaching situation. However, you should also think about
your strengths and weaknesses as a teacher, choosing a textbook
that supplements your skills, rather than one that copies your strong
areas.
Think about your weak areas and choose a textbook that
makes up for them. For example, if you think you are weak in
organising language items, choose a textbook with a strong syllabus.

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Materials evaluation and adaptation

SAQ 5
What would you choose if? Match your possible weak points
(1 3) to the following qualities of a textbook (a c):
1. presenting language
2. motivating pupils
3. selecting materials
1=

2=

a. a lot to choose from


b. good presentation ideas
c. bright ideas

3=

Check your answers with those given at the end of the unit.
1.3.5. The Textbook and Your Pupils
However much a textbook may appeal to you on the basis of its
intrinsic qualities, it may not suit your class. Among the factors that
you will want to consider in using a textbook are your pupils

interests
level of English
personality
age
specific weaknesses
reasons for studying English
perceived preferred styles of learning
general tastes

Bear in mind this question all the time you are evaluating a
textbook: Did my pupils like the book?
1.3.6. The Textbook and Your Teaching Context
If your textbook turns out to be less than perfect for your
particular needs, dont be surprised. Textbooks are written for a large
market and the requirements of individual schools cannot be taken
into consideration. It is almost inevitable therefore that your textbook
will not be perfect. Some sort of adaptation will be necessary. Finally,
consider these questions. Is the material suitable, given...

length of the course?


contact time (e.g., 50-minute periods, twice a week)?
design of the work and available resources? (i.e. does it depend
on the use of tapes? etc.)

Some of the questions above relate to external issues, which


make the object of assessment. Others can only be answered with
reference to their actual use. A comprehensive evaluation needs to
be based on the data you collect from the actual use of the
respective textbook in the classroom.

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Ideally, textbooks should be successfully used both by


inexperienced or poorly trained teachers and by experienced ones. In
fact, good textbooks, if used in the ways intended by the author,
should also contribute to the professional development of any
teacher who uses them. Even if the textbooks you have used so far
did not prove to have an important function in your development, they
have definitely removed much of the effort and time necessary for
creating materials of your own.

1.4. Evaluating Skills Materials


By skills materials we mean books (accompanied by tapes in
the case of listening), each dealing with one skill in particular. For the
sake of convenience, we assume that materials deal with each of the
skills separately. In fact, this is rarely the case: although particular
material may have a bias towards, say, listening, it will probably also
involve the other skills. The interrelation of skills is likely to be more
complex when the activity is intended to be authentic, e.g., the
sequence might go something like this:
Skill

Activity

1.

Listening

1. Listen to a piece of news from the tape.

2.

Writing

2. Make notes.

3.

Speaking/Listening 3. Tell someone else.


or
Writing/Reading

or
Write it out for someone else.

Many of the points made about evaluating textbooks apply to


evaluating skills materials. Equally, you need to bear in mind the
same points when looking at the skills components of the textbooks.
1.4.1. Listening and Reading Texts
Among the factors to consider in choosing a listening or reading
text are:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

Is the material authentic/semi-authentic/contrived?


Is the level right for your students?
What is the subject matter of the texts?
Is there variety of subject matter and text-type?
Is the length of text manageable/varied/too short to be useful?
Do texts prepare the learners for the kinds of materials they will
encounter outside the classroom?
Is information in the material always explicit, or is there room for
inference?
Is there any principle on which the texts are sequenced? (e.g.,
theme? difficulty/complexity?)

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Materials evaluation and adaptation

9.

Is taped material well-recorded? If it is not authentic, is the tape


scripted? If it is scripted, how authentic does it sound?
10. Are written texts presented in a variety of typefaces/hands? If it
is not authentic, is it simplified? Is just the vocabulary simplified
or is the syntax simplified too?
SAQ 6
In your opinion, what characteristics do listening and reading
tasks need to show? Write your ideas in the space provided below
and then compare your answers with the suggestions made at the
end of the unit.

1.4.2. Evaluating Writing Materials


Here are a few criteria for the evaluation of writing materials:
1.
2.
3.

Are the model texts and written tasks authentic? realistic?


related to pupils needs?
Is the material appropriate to the level of the pupils?
Is sufficient attention paid to the following:

4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

14

the characteristics of written language as opposed to


spoken?
convention of textual organisation?
paragraphing?
sentence construction?
formulae (i.e. letter headings)?

What other skills do the tasks involve?


Is there any sequencing? If so, on what basis?
Is the material varied?
Is the visual presentation attractive?
Is there a right balance of guided and less guided work?

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Materials evaluation and adaptation

1.4.3. Evaluating Speaking Materials


This kind of materials does not include materials designed for
practice of particular language items, nor does it cover materials
explicitly designed to teach pronunciation. In evaluating such a
material, ask yourself:
1.

To what extent does the material involve pupils working in


groups? How much variety of focus is there i.e. does the
composition and size of groups and the role of the teacher vary
from activity to activity and within activities?
2.
Are the tasks realistic?
3.
Is the material sufficiently varied?
4.
Does the material involve the pupils in role-playing?
5.
Are the activities that demand opinions from the pupils
sufficiently structured?
6.
What kind of stimulus material is used?
7.
Is it sufficiently varied and interesting?
8.
Is the material designed for a particular level or age group?
9.
Is the material visually attractive?
10. What Romanian language skills are involved? To what extent?
11. How much linguistic input is there? Is this a matter of content or
are there models/practice activities for conversation strategies
(i.e. turn-taking, floor-holding, interrupting, etc.)?
Think first!
To practice evaluating, pick a unit from a school textbook
you are familiar with, and analyse it using the following criteria:
What are the sections components of a unit/lesson (e.g.,
dialogue, patterns, reading, writing)?
How is the new language (grammar, vocabulary) presented?
Explicitly or implicitly?
What is the first component of the unit/lesson? What function(s)
does it have? Is this related to any methodological principles?
Examine the drills/exercises/tasks in the unit or lesson critically
according to the following two sets of criteria:
1. Types of exercise (exemplify)
a mchanical
b meaningful
c communicative
2. Skills aimed at
a listening
b speaking
c reading
d writing
Is the approach used in the course book integrative or is
more weight put on some skills? If the latter, which skill?
Put your analysis in your portfolio and take it to the next
tutorial to discuss it with your classmates and your tutor.
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Materials evaluation and adaptation

1.5. Adapting Materials


Once you have chosen a textbook, you need to decide how to
use it. One way to do it is to keep going through it from page to page
until you finish it, but your pupils will certainly find this boring. You will
stand a better chance of answering their needs by using the textbook
creatively, by adapting it to suit your situation.
The fact that a textbook needs to be adapted does not
necessarily mean that it is a bad one. All teaching contexts are
different and you need to respond to the demands of the particular
situation and the specific needs of your pupils. There are many
reasons why a textbook requires adaptation. It may be a question
of

amount. There may be too much or too little material for the
time available.
balance. There may be too much material devoted to one skill
and not enough to another.
level. The reading passages may be too easy or too difficult.
gaps. There may be no pronunciation activities, revision
exercises, games or anything else the teacher feels is
necessary.
culture. The texts or illustrations may not be culturally
appropriate.

Adapting the textbook is simply a means of tailoring materials to


your own requirements. The most important consideration is that the
materials should meet your pupils needs. The pupils need to feel
that the material from which they are learning has relevance to the
real world and relates positively to such aspects as their age, level of
education, social attitudes, intellectual ability, and level of emotional
maturity (Cunningsworth, 1984: 71).
Think first!
Do you know what your pupils needs are? What is their
purpose in learning English? To travel? To work in an Englishspeaking country? To deal with foreign tourists? To pass an
exam? To please their parents?
Think of a textbook you are familiar with and a class that use
it. Can you list three ways in which the book meets your pupils
needs and three ways in which it doesnt?
1.
2.
3.
1.

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Materials evaluation and adaptation

2.
3.
Put your answers in your portfolio, and take them to the next
tutorial to discuss them with your classmates and your tutor.
Sometimes the recommended approach to using a piece of
material is so useful, interesting and well tailored to the needs of your
pupils that you have only to follow the authors guidelines and the
activity is in all ways successful. Such cases, however, are rare.
Usually you have to modify the material.
Most materials can be adapted to fit a range of needs and goals
not originally envisaged by the materials writers. However, before
adapting a textbook, remember that materials from reputable authors
and publishers have been carefully written and trialled. It is always
advisable to use such materials with your pupils in the ways
recommended by the author before experimenting and adapting
them.
1.5.1. Procedures for Adaptation
It is important to remember that adapting materials is not the
province of the specialist. Adapting to circumstances is a normal part
of a teachers life. Teachers are constantly changing their lesson
plans to accommodate unexpected events. Tasks are extended or
shortened to fit in with available time. Oral activities are converted
into reading exercises, and so on.
Have you ever changed your mind in the middle of a lesson? If
so, at that moment you became a materials adaptor!
Think first!
Did you ever have to adapt your materials during a lesson?
What did you plan to do initially? What did you actually do in class?
Can you remember why you had to adapt the material?
Write your answers (no more than 100 words) in the space
provided below.

Take your answer to the next tutorial and discuss it with your
classmates and your tutor.

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Materials evaluation and adaptation

Since the advent of communicative language teaching, many


teachers have felt that materials may suffer from fragmentation, in
spite of the constant preoccupation for grading, sequencing and
integration of the materials developers. Fragmentation is evident in
many recent textbooks, particularly those aimed at low proficiency
learners. Consider, for example the following sequence of activities:

Read a short text and a dialogue based on the text.


Answer comprehension questions about the text.
Repeat the dialogue based on the text.
Work with a partner. Ask questions about the text and complete
a form based on the content of the text.
Study a diagram related to the text and describe it.
Look at a map related to the text and answer a series of
comprehension questions.

Unless the lesson you plan is based on a sequence of activities


carefully structured and sequenced, the pupils are likely to perceive
the lesson as confusing and even chaotic. The coherence of such a
lesson will depend on your skill in linking together the various
activities in the lesson, in supplementing parts of it and rejecting
others. You may have to devise ways of:

stimulating interest;
relating the material to materials that have already been used or
to language that has already been learnt;
directing comprehension (in the case of texts);
adapting practice activities for use with different kinds of
groups;
adapting practice activities to make the activity genuinely
communicative (information gap?);
adapting practice activities to make them relevant to the
learners' needs and stage of learning (this may involve
extending/changing the vocabulary content, etc.);
contextualising language work.
This may be because:

the material is partially weak (i.e. a good text with poor followup)
the material is inadequate (i.e. a good text with no follow-up)
your aims in using the material differ from those of the author
the recommended procedure for exploitation is the same from
unit to unit, and is therefore potentially monotonous.

Begin by asking yourself: Which of my aims for extending the


learning of my pupils could this material be used for? This may lead
you to use a piece of material in a way that is quite different from the
one proposed in the textbook.

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adaptation
techniques

In discussing possible techniques of adapting materials, it is


convenient to borrow the five categories suggested by McDonough
and Shaw (1993: 88). These are:

Adding
You may find the coverage of a particular skill or sub-skill good
but inappropriate for the needs of your class. The procedure is
therefore simply to add more exercises of the same type. For
example, if the textbook provides a short vocabulary activity which
asks pupils to choose the odd one out in a series of lexical items, you
can add another few sets to the series.
Or it may be that the exercises themselves are sufficient in
number, but you feel that some sort of reinforcement would be
useful. This might be achieved by adding a task which asks the
pupils to create their own odd one out sets. Note that this activity
type does not always produce a single correct answer. But this is an
advantage rather than a disadvantage. As long as the pupils can
offer a reasonable defence of their choices, they must be accepted.
For example, one group may see phonetic similarities as the basis
for their selection, while another may choose grammatical
similarities, or spelling, and so on. Opening up the choices in this
way maximizes learning potential.

Deleting
The textbook provides a section on pronunciation in each unit,
including explanations of phonetic distinctions, with exercises on
stress and intonation patterns. Your pupils need more work on
reading comprehension and writing skills. You feel that your pupils
pronunciation is adequate for their present purposes. Therefore you
ignore the section.

Modifying
Modification may take place at several levels. You may wish to
change the comprehension questions accompanying the reading
passage. This may be necessary because the questions are too
mechanical: they can be answered by lifting the appropriate
sentences directly from the text without real understanding of the
passage. You may feel that inferential type questions* would be more
useful.

Simplifying
Simplifying has a number of dangers: simplifying a text may
result in the loss of authenticity; simplifying a grammatical rule, you
can run the risk of over-simplifying to the point where the rule
becomes unhelpful. For instance, telling the learners that adverbs are
always formed by adding -ly does not help them when they come
across friendly or hardly. If you want to simplify grammatical rules, it
might be safer to call the simplified rule a temporary guideline.
However, simplifying instructions and explanations can be very
helpful to you pupils, and you should think seriously about making
this a standard procedure.

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Materials evaluation and adaptation

Re-ordering
Re-ordering may be carried out at unit level, where you feel that
a particular lesson in the textbook would be more useful at a different
stage. However, you should consider this carefully, as the textbook
writer must have had a reason when s/he established that sequence
to the units.
Re-ordering of exercises and activities within units creates
fewer problems. This may be done in order to reinforce areas where
you see that your pupils need more work, or to fit in with
supplementary materials.
1.5.2. A Few Practical Ideas
Cunningsworth (1984:66) suggests that teachers setting out to
adapt materials should begin by asking themselves three questions:

What does the exercise actually get the learner to do?


What do I want the learner to do?
How can I get the exercise to do what I want it to do for the
learner?

Here is a list of practical classroom activities (texts and


controlled practice activities, only) to help you think about exploiting
materials. These kinds of materials can be exploited in the most
diverse ways. On the other hand, role plays, open dialogues and pair
work materials tend to be more limited in the number of ways they
can be used. Since they are interaction-based in the first place, they
are more likely to interest the pupils without a significant degree of
modification. This is not, however, to say that when you use these
materials you do not approach them in the same critical way, looking
for ways of making them more stimulating and relevant to your
pupils.
You will certainly be able to add to the list yourself.
1.

20

Texts (listening and reading)


a) Comprehension:
answering gist questions;
inferring information and attitude;
filling in charts;
tracing routes onto maps;
drawing pictures;
summarising;
pupils (in groups) work out comprehension questions to ask
each other;
pupils hear/read only one part of the text and have to assemble
a complete picture of the text by asking the others (i.e. jigsaw);
matching the text or portions of the text with pictures;
re-assembling a cut-up text: putting paragraphs into a logical
order;
true/false questions;
gap-filling;
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Materials evaluation and adaptation

multiple-choice questions (pupils work in groups or individually);


pupils answer the questions without distractors;
pupils identify where in the text the answer to a particular
question is found.

Some of these activities are to done during exposure to the text


(e.g., dictation), while others may be done after exposure (e.g.,
summarising). Others depend on activities during and after exposure.

b) Language work:
picking out structure, idiom or vocabulary;
practice in using a structure implied by the text;
re-telling (reported speech);
question and answer to practice structure (pupils have different
texts/notions of text to make the activity communicative);
working out meaning of vocabulary from context (Find a word
or expression which means;
attention to how differences of meaning may be affected by:
spelling,
punctuation,
intonation,
features of word juncture,
weak forms;
tapes used as models in teaching pronunciation (e.g., rhythm,
sentences stress);
models for features of discourse, text type, style and register.

2.

Language practice activities (e.g., manipulation, sentencecompletion, and gap-filling exercises):

homework;
pupils in groups;
exercise cut up (single sentences given to individual pupils and
test the rest);
books closed (rapid oral practice);
change vocabulary and situations to be more relevant to the
pupils experience.

Materials adaptation is a fact of life. All teachers adapt the


textbook to some extent, if only to shorten one recommended activity
to spend more time on another. This is a perfectly legitimate and
sensible thing to do. In fact, you should be constantly re-evaluating
the materials you have, changing the dull and seeking new ways to
work with it.

Summary
After defining materials assessment and evaluation, in this unit
we discussed several procedures which may be used when selecting
textbooks and other materials for classroom use. We have stressed
that materials selection depends on several factors; to the material
itself are added other factors to consider, such as ones teaching
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Materials evaluation and adaptation

philosophy and style, the pupils needs and interests and the physical
context.
Besides outlining the role of the textbook, we talked about
general and specific criteria used in textbook evaluation.
In the section on materials adaptation we have examined
several procedures such as adding, deleting, modifying, simplifying
and re-ordering.

Key Concepts

materials assessment and evaluation


Harmers three-stage procedure for assessment
the publishers view
the communicative perspective
the role of the textbook
criteria for evaluation
materials adaptation
adding
deleting
modifying
simplifying
re-ordering

Further Reading
1.
McDonough J. and Shaw C., 1993, Materials and
Methods in ELT, Oxford, Blackwell
2.
Harmer J., 2001, The Practice of English Language
Teaching, London, Longman, Chapter 21, pp. 295 305

SAA No. 1
Look through the materials you use (not a whole textbook!)
and pick out two. Think of all the different ways you might use them.
Concentrate not only on different activities, but also on different
aims. Example: how would you use a certain picture to:

provoke discussion

generate practice in a particular structure

introduce a vocabulary area

arouse interest for a reading comprehension

Check understanding of a tape.


Write down your ideas and send them to your tutor, together
with a photocopy of each material.
Material 1
Material 2

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Answers to SAQs
Should your answer to SAQ 1 not be comparable to that
given below, please revise section 1.2 of the unit.
SAQ 1

You could add criteria such as:


Language skill activities
Topics
Cultural acceptability
Usability
Teachers guide

Should your answers to SAQs 2, 3, 4 and 5 not be


comparable to those given below, please revise section 1.3 of
the unit.
SAQ 2

SAQ 3

The questions can be administered after a number of units


(e.g., at the end of a term), at the end of a unit, or at the end of a
lesson.

What was your favourite lesson in the textbook/material used


during (e.g., last week) and why?

What lesson from the textbook/what material didnt you like and
why?

What was your favourite activity and why?

What activity didnt you like and why?


We can say that a textbook provides only a springboard for our
classroom pedagogical action as it takes a certain value in a specific
instructional context. When selecting published materials, it is
important to keep in mind the goals and objectives of the syllabus for
our learners, our pupils attitudes, beliefs and preferences, and to
ensure that in these materials we recognise our own beliefs about
the nature of language and learning.

SAQ 4

Other specific criteria can be:


Is the language content natural?
Is the cultural content specifically European, British, or is it
tailored to the Romanian context?
Is Romanian used and if so, why?
Is the visual presentation attractive? Are the pages attractively
arranged or crammed? Do the charts, pictures, illustrations
have a purpose?

SAQ 5
Answers: 1b, 2c, 3a.
Should your answer to SAQ 6 not be comparable to that
given below, please revise section 1.4 of the unit.
SAQ 6
Here are a few characteristics that listening and reading
comprehension tasks need to show:
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Materials evaluation and adaptation

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

24

Comprehension tasks need to encourage effective


comprehension strategies and not just test.
The tasks should be sufficiently varied (through material and in
relation to each text).
There should be a balance of meaning-focused and textfocused tasks.
The tasks may involve other skills. If they do, does the
successful completion of the tasks depend on these other
skills?
The tasks should be presented in an attractive, motivating way.
Is it possible/easy for you to ignore the instructions given in the
materials and use them in your own way?

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Teaching pronunciation

UNIT 2
TEACHING PRONUNCIATION

Unit Outline
Unit Objectives................................................................................................................. 26
2.1
Pronunciation and Students Age........................................................................ 27
2.2
The Native Model................................................................................................ 28
2.2.1 What Accent Is Desirable? ..................................................................... 29
2.2.2 Teachers English................................................................................... 29
2.3
Receptive Fluency vs. Productive Fluency ......................................................... 30
2.4
The Components of Pronunciation ..................................................................... 31
2.4.1 The Functions of Intonation.................................................................... 32
2.5
The Flow of Speech ............................................................................................ 33
2.5.1 Sound Changes in the Flow of Speech .................................................. 34
2.6
Improving Pupils Pronunciation.......................................................................... 35
2.6.1 Pupils Pronunciation Errors ................................................................... 35
2.6.2 Assisting the Learning of Pronunciation ................................................. 36
2.6.3 Teaching English Sounds ...................................................................... 37
2.6.4 Teaching Strategies for Stress, Rhythm and Intonation ......................... 41
2.7
Correcting Pronunciation .................................................................................... 45
2.7.1 Techniques of Oral Correction ............................................................... 45
2.7.2 Tips for Correcting Pronunciation........................................................... 46
Summary................................................................................................ 46
Key Concepts......................................................................................... 47
Further Reading ..................................................................................... 47
Answers to SAQs ................................................................................... 47

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The pronunciation of English tends to be neglected by EFL


teachers and this seems to be due to teacher anxiety and,
sometimes, ignorance. In this unit you are introduced to the type of
awareness and knowledge about pronunciation that an EFL teacher
needs, and also to some of the terms and concepts used to talk
about it.
It is impossible to teach English without giving some attention to
pronunciation. In the process of teaching (and learning) English you
need ears trained to diagnose mistakes and vocal organs under
control to produce accurate English sounds. Every word, every
syllable, every sound uttered by you in class may contribute to your
pupils learning of pronunciation. However, pupils learn how to
pronounce English not only when you are deliberately and overtly
concentrating on pronunciation. They may learn pronunciation when
you believe you are putting the weight of your teaching on grammar
or vocabulary, or when you are just socialising with them.
The concept of pronunciation may be said to include two
systems: the phonemic system (the sounds) and the intonation
system. Stress and rhythm are normally seen as part of the
intonation system. However, in this unit, they will be dealt with as a
separate component. Therefore, this unit deals with the sounds of the
language (or phonology), stress and rhythm, and intonation.
unit objectives

By the end of this unit, you will be able to:

operate with a basic working knowledge of English sounds,


stress, rhythm and intonation;
identify the ways in which these systems operate in speech;
identify the problems your pupils are having in assimilating
these systems, both from the receptive and productive points of
view;
apply the practical guidance and the techniques of teaching
pronunciation.

Quite a lot of things are known about the sounds of English and
about how these work as a system. Something is known about the
components of intonation (i.e. pitch height, tones and voice range),
but only a little is known about how these work together as a system.
In fact, intonation was not really seen as a system until quite recently.
Discourse analysts put forward a theory that intonation, among
various functions that it plays in language use (e.g. in helping to
convey attitude), also has the function of structuring discourse.
Intonation can be seen as a system for signalling openings, closings,
contrasts, emphases, parentheses, backward linking, forward linking,
and so on.
In order to teach pronunciation, you need to be able to analyse
it both from a theoretical point of view and from the point of view of
your pupils difficulties. You need to be aware of its characteristics,
so that you can make it manageable for your pupils. In other words,
you need to have enough knowledge and awareness of
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pronunciation to make reasoned and flexible decisions in the


classroom.

2.1. Pronunciation and Students Age


The majority of Romanian pupils can imitate almost all of the
sound features of English with reasonable accuracy. This is
explained by the fact that the degree of overlap between Romanian
and English is large, and the majority of sounds are familiar and do
not present any learning difficulty. Thus the pupils powers of mimicry
can be concentrated on less than the whole phonetic and
phonological system. Most sound features can be learnt by mimicry
alone, as learners have a pronunciation-learning ability independent
of any need for instruction.
SAQ 1
Do you encounter big pronunciation problems when you
teach English to young children?
Is it more difficult to teach pronunciation to older pupils?
Write your answers (no more than 50 words) in the space
provided below.

Check your answers with those given at the end of the unit in
the Answers section.
The differences between the majority of learners of a given age
in terms of their phonetic abilities are relatively small. Generally
speaking, the younger the learners, the less variation there is in
language ability. The most important language variables affecting
ones pronunciation include:

willingness to learn;
possession of a good ear (i.e. good auditory discrimination);
instinctive ability to mimic (i.e. good control of speech
mechanisms and good monitoring of ones own performance);
speed of learning;
previous experience of foreign languages;
changes brought about by age.

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2.2. The Native Model


Any foreign language taught in school follows a native-speaker
model. The pupils (and you) tend to imitate the English spoken by a
native speaker. In the case of English, the choice of the nativespeaker model is not very easy, as there is more than one. If for
dialect the choice is easier standard English in the case of
accent, you need to answer such questions as: How do I want my
pupils to speak English: British-ly, American-ly, Australian-ly,
Canadian-ly, or internationally?
Today, when you make the choice of the model, you need to
make it in full awareness of the status of English as the leading
language in international communication.
Think first!
Before reading the next paragraphs, try to explain in your
own words what you understand by speaking English
internationally.
Write down your answer (about 60 words) in the space
provided below and then check it as you read on.

How does one speak English internationally?


People coming from different cultures and speaking in different
manners can communicate in English if they know how to seek a
common ground and adapt their way of speaking English. Finding a
common ground requires their adaptation to the situation and fellow
participants, and responsibility to adapt. Native English speakers
must also adapt in such situations.
Adaptation requires the speakers willingness to temporarily
modify ones cultural identity, and an awareness of what is involved
in cross-cultural communication and communicative skills. Not all
situations call for the same degree of adaptation. A speaker of
English as a foreign language, who feels secure as an English
speaker, will be flexible enough to speak English internationally.
SAQ 2
How can you ensure that your pupils will acquire a tolerant
attitude and that they will be sensitive to various manners of
speaking English?
Write your answer (about 30 words) in the space provided
below and then check it against the one given at the end of the
unit.

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2.2.1. What Accent Is Desirable?


In spite of the impression of monolithic character, the English
language displays many variation phenomena: from various accents,
to different lexical items used to name similar entities, to slightly
different grammatical structures. What is then a desirable target
accent for foreign learners? Is it Received Pronunciation (RP), BBC
English, Oxford English, the Queens English, a posh accent, a
nice voice, or speaking without an accent?
In favour of Received Pronunciation would be many of the
teaching materials on the market, and the fact that this accent is
perceived in many places as regionless. However, RP is perceived
as a standard accent only in England, and as English (that is,
foreign) outside England, in Scotland, for instance.
The status and prestige of RP have declined lately: for instance,
BBC has permitted announcers to use British regional accents.
Should we adopt General American then? General American
is the most widespread member of a set of American accents, an
educated regional accent used mainly in the eastern American
states. Our learners are frequently exposed to American usage via
television, the cinema and other aspects of the mass media and
many children pick up an American accent from watching cartoons.
The choice between a British or an American accent remains
an open question, and most often it is the individual choice of each
learner.
2.2.2. The Native Model and Teachers English
Think First!
Have you ever felt uncomfortable when speaking English in
front of a class? Why? What did you do then?
Write your thoughts (about 50 words) in the space provided
below and take them to the next tutorial to discuss them with your
classmates and tutor.

teachers
seeking defence
From the perspective of pronunciation, the non-native EFL
teachers are in a vulnerable position. We may not feel comfortable
when speaking English in front of the class, as our pupils may be
aware that occasional mistakes occur in our speech. Moreover, the
pupils, who are accustomed to the sound of English from taped
native speakers, may question our pronunciation. This places us in a
osition of insecurity. Some of us may seek defence and ways of
minimising this threat.
The traditional grammar - translation activities* can be the
expression of such a defence. Using such activities, you do not have
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to speak English, and thus you minimise the risk of making mistakes
in front of the pupils. Given the reliance on strict grammar rules, you
are correct; a grammar book is at your hand to support your
knowledge. Translation, an ability you have acquired after much
practice, leaves you unchallenged. Also, by focussing on grammar
and translation, questions of content are avoided. Grammar
correctness is the target: form is uppermost, content secondary. The
risk is that being such a teacher, you do not perceive yourself as
being a speaker of English and your pupils may inherit the same
perception. Moreover, can the grammar-translation method prepare
your pupils for the use of English for communication? Can it provide
the pupils with a perception of English as a living language?
Reaching native speaker standards may be a futile endeavour,
an unattainable goal, both for you and for many of our pupils.Even if
you see the native model as a desirable target, the purpose of
teaching and learning pronunciation is seldom to attain the
perfection of the native model. Your English will be as close to the
chosen model as you can manage, but it will remain different from it
in some ways. However, this should not create frustration, inferiority
complex or demoralisation. Keep in mind that your purpose in
teaching English pronunciation is limited to attainment of
intelligibility.

2.3. Receptive Fluency vs. Productive Fluency


A fundamental principle of teaching pronunciation is that pupils
need to acquire a much greater degree of receptive fluency than
productive fluency in their learning of English.
SAQ 3
Do you agree with this principle? Why do you think pupils
need more receptive fluency than productive fluency in a foreign
language?
Explain the reason in no more than 30 words; then check
your answer against the one given at the end of the unit.

The most obvious effect of this principle on your teaching is that


you need to spend more time on developing your pupils appreciation
of sounds, sound sequences, stress and intonation through listening
skills activities than through speaking skills activities.
A further implication of the principle is that your pupils need
neither aspire to nor achieve perfection in their production of English
pronunciation. If they are realistic, they need only attain an
approximation of English sounds, and thereby retain something of
their Romanian accent.
The aim of teaching pronunciation is not to achieve a perfect
imitation of a native accent, but to get the learner to pronounce
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accurately enough to be comprehensible to other competent


speakers. Perfect accents are difficult for most learners to achieve
in a foreign language, and not always desirable. Many people even
if often subconsciously feel they wish to maintain a slight mothertongue accent as an assertion of personal or ethnic identity. This
feeling should be respected.
However, some pupils are concerned to sound like native
speakers, and so you need to work on the accurate production of
sounds.

2.4. The Components of Pronunciation


You do not have to take your pupils systematically through all
the components of pronunciation; you do not have to teach each
English vowel and consonant and later rhythm and intonation.
Rather, you need to concentrate on some chosen features that cause
difficulty.

Sounds
Traditionally, the teaching of English pronunciation was
concerned primarily with sound production. Pupils were encouraged
to approximate as far as possible to a native speaker model. In
recent years, a concern with fluency rather than accuracy has led to
the recognition that perfect pronunciation is not absolutely necessary
for a message to be conveyed effectively. Consequently, more
attention is paid to intonation, stress and rhythm.
You need to concentrate on the production of sounds only when
you identify sources of unintelligibility or confusion. For instance, your
pupils may often have a false idea of what a particular sound in
English is, based on the sounds of Romanian. The classic example is
the confusion Romanian pupils make between [] and [s]. They may
in fact need training to appreciate the difference. Failure to articulate
the difference may make them sound foreign, but is unlikely to create
a barrier to communication. Nevertheless, failure to discriminate
between think and sink may create problems.
An even greater problem can be the comprehension of
stretches of language in which sounds have changed in connected
speech. Therefore, it is useful for you to be able to list and define the
sounds of English by writing them down using phonetic notation, and
to organise practice in sound discrimination and articulation.

