Korolko I.V., gymnasium № 41, Таraz, Kazakhstan

Teachers of English as a foreign language face a situation aptly described by Julia M. Dobson, a professor of linguistics, Washington, D.C.: “Language teachers lead their students down the road of pattern practice, only to find themselves confronted by a great chasm at the end. On the other side lies real communication, but the group is stranded on the side of drills because the teacher sees no strong bridge across.”

Pupils are not interested only in learning to read and write the new language, they have a desire to speak it. Most pupils are eager to converse in the new language, and conversation practice therefore assumes primary importance in their learning experience.

In directing conversation session for pupils of English as a foreign language, we, teachers, must help students to move from pseudo- communication, in which their use of English fictitiously concocted and predictable, to communication where they expresses their ideas needs in the context of reality. During the early stages of conversation practice, you are bound to maintain a fairly controlled situation in which the pupil interacts with you and other pupils within the constraints imposed by is limited knowledge of the language. During later stages, you will gradually remove the controls until they are eliminated altogether, and the pupil enters a realm of real communication.

In an article entitled “Development of a Manipulation-Communication Scale,” Clifford Prator suggests that there are four major phases in t language learning process: (1) the completely manipulative phase, (2) the predominantly manipulative phase, (3) the predominantly communicative phase, and (4) the completely communicative phase. A Phase One activity might be a drill in which the pupil merely repeats sentences after the teacher, while a Phase Two activity might require the pupil to take a sentence from the textbook, such as “My sister is a gardener,” and restate this with information about his own sister, as in “My sister is a doctor.” Paraphrases of dialogues and various kinds of question-and-answer exercises might be Phase Three activities, whereas a Phase Four activity might be free conversation among class members.

Setting the stage for conversation practice

Before pupils embark on conversation practice, obviously they must be familiar with some grammar patterns and vocabulary words. If pupils have learnt the basic patterns of English in a formal classroom context, these were probably taught through one of two major methods or a combination of both: the audio-lingual approach, and cognitive-code learning.

The Audio-Lingual Approach

This language teaching approach is based on the premise that learning a new language means learning a new system of habits. Basic assumptions in the audio-lingual approach are:

  1. A linguistic analysis of the new language.

  2. The new language should be leant through imitation and analogy.

  3. Every language is patterned. Pupils must practice these patterns through intensive drills such as repetition of dialogues or through exercises.

  4. The new language habits must become automatic.

  5. Allowing the pupil the possibility of making errors should be avoided, since it is thought that mistakes will lead to bad habits.

  6. Listening and speaking are viewed as primary activities, and reading and writing secondary.

  7. Function words (words like articles, prepositions or auxiliary verbs that tie other words together) should receive greater attention in the initial stage of language learning than content words (nouns, adjectives, full verbs which have lexical meaning).

  8. Audio-visual aids can assist the pupil in his formation of new language habits.

  9. Use of the pupil’s native language for explanations of new vocabulary and syntax should be avoided.

Cognitive-Code learning

The major implications in cognitive-code learning are:

  1. A language is a rule-governed system. Pupils must learn the rules in a new language through analysis in order to use the language competently.

  2. Language learning is more than a matter of habit formation; it is a creative process, and therefore the pupil should be given the opportunity to be as mentally active as possible in all assigned work.

  3. Drills and exercises should be meaningful.

  4. The pupil’s creative involvement in the learning process is viewed as more important than the avoiding of errors.

  5. Reading and writing should be taught at early stages along with listening and speaking.

  6. Occasional use of the pupil’s native language for explanation of new grammar and vocabulary

is beneficial.

Kinds of conversation groups

Directed conversation practice for pupils learning English may occur in regular classroom surroundings or in non-academic environments such as conversation clubs or social gatherings at someone’s home. Every day thousands of these conversation sessions take place around the world, reflecting the tremendous interest that people everywhere have in learning to speak English.

Academic Conversation Groups

English teaching programs vary from school to school, but if directed conversation practice is scheduled, it is likely to appear in one of two forms: a brief session or sessions during a given class hour, or a session covering an entire class hour. If pupils are enrolled in an intensive program where they have four hours of class, one of the class hours may be devoted to conversation.

Social Conversation Groups

English conversation clubs are organized by teachers and pupils who want to practice English in a more congenial atmosphere than the classroom may allow. Meetings follow a regular schedule-once a week, for instance. Vital to their success is a dynamic leader who can skillfully arrange entertaining activities such as debates, film showings or games tat will stimulate all members to use their English.

Qualities that make a successful conversation group leader

The organizational managers employ the people as individuals, but most of the set work is done in teams. Morrison defines the team as a ‘group of people with common objectives … who are committed to working together co-operatively on a common, shared task and a common purpose’ [11. p.182]. A team is unique unit in itself; no two teams can be alike. The task for a successful leader is to understand that his team has its own needs. The leader must be responding for a team at all times and be prepared to represent the team.

