us see, it is our view that just as we start from the beginning to study a foreign ...... English: This time next Tuesday will you be coming? No, I can't come as I'll.
1 English language teaching as a foreign language: A case study by inductive theories in the context of Spanish-speaking students with English La enseñanza del idioma inglés como lengua extranjera: Un caso práctico mediante teorías inductivas en el contexto de los estudiantes de habla hispana con el inglés
Javier Julián Enríquez ABSTRACT This article tries to set out teachers’ aims and obj ectives in developing practical skills in the context of teaching English for Spanish-speaking students . To this end, we have opted for the "recreation" (original approach from existing material), and from actual data and authors , such as Swan, Smith, or Doff. Accordingly, we will try to design a lesson plan , which concentrates on methods and techniques aimed at dealing with some difficulties of native speakers of Spanish when studying English, and on how teachers might be able to get over them . In other words, we aim to help teachers to predict some characteristics problems of this particular group of students . Keywords: practical skills, teaching English, students, lesson plan, characteristic problems
RESUMEN Este artículo se centra en poner de relieve el desarrollo de ciertas destrezas prácticas en el contexto de la enseñanza del inglés para alum nos de habla hisp ana. Para este fin, hemos optado por la “recreación” (enfoque original a partir de material existente), y a partir de datos objetivos o reales de autores como Swan , Sm ith , o Doff. Consiguientemente, diseñar emos una programación de aula que se centre en métodos y técnicas encaminadas a resolver ciertas dificultades de alumnos de habla hispana a la hora de estudiar inglés, y en cómo los profesores podrían superarlas. En otras palabr as, nos proponemos ayudar a los profesores a predecir ciertos problemas característicos de este grupo de alumnos en concreto. Palabras clave: destrezas prácticas, enseñanza del inglés, alumnos de habla hispana, programación de aula, problemas característicos
2 INTRODUCTION This article, according to Swan and Smith (2001), is aimed at teachers of English as a foreign language. It is written especially for English teachers, who are native speakers of Spanish and need an introduction to some characteristic problems of students whose mother tongue is Spanish as well. To this end, we will use a methodolo gy based on the rationale of inductive theories, which, as stated by McLaughlin, 1987a (cit. in O’Malley and Chamot , 1990: 57) , consist of “bottom-up in the sense that they start with the data and then construct principles or laws to explain phenomena.” Correspondingly, we will lay out a lesson plan, which focuses on practical skills and methods that deal with these problems. The structure of this lesson plan consists of the following parts: ai m of the lesson, review, presentation, practice, and production . Therefore, the objectives and aims of this lesson plan, in addition to tackling some characteristic difficulties of English students whose mother tongue is Spanish , are, as defined by Doff (1988:93): a. t o ma k e t ea ch e r s awa r e of th e ai m s an d l an gu ag e c on t en t of th e l e s so n s th ey t e ach . b. t o h el p t ea ch e rs to di sti n gu i sh th e va ri ou s s tag e s of a l es s on , an d t o s e e t h e r el ati on sh i p b etw e en th em . c. to s h o w t ea ch e r s h o w t o m ak e a si mpl e l es s on pl an .
METHODOLOGY AND DISCUSSION Second language teachers should provide students with the right grammar information that would enable them to link or map the structure of the target foreign language onto their own. In line with that stated earlier, what is mean t by mapping the structure of the target foreign language onto students’ own language? Let us see, it is our view that j ust as we start from the beginning to study a foreign language, teachers should get students to learn to think the target foreign language. Nevertheless, how can we achieve this? To this end, we will divide up learning process into several levels up to reaching a level at which both languages overlap each other, and from just there, so that students do not think their own language, b ut the one which they are learning. In order to show this, we will give a short example. Let us suppose a classroom situation in which a student, who is native speaker of Spanish , is studying English as a foreign language. Hence based on this case in point , we believe that he should go through a series of levels: 1) At a first level, he must memorize some basic concepts belonging to the target foreign language. It is a fact that this first level is very hard and important, since it will be merged with othe r concepts, which , in turn, will be good for providing a solid foundation for higher levels:
3 Spanish Hacer Un Profundo Continuo Sonido Trueno Distancia
English To make A Deep Continuous Sound Thunder Distance Figure 1: First level
2) At the second level, we will keep on going deep into the first level, so as to carry out a comparative study of the way in which words behave and are pronounced in each language: Spanish Producir/Hacer Hizo/hacía Hecho
English To make (Infinitive) Made (Past simple) Made (Past participle Figure 2: Second level
