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Mathew Voth

on 13 March 2014

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By Mathew Voth & Mary Berg

We hope this survey will prepare you well as you strive towards moving your students forward in their English language proficiency!
Teaching Intermediate Levels
1. Students' Cognitive Learning Processes
Some automatic processing has taken hold.
Phrases, sentences, structures, and conversational rules have been practiced and are in increasing.
Your goal is to get students to continually automatize.

4. Authenticity of Language
Prevent students from becoming overly concerned with grammatical correctness.
Make sure they stay on track!
5. Fluency & Accuracy
Some students are overly concerned with accuracy...others may slide into a "self-satisfied rut."
Be prepared to offer individualized attention to both types.
8. Listening & Speaking Goals
The linguistic complexity of communicative goals increases significantly.
Students can particpate in short conversations, ask and answer questions, find alternative ways to convey meaning, and solicit info from others.
9. Reading & Writing Goals
Increased complexity in terms of length, grammar, and discourse characterizes material.
Reading: paragraphs and short, simple stories.
Writing: more sophisticated
Teaching Beginning Levels
3. Teacher Talk
Speak slowly and clearly.
It is best not to talk too loudly.
Use simple vocabulary and structures.
Rule of Thumb: Restrict classroom language to English.
8. Listening & Speaking Goals
These functions should be meaningful and authentic.
Students are more limited by grammar and vocabulary than by communicative function.
Students use uncomplicated language.

Teaching Advanced Levels
1. Students' Cognitive Learning Processes
Students begin to realize the full spectrum of processing.
Students gain the confidence to put the formal structures of language on the periphery so that attention can be focused on interpretation and negotiation of meaning.
3. Teacher Talk
Natural language at a natural speed is a must at this level.
Challenge students by your choice of vocabulary, structures, idioms, etc.
You should take on the role as a provider of feedback.
5. Fluency & Accuracy
Most students should be fluent at this level.
Occasional attention to errors may be helpful.
6. Student Creativity
Be sure to keep students focused on applying classroom material to real contexts.
Defining Proficiency Levels

The ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages)
Proficiency levels are rated on a scale from 0 (unable to function in the spoken language) to 5 (speaking proficiency is functionally equivalent to that of a highly articulate, well-educated native speaker and reflects the cultural standards of the country where the language is spoken).
See Page 111 for a detailed breakdown.
1. Students' Cognitive Learning Processes
Expect to engage in repetition.
Coax students into purposeful conversations.
Have students seek out genuine information
2. The Role of the Teacher
Students are highly dependent on the teacher.
"Keep the ball rolling!"
Classroom time depends heavily on the teacher.
4. Authenticity of Language
Use simple greetings and introductions.
Keep utterances short and simple.
Your students should be exposed to authentic language!
5. Fluency & Accuracy
Encourage students to practice freely and openly.
Make limited corrections.
Focus on select grammatical, phonological, and discourse elements that are being processed.
6. Student Creativity
The ultimate goal of learning a language is to be able to comprehend and produce it in unrehearsed situations, which demands both receptive and productive creativity.
As beginners, student can only be creative within the confines of a highly controlled repertoire of language.
7. Techniques (activities, procedures, tasks)
Choral repetiton & drilling are appropriate.
Teacher initiated questions are dominant at this level.
Variety is key!
9. Reading & Writing Goals
*See the "Scope and Sequence" chart on pp. 120-123.

Reading and writing topics are limited to brief, yet real-life material.
Readings: advertisements, forms, and recipes.
Writing: forms, lists, simple notes, and letters.
* It is very important to bear in mind the literacy level of students in their own native language when teaching reading and writing!

10. Grammar
Beginners will deal with very simple verb forms, personal pronouns, definite/indefinite articles, singular and plural nouns, and simple sentences.
Move from simplistic to complex.
An inductive approach to grammar is recommended.
2. The Role of the Teacher
Learner centered work is now more possible.
Students should be encouraged to ask questions and make comments.
Be careful not to set equal expectations for all students, since abilities vary widely!
3. Teacher Talk
Your speaking should be kept at a natural pace.
Teacher talk should not occupy the majority of class time.
Students' native language should be kept to a minimum.
6. Student Creativity
Interlanguage errors are common:

"Does John can sing?"
"What means this?"
"I must to make a lot of money."

These errors are a good indicator of the creative application of a system within the learner's mind.
Try to view these as a positive sign of language development and internalization.
7. Techniques
Increase in complexity
Interactive techniques: chain stories, surveys & polls, paired interviews, group problem solving, role plays, storytelling etc.
10. Grammar
Students can benefit from small doses of short, simple explanations of points in English.
Overt attention to "sore spots" can be very helpful.
Warning: keep grammatical metalanguage at an ideal minimum; otherwise, your students will become English grammarians instead of English speakers!
2. The Role of the Teacher
Students' independence must be "cleverly channeled" into classroom routines.
Orderly plans are important.
You should play a directive role in the advanced classroom!
4. Authenticity of Language
Everything from academic prose to literature to idiomatic conversation becomes a language resource.
7. Techniques
Typical activities: group debates & argumentation, complex role plays.
Focus on the purposes for which students are planning to use their English!
8. Listening & Speaking Goals
Students can focus more on sociolinguistic & pragmatic nuances of language.
Help students to "fine-tune" their production and comprehension.
9. Reading & Writing Goals
Students progress towards native-speaker competence as they learn more about critical reading, the role of schemata in interpreting written texts, and writing profession related documents.
10. Grammar
Attention now shifts towards functional forms of grammatical patterns, sociolinguistic and pragmatic phenomena, and to strategic competence.
Although teaching should not become saturated with "language about language," well-targeted deductive grammar has its place.
Full transcript