1. How to persuade the least talkative student to speak?
Figure skating competitions are known to be held in two stages: performing compulsory figures and free skating. The competition in performing compulsory figures is never shown on TV as it is boring and not spectacular, but they include most of the skills necessary for the development of free creative skating. The same approach should be adhered in teaching a foreign language. At the beginning of each topic for discussion I introduce the most common thematic words and word combinations of the given topic to my students. This work may seem boring as far as the content is concerned, because students most usually repeat the same sentences with some partial alterations or transitions in them. But I am persistent in this matter and I continue limiting the students’ interest within the right morphological and syntactical forms of the words, word combinations and sentences. When I am convinced that 80% of the students has acquired the compulsory skills and the time of creating own ideas has come, the Internet and the interactive board start helping me.
I type “Conversation questions” in the searching net of Google and give the command for search, then I chooseConversation Questions for the ESL/EFL Classroom (I-TESL-J) after that we have260 topics for conversations with their 10000 questions. Here we can choose the group of questions we need according to our topic. Each topic has tens of questions. The questions are unexpected, raising interest and stimulating frankness.
The learners begin to speak and discuss making a noise but it is a pleasant creative noise.
2. How to make students read even if they are the worst readers and how to make them evaluate their own ability of reading comprehension?
Learners always read the texts of their text-books unwillingly because they are obliged to do it. They are imposed to do it: for the sake of learning some lesson, for the sake of marks, for the sake of the teacher’s friendly treatment, for the sake of making an impression of a hardworking student leaving out the most important thing which is wish to get new and interesting information by reading, but how to arouse that wish in the students? For the last three years I am becoming more and more convinced in the effectiveness of a methodological technique. I open the website of any Armenian electronic newspaper which has English translations of its texts. I choose an Armenian newspaper because English and American information is very often essentially different with the content of the questions, language style where there are such expressions and neologisms which can’t be found in any dictionary. In addition to that the culture and the scope of interests differ from those of ours.
Our Armenian news is closer to us and more understandable which is necessary for a beginner.
We open the section All News of the News.am and begin choosing a text. We usually choose some information with easy language constructions. Then the class is divided into groups of 2-3 students and after that the newly formed groups are told to translate the chosen text. Group work and the competitive atmosphere stimulate the students’ interest. When all the groups have finished their translations we open the Armenian version of the given text which is compared with the Armenian texts of the students. The winner is the group whose translation is closer to the original. As a result I have achieved my aim: all the students of the class have read an unknown English text, understood and translated it in a lively group activity.