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Foreign Language Teaching

By Derrick Dunn,2014-03-06 23:36
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Foreign Language Teaching

    Foreign Language Teaching

     Abstract

    It is not easy to learn a foreign language, and it is more difficult to teach a foreign language. The teacher has not only to make her students understand the language, namely the pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, etc., she (―she‖ is used to refer to teachers in general, and

    ―he‖, to learners.) must also help develop their communicative competence so that they can use the language they have learned correctly, appropriately and expressively in real situations. So here we talk about aspects of foreign language teaching, including reasons, the nature, syllabus, aims and objectives.

Key words: foreign language teaching; reasons; syllabus; aims and objectives

    内容摘要

    学习一门外语不容易,要教好一门外语则更不易。作为老师,不仅要让他的学生理解这门语言,也就是所谓的发音,词汇,语法等等,同时他必须还得帮忙去提高他们的交流能力,这样他们才可以正确的使用他们学习的语言,在现实情境中准确无误地表达自己。因此,在这里我们探讨一下外语教学的有关方面,包括!原因,本质,大纲安排,目标。

关键词!外语教学,原因,大纲安排,目标

    Contents

    ? Abstract (English)……………………………………………………………………

    ? Abstract (Chinese)…………………………………………………………………... 1. Introduction………………………………………….………………………… 1 2. Aspects of Foreign Language Teaching……………………………………….. 1

     2.1 Reasons for studying Foreign Language Teaching……………………… 1

     2.2 The nature of Foreign Language Teaching……………………………… 2

     2.3 Disciplines contributing to Foreign Language Teaching………………... 5

     2.4 Factors influencing Foreign Language Teaching and Learning…………. 7 3. Foreign Language Teaching Syllabus…….………………………………….. 10

     3.1 Types of syllabus………………………………………………………… 10

     12 3.2 A Clarification of terms: Syllabus and Curriculum……………………...

     3.3 Theretical Views behind Syllabus Design……………………………..... 14 4. Aims and Objectives of Foreign Language Teaching and Learning………….. 15

     4.1 Aims………………………………………………….………………….. 15

     16 4.2 Objectives………………………………………………………………...

     4.3 Guidelines…………………………………………………….………….. 17

    5. Conclusion………………………………....................………………………... 17

    Works Cited………………………………………………………………………….. 19

1. INTRODUCTION

    Over the last several decades, linguists have put a great emphasis on the research of Foreign Language Teaching. In foreign language teaching we have to carry out our work with four key concepts: language, learning, teaching, and context. Any particular language teaching theory can be regarded as an expression of these four key concepts.

    This thesis includes three parts: aspects of foreign language teaching, the syllabus, and the aims. Through the three parts, we just want to give a general description of foreign language teaching.

    This paper mainly adopts three approaches: 1. language teaching requires an understanding of the nature of language; 2. language teaching demands a view of the learners and the nature of language learning; 3. language teaching occurs in a given context.

    By asking these questions and by attempting to answer them we can develop, refine, probe and evaluate language teaching theories more scientifically, and our foreign language teaching practice can be better guided and oriented.

2. Aspects of Foreign Language Teaching

    2.1 Reasons for Studying Foreign Language Teaching

    Foreign language teachers understand that knowing a language well does not necessarily mean that you can teach the language well. Teaching is an art as well as a science. If you do not know the theories, principles, methods or techniques of teaching, you might as well be able to teach a foreign language based on your experience, but you cannot hope to achieve good results, nor can you give your or your colleagues‘ teaching a rational evaluation or a critical appraisal.

    There are surely limitations in teaching by drawing only on experience, though experience is important. The theories you‘ll learn from the methodology course can guide, support and conceptualize your teaching practice. And the new insights you‘ll get by sharing ideas with other people can bring you great benefit. As the old saying goes: ―Travel broadens the mind‖. In the same way learning Foreign Language Teaching Methodology will surely broaden the mind of teachers. Methodology courses exist to help prospective as well as in service teachers develop their own teaching styles and pedagogy rather than to indoctrinate them to the use of specific models and techniques.