Rhythm and stress


Intelligibility in English depends more on the correct use of
stress and rhythm than on the correct pronunciation of individual
sounds.
English speech rhythm is characterised by tone units. A tone
unit is a word or group of words that carries one central stressed
syllable.
Stress is most commonly indicated by a slight rise in intonation.
The rhythm of English is, then, mainly a function of its stress
patterns; these may also affect such aspects as speed of delivery,
volume and the use of pause. Romanian learners encounter

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difficulties, as the notion of stress is alien to them. Romanian is a


syllable-timed language: each syllable takes up approximately the
same amount of time in an utterance. English is a stress-timed
language, which has stressed syllables occurring at approximately
equal time intervals, irrespective of how many unstressed syllables
occur between them.
English teachers who are relatively uninformed about phonetics
give little importance to mistakes due to rhythmic inaccuracy.
However, a clear understanding of the phonetic aspects of the
spoken language is important, not only for a correct evaluation of the
pupils oral performance, but also for providing them with the most
accurate model of the spoken language.

Intonation
The rises and falls in tone make the tune of an utterance.
Intonation is an important aspect of the pronunciation of English,
deciding differences in meaning or implication.
Pupils usually perceive their learning of pronunciation in terms
of sounds, words, sentences, and do not concentrate on intonation.
This often results in an oral production that is monotonous.
Moreover, as Romanian has a narrower voice-range than English
does, pupils may sound unwittingly aggressive or rude when
speaking English. Such errors of intonation may cause irritation in
listeners, since the intended function of the language is
misinterpreted.
The importance of intonation is crucial especially at beginners
level, when language production is minimal, and intonation is the
best vehicle for social appropriacy. Therefore, the least you can do is
to make your pupils aware of it, at a very early stage. Their constant
exposure to English will lead to an increased sense or feel for its
music.

2.4.1. The Functions of Intonation


English intonation carries meaning in subtle and complex ways.
It has three functions: grammatical, attitudinal and discoursal.

Grammatical function
The grammatical function of intonation denotes or reinforces
certain grammatical patterns. Grammatical function is realised by
various
intonation
contours/patterns/tones.
Such
contours
accompany wh-questions, yes/no questions, statements, questiontags, either/or questions, etc. Thus, a falling pitch change
accompanies wh-questions while a fall-rise pitch change
accompanies yes/no questions.

Attitudinal function
Other intonation regularities, can also be observed, connected
to attitudes. Such features as the width of voice range and the pitch
height at the start of an utterance are considered to be part of the
attitudinal function of intonation. For instance, more emotion leads to
a wider voice range, and less emotion leads to a narrower voice
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range. Uncertainty is denoted by fall-rise and indignation by rise-fall


changes, respectively.

Discoursal function
Discourse analysts proposed a third function of intonation, the
discoursal function. Intonation can be seen as a system for
structuring discourse: signalling openings, closings, contrasts,
emphases, parentheses, backward linking, forward linking, and so
on. It is used to show that the speaker is either referring to something
that both speaker and listener know about (because it has been
mentioned earlier or is physically present in the setting), or to show
that the speaker is proclaiming some new information. A fall-rise
pitch change refers the listener to an actual or known thing. A falling
pitch change introduces a specific unknown thing.
Intonation can also signify aspect: a fall-rise pitch change can
signify that you want to engage the listener, that you envisage
rapport, however short-lived the relationship. The fall-rise pitch
change has been called the convergent pattern, where the falling
pitch change has been called the divergent pattern. Also, a falling
pitch change tends to denote finality, while a fall-rise denotes
incompleteness or doubt.

2.5. The Flow of Speech


English is unusual among languages for the changes that occur
when it is spoken at normal speed: the individual sounds contained in
and between words can often change their character. The main
reason for this tendency in connected speech is that English is
stress-timed. The rhythm units force sounds to be said together or
shortened in order for the regular rhythm of speech to be maintained.
For pupils the problem can be difficult, not so much when they learn
to produce the language orally, but when they listen to native
speakers.
Here are a few examples of what may happen when different
sounds, stresses and intonations affect one another within the flow of
speech:

The way a sound is articulated is influenced by what other


sounds are next to it: e.g. the -ed suffix of the past tense may
be pronounced [d], [t] or [id] depending on what comes
immediately before.
Intonation affects how we hear stress. In fact, stress is not
usually expressed by saying the stressed syllable louder: it is
more often a matter of a raised or lowered tone level, with a
slight slowing-down.
A change in the stress pattern of a word will change its sounds
as well: e.g. the word record has the stress on the first syllable
when it is a noun, on the second syllable when it is a verb; and
this makes a noticeable difference to the sound of the vowels.

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2.5.1. Sound Changes in the Flow of Speech


SAQ 4
Can you write the following phrases in phonetic script?
roast beef
[
I asked him [
cold weather [

]
]
]

Now compare your transcripts to those at the end of the unit.


Are they the same?

Elision
Elision (the suppression/omission of a sound) occurs frequently
at the boundary between two words, usually when the end of one
word and the beginning of the next create a consonant cluster, e.g.:
pounds is reduced to [panz] and and to [n].
You must analyse model sentences and vocabulary very
carefully before teaching them, to give your pupils an accurate
model.

Assimilation
Assimilation happens when a sound changes, because it is
affected by the sound that follows it:
SAQ 5
What words or phrases can be transcribed like this?
[imput] ..
[ikm] ..

[hf t] ..
[i gri:s] ..

Check your answers with those given at the end of the unit.

Weakening
Prepositions, articles (before consonants), and auxiliary verbs
(including modals) tend to be shorter and softer, and to have the
neutral vowel [] when they occur in normal speech. It is only when
these parts of speech are given particular emphasis or when they are
the final word in a sentence that they are found in their strong form:
Should I go? [Sd ai g]
Yes, you should. [jes j Sd]
Vowels often get weakened to the schwa [] sound or
disappear altogether, as in I wonder if you could [ wndr if j kd].
Weakening is the most difficult problem for foreign learners of
English, a problem that you need to help them to become aware of
and to overcome. You need to teach your pupils first of all, to
recognise natural pronunciation, and if possible, to produce it
accurately.

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Intrusion
Go away. [gwwei]

Intrusion happens when an extra sound is introduced to


lubricate the flow from one vowel to another. The sound is not
indicated in the written form.

Catenation
This happens when a consonant at the end of one word is
carried over to connect with a vowel at the beginning of the next
word:
Hes out. [hizat]
cup and saucer [kpnso:s]
Catenation presents problems of aural* understanding for
pupils because it interferes with their ability to hear word boundaries.
Thus [greiteip] can be either grey tape or great ape.
Intrusion does not seem to pose problems of understanding, but
elision, assimilation, weakening and catenation do. Having learned
the words and their pronunciation in isolation, your pupils may fail to
recognise them when changes take place in connected speech. That
is why, it is important that you raise their awareness of the way
sounds, stress and intonation interact within entire utterances to
produce easily comprehensible pronunciation. However, most words
have a stable sound, stress and intonation pattern that can be
confidently taught in isolation.

2.6. Improving Pupils Pronunciation


2.6.1. Pupils Pronunciation Errors
Think First!
Before reading the next section, write down two sources of
pronunciation errors made by your pupils. Use the space provided
below for mentioning them.

Check your answers as you read on.


Pupils errors of pronunciation may derive from various sources:

Several English sounds do not exist in Romanian. The pupils


are not used to forming them and therefore, they tend to

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substitute the nearest equivalent they know, e.g. [] tends to


be substituted by [e].
Certain sounds do exist in Romanian, but not as separate
phonemes. Consequently, the pupils do not perceive them as
distinct sounds that make a difference to meaning (e.g. [i] and
[i:]).
The pupils have not learnt the stress patterns of the word or
group of words, or they are using a Romanian intonation, which
is inappropriate to English.

The result is a foreign-sounding accent, and possibly


misunderstanding.
2.6.2. Assisting the Learning of Pronunciation
Here are a few teaching techniques that can be used to assist
pupils in learning pronunciation:
1)

Checking that the pupils can hear and identify the sounds,
intonation, rhythm or stress, respectively. This can be done by:

requesting imitation of teachers model or recorded model of


sounds, words and sentences;
seeing if pupils can distinguish between minimal pairs (e.g.
ship/sheep, man/men, thick/tick, etc.);
recording of their speech, contrasted with native model (this can
turn out to be demoralising!);
encouraging pupil self-correction through listening to recordings
of own speech.
While perception of sounds can be done using single words or
even syllables, work on stress and intonation nearly always
needs to be based on longer units.

2)

Using some explicit exhortation: you give the pupils instructions


to initiate and mimic, to make such and such a sound, without
further explanation. Exhortation requires no special training on
your part and no special understanding on the part of the pupils.
This may involve the use of:

imitation drills: repetition of sounds, words and sentences;


choral repetition of drills;
varied repetition of drills (varied speed, volume, mood);
dialogues (using choral work, and varied speed, volume,
mood);
learning by heart of sentences, short poems, etc.

3)

36

Systematic explanation and instruction (including details of the


structure and movement of parts of the mouth). For sound
formation, for instance, you can use a sketch with a description
of the organs of speech, and descriptions of the articulation of
sounds in terms of lips, tongue, teeth, a description of stress
and rhythm etc.
These can be supplemented by the use of phonetic notation,
ear training (i.e. practice in auditory discrimination, see (1)
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above) and speech training exercises (i.e. practice in making


particular sounds, words and sentences, in isolation or in
nonsense sequences (see (4) below).
4)

Using special games and exercises for speech training that


entail the use of words or sentences to practice particular
sounds, sequences of sounds, stress patterns, rhythm,
intonation, such as: rhymes, jingles, jazz chants, tongue
twisters, etc.

However, for most aspects of pronunciation a brief explanation


is sufficient, followed by demonstration and an invitation to imitate
and practise.
2.6.3. Teaching English Sounds
Very often the problem the pupils have in perceiving sounds is
not that they cannot identify them, but that they cannot distinguish
them from other sounds. This may be because the sound is
perceived by the pupils to be the same as a Romanian sound, with
which they are already familiar. So, for example they may perceive
[] and [s] or [] and [e] as being the same.

Vowels
We learn to produce vowel sounds accurately by developing an
ability to hear and discriminate and then by experimenting until we
can match the sound we hear. This is a gradual process of
approximation: very often after getting it right for the first time, the
pupils get it wrong again and have to keep on trying until they
produce the sound accurately. Your job is to provide the accurate
model and to encourage and train your pupils, first to hear a sound
correctly, and then to produce it correctly. This includes drawing
attention to vowel length and lip position.
English has more vowels compared with Romanian.
Consequently, Romanian pupils encounter some difficulties in
learning the English vowel system. On the other hand, a pupils
inability to produce vowels correctly is rarely a source of
communication breakdowns.

Diphthongs
Diphthongs (two vowels run together) are not difficult to teach.
You can break the sound into its component parts and practice them
separately, exaggerating the difference between them. Then you can
get the pupils to run them together, emphasising that the first part of
the sound receives heavier stress.

Consonants
Teaching consonants is a mixture of providing pupils with the
right technical information (bite your bottom lip when saying [f] or
[v]), and of organizing practice activities and careful monitoring of
free speech and correction.
Technical information is of little use in learning to produce
vowels and diphthongs. The only way in which pupils manage to
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produce the right sounds is a trial and error process of approximation


to what they perceive to be the right ones. Even if in the case of
consonants, technical information is more helpful, this will not enable
them to actually hear any difference between sounds, either in their
own performance or in other peoples.
Using Minimal Pairs. A minimal pair is a pair of words that are
exactly the same, except for one sound, e.g. bit and beat, cap and
cat, etc. The use of such pairs is the basis for teaching pupils to
distinguish and perceive the differences.
A procedure for the use of minimal pairs involves three stages
of pupil training.
SAQ 6
Can you arrange these three stages in the correct order
according to the objective of each stage? Number them from 1 to 3
and then check your answer against the one given at the end of the
unit:
( ) to perceive the sounds as different
( ) to identify which is which
( ) to produce each of the two sounds
Here is how you can organise work at each of the stages:
Stage I. You ask the pupils to indicate when the sound
changes in a string such as: bit, bit, bit, beat, beat, bit, etc. The pupils
will have to shout out or show hands when they hear a change.
It is important that the pupils identify the sound not only in
isolation, but also in sentences, in both stressed and unstressed
positions. You can give them examples such as "The ship is old, the
sheep is old, the sheep is old", etc.
Stage II. The simplest way to train the pupils to identify which
sound is which is to write each word of the minimal pair on the board,
with a number by the side:
1) bit

2) beat

You give the word at random and the pupils shout out which
number goes with it. This exercise should also be done with the
sounds in different environments, and with the word in different parts
of the sentence.
Stage III. You can say the number or hold up a picture, and the
pupils say the word. This can also be done in groups with one pupil
saying one of the words (in context as well as in isolation) and the
others have to identify it by number or by picture. In this variant, you
will be monitoring and providing the pupils with feedback on their
accuracy and progress.
Using Phonetic Notation. You may wonder whether a
knowledge of the phonetic notation is of any practical help to you in
your teaching. Certainly, a knowledge of what happens to sounds in
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the context of the utterance will help you to appreciate the difficulties
your pupils face, especially in listening.
SAQ 7
Below are some advantages of using the phonetic notation.
Can you think of any disadvantages? List them after the
advantages, in the space provided below.
a)
b)
c)
d)

It sensitises the pupils to sounds.


It is useful for correction.
It is a valuable study skill.
It is used in textbooks and dictionaries and thus it can
support independent learning.
e) It may be exploited in the pupils notes.
f) It distracts attention from ordinary letter associations.
g) It encourages a less teacher-centred attitude.
h) It helps pronunciation.

Check your answers with those given at the end of the unit.
An ability with the phonetic (tran)script helps you in the
preparation of lessons and the anticipation of the pupils difficulties.
Teaching and practising the phonetic script with pupils will also be
facilitated. In addition, a knowledge of the most characteristic
phonetic differences between Romanian and English is helpful, too.
The phonemic notation can be used for three purposes:

to introduce the sounds of English;


to practise the sounds of English (in isolation and in
combination);
to teach the phonetic alphabet itself to pupils at various levels of
study.

How to use the phonetic notation?


First insist that the pupils have a copy of the phonetic alphabet
attached to the inside cover of their exercise book or make sure that
there is one in the textbook. This can be consulted individually, in
class and outside. Then use it for activities such as:
1.

Copying: you select the words which the pupils will look up in a
dictionary, giving them the phonetic spellings.

2.

Matching: you give the pupils a list of sound symbols along


with a list of example words containing these sounds. You ask
the pupils to match both sets, e.g.:
[i:]
[i]
[e]

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hat
five
too
39

Teaching pronunciation

[ae]
[a:]
[o]
[o:]
[u]
[u:]
[v]
3.

sit
path
cup
saw
see
ten
got

Sorting: you ask the pupils to categorise a list of example


words into two or more groups, according to the vowel sound
they contain, e.g.:
[i]
or
[i:]
sit, see, ill, eel, kneel, will, etc.

4.

Filling in: you present an example of a phonetic transcription


entry, such as [si:] for sea to illustrate [i:] and then other sets
with one of the columns blank, e.g.:
[i:]
[i]
[]

[si:]
[?]
[sn]

sea
sit
?

Categorising, matching and sorting exercises can be devised


for plural noun forms [z], [s], [iz] and irregular forms, for the -ed
termination of the Past Tense Simple form.
A number of familiarisation activities can be carried out with the
whole class. Here are a few examples;
1)

2)

3)

Bingo. You write 10 15 phonetic symbols on the board, each


of which is numbered. You read out some of the items to the
class, and the pupils only jot down the corresponding numbers.
You check at the end that the class has the correct combination
of numbers. This game can be continued in pairs, with the
pupils taking it in turns to read out a selection of items to each
other.
Kims game. A number of items are written on the board. The
pupils close their eyes while you rub off one of the spellings.
When asked to open their eyes, the pupils try to remember
what was in the space.
The letters of the alphabet. Phonetic information can play a
useful role in teaching and learning the letters of the alphabet, if
you arrange the letters according to the sounds their names
contain:
[ei]
A
H
J
K

[i:]
B
C
E
G
P
T
V

[e]
F
L
N
S
X
Z

[ai]
I
Y

[u]
O

[u:]
Q
U
W

[a:]
R

(after Abbs and Freebairn, Opening Strategies, Longman, 1982: 24)

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4)

Delayed correction of pronunciation. Phonetic notation may


also be exploited when monitoring pair or group work. Rather
than interrupting immediately, you can hand the pupils slips of
paper afterwards. These indicate the correct pronunciation in
the form of a phonetic spelling.

A knowledge of the phonetic alphabet is of great value to the


teacher of English. It provides information and guidance about, as
well as access to a potential learning aid. It may suit some pupils
learning styles providing them with the means of solving some of the
difficulties experienced with pronunciation independently.
2.6.4. Teaching Strategies for Stress, Rhythm and Intonation
Your pupils need both recognition practice and production
practice with stress, rhythm and intonation, so that these become a
part of their overall competence in English. This practice can be
integrated either with the teaching of grammar, or with the teaching
of communication skills, or you may have separate lessons /stages of
the lesson on particular areas.
The easiest way for pupils to practise stress, rhythm and
intonation is by repetition. Traditional repetition is often boring to do
if the focus is not pronunciation. The same drills can be made
interesting and challenging if you ask the pupils to repeat a sentence
using a particular stress and intonation pattern. For this practice to
be effective, it is important to:

give a good model of the sentence, saying it at normal speed,


making a clear difference between stressed and unstressed
syllables, using natural intonation;
indicate the stress, rhythm and intonation clearly, using
gestures;
make sure that the pupils pay attention to stress, rhythm and
intonation when they repeat the sentence.

You can use yourself or taped material as the model. Since


emulating the voice range of English may be difficult for your pupils,
you may need to exaggerate your own voice range in hope that your
pupils repeating it will sound about right. After listening
comprehension dialogues, pupils love repeating a selected short
extract from the tape.
Remember to integrate constantly intonation when teaching a
new structure, or when doing imitation, substitution drills or
communicative drills. For further practice, take advantage of semicontrolled dialogues.

Rhythm
Quite often, teachers tend to unconsciously distort the rhythm of
English in order to make themselves understood by their pupils. They
tend to speak so slowly that the sentence stress and rhythm are
distorted and they sound foreign.
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As rhythm is superimposed on the utterance, it may be difficult


to concentrate on it without also paying attention to other aspects
(pronunciation of sounds, word stress, pitch variation, meaning of
individual words, and the utterance as a whole). In the early stages
of learning, you could concentrate on rhythmic patterns with words
that do not produce vowel and consonant difficulties. Different pitch
variations can be presented on the same utterance for better aural
discrimination:
Hes coming tomorrow.
This can be said with a low fall, a high fall, or a rising pitch in
the last stressed syllable.
SAQ 8
What kinds of sentence are said with a 1) low fall, 2) a high
fall, or 3) a rising pitch in the last stressed syllable, respectively?
Give your answers in the space provided below and then
check them against the suggestions given at the end of the unit.
1)
2)
3)
As for the syllables, these can be replaced with ti (for the
unstressed) and TA (for the stressed). A sentence can sound:
a) . _ . _ . (ti TA ti TA ti)
b) _ . . . _ (TA ti ti ti TA)
Stressed syllables are louder than the unstressed ones. The
slanted line marks pitch variation. The syllables can also be
represented using smaller and bigger dots:
a)
b)

Length, a reliable marker of stress, is a variable that the pupils


find easy to control. The dots and lines give an idea of the difference
in length between stressed and unstressed syllables. This is the
feature that differentiates most significantly syllable-timed and stresstimed languages. Stressed syllables in English are about three times
longer than unstressed syllables.
Pupils can be first asked to discriminate aurally the two rhythmic
patterns, which you verbalise with the nonsense syllables ti and TA.
A same different drill or a drill identifying the pattern with (a) or (b)
can be used. The pupils then can proceed to imitate the patterns
using ti or TA.
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A number of words, phrases and sentences are presented


which contain the rhythmic patterns. Pupils identify the pattern
writing (a) or (b), and then repeat a number of words, phrases and
sentences that contain the patterns in question, e.g.:
a)
We started early.
Well have a picnic.
A piece of chocolate.
Hes just a baby.

b)
Tennis is a game.
Do it after lunch.
Why did you return?
Susan must be there.

SAQ 9
Can you arrange these phrases and sentences according to
the patterns (a) and (b) given above?
Peter was with us.
Another sandwich.
Tell her not to come.
Thirty of them left.
Hes absent minded.
A pound of apples.
This mornings paper.
What about a drink?
I dont believe you.
Its time for supper.
Dont be such a fool.
She couldnt help it.
Write your answers in the columns (a) and (b) below, and
then check your answers against the suggestions given at the end
of the unit.
a)

importance
of rhythm

b)
.
.
.
.
.
.
..

For Romanian pupils, a good command of English rhythm is


imperative. If they succeed in following closely the rhythmic patterns,
an accent on certain features of intonation will not hinder the
intelligibility of their speech. Correct production of rhythmic patterns
requires a prior teaching of the recognition of the patterns through
adequate ear training. Remember that a pupil who is unable to
perceive a phonetic aspect will also be unable to reproduce it in the
spoken form, and do not neglect to teach aural discrimination of
rhythmic patterns.

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Intonation
It is sometimes said that the best techniques for teaching
intonation are exaggeration and exhortation. This means that it is
always useful to simplify ones teaching of intonation and to put a lot
of encouragement into the models you give the pupils to repeat. It is
also useful to ask them to repeat what you have said or what they
heard on the tape, with as much enthusiasm as they can gather.
Here are a few more techniques:

Recognition and discrimination

a) Rise or fall?
Provide the pupils with cards of two different colours, or ask
them to raise their left or right hands, and say or play a series of
short utterances. The pupils must signal recognition by holding up
the appropriate hand or card, e.g. right hand for rise and left hand for
fall.
Do not forget to give your pupils a model of what you intend
them to do, before starting.
At higher levels, pupils can hear a continuous dialogue and
then describe the intonation on each line. They can even discuss
why it is so.
b) Isolated sentences said in different ways.
For such sentences, ask the pupils to determine context and
meaning.
c) Tone of voice
At low levels, pupils can recognise obvious attitudes (e.g.
happy, angry, bored, etc.); at higher levels, pupils can recognise
more subtle attitudes (e.g. annoyed, rude, sarcastic, bossy, etc.)

Back chaining
One way to help pupils use natural intonation is to practise
saying the sentence in sections, starting with the end of the sentence
and gradually working backwards to the beginning, e.g., living here /
been living here / have you been living here/ How long have you
been living here? This technique is known as back-chaining.
When you think that the pronunciation point has been
satisfactorily perceived, and your pupils can produce an acceptable
version, the practice stage follows: consolidating and establishing
the habits of good pronunciation through exercises that provide
repetition and reinforcement.

Intonation and meaning in context


After you set up a situational context, you can sing, hum or
whistle some lines of a dialogue (i.e. intonation only). Ask the pupils
to assess the meaning of each line. Then ask them to repeat the
singing, humming or whistling, building a kind of dialogue without
words, and then elicit the possible language of the dialogue. Follow
this by practice and acting out.

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Semi-controlled production
Pupils respond to cues, such as Try saying Thank you,
Pardon, Excuse me or Really? politely/rudely/impatiently, etc.

Free production
The real test of learning will take place during free oral
production. Most errors will go uncorrected, but gross errors will have
to be fixed. One solution is to encourage peer correction.
The teaching of intonation should be integrated into the
teaching of structures and functional language, and given equal
importance. Teach intonation through situation, and spotlight attitude
besides grammar and discourse. Use taped materials, especially
dialogues, as often as you can, for both receptive and productive
practice. Dont forget that attitude is best suggested by either attitude
cards or by your own facial expressions.
Use hand gestures to show stress and intonation. Use
intonation as a way of disguising revision of structure.

2.7. Correcting Pronunciation


On the whole, you give feedback on oral work through speech,
and on written work through writing. Although there are occasional
situations where the other way round is possible, these are
exceptions.
It is recommended to refrain from correcting mistakes during
fluency-oriented speech, and to correct mistakes during accuracyoriented exercises.
Correcting a pupil when this is in mid-speech would disturb and
discourage more than help. However, there are situations when
correction is likely to be helpful. For instance, when a pupil is
obviously uneasy or floundering, no correction or help can be
demoralising. In such situations, supportive intervention can help.
Conversely, even where the emphasis is on getting the
language right, you may not always correct. For example, in a
grammar exercise, if the pupil has contributed an interesting or
personal piece of information that does not use the target form, or
when s/he has got most of an item right, you may prefer not to draw
attention to a trivial mistake.
2.7.1. Techniques of Oral Correction
Oral corrections are usually provided directly by you. They may
also be elicited from the pupil who made the mistake in the first
place, or by another member of the class. Corrections may or may
not include a clarification of why the mistake was made, and may or
may not require a re-production of the acceptable form by the pupil.
Here are several techniques used in correcting oral mistakes, in
general. They can be used in correcting pronunciation, too:

You do not react at all.

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Teaching pronunciation

You indicate there is a mistake, but do not provide any further


information about what is wrong.
You say what is wrong and provide a model of the acceptable
version.

SAQ 10
Can you add any other techniques to this list?
Use the space provided below for your suggestions and then
have a look at the suggestions given at the end of the unit.

2.7.2. Tips for Correcting Pronunciation


Here are a few tips for you to remember when you correct
pronunciation:

You can correct pronunciation by writing the phonetic form on


the blackboard; this is a more learner-centred approach than if
you correct pronunciation orally, by giving a model.
The pupils may also be able to write the phonetic notation on
the board for correction purposes (some pupils respond with
enthusiasm to this type of activity).
A special area of the blackboard can be set aside for
pronunciation work.
Exercises on the blackboard are not rubbed off until the end of
the lesson.
A different colour chalk can be reserved for this end.

Summary
Although pronunciation is not always taught in an overt, explicit
way, many pupils seem to acquire an acceptable pronunciation in
school. However, this should not make us forget the benefits of
teaching pronunciation in our lessons. The teaching of pronunciation
makes the pupils aware of different sounds and sound features and
this will improve both their speaking and their listening skills.
Concentrating on pronunciation makes pupils aware of sounds,
stress, rhythm and intonation, and of various accents. All these give
pupils information about spoken English and help them achieve
better comprehension of the spoken language and intelligibility in
speaking.

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Key Concepts

sounds, stress and rhythm and intonation


native models and accents
international English
the functions of intonation
elision
assimilation
weakening
intrusion
catenation
minimal pairs
phonetic notation/alphabet
exhortation

Further Reading
1.
Bradford, Barbara, 1988, Intonation in Context, CUP
2.
Harmer, J., 2001, The Practice of English Language
Teaching, Longman, Chapter 2, pp. 28 33
3.
Haycraft, Brita, 1975, The Teaching of Pronunciation,
Longman

Answers to SAQs
Should your answer to SAQ 1 not be comparable to that
given below, please revise section 2.1 of the unit.
SAQ 1
Big pronunciation problems hardly arise when you teach young
children. These have a remarkable facility for acquiring strange
sounds. Unfortunately, this faculty for imitation is lost at puberty. If
the learning of English starts after this time, you will need to offer
more systematic instruction in pronunciation to your students.
Should your answer to SAQ 2 not be comparable to that
given below, please revise section 2.2 of the unit.
SAQ 2
In order to build in your pupils a general attitude of acceptance,
and to introduce them to the different manners of speaking English,
your teaching materials should be drawn from various English-using
communities.
Should your answer to SAQ 3 not be comparable to that
given below, please revise section 2.3 of the unit.
SAQ 3
This is a consequence of the fact that the pupils have little
control over a speakers stream of speech, whether they are listening
to you, a tape or a native speaker. Therefore, they need to be able to
decipher quickly and effectively what the sound stream amounts to in
terms of words and meanings.
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Teaching pronunciation
Should your answers to SAQs 4 and 5 not be comparable to
those given below, please revise section 2.5 of the unit.

SAQ 4
roast beef /rs bi:f/
I asked him /ai a:st im/
cold weather /kl e/
SAQ 5
[imput]
[hf t]
[ikm]
[i gri:s]
Should
comparable
the unit.

input
have to
income
in Greece
your answers to SAQs 6, 7, 8 and 9 not be
to those given below, please revise section 2.6 of

SAQ 6
Here is the correct order of the stages:
1.
to perceive the sounds as different;
2.
to identify which is which;
3.
to produce each of the two sounds.
SAQ 7

Here are some disadvantages of using the phonetic alphabet:


It may confuse.
It overloads young learners.
It poses questions of level.
It can be confusing because of the existence of different
alphabets/notations.

1.
2.
3.

a matter of fact statement


an emphatic statement
a question

SAQ 8

SAQ 9
a) Another sandwich. Hes absent minded. A pound of apples.
This mornings paper. I dont believe you. Its time for supper. She
couldnt help it.
b) Peter was with us. Tell her not to come. Thirty of them left.
What about a drink? Dont be such a fool.
Should your answer to SAQ 10 not be comparable to that
given below, please revise section 2.7 of the unit.
SAQ 10
Here are a few more oral correction techniques that can be
used in correcting pronunciation, too:

You indicate something was wrong, and elicit acceptable


version from the pupil who made the mistake.

You indicate something was wrong, and elicit an acceptable


version from another pupil.

You ask the pupil who made the mistake to reproduce the
correct version.

You provide or elicit an explanation of why the mistake was


made and how to avoid it.

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UNIT 3
TEACHING VOCABULARY

Unit Outline
Unit Objectives................................................................................................................. 50
3.1
Knowing a Word .................................................................................................. 50
3.2
The Importance of Vocabulary: Comprehension and Production......................... 53
3.2.1
Active and Passive Vocabulary............................................................... 53
3.2.2 Classroom Vocabulary ............................................................................ 55
3.2.3 How Much Vocabulary? .......................................................................... 56
3.3
Pedagogic Considerations ................................................................................... 56
3.3.1 Techniques in Teaching Vocabulary ....................................................... 59
Summary................................................................................................. 66
Key Concepts.......................................................................................... 67
Further Reading ...................................................................................... 67
Answers to SAQs .................................................................................... 67

For many people, the question What is vocabulary? has a


simple answer: Words. But which words? Are am, is, was,
had and of vocabulary items, or are they something else? On the
other hand, we may wish to say that such words as am, is, was,
had, etc. are part of our vocabulary in a general sense. What is a
word? Is put up with (tolerate) one word or three? It has three
parts, certainly, but only one meaning. Beat, on the other hand,
which has several meanings, is it one word or more?
One way of avoiding this dilemma is to refer to items of
vocabulary with a single meaning as lexical items, whether they
consist of one word or more. The term word can then be reserved
for a group of letters preceded and followed by a space.
Whatever linguistic distinctions we choose to make, however, it
is clear that our pupils need to know both lexical items and grammar
words in order to communicate in English.

