By Tarun Patel
By Tarun Patel
Improve Your Reading Skills
“Reading is to mind what exercise is to body.” -Richard Steele)
Undoubtedly, Reading helps to develop and improve other skills. Reading enriches our knowledge bank and leads us to a world of better understanding and healthy relationship. The primary function of reading is to inform instruct, educate, entertain and persuade others to do good deeds. The renowned essayist Bacon has rightly said in one of his essays ‘Of Studies‘ that “Reading maketh a full man” and “studies serves for delight, for ornament and for ability.” It is quite necessary for a reader to make reading purposeful, meaningful, pleasurable and interactive as well.
Reading opens the doors of knowledge and explores the world of communication. It has been very rightly said that ‘those who read, lead the world.’ So to lead the world through communication one has to be a good reader. In order to have good command over other skills, one has to be an active reader. Reading involves not only physical reorganization of worlds but also interpretation of ideas symbolized by written or printed language as well.
Effective reading helps to boost confidence level of an individual. Reading is a very dynamic process in which the reader tries to interact with the written material to infer the meaning but at the same time reading is a very critical and complex process. So reading should be executed carefully otherwise the purpose of reading may not be achieved.
Apply PSQ5R in Reading
Here P stands for Purpose, S for Surveying, Q for Questioning and 5R denotes Read selectively, Recite, Reduce, Reflect and Review.
Purpose: A good reader knows well and remains aware about the purpose of his/her reading. For this a reader should ask himself/herself why he/she is reading? – With a purpose or pleasure. So connect the ideas on the page to what you already know and select a reading material according to the purpose of reading.
Surveying: A prompt survey should be done to select the appropriate reading stuff. After selecting such a reading material a good reader will focus on the features and ideas of the passage. (Central theme or subject).
Questioning: While reading a reader should ask questions based on 5W&1H (What, Why, When, Where, Who and How). Questioning will be helpful in understanding and using information comprehensively. Answering should be positive and quick in nature.
Read Selectively: Reading does not mean to read every written material. A good reader will select a reading material according to his/her liking, interest, utility etc. A good reader will look for the ideas and information that will meet his/her objectives.
Recite: A good reader should recite the answers to the questions by using words as much as possible. A good reader will use both forms of reading i.e. silent and reading aloud. Reading aloud is relevant at primary level and demands less attention to comprehension whereas silent reading helps to increase speed in reading and to develop concentration.
Reduce : To maintain the speed of reading a reader has to reduce the length of a paragraph. So a reader has to prepare a brief outline of the content. A ideal state of reducing a lengthy passage is 1/3 of the original text.
Reflect: Reading does not end only by completing a paragraph or story. The content of reading material directly or indirectly affects the psychology of a reader. Impact of reading can be felt on a person’s personality. So a good reader will connect the knowledge gained by him/her with his/her prior knowledge and personal experience and organize and reorganize it.
Review: Review is very necessary in reading. Review can be done immediately after some time and/or before reading out a text. It helps in mental organization and in building memory.
Be careful while reading: Do’s and Don’ts of Reading
Read early in the day: This will allow you to concentrate and retain more information than studying later at night when you may be tired and develop reading as a habit.
Take short breaks: Try to read for 35 to 40 minutes at a time and then take a short break. If you have this as your reading goal it can serve as a motivator in trying to really focus on the material at hand.
Find a quiet place: The environment that surrounds you is very important.Find a suitable and less noise polluted place where you can absorb yourself in reading as distractions will hamper the quality reading. So avoid public places
Use library and dictionary: A library is especially useful as you have access to many other books which can help you with your reading. Having a dictionary at hand enables you with any tricky vocabulary that will help you understand the text and improve your overall reading skills.
Do practice and practice only: The good writer is a good reader. Hence, if you are interested in writing, you need to practice on reading. By reading you enrich your knowledge and also gained vocabulary to put into your writing.
Make notes: Make notes while reading, it will be very helpful for better understanding of the content and it serves as an important record.
- Do not read with lips and pen/pencil, it may hamper the speed of your reading.
- Do not read aloud (when it is not required), it may distract and divert attention of others.
- Do not read under dull /dark light, it may cause harm to your eye sight.
- Simply do not read when you are not in mood.
- Do not take reading as burden rather than enjoy it.
- Do not waste your time, energy and money in reading stuff that you do not find interesting.
- Do not feel hesitation in consulting the dictionary or expert in the field while reading hard reading stuff.
