Tips for Teachers
page was designed with advanced level students in mind. In particular, students
who already have strong backgrounds in English but lack experience and knowledge
of the various aspects of face-to-face interaction. It is most suitable as
a supplement to Conversation Strategies or high level Oral Skills
courses. Your role as the teacher will be to
guide their investigations, offer your knowledge and insight as a
resource, and provide follow-up support for students' efforts at reformulating
their own behaviors. The following objectives and suggestions are intended
to help clarify the ideas that went into designing this resource as well as help
you deal with possible complications as they arise.
- To provide an instructional framework aimed at giving
students exposure to and raising
their awareness of real
life behaviors in face-to-face interaction in English. This is based
partly on the idea that speech behaviors are not easily generalized and
therefore instruction should be based on observation of real-life
- To promote student involvement in their ow learning.
In this case, especially to help students develop the ability to carefully
observe and analyze behaviors in their linguistic environment.
- To help students develop patterns of behavior conducive to
the development of interactional skills. That is, the materials are
designed to be used as experiential tools rather than simply informational and
to guide students in evaluating and reformulating their own behaviors based on
what they learn through observation.
SUGGESTIONS FOR USE
The materials on this web page provide a template for the
study of speech behaviors. It also includes internet resources and a final
project. I suggest you start with Exploring Beliefs and then
Methods of Investigating. From there, pick and choose the different
speech behaviors as you wish and add your own as is appropriate to your
course. Below are some suggestions to make your efforts more
- Insist that students take responsibility for their
observations. "I couldn't find anything" can be countered with 1)
finding out how and where they looked and a suggestion for better results 2) a
suggestion to find another source. For example, (and this may very well
happen) if a student does not encounter any examples of persuasion in the time
allotted, they can try formulating questions and doing an informal interview
of a native speaker or they may try looking it up in a book or on the
- Encourage students to adopt a recursive approach to their
information gathering. One simple observation may not be enough.
If they observe, form ideas, check them with you, look again, and so on, this
will help them to refine their ideas and hopefully increase their accuracy,
- Encourage students to share what they're doing and what
they've found by email, both with you and their classmates. This will
serve the purposes of both spreading ideas and letting you know what the
students have been doing before you get to class so you will be better
prepared to address them.
- Help the students develop their skills in analyzing.
Analyzing probably won't be easy for them, but with your expert viewpoint and
contribution of ideas and possibilities they can develop useful skills and
metacognitive knowledge they can continue to use in their own lives after your
class has come and gone.
- Be sure to follow up observations and analyses with attempts
to reformulate behaviors. Again, at first students may not have any idea
what to do. You can give them advice and practice these reformulated
behaviors in role plays. You may also want students to keep records of
their plans for how they can use what they've learned.
THE IMPORTANCE OF READING
Needless to say, the better you understand the issues covered
in your class, the better you will be able to relate and clarify this
information to your students. Research has a lot to teach us. I
suggest you start by taking a look at the Links and Resources I have
compiled and adding to them through your own investigation.
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