Anyone who speaks English fluently, and who is reasonably inventive, interested in people, friendly, firm, and patient should make a fine conversation leader. The successful leader should follow the next key action in building the team:

  1. set the team’s objectives and standards;

  2. maintain the set objectives and standards;

  3. involve each member of the team in the objective’s achievement;

  4. retain the team as an indivisible unit;

  5. communicate efficiently with the team explaining the teams task that effect them at work once a month;

  6. consult the members of the team before taking the decision, which affects them.

In teams individual liability is complemented by mutual accountability and mutual support.

Everybody is expected to use their knowledge. Individuals are able to work together and not only perform their roles. Teams can recommend things and accomplish these things; they can solve problems and keep good culture in the organization with the help of their leaders.

Motivational Factors

Most pupils study English because they believe it will benefit them in one way or another. They see English as a means to earn more money, to fulfill certain education requirements, to travel abroad, to gain access to the culture of English-speaking nations, or simply to meet more people. But even though pupils’ initial motivation may be quite strong, under the strain of learning a new language with all its complexities or pronunciation, syntax. And vocabulary, motivation may wane.

Without strong motivation pupils will fail in their attempt to bridge the gap between the manipulative and the communicative phase of language learning. And their hopes of speaking English fluently will never be realized. Your own personality and outlook may provide pupils with fresh motivation. If you have a genuine interest in the pupils and their welfare, if you smile often and give praise where deserved, if you show faith in their abilities, they will try harder to succeed in speaking English. Earl Stevick[14, p. 18] pointed out that there are four major classroom sources of motivation:

  1. The joy of discovery.

  2. The satisfaction of control

  3. The joy of remembrance

  4. The elation of use

Once your pupils develop a strong group identity, you will find that they are more motivated to express themselves in English, to become real participants in the activities you plan for them, and ultimately to function as confident English speakers in the world outside the classroom.

Conversation Elements

  1. Questions and answers:

  1. question – single statement

  2. question –multiple statement

  3. question deduced from answers

  4. multiple questions drawn from a single statement

  1. Comments, exclamations

  2. Dialogues

  3. Improvisations, plays

  4. Readings, compositions

  5. Speeches, small-group discussions, debates

  6. Visual aids: blackboards, bulletin boards, flannel boards, magneboards, realia, pictures, charts, flash cards, maps, clocks, calendars, cartoons, advertisements, opaque projector displays.

  7. Audio aids, television, motion pictures

  8. Cultural orientation, proverbs, humor, songs, poetry

  9. Correspondence, group projects, field trips, games.

Cooperative learning improves self-confidence for many pupils. Because the group mates become responsible for one another’s learning and have a vested interest in the other’s success, all pupils find out that their ideas can be useful to others, and they become more self-confident.

Kazakhstan’s education leadership is in a period of transition. The President of Kazakhstan has set the task – to be fluent in three languages (Kazakh, Russian, English) and change the education policy for achieving the world management environment. One of the effective ways is teamwork. It is the team promotes and makes organization to achieve the goals.


1.Adair, J., “The Action Centered Leader,” London: Industrial Society, 2000.

2.Adrian Palmer, “Teaching Communication,” Language Learning, Vol. XX, No. 1, June 1970.

3.Acy L. Jackson, “The Conversation Class,” English Teaching Forum (Washington, D.C, Jan.1969).

4.Bennett, N., Crawford, M. & Cartwright, M., “Effective Educational Leadership,” London: Open University.

5.Cole Peter, “Some Techniques for Communication,” Japan: The Modern English Journal, 1971.

6.Finocchiaro, M., “Teaching English as a Second Language,” New York: Harper & Row Publishers,1969.

7.Gronn, P., “The Making of Educational Leaders,” London: Cassell, 1999.

8.Julia M. Dobson, “Conversation in English,” Washington, D.C., 1997.

9.Johnson, D.W. and R.T. Johnson, “Learning together and alone,” Englewood Cliffs, N.J., 1975.

10.Kippenberger, T., “Leadership Styles,” Oxford: Capstone Publishing, 2002.

11.Morrison, K., “Management Theory and Practice,” London: Paul Chapman, 1998.

12.Northouse, P.G., “Leadership. Theory and Practice,” Thousand oaks: Sage Publication, 2001.

13.Slavin, R.E., “Cooperative Learning,” New York: Review of Educational research, 1987.

14.Stevick, Earl W., “Helping People Learn English,” Nashville, Tenn: Abingdon Press, 1965.

15.Woods, P.A., “Democratic Leadership in Education,” London: Paul Chapman Publishing, 2005.

  • Иностранные языки


Korolko I.V., gymnasium № 41, Таraz, Kazakhstan


          Teachers of English as a foreign language face a situation aptly described by Julia M. Dobson, a professor of linguistics, Washington, D.C.: “Language teachers lead their students down the road of pattern practice, only to find themselves confronted by a great chasm at the end. On the other side lies real communication, but the group is stranded on the side of drills because the teacher sees no strong bridge across.”

Автор Хлебникова Ольга Борисовна
Дата добавления 23.11.2014
Раздел Иностранные языки
Подраздел Другое
Просмотров 501
Номер материала 4948
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