Rabu, 22 Oktober 2014

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Scientific Approach and Four Strands

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 Scientific Approach and Four Strands

Principle that related to four strands:

Four strands: A course should include a roughly even balance of meaning-focused input, language-focused learning, meaning-focused output, and fluency activities.

We can see the principle above, it is important that a language course provide a balanced range of opportunities for learning. A reasonably straightforward way, to evaluate if a course is well balanced or not is to keep a list of activities done over a period of time recording how much time was spent on each activity. The activities should then be classified into each of the four strands and the amount of time added up for each strand. The amount of time for each of the four strands should be roughly equal.

Relating to Scientific Approach and Four Strands, we can make collaboration of them.

In the part of OBSERVING, we can fill with meaning-focused input activities. Meaning-focused input is collaborated on Scientific Approach.

Comprehensible input: There should be substantial quantities of interesting comprehensible receptive activity in both listening and reading.

Meaning-focused input
Meaning-focused input involve having the opportunity to learn from listening and reading. Krashen (1981) would call it learning from comprehensible input. The conditions which are needed for such learning are a low density of unknown items in the language input, a focus on the meaning of the message, and a large quantity of input. In language courses, the most important way of providing a large amount of comprehensible input is to have an extensive reading programme. This involves the learners in reading books which have been specially written for learners of English in a controlled vocabulary.
It is important that a course should apply the “time on task” principle. That is, if reading is a goal of the course, there should be plenty of reading activity. If listening is a goal of a course, there should be plenty of listening activity.

Where the listening is not accompanied by visual clues, it more difficult to learn from listening than from reading. Another major source of meaning-focused input in a course comes from interacting with others. One person’s output can be another person’s input. An advantage of interactive learning is that the listener can negotiate the meaning of the input with the speaker. That is, they can ask the meaning of words or constructions and they can ask for a repetition of poorly heard material. They can also control the speed of the input by asking the speaker to speak more slowly.

In the part of NETWORKING, we can fill with meaning-focused output activities. Meaning-focused output is collaborated on Scientific Approach.

Output: The learners should be pushed to produce the language in both speaking and writing over a range of discourse types.

Meaning-focused output
Meaning-focused output involves learning through speaking and writing. Learning by input alone is not sufficient because the knowledge needed to comprehend input does not include all the knowledge which is needed to produce output. A well-balanced language course spends about one quarter of the course time on meaning-focused speaking and writing.

Meaning-focused speaking should involve the learners in conversation and also in monologue. The conversation can have a largely social focus and can also be used for conveying important information. That is, there should be practice in both interactional and transactional language use (Brown, 1978). The conditions for meaning-focused output are similar to those for meaning-focused input. There should be a focus on the message (that is getting the listener or the reader to understand), the task should be demanding but not too demanding, and there should be plenty of opportunity for such activity.

If a language course has the goal of developing skill in writing, then there needs to be regular meaning-focused writing. This can involve writing letters to other students or to the teacher, keeping a diary, writing essays and assignments, writing brief notes to get things done, writing stories and poems, writing descriptions, writing instructions, and persuasive writing.

If the language course has the goal of developing skill in speaking, then there needs to be regular meaning-focused speaking. This can involve information gap activities, short talks, conversation while doing a task, problem-solving discussions and role plays.

In the part of QUESTIONING AND ASSOCIATING, we can fill with language-focused learning activities. Language-focused learning is collaborated on Scientific Approach.

Deliberate learning: The course should include language-focused learning on the sound system, spelling, vocabulary, grammar, and discourse areas.

Language-focused learning
Language-focused learning involves a deliberate focus on language features such as pronunciation, spelling, word parts, vocabulary, collocations, grammatical constructions and discourse features. Language-focused learning is an efficient way of quickly learning language features. It is an important part of any language course and about one quarter time should be spent on such learning. In most courses too much time is spent on such learning, and this means that there is less opportunity for learning through the other three strands of the course. The answer is not to completely remove language-focused learning from the course, but to make sure that there is an appropriate amount of it.

Language-focused learning can have two major effects. It can result in deliberate conscious knowledge of language items. This explicit knowledge can be helpful in making learners aware of language features which they will meet in input. This awareness can help learning from input. Language-focused learning can also result in subconscious implicit knowledge of language items. This is the kind of knowledge which is needed for normal language use. Deliberate learning of vocabulary items can result in both kinds of knowledge (Elgort, 2007). For most grammatical features however deliberate learning is likely only to contribute to conscious knowledge. Such conscious knowledge can be useful when learners have time to check their production as in writing, but it is also useful as a stepping stone to implicit knowledge when the items are later met in meaning-focused input or fluency-development activities.

Here are some of the activities which could occur in the language-focused learning strand of course – intensive reading, pronunciation practice, guided writing, spelling practice, blank-filling activities, sentence completion or sentence combining activities, getting feedback on written work, correction during speaking activities, learning vocabulary from word cards, memorizing collocations, dictation and the explicit study of discourse features.

In the part of EXPERIMENTING, we can fill with fluency activities. Fluency development is collaborated on Scientific Approach.

Fluency: A language course should provide activities aimed at increasing the fluency with which learners can use the language they already know, both receptively and productively.

Fluency development
The fourth strand of a course is a fluency development strand. Fluency involves making the best use of what is already known. Thus, the fluency development strand of a course does not involve the learning of new language features, but involves becoming fluent with features that the learners have already met before. The conditions for the fluency development strand are: (1) easy, familiar materials, (2) a focus on communicating messages, (3) some pressure to perform at a faster speed, and (4) plenty of opportunities for fluency practice.
There needs to be fluency practice in each of the four skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing.

Listening fluency practice can involve listening to stories, taking part in interactive activities, and listening to lectures on familiar material.

Speaking fluency activities can involve repeated speaking where learners deliver the same talk several times to different learners, speaking on very familiar topics, reading familiar material aloud, and speaking about what has already been spoken or written about before.

Reading fluency activities should involve a speed reading course within a controlled vocabulary. Such courses can bring about substantial fluency improvement with just a few minutes practice two or three times a week for most learners (Chung and Nation, 2006). Such courses need to be within a controlled vocabulary because they should not contain vocabulary which is unfamiliar to the learners. It is very difficult to develop fluency when working with material which contains unknown language features. Other reading fluency activities include repeated reading where the learners read the same text several times, and extensive reading involves very easy graded readers.

Writing fluency activities involve the learners in writing about things where they bring a lot of previous knowledge. A very useful activity in this strand is ten-minute writing. In this activity, two or three times a week, the teacher gets the learners to write under timed conditions, that is for exactly ten minutes. The teacher does not mark any of the errors in the writing but comment on the content of the writing perhaps suggesting what the learners should write more about next time. The learners record the number of words per minute they have written on a graph. Their goal is to increase the number of words per minute written. Other writing fluency activities include linked skills activities. Linked skills activities are very effective for fluency development in all of the skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. A linked skills activity involves learners working on the same material while moving through a series of changes, for example, from listening to the material, to talking about it, and then to writing about it. Usually we would expect to see three skills linked together, such as reading, then writing, and then speaking. The last activity in a series of linked skills is usually a fluency activity, because by this time the learners are very familiar with the material and can work with it at a faster speed.

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