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By the end of this unit, you should be able to:

unit objectives

explain what vocabulary is and what role it plays in the system


of a language and its culture;
explain how vocabulary itself is systematic;
set up, apply and monitor a variety of interactive classroom
tasks for developing vocabulary;
offer a theoretical justification for each of these tasks;
explain and illustrate using a dictionary and the phonemic
symbols;
integrate vocabulary activities with the development of one or
more of the four skills;
have reconsidered and improved your own repertoire of skills in
the area of language teaching;
assess the learning outcomes of classroom vocabulary
activities;
have some ideas for developing pupil autonomy in vocabulary
learning.

3.1. Knowing a Word


Think first!
Before you read on, think of what you understand by knowing
a word? When you say you know a word in English, what do you
mean? Write your answer (no more than 50 words) in the space
below.

You will find some suggestions in the following section.


To know a word is to know much more than just its stress,
spelling and most commonly accepted meaning. It is to know its
grammar: is it a verb? an adjective? a noun? Is it followed by a
gerund, an infinitive or a clause? What is its range of meaning (e.g.
head of a school, head of a bed)? its diversity of meaning (e.g. light
weight; light literature, light food)? its collocations and its
connotations (e.g. dustman vs. refuse collector; chairman vs.
chairperson; trendy vs. fashionable)?
Harmer (1991: 158) suggests that, in order to know a
vocabulary item, we must be aware of its:

50

meaning: many words have more than one meaning. For the
noun face, for instance, Longman Dictionary of Contemporary
English lists fourteen meanings.

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Teaching vocabulary

use: a word may carry information about register or style. Both


Good morning and Hi are greetings, but they indicate
different levels of formality. A words meaning can also be
extended in metaphor and idiom*.
formation: words change shape according to the affixes
attached to them, and also according to their function, e.g.: lie,
liar, lying, lied.
grammar: nouns may be countable, uncountable; adjectives
and adverbs may have degrees of comparison, etc.

In addition to all this, as Penny Ur suggests (1996: 61, ff), we


need to know what a lexical item sounds like and what it looks like:
that is its pronunciation and spelling. We also need to be aware of its
denotation*, connotation* and collocations*.
Denotation and connotation both reflect the meaning of an item.
However, while denotation refers to the usual dictionary definition,
connotation is concerned with socio-cultural factors, with the feelings
associated with the item. For example, thin and slim have roughly
the same denotative meaning: they are the opposite of fat. But
when used to describe people, slim has favourable connotations
while thin is unflattering. Learners need to appreciate this kind of
differences.
To conclude, to know a word is to be able to use it accurately in
all its possible usages.
Think first!
Think of two other pairs of words, like thin/slim in which the
denotative meanings are the same but the connotations are
different.
Does the same apply to their Romanian equivalents?
Write your answer in the space provided below. Take it to the
next tutorial and discuss it with your classmates and tutor.

Many of us advise our pupils to write new words in special


vocabulary notebooks. However, these are of little practical use
unless some indication is given of how the new lexical item is used.
Words do not have meaning in isolation. If we see the single word
beat, for instance, we have no way of knowing whether it is a noun
meaning rhythm, an area for which a policeman is responsible, or a
verb meaning defeat. Similarly, round may refer to the shape of
something, but it is also another name for a bullet, a type of song and
a number of drinks. Words take their meaning from the context in
which they occur. It therefore makes sense to teach new vocabulary
as part of a sentence or utterance that makes the meaning clear.
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Coming to know a word is to absorb all the elements of its


usage over time. In other words, during the first few encounters with
a word the pupils will acquire a rough idea of what it means and the
way it is used. This rough idea will become more accurate with each
new encounter of the word in context.
words (not only
people), are
known by the
company they
keep

Certain words tend to go together. We make coffee, we make


the beds, but we do the dishes and the shopping. We speak of
sweet and sour taste, but the opposite of sweet wine is dry
wine. We say that wine collocates with dry, that coffee
collocates with make and that the shopping collocates with do.
Pupils therefore need to learn not only new items of vocabulary but
also the words and phrases that collocate with these items. The
collocations of a word are the combinations that it regularly makes
with other words.
There is a fundamental difference between the native speakers
process and the foreign language learners process of learning
vocabulary. This is to do with the semantic networks that each of
them carries in his/her mind. To the native speaker, a new word is
simply a new way of referring to something in an already very familiar
cultural setting. To our pupil, a new word in English is a way of
referring to something in an unfamiliar cultural setting. So the pupil
tends to incorporate the meaning of the new word into his/her own
familiar cultural and semantic system.
The meanings, both semantic and cultural, of the forms of a
new language are most readily and precisely learned in the milieu
where the language is spoken. Failing this, we need to surround the
learner in the classroom with as much authentic speech, writing,
aspects of the cultural environment, and contacts with native
speakers as possible. Why? Because a language can only be truly
and thoroughly absorbed in conjunction with its culture.

SAQ 1
To what extent can you aim at accuracy in the use of
vocabulary in the classroom? Give your answer in the space
provided below (approx. 50 words)

Compare your answer to the one given at the end of the unit.
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3.2. The Importance of Vocabulary: Comprehension and


Production
How important is vocabulary to the pupil? Scrivener (1994: 73)
claims that, as a means of communication, vocabulary is much more
powerful than grammar. Without a substantial stock of vocabulary
items the pupil will be unable to communicate much at all.
Here are some points about teaching vocabulary, on which
theoreticians are in general agreement:
1.
2.

3.

4.
5.

Like grammar, vocabulary can provide an effective vehicle for


conveying meaning.
Vocabulary for recognition purposes (i.e. passive vocabulary) is
acquired in significantly greater quantities than vocabulary for
productive purposes (i.e. active vocabulary). This is true for
native speakers and foreign language learners alike.
The vocabulary of a language reflects the semantic systems of
conceptual meaning that have developed within the culture and
history of that language. The semantic systems of English and
Romanian will therefore be different. The amount of difference
between two languages depends on the degree of divergence
between the two cultures. For instance, the semantic systems
of Chinese and English will differ far more from those of English
and Romanian.
Vocabulary in the mother tongue is acquired unconsciously and
via active interaction with adults and other children.
Vocabulary is stored in the memory in different ways by
different learners. Learners own strategies for vocabulary
acquisition should be encouraged and developed so that they
can continue to acquire vocabulary independently of the
teacher and the classroom.

Even native speakers can rarely say that they know the
meaning of a word, because there is often a new use of a new
collocation to learn.
3.2.1. Active and Passive Vocabulary
Whatever methods are employed, we need to think in terms of
active and passive vocabulary. Active vocabulary is made up of
those words the pupils will be expected to use, to produce, and
passive vocabulary of those words they will merely have to
recognise/comprehend when they hear them or see them in print.
The distinction between active and passive vocabulary assigns
priority to comprehension. Comprehension should precede
production. The object of a vocabulary lesson is to enhance the
different strategies for comprehension and production. Thus, when
considering active and passive vocabulary, three principles are
important to bear in mind:
(i)

You need to teach any lexical item either for active production
or passive recognition.

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Teaching vocabulary

(ii)
(iii)

The memory processes involved in assimilating passive


vocabulary are less demanding than those involved in
assimilating active vocabulary.
Pupils can easily learn passive vocabulary independently of
both you and the classroom.

As active vocabulary, you may look for high frequency words,


and words with wide coverage. Such a high-frequency and widecoverage word is for example get. English native-speaker primary
school children are discouraged by their teachers from using get
because they tend to use it too frequently: "I got up"," I got washed",
"I got dressed", "I got ready", "I got to the bus stop", "I got punished",
"I got ill", etc. This simply shows what a very useful word get is,
particularly for pupils in the early stages or where ability to
communicate is seen as a highly motivating factor.
However, as Harmer (1991: 159) warns, the distinction between
active and passive vocabulary is not always clear cut, particularly at
intermediate levels and above. A word that has been active through
constant use may slip back into the passive store if it is not used
anymore. On the other hand, a word that pupils may have in their
passive store may become active if the situation or context provokes
its use.
Consequently, you need to spend more time on active
vocabulary, with examples and questions, but also to present passive
vocabulary briefly and allow pupils to guess the meaning from
context where possible. Not all pupils will start guessing
automatically, so you may need to invest a little time in training this
skill as well.
Vocabulary is only learnt if it is understood. Nothing can be
learnt unless it can be incorporated into an existing mental picture of
the way things are, a sort of framework of perceptions and
associations. Pupils therefore need careful guidance about the
meaning of lexical items, and about their grammatical use, before
they can place them in their internal networks of meaning.
A problem, however, may be one of interference from concepts
in Romanian and English that seem to have associations with the
target item. This is unavoidable, and has to be countered with clear
examples of how the English word is used (or not used) in that
context and in comparison with other words.
The vocabulary that pupils encounter will only be assimilated if
it has relevance to the messages they want to understand or to the
messages they want to convey. Only those lexical items are learnt
that are perceived as having personal significance for the pupil.
Personal significance can take many forms, e.g. I need it to
understand this text, I need it to understand a letter from my
English pen-friend, I need it to understand the instructions in my
grammar book, etc.

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SAQ 2
In your own words, try to formulate the classroom
implications of these views of vocabulary. Think of what is taught
versus what is learnt, of the pupils motivation for learning
vocabulary, and of the strategies you may want to use in teaching
vocabulary. Write your answer (about 100 words) in the space
provided below. Then compare it to the suggestions given at the
end of the unit.

3.2.2. Classroom Vocabulary


It is not always easy to decide which lexical items should be
part of the active vocabulary. However, it is fairly clear that classroom
vocabulary is a high priority. By this we do not simply mean the
names of classroom furniture, although it is obviously important for
the pupils to know and use desk, board, wall, picture, book,
chalk as well as write, read, draw. Classroom vocabulary
includes the key words we use in instructions to the learners. Here
are some of the more common ones:
true/false
get into pairs/groups
tick/cross
grid/chart/map/form
regular/irregular
fill in/cross out/leave out/underline
gaps/blanks
top/middle/bottom
offer/accept/refuse/invite
instructions/description/suggestion/opinion
Think first!
Think of other words and phrases that you use frequently in
the classroom and which might be called classroom vocabulary.
Write them in the space provided below, and take them to the next
tutorial to discuss them with your classmates and your tutor.

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3.2.3. How Much Vocabulary?


Think first!
How much new vocabulary do you think is appropriate for a
one-hour lesson in a lower secondary school? Is this more, less, or
the same as the textbook you are using expects? Does this apply
to all vocabulary, or are some items more difficult to learn than
others? If so, which and why?
Write your answers in the space provided below and take
them with you to the next tutorial to discuss them with your
classmates and your tutor.

Opinions vary on the amount of new vocabulary that pupils can


be expected to absorb. Suggestions range from five to twelve new
items in a one-hour lesson. Many teachers might feel that a number
between five and eight would be more reasonable. A great deal
depends on the aims of the lesson, the pupils level of ability,
motivation, aptitude and so on. Nor can we expect that the pupils will
remember all the vocabulary they are taught. In fact, they will not
remember very much of it at all unless the items are recycled* in later
lessons.

3.3. Pedagogic Considerations


Your decisions about what to teach will be affected by
considerations referring to the pupils, the resources and the
linguistic components, but also by pedagogic ones, that is by the
factors that affect how you teach, and which choice you will make.
These considerations are:

teachability/learnability
You will teach according to the level of your pupils, and to how
easy is an item to put over. Even at low levels, you can teach:
i)
ii)

56

international words (e.g. taxi, television, hotel, cinema,


weekend)
cognates, that is words which are similar in both form and
meaning in the two languages (e.g. the names of many school
subjects like chemistry, geography, biology, mathematics, etc.,
or verbs such as obtain, admire, insult, form, etc.). These are
obviously very easy to learn.

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Think first!
Can you think of any other words of Romanian which are
similar to English words in both form and meaning (cognates), and
of any others which are false friends (similar in form, but not in
meaning)?
Give three examples of each category in the space provided
below. Take them to the next tutorial and discuss them with your
tutor and classmates.

extendability
Some words allow the use of prefixes and suffixes; others enter
various combinations or include the meaning of other words (their
hyponyms):

i)
ii)
iii)

word families: photo -graph, -graphy, -graphic, -grapher.


combinable items: hand bag, home work, guitar string
cover words: (at early levels): seat for chair/stool/sofa/bench,
nice with people/weather/events, house for house/flat/home/
building, etc.

concrete vs. abstract


Those words that show concrete entities will be taught before
the more subtle or abstract words, e.g.:
i)
ii)
iii)

beautiful before responsible


cant stand before not keen on
Could you?/Yes of course before Would you mind ing?/Not at
all.

amount (learning load)


A rough guide according to level, mood and motivation of the
learners is:

maximum 6 for beginners

maximum 9 - 10 for intermediate

for advanced students, it is up to the students themselves.


Difficulty of concept and pronunciation, etc. will also be factors
to consider.

active production/passive recognition


This is a crucial decision which affects your entire approach.
Are the pupils to learn it in order to recognise it or in order to produce
it?

If only to recognise, concentrate on pronunciation,


spelling, context and meaning.
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vocabulary
acquisition vs.
vocabulary
learning

If to produce, concentrate on pronunciation, spelling,


context, meaning and practice.
Writers distinguish between the acquisition and the learning of
vocabulary. Vocabulary can be acquired or picked up, through
exposure to authentic samples of the target language. It may also be
consciously learned, and this process may depend to a great extent
on your presentation and learner techniques. Memory is aided if the
pupil is encouraged to make as many cues or memory triggers as
possible when committing the vocabulary item to memory. These
cues can take the form of:

a visual reminder such as a picture or diagram (the use of


colour can be very effective);
the sound and rhythm of the word (this is why repetition practice
is helpful);
the inclusion of the item in a sentence which is bizarre and/or
personal;
a translation of the item in Romanian.

Most importantly, the association of one item with another item


aids memory.
Pupils will remember best those lexical items in which they have
an interest, or which they can associate with other words, objects,
colours and so on.
One obvious way of adding to ones vocabulary store is to
search for words in English which are similar to ones in Romanian.
Pupils should be encouraged to do this, but they should also be
warned to watch out for false friends, that is, words which look or
sound similar but which have rather different meanings and uses. For
example, the English library does not mean the same as the
Romanian word librrie.
SAQ 3
Match the following false friends with their Romanian equivalents.
A few Romanian words have no English equivalents in this list!
1. accommodation
2. argument
3. (to) assist
4. commodity
5. conservatory
6. industry
7. interest
8. (to) resume
9. spectacles
10. sympathy
11. vacancy

a. comptimire
b. gol, vid; loc liber; rgaz
c. a relua, a rencepe
d. spectacol
e. ochelari
f. vacan
g. marf, produs
h. cazare, gzduire
i. hrnicie
j. comoditate
k. a ajuta
l. discuie, controvers
m. dobnd
n. ser

Check your answers with those given at the end of the unit.
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3.3.1. Techniques in Teaching Vocabulary


The current concern in teaching vocabulary is to offer a cocktail
of techniques. Several writers suggest various mnemonics* to aid the
memory process. Others advocate grouping lexical items into various
categories, associating items with pictures, colours or events, and so
on.
Various textbooks provide activity questions encouraging pupils
to look at the way words share affixes*, how they are arranged in
lexical sets or word families, and in phrases. Pupils play with words
to increase their language awareness by experimenting with
homophones*, homonyms*, idiom and imagery, collocations and
cultural cues.
Other textbooks offer activities requiring pupils to predict which
words they are likely to find in a specified text, or to draw their own
pictures as frames for learning and remembering new words. Yet
others use pictures to stimulate vocabulary acquisition. (One such
activity requires the pupils, in groups, to study six pictures of single
items and create a narrative which will include all these items. The
stories are then read out to other groups who have to guess what the
six pictures were).
Most textbook writers try in one way or another to make
vocabulary learning an interactive process, using pair, group or
teamwork, competitions and games.
Recent approaches to teaching vocabulary do not totally reject
rote learning*. This is generally accepted as a valid method of
dealing with new lexical items. But it is only one method, and like any
other method, not suitable for all learners at all times.
Penny Ur (1996: 65 67) shows that lexical items are learnt
more easily if:

they have clear, easily comprehensible meanings;


they can be linked to other items though meaning or sound
association;
they are taught and reviewed for brief periods in several
different parts of the lesson;
they have personal or emotive significance.
There are four approaches to the teaching of vocabulary:

1.
2.

3.
4.

In lexical groups / sets / fields;


Pre-teaching: before presentation of structure;
before elicited dialogues or narratives;
before reading or listening activities;
before discussion, games or role-play activities;
As it crops up (e.g. from a listening or reading text, or during a
discussion);
Through students own mini-research (from dictionaries, texts,
projects, etc.).

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Presenting new vocabulary. How do you present new


vocabulary items in class? Various techniques are available. These
include:

definition: a simplified version of a dictionary entry


illustration: a picture or a blackboard drawing
context: using the item in a sentence
mime: acting the meaning
synonym: using a word or phrase with roughly the same
meaning
antonym: using a word or phrase with roughly the opposite
meaning
superordinate: using a more general category, of which the
new item is a member / hyponym (e.g. chair, table, stool,
wardrobe, sofa are all hyponyms of the category furniture.
Furniture is the superordinate term.
translation: often the simplest way to present a new item is to
translate it.

Which techniques you choose will depend upon circumstances


and type of item being introduced. Concrete items are often best
introduced through pictures or translation. Asking the pupils to
suggest synonyms and antonyms is a way of extending vocabulary
by considering various shades of meaning and of expanding the
range of the pupils command of English.
Teaching vocabulary using sets. The view that vocabulary is
in some way systematic has been partly responsible for the idea of
teaching vocabulary in lexical sets where this is possible and
appropriate.
Think First!
Think of three different ways in which new words can be
grouped for learning purposes, and write your suggestions in the
space provided below. Look for more ideas as you are reading this
section.

You may use sets such as:

60

types of transport
English money
rooms in a house
professions
services
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weather, etc.

or other sets such as:

degrees of fear (e.g. anxious / petrified)


ways of walking (e.g. stagger, tiptoe)
degrees of raining (e.g. drizzling / bucketing down)
opposites in food description (e.g. disgusting vs. delicious;
savoury vs. sweet), etc.
personal characteristics concerning people (e.g. sociable)

There are, however, areas of vocabulary where it might not be


appropriate to teach in sets:
1.
2.
3.

4.

Where a word has multiple meaning, you would want not to


teach all the meanings of that word at the same time.
Collocations are by nature one-offs.
Connotation: for instance, youths is used to mean something
different from young people; and slim is used to mean
something different from skinny. The connotational meaning of
words can be taught in contrasting pairs, but other than this
they are not systematically teachable.
Idioms. These are more likely to occur in informal language
than in formal language. Idiomatic language includes such
commonly used phrases as as well (e.g. He took out an
insurance policy as well) and such uncommonly used phrases
as between the devil and the deep blue sea. Clearly, we cannot
teach idiomatic language systematically; what we must do,
however, is systematically select what aspects of it are worth
teaching to our pupils.

To summarise, the knowledge that lexis does (to a certain


extent) have a system should help you to make decisions about how
to select and organise vocabulary for teaching purposes.
The basic principle of lexical meaning is that: the meaning of a
word is in its use and in its relationship with other words, so, when
teaching vocabulary, contexts are better than definitions and network
diagrams of lexical relationships are useful too.
Pupils own vocabulary extension. As the emphasis on
learner independence deepens, you may also think of the amount of
time and number of activities that you spend on learner training in
class, aimed at helping your pupils to develop autonomy in
vocabulary learning. The skills concerned, once acquired, will enable
your pupils to become independent learners of vocabulary outside
the classroom. There are a number of ways of fostering learner
independence in the area of vocabulary:

Brainstorming*
A useful technique is getting pupils into the habit of
brainstorming around a topic area that is being focussed on. This
helps them to reactivate known vocabulary and also warm them for
a particular topic. In class, for example, ask your pupils in groups to
note down every item of vocabulary that relates to, say, bedroom.
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Teaching vocabulary

This can work particularly well at later levels and can be made
competitive.
The visual element in brainstorming can reinforce learning. The
pupils may be given a key word and asked to put it in a box in the
middle of a piece of paper. They then think of all the associated
words they can. Each of these branches off on a line drawn out from
the key word and is written in its own circle. Each word may itself
become a minor key word with branches going off it.
If you give them the word bedroom, for example, ask them to
think first of the large items in a bedroom, then of the small ones, and
finally of the things that surround them.
SAQ 4
If you were asked to draw the network of associated words
for bedroom, what words would you contribute, and how would you
organize them? Draw your meaning network for the word bedroom
in the space provided below and then look at the suggestion made
at the end of the unit.

The point of the exercise is that the pupils are creating their
own word associations, and the information collected is visually
striking and thus the word associations are likely to be remembered
more easily.
Out of class, they may mentally run through or note down any
words they can think of related to, for example, the topic of a film
they are about to watch on TV, or of an article they are going to read
for homework. It can be done in preparation for a task (e.g. writing
about a particular topic; explaining areas of interest or hobbies, etc.)

Pupils find words in the text which mean


This activity can be done in pairs or groups. Deducing meaning
from context is a skill which needs to be practised in class, with
emphasis on the contextual clues that can help your pupils deduce
meaning (e.g. part of speech, synonyms elsewhere in the text and
so on). This is a fairly standard activity in many textbooks nowadays.

Dictionary work
Pupils must be trained in this and there are a number of
exercises in many textbooks. Once the pupils have acquired this skill,
dictionaries can lend themselves to a number of useful classroom
activities:
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SAQ 5
Can you remember any classroom activity that involves the
use of the dictionary? Write your answers (no more than 50 words)
in the space provided below. Then check them against the
suggestions given at the end of the unit.

A lot has been said about the use of dictionaries. While all EFL
teachers will agree that a dictionary, properly used, is a valuable tool
for the language learner, it is also recognised that there are potential
problems. Sensible use of a good dictionary can lead to learner
autonomy; that is, the learner will be able to continue learning outside
the classroom. Over-reliance on the dictionary, on the other hand,
can slow down the learning process. The meanings of many words
can be guessed from the context in which they occur, and if pupils
automatically reach for the dictionary every time they come across a
new word, they are denying themselves genuine learning
opportunities.
Dictionary work is helped if pupils are familiar with the names of
the parts of speech and their dictionary abbreviations, as this allows
them to become immediately familiar with the new words function in
an utterance.
The dictionaries themselves vary in their value to the learner. At
one end of the scale are the small bilingual dictionaries which provide
one-word Romanian equivalents. As the meaning of a word tends to
change according to the context in which it is used, the chances of
getting the wrong meaning with this type of dictionary are fairly high.
At the other end of the scale, we find dictionaries where the definition
of the word is written in language too complex for the pupil to
understand. It is probably better to choose a dictionary specially
produced for pupils, which recognises this problem and tries to
simplify its definitions. In this type of dictionary, definitions are not
reduced to note form: they usually consist of a full sentence showing
how a lexical item is used in a particular situation or for a particular
purpose.
By facilitating the pupils use of dictionaries and other skills
concerning vocabulary, you are helping them become more
independent and more in control of their own learning outside the
classroom.

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Use of the phonetic script


Another element that most EnglishEnglish and English
Romanian dictionaries offer is the phonetic script/transcription of
the words. You may think that asking your pupils to learn the
International Phonetics Association (IPA) symbols is asking too
much. As with any aspect of language teaching, there are arguments
both for and against this point of view. Here are the reasons why
some attempt to introduce the IPA system should be made:

If knowing a word means, among other things, knowing how to


pronounce it acceptably, then the ability to transcribe it in
phonemic symbols is obviously a valuable teaching/learning
aid. The phonemic transcription avoids the perils of English
spelling, as here one symbol equals one sound.
Although a symbol chart looks rather frightening at first glance,
it is really quite easy to learn the phonemes of English. There
are only 44 of them, and half of these are the normal English
letters, with others very close.
Knowledge of the IPA symbols is extremely helpful to dictionary
work. Problems with awkward words such as cough and bough
disappear if the learner can discover in a dictionary that cough
is pronounced /kf/ and bough /bau/.

It is worth mentioning that, if the phonetic script is taught


imaginatively, pupils enjoy it. Many see it as a secret code they can
use for their messages and become quite proud of their skill once
they have learnt the symbols.
An ability with the phonetic script helps to give you and your
pupils a knowledge of what happens generally to sounds as they
move from their decontextualised form to their contextualised form.
This knowledge will help you to appreciate the difficulties your pupils
face, especially in listening. This will benefit the preparation of your
lessons and the anticipation of the difficulties that your pupils are up
against. Teaching and practising the phonetic script with pupils will
also facilitate knowledge of the most obvious phonetic differences
between Romanian and English, which will help you in anticipating
and dealing with errors (both reception errors and production errors)
in the classroom.

Awareness of the role played by prefixes and suffixes


This can help your pupils to expand their vocabulary store. You
can ask pupils, in groups, to think of as many words as they can
which end in ship but have nothing to do with water, and then write
sentences showing how each word is used. A group scores one point
for each word none of the other groups has thought of, plus one point
for each word used correctly in a sentence.

Use of games
Puzzles always entertain, and word puzzles develop vocabulary
at the same time. Tell your pupils you are going to get from sick to
well by changing one letter at a time so that each new formation is
an acceptable word. Demonstrate as follows: sick silk sill
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sell well. Then ask the pupils in pairs to get from cold to
warm in the same way (cold cord word worm warm).
Ask your pupils to find hidden words in a text. For example, ask
them to find six capital cities in the following text. The answers are
highlighted here for easy reference, but would not be in the pupils
text, of course.
I needed to call on Donald last week and found the trip a risky
one. I went on my horse and had a mad ride along the street
charging at hens and cocks, boys and girls. Go slowly, I shouted.
Was I brave? A hero? Me? Never.
Young learners also enjoy taking words to pieces and making
new words out of the letters. This is an activity which is simple to
prepare and mark, can be made into a competition, and provides an
opportunity for them to experiment and be creative with language in
group interaction. The word tempo, for example, yields met, pot,
toe, mop, mope mote, me, pet, top and poem.
These are just a few ideas for developing vocabulary. Many
others can be found in methodology books and textbooks. What you
need to do is to develop a clear programme for the systematic
development of your pupils vocabulary, as vocabulary acquisition is
much too important to be left to chance.
Bear in mind, however, that vocabulary should be taught:

regularly
in balance with all the other aims of your syllabus
whenever the pupils express a desire to know.
It is your job to establish priorities and make choices.

Learning vocabulary from context*. Vocabulary teaching


cannot account for all the words our pupils actually learn. Some
authors hypothesized that successful learners use a guessing
approach: as readers or listeners, they look for clues in the text and
build a mental representation of what they think the text says. This
has been called the top-down model of reading and listening. In
contrast to this approach, the more traditional approaches view
reading and listening as decoding of letters into sounds and
ultimately meaning (the bottom-up approach). More recent theories
claim that both approaches are important.
Typically, our pupils are poor decoders (readers and listeners)
since their vocabulary is poor. At the same time, they are already
literate in Romanian, and are familiar with top-down processing.
When a pupils vocabulary is poor, s/he needs to make big efforts to
recognize vocabulary. Short-term memory is so taxed that s/he
cannot take full advantage of the context. However, a good reader or
listener, who has sufficient command of the language, recognizes
words automatically in isolation or in context.
But the pupil also has background information of the subject
matter of a given text the general context. Good readers and
listeners take advantage of such background knowledge in
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processing the text, and in creating expectations about the kind of


vocabulary that will occur.
The context offers clues to the meaning of an unknown word.
(Is the word a verb? A noun? An adjective? Does it refer to a being?
A thing? A concept? etc.) The same unknown word may occur a
number of times in the text, and the variety of contexts in which it
occurs, the importance of the word to understanding the text all
these contribute to facilitating or hindering the use of these clues.
Those pupils who are able to follow the general ideas in a text
(based on their sufficient command of vocabulary, grammar and
reading/listening skills), and who bring relevant background
knowledge to the text, can use a specific strategy to ensure that they
are making good use of the available context clues. The strategy
consists of five steps.
SAQ 6
Can you arrange the steps of this strategy from the first to the
last? Use numbers from 1 5 to arrange the steps in an order that
makes sense to you:
( ) guessing the meaning of the unknown word
( ) checking that the guess is correct
( ) looking at the relationship between the clause containing
the unknown word and surrounding clauses and sentences
( ) finding the part of speech of the unknown word
( ) looking at the immediate context of the unknown word and
simplifying this context if necessary
Check your order against the one given in the Answers
section at the end of the unit.
The aim of such a guessing strategy is to make pupils aware of
the range of information available from context so that after practice
they have no need to keep to any rigid guessing procedure.

Summary
This unit explores aspects of the lexicon and vocabulary
teaching within the framework of the communicative approach to
language pedagogy. It does not claim to say all there is to say about
vocabulary or vocabulary teaching. In spite of the long history that
vocabulary teaching has, applied linguists and language teachers are
paying now renewed attention to it after decades of relative neglect.
There is still much work to be done and many perspectives to be
considered and tried in the classroom. In this unit, we looked at the
difference between active and passive vocabulary and at the
pedagogic considerations that you need to take into account when
dealing with vocabulary. We described many techniques for the
teaching of vocabulary, discussing their advantages and
disadvantages, including both new and old activities.
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In more traditional textbooks, new vocabulary appears as


columns of words to be learned, with the Romanian translation
provided. Often there is no general pattern to the words: it is simply a
matter of rote learning. This does not mean that rote learning is to be
condemned. For many pupils it is a valuable learning tool. We do
however need to be aware of its limitations and introduce a variety of
techniques in our teaching.

