Bristish Council

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LanguageAssistant

Clare Lavery

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Acknowledgements The author is grateful to Muguette Moreau, Rita Legoux and all her former colleagues at the CES Emile Verhaeren in Bonsecours for making the year in classes bilingues so enjoyable. This positive experience led to a fruitful career in EFL. Many thanks to the fourth-year students at Queen Mary and Westfield College University of London and at Newcastle University for their time chatting about their year abroad. Thanks also to all those assistants who sent the author questionnaires during their assistantship in 2001. Your comments and thoughts were detailed, helpful and very instructive. Finally, special thanks to Kate Merrett whose encouragement and practical support made the writing of this resource book possible. The poem ‘A bad habit’ by Michael Rosen, from You Tell Me by Roger McGough and Michael Rosen (Kestrel, 1979) © Michael Rosen 1979, is reproduced by kind permission of the publisher. ‘Smoke-loving girl blues’ from Get Back, Pimple! (Puffin 1997) is reprinted by kind permission of the author, John Agard, c/o Caroline Sheldon Literary Agency.

Photography credits Mark Hakansson, Andy Huggett, Jorge Relancio, Norio Suzuki, Liba Taylor

ISBN 086355 4873 © The British Council 2001 Design Department/K007

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The British Council is the United Kingdom’s international organisation for educational and cultural relations. Registered in England as a charity.

Contents

Foreword

1

Module 1 Administration and management
Unit 1 – Interpersonal relationships
What is the role of an assistant? Different roles Initial contacts What to ask schools and teachers before and/or on arrival Establishing a working relationship with teachers Planning your work with teachers The observation period An observation checklist 2 2 3 4 5 6 9 10

Unit 2 – Learning styles and classroom management
The school culture Teaching approaches Learning approaches Establishing a rapport with your students Getting students used to an English-only classroom Ideas for the first lesson alone with the class Classroom management (groups and large classes) Dealing with large classes of mixed ability Setting up a pair work system Finishing off Discipline problems and solutions 12 12 13 14 16 16 17 19 20 21 21

Unit 3 – Motivation and progress
Factors influencing learner motivation Using English in the classroom Types of learner error When and how to correct errors Feedback on errors Encouraging peer or self-correction Clarification techniques to use during feedback 24 25 26 28 29 31 32

Module 2 Spoken English
Unit 4 – Oral practice
What do speaking skills involve? How to prepare students for real communication in English Controlled speaking activities Board or picture prompts for dialogue practice Information gap Activities for controlled practice at all levels Types of fluency practice Role play: fluency tasks 36 36 37 39 40 41 41 44

Unit 5 – Conversation and discussion with texts
Working with the class teacher Texts for discussion: teen magazine example Techniques for preparing the text and topic Types of discussion task based on a text Classroom management and feedback Resources for texts The best texts for generating conversation 46 47 50 51 53 54 55

Unit 6 – Speech work
What does speech work involve? Getting the mechanics right – pronunciation practice Ear training Making repetition fun Raps, chants and songs for repetition The stress system: weak forms and the schwa / / Awareness activities for the stress system Linkage of sounds Intonation Integrating speech work with class work Working well with teachers Reading aloud and oral exam practice 56 56 58 60 61 61 61 63 63 65 65 66

Module 3 Teaching Aids
Unit 7 – Visual aids
The assistant as visual aid The blackboard/whiteboard Blackboard drawings The overhead projector or personal computer projector Flashcards Posters and flipcharts Pictures, photos and postcards Magazines and brochures Mind maps 68 68 71 71 73...
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