16.Glossary of some common modes of teaching and learning

A kind of group activity intended to generate a lot of ideas. Every suggestion is recorded however unlikely or far-fetched. Decisions about practicality are made later.

Computer assisted language learning.

A form of teaching by question and answer gradually leading to the elicitation of certain truths.
A class activity in which various individuals or groups report back to the class on what they have been researching or discussing. It may also be a session in which the teacher reports back to students with an evaluation of their work.

A form of learning/teaching in which different students cover different areas of a topic; they later pool their knowledge (e.g. by means of seminar/class papers).

A kind of Task-based activity which usually involves an extended amount of independent work, either by an individual student or by a group of students.

A form of group activity in which the class is divided into groups. After some time, pairs of groups are joined together and continue the discussion. This procedure is repeated until there is only one group, comprising the whole class. Sometimes called a Snowball group.

A form of SIMULATION in which the participants adopt certain roles or parts.

Used to describe any kind of learning which involves the performance of a specific task or piece of work.

A kind of TASK-BASED group activity which involves the completion of a certain specified task. It is expected that all the members of the group to contribute something to the completion of the task.

15.Materials Evaluation Criteria

  1. Subject and content

    1. If it is relevant to learners’ needs.
1.2 If it is interesting for the learners.
    1. If there is enough variety of activities.

  1. Activities
    1. If there is balance of activities.
    2. If there is enough comprehensible input for the learners.
    3. If there is enough practice in varying forms of tasks.
    4. If there is a sufficient amount of communication output in the materials.
    5. If new vocabulary is introduced in motivating and realistic contexts

  1. Skills

    1. If the materials include and practice the skills learners of the respective age need.
    2. If there is an appropriate balance of skills.
    3. If the skills are integrated or practiced in isolation.

  1. Guidance

    1. If the teacher’s book contains clear guidance for the teacher about how to present and practice the materials.
    2. If there are clearly-stated objectives for each sequence of the lesson.
    3. If there is additional input material to compensate for lack of teacher’s own materials and time.
    4. If there are key answers provided to more problematic issues.

  1. Language type

    1. If the language used in the materials is at the right level for students’ age/assumed competence and is real-life English.
    2. If there is explicit reference to appropriateness (the matching of language to its social context and function).
    3. If there is a cline of approaches.
    4. If there is grading and recycling of language content.

Supporting materials

    1. If the materials contain visuals; recorded material; examples of authentic language; an index of grammar items/ functions; a glossary; testing materials; others


  • Test types:
  1. Achievement/attainment tests are based on syllabus. Test what was learned/taught in class. They look backwards.
  2. Proficiency tests are not based on syllabus. They find out language level and look forwards.
  3. Placement tests are not based on syllabus and are meant to group students of similar competence and performance together in order to better collaborate to improve their language skills.
  4. Diagnostic tests are (not) based on syllabus and are meant to find out students’ areas of weaknesses. They are looking backwards and forwards, since re-teaching may be necessary.
  5. Aptitude tests find out if students have aptitude for learning a foreign language. They are looking forwards.
  • Historical presentation of English testing:
  1. Traditional/pre-scientific, Spolsky (1984)
Grammatico-literary, Carroll & Hall (1985)
Garden of Eden, Morrow (1979)
E.g. written composition; oral interview; translation passage.
Features: non-authentic; disembodied; subjective
  1. Modern/scientific, Spolsky (1984)
Psycho-linguistic, Carroll & Hall (1985)
Vale of tears, Morrow (1979)
E.g. multiple-choice; transformations; cloze; dictation.
Features: non-authentic; disembodied; discrete-point; objective; integrative; objective.
  1. Post-modern, Spolsky (1884)
Socio-communicative, Carroll & Hall (1985)
Promised Land, Morrow (1979)
E.g. authentic texts (reading and listening); authentic tasks (writing and speaking).
Features: authentic; contextualized; integrative; objective and subjective.
  • Making test items more communicative:
  • give students some purpose to communicate
  • establish audience/reader
  • create some information gap or conflictual situation
  • test enabling skills rather than products
  • make items integrative rather than discrete-point
  • use contextualized language rather than disembodied language
  • make them both objective and subjective, e.g. cloze /C-cloze tests
  • make them criterion-referenced rather than norm-referenced

NB: make them both relevant to students’ needs and expectations and reliable!
  • Reflection as Exercise
Since teachers need to evaluate students’ performance they have to administer either ready-made tests or their own tests.
Please, always reflect twice whether the task you give students is meant to teach them something or just test their competence/performance.



