Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Have you ever considered why a learner (even an advanced one) can hear a difficult English word or phrase literally thousands of times and still not use that word in the way that a native speaker does? You might expect that, after having been exposed to a word in ten, twenty, or maybe at the very most thirty, contexts, a learner will gradually piece together the word's meaning and start to use it correctly, appropriately and fluently.
* Classroom context
* Seven steps to vocabulary learning
Of course we cannot expect a learner to acquire difficult words in the same way as a young child acquires their first language, but, perhaps as teacher we can somehow help learners to arouse their 'learning monitor' by, for example, providing rich contexts containing the target language and by giving our learners time to reflect on what the language item means. In this way teachers can use the EFL classroom to replicate the real world and nurture strategies to help students understand and produce difficult language items which often seem beyond their grasp.
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Seven steps to vocabulary learning
Here are some practical steps that I have used to help my students. As an example I want to focus on one very tricky word ('actually') and suggest ways that a student can understand what it means, and, thereafter, be able to use it more fluently. This model (which consists of seven steps) can be used for any difficult word/phrase.
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I get my students to listen to the word or phrase in authentic-sounding dialogues
Here are the dialogues I use for 'actually':
* Do you want a chocolate?
No, thanks. I'm on a diet actually.
* Do you want a coffee?
Actually, I'm a bit pushed for time.
* Could I just borrow your book for a moment?
Actually, I'm just about to use it in class. Sorry.
* How's John doing?
Actually, he's doing all right!
* Ready to go?
Yeah…erm…actually I'm going to take my umbrella. It looks like it might rain.
* I see you're still following your diet! (meant sarcastically)
Actually, I've lost a couple of pounds since we last met.
I think the students need at least six contexts to start to understand all the different nuances of meaning of a difficult target item.
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I give my students plenty of time to study the word in these contexts, so that they can work out what the meaning / function is. I either get them to study the contexts individually and then get them to compare their thoughts in pairs or groups or I get them to discuss in pairs / groups straight away. I prefer the first option, because, this way, each student gets more time to think for him / herself.
I discuss the meaning in plenary. I do this in two stages. First, I simply say "So what do you think?" Then, after having heard their thoughts, I ask concept questions that uncover the heart of the meaning.
* Examples of concept questions for actually might be:
o Is the speaker saying something quite important?
o Does the speaker give the other person the answer they want / expect?
o Is the speaker asserting him/herself?
Answers: a) important; b) not; c) standing up for him/herself
After doing such concept question work, I use a summing up concept statement, like this one:
"So we use 'actually' after someone asks us a question (often a request or offer), and we don't give them the answer they want or expect."
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I provide a phonological model (including pronunciation, stress, and intonation) in a surrounding sentence.
* Most native speakers devote three syllables to 'actually', the stress is on the first syllable, and there is a rise/fall/rise intonation pattern (which signals the conflict in the situation).
I provide a prompt - to elicit use of the word in a natural way.
* Here are some prompts I use for actually:
o "So what do you think of __________ ?" (London) I use a facial expression to show that I expect a positive response.
o "Would you like a cigarette?"
o "Shall we go out for a meal tonight?"
o "How's your friend Bill?"
* If I don't get the response I want, I repeat and try to get another student to help. Then, if necessary, I get individual students to repeat the response until they feel completely comfortable with it.
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I set up a simulation, providing students with the chance to say the word in a natural situation. I distribute the following scenario and get two of my stronger students to act it in front of the class and then I get all the students to act it in closed pairs (rotating roles). This is an example scenario I have used for 'actually'.
* John and Mary are in a pub.
1. John asks Mary if she'd like an alcoholic drink.
2. Mary declines this (as she doesn't drink alcohol).
3. John buys her some mineral water.
4. Mary suggests sitting down.
5. John agrees.
6. John asks if it's OK to light a cigarette.
7. Mary says she's got a bronchial problem.
I set up a review schedule, in which words are elicited and practised. It's always important to review such lessons in the future, but each time I do this, I spend less time on it, and insert bigger gaps between the inclusion of this language item in the review sessions. Ultimately, I reach the point where I just need to say to someone "Fancy a chocolate?" and I automatically get the response "Actually I'm on a diet."
