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The inductive approach

In a so-called inductive approach, things happen the other way round. In other words, instead of going from the rules to the examples, students see examples of language and try to work out the rules. Thus, for example, after students have read a text, we might ask them to find examples of different past tenses and say how and why they are used. This boomerang-type lesson (where the elements occur in the sequence engage -> activate ->study) is especially appropriate where language study arises out of skills work on reading and listening texts.

If we want students to understand how speakers in informal conversation use certain phrases as delaying tactics (or to buy 'thinking' time) we might - after letting them listen and respond to someone speaking spontaneously - get them to listen again, but this time reading a transcript of what is being said. The task we give them is to find language used for buying time - hoping that they will identify phrases like 'you know', T mean', 'yeah', 'mmm', etc.

If we want students to understand how certain words collocate (see page 75), we can, if we want, tell them about the words and their collocations. That is what we would do in an explain and practice sequence. But in an inductive approach we prefer the students to find this information out. If we are teaching 'body language', therefore, instead of telling students which verbs like 'wave', 'clench', 'wag', etc collocate with which nouns such as 'hand', 'arm', 'teeth', 'fist', etc, we can send them to monolingual learners' dictionaries (MLDs) or computer corpuses to see if they can work it out for themselves. Such discovery activities ask students to do the work rather than having everything handed to them on a plate by the teacher or a grammar/vocabulary book.

Discovery activities suit some students very well; they enjoy working things out. Many people think that the language they understand in this way is more powerfully learnt (because they had to make some cognitive effort as they uncovered its patterns) than it would have been if they were told the grammar rules first and didn't have to make such an effort. However, not all students feel comfortable with this approach and would still prefer to be 'spoon-fed'. A lot will depend on their level. It is generally easier for more advanced students to analyse language using discovery procedures than it is for complete beginners. The boomerang sequence is often more appropriate with students who already have a certain amount of language available to them for the first activation stage than it is with students who can say very little. Discovery activities are especially useful when students are looking at the construction of specific language for the second or third time. When we ask them to look at the use of different past tenses in a story and to work out how they are used and why, we assume that they 'know' the individual tenses. The detective work they are doing now is intended to expand their knowledge and revise things they are already familiar with.


10. Whenever you give instructions your students don't understand what they
are supposed to do. You begin to explain more and they become more
confused and you waste much time and are frustrated. What can you do to
give more clear instructions?

Giving instructions

This issue of how to talk to students becomes crucial when we give them instructions. The best activity in the world is a waste of time if the students don't understand what it is they are supposed to do. There are two general rules for giving instructions: they must be kept as simple as possible, and they must be logical. Before giving instructions, therefore, teachers must ask themselves the following questions: What is the important information I am trying to convey? What must the students know if they are to complete this activity successfully?

What information do they need first? Which should come next?

When teachers give instructions, it is important for them to check that the students have understood what they are being asked to do. This can be achieved either by asking a student to explain the activity after the teacher has given the instruction or by getting someone to show the other people in the class how the exercise works. Where students all share the same mother tongue (which the teacher also understands), a member of the class can be asked to translate the instructions into their mother tongue as a check that they have understood them.



11.What is the difference between a mistake and an error? Explain the role of
inter language in students errors. What is fossilization of errors and how can
it be prevented?

As learners are learning the language and errors appear, teachers can utilize their knowledge of the target and native languages to understand sources of error.

Great difference does not necessarily cause great difficulty underscores the significance of intralingual (within one language) errors, which are as much a factor in second language learning as interlingual (across two or more languages) errors. The forms within one language are often perceived to be minimally distinct in comparison to the vast differences between the native and target language, yet those intralingual factors can lead to some of the greatest difficulties.

Mistakes must be carefully distinguished from errors of a second lan-guage learner, idiosyncrasies in the language of the learner that are direct manifestations of a system within which a learner is operating at the time. An error, a noticeable deviation from the adult grammar of a native speaker, reflects the competence of the learner. Learners of English who ask," Does John can sing?" are in all likelihood reflecting a competence level in which all verbs require a pre-posed do auxiliary for question formation. As such, it is an error, most likely not a mistake, and an error that reveals a portion of the learner's competence in the target language.

Can you tell the difference between an error and a mistake? Not always. An error cannot be self-corrected, according to James (1998: 83), while mistakes can be self-corrected if the deviation is pointed out to the speaker. But the learner's capacity for self-correction is objectively observe. In order to analyze learner language in an appropriate perspective, it is crucial to make a distinction between mistakes and errors, technically two very different phenomena. Recent theory n language acquisition and teaching methodology supports the position that not ll rrrs should b rrtd, and those that are rrtd should usually not b "treated" immediately (rashen 1987:74-76, 116-119; Doff 1988:186-192; Lewis 1993:164-179). This position is based n the fact that rrrs are normal and unavoidable during the learning process. Also, urrnt theories of how we learn languages recognize that habit formation is only one part of the process.

Elisa Beltrán Gea and M. Lidón Pascual Mateu (1999) have also classified the mistakes in two main groups:

Mistakes of meaning, which are the most important ones due to their influence in misunderstanding. There is no point in learning to say correct sentences in English (or any second language) if they do not mean what the speaker want to say.

The second main group are the mistakes of form; there are many influences that may cause these mistakes, such as the speakers L1, or that the learner had not fully acquired a syntactic rule. Mistakes can also happen because the speaker is in a hurry or tired of the topic, or thinking about something else.

Mistakes of meaning

1.Correct linguistic forms that dont say what the speaker intends to say.

2. Linguistically correct message, but politically incorrect.

3. Low effect mistakes -when the mistakes do not let you get the meaning of the conversation.

4. Local effect mistakes -A part of the conversation is mistaken.

Mistakes of form

1. Slips: When the teacher thinks that a student could self-correct a mistake.

2. Error: If a Student cannot self-correct a mistake in his/her own English level, but the teacher thinks that the student should have in taken the rule.

3. Attempt: When the teacher knows that the student have not yet learned the target language necessary to express what they want to say, or that it is not clear what the student wants to use.

rrrs occur for many reasons. One obvious cause is interference from the native language. learner m make rrrs because he assumes that the target language and his native language are similar, when in fact they are different.


What if students keep using their own language?

In Chapter 3 we discussed situations in which using the students' L1 (their mother tongue) in class might be both sensible and beneficial. However, there are also occasions in which students use their native language rather than English to perform classroom tasks, such as having a discussion or doing an English-language role-play, and in such circumstances the

use of the 11 is less appropriate. If we want students to activate their English, they won't be helped if they talk in a different language instead.

When students use their 11 in such circumstances, they often do so because they want to communicate in the best way they can and so, almost without thinking, they revert to their own language. But however much we sympathise with this behaviour, the need to have students practising English in such situations remains paramount, and so we will need to do something to make it happen. Here are some ways of doing this:

Date: 2015-12-17; view: 1142

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