LITERACY DEVELOPMENT AND SKILLS INTEGRATION
Developing literacy and other abilities in a second or foreign language should inudue students in very positive, authentic and highly motivating experiences. It is when learning a language is equated with mastery of separate sets of skills and sub-skills that students often run into difficulty.
A NATURAL LANGUAGE FRAMEWORK
A natural languageframework, frequently referred to in the literature is “whole language” has gained momentum in recent years. Readers may have to be reminded that they need not understand every word and that trying to do so many interfere with their understanding. However, under normal conditions the reads is not even consciously aware that he or she is skimming or scanning or reading intensively. These are strategiesthat come naturally as the situation demands.
Goodman, along with many others, was instrumental in development a whole language perspective. He describes whole language as “the easy way to language development”. To make his point, he contrasts when makes language learning easy with what makes is difficult.
It’s easy when:
It’s hard when:
It’s real and natural
It’s broken into bits and pieces
Let’s first turn our attention to the right-hand edumn, which is most often associated with bottom-up approaches. Students are expected to use these as building blocks to move gradually to what is more concrete and meaningful.
The left-hand column, on the other hand, is associated with top-down approaches. Herestudents are introduced to meaning full language right from the beginning rather than to distract bits and pieces.
Within a natural language framework, integrating the four skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) is not difficult. When one is listening, opportunities for writing evolue. When one is reading, opportunities for speaking make them-selves felt. Oftenimpetus for skills development comes from a need of the moment.
Integration can take place right from the beginning without causing an andue overload on the student’s mental capabilities.
WHEN INSTRUCTED GRAMMAR MIGHT HELP
While instructed grammar is not considered generally to be the most important contributor to interlanguage development and while to the order of the stages ofdevelopment appears not to be affected to any great extent by instructed grammar. However, they suggest that, at the present time, the main goal of instructed grammar to be increase explicit knowledge rather that to increase implicit knowledge where it’s role is not clearly understood (Fortis and Ellis 1991).
Concerning foreign-language teaching in particular, Terrell (1991) proposed most areas in whichinstructed grammar might be beneficial. He hypothesized that instructed grammar may hasten parts of the interlanguage process for those who are only exposed to the target language for very short periods of time each day.
One strategy that presently holds promise in identifying structures for which the students may be ready is teacher-generated error analysis. What structures are the students tryingto use in their output, both oral and written? Sometimes work with specific structures will be valuable to learners who might use them following appropriate instruction after considerable exposure to input containing them. Other rules could be worked on by individuals. What all of this means, is that we, as teacher, can no longer rely on an single grammatical syllabus for averyone.
THE ROLEOUTPUT IN THE ACQUISITION PROCESS
Just as the role of the instructed grammar is controversial is it relates to the second language acquisition process, so is the role of output, but to a lasser degree. Krashen minimizes the role output. He argues against those who believe that output is used for hypothesis testing, a process by which the learner tries out new structures in discourse and acquires...
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