Key Concepts

comprehension vs. production


active vs. passive vocabulary
cognates
vocabulary acquisition vs. learning
vocabulary sets
learning from context

Further Reading
1.
Carter, R. and McCarthy M., 1988, Vocabulary and
Language Teaching, Longman, pp. 39-60, 62-83, 97-111, 181-201
2.
Ur, P., 1996, A Course in Language Teaching, CUP, pp.
60-69

Answers to SAQs
Should your answer to SAQ 1 not be comparable to that
given below, please revise section 3.1 of the unit.
SAQ 1
In the English classroom, both you and your pupils are not
always aiming at accurate knowledge. In fact, most of the time,
approximate usage of vocabulary by pupils is all that is necessary
for communication to take place. However, this is not to play down
the usefulness to pupils of information about the grammar, the
context, the meaning and the collocation of a word, or about its
place in a group of related words.
Should your answer to SAQ 2 not be comparable to that
given below, please revise section 3.2 of the unit.
SAQ 2
The implications of these views of vocabulary acquisition are
that:
1)
2)
3)

Vocabulary cannot be taught, it can only be learnt.


You should develop in your pupils, an excitement in words and
a motivation to find words and to express ones personal
meanings.
You should encourage strategies for seeking out and
understanding words, (such as guess-work from context,
dictionary-work, memorised word-lists, and asking people),
because they promote the formation of the pupils own
associative network.

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4)

Your grouping of words for teaching reasons (e.g. opposites,


hyponyms) can be of great assistance to pupils because it
provides at least one association between the words which
might be useful as a starting point.

Should your answer to SAQ 3 not be comparable to that


given below, please revise section 3.3 of the unit.
SAQ 3
Here are a few words which can act as false friends, together
with some of their Romanian equivalents:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.

=
=
=
=
=
=
=
=
=
=
=

h: accommodation
l: argument
k: assist (to)
g: commodity
n: conservatory
i: industry
m: interest
c: resume (to)
e: spectacles
a: sympathy
b: vacancy

=
=
=
=
=
=
=
=
=
=
=

cazare, gzduire
discuie, controvers
a ajuta
marf, produs
ser
hrnicie
dobnd
a relua, a rencepe
ochelari
comptimire
gol, vid; loc liber; rgaz

Should your answers to SAQs 4, 5 and 6 not be comparable


to those given below, please revise section 3.3.1 of the unit.
SAQ 4
Here is suggested meaning network for the word bedroom:
mattress

pillows
blankets

bed
bedside table
sheets
lamp

alarm clock

bedroom
wardrobe

dressing table

SAQ 5
Here are a few ideas for activities involving dictionary work:

68

Pupils look up new words from a text and they teach them to
each other (this can be done in groups, each group having a
different text or a different selection of vocabulary in the same
text). You need to be vigilant here that the appropriate meaning
and other features are being taught!
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Pupils decide on the part of speech or pronunciation or stress of


new words, then check for themselves in the dictionary.
Pupils deduce meaning from context and check their answers
against the dictionary.

SAQ 6
Here is the order of steps recommended by this strategy:
1.
finding the part of speech of the unknown word;
2.
looking at the immediate context of the unknown word and
simplifying this context if necessary
3.
looking at the relationship between the clause containing the
unknown word and surrounding clauses and sentences;
4.
guessing the meaning of the unknown word;
5.
checking that the guess is correct.

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UNIT 4
LINGUISTIC AND COMMUNICATIVE MEANING,
AND THE TEACHING OF GRAMMAR
Unit Outline
Unit Objectives .................................................................................................................71
4.1
Communication, Meaning and Interference..........................................................71
4.2
Linguistic and Communicative Meaning ...............................................................72
4.2.1 Linguistic Meaning ..................................................................................75
4.2.2 Communicative Meaning .........................................................................76
4.2.3 Teaching Meaning ...................................................................................77
4.3
Teaching Grammar...............................................................................................80
4.3.1 How Much Grammar? ............................................................................81
4.3.2 Presenting Grammar ...............................................................................82
4.3.3 Tips for Reinforcing Grammar Understanding During Presentation.........84
4.3.4 Types of Grammar Practice Activities......................................................88
4.3.5 Less Formal Grammar Practice Activities................................................91
4.3.6 Personalising Grammar Activities............................................................92
4.4
Correction of Grammar Mistakes..........................................................................93
Summary .................................................................................................95
Key Concepts ..........................................................................................96
Further Reading.......................................................................................96
Answers to SAQs ....................................................................................97
As with other aspects of language teaching, the importance
given to the teaching of grammar depends on the teaching/learning
circumstances and the purpose of the course. Over the years, the
importance of teaching grammar has also depended on the changing
approaches and methods teachers used. After a period in which the
explicit teaching of grammar was avoided, the current view appears
to be that some grammar is necessary. Although the emphasis is still
on language as communication, it is recognised that a certain
amount of grammatical knowledge helps many learners to build a
basis for further progress. Grammar allows them to find patterns in
language which act as guidelines. Therefore, our task is to teach the
essentials of grammar, and provide opportunities for our pupils to use
it communicatively.
One of the key themes of the communicative approach to
language and language learning has been to take the focus off
language for its own sake, and transfer this focus to the purposes for
which we require the language, i.e. the communicative challenges we
face in everyday tasks and interaction. This is not to say that we
ignore grammar.
Grammar is essential because it is one of the systems on which
communication is based (the others being the pronunciation system,
the rules of lexis, and sociocultural rules including non-verbal
conventions). However, grammar is no longer taught for its own sake
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but because the deeper the knowledge of grammar the pupils have,
the more accurate and precise the communication is.
We no longer assume that teaching the linguistic system alone
is sufficient, or trust that knowledge of it will automatically transfer to
meeting the communicative challenges. We endeavour via our
teaching to give pupils relevant language for their needs, and to give
them practice in using the linguistic systems for communicative
purposes.
In this unit, we will explore communicative and linguistic
meaning, and the teaching of grammar. By the end of the unit you
will be able to:
unit objectives

explain why an utterance means what it means;


say how meaning can be categorized;
explain how you can make the learning of grammar
manageable for your learners;
set up, apply and monitor a variety of interactive classroom
tasks for developing grammar;
offer a theoretical justification for each of these tasks;
assess the learning outcomes of classroom grammar activities.

4.1. Communication, Meaning and Interference


We use language to mean something with it. When a speaker
says something, s/he intends the hearer to understand her/him.
When the hearer hears the utterance, s/he sets about interpreting it,
and the continuation of the process constitutes a conversation/a
communication event/a speech event.
intended meaning
is it expressed adequately?
interpreted meaning
is it interpreted correctly?
When the intended meaning is not interpreted correctly or when
it is not expressed adequately we say that there is interference. If
two speakers misunderstand each other, they tend to rectify the
situation by a so-called repair sequence, e.g.:
A: No, hang on a minute. Im talking about this week, not next
week.
B: Oh, I see. That'll be fine then.
If, however, the communication interference occurs between
speakers of different languages, the reasons for this interference
may be diverse, and of a different nature.
English native speakers can usually tolerate a high degree of
inaccuracy of sounds and grammar. This is because many
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inaccurate sounds or structures, when surrounded by accurate


sounds or structures, are intelligible, as they can be inferred from
context. The crucial criterion of successful communication in English
is then intelligibility*. Intelligibility in communication depends on a
few criteria:
factors that
interfere with
communication

the subtlety or complexity of the message that the speaker


wants to put across;

the extent to which the listener understands the speakers


language difficulties both in production and in reception;

the tolerance of the listener to the speaker and/or the speakers


culture and language.
Interference can affect both native speakers and foreigners,
both their production and their interpretation of the message. This is
not to say, however, that every such conversation is loaded with
miscommunication. The criteria outlined above apply only to specific
instances. These aspects of (mis)communication raise a number of
theoretical questions, of which the most important is What does
effective communication depend on?
This question has practical implications for us: we need to think
of what level of subtlety or sophistication our pupils need to achieve
in their mastery of English. Depending on our answer to this, we
need to make decisions concerning our teaching. On the one hand,
we need to provide our pupils with a range of language which is wide
enough to enable them to express what they want to say, with a
degree of accuracy appropriate to their needs. Also, we need to
prepare them to listen with understanding to native English speech in
a range of topics and registers appropriate to their needs. Bear in
mind, however, that the level of accuracy a pupil needs to achieve
will be different from that of another. Similarly, the levels of receptive
skill and awareness of socio-cultural conventions will also differ from
one pupil to another.

4.2. Linguistic and Communicative Meaning


Think first!
Compare these two fragments:
1. Hed be a fool if he refused.
2. A: I look like being offered a front-desk job at the bank.
B: Yes, and youd be a fool if you refused.
Which grammatical structure is common to 1 and 2? Write
your answer here.
What variations of meaning can you detect in each of its
uses? Write your answer here.
You will find the answers to these two questions in the
following paragraphs.
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The grammatical structure common to 1 and 2 is the second


conditional. Its meaning can be analysed in the following ways:
(1) is a sentence without context. The use of the second
conditional here denotes a hypothetical and improbable refusal which
is related to an unavoidable consequence, that of being considered a
fool.
In (2), the second conditional is contextualised in a
communicative exchange. The utterance in which it appears has two
layers of meaning: one literal and one actual. The literal meaning is
that, given the improbable refusal, the inevitable consequence is to
be a fool. In other words, the literal meaning is as for (1). The actual
meaning depends on the context, and takes on another dimension of
meaning communicative meaning. The communicative meaning of
Bs utterance in (2) is I advise you strongly to take the job.

linguistic and
communicative
meaning

Contextualised utterances, then, have two types of meaning:


linguistic/intrinsic meaning and communicative/contextual
meaning. Linguistic/intrinsic meaning relates to the essential
meaning of each of the structures and lexis which make up the
utterance, as if that utterance were decontextualised. Communicative
contextual / meaning relates to the message intended by the speaker
and understood by the hearer. This meaning is sometimes called
function.
Why does an utterance mean what it means? Because when it
is produced, the speaker combines a series of linguistic meanings
(i.e. structure and lexis) with factors in the context. The final outcome
is the communicative meaning of the utterance, in other words, its
function. Here are two examples of this process of combination:

Example 1
Forms: Yes,

but

you

re leaving

in May!

Linguistic meanings:
Yes: filler
but: conjunction, indicating contradiction or contrast
you: pronoun, referring to addressee
re leaving: present continuous, showing future arranged action
in May: preposition + N (specific month)
Note: Stress and intonation indicate referring back to known
information.
Context:
Setting: At home, a couple is discussing.
Addressee: Partner
Previous conversation: The couple has been discussing a visit to one
partners parents.
Previous utterance: Well, how about May?
Communicative meaning/function: Reminding in a slightly
exasperated way. Implication: Stop pretending youve forgotten
youre going away.

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Example 2
Forms: Yes

but

you

re leaving

in May!

Linguistic meanings: same as above.


Note: Stress and intonation indicate introduction of new information.
Context:
Setting: Landlord talking to tenant.
Addressee: Tenant
Previous conversation: The landlord has been trying to effect the
departure of a badly behaved tenant.
Previous utterance: You said I could have a few more days to sort
out my affairs.
SAQ 1
In one short sentence, explain what is the communicative
meaning/function of the statement Yes, but youre leaving in
May! in example (2) above.

Now, compare your answer with the one suggested at the


end of the unit.
The implications of such examples and the description of the
way language and context come together to make communication
possible are sometimes complex. For us, one very basic implication
is that grammatical structures (e.g. tenses, modals, comparatives,
etc.) have a central role to play in the communicative process.
We realise that the complexity of the matter is even greater
when we remember that there is no one-to-one relationship between
form and communicative function. Any grammatical structure or form
can be used to express almost any function, given a particular
context and appropriate accompanying vocabulary and intonation.
Remember, however, that there is a fairly sound and reliable
relationship between a form and its linguistic meaning, though there
may be several possible linguistic meanings for one form (e.g. the
present simple tense, the modal verb may, the word head, etc.).
Because this relationship is more-or-less invariable or systematic, the
speakers can assume that they share linguistic meanings, and can
therefore use these forms in combination with external factors, to
create specified messages.

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4.2.1. Linguistic Meaning


Linguistic meaning falls into categories or notions. Notions
include grammatical categories such as:

pastness
presentness
futurity
duration
time relations
possibility

mass and unit


purpose
result
number
motion
direction, etc.

and lexical categories such as:


descriptive adjectives
and nouns
nouns of place
qualitative adjectives and
verbs
adverbs of manner

activity verbs
state verbs
verbs of process
verbs of motion, etc.

As such lists are actually endless, it is important to realise that


they are only attempts to categorise a language notionally. They are
arbitrary and have been compiled through a combination of intuition,
common sense and rational discussion. Such attempts cannot
present the final answer to the question How should the meanings of
English be categorised?
Although notions are one way of categorizing language, they
have not become widely used in ELT in the way that functions have.
Very few textbooks have been produced based purely on notional
categories, many textbooks are functional-notional*.
Linguists are in (some) more agreement on the concepts (i.e.
linguistic meanings) of the lexical items and the grammatical
structures of English. These are of central importance because they
are what the learners use to generalise from. For instance, the past
tense has the following generalisable form and concept/meaning:
Form: verb + -ed (regular)
Meaning: activity/process/state at point of time or over period of
time in the past.

Note: The -ed form also has other separate concepts, each of
which is generalisable in its own way, e.g. its use with "I wish..."

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4.2.2. Communicative Meaning


Look at the following utterances, all of which are possible
responses to the statement by A:

A: Looks like weve had it.

B1: I couldnt agree more.


B2: Yeah.
B3: Bloody weather.
B4: Have you got an umbrella?
B5: What times the next bus back?
B6: Hmmm.
B7: Oh, you are such a pessimist!

What can we conclude? The meaning of an utterance in context


depends on that context.
Communicative meaning is arrived at by adding the linguistic
meaning of the components to the contextual factors, a process
which native speakers can do in an instant. Native speakers would
immediately know that the responses of B (1 6) are carrying the
message I agree, even though each one is different. They would
also know that:

communicative
competence

the style/register is appropriate in each context;


the attitude is appropriate;
the speaker is referring to something in the physical situation
that both interlocutors know about (i.e. grey clouds on the
horizon).

In other words, native speakers have communicative


competence. By communicative competence, we mean here a
cultural familiarity with all the aspects above. This competence
enables the speakers to understand and produce utterances which
will be understood across a wide variety of communicative situations.
Conventionalised functional exponents. It is said that there
are over 10,000 functions in Standard English. However, it is still not
clear what exactly a communicative function includes: does one
utterance constitute a function, or can several utterances together
constitute a function? Here are eight ways of expressing apology:
Please accept my humble apologies, sir.
Sorry.
Oh, I am sorry are you alright?
I do apologise.
Oh dear, what an idiot I am.
My apologies.
My fault entirely.
Pardon me.

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SAQ 2
Now it is your turn to think of several ways of expressing a
function. Think of as many ways as you can of expressing surprise,
and write them in the space below:

You can find a few suggestions at the end of the unit.


Most functions can be expressed in a variety of ways,
depending on the context, the personality of the speaker, the mood
of the speaker, etc. The syllabus and the textbooks, which aim to
furnish the learner with some immediate functional ability, have to
select from among this variety. They select those functions that are
the most useful to pupils, together with certain ways of expressing
those functions. Such ways of expressing functions need to be
commonly used and commonly recognised. They are termed
conventionalised functional exponents or conventional exponents
because they are considered to be the most generalisable exponents
for their particular function.
Conventional exponents are a language teaching device and
they provide the basis of most functional textbooks. They can equip
pupils with structural patterns which have communicative meaning
and which can therefore be used immediately.
Certain functions appear to be related to certain linguistic
patterns, not rigidly but commonly enough to be regular. For
instance:
Would you like a + NOUN = offer
Would you like to + VERB PHRASE = invitation
Dyou fancy + VERB + -ING = invitation (informal)
Excuse me ... please = polite attention getting formula
Conventional exponents represent a shortcut for both the
learner and the teacher. We can teach them as conventions, together
with their communicative meaning (not their linguistic meaning!), and
with information as to their contextual/social appropriacy and the
attitude expressed. Some of these conventional exponents often
bear little relationship to the original linguistic meaning of the
components. For instance, would you like a... is not really a second
conditional improbable future.
4.2.3. Teaching Meaning
Grammatical structures and lexical items have notional
meaning, and functional exponents have functional meaning. The
former provide the learners with immediate communicative tools.

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SAQ 3
What other aspects of language have meanings? What else,
besides language, can contribute to the meaning of a message?

Compare your answer to that given at the end of the unit.


The teaching of an item of language grammatical structure or
lexical item needs focussing on it in a variety of contexts. If we offer
our pupils the opportunity of experiencing language items only in
isolated contexts, the danger is that they only see language as a
series of separate components. So we need to be aware of what is
called the global dimension of meaning, meanings in combination in other words, spoken and written discourse.
SAQ 4
What is the meaning of discourse made up of? What
elements can you mention? Your answer should not exceed 50
words.

Compare you answer with that given at the end of the unit.
The comprehension and expression of meaning in discourse
are skills which have to be practised above and beyond the learning
of discrete items of language.
Traditionally, EFL teachers insisted on grammatical structures.
Now we also deal with functional structures, that is, conventional
exponents. Overall, we need to emphasise grammatical meaning for
the former type (e.g., tenses, modal verbs, prepositions, comparative
and superlative forms, etc.), and communicative meaning for the
latter type, e.g.:
Im awfully sorry
but + statement
you could always + inf.

= apology
= explanation
= suggestion, after initial suggestion
is rejected

The problem, however, arises when a particular grammatical


structure lends itself to several distinct functions. For instance:
Example
Form: The First Conditional: if + clause, subject + will + verb
Linguistic meaning/concept: the condition is assumed as
neither likely nor unlikely to happen 50/50 possibility: If you do that
again, If she gets in early
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Function (i.e. communicative meaning):


threat: "If you touch that again Ill kill you."
warning: "If you touch that youll burn your hand."
conditional promise: "I'll come if I can get the time off work."
bargain: "I'll do the washing up if you do the lawn", etc.

The question is if in cases like this we should think of linguistic


or communicative meaning (i.e. concept or function) first. The
common answer to this question is that we should give our pupils an
idea of the concept relatively early, and then teach the functional
uses. An alternative strategy is to use the functional contexts as a
basis for revision and practice of the structure as the pupils rise
through the levels.
Some language constructions are more useful if they are taught
from the basis of linguistic meaning (e.g. tenses, countables/
uncountables, etc.), because their meanings are not easily affected
or determined by context: even when used in context, they retain
their grammatical meaning. Other constructions are better taught as
fixed expressions from the basis of communicative meaning, e.g.
functional expressions such as: how about + -ing (suggestion/
advice); would you mind if + past tense (asking permission). This is
because they can then act as immediately usable tools of
communication.
SAQ 5
What kind of meaning (linguistic or communicative) would you
teach for each of the following items? Circle L for linguistic
meaning or C for communicative meaning:
a)
b)
c)
d)
e)
f)
g)
h)
i)
j)

past perfect
lets + infinitive
too + adj. + to
you dont happen to do you?
if I were you, Id...
if I had more spare time, Id...
will versus going to
Ill give you a lift
I want versus Id like
hardly + inverted past perfect (e.g. hardly had
he got up when)

L
L
L
L
L
L
L
L
L
L

C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C

Compare you answers with those given at the end of the unit.
assessing your
teaching
priorities

A whole range of techniques for teaching meaning can be used.


The choice of techniques used will depend on factors like the nature
of the language item, the level of the pupils, their age and interests,
the amount of time available, and so on. Your choice of classroom
techniques will depend on the assessment of your priorities.
1.

Start by asking yourself what kind of item you are teaching: is it


structural or lexical? If you are dealing with a structure, then
what kind of meaning do you need to teach linguistic or

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2.
3.
4.
5.

communicative (concept or function)? What style does the


structure belong to formal, informal, or neutral?
Once you have decided what to say, guide your pupils to a
focus on meaning; do not just leave them to work everything out
on their own.
When possible, teach your pupils to make guesses about the
meanings of structure, using the context of a listening or
reading text as an aid.
Do not expect immediate assimilation. Organise revision,
recycling, variety of context, practice in making choices, etc.
Remember that the way English divides up and classifies reality
(i.e. actions, things, ideas, relationships between things, etc.) is
not the same as in Romanian. Your pupils may have conceptual
difficulties to capture the English semantics.

4.3. Teaching Grammar


Attitudes to grammar vary considerably. Developments in the
philosophy of language and the sociology of language have given
rise to the notion of language as communication. This in turn has led
to communicative methodology. The question then is, when a pupil is
learning to communicate in a foreign language, to what extent should
grammar be made explicit? As a teacher, you may have to work with
a textbook that your school uses, and you will need to assess:

units,
components,
structures

80

whether the textbook explicitly refers to grammar or not;


whether you agree with this or not;
the extent to which you need to supplement it with your own
grammar presentations and practice.

Modern linguistics most often addresses the largest unit of


language discourse or text. However, there are smaller units than
discourse: the sentence, the clause, the phrase, the word and the
morpheme. The terms grammatical and ungrammatical can be
applied to either sentences or clauses, or smaller units, such as
phrases or morphemes. Thus a sentence like *"The pupil write well
is ungrammatical, and a phrase like *the boy tall is also
ungrammatical. Even morphemes can contribute to the
grammaticality or ungrammaticality of a certain form, such as the
suffix ed attached to the verb go. However, for classroom use, the
most convenient unit of analysis is the sentence. (Notice that a
sentence may have two or more clauses; however, by a sentence we
usually mean a set of words that include a verb, stand on their own
as a sense unit, and conclude by a full stop or an equivalent
question mark or exclamation mark).
We may also want to analyse the component parts of the
sentence: the subject, verb, object, complement, and adverbial.
Different parts of the sentence may be realized by various kinds of
words or phrases, called parts of speech: nouns, verbs, adjectives,
adverbs, pronouns, determiners and prepositions.
A specific instance of grammar is usually called a grammar
structure. Such structures are the present simple of verbs, the
genitive of nouns, the comparison of adjectives or adverbs, etc. Such
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structures can cause problems to our learners as they may look


different in Romanian, or they may be absent altogether (e.g. the
present perfect, the progressive aspect, etc.). The meanings of the
structures that do not exist in Romanian are notoriously difficult to
teach.
4.3.1. How Much Grammar?
Think first!
Before reading this section, note down a few essentials of
grammar that you think your pupils need.

Compare your answers with the suggestions made in the


following paragraphs.
What is the grammar that we need to teach? The answer to this
question will depend on the level of our pupils. Helped by the
syllabuses and the textbooks, you will need to decide how much
grammar your particular pupils require. Quite often the question of
how much grammar to teach is determined by the syllabus and the
textbook, which specify clearly which grammatical structures the
pupils are expected to learn. Normally, the structures to be dealt with
are listed at the beginning of the textbook.
Although pupils need to be more concerned with how language
works than with learning about grammar, it is nevertheless useful for
them to be familiar with the names of the parts of speech. Some
knowledge of terminology will help them with dictionary work, save
explanation time, and facilitate discussion in the classroom.
An awareness of word order should also be a priority. Our
pupils should know that English is a Subject Verb Object (SVO)
language. That is, in the normal, unmarked sentences, the subject is
at or near the beginning of the sentence, with the verb and any
objects following. Secondary school pupils should be able to
recognise the subject, verb, and object(s) of a sentence when they
see them, as well as any adverbials a sentence contains, and to
know what their functions are. Also, they should know something
about verb forms; this means knowledge of the various patterns of
regular and some of the more common irregular verbs, the s third
person singular and different tense forms. At a higher level, pupils
should be able to explore the more subtle distinctions expressed by
the modal verbs, etc.
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4.3.2. Presenting Grammar

deductive and
inductive
strategies

It is important for you to be able not only to know how English


works but also to be capable of passing this knowledge on to the
pupils. Moreover, you should be able to explain to a class how
grammatical structures work in actual communication. It is less
important for your pupils to know the name of a particular structure
than it is to know how and when the structure is used.
It is not easy to present and explain grammar structures. First,
you need to understand yourself what is involved in the knowledge of
the respective structure (form and meaning), and what kind of
difficulties it may create for your pupils. Then, you need to select
examples and explanations that will make it clear and accessible to
the pupils. The proper balance must be found between simplicity of
presentation and accuracy, as what is simplified may lose in
accuracy.
There are basically two ways of dealing with grammar. The
traditional way is deductive: the pupils are given rules to study and
then they try to apply them. This view is to be found in the structural
syllabuses and textbooks. Here the structures are sequenced
according to their complexity.
The other way is inductive: you select the functions your pupils
may need to express in English and then ask them to look for their
grammatical exponents. However, it is very difficult to select and
sequence functions, as the needs of the learners cannot be predicted
with accuracy. And yet, the learning goals expressed in functional
terms are more motivating for learners as they can see immediately
the usefulness of such language as that use in asking for directions
or accepting invitations.

SAQ 6
Do the English textbooks in use teach grammar inductively or
deductively? Your answer should not exceed 50 words.

Compare your answer to that given at the end of the unit.


Frequent short periods of formal grammar teaching are
probably more successful than infrequent long periods. Five or six
minutes dealing with a single point is enough, as long as you recycle
the same point over a number of times until your pupils are
comfortable with it.
Ways of presenting grammar in the classroom range from
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formal explanation to grammar games. None of these techniques


should be despised until you have tried and found them suitable or
unsuitable for your classes. You will choose techniques which suit
your own teaching style and your pupils learning styles. However,
there are voices (Celce-Murcia and Hilles, 1988: 27-28) that claim
that any grammar lesson should consist of four parts: presentation,
focused practice, communicative practice and teacher feedback and
correction.
the four parts of
the grammar
lesson

Presentation
In the presentation stage you introduce the new grammatical
structure. You should decide whether this is to be done deductively
(by formal presentation and study of a rule), or inductively (by
offering examples of use from which the rule can be worked out).

Focused practice
In this stage, you give the pupils practice in manipulating the
specific structure with no other distractions, such as the need to
communicate.

Communicative practice
In this stage, the pupils put a new structure to use in a variety of
communicative activities. The tasks that you select for this stage
should incorporate information gaps, in which one participant has
information that the other does not. The speaker must have a choice
of what to say and how to say it. Finally, there should be feedback
from the partner or listener. This will affect what the speaker says,
and thus prevent a rehearsed conversation.

Teacher feedback and correction


You should give feedback throughout the lesson, to ensure that
the new structure is being used properly. However, during
communicative practice, it is important that the flow of
communication should not be interrupted, as at this stage the pupils
should concentrate on meaning. Errors should be noted and dealt
with later.
These four stages of a grammar lesson are compatible with
most teaching styles. No matter how you conduct a lesson, and
whatever your beliefs about language learning and teaching are, you
need to present the new material to the class in some form or
another, the pupils must have opportunities to get control of the
structure and use it, and you need to monitor the whole process, if it
is to be effective.
All these activities have the purpose of increasing the pupils
grammatical awareness, and your task is to find ways of stimulating
this.
Formal presentations on the board are sometimes the most
simple and effective. For example, to check your pupils awareness
of the functions of sentence components, write a short sentence on
the board, such as We watched a film last night, and ask simple
questions to check understanding, such as Who did what? When?
Your pupils need to know enough to slot vocabulary items into the
appropriate places in the sentence. Coloured chalk, boxed or circled
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words, small capitals and other graphic markers are useful for
showing the word order changes on the board. For example, to show
how the statement She has done her job is turned into a question
form, you can highlight the word has, which draws attention to it
when it moves to the front of the sentence:
She has done her job.
Has she done her job?
Penny Ur (1996: 82) advises that after preparing a grammar
presentation, you need to go through it again, asking yourself
questions like:

Do I present the structure in both speech and writing?


Do I present both form and meaning?
Do I provide enough examples?
Do the examples have enough meaningful context?
Do I use the name of the structure? What other terminology do I
use?

SAQ 7
Could you add any other questions to those suggested above?

A few more questions are given at the end of the unit.


4.3.3. Tips for Reinforcing Grammar Understanding During Presentation
a.

Concept questions

Example 1: Past Perfect


I realised Id lost my money.
Linguistic meaning: the perfect aspect is very similar in past,
present or future timescales. The style is neutral. Here the past
perfect means evident then, but it can also show unfinished past
beyond past, as in She had studied for 3 years before entering the
architecture school, or an indefinite time beyond past, e.g. When I
got in the film had started.
Situation: Careless Mrs. B going on holiday.
Elicited examples: (of evident then concept):
When she arrived she
discovered (that) she had forgotten her camera
realised had broken her wine bottle
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found had left her passport at the airport


saw had brought the wrong suitcase
Concept questions (and expected answers):
Did she discover these things before she arrived? No.
Did she discover these things after she arrived? Yes.
When? Just after.
In time, which came first discover or forget? Forget.
If I say, When she arrived she discovered she broke her wine
bottle, is that right? Why not? Because discovered and broke
happened at different times.
Do we know when she broke her wine bottle? Does it matter?
No.
Time line
?
(time not important)
broke wine bottle

X
discovered
realised
found
saw

NOW

Note that these questions refer to the particular situation


devised for presentation, and that they are generalised questions
which get to the essence of the linguistic meaning of the structure.
Example 2: Would you mind if I + past simple
Would you mind if I opened the window?
Functional meaning: asking permission. Style: formal.
Situation: Man in a train compartment, sitting opposite to a
stranger lady.
Elicited examples:
Man: Would you mind if I
opened the window?
smoked?
put my feet on the seat?, etc.
Lady: No, not at all.
Be my guest, etc.
Concept questions (and expected answers):
Do they know each other? No.
Do we often use this kind of language between friends? Not
really.
Is the lady going to open the window? No, the man is...
So whats he doing? Hes asking for ? Permission.
Note that these questions refer to the social relationship as well
as to the intended meaning of the utterances.
Concept questions need to account for function, style and
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register, as well as grammatical meaning.


SAQ 8
Now try your hand at devising concept questions for Jane
used to eat meat. Analyse and state the meaning first. Try to make
your definitions simple and clear enough for your pupils to
understand. Then write your concept questions and the answers
you would expect from the pupils.

Now compare your answer to that given at the end of the unit.
b.

Horizontal extensions
You can introduce conjunctions such as but or because to elicit
an extension of a sentence. The extension should reinforce the
meaning, i.e. discontinued past habit in this case:
He used to live in a big house but now he doesnt.
Teachers often use such extensions as a way of checking
understanding. Having illustrated the meaning of an item (or asked
the pupils to look it up) you can begin a sentence and then provide
an appropriate linker/conjunction to prompt learners into finishing the
sentence meaningfully, e.g.:
T: He neednt have watered the garden because...
S: because it rained this morning.