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Students who are living in an English speaking country are often happy learning what difficult words and phrases mean through their everyday study or work lives, but for the majority of students, learning a language is a slow and painful process, and we must try to do something to accelerate the pace of learning. My students should, I believe, benefit from the teaching procedures I've described in this article. If they learn words and phrases in this systematic way in class, they are not only likely to achieve more communicative success in class but also to become more aware of the how they learn and the knowledge they need to acquire to learn words more successfully. Cited from BBC, British Council!
Monday, February 21, 2011
Speak to Improve Your Word Power
Speaking is a major part of improving vocabulary. ‘I just wanted to, you know…’ and you start gesticulating to get your point across. Sometimes, words elude us. They just don’t pop up in our minds without a conscious effort. It happens when we don’t know or don’t use a word regularly. This is called having a limited vocabulary.
In order to build your vocabulary, you need to listen to and say new words. Think about it – you never forget to say ‘you’. This is because it’s such a common word that you say it at least a hundred times every day. That is why you don’t forget it. Using new words in your everyday speech is important to improve your vocabulary. The first step to learning how to say new words is to listen to their correct pronunciation. Vocabulary building software tools can assist you. Our favorite tool Ultimate Vocabulary has a “Listen” feature.
Take up a new word each week to improve your vocabulary
Why not learn a new word every Monday morning? For example: ‘insidious’. Check out its meaning and try to keep it in your memory. Whenever an opportunity arises, say it. An opportunity will surely arise within a week. That is why you have a whole week. Slowly, it will become embedded in your mind. You are closing up on gaps in your speech. This is a quick way to improve your vocabulary. Vocabulary software can also help you remember words such as the “Word Messenger” tool in Ultimate Vocabulary.
You would like to improve your vocabulary, but you are short of time. After all, there are a thousand things to keep in mind. What do you do then? The simplest way is to write down a word and its meaning then pin it up in a place where you will see it often. The trick is not to put it where you will see it TOO OFTEN otherwise you will get bored, cease to notice it or will feel like tearing it down. The bathroom or the kitchen is a good place. Try it. It is the easiest, the least expensive and least time consuming method of improving your vocabulary. cited from www.vocabulary.co.il
Monday, January 10, 2011
Have you ever got difficulties during your English test on reading comprehension? Try this ways to solve the problem!
Reading is not simply a matter of starting at the beginning and going on until you reach the end. If you want to gain something from your reading, you need to read actively, not passively; you must know why you are reading it, and you should not always need to understand every single word.
Effective reading, If you follow these rules, you will gradually become able to control how you read English texts. They will be difficult to obey, but they are really important. First, do not use a dictionary unless you really have to.When you come across a word which you do not understand, ask yourself the following questions: Can I understand this sentence even if I do not understand the exact meaning of this particular word? Can I understand the whole paragraph even if I do not understand this particular sentence? Can I guess the meaning of the word? If you use a dictionary, ask yourself afterwards if you really needed to. Of course, you may misunderstand the text if you ignore a keyword, or guess the wrong meaning.But you will quickly realise if you have made a serious misunderstanding because the rest of the passage will not make sense. If this happens, you should go back and check the meanings of words which you may have misunderstood. Once you have practised this approach, you will find that you develop the ability to guess the meanings of English words. Of course, this approach will not work if the passage contains a great number of unfamiliar words. If this happens because your knowledge of vocabulary is poor, then you must look up all the words you do not know and learn the ones which you think will be useful to you. If it happens because the passage contains a very specialized vocabulary, you have two choices. If you want to study this topic seriously, it would be a good idea to look up all the words and learn the ones which you think will be useful to you. If you do not want to study the topic seriously, then it is probably better to look for a different passage, which contains the same information but is written for non-specialists, and therefore uses simpler vocabulary. Second, when you read something in English, you should try to understand it in English, and not translate it into Japanese. Translating into Japanese takes a lot of time. It also means that you concentrate on the meanings of individual words and sentences rather than on the meaning of the passage as a whole. You should only read in this way if the passage is extremely difficult, or if you actually need to produce an accurate translation. Probably the best way to begin to read English as English is to re-read passages that you already understand.
