How to Structure your Study Phase To Target Productive Skills
In today's cosmopolitan world, the noticeable necessity of mastery over foreign languages apart from one's native language is motivating manifold people to consider improving this particular ability which results in an increasing demand for language learning courses and services. Among the major purposes of language learning, communication and language production are definitely much more measurable and outstanding, specifically through productive skills, including writing and speaking. In terms of pedagogy, the following is a suggested procedure that can be taken into account while teaching productive skills after the engagement phase is applied and learners are ready to start the study phase.
Exposure to the target language in the format of a sample, a piece of writing, or an extracted model speaking based on the topic of a specific lesson, for instance, can help students broaden their understanding of what they are expected to work on and produce at the end of this lesson. Although textbooks content usually provides the teachers with some writing or speaking modules and well-designed samples, surfing the net or other sources in order to choose a sample based on the aim and objectives of the lesson is not far-fetched.
## Pre-task activities
First of all, content checking questions or CCQs let the teacher check students' comprehension of the sample. This can be applied through a set of questions, gap filling, matching activities, and so forth as a pair or group work after reading the sample text or listening to the model extract.
Secondly, a pre-tax activity is required so as to analyze the paragraphing, writing structure(introduction, body, and conclusion), the formality or informality of the language, conjunctions, etc. if it's the writing, and discourse markers, gap fillers, the structure and so on if it's the speaking.
Additionally, the samples are usually enriched with some language input like idioms and lexical semantics related to the topic that can be applied to extend the quality of language production. Going through the input and eliciting the practical language boosts students' knowledge of the topic and increases the quality of their final output, which can be applied through a controlled practice.
Using pairing and grouping techniques adds to the variety of the lesson, and student-to-students interaction is consequently promoted.
## The task
The task usually represents an unseen cue and some instructions about it that require to be analyzed before tackling the task. The think-time allocated to comprehending the task, deciding on the type, and defining the follow-up questions lead to an explicit discernment of the task. Furthermore, ICQs or instruction checking questions explicate and simplify the instructions to the task.
Teacher: "Are you going to write a letter or a story?"Class:" a letter."Teacher: "Who's the audience? "Class:" Mr. Cohen, the marketing manager."Teacher: "Is it a formal or informal letter?"Class:" formal… semi-formal"
If instructions are complicated and more clarification is required, boarding them in four or five simple steps simplifies the process:
- Think about the topic and make notes of your ideas in 1 minute.
- Compare your notes with your partner's.
- Student A: Talk about the topic for 2 minutes.
- Student B: Listen to your partner and write down his/her mistakes.
- Change roles.
Having done that, when a question is raised about the instructions, you can refer the students to the boarded steps they are supposed to follow. In order to avoid unnecessary repetition of the instructions and control your TTT, attract students' attention, and make sure everyone is listening to you before giving the instructions. Bear in mind that too many ICQs are matter-of-factly boring and frustrating, especially if the instructions are simple, so ask them when you feel the need.
The preparation and planning phase completed before undertaking the task is aimed at organizing the structure of writing or speaking output and deciding on propitious syntax and lexical entry in a well-managed time limit that is restricted to not more than two or three minutes. Planning can be done as a pair or group work activity since brainstorming provides students with a wider variety of ideas they can take advantage of.
In this stage, students are supposed to prepare their drafts based on their plans in a proper time limit if it's a writing task. Working on speaking, pair students up and instruct them to talk about the topic and keep an eye on their plans.
Swap the drafts and instruct students to check and edit each other's work and compare it with their own performance and the planning done before fulfilling the task. A task consisting of prepared questions about the quality of the output helps students improve their awareness of the details they need to take into consideration when developing the finalized draft.
Feedback on language
Delayed correction can be applied by putting student notes of errors together and extracting the common mistakes in order to board and correct them. Not only efficient error treatment application but also praising the appropriate usage of grammar and vocabulary may generate motivation and a sense of achievement among students.
In conclusion, Assigning the class to hand in their fair copies the following session or recording their voices and sharing them with you may effectively activate the target language. You can also ask the class to follow the procedure and work on a new topic as an assignment. Don't forget to provide the students with individual feedback on tasks so as to give them the opportunity to constantly assess their improvement.
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