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Task on a grammar teaching unit
On teaching of a particular unit for the learning and better understanding of grammar ,a teaching timetable has to be prepared that ensures a good coverage of the time available. Here, a teaching timetable for one week is prepared as follows:
Monday (8-8.30a.m) students preparing themselves for comprehension passages and writing work before the lesson commences with the teacher.
Tuesday (8.30-9:00) Actual lesson with the teacher, taking them through a light session in the comprehension passages and even previously covered work.
Wednesday11:00-1:00pm)Radio/Television program: It is a listening program for the students to identify certain language skills that have been covered during lectures .This will also boost the communication skills as the students expose themselves to the use of grammar. The students will also learn to summarize conversations from the presentations made. Students are to identify use of vocabulary from this programme. The teacher then issues out handouts for the next radio or television programme. (Bowen, Mark, 2008).
Friday (2:00-3:00pm) Dictation and oral work. The teacher presents a certain text through speaking as the students write it down. This helps to test the general understanding of grammar and all the other aspects of its structure and even punctuation. Students are also given tasks that involve role play. This helps to build their communication skills, ability to use that language effectively and promotes the ability to develop masterly of content
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This teaching timetable is to be adhered to strictly and after each teaching session, handouts for the next similar lessons are given out by the teacher to provide enough time for the students to prepare. Tasks on language work can emphasize on pronunciation, reading skills, listening skills, written and oral grammar exercises, dictation and role play presentations, emphasis on certain sound patterns, regular practice on writing, learning of new vocabulary covered in each chapter. Tasks on certain translation from one language to another are also covered, for example English to French. Writing can be done during free time and during preparation to spare more time with the teacher’s interaction.
B) Teaching approaches
The type and criteria used in teaching activity depends majorly on the type of learning activity .A learning activity can be defined as a the mutual association between a learner and the surrounding environment that comprises of the content to be covered, learning resources , tools and services carried out aiming at a specific response and learning goal.
The activity of learning is accomplished through completion of specified tasks in order to obtain desired learning goals as the required outcome. A learning activity comprises of; the learning context within which it occurs, that is the subject matter, the environment it occurs in and the intended learning outcomes.
Learning goals and outcomes can be cognitive in nature, affective in nature and psychomotor which is the acquiring and attaining of specific skills through the entire learning process. The learners should be enriched with all these at the end of the entire learning process. They should also be able to carry out specific tasks at end of that learning process through understanding, demonstration of those skills attained, designing of certain activities and tasks and generally become productive members of the society.
Learning activity also comprises of the various learning strategy and learning approaches that are classified into associative, cognitive and situative orders. It also entails the various tasks to be covered, which will also dictate the learning resources and tools to be used, associated interactions and the evaluation mechanism to be applied.
Depending on the type of learners who have enrolled in a certain class to learn a unit for a macro skill or grammar, for example, an elementary group and those at an advanced level, different teaching approaches are to be used for these groups of students because they have a varying leve of intellectual preparedness. Taking into consideration an advanced level of students, the following teaching approaches can be used:
a)Task based learning:
Language is organized into lessons and students are provided with tasks which they should carry out. The main aim of the classroom activity is that task that is to be carried out by students and the tool for conveying that message is use of language. In task based learning, students use language to obtain specified learning goal. Learners emphasize on the meaning of certain real life situations, experiences and passage of intended information by using that language. Task based learning emphasizes on the importance of learning and using that language that one is learning. Through these tasks, the students develop a new language of their own and create new opportunities for language development and acquisition with new structures and vocabulary. Teachers should try to build language use in students as the students make use of it in the task based assignments. Teachers should provide an introduction to a given topic, plan well for their lessons so that topics are effectively covered, facilitating good responses through evaluative reports .All these activities will ensure proper language structure, efficiency, fluent and accurate communication.
B) Content based learning;
This is when for example if you want to learn a new language, all other or part of the other subjects are also offered in that new language so that the learner has a wider application of that language being in use. That new language is being equipped through its study in the other languages hence the learner progressing more effectively in language development. This model of content based learning of language has more advantages as promotes motivation in learners and they develop anxiety to use of that language to acquire more developed skills.
