Means of Teaching. Teaching Aids and Teaching Materials
To master a foreign language, pupils must be engaged in activities which are characteristic of the language; they should hear the language spoken, speak, read, and write it. Classroom practices which are restricted to teacherís presentation of linguistic material (vocabulary, grammar) and the testing of pupilsí knowledge cannot provide good learning. The teacher covers ―content‖ but does not instruct pupils. The majority of pupils remain passive, and work only to memorize what the teacher emphasizes. To achieve effective classroom learning under the conditions of compulsory secondary education, the teacher must use all the accessories he has at his disposal in order to arouse the interest of his pupils and retain it throughout the lesson which is possible only if the pupils are actively involved in the very process of classroom learning. To teach a foreign language effectively the teacher needs teaching aids and teaching materials. During the last few years important developments have taken place in this field. As a result there is a great variety of teaching aids and teaching materials at the teacher's disposal.
Teaching Aids. By teaching aids we mean various devices which can help the foreign language teacher in presenting linguistic material to his pupils and fixing it in their memory; in testing pupilsí knowledge of words, phrases, and grammar items, their habits and skills in using them.
Teaching aids which are at teachersí disposal in contemporary schools may be grouped into (1) non-mechanical aids and (2) mechanical aids. Non-mechanical aids are: a blackboard, the oldest aid in the classroom; the teacher turns to the blackboard whenever he needs to write something while explaining some new linguistic material to his pupils, correcting pupils' mistakes, or arranging the class to work at some words and sentence patterns, etc.; the blackboard can also be used for quick drawing to supply pupils with ―objects‖ to speak about; a flannel board (a board covered with flannel or other soft fabric for sticking pictures on its surface), it is used for creating vivid situations which would stimulate pupilsí oral language; the teacher can have a flannel board made in a workshop or buy one in a specialized shop; the use of a flannel board with cut-outs prepared by the teacher or pupils leads to active participation in the use of the target language, as each pupil makes his contribution to working out ―a scene‖ on the flannel board; a magnet board (a board which has the properties of a magnet, i.e., can attract special cards with letters, words, phrases or pictures on it) used with the same purpose as a flannel board.
Mechanical aids are: tape recorders (ordinary and twin-track); the same tape may be played back as many times as is necessary, the twin track tape recorder allows the pupil to play back the tape listening to the speakerís voice and recording his own on the second track, the lower one, without erasing the first track with the voice of the speaker, the tape recorder is considered to be the most important aid in teaching and learning a foreign language; record player is also an audio equipment available in every school; the record player is an indispensable supplement to contemporary textbooks and other teaching materials as they are designed to be used with the long-playing records which accompany them; projector used for projection of illustrations and photographs; a filmstrip projector which can be used in a partially darkened room; an overhead projector used for projection of a table, a scheme, a chart, a plan, a map or a text for everyone to see on a screen; television would make it possible to demonstrate the language in increasingly varied everyday situations; pupils are invited to look, listen, and speak; television and radio programmes are broadcast, but it is not always easy for teachers using these programmes to synchronize their lesson time with the time of the television or radio transmissions; a language laboratory, this is a special classroom designed for language learning. It is equipped with individual private or semi-private stalls or booths. They are connected with a network of audio wiring, the nerve centre of which is the monitoring console which has a switch board and tape decks, making it possible to play tapes and send the programme to all or any combination of booths. The teacher at the monitoring console can listen in, or can have a two-way conversation with any pupil.
There are two main types of language laboratories - library and broadcast systems. The language laboratory is used for listening and speaking. The pupilís participation may be imitation or response to cues according to a model.
Teaching Materials. By teaching materials we mean the materials which the teacher can use to help pupils learn a foreign language through visual or audio perception. They must be capable of contributing to the achievement of the practical, cultural, and educational aims of learning a foreign language. Since pupils learn a foreign language for several years, it is necessary for the teacher to have a wide variety of materials which make it possible to progress with an increasing sophistication to match the pupilsí continually growing command of the foreign language. Good teaching materials will help greatly to reinforce the pupilsí initial desire to learn the language and to sustain their enthusiasm throughout the course.
The following teaching materials are in use nowadays: teacherís books, pupilís books, visual materials, audio materials, and audio-visual materials. A teacherĎs book must be comprehensive enough to be a help to the teacher. This book should provide all the recorded material; summaries of the aims and new teaching points of each lesson; a summary of all audio and visual materials required; suggestions for the conduct of the lesson and examples of how the teaching points can be developed. PupilĎs books must include textbooks, manuals, supplementary readers, dictionaries, programmed materials.
Textbooks. The textbook is one of the most important sources for obtaining knowledge. It contains the material at which pupils work both during class-periods under the teacherís supervision and at home independently. The textbook also determines the ways and the techniques pupils should use in learning the material to be able to apply it when hearing, speaking, reading, and writing. The modern textbooks for teaching a foreign language should meet the following requirements:
- The textbooks should provide pupils with the knowledge of the language sufficient for developing language skills, i. e.; they must include the fundamental of the target language.
- They should ensure pupilsí activity in speaking, reading, and writing, i. e.; they must correspond to the aims of foreign language teaching in school.
- The textbooks must extend pupilsí educational horizon, i.e., the material of the textbooks should be of educational value.
- The textbooks must arouse pupils' interest and excite their curiosity.
- They should have illustrations to help pupils in comprehension and in speaking.
- The textbooks must reflect the life and culture of the people whose language pupils study.
Each textbook consists of lessons or units, the amount of the material being determined by the stage of instruction, and the material itself. The lessons may be of different structure. In all cases, however, they should assist pupils in making progress in speaking, reading, and writing. The textbook should have a table of contents in which the material is given according to the school terms.