  • What is an error?
Errors are of two types:
  1. forms that are not acceptable according to the rules (syntactic, phonological, lexical) of the target language.
  2. forms that are themselves acceptable but which are used in a way that is unacceptable (e.g. errors of style).
  • It is worth making a distinction between errors/slips/lapses. Slips of the tongue are often spontaneously corrected by the speaker; lapses caused by tiredness, or inattention can also be corrected by the speaker if attention is drawn to them.
  • It has now become clear that many of the errors of a second/foreign language-learner are developmental: that is, they are a natural part of the learning process, in the same way that the incorrect utterances of a child learning its native language are seen as natural part of its linguistic development.
  • What causes errors?
There are four main causes of error. Two of these are inevitable; the other two are to some degree avoidable.
  1. errors as indicators of the present state of knowledge: teacher should be prepared to accept these errors for what they are, and not as evidence of a poor memory or unsuccessful teaching.
  2. Errors as a result of overgeneralization or false analogy on the basis of too little linguistic evidence. If language-learning proceeds in a sequence (Data>Hypothesis 1> More Data> Feedback> Hypothesis2> More Data> etc.) then correction can function positively, to assist learning.
  3. Errors as a result of negative transfer (interference) from the learner’s mother tongue. Correction is not always effective in this case.
  4. Errors as a result of wrong hypothesis caused by poor teaching. Here correction is a poor substitute for re-teaching.
  • Are most frequent also most serious errors?
Grammatical errors (prepositions, word order, selectional restrictions after a particular verb, etc.), although extremely resistant to change, interfere with communication to a relatively small extent. Phonological errors are a much more serious problem since they are a potential source of irritation to native speakers, while lexical errors can lead to a complete breakdown in communication.
  • Teachers must make decisions about what, when, and how to correct and make remedial intervention.
WHAT we correct will depend partly on whether we consider correction will serve any purpose, and partly on what we consider important during a particular activity.
WHEN goes both for the teacher and the student(s) who is/are expected to correct himself/each other. Don’t mix up fluency activities with accuracy activities, when correction is important.
NB: Teachers must find ways of encouraging students to monitor and correct, when appropriate, both their own production and (in a spirit of helpfulness) that of their fellow-learners.

  1. Note the type of mistakes – e.g. Pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary
  2. How was the correction achieved? – e.g. Student guided to self-correction, student to student correction or teacher to student correction.
  3. Note when the teacher corrected, e.g. on the spot or delayed…
  4. Did the teacher anticipate any mistakes? E.g. pronunciation/grammar?
  5. Did the teacher hear mistakes?
  6. Did the teacher correct too much or too little?
  7. Was the teacher right in their correction?
  8. Did the teacher jot down mistakes?
  9. Comment on the overall success of the correction taking place.
  • Reflection as Exercise
  1. There are different schools of thought on how or even whether to correct during a fluency or communicative activity. Where do you stand, with those advocating the necessity of correction or those disfavouring correction altogether?
  2. When should correction be more persistent: at lower levels or high levels, according to you?
  3. Mario Rinvolucri advocates ‘hot correction’ (slip of paper with the correction on it, immediately handed in to the student) in group work. Would you consider the method disruptive or decently protective to the student?
  4. Do you consider recording the activity, using video or sound tape, and playing it back to the students a valuable source of working on the language?
  5. It is said that the greatest irritants to native speakers are not grammar or morphology errors (the first obsession of classical Error Analysis), but what Thomson (1983) called ‘pragmatic failures’, which mainly occur due to native language transfers. Provide at least one example.
  6. It is well known the native speakers’ tolerance towards errors. How do you explain that there is always a tendency for deprecatory assessment with the non-native foreign language teacher?
  7. Chomsky (1981) refers to feedback given to infants acquiring the NL as positive v. negative ‘evidence’. What was he referring to more exactly?
  8. The idea that learners produce forms which, even if corrected, are not quite what the native would say is developed by Levenston (1978). He shows that an EA that limits itself to reconstruction, i.e. on putting the grammar right, is flawed: what is left will still display lexical inadequacy, syntactic blends, conceptual confusion and rhetorical ineptitude. We could say that what learners write may well be discourse ‘in English’ but still falls short of being ‘English discourse’. Thus the attention, nowadays, has shifted from clear-cut error to the vaguer notion of infelicity. So, where do you stand among learners/teachers: those who perform correctly but ‘infelicitously’ or those who have the feeling of the language?

