Theory of Language
1. THEORY OF LANGUAGE The theory of language underlying Duysel Learning was derived from a view of proposed by Turkish Linguistics in the 2000s. Duysel Learning Method involves both the learning of language knowledge and the cultivation of language skills, with the emphasis on both the form and the content of a language. In teaching practice, its all-inclusive nature requires English teachers to select special and effective teaching methods in conformity with its special tasks to avoid turning it into a pure practical course of oral English or a pure theoretical one on grammar.
Regardless of all criticism it has received, the grammar-translation method has been an indispensable method in English teaching as well as a necessary step in the cultivation of students’ communicative ability in a non-English environment. A person cannot have successful communication before having a correct mastery of language rules. Although the applicability of the communicative method has been widely accepted, this method is confronted with some practical problems.
I think we should search for a fusion between the traditional teaching method and the modern teaching method with a more rational attitude based on the learner’s practical ability and request that is, adopting a new method fusing the two methods together in one class of comprehensive English. 1. THEORY OF LEARNING Language is the most important aspect in the life of all beings. We use language to express inner thoughts and emotions, make sense of complex and abstract thought, to learn to communicate with others, to fulfill our wants and needs, as well as to establish rules and maintain our culture.
Language is a subtle and complex instrument used to communicate an incredible number of different things, but for our purposes here we can reduce the universe of communication to four basic categories: information, direction, emotion, and ceremony. The first two are often treated together because they express cognitive meaning while the latter two commonly express emotional meaning. Language is not learned primarily by learning the “rules” but rather by first listening to and understanding the spoken language and then practicing speaking.
Occasionally, however, learning of rules can help many adults learn and use the language. Just do not make rules the focus of the course. While repetition and memorization can play an important role in language learning, they cannot by themselves insure that students will be able to use the language for any real purpose. Repetition and memorization, if used, must be accompanied by other activities requiring the application of the learned patterns in novel situations and with variation in vocabulary and even structure. . DESIGN a. Objectives/Syllabus In Duysel Learning Method, grammar teaching is not intended for studying grammar but help students to grasp language rules and fulfill listening, speaking, reading and writing practice in a better way. As a result, teachers should create situations for real activities according to students’ daily life to guide students to understand, grasp and use grammar correctly in such situations.
I once adopted a four-step method including introduction, imitation, summary and application to promote grammar teaching at comprehensive English class. In the introduction section, the teacher gives oral demonstration on some original or relevant sentences related to a certain grammar rule in order to introduce it. Selected examples should be in conformity with certain communicative situations hence putting it across to students to what situations this grammar rule applies.
In the imitation process, students are required to have oral imitation of some expressions fit for the given situation after understanding examples, which further establishes a pattern for correct use of grammar knowledge in a new situation as well as checks whether they have understood the given knowledge points or not. In the summary part, students are guided to sum up grammatical rules and points by analyzing specific situations themselves so that they will enjoy the joy of success. Students are expected to take notes so as to accumulate material for review.
In the last step, some real situations are set to help students to practice using the learnt grammatical knowledge to have communication. Once they find that they can apply grammar to real communication and specific tasks instead of memorizing grammatical rules, students’ learning enthusiasm will be stimulated and their ability of independent analysis and solving problems will be cultivated as well. b. Types of Learning and Teaching Activities Duysel Learning Method emphasizes students’ comprehensive training in listening, speaking, reading, writing and translation.
Due to the specialty of listening and speaking training, they are usually dealt with separately while other three skills are mainly trained through the learning of texts. As for listening and speaking, students are expected to follow classes given in English, to understand short conversations, lectures as well as reports with familiar topics, simple structure and a speed of 120 words per minute, to ask and answer and retell based on relevant listening material, to make conferred presentations based on familiar topics after adequate preparation.
Obviously, the communicative method helps to achieve the teaching goal in listening and speaking practice. In practice, teachers may ask students to listen to tapes, do exercises and have discussions based on hot issues with teachers’ checking and instruction; they may also analyze some difficult points in listening material and have more extensive learning of new words and expressions. However, those who have been accustomed to the traditional method tend to keep silent and think little of this method since they cannot learn sufficient knowledge and language points.
