Thursday, January 20, 2011

Teacher Talk -3

Dr. K.N. Anandan

Q: How to make teacher talk a rich listening input for the learners?

Authentic and comprehensible listening input is a pre-requisite for the learner for acquiring language. This is why we use narratives in primary classes. The narrative is an effective pedagogic tool for providing quality listening input to the learners. The interaction of the teacher with the learners at various points of classroom transaction is another rich input source for the learners. Let us address ourselves to a few questions in this context.
1. What are the common objectives of Interaction at these slots?
2. Are there any specific objectives for each instance of interaction?
If so, what are they?
3. How can we improve the quality of interaction?
Obviously, the teacher cannot use the same kind of questions for each of these interactions. They depend crucially upon the purpose for which the interaction is carried out. It is fairly easy to see that each of these instances of interaction has some specific objectives. At the same time, all of them have some common objectives. Let us see what these are:
Common Objectives of Interaction
• Sharing of ideas.
• Giving rich, authentic listening input
• Embedding functional aspects of language in authentic context
• Maintaining rapport with the learners
• For Dialoguing with the learners.
Specific Objectives:
Interaction related to trigger.
• Taking out the learners’ assumptions on the theme at hand.
• Taking out learner’s perceptions on what has been watched
• Leading the learners to the theme /issue
Interactions at narrative gaps
• Triggering divergent thinking
• Eliciting learners perceptions on the theme
• Making predictions on what might follow.
• Taking out learners’ reflections on what he/she has listened to.
• Checking whether the characters have been emotionally registered
• Analyzing the situation critically.
Interaction leading to individual reading
• Instilling in learners an urge to read.
• Helping learners make prediction on what they are going to read.
Interaction during collaborative reading
• Ensuring that ideas are shared as per the instructions given to the learners
• Assessing the progress of group work.
• Extending optimal support to those who need it.
• Ensuring cooperation in team work.
• Addressing learning issues of children progressing at a slower pace.
Interactions related to scaffolded reading (posing analytical questions)
• Registering multiple perspectives on the theme.
• Identifying a point of view of the writer as well as the learners.
• Instilling value systems.
• Building up tolerance.
Interaction related to Editing
• Sensitizing the learners on various kinds of errors.
• Checking the learner’s intuitions on grammaticality.
• Building up confidence in using language.
Interaction related to forming big books.
• Addressing heterogeneity of the class.
• Providing slot for creativity of children
• Checking the learner’s affinity to the target language
What the teacher has to do is to build up a dialogue with the learners. This can be done with the help of strategies such as the following:
 Using tags (positive, negative, same way)
 Reporting
 Using discourse markers (for expressing attitude, politeness etc).
 Agreeing or disagreeing with the speaker
 Seeking agreement or disagreement
 Stating one’s own opinion
 Using short responses
 Building up on a certain response.
Most importantly, the classroom language the teacher may have to use for interacting with the learners will have to be suitable for the level of learners.