12.Teaching Literary Skills

  • Knowledge of literature from both diachronic and synchronic perspective of the history of civilization. Appropriate critical jargon and literary theory information should supplement it. And, what is more, the feeling for literature reading and discussion.
  • Knowledge of How to teach Literature to teenagers
  1. awareness of complexity of situation (cultural awareness raising; information transfer; artistic taste refinement; creativity enhancement; study skills improvement; language skills development; self-knowledge growth).
  2. Adaptation of reader’s response theory beliefs to the classroom situation: i.e. text seen as a flexible structure (both closed and open); reader as co-author of the text.
  3. Guidelines for achieving literary skills:
  1. make the study of literary texts stimulating, challenging, enjoyable.
  2. make students learn how to think and not what to think; how to handle concepts of literary theory and not parrot ready-made interpretations;
  3. keep a right balance between focus on information and focus on personal response/creativity.
  4. make the literary text an interesting ‘encounter’ in time by presenting it in the context of the culture and civilization of their time.
  5. make both the achievement and behaviour cultures (both English/American and Romanian) meet on the arena of the literary text.
  6. Observe the spiral principle (from recognition, to guided discovery, to awareness and, finally, to response) for ensuring success and satisfaction in the development of the critical mind.
  1. Here are the teaching/assessment objectives of ‘literaturing’ as presented by the authors of the Pathway to English series: At the end of Grade 12, students should be able to:
  1. demonstrate their presentation skills by planning an oral/written presentation of the features of a literary text which should be relevant to the topic, selective and clear, and which should use the appropriate terminology and language register;
  2. express their personal response, that is to explore and express their views on a literary text by articulating informed and independent opinions on literary texts of different types and cultural epochs;
  3. make a text analysis, i.e. to show their understanding of the ways in which writers’choice of form, structure, and language reveals meanings, their understanding of the cultural and historical influences on literary texts, their awareness of the relationships between literary texts.
  1. Textbook writers spirally work upon the following concepts when aiming at developing literary skills: plot-building; character-building; theme; narrative perspective; setting; symbol discovery; range of language(s) and style(s).

  • Reflection as Exercise:
  1. Look at the text from E. Bronte’s Wuthering Heights in Book 10, Perspectives on English. Design a scenario for teaching students the concept of plot uncovering. Detail: stages, purposes, skills, activities, timing, types of interaction.
  2. Look at the text from S. Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, in Book 11, News and Views. Design a scenario for teaching students the concept of character building. Detail: stages, purposes, skills, activities, timing, types of interaction.
  3. Look at the text from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, in Book 11, News and Views. Design a scenario for teaching theme discovery: Detail: stages, purposes, skills, activities, timing, types of interaction.
  4. Look at the text from Henry James’s The Portrait of a Lady, in Book 11, News and Views. Design a scenario for teaching narrative perspective discovery: Detail: stages, purposes, skills, activities, timing, types of interaction
  5. Look at the text from Ernest Hemingway’s The Killers, in Book 11, News and Views. Design a scenario for teaching language as style: Detail: stages, purposes, skills, activities, timing, types of interaction
  6. Look at the text from J. Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, in Book 10, Perspectives. Design a scenario for teaching language as style: Detail: stages, purposes, skills, activities, timing, types of interaction

11.Teaching Speaking

  • Knowledge on spoken language
1. Identifying different types of speaking according to the functional analysis of speaking performed by Bygate (1987) - see Fig.1.
Expository: description, instruction, comparison
Information routines
Evaluative: explanation, justification, prediction, decision

Service: job interview
Interaction routines

Social: dinner party

Negotiation of meaning

Management of interaction

Fig.1 Characterizing oral interaction

2. D. Nunan’s three-dimensional grid as a planning device for designing a syllabus for speaking and oral interaction - see Fig.2