One point to consider here is the level of language. You have to


make sure that the conjunction selected is not more difficult than the
target item (e.g. but versus even though).
SAQ 9
Now add a conjunction that can lead to a horizontal extension
that reinforces the concept of I managed to..., and give an
example of what you would expect pupils to say to complete such a
sentence. Include a brief note on the concept involved, using
simple language.
Check your answer against the one suggested at the end of
the unit.
c.

Mini-situations
These can come from the teacher as a reinforcement of a
presentation, or they can be elicited from pupils as a check of their
understanding. They should be carefully worked into it as part of a
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systematic build-up of meaning and anticipated at the planning stage.


You give a situation and elicit an example like this:
have got to + infinitive (obligation)
(i) Im going to Predeal on holiday tomorrow. My train leaves at
seven oclock in the morning. So?..
(ii) My mothers birthday is next week, so ? ...
Or you can elicit an offer in this way:
ll + infinitive (offer)
(i) My friend needs to buy a shirt. Hes only got 2. Ive got
some money, so what do I say to him? ...
(ii) Your friend arrives at the local station and telephones you at
home. You have a car. What do you say to him? ...
Alternatively, you can elicit situation with questions like:
a. Tell me a situation when you could use used to
b. When can I say Im going to buy a new car and not Ill buy
a new car?
d.

Contrasts
To contrast come and go, for instance, you can write on the
blackboard sentences like:
*Are you going to my party?
*When he comes back to his country, hell find a new job.
Then you ask your pupils to find mistakes and discuss the
meaning of come and go. You then provide more examples of
deliberate mistakes for pupils to correct.
Grammar structures can also be contrasted, such as present
perfect and past simple. You can make use of a time-line for present
perfect and another time-line for past simple. To illustrate the
contrast, you can then divide the board, writing a heading at the top
of each side:
(i) Shakespeare

(ii) a Romanian writer whos still alive

This will lead to sentences containing wrote/did/was, etc. versus


has written/has done/has been, etc.

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4.3.4. Types of Grammar Practice Activities


Grammar practice activities are meant to facilitate the pupils
learning of structures so that they may become able to produce these
structures correctly in free speech or writing. If the pupils still make
mistakes in free production, it means that the structures are not yet
thoroughly mastered, and the pupils still depend on conscious
monitoring in order to produce them correctly. Our job is to help them
pass from form-focused accuracy activities to fluent intelligible
production by providing a variety of practice activities that help them
get familiar with the structures in context, by giving them practice
both in form and communicative meaning.
Penny Ur (1996: 83) suggests a sequence of grammar practice
activities, ranging from more controlled to freer procedures, from
form-focused to meaning-focused activities, from accuracy to fluency
practice.
a.

Awareness-raising activities
After the structure has been presented, the pupils are given
opportunities to encounter it in discourse, and do a task that focuses
their attention on the structure form and/or meaning.
For simple recognition purposes you may want to ask your
pupils to highlight examples of particular structures in handout texts.
b.

Controlled drills
The pupils are asked to produce examples of a structure,
following models given by the teacher or found in the textbook.
Example
Listen to Mick. Then look at the picture. What jobs had Mick
done at 12:55 last Tuesday afternoon? What jobs had he still to do?
Ask and answer.
1. A: Had he cleaned the window?
B: No, he hadnt.
2. A: Had he made the bed?
B: Yes, he had.
1. clean the window
2. make the bed
3. wash the dishes
4. tidy the desk

5. vacuum the carpet


6. mend the chair
7. pick up the newspaper from the floor
8. put the books onto the shelves

Now make sentences about what Mick had or hadnt done at


12:55 last Tuesday afternoon.
1. He hadnt cleaned the window.
2. He hadnt made the bed.
(from Granger C. and Beaumont D., Generation 2000 Students Book,
Heinemann, p. 81)

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c.

Meaningful drills
Still following a model, the pupils can make a limited choice of
vocabulary.
Example
Think about a place you know which has a lot of problems.
What are the problems? What improvements would you
recommend? Make true sentences. There are some ideas in the box
to help you.
Examples
There are too many cars.
There should be a pedestrian zone.
There is too much pollution.
There isnt enough entertainment.
There is only one good disco.
There isnt anywhere to meet friends after school.
bottle bank
cinema
disco
litter bin
pollution
pedestrian zone
sports centre
traffic

car
club
entertainment
noise
pedestrian crossing
public transport
street lighting
tree

car park
cycle lane
graffiti
park
rubbish
shop
swimming pool

(from Granger C. and Beaumont D., 1993, Generation 2000: Students Book,
Heinemann, p. 41)

d.

Guided meaningful practice


The pupils are asked to form sentences of their own according
to a given pattern, but without being given the vocabulary to use.
Example

Talk about:
Any coincidences that have happened in your past.
Anything you regret.
If I hadnt Id never have
I wish I had/hadnt
(from Abbs B. and Freebairn, I., 2001, Snapshot: Intermediate, Students
Book, Longman, p. 102)

e.

(Structure-based) free sentence composition


The activity provides a visual or a situational cue, and the pupils
are asked to compose their own responses; they are directed to use
a certain structure.

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Example
Talk about these questions.
Do you have a festival or a carnival in your city? If so, what time
of year is it? Is it ever dangerous? What advice would you give to
visitors?
Always / Never / Dont.
You should/shouldnt.
(from Abbs B., Freebairn I., Barker C., 2000, Snapshot: Elementary,
Students Book, Longman, p. 96)

f.

(Structure-based) discourse composition


You ask the pupils to hold a discussion or write a passage
according to a given task. They are instructed to use at least some
examples of the structure within the discourse.

Example
Listen and read.
1.
2.

Expressing regrets about the past:


I wish wed taken some warmer clothes.
If only I hadnt lost my scarf.
Making helpful suggestions:
Why dont you find somewhere to keep warm?
Maybe you could phone them.
Perhaps you should sit down.
In pairs, make conversations in the following situations.

1.
2.
3.
4.

You didnt have any breakfast this morning and now you feel
faint.
You bought a cheap CD player and now its gone wrong.
You were lazy when you were young and never learnt to play
an instrument. You regret it now.
You have just had an argument with your best friend and now
you feel bad about it.
(from Abbs B. and Freebairn, I., 2001, Snapshot: Intermediate, Students
Book, Longman, p. 99)

g.

Free discourse
The pupils are given no specific direction to use a certain
structure. However, the task situation demands the use of a
certain structure.

Example
Discuss. If someone from India came to live in your country,
what things might they find unusual or difficult to get used to?
(from Abbs B. and Freebairn, I., 2001, Snapshot: Intermediate, Students
Book, Longman, p. 89)

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Think first!
Now examine a textbook that you are using with your pupils
and see if you can find any example of the following:
3. a controlled drill
4. a meaningful drill
5. a guided meaningful practice exercise
6. a (structure-based) free sentence composition exercise
7. a (structure-based) discourse composition exercise
8. a free discourse exercise
Bring your examples to the next tutorial and discuss them with
your classmates and your tutor.
4.3.5. Less Formal Grammar Practice Activities
Less formal, ways of presenting grammar are also possible.
Grammatical awareness can be stimulated by games such as the
simple odd one out tasks, in which four or five items are listed and
the pupils are asked to suggest which one is unlike the rest, and why.
If this activity is carried out in groups, lots of valuable discussion may
take place as the pupils consider a number of options. Here are
some examples of increasing levels of difficulty:
kick, go, walk, look
go, come, should, sell
read, go, come, sell
as, while, but, although

go is an irregular verb
should is a modal verb
read doesnt change its form in the
Past Tense
but is a coordinating conjunction

You may also ask your pupils to design their own tasks based
on this or other patterns. This will not only increase motivation but will
also cause them to reflect more deeply on the various possibilities.
Another group task might be to explore how many words may be
removed from a sentence one at a time without making the sentence
ungrammatical. Start by creating a sentence with lots of adjectives
and adverbs, which can be removed easily, then move to longer verb
phrases.
A variation on this activity is to make a competition of it. Start
with a short sentence and ask the pupils in two groups to take turns
in trying to increase it one word at a time while still producing
acceptable utterances. For example, start from Time flies:
Time flies.
Time flies quickly.
Time flies quickly usually.
Time flies very quickly usually.
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Spare time flies very quickly usually, etc.


Grammar games help to provide an element of competition and
enjoyment, and puzzles can often focus attention on subtle aspects
of grammar and usage. One simple idea is to give your pupils a pair
of sentences with minimal structural differences and ask them to say
what the difference in meaning is. Decisions reached by different
groups can later be discussed and grammatical justifications can be
offered; all of these develop grammatical awareness. Here is such an
example:
I dont think of her much. (Shes not in my thoughts.)
I dont think much of her. (I dont like her.)
Another source of reflection is ambiguity. Provide your pupils
with an ambiguous sentence and ask them to suggest two meanings
and a possible explanation for the ambiguity, e.g.:
Can he swim? (Is he capable?/Is he allowed to?)
Sometimes it is difficult to say whether the problem is one of
vocabulary or grammar. For example:
Remember me? (Do you recognize me?)
Remember me to your wife. (Give my regards to your wife.)
4.3.6. Personalising Grammar Activities
It is not unusual for teachers to forget that pupils are people
before they are pupils. They have interests, knowledge, emotions,
opinions, anxieties, joys and sorrows, ambitions, and skills. Some
have even jobs, families, problems, etc. All of these may be much
more involving than the English classes. When you create a
classroom atmosphere in which your pupils are encouraged to use
English (and to share!) what they want to say about all these aspects
of their own lives, there is a strong likelihood that the language they
are learning will have much more relevance for them. Allowing for the
expression of personal meaning is the main principle behind the
idea of teaching for the whole person (also known as holistic or
humanistic teaching).
When language items are introduced and practised, when
comprehension texts are being exploited, when creative role-play
and written work is being set up, and when discussions are being
organised, pupils are pleased to be given the chance to talk about
themselves, or to display their knowledge and opinions.
The advantages of personalisation should not be
underestimated. The language that the pupils use is centred on them
personally rather than on the activities or tasks that the teacher has
set them to perform. This underpins motivation, by demonstrating
how language can be relevant to the personal meanings that a pupil
wants to express. It also promotes depth of assimilation and
retention (Stevick, 1976: 33-36) and it can help to develop a positive
attitude towards English and the Anglo-Saxon culture.
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In terms of classroom activity, the following ideas are just a few


examples of how personally meaningful language practice can be
introduced into lessons:
a)

b)

c)

Presentation of grammatical structures


3rd Conditional: elicit the pupils own stories or have them tell
about near miss accidents.
have got: elicit descriptions of the pupils descriptions family,
home, friends, etc.
Past Perfect: elicit pupils recent place/person revisited
experiences and have them talk about the changes they
noticed.
Past Continuous and Past Simple: ask the pupils to tell
anecdotes of frightening experiences, etc.
During preparation for listening or reading texts
ask what the pupils know about the subject in advance and pool
information;
ask if any pupils have experience of anything related to the
topic, etc.
During freer speaking activities
organise role-plays in which pupils play themselves;
organise discussions in which pupils express their own
opinions;
organise simulations of conversations in various places.

Any topic or situation which has personal value to an individual


pupil or which allows him/her to express their individuality will provide
the sort of language practice that leads to deeper assimilation of that
language. And deeper assimilation leads to better retention and
easier recall.

4.4. Correction of Grammar Mistakes


Think First!
Before you read the next paragraphs, note down a few
techniques that you use in dealing with grammar mistakes.

Check your ideas against the ones that youll find out as you
read on.
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In general, we should handle incorrectness with tact and


consideration. Showing incorrectness and correction should be seen
as positive acts and a useful part of the learning process. During the
grammar practice activities, when we need to insist on the accurate
reproduction of structures, there are two basic correction stages:
showing incorrectness (when you indicate to the pupil that
something is wrong) and using correction techniques.
showing
incorrectness

You indicate to the pupil that s/he has made a mistake. If the
pupil understands this feedback, s/he will be able to correct the
mistake. Thus self-correction becomes part of the learning process.
You can use a number of techniques for showing incorrectness:

Repeating
You ask the pupil to repeat what s/he has just said by using the
word again, said with a questioning intonation. This indicates that
the answer was unsatisfactory.

Echoing
You can repeat what the pupil has just said, with questioning
intonation. This indicates that the accuracy or content of what is
being said is questioned. You can either echo the complete student
response, stressing the part of the utterance that was incorrect or
only part of the response, up to the point where the mistake was
made. Echoing is probably the most efficient way of showing
incorrectness.

Denying
You can tell the pupil that the response was unsatisfactory and
ask for it to be repeated. This technique may be a bit more
discouraging for the pupil.

Questioning
You can say Is that correct? asking any other pupil in the
class to answer the question. The advantage of this technique is that
it focuses the pupils attention on the problem; the disadvantage is
that it may make the pupil who made the mistake feel exposed.

Using facial expression and/or gestures


You can indicate that an answer was incorrect by your
expression or by some gestures. This can be economical but the
danger is that the pupils may think that the expression is a form of
mockery.

using
correction
techniques

Quite often, however, you will find that showing incorrectness is


not enough for the correction of a mistake, and you may have to use
some correction techniques.
If the pupils are unable to correct themselves you can resort to
one of the following techniques:

Pupil corrects pupil


You can ask if anyone else can give the correct response. You
can ask if anyone can help the pupil who has made the mistake.
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Teacher corrects pupil(s)


Sometimes you may feel that you should take charge of
correction because the majority of the class are too mixed-up. In
such cases, you may have to explain again the item of language
which is causing the trouble.
The use of correction techniques gives the pupils a chance to
know how to get the new language right. It is important, therefore,
that after you have used one of the techniques, you ask the pupil
who originally made the mistake to give a correct response.
These two stages of correction and the techniques described
above are especially useful for accuracy work, not only in grammar,
but for speech in general. Another possibility, however, for the more
creative activities is gentle correction. This involves showing the
student that something is wrong, but not asking for repetition.

Summary
We could say that there are four stages in the assimilation of
the meaning of a grammar item:
1.
2.
3.
4.

experiencing the target item in limited context (i.e., isolated from


main body of language);
discovering its boundaries of meaning;
practising/recognising it in different contexts;
using it to express real communicative intentions.

The meaning of some items can be learnt quickly. Other items


take longer to learn. Their teaching has to be staged over a period of
days or even weeks. The teaching of such items needs to go through
several stages too. First, you need to guide your pupils to the
meaning of the item by introducing and illustrating the meaning of the
item. Second, you need to reinforce their understanding by: (a)
checking their understanding, (b) comparing and contrasting the item
with potentially interfering items, (c) testing the pupils ability to
discriminate.
The full meaning of a new word or structure, the stylistic
constraints on its use and the diversity of possible separate
meanings are impossible to grasp at one and the same time. Just like
in our mother tongue, where we constantly discover new nuances,
uses and collocations for familiar words, in English our pupils will
undergo the same process. They should start with a simplified or
generalised account of the meaning of a new item. This meaning
does not take account of diversity, nuance, constraints on usage, etc.
Such an account is, therefore, to some extent, an approximation. In
time, they will move on through further language exposure to a finer
and finer appreciation of the exact use of the item.
The reasons for not going into the subtleties of meaning early
on are obvious. Firstly, they would confuse the pupils. Secondly, they
are often very difficult to explain. So, the solution is the subsequent
exposure to a great deal of authentic language. Thus the pupils have
the opportunity to recognise structures taught approximately, and
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through sensing the nuances and complexities, they can come to a


more exact appreciation of the uses.
It is important to stress that providing an approximation of a
meaning is not the same as providing the bare essentials of a
meaning. We need to give our pupils a word or structure and a
meaning that they can generalise from. So, in initial presentations,
information on meaning will probably include situations,
communicative meaning and formality/informality level for
appropriacy for formulae and functional exponents (e.g. would you
like to...). For grammatical structures, the initial presentations should
include linguistic meaning, without subtleties.

Key Concepts

intelligibility
factors that interfere with communication
communicative meaning
linguistic meaning
communicative competence
conventionalised functional exponent
inductive and deductive strategies
concept questions
horizontal extensions
showing incorrectness
correction techniques

Further Reading
1.
Ur, Penny (1988) Grammar Practice Activities, Cambridge
University Press, pp. 4-43
2.
Ur, Penny (1996) A Course in Language Teaching, CUP,
pp. 74-85, 90-98

SAA 2
Prepare a timetable that covers the lessons you teach during
a semester. This should involve you in planning a sequence of
lessons with clear links; it can be centred on a textbook, or it can
be based on your own ideas and material, with textbook as
supplementary material. The timetable should describe a series of
lessons that you would use with that particular class at that time,
and it must suit the class you are teaching. The level is not
specified. Ideally, there should be a common theme running
through the series of lesson, providing a constant focus and sense
of direction for the pupils.
Your timetable should not be as detailed as a lesson plan.
However, it must provide enough detail for you to have a handy
guide throughout the period you are using the timetable, i.e. it
should detail types of activities, list materials, pages and exercise
numbers, etc. Remember to include:
i) a rationale for your reader to make it clear why you made
decisions concerning the content, organisation and sequencing of
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the lessons for your specific group of learners, including a brief


class profile;
ii) the timetable;
iii) an evaluation of how it turned out in practice and what you
learnt from the exercise.
Notes
1. It is probably best if you write out your timetable in the form
of a grid on one or two sheets of A4 paper.
2. You might like to use a system of arrows or colour coding
to help your reader see the connections between lessons, the
balance between skills work and input, and recycling. You could
show the connections with arrows on an OHP transparency so that
you dont have to draw all over your grid.
3. Include a brief statement on skills work and practice
activities to help us see the overall balance and linking in your
timetable.
4. When writing your rationale, comment on the sequence of
lessons, the balance of skills work, accuracy and fluency, input and
revision, in the light of your pupils needs and your overall aims for
the series of lessons.
5. Remember that the timetable is a statement of what you
intend to cover, not how (i.e. it is not a series of lesson plans).
Revise Unit 3, Lesson Planning in the first part of the
course, to remember details about what timetabling involves.
Dont forget to send this task to your tutor.

Answers to SAQs
Should your answer to SAQ 1 not be comparable to that
given below, please revise the introductory part of section 4.2
of the unit.
SAQ 1
Yes, but youre leaving in May! in example (2) is a statement of
future fact acting as a command. Its implication is: Im telling you,
you have to leave in May.
Should your answer to SAQ 2 not be comparable to that
given below, please revise section 4.2.2 of the unit.
SAQ 2
Here are a few expressions used for surprise:
Really?
What a surprise!/That is a surprise!
(Oh,) thats amazing/extraordinary etc.!
Good heavens!/Good lord!/My goodness!
What?
I dont believe it!
Are you serious?
You must be joking!
Well, I never!
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Fancy that!
Youre kidding!
I find that very surprising.
Indeed?
How very surprising/amazing, etc.
Should your answers to SAQs 3, 4, 5 not be comparable to
those given below, please revise section 4.2.3 of the unit.
SAQ 3
Suggested answers:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

grammatical structures/rules (including cohesive devices)


functional exponents
lexis (including idioms and lubricators)
the effect of intonation on meaning
the effect of stress on meaning
the effect of gesture and facial expression, etc. on meaning,
etc.

SAQ 4
The meaning of a stretch of discourse is made up of more than
the combined meanings of its component parts. There is a thread to
follow, there is a message to be conveyed, and there are
relationships between its parts. Each stretch of discourse is directed
towards an addressee, and certain assumptions are made about
what that addressee already knows or what that addressee can see
in the physical situation. In spoken discourse, the discourse may be
full of hesitations and false starts which interrupt the flow of meaning.
SAQ 5
a)
b)
c)
d)
e)
f)
g)
h)
i)
j)

past perfect
L
C
lets + infinitive
L
too + adj. + to
C
you dont happen to, do you?
C
if I were you Id...
L
if I had more spare time, Id...
L
will versus going to
C
Ill give you a lift
C (formal vs.
I want versus Id like
hardly + inverted past perfect (e.g., informal)
L (+ formal written
hardly had he got up when)
style)

Should your answer to SAQ 6 not be comparable to that


given below, please revise section 4.3.1 of the unit.
SAQ 6
Most textbooks in use now take the view that both ways need to
be taken account of. Such textbooks list the functional and structural
aspects side by side, and it is our task to try and balance the
teaching of knowledge against the teaching of use.

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Linguistic and communicative meaning and the teaching of grammar

Should your answers to SAQs 7, 8, 9 not be comparable to


those given below, please revise section 4.3.2 of the unit.

SAQ 7

Do I make the presentation in English or Romanian (or in both)?


Is the presentation effective in this language?
Do I give information about the structure at the pupils right level
of understanding?
Is it simple enough? Is it accurate enough?
Do I use any comparison with Romanian structures? Is this
useful?/Would this be useful?
Do I give any explicit rule? Why (not)? Do I give the rule myself
or do I elicit it from the pupils?

SAQ 8
used to + infinitive
Linguistic meaning: an action that Jane performed regularly in
the past, but no longer performs.
Situation: buying food and drinks for a party; Jane is one the
people invited.
Elicited examples:
Bob used to drink a lot of whiskey.
Mary used to like mushrooms.
Harry used to cook his own food.
Concept questions (and expected answers):
Did Bob often drink whiskey? Yes, he did.
Does he drink whiskey anymore? No, he doesnt.
Do we know when he stopped drinking whiskey? No.
Was it long ago? We dont know.
SAQ 9
The concept of managed to = to succeed in doing something
difficult.
I managed to find a policeman... but it took a long time. I had to
look everywhere for him.

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UNIT 5
TEACHING LITERATURE
Unit Outline
Unit Objectives ..............................................................................................................101
5.1
Why Teach Literature in the EFL Classroom? ....................................................101
5.1.1 Authentic Literary Material.....................................................................101
5.1.2 Cultural Background ..............................................................................102
5.1.3 Language Awareness............................................................................102
5.1.4 Language Acquisition ............................................................................103
5.1.5 Interpretative Skills ................................................................................103
5.1.6 General Educational Value....................................................................103
5.1.7 Source of Classroom Activities ..............................................................103
5.2
The Teaching Context ........................................................................................104
5.2.1 Pupils Needs ........................................................................................104
5.2.2 The Syllabus..........................................................................................105
5.2.3 The Selection of Literary Material ..........................................................105
5.3
Success in Reading Literature............................................................................107
5.4
Teaching Literature.............................................................................................108
5.4.1 Pre-reading Activities.............................................................................109
5.4.2 While-reading Activities .........................................................................110
5.4.3 Post-reading Activities ...........................................................................111
5.5
Sample Lesson Plan...........................................................................................112
Summary ...............................................................................................114
Key Concepts ........................................................................................114
Further Reading.....................................................................................114
Answers to SAQs ..................................................................................115

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In the last few years we have witnessed an upsurge of interest


in the teaching of literature in the EFL classroom. In this unit we will
explore how the teaching of literature could be incorporated into the
English classroom in a way which is both accessible to pupils and
methodologically principled.
By literature we mean authentic examples of poems, plays,
short stories, novels, whether these are studied in their entirety or as
extracts.
By the end of this unit, you will be able to:
unit objectives

explain what factors you need to consider when using literature;


anticipate possible problems and find ways of overcoming
them;
explain the difference between successful and unsuccessful
literature readers;
justify the use of literature in your classes;
design specific tasks and activities for teaching literature.

5.1. Why Teach Literature?


Think first!
Before you read this section, think of a few reasons for
using literature in the English classroom, and write them in the
space below.

Check your answers as you read this unit.


5.1.1. Authentic Literary Material
In Romania, as in many other countries around the world,
literature has a high status. Consequently, many pupils may
experience a sense of achievement at using material which is highly
valued, particularly by native speakers of English. When the pupils
have some knowledge about the Romanian literature, studying some
English literature can provide an interesting and thought-provoking
point of comparison. This may be also true of those of the pupils who
do not read much literature, but enjoy telling stories.
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Many textbooks in use offer a wide variety of authentic texts in


English. They contain authentic newspaper articles, advertisements,
timetables, menus, cartoons, labels, etc. Some of them also include
some examples of authentic literature, too, whether poetry, fiction or
drama.
Literary materials expose pupils to fresh and unexpected uses
of language as well as complex emotional responses. Literature can
be particularly gripping in that it involves children and teenagers in
adult dilemmas, problems or in a plot.
5.1.2. Cultural Background
English literature can provide our pupils with access to the
Anglo-Saxon culture. However, the relationship between a culture
and its literature is debatable, since literature cannot be seen as
factual or as a realistic documentation of society. And yet, pupils do
acquire cultural knowledge from reading literature. Reading literature
in English raises the pupils awareness of the social, political and
historical events which form the background to a particular literary
text.
Moreover, literature provides a way of contextualising how
native speakers might behave or react in a particular situation. The
description of a wedding or of a funeral might familiarise the pupils
with typical rituals. Such descriptions may also provide insights into
the way the participants to these events express their feelings and
emotions. In other words, using literature enables the pupils to gain
useful perceptions about how native speakers describe and evaluate
the experiences of their society.
5.1.3. Language Awareness
Some teachers express concern that in reading literature, pupils
are exposed to uncommon vocabulary and unusual uses of language
and wonder whether literary language illustrates the usual rules of
syntax, collocation and cohesion. It is true that in literary texts, the
usual rules and patterns that we are trying to teach may be broken or
bent by some authors. Here are two examples in which the authors
(Isaac Rosenberg and Dylan Thomas, respectively) reverse
syntactical patterns:
Sombre the night is
or, replace a noun denoting a time period by an abstract noun:
A grief ago
The question then is: are such original and unconventional uses of
language going to confuse our pupils?

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SAQ 1
What is your answer to the question above? Write it, in
about 100 words, in the space provided below. Then check it
against the ideas suggested at the end of the unit.

5.1.4. Language Acquisition


In Romania, pupils have fairly limited access to spoken English,
and much of their language acquisition is stimulated by the written
word. In this respect, literature provides meaningful contexts for
processing and interpreting new language. While reading a literary
text, the pupils encounter unfamiliar vocabulary. As they are listening
to the text either read aloud by the teacher or recorded on cassette,
they may be able to formulate guesses as to the meaning of new
words. Their guesses are facilitated by their understanding of the
relationship between the speakers (if there are several) or the
intonation used. Then, if you ask them to act out the extract
themselves, using appropriate intonation, they will be more likely to
internalise the new words.
Also, by encouraging the pupils to read extensively on their
own, you will be helping them to increase their exposure to English
and thus facilitate their acquisition process.
5.1.5. Interpretative Skills
Literary texts are often unclear or ambiguous, and demand the
readers active involvement in discovering hidden implications and
assumptions. That is why literature may be seen as a source of
material used for developing pupils abilities to infer meaning and to
make interpretations. By encouraging your pupils to actively engage
in drawing inferences and testing out their hypotheses about what
something means in a literary text, you are helping them to develop
their capacity of interpretation. This skill can then be transferred to
other situations where the pupils need to make an interpretation
based on implicit or unstated evidence.
5.1.6. General Educational Value
Besides the linguistic benefits of using literature, we may also
think of its wider educational function. Literature stimulates the pupils
imagination; it helps to develop their critical faculties and increases
their emotional awareness. If you ask your pupils to respond
personally to the texts you give them, then they will become more
and more confident about expressing their own opinions and feelings
in English.
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5.1.7. Source of Classroom Activities


Literature is also a valuable source of material, since it provides
useful opportunities for helping your pupils to develop their reading
skills, both intensive and extensive. Literary materials can also be
used to encourage the pupils to increase their vocabulary and to
stimulate their writing.
As many literary texts are rich in meanings, language and
message, they can be effectively used in promoting activities where
the pupils need to share their feelings and opinions, such as
discussions, role-plays, group and pair work.

5.2. Teaching Context


Before deciding whether it is appropriate to teach literature to
your pupils, you need now to look more closely at your teaching
context. Your decision about teaching literature will depend on the
needs of your pupils and the type of syllabus you have to follow. If
you decide that it is appropriate to use literature, then you need to
choose your material by analysing in detail the criteria for selection.
5.2.1. Pupils Needs
First you need to identify your pupils needs closely so as to
assess whether using literature will help them to meet their needs.
Think first!
Before you read on, write down the needs that you think your
pupils may have, in order to decide whether to use literary texts
with your pupils.

Check your answers as you continue reading this section.


In order to identify your pupils needs, ask yourself the following
questions:

What are my pupils overall goals or reasons for learning


English? Will using literature help them to reach these goals?

When you teach in a primary or lower-secondary school, the


goals of your pupils may not be easy to define. However, using
literature may be a welcome addition, as it is a motivating and
enjoyable way of increasing the pupils general sensitivity to the
English language. However, you need to make sure that the pupils
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are aware of your reasons for including literature; otherwise they may
consider it irrelevant.

What areas of weakness do my pupils have? Reading skills?


Limited vocabulary? Poor pronunciation? Will the use of
literature help them to overcome these weaknesses?

After you have identified specific areas of weakness in your


pupils, either through testing or by day-to-day assessment, you may
decide that using literature can become a novel and useful way of
helping your pupils to overcome some of their problems. If, for
instance, some of them are having problems with pronunciation,
getting them to listen to recordings of simple poems in which difficult
sounds appear, before asking them to read those poems aloud, may
provide effective pronunciation practice.

What are my pupils intellectual and emotional needs? Can


literature help in meeting some of these needs?

