Sabtu, 30 Juni 2012

Selasa, 26 Juni 2012

Table of English Tenses

tense Affirmative/Negative/Question Use Signal Words
Simple Present A: He speaks.
N: He does not speak.
Q: Does he speak?
  • action in the present taking place once, never or several times
  • facts
  • actions taking place one after another
  • action set by a timetable or schedule
always, every …, never, normally, often, seldom, sometimes, usually
if sentences type I (If I talk, …)
Present Progressive A: He is speaking.
N: He is not speaking.
Q: Is he speaking?
  • action taking place in the moment of speaking
  • action taking place only for a limited period of time
  • action arranged for the future
at the moment, just, just now, Listen!, Look!, now, right now
Simple Past A: He spoke.
N: He did not speak.
Q: Did he speak?
  • action in the past taking place once, never or several times
  • actions taking place one after another
  • action taking place in the middle of another action
yesterday, 2 minutes ago, in 1990, the other day, last Friday
if sentence type II (If I talked, …)
Past Progressive A: He was speaking.
N: He was not speaking.
Q: Was he speaking?
  • action going on at a certain time in the past
  • actions taking place at the same time
  • action in the past that is interrupted by another action
when, while, as long as
Present Perfect Simple A: He has spoken.
N: He has not spoken.
Q: Has he spoken?
  • putting emphasis on the result
  • action that is still going on
  • action that stopped recently
  • finished action that has an influence on the present
  • action that has taken place once, never or several times before the moment of speaking
already, ever, just, never, not yet, so far, till now, up to now
Present Perfect Progressive A: He has been speaking.
N: He has not been speaking.
Q: Has he been speaking?
  • putting emphasis on the course or duration (not the result)
  • action that recently stopped or is still going on
  • finished action that influenced the present
all day, for 4 years, since 1993, how long?, the whole week
Past Perfect Simple A: He had spoken.
N: He had not spoken.
Q: Had he spoken?
  • action taking place before a certain time in the past
  • sometimes interchangeable with past perfect progressive
  • putting emphasis only on the fact (not the duration)
already, just, never, not yet, once, until that day
if sentence type III (If I had talked, …)
Past Perfect Progressive A: He had been speaking.
N: He had not been speaking.
Q: Had he been speaking?
  • action taking place before a certain time in the past
  • sometimes interchangeable with past perfect simple
  • putting emphasis on the duration or course of an action
for, since, the whole day, all day
Future I Simple A: He will speak.
N: He will not speak.
Q: Will he speak?
  • action in the future that cannot be influenced
  • spontaneous decision
  • assumption with regard to the future
in a year, next …, tomorrow
If-Satz Typ I (If you ask her, she will help you.)
assumption: I think, probably, perhaps
Future I Simple (going to)
A: He is going to speak.
N: He is not going to speak.
Q: Is he going to speak?
  • decision made for the future
  • conclusion with regard to the future
in one year, next week, tomorrow
Future I Progressive A: He will be speaking.
N: He will not be speaking.
Q: Will he be speaking?
  • action that is going on at a certain time in the future
  • action that is sure to happen in the near future
in one year, next week, tomorrow
Future II Simple A: He will have spoken.
N: He will not have spoken.
Q: Will he have spoken?
  • action that will be finished at a certain time in the future
by Monday, in a week
Future II Progressive A: He will have been speaking.
N: He will not have been speaking.
Q: Will he have been speaking?
  • action taking place before a certain time in the future
  • putting emphasis on the course of an action
for …, the last couple of hours, all day long
Conditional I Simple A: He would speak.
N: He would not speak.
Q: Would he speak?
  • action that might take place
if sentences type II
(If I were you, I would go home.)
Conditional I Progressive A: He would be speaking.
N: He would not be speaking.
Q: Would he be speaking?
  • action that might take place
  • putting emphasis on the course / duration of the action
Conditional II Simple A: He would have spoken.
N: He would not have spoken.
Q: Would he have spoken?
  • action that might have taken place in the past
if sentences type III
(If I had seen that, I would have helped.)
Conditional II Progressive A: He would have been speaking.
N: He would not have been speaking.
Q: Would he have been speaking?
  • action that might have taken place in the past
  • puts emphasis on the course / duration of the action

Senin, 28 Mei 2012

Motivate Children to Learn English

giving the children prizes and treats to motivate them you'll end up with an empty pocketbook and a class full of students who are only motivated for the material prize, not because they want to learn (which means they probably aren't getting much out of the activity in the first place).  There are many other ways to motivate your students and you won't have to keep a stash of "prizes" in your classroom to do it.

