English is now considered to be an international language. There are different reasons according to which students begin learning foreign languages.
Purposes for learning language
- cross cultural communication
- a chance to get a job abroad
- accessing and sharing information
But there are still some difficulties that exist in universities preparing technically-oriented students. Teachers should remember the key points allowing getting good results in teaching.
Important things to help teachers to get good results in teaching:
- Motivation-an extent to which you make choices about:
-the effort you will devote to that pursuit.
According to research students who felt most warmly about a language and who wanted to integrate into the culture of its speakers were more highly motivated (and learnt more successfully). But some of them were highly motivated and had a fear of failure. Firstly, motivation is directly related to self-esteem. Students who have low levels of self-esteem do not commit themselves to learning. None of us want to fail, which is why failing students often pretend that they are not interested - they do this to protect their self-image. It is very important, therefore, that we try to help the students develop a positive image of themselves as language learners and create feelings of success, not failure. Secondly, motivation is directly related to a sense of being in control. As humans, we are always more committed to something if we have had a role in making a decision about it. It is also important, therefore, that students are involved, as thinking, creating beings, in making decisions over what they are doing. If students love the subject or are simply interested to see what it is like it is easier for teachers to get the goal.
What can we do if we get students who aren’t like that?
Will students whose motivation is only skin-deep be bad learners?
- To provoke interest and involvement in the subject (even when students are not initially interested in it)
-by choice of topic, activity, linguistic content
-teacher’s consciousness, humor, seriousness that may influence their students
- Real motivation comes from within each individual.
- Teachers can only encourage by word and deed.
The teacher’s task is to make students be able to invite each other and respond to invitations.
- Textbooks can provide only a base or a core of materials. The illustrations, in a range of styles, should be of high quality and closely match the text. They will certainly catch your student's interest and help them to follow the story, but you can also use them in many other ways, for example to pre-teach or revise vocabulary, predict what will happen next or to help them re-tell the story in their own words. Activities should be suggested for several levels and it is important to select carefully. Text strips, for example, can be used in a variety of ways, e.g. matching strips to the story, sequencing them. The pre- and after-reading activities should also offer a variety of different activities such as guessing, playing games, miming, role-playing, and discussion. Not all students will work or learn at the same pace. It is useful to have extra exercises ready for those students who finish a task before the others.
§ Speaking. A great deal of work may start with the textbook but end in an improvisation, adaptation, spontaneous interaction in the class and the development of that interaction. Working in pairs or small groups means that more students have more opportunity to talk more. More importantly, however, students need the space and opportunity to be who they are. Groupwork in small groups or pairwork gives them the ‘psychological space’ to do this. It can give them the space to exchange ideas and to be creative. It can provide a change of pace and variety. Whole class work for a long time, especially with a large class, demands a lot of attention and concentration in one ’mode’ – more than most students are able to give. It is important to provide opportunities for groupwork or pairwork, but it is equally important that this is set up correctly. If it isn’t, you will almost certainly end up with classroom management problems! Before the students work in pairs or groups, make sure they know exactly what they have to do. You can give an example by asking one or two children in front of the class. While they are working, you can go around the class, listening and helping. It is usually best to limit the time for pairwork. Ensure that the students have enough time to do the task and that the focus is clear. If you allow too much time, they will lose the focus and not see the point of what they are doing. It is equally important not to allow too little time. This can cause frustration and confusion. Ensure that any work that you ask them to do in pairs has a concrete focus - that it is clear to them what you expect. For example, set tasks that have a practical outcome, such as making a list of words or reading a dialogue, rather than something very general such as discussing an idea.
- Use the audio cassette/CD
Hearing English spoken by different voices is also important for developing listening skills - and the music and sound effects that accompany each text help to keep the element of surprise and fun.
Take every opportunity to revise vocabulary and structures the students have already met - many concepts such as talking about likes, abilities, etc., recur frequently in the books. Regular practice is vital to support learning, and some repetition will also enable the students to participate more actively in the lesson. Last, but not least, it will build confidence and reinforce their image of themselves as successful language learners!
- Another important aspect of the move to greater self-direction is the ability to evaluate the performance of oneself and others. Materials need to build in self-assessment tasks to reflect on learner’s progress. Besides, students learn best in a stress-free environment where they can relax and feel their efforts are valued. It is important to let them learn at their own pace and to give lots of praise and encouragement. It is important to have regular personal contact with the students. This will help you find out if they are keeping up with the rest of the class. Giving extra personal help to students when they first experience difficulties can stop bigger problems developing later.
- Getting students to do various kinds of homework like written exercises, compositions is the best way to encourage student autonomy. Homework serves many useful purposes in learning. It helps to keep the students in contact with what they are learning, especially when their lessons are only once or twice a week. It can also give an opportunity for the individual student to focus on his or her personal work, outside the classroom. Language learning is a slow process, so some work outside the classroom is always useful. Learning a language is an individual process as learners seek to integrate newly perceived information into existing language system. Language learning requires the active participation of the whole learner when the language is used spontaneously in a communicative (purposeful) situation to express the learner’s own meaning. So, knowing psychological peculiarities of your students and methods of teaching you will get your initial objective.
- www.cambridge.org/ (teaching tips)
- //Keep talking by Friederike Klippel (Cambridge; 2000)
- //Psychology for Language Teachers by Marion Williams and Robert L. Burden (Cambridge;2004)
- Communication in the Language Classroom by Tony Lynch (Oxford;2001)