Some tips for creation of comfortable environment in training foreign language

Abstract

In the current situation, the learning process is given new emphasis: the student and his interests become the central link in it. Being subordinated to these interests, we build a completely different algorithm of our actions, namely, i.e. create a comfortable environment for training a foreign language. It is achieved by increasing motivation, removing the psychological barrier through the organization of homogeneous-level groups and a communicative environment possibly closest to authentic one, by optimizing teaching methods and the application of information technologies. Teacher constantly involves students into permanent dialogue with their partners’ through empathy to the situations and it turns Iiim into a tutor and an equal partner, not a dictator.

New, non-standard forms of training ensure a gradual fusion of teaching language, art and culture, turning the educational situation into a real one, making it a part of the Conmnmicative space. Students’ experience of using authentic communication deepens and improves their speech competences every time. All the training activities considered in our article, and especially the team-based learning, consolidate students together perfectly. Art, being a powerful means of socialization, helps not only to reveal students’ abilities, but it also imites them in the course of training foreign language.

Introduction

The process of changes in educational system influenced by Kazakhstan integration into the world political and economic space led to the serious reformation of foreign language training. That is why mastering English is in the focus of both secondary and higher schools now. The level to be achieved for successful school sciences acquisition in English such as physics, chemistry, geography, biology, computer science, as well as students’ professional language awareness at higher school will provide real results that can be achieved in capturing key positions of the world scale. Comparing this situation with that, they have in Germany now, we can observe certain similarities because of large number of emigrants’ children from different places such as Middle East countries, Turkey, Russia, the Ukraine, Kazakhstan, other former USSR Republics and other countries. As a matter of fact these students also have to study school subjects in unknown language for them, as both German and English are foreign. So the contour with training languages in both countries is definitely alike in certain features.

Solving this important task one cannot hope for good results without careful attention to special conditions that ensure proper skills in mastering languages at all levels of educational institutions. However, pure inventing and implementing new training methods and techniques can hardly solve this problem. So we need certain extensive measures, as only they can provide comfortable learning to achieve successful development and consequently the higher goals.

Creation of comfortable environment to obtain significant outcomes in training foreign language seems to be the core of research in this article. Taking into consideration the conditions of today’s situation and some specific features of our young generation described by Jennifer Borch in one of her articles, as: «Twenty-first-century learners are «plugged in», fluent with technology, and motivated by social environment. Why not embrace their passion and use social environment to engage them in authentic and meaningful English-language learning that allows them to practice reading, writing, speaking, and listening in familiar and motivating context?» [1, 26] we reviewed the whole problem from different points of view and defined the circle of the most important integrated actions to solve it. So we should put into the center of our attention following things:

Motivation;

  • Overcoming of psychological barrier;
  • Groups with homogeneous FL knowledge;
  • Authentic environment;
  • Comprehensive set of additional tools for successful training language;
  • Practical implementation of obtained practical skills.

Certainly our investigation is confined by the frames of a small article, but however we’ll concentrate us at the brief analysis of every item in some details.

The first and the most important aspect is motivation. To enhance motivation we should always take into consideration the fact, that it may be external and internal. Not all students have internal motivation for learning language, but it can be initiated by external one. And our task is to cultivate it in them. We are to instill interest in them and to hook them. It means that every moment of the lesson should bring a certain use, be a challenge for them, an impulse to develop their abilities and skills. They must feel progress and success moving ahead step by step. The process of learning a foreign language is not an easy thing, a lot of teacher’s affords should be applied to the simplification of this way (not primitivization however), adaptation of material studied etc. Teacher’s task is also to support in his students desire to held two thumbs up!

  1. Overcoming a psychological barrier especially for beginners is the most difficult thing in learning FL. “The scariest moment is always just before you start” this quote from Stephan King (2000) affirms the greatest challenge of most students standing at the very beginning oflearning FL. The role of the teacher as coach is a crucial one in this situation: the importance of his support is obvious and can guarantee their success. He is responsible for forming quite clear and concise goals, which should be achievable and provide meaningful results. He is a person to be concerned with his students’ achievements and to feel their mood simultaneously. As the strong beginning promotes good progress, a psychological barrier as well as many difficulties relating to it ought to be overcome with teacher’s help.
  2. Homogeneous level of FL knowledge in students’ groups is also very important, as mixed level group with fluently speaking students and beginners in one class creates a problem which will be connected with serious psychological barrier of beginners and may switch off the advanced ones and cause the loss of their interest. To solve it we distribute students into the groups according to the level and usually it yields fruit.
  3. Authentic environment: creation of the spontaneous communicative environment in the language they study is the best idea to obtain the best results in training it. There are many different ways to achieve it and the most suitable and effective are interactive communication; art- and drama based learning, making video with authentic situations and team-based learning.

