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Humanising Language Teaching
Humanising Language Teaching
Humanising Language Teaching

Enfoque ecléctico y pautas del diseño curricular para la enseñanza del idioma oral: Me first

Gabriel Tejada Molina, Spain

Gabriel Tejada Molina is Senior Lecturer in Applied Linguistics and Teacher Training at the Department of English, University of Jaén (Spain). He teaches Applied Linguistics to Language Teaching and Second Language Acquisition in the Classroom. He worked as a bilingual teacher and as an English and French Primary School Teacher. His main research domains deal with foreign language acquisition in the classroom and methodology in Primary Education with special emphasis on oral skills and conversational development. He has taught several teacher training courses and has supervised several doctoral theses all of them within an action-research project. He has also contributed a variety of articles of specialized journals and book chapters of TEFL both in primary and secondary education. E-mail:


The book
About the book

The book

Title: Enfoque ecléctico y pautas del diseño curricular para la enseñanza del idioma oral: “Me first”. Author: Gabriel Tejada Molina. Publisher: Jaén: Servicio de Publicaciones de la Universidad de Jaén, 156 pages. ISBN 9788484393764.

About the book

Within this book an eclectic approach - as a compromise between antagonist trends in foreign language teaching - is proposed for teaching foreign languages. Therefore teachers and teacher trainees are the addressees of the conclusions displayed in a first curricular design for teaching oral English as a foreign language. The author begins by questioning the fact that some of the most advanced linguistic models rely on few trustworthy procedures, and that well based procedures are very often used for obsolete linguistic contents which emphasize the importance of grammatical constructions. To combat this a balance between different theoretical positions of contents and skills is presented. Thus a meeting point is offered both for verbal form-structures and function-meaning, on discursive linguistic grounds, as well as for cognition and automation, on psycholinguistic ones. The author does not think that oral language teaching should follow a syntactic path. Conversational texts respond to a specific organizational competence. He claims that when dealing with oral foreign language teaching the conversational route is the natural way. Furthermore the dialogue framework is the most suitable textual means for an integrated lexical, phonological and pre-syntactic treatment of contents. Moreover, the most amazing thing is that genuine conversational texts can be reproduced in written texts in order to integrate reading skills too. From the very beginning the learner plays communicative roles becoming an active listener and an incipient speaking producer. This sort of interaction can be taken to a visual scenario to be played out or reproduced through comics and other resources. Thus oral and reading skills become easily integrated without disregarding any explicit and implicit procedures. And what is more a highly motivating reaction is obtained. The consequence is that acquisition and communication support each other and learners can develop their L2 consistently.


1. Introduction

Foreign language teaching must offer communicative tools from the very beginning so that a natural path can be followed.

1.1. To whom it is dedicated: Me and you

A learner centred proposal where the social, expressive and conative functions are pinpointed.

1.2. Active and interactive subjects: Teaching efficiency

A humanistic position must achieve the oral skill teaching goals on L2 acquisition.

1.3. General features of the methodological proposal

A basic level of communicative competence to integrate linguistic subsystems along the conversational development.

1.4. Sources for theoretical foundations and teaching implications

Main theoretical domains for a broad methodological framework. Teaching applications and implications.

2. The communicative-natural approach: Teaching oral foreign languages at a beginner’s stage

Language, learning and teaching theories, and research to inspire curricular designs. Terminology.

2.1. Historical background: Oral use in teaching foreign languages

Summary of traditional trends on direct and oral methods. First linguistic and psycholinguistic contributions: Phonetic and lexical studies.

2.2. How and what to teach: Procedures and contents in linguistic competence development

Contents and procedures as paradigmatic axes for growing linguistic competence. Analysis of performance and linguistic competence.

2.2.1. Verbal skills and automation

Revisiting verbal behaviours and acquiring skills. Importance of low-level sensory-motor capacities on speech perception and production.

2.2.2. Cognition and linguistic competence

Revisiting cognitive and creative processes. Rules as generalizing principles.
Roles played by automation and cognition from a creative and individual point of view.

2.2.3. Conclusions and teaching implications

Procedures and techniques promoting interaction: First directives and questions. Generating structure sentences out of first acquired/ automatised lexical phrases as open formulas.
Global reading of directives and questions.
Pronunciation difficulties linked to reading.

2.3. Communicative competence in the classroom: A basic conversational communicative code –B.C.C.C.–

Language as an interactive process. Revisiting contents within Notional syllabuses. Communication as a goal at Waystage and Threshold levels.
The lexical approach and the first communicative goal.
Grammar competence within conversational competence.

2.3.1. Basic linguistic varieties: A basic lexical level

Basic varieties and simple codes. The Reading method from a conversational perspective. Words and lexical phrases.

2.3.2. Te pre-syntactic mode: We begin with conversing

Supra-sentence and dialogue structures. Features of the conversational text as a pre-syntactic mode. Some references to early stages of language acquisition.