Be More Than Just a Teacher  
No matter what your class demographics are, there is one sure way to motivate your class into participating:  Get them interested in you as their teacher and the interest in your subject matter and class activities will soon follow. 

You're not just a teacher, you're a person too.   Sometimes children tend to have the mentality that teachers are just teachers.  They exist in school and nowhere else.  However, if you let them see you as a person and not just a teacher, you might see a change in how they react to your class and class activities.  If they respect you, they will respect the class and be motivated to participate in whatever it is you have for them to do.  Of course, that is so much easier said than done.  Here are some things you should think about when trying to figure out how to show your human side:
Keep Yourself Motivated 
Think back to what classes you like best and why.  If the teacher was bored and didn’t make the subject interesting, then the children often didn't like the class either.  To keep yourself motivated, change your activities to things that you are excited about.  If you’re not excited and motivated about the activities you have planned for your students, it’s time to get some new ones.

Be an Individual
Don't be afraid to talk about your interests outside of school.  Look for commonalities between you and your students and capitalize on them.  For example, if you like the same types of music as a lot of your students, bring in some CD's and let them listen to music when they are working on projects.  Make sure the words are in English so that the children can take in some English language into their subconscious.

Have fun and be silly
Seriously.  Talk in a crazy voice or be daft and make them wonder what you'll be up to next.  Some teachers frown upon the idea of playing the clown and having fun because they think it is time-wasting and that it is not their role to be an entertainer.  If it is not in your personality to be a big kid, then you cannot fake it, and that is OK.  If you use fun games and ideas your classes will still be enjoyable.  However if you are a big kid at heart then you will find that joining in, playing with the children and generally acting up and being enthusiastic will come naturally to you and is all part of the fun of teaching.  It is not clowning around for the sake of it, it servers to keep a fun and happy learning environment, and this alone can motivate your students.  If your children can laugh with you, and if they LIKE you, they'll be interested in what you're doing up there in front of the class.

When you're frustrated with your class because they don't seem interested in participating, it's quite easy to forget that even when they do something small, you need to keep encouraging and to stay positive. The number one way to demotivate children is to have a negative or neutral attitude.  If the children do not feel encouraged and good about learning then they will not feel motivated to learn.

Make your students Active Learners 
Think back to when you were in school.  Did you like to sit at a desk and listen to the teacher drone on and on.  This type of passive learning is BORING and demotivating.  Active learning doesn't mean the children need to by physically active throughout the class period – it just means that you design your class period around having them actively participate in the learning process.  There are lots of things you can do:

Play Games
Implement games that have the same outcome that you might have them reach by doing a worksheet.  For example, if you might normally give them a worksheet to write the correct verb next to the picture illustrating the action, have them instead practice their verbs by doing the action for the word you say or the word on a card that you hold up.  Likewise, you could do the action and have them write down the word.  You may access free samples of fun classroom games in the resource box below.

When you play games, you can use points and competition as a motivator, but not for kids under six who may find the competition too stressful.  For them, just playing the game is motivating enough.  You can also sometimes award extra credit, but use it sparingly so that it remains "extra" and a special reward.  Also if you use it too much, children can have so much extra credit that it sways the actual grades too much. 

Get Them Moving
Movement is a vital component to motivating children.  The best way to prevent children from zoning out is to get them up out of their seats at least once each class period.  Even if you just require them to come up to you instead of you going to them for help, the movement can help get them out of the trance that they sometimes get from sitting in one spot too long.  Grouping the children for study projects and activities helps as well.  If you can, let them move the desks around or sit on the floor to change things up as well.  Many games involve movement without the children needing to leave their seats, such as miming, moving certain body parts and passing things around as part of a game or race.  Therefore even teachers with large classes and no space to move can use this technique, albeit to a more limited degree. 