Negotiation of meaning
Management of interaction


narrate describe instruct compare
explain justify predict
job interview
booking a

dinner party
coffee break
theatre queue

Fig.2 A planning grid for speaking and oral interaction

3. Predictability and unpredictability: Communication involves the reduction of uncertainty through a process of negotiation.
3.1 Transactional encounters contain highly predictable patterns
3.2 Interpersonal encounters (the focus being on the maintenance of social relationships) will be unpredictable or less predictable
4. Strategies for accomplishing the vertical expansion (extending messages vertically, i.e. discoursally), according to Ellis (1984):
4.1 Imitating another speaker’s utterance and adding to it.
4.2 Building on one’s own previous utterance.
4.3 Juxtaposing two formulaic utterances.
5. Spoken communication as negotiation of turn-taking, topic, message, seeking clarification, and expansion, repeating or summarizing.

  • Knowledge about Teaching Speaking
Aim: mastering the art of speaking as the most important aspect of learning a foreign language (i.e. the ability to carry out a conversation in the foreign language)
1. Skills involved in successful oral communication:
1.1 The ability to articulate phonological features of the language comprehensively;
1.2 Mastery of stress, rhythm, intonation patterns;
1.3 Transactional and interpersonal skills;
1.4 Skills in taking short and long speaking turns;
1.5 Skills in the management of interaction;
1.6 Skills in negotiating meaning (as part of what Canale and Swain (1980) call strategic competence) involve the ability to:
1.6.1 initiate 1.6.2 maintains 1.6.3 interrupt 1.6.4 restore 1.6.5 repair/terminate the interaction;
1.7 Conversational listening skills;
1.8 Skills in knowing about and negotiating purposes for conversations;
1.9 Using appropriate conversational formulae and fillers;

2. The difficulty of speaking tasks: the interlocutor effect (Brown and Yule, 1983,1984)
3. The degree of ascending difficulty of speaking tasks from: static tasksdynamic tasksabstract tasks.
All three task types involve learners in exploiting basic information-transferring skills.
NB The ability to reflect critically on one’s performance as a language user is an important skill, which should be incorporated into any language programme.
4. ‘Top-down’ approach to speaking - see Fig.2 on handout.
5. A nine-point scale Yardstick for evaluating speaking - see Carroll & West, 1989 on handout.
6. Consider what is involved in real-life communication - in any language.

Complete the diagram below with your ideas.

We want to communicate


We choose our own language We focus on message
7. Consider how these features of real-life communication can be replicated in the classroom.

8. Interaction activities: see Penny Ur (1981)
E.g. Information Gap Activities: describe and draw
describe and arrange
describe and perform
describe and identify
picture sequencing
picture differences
Opinion Gap Activities: open-ended discussions
priority discussions
problem-solving tasks
picture/text interpretation


It may be an integrated skills lesson e.g. listening leading to speaking.
  1. Try to ascertain if the skills lesson is being used to reinforce language that has recently been introduced.
  2. You may find it helpful to note down the stages of the lesson and approximate time length of each stage.
  1. What type of speaking skill e.g. dialogue building, role-play, discussion, narrative building? What was the degree of control, i.e. controlled/less controlled/freer?
  2. How was the lesson set up?
  3. What instructions were given and were they clear?
  4. Was the task realistic/appropriate/challenging etc…?
  5. How did the teacher deal with correction e.g. did the teacher correct during the activity or at the end?
  6. Comment on how successful you feel the lesson was? What factors contributed to this?


Answer the questions by making notes of your thoughts and with any specific examples.
  1. Did the T. talk more than necessary to explain a point – or not enough?
  2. Did the T. talk when the students could have been doing the talking?
  3. Did the T. speak too quickly/slowly?
  4. Was the level of language about right?
  5. Did the language sound authentic and natural?
  6. In which activities was student talking time more than TTT?
  7. Did the T. create enough opportunities for student talking time?
  8. Were instructions clear? Was what the trainee/teacher had to say interesting, informative, useful etc.?
  9. If/when TTT was high, was there a good reason for this?