3) After this comparative analysis, we arrive at a third level, at which this student already knows how the target foreign language behaves: Spanish: El trueno producía/produjo un continuo sonido profundo a lo lejos (distancia). English: Thunder made a deep continuous sound in the distance. Figure 3: Third level 4) Well then, we have already arrived at a level at which both languages have overlapped each other, and now such a student will be able to think the language he wants to learn. It should not be forgotten that, from the beginning of the first level, declarative knowledge is taking place, which , as described by Anderson, 1985 (cit. in O’Malley and Chamot , 1990: 20-21) , “consists of knowledge about the facts and things we know, stored in terms of units of meaning that can be presented by propositional networks requiring a schema . That is, a configuration of interrelated features that define a concept. ” Accordingly, let us suppose, for example, that the teacher asks this Spanish-speaking student to use a monolingual dictionary of English and to look up the word “rumble .” The aforementioned student will notice that it is about the definition he has just studied: to make a deep continuous sound ; subsequently , thunder rumbled in the d istance . Thus, as just seen, the principal value of schemata is that they facilitate
4 making inferences about concepts; therefore, in learning, the new information is linked to prior knowledge frameworks or schemata. This clearly intends students, who study English, to use a monolingual dictionary of English in the future, not one of English-Spanish. Once we have arrived at this stage of development, we must bring out the universal grammar model by Chomsky firstly; an d secondly, the two senses of discourse analysis: pragmatics and linguistics of the text. “The universal grammar model by Chomsky, at the practical level, suggests that more attention must be paid by teachers to the teaching of specifically syntactic aspects of vocab ulary acquisition ,” as pointed out by Odlin (1994:45). In other words, this author highlights that “learning is the creation of language knowledge in the mind as well as the creation of the ability to interact with other people, that is, a reminder of the cognitive nature of language. ” Based on this theory , the teacher , for example, will write on the board, according to the previously given example and in this blackboard layout, such words as follows: Thunder_______________Rumble. Lightning_______________F lash. If student has learnt earlier: thunder rumbled in the distance , he will learn thus: lightning flashed in the distance . As we can notice, we have changed gradually from declarative to procedural knowledge, where student knows not only the dictionary meaning of words or pronunciation, but also how they are used, and behave in sentences as well as the creation of the ability to interact with other people. Therefore, we have already arrived at two stages at the same time, “the one which refers to language study that naturally takes place (pragmatics) and the other which refers to language study beyond the sentence (linguistics or text grammar) ,” as stated by González Nieto (2001:222) . Both of them, the two senses of discourse analysis, get students to learn to use the appropriate language they need for communicating in real lif e and for interacting with other people. To finish the example that we have starte d, the teacher wil l ask student to do a wr itten composition, will ask him some questions…and so on: “The other day, on my way to school, I got caught in a violent storm. Suddenly , it became dark and I could not see anything from there, except thunder rumbling and lightning flashing in the distance. Fortunately for me, I caught sight of a sheph erd who , was taking care of a herd of sheep a t that moment, eventually led me the way to school. Teacher: you are an hour late for school, what kept you?
5 Student: I got caught in a violent storm. Teacher: how did you get to school? Student: I came across a sheph erd, who knew this place and asked him if he would lead me the way to school, in which case he answered me with a smile that he would. ” We might go on, but this is only in outline, the path to success for English language lea rners. From now on, we will know how to carry out mental activities such as language production skills (writing, speaking), and language comprehension skills (reading, listening). The main points that we have just discussed earlier are only in outline as a phase immediately preceding another one, higher in rank, which we will go on to develop at great length. Let us see, we have explained how, at four levels, declarative knowledge s tarts slowly through a comparative analysis between Spanish and English, but it gradually draws students in until both languages overlap each other so that students are able, for example, to use a monolingual dictionary of English and, in this way, to thin k the language they want to learn. So, we will just show and explain what it is like studying English by teaching first its structure: vocabulary and English sentence. For this to be effective, it is important for teachers to write a lesson plan, giving good examples of the students’ mother tongue and the target language, making a clear difference between both the languages through a comparative analysis, and being aware not only of the structures but also of the functions structures are used for. For example: let us suppose a classroom situation with Spanish-speaking students of English, in which the teacher intends them to practice how to make predictions, arrangements, or to refer to periods starting in past time and continuing up to the present using t he future and perfect English, respectively. The purpose of this task is that students talk about their everyday arrangements, predictions, and past actions linked with the present, and their performance. As we can notice, the teacher will have to get his/ her students through time, tense and aspect. These are very difficult grammatical items for Spanish students on which they often make mistakes, by carrying over the Spanish use of, for example, a simple present, or a present tense where English uses a futu re and perfect, in that order .
