Today I tried a new activity with my adolescence (thirteen years old) class. The students are often challenged with schoolwork and can be inattentive during class. They are nice and well-behaved but after three or four years of English learning with little fulfilment, they’ve seemed to have lost their confidence. Our core material for the day was a text to practice receptive skills. Our goal was to use productive skills by orally answering questions about the text by memory. Before when I’d approach teaching texts I’d simply ask the students to repeat after me, use highlighters to mark the target grammar points and get them to memorize the whole text for homework. Today I tried something new: all the students were asked to put everything away so that they could just concentrate on me. I drew some simple and funny pictures on the board, pointing to the sequent drawings to tell a story. There were three questions about the story, which I repeatedly asked the different students in order to build fluency and accuracy. We did choral along with individual practice. At the end, even the shiest and the least self-confident students could answer well and comfortably. I believe the activity was successful. When I told the students the story with the interesting drawings, their eyes were shining and wide opened with excitement. I provided them with sufficient times of oral practice until I could ensure that they were all ready to answer my questions separately. With encouragement and proper praise, the students got some fulfilment and confidence. They found that they were able to ‘speak’ with eye contact instead of staring at a certain text and mechanically read aloud.
1. What is language acquisition theory?
‘Language acquisition’ describes the way that people get language subconsciously, that is, without thinking about grammar or vocabulary. In order for language acquisition to occur, people need to hear a lot of language, in other...