Get Their Hands "Dirty"
Well, not literally, but the more hands-on activities you can do the better they will learn and the more likely they will stay interested in the activity.  If you're talking about the words to describe fruit, have each student bring in a piece of fruit and use the fruits in games.  It is much more motivating and effective to be handling real objects, or learning with pictures than copying down lists of words from the board. If you are discussing how to put a sentence together, have them construct their own sentences (alone or with a partner) and write them on the chalkboard.  You can also intentionally make mistakes to encourage them to look for the "right" way.  If you do this you should warn the children so that they are on the look out for your deliberate errors, otherwise you could do more harm than good.  

Stick to a Schedule
Creating a schedule for your students help them know what to expect in the class and will help them stay organized as well which will lower the frustration level for children who sometimes struggle in school.  It is very difficult for frustrated children to stay motivated.  If they know that every Friday is a vocabulary quiz, then they won't have to wonder on Thursday if they were supposed to study last night.  If they have weekly assignments due on every Wednesday, then you don't have to spend the majority of the class time reminding them that the weekly assignment is due.  This schedule should be clearly explained to the children as well as posted in the classroom.

You can also have a mini-schedule that outlines how each class period will go.  For example, each class period you might do vocabulary exercises and games for 15 minutes and then move on to the main activity of the day.  It also helps children if you post a daily "plan" on the chalkboard so they know what will be expected of them each day when they walk into the classroom.

Variety is the Spice of Life!

With that all said, it's also important to change things up within the schedule.  For example, if you spend the first 10 or 15 minutes each day doing vocabulary activities, make sure you vary these activities so they don't get boring and stay motivated.  If you see that the children of one class don't respond to an activity, avoid it in the future and stick to the ones they like.  It's also important to realize that some groups of children will be motivated by certain activities that the next group of children will literally detest.  For example, one group might really like role playing activities while another group would rather have a tooth pulled.  

Another way to create variety is to keep changing the pace.  Play a game that wakes the children up and follow it with a calm game so that the students do not get too excited.  Then play a fast game so the children do not become so calm that they start to become restless and misbehave or drift off.

Give Them Options
If you spend long periods of time with your class, or if you have a mixed ability class and have to split your teaching time between groups, then the following ideas may help when the children have some free or unsupervised time in your class.  Having a collection of fun learning activities for them can motivate children that like to waste time and be a time-filler for children that like to make trouble. 

Get a variety of activities for the children such as educational board games, crossword puzzles, sudoku puzzles, art projects… anything that they can learn something from that they would also find fun.  For older kids, you can make a competition to complete a packet of activities to get extra credit points or put them on a team to be the first to complete a series of tasks.
If you have a facility where you can send children to watch a film in English that would be most beneficial.  Otherwise have suitable English reading material such as comics, or teenage magazines about cars for the boys and dating and makeup for the girls!  If discipline is a problem then the children will have to work individually at their desks in silence, but at least they will be engaged in the activity.

One Last Idea…  This really motivates younger classes of children up to age 12, but it can work with all ages.  Plan an end of the term program so the children can show off what they've learned to their parents and anyone else who attends the program.  You can do it right in the classroom and have the children play games, recite poems, whatever you can come up with to have them showcase what they've learned to their parents.

Because this is such a successful strategy you can even put on two performances, one in the assembly hall in front of the whole school, and one in front of the parents, perhaps in the evening or immediately after school.  You should find that your head of school is very open to this as it gives him or her an opportunity to show off too! 

So, there you have it.  There are lots of ways you can motivate your students to WANT to learn and to pay attention without bribing them with tangible gifts that become more important to them than learning the material.