ELTWeekly Issue#19, Research paper: A Comparative Analysis of Pair-Work and Individual Assignments in Two ELT Grammar Classes
By Tarun Patel
A Comparative Analysis of Pair-Work and Individual Assignments in Two ELT Grammar Classes
By Sert, Olcay
Publication date: 2005-10-00
Abstract: Assignments prepared in pair-work have long been evaluated to be more successful when compared to individually prepared assignments in many respects in foreign language learning contexts. However, there is not much research conducted to reveal the advantages of pair-work in preparing assignments and the linguistic characteristics of the finished texts. In this paper, depending upon an experimental study with the first year students in Department of English Language Teaching at Hacettepe University, quality of pair-work assignments and the factors affecting the preparation process are discussed and compared to individual assignments. Results indicate a variety of advantages of student collaboration in preparing written work since outputs are far more grammatical, include less spelling mistakes, and indicate a higher level of grammatical awareness. Additionally, pair-work helps students build positive interpersonal relationships and create a high level of academic solidarity and confidence.
(Contains 7 tables and 2 diagrams.)
[Abstract and keywords are presented in both English and Turkish. This article is a revised version of the article entitled "Comparative Analysis of Pair-Work and Individual Assignments in Two ELT Classes" published in the Journal of Language and Learning.]
Download the full paper in pdf format by visiting http://www.eric.ed.gov
By Tarun Patel
15 fun activities for prepositions of time
By Alex Case
1. Prepositions of time SNAP
Prepare playing cards with the preposition of time replaced with a gap, with at least two different prepositions in the pack and approximately the same number of cards for each preposition- for example, 10 cards with “at” missing, 10 cards with “in” missing, plus maybe 10 cards with “on” missing. Give one pack of cards to each group of two or three students. One person should shuffle the pack and deal out the cards face down. Students take their cards but can’t look at them. The first person turns over one card and places it face up on the table so that everyone can see it. The next person does the same thing, placing their card next to the first one. If the two cards need the same preposition, the first person to shout “Snap!” wins all the cards so far and can put them at the bottom of their pack. If they don’t match, those two cards stay on the table and future cards go on top of them to make two packs of cards. The person with most cards at the end of the game wins.
2. Prepositions of time pellmanism (= pairs = memory game)
This can be played with exactly the same cards as SNAP above, but is a slower game. The pack of cards is spread face down across the table and then people take turns turning over cards to try and find pairs that have the same preposition missing. If they match, they keep the cards and score two points. If they need different prepositions, they have to put them back in the same place and it is the next person’s go.
3. Prepositions of time sentence completion
Prepare a worksheet or OHP with between 10 and 20 uncompleted personal sentences that contain prepositions of time, e.g. “I wish my birthday was in __________” or “I wake up at __________, but I don’t get up until __________” (if you want the time clauses to be the missing part) or “I __________ at quarter past seven” or “I love __________ing in winter” (if you want to include the time clauses in the gapped sentences). Students fill in at least half the gaps, then read out just the part they have written so that their partners can try and guess which sentence it comes from.
Read the rest of article at http://edition.tefl.net
Alex Case has been a teacher, teacher trainer, Director of Studies, ELT writer and editor in Turkey, Thailand, Spain, Greece, Italy, Japan, UK and now Korea, and writes TEFLtastic blog (www.tefl.net/alexcase)
*ELTWeekly would like to thank Alex Case for contributing this article.
By Tarun Patel
By Tarun Patel
National Conference on ‘Literature, Language and Technology’, H M Patel Institute of English Training & Research, Vidyanagar, Gujarat – India, May 23 – 24, 2009
Technology, in today’s world, has become an integral part of our lives and whether, we like it or not, is widely accessed by the teachers and learners for varied purposes. The ubiquity of technology is something that can no more be denied and therefore, needs to be addressed from a pedagogic platform. The aim of this conference is to explore, investigate, examine, evaluate, and of course, critically probe the possibilities and limits of technology in the teaching of literature and language.
However, delving deeper, the conference also wishes to explore the tenuous, and yet, deeply enmeshed relationship between language and literature. That the two cannot be separated, and yet has been, is often seen as contentious and deeply ideological in nature. The two domains are inseparably linked and yet are pedagogically treated as separate entities. Can technology play a role in bridging the gap that has been created? Could it be fruitful to use teaching of language to enrich literary experience and vice versa? Can technology, again, act as a buffer zone between the two?
The conference, thus, would look into (re)defining literature and language vis-à-vis technological developments and how the three can be brought together into a meaningful relationship.
