|Teaching Additional Languages (IAE - IBE - UNESCO, 28 p.)|
Classroom activities should allow students to use natural and meaningful language with their classmates.
Learners need opportunities to practice language with one another. Conversations are important since they require attentiveness and involvement on the part of learners. By conversing, they can practise adapting vocabulary and grammar to a particular situation and making their own contributions to the conversation comprehensible.
The best conversations for such learning exchange real information, ideas and feelings among the participants. By engaging in such activities, learners have opportunities to try to make themselves understood. They receive immediate feedback as to whether they were successful and where alternative language is needed. As they engage in such exchanges, learners also receive additional comprehensible input, which further aids language acquisition.
In the classroom
Several classroom-teaching strategies derive from these research findings:
· Teachers should go beyond simple language drills to create opportunities for meaningful interaction in the classroom by using activities in which students employ natural language examples in real language situations.
· Students should be encouraged to work in pairs or small groups, with the teacher serving as an occasionally helpful observer rather than a controlling force.
· Teachers should employ activities in which students have to solve problems in which each party must contribute information that others do not possess and which challenge students minds.
· When feasible, the tasks should relate to students needs and interests so as to motivate them.
· Teachers should usually avoid intervening in these activities while they are occurring, but should provide feedback after they conclude.
References: Doughty & Pica, 1986; Ellis, 1990; Long & Porter, 1985.