C) Total physical learning
This model of learning emphasizes on the theory that the mind is always enhanced through interaction with the physical surrounding environment. It also lays emphasis on the criteria in which young children acquire language from their mothers during the infancy periods by responding physically to commands from their parents. In this approach, the learner of the new language has to listen to physical actions hence building up comprehension skills and acquisition of new words used in that language. Students are required to perform instructions as being commanded by the teacher. In a very friendly surrounding student can perform such tasks with ease and with fun. Through constant repetition of simple instructions, learners will develop good use that language. This approach though has some disadvantages in that the teacher has to equip the class with instructions, commands, physical responses and necessary information for quite some time before the activity becomes known and easily performed by the students. It is also hard for one to give instructions without using imperatives. If this model is integrated with other language tasks, it creates a motivating and useful approach in learning of language. A communicative language choice at beginning level can improve the activities in the total physical process as a teaching approach hence serving as good memory aids .It is also known that many of the classroom warmers and fillers on these principles of total physical process mechanism.( Richards, Jack C.; Theodore S. Rodgers 2001).
D) Teaching methods;
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The following teaching methods can be used to facilitate effective delivery of content to students
1) Lectures in class; this is conducted by the teacher and more often when covering large classes.
2) Class discussions: These are carried out in groups by students.
3) Choral speaking and role play: This is by individual members in a class being assigned particular tasks to take part in.
4) Debates; the students are allowed to carry out formative debates on certain issues in society.
5) Reading aloud. This specifically helps to equip learners with pronunciation and language skills in the learning of a new language.
E) Evaluation methods
E valuation is the process of assessing the performance level by considering the merit of a given task that is given. This can be conducted through examinations given out at the end of a given learning activity.
F) Unit Outline
-Simple reading of the language.
-Essay and passage comprehension.
G) Resource material
These are the learning resources that learners associate themselves so as to acquire necessary language structure and use. These materials include learning text books, journals, publications, print media forums, schemes of work, lesson plans and even the teaching time table. All these will facilitate effective learning. The learners should also be people of high intellectual ability in order to be able to use such resources. (Meddings, L and Thornbury, S 2009)
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2) Written Rationale
In handling a more advanced class of students who intend to learn a given language, a more comprehensive strategy to learning that language should be chosen when planning and designing the study pattern of that language and for effective acquisition of grammar and effective language use in communication. Thus, my design and plan for that unit will appear as follows:
A) Developing good reading and comprehension writing skills
Good skills in both reading and writing will be developed by repetition of teachers words in class, radio listening sessions in class, through warmers and fillers sessions like tutorials in class, through dictation periods, simple reading and writing programmes .These skills can also be acquired by prediction, comparing use of new words in a sentence and noting them down with their correct meanings identified, by also completing puzzles, translations to a well known language. These new words are then used in constructing correct sentences.
B) Developing Good Basic Knowledge On The Language
For any student to communicate effectively knowledge of correct structure and patterns of sentence construction are a major importance .Hence, areas such as correct sentence punctuation should be well covered during learning process, the genres and all other forms that a language falls in should be well taught .Aspects of good sentence structure should also be put in mind like correct spellings of words in a sentence and good paragraphing. These will constitute a good and comprehensive language study.
C) Developing the art of oral writing
This is through summarizing certain written texts, writing narratives, poems, writing argumentative essays and paraphrasing techniques. The use of this kind of approach to learning will be of significant importance as most traditional approaches to learning of grammar tend to imply the use and understanding of each individual word in a sentence will portray the meaning of the whole passage but this fails to interpret the text.
Research has also shown that the issue of comprehending is a dialogic act where meanings are achieved from good constructions and sentence interpretations. Meanings will come clearly out from a text gradually and attempts in any reading task are there to make meaning and hence comprehension is a task of meaning making. These new approaches to learning of a language should emphasize more on perspectives of meaning that is contained in a given text before acquiring the right information from a given text. This approach tries to emphasize on the specific context and the whole meaning contained in a given text. (Luke, Meddings, 2004
For effective study of grammar or a language, a text has to be contextualized and the initial will help to give it a general sense and then the component parts that follow can be examined to bring out correct meaning and hence correct information is obtained.
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