    2.2 The Nature of Foreign Language Teaching

    Foreign Language Teaching Methodology is the study of the practices and procedures used in teaching, and the principles and beliefs that underlie them. Methodology includes first the study of the nature of language skills (e.g. reading, writing, speaking, listening) and procedures for teaching them. Second, methodology studies the preparation of lesson plans, materials, and textbooks for teaching language skills. Methodology also includes the evaluation and comparison of language teaching methods (e.g. the Audiolingual Method versus the Oral-Situational Method) and other related issues concerning effective teaching and learning, such as classroom management, the use of technology, the assessment of teaching and learning outcomes, etc.

    Foreign language teaching is sometimes discussed in terms of three related aspects: approach, method, and technique. It is worth discussing briefly the differences between the three concepts.

    When we use the word approach we mean that an idea or theory is being applied, that whatever the teacher does in a classroom, certain theoretical principles are always borne in her mind. When we talk about a technique, we mean a procedure used in the classroom. Finally, a method is a set of procedures or a collection of techniques used in a systematic way which it is hoped will result in efficient learning.

    A technique then is the narrowest term, meaning one single procedure. A method will consist of a number of techniques, probably arranged in a specific order. The word approach is much more general and has the implication that whatever methods or techniques the teacher uses, she does not feel bound by these, but only by the theory in which she believes. If she can find new and better methods or techniques which will fit in with her approach, then she will adopt them. We therefore have a hierarchical system:

     Approach

     Method 1 Method 2

     Technique 1 Technique 2 Technique 3

    It follows from this that different approaches may share the same techniques and even the same methods; and different methods may share the same techniques.

    At the level of approach, there are at least three different theorectical views of language explicitly or implicitly underlying currently popular language teaching methods: The structural view

    Language is a system of structurally related elements for the coding of meaning. The learning of a target language is seen to be the acquisition of the elements of this system. The functional view

    Language is a vehicle for the expression of meaning. This approach emphasizes the semantic rather than the grammatical potential of language and leads to a specification or organization of language teaching content by categories of function rather than by categories of form.

    The interactional view

    Language is a vehicle for the realization of interpersonal relations and for the performance of social transactions between individuals. Interactional theories focus on the pattern of moves, acts and exchanges in communication. Language teaching content may be specified or organized by patterns of exchange or may be left unspecifiedto be shaped by the inclination of the

    learner as interactor.

    But these theories of language are in themselves incomplete and need to be complemented by theories of language learning, e.g. the linking of structuralisma language theory, to

    behaviorisma learning theory, produces audiolingualism. The cognitive proponents have attempted to link structuralism to a more mentalistic and less behavioristic brand of learning theory. We may believe that learning a language is primarily learning a set of physical habits, of that it is the produce of a special language acquisition device peculiar to the human species; that students are motivated principally by a desire to get the right answer, or by a desire to enhance their own self-esteem, etc.

    In other words, an approach provides principles to decide what kind of content and what sort of procedures are appropriate. The philosophical principles provided by an approach have something to do with the nature of learning. And the social-political educational principles have to do with the purpose of education.

    Method is a set of procedures or a collection of techniques in a systematic way which will result in efficient learning. A method is based on systemstic principles and procedures, i.e., it is an application of views on how a language is best taught and learned. Different methods may result from different views of

    1. the nature of language;

    2. the nature of language learning;

    3. goals and objectives in teaching;

4. the type of syllabus to use;

    5. the role of teachers and instructional materials; and

    6. the techniques and procedures to use.

    The method used has often been said to be the cause of success or failure in language learning, for, ultimately it is the what and the how of language instruction. At the other extreme is the view that methods are of little importance wherever there is a will to learn; the quality of the learning is what counts. There is also the view that the teacher is the only important element; methods are only as good as the teacher who uses themthey are simply instruments in the

    hands of the teacher.

