How Do EFL/ESL Teachers Provide Opportunities for Students to Interact In English?
Some EFL/ESL classes are taught in a fairly teacher centered fashion. Interaction is dominated by the teacher who, for example, gives lengthy explanations and lecturers, drills repetitvely, asks the majority of the questions, and makes judgments about the students answers.
Some teachers who aim at having an interactive classroom begin lessons with Littlewood calls “precommunicative activities.” The porpose of precommunicative activities is for the teacher to isolate specific elements of knowledge or skill that comprise communicative ability, giving students opportunities to practice them without having to fully engage in communicating meaning. Two types of precommunicative activities: structural and quasi-communicative. Structural activities focus on the grammar and lexicon (vocabulary)of English, while quasi-communicative activities focus on how the language is used to communicate meaning.
The teacher’s goal was to teach students how to ask about food likes and dislike. The teacher first taught a grammatical item, the use of the auxilary verb do when used in a yes-no question.
She then did a vocabulary-building activity (another structural activity) in which she put large pictures of food items on the wall.
Then the teacher help up a picture of each item (e.g, of a piece of cake), and as she did this, she did this, she asked the whole class, “Do you like to eat cake?”
The teacher then handed out a dialogue that combined grammatical and vocabulary itemsand added a little new language:
A : Do you like cake?
B : Yes, I do
A : Do you like bananas?
B : Yes. Very much.
A : How about fish? Do you like fish?
B : I don’t know. Maybe
The teacher read the dialogue out loud, had students repeat it after her, and had students practice it in pairs
Next, the teacher divided students into pairs and placed a set of pictures of different food item face down on their desks. The student took turn picking a picture from a pile, then using the pictures as acue, asking each other about their likes and dislikes.
What Makes an Interactive Classroom Interactive?
There are at least five closely related factors that can contribute to making interactive classrooms interactive. One is reducing the central (and traditional) position of the teacher. This does not mean that we teachers have to give up control of the class. As I discuss in greater detail in chapter 4 on classroom while still giving freedom to students to initiate interaction among themselves and with the teacher.
Factors contributing to making classrooms interactive include :
- Reduction in the centrality of the teacher
- An appreciation for the uniqueness of induviduals
- Opportunities for students to negotiate meaning with each other and the teacher
- Choices, both in relation to what students say and how they say it
Genuine communicative interaction is enchanced if there is an appreciation for the uniqueness of induviduals in the class. We need to be sensitive to each induvidual’s background and affective state. To create a classroom athmosphere conducieve to interaction, we need to understand and accept each students as he or she is, which sometimes can require considerable effort, we also providing chances for the students to express themselves in meaningful ways.
What Experiences Do EFL/ ESL Students bring
to the interactive Classroom?
Many students language learning experiences are relatively traditional n nature. In some school, English is treated like an academic subjects. And often obvious to the use language has to communicate meaning. Some students experience a functional curriculum, they study a bout and practice the functions of language for example : how to make request, ask for permission, ask for information, make suggestion, complain about something, agree and dis agree and so on.
However, generally most of the students who enter our classroom do not have much experience interacting with native speakers of English or much ability in communicating in English. It is fairly easy to accept ESL students as having diverse backgrounds and interests, because students in our classes tend to come from multiple cultural backgrounds
Language students learning channel can be grouped into four basic perceptual modalities. They can use visual learning (Listening to lectures audiotapes), Kinesthetic learning (total physical involvement with a learning situation), and tactile learning (hands on learning, such as building models). Although some nationalities of students exibit a certain learning style preference over another (e.g. Indonesian students favor auditory and kinesthetic). It is also obvious that students from a single culture vary in their learning style ppreferences for example Japanese, Arab, Chinese, and korean.
What RolesAre Native and Near native
English speaking EFL/ ESL Teachers
Expected to Play?
Here is a sample of roles EFL/ ESL teachers take on Drama coach, puppet maker, creative writing specialist, photographer, cross cultural trainer, public speaker, jazz chanter, reading specialist, error analysis, curriculum planner , Etc.
