||What is missing in our
students' English learning?
|Miss Ip Choi Wan, Kendra (English teacher of Lok Sin Tong
Kan Hing School)
|A. What is the full picture of language teaching/learning?
| For every English teacher, it becomes part of our routine
to prepare teaching material for our students. Usually we
assume that our students will build up their English proficiency
if we have well-planned material of the four learning skills
in our lessons and if we give them regular dictations and
compositions. But is that all for language learning and teaching?
Is that the end of our duty ?
Phonetics + Poetry Writing / Rhyme
News + Jounal
|B. What are the public and private domains?
years of teaching English, I have got to know that we should
over-estimate the impact of teachers’talk in class. We
have been focussing too much of our attention on the public
that is, our planned classroom teaching.
important, we should not under-estimate
our students’ potential in their language learning abilities. It
is time we shift our attention to help our students explore
language learning potential in their private domain. *David
Crabbe (1993:451) states that ‘The private domain is not
usually well-attended to and yet it is arguably where a
considerable part of the learning takes place.’ For
private domain, it refers to what our learners choose to
in class and out-of-class. Once we give more freedom to
our students in their process of learning,
motivation can be aroused. An example is given
in Samples 1 and 2 that are the two interesting poems or
rhymes written by two Form Two boys who are in fact good
making fun of each other in class. The poems were written
after they had learnt the Phonetics system. At the end
of the course, students were given the freedom to write
anything they like by rhyming the last syllable of each
line. Their creativity impressed not just me but also their
classmates and even stimulated the rest of their class
to write more poems in their journals.
*Crabbe, David (1993) ‘Fostering autonomy from within the
classroom: the teacher’s responsibility.’ System 21 (4)
|C.What is our students’ potential in out-of-class activities
teachers always say that the English newspaper and English
TV programmes are too difficult for their junior form students, so they seldom
encourage them to do any activities related to them at home
unless they are heavily
guided. In fact, such argument may not be justified.
far as newspaper activities are concerned, Samples 5, 6 and 8 are the work of
students who do the activities on their own. Teachers only need to introduce
short articles on the Letters to the Editor of Young Post ( South ChinaMorning
Post ) and then ask them to select any other articles they like and try
toimitate the phrases or the style of writing. Again, it has been proved that
students are given the freedom, they will surprise you with their selection andcreativity
in language learning. Such activities are particularly suitable for the quiet
students who can build up their confidence and sustain their interest in the
language learning through these out- of-class activities.
students can get into the habit of watching English TV programmes so long as
they are motivated to do so first in class and then be encouraged
to do the simple TV reports at home. It does not matter how much English they
can write. What matters is their process of learning. The TV reports are just
records of their work and they can get strong sense of satisfaction from their
own work. This applies to students of all forms. After just one class-viewing
of any English TV programme, students can start their own TV tour or VCD /DVD
tour and have it recorded weekly in the report book. Their performance may surprise
you! Samples 3, 4 & 7 are some examples. Some may even recommend some TV programmes
to introduce them in class. Peer sharing moments can also be arranged before
reports so that they can influence each other in the activities.
| C. Conclusion
the activities like the writing of poems after reading certain
newspaper articles and TV reports can
be recorded in the students’ English Activity Book that can
be part of the coursework
of the keys for the success of motivating students to read English newspaper
and watch English TV programmes is the role model of teachers. English
teachers themselves should read English newspaper and watch English TV programmes before
they can introduce the interesting material to their students. Before we blame
our students’lack of active learning attitude, we teachers need to do the self-reflection
remember that the process of teaching and learning English
should be fun and more than grammar teaching/learning !