Try to be sensitive to your pupils general educational and


affective needs. Such needs can be very difficult to identify since the
pupils themselves may be uncertain as to what they are. Through
intuition and honest discussion with your pupils you can begin to
arrive at an understanding of these needs. The use of literature can
help your pupils to overcome their frustrations as learners of English
and as human beings. Even elementary-level pupils, who are
educated and literate in Romanian, may feel frustration at their very
limited resources in English. Asking them to do activities based on an
authentic, but simple poem in English, may help to challenge them
emotionally and intellectually, while still working within their restricted
knowledge of English. They may also feel a sense of achievement at
reading an authentic English text.
5.2.2. The Syllabus
You may also need to have another look at the syllabus and
your timetable. How flexible is the syllabus? Can you add to it? Do
you have enough time to add to the syllabus? Does the syllabus
already include literature? If it does, do you have any choice as to
what literature to teach? Do your pupils have to pass an exam at the
end of the year or study cycle? Is there a literature component in that
exam?
If you think of giving literature as extensive reading to be done
at home, ask yourself how much available time the pupils have to
study on their own. They may have very little time available to do any
extra studying or reading. It may be more practical to confine any
literature teaching to classroom study and to short poems or literary
extracts.
5.2.3. The Selection of Literary Material
After you have clarified what the needs of your pupils are and
what the syllabus allows you to do, you may wish to consider the
selection of material. There are two categories of criteria used in
examining closely the materials for classroom use: (a) those referring
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to the pupils and, (b) those related to the material itself.


a)

pupil-related criteria
After considering the needs of your pupils (their overall goals in
learning English, their linguistic weaknesses, their linguistic and
affective needs), you need to look at some more detailed criteria for
choosing materials:

pupils age: Is the material chosen appropriate to the age of


your pupils?

pupils interests: Are the themes or the topic of the text likely to
fit in with the interests of your pupils?

pupils intellectual maturity: Are your pupils intellectually


mature enough to cope with the issues and dilemmas raised in
a particular text?

pupils emotional maturity: How far will your pupils be able to


respond to the feelings or emotional complexities expressed in
a particular text? Is the text likely to stimulate your pupils
involvement?

pupils linguistic ability: How advanced are your pupils? Is


their language ability sufficient to cope with the text?

pupils literary competence: To what extent are the pupils


already familiar with certain literary conventions? How much of
this kind of knowledge do they need to cope with the text you
have chosen?

pupils cultural background: How far will the pupils cultural


background and their social expectations help or hinder their
understanding of a text? How much of this background will you
have to supply?

pupils motivation: To what extent are your pupils likely to be


motivated by studying a particular text?
b) text-related criteria
When examining a text for its suitability, bear in mind the
following questions:

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length: How long is the text? Do you have enough time to work
on it with the pupils? Will they be discouraged if the text is too
long or too demanding? Can you use only sections of the text?
How much background information is needed to make the
chosen text comprehensible to your pupils?
language: How difficult is the language in the text? Will your
pupils be able to cope with it? To what extent is the language of
the text deviant from the usual rules of English? Are your pupils
familiar with these rules so as to be able to analyse the effect
the deviances produce?
exploitability: What kinds of activities or tasks can you devise
to exploit a text? Are these likely to be interesting and useful to
your pupils? Can you devise activities similar to those your
pupils are familiar with? Are there other resources (e.g. video
film) from which the pupils can view selected episodes or library
materials providing information about the author?
syllabus fit: Is the text likely to fit in with the rest of your
syllabus?
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genre: What kind of genre will work best with your pupils
poetry, fairy tales, drama, stories?

Your choice will be determined by the amount of time available


and the level of the pupils. Pupils at lower levels can be encouraged
to borrow graded readers from the library. At higher levels you could
use authentic texts.
SAQ 2
After finding answers to all the previous questions, there
is one more thing to do, to ensure your pupils interest and
motivation! What is it?
Write your answer (about 20 words) in the space
provided below.

Check your answer against the one suggested at the end


of the unit.

5.3. Success in Reading Literature


Research on reading strategies has tried to define the
strategies used by successful and unsuccessful readers. Here is a
list of successful reader strategies.
Successful readers

decide on a reading purpose for example, they follow the


development of a specific character in a story.
choose a reading approach (e.g. skimming, scanning, reading
for detail) which is appropriate to the given text and their
purpose in reading it.
read the title, look at illustrations, etc. and make hypotheses
about the meaning of the text.
predict how a story will develop.
check their predictions against what they read, modify or
reformulate their hypotheses.
use their knowledge of the world.
tolerate vague meaning until they can clarify it by skipping
unknown words and taking chances to guess at meaning;
use context clues (e.g. preceding and succeeding sentences
and paragraphs) to guess at unknown words and expressions.
use dictionaries sparingly.
summarise as they read along.
organise the information by taking notes, drawing diagrams,
semantic maps, etc.

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SAQ 3
Starting from the strategies used by successful readers,
could you write down 3-4 strategies that characterise
unsuccessful readers?

You will find a few strategies suggested in the Answers


section at the end of the unit.
The strategies of the successful and the less successful
readers offer us insights for the teaching of literature because they
identify those strategies that can be explicitly taught. Thus, when
teaching literature we should:

be explicit about the reason for an exercise so as to encourage


the pupils to read with a purpose and to assist them in gaining
control over the reading strategy that the exercise requires
them to use.
include instructions that offer useful hints and good working
procedures.
include exercises that build comprehension skills, from simple
ones such as true/false to more complex ones such as those
that require them to make inferences about the text.
help pupils make explicit the inferences that are implicit in the
text and to which the writer has assumed the readers will have
access. We also need to draw their attention to the hierarchy of
actions, states, events, and help them to differentiate between
main and secondary points, summarise and paraphrase.

In addition, we need to encourage our pupils to summarise as


they go along or to draw diagrams, flow charts, or tables. These can
help the pupils to organise the events in a story in a visual form that
shows the relation of the events (chronological, cause and effect,
etc.)

5.4. Teaching Literature


During the reading of literature, like during the reading of any
kind of text, the readers make sense of what they read by decoding
the linguistic items (lexical and grammatical) and relating this
information to what they already know the background information,
acquired through ones experience of the world. If the readers
linguistic knowledge is weak at any point, they will compensate by
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drawing on background knowledge, and vice versa. During the


reading process the readers try to give the text a coherent
interpretation, making predictions and searching for confirmations or
rejections. What they bring to the text is as important as what they
find in it. The following principles of teaching literature attempt to
capture these insights into reading:
principles of
teaching
literature

activate existing background knowledge


Relate the content of the text to the pupils own cultural
experiences. This can be done as a pre-reading activity, when pupils
reflect on and discuss what they already know about the topic of the
literary text. This helps them to relate what they read to what is
already familiar and known to them.

encourage prediction
Allow the pupils to formulate hypotheses about the text before
reading begins. This helps them utilise the background information
they possess and arouses their interest in the text. It does not matter
if the predictions are incorrect as long as they are alert to what
follows in the text to see whether it matches their expectations.

fill in the background knowledge where it is missing


Make explicit presentations of the cultural, historical, and/or
social context of the text.

explain the genre of the text


Explain what genre the text belongs to and the discourse
structure of the text, if necessary. This may be a novel, a play, a
poem, etc., and it may be organised as a description or as an
argument, etc.

assist word and sentence-level comprehension


You can do this using vocabulary exercises, glossaries, etc.

put the text together again


After you have discussed or analysed bits of it return to the text
as a whole.
Below are a few ideas of activities used for teaching literature.
When choosing such activities do not forget that some of them work
better with some kinds of texts, others work better with certain kinds
of pupils. Like any other reading activities, the activities used for
teaching literature can be classified into pre-, while- and post-reading
ones.

5.4.1. Pre-reading Activities


The aims of the pre-reading activities are to provide the pupils
with any necessary background information to understand the text
better and to stimulate their interest. Here are a few ideas for prereading activities:

Ask the pupils to write or tell their own stories from the title and
then compare these with the actual story in the text.
Ask the pupils to recall the main points of a text previously read

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so that they can compare it with a new text as they read it.
Let the pupils build free associations around an important word
in a text, and write down as many words connected with it that
they can think of. As they read the text, they can tick off the
words that appear.
Organise a discussion of controversial (true/false) statements
about the theme or topic of the text, etc.

SAQ 4
Could you add two more activities to this list of pre-reading
activities? (You could have a look at section 6.6 in ELT
Methodology I, The Three-Phase Approach to Reading Activities,
for ideas).

A few suggestions are given in the Answers section, at the


end of this unit.
5.4.2. While-reading Activities
This type of activities increases the pupils confidence and
interest while they read the text. Such activities may consist of:

listening to an accompanying recording of the same text;


providing notes about difficult vocabulary or unexplained
cultural information to which pupils can refer while reading, etc.
While-reading activities can also assist pupils with basic
understanding of the text. These can take various forms:

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Comprehension questions about the contents of the text. These


could be also true/false questions, multiple choice questions or
wh- questions.
The text can be divided into sections and the pupils are asked
to answer comprehension questions about each section before
they move on to the next section.
Pupils are provided with two or three brief summaries of a text,
and have to decide which one is the most appropriate.
Pupils complete a map or diagram showing the events in the
text, etc.

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SAQ 5
Could you add two more activities to this list of while-reading
activities? (You could have a look at section 6.6 in ELT
Methodology I, The Three-Phase Approach to Reading Activities,
for ideas).

A few suggestions are given in the Answers section, at the


end of this unit.
5.4.3. Post-reading Activities
These activities are meant to encourage pupils to express their
own opinions and personal responses to what they have read. They
may also provide fluency practice. Such activities may be:

simulations or role-plays in which the pupils take the part of


characters in the text they have read, and interview each other
or improvise scenes from the book;
pupils discussing statements arising from the issues or themes
in the text, etc.

Other post-reading activities may exploit the literary text to


stimulate the pupils creative writing abilities:

pupils write a few paragraphs about what happens after a poem


or short story has ended;
pupils rewrite the story or poem in a different style e.g. as if it
were a paragraph from an autobiography, etc.

Other post-reading activities have as goal to familiarise pupils


with new or difficult vocabulary in the text:

Pupils match words or phrases in the text with their dictionary


definitions;
Pupils match words in a text with a list of their opposites;
Pupils are divided into groups. Each group has a different list of
words from the text, for which they have to find the meaning by
using dictionaries. The groups then explain these words to each
other, etc.

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SAQ 6
Could you add two more activities to the list of postreading activities above? (You could have a look at section 6.6
in ELT Methodology I, The Three-Phase Approach to Reading
Activities, for ideas).

A few suggestions are given in the Answers section, at


the end of this unit.

5.5. Sample Lesson Plan


This lesson plan is based on material taken from Chilrescu,
M., Andriescu I., and Paidos, C., 1998, All Right, Manual de limba
englez pentru clasa a VII-a, Iai, Polirom. Some of the activities are
based on ideas in Lesson Two, Unit 4, pp. 52 53. The focus of the
lesson has been changed, a few activities have been remodelled and
new ones have been introduced:
Aims:

to provide intermediate pupils, who are highly literate in


Romanian, with the opportunity to read some authentic English
literature;
to reinforce pupils knowledge of English sentence structure by
means of a sentence-completion exercise and a gap-fill
exercise;
to encourage pupils to focus on different relationships between
words, such as antonyms and collocation.
Level: lower intermediate and intermediate pupils
Time: 30 35 minutes

Aids: a few pictures of various trees in spring and autumn and


the textbook (Chilrescu, M., Andriescu, I., and Paidos, C., 1998, All
Right, Manual de limba englez pentru clasa a VII-a, Iai, Polirom).
Assumptions:

Anticipated
problems:
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Pupils are familiar with the structures and vocabulary in the


poem, e.g. past tense of regular and irregular verbs, basic
colour adjectives.
Pupils are motivated to read a poem.
Pupils are familiar with grammatical terminology like verb,
adjective, noun.
Some of the vocabulary is a little difficult, e.g. scarlet, crimson.
The new colours will be taught using the palette on page 52.
Also difficult to explain: rustic hollow and jolly hands around.
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Procedure:

Warmer (10 minutes)


a) Organise the class for pair work. One pair partner is given
some pictures of trees in spring, while the other has pictures of trees
in autumn. Each pupil has to write three sentences based on their
pictures, beginning with cues like:
1.
2.
3.

Chestnuts, oaks and maples


Last spring, trees
Blossoms new fallen from the trees spread a

1.
2.
3.

Weather
Last autumn, the weather
Leaves new fallen from the trees flew

Pupils can use the pictures to help them, or can simply invent
their own sentences.
b) Partners exchange sentences, and mark each others
sentences.
While-reading (10 minutes)
Ask the pupils to look at the (gapped) poem and explain to
them that they have to decide which words fit in the gaps. Give the
words that have been removed from the text on the board, in random
order. Encourage the pupils to work in pairs on this activity, too.
When the pupils have completed the gap-filling exercise, ask
one pair to read out their version, and see whether the others all
agree.
Explain any difficult words like crimson, scarlet, flutter, rustic
hollow, jolly hand around. Encourage the pupils to use dictionaries
to check the word meaning if necessary.
Go through the poem again, reading out the answers and
asking the pupils to justify their choices.

a)

b)
c)

Post-reading (5 minutes)
This is the discussion part of the lesson. Pupils discuss in pairs:
Who came to the party? What does party mean here?
How were the guests dressed?
What did the guests do at the party?
What do the pupils think of the poem? Do they like it or not?
Why?
Vocabulary Follow-up (10 minutes)
Remind the pupils of the set of colours, and of the party
associations and collocations: to give a party, to lead the
dancing, to lead the band, to balance to ones partner, a party
ends/closes.
Ask the pupils to do exercise IX in the book, page 53: Colourful
language.
Give the pupils this list either on the board, or as individual
cut up words to find out collocations:
light
yellow

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scarlet
sheep

violet
turquoise
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Teaching literature

indigo
black
white
red
crimson
d)

see
olive
green
look in the
pink

blood
purple
lie
blue
orange

Feedback. The solutions are: black sheep, green light, look in


the pink, white lie, see red, blue blood.

Homework
Explain to the pupils what a garden party is. Ask them to write
a short story about an imaginary garden party, including as many
colour words as they can, and the following collocations in what they
write: gave a party, led the dancing, led the band, played, and
closed.

Summary
In spite of the little attention given to the teaching of literature in
the textbooks on the international market, literature has always been
recognised as an effective tool in learning English in this country.
Literature represents valuable authentic material which
provides for the more subtle and meaningful learning in depth of a
foreign language. Literary texts, on the other hand, represent a
valuable source of civilisation knowledge. The very nature of
literature with its ambiguity can provide a stimulus for expressing
different opinions. In literature there is no correct solution to how
you experience a text, and a class discussion will be genuine
communication.
Reading literature, as well as talking and writing about it, is both
an affective and cognitive process. Meeting a literary text can give
our pupils an emotional and personal experience and give room for
reflection. This emotional appeal can involve the pupils in the
learning process.

Key Concepts

text authenticity
cultural background
language awareness
interpretive skills
teaching context
pupil-related criteria of text selection
text-related criteria of selection
successful and unsuccessful literature readers
principles of teaching literature
pre-, while- and post-reading activities

Further Reading
1.
Brumfit, C. and Carter, R.A. (eds.), 1986, Literature and
Language Teaching, Oxford University Press
2.
Collie, J. and Slater, S., 1987, Literature in the
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Teaching literature

Language Classroom, Cambridge University Press, pp. 1-16 (Part B


of the book contains a resource bank of activities)

Answers to SAQs
Should your answer to SAQ 1 not be comparable to that
given below, please revise section 5.1 of the unit.
SAQ 1
Literature exposes our pupils to less conventional uses of
language. By asking them to analyse the effects of literary language,
we are asking them to both think about some of the overall patterns
and features of English and to see how particular stylistic effects may
be created. Exploring such uses of language, the pupils are exposed
to resources of English that they would otherwise ignore. In literary
texts, they encounter fresh and vigorous effects which make them
think of the norms of everyday language use. In order to appreciate
the effect and the intensity of some literary language, they need to
think carefully about the conventions and rules that have been
changed or distorted in those texts.
Should your answer to SAQ 2 not be comparable to that
given below, please revise section 5.2 of the unit.
SAQ 2
It may be a good idea to consult your pupils about the material
you wish to use in the classroom. Their motivation is often increased
if they are consulted about what they wish to study. Provide them
with a list of possible texts, with short descriptions or summaries of
each one. Then ask them to select the texts they feel they would like
to study.
Should your answer to SAQ 3 not be comparable to that
given below, please revise section 5.3 of the unit.
SAQ 3
By contrast, less successful readers

lose the meaning of sentences as soon as they decode them;


read (and often translate) in short phrases;
view words as having equal importance in terms of their
contribution to the phrase meaning;
view themselves as bad readers.

Should your answers to SAQs 4, 5 and 6 not be


comparable to those given below, please revise section 5.4 of
the unit.
SAQ 4

Here are a few more ideas of pre-reading activities:


Organise a discussion of the pupils personal experiences or
knowledge of the relevant topic.
Ask the pupils to make predictions about a text from its title, the
first paragraph or selected words and phrases from the text.
Pre-teach some difficult vocabulary in the text, and ask the
pupils to make predictions about its content from the

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Teaching literature

vocabulary, etc.
SAQ 5

Here are a few more ideas of while-reading activities:


Pupils can be given a list of jumbled events from a story; they
have to put them in the order in which they appear in the text.
Pupils complete a basic summary by filling in the missing
words.
Pupils write their own summaries of a text and compare them
with each other.

SAQ 6

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Here are a few more ideas of post-reading activities:


Pupils express their personal response to the text.
Pupils write character descriptions using the descriptive
adjectives they have learned while reading.
Pupils underline all the words in the text that form part of a
lexical set (e.g., all the vocabulary connected with country life).
The meaning of these words is discussed in pairs or groups,
and then checked in the dictionary, etc.

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UNIT 6
ERROR AND CORRECTION

Unit Outline
Unit Objectives .............................................................................................................. 118
6.1
What Is Error? .................................................................................................... 118
6.1.1 The Status of Error................................................................................ 118
6.1.2 Some Causes of Error........................................................................... 118
6.1.3 Types of Error ....................................................................................... 119
6.1.4 Feedback and Error Correction............................................................. 120
6.1.5 When and What Should We Correct? ................................................... 120
6.2
How Should We Correct Errors? ........................................................................ 121
6.3
Errors and Mistakes ........................................................................................... 123
6.3.1 Error or Mistake?................................................................................... 124
6.3.2 Categories of Mistakes.......................................................................... 124
6.3.3 Production and Reception Mistakes...................................................... 124
6.4
Errors and the Language Learning Process....................................................... 125
6.4.1 Pre-systematic Stage Errors ................................................................. 125
6.4.2 Systematic Stage Errors ....................................................................... 126
6.4.3 Post-systematic Stage Errors................................................................ 126
6.5
Error Analysis..................................................................................................... 127
6.5.1 Identifying an Error................................................................................ 127
6.5.2 Reconstructing an Error ........................................................................ 128
6.5.3 Classifying Errors .................................................................................. 129
6.5.4 Explaining Errors................................................................................... 129
6.5.5 Teachers Response to Error ................................................................ 131
6.5.6 Correction or Reformulation? ................................................................ 132
Summary............................................................................................... 132
Key Concepts........................................................................................ 133
Further Reading .................................................................................... 133
SAA No. 3 ............................................................................................. 133
Answers to SAQs .................................................................................. 134

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Error and correction

Error is now seen as an inevitable and necessary part of the


learning process. In learning English, our pupils are involved in a
creative construction process, in which they constantly form, test and
adjust hypotheses. This process involves them in making errors, too.
By the end of this unit you will be able to:
unit objectives

explain what is an error;


what are the causes of error;
discuss how and when error should be corrected;
put in practice some practical principles and suggestions for
error correction in the classroom.

6.1. What Is Error?


Generally speaking, error is a deviation from the norm. By
norm we mean a language system shared by a language
community, in our case, English. However, the answer to the
question What is error? will vary with who gives the answer and
why. For instance, one teacher may see error as an important source
of data for the study of internal psychological language processes.
Another may see it as a source of information about the relative
success of teaching. To the pupil, error may or may not be a thing to
be avoided, a source of failure and inhibition, or a source of
amusement, if not a fact of life.
Not all errors are all of equal importance, however.
6.1.1. The Status of Error
Today, errors are rarely seen as failure. That is why you need
to coach your pupils into believing that:

errors are positive as they form an indispensable part of


learning;
native speakers of English make errors, too;
very often errors do not interfere with the intended message in
the communicative process (e.g. *Pardon, is possible I can use
phone?).

6.1.2. Some Causes of Error


A few central causes of error could be outlined as follows:

the interference of Romanian (also called negative transfer*);


the interference of English (e.g. overgeneralisation*, as in *He
must to be careful);

the process of learning. For instance, pupils may forget


previously learnt rules and these become again areas of
confusion as new rules are introduced into the system;
the process of teaching. For instance controlled practice
activities may put such pressure on pupils that they make errors
of stress, for instance, because they are concentrating on the
structures;

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distraction, carelessness, etc.;


bad teaching.

It is important for a teacher to establish the causes of an error in


order to become more able to deal with it.
6.1.3. Types of Errors
Think first!
Before reading the next paragraphs, try to work out a
classification of errors. Think of what categories of errors you
are usually confronted with. Write your answer in the space
provided below.

You will find some answers as you read on.


Classification is an important aspect of error analysis*. You can
categorise errors in several different ways according to your purpose.
For instance, you might want to categorise errors in terms of causes
(as above). Or you might prefer to categorise errors in terms of type
and in terms of priority considerations, which will lead you to category
lists such as the following:

Language categories

general language
errors
grammar
lexis
style and register
(appropriacy)
discourse-linking
formulaic
expressions
functional
exponents

errors specific to
spoken language
sounds
stress and
rhythm
intonation
paralinguistics*

errors specific to
written language
punctuation
spelling
spacing and
layout
coherence

Behavioural categories
These involve culturally specific routines (e.g. how and when to
greet people, take your leave, respond to gratitude, etc.), ways of not
causing offence, and ways of behaving in conversation (e.g. turntaking, interrupting, etc.).

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Priority considerations
These considerations concern whether or not to deal with an
error during a given classroom activity, addressing the question How
important is the error? This aspect of error analysis is often dealt
with immediately by the teacher, but it is important for you to be
aware of the dimensions of the issue in order to make those
systematically. Here are some of these priority considerations:

Is the activity controlled or communicative?


Is the error frequent or infrequent?
Is the error global* or local*?
Is it a mistake/slip or a competence error?
Is the error linguistic or behavioural/sociolinguistic?

Applying these considerations, you can isolate different angles


from which to view the importance of your pupils errors. Your
decision as to how and when to correct will be largely a matter of
common sense and sensitivity.
6.1.4. Feedback and Error Correction
One essential feature of the language learning process is
feedback. This allows pupils to know how successful their efforts
are. There are two sides to feedback confirmatory feedback and
corrective feedback. Confirmatory feedback tells them when they are
right, and corrective feedback tells them when they are wrong. Both
you and the other pupils in the class are a constant source of both
types of feedback during lessons.
If we concentrate on corrective feedback, two questions arise:
when should we correct and what should we correct?
6.1.5. When and What Should We Correct?
These questions are interdependent. In general, we need firstly
to be aware of when it is appropriate to correct, and when it is not
appropriate to do so. In more specific instances, when your pupils
produce language errors, you need to assess whether and what
items it is necessary to correct. As a guiding principle, you can adopt
a general corrective or non-corrective stance according to the aim of
the activity you have engaged the pupils in.
You need to adopt a corrective stance during accuracy
activities, where the focus is on the form of the language. On the
other hand, you do not need to adopt a corrective stance during
fluency activities, where the focus is on effective communication and
the achievement of a task-based objective.
So, for example, the controlled oral practice of a new
grammatical structure may need correction and attention to accuracy.
By contrast, a pupils presentation of a match that he watched the
night before will be followed by the correction of the global errors
which impeded the communication of the message.
As far as correction of specific errors is concerned, remember
that you need to be selective. In other words, you need to choose
which types of error you are going to focus on in any particular
activity.
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SAQ 1
What would happen if you did not apply the principle of
selectivity to specific errors in accuracy activities? Give a short
answer (no more than one brief sentence) in the space provided
below.

Check your answer against the one given in the Answers


section at the end of the unit.
In an accuracy activity, correction emphasis may be on word
form, syntax or rhythm. In another activity, the emphasis may be on
correct production of sounds or intonation.
In a semi-controlled activity (where there may be revision and
practice of a wider range of language items), correction emphasis
may be on general rhythm and intonation, on lexis, and on other
errors which are frequent among the learners.
In a fluency activity, where you are taking a generally noncorrective stance, the only interventions will be in cases where your
pupils are unable to make themselves understood. In other words,
these corrections will focus on global errors.
You can take note of errors which occur in group or class work,
focusing on general areas of weakness, and then feed these back to
the pupils afterwards for comment and correction.
Always bear in mind the priority considerations. Is the error a
careless slip or an as-yet-unlearnt rule? Is it a word or a structure
that has recently been taught and is therefore in the process of being
assimilated? Is it a frequent error or an infrequent one? Is the activity
controlled or free?

6.2. How Should We Correct Errors?


Think first!
Who else, besides you can carry out correction and
when? Who is the most desirable corrector? Write down your
answer in the space below.

You will find a few answers as you read on.


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Whether during written work or oral work, correction can be


carried out by:

the teacher;
the pupil her-/himself;
another pupil;
the whole class (through discussion).

The most desirable correctors are the pupils her-/himself and


another pupil. But you will often need to do the correction yourself as
consolidation, as pupils often do not trust each other to be able to
provide the best solution. The whole class is asked to do the
correction when a common problem seems to be worth making into a
class problem-solving activity.
In controlled oral work one possible procedure is to:

stop the pupil who is speaking and make sure s/he knows there
is a mistake (e.g. "Is that right?");
give the pupil a chance to reconsider;
if this does not help, isolate the error (e.g. by counting off the
previous words with fingers and highlighting position of error in
the pupils utterance), or
say "Grammar?, Pronunciation?, Stress?, Is that the right
word?", etc.;
if this is still no good, ask the class "Can anybody help?" and
encourage intensive listening of pupils;
if this does not work either, tell the pupils what the correct form
is and
get the pupils to practise the correct version.

SAQ 2
In no more than 50 words, explain whether you would
use a similar error correction procedure for oral fluency work.

You will find a few suggestions in the Answers to SAQs


section, at the end of the unit.
When dealing with errors in written work, essentially the same
principles apply:

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accuracy activities
important errors

vs.
vs.

fluency activities
less important errors

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Many of the writing activities that you set are probably


controlled or guided exercises, because these are easy to mark, and
your pupils make fewer errors. However, when you set fluency-based
writing (i.e. communicative writing), it is important to be selective
about the types of error you want to focus on.
Perhaps one of the best ways to correct written work is to make
the pupils work it out for themselves. This means that you need to
isolate the error (by underlining) and categorise it (by a code in the
margin). Here is an example of such a code:
Gr = grammar
WO = word order
WW = wrong word
SP = spelling
?? = word omitted
P = punctuation

T = tense
St = style
? = I don't understand
L = linking not logical
NP = new paragraph
etc.

Do not forget that your pupils may also enjoy helping each other
with the correction of their work!
When a group of errors becomes common in the class, it is time
for remedial work*. One of the best ways of dealing with remedial
work is to write 10 wrong sentences on the blackboard and the pupils
(in pairs or groups) have to find the errors.

6.3. Errors and Mistakes


An error is a deviation from the norm. This definition includes
the performance of mistakes. So what is the difference between a
mistake and an error?
A mistake can also be called a slip of the tongue. The
speaker/writer knows perfectly well what s/he wants to say but the
message just does not come out right. This is often true of timepressurised speaking, but also of writing at speed or under pressure.
Often our thoughts run ahead of our speaking or writing and we may
leave words out. Or, when we are tired, we tend to drop sounds or
letters or to switch the sounds or letters around in words.
Your pupils are vulnerable to the same kind of pressures. If you
take this into account, you can avoid hyper-correction*.

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6.3.1. Error or Mistake?


How do you know if your pupils are making a mistake or an
error?
Think first!
Based on your teaching experience, how would you
answer this question? In the space provided below write an
answer of no more than 20 words.

You will find a few ideas as you read on.


A possible answer is that slips of the tongue produce a different
kind of deviation from the norm from those resulting from a lack of
knowledge of the system.
Another answer is that you base your decision on whether the
pupil usually uses this word or item with facility or not.
Moreover, people often realise immediately when they make
slips of the tongue and correct themselves immediately.
6.3.2. Categories of Mistakes
Linguists have looked into slips of the tongue in some detail.
Here are some of the categories they found:

reversals or spoonerisms: e.g. *Im catching the town drain


(instead of down train)
blends: e.g. *"The road was very slickery" (slick + slippery).
substitutions: e.g. "Give me a black coffee I mean white",
even sometimes grammatical substitutions e.g. "I had my photo
took" (from I had my photo taken + Someone took my photo).
Such substitutions are common for native speakers and
language learners alike.

6.3.3. Production and Reception Mistakes


We have considered so far only production mistakes, that is,
the kind of mistakes made by the speaker or writer when producing
sentences or utterances. But mistakes can also be made by listeners
or readers; these are called reception mistakes. Reception mistakes
are less easy to detect but they are usually due to:

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mumbled or badly written input;


the listener/reader has a different interpretation;
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the listener/reader has made wrong assumptions about the


content or topic;
the title, the topic or a word causes misunderstanding;
lack of attention (which may cause putting together wrong bits
of information);
bad hearing or eyesight or distraction;
blends and substitutions that occur in listening/reading.
These factors are true for native speakers and foreign pupils

alike.

6.4. Errors and the Language Learning Process


Another factor which will influence the way you correct errors
and the kind of feedback you give, is the stage that the pupils have
arrived at in learning a particular language item. You need to take
account of the extent of knowledge they have, and of when and how
they use it. It may therefore be helpful to look at what Pit Corder
suggests are three stages in error making: pre-systematic,
systematic and post-systematic. At the pre-systematic stage, errors
are due to the ignorance of the rule; at the systematic stage, they are
due to the use of a wrong rule, and at the post-systematic stage, they
are due to lapses in the use of correct rule.
6.4.1. Pre-systematic Stage Errors
In this stage, the pupils are not aware of a certain rule, or they
are confused about the rule. They will either transfer a rule from
Romanian, or use their limited knowledge of English. For instance,
beginners without knowledge of simple past tense may say:
*Yesterday I go early in the school.
Beginners with no knowledge of question-form inversion may say:
*You can write it?
Such errors tend to be random guesses with no system. During
the same class, a pupil who is not sure how to mark the 3rd person
may produce: *"I gets up early" or *"Hes gets up" just to see which is
right.
SAQ 3
Could you think of the instances when pupils tend to make
such errors? Write your explanation (no more than 30 words) in the
space provided below.

