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ESL Workshop

A 15 minute presentation on a virtual ESL workshop

Adriana Cernucan

on 22 April 2010

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Transcript of ESL Workshop

Double click anywhere & add an idea English as a Second Language Methodologies
Presenter: Adriana Cernucan Our focus:
Reading with a Purpose
Grammar and Its Teaching Reading with a purpose Grammar and Its Teaching Having a purpose means having a reason to read and approaching a text with a particular goal in mind, whether that goal involves learning or entertainment. In both real-world and classroom situations, purpose affects the reader's motivation, interest, and manner of reading. In second language acquisition research and theory, Krashen has consistently argued that pleasure reading is an important source of comprehensible input for acquisition. The only requirement "is that the story or main idea be comprehensible and the topic be something the student is genuinely interested in, that he would read in his first language" (Krashen, 1982, p. 164). students can work with magazines and newspapers in the classroom or library to create a portfolio of texts on a topic of interest. In the portfolio, students identify the source and briefly summarize the gist of each text. As a supplement to introductory textbooks, teachers can assign universally known stories or tales, or longer authentic texts on topics with which students are already familiar. Intermediate-level students can read detective stories or other fiction stories. Wherever possible, teachers should ask students directly about their interests and provide them with choices of authentic texts. In a study that sought to determine the effect on interest and recall of reading with a particular perspective, Schraw and Dennison (1994) found that focusing readers' attention on selected text information increases the interest and that text segments that are relevant to a reader's purpose are recalled better than those that are not. The implications of this study for classroom instruction are clear and significant. Reading with a purpose means approaching texts with a specific goal. When possible, students can be asked to read a text from a specific point of view, depending on what the text might suggest. In the classroom, students can be given reasons to read that approximate their purposes in a variety of real-world situations. They can read ads for apartments to find one that fits a particular set of requirements, look through movie listings and reviews to decide whether to see a particular movie, or respond to a written invitation. Grammar is often misunderstood in the language teaching field. The misconception lies in the view that grammar is a collection of arbitrary rules about static structures in the language. From here it goes to the misconception that the structures do not have to be taught, learners will acquire them on their own, or if the structures are taught, the lessons will be boring. Consequently, communicative and proficiency-based teaching approaches sometimes limit grammar instruction. It is true that some learners acquire second language grammar naturally without instruction. For example, there are immigrants to the United States who acquire proficiency in English on their own. This is especially true of young immigrants. However, this is not true for all learners. Among the same immigrant groups are learners who may achieve a degree of proficiency, but whose English is far from accurate. It is also true that learning particular grammatical distinctions requires a great deal of time even for the most skilled learners. Carol Chomsky (1969) showed that native English speakers were still in the process of acquiring certain grammatical structures in English well into adolescence. Thus, another important question is whether it is possible to accelerate students' natural learning of grammar through instruction. Pienemann (1984) demonstrated that subjects who received grammar instruction progressed to the next stage after a two-week period, a passage normally taking several months in untutored development. While the number of subjects studied was admittedly small, the finding provides evidence of the efficacy of teaching over leaving acquisition to run its natural course. Grammar is considered a collection of meaningless rules. That is because many people associate the term grammar with verb paradigms and rules about linguistic form. Grammar embodies the three dimensions of form, meaning, and use. ESL students must master all three dimensions. It is considered that grammar is boring. That is because of the impression that grammar can only be taught through repetition and other rote drills. Teaching grammar does not mean asking students to repeat models in a mindless way, and it does not mean memorizing rules. For example, to practice past-tense yes/no sentences in English, the teacher may ask her students to close their eyes while she changes five things about herself. She puts on a hat, takes off her watch, puts on her glasses, puts on her sweater, and takes off her ring. Students are then asked to pose questions to figure out the changes she has made. Students may ask, "Did you put on a hat?" or "Did you put on a sweater?" This kind of activity can be fun and, more importantly, engages students in a way that requires them to think and not just provide mechanical responses. THANK YOU!

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