Accuracy and Fluency Activities

fluency vs accuracy

When we focus on accuracy activities we:
* focus on forming correct examples of language use.
* produce language in a controlled way.
* deal with grammar explicitly.
* insist on receiving grammatically correct and complete sentences.
* practice language out of context.
* practice small samples of language.
* do not require authentic communication.

When we focus on fluency activities we:
* reflect natural language use
* deal with grammar implicitly.
* encourage free production of the language.
* reflect automatic performance.
* produce language that is not always predictable.
* require the use of improvising, paraphrasing, repair and reorganization.
* require real communication.

The focus on fluency activities would help learners develop communicative skills but those activities do nothing with linguistic competence. In other words the use of authentic communication particularly in the early stages of learning would help students often develop fluency at the expense of accuracy resulting in learners with good communication skills but a poor command of grammar.

To solve this problem the teacher should do the following during fluency activities:
1. get the learners’ attention to the presence of a linguistic feature in the input.
2. treat with grammatical features explicitly but within context.
3. focus on form but within task-based activities.
4. use various activities that develop the learners’ communicative skills and increase their attention to linguistic forms as well.

Ten Abilities & Skills Primary Teachers of English Need to Have & Develop

primary teachers

1. Understanding and deal well with young learners knowing well their characteristics.

2. Understanding the process of teaching and learning with young learners and overcoming any challenge that may occur sometimes.

3. Creating a relax atmosphere in the classroom and a friendly relationship with the young learners.

4. Speaking English fluently with the correct pronunciation.

5. Creating various & interesting activities and suitable learning environment to get their attention all the time.

6. Selecting & using well the most suitable teaching methods & materials for young learners.

7. Designing suitable assessment tools for young learners and following the right procedures to evaluate them during the language lesson.

8. Encourage, praising and giving a hand to low achievers of young learners.

9. Creating and implementing a remedial programme to raise the level of low achievers.

10. Being an actor, a story-teller, caretaker, mentor to achieve learning objectives with fun.

What else do you think primary teachers of English need to have & develop?

19 Tips to develop your students’ creativity

grow creativity

1. Model creativity:

Don’t tell students to be creative but show them how to be so.

2. Build the feeling of achievement:

Help students believe in their own ability to be creative. Give them the opportunity to experience making something new. Don’t put limits on their potential accomplishments.

3. Encourage questioning:

Make questioning a part of the daily classroom exchange. It is more important for students to learn what questions to ask and how to ask them than to learn the answers. Discourage the idea that only you ask questions and simply get the answers from them. We need to encourage students to ask first and then teach them how to ask the right questions (good, thought-provoking and interesting ones)

4. Encourage defining and solving problems:

Promote creative performance by encouraging your students to define and redefine problems and projects. Encourage creative thinking by having students choose their own topics for papers or presentations. Choose their own ways of solving problems.

5. Encourage generating ideas:

Once the problem is defined or redefined, it is time for students to generate ideas and solutions. The environment for generating ideas must be relatively free of criticism. Praise your students for generating many ideas, regardless of whether some are silly or unrelated, while encouraging them to identify and develop their best ideas into high-quality projects. Teaching students the value of generating numerous ideas enhances their creative-thinking ability.

6. Encourage integrating subjects:

Stimulate creativity by helping students to think across subjects and disciplines. Creative ideas and insights often result from integrating material across subject areas not from memorizing and reciting material.

7. Allow time for creative thinking:

Most creative insights do not happen in a rush. We need time to understand a problem and to toss it around. If we are asked to think creatively, we need time to do it well. If you stuff questions into your tests or give your students more homework than they can complete, then you are not allowing them time to think creatively.

8. Assess creativity:

If you want to encourage creativity, you need to include at least one task or exercise for creative thought in assignments and tests. Ask questions that require factual recall, analytic thinking, and creative thinking.

9. Reward creative ideas and products:

Reward creative efforts. For example, assign a project and remind students that you are looking for them to demonstrate their knowledge, analytical and writing skills, and creativity. Let them know that creativity does not depend on your agreement with what they write, only that they express ideas that represent a synthesis between existing ideas and their own thoughts. Some teachers complain that they cannot grade creative responses with as much objectivity as they can apply to multiple-choice or short-answer responses. However, research shows that evaluators are remarkably consistent in their assessments of’ creativity.

10. Tolerate unusual ideas:

A creative idea tends to come in bits and pieces and develops over time. But the period in which the idea is developing tends to be uncomfortable. When a student has almost the right topic for a paper or almost the right science project, it’s tempting to accept the near miss. To help students become creative, encourage them to accept and extend the period in which their ideas do not quite converge. Ultimately, they may come up with better ideas.

