Saturday, September 3, 2011

Eclectic Approach in Teaching English

Introduction to Eclectic Approach
Larsen-Freeman (2000) and Mellow (2000) both have used the term principled eclecticism to describe a desirable, coherent, pluralistic approach to language teaching. Eclecticism involves the use of a variety of language learning activities, each of which may have very different characteristics and may be motivated by different underlying assumptions. The use eclecticism is due to the fact that there are strengths as well as weaknesses of single theory based methods. Reliance upon a single theory of teaching has been criticized because the use of a limited number of techniques can become mechanic. The students, thus, cannot get benefits of learning. Relativism i.e. to emphasize the context of pedagogical situations is also criticized because it leads towards dissimilarities rather than similarities between teaching contexts. The use of eclecticism does not mean to mix up different approaches randomly. There must have some philosophical backgrounds and some systematic relation among different activities. Usually it is recommended to mix structural approaches with communicative use of language.
The kind of eclecticism we tried to implement here is a mixture of traditional reading based approach and some conversational practice for students. We have tried to see language based on structures but which cannot be acquired without reasonable practice by communication and conversation.
So the main postulates of this approach can be as follows.
Theory of Language
Language is based on structures which are used to convey meanings, which perform functions.
Theory of Language Learning
We see language learning as a combined process of structural and communicative activities.

Objectives of Current Lesson Plan
We shall try to teach the students about past simple tense by a combination of different traditional reading, writing and conversational activities.
Teaching Material
Teaching material is different worksheets and black board.
Role of Teacher
Here we are adopting the role of teacher roughly equal to CLT. We consider teacher as a facilitator: who facilitates the learner, as a guide: who guides the students, as a slightly higher rank official: who uses his authority to conduct the class and make the process of teaching and learning systematic.
Role of Learner
Learner is seen by us as the center of teaching learning activities. His participation is very important. So teacher will always try to involve the learners. As well as the learner's role in class should be cooperative and they will be allowed to communicate, self correct each other and ask questions about the substance provided for teaching learning activities.
Lesson Plan
In this lesson our focus is on Past Simple Tense. For this purpose we shall try to present a series of activities which will provide the learners' opportunity to practice the structures with in context with conscious and unconscious state of mind. The students are supposed to be class 6 students.

  • Activity 1: Reading of Passage (10 Mins Approx)
  • Activity 2: Question Answering about Passage (10 Mins Approx)
  • Activity 3: Fill in the Blanks (10 Mins Approx)
  • Activity 4: Past Simple Practice (10 Mins Approx)
  • Activity 5: Story Writing (10 Mins Approx)
    Activity 1: Reading of Passage (10 Mins Approx)
Miss Wajeeha will present a passage for reading. The purpose is to provide a context for next activities.

The Lady With the Lamp

Florance Nightingale was a young girl, in the early part of the nineteenth century. At that time, the hospitals were not as good as they are now. The doctors and nurses were not trained about healing wounds. Many poor soldiers died because of this in result of war. So she wanted to be a nurse. But her father did not want that. He sent Florance to travel many countries. She did not forget and visited hospitals. She worked in convents where nurses were trained. She worked in the hospital and improved the system. She worked day and night. She looked after the wounded soldiers. She used to walk around the hospital with a small lamp. So the hospitals became clean and nurses were much more skillful. She stayed at hospital till the end of the war and saved hundreds of lives.
That's why today, nurses all over the world remember “The Lady with the Lamp”

Activity 2: Question Answer (10 Mins Approx)
  The purpose is conversational practice in a controlled situation as well as to remind what students previously read. It will allow the students to remember the new vocabulary items specially the content words used in the passage. As well as students will unconsciously practice past simple tense.

Q1:- Who was Nightingale?
Q2:- Are hospitals today better or worse than in Florance Nightingale's times?

Q3:- Why did many soldiers die? 

Q4:- Did her father wanted his daughter to be a nurse?

Q5:- Why did she want to learn about nursing?

Q6:- What she did for the improvement of the system of hospitals?

Q7:- Why she was called “The Lady with the Lamp”?

Activity 3: Fill in the Blanks (10 Mins Approx)
 The purpose is again to let the students interact with the teacher and to memorize the vocabulary items.

