INTERCHANGE 3 -UNIT 8

This unit is about learning in general, including vocabulary related to subjects of school, styles of learning and personal qualities.

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Improving Oral Production

“I’ve seen the same process in many of the students that I interview for placement tests and during casual conversations with intermediate levels. They are not sure how it works, but they are able to find the structures and words to express their ideas.”

As I look back to the time I started composing oral language, I realize that it actually took place long time before that. It worked like magic because I didn’t have to consciously remember how to say things in my native language, and mental images would take the form of words when I needed it.

I’ve seen the same process in many of the students that I interview for placement tests and during casual conversations with intermediate levels. They are not sure how they achieved it, but they are able to find words and structures to express ideas.

You too, can develop this ability if you’re serious about your effort to learn a new language. All it takes is commitment and work. For some, it will be easier, and for the rest of us -like it was for me, it’s the result of systematic enforcement.

Firstly, there’s the need to increase vocabulary, which is the base of language. It’s been said that a learner needs to incorporate at least 7 new words everyday, so imagine the importance of collecting words, expressions and collocations, so you can speak up.

Secondly, being aware of the structure that is required to keep up with a conversation, such as: simple present tense, simple past, and future. Learning the rules of tenses includes different types of sentences: affirmative and negative statements, Y/N questions, WH-questions.

Lastly, making sure that intonation, pronunciation and clarity comply with the standard accepted; in other words, there’s no effective communication if the other person cannot easily understand you.

So, just follow this 1-2-3 method to accomplish the goal of producing oral language, and be proud of communicating with others, through this wonderful channel.

 

 

Cheating is Big Mistake!

Learning takes effort from students but if they follow the lesson plans from the teacher to achieve good class scores, success is granted. On the other hand, there are those who prefer to take the easy way and without regret, they cheat.

Actually, students and teachers must remember that scores are not the main reason why they attend school, but rather, to develop knowledge with classes interaction, previously organized and based on academic objectives, i.e. class scores.

On the other hand, cheating is unacceptable behavior inside and outside the classroom and it is one of the reasons why the society is outraged with cases of public dishonesty as common occurrences of failure. This only makes it worse every time!

In like manner, schools represent the future and the way learners react to academic challenges will set the pace to further demeanor. After all, Is it valid to showcase high scores when these do not reflect the actual level of skills, knowledge and comprehension?

When we see famous people, public figures, politicians and even athletes being judged because of their wrongdoings, it is a clear warning of the shame involved in cheating .

All in all, let us try to be the best we can but never forget that it will make you feel better if the rewards we are given are based on hard work and honest decisions made with a clear conscience and heart. It is even more fun, I assure you!

Ugh! Homework.

ecr 2In the first place, homework is not! Some teachers like to give it a different name like Home-Play or Extended-Activities and I’m cool with that.. students must avoid the negative connotation of this necessary re-encounter with lessons they have previously practiced to ensure effective learning.

In reality, these learning tools designed to be made at home provide several benefits for the cognitive development due to several factors:

  • Students retake the ideas discussed at school and are now able to reflect on them at a more personal stage.
  • The effect of reproducing the learning experience in a different and comfortable environment contributes to endure retention.
  • Reviewing aspects of the lesson at students’ pace facilitates comprehension of key knowledge.
  • The creativeness process is strengthened since students are free to consult external sources encouraging critical thinking and decision making.

While homework represents a complementary stage of lessons, it should be carefully planned to ensure  continuity of previously covered topics. This planning involves sequential exercises to guarantee long-lasting learning using different teaching approaches.

One particular sequence is defined through the ECRIF framework, as it depicts five stages of language learning: Encounter, Clarify, Remember, Internalize and Fluently use. In short, homework assignments should contain exercises oriented to Remember and Internalize what has been already Encountered and Clarified.

 

 

 

Four Basic Skills for TOEFL

Many students overtake this language endeavor because they have gotten a scholarship, or because they are ready to study abroad under their own means. Regardless of the motivation, truth is, TOEFL will prove you abilities to the extend of being able to receive tuition in English language.

Learning a foreign language is easy if you prepare a plan where you improve the four basic areas of expression: Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing.

The order in which I listed the skills comes from the sequence of tasks that are given in a worldwide prestigious exam such as the TOEFL. Here, participants demonstrate their abilities by performing diverse assignments during a period of almost four hours. The exam has a cost of around $200 and it is a requirement to enter colleges in USA.

Many students overtake this language endeavor because they have gotten a scholarship, or because they are ready to study abroad under their own means. Regardless of the motivation, truth is, TOEFL will prove you abilities to the extend of being able to receive tuition in English language.

I use different resources to prepare students for this challenge: exam strategies, language knowledge and several simulation practices. Indeed, the key to get a decent score at TOEFL lays on the student’s ability to successfully understand sophisticated academic vocabulary, as well as to express themselves in written and spoken language.

A major factor is intelligibility in both written and verbal expressions. For the later, TOEFL takes into account good pronunciation, clarity and correct intonation. As for the first, students must demonstrate appropriate level of grammar and writing mechanics.

Lastly, Reading and Listening are receptive skills that can prove our understanding/reporting capabilities after the analysis of a text. To do well in these sections, we can use several resources such as note taking, transitions signal words and other language devices.

All in all, this type of exams can hugely impact on our learning experience because of the amount of language features we must use and more important, reflect upon.

Improving Pronunciation

There are English students who develop good levels of fluency, but it’s hard for others to understand what they say and this is why we must try to speak fluently, but more important, to speak clearly.

Pronouncing correctly defines the level of your English to others, especially native speakers. We need to consider several aspects and improve in each one of them: Linking, Intonation, Stress, Vowels and Consonant sounds, etc.

There are English students who develop good levels of fluency, but it’s hard for others to understand what they say and this is why we must try to speak fluently, but more important, to speak clearly.

Engaging in practices such as repetition, modeling sounds, imitating native speakers and such, can really make the difference for English to be comprehended.

I chose this simple video because it is one of multiple tools that you can use in your goal to become a proficient speaker. Please click on the link and make the best out of it.

http://pronunciationmastery.com/