In modern methodology, the process of learning foreign languages is considered as a continuous chain of exercises consistently performed. The quality of the exercises affects the success of mastering speech activity in a foreign language.
Exercises, based on the activity nature of learning foreign languages, act as a form of communication language material and the implementation of the objectives of learning. In other words, exercises are not only a means of mastering linguistic material, but also a means of mastering various types of speech activity.
The concept of «system” implies the presence of a certain set of elements, parts that are combined in a certain way.
Elements and parts of the system have a specific function. They are characterized by the presence of strong links between the elements of the system. These bonds, moreover, ensure its stability and integrity.
The exercise system provides:
a) selection of the necessary exercises, appropriate to the character of a particular skill or skill;
b) determining the required sequence of exercises;
c) the correct location of the material and its ratio;
d) systematicity (regularity) of a certain material and certain exercises;
e) correct interrelation (correlation and interaction) of different types of speech activity among themselves and within themselves.
In methodical science, exercise is considered differently. Some scientists consider it a structural unit of the methodical organization of educational material. Others see it as a unit for learning foreign language speech activity. Exercises implement a variety of teaching methods, create favorable conditions for the development of speech skills in the foreign language.
Exercises can be performed in various conditions. If the students' attention is directed to the content, and not to the language form, then in this case they perform speech actions associated with the expression of their own thoughts or with an understanding of the thoughts given by the author of the text (in listening or reading).
Psychologists understand as an exercise the repeated fulfillment of certain actions or activities with the aim of mastering them, based on understanding and accompanied by conscious control and adjustment (L. B. Itelson).
I. L. Bim sees in exercise the minimum unit for organizing the student’s learning activities in mastering the elements of a foreign language system. Units of instruction personify the way in which units of material are used directly in students' performance.
Exercise, in the understanding of I. L. Bim, is a form of interaction between a teacher and students (for independent work — students and a textbook), mediated by educational material and having a standardized structure. The exercise includes the following elements in its structure:
a) problem statement;
b) an indication of the way to solve it (supports, landmarks);
c) its decision;
d) control (self-control).
S. F. Shatilov sees in an exercise specially organized in training conditions of one or multiple execution of a single operation, a series of operations or actions of a speech (or language) nature.
Exercises are characterized by the following parameters:
a) purpose (target setting), speech problem (conditional or real);
b) speech actions;
c) language form and content;
d) a certain place in the exercise system;
e) a certain time for its implementation;
f) the result that is achieved as a result of its implementation;
g) verbal and non-verbal material;
h) the way to perform the exercise;
i) the organizational form of the exercise.
When solving an exercise problem, two questions arise:
a) determine the criteria for distinguishing types of exercises;
b) to build a specific system of exercises based on the selected criteria.
In the theory of methods of teaching foreign languages, the classification of exercises was carried out on the basis of various criteria:
a) on the basis of taking into account the processes of memory, recognition, comprehension and reproduction of linguistic material (K. A. Ganshina, I. A. Gruzinskaya);
b) based on the distinction between language and speech (I. V. Rakhmanov, M. S. Ilyin);
c) on the basis of the stages of the process of mastering foreign language speech (E. I. Passov).
The existence of a large number of points of view on the problem of classification of exercises is explained by the versatility of this problem, the possibility of approaching the problem of classification of exercises from different points of view.
The first attempt to develop the main types and types of exercises for teaching foreign languages was made by academician I. V. Rakhmanov, who singled out:
a) language and speech exercises;
b) exercises related and not related to text;
c) translation and non-translational exercises.
B. A. Lapidus in his classification of exercises offers:
a) purely training exercises;
b) elementary combined exercises;
c) combined exercises.
Special attention should be paid to the classification of exercises offered by E. I. Passov. As an initial criterion for determining the types of exercises, he outlines the purpose of the exercises in terms of the stages of the formation of speech skills. According to this criterion, all exercises are divided:
a) on exercises for the formation of skills (conditional speech exercises);
b) exercises «on the development of skills” (speech exercises).
Among the types of exercises E. I. Passov distinguishes their types by the following parameters:
1) by speech problem;
2) situational correlation of phrases;
3) conditionality of the statement with the content and structure of the parties;
4) on supports used in the preparation of statements.
The close interaction of exercises with each other, as IL Bim points out, and their inter-level transitions, that is, their system, provide a set of targeted actions to achieve specific learning goals for basic types of speech activity.
Based on the methodological requirements for isolating the difficulties in teaching oral speech, S. F. Shatilov proposed an aspect classification of speech training exercises. Therefore, the purpose of grammatically oriented communication exercises is the formation of speech grammatical skills in familiar lexical material. The goal of lexically oriented speech exercises, in turn, is to practice vocabulary in speech in familiar grammatical forms and structures.
Classification of exercises is necessary both in theoretical and in practical terms. For methodical science, the presence of an updated classification of exercises is especially important, since it determines the state of the technique as a science and the level of its development. In practice, the system of exercises allows you to effectively build the process of learning a foreign language.
- Galskova ND Modern methods of teaching foreign languages / — Moscow: Arctic-Glossa, 2000. — 165 p.
- Methods of teaching foreign languages: Society. course / resp. ed. A. N. Shamov. — M.: AST Moscow; Publishing house East-West, 2008. — 253 p.