What Language Teaching Is

Be Prepared: Survival Tips for New Teachers

Effective teaching depends on preparation. Here are eight things to do at the beginning of the semester to help yourself have a rewarding and enjoyable teaching experience.

1. Content: Find out what the department expects you to teach and what materials you are expected to use. Review the curriculum or textbook to get a roadmap of the semester as a whole. Working through the curriculum should be a process of discovery for the students, but not for the instructor.

2. Method: Find out what teaching approach you are expected to use. Are you expected to stick closely to the textbook, or to bring in outside materials to supplement? Is your teaching practice expected to be more learner centered or more teacher centered? Are you expected to teach grammar overtly, or just explain it as it comes up in various contexts?

3. Students: Find out what level your students will be. If they are “second year” or “intermediate,” ask what that means. What have they studied previously? What materials have they used? This will let you know what to expect from them.

4. Plan: Outline a plan for the semester, even if the department has given you a plan. Know when and how you will introduce new material and when and how you will review. What will you do when you get behind? It always happens.

5. Orientation: Find out what facilities are available for students and where they are: language lab, computer lab, library. Make a reference card for yourself with the hours when labs are open. Then, when students ask, you won’t look like a doofus.

6. Relationships: Learn the names of your students as soon as you can. Use their names when talking with them and when giving language examples in class. Attending to your students as individuals will help you assess their progress more effectively. Also, if students believe that you care about them, they will care about you.

7. Expectations: Ask how much and what kind of homework is usually given to students at the level you are teaching. Find out what expectations the department has for frequency and type of testing. Let your students know what the expectations are in these areas.

8. Guidance: Ask your supervisor or another experienced instructor to serve as your mentor. A mentor can review your plan for the semester before classes start to be sure you’re on the right track, and can meet with you on a regular basis throughout the semester to answer questions and give you support when you need it. Having a mentor is especially important toward the end of the first semester of teaching, when many teachers begin to feel overwhelmed, discouraged, or frustrated.

Comment : Language Teaching is very important for teacher If  the teacher use language is good, The student will learning English is a good well.

วิธีการสอน (Teaching Methods)

หลักการสอนที่ดี คือ ผู้สอน วิธีการสอน และการเรียนรู้ บรรยากาศ สิ่งแวดล้อม ต้องมีความเกี่ยวข้องสัมพันธ์กัน ผู้สอนจะต้องมีจรรยาบรรณแห่งความเป็นครู วิธีการสอนคือกระบวนการปฏิสัมพันธ์ระหว่าง ผู้สอนกับผู้เรียนจะต้องสอดคล้อง เหมาะสม เพื่อทำให้ผู้เรียนเกิดการเปลี่ยนแปลงพฤติกรรมตามจุดประสงค์ที่กำหนดไว้ มุ่งให้ผู้เรียนเกิดการเรียนรู้ได้ดี เพื่อให้การสอนบรรลุตามเป้าหมาย ผู้สอนต้องเตรียมการสอนมาอย่างดี ทำให้ผู้เรียนเกิดการพัฒนาทุกด้าน จัดการสอนอย่างมีกระบวนการ และให้ครบองค์ประกอบการสอน ได้แก่ การตั้งจุดประสงค์การสอน การกำหนดเนื้อหา การจัดกิจกรรมการเรียนการสอน การใช้สื่อการสอน และการวัดผลประเมินผล ต้องสอดคล้องกับวัตถุประสงค์ ตรงตามจุดมุ่งหมาย ของหลักสูตร นอกจากนี้ผู้สอนควรได้คำนึงถึงหลักพื้นฐานในการสอน ลักษณะการสอนที่ดี และปัจจัยส่งเสริมการเรียนรู้ตลอดจนรู้จักใช้หลักการสอนให้สอดคล้องกับหลักการเรียนรู้หลักจิตวิทยาบรรยากาศเป็นประชาธิปไตย ก็จะช่วยให้การเรียนการสอนประสบผลสำเร็จได้ตามจุดมุ่งหมายของหลักสูตร

 What Language Teaching Is

Good teaching happens when competent teachers with non-discouraging personalities use non-defensive approaches to language teaching and learning, and cherish their students.

Dr. James E. Alatis
Dean Emeritus, School of Languages and Linguistics, Georgetown University


Section Contents

Models of Language Teaching and Learning
Reflective Practice
Teaching Portfolios
Be Prepared: Survival Tips for New Language Teachers

Material for this section was drawn from “Beyond TA training: Developing a reflective approach to a career in language education” by Celeste Kinginger, in Modules for the Professional Preparation of Teaching Assistants in Foreign Languages (Grace Stovall Burkart, ed.; Washington, DC: Center for Applied Linguistics, 1998)

What Language Teaching Is

Models of Language Teaching and Learning

Language instructors at the university level in the United States are often in one of three situations:

  • They are language instructors with experience teaching in their countries of origin, but little or no training in the teaching approaches commonly used in the United States

  • They are professionals in other fields who are native speakers of the language, but are not trained as teachers

  • They are graduate students who have extensive knowledge of language, literature, and culture, but are not trained as language teachers

These instructors often must begin their work in the classroom with little or no guidance to help them appreciate which methods work, how, and why. In response, they may fall back on an outdated model for understanding language teaching and language learning.

Older model: Language learning is a product of transmission. Teacher transmits knowledge. Learner is recipient.

This teacher-centered model views the teacher as active and the student as fundamentally passive. The teacher is responsible for transmitting all of the information to the students. The teacher talks; the students listen and absorb (or take a nap).

The teacher-centered model may be attractive to new language instructors for several reasons:

  • It is the method by which they were taught

  • It makes sense: The teacher should be the focus of the classroom, since the teacher knows the language and the students do not

  • It requires relatively little preparation: All the teacher needs to do is present the material outlined in the appropriate chapter of the book

  • It requires relatively little thought about student or student activities: All student listen to the same (teacher) presentation, then do related exercises

However, experienced language instructors who reflect on their teaching practice have observed that the teacher-centered model has two major drawbacks:

  • It involves only a minority of students in actual language learning

  • It gives students knowledge about the language, but does not necessarily enable them to use it for purposes that interest them

To overcome these drawbacks, language teaching professionals in the United States and elsewhere have adopted a different model of teaching and learning.

Newer model: Language learning is a process of discovery. Learner develops ability to use the language for specific communication purposes. Teacher models language use and facilitates students' development of language skills.

In this learner-centered model, both student and teacher are active participants who share responsibility for the student's learning. Instructor and students work together to identify how students expect to use the language. The instructor models correct and appropriate language use, and students then use the language themselves in practice activities that simulate real communication situations. The active, joint engagement of students and teacher leads to a dynamic classroom environment in which teaching and learning become rewarding and enjoyable.

Language instructors who have never experienced learner-centered instruction can find it daunting in several ways.

  • It requires more preparation time: Instructors must consider students' language learning goals, identify classroom activities that will connect those with the material presented in the textbook, and find appropriate real-world materials to accompany them

  • It is mysterious: It's not clear what, exactly, an instructor does to make a classroom learner centered

  • It feels like it isn't going to work: When students first are invited to participate actively, they may be slow to get started as they assess the tasks and figure out classroom dynamics

  • It feels chaotic: Once student start working in small groups, the classroom becomes noisy and the instructor must be comfortable with the idea that students may make mistakes that are not heard and corrected

  • It sounds like a bad idea: The phrase "learner centered" makes it sound as though the instructor is not in control of the classroom

This final point is an important one. In fact, in an effective learner-centered classroom, the instructor has planned the content of all activities, has set time limits on them, and has set them in the context of instructor-modeled language use. The instructor is not always the center of attention, but is still in control of students' learning activities.

This site is designed to help new language instructors become comfortable with learner-centered instruction and put it into practice in their classrooms. The pages on Teaching Goals and Methods, Planning a Lesson, and Motivating Learners provide guidelines and examples for putting learner-centered instruction into practice. The pages on Teaching Grammar, Teaching Listening, Teaching Speaking, and Teaching Reading illustrate learner-centered instruction in relation to each of these modalities.

For a set of learner-centered instruction techniques, see Guidelines for Instruction in Teaching Goals and Methods.

Teaching Goals and Methods

This section outlines the goals and methods that characterize language teaching in colleges and universities in the United States, and provides guidelines for implementing those methods in the classroom.

Two worksheets, available as pdf files, help language instructors assess their overall teaching approach and their ways of using current methodology in specific lessons. A third worksheet allows supervisors to provide specific feedback after observing an instructor in the classroom.


Section Contents

Goal: Communicative competence

Method: Learner-centered instruction

Guidelines for Instruction

  • Provide appropriate input
  • Use language in authentic ways
  • Provide context
  • Design activities with a purpose
  • Use task-based activities
  • Encourage collaboration
  • Use an integrated approach
  • Address grammar consciously
  • Adjust feedback/error correction to the situation
  • Include awareness of cultural aspects of language use


Material in this section is drawn from the modules “Research and language learning: A tour of the horizon” by Ken Sheppard, and “Spoken language: What it is and how to teach it” by Grace Stovall Burkart in Modules for the professional preparation of teaching assistants in foreign languages (Grace Stovall Burkart, ed.; Washington, DC: Center for Applied Linguistics, 1998)

Teaching Goals and Methods

Goal: Communicative Competence

Language teaching in the United States is based on the idea that the goal of language acquisition is communicative competence: the ability to use the language correctly and appropriately to accomplish communication goals. The desired outcome of the language learning process is the ability to communicate competently, not the ability to use the language exactly as a native speaker does.

Communicative competence is made up of four competence areas: linguistic, sociolinguistic, discourse, and strategic.

  • Linguistic competence is knowing how to use the grammar, syntax, and vocabulary of a language. Linguistic competence asks: What words do I use? How do I put them into phrases and sentences?
  • Sociolinguistic competence is knowing how to use and respond to language appropriately, given the setting, the topic, and the relationships among the people communicating. Sociolinguistic competence asks: Which words and phrases fit this setting and this topic? How can I express a specific attitude (courtesy, authority, friendliness, respect) when I need to? How do I know what attitude another person is expressing?
  • Discourse competence is knowing how to interpret the larger context and how to construct longer stretches of language so that the parts make up a coherent whole. Discourse competence asks: How are words, phrases and sentences put together to create conversations, speeches, email messages, newspaper articles?
  • Strategic competence is knowing how to recognize and repair communication breakdowns, how to work around gaps in one’s knowledge of the language, and how to learn more about the language and in the context. Strategic competence asks: How do I know when I’ve misunderstood or when someone has misunderstood me? What do I say then? How can I express my ideas if I don’t know the name of something or the right verb form to use?

In the early stages of language learning, instructors and students may want to keep in mind the goal of communicative efficiency: That learners should be able to make themselves understood, using their current proficiency to the fullest. They should try to avoid confusion in the message (due to faulty pronunciation, grammar, or vocabulary); to avoid offending communication partners (due to socially inappropriate style); and to use strategies for recognizing and managing communication breakdowns.


Teaching Goals and Methods

Method: Learner-centered Instruction

In language classrooms in the United States, instruction focuses on the learner and the learning process. The instructor creates a learning environment that resembles as much as possible the one in which students learned their first language. Students participate in the learning process by establishing learning goals, developing and choosing learning strategies, and evaluating their own progress. In the classroom, students attend to models provided by the instructor (input) and then build on those models as they use language themselves (output). Classroom activities incorporate real-world situations.

Learner-centered instruction encourages students to take responsibility for their own language skill development and helps them gain confidence in their ability to learn and use the language. Teachers support students by devoting some class time to non-traditional activities, including teaching learners how to use learning strategies (see Motivating Students), how to use available tools and resources, and how to reflect on their own learning (see Assessing Learning).

Many U.S. students have had experience with learner-centered instruction and expect it to be used in their classrooms. Students who are accustomed to more traditional teacher-centered instruction may resist the learner-centered model at first because it expects them to be more involved in the learning process. However, when they discover that learner-centered instruction enables them to develop real-world language skills while having fun, they usually become enthusiastic participants.

For further discussion of learner-centered instruction, see Models of Language Teaching in What Language Teaching Is.


ucture will allow students to collaborate as they develop a work plan, discuss the substance of the task, and report the outcome. They will thus use language in a variety of ways and learn from each other.

Effective collaborative activities have three characteristics.

  • Communication gap: Each student has relevant information that the others don’t have
  • Task orientation: Activity has a defined outcome, such as solving a problem or drawing a map
  • Time limit: Students have a preset amount of time to complete the task

7. Use an Integrated Approach

Integration has two forms. Mode integration is the combination of listening, speaking, reading, and writing in classroom activities. By asking students to use two or more modes, instructors create activities that imitate real world language use.

Content integration is bringing content from students’ fields of study into the language curriculum. University students often find it instructive to read, discuss, and write about material whose content they already know, because their knowledge of the topic helps them understand and use the language. They are able to scaffold: to build on existing knowledge as they increase their language proficiency. For students who plan to study and/or work in a field that will require them to use the language they are learning, integration of content can be a powerful motivator.

8. Address Grammar Consciously

University students usually need and appreciate direct instruction in points of grammar that are related to classroom activities. These students often have knowledge of the rules associated with standard use of their native language (metalinguistic knowledge) and can benefit from development of similar knowledge in the target language and discussion of similarities and differences.

Discuss points of grammar in the contexts where they arise. Asking students to think through a rule in the context of an effort to express themselves clearly is a more effective way of helping them internalize the rule than teaching the rule in isolation.

Two types of grammar rules to address when using authentic materials:

  • Prescriptive rules: State how the language “should” or “must” be used; define what is “correct.” These are the rules that are taught in language textbooks.
  • Descriptive rules: State how the language is actually used by fluent speakers. The degree to which descriptive rules differ from prescriptive rules depends on the setting (casual/formal use of language), the topic, and the backgrounds of the speakers.

9. Adjust Feedback/Error Correction to Situation

In the parts of a lesson that focus on form (see Planning a Lesson), direct and immediate feedback is needed and expected. Encourage students to self-correct by waiting after they have spoken or by asking them to try again.

Feedback techniques:

  • Paraphrase a student's utterances, modeling the correct forms
  • Ask students to clarify their utterances, providing paraphrases of their own

Avoid feeding students the correct forms every time. Gradually teaching them to depend less on you and more on themselves is what language teaching is all about.

In the parts of a lesson that focus on communication activities (see Planning a Lesson), the flow of talk should not be interrupted by the teacher's corrections. When students address you, react to the content of their utterances, not just the form. Your response is a useful comprehension check for students, and on the affective level it shows that you are listening to what they say. Make note of recurring errors you hear so that you can address them with the whole group in the feedback session later (see Planning a Lesson).

10. Include Awareness of Cultural Aspects of Language Use

Languages are cognitive systems, but they also express ideas and transmit cultural values. When you are discussing language use with your students, it is important to include information on the social, cultural, and historical context that certain language forms carry for native speakers. Often these explanations include reference to what a native speaker would say, and why.

Culture is expressed and transmitted through magazines and newspapers, radio and television programs, movies, and the internet. Using media as authentic materials in the classroom can expand students’ perspectives and generate interesting discussions about the relationships between language and culture.

1. Provide Appropriate Input

Input is the language to which students are exposed: teacher talk, listening activities, reading passages, and the language heard and read outside of class. Input gives learners the material they need to develop their ability to use the language on their own.

Language input has two forms. Finely tuned input

  • Is matched to learners’ current comprehension level and connected to what they already know
  • Focuses on conscious learning of a specific point: the pronunciation of a word, the contrast in the uses of two verb tenses, new vocabulary, useful social formulas
  • Is controlled by the instructor or textbook author
  • Is used in the presentation stage of a lesson

Roughly tuned input

  • Is more complex than learners’ current proficiency and stretches the boundaries of their current knowledge
  • Focuses on authentic use of language in listening or reading passages
  • Is used “as is,” with minimal alteration by the instructor or textbook author
  • Is used in the activity stage of the lesson

Roughly tuned input challenges student to use listening and reading strategies to aid comprehension. When selecting authentic materials for use as roughly tuned input, look for listening and reading selections that are one level of proficiency higher than students’ current level. This will ensure that students will be challenged by the material without being overwhelmed by its difficulty.

2. Use Language in Authentic Ways

In order to learn a language, instead of merely learning about it, students need as much as possible to hear and read the language as native speakers use it. Instructors can make this happen in two ways.

Teacher talk: Always try to use the language as naturally as possible when you are talking to students. Slowing down may seem to make the message more comprehensible, but it also distorts the subtle shifts in pronunciation that occur in naturally paced speech.

  • Speak at a normal rate
  • Use vocabulary and sentence structures with which students are familiar
  • State the same idea in different ways to aid comprehension

Materials: Give students authentic reading material from newspapers, magazines, and other print sources. To make them accessible,

  • Review them carefully to ensure that the reading level is appropriate
  • Introduce relevant vocabulary and grammatical structures in advance
  • Provide context by describing the content and typical formats for the type of material (for example, arrival and departure times for travel schedules)

Advertisements, travel brochures, packaging, and street signs contain short statements that students at lower levels can manage. The World Wide Web is a rich resource for authentic materials. Reading authentic materials motivates students at all levels because it gives them the sense that they really are able to use the language.

