Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Computer Assisted Language Learning

Computer Assisted Language Learning
–An Action Research Report!
Stanislaus A.
"The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The greater teacher inspires." -William Ward
Until quite recently, computer-assisted language learning (CALL) was a topic of relevance mostly to those with a special interest in that area. Recently, though, computers have become so widespread in schools and homes and their uses have expanded so dramatically that the majority of language teachers must now begin to think about the implicationsofcomputers for language learning.(Mark Warschauer 1996) Teaching is an exciting profession. If you have the zeal and passion to make learning fun, then teaching would be a worthwhile experience.
This presentation aims at superior teaching. This will become true if we have the passion to make learning fun and make your pupils experience the joy of learning English in many ways.
When we were young, our evenings were occupied with physical activities such as football, volleyball etc. Nowadays in the evenings, increasing numbers of pupils spend their time playing computer games. Science and technology are bringing about rapid changes in our system of education too. We now recognize that simply to teach the textbook in a traditional way is to take a very narrow view of the learning process; that we need to provide a broader educational experience for our pupils; that we need to provide them with more interesting approaches and varied exposure to English.
Years ago, it was said that the teachers have to read a lot to keep themselves updated. Now we can say that language teachers need to develop confidence in using computer technology in their own classrooms.
How can we adapt our teaching methods to take advantage of the new technological skills that pupils are developing? As teachers coming to terms with new technologies for learning, we should experiment, try out our own ideas, share ideas and learn from each others’ experiences. In this presentation we're going to share with you our own action research aimed at finding ways to improve our children’s learning of English through computer-assisted language learning. I am going to describe how we carried out a small scale classroom investigation using Action research. Good teachers do this naturally as they think about what went well and what was not so good in their lessons and make plans to further improve their teaching. We decided to use the same process in more depth to help us improve the language learning experience we could offer to our pupils and so develop professionally as teachers.
The stages of our research project Nunan (1992) describing classroom research describes 4 key elements in the research process: a problem or hypothesis to investigate, a research question, data that is collected by the researcher, and analysis and interpretation of that data. (Nunan D (1992) Research methods in language learning CUP, p.2)
In order to carry out research with our own pupils, we realized weneeded to plan it carefully, to make sure we would get results we could trust. Broadly we followed these stages:
1. We identified the problem or question or hypothesis we wanted to investigate
2. We read what other people have written about the research topic
3. We decided on a research question to be investigated
4. We chose the learners to be studied
5. We made arrangements to do the research
6. We decided on a research method
7. We gathered our data
Analysing and interpreting
8. We organized our data
9. We analysed our data
10. We decided what is important in the data and what it tells us
11. We wrote up the research as a report
My research question
First we wanted to develop a good research question, one which would open us up to change.
We wanted the research question to be narrow because we wanted our research to be small-scale and manageable. We started from our problem.
Our pupils do not seem to have a motivation or an interest in learning English well.
QuestionHow can task-oriented computer-assisted language learning motivate and improve the language learning experience of our pupils?”
Intended outcome of the research
To find ways in which technology can improve the language learning experience of our pupils.
Our Research methodsThere are basically 4 methods that a researcher may use.
Measuring:There are different ways in which the researcher can measure performance, e.g.:We can set a test and analyse the results
We can observe a lesson and see how many times something happens (e.g. How many times did pupils use English during the session?
1. We tried with some of the CDs that were in our school LRC such as:
Word bird's Word land and Kid Prix etc. to teach spellings and pronunciation.
2. We tried them not in our usual English Language lessons but in the extra periods that were assigned to us.
4. We then slowly introduced these activities in the context of our lessons and activities.
We can observe pupils working on the computer and make notes
We can video or audio record a lesson
1. We realized that our pupils were showing interest in this way of teaching. Pupils who were not
active during English Language lessons showed a lot of interest in learning English.
2. We observed the difference in pupils' interest in learning English.
