ESL / EFL SERIES: HOW TO TEACH FUNCTIONAL LANGUAGE ~ TWO SAMPLE ACTIVITIES FOR CLARIFYING MEANING

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Jackie Hadel, CELTA Trainer, M.Ed., DELTA 

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ESL / EFL SERIES: HOW TO TEACH FUNCTIONAL LANGUAGE ~ SAMPLE TEST-TEACH-TEST APPROACH

Here is an example Test-Teach-Test lesson to present the function of “Ordering in a Restaurant.” Try utilizing this sample by thinking of ways that you can teach your chosen function by using a Test-Teach-Test approach. Remember, there are many activities that could be tests, I’ve just provided a couple of ideas in this lesson. 

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Jackie Hadel, DELTA, M.Ed., CELTA Trainer

ESL / EFL SERIES: HOW TO TEACH FUNCTIONAL LANGUAGE ~ VARIOUS ACTIVITY IDEAS

In this post, I am sharing several activities that can be adapted for any particular function you plan to teach. Also provided is a sample language analysis sheet to go along with the ‘Landlord/Tenant’ role cards, to give you a sense of how to analyze the meaning, form, and pronunciation of an exponent or two…

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Jackie Hadel, DELTA, M.Ed., CELTA Trainer

ESL / EFL SERIES: HOW TO TEACH FUNCTIONAL LANGUAGE ~ DEALING WITH FORM ~ EXPONENTS ~ KEY POINTS

In this post, I want to share some activity ideas for how to extricate the meaning and how to clarify the form for trainees and students. These activities are used in input sessions to provide a better awareness for our trainees, but certainly, these can be adapted for the classroom, as well. 

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Jackie Hadel, DELTA, M.Ed., CELTA Trainer (Freelancer – New York, Japan, Atlanta, San Francisco, Kiev, Vancouver, Brussels, Tbilisi, Miami, Boston, Beirut, Ecuador, Venezuela, Bogota, Chicago, San Diego, Detroit)

 

 

ESL/EFL SERIES: HOW TO TEACH FUNCTIONAL LANGUAGE ~ THE TRAINING SESSION

 

The Training Session

Start off: “You’re at a Party.” Distribute a slip of paper to each trainee.

Examples:

Complain about the types of                                   Encourage people to drink more
people here                                                               

Profusely apologize for bumping                            Convince people to dance more
into other partygoers 

etc.

Have trainees mingle and play out what’s on their cards – make sure they don’t see each other’s slips of paper – (for about 7 minutes, make sure they talk to everyone)

Feedback: Return to seats, have trainees talk to a partner for about two minutes just recapping what all of the others had been saying at the party

Whole Group Feedback: Choose a trainee and ask various people what he/she was saying at the party (hopefully you can elicit 3-4 exponents, i.e. “Are you thirsty? Do you want more to drink? You should have another beer! Why aren’t you drinking anything? You aren’t drinking enough.) Then, ask everyone what they thought the person’s function was, i.e. Encouraging people to drink. Do this a few more times so that the trainees can notice that there’s one function with several exponents/ways of expressing the function.

*If a trainee only used one or two exponents, try to elicit more ideas from the group

Second Task: Place two rows of photos on the whiteboard.
Spend-Night-Teepeeigloo-coloring-pageimages     

Unknown 

 

 

Tell the trainees: “Look at these two rows of pictures. One row represents grammar. One represents functions.” In pairs, discuss which you think is which, and Why?

This ‘analogy’ exercise usually helps trainees to distinguish a basic difference between grammar and functions.

The answer: The top row represents functions. They are three very different structures, but they all serve the same function (providing shelter.)

Consider the function of giving advice:

TeePee: If I were you I’d …(structure = 2nd conditional)
Igloo: You should…(structure = modal verb)
House: Why don’t you…(structure = negative question)

Same function, just very different structures to express it.

