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Introduction to Week 5

What do people mean when they talk about ‘resources'? What do you hope to learn this week?
Hello everybody. And welcome to week five. Hi everyone. We’re going to begin as usual, by answering your questions. And one of the most frequent questions was about resources. And there are so many resources now online. You can look for grammar courses online. In fact, Cambridge Assessment English has got a grammar course, which unfortunately it’s not available in every country, but it is in most countries. I think there’s a small charge. 15 pounds, I think it is. 15 British pounds. That’s something you can do, and there are lots of sites that have grammar games and grammar exercises. British Council, for example, have one. BBC have one. So just search online for online grammar courses.
Also of course there are the traditional books. When we both started teaching, which was many moons ago, there weren’t online courses. We’re so old. And I had my little– it was called Thompson and Martinet. Oh, I had that. And now– It still exists, but it’s a but dry. It is very dry. But now there are some fantastic grammar books. There’s a book by Martin Parrott. Another very popular one is Raymond Murphy, which is a grammar book written for students. So it’s very accessible in terms of making– having its relationship very clear. So we’ve put links to all of those not on the– Yeah, because we’ve had a lot of people– actually, this question is the most liked question.
And it’s people who– a lot of people are native speakers or people who’ve learned English a long time ago. And they want to brush up. And people of our generation didn’t learn grammar anyway. And so– We’re still learning grammar– Oh, every day. Every day. Every day is a school day. Tricky points of grammar. Absolutely. And then quite a few questions about inductive approaches, deductive approaches to teaching, and the guided discovery approach. So could you give an explanation of all those areas, please. So in 15 seconds, so deductive and inductive are two different types of approaches which are like umbrellas for other approaches to teaching language.
So deductive approaches to language learning involve giving the students the rule and then giving them examples. So you say, today we’re going to learn the present simple. For example, I eat. He eats. She eats. So rule, and then examples. Name of tense, rule, examples. The inductive approach to language learning involves some work out for yourself what the language means. So you remember last week we did– you did your contextualization of demand– your husband painted and the paint on the floor. And I did my thing with you should and you shouldn’t. But then my friend had had a problem. So in inductive approaches to language learning, you put the language into context.
You show the language, the students, what the language means. They work it out for themselves. And then after they’ve practised it, you talk about the rule and the form and so on. So within the umbrella of inductive approaches, I have to say that there are valid uses for both approaches. So with higher level learners, for example, I might give the rule and then discuss it– A lot of the time you’re revising it anyway Exactly. Exactly. But mostly I think I use inductive approaches. And guided discovery, which was mentioned by one of the teachers last week, is a type of inductive approach. So in guided discovery, you would give the students a text.
Mostly it’s a reading text where examples of the language that you’re teaching are in the text. So for example, teaching future tenses. So maybe I’m teaching going to versus will versus, I don’t know, future perfect. And those examples would be in the text. The students read the text and do some comprehension exercise to make sure they understand the text, and then they go back into the text and focus on specific– that specific grammar. So you would have look at sentence, look at line four. It says, I’m going to visit my aunt. And then there would be questions about that sentence. Is it an intention? Does my aunt know about it? Is it a spontaneous decision?
Or have I planned it before? So the questions would relate directly to the meaning of grammar. That’s guided discovery. Another question that we had was about fossilisation where people have been using English maybe for years and they’ve got some fossilised errors, errors which– Yeah, these are errors that are ingrained. They can’t part with them. One thing you can do is use the language experience approach. Now let’s say the class had a day out in London together, or a day trip somewhere in London tree. And then you can ask questions about the trip. So how did we go, what time did we go, what did we do when we got there. So you ask the question. The teacher’s asking the question.
The students answer them. And you get the answers from the students and you write them down. So you can write down exactly what they said. So it could be, he broked– one of the students broked their leg. So you write down, he broked his leg. But as you recreate the text, this description– So what you end up with is a story, a story in the past tense. And then you can correct. You can go through and you can correct the errors. Or there’s kind of slight variation. You could actually create the correct text as you go along. That’s one approach. Another approach for fossilised areas I think is to involve the students in doing a bit of research.
We talked a bit last week, didn’t we, about overhearing some language. Go and listen to some language and then look it up and come back to the class and do a presentation. Make it into a little research project, or disguise the fact that you’re teaching language, maybe through a game or something. Sure. And of course, the other technique is just simply talk to the learner about it. Say you know, I think you’ve got this. This is a fossilised error. It’s a common phenomenon. Lots of people have this. We need to try to get you to fix it. Have you got any ideas how to fix it? And get them to think about some strategies.
And then they’ll start hearing themselves doing it. And when they start hearing themselves, you’re on the road to fixing it. Or they could record themselves, couldn’t they? And you could go through the recording together. It’s funny, I was thinking about your– that thing– what was it called? Language experience. Language experience. You could record that, couldn’t you, on an iPad or something and then you’d have– so instead of them reading the story, they could listen to it. And one other question– There’s a question about levels. If you are beginning teaching or you’ve got a new group of learners, how do you know what level they are and how do you know what language is appropriate for that level? For that level.
So the first question is how do you know what level they are. The answer to that is do the Cambridge Placement Test. There’s a Cambridge Assessment test online. Student’s go. They fill in some blanks. They answer some questions. And at the end, they click Submit and they get told their level. It’s fun. And the other solution to the other problem is also a techie one. This is what to teach at what level. There’s a website called English Vocabulary Profile and English Grammar Profile. And that lists what structures and what vocabulary– there are two separate websites. The vocabulary one tells you what words are used by learners at what levels.
So if you have a B1 class, you go and look up B1 words. And those are the ones they should know. Or you can put a word in, can’t you? You can put the word ambitious in and it will tell you whether that’s kind of C1 or C2 or B2. And that’s useful if you’re doing texts and you want to know what language to pre-teach. And the grammar one’s very much the same. The alternative and non-techie approach is to get a coursebook at that level and see what structure it teaches. Absolutely fantastic, isn’t it? And finally, I think we should say something about phonology. And you wouldn’t do a whole lesson an hour on phonology, would you?
No, I don’t think so. I think you would do– sometimes, you would do some isolated work, like we talked before about aspects of connected speech. And getting students practicing recognising that words run together. You might do some stuff on intonation. You know, maybe you’re doing– I don’t know. Tag questions, for example– rising, falling, intonation. You might do that. But I think generally speaking, we integrate it, because it’s so much part of learning vocabulary and learning grammar that, you know, what’s the point of learning something if you don’t know how to say it? So you remember I taught you you should last week? Yes. And I taught you shouldn’t, as opposed to saying you should not.
And it’s very hard for people to hear those little words. Do you remember last week when I was the student and you were trying to correct me? Oh yeah. And I kept saying, I go to Lincoln. And you were trying to get me to say, uh. I think we can’t hear those little words. Exactly. The weekend, I’ve got– ta and to, they’re very close. So you might want to do some focus there. So I think that’s all we’ve got time for. I think so. We’ll let you get on with the week, and we look forward to admitting you on Friday when we’ll be looking at the resources. And that will be a big topic, won’t it?
Don’t forget as you work through the week to click on the pink button so you can mark this step as complete because those of you who’ve paid for upgrades to this certificate, that will make sure that you’ve done enough of the course to get your certificate. Also please keep commenting. It’s really interesting. We’re learning a lot. We expect to see lots of links to resources that we don’t know about. Exactly. Yeah. Enjoy it. Thank you for your contributions and see you on Friday. Bye.