Asking about what happens:
We can interview pupils about the experience of working with task-based learining materials on the computer
We can ask pupils to report what is going on in their minds (e.g. when they are trying to work out a new word)
We asked our pupils the difference they noticed in this way of learning.
We asked the pupils why they like this approach.
Controlling (Doing things differently to see if they succeed):
We can try out the new approach to see if it is more effective in motivating pupils to develop their English.
We decided the following methods were most appropriate to our research:
Stage 1
1. To collect any such materials that relates to different components of English.
2. To relate them with our syllabus.
3. To find appropriate time to use this method of teaching English language.
Stage 2
1. We presented this approach in (RETIF) Regional English Teachers and Inspectors Forum.
2. We also showed some our pupils' works in this regard.
3. We looked for any such materials used by teachers here in the Sultanate during our basic education cycle 2 and collected some materials.
4. One of us received training and attended sessions (Technology) in Leeds on using such materials and collected some of the materials from there.
The main kinds of data that a researcher can collect are quantitative and qualitative data:
Quantitative data
Is in the form of numbers
Comes from research methods that measure and control variables
Is often collected from an experimental approach
Has the problem that the situation in which the data are collected may not be natural
Values objectivity
Qualitative data
Is often in words
Comes from methods that involve watching and asking people about their behaviour.
Sometimes quite difficult to analyse because we have to organize it. (We have to look for examples of pupils saying or doing the same thing)
We analyse it by looking for data that are similar or very different
Tends to be more subjective
For our research we decided to collect the following kinds of data:
Qualitative data
We wrote notes on our experiences and notes on our discussions with our pupils.
Most of our data came from watching and asking our pupils about their experience.
Our teachers' experience in using these materials.
We analyzed it by looking for data that were similar or very different
Sometimes it was quite difficult to analyze because we had to organize it. We had to look for examples of pupils saying or doing the same thing. ( It tended to be subjective.)
Quantitative data
We also analysed post-tests based on the computer task-based activities.
Our pupils produced similar test materials and we had variety in their work all done in computer.
The Action Research Process
Our Action research was basically a series of reflective teaching cycles, a circular sequence of stages of a research process, like a spiral.
Explanation of the Action Research cycle
Cycle 1
Identifying the problem
Analysis and reflection
Defining why the topic interested us
Finding out more about it e.g. by talking to colleagues, reading about it from published literature
Planning for action
Developing a plan of action to improve what was happening in our classes
Cycle 2
Implementing the plan in a number of lessons
Analysis and reflection
Observing the effects of the action.
Analysing the data from implementing the plan
Considering our own thoughts about what happened (or didn’t happen!) and why.
Going back to the literature.
Holding more discussions with other teachers.
Planning for action
Reflect on our new understanding from the experience, analysis,
reflections and learning, as the basis for further planning:
Developing a further plan for classroom action
Deciding on methods of recording that action
Cycle 3
Implementing the revised plan in one or more lessons
And so on. As every cycle automatically generated a new one, each building on the experience from the one before, it was really more like a reflective teaching spiral than a cycle.
We further carried out our research for the last two years and continue to do but this time more systematically. The search began with just a very few materials in our teacher's kit (teachers' portfolio). Today we have more than thirty CDs and variety in our teaching. We also found the pupils response in their work, development in their learning. The slow learners seemed to be more competitive with the others.We decided to follow the same method and continue to get response from both pupils and the teachers who use CALL in their classroom.
The CALL packages we used
Our research question was, “How can task-oriented computer-assisted language learning materials motivate and improve the language learning experience of our pupils?”
We recognized that we have a limited time in our curriculum, so we were looking for materials that could be used in short periods of time, perhaps one lesson each week. We found a number of computer-based language learning packages and today we would like to describe them to you. If you spend time searching we're sure you’ll find many more similar packages. Some are already available in LRCs in our schools. We only need to know how to use them.
The packages we used are based on the following pedagogical principles:
1. Children learn best in a stress-free environment. I think the LRC is a good
