Lesson 1: Frieda and Jan Break the News. Verb Study 2: come. Prepositions 1 Lesson 3: Invitations and Requests. Verb Study 4: do, make Lesson 7: Word Study: already, yet, still. Verb Study 5: give.
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But rather more has been attempted. These sections are not intended for transmission to the students except, perhaps, indirectly and as answers to what might be awkward questions for a teacher whose facilities for consulting reference books or keeping abreast of modern developments both in England and in America are restricted. In short, the purpose of these sections is not primarily to help the pupil to learn more English, but rather to aid the untrained, inexperienced teacher, to widen his outlook and, perhaps, add a little to his confidence in himself.
The best method of teaching English is one that arouses in a pupil a love of learning English; the worst is one that bores him. Every teacher has his own personality and will develop his own style, and I believe it is essential that he should have freedom to tackle the problems of teaching in his own way, for only so will he have enthusiasm in working them out. Therefore, I hope that no teacher will slavishly follow the suggestions in this book, or in any other book.
But enthusiasm for teaching can, I think, be helped by a rational technique and a planned programme of work, and there are certain general methods of approach and certain techniques that I have found successful in the teaching of English to foreign students.
These methods I have embodied in the Essential English Course, and in the present book I want to point them out and suggest how they may be applied. But all teachers of English are not experienced teachers and it is to the inexperienced ones that, I hope, the suggestions may be helpful. Aims Let us first be clear about our aims.
In teaching English the usual aims are to teach the student a to speak English I as nearly as possible in the way that English people speak it, b to understand English as spoken by English people, c to read English with ease, and d to write it with accuracy. Essential English is designed to further all these aims.
Of them I think the first two, i. Almost any teacher can teach his students to read English; the text-book practically does the work for him. But to teach the pupil to speak English demands a sure command of English in the teacher and a high standard of skill in the teaching.
Language is speech, writing is merely a device for recording speech; and in whatever tongue he may have uttered it, man spoke his language as every child does long before he wrote it. He must always remember that English is a living language and should not be taught as if it were a dead one.
It is the spoken word that is the basis of his teaching and, for a considerable time, learning should be by ear rather than by eye. So from the very start the students should hear English and attempt to speak it. Direct Method This method i. If the idea is an object e. The window is dirty wiping it with the finger, showing a dirty finger, with an expression of disgust on the face.
I am opening the window: now I am opening the door. I will open my book doing so. Now, open your books. But suppose the student learns the word, not by material association, as here, but by translation.
Then the mental process is something like this: As you can see, in the translation process another factor has entered, blocking the direct line between the language unit and the concept that represents it. This can be used to show the meanings of things nouns , of verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, etc.
We can teach the words table, chair, umbrella, tree, etc. It is used to keep off the rain," etc. Definition, though useful when the students have gained some knowledge of English, is not of much use at the beginning stage. My umbrella is protecting me; it is keeping me from getting wet. Now the rain has stopped. An umbrella is very useful when it is raining. In the example just used, the teacher, instead of merely giving the vernacular word for umbrella, used the word half a dozen times.
His listeners have been, unconsciously, assimilating English sounds, intonations, words, speech patterns and constructions-and that is not wasting time.
Remember that you are teaching English, not about English. A student can know all about English and yet be unable to follow an ordinary conversation between English people or speak half a dozen sentences as English people would say them. You learn to swim by getting into the water and swimming; you learn football by going and kicking a ball.
And you learn to speak English by speaking it and not by being told about it. For many years he has been accustomed to certain speech habits, habits of sound-formation, of word order, of sentence structure.
At every turn the learner is beset with the temptation to follow his natural inclination and, for the speech sounds, stresses, word order and idiom of English, substitute the sounds, order and idiom of his own language. This influence of the mother tongue can be very subtle and very far-reaching. In other words the learner should acquire his English as the child learns its own mother tongue, not by conscious thought about grammar but by imitation.
I have known foreigners who have lived in England for thirty or forty years, who have married English wives and lived in English surroundings all that time and yet whose English speech was full of un-English sounds, un-English intonation, un-English stress and un-English constructions.
Imitation There is no doubt that imitation is one of the keys, perhaps the golden key, to success. Language learning depends very largely on the ability to hear correctly the sounds the teacher utters, the skill to mimic them exactly, the patience and perseverance to practice those same sounds and sentence patterns, and a retentive memory to hold them.
Correct usage is a matter of habit not knowledge, and a large increase in knowledge, especially where the knowledge has been purely theoretical and divorced from practice, may bring only a very small increase in the ability to use English correctly. Grammatical knowledge creates a critical sense: it can judge whether the final product is right or wrong, but it does nothing to produce it. Grammar To a large extent drills in sentence patterns will, in the earlier stages, take the place of instruction in English grammar.
With children these drills could almost entirely replace grammar. Essential English, however, is primarily for the adult student. His approach to language learning is naturally the philosophic, rational one. He wants to know why and when certain forms and constructions are used. He wants to see how the language works, to examine the structural patterns, noting how they are put together and studying the relations between the words used in them.
But new constructions are introduced gradually and systematically and are illustrated in the reading material of the lesson before the construction is explained. This sort of thing which, though valuable and enjoyable to the child, may cause embarrassment to the adult student. But the grammar given is only the essential grammar, and what there is of it is very simple.