Monica and Marie Therese start the week by answering the question we asked you to think about at the end of last week. They also answer some popular questions from Week 4.

Here’s the link to the Grammar for teachers: Language Awareness Online Course which Monica and Marie Therese mention in the video.

Useful grammar books mentioned in the video are: Grammar for English Language Teachers by Martin Parrott and English Grammar in Use by Raymond Murphy.

Cambridge Assessment English Placement test

Websites for finding out the levels for teaching different vocabulary and grammar

Monica and Marie Therese also introduce this week’s topic: resources. There’s quite a long list of things teachers can use as resources, isn’t there? This week we’re going to explore some of the different resources teachers use in the classroom. We’ll hear from learners and teachers about the resources they use and you’ll see some teachers using different resources in class.

As in earlier weeks, there’ll be quizzes and polls; we’ll invite you to make a podcast and and we’re going to be asking you for your views on using different online resources.

We look forward, as always, to seeing your contributions to our tasks and reading the comments and ideas you share with us this week.


Why do teachers talk so much about different resources? Why are they so important? Write your ideas in the comments section. Say also what you hope you’ll learn in the course this week.

As you work through the week, remember to mark each step you finish as complete by clicking the button at the bottom of each page. This will help you qualify for a Certificate of Achievement if you choose to upgrade your course.

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Exploring the World of English Language Teaching

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