The bottom row (the strip mall) represents grammar because these three places have the same structure but provide very different functions, i.e. sandwich shop, shoe store, and a cash advance shop.
Consider: grammatical structure – modal verb “can’t”

I can’t dance. (function = expressing (in)ability)
She can’t be a grandmother. (function = speculation)
Can’t you arrive on time for a change? (function = criticism)
©Materials from Thornbury and Watkins, 2007, The CELTA Course, CUP
*consultant/contributor: Lizzy Adams, Director of Teacher Training, Teaching House

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Fifth Task: Provide pairs with a function and ask them to first: create the context, and next: write a short dialogue. Afterwards, they will act it out. For feedback, the group guesses the situation and the function, as well as provides the exponents they heard.

Classroom application:

You will be given a language function and a level (e.g. Pre-Intermediate, Upper-Intermediate.) With your partner, create a short dialogue as follows:
• Think of a situation in which the function might typically occur.
• Choose an appropriate way of expressing this function for the situation.
• Write a short dialogue (8-10 lines) which contextualizes the functional exponents you have chosen.

A:
B:
A:
B:
A:
B:
A:
B:
A:
B:

©Materials from Thornbury and Watkins, 2007, The CELTA Course, CUP

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What approach should I use? How do I teach the function?

At this point, it’s important to review the types of approaches we generally use to teach language systems lessons, i.e. Test-Teach-Test, Text-Based Presentation, Situational/P.P.P./A.R.C., etc, because this is what usually intimidates them – how to teach functions using the same approaches they use for grammar or lexis – Take them back to the first activity of the lesson. Ask them “What approach utilizes that type of activity “At a Party” at the beginning of the lesson?” (Test-Teach-Test)

Use any functions from the initial activity that you’d prefer. Here, I’ll use: “Convincing people to dance more” Elicit as many authentic convincing statements and responses as possible, (aim for 6-8.) Write them on the board as trainees provide ideas (this is what we want them to do in their lessons when they teach, too.) *Don’t forget to put them in pairs first, to brainstorm these ideas before you do a whole group feedback and elicit. ** Monitor their pair work to assess their level of understanding. For example:

Convincing -A-                                              Response -B-

Why aren’t you dancing?! Let’s dance!     Nah, I don’t feel like it.

Come on, dance with me!                              No, thanks. I’m good.

Please…just one song!                                    I’d really rather not.

Everyone’s having so much fun!                  Yeah…I’m not much of a dancer.

Don’t be shy, no one will care!                     Maybe later.

You can’t be worse than him.                       OK, why not?

*On the CELTA course we know all about M (meaning) F (form) and P (pronunciation,) don’t we? 🙂

To clarify Meaning, show the trainees how to check the concept of ‘convincing’: (*NB to cause someone to agree to do something; to persuade)

Is B dancing now? (no)
Does B want to dance? (no)
Does A want B to dance? (yes)
Does A care a little or a lot that B isn’t dancing? (a lot)
Is A trying to get B to agree to dance? (yes)
Do you think B will dance? (probably not)
Why not? (B says “No, thanks, I’d rather not, I don’t feel like it, I’m not much of a dancer.”)
“Ok, why not?” If B says this, does it mean A convinced him/her? (yes)
(and then clarify responses as necessary. Example below):
“Not much of a dancer.” Do you think B thinks of himself as a good or bad dancer? (bad)
Do you think B dances often? (no)

To clarify Form, this is where the real fun begins, in my opinion, and makes functions more appealing to teach than grammar. Clarify the form by presenting the exponents in chunks. For example:

Why aren’t you + ___________? Let’s + _________ !
                                    (verb-ing)                        (inf. verb)
Come on, + __________ + with + _________!
                         (inf. verb)                    (pronoun/name)
Please… + __________

*and so on…this helps learners build their lexicons by seeing that they can add other verbs to the exponents, depending on context, e.g. going, swimming – go, swim
**Come on, swim with him.
***Come on, go with Sam.
(these are just examples that you can expound upon)

Everyone’s + ____________

Don’t be + __________

You can’t be + _________ + than

And do the same with the responses where appropriate. For example:

No, thanks. I’m + ________.

I’m not much of a + _________.

So, remember, first elicit the parts of speech (verb, noun, adjective) so that the learners can see the formulaic patterns and then elicit actual words from them so that they can build their vocabulary and options with language use.