Fill in the blanks with appropriate words.
  1. Florance was a _________ girl. (Old, Young)
  2. She wanted to be a _________. (Nurse, Doctor)
  3. She visited _________. (Hospitals, Saloons)
  4. Florance is called ____________________. (Lady with a Piano, Lady with a Lamp)
  5. Florance was in the early part of _____________. (Twentieth century, Nineteenth century)
  6. The hospitals were not so _________. (Good, Beautiful)
  7. But his _________ did not want that. (Brother, Father)
  8. She worked in a ___________. (School, Hospital)
  9. Andy many _________ soldiers died because of that. (rich, poor)
  10. He sent Florance to travel many ________. (Countries, Villages)
  11. She worked in convents where ________ were trained. (Teachers, Nurses)
  12. She improved the system and worked ___________. (Day and night, for a month)
  13. She used to walk around the hospitals with __________. (a lamp, a piano)
  14. Hospitals became _________. (clean, ugly)
  15. Nurses were much more __________ now. (reasonable, skillful)
  16. She stayed at hospital until the end of ________. (war, dinner)
  17. Nurses all over the world __________ “The Lady with the Lamp”. (remember, forget)
Activity 4: Practice of Past Simple Tense (10 Mins Approx)
The purpose of this activity is to convert the previous unconscious knowledge about the past simple tense to conscious one. The definition and structural formula will be presented in traditional way and then the sentences will be practiced in substitution tables.

The Simple Past Tense
The simple past tense is used to talk about actions that happened at a specific time in the past. You form the simple past of a verb by adding -ed onto the end of a regular verb but, irregular verb forms have to be learned.
Practice of to be statements in Past Simple. Positive and Negative Sentences.

was not
were not


Practice of regular verbs in Past Simple. Positive and Negative Sentences.


did not visit


did not improve

the system.
Practice of to be statements and regular verbs in Past Simple. Interrogative Sentences.




the system?

Activity 5: Story Writing (10 Mins Approx)
  The purpose is to let the students use their minds and provide linguistic output in desired form i.e. past simple tense. A picture will be presented and then the students will be asked to write a story according to their perception of the picture. Reasonable guide and clues will be provided by the teacher after the students having brainstormed.

Review: What is Morphology

What is Morphology? is an introductory book written by Mark Aronoff and Kirsten Fudeman. The book is published by Blackwell Publishing and it is one of their Fundamentals of Linguistics series book. The book is meant for beginners having minimal knowledge of linguistics but with an assumption that they would be studying a course which will guide them in other areas of linguistics like syntax, phonology etc. The book is based on analysis of words and structures and aim is to let students to be able to analyse after studying this book. The student will have a good intermediate level knowledge of the basic issues in morphology and in morphological analysis as well as how morphology is seen in linguistics as a subject.

The authors seem to not to follow any particular school of thought in linguistics or any theory specifically. The book looks very much of practical nature whose aim is to provide a practical insight of the ways in which the linguists and the linguistics see the internal structure of the words of language.

The authors are of the view that languages are different. Although there are universal properties which can be identified in every language but this is a fact that languages are different. They have their own systems which sometimes differ in many aspects. The student therefore should be presented with data from different languages as well as to the morphological system of a single language. So he can see what are the differences and similarities of different languages as well as he can grasp the basic aspects of morphology by applying it to a single language. For this reason, the authors divided each chapter in two parts. Part one is theoratical and like any other text book, in which the data from many languages is presented certainly Am. English is preferred. The second part of the chapters deals with a language Kujamaat Joola, a language spoken in Senegal. For the second part they have selected the appropriate aspect of Kujamaat Joola.

The data from Kujamaat Joola is taken from J. David Sapir's A Grammar of Diola-Fogny, his 1967 revisions to the analysis of the Kujamaat Joola verb (Thomas and Sapir 1967) and his unpublished dictionary. Chapter 2 and 7 deal with noun classes and verb morphology of Kujamaat Joola  and chapter 3 addresses the interactions between vowel and morphology in Kujamaat Joola .

Authors are of the view that Kujamaat Joola  is an ideal language to be analysed for its morphology. Its structures are highly regular and it can be used very well to teach a beginner the concepts of morphology as well as the practical analysis.

The approach to analysis is descriptive. The aim is to enable the student to describe the structures of morphology after studying this book. 

The first sections of each chapter are freestanding and can be taught independently without touching the Kujamaat Joola sections and practical analysis. It is suggested for the tutor to complete second parts in class so the learners can have a good grasp of analysis.

