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Sunday, April 22, 2012

More developments in intellectual aspects and acquisition of language


      
          The present study is anchored on the theory of Lado and Orleans (2000) that the structured lessons in English utilizing the macro-skills’ learning performance can attain more developments in intellectual aspects and acquisition of language that is a valuable resource in assimilating with peers and adults in developing a sense of personal growth and in finding a place in social and economic life adopted to this capacity and personal preference. 

Attaining the language skill requires the mastery of a system that takes literally years to learn. This requires on the part of the teacher skill in noting the difficulties of the learners in both oral and written English, presuming that the secondary freshmen students of Minglanilla National Science High School have mastered the listening skill while still in their elementary years. But this does not mean that listening should be done away with. Much as the teacher wants to perfect language learning in speaking and writing, he can still require his students to practice in the open air where sounds are freely transmitted inasmuch as language is sound. 

The outcome of individual or societal integration cannot be achieved unless the student has acquired a command of the language he learns in school. It is through this that his personality adjustment and social participation are achieved, relevant to his future professional and preparatory years in Elementary School. It has become an established fact that the language facility can raise student’s intelligence as measured by intelligence tests. This is so because of the language facility in speaking and in writing. The educator has to find ways to teach all his students properly because if they are taught properly, the latter can learn skills and concepts necessary to function in modern society.

        The difference existing between excellent teaching and acceptable classroom performance is no more than the ability to take advantage of opportunities which develop in the context of the classroom, and which cannot be anticipated by even the most talented and skillful authors. The teacher who can make the most of these opportunities will be the one to dominate the materials he teaches and to implement a vast repertoire of techniques and procedures for classroom management. 

The language program should take into account the cognitive and socio-cultural needs of the students, the community in which the school is located, the training, language ability and personality of the teacher, and the present and foreseeable future needs of the society in which our learners are living or planning to live. (Makalinao, et al., 2002)

In English for Special Purposes (ESP), the desirable goal to strive in language teaching is general communicative competence. Language teaching has a definite purpose, teachers of ESP teach only the requisite for a particular purpose, be it an occupation (business English), or a domain (English for Science and Technology). Thus, before English is done, the baseline experiment on needs analyses is imperative, specifically doing analysis of situations where pilot students will likely find themselves and carefully selecting the English necessary for them to meet the language demands of these restricted domains and contrasting approaches to education (Widdowson, 1998).

Learning is indispensable on the part of students who undergo rigid studies of the language, but teaching involves much more than knowledge of methods. However, a well-versed teacher maybe in psychological and linguistic theories, in techniques and methodologies, this knowledge alone will not assure success. And even more basic ingredient of good teaching is the teacher’s attitude toward his students and his work. More than ever, we must recognize the teacher’s compassionate, intelligent, individual approach to his work as the essential factor in successful language teaching.  

        Microsoft Encarta Premium Suite (2005) as quoted by British Education theorist Peter Newsam, the essential factor in successful language teaching as well as a considerable diversity of views exists among analytic and linguistic philosophers regarding the nature of conceptual or linguistic analysis. Some are primarily concerned with clarifying the meaning of specific words or phrases as an essential step in making philosophical assertions clear and unambiguous. 

Others are more concerned with determining the general conditions that must be met for any linguistic utterance to be meaningful; their intent is to establish a criterion that will distinguish between meaningful and nonsensical sentences. Still other language analysts are interested in creating formal, symbolic lingua francas that are morphological in nature. Their claim is that philosophical problems can be more effectively dealt with once they are formulated in a rigorous logical language. 

It can be argued, therefore, that, logical language is part of one’s assessment towards incessant learning in order to attain intellectual aspects and steadfast acquisition of language. Besides, educational assessment has developed for social, rather than educational, reasons; that is, to facilitate the social and economic purposes of selection, rather than the educational purpose of teaching and learning. 

Effects of assessment on school systems and individual student motivation, and on the best means by which to develop assessment practices to underpin, rather than undermine, the process of learning get underway without incapacitating language apprehension on the part of the learners. It is argued that too narrow an approach to assessment can lead to a very restricted and overly academic curriculum. 