Code Switching

History of code-switching

In 1977, Carol Myers-Scotton and William Ury identified code-switching as the “use of two or more linguistic varieties in the same conversation or interaction.”1 That year, a small group of parents at Martin Luther King Elementary School sued the Ann Arbor School District Board claiming their children were not receiving equal educational opportunities because they were not being taught to use the “Standard English” language.2 This case “established the legitimacy of African American Language (AAL) within a legal framework” and mandated the Ann Arbor School District teach children, using their home languages, how to read in the “Standard English.”3 Later, in 1996, a major lawsuit in California generated the Oakland Ebonics Resolution, which recognized AAL/African American Vernacular English (AAVE) as the primary language of the African American students in the district and required that this language be used to assist those students to acquire and master “Standard English.”
Primarily due to these mandates, sociolinguists began to engage in more thorough research on Black English4, AAVE, and AAL and the similarities in structure and grammar to “Standard English.” Subsequently, many large school districts (i.e. Los Angeles, CA) created programs to address the needs of the students who used these dialects in order to facilitate the acquisition of “Standard English.”

Code-Switching with dialects of African American or Black English

Amanda Godley, Julie Sweetland, and Rebecca Wheeler define dialect as “a variety of a language that is associated with a particular regional or social group” and maintain that dialect does not mean “a lesser, informal, or ungrammatical way of speaking.”5 The authors propose that scientific research on language “demonstrates that standard dialects are not linguistically better by any objective measures; they are socially preferred simply because they are the language varieties used by those who are most powerful and affluent in a society.”6 Godley, Sweetland, and Wheeler document several studies that have demonstrated how teachers underestimate or overlook the linguistic abilities of speakers of African American Vernacular English (AAVE), Puerto Rican English, and other vernacular dialects. Even though researchers have documented the extent of such students’ linguistic repertoires and their awareness of code-switching and style-shifting in various social contexts, they are still looked upon negatively by many educators. Furthermore, those teachers who have a negative opinion of students who use AAVE or other vernacular English dialects often contribute to those students’ oppositional view of schooling.
Deric Greene and Felicia Walker maintain that “[Code-switching] can involve the alternation between two different languages, two tonal registers, or a dialectical shift within the same language such as Standard English and Black English.”7 Greene and Walker also argue that code-switching is “a linguistic tool and a sign of the participants’ awareness of alternative communicative conventions.”8 Furthermore, code-switching has been described as “a strategy at negotiating power for the speaker” and “reflects culture and identity and promotes solidarity.”9
In the nation’s public schools, standardized test scores consistently reveal that African American students are performing at significantly lower rates than their white peers. Rebecca Wheeler and Rachel Swords contend that these students are failing the tests not because of the content of the tests, but “because they experience great difficulties understanding the language of the test questions.”10 African American children often speak in vernacular English and do not realize the differences between the patterns of how they speak and those of “Standard English.”
Rebecca Wheeler suggests that teaching through a traditional language arts lens treats African American and other language minority students as being in the deficit paradigm. “An insight from linguistics offers a way out of this labyrinth: Students using vernacular language are not making errors, but instead are speaking or writing correctly following the language patterns of their community.”11

Code-switching in Practice

Language response: The correctionist approach

Rebecca Wheeler and Rachel Swords contend that the correctionist approach to language response “diagnoses the child’s home speech as ‘poor English’ or ‘bad grammar,’ finding that the child does not know how to show plurality, possession, and tense,’ or the child ‘has problems’ with these.”12 This approach assumes that “Standard English” is the only proper form of language and tries to do away with the child’s home language. Because classrooms are not culturally or linguistically monolithic, this approach tends to exclude those students who are not fluent in “Standard English.”

Language response: The contrastivist approach

Wheeler and Swords maintain that the primary principle of the contrastivist approach is that “language comes in diverse varieties.” This “linguistically-informed model” recognizes that the student’s home language is not any more deficient in structure than the school language.13 In this approach, teachers “help children become explicitly aware of the grammatical differences” between the formal “Standard English” and the informal home language. “Knowing this, children learn to code-switch between the language of the home and the language of the school as appropriate to the time, place, audience, and communicative purpose.”14 When an educator prepares a student to code-switch, the student becomes explicitly aware of how to select the appropriate language to use in the given context.