    Technique is simply something we do: showing a picture to our students and talking about it with them in a certain way; having the class repeat sentences in chorus, drills, dialogues, role-plays, sentence completion, etc. They are the tricks in classroom teaching.

    Another concept in foreign language teaching is methodology. Methodology is the principles and techniques of teaching with no necessary reference to linguistics. It is the implementation or practice of the approach. It is procedural selection of language presentation, concerned with how to teach in class. It studies the practices and procedures used in teaching, and the principles and beliefs that underlie them. Methodology includes:

    1.the study of the nature of language skills(e.g. reading, writing, speaking, listening) and procedures for teaching them;

    2. the study of the preparation of lessons plans, materials and textbooks for teaching language skills;

    3. the evaluation and comparison of language teaching methods(e.g. the Audiolingual Method versus the Oral-Situational Method);

    4. such practices, procedures, principles and beliefs themselves.(Richards et al, 1985: 177)

    In short, different theories about the nature of language and how languages are learnt (the approach) imply different ways of teaching language(the method), and different methods make use of different kinds of classroom activities(the technique).

    2.3 Disciplines Contributing to Foreign Language Teaching (FLT)

    To find out the theory and skills in teaching, we have to deal with some basic principles derived from the interaction of aspects of those fields of study which contribute to the theory and practice of foreign language teaching.

    Language teaching involves three main disciplines; linguistics, psychology and pedagogy. Linguistics provides information about language in general and about the specific language being taught; psychology describes how learning takes place; and pedagogy blends the information from linguistics and psychology into a compatible ―method‖ of presentation in the classroom.

    Linguistics is the study of language as a system of human communication. It covers a wide field with different approaches and different areas of investigation, for example sound system, sentence structure and meaning system. Linguistics has drawn on ideas from sociology to establish the place and role of language in the sociology of human behavior, and from psychology to investigate(among other things) how language is learned. The result is two new disciplines: sociolinguistics and psycholinguistics, which, together with linguistics proper, form the central area of applied linguistics.

    Sociolinguistics is the study of language in relation to social factors, that is, social class, educational level and type of education, age, sex, ethic origin, etc. Linguists differ as to what they include under sociolinguistics. Many would include the detailed study of interpersonal communication, and also those investigations which relate variations in the language use by a group of people to social factors.

    Psycholinguistics is the study of mental processes that a person undergoes in producing and understanding language, and how humans learn language. Psycholinguistics includes the study of speech perception, the role of memory, concepts and other processes in language use, and how social and psychological factors affect the use of language.

    Applied linguistics is the study of second and foreign language learning and teaching. It also studies language and linguistics in relation to practical problems, such as lexicography, translation, speech phonology, etc. Applied linguistics uses information from sociology, psychology, anthopology and information theory as well as from linguistics in order to develop its own theoretical models of language and language use, and then uses this information and

    theory in practical areas such as syllabus design, speech therapy, language planning, stylistics, etc.

    This last field is concerned with many language activities, e.g. speech pathology, machine translation, mother tongue acquisition, literary analysis, etc. But for the present purpose its chief relevance is to language teaching. See the following diagram:

    Linguistics

    psycholinguistics sociolinguistics Applied

    linguistics

    phychology Theory and sociology practice of

    ELT

    pedagogy

    The conjunction of sociology and psychology with the theory and practice of English language teaching(ELT) is a reminder that teaching of any kind draws upon knowledge from these fields quite apart from language considerations: we get insights from sociology about such matters as group interaction, the status of the teacher and the school in the local culture, the social role of education as a whole...; from psychology, we understand facts about memory span, motivation, cognitive development relating to the process of learning, understanding and representing knowledge, mental process of knowing…; and pedagogy is concerned with class management, questioning techniques, lesson planning and teaching strategies, etc. Language teaching presupposes a set of operational principles of language, and this is supplied by applied linguistics.

    2.4 Factors Influencing Foreign Language Teaching and Learning

    Teaching and learning a foreign language inevitably involves relationships between different aspects of life, and teaching English successfully is not just a question of method. Other

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