3. Provide Context

Context includes knowledge of

  • the topic or content
  • the vocabulary and language structures in which the content is usually presented
  • the social and cultural expectations associated with the content

To help students have an authentic experience of understanding and using language, prepare them by raising their awareness of the context in which it occurs.

  • Ask them what they know about the topic
  • Ask what they can predict from the title or heading of a reading selection or the opening line of a listening selection
  • Review the vocabulary (including idiomatic expressions) and sentence structures that are usually found in that type of material
  • Review relevant social and cultural expectations

4. Design Activities with a Purpose

Ordinarily, communication has a purpose: to convey information. Activities in the language classroom simulate communication outside the classroom when they are structured with such a purpose. In these classroom activities, students use the language to fill an information gap by getting answers or expanding a partial understanding. For example, students work in pairs, and each is given half of a map, grid, or list needed to complete a task. The pair then talk to each other until they both have all the information.

5. Use Task-based Activities

Fluent speakers use language to perform tasks such as solving problems, developing plans, and working together to complete projects. The use of similar task-based activities in the classroom is an excellent way to encourage students to use the language. Tasks may involve solving a word problem, creating a crossword puzzle, making a video, preparing a presentation, or drawing up a plan.

6. Encourage Collaboration

Whenever possible, ask students to work in pairs or small groups. Give students structure in the form of a defined task and outcome. This structure will allow students to collaborate as they develop a work plan, discuss the substance of the task, and report the outcome. They will thus use language in a variety of ways and learn from each other.

Effective collaborative activities have three characteristics.

  • Communication gap: Each student has relevant information that the others don’t have
  • Task orientation: Activity has a defined outcome, such as solving a problem or drawing a map
  • Time limit: Students have a preset amount of time to complete the task

7. Use an Integrated Approach

Integration has two forms. Mode integration is the combination of listening, speaking, reading, and writing in classroom activities. By asking students to use two or more modes, instructors create activities that imitate real world language use.

Content integration is bringing content from students’ fields of study into the language curriculum. University students often find it instructive to read, discuss, and write about material whose content they already know, because their knowledge of the topic helps them understand and use the language. They are able to scaffold: to build on existing knowledge as they increase their language proficiency. For students who plan to study and/or work in a field that will require them to use the language they are learning, integration of content can be a powerful motivator.

8. Address Grammar Consciously

University students usually need and appreciate direct instruction in points of grammar that are related to classroom activities. These students often have knowledge of the rules associated with standard use of their native language (metalinguistic knowledge) and can benefit from development of similar knowledge in the target language and discussion of similarities and differences.

Discuss points of grammar in the contexts where they arise. Asking students to think through a rule in the context of an effort to express themselves clearly is a more effective way of helping them internalize the rule than teaching the rule in isolation.

Two types of grammar rules to address when using authentic materials:

  • Prescriptive rules: State how the language “should” or “must” be used; define what is “correct.” These are the rules that are taught in language textbooks.
  • Descriptive rules: State how the language is actually used by fluent speakers. The degree to which descriptive rules differ from prescriptive rules depends on the setting (casual/formal use of language), the topic, and the backgrounds of the speakers.

9. Adjust Feedback/Error Correction to Situation

In the parts of a lesson that focus on form (see Planning a Lesson), direct and immediate feedback is needed and expected. Encourage students to self-correct by waiting after they have spoken or by asking them to try again.

Feedback techniques:

  • Paraphrase a student's utterances, modeling the correct forms
  • Ask students to clarify their utterances, providing paraphrases of their own

Avoid feeding students the correct forms every time. Gradually teaching them to depend less on you and more on themselves is what language teaching is all about.

In the parts of a lesson that focus on communication activities (see Planning a Lesson), the flow of talk should not be interrupted by the teacher's corrections. When students address you, react to the content of their utterances, not just the form. Your response is a useful comprehension check for students, and on the affective level it shows that you are listening to what they say. Make note of recurring errors you hear so that you can address them with the whole group in the feedback session later (see Planning a Lesson).

10. Include Awareness of Cultural Aspects of Language Use

Languages are cognitive systems, but they also express ideas and transmit cultural values. When you are discussing language use with your students, it is important to include information on the social, cultural, and historical context that certain language forms carry for native speakers. Often these explanations include reference to what a native speaker would say, and why.

Culture is expressed and transmitted through magazines and newspapers, radio and television programs, movies, and the internet. Using media as authentic materials in the classroom can expand students’ perspectives and generate interesting discussions about the relationships between language and culture.

 Planning a Lesson

A key aspect of effective teaching is having a plan for what will happen in the classroom each day. Creating such a plan involves setting realistic goals, deciding how to incorporate course textbooks and other required materials, and developing activities that will promote learning. This section shows instructors how to carry out each of these steps.

An example lesson plan and lesson planning worksheet, available as pdf files, provide step-by-step guidance for lesson development. A supervisor observation worksheet allows supervisors to give specific feedback on a written lesson plan or an observed lesson.

Before working through this section, beginning instructors may want to check Be Prepared: Survival Tips for New Teachers in the What Language Teaching Is section.


Section Contents

Set Lesson Goals

Structure the Lesson

  • Preparation
  • Presentation
  • Practice
  • Evaluation
  • Expansion

Identify Materials and Activities


Material in this section was developed by Dr. Anna Uhl Chamot (George Washington University) and Dr. Catherine Keatley and Deborah Kennedy (National Capital Language Resource Center).

Planning a Lesson

Set Lesson Goals

Lesson goals are most usefully stated in terms of what students will have done or accomplished at the end of the lesson. Stating goals in this way allows both teacher and learners to know when the goals have been reached.

To set lesson goals:

1. Identify a topic for the lesson. The topic is not a goal, but it will help you develop your goals. The topic may be determined largely by your curriculum and textbook, and may be part of a larger thematic unit such as Travel or Leisure Activities. If you have some flexibility in choice of topic, consider your students’ interests and the availability of authentic materials at the appropriate level.

2. Identify specific linguistic content, such as vocabulary and points of grammar or language use, to be introduced or reviewed. These are usually prescribed by the course textbook or course curriculum. If they are not, select points that are connected in some significant way with the topic of the lesson.

3. Identify specific communication tasks to be completed by students. To be authentic, the tasks should allow, but not require, students to use the vocabulary, grammar, and strategies presented in the lesson. The focus of the tasks should be topical, not grammatical. This means that it may be possible for some students to complete the task without using either the grammar point or the strategy presented in the first part of the lesson.

4. Identify specific learning strategies to be introduced or reviewed in connection with the lesson. See Motivating Learners for more on learning strategies.

5. Create goal statements for the linguistic content, communication tasks, and learning strategies that state what you will do and what students will do during the lesson.


Planning a Lesson

Structure the Lesson

A language lesson should include a variety of activities that combine different types of language input and output. Learners at all proficiency levels benefit from such variety; research has shown that it is more motivating and is more likely to result in effective language learning.

An effective lesson has five parts:

The five parts of a lesson may all take place in one class session or may extend over multiple sessions, depending on the nature of the topic and the activities.

The lesson plan should outline who will do what in each part of the lesson. The time allotted for preparation, presentation, and evaluation activities should be no more than 8-10 minutes each. Communication practice activities may run a little longer.

1. Preparation

As the class begins, give students a broad outline of the day’s goals and activities so they know what to expect. Help them focus by eliciting their existing knowledge of the day’s topics.

·         Use discussion or homework review to elicit knowledge related to the grammar and language use points to be covered

·         Use comparison with the native language to elicit strategies that students may already be using

·         Use discussion of what students do and/or like to do to elicit their knowledge of the topic they will address in communication activities

2. Presentation/Modeling

Move from preparation into presentation of the linguistic and topical content of the lesson and relevant learning strategies. Present the strategy first if it will help students absorb the lesson content.

Presentation provides the language input that gives students the foundation for their knowledge of the language. Input comes from the instructor and from course textbooks. Language textbooks designed for students in U.S. universities usually provide input only in the form of examples; explanations and instructions are written in English. To increase the amount of input that students receive in the target language, instructors should use it as much as possible for all classroom communication purposes. (See Teaching Goals and Methods for more on input.)

An important part of the presentation is structured output, in which students practice the form that the instructor has presented. In structured output, accuracy of performance is important. Structured output is designed to make learners comfortable producing specific language items recently introduced.

Structured output is a type of communication that is found only in language classrooms. Because production is limited to preselected items, structured output is not truly communicative.

3. Practice

In this part of the lesson, the focus shifts from the instructor as presenter to the students as completers of a designated task. Students work in pairs or small groups on a topic-based task with a specific outcome. Completion of the task may require the bridging of an information gap (see Teaching Goals & Methods for more on information gap). The instructor observes the groups an acts as a resource when students have questions that they cannot resolve themselves.

In their work together, students move from structured output to communicative output, in which the main purpose is to complete the communication task. Language becomes a tool, rather than an end in itself. Learners have to use any or all of the language that they know along with varied communication strategies. The criterion of success is whether the learner gets the message across. Accuracy is not a consideration unless the lack of it interferes with the message.

Activities for the practice segment of the lesson may come from a textbook or be designed by the instructor. See Identify Materials and Activities for guidelines on developing tasks that use authentic materials and activities.

4. Evaluation

When all students have completed the communication practice task, reconvene the class as a group to recap the lesson. Ask students to give examples of how they used the linguistic content and learning or communication strategies to carry out the communication task.

Evaluation is useful for four reasons:

  • It reinforces the material that was presented earlier in the lesson
  • It provides an opportunity for students to raise questions of usage and style
  • It enables the instructor to monitor individual student comprehension and learning
  • It provides closure to the lesson

See Assessing Learning for more information on evaluation and assessment.

5. Expansion

Expansion activities allow students to apply the knowledge they have gained in the classroom to situations outside it. Expansion activities include out-of-class observation assignments, in which the instructor asks students to find examples of something or to use a strategy and then report back.


Planning a Lesson

Identify Materials and Activities

The materials for a specific lesson will fall into two categories: those that are required, such as course textbooks and lab materials, and authentic materials that the teacher incorporates into classroom activities.

For required materials, determine what information must be presented in class and decide which exercise(s) to use in class and which for out-of-class work. For teacher-provided materials, use materials that are genuinely related to realistic communication activities. Don’t be tempted to try to create a communication task around something just because it’s a really cool video or a beautiful brochure.

Truly authentic communication tasks have several features:

  • They involve solving a true problem or discussing a topic of interest
  • They require using language to accomplish a goal, not using language merely to use language
  • They allow students to use all of the language skills they have, rather than specific forms or vocabulary, and to self-correct when they realize they need to
  • The criterion of success is clear: completion of a defined task

Motivating Learners

Learning to communicate in another language takes a long time. It is one of the most challenging tasks your students are likely to undertake, and they can easily become discouraged and bored with it. This section presents techniques that language teachers can use to keep their students interested and motivated by helping them understand the language acquisition process, connect language learning with their larger educational and life goals, and succeed as language learners.

A self-evaluation worksheet, available in pdf format, allows instructors to assess their current and potential motivation techniques. A supervisor observation worksheet enables supervisors to support instructors' development of such techniques.


Section Contents

Understanding Language Acquisition
Promoting Engagement in Language Learning
Achieving Success With Learning Strategies

Motivating Learners

Understanding Language Acquisition

To become engaged learners, students need to understand that learning a language is not the same as learning about a language. When students think of the language as a school subject like any other, they may learn a great deal about its vocabulary, grammar, and sentence and discourse structure, but the language will not become a true medium of communication for them and won’t engage them very deeply. Students need to understand that learning a language means becoming able to use it to comprehend, communicate, and think – as they do in their first language.

Students also need to recognize that language learning takes place in stages. Interpretive skills (listening, reading) develop much more quickly than expressive skills (speaking, writing), and the ability that students covet most -- the ability to speak the second language fluently -- requires the longest period of growth.

All language learners have to work through a sequence of "approximate" versions called interlanguages (ILs), each of which represents a level of understanding of the target language. Understanding the features of ILs can help teachers and learners understand and monitor the language learning process.

Uniqueness: ILs vary significantly from learner to learner in the early stages of language learning. Learners impose rules of their own on the oral and written input they receive. Each learner does this differently, combining emerging understanding of the rules of the new language with ideas derived from the first language and other information that comes from their individual situations and backgrounds.

Systematicity: As learners begin to develop proficiency in a language, they make errors in systematic ways. For example, once students learn the inflections for a single class of verbs, they may apply them to all classes indiscriminately. These errors are based on systematic assumptions, or false rules, about the language. When students become aware of this aspect of their language skill development, they often appreciate and even ask for overt error correction from the instructor.

Fossilization: Some false rules become more firmly imprinted on the IL than others and are harder for learners to overcome. Fossilization results when these false rules become permanent features of a learner’s use of the language.

Convergence: As learners' rules come to approximate more closely those of the language they are learning, convergence sets in. This means that learners who come from different native language backgrounds make similar assumptions and formulate similar hypotheses about the rules of the new language, and therefore make similar errors.

Instructors can help students understand the process of language skill development in several ways.

(a) Focus on interlanguage as a natural part of language learning; remind them that they learned their first language this way.

(b) Point out that the systematic nature of interlanguage can help students understand why they make errors. They can often predict when they will make errors and what types of errors they will make.

(c) Keep the overall focus of the classroom on communication, not error correction. Use overt correction only in structured output activities. (See Planning a Lesson for more on structured output.)

(d) Teach students that mistakes are learning opportunities. When their errors interfere with their ability to communicate, they must develop strategies for handling the misunderstanding that results.

If you maintain the attitude that mistakes are a natural part of learning, you will create a supportive environment where students are willing to try to use the language even though their mastery of forms is imperfect.

Motivating Learners

Promoting Engagement in Language Learning

Language teachers promote or discourage students' engagement by the ways they define successful language learners. When the successful language learner is one who can pass tests and make good grades, learning about the language is all that is required and success is defined by mastery of rules and forms. When the successful language learner is one who has the ability to use the language to accomplish communication goals, success is defined as making the language one’s own.

To promote engagement in language learning:

  • Encourage students to use the language spontaneously to communicate ideas, feelings, and opinions
  • Identify informal out-of-class language learning experiences
  • Ask students to evaluate their progress in terms of increases in their functional proficiency

Students’ motivation for learning a language increases when they see connections between what they do in the classroom and what they hope to do with the language in the future. Their attention increases when classroom activities are relevant to their other interests.

To make these connections, begin by having students list the ways they may use the language in future. Have them include both the ways they plan to use it and other ways that might arise. Ask them to be as specific as possible. For each way of using language, ask them to list specific communication tasks that they will need to be able to do. Use these purposes and tasks as the basis for task-oriented classroom communication activities.

Some lower level students will respond that they don’t plan to use the language – that they are taking the course to fulfill a university language requirement. Encourage these students to develop an imaginary scenario for themselves in which they have some reason for using the language. In doing this, some students may think of ways in which they really might use it, and others will come to understand that purpose is an integral part of language learning.

Sample Ways of Using a Language

  • When traveling in a country where it is spoken
    Tasks: ask for directions (and understand responses), purchase tickets and book hotel rooms, read signs and informational materials

·         To study at a university in a country where it is spoken
Tasks: understand lectures, take notes, read academic materials, talk with other students (social and academic talk)

·         To become knowledgeable about the history and culture of a country where it is spoken
Tasks: read about history and culture, understand plays, movies, and other performances, interview people from the country

·         To provide legal assistance to native speakers who are immigrants to this country
Tasks: gather personal statistical information, explain legal requirements, explain social and cultural expectations, describe procedures, understand and answer questions.

Another way of making language instruction relevant and interesting to students is to find out what topics they are studying and draw materials for reading and discussion from those fields. However, remember that reading and discussion do not always have to be about serious issues or academic topics. Students enjoy talking about movies and television programs, vacation plans, famous people, and other popular culture topics.

Finally, don't be afraid to drop a topic if students' interest begins to fade. Ask them to suggest alternatives. When students know that they have some control over what they do in the language classroom, they take ownership as engaged learners.

Motivating Learners

Achieving Success with Learning Strategies

Students learning a language have two kinds of knowledge working for them:

  • Their knowledge of their first language
  • Their awareness of learning strategies, the mechanisms they use, consciously or unconsciously, to manage the absorption of new material

Students differ as language learners in part because of differences in ability, motivation, or effort, but a major difference lies in their knowledge about and skill in using "how to learn" techniques, that is, learning strategies. Classroom research demonstrates the role of learning strategies in effective language learning:

  • Good learners are able to identify the best strategy for a specific task; poor learners have difficulty choosing the best strategy for a specific task
  • Good learners are flexible in their approach and adopt a different strategy if the first one doesn’t work; poor learners have a limited variety of strategies in their repertoires and stay with the first strategy they have chosen even when it doesn’t work
  • Good learners have confidence in their learning ability; poor learners lack confidence in their learning ability
  • Good learners expect to succeed, fulfill their expectation, and become more motivated; poor learners: expect to do poorly, fulfill their expectation, and lose motivation

Learning strategies instruction shows students that their success or lack of it in the language classroom is due to the way they go about learning rather than to forces beyond their control. Most students can learn how to use strategies more effectively; when they do so, they become more self reliant and better able to learn independently. They begin to take more responsibility for their own learning, and their motivation increases because they have increased confidence in their learning ability and specific techniques for successful language learning.

