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?

How to Teach a Dialogue?

dialogueThere are two stages of teaching any dialogue:

1. Presenting the dialogue:

1. Introduce the activity telling Ss that they’re going to read & listen a dialogue.

2. Present the most important or the key individual words included in the dialogue.

3. Ask Ss to look at the dialogue and the pictures to talk about the scene of it:
a. Who are the speakers?
b. Where are they?
c. What are they talking about?
d. What do you think is happening in each picture?

4. Then ask Ss to read the whole dialogue silently or listen to it extensively to answer a pre-question. The answer is the main idea of the dialogue.

5. Next, ask or put two more questions on the board and ask Ss to listen to the dialogue on the cassette ( or read by the teacher ) to answer those questions.

6. Read the dialogue aloud, this time to focus on the important phrases or expressions included in the dialogue.

2. Practicing the dialogue:

1. Invite pairs of Ss to the front of the class with their books to role play or act out the dialogue.

2. Write the dialogue on the board or distribute it printed on a paper with some missing parts. Ask Ss to work in pairs to fill in the gaps. Elicit the answers from as many pairs as possible.

3. Focusing on the important language functions included in the dialogue, divide the dialogue into mini dialogues or some situations, each one includes a prompt and its response, give each mini dialogue with a missing part & ask Ss to fill in the gaps in pairs and act out each situation.

4. Invite pairs of Ss to the front of the class without their books to role play or act out the dialogue telling them that some personal modifications should be done.

Call for ESL Teachers: Your Professional Development is So Important

prfessional development1First of all you must put in your mind that “Learning to be a teacher is “a life-long experience”

Secondly if you pursue to be an experienced and effective teacher, you should take charge of training yourselves to be:
* aware of the philosophy of teaching and learning,
* efficient in drawing on and adapting content knowledge,
* capable of making decisions before, during and after every teaching and learning experience.

Consequently Professional development for you is critical. It is the responsibility of each teacher once they are in the context of the workplace.

prfessional development2Professional development means:
* The constant search for answers to questions which arise from the ever new circumstances in educational contexts as the years pass.
* Training for the purpose of keeping up to date with advancements in language teaching and research.
To be able to achieve the previous aims, there are a lot of resources available for teachers to become better-informed language teaching professionals such as:

learn(a) participating in professional language teaching associations,
(b) reading printed books and journals,
(c) participating in electronic discussion groups,
(d) making use of on-line teaching and learning resources,
(e) attending regular workshops and conferences,
(f) working collaboratively or contacting with experienced colleagues, and
(g) doing action research.

 

Drills that Must be Prepared for Any Lesson

 

images

Once the structure or new language has been presented in the lesson, the teacher gives the class some drills to practice the new materials on focus. There are Three Main Kinds of drills that must be included in any lesson in the following sequence:

1- Controlled drills:

They are manipulative drills with the aim of developing accuracy. They come directly after presenting the new material.

e.g. Repetition drills which can be in groups, in pairs or individually.

2- Guided drills:

Students cannot perform these drills without knowing the meaning of the new language because they focus on the content instead of the form.

e.g. A. Substitution drills: they may be:

a- Simple: with one cue

e.g.  I go to the market everyday. (every week)

b- Multiple: the basic sentence remains the same but the cue could be substitutable for any item in the model.

e.g.:

T. : Ali

S. : Ali wrote a good book.

T. : Story.

S. : Ali wrote a good story.

T. : love.

S. : Ali wrote a love story. etc.

B. Chain drills:

The teacher asks a question then the students ask each other.

e.g.

T. : Are you hungry?

S1: No, I am not.

S1: (to another student) Are you hungry?

S2: Yes, I am.

S2 : (to a third student) Are you hungry?  Etc.

C. Transformation drills:

e.g. from sentence to a question, passive, negative…..

T. : I like sandwiches.

S1: (to another student) Do you like sandwiches?

S.2: No, I do not like sandwiches. etc.

D. Expansion drills:

e.g.

T. : I have a pen. ( always)

S. : I always have a pen.

S. : I always have a good pen. etc.

E. Integrative drills:

Two short sentences should be combined into one.

e.g.

