August 26, 2010

Discourse Analysis in Practical Use

As a mechanic fact, Discourse analysis provides learners productive skills to maximally comprehend theoretical knowledge, and to ultimately enhance practical competence. Drilled deeper, Discourse analysis and variation of discourses concerning with spoken and written interfaces echo not only applied pre-existing knowledge and pedagogical tactics, but also assists learners to enrich threefold linguistic awareness, ability and proficiency. In a similar vein, I therefore agree with Massi’s research findings, centralizing on language learners, language educators, learning strategies, and teaching pedagogies. Sharing similar oasis, I would like to present further arguments and stands, philosophizing into the chest of productivity of Discourse analysis. The below strings of paragraphs will help clarify and validate the essentials of Discourse analysis in the field of teaching.

To a medium extent, I find that Discourse analysis has magnified how language is structured in different contexts of use. Accordingly, multiple aspects of grammar must be sliced down into small elements, and closely observed and analyzed. I approve that such methods empower language practitioners to more precisely prioritize concepts in syllabi and materialize for fields of usage. I personally see the values of engaging students in digging into different genres of language and take advantage to select and evaluate various discourses that are relevant to particular learners’ needs—spoken and written forms of discourses.

Concerning with writing discourse, I strongly believe that the ample knowledge of Discourse analysis will enable teachers to colorize and to precisely contextualize essential facets of writing texts, styles and text types. For example, by modeling different types of writing (Academic, popular, literary, personal, and official types of writing) students will have the opportunities to understand the underlying features and applicational contexts. At this level, I believe that language practitioners will deem to seek after different writing styles—formal or informal.

Another output application I wish to emphasize is Speaking discourse. Though Speaking is less discussed, it never changed the facts and the importance of speaking communication in real life. At this degree, I believe that teachers become more professional, systematic and communicative through knowledge of analysis of language discourses. The reasons are lexical choices and conversational analysis. Additionally, speech act theory and pragmatics play the key roles in enriching the ability of a teacher to process lessons more effectively. On top of this, teachers can use insights from such discourses to better evaluate their own learners’ performance in classroom tasks, such as pair work and group work. In a similar manner, language learners though such fields of learning and practices, will be able to by-pass errors and intimidations in language communication and interaction.

Another key point I must emphasize is Conversational analysis. It becomes crystal clear that conversational competence, though in case of everyday one, appears to be varied due to several important sociological aspects such as class, gender, age-group, and so on. Therefore, mere linguistic competence is not enough. In order to lead language practitioners to a higher ground, Halliday, M.A.K., and Raquiya Hasan (1989, p58-64) suggest that teachers must seek to fill such gaps by navigate students to understand about turn-taking, conversation opening and closing, new topic launching, topic shifting, and conversation probing and sustaining.

Finally, it is great news that most up-to-date study materials, designed by discourse analysts, sociolinguists, linguists and grammarians, come with lessons in discourses. I observe that those materials sound descriptive, informative, and more true to life. For examples, contemporary learners’ dictionaries, encyclopedia, and corpora provide adequate content and are more sensitive to contexts that meet the demands of speech and writing in language studies.

August 3, 2010

Communicative Teaching

Some years ago, some teachers of English in Phnom Penh asked me to share secrets of effective teaching. They became like other thousand individuals who enjoy asking the same questions even when they understand the concepts of how to run the classroom business. Communicative teaching always appear to be the answer for questions of similar categories; however, the important question is 'who is being communicative? students or teachers?'

Providing students meaningful education can be a real challenge for many language teachers. Undeniably, the sole purpose of educating is to help enhance learners'thinking and doing skills. Thus, knowledge transfer from theoretical experience has to be integrated with practical experiences.

Service Learning

Engaging classroom knowledge with social and communal services is thought to be the dynamic tool, helping learners exercise and clarify missing gaps of imaginative learning. Experimental education is the quite a technical, yet doable approach to enforce reflection learning and applicational transfer. Meaningful community service with both academic and social instruction and reflection comprehensively enrich learning experience, civic responsibility, encouragement of lifelong civic engagement, and strengthen communities for the common good.

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