Instructors can tap into students’ knowledge about how languages work and how learning happens – their metacognition -- to help them direct and monitor the language learning process in two ways:

·         By encouraging them to recognize their own thinking processes, developing self-knowledge that leads to self-regulation: planning how to proceed with a learning task, monitoring one's own performance on an ongoing basis, and evaluating learning and self as learner upon task completion. Students with greater metacognitive awareness understand the similarity between the current learning task and previous ones, know the strategies required for successful learning, and anticipate success as a result of knowing how to learn.

·         By describing specific learning strategies, demonstrating their application to designated learning tasks, and having students practice using them. In order to continue to be successful with learning tasks, students need to be aware of the strategies that led to their success and recognize the value of using them again. By devoting class time to learning strategies, teachers reiterate their importance and value.

To teach language learning strategies effectively, instructors should do several things:

  • Build on strategies students already use by finding out their current strategies and making students aware of the range of strategies used by their classmates
  • Integrate strategy instruction with regular lessons, rather than teaching the strategies separately from language learning activities
  • Be explicit: name the strategy, tell students why and how it will help them, and demonstrate its use
  • Provide choice by letting students decide which strategies work best for them
  • Guide students in transferring a familiar strategy to new problems
  • Plan continuous instruction in language learning strategies throughout the course
  • Use the target language as much as possible for strategies instruction

Assessing Learning

One of the most challenging tasks for language instructors is finding effective ways to determine what and how much their students are actually learning. Instructors need to think carefully about what kinds of knowledge their tests allow students to demonstrate.

This section provides guidance on ways of using traditional tests and alternative forms of assessment. Popup windows on the Alternative Assessment page illustrate the use of checklists and rubrics for evaluation. The page on the ACTFL Guidelines includes popup windows on specific languages.


Section Contents

Traditional tests 
Alternative assessment 
The ACTFL Guidelines 
Peer and self assessment 

Material in this section is drawn from the module “Alternative assessment in the language classroom” by Diane Tedick and Carol Klee, in Modules for the professional preparation of teaching assistants in foreign languages (Grace Stovall Burkart, ed.; Washington, DC: Center for Applied Linguistics, 1998)

Assessing Learning

Traditional Tests

Traditional pencil-and-paper tests ask students to read or listen to a selection and then answer questions about it, or to choose or produce a correct grammatical form or vocabulary item. Such tests can be helpful as measures of students' knowledge of language forms and their listening and reading comprehension ability.

However, instructors need to consider whether these tests are accurate reflections of authentic language use. The tests usually do not present reading comprehension and listening comprehension questions until after students have read or listened to the selection. In real life, however, people know what information they are seeking before they read or listen. That is, they have specific information gaps in mind as they begin, and those gaps define the purpose for reading or listening.

To make language tests more like authentic listening and reading activities, instructors can give students the comprehension questions before they listen to or read the selection. This procedure sets up the information gaps that students will then seek to fill as they listen or read.

Instructors also need to be careful about what pencil-and-paper tests are actually testing. A quiz on which students listen to a selection and then respond to written questions is testing reading ability as well as listening skills and will give a lower-than-appropriate score for students whose oral comprehension is stronger than their reading comprehension. A test on which students read a selection and then answer multiple-choice questions is testing their knowledge of the language used in the questions as well as that used in the selection itself. If the language used in the questions is not keyed to students' proficiency level, the test will not reflect their ability accurately.

Language instructors also encounter students who do well on pencil-and-paper tests of grammar and sentence structure, but make mistakes when using the same forms in oral interaction. In such cases, the test is indicating what students knowabout the language, but is not providing an accurate measure of what they are able to actually do with it.

When the goal of language instruction is the development of communicative competence, instructors can supplement (or, in some cases, replace) traditional tests with alternative assessment methods that provide more accurate measures of progress toward communication proficiency goals. This can be done by combining formative and summative types of assessment.

Summative assessment

  • Takes place at the end of a predetermined period of instruction (for example, mid-term, final)
  • Rates the student in relation to an external standard of correctness (how many right answers are given)
  • Is the approach taken by most traditional and standardized tests

Formative assessment

  • Takes place on an ongoing basis as instruction is proceeding
  • Rates the student in terms of functional ability to communicate, using criteria that the student has helped to identify
  • Helps students recognize ways of improving their learning
  • Is the approach taken by alternative assessment methods

Assessing Learning

Alternative Assessment

Alternative assessment uses activities that reveal what students can do with language, emphasizing their strengths instead of their weaknesses. Alternative assessment instruments are not only designed and structured differently from traditional tests, but are also graded or scored differently. Because alternative assessment is performance based, it helps instructors emphasize that the point of language learning is communication for meaningful purposes.

Alternative assessment methods work well in learner-centered classrooms because they are based on the idea that students can evaluate their own learning and learn from the evaluation process. These methods give learners opportunities to reflect on both their linguistic development and their learning processes (what helps them learn and what might help them learn better). Alternative assessment thus gives instructors a way to connect assessment with review of learning strategies.

Features of alternative assessment:

  • Assessment is based on authentic tasks that demonstrate learners' ability to accomplish communication goals
  • Instructor and learners focus on communication, not on right and wrong answers
  • Learners help to set the criteria for successful completion of communication tasks
  • Learners have opportunities to assess themselves and their peers


Designing tasks for alternative assessment

Successful use of alternative assessment depends on using performance tasks that let students demonstrate what they can actually do with language. Fortunately, many of the activities that take place in communicative classrooms lend themselves to this type of assessment. These activities replicate the kinds of challenges, and allow for the kinds of solutions, that learners would encounter in communication outside the classroom.

The following criteria define authentic assessment activities:

  • They are built around topics or issues of interest to the students
  • They replicate real-world communication contexts and situations
  • They involve multi-stage tasks and real problems that require creative use of language rather than simple repetition
  • They require learners to produce a quality product or performance
  • Their evaluation criteria and standards are known to the student
  • They involve interaction between assessor (instructor, peers, self) and person assessed
  • They allow for self-evaluation and self-correction as they proceed


Introducing alternative assessment

With alternative assessment, students are expected to participate actively in evaluating themselves and one another. Learners who are used to traditional teacher-centered classrooms have not been expected to take responsibility for assessment before and may need time to adjust to this new role. They also may be skeptical that peers can provide them with feedback that will enhance their learning.

Instructors need to prepare students for the use of alternative assessments and allow time to teach them how to use them, so that alternative assessment will make an effective contribution to the learning process.

  • Introduce alternative assessment gradually while continuing to use more traditional forms of assessment. Begin by using checklists and rubrics yourself; move to self and peer evaluation later.
  • Create a supportive classroom environment in which students feel comfortable with one another (see Teaching Goals and Methods).
  • Explain the rationale for alternative assessment.
  • Engage students in a discussion of assessment. Elicit their thoughts on the values and limitations of traditional forms of assessment and help them see ways that alternative assessment can enhance evaluation of what learners can do with language.
  • Give students guidance on how to reflect on and evaluate their own performance and that of others (see specifics in sections on peer and self evaluation).

As students find they benefit from evaluating themselves and their peers, the instructor can expand the amount of alternative assessment used in the classroom.









































Alternative assessment methods

Effective alternative assessment relies on observations that are recorded using checklists and rubrics.


Checklists are often used for observing performance in order to keep track of a student's progress or work over time. They can also be used to determine whether students have met established criteria on a task.

To construct a checklist, identify the different parts of a specific communication task and any other requirements associated with it. Create a list of these with columns for markingyes and no.

For example, using a resource list provided by the instructor, students contact and interview a native speaker of the language they are studying, then report back to the class. In the report, they are to

  • Briefly describe the interviewee (gender, place of birth, occupation, family)
  • Explain when and why the interviewee came to the United States
  • Describe a challenge the person has faced as an immigrant
  • Describe how the person maintains a connection with his/her heritage

Students are told that they will need to speak for a minimum of three minutes and that they may refer only to minimal notes while presenting. A checklist for assessing students' completion of the task is shown in the popup window.

Checklists can be useful for classroom assessment because they are easy to construct and use, and they align closely with tasks. At the same time, they are limited in that they do not provide an assessment of the relative quality of a student's performance on a particular task.


















Whereas a checklist simply provides an indication of whether a specific criterion, characteristic, or behavior is present, a rubric provides a measure of quality of performance on the basis of established criteria. Rubrics are often used with benchmarks or samples that serve as standards against which student performance is judged.

Rubrics are primarily used for language tasks that involve some kind of oral or written production on the part of the student. It is possible to create a generic rubric that can be used with multiple speaking or writing tasks, but assessment is more accurate when the instructor uses rubrics that are fitted to the task and the goals of instruction.

There are four main types of rubrics.

1. Holistic rubrics

Holistic scales or rubrics respond to language performance as a whole. Each score on a holistic scale represents an overall impression; one integrated score is assigned to a performance. The emphasis in holistic scoring is on what a student does well.

Holistic rubrics commonly have four or six points. The popup window shows a sample four-point holistic scale created for the purposes of assessing writing performance.

A well-known example of a holistic scale is the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Proficiency Guidelines (1986). However, the ACTFL guidelines are not appropriate for classroom use, because they are intended for large-scale assessment of overall proficiency and are not designed necessarily to align with curricular objectives or classroom instruction.

Holistic scoring is primarily used for large-scale assessment when a relatively quick yet consistent approach to scoring is necessary. It is less useful for classroom purposes because it provides little information to students about their performance.

2. Analytic rubrics

Analytic scales are divided into separate categories representing different aspects or dimensions of performance. For example, dimensions for writing performance might include content, organization, vocabulary, grammar, and mechanics. Each dimension is scored separately, then dimension scores are added to determine an overall score.

Analytic rubrics have two advantages:

  • The instructor can give different weights to different dimensions. This allows the instructor to give more credit for dimensions that are more important to the overall success of the communication task. For example, in a writing rubric, the dimension of content might have a total point range of 30, whereas the range for mechanics might be only 10.
  • They provide more information to students about the strengths and weaknesses of various aspects of their language performance.

However, analytic scoring has also been criticized because the parts do not necessarily add up to the whole. Providing separate scores for different dimensions of a student's writing or speaking performance does not give the teacher or the student a good assessment of the whole of a performance. 





























3. Primary trait rubrics

In primary trait scoring, the instructor predetermines the main criterion or primary trait for successful performance of a task. This approach thus involves narrowing the criteria for judging performance to one main dimension.

For example, consider a task that requires that a student write a persuasive letter to an editor of the school newspaper. A possible primary trait rubric for this task is shown in the popup window.

This kind of rubric has the advantage of allowing teachers and students to focus on one aspect or dimension of language performance. It is also a relatively quick and easy way to score writing or speaking performance, especially when a teacher wants to emphasize one specific aspect of that performance.

4. Multitrait rubrics

The multitrait approach is similar to the primary trait approach but allows for rating performance on three or four dimensions rather than just one. Multitrait rubrics resemble analytic rubrics in that several aspects are scored individually. However, where an analytic scale includes traditional dimensions such as content, organization, and grammar, a multitrait rubric involves dimensions that are more closely aligned with features of the task.

For example, on an information-gap speaking task where students are asked to describe a picture in enough detail for a listener to choose it from a set of similar pictures, a multitrait rubric would include dimensions such as quality of description, fluency, and language control, as the example in the popup window shows.















Incorporating alternative assessment into classroom activities

Instructors should plan to introduce alternative forms of assessment gradually, in conjunction with traditional forms of testing. Using a combination of alternative assessments and more traditional measures allows the instructor to compare results and obtain a more comprehensive picture of students' language performance than either alternative or traditional measures alone would provide.

At first, the instructor should use checklists and rubrics to evaluate student performance but not ask students to do self and peer evaluation. When creating checklists and rubrics, instructors can ask students to provide input on the criteria that should be included in each. This approach gives the instructor time to become more comfortable with the use of alternative assessments, while modeling their use for students. The process helps students understand how they will benefit from alternative assessment and how they can use it effectively.

Because alternative assessment depends on direct observation, instructors can most easily begin to use it when evaluating students' writing assignments and individual speaking tasks such as presentations. Once an instructor has reached a level of comfort with checklists and rubrics, they can also be used when observing students interacting in small groups. When doing this, however, the instructor needs to be aware that group dynamics will have an effect on the performance of each individual.

Once students are familiar with the use of checklists and rubrics for evaluation, they can gradually begin to assess their own learning and provide feedback to their peers. This aspect of alternative assessment can easily be included in the evaluation segment of a lesson (seePlanning a Lesson). In classrooms where traditional forms of assessment are required, this gives the instructor multiple ways of measuring progress without increasing the time students spend taking traditional tests.



Assessing Learning

Peer and Self Assessment

Peer Assessment

One of the ways in which students internalize the characteristics of quality work is by evaluating the work of their peers. However, if they are to offer helpful feedback, students must have a clear understanding of what they are to look for in their peers' work. The instructor must explain expectations clearly to them before they begin.

One way to make sure students understand this type of evaluation is to give students a practice session with it. The instructor provides a sample writing or speaking assignment. As a group, students determine what should be assessed and how criteria for successful completion of the communication task should be defined. Then the instructor gives students a sample completed assignment. Students assess this using the criteria they have developed, and determine how to convey feedback clearly to the fictitious student.

Students can also benefit from using rubrics or checklists to guide their assessments. At first these can be provided by the instructor; once the students have more experience, they can develop them themselves. An example of a peer editing checklist for a writing assignment is given in the popup window. Notice that the checklist asks the peer evaluator to comment primarily on the content and organization of the essay. It helps the peer evaluator focus on these areas by asking questions about specific points, such as the presence of examples to support the ideas discussed.

For peer evaluation to work effectively, the learning environment in the classroom must be supportive. Students must feel comfortable and trust one another in order to provide honest and constructive feedback. Instructors who use group work and peer assessment frequently can help students develop trust by forming them into small groups early in the semester and having them work in the same groups throughout the term. This allows them to become more comfortable with each other and leads to better peer feedback.

Self Assessment

Students can become better language learners when they engage in deliberate thought about what they are learning and how they are learning it. In this kind of reflection, students step back from the learning process to think about their language learning strategies and their progress as language learners. Such self assessment encourages students to become independent learners and can increase their motivation.

The successful use of student self assessment depends on three key elements:

  • Goal setting
  • Guided practice with assessment tools
  • Portfolios

Goal setting

Goal setting is essential because students can evaluate their progress more clearly when they have targets against which to measure their performance. In addition, students' motivation to learn increases when they have self-defined, and therefore relevant, learning goals.

At first, students tend to create lofty long-range goals ("to speak Russian)" that do not lend themselves to self assessment. To help students develop realistic, short-term, attainable goals, instructors can use a framework like SMART goals outline shown in the popup window.

One way to begin the process of introducing students to self-assessment is to create student-teacher contracts. Contracts are written agreements between students and instructors, which commonly involve determining the number and type of assignments that are required for particular grades. For example, a student may agree to work toward the grade of "B" by completing a specific number of assignments at a level of quality described by the instructor. Contracts can serve as a good way of helping students to begin to consider establishing goals for themselves as language learners.

Guided practice with assessment tools

Students do not learn to monitor or assess their learning on their own; they need to be taught strategies for self monitoring and self assessment. Techniques for teaching students these strategies are parallel to those used for teaching learning strategies (see Motivating Learners). The instructor models the technique (use of a checklist or rubric, for example); students then try the technique themselves; finally, students discuss whether and how well the technique worked and what to do differently next time.

In addition to checklists and rubrics for specific communication tasks, students can also use broader self-assessment tools to reflect on topics they have studied, skills they have learned, their study habits, and their sense of their overall strengths and weaknesses. An example of such a tool appears in the popup window.

Students can share their self-assessments with a peer or in a small group, with instructions that they compare their impressions with other criteria such as test scores, teacher evaluations, and peers' opinions. This kind of practice helps students to be aware of their learning. It also informs the teacher about students' thoughts on their progress, and gives the teacher feedback about course content and instruction.


Portfolios are purposeful, organized, systematic collections of student work that tell the story of a student's efforts, progress, and achievement in specific areas. The student participates in the selection of portfolio content, the development of guidelines for selection, and the definition of criteria for judging merit. Portfolio assessment is a joint process for instructor and student.

Portfolio assessment emphasizes evaluation of students' progress, processes, and performance over time. There are two basic types of portfolios:

  • A process portfolio serves the purpose of classroom-level assessment on the part of both the instructor and the student. It most often reflects formative assessment, although it may be assigned a grade at the end of the semester or academic year. It may also include summative types of assignments that were awarded grades.
  • A product portfolio is more summative in nature. It is intended for a major evaluation of some sort and is often accompanied by an oral presentation of its contents. For example, it may be used as a evaluation tool for graduation from a program or for the purpose of seeking employment.

In both types of portfolios, emphasis is placed on including a variety of tasks that elicit spontaneous as well as planned language performance for a variety of purposes and audiences, using rubrics to assess performance, and demonstrating reflection about learning, including goal setting and self and peer assessment.