The knowledge of assessment procedures is equally important and most meaningful especially when it is conducted in an informal, continual basis. Teachers get a more accurate picture of what their students can do inside the classroom than what they may do in formal tests, which cause debilitating anxiety in them. At the same time, the teachers need the information about the ongoing assessment whether or not a lesson and its objectives are being achieved (Jordan, 2001).    
    
Alcantara, et al. (2002) quoted the importance of speech improvement as saying that in teaching, skill in oral communication is recognized as a very important part of the qualification of a teacher. It is axiomatic that instruction can be efficiently and effectively carried out only within the context of effective communication. Hence, good speech, which is basic in communication, is an important concern of every teacher not only as a practical tool but also as a fine art. 

By implication, speech improvement is both desirable and imperative in teaching, and for that matter, in every human endeavor. The kind of speech improvement designed to achieve good speech, is that which takes into consideration not only linguistic principles but also makes use of corrective techniques firmly based on scientific facts and principles. In the Philippines, especially in Region VII,  every vowel in the Visayas dialect is stressed. This explains why children read in a sing-song manner. There are only five (5) sounds for the five vowels. In English, there are various sounds for each of the five (5) vowels. For a alone, a varies in sound in words: can, star, lake, chair. There are strong stresses at regular intervals. The weak-stressed syllables are observed and the final sound of each word is blended with the initial sound of the one following within the same unit. These differences call for sufficient aural-oral preparation before actual speaking of English is done.

In teaching English, many teachers make their student commence with the language activities at the same time in their desire to follow the minimum requirements without considering the children’s developmental stage. They fail to realize that some students develop slower than the others. For example, writing for training is similar to writing for reinforcement, but it differs in that it is not limited to the reinforcement of grammatical structures (Marquez, 1999). 

According to Lado, et al. (2000), for purposes of training, writing presents students with patterns of linguistic and rhetorical forms that might be new to them and gives them practice in using and manipulating these new patterns: for instance, “students may be asked to change a general statement: “Thermometers measure temperature,” into a definition “Thermometers are instruments which measure temperature.” The speed and frequency of international communication have outstripped the speed of teaching and learning languages and demand more effective methods of teaching. With the need for more effective teaching of language goes the need for more effective testing of their use. 

        Communication Arts in English is not taught in a vacuum. Although its objective is to develop in the students the language skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing, the teacher uses content materials in the pursuance of the skills’ objectives. In teaching English, the teacher is guided by the assumption that language is trimodal. This means that language is composed of three components or hierarchies which interlace with one another.

There are three components of language: phonology, structure and lexicon. The first component is phonology. Phonology is the science that deals with sounds. It has two divisions, namely: phonetics and phonemics. Phonetics deals with separate sounds or phones. Its three branches are articulatory phonetics which deals with speech production, auditory phonetics which deals with speech reception, and acoustic phonetics which deals with speech transmission. Phonemics is that branch of structural linguistics which has for its subject matter the organization of phones with groups of faculties of sounds called phonemes (Preece, 2005).

        Ponce de Leon-Ladera, et al., in their Speech Communication and Creative Expression for English Teachers (2005), emphasize the importance of aspects of linguistics. There are many different ways to examine and describe individual languages and changes in languages. Nevertheless, each approach usually takes into account the language's sounds (phonetics and phonology), word structure (morphology), and sentence structure (syntax). Most analyses also treat vocabulary and the semantics (meaning) of a language. Any human being learns language starting with the use of mind but he hears the sounds first before he uses them. Listening is very important in learning a language, for learning them at the start wrongly, the individual gets a shaky foundation of the language he is speaking. Learning is seen to be a natural, gradual process, through which students progress at their own rates. At first it is expected that students will speak or write imperfect English. Through a combination of sensitive error-correction strategies (such as the teacher repeating correctly a student’s faulty utterance) and continued practice, the learner’s interlanguage will increasingly conform to the target language.   
  