6 1.) Aim of the lesson: we are going to talk about arrangements, predictions, and past events linked with the present by using future and perfect English. 2.) Review: we are going to go over some aspects concerning phonology learnt in an earlier lesson. 3.) Presentation: new vocabulary, new structures, examples written on the board by the teacher regarding, in this case, future and perfect English. 4.) Practice: students practice using words or structures about future and prefect English in a controlled way, e.g. making sentences from prompts, asking and answering questions, giving sentences based on a picture. 5.) Production: students use language they have lear nt to express themselves more freely, e.g. to talk or write about their own lives and interests, to express opinions, to imagine themselves in different situations. Like practice, production can be oral or written.
Figure 4: Lesson plan (source: Doff, 1988) Before going into detail referring to the aim of this lesson, we are going to focus on some phonetic aspects that students find difficult and which do not exist in their own language, Smith., Davies; and Hall (1988:540-541): English Example:
sonido largo, parecido al de la i en misa
sonido breve, parecido al de la i en esbirro pero más abierto
sonido breve, bastante abierto y distinto, algo parecido al de la a en parra
a abierta, breve y oscura, que que se pronuncia en la parte anterior de la boca sin redondear los labios
7 In order for the teacher to teach these pronunciation problems to his/her students, he/she must have brought out these points (Doff, 1988:114):
Th e t ea ch e r , fi rst , mu st s ay th e so u n d cl e a rl y i n i sol ati on s o th at st u den ts can f o cu s o n i t, an d i n on e o r tw o w o rd s . Stu d en t s, th en , m u st r ep eat th e so u n d, i n ei th e r ch o ru s o r i n di vi du ally. If stu d en t s c on fu s e tw o si mi l ar sou n d s , i t i s ob vi ou sl y u s ef u l to con t ra st th e m s o th at th e y can h e a r th e di ff e r en c e cl ea rl y . If stu d en t s h a v e d i ffi cu l ty i n pr odu ci n g a pa rti cu l a r s ou n d , si n c e i t d o e s n ot exi st i n th ei r l an gu ag e , i t i s o ft en ve r y u s e fu l to de s c ri be h o w i t i s pr on ou n c ed , a s l on g as th i s c an be d on e i n a way th at stu d en t s u n de r st an d , f o r e xa mpl e, b y u si n g th ei r own l an gu ag e . Th e f o cu s mu s t b e o n p r on u n ci ati on , n ot on sp el l i n g.
Once the teacher has explained this to his/her students, he/she should give some examples about practicing sounds: Minimal pairs 1 2 3 4 Sang sung ship sheep Listen, and say the numbers: 1 2 3 or 4. Firstly, the teacher must say words “sang”, sung”, “ship” and “sheep” in random order, and ask students to tell him/her the number of the word each time: Teacher: Teacher: Teacher: Teacher:
sheep [∫i:p] sung [sŋ] ship [∫ip] sang [sæŋ]
Students: Students: Students: Students:
four. two. three. one.
Next, the teacher says short sentences in which one word is missing. Students must guess the word, which contains the sound that the teacher wishes to practice. Missing words Say a word to fill the gap. a) b) c) d)
The………….lay at anchor two miles off the rocky coast. ……………….were grazing in the fields. She…………..the baby to sleep. The birds…………………….since Tuesday.
(a) Ship; (b) sheep; (c) sang, (d) have not sung.
8 Then, the teacher writes on the board the following: Making sentences Make four sentences. In each sentence, use at least one word from group 1 and one word from group 2. Group 1
when/ mice/ away/ train/ at five o’clock
Students must say and write sentences using these words. The words can either be used to practice the earlier sounds or similar sounds that are easily confused: a) b) c) d)
The canoe cut [ through the water. When the cat [æ] is away the mice will play. The train leaves [i:] at five o’clock. I live [I] in an apartment.