Portfolio characteristics:

  • Represent an emphasis on language use and cultural understanding
  • Represent a collaborative approach to assessment
  • Represent a student's range of performance in reading, writing, speaking, and listening as well as cultural understanding
  • Emphasize what students can do rather than what they cannot do
  • Represent a student's progress over time
  • Engage students in establishing ongoing learning goals and assessing their progress towards those goals
  • Measure each student's achievement while allowing for individual differences between students in a class
  • Address improvement, effort, and achievement
  • Allow for assessment of process and product
  • Link teaching and assessment to learning


Teaching Grammar

Grammar is central to the teaching and learning of languages. It is also one of the more difficult aspects of language to teach well.

Many people, including language teachers, hear the word "grammar" and think of a fixed set of word forms and rules of usage. They associate "good" grammar with the prestige forms of the language, such as those used in writing and in formal oral presentations, and "bad" or "no" grammar with the language used in everyday conversation or used by speakers of nonprestige forms.

Language teachers who adopt this definition focus on grammar as a set of forms and rules. They teach grammar by explaining the forms and rules and then drilling students on them. This results in bored, disaffected students who can produce correct forms on exercises and tests, but consistently make errors when they try to use the language in context.

Other language teachers, influenced by recent theoretical work on the difference between language learning and language acquisition, tend not to teach grammar at all. Believing that children acquire their first language without overt grammar instruction, they expect students to learn their second language the same way. They assume that students will absorb grammar rules as they hear, read, and use the language in communication activities. This approach does not allow students to use one of the major tools they have as learners: their active understanding of what grammar is and how it works in the language they already know.

The communicative competence model balances these extremes. The model recognizes that overt grammar instruction helps students acquire the language more efficiently, but it incorporates grammar teaching and learning into the larger context of teaching students to use the language. Instructors using this model teach students the grammar they need to know to accomplish defined communication tasks.


Section Contents

Goals and Techniques for Teaching Grammar
Strategies for Learning Grammar
Developing Grammar Activities
Using Textbook Grammar Activities
Assessing Grammar Proficiency 


Material for this section was drawn from “Grammar in the foreign language classroom: Making principled choices” by Patricia Byrd, in Modules for the Professional Preparation of Teaching Assistants in Foreign Languages (Grace Stovall Burkart, ed.; Washington, DC: Center for Applied Linguistics, 1998)

Teaching Grammar

Goals and Techniques for Teaching Grammar

The goal of grammar instruction is to enable students to carry out their communication purposes. This goal has three implications:

  • Students need overt instruction that connects grammar points with larger communication contexts.
  • Students do not need to master every aspect of each grammar point, only those that are relevant to the immediate communication task.
  • Error correction is not always the instructor's first responsibility.

Overt Grammar Instruction

Adult students appreciate and benefit from direct instruction that allows them to apply critical thinking skills to language learning. Instructors can take advantage of this by providing explanations that give students a descriptive understanding (declarative knowledge) of each point of grammar.

  • Teach the grammar point in the target language or the students' first language or both. The goal is to facilitate understanding.
  • Limit the time you devote to grammar explanations to 10 minutes, especially for lower level students whose ability to sustain attention can be limited.
  • Present grammar points in written and oral ways to address the needs of students with different learning styles.

An important part of grammar instruction is providing examples. Teachers need to plan their examples carefully around two basic principles:

  • Be sure the examples are accurate and appropriate. They must present the language appropriately, be culturally appropriate for the setting in which they are used, and be to the point of the lesson.
  • Use the examples as teaching tools. Focus examples on a particular theme or topic so that students have more contact with specific information and vocabulary.

Relevance of Grammar Instruction

In the communicative competence model, the purpose of learning grammar is to learn the language of which the grammar is a part. Instructors therefore teach grammar forms and structures in relation to meaning and use for the specific communication tasks that students need to complete.

Compare the traditional model and the communicative competence model for teaching the English past tense:

Traditional: grammar for grammar's sake

  • Teach the regular -ed form with its two pronunciation variants
  • Teach the doubling rule for verbs that end in d (for example, wed-wedded)
  • Hand out a list of irregular verbs that students must memorize
  • Do pattern practice drills for -ed
  • Do substitution drills for irregular verbs

Communicative competence: grammar for communication's sake

  • Distribute two short narratives about recent experiences or events, each one to half of the class
  • Teach the regular -ed form, using verbs that occur in the texts as examples. Teach the pronunciation and doubling rules if those forms occur in the texts.
  • Teach the irregular verbs that occur in the texts.
  • Students read the narratives, ask questions about points they don't understand.
  • Students work in pairs in which one member has read Story A and the other Story B. Students interview one another; using the information from the interview, they then write up or orally repeat the story they have not read.

Error Correction

At all proficiency levels, learners produce language that is not exactly the language used by native speakers. Some of the differences are grammatical, while others involve vocabulary selection and mistakes in the selection of language appropriate for different contexts.

In responding to student communication, teachers need to be careful not to focus on error correction to the detriment of communication and confidence building. Teachers need to let students know when they are making errors so that they can work on improving. Teachers also need to build students' confidence in their ability to use the language by focusing on the content of their communication rather than the grammatical form.

Teachers can use error correction to support language acquisition, and avoid using it in ways that undermine students' desire to communicate in the language, by taking cues from context.

  • When students are doing structured output activities that focus on development of new language skills, use error correction to guide them.

Student (in class): I buy a new car yesterday. 
Teacher: You bought a new car yesterday. Remember, the past tense of buy is bought.

  • When students are engaged in communicative activities, correct errors only if they interfere with comprehensibility. Respond using correct forms, but without stressing them.

Student (greeting teacher) : I buy a new car yesterday! 
Teacher: You bought a new car? That's exciting! What kind?


Teaching Grammar

Strategies for Learning Grammar

Language teachers and language learners are often frustrated by the disconnect between knowing the rules of grammar and being able to apply those rules automatically in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. This disconnect reflects a separation between declarative knowledge and procedural knowledge.

·         Declarative knowledge is knowledge about something. Declarative knowledge enables a student to describe a rule of grammar and apply it in pattern practice drills.

·         Procedural knowledge is knowledge of how to do something. Procedural knowledge enables a student to apply a rule of grammar in communication.

For example, declarative knowledge is what you have when you read and understand the instructions for programming the DVD player. Procedural knowledge is what you demonstrate when you program the DVD player.

Procedural knowledge does not translate automatically into declarative knowledge; many native speakers can use their language clearly and correctly without being able to state the rules of its grammar. Likewise, declarative knowledge does not translate automatically into procedural knowledge; students may be able to state a grammar rule, but consistently fail to apply the rule when speaking or writing.

To address the declarative knowledge/procedural knowledge dichotomy, teachers and students can apply several strategies.

1. Relate knowledge needs to learning goals.

Identify the relationship of declarative knowledge and procedural knowledge to student goals for learning the language. Students who plan to use the language exclusively for reading journal articles need to focus more on the declarative knowledge of grammar and discourse structures that will help them understand those texts. Students who plan to live in-country need to focus more on the procedural knowledge that will help them manage day to day oral and written interactions.

2. Apply higher order thinking skills.

Recognize that development of declarative knowledge can accelerate development of procedural knowledge. Teaching students how the language works and giving them opportunities to compare it with other languages they know allows them to draw on critical thinking and analytical skills. These processes can support the development of the innate understanding that characterizes procedural knowledge.

3. Provide plentiful, appropriate language input.

Understand that students develop both procedural and declarative knowledge on the basis of the input they receive. This input includes both finely tuned input that requires students to pay attention to the relationships among form, meaning, and use for a specific grammar rule, and roughly tuned input that allows students to encounter the grammar rule in a variety of contexts. (For more on input, seeTeaching Goals and Methods.)

4. Use predicting skills.

Discourse analyst Douglas Biber has demonstrated that different communication types can be characterized by the clusters of linguistic features that are common to those types. Verb tense and aspect, sentence length and structure, and larger discourse patterns all may contribute to the distinctive profile of a given communication type. For example, a history textbook and a newspaper article in English both use past tense verbs almost exclusively. However, the newspaper article will use short sentences and a discourse pattern that alternates between subjects or perspectives. The history textbook will use complex sentences and will follow a timeline in its discourse structure. Awareness of these features allows students to anticipate the forms and structures they will encounter in a given communication task.

5. Limit expectations for drills.

·         Mechanical drills in which students substitute pronouns for nouns or alternate the person, number, or tense of verbs can help students memorize irregular forms and challenging structures. However, students do not develop the ability to use grammar correctly in oral and written interactions by doing mechanical drills, because these drills separate form from meaning and use. The content of the prompt and the response is set in advance; the student only has to supply the correct grammatical form, and can do that without really needing to understand or communicate anything. The main lesson that students learn from doing these drills is: Grammar is boring.

  • Communicative drills encourage students to connect form, meaning, and use because multiple correct responses are possible. In communicative drills, students respond to a prompt using the grammar point under consideration, but providing their own content. For example, to practice questions and answers in the past tense in English, teacher and students can ask and answer questions about activities the previous evening. The drill is communicative because none of the content is set in advance:

Teacher: Did you go to the library last night?
Student 1: No, I didn’t. I went to the movies. (to Student 2): Did you read chapter 3?
Student 2: Yes, I read chapter 3, but I didn’t understand it. (to Student 3): Did you understand chapter 3?
Student 3: I didn’t read chapter 3. I went to the movies with Student 1.


Teaching Grammar

Developing Grammar Activities

Many courses and textbooks, especially those designed for lower proficiency levels, use a specified sequence of grammatical topics as their organizing principle. When this is the case, classroom activities need to reflect the grammar point that is being introduced or reviewed. By contrast, when a course curriculum follows a topic sequence, grammar points can be addressed as they come up.

In both cases, instructors can use the Larsen-Freeman pie chart as a guide for developing activities.

For curricula that introduce grammatical forms in a specified sequence, instructors need to develop activities that relate form to meaning and use.

·         Describe the grammar point, including form, meaning, and use, and give examples (structured input)

·         Ask students to practice the grammar point in communicative drills (structured output)

·         Have students do a communicative task that provides opportunities to use the grammar point (communicative output)

For curricula that follow a sequence of topics, instructors need to develop activities that relate the topical discourse (use) to meaning and form.

·         Provide oral or written input (audiotape, reading selection) that addresses the topic (structured input)

·         Review the point of grammar, using examples from the material (structured input)

·         Ask students to practice the grammar point in communicative drills that focus on the topic (structured output)

·         Have students do a communicative task on the topic (communicative output)

See Teaching Goals and Methods for definitions of input and output. See Planning a Lesson for an example of a lesson that incorporates a grammar point into a larger communication task.

When instructors have the opportunity to develop part or all of the course curriculum, they can develop a series of contexts based on the real world tasks that students will need to perform using the language, and then teach grammar and vocabulary in relation to those contexts.

For example, students who plan to travel will need to understand public address announcements in airports and train stations. Instructors can use audiotaped simulations to provide input; teach the grammatical forms that typically occur in such announcements; and then have students practice by asking and answering questions about what was announced.

Teaching Grammar

Using Textbook Grammar Activities

Textbooks usually provide one or more of the following three types of grammar exercises.

·         Mechanical drills: Each prompt has only one correct response, and students can complete the exercise without attending to meaning. For example:
George waited for the bus this morning. He will wait for the bus tomorrow morning, too.

·         Meaningful drills: Each prompt has only one correct response, and students must attend to meaning to complete the exercise. For example:
Where are George’s papers? They are in his notebook.
(Students must understand the meaning of the question in order to answer, but only one correct answer is possible because they all know where George’s papers are.)

To use textbook grammar exercises effectively, instructors need to recognize which type they are, devote the appropriate amount of time to them, and supplement them as needed.

Recognizing Types

Before the teaching term begins, inventory the textbook to see which type(s) of drills it provides. Decide which you will use in class, which you will assign as homework, and which you will skip.

Assigning Time

When deciding which textbook drills to use and how much time to allot to them, keep their relative value in mind.

·         Mechanical drills are the least useful because they bear little resemblance to real communication. They do not require students to learn anything; they only require parroting of a pattern or rule.

·         Meaningful drills can help students develop understanding of the workings of rules of grammar because they require students to make form-meaning correlations. Their resemblance to real communication is limited by the fact that they have only one correct answer.

·         Communicative drills require students to be aware of the relationships among form, meaning, and use. In communicative drills, students test and develop their ability to use language to convey ideas and information.


If the textbook provides few or no meaningful and communicative drills, instructors may want to create some to substitute for mechanical drills. SeeDeveloping Grammar Activities for guidelines.

Teaching Grammar

Assessing Grammar Proficiency

Authentic Assessment

Just as mechanical drills do not teach students the language, mechanical test questions do not assess their ability to use it in authentic ways. In order to provide authentic assessment of students’ grammar proficiency, an evaluation must reflect real-life uses of grammar in context. This means that the activity must have a purpose other than assessment and require students to demonstrate their level of grammar proficiency by completing some task.

To develop authentic assessment activities, begin with the types of tasks that students will actually need to do using the language. Assessment can then take the form of communicative drills and communicative activities like those used in the teaching process.

For example, the activity based on audiotapes of public address announcements (Developing Grammar Activities) can be converted into an assessment by having students respond orally or in writing to questions about a similar tape. In this type of assessment, the instructor uses a checklist or rubric to evaluate the student’s understanding and/or use of grammar in context. (See Assessing Learning for more on checklists and rubrics.)

Mechanical Tests

Mechanical tests do serve one purpose: They motivate students to memorize. They can therefore serve as prompts to encourage memorization of irregular forms and vocabulary items. Because they test only memory capacity, not language ability, they are best used as quizzes and given relatively little weight in evaluating student performance and progress.

วิธีการสอนไวยากรณ์และการแปล (Grammar Translation)


วิธีแปล ( Translation Method) การสอนวิธีนี้บางทีก็มีคนเรียกว่าเป็นวิธีไวยากรณ์และแปล
( Grammar - Translation Method) เพราะเน้นในการเรียนกฎเกณฑ์การใช้ภาษา ข้อยกเว้นต่าง ๆ และวิธีแปล การเรียนแบบนี้ครั้งหนึ่งมีผู้นิยมกันมาก วิธีสอนแบบนี้ใช้วิธีแปลเป็นหลักโดยถือว่าภาษานั้นประกอบด้วยคำเป็นจำนวนมาก ฉะนั้นตำราที่เกี่ยวกับการสอนภาษาอังกฤษจึงยึดเอาการเรียนให้รู้คำศัพท์เป็นจำนวนมากเป็นเกณฑ์ แบบฝึกหัดต่าง ๆ นั้นก็ได้แก่การให้ประโยคภาษาไทย ให้นักเรียนแปลเป็นภาษาอังกฤษ และให้ประโยคภาษาอังกฤษเพื่อให้นักเรียนแปลเป็นภาษาไทย
1. การสอนแบบนี้ จะมีประโยชน์สำหรับผู้เริ่มเรียนในระยะแรก ๆ คือ ในเวลาที่ผู้เรียนยังไม่รู้จักเสียง โครงสร้าง และความหมายมากพอ การแปลศัพท์ที่มีความหมายตรงกัน (word for word translation) ช่วยให้ผู้เรียนเข้าใจแจ่มแจ้ง และไม่เสียเวลามาก แต่ครูจะต้องค่อย ๆ ลดการแปลลงทีละน้อย ๆ เมื่อนักเรียนรู้ภาษาอังกฤษมากขึ้น โดยการนำคำและโครงสร้างที่นักเรียนทราบมาใช้แทนที่
2. การแปลยังเป็นประโยชน์ในการช่วยทดสอบความเข้าใจของนักเรียน ในเรื่องที่สอนไปแล้ว แต่ในการฝึกเป็นภาษาอังกฤษ ไม่จำเป็นต้องฝึกแปลจากไทยเป็นอังกฤษหรือจากอังกฤษเป็นไทย
จะเห็นได้ว่า การสอนแบบแปลนี้ นักเรียนไม่ได้เรียนตามธรรมชาติของภาษาเลย นักเรียนที่เรียนแบบนี้จะฟังภาษาอังกฤษไม่รู้เรื่องและพูดไม่ได้
ในด้านการเขียน การสอนแบบนี้ก็ไม่ช่วยให้การเขียนภาษาอังกฤษของนักเรียนดีขึ้น เพราะนักเรียนทราบแต่ศัพท์ เมื่อนำมาเขียน นักเรียนก็จะใช้ศัพท์เหล่านั้นในประโยคโดยที่นักเรียนไม่แม่นในรูปแบบของประโยค และบังเกิดความเคยชินกับการคิดเป็นภาษาไทยก่อนเสมอแทนที่จะคิดเป็นภาษาอังกฤษเลยทีเดียว จะปรากฏว่านักเรียนใช้คำภาษาอังกฤษจริงแต่รูปประโยคจะเป็นภาษาไทย เช่น นักเรียนจะใช้ประโยคว่า “ The music enjoyed very much ” แทน “ I enjoyed the music very much .” เพราะประโยคข้างบนนั้นนักเรียนเขียนเทียบกับภาษาไทยว่า เพลงสนุกมาก แม้แต่ในการแปล การสอนแบบนี้ก็ไม่ได้ผลเต็มที่ นักเรียนอาจจะแปลจากภาษาอังกฤษเป็นภาษาไทยได้ แต่การแปลจากภาษาไทยเป็นภาษา อังกฤษนั้นนักเรียนจะเขียนประโยคที่ผิด ๆ ลงไปเสียเป็นส่วนมาก เพราะนักเรียนไม่คุ้นเคยกับการใช้ประโยคภาษาอังกฤษ
การแปลนั้นมิได้หมายความว่า นักเรียนจะเข้าใจภาษาอังกฤษ เพราะคำที่นักเรียนเข้าใจนั้นเป็นคำไทยที่ครูใช้ในการแปล ไม่ใช่ตัวภาษาอังกฤษที่นักเรียนอ่าน ถ้าครูอ่านภาษาอังกฤษนักเรียนจะไม่เข้าใจ แต่ถ้าครูแปลเป็นไทยจึงจะเข้าใจ ดังนั้นที่นักเรียนเข้าใจคือ ภาษาไทยไม่ใช่ภาษาอังกฤษ

ที่มา:ศูนย์เครื่อข่ายพัฒนาการเรียนการสอนภาษาอังกฤษ อำเภอท่าปลา.วิธีแปล ( Translation Method ),

Teaching Listening

Listening is the language modality that is used most frequently. It has been estimated that adults spend almost half their communication time listening, and students may receive as much as 90% of their in-school information through listening to instructors and to one another. Often, however, language learners do not recognize the level of effort that goes into developing listening ability.

