Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Hello Ostrava - Receptive Skills

Receptive Skills are not naturally transferred from one language to another. Students often read or listen one word at a time, without really thinking about the overall meaning. Therefore we really are teaching receptive skills. Lesson Plan Outline Create interest - general and then specific Pre-teach vocabulary Set task and time limit for a gist task. (They need a reason to read.) Pairwork and feedback Set task and time limit for a more detailed reading. Pairwork and feedback Discussion Language work. These are the problems that my colleagues came up with from around the globe. Feel free to write solutions in the comment section below. Students often try to understand every single word, or try to translate the text into their own language Students don't always read the instructions carefully and so don't understand what they are listening for They get lost so easily, try to understand every word or complain the speakers are going to quickly. Students equate reading with misery, school and tests, they don’t even read in their own language In tests the wording of each item can cause problems: weaker students tend to focus on the exact words they see in the question, and are confused when they don't find them. This sound bite generation… anything longer than a couple of paragraphs and they lose interest I don’t have a lot of time in class, so I skip the listening or find it easier to read the text to the students They don't get it when there is cultural info in the text...because they generally focus on form and literal meaning. It’s so difficult to pay attention to a voice coming out of a box in the corner of the room, you can see them looking out of the window. Students fail to register discourse markers. so rely on keywords which can skew meaning Who is the author / speaker? Out pictures of people on the board, ask students to read quickly or listen once and decide which person is the author / speaker. Alternative gist Questions Who is the author? What was their motivation to write this? Do you feel the facts are accurate? Why or why not? Is the author or reporter giving equal attention to all sides of the issue? How does this piece make you feel personally? Do you agree or disagree with the author? Do you believe the ‘facts’ in this article? How would others (from other countries, cultures, political groups, etc.) feel about it? Question Predictions Give the students the questions and ask them to predict the answers before they listen. This encourages the students to read the questions then they will know what they are listening for. Facebook status Ask students to read the text and create a status update as if they were sharing the text with their friends. Then ask them to comment on each others' statuses. Using or similar. Useful tips Don't be afraid to break listening and reading texts down into shorter segments. Students do have a short attention span - don't fight it... accept it and adapt. :-) Show you are interested in the text as well, even if you have heard the tape 100 times still oooh and ahh in all the right places. Use pairwork after reading and listening exercises before class feedback. Give students a chance to check with their friends if they have the same answers. This will make them more confident when giving you the answers. It is what we do in real life; when we read or listen to something we often chat about it to our nearest and dearest. Can you find a way to get your students up and active either before or during a reading activity?A little bit of movement helps to get oxygen to the brain and that increases attention span. Or can you open a window and have a blast of fresh air?

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