11. Allow mistakes:

Great thinkers made contributions because they allowed themselves and their collaborators to take risks and make mistakes. Schools are often unforgiving of mistakes. Errors on schoolwork are often marked with a large and pronounced X. When your students make mistakes, ask them to analyze and discuss these mistakes. Often, mistakes or weak ideas contain the germ of correct answers or good ideas. For the teacher who wants to make a difference, exploring mistakes can be learning and growing opportunity.

12. Encourage identifying and confronting obstacles:

When a student attempts to surmount an obstacle, praise the effort, whether or not the student is entirely successful. Point out aspects of the student’s attack that were successful and why, and then suggest other ways to confront similar obstacles. You can also tactfully critique counterproductive approaches by describing a better approach, as long as you praise the attempt. Ask the class to brainstorm about ways to confront a given obstacle to get them think about the many strategies we can use to confront problems; a procedure which develops problem- solving skills.

13. Teach Self-Responsibility

Part of teaching students to be creative is teaching them to take responsibility for both success and failure. Teaching students how to take responsibility means teaching students to (1) understand their creative process, (2) criticize themselves, and (3) take pride in their best creative work.

14. Delay Gratification

Part of being creative means being able to work on a project or task for a long time without immediate or interim rewards. Students must learn rewards are not always immediate and that there are benefits to delaying gratification. Many people believe that they should reward children immediately for good performance, and that children should expect rewards. This style of teaching and parenting emphasizes the here and now and often comes at the expense of what is best in the long term. Projects are clearly superior in meeting this goal.

15. Encourage Creative Collaboration

Collaboration can spur creativity. Encourage your students to collaborate with creative people because we all learn by example. Students benefit from seeing the techniques, strategies, and approaches that others use in the creative process. So, it is worthwhile to give students the chance to work collaboratively and to make the process of collaboration more creative.

16. Imagine Other Viewpoints

An essential aspect of working with other people and getting the most out of collaborative creative activity is to imagine ourselves in other people’s shoes. We broaden our perspective by learning to see the world from a different point of view, and that experience enhances our creative thinking and contributions. Encourage your students to see the importance of understanding, respecting, and responding to other people’s points of view.

17. Find Excitement

To unleash your students’ best creative performances, you must help them find what excites them. Remember that it may not be what really excites you. People who truly excel in a pursuit,  almost always genuinely love what they do. Certainly the most creative people are intrinsically motivated in their work.

18. Seek Stimulating Environments

Help your students develop the ability to choose environments that stimulate their creativity. Choose some environments for the class to explore and help your students connect the environments with the experiences, creative growth, and accomplishment. Plan a field trip to a nearby museum, historical building, town hall, or other location with interesting displays and ask your students to generate and examine creative ideas for reports. Get students involved in role-playing.

19. Play to Strengths

Show students how to play to their strengths. Describe your strengths to your students and ask them to declare their strengths. Any teacher can help students play to their strengths. All you need is flexibility in assignments and a willingness to help reluctant students determine the nature of their interests and strengths.

11 things to do before teaching a lesson

things to do

A Successful Teacher of English should do the Following before getting into the class to teach a lesson:

  1. Be aware of the aims of teaching English in his country and in the educational stage he works in.
  2. Read the lesson on SB and answer the exercises on it on WB
  3. Prepare the lesson in writing knowing what to do exactly and how to do that.
  4. Prepare at least one teaching aid (e.g. word & picture cards) to facilitate learning and activate students.
  5. Read the learning outcomes of the whole unit.
  6. Set two or three behavioral objectives for students to achieve at the end of the lesson.
  7. Listen to and prepare the audio files beforehand checking the pronunciation of each word in the lesson.
  8. Be aware of the specifications for the exams and prepare related questions to train students.
  9. Be aware of the monthly distribution of the syllabus and cover it.
  10.  Get a look at the teacher’s book to know the guidelines for teaching the lesson.
  11.  Have an assessment sheet to assess students by marks in each lesson.

What else should the teacher do before going ahead to the class to teach a lesson? Waiting for More Suggestions from YOU.

Ten Skills a Primary Language Teacher Must have.

primary teacher

A Primary Language Teacher Must have the ability to:

1. understand well the characteristics of young learners whom he works with.

2. link his understanding of young learners with the teaching method and assessment procedures that he uses in the classroom.

3. adapt or create the most suitable learning environment for young learners.

4. use, adapt or create the most suitable resources and materials for young learners.

5. encourage children all the time and give them support and a feeling of achievement.

6. give them a good model for everything that happen in the classroom.

