Developing reading skills — страница 4

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writing. Guiding either the total class or a small writing team, the teacher focuses attention on one category on information previously charted and encourages children to compose sentences on this topic. The teacher or a student scribe records sentences suggested and then guides the students is revising what they have drafted. The teacher may also ask students for a general statement to use as a summary at the beginning or the end of the paragraphs – a topic sentence, so to speak. He or she may ask students to reorder the sentences drafted so that they flow more logically, to combine two sentences into one, to substitute a more expressive word for one used, to write another sentence that supplied added information. In short, children and teacher together mark over, cross out,

insert, reorder, and finally title their paragraph. Now in small writing teams, students work in the same way with other categories of information they have charted. If each group drafts a paragraph on a different subtopic, the result is several titled paragraphs, each on a main idea that relates to a broader area. With sophisticated students who have had considerable experience composing informational paragraphs based on categorized lists or data charts, of course the teacher can offer the option of individual writing. Each youngsters composes a titled paragraph on one category information. Later those who have drafted paragraphs on the same category can pair off to talk about how they organized the given points into paragraphs and to help with the editing of each other’s

papers. Having drafted and edited paragraphs, students can share them by recording copies on a chart or the chalkboard. Now the task is to decide on the order in which the individual paragraphs can be combined into a composite report. Students reach a consensus by talking about possible orders and the advantages and disadvantages of each. After students have sequenced their collaborative report, they can talk out the content of an introductory paragraph, cooperatively frame a beginning sentence, and dictate several supporting sentences that can be part of the introduction to their report. Again, this work can be handled as a teacher-guided group writing activity; the teacher asks questions that encourage students to think of a good beginning sentence and to identify key content

that is to follow in the body of the report. In the same way students can formulate either a summary paragraph or one that proposes generalizations based on the content included in the report. The nature of foreign-language teaching The belief is prevalent that the teaching of a foreign language is a comparatively simple subject. This follows the assumption that the process is solely that of providing language experience; for every lesson in which the language is spoken, read or written must inevitably contribute to the extension of the pupil’s acquaintance with the language. If this were the true character of the process the only qualification for the role of instructor would be an adequate knowledge of the language. Closer examination, however, proves that the efficient

teaching of a foreign language, far from being a simple process, is probably the most difficult and complex of all subjects in the curriculum. For all subjects the initial considerations are what to teach and who. In this case of all other subjects there is no appreciable difficulty about the first, as the syllabus is usually clear and indisputable. Even for method there are guiding principles which meet with more or less general acceptance. Foreign-language teaching, however, has not yet attained the stage of universal agreement even as to what is to be taught, still less as to how. This may be taken as an indication of the complex character of the subject, wherein content and method are curiously involved. What appears to be a single subject is really a group of associated yet

distinct branches of study; for language is a generic term covering all or any of the following features; speech, reading. composition, grammar, literature, commercial, technical and scientific activities. Therefore courses must differ widely if reading or speech is made the sole or major purpose, and if the syllabus is extended to literature or commerce; the extent and choice of vocabulary too will depend on whether instruction is given on Translation or Direct Method lines; and presentation of grammar will vary considerably if taught formally or functionally. It is difficult even to qualify the general character of foreign-language teaching. All other school subjects may be broadly classified as either knowledge or skills. Thus History and Geography are undoubtedly knowledge