Check your explanation against the one given at the end of the
unit.
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6.4.2. Systematic Stage Errors


In this stage, pupils are still constantly making errors but each
of the errors has a definite pattern. A pupil may have discovered and
transferred a rule (not the rule), s/he is applying it consistently, and
s/he cannot correct this alone. This means that pupils are
consistently wrong, unlike in the pre-systemic stage where by chance
they could come upon the right form.
The important difference is that in this systematic stage, the
pupils can give a reason for using the language item in the way they
have used it. Therefore, you can give the pupils feedback focused on
the particular problem.
This is also the stage when pupils may ask you or each other
questions about rules to check hypotheses, e.g. Is the question Did
you went or Did you go? or The negative of must is mustnt?
Your response is to correct, explain, re-present, resituationalise. Pupils rarely remain in this stage with a particular
language item for long. Systematic errors occur as a natural part of
the learning of a new item, and show you what to do for remedial
work or for further practice activities.
6.4.3. Post-systematic Stage Errors
In this stage, the pupils have internalised the correct rule;
however, the use of the respective rule is not yet automatic, and
errors occur in less controlled activities. So practice, but not remedial
work, is still needed.
When you point out the error, the pupils can correct it
immediately. You can correct this kind of error by simply drawing
attention to the fact that there is an error, by a look; by a shake of the
head; by saying stress or grammar or question, or by underlining
the written form.
Post-systematic errors tend to occur in freer activities. They will
appear as the pupils move on to learn new items, shifting their focus
on to new rules and concentrating less on the old. Post-systematic
errors are practically the same thing as mistakes. However,
mistakes are more widespread than post-systematic errors in that
they occur randomly and with language that may have been learnt
long ago.
These three stages refer to individual language items at any
level of proficiency. In a sense, learning is a process by which the
new becomes the familiar, which in turn is disrupted by the new
again. The best you can do is to be sympathetic to your pupils
feelings in these different stages of error-making, and bear in mind
that they need a space between the learning of one major item and
the learning of the next.

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6.5. Error Analysis


Error analysis is a process which has four steps:

identifying the error;


reconstructing;
classifying;
explaining possible causes of the error.

6.5.1. Identifying an Error


Identifying errors is not always an easy task. For instance, it is
always easier to identify production than reception errors. Reception
errors may often go unnoticed as we often remain ignorant of pupils
reception errors until these errors reach the production stage. That is
why error analysis research has limited itself to analysing production
errors.
SAQ 4
Look at the following errors. Some are easier to identify
than others. Why is it so? Explain your reasons in the space
provided below.
a. *I have saw him recently.

.
b. *Ive seen him yesterday.

..............................................................................................
c. *I took the jacket back it didnt suit me.

d. *I dont want to go to Spain this year. I prefer going to Italy.

e. *I clean my teeth twice a week.

f. *There are cinemas from 10 p.m. until 2 a.m.

Check your answers against the ones given at the end of


the unit.

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There are two kinds of errors: overt and covert. Overt errors are
easily recognisable as the sentence where they appear provides
enough context. Covert errors are the more difficult to recognise as
they require greater sensitivity to the wider context and to what the
pupil is trying to say. Examples (a), (b) and (f) in SAQ 4 contain overt
errors. Examples (c), (d) and (e) are covert errors. Such covert
errors may either pass by altogether or are realised as errors
because we have some extralinguistic knowledge about the pupil
who is speaking or the situation s/he is referring to. Covert errors
involve the wider context of the discourse.
6.5.2. Reconstructing an Error
Reconstruction means deciding what the pupil really wanted to
say, and involves interpretation. It is almost simultaneous with
identification, as in the act of identifying we almost always replace
the error with what we think the pupil wanted to say.
SAQ 5
Have another look at the examples in SAQ 4. What did
you replace the erroneous sentences with?
a. *I have saw him recently.
.
b. *Ive seen him yesterday.
..
c. *I took the jacket back it didnt suit me.

d.

*I dont want to go to Spain this year. I prefer going to

Italy.
.
e. *I clean my teeth twice a week.

f.

*There are cinemas from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m.

You will find the correct answers at the end of this unit.
To reconstruct covert errors you have to look behind the
immediate context. In order to correct covert errors you may have to
ask the pupil if s/he meant what s/he said or not, and if not, what s/he
wanted to say. Questioning may also be needed when a combination
of errors occurs in one utterance.
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Moreover, overt errors can very often conceal covert errors. In


reconstructing an overt error such as *I clean rarely my teeth or *I
want speak to you, the impulse to correct the word-order in *rarely
my teeth may obscure the fact that it doesnt really make sense. In
*I want speak you you might insert the to but not notice the stylistic
error. So, whether you are marking written work or listening to pupils
oral work, you shouldnt miss important covert errors in your attempts
to correct the overt ones.
6.5.3. Classifying Errors
Classifying or describing errors refers to putting an error into
one of the categories. This happens almost simultaneously with the
first two processes. Assigning errors to categories is dependent on
what you think the pupil is aiming at or what a native speaker would
say, and on your reconstruction of the correct version.
6.5.4. Explaining Errors
This is the most speculative part of the process of error
analysis. Once an error is identified, reconstructed and categorised,
you are in a position to consider its possible cause(s). Broadly
speaking, errors will be either interlingual*, and stem from negative
transfers from Romanian or another language the pupil speaks, or
intralingual*, and stem from negative transfer within English.

Interlingual errors
Inter-lingual errors are comparatively few in number compared
to intra-lingual errors. This suggests that the traditional contrastive
analysis is useful to explain only those errors that are caused by the
interference of Romanian. As a teacher of English, you are already
familiar with the areas of interference between Romanian and
English.

Intralingual errors
Many errors are common to pupils with different native
languages. However, the pupils in a certain group do not necessarily
make the same errors. So error analysts looked at the errors made
within the context of English and of the students learning experience.
They attempted to work out what influences could cause error apart
from the learners mother tongue. Below are some of the most
common causes of intra-lingual errors:

Overgeneralisation
An overgeneralisation error appears when the pupil has learnt a
rule (e.g. ed marks the past tense) and s/he overextends the rule to
exceptions. Hence *comed, *goed, *maked or *"I must to buy this
book", etc. Native English children also do this when acquiring
English.

Early learning
The language pupils learn first has to cover a multitude of
functions and they must make do with the little language that they
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Error and correction

know. For instance, the present simple may serve as past:


*"Yesterday I come to school by bus". The errors produced in such
circumstances could be called communicative, and they are
gradually removed as the pupils learn more English.

Errors deriving from the nature of teaching


What is practised most in class or is needed most for classroom
communication is used most, even when inappropriate. For instance,
very often a question like "Whats he doing?" may get an answer like:
*"Hes doing reading a book".
Such errors are often linked to the verbal prompts used by the
teacher or by written prompts used in written exercises (as in the
example above). They show the need for more careful teaching and
more practice.

Teacher-induced errors
Some mistakes may be caused by overloading, which may lead
to mixing or confusing, or even erasing. Also, the teachers failure to
highlight the relevant details of a rule, may determine the pupils
production commission of errors. For instance a question like *"Is she
gone out?" may be caused by the teachers failure to show that shes
gone out stands for she has gone out in the affirmative.

Cross-association
Pupils may confuse two different uses of similar forms or
concepts as in:
*Its mine book.
*The book was very interested.
*He asked me to borrow my car to him.
Any of the above-mentioned causes could contribute to such
errors. Whatever the cause though, the pupils are not associating the
right form to the right concept or function.

Hypercorrection
The pupils may transfer a correction to areas where it does not
apply, and in which they previously made no errors or different
errors, e.g.:
*He always is late.
After the teacher has insisted a lot on structures like He always
arrives late or My fathers car, the overcompensation begins. The
pupils may say things like *He always is late or *The chairs legs.

Distraction
When a pupil is thinking about one aspect of language, he may
lose concentration in another. This is especially true of intonation, as
practice of structural accuracy may lead to flat intonation.

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Communication strategies
Communication strategies include simplification, translating,
borrowing, guessing, over-generalising, etc. Each strategy brings
with it several types of error. For most pupils, true communication in
English (i.e. fluency) is inaccurate. However, the errors that occur will
be considered significant only if they lead to communication
breakdown. These breakdowns must be noticed and quickly
repaired. Here are some examples:
simplification: *I like a tea. (for Id like a tea.)
borrowing:
*He is terrible. (for He is terrific.)
guessing:
*We can meet together at the the car
station. OK? (*'car station for bus stop)
There is always some speculating in talking of the possible
causes of error. Nevertheless, knowledge of and sensitivity to the
causes of error should make you more vigilant about your teaching,
and about the false corrections that pupils often make in the learning
of English.
6.5.5. Teachers Response to Error
The final link in the chain of error analysis is response to error,
that is, what you can do to rectify errors. You have two main courses
of action: correction and remedial work. Correction is done on the
spot or shortly afterwards. Remedial work is a more thorough and
systematic recapitulation of the language which is causing particular
difficulty.

Correction
A difficult problem teachers are confronted with is how to make
your pupils notice and concentrate on your corrections. You can
never be sure of your pupils commitment to correction, because they
learn in the way that suits them best. For instance, some pupils will
benefit from homework, if you attach a good deal of importance to it,
and give them corrections and comments in it.
When the pupils are motivated, you may ask them to selfcorrect using a correction code. An introduction to self-correction is
to get the pupils correcting each others work after it has been coded
by you and handed back.

Remedial action
The systematic diagnosis of language weaknesses can pay
dividends. When diagnosing areas of weakness, especially from
written work, it is important to end up with:

a list of all errors made


a list of the common errors made by both individuals and the
class as a whole. The errors in the list can be categorised:
errors with articles, punctuation, modal auxiliaries, etc. Such a
list can help you devise a step-by-step approach to remedial
work.

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6.5.6. Correction or Reformulation?


It is interesting to note that parents seldom correct their young
childrens pronunciation or grammar in their mother tongue. Parental
correction tends to concentrate on conventions of politeness (e.g.
Say please) or on correcting the truth value of an utterance (e.g.
Thats not a chair, is it? Its a stool). The childs grammatical system
develops with little parental attention. It seems that parents do two
things:

They reformulate what the child tries to say, and in so doing,


they confirm that they have understood. In reformulation, no
attention is drawn to an error.
They extend what the child is talking about, thereby providing
relevant and comprehensible new input.

SAQ 6
What are the implications of these two parental strategies
for classroom teaching? What questions do they raise?
Write your questions in the space provided below.

You will find a few questions in the Answers section at the


end of the unit.
In the classrooms where exposure to English is intensive and
frequent, pupils could accept the idea that a lot of fluency work will
benefit them. In such circumstances, such an approach to correction
would be valid. But, in general, most pupils would only accept such
an approach as part of a particular freer-style activity, or at higher
levels of study where some fluency has already been attained.

Summary
To conclude, you need to be aware of various types of
mistakes: slips, lapses, and errors and be able to say in which
category or subcategory of errors they belong. In addition, you need
to identify the causes of errors and say if they originate in Romanian
or in English.
Your responses to error will depend on the medium: in speech,
you will have to opt for either correction or reformulation, while in
writing you will have to decide on a coding system.
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Key Concepts

error
mistake
negative transfer
overgeneralisation
error analysis
production and reception mistakes
pre-systematic stage errors
systematic stage errors
post-systematic stage errors
identifying error
reconstructing error
classifying error
explaining error
inter-lingual errors
intra-lingual errors
correction
remedial action/work
reformulation

Further Reading
1.

Norrish, J. Language Learners and their Errors,

Macmillan
Swan, M. and Smith, B., 1987, Learner English,
Cambridge University Press
2.

SAA No. 3
This task is designed as practice in error analysis. It is
not meant as a general data-collecting exercise nor as a
means of making generalisations about the difficulties of a
particular language group.
Record a learner in class. The recording might be made
during pair or group work, or even when the learner is talking to
you or someone else one-to-one. If the recording is made
during pair or group work, focus on one learner only. Select an
appropriate activity - one that will generate something for you
to analyse (i.e. a semi-controlled or freer practice activity, not a
drill). You could set up a discussion or narrative activity.
Using this recording do the following:
1. Categorise and analyse the main errors. Give some
possible reasons for the errors.
2. Choose two areas that you think are important, and
say why you think so.
3. Choose two areas that are of less importance, and say
why you think so.
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4. Link your error analysis to possible solutions in your


future teaching programme. State in what areas you would
most want to help this learner to improve his/her English, given
this particular learner's reasons for studying English. Say how
you would provide this help.
In order to make your assignment comprehensible to the
tutor, you may need to provide a brief biography of the
learner, and you will need to provide a stretch of transcript
covering the parts of the recording you wish to focus on in
order to help your tutor understand the context in which the
errors were made.
Send this assignment to your tutor.

Answers to SAQs
Should your answer to SAQ 1 not be comparable to that
given below, please revise sections 6.1.4 and 6.1.5 of the unit.

SAQ 1
There would be too much to correct.
Should your answer to SAQ 2 not be comparable to that
given below, please revise section 6.2 of the unit.
SAQ 2
In oral fluency work a useful procedure is to:
intervene only when communication breaks down
take notes during group conversation and present the noted
errors back to the class for comment at the end of the
activity, and use the opportunity to clarify confusions or
introduce simple rules.
Should your answer to SAQ 3 not be comparable to that
given below, please revise section 6.4.1 of the unit.
SAQ 3
Pupils make pre-systematic errors when:
they express themselves above their level;
the teacher has been unclear or overloaded them;
for some reason (e.g. complexity, tiredness, difficulty) they
cannot see a rule.
Should your answer to SAQ 4 not be comparable to that
given below, please revise sections 6.5 and 6.5.1 of the unit.

SAQ 4
(a) is easily identifiable as an error because it is ungrammatical.
The error occurs within the form of the tense itself.
(b) is also easily identifiable. The error is in the relationship
between the present perfect and tense adverbials.
(c): one cannot normally take something back to a shop simply
because the style or colour did not suit them.
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(d): does the speaker go to Italy every year? This is what prefer
going to Italy suggests.
(e) sounds most unhygienic (typically we brush our teeth
several times a day!) but it might be correct as it stands.
In (f) the word cinemas suggests buildings!
Should your answer to SAQ 5 not be comparable to that
given below, please revise section 6.5.2 of the unit.

SAQ 5
(a) and (b) are easy to reconstruct:
(a) I have seen him recently.
(b) I saw him yesterday.
So is (c):
(c) I took the jacket back - it didn't suit/fit me.
However, if you know the pupil is talking about size, then the
change to fit is also obvious.
(d) I don't want to go to Spain this year. I prefer going/to go to
Italy.
Though we may suspect an error in the use of the gerund
instead of the infinitive, it could be that the speaker goes to Italy
every year and wants to go there this year again, and s/he is not
simply expressing a preference for this year (i.e. Id prefer).
(e) I clean my teeth twice a week.
To reconstruct (e), you would have to ask the speaker some
questions about dental hygiene!
(f) There are films from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m.
Should your answer to SAQ 6 not be comparable to that
given below, please revise section 6.5.5 of the unit.
SAQ 6
Could reformulations be more helpful to language learners than
explicit corrections which focus on errors and interrupt the flow?
Could learners simply assume there has been no error?
During controlled practice activities, dont pupils need to have
their errors explicitly corrected?

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UNIT 7
TESTING AND EVALUATION
Unit Outline
Unit Objectives ..............................................................................................................137
7.1
Informal and Formal Testing...............................................................................137
7.1.1 Informal Testing.....................................................................................137
7.1.2 Formal Testing.......................................................................................138
7.2
Approaches to Testing........................................................................................139
7.2.1 What Does a Test Measure? .................................................................139
7.2.2 Progress Tests ......................................................................................140
7.2.3 Diagnostic Tests ....................................................................................141
7.2.4 Placement Tests....................................................................................142
7.3
Assessing Tests .................................................................................................142
7.3.1 Reliability and Validity............................................................................143
7.3.2 Scorability and Administrability ..............................................................144
7.3.3 Marking Tests ........................................................................................145
7.4
Discrete Item vs. Integrative Tests .....................................................................146
7.4.1 Two Popular Techniques: Multiple Choice Tests and Cloze Tests ........150
7.5
Communicative Testing ......................................................................................154
7.6
Involving Pupils in Handling Tests ......................................................................156
7.6.1 Involving Pupils in Marking ....................................................................156
7.6.2 Involving Pupils n Constructing Tests....................................................157
Summary ...............................................................................................158
Key Concepts ........................................................................................159
Further Reading.....................................................................................159
Answers to SAQs ..................................................................................159

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Testing is often a misunderstood word. When hearing it, many


people envisage formal written tests, done by pupils working on their
own to a time limit. In fact, we test our pupils ability to speak write or
read, or their listening comprehension skills every day throughout the
lessons. However, because marking written tests is easier than
marking oral tests, and because written tests take less time and are
easier to administer, most tests are written.
Whenever we check that a pupil is understanding, following,
making progress, assimilating a new word, pronouncing a correct
sound, we are testing our pupils. Also, whenever we informally
assess whether our teaching is effective, we are testing our pupils.
By the end of this unit, you will be able to:
unit objectives

explain the difference between various types of tests;


justify the use of tests in your classes;
discuss what communicative testing is;
devise specific tests for your classes.

7.1. Informal and Formal Testing


Broadly speaking, there are two kinds of classroom testing:
informal and formal. Informal testing is usually done orally and has a
short-term objective within a lesson. Formal testing is usually done
via the written medium, and tends to have more long-term objectives.
Formal testing divides into three categories.
1.
placement testing, i.e. finding out what level the pupil has
reached in comparison with an objective scale of competence, in
order to put him/her in a suitable class;
2.
diagnostic testing, i.e. finding out what the pupil needs;
3.
progress/achievement testing, i.e. finding out what the
pupil has learnt.
Placement and diagnostic testing are often carried out in unison
when a pupil first enters a school. Progress tests reflect the work of a
lesson (e.g. homework) or the work covered in a week or a longer
period of time.
7.1.1. Informal Testing
Informal testing refers to the techniques we use in a lesson to
keep a constant check on our pupils minute-by-minute progress and
the effectiveness of our teaching. It can be done using concept
questions to check assimilation of meaning, by eliciting* and by peer
correction*.

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Think first!
Before you read the next section, could you write down how
you can do informal testing? Write your suggestions in the space
provided below and check your answer as you read on.

Here are a few types of informal tests:

asking concept questions;


checking understanding of instructions;
eliciting pupils own examples;
eliciting pupils explanation of a grammar rule;
eliciting pupils definition of a vocabulary item;
controlled oral practice (e.g., drills);
elicited/cued*/guided dialogue-building;
elicited/cued/guided monologue-building;
free stage activities;
language games;
communication games;
comprehension questions;
tasks based on listening/reading material.

As a result of informal testing, both your pupils and you get an


ongoing and impressionistic idea of their progress.
7.1.2. Formal Testing
In formal testing, you give a certain time to a group of pupils to
do a test that was previously prepared, which is then corrected.
Formal tests are not necessarily set by you, the class teacher, and
they may not be related specifically to previous classroom teaching.
Apart from their grade or mark, the pupils may never see the tests
again.
Formal tests can be most types of written exercises:

transformation
e.g.: He's a fast runner. He runs...

clause combination
e.g.: She had a cold. She went swimming. (although)

gap-filling
e.g.: The chocolate cake looks so good. It must be very...

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multiple-choice
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e.g.: Which of the three solutions is closest to the given word:


hostage
a) prey b) victim d) captive

sentence-completion, etc.
e.g.: My friend would be all right if....
SAQ 1
What other types of written activities could be used in formal
written testing? Write your 4 - 5 suggestions in the space
provided below.

Now check your answer against the one given in the


Answers section, at the end of the unit.
The written work that the pupils produce provides a basis for
assessment and analysis.

7.2. Approaches to Testing


Traditional types of formal tests may test linguistic competence
to some extent, but they do not test linguistic awareness or
communicative competence. Thus, we can identify three different
approaches to testing:

discrete item tests


These test individual grammar rules or vocabulary items (e.g.
Jane (go) to school by bus every day.)

integrative tests
These test a more global linguistic awareness, e.g. cloze tests
where every nth word is deleted from a passage.

communicative tests
These test the pupils communicative effectiveness in each of
the four language skills, and also the socio-cultural awareness of
language choice in a range of contexts.
Most teachers believe that their job is a constant process of
TESTING (or ASSESSING) TEACHING TESTING AGAIN... and so on.
In fact, pupils work off the feedback they get from their teachers and
teachers work from the feedback they get from their pupils. Thus

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teachers can continuously assess individual pupils progress and the


effectiveness of their teaching.
There are four basic issues in testing:

the purpose of the test;


the criteria for deciding whether the test is good or not;
what should be tested;
what testing techniques should be used.

7.2.1. What Does a Test Measure?


A test is a measuring device, and a means of comparison. We
use a test when either we want to compare a pupil with other pupils
who belong to the same group, or we may be comparing what the
pupil can do now with what s/he has done in a past test. We may
therefore use a test to

test types

a.
compare a pupils present performance with his/her past
performance. We do this using a progress / achievement test, based
on what has been taught.
b.
find out if a pupils language abilities compare with the
minimum requirements for a task (e.g. studying in an intensive
English class, which requires a certain level of English). In such
circumstances, we use a proficiency test, based on what the pupil
needs to be able to do with the language to perform a certain task.
c.
find out which of the classes available is best suited to the
pupils needs. This is a placement test and is most often used on
entry into a school.
d.
find out what a group of pupils specific needs are, what
they are good at or weak on; to see which skill areas need more
work, and what kind of work. This is done using a diagnostic test,
based both on what the pupils should know and on what may still
need to be covered. A diagnostic test is similar to a placement test in
content but it may be a more precise instrument. Actually, we may
consider that informal diagnostic testing is going on for some time at
the beginning of a course.
e.
find out which are the best pupils in a group. This is
competitive assessment via a selection test.
f.
find out the language learning abilities of a pupil or group
of pupils, to see to what extent they would benefit from a language
course. This is called an aptitude test.
With the exception of aptitude tests, all the tests overlap to a
certain extent in terms of content language and its use. However,
each one has a different aim and a different relationship to teaching.
These differences influence the content of a test, the way in which it
is handled and marked, and who writes the test. The three tests that
most concern us are the progress, diagnostic and placement tests.

7.2.2. Progress Tests


These are the tests that you administer most often, and which
affect your pupils learning directly and immediately. Their aim is to
find out if what you have taught has been assimilated sufficiently to
be used accurately and appropriately, or whether remedial work is
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writing
progress
tests

needed. Progress tests are based on what you personally have


taught your pupils, on what the syllabus or the textbook directed you
to teach. That is why, progress tests are, in a sense, retrospective to
teaching. They act as a kind of summary of a number of hours work
in class or at home.
Regular progress tests can help you and your pupils to see
improvement in certain areas or skills over a longer period. This is
particularly useful with more advanced pupils where progress is often
more difficult to see. Progress tests are also a good way of indicating
to pupils that more effort is required of them if they are to reach a
certain standard.
We should consider the results of progress tests in conjunction
with continuous assessment. As some test results may indicate a
bad day for some pupils, you may also need to consider factors such
as: how hard they have worked, how much passive knowledge they
have, whether they like a challenge or not, and perhaps even the
group spirit.
A progress test, administered at the end of a year or at the end
of a term, has the aim of helping you and your pupils to see progress
or lack of it. Such tests are probably best written by someone with an
overall view of the different levels and of how they relate to one
another and the syllabus. Many textbooks offer such tests at the end
of the year. However, if the aim of the progress test is to summarise
a weeks work or to draw together the different elements of a unit,
you are the best person to write the test. Such a test needs to be
strictly related to what you have taught that class of pupils. The
results of such a test have the advantage of not only telling your
pupils and yourself how much they have learned, but also what
needs remedial work in subsequent lessons. If the test exposes huge
gaps in your pupils knowledge, it has the function of a diagnostic test
as well.
However tests can go wrong, not only because of the pupils
lack of knowledge, but also because of problems in the writing of the
tests themselves. When you write tests, bear in mind these five rules
suggested by Harmer (1987, pp. 58 - 59):
1.

Dont test what you havent taught. Unless you are testing
reading or listening comprehension, you only test the language
you have exposed your pupils to. However, if you ask your
pupils to write freely, then encourage them to show as much as
they know.
2.
Dont test general knowledge. Remember that you test only
their English.
3.
Dont introduce new techniques in tests. For instance, ask
them to do a sentence-ordering activity, only if they have
worked with jumbled sentences before.
4.
Dont just test accuracy. A progress test should examine the
pupils ability to use language, not just their grammatical
accuracy. Give them the opportunity to express themselves
freely, too.
5.
Dont forget to test the test. Show it first to a colleague, who
might identify problems you have not thought of, such as
unclear instructions, mistakes, or the difficulty of the test (too
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high or too low). If possible, try your test out with a similar class
or a class of a slightly higher level.
7.2.3. Diagnostic Tests
Think First!
We have seen that progress tests are based on what you
have taught. What do you think diagnostic tests are based on?
When do you think we should set diagnostic tests?
Answer these two questions in two brief sentences. Check
your answers as you read on.

While progress tests are based on what you have taught,


diagnostic tests are based on what you think needs to be taught.
Diagnostic tests are usually set at the beginning of a course when
you want to know your pupils.
Based on the information provided by a diagnostic test, you will
plan your language work for the class or group. A diagnostic test on
the first day will help you to decide which areas need remedial work,
and which ones the pupils have at least some knowledge of. This
information will enable you to select the most necessary language
work and the right approach to input, practice and skills work. This is
particularly important at intermediate level and above, when learning
is a process of constant remedial work in order to help pupils achieve
increasing mastery of complex aspects of language use.
You may even use the same diagnostic test at the end of the
course, as a progress test, so that both you and your pupils see how
and where they have improved.
7.2.4. Placement Tests
Placement tests are concerned with the general needs of a
pupil, and are based on a general assessment of his/her ability to
use English. When testing a pupil for placement purposes you need
to bear in mind an image of the syllabus at all levels, and a
knowledge of what demands are made on pupils at different levels.
Based on what the pupil understands and produces in the light of this
criterion, you place him/her up or down the scale.
Placement tests are important for you, as you have to cope with
the results of placement tests, even though you may not be involved
in designing them.
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7.3. Assessing Tests


Four main issues concern us in assessing a test:

validity
reliability
scorability
administrability

A test has validity when it does what it sets out to do, and does
not test other things unnecessarily (such as memory, intelligence,
non-linguistic knowledge, personality, etc). A valid test uses means
of testing appropriate to the aims of the test.
A reliable test will give consistent results. If we administer the
test again to the same pupils or to other pupils at the same level, the
test will give the same results. To give reliable results, the test should
be long enough.
A scorable test is quick to score, and not very time-consuming.
An administrable test is easy to administer.
7.3.1. Reliability and Validity
It is important for the results of a test to remain the same if the
test is marked by different people, or by the same person at a
different time, or if the same pupils did the test again under the same
conditions. Reliable results are also important if you want to compare
one group of pupils with another. Reliability is easier with written
tests than spoken ones.
What can you do in order to make sure that your tests are
reliable?
a.
b.
c.

Make sure the test is long enough, and if possible test the same
things in more than one way.
Pilot your test: try it out on a group and note any problems that
emerge when administering the test.
Mark the test twice or give it to somebody else to mark it, to see
if both of you agree with the marking. The more people agree
with your marking, the more reliable your test will be.

Validity emphasises the importance of the pupil's reaction to the


test. It is very important that the test looks like a good one to the
pupils; otherwise, they may not feel like putting in the necessary
effort to do it well. This means that we should design tests that are
clearly connected with what we have done in our class, in terms of
both test content and testing technique. Our pupils' previous
experience of tests will affect what they consider to be a valid test or
not. Our main aim is to assess their language knowledge and skills,
and this will be difficult to do if the pupils are unsure how to handle a
testing technique, multiple choice, for example. it is, therefore, in
everyone's interest to design tests that do not cause pupils undue
stress.
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The secret of content validity is to:


a.
b.

make sure you are very clear in your mind both what you want
to test and what different testing techniques you demand of the
pupils;
analyse the results of any test you write to see which test items
got the answers you intended them to get. Then you can
consider what happened and modify the test items for the next
time.

A reliable test is not necessarily a valid one and vice versa. For
example, if you want to find out if your pupils can write an essay,
then the valid test is to ask them to write an essay. However, if you
have not thought carefully about the degree of guidance your pupils
need to receive in relation to what you expect, and about how you
will mark the test, this can be an unreliable way of testing essaywriting skills.
On the other hand, a test with multiple-choice questions may be
a reliable way to test pupils ability to recognise the correct structural
item, but it is not a valid way of testing the pupils ability to produce
these items.
SAQ 2
Below are five examples of test items that have the aim of
testing pupils' ability to produce a simple past question using
How.
Which would you say are valid ways of doing this?
a) Make a question from this sentence:
He went to Brighton by car.
b) Make the question for the answer below:
............................ to Brighton last year?
I went by car.
c) Make a question about the phrase underlined:
I went to Brighton by car.
d) Make the question for the answer below.
By car.
e) Make this sentence complete: How/go/Brighton?
Check your answer against that given at the end of the
unit.
7.3.2. Scorability and Administrability
Administrability refers to how easily a test can be made or
done. A number of technological developments, such as the
photocopiers, the audio-recording equipment and the computers
have made testing an easier task for the teachers.
Think first!
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Which of the following is easier to mark and why? A piece


of free writing such as a thank you letter or multiple-choice
exercises? Write your answer (about 50 words) in the space
provided below.

Check your answer as you read on.

There is a tendency for the more reliable tests to be easier to


mark. Where it is possible to be more objective about the answer, it
is easier to mark. For instance, it is easier to mark multiple-choice
questions, because the pupils' answers can be tightly controlled and
anticipated, and there is room for one right answer only. By contrast,
in a letter, for instance, you need to think of the way the pupils have
expressed themselves; you may need to reconstruct errors; you may
be uncertain about the importance of an error, etc. In other words,
however much you think about the criteria for marking and attempt to
standardise your marking, the unpredictability of free writing makes
marking much more subjective. Therefore, we have two kinds of
testing techniques in terms of marking: subjective and objective.
7.3.3. Marking Tests
Tests that are more reliable are easier to mark and thus it is
possible for you to be more objective about the mark.
There are two kinds of testing techniques to choose from in
terms of marking: subjective and objective. These terms do not refer
to the writing of the tests, but to the type of marking they require.
Actually, all tests are fundamentally subjective in construction
because they reflect certain attitudes to learning and to what is
learnt. Both subjective and objective techniques have their strengths
and weaknesses.

Objective tests
These tests are very quick to mark. They are based on
predicted answers and on total control of what the pupil shows s/he
can do. The big disadvantage of such tests is that we cannot find out
if the pupils can do anything else.

Subjective tests
These tests are easy to design and administer, but their
marking can be a time-consuming process, involving a lot of
decision-making about the quality and acceptability of the answers.
In such tests, the pupils can avoid or get round things they are not
sure of or do not know. They can show what they can do beyond
what the test is meant to test. This could be as much to their
disadvantage as to their advantage.

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When setting out to write tests, remember to create a balance


both for yourself and for your pupils when marking. Try to devise
ways in which subjective testing (e.g. free writing) can be put within a
framework to restrict what the pupils produce (e.g. include the
following points... or compare and contrast with...) to help you make
your marking both easier and more standardised and reliable.

