Bilingualism in Teaching and Learning
Notes 1. (Slide 2): Language, speech and communication.
What is language? Language is a means of communication and a way to transmit information. The language is inextricably linked to our way of thinking, as well as with the imagination, memory and perception. It is not possible to conceive anything without language. Languages resemble mirrors, which reflect reality. There are a lot of languages, and they are all different, so each language reflects the same reality in different ways. Even more interesting is the fact that the language must be precise so that it is possible to understand each other.
The second question arise, what happens when people start learning a foreign language. They take their mother tongue, get new words and rules and try to construct other language expressions. As in the slide 1, we see the system that shows a chain of reaction – mother tongue, then new vocabulary and new rules. Then, all these steps are processed in the head and result into another language speaking.
Note 2 (Slide 3): Overlapping in Learning.
The diagram shows that previously described system is resulting into overlapping process and yellow zone shows mixture of mother tongue and foreign language rules. In this zone, it is very difficult to find necessary words and grammar construction. When students structure this zone and can use information from this zone, it becomes much easier to speak and say something very quickly. If we discuss children between 3 and 7 years of age, it is very difficult to make them differentiate this zone (Cameron, 2001). If we say about adults, it is necessary to form some so-called bridges between languages. Monolingual linguists say that it is possible to create a system of a foreign language from zero, and then it is necessary to start very early (Blackledge, 1994).
Note 3 (Slide 3): Language, Speech and Communication
It is necessary to distinguish between two closely related concepts: language and speech. The main object of linguistics is the natural human language as opposed to the artificial language or the language of animals. Language is a tool, a means of communication. It is a system of signs, tools, and rules of speaking, common to all members of the society. This phenomenon is a part of the constant period of time.
Speech - display and operation of the language, the process of communication, it is a unit for every native speaker. This phenomenon is variable depending on the speaker's face. Language and speech are two sides of the same phenomenon. Inherent in any human language and speech is a phonetic expression. Speech and language can be compared with the pen and the text. Language is a pen, and speech is the text that is written with this pen. What is communication? It is an answer on the text (Browne, 2007). It is very important to explain, because students can think that if they learn vocabulary, they already can speak-no, they learn only language.
Note 4. (Slide 4): Language and Skills
Language focus usually includes grammar and vocabulary constructions and their knowledge and equivalent in your mother tongue. Skills are abilities to use such constructions when you need them. In modern linguistics, skills are even more important in learning than language focuses.
Note 5 (Slide 5): Teaching Pronunciation
There are different ways how to drill pronunciation. One of them is tongue twisters. It is one of the best ways to improve English pronunciation. It is helpful to try as fast as possible and without error to say the tongue twister, it can be not only a great workout, but also a very fun class (Swanson, Rosston, Gerber & Solari, 2008)
How to use patters?
1. Start repeating the tongue twister aloud slowly until it sounds clearly in your performance.
2. Learn by heart such pattern.
3. Repeat the tongue twister as fast as you can, until you repeat it three times in a row without stopping and stammering. For example, it is possible to train aspiration-“p”.
Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked.
If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,
Where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked? (http://www.twinkl.co.uk/)
Note 6 (Slide 5): Vocabulary
In teaching vocabulary, the emphasis is on the practical mastery of words, not only understanding, but also the active use in the speech, for which a grant selected the most frequent words and phrases illustrated and trainees in the most typical of the English language contexts (Cameron, 2002). A teacher can introduce new words and start drilling them. It is possible to introduce new words by interpretations of illustrations, tables and charts to help you understand and remember their meaning, and the right-hand page contains exercises to practice each section of the lesson.
Note 7. (Slide 6): Grammar
Grammar must be introduced in different pictures and formulas. For, example, it is how to explain Present Perfect Progressive.
Example from Personal Experience
There is an example of a student, Michael Saint. He is American, but at home he has to speak Russian, because they want to live in Russia. He uses a lot of phrases but if it is necessary to say some deep ideas he starts saying “how to say in Russian?” It means that he learnt only some phrases and uses them in different situations, but to use other is a problem. One way is to build Russian vocabulary on the Russian language. Firstly, it is necessary to formulate the thought in English, and then “give” appropriate clichés in Russian.
It is necessary to say not to be sacred. It is simply to exercise pronouncing sentences aloud in different ways. It is necessary to speak both languages to get our vocal apparatus accustomed to the sounds of a foreign language.
Although he always has experience of communicating in Russian, he finds it quite difficult to correctly pronounce the long sentences. Language began to flounder, some sounds disappear somewhere. When he wants to say something fast; then all his knowledge of grammar evaporate. I think the problem here is the lack of practice.
As his teacher, I provided him with the system of “every day thinking” in both languages; reading and listening to parallel texts and finding new interesting equivalents in the languages.
I used information from Appendix about grammar and about vocabulary, used a lot of cards and explanations and games. After 3 months of this methodology, he became more confident in his language skills.