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Education

Published on January 28, 2008

Author: Camilla

Source: authorstream.com

Slide1:  Teaching the English Article System: A Discourse-based Approach Cheryl Wei-yu Chen Ph.D. student, NTNU Slide2:  Purpose: to explain the rationales and explore ways of teaching the English article system in context and through discourse to Chinese adult students of various proficiency levels. intended to complement the more traditional sentence- and rule-based approach to the instruction of the article system. Why is the English article system difficult to master?:  Why is the English article system difficult to master? Some of the reasons include: Chinese [-article] language Articles carry light communication load in daily conversations. For many learners, accurate article use may not become an important concern until they begin to write (Master 1994). High frequency item; continuous conscious rule application may be difficult over an extended stretch of discourse (Master 2002). The presentation of articles in grammar books -1:  The presentation of articles in grammar books -1 How is the article system presented in 3 popular grammar textbooks? a. English Grammar in Use (1985) b. Fundamentals of English Grammar, 2nd ed. (1992) c. Understanding and Using English Grammar, 3rd ed. (1999) The presentation of articles in grammar books -2:  The presentation of articles in grammar books -2 General pattern: The rules for using each article are outlined and then examples are provided to illustrate the rules. Although many exercises are closely related to the use of articles, they often seem contrived and out of context. Teaching articles: A discourse-based approach -1:  Teaching articles: A discourse-based approach -1 Pica (1983): 1. 62 speech events were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed for patterns of article use. 2. “Because the linguistic information the student needs to use and interpret articles is often discourse-related, it is not easily accessible through the sentence-level examples provided in grammars and textbooks.” Teaching articles: A discourse-based approach -2:  Teaching articles: A discourse-based approach -2 The recent trend to teach grammar in context (e.g., Celce-Murcia & Olshtain 2000, Hughes & McCarthy 1998, McCarthy 1991, Nunan 1998). Celce-Murcia & Larsen-Freeman: the “form-meaning-use” pie chart to illustrate the components of grammar and their interrelationships Slide8:  FORM MEANING How is it formed? What does it mean? (Accuracy) (Meaningfulness) USE When/Why is it used? (Appropriateness) Teaching suggestions -1:  Teaching suggestions -1 1. Corpus-based activities The use of literature Can be found in the Proceedings More appropriate for advanced learners. Teaching suggestions -2:  Teaching suggestions -2 Cloze-type exercises -- a good candidate for focusing students’ attention on article usage. Variation 1: modified cloze dialogs Instructions: Fill in the blanks with the or a/an. (Celce-Murcia & Larsen-Freeman 1999) Son: Hey, Dad, can I have (1) car Friday night? I want to take Sally to (2) school dance. Dad: Well, that depends. Don’t you have (3) paper to write? Son: Yeah, but it’s almost done, and besides, (4) friend told me Miss Fittich postponed it to next Friday. Dad: Well, okay. But be back by 12:30. Son: Thanks, Dad. Er…by the way, could I go buy (5) new shirt for (6) dance? Teaching suggestions -3:  Teaching suggestions -3 Variation 2: short story with a clear sequence of actions From Celce-Murcia & Olshtain (2000: 64) There was once (1) crow who stole (2) wedge of cheese from (3) kitchen window. She flew off with (4) cheese to (5) nearby tree. (6) fox saw what (7) crow had done, and he walked over to (8) tree. “Oh, Mistress Crow, you have such lovely black feathers, such slender feet, such (9) beautiful beak, and such fine black eyes! You must have (10) beautiful voice. Would you sing for me?” (11) crow felt very proud. She opened her beak and sang “CAW- CAW-CAW.” Of course (12) cheese fell down and (13) fox snatched it up and ate every bite. Teaching suggestions -4:  Teaching suggestions -4 Variation 3: Academic passages for more advanced or EAP learners Instructions: Fill in the blanks with the, a/an or Ø. In (1) past many ESL/EFL teachers have viewed “grammar” from (2) exclusively sentence-level perspective. We hope to demonstrate in this chapter that such (3) perspective, when applied pedagogically, has had negative consequences for (4) way in which (5) grammar of second and foreign languages has been taught and tested. (6) sentence-based view of (7) grammar is also inconsistent with (8) notion of (9) communicative competence, which – as we have mentioned in Chapter 1 – includes at least four interacting competencies … (taken from Celce-Murcia & Olshtain 2000:50) Teaching suggestions -5:  Teaching suggestions -5 Newspaper headlines -- Because articles are function words which are often omitted in newspaper headlines, a good practice for learners is to rewrite the headlines into full sentences. -- more suitable for learners with higher proficiency, but still possible for beginners (e.g., perhaps by using headlines with easier words & familiar topics) Teaching suggestions -6:  Teaching suggestions -6 Example provided by Grammar Dimensions 2 (2000:300): Find at least four headlines in a newspaper. Copy them down or cut them ou and bring them to class. Put in articles (the, Ø article, a/an, or some) whenever you think they are appropriate in order to make the headlines into more complete statements. (Note: you might need to add main verbs or auxiliaries too, such as a form of be or do.) With the headlines you have chosen, is it possible to use more than one of these articles? If so, does the meaning of the statement change? Example: BLIZZARD OF ’96 PARALYZES EAST COAST Adding articles: The blizzard of 1996 paralyzes the East Coast. Explanation: The is used with blizzard because it is a specific blizzard (January 1996) that most North Americans have heard about. The is used with East Coast because this is from a United States newspaper, so we know which East Coast is being talked about. Teaching suggestions -7:  Teaching suggestions -7 Some examples from the English newspaper Taipei Times (Nov. 8, 2004): 1. Visually impaired man the nation’s first blind lawyer 2. Business realizes risk of climate change 3. Vietnam taking closer look at death penalty Conclusion:  Conclusion The English article system is a notoriously complex system for learners to master. Discourse-oriented activities not only provide learners with opportunities to practice using articles in different contexts, but also help to raise their awareness of the different functions of the articles. Slide17:  Thank you for your attention. Have a nice day~

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