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Listening & Reading: Two Tasks Used In Teaching To Develop Discourse Skills In The Classroom

2790 words - 12 pages

Introduction.Discourse Analysis (DA) is the analysis of language in use (Brown and Yule 1983). It also examines how stretches of language, considered in their full textual, social, and psychological context, become meaningful and unified for their users. It provides insight into the problems and processes of language use and language learning, and is therefore of great importance to language teachers (Cook 1989).All micro-skills have direct relationship with DA. Therefore, language teachers have immediate interest in DA because, as teachers, we have the question in our mind of how people use language when we design teaching materials or when we engage learners in exercises and activities ...view middle of the document...

Procedure: I will ask the students to carry out the following sequence ofactivities with reading comprehension:- Predicting: students will look at the title of the passage in pairs and discuss their expectations of the contents based on the title before reading the passage; they will then write down five to ten words they expect to find; they will then read the passage and see if their words appear;- Extensive reading: skimming ('to identify important ideas'); scanning ('to pick out points of detail');- Information retrieval: the students, in small groups, will be guided to extract the main ideas that gives the most accurate summary of the passage as a whole; they will decide how the race has affected people's lives; they will then read the passage again and make notes on how it will affect their lives;- Evaluation: each student is asked to express his/her opinion, and then compare the passage with others;- Follow-up: they will be asked to come up with a new similar challenging activity to make use of and extend their information.- Dealing with unfamiliar words: students will look for words and phrases which are defined in the passage and new to some of them at least. Also, will indicate whether the listed words from the passage have a positive or negative meanings;- Linking ideas: students identify the meaning of selected cohesive devices in the passage; they then answer factual questions about the passage;- Exercises: students, in small groups, will list, discuss, and tell each other what are the qualities to win the race; in what ways life is faster now than in the past;- Attitudes: I would ask the students about their attitudes to time and speed in which Time-bandits are mentioned. Who or what do they think they might be? And what aspects of life are mentioned that are affected by speed and time?. (McCarthy 1991).The above task directs the students to use the top-down approach. As a consequence, it should demonstrate that the students will not approach difficult discourse in the language by starting at the bottom levels and then patiently working their way upwards. Rather, they will take some linguistic and situational detail as a clue, form a general hypothesis and then try to build up their understanding of the whole text (Cook 1989).The following figure gives a description of the various steps for bottom-up and top-down:Social relationshipsShared knowledgeDiscourse typeDiscourse structureDiscourse functionConversational mechanismsCohesion(Grammar and lexis)(Sounds or letters)(Cook 1989)Analysing the activityIn the above task, the students will apply their prior knowledge and prior reading experience, apply knowledge of reading conventions, and consider the purpose of reading in order to engage in top-down processing. The students will try to gather all their knowledge about the link between time and slowness. On the basis of such "prior knowledge" they might construct some initial hypotheses about the text and accordingly have expectations...

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