So far, we have worked on individual sounds as regards phonetics, but still stress and intonation remain to be dealt with. As for stress, teachers must see about getting students to notice the following points , Smith & Swan (2001:90-95) :
What a syllable is: any of the units into which a word is divided, containing a vowel sound and usually one or more consonants; for example, “potato” [pə’teItou] is stressed on the second syllable. Most words with two or more syllables have one stressed or strong syllable and two or more unstressed or weak syllables. Often the vowel in the unstressed syllable is pronounced as [ə] or [I].We call these reduced vowels. Examples: “arise” [ə’raiz], “about” [ə’baut]. When we say sentences rather than single words, many more vowels become reduced because complete words are unstressed. Example: look at us [‘lukət’Ls]. Spanish is a syllable-timed language. This means that all syllables take about the same length of time to pronounce. However, English is a stress-timed language. This means that the length of time between stressed syllables is always about the same, and if there are several unstressed syllables they must be said more quickly; that is why vowels tend to be reduced in unstressed syllables. Example: give it to your mother. The two unstressed syllables (it [I], to [ə]) are said quickly to fill the space, which would normally be left between the three stressed syllables (give-your-mother).
We believe that one of the best ways of showing the stress pattern of a word or a sentence in class would be to use the blackboard, underlining the stressed syllable and highlighting in
9 bold type reduced vowels in the unstressed syllables; for example, the word “exaggerate” , which contains four syllables would be written like this: ex-ag-ger-ate [ Ig’zædʒəreIt]. Likewise, in order for the teacher to get this task seen to, he/she would be well advised to see about getting his /her students to look up the aforem entioned word in a monolingual dictionary of English, so that they begin to become accustomed to using it. For showing intonation in class and teaching oral English at a fairly low level, teachers need to be aware of two basic intonation patterns, Doff (1988:119):
Rising tone: used in asking Yes/No questions, and to express surprise, disbelief, etc. The voice rises sharply on the stressed syllable: Is that true? Falling tone: used for normal statements, commands, and for WHquestions. The voice rises slightly earlier in the sentence, and then falls on the key word being stressed: How are you?
Therefore, if teachers wanted to practice stress and intonation in class, they might carry out such a task in this way, Doff (1988:120-121):
By writing the sentence on the blackboard; By giving a good model of the sentence, making a clear difference between stressed and unstressed syllables, and using natural intonation. For this to be effective, students must say the sentence in sections, starting with the end of the sentence and gradually working backwards to the beginning. This technique is known as backchaining, as it is the last stressed syllable that determines the intonation pattern of the whole sentence; By indicating the stress and intonation clearly, using gestures; By seeing to it that students pay attention to stress and intonation when they repeat the sentence.
For example, in a clas sroom situation a teacher his/her class to repeat the sentence below , but firstly:
Decide what intonation pattern this sentence has; Decide which words are stressed, and underline them; Mark places where this sentence could be divided up for back-chaining.
Do you mind/if I smoke/in this room? (rising tone). Teacher: listen. Do you mind if I smoke in this room? Teacher: in this room. Students: in this room. Teacher: if I smoke in this room. Students: if I smoke in this room. Teacher: Do you mind if I smoke in this room? Students: Do you mind if I smoke in this room? After going over phonology, it is about time we went on to the presentation of structures and vocabulary. To this end, here is the relationship between structures and communic ative
10 functions corresponding to some future and perfect English forms that may be dealt with in class. In other words, how we can learn do things ( functions) through language ( structures). This involves not only producing language correctly, but also using language for particular purposes ( how to com municate in English) , Foley & Hall (2003: 86-87): SOME FUTURE FORMS
Form: (future simple) will/won’t; be going to+infinitive; (future continuous) will/won’t be+verb-ing; (future perfect) will/won’t have+past participle; will/won’t have been+verb-ing.
Prediction Personal → He’ll be in prison for a long time. Impersonal → The war will be over next month. Prediction with present evidence → Look at those clouds. It’s going to rain. Prediction of an action in progress → This time tomorrow we’ll be working. Prediction of an action completed by a point in the future → I’ll have finished this report by 3.30. Prediction of an action still ongoing at a point in the future → she’ll have been working there for 25 years next month.
Figure 5: Future simple prediction (source: Foley & Hall, 2003) Form: (future simple) will/won’t; be going to+infinitive; (future simple) will/won’t, and be going to+infinitive. Use (functions) examples (structures) Intention Decision made at the time of speaking → I’ll get the phone. Intention → They’re going to take voluntary redundancy. Determination → I will give up smoking! I am going to give up smoking!
Figure 6: Future simple intention (source: Foley & Hall, 2003) Form: (present continuous) present of the verb to be+the present participle of the main verb; (future continuous) will/won’t be+verb-ing. Use (functions) examples (structures) Arrangements Personal → We’re taking a month off in the summer. Impersonal → The bank is laying off 200 staff. Arrangement made in the past → We’ll be coming back from Edinburgh on Sunday. Tactful queries/reasons for rejection → Will you be coming to the party? I’m sorry; I’ll be working on that day.
