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Back to Home. Brown, H. Chapter 4. Developed by teacher Francisco Amador Garcia. July As we know, teaching is not only to have many strategies for the classroom; we have to choose such strategies, techniques, activities, episodes, or methodology from a certain catalogue stored in our minds, internet, books, and many sources teachers have at hand nowadays. Eliciting which technique or strategy to achieve certain goal is based on our personal criteria and experience but, do the strategies work for all people, groups, levels, ages, or classrooms?

Of course not. If we decide to include a strategy, we must know why we are doing it; it has to be according to the students, to the objective, to the purpose, and the function we are teaching. Teaching by principles Brown, H. Cognitive principles.

Related mainly to mental and intellectual functions. Principle 1: Automaticy. Overanalyzing language, thinking too much about its forms, and consciously lingering on rules of language all tend to impede this graduation to automaticy" Brown, , p.

First at all, I would like to tell what usually happens when I meet some of my former students in the school or the street. One of them is a second grader who, in the afternoon, works in a bakery next to where I live at.

Sometimes I meet this student in the evening and he, instead of saying hello or good evening, says aloud "May I come in? Some other three students, also second graders whom I usually meet during the break, always greet me with "This is Jairo's sweater" and point at their partner Jairo when doing so because an activity of saying whom the garments belonged to in class.

Jairo is one of the most advanced students of that group in fact from the school and, when the activity took place almost a year ago, he borrowed his sweater to be part of a set of garments which were used in the activity.

I believe that they use the expressions without thinking too much in the structure, only as something funny for them learned in the English class.

In the first case, I am sure that the "May I come in student" will be able to use the phrase whenever is needed; if he goes to an English speaking country he will ask for permission to enter as he has here in the English class. The second three students will probably analyze the phrase a little more if they would like to say whom another garment belongs to. They could be correct or incorrect but, they have a background to do it. Even though both phrases are short and used in the wrong context, they are used almost automatically.

In fact, one the main competencies of teaching proposed by Philippe Perrenoud, is creating situations of learning Perrenoud, In order to achieve automaticy, students need to be placed in situations where they can solve, real or fiction, problems or tasks.

From this, the importance when eliciting strategies for the classroom; the teacher has to select those strategies which could take students to achieve the goal, objective or purpose of the lesson. In secondary, we work with the functional syllabus approach and it is very helpful and clear to plan activities to achieve the goal; students are exposed to input and asked to use it in order to accomplish communicative functions and trying, usually, to have in mind the context where and when it can be used.

There is, or has to be, few grammar explanation. I remember a novice teacher who used to teach how to convert affirmative sentences into questions by giving numbers to parts of the speech, something like this: number 1 the personal pronoun, number 2 the simple present to be verb, and number 3 the direct object. Although grammar explanation is not harmful for kids, they had, first, recognize parts of the sentences, then to give a number to each part of the sentence, next to change the numbers and at the end, write the question.

Well, it is hard to acquire automaticy this way and it could be the same when abusing of translation. To acquire automaticy needs time and effort; it is not only the three hours per week in class but, by using the language in context in a purposely manner. Grammar also could be taught with games such as "Cows enjoy politics in April" where students form sentences from scrambled words, "The auction game" where students bid toy money for correct sentences, "The alphabeticon" where students form, or complete, sentences with tokens, or "Tic tac toe" where words are used to invent sentences.

Grammar is necessary but, if we always teach it in the traditional manner, could result boring. For me, it is better not to focus too much attention on it; in secondary boring means not meaningful to learn and it is the opposite we are working for. This is because the "school term has working days 49 weeks , the three weekly sessions minutes each make a total of 90 to hours of study per grade" Sep , p. A1 level, also named as Breakthrough, with 90 hours of study COE, , means that students who finish first grade: "Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type.

Can interact in simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help COE, ". As we can see, the goals are reasonably set; when a student finish the first grade should know to communicate personal information, talk about possessions, the downtown, the family with the help of the other speaker who must be patient and helpful.

So, students must reach this first level, at least, but anyone is saying that when finishing this first grade they have to be able to communicate in all situations. What I mean is that the common myth of "I learned nothing in secondary" is incorrect; If a person wants to learn a language, it is greatly related to time of study so, what students learn in secondary is only the base to continue learning during high school and college.

Unfortunately, few people continue practicing after leaving school and starting to work. One of my classmates in the university said once: "Speaking English is like playing the guitar, if you do not practice it you will forget it". This lack of practice, or use, of the language tends to erase everything we learned In this new school year, a thirteen years old girl who comes from Atlanta, Georgia, and who speaks in English better than does in Spanish, is one of my first grade students.

It comes to my mind because is not common to have students with the performance of hers. When the first class finished she approached to my desk and introduced herself, truly I did not expect it; I was shocked for a moment and, then, realized that I was thinking in Spanish.

What I did, as soon as I could some students stood around to listen to the talk , was something I call myself "plugging English language" and start to think in English. So, this thinking in my mother tongue really avoided automaticy in such case, and I think it is more or less the same when students first have to analyze grammar structures or rules and then speak; it stops the fluency and it is just the opposite to get that automaticy.

