Language for Teachers Task 4: Focus on the Teacher’s Language

Topics: Linguistics, Bless you, Semantics Pages: 5 (1202 words) Published: September 16, 2013
ICELT
2012-2013
The Anglo Antonio Caso

Language for Teachers Task 4:
Focus on the teacher’s language

Name: Eduardo García Acevedo
Candidate number: 004
Centre Number: MX005
Date of submission: August, 30th 2013

In this paper, I analyze my language in the classroom in terms of its accuracy and appropriacy for teaching. I quote six utterances from an Elementary level (A1) with twelve adult students who work at an investigation institute. This lesson starts with a conversation about a woman’s vacation to Aspen in order to introduce the Idiomatic Future.

1. When checking a dialog from students’ book assignments, I asked a comprehension question to the whole class.

Accurate and appropriate: “What is the reason to buy two machines that do the same thing?”

This sample focuses the learners’ attention to the question being answered at that moment. It also provides modified input to enhance students’ understanding because this could have easily been worded like: “Why buying two machines to do the same job?” Thus, by paraphrasing why and replacing job for thing, I make sure I use semantic elements that students can easily identify in spoken language uttered by a known speaker, the teacher.

2. When checking homework, I was nominating students to listen to their answers from the book.

Accurate but inappropriate: “Repeat! Maybe if someone didn’t do the homework, this person can write the answer.”

This message clearly referred to a specific student who was distracted when the rest were checking and correcting homework. Its function was to involve as many students as possible in this whole-class activity. However, it was not my intention to make them self-conscious about not having completed their assignments. In an effort to lower these students’ affective filters, I could have said, “Listen to your classmate’s answer again so you can write any corrections or comparisons.” This alternative could sound artificial and a little complicated because it is the product of careful thinking in a written paper. However, I think it could provide comprehensible input, thus exposing students to cognates such as corrections and comparisons.

3. When I was setting the situation about a future trip, I read for my students a conversation from the book introducing the Idiomatic Future. In the conversation, a woman answers she is going to stay at the Aspen Hotel for her vacation. This is the reply from the other woman.

Inaccurate but appropriate: “Wow, I *her that’s really nice!” (Vs. “Wow, I hear that’s really nice!” <sic>)

I had read that conversation for different groups several times, but I had never had this mispronunciation before. The first times, I would probably just read it verbatim because I would pay a lot of attention to the text. Later, I was already familiar with the story, so I might have changed hear for heard without noticing. It was not until now that I realize hear is not completely accurate to model the typical meaning of this tense. Indeed, hear implies the speaker has been hearing about the quality of the hotel; while heard suggests she once had knowledge about its quality. So, a quick unconscious decision made me change my pronunciation at the last moment, thus producing something between both verb forms. If I had paid more attention to that text beforehand, I could have changed hear for heard in the written text and I could have told students to correct this in their books, too.

4. Right after I finished reading the conversation between those two women, just before asking comprehension questions about this story.

Inaccurate and inappropriate: “And that’s it. Now, let me ask you a few questions about this. It’s just, you know, understanding… [inaudible]

I think I sounded redundant and pointless because I was anxious about my timing at this moment in the lesson. I probably should have avoided talking at all, even though it is difficult for me to keep quiet in class....

References: Lightbown, P. Spada, N. (2006). How languages are learned
New York: Oxford University Press
ICELT
In-Service Certificate in English Language Teaching
Declaration
I, Eduardo García Acevedo, declare that the following Language for Teachers Task 4: Focus on the teacher’s language is entirely my own work and that it is written in my own words and not those copied directly from any other source, except for those properly acknowledged.
Signature:
Date: August, 30th 2013
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