Figure 7: Future simple present continuous (source: Foley & Hall, 2003)
11 Form: was/were (due) to; was/were (due) to have+past participle. Use (functions) examples (structures) Future in the past We don’t know if the event happened or not → The exam results were (due) to arrive at the school today. We can ring tomorrow to find out whether they have arrived. We know that the event did not happen → The exam results were (due) to have arrived at the school today but apparently the exam board has not posted them yet. Figure 8: Future in the past (source: F ol e y & Hal l , 2003) Form: (present simple); (future continuous) will/won’t be+verb-ing. Use (functions) examples (structures) Other future meanings Timetable future → The bus arrives at 4.45 p.m. Routine events → We’ll be having our weekly meeting tomorrow.
Figure 9: Future with present simple (source: Foley & Hall, 2003) SOME PERFECT FORMS
Form: (past perfect simple) had+past participle. Use (functions) examples (structures) Actions/states before a time in the past → By the third month the rebels had taken most of the state. An earlier action in a past sequence → When we got back the babysitter had gone home. Unfulfilled intentions → They had hoped to reach the summit but John fell ill.
Figure 10: Past perfect simple (source: Foley & Hall, 2003)
Form: (past perfect continuous) had+ been+present participle (-ing). Use (functions) examples (structures) An ongoing situation up to or just before a time in the past → He had been dreading this meeting for weeks.
Figure 11: Past perfect continuous (source: Foley & Hall, 2003)
12 Form: (present perfect simple) has/have+past participle. Use (functions) examples (structures) Ongoing states and actions → The manor house has stood on this spot for over two hundred years. Ongoing times or actions which may be repeated → This channel has shown four wildlife documentaries so far this week. With superlatives → It’s the worst sports program I have ever seen. With adverbs → I have seldom experienced racism in athletics. Past action with present relevance (e.g. result) → The power surge has broken my computer. Recent actions → We’ll make a move as soon as the rain has stopped.
Figure 12: Present perfect simple (source: Foley & Hall, 2003) Form: (present perfect continuous) has/have+been+present participle (-ing). Use (functions) examples (structures) Ongoing states and actions → They have been speaking out on this issue for some time. Ongoing actions/states which are temporary or may change → She’s been drinking a lot less recently. Focus on the duration of a continuing action → I’ve been learning to play chess for three years now. Recent actions → I’ve been talking to Jenny. Explaining a present result (focus on the activity) → I’m sorry the hall is in such a mess. We’ve been decorating.
Figure 13: Present perfect continuous (source: Foley & Hall, 2003) After coming up with some perfect and future English structures, we will do likewise as to some points about presenting vocabulary; but first of all, let us deal with basic techniques for presenting it in a more general way. On the whole, teachers could really get the meaning of a word over to students by a combination of techniques: synonyms, visually, by eliciting from a picture, by asking questions……etc. for example, in a classroom situation the teacher clearly points to a real object, a window. Next, the teacher writes on the board a picture with two children breaking a window and the following sentence: Mark and John have smashed this window, since they have broken it violently and noisily into pieces. Then, the teacher just does the same as earlier with these objects: pencil, bag, letter and vase. But this time, the teacher will write them on the board and ask students some questions to check that they have understood. Moreover, students can be asked to produce the new language themselves by asking questions each other. Thus, the teacher prompts students and gradually lets them take over the exercise. Furthermore, he/she gives students a chance to learn and practice more vocabulary. Teacher: to snap=to break-suddenly-sharp noise. What about the pencil? John asks Mary. John: What’s wrong with the pencil?
13 Mary: I have just snapped it, since I have broken it suddenly with a sharp noise. Teacher: to split=to break-along a straight line. What about the bag? Elisabeth asks Clive. Elisabeth: What’s wrong with the bag? Clive: The bag has just split open on my way home, since it has broken along a straight line. Teacher: to tear=to break-sharp-scissors. What about the letter? Thompson asks Julie. Thompson: What’s wrong with the letter? Julie: I have just torn it into pieces, since I have broken it with a sharp pair of scissors. Teacher: to shatter=to break-into small pieces. What about the vase? Wendy asks Richard. Wendy: What’s wrong with the vase? Richard: The vase hit the floor and shattered, since I dropped it and it broke into small pieces on the floor. Nevertheless, in a more detailed way, there are some points that we must deal with more fully when presenting vocabulary. For example, for Spanish-speaking students of English, the greater difficulty may be typically when one item in their mother tongue (Spanish) is expressed in various ways in the target language (English), or with the forms and multiple meanings of two-and-three-part verbs: Spanish Romper
English Break: to snap=to break something suddenly with a sharp noise; Tear=to damage something by cutting it on something sharp.
