Friday, April 20, 2012

Teaching Beginners

Goals and strategies in teaching beginners & elementary learners

(from a talk by Robert O'Neill circa 1980 post publication of "Kernel One")
Goals can be classified by TYPE and STATUS. See "Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives"
  1. Cognitive
  2. Affective
  3. Psycho-Motor
  1. Long term
  2. Mid term
  3. Short term.
Many basic mistakes are made by teachers because they do not pay enough attention to Affective Goals and they fail to distinguish sufficiently in their own teaching and analysis of other people's teaching and materials between long/mid/short term goals.
Strategies: Expository
  1. Explaining
  2. Focussing
  3. Problem-setting
  4. Exemplification
  5. Correcting and
  6. Model-Giving
  7. Summarising.
Strategies: Eliciting
  1. Questions
  2. Drilling
  3. Role-Simulation
  4. Repetition
  5. Recall
  6. Modelling
  7. Silence
Strategies: Integrative
  1. Linking lesson-segments to lessons
  2. Linking lesson-segments to blocks of lessons
  3. Linking blocks of lessons to overall goals
  4. Establishing rapport with the class
  5. Establishing rapport and interaction between members of the class.

TEACHING BEGINNERS: with reference to Robert O'Neill's Kernel One 1978 Longman SB 51925 X TB 51926 8
Two basically different approaches to teaching beginners:
Approach One:
  1. Select simple structures and vocabulary
  2. Move from one step to the next slowly and carefully
  3. emphasize accuracy throughout.
Approach Two:
  1. Select only according to strict functional criteria
  2. Present & practise variety of structures and lexis in one lesson
  3. Emphasize fluency rather than accuracy.
Staged Progression (Kernel One):
  1. What's your name? My name is..
  2. What time is it? (1-6 o'clock)
  3. What's his/her name?
  4. What time is it? (7-12 o'clock)
  5. Is/isn't a city/country ... is/isn't a big/small country ... is in ...
  6. He/she is in ... Is he/she in..? Yes/No is/isn't
  7. .. is a big/small country/city
  8. Are you in..? Yes, I am/ No, I'm not.
  9. He/She is from.....
  10. Where's ...from?
  11. Where are you from? I'm from..
  12. Are you from..? Yes, I am. No, I'm not.
  13. ... is near... It's a town/city
  14. He/She has got a bike/ small/big car.
  15. What about you? I've got a...
  16. I haven't got a.. He/She hasn't got a
  17. Have you got a Has he got a phone/flat/house/bike?
  18. Numbers 12-100.
Themes and Operations to be distributed throughout the course:
  1. Talking about ones job, salary, colleagues
  2. Describing ones own flat or house, giving such information as address, telephone number, how to get to where one lives
  3. Describing ones own hobbies & interests
  4. Getting information from others in reference to three above themes
  5. Getting and giving opinions about films, books, clothes, food, other people's behaviour and tastes
  6. Family, home and friends (describing relationships, "doing" socialising language)
  7. Talking about, buying and ordering food & clothes
  8. Making & getting suggestions about what to do, where to go in ones spare time
  9. Giving & soliciting advice
  10. Giving & getting instructions about how to do things.
  11. Describing ones daily habits and routine.
  12. Describing other states such as certainty, uncertainty and doubt = expressing such things directly. Describing and inquiring about Cause and Effect in various areas
  13. Health, minor illnesses
  14. Language associated with travel.
TOPIC: Some examples of typical goals for elementary learners categorised according to status or term.
  1. SHORT TERM Teach a few examples of the most frequent questions we use to get information from and about other people's jobs, nationality, where/live
  2. MID TERM Building on Wh corpus above, extend outwards to other functions such as inquiring into cause, asking about likes/dislikes. At the same time begin to contrast systematically the difference in construction between simple & progressive Qs.
  3. LONG TERM Help the learner towards generative competence in Giving & Getting information about oneself & other people, asking for things, suggesting things, offering & refusing things. Relate these utterances to the structural principles underlying them:
    • Tense
    • Word Order
    • Modality.
This will involve contrasting utterances like -
  • Can/Do/Did you (do)?
  • Are/Were you (doing)?
  • Have you (done) (been
  •  Source:

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