2.3.3. Conclusions and teaching implications

Didactic dialogues and tasks providing with brief conversational patterns.
The mental lexical phrase thesaurus.
Teaching samples for beginners.
Generating and transforming phrases with TPR techniques and pair work activities. Conversational readings: From simple comics to story telling.
Integrated dialogues, narratives and descriptive texts for absolute beginners.

2.4. Natural language acquisition: Acquisition in the classroom

Natural language acquisition principles and processes taken to the classroom.
Some outstanding references of similarities in first and second language acquisition.

2.4.1. Second language acquisition hypotheses: The relevance of input within an eclectic model

Models which lay emphasis on listening comprehension embedded within an interactive frame. Other factors affecting second/foreign language acquisition. Inductive and implicit procedures and the relative value of explicit teaching: An integrated approach.

2.4.2. Common features in first and second language acquisition: Interlanguage and the pyramid development

Common processes for making errors in first and second language acquisition: overgeneralization and transfer as principles of creative construction. Morpheme acquisition sequence as evidence of the natural order based on linguistic unit lexicalization. Importance of listening with comprehension for successful linguistic analysis and fluency. Formulaic language and first creative combinations in a kind of pivot grammar. Awareness in rule formation and production in conversational development.

2.4.3. Conclusions and teaching implications

Former conclusions are backed. Vocabulary, phonetics and grammar as linguistic subsystems grow integrated along a lexicalization path. Pre-syntactic development precedes grammar growing. Implicit knowledge addresses the teaching sequence. The natural approach contributions. Pragmatic principles for teaching gradation. Towards immersion with a conversational mode helping learners to decode and interact.

3. Guidelines for the curricular design

The curricular design must integrate different factors. It is characterized by the achievement of a general communicative goal on oral communication and on listening to promote procedural knowledge. Explicit contents remain subordinated.

3.1. Contents

Functional and situational criteria for contents selection. Verbal units with a discursive value in conversations. Some formulas to fulfil the social functions. Basic functions and topics to classify lexical phrases. Sample of a table of contents.

3.2. Objectives

A general goal as a Basic Conversational Communicative Code. Command and question understanding and producing. Social formulaic language usage. Immersion in easy pair work tasks. Listening of oral texts linked to previously isolated commands and questions. Oral production based on the expansion of previous patterns.

3.3. Procedures: Referring both to activities and material resources

T.P.R. techniques, Question/answer development and Symbol dictations gather the procedures and material proposed.

3.3.1. The global project: The first dictionary of lexical phrases

It is suggested to learners to collect every linguistic experience in a project which becomes their first lexical phrase dictionary.

3.3.2. Total physical response –TPR techniques– and non verbal communication

These teaching techniques are understood both as an individual and social experience.

3.3.3. First questions and answers to perform an interview

A first meeting, an identity card, a language passport and an interview will integrate their initial capacity for getting and giving information. The possible answers will be the starting point for easy description and narratives.
Commands and questions will support dialogues and narrative text supported by visual contexts are provided by comics or role plays.

3.3.4. The symbol dictation

It is considered a genuine pair work task. Interaction and meaning negotiation take place through oral messages exchanged on the topic displayed by the pictures and visual contexts. Learners recognize a symbol and then a command with some comments are given so that it is put in the right place. Different stages for reading messages and writing simple descriptions are included.

3.3.5. Skill integration activities: Comics, story-telling and first language usage

Integrated skill activities derived from those previously quoted can be developed. Thus role plays, comics and story telling tasks will move forwards new textual development.

3.4. Evaluation

First samples of tests are presented. They are integrated by three listening tests which will direct the oral production, and reading and writing. Different suggested steps on level of difficulty are given.

3.4.1. Understanding test: Directives

Fifteen items as directives to making up a basic listening test with different possibilities of application.

3.4.2. Understanding test: Symbol dictation

New directives linked to other semantic areas are evaluated within an interactive visual and graphic setting. Only the use of the foreign language is permitted. A conversational model is strategically reproduced by the tester.

3.4.3. Understanding test: Questions within an interview

Fifteen items as questions of a likely interview constitute a basic listening test within a preliminary verbal response.

3.4.4. Speaking evaluation

3.4.5. Fifteen items as productive questions of a likely interview constitute a preliminary oral production test. Learners are provided with prompts to allude to the question

3.4.6. Reading and writing evaluation

Suggestions on following reading and writing procedures are given. The reading vehicle replaces the oral modality. Translation plays its role.

4. Conclusion

Linguistic contents and procedures are the guidelines for attaining communicative competence as implicit knowledge. Learning and communication nourish each other. With basic varieties as complete systems a snow ball effect is sought. A learner-centred approach requires a natural selection and presentation of contents. Lexicalization of formal aspects drives the acquisition process. The conversational/pre-syntactic mode is appropriate in order to start with functioning lexical phrases. Oral and written skills meet and become integrated through activities such as comics or story telling. Simple textual structures are the ordinary paths to maturing linguistically.
Other domains, -L1 reading and writing, grammar study, dictionary making, graded readers, to mention just a few-, can also admit these guidelines.

5. Bibliography


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