CALL FOR PROPOSALS
H M Patel Institute of English Training and Research, Vallabh Vidyanagar invite papers from teachers of schools, colleges, universities and government academic departments, teacher trainers, research scholars, and interested professionals on the theme of the conference:
‘Literature, Language and Technology’
The sub-themes of the conference are:
- ICT in the teaching of English Language
- Management of ELT projects through technology
- Technology, ELT and literature teaching
- Technology in multilingual approach
- Online language learning
- Audio-video aids literature and language teaching
- Social networking for teaching language and literature
- Multimedia materials evaluation: issues and challenges
- Using web tools for language and literature teaching
For more details, please contact the coordinators:
1) Atanu Bhattacharya, 02692-230193, 9227160619, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
2) Mitul Trivedi, 02692-230193, 9824975768, Email: email@example.com
32nd Language Testing Research Colloquium (LTRC), University of Cambridge, UK, April 14-16
Crossing the threshold: investigating levels, domains and frameworks in language assessment
Our main theme reflects contemporary research interests and concerns within the language testing and assessment community (at both national and international level) focusing on proficiency levels, language domains, and the role of interpretative frameworks of reference for language learning, teaching and assessment (cf CEFR, CLB). It relates directly to questions such as:
- why and how do we define and describe a proficiency level?
- what are the key criteria that distinguish one proficiency level from another?
- how is the testing of language for special purposes evolving?
- how do we identify and describe emerging domains for assessment?
- how do we decide when someone is (or is not) at a level ? (i.e. what sort of evidence do we need and how do we gather it?)
- how can proficiency levels be related to one another within a framework?
The main theme also allows for coverage of a number of additional sub-themes which have contemporary relevance, including:
- The teaching and assessment of young language learners
- Issues of language education planning and policy
- The interface of multilingualism and assessment
- The testing of less commonly taught languages
- Issues of assessment literacy in education and society
At least one of the pre-conference workshops will focus on the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) for languages in relation to assessment issues.
Call for Papers
First formal call for proposals: April 2009
Deadline for receipt of proposals: 30 September 2009
For further details and pre-registration, please visit: http://www.cambridgeesol.org/LTRC2010/
International Symposium on ICT in Education, Rome, Italy, June 11-12
European Schoolnet (EUN), the network of 31 ministries of education in Europe, the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), USA and Education.au, the Australian national agency for ICT in education are organising the first international symposium of all education networks active in the field of ICT in education. This event will take place on 11-12 June 2009 in Rome, Italy.
The aims of the symposium are:
- To encourage high-level networking within the global ICT in education community;
- To improve information-sharing and cooperation between international education networks;
- To reflect on the nature of 21st century learning and analyse the role of international education networks vis-à-vis decision makers in the field.
The emphasis will be networking on shared global issues as well as developing peer-learning mechanisms between all networks, taking into account the diversity of educational environments at the national level.
This symposium is reserved for high-level decision makers in international networks active in the field of ICT in education. Each network can recommend a maximum of five participants to attend the event. Only 120 participants worldwide will be accommodated.
For further details and pre-registration, please write to paul.gerhard[at]eun.org.
By Tarun Patel
Communicative Language Teaching in India
By Prof (Dr) Shefali Bakshi
Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) developed some two decades ago as a response against the diverse approaches to second/foreign language teaching practiced in the last forty to fifty years, especially in the Structural (Grammatical) Approach. CLT is a language teaching programme focusing on learners’ ability to communicate – to facilitate them to use the language for communication. Communication is thus seen as the major concern in learning a language.
Dell Hymes who developed the concept of Ethnography of Communication, emphasized that the study of language involves knowing not only the language structure but also what to say to whom and how to say it appropriately in any situation. He thus developed the concept of communication competence. Communication Competence in simple words means that it is not enough to be able to produce grammatically correct sentences but it is important that the speaker is able to produce appropriate sentences, understanding the social context, the role of the participants, the information they share, and the function of the interaction.
The prominent features of the CLT along with a few examples are discussed below:-
1. CLT is learner-centered: it focuses on the learner and learning is based on an exploration of the needs and levels of the learner. In level 5, a poem “My parents kept me from children who were rough” by Stephen Spender has been taught and the learner of that level can identify themselves with the boy and the situation faced by them in their daily day-to-day life.
2. CLT emphasizes on learning the rules of ‘use’ (communication), rather than the rules of ‘usage’ (grammar). Oral Communication in form of role plays either with two participants or more are included in the task activity followed after every unit.
3. CLT has as its objective, the development of communicative competence (that is, the ability to communicate through language), and not; merely ‘linguistic competence’ (that is, the ability to construct grammatically correct sentences). A situation which deals with a problem is put forward and the learners are asked to construct a dialogue and then role play the whole event.
4. CLT encourages ‘fluency and appropriacy’ rather than ‘accuracy’; it brings accuracy only in so far as it is essential for the successful completion of an activity. The learners can participate in discussions, debates, projects and involve themselves in meaningful participation.
5. CLT syllabuses are specified in terms of language functions (such as making a proposition, apologizing, thanking) rather in terms of language forms. (such as the Direct-Indirect, the Active-Passive). Exercises such as Match the following, Put in the right sequence, etc using functions such as; “disagree politely”, “refuse politely”, “Agree amicably”, and so on.