Each chapter ends with a set of problems, some of which are open-ended an perfect for class discussion. Along with it simpler exercises are there in text as well. Koojamaat Joola exercises are also provided so the students can apply their knowledge.

Book has a glossary and the terms of glossary are written in bold format in text to be understood easily.
The lesson plan suggestion is that it should be divided in three parts according to the division of the chapters: presentation of new concepts and material, discussion  of the concepts with respect to Kujamaat Joola and finally to homework based on this discussion.

Decision Making While Running Language Lesson

The Selected Lesson:-
The lesson I’ll select to teach my students is Past Simple Tense. To teach it I have to make a number of decisions before, during and after the lesson. These decisions are discussed in details below.
Decisions Before Teaching:-
How to Get Information
Is Information Alright
How much to teach
The level of the students will tell me how much I should teach them, the previous test results, class room records will tell how much they have already learnt.
Abilities of the Students
The level of the students, the age will tell me what abilities students have. Their previous schooling and socio-cultural background will help me to decide about their abilities. This information I can get from previous school records and in informal conversations with students.
The Materials to Teach
What kind of books should I provide them, local or Oxford etc. and how they should be guided by materials. I’ll get such information by examining their class room behavior, their understanding of the materials already provided, their motivation towards learning, previous test results etc.
What Learning Activities are Suitable
The level of the students, their previous knowledge, their schooling, their socio-cultural background, the interest and motivation in already going on activities, informal conversations with students and their previous class room participation will guide me whether I should teach them in a controlled situation or I should provide them room for communication, whether they have right to interact with each other or I would be the pivot point of the class.
What Learning Targets I Would Like My Students to Achieve
I’ll analyse on the basis of the previous test and examination results, previous progress reports and previous speed of learning. Then I’ll decide to set a target for my students in learning tenses. I’ll try to find how much they had learnt about grammar previously and how much they retain the knowledge now. This all will help me find the accurate learning target.
Organization and Arrangement of the Class
How the class room and students will be organized is a decision which I’d like to make before teaching the lesson. The level of the class, the previous results, the number of students, the interest level, the available equipments, the availability of space in class room, previous well worked class room arrangements will help me find a best class room arrangement for this lesson.

Decisions During Teaching:-
How to Get Information
Is Information Alright
Are they getting what I want to teach them?
It is a crucial decision which should be made during lesson running. The interest, motivation, answers to questions, taking part in activities, responding promptly and active energetic faces will tell me about the well running of the lesson. My observation will help me decide to change the lesson sequence if the students are getting bored or not getting the point I want to teach them.
Enhancing the Effectiveness of the Lesson
To teach better and to run the lesson better, I’ll have to focus on the errors the students making during the lesson. Whether they are not able to use past forms of verbs, whether they are not able to get correct Subject Verb Agreement patterns or whether they are having problem with vocabulary. All these things will tell me during the lesson what should I do to revise and improve the lesson and the situation.
Feedback to the Students
The errors they have made in class room, the motivation they have shown in class room, the diagnosis of their class room participation and individual informal observation of weak students will able me to provide fruitful feedback to the students. So they may be able to correct the errors, to practice the weak areas.
Have They Learnt All
The lesson exercises, the activities performed in class room, the informal observation of the students during lesson, command over structures and ability to communicate in desired format, writing of stories in past simple tense all are few ways which will tell me where they are standing now. They will help me decide whether I should move forward or stay there and revise the strategies of the lesson to overcome the deficiencies.

Decisions After Teaching:-
How to Get Information
Is Information Alright
Overall Progress
The goal is to master all tenses of English language. The mastery of past simple will determine how much they have gained. The results of this lesson, the motivation, the participation and the way how lesson worked in real time will tell how much they have got for long run. Thus the next strategies might be revised.
Strengths and Weaknesses
The results of the tests, the frequent errors and the weak areas I found during informal classroom observation will help me decide where the students are weak. The continuous errors in verb conjugation, for example, will help me decide that student is weak in this area. Thus I’d be able to give feedback to their parents who may provide extra help to their children.
Grade of the Students
The lesson test results, the mastery of structures, the ability to write in past tense and spoken aspect of the lesson will help me decide the grade of the students.
Effectiveness of the Teaching
Notes I’ve taken during class, the students’ informal observation, the participation, the motivation and interest will help me decide the effectiveness of the teaching method.
Effectiveness of Materials
The used materials, the attitude towards the materials, the interest in activities provided by these materials, my personal observation, and the students’ feedback about the material are the ways which will enable me to use same kind of material in next classes of change it with another batter one.