I have a pen. It’s red.

I have a red pen.

3- Communicative drills:

The pupils feel freedom of expressing themselves or their ideas.

e.g.

Tell us about your daily routines ( Using frequency adverbs )

Techniques for Giving Feedback

feedback

1- You should interrupt learners when they make a mistake or error when:

– You want learners to be accurate concerning new structures.

– The majority of learners are constantly making the same error.

2- You can give delayed feedback in the following situation:

– If the aim of the activity is fluency and communication.  Make a note of errors and correct them later on.

3- Some errors should remain uncorrected by the teacher, for example:

– In the middle of a group work or role play.

– When a shy learner is daring to communicate.

– If a learner is trying to express a complex or personal idea.

4- You correct learners in different ways according to the tasks given, for example:

– During fluency activities, errors are totally ignored.

– If the aim is accuracy, you might correct more frequently.

5- You vary your correction strategies according to learners’ personalities by:

– Correcting shy learners less, and encouraging them to communicate.

– Correcting stronger learners more, so they are challenged.

6- You help learners to self-correct or correct each other’s errors by:

– Making a gesture, stopping learners, giving a question.

– Indicating to the nature of the error, by saying e.g. past tense.

– Stressing the incorrect form.

– Repeating the sentence with a questioning intonation.

– Asking other learners for the correct form.

– Asking one of the learners to write errors and correct them at the end of activity.

7- Some advantages of self-correction and peer correction:

– You know how much learners do and do not know.

– Learners feel more confident and independent.

– Learners know where they are.

8- Some disadvantages of self-correction and peer correction:

– Some learners might feel superior to others.

– The same two or three brilliant learners might answer and dominate the class interactions. The one who is corrected might feel frustrated.

9- Some practical ways of giving feedback on written work:

– Dotting errors and asking learners to correct them / using correction symbols.

– Providing correct answers for learners / correcting specific errors and leaving others.

– Getting learners to exchange their copies / praising learners’ writing for its strength.

Guidelines for Preparing Multiple Choice Questions

MCQs

1. Select the words to be tested.

2. Get the right kind of sentence (called the stem) to put each word in.

3. Choose several wrong words (called distractors) to put the right word with.

4. Finally prepare clear and simple instructions.

Distractors choice:

1. Make sure the distractors are the same form of the word tested.

2. Be sure you don’t give away the right answer through grammatical cues.

3. Multiple choice items should be about the same level of difficulty.

4. Be sure not to include more than one correct answer.

Identify the weakness in each of the following multiple choice question:

* Vocabulary choice:

1. Do you need some …………….. to write on.

a. paper

b. pen

c. table

d. material

2- The mouse ……………………. quickly away.

 a. little

b. very

c. baby

d. ran

3. I think he will be here in an …………………….

a. hour

b. soon

c. weekend

d. day after

4. They ………………….  me to get up right away.

a. asked

b. needed

c. wanted

d. told

* Grammar choice :

1. If I had a new coat, …………………………

 a. I’d show it to every one

 c. I’ve shown it to every one

 b. I showed it to every one

 d. I’ll show it to every one

2. They just bought …………………….. furniture.

a. several

b. a few

c. some

d. with

Waiting for Your Answer & Feedback

Practical steps to teach & practice a conversation

conversation

Present the conversation:

1. set the scene telling students what the conversation is about and the names of participants.

2. present the new & key vocabulary. ( words/phrases ) using effective techniques.

3. ask students to listen to the whole conversation by playing the recording or reading the whole conversation for students and check understanding by eliciting the meaning of key words/phrases.

3. model the conversation with one or two brilliant students, then model it using two brilliant students.

4. focus on language functions in the conversation dividing it into mini dialogues and writing each one on the board to refer to the function included and how to express it.

Practice the conversation:

*Listen and repeat:

play the recording, students listen, focus on correct pronunciation, repeat correctly after the recording or after You.

*Role-play the conversation:

ask students to come to the front to produce the conversation using body language, gestures, … ( dramatize it ) & it’s preferable to do so without books.

*Free production:

create situations that resemble real-life communication & encourage students to use the phrases taught in the conversation.

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.

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