There is, perhaps, no language, ancient or modem, that has a simpler grammar than English, at least in its earliest stages. It has no grammatical gender of nouns as, for example, French and German have, practically no inflexion for adjectives, very few for verbs. It is on these two devices, therefore, that special stress should be laid by means of drills, sentence patterns, substitution tables, etc. Compare this with the number of inflections of the verb in Latin, Spanish or Russian. Brutus interfecit Caesarem.
Brutus Czesarem interfecit. Caesarem interfecit Brutus. Interfecit Brutus Casarem. Again, because this is an adult course the lessons are longer than would be desirable for children, the pace at little faster, the new words per lesson perhaps rather more numerous, the subject- matter of the reading and the conversation less childish. But the fundamental things, i. Vocabulary Essential English is based on a carefully selected limited vocabulary.
But the question of vocabulary is perhaps not so important a matter as it was once considered, and in this new edition of Essential English the vocabulary range has been made somewhat more extensive than it was in the former edition. But I want to emphasize that there is little point in learning isolated words. The unit of language is not the word but the sentence, and words taken out of their natural surroundings are dead things.
Then, vocabulary can easily be added to the framework as the need for it arises. This, of course, is quite true and in theory is quite admirable: in practice it can resolve itself, as it does in certain text-books, into drilling the class in the kind of sentences, which, though they may illustrate a linguistic pattern, are so remote from actuality that the students get bored and lose all interest.
On the whole it has seemed wiser to me in the new edition of Essential English to try to make the best of both worlds, to give a vocabulary above the stark minimum, and to give practice by means of sentences that are meaningful and intrinsically interesting. The Function of the Teacher This question of interest in teaching is, I maintain, of paramount importance.
It is part, and an important part of the job of the writer of text-books for beginners and perhaps for any grade of pupils to be not only sound and scholarly but also interesting. It is equally the job of the teacher to make his lessons interesting. A dull teacher is a bad teacher, though he may hold enough certificates to paper a room.
A good teacher will make his lessons interesting by his enthusiasm, his liveliness, his vigour, his careful preparation of lessons; by keeping his class constantly active and eager to use English; by not dwelling so long on any one aspect of the work that the students get bored or discouraged; by seeing that every student takes part in the lesson, which means encouraging the shy and diffident and seeing that the bolder and more self-confident do not monopolise all his attention.
A text-book, even the best text-book, is not a substitute for a teacher; and by placing one in his hand you have not done his work for him.
Nothing could be deadlier than the lesson where a teacher slavishly follows a text-book and reads out questions, while his students, their eyes glued to their books, painfully spell out the answers. Nor can a text-book without being impracticably big hope to give all the material for the intensive drill and practice that has been so often emphasized here. Much fun has Luzon made at the expense of these old fashioned writers; but they were not so foolish as they seem.
A lesson is not the pouring of the wine of learning into empty passive bottles. If it were the teacher would hardly matter: any full jug can fill empty bottles, and it is a psychological error to expect a pupil to be a passive recipient of information. The most successful class is one where the students, not the teacher, do the greater part of the work. He tries to make Teaching a substitute for learning, and in doing so prevents the class from learning.
And to be really successful it ought to be a happy partnership. The friendly, sympathetic attitude of a teacher to a class brings out the best in both. There must be discipline, but it should be based on kindly firmness and never in any circumstances on sarcasm or ridicule at the expense of the weaker members of the class.
Guidance is given in the following pages, but the amount of time spent on each of the 32 lessons will depend on the quality of the class and the judgment of the teacher. It really ought not to be more than fifteen, but sometimes we have no choice in the matter. They may be all of the same nationality, which is certainly a help if you wish to translate a word, a command or an explanation. You have found that they are all complete beginners with no knowledge of English at all.
How does one begin on a job like this? Your aim at the start will be to get your pupils to understand some English, to hear, imitate and practice the sound: and then to associate those sounds or combinations of sounds with objects. If the oral work is done first, the text-book will crystallise and illustrate the points that you have made. A, and, answer, baby, boy, cat, cigarette, dog, eight, eleven, fifteen, first, five, four, fourteen, hammer, horse, in, is, It, lesson, man, missing, motor-car, mountain nail, nine, no, not, number, one, put, question, seven, ship, six, sixteen, ten, that, the, thirteen, this, three, train, twelve, two, what, woman, word, write, yes.
But rather more has been attempted. These sections are not intended for transmission to the students except, perhaps, indirectly and as answers to what might be awkward questions for a teacher whose facilities for consulting reference books or keeping abreast of modern developments both in England and in America are restricted. In short, the purpose of these sections is not primarily to help the pupil to learn more English, but rather to aid the untrained, inexperienced teacher, to widen his outlook and, perhaps, add a little to his confidence in himself. The best method of teaching English is one that arouses in a pupil a love of learning English; the worst is one that bores him. Every teacher has his own personality and will develop his own style, and I believe it is essential that he should have freedom to tackle the problems of teaching in his own way, for only so will he have enthusiasm in working them out. Therefore, I hope that no teacher will slavishly follow the suggestions in this book, or in any other book. But enthusiasm for teaching can, I think, be helped by a rational technique and a planned programme of work, and there are certain general methods of approach and certain techniques that I have found successful in the teaching of English to foreign students.
Essential English For Foreign Students Book 1
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