  • Reflection as Exercise:
  1. If you agree that language tasks must have a degree of ascending difficulty covering such scale: static task > dynamic task> abstract task, and must involve learners in exploiting basic information-transferring skills, then mention what other very important skill has to be developed in any language programme.
  2. This is how Carroll and West (1989) appreciate as highest speaking performance:
Handles all general speech situations, as well as those in own specialist areas, with confidence and competence similar to those in mother tongue. An exceptional level of speaking. Message required is completely conveyed with total relevance and interest. Message fully adjusted to listener’s knowledge of topic and language. Spoken text is coherently organized with suitable use of sequencing and cohesion. Total control of fluency in interaction without undue hesitations. Style effectively matched to context. Language control complete, allowing for high-level interaction. Complete accuracy apart from occasional ‘slips of tongue’. Little L1 accent and appropriate use of idiom contribute to overall impression.’ Can you identify the three main criteria at the basis of this near-perfect speaker portrait?
  1. Reading aloud used to be a common test of speaking. Contrast this with a more recent technique – problem-solving working in pairs. Tick off features of each technique when appropriate. (purposive; spontaneous; interactive; planned language; message bearing; real-world task)
  2. The oral interview is open to several criticisms. What are these?
  3. Can you predict three objections to linguistic tests of speaking?
  4. The traditional one-to-one arrangement (learner-assessor interaction) has three main disadvantages. Can you predict what these are?
  5. The ‘guided instructions’ technique evolved from the Lego brick-building task described by Allwright (1977). One learner is asked to give a set of instructions to either another learner or an interlocutor. There are several possibilities: ‘describe and arrange’; ‘describe and draw’; ‘pathfinding’. Mention two major advantages of the technique.
  6. Check any two textbooks available for how the speaking session is organized. Compare and contrast: types of materials, assignments, difficulty parameters, sociolinguistic competence occurrences.
  7. Choose one topic from one current textbook. Edit a scenario to give students practice in speaking on the respective topic/language function. You can compare your scenario with the one below, inspired by a video-lesson illustrating the communicative approach.
  8. In Book 12, English Horizons, authors have included in each unit an assessment form for presentations (oral/written) that the students can use for themselves and for their peers and with which to organize their own learning. What might have been the authors’ hidden agenda in so doing?

10.Teaching Writing

  • Knowledge on written language
1. Written language vs. spoken language: two different kinds of complexity

1.1 complexities at the level of the clauselexical density (# of content words) vs. complexity in the way clauses are linked together.
1.2 decontextualization, which makes it impossible to adjust the message vs. contextualization due to permanent feedback from the other person.

2. Definition of writing = a communicative process involving the writer in decisions concerning the expected reader of the text.

N.B. Textual decisions depend on the writer’s perception of the audience.

3. Constraints in writing a text:
1. Appropriate
2. Intents 3. Context 4. Possible 5. Feasible 6. Performed

Johnson, Keith, Communicative Syllabus Design and Methodology, 1982

4. Functions in everyday life served by written language:
4.1 for action: public signs, recipes, maps, bills, ....,....,....,....,......
4.2 for information: newspapers, non-fiction books, textbooks, advertisements.
4.3.for entertainment: fiction, comic strips, light magazines, etc.
  • Knowledge about teaching writing
1. Writing is a communicative activity where there is a reason to write and there is a reader.

2. Components of the writing skill:

2.1 mechanical component: e.g. hand-writing; spelling; capitalization; punctuation.
2.2 grammatical component: e.g. tenses; word order; etc.
2.3 discourse component: e.g. ability to paragraph; use of cohesive devices; etc.
2.4 stylistic component: e.g. choice of appropriate vocabulary; ability to vary sentence structure to avoid repetition; ability to choose language according to the type of writing and writing.

3. Potential problems: spelling; punctuation; stylistic confusion between spoken and written language; L1 interference; Ss’ resistance to writing in general.

4. What the student MUST know:
4.1 what the audience will be
4.2 what s/he wants to convey i.e. purpose of writing
4.3 how to write several drafts coming nearer to the message intended at the semantic and grammatical level.