7. create a friendly classroom atmosphere in which children are encouraged to interact and express themselves freely without fear of making errors.

8. act, tell stories, sing, dramatize conversations, correct errors, praise high achievers and encourage lower ones.

9. use, adapt or create meaningful and purposeful language activities in which most children are involved.

10. manage the classroom well following a specific system.

Now it’s your turn, tell me one more ability that you consider it’s a must for primary language teacher.   

Using native language in the English class

Use native language in English class when:

* translating abstract words like “love” or “hate”

* checking that pupils knew the meaning of a word after presenting it.

* explaining a difficult grammar point so that pupils can understand a difference between English and the native language.

* explaining a cultural reference so that the context is clear.

 Insist on using English in primary or low-level classes so that:

* Pupils will have more reason and opportunity to use English, too.

* Pupils receive listening practice.

* Pupils learn and practice common or repeated classroom language or routines in English. (e.g. Please open your books on page ___.)

 Encourage pupils to use English in the class by:

* asking common and useful questions. ( e.g. What does X mean? How do you spell ____?)

* keeping a list of useful and common statements and questions on a classroom wall or having pupils keep this list in their notebooks.

* allowing pupils to demonstrate their understanding by doing an action also counts as using English in the classroom.

A pupil can use native language in the English class when:

* explaining to his partner how to do an exercise, he is trying to help his partner to learn. pupils often do not have the English skills necessary to explain in English.

* discussing a grammar point with his partner, they are helping each other to understand something in English.

* doing a speaking activity, a pupil may use a word in his native language when he doesn’t know the English one. He is still trying his best to communicate in English.

A word about Young Learners

 

What are children like as learners?

They

– are developing quickly as individuals.

– learn in a variety of ways, for example, by watching, by listening, by imitating, by doing things.

– are not able to understand grammatical rules and explanations about language.

– try to make sense of situations by making use of non-verbal clues.

– talk in their mother tongue about what they understand and do – this helps them learn.

– can generally imitate the sounds they hear quite accurately and copy the way adults speak.

– are naturally curious.

– love to play and use their imagination.

– are comfortable with routines and enjoy repetition.

– have quite a short attention span and so need variety.

How can you as teacher help them?

– Make learning English enjoyable and fun – Remember you are influencing their attitude to language learning.

– Don’t worry about mistakes. Be encouraging. Make sure children feel comfortable, and not afraid to take part.

– Use a lot of gestures, actions, pictures to demonstrate what you mean.

– Talk a lot to them in English, especially about things they can see.

– Play games, sing songs, say rhymes and chants together.

– Tell simple stories in English, using pictures and acting with different voices.

– Don’t worry when they use their mother tongue. You can answer a mother tongue question in English, and sometimes recast in English what they say in their mother tongue.

– Constantly recycle new language but don’t be afraid to add new things or to use words they want to know.

– Plan lessons with varied activities, some quiet, some noisy, some sitting, some standing and moving.

Reference: English for Primary Teachers By Mary Slattery & Jane Willis

 

 

7 Steps to teach any activity effectively

1. Introduce the activity clearly.

2. Give pupils clear instructions and make sure they know what to do.

3. Model the activity with a good pupil.

4. Get two pupils to model the activity ( public pair )

5. Specify some time for completing the activity in pairs ( private pairs )

6. Move around to monitor pupils, listen to or look at their performance.

7. Get some pairs to do the activity in public or elicit the answers orally from pupils involving as many pupils as possible.

16 Tips to be # 1 Teacher

1. Learn your students’ names.

You will be able to control your class better and gain more respect if you learn the students’ names early on. If you are one who has a poor memory for names, ask each student to bring a photo of his own and write his name below it. Your students will be impressed when you call them with their names.

2. Establish authority from the beginning.

Establish a system for communication in the classroom from the first day. Deal quickly with inappropriate conduct in a friendly yet firm manner.

3. Be overly prepared.

You must be well mentally prepared for each lesson. You should know the sequences of activities and how long each activity will take. You should also have an additional activity prepared in case you have extra time.

4. Always consider the learners’ needs when preparing for each lesson.

Why are your students studying English? How will they use English in the future? What do they need to learn? The answer of these questions helps you specify what and how to teach and what to focus on.

5. Be prepared to make changes to your lesson plan.

If the lesson you have prepared isn’t working, don’t be afraid to modify it. Be sensitive to the students and the conditions around.

6. Find out what learners already know.

This is an ongoing process. Students may have already been taught a particular grammar point or vocabulary. Base your lesson on their prior knowledge and provide them with additional information that they don’t know.