6. CLT concentrates on the message (meaning); it pays less attention to the language ‘forms’ employed to convey meaning. Writing an article for a school magazine, Writing an ending/beginning to a story etc.
7. CLT tolerates grammatical errors and accepts them as a natural part of language acquisition at an early stage of the learner but expects them to master the language at a later stage and produce correct sentences. Too many marks are not deducted for spelling/grammatical errors during evaluation of exercises.
8. CLT is task-based; it engages the learner: in a series of communicative tasks which focus on meaning and promote real communication, rather than in drilling grammar patterns. The exercise is in form of “Preparing to interview” and the groups of students brainstorm different types of questions that need to be asked during the interview.
9. CLT focuses on problem-solving so as to engage learners in cognitive effort and thus provoke meaningful interaction. A project work in form of Life Situation problem can be given, where an individual learner or a group of learners discuss and come out with various options for solutions, which can be later discussed in the class under the teacher who acts as a guide and a facilitator.
10. CLT encourages individualized learning, allowing the learner to follow his/her learning styles and proceed at his/her own pace. The exercises based on consulting the dictionary, Word treasury, etc.
Thus the process of adopting CLT methodology has today become extremely popular and practical in acquiring the Second Language. The question is that does it work? Can our learners speak the target language fluently and correctly? Can our learners communicate in the second language confidently? Can our learners interact in any situation appropriately? This is a big Question we need to ask ourselves. We could acquire the second language, during our times, because our peer group did not speak the same language, (as they belonged to Sindhi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Tamil etc background) so we had no other option but to converse in the target language. In my next article, I will discuss the shortcomings of using only the CLT methodology.
Prof (Dr) Shefali Bakshi is the Deputy Director at Amity School of Languages. She has done a Project on “A Study of Verbal Interaction in Waiting for Godot” for the M.A. degree and has ompleted her PhD thesis on “A Study of Verbal Interaction in the plays of Samuel Beckett” for the Degree of Ph.D. at University of Lucknow, India. She has conducted over 75 workshops on ELT with St. Edmunds College in Shillong, with Ratna Sagar in Lucknow, with University of Yemen in Republic of Yemen and with Orient Longman and Macmillan in various parts of India for school teachers and principals.
** ELTWeekly would like to thank Prof (Dr) Shefali Bakshi for contributing this article.
By Tarun Patel
Feldman is Howard County Teacher of the Year
Kimberly Feldman had no idea what was happening when Superintendent Sydney L. Cousin and other top-ranking school officials entered her class at Oakland Mills High School with a bouquet of flowers.
Her students were thrilled by a mock trial lesson, which her principal said is indicative of the type of innovative, engaging lessons that make her a star teacher. It was these types of attributes that made Feldman the Howard County Teacher of the Year.
Read the complete news here: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/howard/bal-ho.teacher10may10,0,3281657.story
ELT schools feel pinch
Staff lay-offs will become inevitable in the English Language Teaching (ELT) industry, and schools may even have to shut down if student arrivals continue to drop, the Federation of English Language Teaching Organisations in Malta has warned.
Almost 57 per cent of the 23 ELT schools that took part in Feltom’s industry survey for the first quarter of this year reported a drop in student arrivals compared with the same period last year. Only 21.7 per cent reported an increase.
Read the complete news here: http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20090510/local/elt-schools-feel-pinch
British Council’s first English language teaching centre soon
Chennai , Apr 24 The British Council will soon open its first English language teaching Centre in Chennai , offering language courses for professional and personal development, specially tailored to needs of Indian learners.
The Council is equipped to offer courses to more than 750 adult students and would have 12 teachers from India and three academic managers from the UK.”All of them are specially trained to deliver courses using an interactive,&aposlearning through doing&aposapproach,”it said.
Read the complete news here: http://www.indopia.in/India-usa-uk-news/latest-news/557437/National/1/20/1
Teachers need education as well
ALL quarters of society lay great emphasis on the need for a qualitative improvement in education. The quality rhetoric usually focuses on a new curriculum or an improved education policy.
Therefore, each new government embarks upon curriculum reforms as a first step. Although the curriculum is an important factor in education, the key players who execute it in classrooms are teachers. It is a teacher’s interaction with students, teaching tools and the school environment that gives birth to a real and vibrant curriculum.
The notion of quality education is thus incomplete without the empowerment of teachers as quality education is hugely dependent on what goes on in class. The professional development of teachers is considered pivotal for the profession. In Pakistan, a number of teacher education colleges offer degrees and diplomas, such as M.Ed., MA Education, B.Ed., and others at different levels. But in the last six decades, although a large number of teacher training degrees have been awarded, the impact of trained teachers remains questionable.
Read the complete news here: http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/11-teachers-need-education-as-well–07