Extensive reading, you might be reluctant to read long passages of English. However, the task is not impossible. You do not necessarily have to pay equal attention to every single word. It is possible to control the reading process so that you read actively and in appropriate ways. Before you read, whenever you read non-fiction, even a newspaper, it helps to have a clear reason for reading right from the beginning. This will give you a focus, and help you to understand what you read. Before you start reading, you should also see what information you can get from the text without actually reading it. If you can relate this information to your reason for reading, you will be able to organise your reading effectively. For example, if you want to read the newspaper in order to find an account of yesterday's baseball games, it would be a good idea to start by finding out which pages are likely to have baseball reports. Once you get to the right pages, photographs and headlines will help you to find which of the articles is about your favourite team. A quick glance at the actual article will tell you whether your team is being praised or criticised. After you have read the article properly, you can go back and look at other parts of the newspaper. There is nothing wrong with reading a newspaper in Japanese first, or watching the TV news, in order to get a general idea of what stories are likely to appear.
In the case of a magazine or periodical article, this sort of previewing activity is even more important. If you find out as much as you can about what you are going to read in advance, the whole process of reading a long piece in English should seem less frightening. Who wrote it, when and why? What is the name of the publisher, magazine or journal, and what is its reputation? Look at the title, headings and subheadings. Are there any illustrations, diagrams, tables or graphs? Does the index contain keywords that you are interested in? Does the bibliography contain books which you know about or have already read? Is there a summary at the beginning (or end) of the article or chapter or on the back cover of the book? This information will help you to anticipate the contents, and to decide how to read the text: whether you need to read it all, or only part of it, where you should start, and how much time you should spend. It will also help you to judge the value of the text, and how relevant it is to your needs.
Sometimes you will read because you want a specific piece of information. For example, you want to find the meaning of a word, the date when someone died, or what the writer has to say about a particular economic theory. In all such cases it is sensible to scan your reading material until you find the information you need. In other words, rather than read the whole text, you search for the information you want as quickly as possible, and read only the part containing the relevant information. Scanning can also be helpful if you want to check that a book or article which you have decided to read really does contain the sort of information you are looking for. In order to scan effectively you should: See how the text is organised. Dictionaries and encyclopedias are arranged in alphabetical order. Multi-volume encylopedias have indexes of key words. Academic books should have indexes; otherwise you will have to use the list of contents and section-headings. You can then find the section of text which is most likely to contain the information you want. It may then be necessary to look through the text for your particular piece of information. Choose some appropriate keywords, and go through the text looking only for those keywords. When you have found the keywords in the text, read carefully in order to get the information you want.
It is helpful if you can develop the ability to skim texts, that is to read them very fast in order to get the main ideas. Normally, this sort of reading should be a preparation for detailed reading of a text, not a substitute. It is also useful when you want to re-read something which you have previously read in detail, particularly if the most important parts are already underlined. If you do not have time to read the whole text in detail, skimming can also help you to identify the passages you should really concentrate on. This is how people often read newspapers or magazine articles. Skimming might also help you to select the most important or relevant articles or books out of several on the same topic. In addition, it is worth noting that if you practice skimming enough, your general reading speed will improve. When skimming you should: Try to read groups of words, not one word at a time. Concentrate on finding the main ideas, and consciously ignore details. Read the introductory and concluding paragraphs in detail. (The first paragraph may sometimes be used to set the scene or catch the reader's attention. In this case, the second paragraph will normally contain the introduction. In long passages, both the introduction and the conclusion may consist of several paragraphs. Read the other paragraphs in order to find the topic sentence and/or the main idea. Attention to transitional words and phrases will help you to find your way quickly through paragraphs, and to work out how each paragraph is joined to all the others. If skimming is likely to be the first step to detailed reading, it is a good idea to mark passages that you think deserve particular attention. If the text is really long, it is probably a good idea to divide it into sections. You will skim each section and then read it in detail, before going on to the next section. You will not necessarily do this to each section in order. For example, in the case of a book, it is often a good idea to start with the first and last chapters. Have a nice reading and good luck!