7.4. Discrete Item vs. Integrative Tests


SAQ 3
Consider the following two test items:
Test 1. Complete this sentence with a suitable word or phrase.
A: John failed his exams, you know.
B: Well, it is his own fault, he harder.
Test 2. Read this passage and follow the instructions:
Your friend, John, had his first date last night. He played
football in the afternoon and didnt have time to have a bath. He
just brushed his teeth, changed his clothes and rushed to the
cinema. He was half an hour late. He had chosen a horror film,
and after a few minutes, the girl asked to leave. John had an
argument with her in the cinema, and then they left. They went
to a restaurant, and at the end of the meal, John told the girl she
ought to pay half the bill. In the taxi on the way home, he tried to
kiss her but she started crying.
Although it is too late, give John some advice about last
night.
Now in about 60 words, answer these questions:
a) What do these two test items have in common?

b) Which one tests one specific language item?

c) Which one demands more of the pupil in terms of language


skills?

.................
d) Which one is closer to what happens with language in real
life?

Check your answers against those given at the end of the


unit.
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Test item 1 is an example of discrete item testing, while test


item 2 is an example of integrative testing.
Test item 1 isolates a particular item of language and keeps the
surrounding language to a minimum. Test item 2, on the other hand,
is a small-scale example of integrative testing because the pupil has
to demonstrate a wider knowledge of English and utilise an ability to
read for gist.
The difference between discrete item and integrative testing is
primarily one of intention. When we want to know if a pupil can
recognise or produce a specific item of vocabulary or structure, a
specific functional exponent or a certain pronunciation feature, then
we use discrete-item techniques. If we want to know how well a pupil
can combine her/his knowledge of grammar and vocabulary in skills
work with a specific aim, then we use integrative testing techniques.
SAQ 4
Here are a few testing techniques you are familiar with.
Say whether they are examples of discrete testing or of
integrative testing, by writing D (discrete) or I (integrative) in the
spaces provided:

essay
dictation
multiple choice
true/false
written answers to comprehension techniques
gap-filling

Check your answers against those suggested at the end of


the unit.
The discrete-item techniques have the advantage of making us
consider carefully what we are testing.
testing and the
communicative
approach

One of the chief features of the communicative approach is to


appreciate the importance of language in use, and thus to give more
emphasis to language skills as the end, and language items as the
means. Thus, communicative lessons provide a balance between
items and skills. Traditional testing techniques have also been reevaluated, and tests such as dictation have been reconsidered
because in doing it, pupils have to show that they can integrate
knowledge of the parts of the language in order to demonstrate their
language level and ability.
While it is recognised that some kind of integrative testing is
more appropriate in determining overall competence, this is not to
say that discrete item testing techniques have been thrown out.
However, they should be used as ways of testing specific linguistic
sub-skills or language items and not as means of assessing overall
competence in a skill.

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When we need precise information about the gaps in a pupils


receptive or productive knowledge of the linguistic systems, or about
her/his difficulties with specific sub-skills which affect the overall
competence in one of the four skills, then discrete item testing will
come into its own. Discrete item testing is of most use for diagnostic
and achievement/progress testing, where we are concerned with
finding out what the gaps are or how much of our teaching has been
absorbed, or what the pupil can and cannot do.
SAQ 5
Would you also include integrative testing techniques in a
diagnostic or a progress test? Why (not)? Your answer should not
exceed 100 words.

Now check your answer against the one given at the end of
this unit.
Here are some common discrete item (and objective) testing
techniques:

transformation
e.g. Complete these sentences:
Hes a fast runner. He runs
e.g. Change the word in capitals to fit the sentences given:
There were a lot of for the job. APPLY, etc.
e.g. Complete the second sentence so that it has the same meaning
as the first:
Im thirsty, she said. / She said
e.g. Make these sentences into questions:
1. Ive got two sisters and a brother, etc.

insertion
e.g. Put the word in capitals into the right place in the sentence:
She lives in an old farmhouse.
HUGE

fill in
e.g. Fill in the blanks with so, such or such a and words from the text.
Jo was so annoyed when her sister got a Walkman that she
didnt speak to her parents for days.

combination
e.g. Join these two sentences using although:
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John had a cold. He went swimming.

sentence completion
e.g. My room would be all right if

re-arrangement
e.g. jumbled words, sentences or paragraphs:
Find words/phrases in column B, which have a similar (in other tests,
opposite) meaning to those in column A:
A
disappear
fade
loathe
damp

B
moist
leave
lose colour
dislike intensely etc.

functional sentence matching


e.g. Match the sentence with when you use it:
Could I come in there?
persuading
Is there any way I could
generalising
They tend to be dark-haired.
interrupting, etc.

split-sentence matching
e.g. Combine these phrases to get sentences:
Would you mind my
open the window?
Would you mind if
opening the window?
Could I
I opened the window?

skeleton sentence
e.g. Make sentences:
This picture/paint/Van Gogh/long time ago

error analysis
e.g. Which part of the sentence is wrong?
Im frightened/that youll/feel angry/to me.
A
B
C
D
e.g. Correct the following:
Do you like a cigarette?

situations
e.g. You want a day off. How would you ask...
a) your boss
b) a colleague who works with you in a busy office.

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7.4.1. Two Popular Techniques: Multiple Choice Tests and Cloze Tests
Below are described in more detail two commonly used testing
techniques: multiple choice tests and cloze tests.
a) Multiple Choice Tests
Multiple-choice tests are examples of discrete item testing.
Almost all written exams rely on the multiple-choice technique
because of its obvious scorability. It is used primarily for
comprehension testing and vocabulary testing.
A test item consists of a stem and options. The options consist
of the correct answer and a number of distractors, e.g.:
STEM: I saw him yesterday
OPTIONS: see/saw/have seen/had seen

1, 3 and 4 are DISTRACTORS. 2 is the correct answer.


The more distractors there are, the smaller the chances of
pupils getting the answer right by guesswork or luck. However, it is
difficult to have a large number of options that are not absurd.
The STEM may be:

an incomplete statement, e.g.: I . him yesterday.


a complete statement, e.g.: He got over the flu in two weeks.
a question, as in comprehension multiple choice.
Here are a few words of advice regarding options:

Make sure that you test only one thing at a time.


Make sure all options are at the appropriate linguistic level of
the pupils you want to test.
Give only one correct option.

However, it is not impossible to have two correct options; for


instance, two correct options are possible in comprehension
questions, rather than in questions that test language elements. Even
if this could reduce guesswork, make sure that all questions have
either two correct options or all have one.

Do not include absurd options.


Avoid ungrammatical options.
Avoid ambiguity.
To ensure face validity, have a few colleagues look it over your
test.

Remember that it is useful to test major items twice in order to


increase the reliability of the score.
Here are a few advantages of multiple choice testing:

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It enables objective scoring.


It can easily expose language weaknesses.
It encourages pupils to look at sentence context when making
their choices.
It is easy to mark.

SAQ 6
Can you think of any disadvantages of multiple choice
testing? Write down as many as you can in the space provided
below.

Check for more ideas at the end of this unit.


Many teachers feel that their pupils need to be taught the skill
of answering multiple choice questions, especially comprehension
questions. However this skill is quite simple, even for text
comprehension questions. Teach your pupils to:

look first at the question only, not the options;


listen to (or read) the text;
try to work out what they think the answer is;
look at the options.

b) Cloze Tests
Cloze tests are a type of integrative tests. A cloze test consists
in a passage usually taken from an authentic text in which every nth
word is deleted. In the classic cloze test there is, therefore, no preselection of the blanks, which can cover all types of words. In order
to fill in the blanks, pupils have to understand the passage as a
whole (from the context), and fill in the blanks both in accordance
with the meaning and function of the piece of discourse as a whole
and in accordance with the rules of grammar at sentence level. In
doing this the learner demonstrates an ability to:

read or listen for gist and process the information;


predict and reconstruct meaning from the contextual clues
surrounding the blanks;
show an awareness of the relevant rules of co-occurrence
(grammatical, stylistic and lexical).

A cloze test is therefore a truly integrative test. The question is


whether it is a communicative test or not.

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Think first!
What do you think? Is a cloze test a communicative test or
not? Give your opinion (in no more than 50 words) in the space
provided below and then check your answer as you read on.

Some argue that when pupils encounter an unknown text, there


are gaps in meaning for them represented by the words they do not
understand. A cloze test reproduces this situation with the purpose of
either assessing how well pupils cope with this, or training them to
make informed guesses and predictions based on existing
knowledge applied to the contextual clues available.
Another favourable point about cloze tests is that they are easy
to construct, by comparison with multiple-choice tests. All you have
to do is pick a suitable text (about 250 300 words) and remove
every fifth, seventh or ninth word (fifth can be too difficult more than
tenth is too easy!) Keep the first and the last sentences intact.
Alternatively, you can delete only words by part of speech or content
area vocabulary.
Here is how you can create a cloze test, starting from an
instructional material given in a textbook in use. The text is taken
from High Flyer, Upper Intermediate, by Ana Acevedo and Marisol
Gower, Longman, 1999, p. 17:
Anya woke up with a start. She knew straight away that today
would be a special day. She had that familiar feeling in her stomach
as if lots of butterflies were trapped and were flapping their wings,
trying to escape.
She had had that feeling just before her grandmother died and
when her father was awarded a prize for his research. She felt, more
than knew, most things before anybody else had heard about them,
perhaps even before they had actually happened. To those who
didnt know her well, Anya seemed strange; to those who did know
her well, she was simply special.
That bright summer morning Anya felt restless and the
butterflies in her stomach were growing stronger by the minute. She
knew from experience that it was no good fighting it: she would have
to follow it.
Mum! Ive got to go out, she announced.
London was extremely hot and its streets crowded. Anya
walked wherever her feet took her, as if pulled by some invisible
force. And still, the funny feeling in her stomach was intensifying.
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Eventually, she reached Piccadilly Circus, which was even busier


than usual.
Shh! Take it easy, she whispered to the feeling in her stomach.
Whatever it is, it wont be long now!
He stopped to let the slow traffic advance before crossing the
street. A coach stopped right in front of her. Anya saw herself
reflected in the window. Then suddenly she realised. What she was
looking at was not herself, but a boy, about her age, sitting in the
coach. They looked at each other with equal surprise and delight.
Anya tried to call out but no sound came out of her mouth. Just
then, the coach moved forward and disappeared in to the London
traffic.
Replace the deleted words with blanks that are about the same
size and number each blank consecutively, e.g.:
She (4) had that feeling just before her grandmother died
(5) when her father was awarded a prize for (6) research. She felt,
more than knew, most things ... (7) anybody else had heard about
them, perhaps even ... (8) they had actually happened. To those
who didnt . (9) her well, Anya seemed strange; to those who
(10) know her well, she was simply special.
Three levels of difficulty can be constructed from one reading
passage by deleting every fifth, seventh or ninth word. Passages with
every fifth word omitted will be more challenging than those with
every ninth word deleted. The greater the number of blanks, the
more reliable the cloze becomes as an indicator of the pupils reading
ability.
SAQ 7
Could you now mention a few differences between cloze
tests and gap-filling tests? Write them down in the space
provided below:

Check your answers against those given at the end of the


unit.
One important difference between cloze tests and gap-filling
tests is that a cloze test contains unseen elements, as the gaps are
not especially chosen but are every nth word. However, the gaps can
also be distributed according to criteria such as word class,
redundancy or predictability.
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Although they are very easy to construct, cloze tests are not
necessarily very easy to do, and they can be frustrating for the pupils
if the blanks occur too frequently for them to have sufficient
contextual clues, or if the language level of the text is above the
pupils own productive level.
In cloze tests the relationship between productive and receptive
knowledge is a close one as pupils are being asked to read the
passage intensively and complete it grammatically, so a grasp of the
gist is not enough. It can be very demoralising for the pupils to find
that all they can do is recognise which part of speech can fit, but not
understand the passage sufficiently to choose a word.
To score a cloze, count all words that are semantically and
syntactically correct or contextually appropriate. Accept any word that
is contextually appropriate, not only exact word replacements. In this
way you can maintain both flexibility and objectivity, because the
range of predicted responses is not limitless, since it is controlled by
the immediate and general context.

7.5. Communicative Testing


How often do our tests measure the pupils communicative
ability? We still primarily test knowledge of the grammatical and
lexical system with some attempt to see how pupils put this to work in
the skills. You will probably have noticed that the examples given so
far are language-based not task-based tests; the emphasis is on
what pupils know or dont know rather than what they can or cant do
with the language at their disposal.
Think first!
Why is this so? Why do we still test language and not
communication? Give a few reasons in the space provided
below. Look for answers as you read on.

There are several reasons for this apparent lack of relevance of


testing to teaching for communication. One of them is that greater
use of communicative testing still awaits the resolution of many
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issues in communicative materials design and communicative


methodology.
Another reason for the delay relates specifically to one of the
problems of a communicative view of the language: what constitutes
a core syllabus for communicative purposes? What functions and
notions need to be developed?
As there is some uncertainty of how to test communicative
ability in a way appropriate to the work done in class, we continue to
test the language as before. We know that in this way we can at least
rely on that for information about our pupils grasp of the linguistic
system. This reveals at least something about communicative ability,
especially at lower levels. A lack of knowledge of the basic tenses for
instance will seriously impede and limit effective communication. We
may even use integrative tests such as cloze tests to give us
information about the pupils ability to process the language. These
tests will tell us at what level the pupils can process language and
what language (broadly speaking) they can process.
However, we often find that either the result does not accord
with out subjective assessment of the pupils overall ability in class or
we get a shock when our pupils appear that they cant use what they
know to communicate. This poses the problem: what should the
criteria for communicative testing be, if existing tests are inadequate
as a measure of communicative ability?
Let us now look at some of the features of language use that do
not seem to be measured in conventional tests.

Interaction-based
In the vast majority of cases, language in use is based on an
interaction. Even cases such as letter writing can be considered as
weak forms of interaction as they involve an addressee, whose
expectations will be taken into account by the writer. These
expectations will affect both the content of the message and the way
in which it is expressed.
A more characteristic form of interaction is represented by faceto-face oral interaction that involves not only the adaptation of
expression and content but also a combination of receptive and
productive skills. What is said by a speaker depends crucially on
what is said to him.

Unpredictability
The development of an interaction is unpredictable. The
processing of unpredictable data in real time is a vital aspect of using
language.

Context
Any use of language takes place in a context, and the language
forms that are appropriate vary in accordance with this context. Thus
a language user must be able to handle appropriacy in terms of both
context of situation (e.g. physical environment, role/status of
participants, attitude/formality) and linguistic context (e.g. textual
cohesion).
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Purpose
Every utterance is made for a purpose. Thus a language user
must be able to recognise why a certain remark has been addressed
to her/him, and be able to encode appropriate utterances to achieve
her/his own purposes.

Performance
Performance is the pupils actual use of language.

Authenticity
Authenticity is that characteristic of language which is no
simplified to take account of the linguistic level of the addressee. An
important feature of the pupils ability to use authentic language is
their capacity to come to terms with what is unknown.

Behaviour-based
The success or failure of an interaction is judged by its
participants based on behavioural outcomes. More emphasis needs
to be placed in a communicative context on the notion of behaviour.
A test of communication must take as its starting point the
measurement of what the pupils can actually achieve through
language. None of the tests we have considered has set this task for
the pupils.

7.6. Involving Pupils in Handling Testing


7.6.1. Involving Pupils in Marking
Here are a few ideas that you can use so that pupils mark the
test themselves. In this way, you can distinguish between careless
mistakes and real misunderstandings or gaps in their knowledge;
pupils also get some individual attention from you.
Here is the procedure for this objective:
1.

2.
3.
4.
5.

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When a pupil thinks s/he has finished, and brings the test to
you, check it without ticking or crossing, but merely writing the
number of mistakes at the bottom. The pupil then goes back
and tries to find and correct the mistakes.
The pupil comes back, and if there are still mistakes, this time
you indicate roughly where the mistakes are e.g. in that line or
No. 4.
The pupil comes back again. This time, if necessary, you
indicate the type of mistakes.
If you cannot correct the test on the spot, make sure the pupil
learns the correct form through remedial work as soon as
possible.
Take the tests in to get an overview of what general remedial
work is necessary.

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SAQ 8
Could you explain what advantages you see in involving
pupils in marking? Write your answer in the space below (about
50 words).

Now check your answers against those given in the


Answers section.
As you look at a progress test, consider:

what level the test is aimed at;


what aspects of language are being tested (i.e. grammar,
vocabulary, pronunciation, style);
what aspects of skill are being tested, if any;
whether functional/communicative ability is being tested;
whether each test item tests what it means to test.

7.6.2. Involving Pupils in Constructing Tests


Here are some steps you may want to follow, when your pupils
already have experience of progress tests written by you.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

Choose a grammatical or lexical area that is not too


complicated, or tell your pupils to look back over work done
during a given period.
Give them plenty of time in groups to prepare the test and
homework time for writing it up.
Give examples of a few techniques they might use.
Make sure they have understood that they must limit what they
test to what has been covered in their class.
Supervise the test writing to make sure the tests are correct. In
this way the writing of the test will act both as a learning tool
and as further practice.
Facilitate the writing by (a) grouping the pupils appropriately
(e.g. avoid putting all the weak pupils together), and make sure
there is a good mixture in each group; (b) have 3 or 4 groups
and give each group a specific area to test.

When you administer the test, you can photocopy neatly written
versions for class or homework. A scoring system must also be
worked out.
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SAQ 9
What could be, in your opinion, the advantages of such
an approach to testing? List 3 4 ideas in the space provided
below and then check your answers against those given at the
end of the unit.

However, problems can occur with students less willing to take


responsibility for their own learning, and it can be time-consuming.
Therefore it is possibly best used with classes who are used to group
work. It is also important to limit what is asked of them to test, either
by the size and number of areas, or by the number of questions they
have to produce.

Summary
Most of this unit deals with formal testing. This is done though
placement, diagnosis, progress, proficiency, selection, and aptitude
tests. You are probably mainly interested in the first three, though
you may be asked to construct or administer placement tests, too.
The criteria of test assessment are also discussed: validity,
reliability, scorability and administrability.
The testing techniques include discrete items (used in testing
grammar, vocabulary, functional exponents, pronunciation, style and
include such test items as gap filling), integrative tests (which make
use of skills and global awareness of language; examples of
integrative tests: cloze, dictation, reading aloud); and communicative
tests (which test all skills). All these testing techniques have their
place in the testing system.
Bear in mind that when testing you need to consider: the pupils'
educational background, their language level, the pupils' age and the
emphasis of the syllabus you are using: is it structural? functional?
skill-based?
Remember that tests are as important to pupils as they are to
you. Since they constitute a formal measure of progress or current
language level, they are very motivating targets for pupils to work
towards. The degree of formality with which you administer the test
will depend on the educational expectations of the pupils and the
relationship that you have built up with them.

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Key Concepts

formal and informal testing


progress tests
diagnostic tests
placement tests
assessing tests
reliability
validity
scorability
subjective and objective tests
discrete item, integrative and communicative testing

Further Reading
1.
Harmer, J., 2001, The Practice of English Language
Teaching, Longman, pp. 321 - 334 (Testing students)
2.
Heaton J. B., Writing English Language Tests,
Longman, pp. 159 - 165 (Validity and reliability), pp. 171 - 173 (Types
of tests)

Answers to SAQs
Should your answer to SAQ 1 not be comparable to that
given below, please revise sections 7.1 and 7.1.1 of the unit.
SAQ 1
Activities involving writing extended English can also be used,
such as:

essays

letters

reports

summaries

dictation, etc.
Should your answer to SAQ 2 not be comparable to that
given below, please revise sections 7.3 and 7.3.1 of the unit.
SAQ 2
The best ones are (b) and (c); (a) is also possible. Both (a) and
(b) indicate clearly the need for a How question plus the use of the
past. (d) and (e) allow for any tense, with (e) not even requiring
knowledge of How. (a) is a valid test of question formation in the
past, but you could hardly penalise a pupil who did not use How.
Should your answers to SAQs 3, 4 and 5 not be
comparable to those given below, please revise section 7.4 of
the unit.
SAQ 3
a)
They test the same structure: should/ought to + past
infinitive with the function of criticism or retrospective advice.
b)
The first item tests only the pupils ability to produce this
structure.
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c)
The second one also tests the pupils reading skills, his
knowledge of vocabulary and other grammar.
d)
Test 2 is more similar to the way language is used in
real life.
SAQ 4

SAQ 5

essay: I
dictation: I
multiple choice: D
true/false: D
written answers to comprehension techniques: I
gap-filling: D

Diagnostic and progress tests need to include some integrative


testing techniques as well. Discrete item techniques tend to expose
or highlight the point being tested, which makes the pupil more
conscious about the language to be used. Integrative testing, on the
other hand, requires pupils to have absorbed the language taught to
a deeper level. Pupils often make mistakes with language that they
produce correctly in discrete item sections of the same test.
This balance also links with test reliability, as one of the ways of
making a test more reliable is to include several ways of testing the
same things.
Should your answers to SAQs 6 and 7 not be comparable
to those given below, please revise sections 7.4.1 and 7.4.2 of
the unit.
SAQ 6

SAQ 7

Here are a few disadvantages of multiple choice testing:


It can present pupils with language items that are potentially
confusing.
It is best suited to the logical, analytical type pupil, who is
linguistically rather than communicatively competent.
Distractors can place doubts in the mind of the pupil who might
otherwise get the item right.
25% chance of being right where four options are given.
Heavy reading load is prejudicial to students with script
difficulties or whose aural/oral competence is greater.
It only tests recognition.
Pupils need training in how to handle them for their use as
assessment technique to be fair.
It can be very boring to do.

The fundamental differences between cloze tests and the gapfilling technique seem to be that:
a.
gap-filling often uses material familiar to the students;
b.
this material may even be of a simplified type;
c.
the gaps are always specifically chosen according to a specific
linguistic aim, e.g. a lexical set;
d.
there is no introduction to help pupils tune in;
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e.

with the gap-filling technique, very often the pupil doesnt have
to show an understanding of the relationships between
sentences within the text as a whole.

Should your answer to SAQ 8 not be comparable to that


given below, please revise section 7.6.1 of the unit.
SAQ 8
This approach has the advantage of being much less
competitive, and allowing the slower pupils more time, while the
better pupils are still challenged. It is also useful with pupils who tend
to be inaccurate or careless in their work. Furthermore, you get a
clear idea of why pupils have made mistakes.
Should your answer to SAQ 9 not be comparable to that
given below, please revise section 7.6.2 of the unit.
SAQ 9
a)
b)
c)
d)

Here are a few advantages of the use of this approach:


variety;
pupil-centredness: The pupils know better what aspects of the
language work done have been difficult and they will pick these
to test their classmates.
The pupils learn in the writing and in the doing of the test via
error analysis.
The test could be used to get the pupils using specific
operational language: e.g. Why dont we, Thats a good one,
etc.

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Glossary

Glossary of ELT Terms


Affix: a morpheme added to a word, and which changes the
meaning or function of the word. An affix added to the beginning of a
word is a prefix (e.g. kind unkind); an affix added to the end of a
word is a suffix (e.g. kind kindness).
Aural: related to hearing.
Brainstorming: a group activity in which pupils have a free
discussion on an assigned topic as a way of generating ideas.
Brainstorming often serves as preparation for another activity.
Collocation: the way in which words are used together
regularly. It refers to the restrictions on the use of words. For
example, you say in English a high probability, but not *a good
probability.
Connotation: additional meaning(s) that a word or phrase has
beyond its central meaning. These meanings show peoples
emotions and attitudes towards what the word or phrase refers to.
Some connotations may be shared by a group of people of the same
cultural or social background, sex, or age, others may depend on
personal experience. (See also denotation.)
Context: morphological, syntactic, and discourse information in
a given text.
Coverage/selection: the selection of linguistic content
(vocabulary, grammar, functions, etc.) for a language course,
textbook, etc. It is based on frequency counts, needs analysis and
pedagogic principles.
Cue: a signal given by the teacher in order to produce a
response by the learners. Cues may be words, signals, objects,
actions, etc.
Denotation: that central part of the meaning of a word or
phrase that relates to phenomena in the real world (or a fictional or
possible world). For example, the word bird refers to a creature with
two legs and two wings, which lays eggs and has a beak. (See also
connotation.)
Elicitation: technique or procedure used by a teacher in order
to get learners to actively produce speech or writing.
Error: (in ELT) the use of a linguistic item in a way in which a
fluent or native speaker of English regards as showing faulty or
incomplete knowledge.
A distinction is sometimes made between error and mistake. A
mistake is caused not by incomplete knowledge but by lack of
attention, fatigue, carelessness, etc.
Errors can be classified according to vocabulary (lexical errors),
pronunciation (phonological error), grammar (syntactic error),
misunderstanding of a speakers intention or meaning (interpretive
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error), reception of the wrong communicative effect (interpretive


error), production of the wrong communicative effect (pragmatic
error).
Error analysis: the study and analysis of the errors made by
learners. It is carried out in order to a) identify strategies that learners
use in language learning; b) try to identify the causes of learner
errors; c) obtain information on common difficulties in language
learning.
Etymology: the study of the origin of words, and of their history
and changes in their meaning.
Feedback: comments or information given to learners on the
success of a learning task, either by the teacher or by other learners.
Functional-notional: a syllabus or a textbook in which the
language content is arranged in terms of functions together with the
language items needed for them.
Global error: an error in the use of a major element of
sentence structure, which makes a sentence or utterance difficult or
impossible to understand. See also local error.
Grading/sequencing: helpful arrangement of the language
content of a textbook. Order in which words, word meanings, tenses,
structures, topics, functions, skills, etc. are presented. Grading may
be based on the complexity of an item, its frequency or importance
for the intended learner.
Grammar - Translation Method: a method of teaching foreign
languages which makes use of translation and grammar study as the
main teaching and learning activities. A typical lesson consists of the
presentation of a grammar rule, a study of lists of vocabulary, and a
translation exercise. The method emphasises reading rather than the
ability to communicate.
Homonym: a word which is written in the same way and
sounds like another, but which has a different meaning (e.g. lie
(down) and lie).
Homophone: a word that sounds like another, but is written
differently and has a different meaning (e.g. no and know).
Hyper-correction: correcting too much and too often, without a
systematic approach, and without carefully considered objectives.
Idiom: an expression that functions as a single unit and whose
meaning cannot be worked out from its separate components (e.g.
once in a blue moon).
Inferential questions: questions that oblige the student to
read between the lines, to consider what is implied rather than what
is explicitly stated.
Intelligibility: the degree to which a message can be
understood. It is due to factors such as accent, intonation, the
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Glossary

interlocutors ability to predict parts of the message, the grammatical


complexity of sentences, the speed with which utterances are
produced, etc.
Inferential skills: being able to arrive at a hypothesis, idea, or
judgment on the basis of other knowledge, ideas, or judgments. Also,
skills used by learners to work out grammatical and other kinds of
rules.
Interference: see negative transfer.
Interlingual error: an error which results from language
transfer from the learners native language.
Intralingual error: an error which results from faulty or partial
knowledge of the target language.
Local error: an error which does not cause problems of
comprehension.
Mistake: see error.
Mnemonic: something used for helping one to remember (e.g.
a verse, an image, etc.).
Negative transfer: the use of a native-language pattern, rule or
inappropriate form in the target language, which leads to error. Also
called interference.
Overgeneralisation: process by which the use of a
grammatical rule or of a linguistic item beyond its accepted uses,
generally to make words or structures follow a more regular pattern.
Paralinguistics: use of non-vocal phenomena such as facial
expressions, head and eye movements, and gestures, which add
support, emphasis, or shades of meaning to the verbal message.
Peer correction: activity during which learners are corrected by
other learners, their peers.
Polysemy: (of a word) having two or more related meanings.
Recycling: using again, in a different context.
Remedial action/work: teaching, explanation, etc. that is
intended to remedy, correct, or compensate for the learners
inadequate understanding or use of any aspect of language.
Rote learning: learning by repetition, using memory rather than
understanding.
Selection: see coverage.
Sequencing, see grading.
Worksheet: a sheet of paper containing tasks for the pupils to
do in class or as homework.
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Bibliography

General Bibliography
1. Abbs B. and Freebairn I., 1982, Opening Strategies,
Longman
2. Blan, R., Cehan, A. et al., 2003, In-service Distance
Training Course for Teachers of English, British Council, Iai, Polirom
3. Bock, Susanne, 1995, Developing Materials for the Study
of Literature in Kral, T. (ed.) Creative Classroom Activities: Selected
Articles from English Teaching Forum 1989 1993, English
Language Division, US Information Agency, Washington
4. Bradford, Barbara, 1988, Intonation in Context, Cambridge
University Press
5. Brown, A. (ed.) Teaching English Pronunciation. A book of
Readings, 1991, Routledge
6. Brumfit, C. and Carter, R.A. (eds.), 1986, Literature and
Language Teaching, Oxford University Press
7. Carter, R. and McCarthy. M., 1988, Vocabulary and
Language Teaching, Longman
8. Celce-Murcia, M. and S. Hilles, 1988, Techniques and
Resources in Teaching Grammar, Oxford: Oxford University Press
9. Chilrescu, M., Andriescu I., and Paidos, C., 1998, All
Right, Manual de limba englez pentru clasa a VII-a, Iai, Polirom
10. Collie, J. and Slater, S., 1987, Literature in the Language
Classroom, Cambridge University Press
11. Cunningsworth, A., 1984, Evaluating and Selecting EFL
Teaching Materials, London, Heinemann
12. Doff, A., 1988, Teach English, Cambridge University Press
13. Haycraft, Brita, 1975, The Teaching of Pronunciation,
Longman
14. Harmer J., 1991, The Practice of English Language
Teaching, London, Longman
15. Harmer, Jeremy. 2001, The Practice of English Language
Teaching, Longman
16. McDonough J. and C. Shaw, 1993, Materials and Methods
in ELT, Oxford, Blackwell
17. Nunan, D., 1991, Language Teaching Methodology, New
York, Prentice Hall
18. Richards R., Platt J., Platt H., 1992, Dictionary of Language
Teaching and Applied Linguistics, Longman
19. Richards and Rodgers (1986
20. Scrivener J., 1994, Learning Teaching, Oxford: Heinemann
21. Stevick, E., 1976, Memory, Meaning, Method, Rowley,
Mass.: Newbury House
22. Ur, Penny, 1996, A Course in Language Teaching. Practice
and Theory, Cambridge University Press
23. Ur, Penny, 1988, Grammar Practice Activities, Cambridge
University Press

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