example of this kind of stress-free, learning environment.
2. The development of receptive skills (listening, seeing and learning
comprehension) normally takes place before the development of
productive skills ( writing and speaking). In these packages the level of
language input is higher than the level of language production expected of
children. The activities at beginner level in particular have been
chosen because they enable children to participate.
3. The content of lessons and exercises should be related to children’s
knowledge of the world and to their cognitive level. In the packages I am
going to demonstrate, the content is related both to children’s knowledge
of the world and to their cognitive level.
4. Young children do not have a long concentration span. Variety during
the lesson encourages greater concentration and increases the children’s
enjoyment. The activities in these packages are interesting, varied and
manageable for children to carry out in short periods of time.
5. Young children have an active short-term memory but need continual
recycling to store items in their long term memory. In these programmes
language is constantly recycled through a wide variety of activities. These
build children’s confidence and avoid boring repetition.
6. Children learn by doing. The lessons and the exercises in the packages
I’m going to demonstrate all require children’s active participation.
Children are given the opportunity to experience English through
activities that require physical involvement such as doing Total Physical
Response activities, participating in Quizzes, etc.
7. Children like to play with the language. The CDs I’m going to discuss
include a wide variety of songs, rhymes, and games.
8. The development of effective learning strategies can aid children in their
language learning. Computer-assisted language learning offers one way in
which children can develop their learning strategies. The kinds of tasks
these packages offer can be carried out individually or in pairs or groups,
which encourage involve co-operation, adaptability and sharing and allow
all children to contribute their particular skills or knowledge to the task.
9. Group and pair work foster socialization by encouraging children to share
All the following multimedia aids are from Multimedia Products. They are easily available, ready made language learning aids containing task-oriented activities. We found them all useful for our students in adding variety to the language learning process, in motivating them to be more positive about learning English. We used them at least one lesson every week to add variety to the syllabus.
Technical support
To view most of these CDs we required Quick Time and Shock Wave. (Click on the install buttons to launch the wizards, which will guide you through the installation. After installing Quick Time and Shock Wave, restart the computer. These installations are required only first time you run Kids’ Media. Before you run the programme make sure that your monitor is set to 800*600 pixels (High color (16 bits) or True color (24 bits)). For good performance you will need 64MB RAM.)
Practical suggestions
* Look after your CD-ROM. Always keep it in its case. Don’t leave it shiny side down on a table. Hold it by the edges.
· When we first introduce working on a computer, the children are bound to be very excited. So let the first day be a big event and let them all crowd round the screen to see what is happening. By the second day they will have calmed down.
· Children will become independent on the computer very quickly but don’t forget how important adult support and encouragement is. Sit with them and share their enthusiasm.
· In the LRC, three children can sit round the screen taking turns to control the mouse. One of them can be a leader to note the scores of each child.
· Children will learn many new skills using a computer. Don’t neglect the traditional skills such as handwriting, colouring and craftwork. See the Activity Book for practical ideas. Double up on skills, don’t halve them.
1. A laptop
2. An LCD projector
3. A display screen
Titles of the CDs:
1. Kids’ media-5 CDs Appendix 1
2. Word Bird’s Word land Appendix 2 academy
3. Read & Spell Appendix 3 Pebbles
4. Fruits & Vegetables Rhymes Pebbles
5. Tales of Mullah Pebbles
6. Grandma Tales Pebbles
7. Pre School Pebbles
8. English Basics Pebbles
9. Fairy Tales volume 1&2 Pebbles
10. Kindergarten Essentials Apple Tree
11. Kindergarten concepts Apple Tree
12. Nursery Rhymes Musifline
Titles of the CDs: (continued)
13. A camp in nursery land Sound&vision
14. Nursery Rhymes Sound&vision
15. Kid pix The learning company
16. 5th Grade Adventures disc 1 The learning company
17. 5th Grade Adventures disc 2 The learning company
18. Rainforest The magic school bus
19. Human body The magic school bus
20. Madeline European Adventures
ConclusionMark Warschauer proposes three phases of CALL: 1. Behavioristic CALL, 2. Communicative CALL, 3. Steps toward Integrative CALL ( Multimedia, The Internet). The outcome of these CALLs are self explanatory. The materials we have come across are also of these types of CALLs.
Only we need to find the aim behind all these materials. This will become true as we go on using all such materials.