To clarify Pronunciation, just drill the exponents. Clarify connected speech/weakened vowel sounds where appropriate and practice intonation. Really prepare them to speak the language authentically, as we native speakers generally use it and hear it. As this post is more for clarifying the whole process for CELTA trainees, I will deal more specifically with drilling ideas in future blog posts when I introduce some possible ideas for functions lessons to be taught in the classroom.

In the input session, elicit from the trainees what come after m-f-p clarification (controlled and then freer practice)

(Helpful Hint: In regards to formality, the general rule is the more grammar, the more formal. For example: “Would you mind if I opened the window?” is more formal than “Can I open the window?”)
You can ask them to brainstorm some ideas for each type of practice and get some feedback, as a way to end the session.

From teaching other language systems lessons, trainees will know how to do the practice parts. This post is more about showing them how to do the clarification part. Hopefully, they will see that it’s not so scary and they will volunteer to teach more functions lessons.

Good luck and Enjoy the process!

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Jackie Hadel, DELTA, M.Ed., CELTA Trainer

ESL/EFL SERIES: HOW TO TEACH FUNCTIONAL LANGUAGE – INTRODUCTION

INTRODUCTION

The reason for this series of upcoming posts on Functional Language for the ESL/EFL classroom is that trainees are always asking “Where is the book on functions?”

Standard grammar books don’t do the job of helping to parlay the fears of skittish trainees. The book most recommended for trainees to try to get a better idea of functions is, “The Lexical Approach” by Michael Lewis. The idea of lexical chunks, i.e. “If I were you…” lends as nicely to the idea of how we want to present functional exponents, as anything out there right now.

Functions is one of the language systems (along with grammar, lexis, phonology, and discourse.) We present it in the classroom by using any of the same approaches used to teach systems: text-based presentation, test-teach-test, situational presentation (P-P-P or A-R-C), task-based presentation, etc. and it still confounds and intimidates trainees.

In order to erase the intimidation factor and to encourage and inspire trainees to embrace a positive mindset when presenting functions lessons, I will offer various suggestions on how to present functions language in the ESL/EFL classroom.
I will begin with an initial post sharing how I present the concept in my training input session. In follow-up posts, I will share different ways to teach them using many of the aforementioned approaches.

Form poses a problem for trainees because, whereas with grammar, there are fixed structures, in functions there can be a variety of structures to express one function. In my next post I will share an activity from my input session that usually helps trainees to understand the basic difference between grammar and functions in regards to the clarification of form.

Many people learn new languages by memorizing exponents (lexical chunks) and building upon them. For example, I think “Ok, I’m going to a restaurant and I want to know how to ask ‘Do you have/Have you got…?’” So, in Paris, I learned “Avez vous _______?” With that exponent/chunk, I can add any food/drink related noun: “Avez vous + des salmons?” (Have you got salmon?) or “Avez vous + le cidre?” (Have you got cider?) and in Japan, I learned “Anata wa + niwatori + o motte imasu ka?” (Do you have chicken?) and “Anata wa + akawain + o motte imasu ka?” (Do you have red wine?) Language learners can build their restaurant/food lexicon substantially and with acceleration!

Not only that, but “Avez vous” and “Anata wa ________ o motte imasu ka” work in all kinds of societal domains: the pharmacy “Have you got + aspirin?” or the post office “Do you have + postcard stamps?” or the market “Have you got/Do you have + olive oil?” You get the picture.

Coming soon: “The Training Session”         
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author: Jackie Hadel, DELTA, M.Ed., CELTA Trainer 

Many thanks to the people who have given me their time over the past two years to discuss and share their views about how to teach functional language in the ESL classroom:

Nerina Conte, Trainer/Assessor – Lizzy Adams, Teaching House – Stephanie Vogel, Teaching House – Svetlana Bulkina, Grade Center, Ukraine – Andrew Cox, Freelance trainer/Assessor – Matthew Noble, trainer – Christina Cipriani, Freelance trainer/Assessor

CELTA BEIRUT: PART 2

It’s a little different traveling to a foreign country and training essentially that country’s people, as opposed to sitting in a center and having various people from all over, come to you. For example, when I worked in Maturin, Venezuela earlier this year, I was made to feel like a cherished guest in their ‘home,’ and they wanted to ensure that I would walk away with a great impression of Venezuela and Venezuelans, and oh, I did. It was the kind of course where you spent time with the trainees on a Saturday at the zoo midway through the course and still were able to maintain the professional trainer/trainee relationship during the week. It was important for me and for them, to be able to share our life experiences during the course because immediately afterwards, we all go our separate ways.