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
When I hear reoq in my ears
When I see the picture of reoq in my eyes
When the people say about Ponorogo
When the people say about Wengker
My heart beats
My lips open..............It's my life....true...........
Let me be the part of The Wengker
It is belonged to Ponorogo (Wengker) forever and ever and not to others
Ketika Aldi baru masuk sekolah di SD Al Muslim, ia heran melihat kakak kelasnya sebagian sedang bercakap cakap dan menyapa ustadz dan ustadzahnya dengan memakai Bahasa Inggris, ‘ Good morning ‘, ustadz. ‘ How are you today ? Nice to meet you ‘. Seketika itu Aldi ingin segera bisa bercas cis cus dengan Bahasa Inggris. Itulah sekelumit cerita pendek tentang salah satu keahlian bahasa yang diajarkan di salah satu materi ekstra sekolah SD Al Muslim. Mempelajari bahasa memang dibutuhkan suatu tekad dan kemauan yang keras. Sumber inilah salah satu faktor yang paling besar yang nantinya menentukan keberhasilan dalam mempelajari bahasa. Bahasa memang seharusnya untuk dipakai berkomunikasi ( conversation ), dan hal inilah yang dianggap paling sulit. Tidak sedikit siswa pandai dalam tata bahasa ( structure/grammar ) namun mereka masih saja kesulitan atau tidak berani berbicara tentang bahasa yang dipelajarinya. Hal ini pun terjadi pada proses pembelajaran Bahasa Inggris. Memang menguasai suatu bahasa harus mengetahui bentuk pola kalimat dan kosa kata dengan baik pula. Dan hal inilah yang ada dibenak peserta didik. Mereka takut untuk bicara Bahasa Inggris karena mereka disibukan dengan pemilihan bentuk kalimat yang cocok. Jika kita mau menceritakan kejadian yang telah berlalu maka kita harus menggunakan pola kalimat bentuk lampau ( Past Tense ) dan juga sebaliknya jika ingin menceritakan suatu rencana maka kita diharuskan menggunakan pola kalimat akan datang ( Present Future Tense ).
Pola pemikiran yang demikian inilah yang menghambat peserta didik untuk dapat dengan cepat menguasai materi Speaking/Conversation. Jika kita melihat banyak orang asing yang berada di Indonesia, dengan cepat mereka bisa berbahasa Indonesia. Apakah mereka mempunyai intelegensi yang tinggi sehingga mereka dapat dengan cepat menguasai bahasa baru? Jawabannya tidak...!. mereka segera bisa menguasai Bahasa Indonesia karena mereka mempunyai ketekadan yang besar dan tidak malu. Mereka dengan santai berbicara menggunakan bahasa kita dengan lancar walaupun terdengan agak lucu dan kacau. Walaupun itu terdengar lucu dan kacau pada awalnya, segera mereka bisa memperbaikinya karena banyak kawan mereka yang senantiasa membetulkannya dan memberi kosa kata baru. Inilah sebenarnya faktor yang mempercepat dalam menguasai bahasa baru baik itu Bahasa Arab, Jepang atau pun Bahasa internasional, Bahasa Inggrisnya tentunya. Faktor faktor yang menentukan keberhasilan penguasaan bahasa tentunya pertama kita harus hidup dan berkumpul ditempat darimana bahasa itu berasal, kalau kita ingin cepat menguasai Bahasa Inggris tentunya kita harus bertempat tinggal dimana bahasa itu digunakan seperti dinegara Australia ataupun di negeri asalnya yaitu negara Inggris. Ya.. kalau kita punya dana yang cukup sehingga kita bisa ikut program Home Stay sehingga kita bisa tinggal bersama dengan orang tua asuh disana, sehingga secara langsung kita bisa selalu mempraktekan penguasaan Bahasa Inggris kita. Kalau dana kita tidak memcukupi untuk ikut program tersebut..? kita bisa mensiasatinya dengan selalu berteman dan berkumpul dengan guru dan teman yangg mampu berbahasa inggris. Buatlah suatu kelompok kecil bersama teman kalian dan buatlah komitmen untuk selalu mamakai Bahasa Inggris setiap bertemu. Dan buatlah jadwal saling bertemu, semisal pada saat istirahat. Jika ada teman yang lupa tidak menggunakan Bahasa Inggris, maka denda akan dikenakan. Tentunya komitmen ini harus dipegang. Pola kalimat tidaklah terlalu penting dalam speaking, apakah bahasa itu hanya untuk ditulis? Yang terpenting dalam percakapan yaitu adanya pengertian dan mengetahui maksud apa yang diutarakan oleh lawan bicara kita. dan kesempurnaan itu akan mucul dengan sendirinya diantara pengguna bahasa tersebut karena adanya komukasi dan saling koreksi.