Once we accept computer as Tutor we and our pupils have different exposure to Grammar, Listening, pronunciation, Reading, text Reconstruction, Vocabulary, Writing and Comprehensive. We also found computer as Stimulus. When we look Computer as Tool we learn Grammar Checkers, Concordancers and Collaborative Writing. There are still many more things we need to know about this wide world of web.
Some of our teachers asked us at RETIF about the time to do or to use all these types of materials. We had one and the only answer.-'Where there is will there is way'.
We are sure, you too, if interested, can find much more than what we are looking for.
Our pupils surprised us when they followed our simple direction and produced similar materials on their own and perhaps helped us in giving practice to our pupils to the new exam types.
Hope this idea has enlightened you and instigated to do much more than what we have been doing. We have tried to expose you to a number of ways and means to use CALL materials.
We wish that you find them useful and make best use of them. This can be done as 'gap fill' items and in any other appropriate time.
1. Athelstan. (1995). Technology and language learning yearbook, vol. 6. Houston, TX:Athelstan.
2. Apple tree - http://www.maritocorp.com/
3. Dunkel, P. (Ed.). (1991). Computer –assisted language learning and testing: Research
issues and practice. New Tork, NY: Newbury House
4. Hardisty, D.,& Windeatt,S. (1989) CALL. Oxford: Oxford University Press
5. Healy, D. (1995). Something to do on Tuesday Houston:Athelstan.
6. Healy, D., & Johnson,N.(Ed.). (1995) TESOL CALL interest section software list.
7. Higgins, J. (1998). Language, learners and computers. London: Longman
8. Jones, C., & Fortescue, S. (1987). Using computers in the language classroom.
9. Kenning, M.-M.,&Kenning,M.J.(1990). Computers and language learning: Current
theory and practice.New York: Ellis Horewood.
10. Kids media - http://www.bicsindia.com/
11. Musikfine - http://www.maritocorp.com/
12. Nunan D. (1992) Research methods in language learning CUP, p.2)
13. Pebbles series - http://www.pebbles.in/dia.com
- http://www.dovecd.com/
14. Pennington, M. (Ed.). (1989). Teaching languages with computers: The state of the art. La Jolla,
CA: Athelstan
15. Schank, R. C., & Cleary, (1995). Engines for education. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum
16. Taylor, M. B., & Perez, L.M. (1989). Something to do on Monday La Jolla, CA: Athelstan.
17. Thompson,J,&Parsons,J.(1995). ReCALL software guide=4, 1995. Hull, UK: CIT Centre for
Modern Languages, University of Hull.
18. Tribble, C., & Jones, G. (1990). Concordances in the classroom. Harlow: Longman.
19. Warschauer, M. (Ed.) (1995a). E-mail for English teaching. Alexandria, VA: TESOL Publications.
20. . Warschauer, M. (Ed.) (1995b). Telecollaboration in foreign language learning.Honolulu, HI:
University Of Hawaii Second Language Teaching and Curriculum Centre (University
of Hawaii Press).
21. Warschauer, M. (Ed.) (1996). Virtual connections: Online activites and projects for networking
language learners.Honolulu, HI: University Of Hawaii Second Language Teaching
and Curriculum Centre (University of Hawaii Press).
22. Word bird's Word land - www.wordbirdswordland.com
Kids’ Media
Kids’ Media is a curriculum-based educational software. It is a series of five CDs containing activities for five to six subjects two different levels. The list of subject areas is English, Maths, Science, Skill set, Games, Tour and Story Time.
First the user chooses a subject area. There are three items under the heading English, namely:
1) Grammar
2) Vocabulary and
3) Rhymes.
In CD 2: Nouns and Pronouns
The definitions of noun and sentence
Identification of parts of speech
Types of noun (common noun, proper noun, collective noun and abstract noun)
In CD 3: Adjectives, formation of adjectives and kinds ofadjectives
In CD 4: Verbs and Kinds of Verbs (Transitive, intransitive and
In CD 5: Tense, Forms of Tense (12 tenses)
In CD 2: Demonstrative Pronouns (This, that, these and those)
In CD 3: Degrees of Comparison (definition and explanation)
In CD 4: Forms of verbs (Infinitive, Present tense, Past tense,
Present Participle and Past Participle)
A list of verbs in all the five forms is given and an
explanation on how to form regular and irregular verbs.
Each section begins with a definition and proceeds to an explanation of the topic. Spend time with your pupils here. If your pupils can understand this information well, it will be easier and more motivating for them to proceed to the next step i.e. exercises.
These are categorized in different levels (Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3). As the pupils do the exercises they are told whether they are wrong or right. Marks are also awarded at the end of the exercises. There is a time limit for each question. This helps pupils to be quick and attentive.
In CD 2: 1. Ants in a hurry
2. Dinga Dinga
3. If You Could
4. On the Good Ship
5. This Old Man
In CD 3: 1. Mary Had a Little Lamp
2. Row Row
3. She’ll be coming
In CD 4: 1. Animal fair
2. Twinkle Twinkle
In CD 5: 1. Hokey Pokey
2. Three Blind Mice
Through rhymes pupils are encouraged to learn a number of new words, their meanings and their usage in given situations. In some rhymes, the words are shown below for them to read. Pupils read, hear and see the actions, which together promotes effective learning. Rhymes also provide a good pronunciation model for the pupils to follow. They can even act out the rhymes, as most of them are action songs.