Regional And Social Dialects

The presentation explains the term 'dialect' and its various sub kinds. It has very details information on dialects, social dialects and language variation.


Characteristics of Language

The presentation was a part of lecture by our teacher in 1st semester. It helped us learn about characteristics and properties of language.

Teaching Grammar

The presentation was a part of a group presentation on Teaching Grammar. Hopefully it can be useful for someone seeking for help on Grammar Teaching.


Grammatical Development of Child

The presentation was intended for 1st semester poster presentation on grammar at MSc Applied Linguistics. The presentation explains how a child develops grammatical knowledge of his language.

Stylistic Analysis: Grammar Level

Stylistics involve various levels of analysis, grammar is one of them. The presentation explains in detail this level and its features.

Qualities of Good Test: Reliability

Problems of Culture in Translation

Translation is a major subject in Linguistics. The study of problems faced by a translator while translating from one language to other is a major area in translation studies. In this presentation the problem of culture specific items during translation was discussed.

Analysis using Blooms Taxonomy

The motive was to analyse a question paper according to Bloom's Taxonomy.
 S No.
Analyze the following situation and answer the following questions.
1) Interpret the function of language used.
2) Elaborate that function.
3) Elaborate that function according to this situation.
The question involves a complex of various levels of Bloom Taxonomy. Part 1 demands the analysis of the situation. Part 2 demands the comprehension and knowledge level. And part 3 requires the application of knowledge about functions of language to this particular situation.
Explain the following in few words:-
Method, Approach, CLT, DM Role of learner in GTM etc.
The question is an objective type question which is demanding very little, i.e. only the knowledge of the terms asked. There may be some comprehension involved as well as in Role of Learner in GTM.
Select and explain the best method you think suitable in Pakistani Govt. Schools.
The question is demanding a knowledge level of evaluation. The student has to select a method and to judge it w.r.t. the given criteria i.e. to be able to use in local context.
Apart from the above view if the student does not see the current available methods suitable he’ll obviously try to devise a new method.
Thus we can see here evaluation and synthesis.
Write a comprehensive note on CLT.
The question is demanding understanding of a comprehension level.
The aims of linguistic analysis are _______________.
The question only demands a knowledge level as student has to imitate the original.
Speech Act theory was introduced by _____________.
The question demands the knowledge level.
Prove true or false logically that linguistics is prescriptive not descriptive.
The student has to compare two concepts logically thus the question involves analysis as well as evaluation of the concepts.
“Young scholars are solving the paper”. Analyze the sentence according to phrase structure grammar.
The question involves an understanding level of Application as well as Analysis. The student will apply the principles of PS Grammar to analyze the sentence.
“Peterson’s, the publisher of a guide to four-year colleges, said yesterday that from now on it will disclose to readers that schools pay for extra information about themselves in the book.” Divide the sentence into clauses and describe each clause’s function.
The question is also of an analysis and application level question. The student has to recall all the principles about clauses and then apply them to the sentence to identify the clauses and then describe their function.
Construct a story from the following outline.
The outlines are just parts of a whole structure. The student will have to focus on these parts and using his imagination he will be able to write a story. So this question involves the construction of a new structure and is of a synthesis level question.
Use these idioms and words in your own sentences meaningfully.
Idioms, Words etc.
The question involves the student’s understanding of the meaning, as well as the application of the grammatical knowledge to form sentences and at the same time we can see the formation of new structure from sub-parts i.e. the words or idiomatic phrases. So here we have levels of Knowledge, Comprehension, Application and Synthesis involved.
There is no relation between materials and learning. Prove this statement true or false logically.
Here the student has to evaluate the relation between the given concepts to prove the statement true or false. Thus here we have evaluation, analysis and comprehension levels involved.
Most of the questions are collected from various papers of linguistics’ courses taught in the same university. It is clear that first three levels are easy to find. Almost all objective questions i.e. fill in the blanks, true/false and MCQs can come under these three basic levels of understanding. Last three levels involve essay type questions.  Questions involve more than one understanding level, as it can be seen above, so the number of questions is decreased to 12 instead of an exact number of (6X3) 18.