5. Staging the writing lesson
  • ideas’ stage
  • composing’ stage
  • editing’ stage

6. what will a course of writing include?
  • a lot of: reading, listening, oral discourse

7. Role of the writing teacher:
  • find interesting and relevant writing activities
  • decide how best to present the activities
  • provide sufficient guidance and control
  • provide correction and suggestions for improvement

8. Techniques used for teaching writing:
  • pre-reading discussion
  • spray-charts or visual forms presenting ideas before writing
  • first draft followed by peer discussion of the message
  • second draft
  • editing
  • recomposition
  • modelling/ parallel versions for different audiences
  • text combination (pairs use their best relevant pieces to make the whole text)
  • incubation (set the writing task a week after pre-writing activity)
  • writing many different kinds of texts (e.g. newspaper articles; menus; tourist brochures; doctor’s records; poetry; etc.)

9. Process-oriented approach vs. product-oriented approach
9.1 focus is on classroom activities, which are believed to promote the development of skilled language use.
9.2 language at the level of discourse.
9.3 writing teacher more interested in the processes writers go through in composing texts.

10. objectives + activities:
10.1 arouse Ss’ interesttopic (stimulus for topic: learner choice of topic)
10.2 arouse ideas/new wordsgroup/pair brainstorming
10.3 help organize ideasoutline or jot down ideas
10.4 get down main ideasfirst draft (individual, pair or group)
10.5 clarifying message, editingfeedback from peers and teacher
10.6 optional second draft and feedback
10.7 final versionrewriting

11. Discourse analytic tasks
  • true/false questions on writer’s intention
  • cloze and gap-filling using semantic replacement criteria
  • given 1st paragraph, learners predict 2nd, etc.
  • match list of functions with text
  • rhetorical transformations (e.g. given a description of a product, learners rewrite it as an advertisement)
  • modeling (e.g. given text as a topic, learners write a text of the same structure on a different topic).

12. Stages of a writing lesson
12.1 copying
12.2 controlled writing
12.3 guided writing
12.4 cued writing
12.5 free writing: reports; summaries; letters; invitations; literary compositions.,
13. Producing a piece of writing.

(Raimes, A. Techniques in Teaching Writing, OUP, 1983)


  1. Was it a mini-skills lesson e.g. punctuation, letter format?
  2. What was the degree of control? i.e. controlled/less controlled/freer?
  3. What kind of writing exercise was it? e.g. letter writing, composition, descriptive passage…
  4. Was there appropriate guidance for the task?
  5. How was the lesson concluded? NB: it may be set for homework.
  6. Comment on how successful you feel the lesson was. What factors contributed to this?


  1. Physical: Was the board visible to all?
Was the layout clear? (Did it appear overcrowded/disorganized?)
  1. Was the new language highlighted effectively?
  2. Was the board work complete? (e.g. no unfinished sentences)
  3. Did the teacher use the board for:
  1. clarifying points on the spot?
  2. correction? (e.g. grammar, pronunciation)
  1. Could any of the following have been appropriate?
  1. tabulation (e.g. substitution table)
  2. display of visuals (flashcards/drawings)
  3. prompts for practice
  4. preparation (e.g. giving information for an activity)
  1. What did the students write down and take away?
Was it representative of the salient points of the lesson, and would the students have understood it several days later?
  1. Was the board overused or underused?

  • Reflection as Exercise:
  1. The writer can choose any structure or lexis, which will appropriately express the intended meaning to the expected audience. So, will you look at Keith Johnson’s diagram of an utterance and spell out the necessary constraints to be considered when writing.
  2. How can you reformulate such a writing task as ‘Describe your room at home’ so that the assignment take on new dimensions besides a simple exercise in the use of the present tense and in prepositions. Consider providing student writers with a context in which to select appropriate content, language, and levels of formality.
  3. When is teacher feedback expected to happen during the writing process?
  4. What differences can you highlight between the process-approach to writing and a more traditional approach?
  5. Argue for writing as a group work activity or an isolationist activity.
  6. Mention advantages of use of brainstorming activities in the writing class.
  7. Consider the textbook English News and Views. Put down all the writing tasks used by the authors in order to refine students’ writing skills.
  8. Detail a scenario presenting the stages of a lesson teaching writing on a topic of your choice from a textbook familiar to you.
  9. How can the teacher get the balance right between accuracy and fluency in writing?
  10. What do you understand by the need to develop the students’ communicative potential in writing?