Esperarar con ilusión →
Look forward to something=to be thinking with pleasure about something that is going to happen, because you expect to enjoy it. look for something=to hope for something; to expect something.
As stated at the beginning, we believe that these problems can be worked out as long as teachers really get declarative knowledge across to students by teaching them how to look up vocabulary in a monolingual dictionary of English. So far, we have only described in outline some main points regarding vocabulary and English sentence. From now on, we will address ourselves to the presentation stage of the target lesson in depth, as regards vocabulary and structures about some future and perfect English forms: how the teacher presents structures and vocabulary, introduces the topic or aim of the lesson, gives examples orally, and writes examples on the blackboard….etc. When we present any structure for the first time, it is important to make it clear how such a structure is used, what it means, and how it is
14 formed. In order for this to be carried out, Doff (1988: 37-41) highlights that teachers must bring out these points:
Well-chosen examples are the clearest way of helping students to build up a clear idea of what the structure means and how it is used, as students can get a sense of the way structures are used by hearing or seeing examples, without ever knowing the rule; Explanations should always be as clear as possible and in the students’ own language; After giving a few examples, the teacher can just give a situation (a blackboard drawing, objects, pictures), and try to get students to give the example by asking them for their ideas and suggestions or prompting them with questions, as a means of involving the class more (we call this elicitation): “tell me about”, “describe”, “what about”? This checks how well students have understood; To write the structure clearly on the board, to say the words at the same time as writing them, and to underline the fixed part of the structure; To prompt students with questions for them to give the structure: “what’s the first word”? “And then”? This has the advantage of focusing students’ attention on the structure. What is the difference between sentences? Can we think of other examples which would show the difference? How could we explain the difference simply to our students, using their own language? How could we suggest other structures which students find confusing, and discuss ways of dealing with them?
Likewise, it is also important to develop good basic techniques of writing on the blackboard and organizing the layout of what we write, Doff (1988: 44-45):
The writing should be clearly and large enough to be read from the back of the class; Teachers should say aloud what they are writing; Teachers should write in a straight line and only across a section of the board, not across the whole board, and without hiding what they are writing; The most important items should be written in the centre of the board, whereas key vocabulary should be written down the side of the board with similar items close together.
As we can see, we have just seen some techniques about presenting sentence structures, so let’s apply them to some target exercises. Let us suppose a classroom situation in which the teacher is explaining to Spanish-speaking students of English some grammatical items such as time, tense and aspect regarding English verb. In order to achieve this, we believe that the teacher should firstly make it clear to Spanish speakers what the main problems are when dealing with these types of structures, since they often carry over the Spanish use of, Smith & Swan (2001: 102):
The present simple to refer to future time, where English uses an appropriate future form;
The present tenses to refer to a period starting in past time and continuing up to the present, where English uses an appropriate perfect form.
Then, the teacher should apply the theory just seen concerning the blackboard layout and the sentence structure: how a structure is used, what it means, and how it is formed. BLACKBOARD LAYOUT AND STRUCTURES + VOCABULARY FIRST STRUCTURE:
Use: continuously since the time mentioned, and ongoing states and actions. Form: present perfect simple (has/have + past participle). Example: I was bitten by a dog once and I’ve been afraid of them ever since/since 1998/for over ten years. Explanation: we use the present perfect simple to talk about states that started in the past and are still continuing in the present. We often use the prepositions for (+ period of time) and since (+ point in time). To bite-dog-once-to be afraid of-ever since-for: I was bitten by a dog once/ and / I’ve been afraid of them for over ten years/ since 1998/ ever since Comparative analysis between English and Spanish: English: I was bitten by a dog once and I’ve been afraid of them ever since/ since 1998/ for over ten years [English uses a perfect form]. Spanish: Una vez me mordió un perro (fui mordido por un perro) y les tengo miedo desde entonces/ desde 1998/ desde hace más de diez años [Spanish uses a present form]. SECOND STRUCTURE:
Use: ongoing states and actions. Form: present perfect continuous (has/have + been + a present participle (-ing form). Example: He’s (has) been working in a bank since leaving school / for five years. Explanation: we use the present perfect continuous to talk about an ongoing state or action which began in the past and is still continuing. We often use the prepositions for (+ period of time) and since (+point in time). To work-bank-to leave-since-school-for-year: He’s (has) / been / working in a bank / since / leaving school for / five years Comparative analysis between English and Spanish: English: He’s (has) been working in a bank since leaving school / for five years [English uses a perfect form].