A further relevant area is Story Time.
In Story time pupils listen to stories scripted so that they can be understood easily. It is intended that pupils who watch and listen to the story will remember it for life. Among the titles are:
In CD 2: Truth Never Fails
In CD 3: The Good Samaritan
In CD 4: Wolf Wolf
In CD 5: The Greedy King
After watching and listening, pupils are given the opportunity to retell the story, which gives them the chance to recall what they have heard and seen and to personalize it. Listening to each story means pupils are hearing correct pronunciation too. Each story has a moral and at the end of each story a question is asked about this or another aspect of the story.
Word Bird’s Word Land
This is a single CD containing 20 topics, all in English, designed mainly for beginners. Here pupils get lots of chances to learn new words, to hear them with correct pronunciation and to practise the spellings of the words they learn.
When you play the CD-ROM the first thing you see is the introduction. Then go to the menu screen to choose a subject.
It covers the topics such as:
1. Numbers 11.Lessons
2. Colours 12.Sports
3.School 13.Clothes
4.Family 14.The body
5.Farm animals 15.Weather
6.Fruits and vegetables 16.Food
7.Rooms 17.In the country
8.Furniture 18.At the sea
9.Buildings 19.Wild animals
10.Jobs 20.Transport
Many of our pupils lack the strategies for learning vocabulary effectively. I found that pupils who are acquainted with these types of task-oriented activities developed greater motivation for learning and developed strategies for learning vocabulary independently.
When pupils type the spellings of a word, they have a possible chance to remember the spelling for ever. I found that using the spelling section helps children to get to know the computer keyboard as well as learning to spell the words.
Read and Spell (623 MB) Pebbles
Age: 5 & above
To improve reading, spelling, listening and comprehension skills.
Pebbles presents Read & Spell for children to learn spelling and to improve English reading, listening& comprehension skills in an easy & entertaining way. Over 500 words to spell and 15 different activities to give many hours of fun and learning.
I. Spelling section : 1. Dictation 2. Spell Quiz 3. Visual spell 4.Spell fill
5. Spell catch 6. Spell Jumble 7. Spot the mistake
II. Reading section : * Hare & Tortoise * Diwali * Lion & Mouse * Speller ship
* Spot the word * Complete the sentence *Gandhiji
· learn spelling of more than 500 words in an interesting way
· Learn to recognize visually, common objects and spell them out
· Jumble improve word formation & recognition skills
· Improve listening comprehension
· Improve reading comprehension
· Puzzles to recognize words based on clues help improve thinking
An easy and user friendly approach to the liking of the children will enthuse them tremendously to improve their reading, spelling, listening and comprehension skills manifold and use the English language unhindered.
Context in our syllabus : Grade 8 Lesson 1 Homework
*Puzzles to recognize words based on clues help improve thinking
1. Dictation: There are 8 sets and
each set has 3 group
each group has 25 words in it.
This section is in two modes.
They are practice mode and Test mode
In the practice mode, you will hear the letters pronounced along with the word.
You have to listen to the word and type in the same. To check your spelling press key.
In the test mode, only the word is pronounced and you have to type in the word.
You have to listen to the word and type in the same. To check your spelling press key.
As teachers of English we ourselves will get training to conduct spelling tests for the grades we are teaching. A very good example has been given to us in this CD.
2. Spell Quiz : In this activity pupils need to click on the correct option.
There are 4 different spelling of each word given on the screen. Pupils need to use the mouse to click on the correct spelling.
3. Visual spell: In this activity a visual is given, letters of the word has been given in jumbled order. Under the visual there are blanks. Pupils have to drag and drop letters into the given blanks to spell out the word pronounced and complete the correct spelling of the word. If there is a need, clue has been given as support.
4. Spell fill : There are three SETS. They are: 1. Animals and birds, 2. Fruits and vegetables and 3. Places. In these activities pupils will have to drag and drop correct letters in the blanks to spell out.
5. Spell catch: In this activity the spellings of words fall from the top of the screen. Pupils have to use the arrow keys to move the boat below and catch the falling letters in the boat in correct order to form the word.
6. Spell Jumble : In this pupils are given a few words in a jumbled form on the screen. Pupils have to drag and drop letters from the jumbled words into the circles and blanks given to form correct words. It is also interesting to note that the alphabets inside the circles will form a new word when put together! There are two modes both practice and test.
7. Spot the mistake : In this activity, the words have been spelt wrongly. The pupils need to identify the words spelt wrong.