As a conclusion of this principle, I would like to say that it is a guide we can work with but, automaticy takes a lot of time and effort in order to be acquired and, due to time, size of groups, students' interests, teachers' practicum as the more important issues, automaticy is not achieved in this level.

Principle 2: Meaningful learning. Meaningful is one of the keywords in language teaching but, could it be included in class and follow the official program in secondary? As said before, we work with a functional approach; there is an introductory unit and five units in first grade program RES, SEP Each unit's purpose is clearly stated and each one has two or three well defined functions with sample productions.

These sample productions are specific samples of language to be learned; for instance: Unit 2. Unit purpose: The purpose of this unit is to enable students to give and obtain information about possessions and to describe actions that are in progress at the moment of speaking. Function 2. Sample production: What are you doing? From this point of view, I can deduce that, what every individual considers worthy to be learned becomes meaningful.

Talking about kids, or teenagers, we as teachers have to go a little farther by really incorporating what they think is worthy. We have to start by always specifying and explaining the purpose of each unit, what it serves for, when and where to use language.

This is only the beginning; we can not just change our program. In the emotional field, we have to know our learners, not from our own perspective or beliefs but, to talk and find what they think is meaningful.

For instance: Kids love to play so, include games. Kids love music so, include songs. We can not change or avoid the functions but, we can introduce some readings about what they like. Our job is to make learning meaningful by presenting it as something worthy and useful to learn, maybe as a tool for reading books in college, for surviving in another country, for a good job, for knowing foreigners, for passing exams, for getting good grades, or even to score.

Teachers have to fixate a worthy cause for learning English and observe, ask, or interview students in order to know what it is meaningful for them and associate topics to their interests or background knowledge. In my experience I have seen that some activities do not work in the same manner in all classrooms; in fact, I have worked a little different in Miahuatlan than when I worked in Huatulco Bays.

The contexts are very different: In Huatulco most students like reaggaeton music. In Miahuatlan most students like Durango styled music.

Students from Huatulco have a constant relation with English speakers, in fact many students work in tourism affairs on vacations. Students from Miahuatlan have little contact with English native speakers.

The point is to highlight that what it is considered meaningful can not be generalized and from that the importance of not to trust only in our beliefs or what most people believe. One clear example of how to make something meaningful is when asking permission to enter the class or go to the bathroom; in my class, a student who does not ask it in English can not enter or go the bathroom.

It seems cruel but, it is not, most of the times they do it in English without a marked effort. This survival questions also help, besides practicing language, to create a respectful atmosphere in class.

Sometimes it is funny because some of them can not pronounce as it should but, at the end, they can and, at the same time, realized on the importance to learn such expressions. This relation between important, or worthy, and meaningful opens a gate to best know students' interests, likes, dislikes, emotions, and feelings because it is the keyword for learning or wasting the language, for learning to use the language in life or just get good grades, to be committed or just pass exams.

Principle 3: The anticipation of reward. Extrinsic motivation: Rewards. Secondary students, as we know, are very complex. In my case, I am teaching only first-graders who, most of them have never studied English before and have graduated from governmental elementary schools.

First I would like to say that I have been teaching for ten years. I started working at private schools and I have been in governmental secondary level for four years.

I mention this because it is well known that what motivates these students to learn English is far different. At English private schools, students do want to learn English for several purposes. In secondary English is just another subject matter. At this point I want to focus the attention to secondary school and not to only compare both systems.

So, what motivates most students to learn the language is getting a good grade or qualification. Some students really work hard to achieve it, by all means; some memorize the content, some cheat, some only want to be graded by homework, some study for the exams, etc.

The only reward to learn the language goes from 6 to For some youngsters this is not very fulfilling. And they show it, by being rebellious, by skipping classes, by saying that they understand nothing, by being noisy or lazy in class, by not doing homework, by forgetting their textbook or materials, by walking around the classroom, sometimes snapping their classmates or starting a fight in extreme cases , etc. Well, this extrinsic motivation decreases while the school year goes on.

Some teachers suggest creating rewards for students who show interest and work hard to learn. Some of my colleagues suggest to make fake checks that can be traded for something in the cafeteria or at a store, to make invitations to lunch, to choose teachers for a day, to make diplomas, to post students' photos on an honor frame in the class or on the bulletin board, to give small presents such as stickers, or bigger ones such as dictionaries or magazines even tough is a little expensive.

The main idea is to provide colored cards when students participate in class. He suggests elaborating three different colored cards and when a student participates will be given with a card and, depending on the type of participation, the color of the card which means extra points.


Principles of Language Learning and Teaching

Daily observations and recent scholarly traditions suggest that a certain amount of learning takes place beyond the confines of the individual mind. Language learners are able to enhance their language skills due to the different avenues in which new social media have created. A range of social media can be used to facilitate language learning, including blogs, online role-playing games , fan fiction writing, and so on. A growing body of research is documenting the ways in which primarily young people are learning languages via their social media, on their own, outside of formal language learning classes or programs. Social media studied include: online role-playing games, fan fiction writing, instant messaging, fan websites, virtual worlds, chat, and the like.


Social Media Language Learning



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