16 Spanish: (Él) lleva trabajando en un banco desde que salió del colegio / durante cinco años [Spanish uses a periphrastic gerund]. THIRD STRUCTURE:
Use: An ongoing situation up to or just before a time in the past. Form: past perfect continuous (had + been + a present participle (-ing form). Example: This was the moment I had been waiting for ages. Explanation: we use the past perfect continuous to describe an ongoing situation or action which continued up to, or stopped just before, a time in the past. Moment-wait- for ages: This was the moment / I had / been / waiting / for ages Comparative analysis between English and Spanish: English: This was the moment I had been waiting for ages [English uses a perfect form]. Spanish: Éste era el momento que llevaba esperando durante muchísimo tiempo [Spanish uses a periphrastic gerund]. FOURTH STRUCTURE:
Use: Arrangements. Form: present continuous (be + the present participle of the main verb). Example: I am leaving for New York next week. Explanation: we use the present continuous to describe an event in the future which has already been arranged by the time of speaking: I am leaving for New York next week (=I’ve got the ticket). If we compare this with the use of be going to: I am going to leave for New York sometime next week (not arranged yet; the focus is on our intention). To leave-next-week: I am leaving / for New York / next week Comparative analysis between English and Spanish: English: I am leaving for New York next week [English uses a present continuous to express a future action]. Spanish: Me marcho para Nueva York la próxima semana [Spanish uses a present simple to express a future action]. FIFTH STRUCTURE:
Use: Prediction of an action in progress. Form: future continuous (will/won’t be + verb-ing). Example: This time next Tuesday will you be coming? No, I can’t come as I’ll (will) be working on that day.
17 Explanation: we use the future continuous for a temporary action in progress at a particular point in the future, or to talk about events that are a result of an arrangement made in the past. This time-next-to come-as-to work-day: This time next Tuesday / will you be coming? / No, I can’t come as / I’ll (will) be working / on that day. Comparative analysis between English and Spanish: English: This time next Tuesday will you be coming? No, I can’t come as I’ll (will) be working on that day [English uses a future continuous to express a future action]. Spanish: ¿Para el próximo martes vienes? No, no puedo venir porque trabajo ese día [Spanish uses a present simple to express a future action]. Now, the teacher can convey this information to students by means of a blackboard drawing, by prompting them with questions and trying to get them to give the example, so as to involve the class more: Past
December (one year)
(They are building this house) Figure 14: Future perfect continuous (source: Foley & Hall, 2003) Teacher’s explanation: it’s about an action which is still ongoing at a point in the future, to focus on the duration of the action; so, tell me about time, tense and aspect. Students: we use the future continuous. Teacher: no, you’re wrong. Pay attention to this sentence: “By December they will…..this house for a year”. Students: we use the future perfect (will/won’t have + past participle). Teacher: not exactly. Students: so, we use the future perfect continuous (will/won’t have + been + verb-ing). Teacher: yes, you’re right. Comparative analysis between English and Spanish: English: By December they will have been building this house for a year [English uses a future perfect continuous to express a future action].
18 Spanish: Para Diciembre va a hacer un año que llevan construyendo esta casa [Spanish uses a periphrastic infinitive and gerund respectively to express a future action]. As we can note, the comparative analysis between English and Spanish is neither as difficult nor as complicated as it is believed to be. Well then, the teacher has gradually drawn students into the practice stage of the target lesson through the last structure just seen. At this stage, the teacher clearly intends his/her students to use the structures in order to express meaning. To this end, there are three possible ways of making practice more meaningful, Doff (1988: 75):
By getting students to say real things, their own experiences, about themselves; By giving situations which imply the structure, but leave the students to decide exactly what to say; By letting them add something of their own.
Moreover, with large classes the teacher should see about giving weaker students a chance to say something by choosing two or three students to respond in turn. With smaller classes there is no need to do so, and students could respond individually. Consequently, when involving the class in oral and written practice, the teacher might, Doff (1988:39-40):
Give a situation and example based on a picture on the blackboard; Ask students questions with short prompts (what about? And you?) and getting them to give real answers; Give prompts and get students to ask each other questions; Get students to make up their own questions.
