Friday, 4 February 2011

EAL teaching methodology...

When teaching EAL students, activating prior knowledge is extremely important and in my teaching I use this strategy often. A high level of previous education and knowledge may help the EAL students progress a lot quicker. As Cummins stresses that EAL teachers should use the CUP (common underlying proficiency) model in order to activate students’ prior knowledge. According to Cummins The development of academic skills in English depends not just on exposure to English but equally on the knowledge and concepts that the children have inside their heads that help them make sense of English.

The Natural Approach Krashen and Terrell developed in 1983, points out that there should be a lot of language acquisition instead of language processing together with a lot of comprehensible input from the teacher. ‘An interactive and stress free language environment and comprehensible input that is cognitively demanding offers bilinguals optimum learning potential’. This teaching methodology improves the EAL students’ listening skills and aims to create a safe and secure learning environment for EAL students. It focuses on a wide range of activities such as; role plays, dialogues, group work and discussions. The 3 generic stages of the approach are: Preproduction that develops listening skills, this was when I repeated the keywords and students listened; Early Production that students struggle with the language and make many errors which are corrected based on content and not structure, this was when they had to match the keywords with the meaning; Extending Production that promotes fluency through a variety of more challenging activities, this was the activities we did during the main part of the lesson.

In my teaching, I use the 5 principles of Krashen’s ‘Communicative Approach ‘ that requires that learners learn a language through using it to communicate because they do pair/group work, role play, ask and answer questions in class; authentic and meaningful communication should be the goal of classroom activities because they have clear learning and language speaking objectives; fluency is an important dimension of communication and communication involves the integration of different language skills because students do speaking, listening, reading and writing in lessons; learning is a process of creative construction and involves trial and error because students feel safe and are not scared to make mistakes when communicating with each other. The communication may also take place in first language. According to Krashen ‘well designed bilingual programmes produce better academic English because they supply subject matter knowledge in the students’ primary language, which makes the English the students hear and read much more comprehensible’

I aim to teach through visual, auditory and kinaesthetic activities to make the learning more effective and enjoyable.


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