Use of English Language abilities
- Language authority
- Cultural Informant
- Model English Speaker
Use of ability to create meaningful interaction
- Need assessor
- Classroom Manager
- Text adaptor
Roles Related to English Language Abilities
One role we are expected to take on is that of language authority. We are sometimes expected to explain complete english grammar, such as the dfference between static and dynamic verbs or how adjectives and adverb differ.
Students also expect us to speak english pure them and model how it is used to express meaning . For examples some students are curious about our use of humor and appropriate use, as well as how we display nonverbal behaviors.
As native or near native speakers we also expected to take on the role of cultural informantstudents about language behaviors. Students also ask question about socialization, for Example, as it takes place in education. Family life, and friendship.
For native English speakers, the reason answering such questions is not easy is because most of use are never asked such question s in our countries.
Role Related to creating Meaningful Interaction
A number of educators encourage language teachers totake on the role of need assessor. Doing so includes learning about students language learning history, goals interest, study habits, learning strategies, and language learning styles.
With small classes, I personallylike to use dialogue journals to learn about the students. The purpose of the journals to learn about students. The purpose of the journal entries is to give students chances to communicate ideas in writing, and as a suit , It is posibble to learn about what each students is interested and cares about. Dialogue Journals can be way to discover what.
The teacher can also take on the role text adapter. It means teacher can go beyond the text by adapting materials and activities to the lessons in the text or introducing new activities unrelated to the text. Teachers can add such things as role plays, games, movies, TV shows, songs and more.
Next role the teacher can take on to promote interaction is that of classroom manager. It means as the teacher we need to be able to :
· Engineer the amount of classroom talk we do
· Manipulate our questioning behaviors
· Control the way we give instructions
· Orchestrate group and pair work
· Keep learners on task
· Make language comprehensible to students
· Handle affective variables of classroom life
Another role is role of entertainer. It means as the teacher we must entertain the students to make they interest to follow the lesson.
What Problems Do Some EFL/ ESL Teachers
Face when Teaching English as interaction
Problems some EFL/ ESL teachers face include the following.
The “Bandwagon” Problem
“Bandwagon” is the condition when the teacher discovers a new exciting method and accepts this way of teaching with great enthusiasm as the best way to teach. The problematic become when the teacher cannot see beyond the “In Way” of teaching, cannot accept the bandwagon as simply other people prescriptions about teaching.
The “Overly Anxious” Problem
It means the condition when students have such high levels of anxiety that they cannot take advantage of opportunities to learn English. Here are some of the factors that could raise the level of anxiety in language students.
· Inability to pronounce strange sounds and words
· Not knowing the meaning of words or sentences
· Inability to understand and answer questions
· Reputation of the language class as a place for failure
· Peer criticism
· Not knowing or understanding course goals or requirements
· Testing, especially oral testing
· Previous unsuccessful language learning attempts
· Encountering different cultural values and behaviors
Anxiety can make the student cannot function normally. And if in our classes have high degrees of anxiety will debilitating them, to solve this problem the teacher usually use “Understanding response” when students expresses an idea. By really listening the student, the teacher can paraphrasing back to the students to make its become more clearly.
The “Engagement” Problem
It means The teacher is not fully committed to teaching English as interaction and will not fully engage in interacting with the students or arranging activities for them to use English as a means of communication in the classroom. When make interaction the teacher need yield to the students so that they feel free to interact with the teacher and each other. However, this is not necessary for some teacher. It happen because the students have little experience In participating in the classroom. As such, they will also hesitate to interact, afraid that things will become out of control, frenzied, and embarrassing.
To avoid this problem, the teacher must provide the kind atmosphere that is conducive to interaction, like shows emotional maturity, sensitivity to the students feeling and a perceptiveness and commitment to interact learn and communicate in English. It will make the students lose their fear of embarrassment and are willing to try to express themselves.