As a result, teachers should use the grammar-translation method at times with the communicative method as the main line. For instance, some difficult points at the linguistic level can be explained with the traditional method. Students’ reading, writing and translation skills are mainly trained in learning texts. Teachers are expected to base their teaching on texts to give students certain information and language knowledge first of all by focusing on the translation and understanding of texts and then establish new situations beyond the texts for practice of communicative skills.
I once adopted a four-step method including preparatory reading, listening and answering, communication on text and conferred communication in the text teaching process, achieving a natural transition and fusion of grammar-translation training and communicative training. In the first step, students are required to preview a text beforehand with their grammar-translation experience in which they can make sure about some new words, the gist of the text and some questions and therefore have the next day’s class with full preparation.
In the second step, the teacher first asks students to correct their pronunciation and intonation by imitating the tape and then plays the tape once again for students to answer questions or make judgments so as to check their preparatory reading. In the third step, the teacher may guide students to have communication in the context related to the text and help them to solve some problems in key words, sentences and understanding of content they displayed in the previous two steps.
When explaining key words and sentences, the grammar-translation method should be used to deepen students’ understanding of the text and improve their ability to use language correctly and flexibly through right communication on the text. In the last step, students’ enthusiasm for communication is fully encouraged. Here the communication in this step is different from that in the previous steps since teachers need to employ a variety of advanced teaching methods to create language situations and communicative tasks which originating from text while going beyond of it.
Students are able to apply what they have learnt to real communication through continuing writing texts, having simulated dialogues, having role-plays, having discussions and so on, hence achieving the purpose of communicating ideas through language. c. Learner Roles Learners have to participate in classroom activities that were based on a cooperative rather than individualistic approach to learning. Students have to become comfortable with listening to their peers in group work or pair work tasks, rather than relying on the teacher for a model.
They are expected to take on a greater degree of responsibility for their own learning. d. Teacher Roles Teachers have to assume the role of facilitator and monitor. Rather than being a model for correct speech and writing and one with the primary responsibility of making students produce plenty of error-free sentences, the teacher have to develop a different view of learners’ errors and of her/his own role in facilitating language learning. e. The Role of Instructional Materials Classical texts and carefully compiled texts according to grammar system are used.
The materials usually consist of three parts: grammar, vocabulary, and text. The main functions of the materials used in Duysel Learning are presenting and reinforcing grammar rules and new words, and offering cultural information. Additionally, exercise handbooks, cue cards, activity cards, pair-communication practice materials. And student interaction practice booklets are employed in the activities with the aim of improving communicative skills. f. The Role of Native Language The role of language in learning cannot be over-emphasized. Language is the prime resource teachers have and use for mediating learning.
When learning languages, then, teachers and students are working with language simultaneously as an object of study and as a medium for learning. In teaching languages, the target language is not simply a new code – new labels for the same concepts; rather, effectively taught, the new language and culture being learned offer the opportunity for learning new concepts and new ways of understanding the world. The target language should be used not only during communicative activities, but also for explaining the activities to the students or in assigning homework. However, native language is only used in making translation. . Feelings of Students Learner’s feelings are very important because students will be more motivated to study a foreign language since they will feel they are learning to do something useful with the language. They are given an opportunity to express their individuality by having them share their ideas and opinions on a regular basis. h. Evaluation The teacher evaluates not only the students’ accuracy, but also their fluency. Use an integrative test which has a real communicative function. To assess students’ writing skill, a teacher might ask them to write a letter to a friend.
Written tests in which students are asked to translate from their native language to the target language or vice versa are also used. Questions about the foreign culture or questions that ask students to apply grammar rules are common. i. Treatments of Errors Errors of form are tolerated during fluency–based activities and they are seen as a natural outcome of the development of communication skills. But in the translation part, having the students get the correct answer is considered very important. If students make errors or don’t know an answer, the teacher supplies them with the correct answer.