The choices of teachers remain to be like those of the artists. Artists’ choices are not at random. They are driven by what artists are trying to achieve and they are assessed by the artists every step of the way to assure that the choices being made are congruent with their purpose. Art teachers can help art students become aware of the options they have by having them study art history to review the choices others have made. They can also help by making their students perfect their technique. But it is incumbent upon the artists themselves to create their unique blend that is their own special contribution to others (Muñoz, et al. 2000).

        It is similar with teaching. According to Ida Yap Patron (2002), teachers must be familiar with the various methods, approaches, and techniques in the teaching and learning not only of language but also of literature to bring out the potential benefits of literature – linguistically, culturally, and aesthetically. Only those who are intimately acquainted with the situation, with the students and with themselves can have the choices they are uniquely suited to make. It is, after all, only the teachers who will be there to assess the outcome of the choices they make. It is only the teachers who are there to make sure that they know why they are doing what they are doing.

        Simultaneous in learning the sounds of the language the learner uses structure. This is the second component, otherwise known as grammar. This has something to do with structural patterns. A language works in a pattern. It has its own structure which is meaningful to its own speakers. It operates within its own recurring patterns or arrangements which are meaningful to its speakers. In English the sentence structure begins with the subject, followed by the predicate. It is exactly the opposite in Cebuano-Bisaya – sentence begins with the predicate followed by the subject (Solomon, 1992).    
   
There is a need to comprehend the ways to teach the English in first year High School at Minglanilla National Science High School. It is important that teachers should provide their students with authentic examples of language to study. It appears clearly that one aspect of authenticity resides in natural, spontaneous speech which has normal irregularities, hesitations and simplifications so that the students are trained to listen for cues that will be present in normal speech and not just in that particular brand of speech spoken only to foreigners.

        According to Necitas Pahang (1995) in her dissertation entitled “A Correlative Study of the Mental Ability and Language Achievement,” this study has something to do with the freshman’s actual needs in English. The question is how students can later on develop essays and other literary forms after attending English classes. Some of them will later enjoy reading newspapers and write letters. But others will become tourists, immigrants, hotel clerks, stewards on cruise ships, journalists, diplomats, participants in domestic and foreign conferences. Such people will need to be able to communicate orally, write legibly, read with comprehension and understand with other when he speaks. If speech is unintelligible, the act of communication has failed; the person who is supposed to receive the message would fail to respond or if ever a response is made, this may be inappropriate. 

        It is also supported by Victoria Gabison (1991) in her study entitled “A Correlative Study of the Mental Ability and Language Achievement,” it is worth-noting that these structural lessons are dependent upon the data gathered from the language inventory tests responded to by the learners. For theoretical specificity, these structural lessons consider the four (4) areas of English language teaching, namely: listening, speaking, reading and writing as sequenced in the lessons. The lessons are more on the difficulties and needs of the freshmen as identified by the students and their teachers.  Those studying English may be aware of the importance of oral and written communications. The students who are second speakers of the English language expend their efforts to acquire proficiency in this particular language. 

        Students need to be able to communicate orally. That is, a learner needs to comprehend the other fellow when he speaks and vice versa. If speech is unintelligible, the act of communication, needless to say, has failed. The student who is to receive the message fails to respond inappropriately. Thus, it is very important that one should learn to speak as intelligible as possible – not necessarily like native speakers – but well and clear enough to be understood. Communication needs constant practice despite the barrier of the language made culturally diverse from the others. Difficulty of the language is inevitable on the learner who is not native speaker of the language. That’s why structured English lessons are a must in the step-by-step study and in-depth analysis done by the students themselves in order to pan out both in oral and written communications in English (Navarro, 2001).






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Important Quotes for Teachers

The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires. ~William Arthur Ward. The best teacher is the one who suggests rather than dogmatizes, and inspires his listener with the wish to teach himself. ~Edward Bulwer-Lytton. A teacher's purpose is not to create students in his own image, but to develop students who can create their own image. ~Author Unknown. What the teacher is, is more important than what he teaches. ~Karl Menninger. Teaching should be full of ideas instead of stuffed with facts. ~Author Unknown. The task of the excellent teacher is to stimulate "apparently ordinary" people to unusual effort. The tough problem is not in identifying winners: it is in making winners out of ordinary people. ~K. Patricia Cross

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