The communicative activity being introduced here has been designed for Japanese L2 intermediate level learners in mind. The emphasis is on the most frequently encountered grammatical problems that students face. The activity centers on a specific grammar point, which is clearly explained using examples and is included in the Teacher’s notes. The idea proposed is not new, but it is unique and will present grammar in a fun and interesting way. As stated by Ma Carmen Perez-Llantada (2007), if the goal of an instructor is to get students to use grammatical structures in a meaningful and constructive way, then we as teachers need to provide students with sufficient opportunities to use the grammatical structures in intriguing, thought provoking activities.
One of the most common mistakes teachers encounter with beginner level university students is with their inability to use the simple past tense correctly. This lesson addresses that issue and it also gets students to use WH-question words correctly. It is called Yumeijin (Famous person). It is best to provide and use information gap activities whenever possible because it brings students together to accomplish a specific task. In this activity, students are presented with information about the lives of two famous Japanese celebrities and in pairs they will work together to determine the missing information. The missing information will elicit responses using the simple past tense and the use of WH-question words. A more detailed description of this activity is listed in the Teacher’s Notes.
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This paper discusses the results of a study which investigated the lexical difficulties faced by Korean children with regard to their writing in English. The study involved 10 children aged 12 – 13 who attended an English summer camp at a university in Seoul, in which they studied both English speaking and writing skills. In terms of writing output, the students produced a total of seven written assignments, both personal and academic in nature. Thus, 70 pieces of writing, ranging in length from a page to a page and a half, were analyzed as part of this study. In terms of the lexical problems faced by the students, I used a categorization system to help create a more systematic focus (--and word choices are categorized by clarity of meaning -Ed.).
Category one involves a word choice(s) which involves a rather unnatural style; using words which did not communicate as naturally as others might, though displaying semantic clarity nonetheless. This can be seen in using expressions such as ‘the living area’ when referring to animals’ place of residence, when ‘habitat’ would clearly be a more natural, hence better, choice.
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V. Prakash argues that ESL should address the real needs of students, who primarily need English as a career skill. He points out that ESL curricula and syllabi should not but often do reflect instead the more academic aspirations of administrators and school governance entities. He argues that syllabi should emerge from the felt needs of students and the need to perform productively in the world of work.
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In her new article Less can be More
, Gillian James of the University of Salford leads us toward contemporary speech and writing in frequently encountered media as a spur to encourage creative use of speech exercises promoting practical outcomes in everyday use of the new language. Clear examples are presented; any teacher should be able to expand on the theme in the context of their students' actual skills and needs.
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Prof. A. Majid Hayati of Shahid Chamran University
of Ahvaz, Iran, provides perspective on pronunciation issues facing Iranian students in achieving pronunciation suitable for the workplace or for very public arenas. This article includes an extensive bibilography.
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Salma Ainy of Bangladesh Open University assesses the potential of poetry in building speaking skill in a new commentary and literature review. The included bibliography is a resource you may wish to develop in your own courses.
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In a new article, V. Prakash of India points out that rural and urban students often take a very different view of the relative importance of second-language study. Paraphrasing, the inward looking rural students see the requirement; the urban students' outward world view lets them see the opportunity. Prakash argues that the teacher can build a curriculum that serves both perspectives and offers some structural factors. -Ed.
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