Teacher in stani's point of view- 4 ways


T- Talented
E- Enriched
A- Active
C- Creative
H- Honourable
E- Empowered
R- Respectable


T- Trustworthy
E- Educated
A- Adorable
C- Clever
H- Honest
E- Expressive
R- Reflective


T- Truthful
E- Elegant
A- Admirable
C- Coordinative
H- Humble
E- Enriching
R- Religious


T- Tactful
E- Eminent
A- Appreciative
C- Cooperative
H- Happy-Joyous
E- Effective
R- Risk-taking

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

stani's collection-attitude

Have a right Attitude and be a winner

H A R D W O R K %
8 1 18 4 23 15 18 11 98 Only.


A T T I T U D E %
1 20 20 9 20 21 4 5 100

So a person with right ATTITUDE is always a winner!

stani's paper presentation

Activiity based Drills and task oriented Exercises
A. Stanislaus
English is taught all over the world, by all sorts of teachers to all sorts of learners. Schools and classrooms vary enormously in their wealth and their provision of equipment. Learners are very different from place to place. But, whatever the conditions in which you are working, there is one resource which is universal and unlimited: the human mind and imagination. This is probably the one single most valuable teaching and learning resource we have. Nothing can replace it. In even the most ‘hi-tech’ environment, a lack of imagination and humanity will make the most up-to-date and sophisticated resources seem dull; conversely, the simplest resources can be the most exciting and useful. Hadfield & Hadfield (1999)
In the first and the previous RETIF( Regional English Teachers and Inspectors Forum) here at Bukha, I presented an action research report on ’Using modern techniques in teaching English in the Sultanate of Oman’ for which there was overwhelming support and appreciation. Teachers became aware of such materials in the field of education. Many of the teachers responded positively and began to use CALL (Computer Assisted Language Learning) in their classrooms.
Now, this time I worked sincerely and earnestly right from the time the new academic year began. I started working on the idea of designing ‘activity based drills and task oriented exercises’. This is only for our learners.

The classroom environment each individual have created in our schools need not be the same everywhere. The materials seem to be the same but there are differences in both the users and the environment. Therefore there were some practical difficulties in using CALL in some schools and by some teachers.
‘Going beyond text book’ was the need of the time (five years ago) in English language curriculum in the country. ‘Our World Through English’ (OWTE) is at its fag end in many schools in the Sultanate of Oman. ‘English For Me’ (EFM) is fruitful and is found successful. Language teachers going through the training found it meaningful and enriching. The need of change has been the need of the time especially in the field of language learning.
Language teaching and learning process goes through a continuous change, time and again, in order to be successful in its mission. We, the teachers of English language, are here with the motive to adapt changes, if we think that the change will bring success in our system.
Having crossed successfully a little more than a decade, in this noble profession I personally found ‘adaptation’ in accordance with the rhythm of our pupils would make our mission fruitful and interesting.
Our ultimate aim must be our pupils’ language learning. They should have happy schooling. Whether they accept or not we are their guides, their philosophers and their well wishers. We need to be visionaries. We should be clear in what we are doing. Our way of teaching, the materials we use in the process and the way we assess our pupils should be authentic in their nature because we are accountable for what we do.
Activity based drills
Drills and Exercises were in use in ‘Linguaphone’ method of teaching English. The Linguaphone Institute in London introduced such systems both in L1 and L2 learning. As the years passed by, there was a tremendous response to this system of language learning. In my second year of teaching (1991) I was teaching English as a second language for a group of youngsters using Linguaphone method and it attracted many more students. Within a couple of years I founded a spoken English institute named ‘Lincy Lingua Lab’ in India. The journey of search began…
I began to research my classrooms and continue to learn a lot from my pupils
Lamia Al-Sinani and Buthaina Al- Baluchi at ETIC in Muscat (1999) suggested us to do something similar to these drills in their presentation on ‘Those Ten Minutes Left’.
There is a formidable range of materials published worldwide for teachers of English as a Foreign Language. However, many of these materials, especially those published in English-speaking countries, assume that the teachers using them will be working with smallish classes and have abundant resources available to them. Also many, if not most, of these materials make implicit culturally-biased assumptions about the beliefs and values of the teachers and learners. Allan Malley (1999).
This situation is ironic in view of the fact that the vast majority of as a foreign language classrooms do not correspond to all these conditions.
Typically, classes are large, resources are limited, and teachers have very few opportunities for training and professional development. Also, the cultural assumptions of teachers and learners in many parts of the world may vary quite significantly from those of materials, writers and publishers.
‘Activity oriented drills and task oriented exercises’- is an attempt to address this situation. These drills and exercises are typically for our pupils here in the Sultanate. The drills and the exercises are self explanatory. They are directly referred to the activities and tasks of the text. The language is accessible and none of them require sophisticated resources. Instead they call on the basic human resources which all teachers and learners bring with them to class. The language points covered are ones found in a typical situations and topics are those which form part of everybody’s daily lives, for example families, homes, and leisure activities.
I have tried to offer a framework for teachers who need more training and support. The hope and expectation is that such teachers will begin by following each drills and exercises quite closely but, as their confidence increases, will adapt and add to the techniques presented here, responding to the particular needs and abilities of the learners.
As teachers we need to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of our learners. We also need to know the nature our learners’ English. Moreover we must concentrate on our learners’ progress.
Activity based drills and task oriented exercises are communicative in their very nature. They continue or extend where the activity books have stopped. They transfer information (information gap). “A communication exercise in which each of two paired students have information which they must orally relate to each other in order to fill in the “gap” in the information they have. (taken from internet)
The past five years of experience teaches me to adapt and accommodate different methods of teaching together with the present valuable approach.
One of the key elements of communicative methodology has undoubtedly been giving students practice…
These emphasis on activities are intended to replicate important aspects of real-life language use in the classroom, and are based on the conviction practicing “doing things” with language that will be more fruitful than practicing language forms that are out of context(Morrow, K. & Schocker, M.(1997) (Using texts in a communicative approach, ELT Journal 41/4,p.248).
On adapting materials Salem H, Mohammed S., Ahmed H., and Juma M. (2004) at ETIC in Muscat too made some valuable suggestions on why to adapt some materials. According to them we need to adapt materials that are:
· more localized i.e. more specific to pupils’ interest, life experience and culture.
· more communicative i.e. create a need to use the language
· more individualized i.e. teacher adapts to fit the needs of his class