And so it is the same here in Beirut. I’m in their ‘territory.’ I need them to help me when I need medicine, I need them to help me find Lebanese food, to teach me about their world. So, doing a course abroad is definitely different than doing it at home. The extended familial relationship is felt tangibly.

To put it as succinctly as I can: I will NEVER forget the people on this course…The Lebanese who will remain here, the Syrians who will return to Damascus, and the Lebanese who will travel abroad.

Forever in my heart and soul.

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Someone really did spell it like that after a month of everyone TEACHING ENGLISH. Oh, the irony. The good thing is that everyone was able to identify it as an error.

“I could have. What does this phrase mean? At any given moment in our lives, there are certain things that could have happened but, didn’t. The magic moments go unrecognized, and then suddenly, the hand of destiny changes everything.”
Paulo Coelho

AUG/SEP13. Beirut, Lebanon.

CELTA BEIRUT: PART 1

I’ve learned that good-byes will always hurt, pictures will never replace having been there, memories good and bad will bring tears, and words can never replace feelings.” – unknown

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What most people don’t realize is that, after a course, I need some ‘down’ time to decompress from the full-on intensity of a month long course. There is much more to a CELTA course than teaching and assignments. There are emotions, disappointments, successes, achievements, oftentimes simultaneously occurring all at the same time. Unless you’ve experienced it, you won’t understand what I just said. And that’s ok.

Day in and day out, you don’t realize the toll that it takes on you, the connections you’re making…not recognizing some of the baggage you’re dealing with…and it’s only when it’s over and one reflects on the unique experience you’ve just had and you think, “Wow, what a remarkable group of people I just had the pleasure of spending a month with. Wow, how far they have come from a month ago up to now. I hope they use what they learnt not only about teaching, but about themselves. I know they saw something in themselves that they never saw before. I hope they keep that growth going.” (to be continued in part 2…)

AUG/SEP13. Beirut, Lebanon. IH-Beirut.

ESL: A NIGHT WITH SCOTT THORNBURY & JEREMY HARMER

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“Language learning will take care of itself…”

“The best information gap is the one that exists between the people in the room.”

As training ESL teachers is my profession, I am a fanatic about anything relating to methodology and approaches in teaching English as a second language. I had the great pleasure of seeing two of the biggest names in the field discuss their views on the communicative method on Wednesday night in New York City.

10JUL13. The New School, NYC.

CELTA ATLANTA 1 (JUNE 3rd – JUNE 28th): “CELTA’S ANGELS”

As everyone knows, I absolutely love my job. I’m a teacher trainer and it affords me the opportunity to meet the most interesting, inspiring people all over the world. For the month of June, I had the pleasure of co-training on the first CELTA course ever run by Teaching House http://www.teachinghouse.com/ in Atlanta, GA, the gem city of the South. Below are some unforgettable images documenting this very special course with some very special people:

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I brought mini-cupcakes to them on our second to last Friday on the course and soon remembered, by 915am, why not to give them sugar so early in the morning.

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“CELTA’S Angels,” is what they called themselves.

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They were a serious group when it was required, and were all driven to succeed.

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On the day before the course ended, a few of us took a walk down Peachtree Street to take in one of Atlanta’s specialties: Food Truck Markets. This one is only open on Thursdays for lunch, but it’s a great opportunity to sample various countries’ foods. Several of the trainees lamented that they wished they would have done it every Thursday.

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CELTA Awards ceremony. Sometimes more important than the actual CELTA certificate itself. Not. But, fun, all the same.

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CELTA’S Angels, again. Last Day.

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Going over CVs and resumes.

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Coffee lover.

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JUNE2013. Atlanta, GA.