Far from passively receiving and recording aural input, listeners actively involve themselves in the interpretation of what they hear, bringing their own background knowledge and linguistic knowledge to bear on the information contained in the aural text. Not all listening is the same; casual greetings, for example, require a different sort of listening capability than do academic lectures. Language learning requires intentional listening that employs strategies for identifying sounds and making meaning from them.

Listening involves a sender (a person, radio, television), a message, and a receiver (the listener). Listeners often must process messages as they come, even if they are still processing what they have just heard, without backtracking or looking ahead. In addition, listeners must cope with the sender's choice of vocabulary, structure, and rate of delivery. The complexity of the listening process is magnified in second language contexts, where the receiver also has incomplete control of the language.

Given the importance of listening in language learning and teaching, it is essential for language teachers to help their students become effective listeners. In the communicative approach to language teaching, this means modeling listening strategies and providing listening practice in authentic situations: those that learners are likely to encounter when they use the language outside the classroom.

Section Contents

Goals and Techniques for Teaching Listening 
Strategies for Developing Listening Skills
Developing Listening Activities
Using Textbook Listening Activities
Assessing Listening Proficiency 

Material for this section was drawn from “Listening in a foreign language” by Ana Maria Schwartz, in Modules for the professional preparation of teaching assistants in foreign languages (Grace Stovall Burkart, ed.; Washington, DC: Center for Applied Linguistics, 1998)


Teaching Listening

Goals and Techniques for Teaching Listening

Instructors want to produce students who, even if they do not have complete control of the grammar or an extensive lexicon, can fend for themselves in communication situations. In the case of listening, this means producing students who can use listening strategies to maximize their comprehension of aural input, identify relevant and non-relevant information, and tolerate less than word-by-word comprehension.

Focus: The Listening Process

To accomplish this goal, instructors focus on the process of listening rather than on its product.

  • They develop students' awareness of the listening process and listening strategies by asking students to think and talk about how they listen in their native language.
  • They allow students to practice the full repertoire of listening strategies by using authentic listening tasks.
  • They behave as authentic listeners by responding to student communication as a listener rather than as a teacher.
  • When working with listening tasks in class, they show students the strategies that will work best for the listening purpose and the type of text. They explain how and why students should use the strategies.
  • They have students practice listening strategies in class and ask them to practice outside of class in their listening assignments. They encourage students to be conscious of what they're doing while they complete listening tape assignments.
  • They encourage students to evaluate their comprehension and their strategy use immediately after completing an assignment. They build comprehension checks into in-class and out-of-class listening assignments, and periodically review how and when to use particular strategies.
  • They encourage the development of listening skills and the use of listening strategies by using the target language to conduct classroom business: making announcements, assigning homework, describing the content and format of tests.
  • They do not assume that students will transfer strategy use from one task to another. They explicitly mention how a particular strategy can be used in a different type of listening task or with another skill.

By raising students' awareness of listening as a skill that requires active engagement, and by explicitly teaching listening strategies, instructors help their students develop both the ability and the   confidence to handle communication situations they may encounter beyond the classroom. In this way they give their students the foundation for communicative competence in the new language.

Integrating Metacognitive Strategies

Before listening: Plan for the listening task

  • Set a purpose or decide in advance what to listen for
  • Decide if more linguistic or background knowledge is needed
  • Determine whether to enter the text from the top down (attend to the overall meaning) or from the bottom up (focus on the words and phrases)

During and after listening: Monitor comprehension

  • Verify predictions and check for inaccurate guesses
  • Decide what is and is not important to understand
  • Listen/view again to check comprehension
  • Ask for help

After listening: Evaluate comprehension and strategy use

  • Evaluate comprehension in a particular task or area
  • Evaluate overall progress in listening and in particular types of listening tasks
  • Decide if the strategies used were appropriate for the purpose and for the task
  • Modify strategies if necessary

Using Authentic Materials and Situations

Authentic materials and situations prepare students for the types of listening they will need to do when using the language outside the classroom.

One-Way Communication


  • Radio and television programs
  • Public address announcements (airports, train/bus stations, stores)
  • Speeches and lectures
  • Telephone customer service recordings


  • Help students identify the listening goal: to obtain specific information; to decide whether to continue listening; to understand most or all of the message
  • Help students outline predictable sequences in which information may be presented: who-what-when-where (news stories); who-flight number-arriving/departing-gate number (airport announcements); "for [function], press [number]" (telephone recordings)
  • Help students identify key words/phrases to listen for

Two-Way Communication

In authentic two-way communication, the listener focuses on the speaker's meaning rather than the speaker's language. The focus shifts to language only when meaning is not clear. Note the difference between the teacher as teacher and the teacher as authentic listener in the dialogues in the popup screens.

Teaching Listening

Strategies for Developing Listening Skills

Language learning depends on listening. Listening provides the aural input that serves as the basis for language acquisition and enables learners to interact in spoken communication.

Effective language instructors show students how they can adjust their listening behavior to deal with a variety of situations, types of input, and listening purposes. They help students develop a set of listening strategies and match appropriate strategies to each listening situation.

Listening Strategies

Listening strategies are techniques or activities that contribute directly to the comprehension and recall of listening input. Listening strategies can be classified by how the listener processes the input.

Top-down strategies are listener based; the listener taps into background knowledge of the topic, the situation or context, the type of text, and the language. This background knowledge activates a set of expectations that help the listener to interpret what is heard and anticipate what will come next. Top-down strategies include

  • listening for the main idea
  • predicting
  • drawing inferences
  • summarizing

Bottom-up strategies are text based; the listener relies on the language in the message, that is, the combination of sounds, words, and grammar that creates meaning. Bottom-up strategies include

  • listening for specific details
  • recognizing cognates
  • recognizing word-order patterns

Strategic listeners also use metacognitive strategies to plan, monitor, and evaluate their listening.

  • They plan by deciding which listening strategies will serve best in a particular situation.
  • They monitor their comprehension and the effectiveness of the selected strategies.
  • They evaluate by determining whether they have achieved their listening comprehension goals and whether the combination of listening strategies selected was an effective one.

Listening for Meaning

To extract meaning from a listening text, students need to follow four basic steps:

  • Figure out the purpose for listening. Activate background knowledge of the topic in order to predict or anticipate content and identify appropriate listening strategies.
  • Attend to the parts of the listening input that are relevant to the identified purpose and ignore the rest. This selectivity enables students to focus on specific items in the input and reduces the amount of information they have to hold in short-term memory in order to recognize it.
  • Select top-down and bottom-up strategies that are appropriate to the listening task and use them flexibly and interactively. Students' comprehension improves and their confidence increases when they use top-down and bottom-up strategies simultaneously to construct meaning.
  • Check comprehension while listening and when the listening task is over. Monitoring comprehension helps students detect inconsistencies and comprehension failures, directing them to use alternate strategies.

 Teaching Listening

Developing Listening Activities

As you design listening tasks, keep in mind that complete recall of all the information in an aural text is an unrealistic expectation to which even native speakers are not usually held. Listening exercises that are meant to train should be success-oriented and build up students' confidence in their listening ability.

Construct the listening activity around a contextualized task.

Contextualized listening activities approximate real-life tasks and give the listener an idea of the type of information to expect and what to do with it in advance of the actual listening. A beginning level task would be locating places on a map (one way) or exchanging name and address information (two way). At an intermediate level students could follow directions for assembling something (one way) or work in pairs to create a story to tell to the rest of the class (two way).

Define the activity's instructional goal and type of response.

Each activity should have as its goal the improvement of one or more specific listening skills. A listening activity may have more than one goal or outcome, but be careful not to overburden the attention of beginning or intermediate listeners.

Recognizing the goal(s) of listening comprehension   in each listening situation will help students select appropriate listening strategies.

  • Identification: Recognizing or discriminating specific aspects of the message, such as sounds, categories of words, morphological distinctions
  • Orientation: Determining the major facts about a message, such as topic, text type, setting
  • Main idea comprehension: Identifying the higher-order ideas
  • Detail comprehension: Identifying supporting details
  • Replication: Reproducing the message orally or in writing

Check the level of difficulty of the listening text.

The factors listed below can help you judge the relative ease or difficulty of a listening text for a particular purpose and a particular group of students.

How is the information organized? Does the story line, narrative, or instruction conform to familiar expectations? Texts in which the events are presented in natural chronological order, which have an informative title, and which present the information following an obvious   organization (main ideas first, details and examples second) are easier to follow.

How familiar are the students with the topic? Remember that misapplication of background knowledge due to cultural differences can create major comprehension difficulties.

Does the text contain redundancy? At the lower levels of proficiency, listeners may find short, simple messages easier to process, but students with higher proficiency benefit from the natural redundancy of the language.

Does the text involve multiple individuals and objects? Are they clearly differentiated? It is easier to understand a text with a doctor and a patient than one with two doctors, and it is even easier if they are of the opposite sex. In other words, the more marked the differences, the easier the comprehension.

Does the text offer visual support to aid in the interpretation of what the listeners hear? Visual aids such as maps, diagrams, pictures, or the images in a video help contextualize the listening input and provide clues to meaning.

Use pre-listening activities to prepare students for what they are going to hear or view.

The activities chosen during pre-listening may serve as preparation for listening in several ways. During pre-listening the teacher may

  • assess students' background knowledge of the topic and linguistic content of the text
  • provide students with the background knowledge necessary for their comprehension of the listening passage or activate the existing knowledge that the students possess
  • clarify any cultural information which may be necessary to comprehend the passage
  • make students aware of the type of text they will be listening to, the role they will play, and the purpose(s) for which they will be listening
  • provide opportunities for group or collaborative work and for background reading or class discussion activities

Sample pre-listening activities:

  • looking at pictures, maps, diagrams, or graphs
  • reviewing vocabulary or grammatical structures
  • reading something relevant
  • constructing semantic webs (a graphic arrangement of concepts or words showing how they are related)
  • predicting the content of the listening text
  • going over the directions or instructions for the activity
  • doing guided practice

Match while-listening activities to the instructional goal, the listening purpose, and students' proficiency level.

While-listening activities relate directly to the text, and students do them do during or immediately after the time they are listening. Keep these points in mind when planning while-listening activities:

If students are to complete a written task during or immediately after listening, allow them to read through it before listening. Students need to devote all their attention to the listening task. Be sure they understand the instructions for the written task before listening begins so that they are not distracted by the need to figure out what to do.

Keep writing to a minimum during listening. Remember that the primary goal is comprehension, not production. Having to write while listening may distract students from this primary goal. If a written response is to be given after listening, the task can be more demanding.

Organize activities so that they guide listeners through the text. Combine global activities such as getting the main idea, topic, and setting with selective listening activities that focus on details of content and form.

Use questions to focus students' attention on the elements of the text crucial to comprehension of the whole.Before the listening activity begins, have students review questions they will answer orally or in writing after listening.   Listening for the answers will help students recognize the crucial parts of the message.

Use predicting to encourage students to monitor their comprehension as they listen. Do a predicting activity before listening, and remind students to review what they are hearing to see if it makes sense in the context of their prior knowledge and what they already know of the topic or events of the passage.

Give immediate feedback whenever possible. Encourage students to examine how or why their responses were incorrect.

Sample while-listening activities

  • listening with visuals
  • filling in graphs and charts
  • following a route on a map
  • checking off items in a list
  • listening for the gist
  • searching for specific clues to meaning
  • completing cloze (fill-in) exercises
  • distinguishing between formal and informal registers

Teaching Listening

Using Textbook Listening Activities

The greatest challenges with textbook tape programs are integrating the listening experiences into classroom instruction and keeping up student interest and motivation. These challenges arise from the fact that most textbook listening programs emphasize product (right or wrong answer) over process (how to get meaning from the selection) and from the fact that the listening activities are usually carried out as an add-on, away from the classroom.

You can use the guidelines for developing listening activities given here as starting points for evaluating and adapting textbook listening programs. At the beginning of the teaching term, orient students to the tape program by completing the exercises in class and discussing the different strategies they use to answer the questions. It is a good idea to periodically complete some of the lab exercises in class to maintain the link to the regular instructional program and to check on the effectiveness of the exercises themselves.

Integrating Listening Strategies With Textbook Audio and Video

Students can use this outline for both in-class and out-of-class listening/viewing activities. Model and practice the use of the outline at least once in class before you ask students to use it independently.

1. Plan for listening/viewing

  • Review the vocabulary list, if you have one
  • Review the worksheet, if you have one
  • Review any information you have about the content of the tape/video

2. Preview the tape/video

  • (tape) Use fast forward to play segments of the tape; (video) view the video without sound
  • Identify the kind of program (news, documentary, interview, drama)
  • Make a list of predictions about the content
  • Decide how to divide the tape/video into sections for intensive listening/viewing

3. Listen/view intensively section by section. For each section:

  • Jot down key words you understand
  • Answer the worksheet questions pertaining to the section
  • If you don't have a worksheet, write a short summary of the section

4. Monitor your comprehension

  • Does it fit with the predictions you made?
  • Does your summary for each section make sense in relation to the other sections?

5. Evaluate your listening comprehension progress

Teaching Listening

Assessing Listening Proficiency

You can use post-listening activities to check comprehension, evaluate listening skills and use of listening strategies, and extend the knowledge gained to other contexts. A post-listening activity may relate to a pre-listening activity, such as predicting; may expand on the topic or the language of the listening text; or may transfer what has been learned to reading, speaking, or writing activities.

In order to provide authentic assessment of students' listening proficiency, a post-listening activity must reflect the real-life uses to which students might put information they have gained through listening.

  • It must have a purpose other than assessment
  • It must require students to demonstrate their level of listening comprehension by completing some task.

To develop authentic assessment activities, consider the type of response that listening to a particular selection would elicit in a non-classroom situation. For example, after listening to a weather report one might decide what to wear the next day; after listening to a set of instructions, one might   repeat them to someone else; after watching and listening to a play or video, one might discuss the story line with friends.

Use this response type as a base for selecting appropriate post-listening tasks. You can then develop a checklist or rubric that will allow you to evaluate each student's comprehension of specific parts of the aural text. (See Assessing Learning for more on checklists and rubrics.)

For example, for listening practice you have students listen to a weather report. Their purpose for listening is to be able to advise a friend what to wear the next day. As a post-listening activity, you ask students to select appropriate items of clothing from a collection you have assembled, or write a note telling the friend what to wear, or provide oral advice to another student (who has not heard the weather report). To evaluate listening comprehension, you use a checklist containing specific features of the forecast, marking those that are reflected in the student's clothing recommendations.

