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ESL forum > Techniques and methods in Language Teaching > Communicative language teaching    

Communicative language teaching



piranhac
Tunisia

Communicative language teaching
 
Dear  all
 I have always worked on improving my teaching and my knowledge of it and despite reading a lot of books (mostly free pdf ) and FORUM  articles i always feel stuck  and exasperated because i face obstacles related mostly to  the level of students and time management .this is why I am turning to you to tell  me about any helpful books (books only) that will help me .I need free books because i can not buy any (  foreign payment is blocked  here )
thanks a lot  

30 Sep 2017      



fathi
Tunisia

Hi Piranhac,
 
Teaching is mostly  a question of practice. It ´s true that books are helpful, but they are not the only option that help you improve your teaching practice. When I first started my job , I remember, I learned a lot from my colleagues. We used to attend exemplar lessons weekly and discuss with the teachers leading them.. When it comes to ELT, I think that the learning environment is very crucial.. Once students start to enjoy the activities, things will get much easier... One more thing try to vary the strategies you are using... Many times things do not go the way you expect.. No problem.. Make self reflection and make some changes or try an other one till you get to know how to make your lessons enjoyable
 
Wishing you the best of Luck

30 Sep 2017     



cunliffe
United Kingdom

I advise all esl teachers to read ´Teaching English Grammar ´ by Jim Scrivener. I have it in pdf form, so it must be obtainable. It ´s really practical and gives you concrete examples of how to teach tenses, etc.

30 Sep 2017     



nasreddine Sarsar
Tunisia

Hi bro, The skill of teaching cannot be honed by simply reading methodology books. It’s enhanced by good practice and reflections (on action and in action) on your practices. Having a mixed ability class is a challenge to most ESL teachers. Differentiated instruction is the key to overcoming such a challenge. Instead of turning to books, why don’t you involve your colleagues and set up an action plan to address the issue of how to deal with mixed ability classes. I’m an English teacher from Tunisia, and performing alone in our classrooms is a common practice. Whatever is said in books may not be appropriate to your situation. Nonetheless, if you discuss this with your colleagues and try to find solutions, I think you will improve your teaching practices. I am of the opinion that you should create a professional learning community, and together you can side step any issue. Professional development should be self initiated, and instead of regurgitating what you read in books, try to come up with your own theory of teaching that suits your students the best. I hope my response will be of some help to you brother.

1 Oct 2017     



nasreddine Sarsar
Tunisia

Cunliffe Teaching grammar will not help your students be effective communicators. Grammar should be taught for communication purposes only. The more exposure to authentic English your students get, the more likely they will learn the grammar of the language. I am a constructivist at heart, yet I sometimes draw upon Krashen’s natural approach. Expose your students to authentic English and let the LAD (Chomsky’s Langusge Acquisition Device) do its job. Your students are lucky because you’re a native speaker of English. They have the chance to hear ‘natural’ English, which will certainly boost their acquisition.

1 Oct 2017     



ldthemagicman
United Kingdom

Dear Piranhac.

I am a native English speaker in the UK, an ESOL teacher for almost 20 years, with 100s of foreign students from many different countries, from Beginners to IELTS standard.

I agree with Cunliffe.

Piranhac, you asked for advice about books, (BOOKS ONLY). Cunliffe answered that request precisely, because she had read the question carefully. In my opinion she answered it very well.

I have met Lynne Cunliffe. She is a VERY experienced, capable, and knowledgeable teacher. ESLP is lucky to have her as a Member.

Generally speaking, my experience of students from other countries is that, when they come to this country, their knowledge of English grammar is NOT good. “I very like banana. My brother like banana. My sister not like banana. Yesterday, my father eat banana.”

Obviously, these sentences were written by me. But, they show examples of very basic errors which students, including advanced students, make again and again. When I ask them why they use that particular structure, they often answer, “My teacher say that.” (OR) “My friend say that.”

Some teachers may claim that basic, grammatical errors such as these are not important. I leave the Members to judge that for themselves.

I enjoy teaching English very much indeed. The principal reason is because I have met so many excellent students, whose English was a joy to hear. As they advanced up through the College levels, they kept in touch with me. Many of them went to University, and now, 10 years later, they are married and have successful careers.

I believe that books, especially those produced by well-known, reputable Publishers, are a very useful source of learning material. Some Internet courses are of good quality. Many are very bad quality, and are littered with childish errors of every kind: spelling, punctuation, bad grammar, incorrect word order, and wrong information. Beware of these!

I have been using computers for 35 years or so. They have several good points.