7. Be knowledgeable about grammar.

You don’t have to be a linguist to teach EFL. Most of what you need to know can be learned from reading the students’ books. Often the rules and explanations about structure in the students’ books are much more accessible and realistic than in other books

8. Be knowledgeable about the learners’ culture.

The learners’ culture can be a valuable tool for teaching. Knowing it will raise your ability to communicate effectively with your students.

9. Don’t stick literally to the set book.

Add any extra necessary vocabulary, functions, grammar, or topics that you feel the students may want or need.

10. Don’t assume that the set book will always work.

Many activities must be modified to make them work, and some have to be changed completely to cope with the educational setting.

11. Teach vocabulary effectively.

The building blocks of language are not grammar and functions. The most essential thing students need to learn is vocabulary; without vocabulary you have no words to form sentences, no words to pronounce. Help your students to use the stock of vocabulary in their minds and learn more.

12. Proceed from more controlled activities to less controlled ones.

Not always, but in general, present and practice more structured activities before freer or more open ones.

13. Don’t neglect the teaching of listening.

Listening is the most important skill to teach your students. While listening to each other and to the teacher will improve their overall listening ability, this can be no substitute for listening to authentic English. As much as possible, try to expose your students to authentic English in a variety of situations. The best way to do this and the most realistic is through audios and videos. Videos are much more motivating and culturally loaded.

14. Turn regular activities into games or competition.

Many familiar teaching points can be turned into games or activities with a competitive angle. It is a sure way to motivate students and activate them to work on the language.

15. Motivate your students with variety.

By giving a variety of interesting topics and activities, students will be more motivated and interested, and they are likely to practice more.

16. Don’t leave the learners in the dark.

Explain exactly what they are expected to learn in a particular lesson. Make sure that students know what they are doing and why. Each task should be introduced so well that students know what to do exactly.

18 Tips to be an Effective Teacher of EL

How to be an effective English language teacher? Keep the following pieces of advice in your mind to realize your desire.

1. Be enthusiastic! Don’t do it just for the money.

Students appreciate the teacher who shows genuine interest in teaching. Teachers who are not, they should consider moving on to another profession.

2. Show interest in the students as individuals.

Treat students as individuals, not subjects. Don’t belittle them; listen and talk to them. Only in this way will true communication take place.

3. Allow time for free communication.

For speaking this would mean allowing time for free conversation, for writing; doing free writing, for reading; allowing time for extensive pleasure reading, and for listening; listening for entertainment sake.

4. Use humor to activate the class.

Make it a habit to get the students to laugh at least once per lesson.

5. Circulate.

Move around the classroom. Sit with groups and monitor, Take part in the communication. Walk about, listen and observe.

6. Make your instructions short and clear.

Demonstrate rather than explain whenever possible.

7. Speak up, but don’t break anyone’s eardrum.

You should be heard and comprehended without annoying students.

8. Don’t talk too much.

Depending on the subject, you should be talking from about 5% to 30% of the lesson. Most lessons should be student-centered, not teacher-centered.

9. Don’t talk too slow.

How do you expect your students to understand real English if you don’t speak at a fairly natural speed? Oversimplified and affected speech will hurt your students in the long run.

10. Be sensitive to your students.

Watch their faces and reactions. Do they understand you? Are they interested or bored? Try to be aware of what is going on in your classroom at all times. If you are starting class and one student is still talking, try to gently get him/her to stop. If you are sitting with a group of students on one side of the room, try to be attentive to what is happening in other groups as well. There may be a group across the room that is confused and doesn’t know what to do.

11. Respect both “slow” and “fast” learners.

Language learning is not about intelligence; the important thing to stress is that the students are improving.

12. Don’t lose your cool.

If you do, you will lose respect. Even if you have to leave the classroom, do it in a controlled manner, explaining to the class or students why you are unhappy with them.

13. Be frank.

Praise your students when they are getting better and encourage them when they are not doing as well as they can.

14. Be a coach.

Some times you must be a coach more than a teacher. Push the students to write those few extra lines, to get into their groups faster, to extend their conversations, ….. etc.

15. Be fair and realistic in testing.

Teach first and then test; don’t test things that haven’t been taught. Also, remember that the main purpose of language is communication.

16. Don’t overcorrect.

If you think a student can correct their own mistake, don’t supply the correction for them, rather allow for some self-monitoring. Remember, some mistakes can be kept uncorrected if you are for fluency.

17. Be reflective.

Think about your own teaching. After each lesson is over take some time to reflect. Was the lesson effective? What were the good and bad points? How could it be improved?

18. Keep in shape.

Renew and update your knowledge about teaching from time to another. Look at new course books and teacher training books to get new ideas. Share your ideas with colleagues. Go to conferences.

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