Tag: conversation lesson plan

Teaching Language Functions

functions

Language functions define what the person should say or write in communicative situations. The best way to present these functions is in context, in a conversation.

A conversation lesson plan:

1. Start with reading the whole conversation while students listen.

2. Then divide it into mini dialogues; a stimulus and its response.

3. Draw students’ attention to the choice of particular words or expressions to express a meaning and talk about the speaker‘s intention; i.e. presenting the function.

4. Then ask students to generate sentences of their own to practice this function.

* This keeps the learning process simple and gives students tools to build on.

5. Next Students are given a situation or task with individual roles allotted. They extend practice by asking one another or engaging in role-play.

* The focus here is on a certain function and that function is taken as the cue for the grammar taught in the lesson. Such practice provides opportunities for students to practice a range of real-life spoken language in the classroom.

Most typical language functions are:

1- Inviting

2- Suggesting

3- Promising

4- Apologizing

5- Requesting information

6- Agreeing

7- Disagreeing

8- Offering

Two basic ways of presenting a language function:

1. Inductively: give the learners different examples of the function and ask students to identify it:

What is the speaker’s intention here?

What language or expressions did he use to express his intention?

2. Deductively: present a situation in which the function is needed and ask students to respond to it. You may ask comprehension questions to check understanding.

Two basic ways of practicing language functions:

Receptive practice.

It aims at familiarizing students with a range of examples of the functions. Possible activities for receptive practice include:

– Finding a function in a dialogue or text.

– Classifying a list of functional language. ( which would you use to say  ……..? )

– Classifying a list of sentences according to their precise meaning.

Productive practice.

It may be relatively controlled practice. Possible activities for it include:

– Transformations between different examples of a function

– Question and answer work.

– Situational cues (what would you say in these situations?)

Tips for teaching language functions:

– Create a situation and direct students in a certain activity progressively.

– Learners should conduct the activity to its conclusion

– Make sure that learners understand what they are required to do in an activity.

– Demonstrate the activity with learners.

– Select activities which need comparatively light demands on the learners’ linguistic and creative abilities

– Equip learners with expressions and language forms they need for their activities.

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