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    • #18633
      Nicholas Northall
          1. Do you analyse language before a lesson? 
          2. If so, how do you do this?
          3. Why do you think it is important/not important to analyse language before teaching it?

          Remember to read your colleagues’ posts. Who has a similar / different view to you?

        • #60661
          Gajinder Kaur

              Do you analyse language before a lesson?

              Yes, I do always analyse the lesson plan and the language aspects covered, ensuring that I have enough knowledge, examples and strategies for teaching the same.

              If so, how do you do this?

              I look into some referential texts if I’m not sure of the language aspects, like Swan’s Practical Language Usage and other Cambridge upper-intermediate grammar books. I also look up Google for examples.

              Why do you think it is important/not important to analyse language before teaching it?

              Definitely important! Not only to fill in the gaps we might have but also as a refresher.

            • #60670
              Robert Dailey

                  My answers are very similar to Gajinder´s:

                  Do you analyse language before a lesson?  

                  Yes and certainly if the class is going to be on a specific piece of grammar like the present perfect, for example.

                  If so, how do you do this?

                  If I´m using a coursebook then I´ll first of all read the description of the grammar and do the exercises that the students will be expected to do. If there´s something I´m not sure about or I think will be problematic for the students, then I´ll think about how I´m going to deal with it. Sometimes I´ll look up some information from somewhere else (like Swan, as Gajinder mentions, or Parrot, or a grammar that I really like: Collins Cobuild). If I don´t like the coursebook description/ exercise for some reason, or I think it needs supplementing, then I´ll look for other ideas and Scrivener´s Teaching English Grammar is often a first call. I don´t normally follow his classes completely step-by-step, but often things like his timelines are very useful for making things clear(er) and I´ll sometimes use/ adapt them.

                  Often, though, I find that it isn´t until I teach something that I see what problems the students have. I was teaching the present perfect to a group a short while back and it took a lot of examples, a revisit and a different approach to convince the group that “I have worked for the company for five years” means that you still work for the company. (Because in Spanish the present perfect functions differently and he trabajado para la empresa durante cinco años means that you no longer work for the company – right Manuel? :)

                  Why do you think it is important/not important to analyse language before teaching it?

                  I think it´s just a case of being professional, being a competent teacher and aiming to make the class a success. Of course we are all very busy and spend an awful lot of our “free time” preparing classes and researching language etc and sometimes we do the best we can without having time to fully prepare. But personally speaking, I feel quite embarrassed when I´m not able to give a competent answer to a question and conversely very pleased when I feel that the class has gone away with a question answered, an issue clarified etc.

                  Remember to read your colleagues’ posts. Who has a similar / different view to you?

                  • #63482
                    Manuel Flores Lasarte

                        Hi Robert,

                        Just a quick answer to your Spanish question :-) : yes, the present perfect in Spanish indicates the action is finished. To indicate that you are still working in the company, you should use the present simple in Spanish (‘Trabajo en esta empresa desde hace cinco años’) or even better, the expression ‘llevar + (gerund)’: ‘Llevo (trabajando) en esta empresa cinco años’. The present perfect is always problematic because it has an equivalent in Spanish but it is not always used in the same way.



                    • #60770
                      Amira Madkour

                          I totally agree with  Gajinder and Robert

                          Do you analyse language before a lesson? 

                          Yes I do! I usually review the meaning and function of a grammar tense (e.g: if conditionals). I also check collocations of target lexis.

                          If so, how do you do this?
                          My first stop is usually the teacher’s manuals; they provide quite detailed explanation about the target language. Other references are also useful like the series of English Grammar in Use. The book comes on different levels from essentials to upper intermediate. The books  provide extra supplementary materials like lists of irregular verbs, and applications of prepositions of time. Right Word… Wrong Word is also a useful resource for vocabulary.

                          Why do you think it is important/not important to analyse language before teaching it?

                          Anticipating problems is a crucial key to any successful lesson. Language analyses before teaching helps me to spot challenging area; hence prepare extra aids like (visuals) to illustrate it. Also, when I anticipate that a particular area requires extra practices, I use supplementary materials.

                        • #61094

                              Do you analyse language before a lesson?
                              Yes, I usually do that.

                              If so, how do you do this?
                              My answer is very similar to Amina’s. My first resource is usually the teacher book especially when I use a coursebook. I also refer to the English Grammar in Use series and/or other grammar books to provide students with supplementary material. As for lexis, I really like the Longman dictionary and/or the Test Your Vocabulary series.

                              Why do you think it is important/not important to analyse language before teaching it?
                              I believe it is important as it may help:
                              – plan the lesson: anticipate problems and solutions, select appropriate material, and get a better understanding of all levels (beginners, elementary, etc.).
                              – professional development: learn how to teach language systems, expand subject knowledge, and deliver lessons confidently.

                            • #63466
                              Manuel Flores Lasarte

                                  Hi everyone,

                                  Many thanks everybody for your great answers here. As the exam is arriving, let’s use what you have said to answer a made up question that you could have for Paper 2, task 3. Imagine you had this question:

                                  Teachers should always research and analyse the language they are teaching. 

                                  a) What reasons are there for researching and analysing language?
                                  b) How can teachers best research and analyse language?

                                  Based on a summary of your responses we could say:

                                  a. Reasons for researching and analysing language: 

                                  • We first need to be able to understand the language ourselves in order to be able to teach it effectively.
                                  • It is part of being a competent teacher: fully understanding the target language ensures the lessons are a success and that the teacher can answer students’ questions.
                                  • It helps the teacher anticipate the problems learners may have, helping them find extra aids like visuals to illustrate a particular challenging point.
                                  • It helps in the selection of appropriate materials: as the teacher understands the language, they can find the exercises that will best clarify the key points in the lesson.
                                  • It helps the teacher get a better understanding of all levels, especially if they use grammar books divided by level.
                                  • Researching language can be part of the teacher’s professional development: by reading different language explanations, they can expand their subject knowledge and deliver lessons confidently.
                                  • It can act as a refresher, as a teacher may forget some crucial aspects of a particular language point if they have not taught it for a while.

                                  b. Best ways of researching and analysing language: 

                                  • Using the language explanations in the students’ book and doing the exercises learners will do to identify what needs to be covered and the potential problems learners may have with that language. This helps to put ourselves in our students’ shoes and see things from their perspective (including gauging whether the language is at an appropriate level for them)
                                  • Use teacher’s manuals – they usually provide an explanation of potential problems learners may have with the language and how best to present / clarify the language at that level.
                                  • Use grammar reference for students (e.g. English Grammar in Use) as they provide simple explanations, examples and exercises graded to the students’ level.
                                  • When focusing on lexis, it is also important to check collocations to help learners become more natural users of the language.
                                  • Using language reference books for teachers as they provide useful explanations, timelines, a range of anticipated problems and solutions with language, etc*

                                  [* A summary of recommendations given: Swan’s Practical Language Use, Parrott’s Grammar for English Language Teachers (very useful for anticipated problems and solutions), Scrivener’s Teaching Grammar (useful for timelines), Collins Cobuild, etc. For lexis, Erica recommends the Longman Dictionary and the test vocabulary series. I would also like to recommend Longman’s Language Activator (a great resource to contrast very similar words)]

                                  As you can see, there is a lot you can use from your own experience to complete Paper 2, task 3! Feel free to add to the list. Think about different teaching contexts, benefits to learners, institutional requirements, etc.

                                  Also consider the following question: how should we approach the language analysis? What aspects should we cover?

                                  I look forward to your answers.

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