How to move from corrective to contrastive

Based on the research Wheeler and Swords conducted with classroom teachers, they recommend methods for moving from the corrective approach of language response to the contrastive response:
  • Recognize the vernacular patterns in writing and use this to teach a whole class lesson on the differences between the “Standard English” version and the home language. Maybe use a chart to show the differences.
  • Initiate conversations about how people speak differently in diverse settings.
  • Engage students in a role-playing activity where they imitate different people they know within the community, and have students examine the differences in the way these people speak.
  • Demonstrate how to self-correct written work for a formal purpose, and when students feel more comfortable, encourage them to read their work aloud.
  • Try to be more accepting of the fact that everyone code-switches. Remember the way we respond to a friend’s question might be completely different than how we would answer the principal or superintendent’s queries.
  • Introduce dialectical language through literature. Culturally rich literature is available at every grade level.
Additionally, Greene and Walker suggest that in order to create an inclusive environment for African American students, teachers might want to “redesign the learning environment so that it responds to diverse learners; promote leadership and pro-social skill development; consider the social and emotional issues of African American learners; teach code-switching; and partner with professionals, students, families, and the community to contribute to the overall learning experience.” Teachers can also explain to students that they must learn to negotiate “Standard” and Black English in order to “broaden their linguistic skills and function within society.” Teachers must be more “sensitive and enlightened to ethnicities” in order to better facilitate successful social growth in their students.
Greene and Walker also recommend not taking for granted that students and teachers set clear expectations for navigating between “Standard” and Black English and suggest that teachers take engage in the following practices:
  • Make certain teacher goals are communicated in a clear manner and that the students understand those goals.
  • Explain how and when certain language usage is or is not appropriate.
  • Make sure students understand how certain contexts require code-switching.
  • Demonstrate code-switching in the classroom.
  • Affirm for students that their language is viable and valuable.
  • Make sure students understand that you understand the historical importance of their language.
  • Study the historical development of Black English and “Standard English.”
  • Develop culturally reflective assignments and activities with a focus on diversity. (For example: assigning students to give a tribute speech on someone in their home community in the dialect or language in which the person would speak.)
Teaching students to code switch is more of a learner-centered approach to teaching. This type of approach to learning also fits the standardized testing model because teachers demonstrate for students how to interpret a standardized test, which can sometimes be written in what appears as a foreign language. 

Five Good Grammar Habits

1. Know What You Don’t Know

Nothing chaps my hide like a self-proclaimed author/writer/editor/proofreader who doesn’t understand the basics of grammar. I frequently come across blogs (and comments) that promise writing tips or expertise but offer more in the way of promoting mistakes. I suspect these writers don’t realize that they’re getting it wrong (and spreading bad grammar like a disease). Take a step back and figure out what you do and don’t know. And before you offer advice, make sure you know what you’re talking about.

2. Collect Resources and Build Your Arsenal

Got a friend who is a grammar geek? Is the Chicago Manual of Style still sitting on your wish list? Do you have a bookmarks folder packed with reputable grammar websites? Round up your resources so when questions arise, you can quickly and easily get (correct) answers. 

3. Look it Up

When you’re writing and come across a grammar question, take a few minutes to go in search of the answer. Don’t write around it or put it off for some future writing project. Stop and look it up right now. And remember that every time you look something up, you just increased your worth and skill as a writer. 

4. Read Well and with a Sharp Eye

If you read nothing but blogs and ninety-nine-cent, self-published e-books, you’re not reading well. Make time in your reading schedule to read books that you know are well written — books that have gone through the tried-and-true editing and proofreading processes. Also, read with an eye for grammar. Be on the lookout for questionable sentence compositions. 

5. Polish Your Work

Most writers whose work demonstrates bad grammar actually know the rules but haven’t properly edited and proofread their work. All the learning and resources in the world won’t matter if you don’t double check every writing project and fix all those pesky typos and grammar mistakes that you made as you rushed through the first draft.