As it’s one the most important aspects we’ll examine every item more detailed:

  1. Interactive communication: we maintain it every lesson and any situation - grammar or lexical training drills, discussion of any topic - may be used for interactive dialogue, when not the teacher gives the tasks, but students themselves do it. In this case they are more involved into the process, more concerned and critical to each other and to themselves. Another good method for IC is discussion in random rotating pairs. In this case the dialogue lasts permanently and simultaneously from several minutes till half an hour, every student is engaged into it, besides everybody has a brilliant opportunity to be involved into the new spontaneous situation with a new partner changing them one after another on the sign of a teacher, because each one has his/her own set of question/answers. It works very well with such topics as acquaintance, family, appearance, housing, meals, shopping, environment protection and many others. This method provides a very good oral practical drill and communication, which is usually difficult to obtain. Besides it helps very much to avoid students’ reluctance to discuss something, but in this situation they are normally eager to participate in the communication. The teacher plays here a role of tutor and consulter [2].
  2. Art- and drama-based learning: it is often called as “Silent Way” first offered by Caleb Gattegno [3] . This kind of learning was used by us in our practice and the resulting research was detailed analyzed in the article “Formation of Socio-Cultural Competence by Aids of Art” published by Bulletin of MZKozybayev NKSU. Proceeding to use it in our teaching practice we estimate its advantages: “Using different kinds of art students can recognize their role in the world as a whole, participate in lessons more actively and contribute to them their own ideas. Art helps develop the ability to integrate many aspects of the 'T" and transfer this integrated 'T" into action. Brain research also supports the value of integrating arts in English and art in their native language, as well as in other subject areas.” [4, 71] It also promotes liberating students, charging them with positive emotions and creating atmosphere of easy communication in class by means of students’ self-expression through art [5].

Making video with authentic situations: this technique has much in common with the previous one, as it is a kind of drama to some extent, but however it is something another, because of using IT and more liberation for the participants. They seem to be producers by themselves and may create something fresh and unusual from one side, and it is a very good opportunity to practice language from another side. Video scenarios can be different: cooking something tasty, shopping at the supermarket, i.e. living environment or even imaginable, such as “Students, proceed the story of Ginger-bread or Little Red Cap”. It is really exciting thing for students; it gives them good inspiration and motivates them for training FL very much.

  1. Team-based learning: it has been already said about many different techniques consolidating students’ social cohesion, but there exist certain methods which seem to be special team-based activities. They are role-play-based or game-based learning (having similarities with drama), project-based learning, case studies and so in. Most of them require more experience and affords to do. So they are applied with students of A2-B1 level at the university and may be also implemented at school with the advanced students. Actually they are very productive. The main benefit of them is integration of all previous students’ experience with collaborative work, which is not only the base for communication, but a good support for getting along in team. And it is really important for their further study and work.
  2. Comprehensive set of additional tools for successful training language: they are necessary assistants in our work. We can subdivide them into following categories: information organizers of students’ ideas, notions and images on certain topic (templates: fish-bone, clusters, mind-mapping, cinquain, etc.); different illustrative aids (including IT in forms of tables, graphics, organized illustrative information, presentations, classroom films); different forms of control (for example, writing different quizzes of unordinary form: evaluations, analysis, terminological dictations, critical assessment notes for partners work and so on); use of different e-learning aids from the Internet.
  3. Practical implementation of obtained practical skills: everybody knows that if we have no clear distinct goal, we lose motivation. So our main task is to put this goal before students. They should clearly see it and realize how to achieve it as well as how to apply the obtained knowledge in future. The processes of globalization expand the space of our life and the Internet provides us with opportunities to practice speaking, listening, reading and writing. But there are many other ways to apply communicative competences: to study abroad, to use them in work - reading professional literature, participation in forums, conferences, business projects, startups, different scientific programs and many other things. The better knowledge a person possesses, the more opportunity he/she has.

Methods of research

Thus we have analyzed the most essential components constituted the whole picture of measures important for successful achievement of our task - creation of comfortable environment in training foreign language. The methods of scientific observation and investigation, critical thinking and analysis method allowed us to define complex algorithm of different activities necessary in reaching faster language acquisition.

Results of research

Implementation of the algorithm described above in our practical work confirms that it really promotes creating atmosphere of easy communication in class and gives good results as far as students’ knowledge is concerned.

Conclusion

The limit of a short article doesn’t allow us to go into deep details of the whole variety of problems up to our objectives. But however we have managed to present the picture in general features. It is not less important, because sometimes one can hardly span the whole view of educational process while training FL. Very often teachers concentrate themselves on certain techniques alternating them one after another, but do not collate the goals and results from a student’s perspective. They are often subordinated to the goals of curriculums and syllabuses to fulfill the plans given by ministry of education, but forget about students’ concerns. Our article is a kind of appeal to every teacher of FL to work out individual algorithm of training without forgetting such important things as motivation, overcoming of psychological barrier, groups with homogeneous FL knowledge, authentic environment, comprehensive set of additional tools for successful training language and practical implementation of obtained practical skills. So, application of this set of ordinary measures in training FL, English in particular, can be very beneficial for the communicative development of students. And it is a pretty important thing to response the great needs in multilingual specialists for both countries.

 

References:

  1. Jennifer Borch. Embracing Social Environment to Engage Students and Teach Narrative WritingZZEnglish Teaching Fomm. - 2019. Nol(57). - Page 26-32.
  2. Caslrin, W. E. Effective classroom discussions. IDEA Paper number 49, 2011.
  3. Gattegno, Caleb (1972). Teacliing Foreign Languages in Schools: The Silent Way (2nd ed.). New York: Educational Solutions. ISBN 978-0-87825-046-2. Retrieved October 10, 2011.
  4. Ernst G.V., Shtro O.G. Formation of Socio-Cultural Competence by Aids of ArtZZBulletin of MKozybayev NKSU. - 2019. Nol(42). - Page 67-72.
  5. Eken, D. K. Ideas for using pop songs in the English language ClassrooniZZEnglish Teacliing Foram. - 1996. No 34. - Page 46-47.
Year: 2019
Category: Pedagogy