สาเหตุที่สำคัญคือ ทักษะการฟังภาษาอังกฤษ   กล่าวคือเราต้องพัฒนาทักษะการฟังภาษาอังกฤษก่อน และต้องฟังประโยคซ้ำๆ หลายๆรอบจนขึ้นใจแล้วพูดตาม  ออกเสียงตามให้เหมือนที่สุด อาจไม่เข้าใจความหมาย หรือคำแปล ไม่เป็นไร
การฟังภาษาอังกฤษ ถือว่าเป็นทักษะที่สำคัญที่สุด และพัฒนายากที่สุด  ซึ่งเป็นปัญหาสำคัญของคนไทยส่วนใหญ่ รวมถึงเป็นจุดเริ่มต้นของปัญหาทั้งหมดของการ เรียนภาษาอังกฤษ ของคนไทย  
หากเราลองนึกดูว่า แล้วภาษาไทยที่เราพูด, อ่าน และเขียนได้ในปัจจุบัน นั้น  มีพื้นฐานมาจากอะไร หากไม่ใช่มาจากการฟัง ฟังจนเข้าใจในสิ่งที่เราได้รับฟังมา  แล้วเลียนเสียงนั้น(คือการพูดตาม) จนพูดได้  หลังจากนั้น จึงเริ่มเรียนการเขียน   แล้วจึงตามมาด้วยการอ่าน
เช่นเดียวกัน  หากเราได้ ฟังภาษาอังกฤษ หลายๆรอบ บ่อยๆ ซ้ำๆจนจำขึ้นใจแล้ว เราจะพบว่าเราสามารถฟังภาษาอังกฤษรู้เรื่องและเข้าใจโดยอัตโนมัติ  นอกจากนั้นยังสามารถ พูดภาษาอังกฤษได้อีกด้วย
วิธีการฝึก ฟังภาษาอังกฤษ ให้ได้ผลเร็ว มีเทคนิค ดังนี้
1.         ฝึกฟังจากเทป บทสนทนาภาษาอังกฤษ ซึ่งบทสนทนานั้นจะต้องพูดด้วยความเร็วปกติที่ชาวต่างชาติพูด   อย่าฝึกฟังจากเทปที่พูดช้ากว่าการพูดปกติของเขา เนื่องจากจะทำให้เราเคยชินกับการฟังภาษาอังกฤษ แบบที่พูดช้าๆ และเมื่อเจอชาวต่างชาติที่พูดด้วยอัตราความเร็วปกติ เราก็ไม่เข้าใจเช่นเดิม
2.        การฝึกฟังครั้งแรกๆ ควรเริ่มฟัง ครั้งละ  5 - 10 ประโยค (อย่าฟังประโยคเยอะเกินไปจนไม่สามารถจะจำประโยคเหล่านั้นได้)  
3.        ขณะที่ฝึก ฟังภาษาอังกฤษ ต้องมี Script เสมอ
4.       ในการฝึกฟังแต่ละครั้ง ต้องฟังให้ได้อย่างน้อย 4 รอบ คือ
-  รอบที่ 1 ฟังพร้อม Script และหากเห็นว่าคำใดที่เราเคยออกเสียงไม่เหมือนเขา หรือเราฟังไม่รู้เรื่องแม้จะมี Script  ให้หยุดเทป แล้วจดลงใน Script ว่า เสียงที่เราได้ยินนั้นคืออะไร
-          รอบที่ 2 และ 3 ออกเสียงตาม 
-          รอบที่ 4, 5, 6, ..... ลองฟังแบบหลับตา โดยไม่มี Script
5.        ช่วงแรก ขอให้ฝึกฟังประโยคเดิมๆ ด้วยวิธีข้างต้น สัปดาห์ละ2-3 ครั้ง (ฝึกทุกวันได้ยิ่งดี) แล้วจึงค่อยๆเพิ่มจำนวนประโยคให้มากขึ้นเป็น 15-20 ประโยค ต่อการฝึกฟังแต่ละครั้ง
หากทำวิธีดังกล่าวข้างต้นอย่างสม่ำเสมอ เพียงเดือนเดียว รับรองว่านอกจากจะ ฟังภาษาอังกฤษ รู้เรื่องแล้ว ยังสามารถ พูดภาษาอังกฤษ ได้โดยไม่รู้ตัวอีกด้วย
ดังนั้น การพัฒนาทักษะการฟังภาษาอังกฤษ  จึงเป็นสิ่งที่มีความจำเป็นมากที่สุด   ที่ต้องได้รับการพัฒนาก่อนเป็นอันดับแรก   การฟังมากๆ ซ้ำๆ  นอกจากจะทำให้ทักษะการฟังภาษาอังกฤษดีขึ้นแล้ว  ยังทำให้สามารถพูดได้   เมื่อเราพูดประโยคเหล่านั้นออกมาได้แล้ว   เราก็หลุดออกจากกับดักไวยากรณ์ภาษาอังกฤษได้แล้ว นั่นแปลว่าเราได้เข้าสู่วงจรของการที่จะสามารถพูดภาษาอังกฤษได้อย่างอัตโนมัติแล้ว 

Teaching Speaking

Many language learners regard speaking ability as the measure of knowing a language. These learners define fluency as the ability to converse with others, much more than the ability to read, write, or comprehend oral language. They regard speaking as the most important skill they can acquire, and they assess their progress in terms of their accomplishments in spoken communication.

Language learners need to recognize that speaking involves three areas of knowledge:

  • Mechanics (pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary): Using the right words in the right order with the correct pronunciation
  • Functions (transaction and interaction): Knowing when clarity of message is essential (transaction/information exchange) and when precise understanding is not required (interaction/relationship building)
  • Social and cultural rules and norms (turn-taking, rate of speech, length of pauses between speakers, relative roles of participants): Understanding how to take into account who is speaking to whom, in what circumstances, about what, and for what reason.

In the communicative model of language teaching, instructors help their students develop this body of knowledge by providing authentic practice that prepares students for real-life communication situations. They help their students develop the ability to produce grammatically correct, logically connected sentences that are appropriate to specific contexts, and to do so using acceptable (that is, comprehensible) pronunciation.


Section Contents

Goals and Techniques for Teaching Speaking
Strategies for Developing Speaking Skills
Developing Speaking Activities
Using Textbook Speaking Activities
Assessing Speaking Proficiency 


Material for this section was drawn from “Spoken language: What it is and how to teach it” by Grace Stovall Burkart, in Modules for the professional preparation of teaching assistants in foreign languages (Grace Stovall Burkart, ed.; Washington, DC: Center for Applied Linguistics, 1998)

Theory of Knowledge

Epistemology, the study of the theory of knowledge, is among the most important areas of philosophy. The questions that it addresses include the following:

What is knowledge?

The first problem encountered in epistemology is that of defining knowledge. Philosophers use the tripartite theory of knowledge, which analyses knowledge as justified true belief, as a working model much of the time. The tripartite theory has, however, been refuted;Gettier cases show that some justified true beliefs do not constitute knowledge. Rival analyses of knowledge have been proposed, but there is as yet no consensus on what knowledge is. This fundamental question of epistemology remains unsolved.

Though philosophers are unable to provide a generally accepted analysis of knowledge, we all understand roughly what we are talking about when we use words such as “knowledge”. Thankfully, this means that it is possible to get on with epistemology, leaving unsolved the fundamental question as to what knowledge is.

From where do we get our knowledge?

A second important issue in epistemology concerns the ultimate source of our knowledge. There are two traditions: empiricism, which holds that our knowledge is primarily based in experience, and rationalism, which holds that our knowledge is primarily based in reason. Although the modern scientific worldview borrows heavily from empiricism, there are reasons for thinking that a synthesis of the two traditions is more plausible than either of them individually.

How are our beliefs justified?

There are better and worse ways to form beliefs. In general terms, it is important to consider evidence when deciding what to believe, because by doing so we are more likely to form beliefs that are true. Precisely how this should work, when we are justified in belief something and when we are not, is another topic in the theory of knowledge. The three most prominent theories of epistemic justification arefoundationalismcoherentism, and reliabilism.

How do we perceive the world around us?

Much of our knowledge, it seems, does come to us through our senses, through perception. Perception, though, is a complex process. The way that we experience the world may be determined in part by the world, but it is also determined in part by us. We do not passively receive information through our senses; arguably, we contribute just as much to our experiences as do the objects that they are experiences of. How we are to understand the process of perception, and how this should effect our understanding of the world that we inhabit, is therefore vital for epistemology.

Do we know anything at all?

The area of epistemology that has captured most imaginations is philosophical scepticism. Alongside the questions of what knowledge is and how we come to acquire it is the question whether we do in fact know anything at all. There is a long philosophical tradition that says that we do not, and the arguments in support of this position, though resisted by most, are remarkably difficult to refute. The most persistent problem in the theory of knowledge is not what knowledge is or what it comes from, but whether there is any such thing at all.

Why the Analytical Approach 
Is the Only Way That Will Work

As explained in the FAQan analytical approach is the use of an appropriate process to break a problem down into the elements necessary to solve it. Each element becomes a smaller and easier problem to solve. It follows that a non-analytical approach is just the opposite: the use of an inappropriate process, which is unable to break a problem down into the elements necessary to solve it. Because this is not done, the problem remains too big and complex to solve. That is one reason an analytical approach is the only way that will work on solving the global environmental sustianability problem, because that problem is too big and complex too solve any other way.

Let's take a longer approach to proving an analytical approach is not only a better way, it is the only way.

We will try to prove two things: (1) That the analytical approach is the only known approach that works consistently on difficult problems, and (2) That the global environmental sustainability problem is a difficult problem. If both propositions are true, then it follows that an analytical approach is the best way to solve the global environmental sustainability problem. Let's prove proposition (1), then (2), and finally conclude the argument.

Proposition 1

First we need to prove that the analytical approach is the only known approach that works consistently on difficult problems.

The analytical approach is the formal use of reason to solve problems. The first rules to formal reasoning were invented by Aristotle (384 to 322 BC). Reasoning correctly involves representing the constituent elements of a argument with premises, intermediate conclusions, and final conclusions.

An analytical approach takes a problem, breaks it down into its constituent elements so as to understand the problem, and then adds elements that represent a solution. These elements form the formal argument that this is the problem and this is the solution.

The reason an analytical approach is required for difficult problems is that all this becomes too complicated to do intuitively. Each element must be represented formally, such as with exact phrases in writing or with equations in a simulation model, so that the problem solver(s) can go over and over an evolving analysis to be certain it is correct. Complex problems have dozens or hundreds of elements, and hundreds or thousands of relationships between those elements. However the mind has only seven (plus or minus two) short term memory banks. This causes the mind to overload quickly on any but the simplest of problems, or problems it has encountered before and memorized the solution.

Before the invention of the Scientific Method in the 17th century, science was based on tradition and guesswork. Afterward it was based on an analytical approach. This momentous change caused science to shift into a whole new mode of thinking, one so productive it quickly led to the Industrial Revolution and all that science and technology have brought us today. Science knows of no other method that will work to produce reliable knowledge. This should be proof enough that an analytical approach is required to solve difficult problems.

To summarize, this is a difficult problem. Unlike simple problems, difficult problems require an analysis to solve them, because finding the correct solution requires a rigorous analysis. A correct analysis requires reliable knowledge. And the only known way to produce reliable knowledge, knowledge that you know is true, is the Scientific Method. Therefore, because the Scientific Method is an analytical approach, an analytical approach is the only known way to solve difficult problems.

Proposition 2 and the Characteristics of Simple and Complex Problems

Next we need to prove that the global environmental sustainability problem is a difficult problem.

Difficult environmental problems have characteristics making them inherently difficult to solve. By contrast, simple environmental problems have the following fundamental characteristics that make them fairly easy to solve:

A. They are caused primarily by a single type of behavior, such as the way acid rain is caused mostly by the burning of sulfur-containing coal, or the way a river may be mostly polluted by a single group of chemicals, such as agricultural runoff or factory waste.

B. There is solid proof of cause and effect, such as the way accumulation of heavy metals in animals higher up in the food chain causes health problems, reproductive problems, or death.

C. There is a short displacement in time and space. This makes cause and effect more obvious. Displacement is the "distance" from cause to effect. For time this may be anywhere from minutes to years to centuries. For space the displacement may be local, regional, or global.

D. The problem source involves a relatively small segment of society.

E. The solution is relatively cheap and easy.

Difficult problems are just the opposite. They usually have multiple types of behavior that cause them, tenuous proof of cause and effect, a long delay in time and space, the source involves a large segment of society, and the solution is relatively expensive and complicated. Each of these alone make a problem hard to solve. When combined they can make it close to impossible to even conceive of a solution that can be proven to have a high probability of working.

The combination of the factors also causes the emergent problem of what we call "resistance to solution adoption." This phenomenon occurs when people know what they should do, but they just don't want to do it. This is clearly present. An outstanding example occurred in 1999 when the US Senate voted 95 to zero against the Kyoto Protocol treaty on climate change. The treaty has not been brought back to the floor since.

An example of an easy problem was the ozone layer depletion problem. While it looked like a tremendously difficult problem at the time, it was not. It fit the pattern of easy environmental problems. It was caused mostly due to a single type of behavior: chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) released into the atmosphere from air conditioners and refrigeration equipment. It had solid proof of cause and effect, after scientific studies were completed. The problem source involved a relatively small segment of society: the CFC manufacturing and use industry. And finally, it had a relatively easy and cheap solution: switch to a substitute.

There was a medium delay in time and a large delay in space, but because the other four factors were present, the ozone layer depletion problem fit the pattern of a simple problem, despite its apparent size and complexity. As a result, by the 1990s the ozone depletion problem was largely solved.

But it was the only difficult global problem that was. The rest, such as climate change, groundwater depletion, topsoil loss, deforestation, and abnormally high species extinction rates, remain unsolved. The reason is they do not fit the pattern of an easy problem, and so are beyond the capabilities of the conventional problem solving approach.

The global environmental sustainability problem falls into the difficult end of the spectrum for all five of these factors: (A) Almost every industrialized action we take to produce our food, go to work, generate the energy we consume, build our homes and offices and factories, and so on is a source. (B) Although proof we must change course to be sustainable is seen as solid by scientists, it is still seen as weak by society, because of arguments like new technology will solve the problem (technological optimism), as well as the way the very idea of unsustainability is inconceivable to many people (the cultural blindspot problem). (C) There is a long displacement in time and space. For example, climate change has a time displacement of centuries and a space displacement of global. (D) The problem source is nearly every person, corporation, and government on the planet. (E) The solution is very expensive and difficult. How do you get over six billion people to fundamentally change their entire life style to solve the entire problem in only a generation or two? No one knows. And how do you finance that change? Again, no one knows.

This proves proposition (2), that the global environmental sustainability problem is a difficult problem. In fact, it probably ranks as the most difficult one ever encountered by Homo sapiensin his short 200,000 years of existence.

Argument Conclusion

Let's recap our argument. We are trying to prove two things: (1) That the analytical approach is the only known approach that works consistently on difficult problems, and (2) That the global environmental sustainability problem is a difficult problem. If both propositions are true, then it follows that an analytical approach is the best way to solve the global environmental sustainability problem.

Now we can complete the argument. The above has proven (1) and (2) to be true. Therefore it follows that an analytical approach is the best way for the environmental movement to solve the global environmental sustainability problem. Because this is so radically different from the present approach, it qualifies as a new paradigm.

The particular analytical approach we recommend is Analytical Activism.

(This is one of the many articles at Thwink.org.)


Speaking Skill

การเรียนรู้: เทคนิคการสอนทักษะการพูดภาษาอังกฤษ (Speaking Skill)

การสอนภาษาทุกภาษา มีธรรมชาติของการเรียนรู้เช่นเดียวกัน คือ เริ่มจากการฟัง และการพูด  แล้วจึงไปสู่การอ่านและการเขียน ตามลำดับ   จุดมุ่งหมายของการพูด คือ การสื่อสารให้ผู้อื่นได้รับรู้ด้วยการพูดอย่างถูกต้องและคล่องแคล่ว  ครูผู้สอนควรมีความรู้และความสามารถอย่างไร  จึงจะสามารถจัดการเรียนรู้เพื่อฝึกทักษะการพูดให้แก่ผู้เรียนได้อย่างสอดคล้องกับระดับและศักยภาพของผู้เรียน