During these four stages of the practice, the teacher does mean his/her students to gradually take over the activity. Example: “Paul has been on holiday for two weeks and plans to be for one more week by Sunday. However, his friend John is not away on holiday yet, so he decides to phone him: John, tell me, is it next week that you’re on holiday? Yes, it is. I would like to sail on the Mediterranean sea. And you, Paul? Well, I have been for two weeks and have planned to be for one more week; so, we will get together while on holiday.” John: Past present future (Now)
this week he is not on holiday he (sail) on the Mediterranean Figure 15: Oral and written practice with future forms (source: Foley & Hall, 2003)
19 Paul: Past present future (Now)
he’s been on holiday for two weeks he (be) for three weeks Figure 16: Oral and written practice with future forms (source: Foley & Hall, 2003) Teacher: just imagine that you are John. This time you’re not on holiday, what about this time next week? Student 1: this time next week I’ll………. Teacher: where will you be? Student 1: this time next week I’ll be sailing on the Mediterranean. Teacher: that’s very good. Teacher: just imagine that you are Paul. Until now you’ve been on holiday for two weeks but by Sunday, what about you? Student 2: by Sunday I’ll be….. Teacher: by Sunday you will have completed one more week. Student 2: by Sunday I will have been on holiday for three weeks. Teacher: that’s perfect. We could go on up to making students imagine themselves in different situations. This is called the production stage of the target lesson, where students can use the language they have learnt, either orally or by writing, more freely. Example: “Yesterday I phoned my friend John and told me that the following week he would be sailing on the Mediterranean. As for me, I replied that I had been on holiday for two weeks and that before the next Sunday I would have been on holiday for three weeks.” Besides, the teacher can use electronic resources, PowerPoint, to project transparencies of these examples so that students will be able to see them in a clearer way. We can conclude that students, in addition to the structures presented by the teacher, have eventually finished up by practicing of their own other structures involving reported speech. As we can notice, we have started from the definitions of grammar rules (declarative knowledge) and gradually, by understanding and generating language, or applying our knowledge of rules, we have been able to delve into these grammar problems (procedural knowledge), defined as cognitive strategies and skills. In this case, we draw heavily on the assertion of O’Malley & Chamot (1990: 55) when they affirm that “the cognitive theories gave a descriptive view of language comprehension, which indicated that comprehension of both oral and written texts is an active, constructive process that progresses from attentional and encoding processes through utilization of the meaning interpreted.”
20 CONCLUSION Throughout this article our primary intent has been to deal with some characteristic difficulties that English teachers, whose mother tongue is Spanish, face when teaching Spanish-speaking students as well. To this end, we have relied on a lesson plan in order to present a rationale and approach in the field of Applied Linguistics, the cognitive theory with declarative and procedural knowledge in language acquisition, discourse analysis, for discussing some practical methods and skills that can overcome this kind of grammar problems, which Spanish-speaking teachers and learners encounter when teaching and learning English language, respectively. In the same way, we may infer that this lesson plan is built on taskbased learning too, and on inductive methods, which consist of using particular examples to form general grammar rules. However, other issues remained to be raised in this article regarding, for example, classroom management and organization in large classes with few resources, set syllabus and textbooks. BIBLIOGRAPHY Bachman, L.F; & Cohen , A.D . (1999). Interfaces between Second Language Acquisition and Language Testing Research . (Cambridge Applied Linguistics). Conesa, F; & Nubiola, J . (1999). Filosofía del Lenguaje . Empresa Editorial Herder, S.A, Barcelona. Cook, V.J; & Newson, M . (2007). Chomsky’s universal Grammar (an introduction), Wiley- Blackwell. Council of Europe. (2001). Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, and Assessment , Cambridge University Press. Available in web: http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/linguistic/source/framework_en.pdf . [Retrieved: April 29, 2015]. Cuenca, M .J; & Hilferty, J. (1999). Introducción a la lingüística cognitiva . Ariel. Doff, A. (1988). Teach English (a training course for teachers ). Cambridge University Press. Estaire, S. (2004). La programación de unidade s didácticas a través de tareas . RedELE, Revista Electrónica de Didáctica ELE, (1). Available in web: http://www.mecd.gob.es/dctm/redele/MaterialRedEle/Revista/2004_01/2004_redELE_1_04Estaire.pdf?documentId=0901 e72b80e06811. [Retrieved: 22-07-2014]. Estaire, S. (2011). Principios básicos y aplicación del aprendizaje mediante tareas . MarcoELE: Revista de didáctica, (12), 5 . Available in web: http://marcoele.com/descargas/12/estaire tareas.pdf . [Retrieved: April 30, 2015].
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