Satu hal lagi yang tidak kalah pentingnya adalah perbendaharaan kosa kata, banyak kita kesulitan menghafal kata kata yang baru. Banyak peserta didik menghafal dengan cara yang konvensional yaitu dengan menghafalkan kata secara target seperti satu hari harus dapat menghafal seratus kosa kata baru. Cara ini tidaklah tepat karena cara ini akan mudah hilang dari ingatan kita. Cara yang tepat adalah menghafal dengan cara mengklasifikasi kosakata. Seperti kosa kata tentang rumah ( house ), kita hanya menghafal kata baru yang ada hubungan dengan rumah saja, seperi jendela ( window ), pintu ( door ) dan lain sebagainya. Cara yang kedua adalah dengan banyak membaca, jika kita menemukan kata baru yang sulit, janganlah kita langsung membuka kamus. Tebaklah arti dari kata baru tersebut dengan merangkai kata dalam satu kalimat yang sudah mengerti maksudnya. Seperti ’ I stay in the inn ’. dari kalimat tersebut kita bisa menebak bahwa kita memang tinggal didalam rumah. Dari penebakan kata baru ini jika tebakan kita benar dan cocok setelah kita bandingkan dengan kamus, pastilah ingatan itu akan selalu muncul dalam benak kita. dan jika kita merasa kesulitan dalam menebak kata baru tersebut, barulah kita membuka kamus.
Cara lain yang jitu adalah sering mendengar lagu dan menonton film yang menggunakan Bahasa Inggris. Sering kita terpaku dengan lirik dan jalan cerita dari tontonon tersebut tanpa belajar dan mencermati bahasa yang dipakai setiap lirik dan adegan. Padahal setiap lirik dan kalimat ini merupakan bahasa keseharian yang diperlukan dalam setiap percakapan. Tentunya bagi yang pemula merasa kesulitan dalam mengikuti setiap kalimat yang terlontar dari setiap aktor dan aktris. Kita bisa memulai dengan melihat terjemahan yang ada dilayar monitor. Dengan begitu kita bisa membandingkan arti kalimat dengan kalimat yang diucapakan. Kadang kalanya kalimat yang terucap merupakan kata kata dan idiom idiom sederhana baru yang sering diperlukan dalam percakapan. Perhatikan pula kalimat yang sering digunakan dalam percakapan harian seperi salam, kalimat perintah, larangan dan permintaan. Kita baru sadar dan mengerti setelah kita tahu penggunaan kalimat yang dipercontohkan oleh orang lain seperti kalimat ’Where have you been?’ yang berarti ’Dari mana saja kamu?’ atau kalimat yang sederhana seperti ’What’s up?’ yang berarti ’Ada apa?’.Belajar bahasa banyak caranya apa itu melalu multi media atapun dengan penghafalan kosa kata baru, namun yang terbaik adalah dengan membentuk komunitas kecil yang didalamnya beranggotakan orang orang yang bertekad dan mempunyai kemauan yang keras. Dengan ini apakah kita masih takut untuk bicara Bahasa Inggris? Takut salah? Nggak masalah teman! Yang penting kita berani!!. Ok selamat belajar dan sukses dalam bercas cis cus Bahasa Inggris. See you..!