19. Some ELT Tasks

9 08 2010

These are notes prepared by the author during the 5th International and 41st Annual ELTAI Conference organized by Anna Adarsh College for Women, Anna Nagar, Chennai from 5th to 7th August 2010

*Asking Creative Comprehension Questions  to primary level learners is important. It helps them to relate to the characters in the story and think and use language.

* Using Total Physical Response to teach primary level learners is an effective approach. For example all pupils can hold a balloon each and  on instruction from the teacher show; The balloon is now on my right, the balloon is now behind me, the balloon is now above me etc.

* Technology creates  a suitable  learning environment for students to master the English language. A few tasks using technology would include the following

Tasks using audio based materials:

* Retell the story you listened to using your own language

* Associate sound with the text

* Imitate the way you heard it

Tasks using video material

* Writing discourses

* Compare and contrast the video and the text

* Narrate the story

Tasks using advertisement

* Identify the homophones





18. Learner Training

9 08 2010

Ms. Amy Lightfoot, Teacher Trainer, UK delivered a lecture entitled Teaching the horse to drink : say goodbye to empty vessels- Learner Training during the Fifth International and Forty-first Annual ELT@I  Conference, organized by the Department of English, Anna Adarsh College for Women, Anna Nagar, Chennai from 5th to 7th August 2010.

The following are excepts from her lecture:

Learner training is particularly important for those who are learning English in a large class. Learner training involves :

* Considering student ‘motivation’

* Shifting ‘responsibility’

* Encouraging ‘reflection’

* Developing study skills

* Building confidence

* Encouraging experimentation

For some teachers helping students learn  how to learn may require a shift in style of teaching. It is important to remember that our attitude to the language we are learning can shape our motivation for learning it. Teachers should consciously try to encourage students to take responsibility for their own learning.





17. Some Howlers in English

9 08 2010

Prof. Krishnaswamy Natesan, Consultant and Author, Former Professor, CIEFL, Hyderabad delivered a lecture entitled English, Yes, but… during the Fifth International and Forty-first Annual ELT@I  Conference, organized by the Department of English, Anna Adarsh College for Women, Anna Nagar, Chennai from 5th to 7th August 2010.

According to Prof. Krishnaswamy, howlers are quite common in India. He recalled an instance of his correcting a paper for the Civil Services Examination, for  the prestigious job in the country: A candidate had written : “ Indian women eat their husbands before they eat themselves. The candidate had obviously meant that the women take food only after serving food to their husbands.

Given below are a few howlers which he came across while visiting different countries:

 China :

 At a swimming pool :  “ Fall into water carefully”

 A low roof  bus :  “ Bump your head carefully”

At toilet entrance : “ Free toilet paper, treasure the use”

Norway : At a bar : “ Ladies are not allowed to have  a child in the bar”

Rome: At the entrance of a clinic “ Specialist in women and other diseases”

Japan : At a bar : “ Special cocktail for ladies with nuts”

Poland : At a restaurant : “ Hall preparation in our restaurant personally passed by our chef”





16. Critical and Creative Thinking

9 08 2010

Mr. Cray Staggs of the  US Department of State, Senior English Language Fellow for Beijing delivered a lecture on  Critical and Creative Thinking during the Fifth International and Forty-first Annual ELT@I  Conference, organized by the Department of English, Anna Adarsh College for Women, Anna Nagar, Chennai from 5th to 7th August 2010.

The following are excepts from his lecture:

Critical and Creative thinking is a necessary skill for everyone.  Creative thinking can be  seen as creating many possible solutions to a problem situation. Critical thinking  can be seen as being able to test, assess and evaluate the possible solution. What is important is to help and  encourage  our learners to ask questions. A healthy skepticism and  a curious mind is essential for learners.

* The critical thinker would be more interested in focussing on :

   clarity vs  unclear                 precision vs  imprecision               specific vs vague

Given below are examples of  tasks that involve thinking:

* Conducting a debate about an issue of special interest  ( Analyse / synthesize)

* Write a biography of a person you are studying about (Recall knowledge/ Comprehend/ Apply)

* Create a new product, name it and plan  a marketing campaign (Application / Synthesis)

* Design a questionnaire  to gather information ( Application/ Analysis/ Synthesis)

The pedagogical implication  for including Critical and Creative thinking would be the following :

* We need to have in our curriculum scope for problem-based tasks and encourage open ended questions

* Teachers should focus on classroom dynamics

* The classroom tone is also important

* The kind of questions asked by the teacher is very important.

Incorporating and ensuring the teaching of critical thinking skills should be regarded as essential  in educational programmes. English and foreign language courses should advocate classroom design that promotes not only language skills but also creative and critical thinking skills. For the EFL educator its application would mean  making learners seek alternatives, make inferences, pose questions and solve problems.