1.   ชื่อเรื่อง      
 เทคนิคการสอนทักษะการพูดภาษาอังกฤษ ( Speaking Skill)
2.   เกริ่นนำ
การสอนภาษาทุกภาษา มีธรรมชาติของการเรียนรู้เช่นเดียวกัน คือ เริ่มจากการฟัง และการพูด  แล้วจึงไปสู่การอ่านและการเขียน ตามลำดับ  การสอนทักษะการพูดภาษาอังกฤษในเบื้องต้น  มุ่งเน้นความถูกต้องของการใช้ภาษา ( Accuracy) 
 ในเรื่องของเสียง  คำศัพท์  ( Vocabulary)  ไวยากรณ์ ( Grammar)   กระสวนประโยค (Patterns)  ดังนั้น  กิจกรรมที่จัดให้ผู้เรียนระดับต้นได้ฝึกทักษะการพูด  จึงเน้นกิจกรรมที่ผู้เรียนต้องฝึกปฏิบัติตามแบบ หรือ ตามโครงสร้างประโยคที่กำหนดให้พูดเป็นส่วนใหญ่  สำหรับผู้เรียนระดับสูง กิจกรรมฝึกทักษะการพูด จึงจะเน้นที่ความคล่องแคล่วของการใช้ภาษา ( Fluency) และจะเป็นการพูดแบบอิสระมากขึ้น  เพราะจุดมุ่งหมายที่แท้จริงของการพูด คือ การสื่อสารให้ผู้อื่นได้รับรู้ด้วยการพูดอย่างถูกต้องและคล่องแคล่ว  ครูผู้สอนจึงควรมีความรู้และความสามารถอย่างไร  จึงจะสามารถจัดการเรียนรู้เพื่อฝึกทักษะการพูดให้แก่ผู้เรียนได้อย่างสอดคล้องกับระดับและศักยภาพของผู้เรียน
1.    เทคนิควิธีปฎิบัติ
กิจกรรมการฝึกทักษะการพูด มี  3  รูปแบบ   คือ
1.1   การฝึกพูดระดับกลไก
 (Mechanical  Drills) เป็นการฝึกตามตัวแบบที่กำหนดให้ในหลายลักษณะ  เช่น 
พูดเปลี่ยนคำศัพท์ในประโยค (Multiple Substitution Drill) 
พูดตั้งคำถามจากสถานการณ์ในประโยคบอกเล่า (Transformation  Drill)
พูดถามตอบตามรูปแบบของประโยคที่กำหนดให้ (Yes/No  Question-Answer Drill)
พูดสร้างประโยคต่อเติมจากประโยคที่กำหนดให้  (Sentence  Building)
พูดคำศัพท์  สำนวนในประโยคที่ถูกลบไปทีละส่วน  (Rub out and Remember)
พูดเรียงประโยคจากบทสนทนา (Ordering  dialogues)
พูดทายเหตุการณ์ที่จะเกิดขึ้นในบทสนทนา (Predicting  dialogue)
พูดต่อเติมส่วนที่หายไปจากประโยค  ( Completing Sentences )
พูดให้เพื่อนเขียนตามคำบอก  (Split  Dictation)
1.2   การฝึกพูดอย่างมีความหมาย
 ( Meaningful  Drills)  เป็นการฝึกตามตัวแบบที่เน้นความหมายมากขึ้น มีหลายลักษณะ  เช่น  
                     พูดเกี่ยวกับสถานการณ์ต่างๆ ในห้องเรียน
1.3   การฝึกพูดเพื่อการสื่อสาร  (Communicative  Drills)  เป็นการฝึกเพื่อมุ่งเน้นการสื่อสาร  เปิดโอกาสให้ผู้เรียนสร้างคำตอบตามจินตนาการ  เช่น
พูดประโยคตามสถานการณ์ที่เกิดขึ้นจริง  ( Situation)
พูดตามสถานการณ์ที่กำหนดให้  ( Imaginary  Situation)
พูดบรรยายภาพหรือสถานการณ์แล้วให้เพื่อนวาดภาพตามที่พูด  ( Describe  and Draw)
2.     เอกสารอ้างอิง 
1.  กระทรวงศึกษาธิการ. ชุดฝึกอบรมครูสอนภาษาอังกฤษ ชุดที่ 3  Teaching 4  Skills  สำหรับวิทยากร: กรุงเทพฯ:โรงพิมพ์คุรุสภาลาดพร้าว, 2539. 
2.  อารีวรรณ  เอี่ยมสะอาด.
 คู่มือการพัฒนาหลักสูตรกลุ่มสาระการเรียนรู้ภาษาต่างประเทศ (ภาษาอังกฤษ)  ช่วงชั้นที่ 1-2  (ป.1-ป.6)  ในหลักสูตรการศึกษาขั้นพื้นฐาน  พุทธศักราช 2544กรุงเทพฯ : บุ้ค พอยท์, 2546.
3.     บทเรียนที่ได้ (ถ้ามี)  
  การสอนทักษะการพูดโดยใช้กิจกรรมที่นำเสนอข้างต้น  จะช่วยสร้างเสริมคุณภาพทักษะการพูดของผู้เรียนให้พัฒนาขึ้น  จากความถูกต้อง ( Accuracy)  ไปสู่ ความคล่องแคล่ว ( Fluency)   ได้ตามระดับการเรียนรู้ และ ศักยภาพของผู้เรียน  ทั้งนี้ขึ้นอยู่กับความถี่ในการฝึกฝนเอย่างสม่ำเสมอ และต่อเนื่อง เช่นเดียวกับการฝึกทักษะการฟัง  
  ( Keywords)   
                                1. ทักษะการพูด
                                2.  ความถูกต้องของการใช้ภาษา ( Accuracy)
                                3.  ความคล่องแคล่วของการใช้ภาษา ( Fluency)  
                                4.  การฝึกพูดระดับกลไก (Mechanical  Drills) 
 การฝึกพูดอย่างมีความหมาย ( Meaningful  Drills) 
                                6. การฝึกพูดเพื่อการสื่อสาร  (Communicative  Drills)



Date Modified: 07.10.2008
Content: Methods and Approaches to English language teaching


ce: Wikipedia

Methods of teaching foreign languages

There are many methods of teaching languages. Some have had their heyday and have fallen into relative obscurity; others are widely used now; still others have a small following, but contribute insights that may be absorbed into the generally accepted mix.

The grammar translation method

The grammar translation method instructs students in grammar, and provides vocabulary with direct translations to memorize. It was the predominant method in Europe in the 19th century. Most instructors now acknowledge that this method is ineffective by itself. It is now most commonly used in the traditional instruction of the classical languages.

At school, the teaching of grammar consists of a process of training in the rules of a language which must make it possible to all the students to correctly express their opinion, to understand the remarks which are addressed to them and to analyze the texts which they read. The objective is that by the time they leave college, the pupil controls the tools of the language which are the vocabulary, grammar and the orthography, to be able to read, understand and write texts in various contexts. The teaching of grammar examines the texts, and develops awareness that language constitutes a system which can be analyzed. This knowledge is acquired gradually, by traversing the facts of language and the syntactic mechanisms, going from simplest to the most complex. The exercises according to the program of the course must untiringly be practised to allow the assimilation of the rules stated in the course. That supposes that the teacher corrects the exercises. The pupil can follow his progress in practicing the language by comparing his results. Thus can he adapt the grammatical rules and control little by little the internal logic of the syntactic system. The grammatical analysis of sentences constitutes the objective of the teaching of grammar at the school. Its practice makes it possible to recognize a text as a coherent whole and conditions the training of a foreign language. Grammatical terminology serves this objective. Grammar makes it possible for each one to understand how the mother tongue functions, in order to give him the capacity to communicate its thought.

The direct method

The direct method, sometimes also called natural method, is a method that refrains from using the learners' native language and just uses the target language. It was established in Germany and France around 1900. The direct method operates on the idea that second language learning must be an imitation of first language learning, as this is the natural way humans learn any language - a child never relies on another language to learn its first language, and thus the mother tongue is not necessary to learn a foreign language. This method places great stress on correct pronunciation and the target language from outset. It advocates teaching of oral skills at the expense of every traditional aim of language teaching.

According to this method, printed language and text must be kept away from second language learner for as long as possible, just as a first language learner does not use printed word until he has good grasp of speech.

Learning of writing and spelling should be delayed until after the printed word has been introduced, and grammar and translation should also be avoided because this would involve the application of the learner's first language. All above items must be avoided because they hinder the acquisition of a good oral proficiency.

The audio-lingual method

The audio-lingual method has students listen to or view recordings of language models acting in situations. Students practice with a variety of drills, and the instructor emphasizes the use of the target language at all times. The audio-lingual method was used by the United States Army for "crash" instruction in foreign languages during World War II. Due to weaknesses in performance, audio-lingual methods are rarely the primary method of instruction today.

Communicative language teaching

Communicative language teaching (CLT) is an approach to the teaching of languages that emphasizes interaction as both the means and the ultimate goal of learning a language. Despite a number of criticisms, it continues to be popular, particularly in Europe, where constructivist views on language learning and education in general dominate academic discourse.

In recent years, Task-based language learning (TBLL), also known as task-based language teaching (TBLT) or task-based instruction (TBI), has grown steadily in popularity. TBLL is a further refinement of the CLT approach, emphasizing the successful completion of tasks as both the organizing feature and the basis for assessment of language instruction.

Language immersion

Language immersion puts students in a situation where they must use a foreign language, whether or not they know it. This creates fluency, but not accuracy of usage. French-language immersion programs are common in Canada in the state school system as part of the drive towards bilingualism.


Paul Rowe's minimalist/methodist approach. This new approach is underpinned with Paul Nation's three actions of successful ESL teachers.[citation needed] Initially it was written specifically for unqualified, inexperienced people teaching in EFL situations. However, experienced language teachers are also responding positively to its simplicity. Language items are usually provided using flashcards. There is a focus on language-in-context and multi-functional practices.

Directed practice
Directed practice has students repeat phrases. This method is used by U.S. diplomatic courses. It can quickly provide a phrasebook-type knowledge of the language. Within these limits, the student's usage is accurate and precise. However the student's choice of what to say is not flexible.

Learning strategies

Code switching

Code switching, that is, changing between languages at some point in a sentence or utterance, is a commonly used communication strategy among language learners and bilinguals. While traditional methods of formal instruction often discourage code switching, students, especially those placed in a language immersion situation, often use it. If viewed as a learning strategy, wherein the student uses the target language as much as possible but reverts to their native language for any element of an utterance that they are unable to produce in the target language, then it has the advantages that it encourages fluency development and motivation and a sense of accomplishment by enabling the student to discuss topics of interest to him or her early in the learning process -- before requisite vocabulary has been memorized. It is particularly effective for students whose native language is English, due to the high probability of a simple English word or short phrase being understood by the conversational partner.

Blended learning

Blended learning combines face-to-face teaching with distance education, frequently electronic, either computer-based or web-based. It has been a major growth point in the ELT (English Language Teaching) industry over the last ten years.
Some people, though, use the phrase 'Blended Learning' to refer to learning taking place while the focus is on other activities. For example, playing a card game that requires calling for cards may allow blended learning of numbers (1 to 10).

Private tutoring
Tutoring by a native speaker can be one of the most effective ways of learning. However, it requires a skilled, motivated native tutor, which can be a rare, expensive commodity. That tutor may draw on one or several of the above methods.
New online offerings allow for language tutoring over the internet.


Find Jobs Teaching English 
Browse all jobs teaching English in China, Korea, Japan and Taiwan.

Teaching English Abroad
Get more information on overseas employment teaching English.

Living Overseas
Get more information on living overseas.



ออกซ์ฟอร์ด (Oxford, 1990, p. 14-150) ได้เสนอการจัดประเภทของกลวิธีในการเรียนภาษาเป็น 2 ประเภทใหญ่ๆ คือ กลวิธีทางตรง และกลวิธีทางอ้อม ดังนี้

      กลวิธีการเรียนทางตรง( Direct strategies ) หมายถึง กลวิธีที่เกี่ยวข้องโดยตรงกับภาษาเป้าหมายที่ผู้เรียนเรียนโดยกลวิธีนี้ผู้เรียนใช้กระบวนการทางสมองที่แตกต่างกัน ได้แก่

      1. กลวิธีด้านการจำ ( Memory strategies ) กลวิธีนี้ผู้เรียนต้องใช้กลไกทางสมองที่ช่วยให้ผู้เรียนเก็บข้อมูลความรู้ทางภาษาไว้ โดยเฉพาะเรื่องคำศัพท์ และนำออกมาใช้เมื่อต้องการ นอกจากนี้กลวิธีดังกล่าวยังมีบทบาทสำคัญในการพัฒนาความรู้ต่างๆเกี่ยวกับภาษาทำให้ผู้เรียนสามารถใช้ภาษาได้อย่างอัตโนมัติ กลวิธีด้านความจำเป็นแบ่งกลวิธีย่อยได้สี่กลวิธี ดังนี้

            1.1 การสร้างเครือข่ายความรู้ทางสมอง (Creating mental linkage) ได้แก่ การจัดกลุ่มคำศัพท์ การนำความรู้ใหม่ไปสัมผัสกับความรู้เดิม และการนำคำศัพท์ใหม่ไปใช้ในบริบท

            1.2 การเสริมสร้างความจำโดยใช้ภาพและเสียง (Applying images and sounds) ได้แก่ จินตนาการ การใช้คำสำคัญ และการเพิ่มความจำโดยใช้เสียงช่วย

            1.3 การเสริมสร้างความจำโดยใช้ท่าทาง (Reviewing well) ได้แก่การทบทวนโครงสร้างทางภาษา และการทบทวนคำศัพท์

            1.4 การเสริมสร้างความจำโดยใช้ท่าทาง (Employing action ) ได้แก่ การใช้ท่าทางและความรู้สึกประกอบการอธิบาย การใช้เทคนิคด้านกลไก เช่น การเขียนคำศัพท์ต่างๆ บนบัตรคำและเคลื่อนย้ายบัตรคำ

      2. กลวิธีด้านความรู้ความคิด (Cognitive strategies) หมายถึง กลวิธีที่เกี่ยวข้องกับกระบวนการทางสมอง โดยผู้เรียนกำหนด และปฏิบัติด้วยตนเอง เพื่อให้มีส่วนร่วมในการใช้ภาษา กลวิธีนี้ผู้เรียนใช้มากกว่ากลวิธีอื่นๆ ได้แก่

            2.1 การฝึกฝน (Practice) ได้แก่ การพูดซ้ำๆ การฝึกเขียนหรือพูดอย่างมีรูปแบบ การจำและใช้กฎเกณฑ์ของภาษา การเชื่อมคำหรือวลีให้เป็นประโยค และการฝึกอย่างเป็นธรรมชาติ

            2.2 การรับและส่งสาร (Receiving and sending messages) ได้แก่ การจับใจความอย่างรวดเร็ว เช่น การฟังหรืออ่านเพื่อจับใจความสำคัญ หรือเพื่อหาข้อมูลเฉพาะจุดที่ต้องการ และการใช้แหล่งข้อมูลในการรับและส่งสาร

            2.3 การวิเคราะห์และการให้เหตุผล (Analyzing and reasoning) ได้แก่ การให้เหตุผลโดยใช้กฎเกณฑ์ การวิเคราะห์คำพูดหรือข้อความ การวิเคราะห์เปรียบเทียบองค์ประกอบของภาษาระหว่างภาษาเป้าหมายกับภาษาแม่ การแปล และการถ่ายโอนความรู้จากภาษาแม่ไปใช้ในภาษาเป้าหมาย

            2.4 การสร้างแบบหรือโครงสร้างของสารที่รับและส่งขึ้นมาใหม่ (Creating structure for input and output) ได้แก่ การจดโน๊ตย่อ การสรุปความ และการสร้างความเด่นชัดให้กับใจความสำคัญ เช่น ขีเส้นใต้ การทำเครื่องหมายดอกจันที่ข้อความ

      3. กลวิธีการชดเชยข้อบกพร่อง (Compensation strategies) หมายถึง กลวิธีที่ผู้เรียนใช้เพื่อสื่อสารและเดาความหมาย เมื่อพบปัญหาในการเรียนหรือการใช้ภาษาเป้าหมายนั้น กลวิธีนี้แบ่งได้ ดังนี้

            3.1 การเดาอย่างมีหลักการ (Guessing intelligently) ได้แก่ การเดาโดยใช้ตัวชี้แนะทางภาษา และการเดาโดยใช้ตัวชี้แนะด้านอื่นๆ เช่น การเดาจากสถานการณ์ปริบท โครงสร้างของข้อความหรือความสัมพันธ์ระหว่างคำ

            3.2 การแก้ไขข้อจำกัดทางภาษา (Overcoming limitations writing) การแก้ไขข้อจำกัดทางภาษาในที่นี้คือ ข้อจำกัดในทักษะการพูดและเขียน เช่น การใช้คำในภาษาแม่แทนคำศัพท์ที่ติดขัด การใช้ท่าทางประกอบการพูด การเลี่ยงใช้คำบางคำที่ไม่สามารถนำมาใช้ในการสื่อสาร หรือการปรับสารให้ง่ายขึ้น เป็นต้น

      กลวิธีในการเรียนทางอ้อม (Indirect strategies) หมายถึง กลวิธีที่ผู้เรียนใช้ในการจัดการกับการเรียนและส่งเสริม รวมทั้งควบคุมกระบวนการเรียนของตน เนื่องจากในการเรียนภาษาต่างประเทศนั้นผู้เรียนต้องพบกับความแตกต่างระหว่างภาษาแม่กับภาษาเป้าหมาย ไม่ว่าจะเป็นด้านคำศัพท์ กฎเกณฑ์ และโครงสร้างทางภาษา วิธีการสอนที่ผู้สอนนำมาใช้ วัฒนธรรมและสังคม การใช้กลวิธีนี้ช่วยให้ผู้เรียนนำมาใช้จัดการกับปัญหาที่เกิดขึ้นได้ กลวิธีดังกล่าวแบ่งได้ดังนี้

      1. กลวิธีที่นำไปสู่ความสำเร็จ (Metacognitive strategies) หมายถึง กลวิธีที่ผู้เรียนใช้ในการวางแผนการเรียน เพื่อใช้กระบวนการเรียนเป็นไปอย่างมีประสิทธิภาพยิ่งขึ้น นอกจากนี้ยังหมายถึงกลวิธีผู้เรียนใช้ในการประเมินผล และตรวจสอบข้อผิดพลาดในการเรียนด้วย สามารถแบ่งได้เป็น

            1.1 การเอาใจใส่ต่อการเรียน (Centering your learning) เช่น การเอาใจใส่กับงานที่ได้รับมอบหมาย หรือการตั้งใจฟังจนกว่าจะพร้อมแล้วจึงพูด

            1.2 การจัดการและการวางแผนการเรียน (Arranging and planning your learning) เช่น การค้นหาวิธีการเรียนที่ได้ผล การจัดสภาพแวดล้อมเพื่อเอื้อต่อการเรียนรู้ การวางจุดประสงค์ของการทำงานแต่ละชิ้น หรือการวางแผนไว้ล่วงหน้าสำหรับงานที่ได้รับแต่ละชิ้น

            1.3 การประเมินผลการเรียน (Evaluating your learning) เช่น การควบคุมและตรวจสอบตนเองโดยค้นหาข้อผิดพลาดที่เกิดขึ้นในด้านความเข้าใจ การใช้ภาษา หรือการประเมินความก้าวหน้าในการเรียนของตน

      2. กลวิธีด้านอารมณ์ (Affective strategies) หมายถึง กลวิธีที่ผู้เรียนใช้เพื่อควบคุมอารมณ์และทัศนคติในการเรียน รวมทั้งใช้กลวิธีในการส่งเสริมหรือพัฒนาความเชื่อมั่นในตนเอง กลวิธีดังกล่าวแบ่งได้ ดังนี้