They finally suggested some principles to put into practice by the language teachers. They are:
· flexibility to adapt
· finding opportunities to be creative
· participating in intensive workshops about adaptation and
· taking into account the authenticity of the materials.
As teachers we need to be “motherese”, “parentese”, “caretaker” and be a “kidwatcher” (Interactionists) in our conversation with our learners. The drills are of similar types so as to feel at ease and motivating the does to be reasonable.
My pupils needed these types of drills-

1. to come closer to the text in the context of their own
family, town or village, social institutions and the schools

2. to get acquainted with spoken materials that they learnt

3. to give more spoken practices

4. to pay attention to individuals in the classroom

5. to focus more on the pupils who need remedial help

6. to encourage pair work

7. to give a strong base in the task oriented structures

8. to make pupils to feel at ease in doing the drills in sheets

9. to involve pupils in systematic record keeping

10. to motivate pupils in language learning

11. to create interest in English the most important need.

12. to make use of the gap( ! ? ! ) at the end of the lessons

13. to provide different opportunities to become more
14. to revise the grammar and the structure

15. to change the classroom atmosphere

16. to reinforce outstanding pupils and

17. to find a place for communicative approach within the
Before we begin to use such materials we need to ask ourselves the following questions:

1. Is it a controlled or free activity?

2. Does it focus on the meaning of the form?

3. Does it encourage fluency or accuracy?

4. Is there a real life purpose and is there any information transfer?

5. Is there an outcome? For example is there any pupil production?

6. Do we use language in a purposeful situation so that there a meaningful outcome?

7. Does it enable pupils to bring the outside world to the classroom?

8. Does it capture pupils’ attention and evoke their motivation, Focus on fluency rather than accuracy?

9. Does it allow them to speak freely and use their own language?
Task oriented Exercises
Task based exercises are different than Activity oriented drills in their aim and function. The importance is given to grammar rather than spoken drills. It reflects learners’ ability to recall the grammar point they have learnt.

1. All the sheets are designed in a particular format.

2. Units, activities and tasks they refer to are mentioned.

3. Pupils have to write their names in every sheet they work on.

4. All the sheets need to be dated so as to file them in order.


1. Use OHP for a difference

2. Tell pupils that these drills and exercises they work on
will be used for informal assessment.

3. Explain the grammatical point of each drill and exercise.

4. Make sure that the learners do not just copy the answers.
This is one of the few attempts to address the problems of the ‘silent majority’ of the teachers, and few resources to work with.
Make necessary changes and enjoy teaching. Find the gap; fill in with these types of drills and exercises. Hope you too will design such drills and exercises according to the local need of your pupils and enrich your pupils’ English language learning.
I have designed them and copied them in 3.5 floppy so that you can modify and change any such drills and exercises which you feel are to be modified and changed according to the need of your pupils. Of course teachers should have the right to do so! You are accountable to what you do. You are responsible for all that you do.
1. Hadfield & Hadfield (1999) Simple Speaking Activities, OUP

2. Interactionists theory of language learning

3. Lamia S., & Buthaina (1999) ‘Those Ten Minutes Left’ in ETIC
At Muscat
4. Linguaphone Institute Limited, London

5. Malley A. (1999), Foreward : Hadfield & Hadfield’s Simple
Speaking Activities, OUP
6. Morrow, K. & Schocker, M.(1997)(Using texts in a
communicative approach, ELT Journal 41/4, p.248).
7. Nixon C. & Tominlson M. (2001) ‘Primary Activity Box’ CUP

8. Nunan D. (1989) Designing tasks for the communicative
Classroom, CUP
9. Salem H., Mohammed S., Ahmed H., & Juma M. (2004)
‘Adapting Materials’ a presentation jointly done at
ETIC in Muscat

stani's poems- world


In this world of illusion
Affected much by pollution
Relationship without affection
Never I found any connection