However, I think that books will continue to be in service for many years to come.

Les Douglas

 

1 Oct 2017     



cunliffe
United Kingdom

Thank you, Les! 
Dear Nasreddine, you are dismissing books, but quoting Chomsky and Krashen - perhaps they communicated with you in a dream?;-)
 As a teacher, I would never disrespect books, although as Les says, there are good and bad. Having said that, the book I recommended is not hifalutin theory; on the contrary, it consists of practical examples for teachers to use and adapt. As for ´grammar ´ - I wouldn ´t teach it to youngsters.However, after age eleven, it ´s more difficult to absorb a new language. I think it is helpful to point out the patterns, the basic structures, which can avoid confusion. Edit: Actually, I think it´s remiss not to. A good teacher shows the pattern and this allows the students to create.
I ´ve already had a pm from a student teacher who has read that book and she has thanked me for the recommendation (just by the way). I would give an example of how that author advises introducing the past simple tense, but the post is getting a bit long.... I think we are singing from the same hymn sheet - we can all learn from others and as Les points out, books are a valuable  means of communication. 
Lynne
Edit (2)
Hey, I´m not advocating teaching grammar in isolation! But ignoring it is so old fashioned; nasty dogma. 

2 Oct 2017     



Gi2gi
Georgia

Dare I add a few comments about the use of grammar textbooks and coursebooks from a non-native speaker ´s perspective?
 
Back in the Soviet Union where I was born, "live English" was a thing you could hear on banned and censored audio cassettes and I remember well that I would climb to the roof of a high-rise building to catch some BBC broadcast on a radio. Not surprisingly, books were my only means of learning the language. And in my youth I read the British and American classics, along with some very strange grammar books from Soviet authors. I say strange because now I have the chance to compare... Would any one of you, dear teachers and ex-colleagues , ever dream of teaching something like ´ the nominal infinitive construction ´ or ´perfect forms of the participles in a complex object after the verbs of perception? ´ well, I did, because I thought it was normal back then... And the teenagers learnt it, and those teenagers, who are now lecturing in language schools in the States or Canada, will never have second thoughts about the necessity of grammar or grammar books. I do not advocate this method, but without a sound grammar course, complemented with other skills, you are never going to have a proper knowledge of a language. 
 
English grammar is now being intentionally buried under the heavy burden of ´communicative ´ skills, you will now see a German talking to a Dutch in an "English-like" language that would raise eyebrows of any native speaker - a language is NOT all about understanding and being understood, it is the inheritance one should cherish.
 

2 Oct 2017     



Schantony
China

Dear all,
it ´s enlightening to see all that you talked about above. I have the same doubt and problem with Piranhac. I remembered it was fun learning English when I was young. When I graduated from senior high school, I made the decision that I would be an English teacher myself. So I majored in ESL teaching in college and now i have been out of college for longer than three years. However, while teaching English, I found it not as interesting as it was when i learned it. It is just difficult to get the students involved in class activities. I kind of felt frustrated at times.
As for how to improve teaching proficiency or how to improve students ´ language ability, i agree with Nasreddine. It is better to expose students to authentic language environment as much as possible, which, however, is not always available for students learning English as a foreign language. At the same time, Cunliffe is also having the wonderful idea. Books with teaching methods are helpful even though sometimes the methods provided are not appropriate for our own students. They could be thought-provoking  in a way so that we could adapt the methods to our own use.
Above being said, i feel quite honored to be a member of this community. It is really nice exchanging ideas with all of you.
For teaching grammar, here i also recommend one book, that is, Practical English Usage by Michael Swan. It explains grammar in a concise and precise way, using very simple English.
Anyway, wish you all a good day.
Schantony 

2 Oct 2017     



Schantony
China

Dear Cunliffe, 
I wonder if you could send me the  pdf version of the book Teaching English Grammar. I think it is useful for me to improve my teaching Grammar also it might be helpful for me to have a better understanding of English. And if you are interested in the book Practical English Usage, I ´d be very happy to share it with all of you.
Thanks in advance.
My email is 951297714@qq.com, and I am looking forward to your reply. Also, I ´d be very appreciative if we could have more discussions about English teaching. Hope we will have more sound communications. Good day!
Schantony 

2 Oct 2017     



piranhac
Tunisia

Dear teachers
I am overwhelmed with joy when I read your replies.How kind of you to post an answer , this will continue to fill me with joy for days to come.It is a pleasure  reading your valuable replies.All of them are of high importance becaus I think life is  all about learning .I will continue to lean on you to help me.
You are  great humans.  

2 Oct 2017     

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