            2.1 การลดความวิตกกังวล (Lowering your anxiety) เช่น การผ่อนคลายกล้ามเนื้อ การหายใจลึกๆ การเพ่งหรือทำสมาธิ การใช้ดนตรีเพื่อช่วยลดความตื่นกลัวหรือความเครียด หรือการดูภาพยนตร์ตลก

            2.2 การให้กำลังใจตนเอง (Encouraging yourself) เช่น การพูดชมเชยตนเองเพื่อเสริมแรงในการเรียน หรือการกล้าลองใช้ภาษาอย่างฉลาดในการพูดหรือเขียน แม้จะพบข้อผิดพลาดบ้างก็ตาม

            2.3 การตรวจสอบระดับจิตใจและอารมณ์ของตนเอง (Taking your emotional temperature) เช่น การใช้แบบสำรวจเพื่อตรวจสอบความรู้สึก ทัศนคติ และแรงจูงใจของตนเองที่มีต่อการเรียนภาษา การเขียนบันทึกประจำวันเกี่ยวกับความรู้สึก อารมณ์ และเหตุการณ์ที่เกิดขึ้นในระหว่างการเรียนภาษาของตน หรือการสนทนากับบุคคลอื่นถึงความรู้สึกของตนเองในการเรียนภาษา เป็นต้น

      3) กลวิธีด้านสังคม (Social strategies) หมายถึง กลวิธีที่จำเป็นต้องใช้เมื่อผู้เรียนมีการปฏิสัมพันธ์กับบุคคลอื่น เพราะภาษาเป็นพฤติกรรมทางสังคมซึ่งการสื่อสารทางภาษาจะเกิดขึ้นระหว่างบุคคลกับบุคคลอื่นๆ ด้วย กลวิธีทางสังคมนี้จะช่วยส่งเสริมให้ผู้เรียนมีความสามารถเพิ่มขึ้นในการพัฒนาความเข้าใจ ความคิด และความรู้สึกของผู้อื่น กลวิธีนี้มีดังนี้

            3.1 การถามคำถาม (Asking questions) เช่น การถาม หรือการขอคำอธิบายเพื่อขอความกระจ่าง การขอให้ผู้พูดย้ำคำพูด หรือพูดซ้ำอีกครั้ง หรือการถามเพื่อตรวจสอบความถูกต้องของข้อมูล

            3.2 การทำงานร่วมกับผู้อื่น (Cooperating with others) ไดแก่ การทำงานกับผู้อื่นที่มีความสามารถในการใช้ภาษาเป้าหมาย

            3.3 การคำนึงถึงผู้อื่นและแสดงความเข้าใจผู้อื่น (Empathizing with others) ได้แก่ การพัฒนาความเข้าใจด้านวัฒนธรรมของผู้อื่น และการคำนึงถึงความคิดและความรู้สึกของผู้อื่น


An article discussing different models for the organization of language lessons, including Task-Based Learning.

What is TBL?

How often do we as teachers ask our students to do something in class which they would do in everyday life using their own language? Probably not often enough.

If we can make language in the classroom meaningful therefore memorable, students can process language which is being learned or recycled more naturally.

Task-based learning offers the student an opportunity to do exactly this. The primary focus of classroom activity is the task and language is the instrument which the students use to complete it. The task is an activity in which students use language to achieve a specific outcome. The activity reflects real life and learners focus on meaning, they are free to use any language they want. Playing a game, solving a problem or sharing information or experiences, can all be considered as relevant and authentic tasks. In TBL an activity in which students are given a list of words to use cannot be considered as a genuine task. Nor can a normal role play if it does not contain a problem-solving element or where students are not given a goal to reach. In many role plays students simply act out their restricted role. For instance, a role play where students have to act out roles as company directors but must come to an agreement or find the right solution within the given time limit can be considered a genuine task in TBL.

In the task-based lessons included below our aim is to create a need to learn and use language. The tasks will generate their own language and create an opportunity for language acquisition (Krashen*). If we can take the focus away from form and structures we can develop our students’ ability to do things in English. That is not to say that there will be no attention paid to accuracy, work on language is included in each task and feedback and language focus have their places in the lesson plans. We feel that teachers have a responsibility to enrich their students’ language when they see it is necessary but students should be given the opportunity to use English in the classroom as they use their own languages in everyday life.

How can I use TBL in the classroom?

Most of the task-based lessons in this section are what Scrivener** classifies as authentic and follow the task structure proposed by Willis and Willis***.

Each task will be organized in the following way:

  • Pre-task activity an introduction to topic and task
  • Task cycle: Task > Planning > Report
  • Language Focus and Feedback

A balance should be kept between fluency, which is what the task provides, and accuracy, which is provided by task feedback.

A traditional model for the organization of language lessons, both in the classroom and in course-books, has long been the PPP approach (presentation, practice, production). With this model individual language items (for example, the past continuous) are presented by the teacher, then practised in the form of spoken and written exercises (often pattern drills), and then used by the learners in less controlled speaking or writing activities. Although the grammar point presented at the beginning of this procedure may well fit neatly into a grammatical syllabus, a frequent criticism of this approach is the apparent arbitrariness of the selected grammar point, which may or may not meet the linguistic needs of the learners, and the fact that the production stage is often based on a rather inauthentic emphasis on the chosen structure.

An alternative to the PPP model is the Test-Teach-Test approach (TTT), in which the production stage comes first and the learners are "thrown in at the deep end" and required to perform a particular task (a role play, for example). This is followed by the teacher dealing with some of the grammatical or lexical problems that arose in the first stage and the learners then being required either to perform the initial task again or to perform a similar task. The language presented in the ‘teach’ stage can be predicted if the initial production task is carefully chosen but there is a danger of randomness in this model.

Jane Willis (1996), in her book ‘A Framework for Task-Based Learning’, outlines a third model for organizing lessons. While this is not a radical departure from TTT, it does present a model that is based on sound theoretical foundations and one which takes account of the need for authentic communication. Task-based learning (TBL) is typically based on three stages. The first of these is the pre-task stage, during which the teacher introduces and defines the topic and the learners engage in activities that either help them to recall words and phrases that will be useful during the performance of the main task or to learn new words and phrases that are essential to the task. This stage is followed by what Willis calls the "task cycle". Here the learners perform the task (typically a reading or listening exercise or a problem-solving exercise) in pairs or small groups. They then prepare a report for the whole class on how they did the task and what conclusions they reached. Finally, they present their findings to the class in spoken or written form. The final stage is the language focus stage, during which specific language features from the task and highlighted and worked on. Feedback on the learners’ performance at the reporting stage may also be appropriate at this point.

The main advantages of TBL are that language is used for a genuine purpose meaning that real communication should take place, and that at the stage where the learners are preparing their report for the whole class, they are forced to consider language form in general rather than concentrating on a single form (as in the PPP model). Whereas the aim of the PPP model is to lead from accuracy to fluency, the aim of TBL is to integrate all four skills and to move from fluency to accuracy plus fluency. The range of tasks available (reading texts, listening texts, problem-solving, role-plays, questionnaires, etc) offers a great deal of flexibility in this model and should lead to more motivating activities for the learners.

Learners who are used to a more traditional approach based on a grammatical syllabus may find it difficult to come to terms with the apparent randomness of TBL, but if TBL is integrated with a systematic approach to grammar and lexis, the outcome can be a comprehensive, all-round approach that can be adapted to meet the needs of all learners.

Tasks: Getting to know your centre

The object of the following two tasks is for students to use English to:

  • Find out what resources are available to them and how they can use their resource room.
  • Meet and talk to each of the teachers in their centre.

To do these tasks you will require the PDF worksheets at the bottom of the page.

Task 1: Getting to know your resources

Level: Pre-intermediate and above

It is assumed in this lesson that your school has the following student resources; books (graded readers), video, magazines and Internet. Don’t worry if it doesn’t, the lesson can be adjusted accordingly.

Pre-task preparation: One of the tasks is a video exercise which involves viewing a movie clip with the sound turned off. This can be any movie depending on availability, but the clip has to involve a conversation between two people.

Pre-task activity: In pairs students discuss the following questions:

  • Do you use English outside the classroom?
  • How?
  • What ways can you practise English outside the classroom?

Stage one - Running dictation
Put the text from worksheet one on the wall either inside or outside the classroom. Organize your students into pairs. One student will then go to the text, read the text and then go back to her partner and relay the information to her. The partner who stays at the desk writes this information. When teams have finished check for accuracy. You can make this competitive should you wish.

Stage two
In pairs students then read the Getting To Know Your Resources task sheet (worksheet two). Check any problem vocabulary at this stage. This worksheet can be adapted according to the resource room at your school.

  • Stage three
    Depending on how the resources are organized in your centre, students then go, in pairs, to the resource room or wherever the resources are kept and complete the tasks on the task sheet.
  • Stage four
    Working with a different partner students now compare and share their experience.
  • Stage five - Feedback
    Having monitored the activity and the final stage, use this opportunity to make comments on your students’ performance. This may take form of a correction slot on errors or pronunciation, providing a self-correction slot.

Task 2 - Getting to know your teachers

Level: Pre-intermediate and above

Students may need at least a week to do this activity, depending on the availability of the teachers in your centre

Pre-task activity: In pairs students talk about an English teacher they have had.

  • What was her name?
  • Where was she from?
  • How old was she?
  • Do you remember any of her lessons?
  • What was your favourite activity in her class?

Stage one
Using the Getting To Know Your Teachers task sheet (worksheet three) and the Interview Questions (worksheet four) students write the questions for the questionnaire they are going to use to interview the teachers.

Stage two
To set up the activity students then interview you and record the information.

Stage three
Depending on which teachers are free at this time they can then go and interview other teachers and record the information. You may wish to bring other teachers into your class to be interviewed or alternatively give your students a week or so to complete the task, interviewing teachers before or after class, or whenever they come to the centre.

Stage four
Working with a different partner students compare their answers and experiences then decide on their final answers on the superlative questions.

Stage five
Feedback and reflection. Allow time for students to express their opinions and experiences of the activity. Provide any feedback you feel is necessary.

Further activities

The Get To Know Your Resources task sheet could be turned into a school competition entry form. Possible prizes could include a video or some readers.


*Krashen, S. (1996). The Natural Approach: Language Acquisition in the Classroom. Prentice Hall
**Scrivener, J. (2005). Learning Teaching. Macmillan.
Anchor Point:bottom***Willis, J. & Willis, D. (eds.) (1996). Challenge and Change in Language Teaching. Macmillan (now out of print).

Content-Based Learning
What is content-based learning?

The focus of a CBL lesson is on the topic or subject matter such as global warming, the Civil War, science, math, or social studies. During the lesson, students are made to focus on learning about something. This could be anything that interests them, from a serious science subject to their favourite pop star, or even a topical news story or film. They learn about this subject using the language they are trying to learn, rather than their native language, as a tool for developing knowledge, so they develop their linguistic ability in the target language. This approach is thought to be a more natural way of developing language ability and one that corresponds more to the way we originally learn our first language.

What does a content-based learning lesson look like?
There are many ways to approach creating a CBL lesson. Listed below is one
possible way.
1. Choose a subject of interest to students.

2. Find three or four suitable sources that deal with different aspects of the subject. Be aware that these could be websites, reference books, or audio or video of lectures or even real people.

During the lesson:
1. Divide the class into small groups and assign each group a small research task
and a source of information to use to help them fulfil the task.
2. Then once they have done their research they form new groups with students
that used other information sources and share and compare their information.

3. There should then be some product as the end result of this sharing of information which could take the form of a group report or presentation of some kind.

Teachers' perspectives

Teachers in content-based learning may be content specialists who use the target language for instruction, or language specialists who are using content for language instruction. To be effective in their roles, they will need the knowledge, skills and concepts required for content delivery in the target language. All teachers in content-based learning have similar professional needs, but the degree to which they will need certain knowledge or skills may vary by their assignment. To be successful, it will be helpful for teachers to be well prepared in the following areas.

Content knowledge:

Obviously, it will be hard to teach content if teachers do not know it themselves. While content teachers will be prepared in their own disciplines, it may be particularly challenging for teachers trained as language specialists who are not

September, 4th 2009
Project based Learning

Standards-Based Instruction

There are many sites on the Web that provide you with ready-made lesson plans. This site is different. We want you to be able to create your own Internet-based lessons that are aligned with the Texas State Standards.

We've developed a few lessons as examples, with live links, that can provide you with a quick overview of how to use the Internet in the K-12 classroom. We've followed a standard template in designing these sample lessons.

For ease of use, we suggest that you explore each of the following sections in order.

I. Learn how to design, develop, implement, and evaluate an Internet-based lesson using a four-step instructional design process. These four steps comprise:

1. Creating Clear Learning Objectives
2. Designing a Lesson
3. Implementing a Lesson
4. Evaluating the Effectiveness of the Lesson

II. Explore some sample lessons that we developed to illustrate this process.

III. Now use this form to design your own lesson.

IV. Here's some information and ideas from teachers who have successfully integrated technology into their curricula.

  • Assessment
    Learn how to develop an assessment that is aligned with your lesson.
  • Success Stories
    Read some technology success stories submitted by distinguished Texas educators.
  • Lesson Bank
    Check out our sharable database of Internet-based lessons that teachers created using this website.

Creating Clear Learning Objectives

The best place to begin is to locate the content standards you need to address. You may want to read the definitions of content and performance standards in Using Texas Standards in Instructional Design. This link also lists the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) used as examples in this guide and provides tips on navigating through the Texas Standards.

If you're a teacher or aspiring teacher from a state other than Texas, then you can search the Align to Achieve State Standards Database. It is organized by state, grade level and content area.

Once you've found the standards you wish to address, write them down or copy them to your word processor so you'll have them available when you're ready to design your own lesson. You'll need to use the "back" button to return from the TEKS to this page. You may wish to use the following questions as guidelines for choosing your objectives.

  • What type of lesson might support those standards? (For example, direct instruction, inquiry learning, collaborative projects, WebQuests, etc.)
  • How does this lesson address the learning styles and needs of your students?
  • What review of prerequisite skills and knowledge is necessary?
  • Will your students be motivated by this lesson?
  • Do they see the value and relevance of this lesson? 

Content-based learning, or CBL, is a way of teaching a language to new learners. Rather than concentrate on grammar or vocabulary exercises, CBL encourages learners to solve problems or explore topics using their new language. For example, the teacher might require students to follow or write recipes in the language they are learning. For children, CBL can make language learning more enjoyable, freeing them from textbook exercises and allowing them to follow their own interests using magazines, books, or comics about topics they are studying.

  1. Preparation

    • The teacher collects a diverse range of resources---for example, books, comics, newspapers, magazines, website links or DVDs---in the language to be learned. They choose resources that all have information on a topic about which the children have expressed an interest, which might include such diverse subjects as sports, cars, animals, music, films, dinosaurs or anything else for which they have a genuine enthusiasm. CBL does not specify which resources children should use for their learning, allowing individuals to choose the material they find most appealing.

    Lesson Activities

    • The children are challenged to complete a research task using the resources the teacher has prepared. If the topic were volcanoes, the teacher might ask the children to find out what causes a volcanic eruption and to list the ten highest active volcanic peaks. The teacher's role is to help the children refine their task, by asking questions, aiding with translation or pronunciation or by guiding them toward specific materials. The teacher might go on to ask the children to write a report about what they have found out, or give a verbal presentation, using their new language as far as possible.


    • The big idea behind CBL is that it allows children to "appropriate," or be in charge of, the learning task. The teacher's role is to facilitate this. Rather than complete a set textbook exercise about a specific language feature, children research and discover more about subject-matter that interests them. CBL aims to build on the children's enthusiasm for such content or subject matter, encouraging them to focus more on this and less on the mechanics of language learning. Proponents of CBL claim this makes the learning more concrete and less abstract, suggesting that it results in language learning that is less forced and more natural.

    Other Benefits

    • As the children explore and investigate their source material, they must employ a range of study skills involved in comparing several sources of information and locating, selecting, summarizing and arranging facts in response to a given challenge and communicating their findings. At its best, CBL can develop inquiring minds, enhance problem-solving ability and encourage children to become independent thinkers. According to Professor Fredricka L. Stoller of Northern Arizona University, content-based learning prepares students "to be life-long learners."


    • There may be drawbacks to the content-based approach, however. It's not always easy to find appropriate source material. In addition, in its emphasis on children following their own agenda, content-based learning runs the risk of them avoiding the aspects of language learning they find unappealing. It can be hard for the teacher to ensure that they are applying sufficient rigor to tasks. It may be necessary to give additional exercises, for example, on details of spelling and grammar.

Ads by Google


Read more: Content-Based Learning for Children | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/about_6511167_content_based-learning-children.html#ixzz1Y7asPEgf

Saisunee Jitprapai,
6 ก.ย. 2554 06:19
Saisunee Jitprapai,
6 ก.ย. 2554 06:17
Saisunee Jitprapai,
6 ก.ย. 2554 06:20
Saisunee Jitprapai,
28 ก.ค. 2554 22:22
Saisunee Jitprapai,
28 ก.ค. 2554 22:23
Saisunee Jitprapai,
6 ก.ย. 2554 06:21