People with different opinion
Shed tears while pealing onion
Unreal disagreement and fake
Who is living for whose sake

I often get struck up with words
Fail to find destination like birds
Flying unendingly thirsting for knowledge
I continue till someone do acknowledge

Till the end will continue the journey
Passing hurdles while men search for honey
A soul will follow whom I did marry
Therefore no reason for me to worry

Stanislaus A.
8th October,2005

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

stani's riddles

It is a three letter word having two names of animals, one live in the forest and the other often at home. The letter in the middle is a vowel.
(To be continued)

stani's collection of acronym

1. ACLL- Assessing Children’s Language Learning
2. AFC- Attainment Follow up Committee
3. ALD- Advance Learner’s Dictionary
4. ALDCE- Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English
5. ALM- Audio-Lingual Method
6. APE- Acquisition Poor Environment
7. ASL- American Sign Language
8. BL- Bi-Lingual method
9. CA- Contrastive Analysis
10.CAH- Contrastive Analysis Hypothesis
11. CALL- Computer Assisted Language Learning
12. CALI- Computer Assisted Language Instructions
13. CALP- Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency
14. CBLT- Content Based Language Teaching
15. CB- Common Belief
16. CC- Current Consensus
17. CCELD- Collins COBUILD English LanguageDictionary
18. CELT- Centre for English Language Teaching
19. CLL- Community Language Learning
20. CLT- Communicative Language Teaching
21. CMC- Computer-Mediated Communication
22. CN- Code Number
23. COLT- Communicative Orientation of Language Teaching
24. CP- Controlled Practice
25. CPH- Critical Period Hypothesis
26. CT- Class Test
27. CTP- Communicational Teaching Project
28. DEAR- Drop Everything And Read
29. DM- Direct Method
30. DP- Direct Practice
31. EAL- English as an Additional Language
32. EAP- English for Academic Purposes
33. EED– Educational Evaluation Department
34. EFL– English as a Foreign Language
35. EFM- English For Me
36. EIL- English as an International Language
37. ELF- English as Lingua Franca
38. ELL- English Language Learner
39. ELT- English Language Teaching
40. ESD- English as a Second Dialect
41. ESL- English as a Second Language
42. ESOL– English for Speakers of Other Languages
43. ESP- English for Specific/ Special Purposes
44. FLA- First/ Foreign Language Acquisition
45. FLT- Foreign Language Teaching
46. GR- Grade/ Grammar
47. GSL- General Service List of English Words
48. GTM- Grammar-Translation Method
49. GW- Group Work
50. IATEFL– International Association of Teachers of English as a
Foreign Language
51. IELTS- International English Language Systems
52. ILO- Intended Learning Outcome
53. KAL- Knowledge About Language
54. KOLS- Knowledge Of Language Systems
55. KOW- Knowledge Of the World
56. L1- Language (first)
57. L2- Language (second)
58. LAC- Language Across the Curriculum
59. LAD- Language Acquisition Device
60. LAL- Language Acquisition Learning
61. LDs- Learner’s Dictionaries
62. LDOCE- Longman Dictionary Of Contemporary English
63. LEP– Limited English Proficiency
64. LLT- Language Learning Tasks
65. LSRW- Listening Speaking Reading and Writing
66. LST- Listening
67. LTM- Language Teaching Methods
68. LG- Letter Grade
69. MCTI- Multiple Choice Test Items
70. MLAT- Modern language Aptitude Test
71. MM- Mastery Method
72. NA- Natural Approach
73. NCB- Non Class Based
74. NELTS- National English Language Testing Systems
75. NEMS- Non English Medium Schools
76. NS- Number Score
77. OED- Oxford English Dictionary
78. OM- Oral Method
79. OWTE- Our World Through English
80. PK- Productive Knowledge
81. PLAB- Pimsleur Language Aptitude Battery
82. RA- Reflective Approach
83. RK- Receptive Knowledge
84. SA- Structural Approach
85. SBA- Strategy-Based Approach
86. SLA- Second Language Acquisition
87. SLT- Second Language Teaching
88. ST- Semester Test
89. SW- The Silent Way
90.TBT- Task Based Language Teaching
91. TEFL– Teaching English as Foreig Language
92. TESL – Teaching English as Second Language
93.TESOL- Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
94. TOEFL-Testing Of English as Foreign Language
95.TPR- Total Physical Response
96.TWGN- Test Writers Guidance Notes
97. UG- Universal Grammar
98. VC– Vocabulary
99.VLS- Vocabulary Learning Strategies
100. ZPD- Zone of Proximal Development
--Collected by A. Stanislaus