Some notes on New Concept English in relation to The Learning Process
Julia Alexander
What do we teach?
‘The visible linguistic content’ of English, arranged in a hierarchy = Syllabus What is syllabus? Two lists: Grammar and Vocabulary List A = structures, e.g. Subject + Verb + Complement/ Subject + Verb + Object. Structural variations are finite and rule-bound. 2 parts of an English sentence: - the Subject Phrase ? that is, what in a statement comes before the verb - the Verb Phrase The verb may be several words, - e.g. had had, would have been, etc. since many tense forms in English are synthetic. The Verb Phrase = the verb itself + object / complement + verb-modifiers, e.g. manner, place, time frequency, etc. List B - ‘content words’/ ‘lexis’. - is infinitely large in number. The learning task is not a matter of learning these 2 lists and fitting them together. Form and grammatical function are just aspects that contribute to meaning in a wider context.
What is meaning?
No meaning in individual words. Concrete nouns seem to represent something we can see in our mind’s eye, and we can make them singular or plural. but English word-form variations are minimal. Meaning in English does not operate at a word-level.
Do all words perform the same function?
e.g. determiner + noun: a book/the book; books/the books/some books/any books. As The choice of determiner has a significant effect on meaning. If meaning of words can change, according to which word precedes it, meaning does not lie within the word. Other categories of words, (pronouns, adverbs), may refer to words further away. e.g. My name is not Judith; it’s Julia, it stands in place of my name In after that, the adverbial can establish a time- relationship between separate sentences. This is how we connect ideas We call these words ‘structural words’.
Word order
e.g. My name is Julia. My name is not Judith; it’s Julia. What’s your name? Is your name Julia? Your name isn’t Judith, is it? English grammar is expressed largely through word-order. The mastery of the lexico-grammatical syllabus is an exercise in learning to control word-order choices and lexical choices.
How do we teach what we teach?
- A man must carry knowledge with him, if he would bring home knowledge.- Dr. Johnson. - Learning depends on connecting new information to something we already know. A gap in logic provokes misleading connections = poor learning/embedded errors. - The syllabus for First Things First is linear. Each new Unit introduces a variation of the Subject phrase or the Verb phrase ? ‘logico-grammatical progression’ - appropriate for a beginners’ course. - Basic elements of the English sentence: - Subject Phrase + Verb Phrase - in Questions, Answers and Negatives. NCE Level One: Subject Phrase + Verb Phrase: the conceptual framework that must be established with beginners before they go on to the next level. NCE Level Two: the regular and irregular verb system of English. - habit-formation through auditory processing. Cyclical syllabus. NCE Level 3: ‘complementation’ and ‘collocation’: - the pairings of one word with another - wide exposure and auditory patterning = ‘Practice’. e.g. compound nouns: drinking water, bus journey, etc. - verbs/ noun/ adjective collocations with prepositions: - phrasal and prepositional verbs - Hierarchy: ‘Subject phrase plus Verb phrase’ evidently more important than other less prominent items. - The brain uses auditory processing to recognize and remember frequent pairings. NCE Level 4: Fine detail: - difficult allusions - complicated complementations, (e.g. infinitive phrases or uses of the participle or gerund (the ?ing form)) - syntactic difficulties.
Graded skills:
- listening and understanding, speaking, reading and writing. - Methodology prescribed by the Teacher’s Book. - The Lesson is a Planned Process. The prescribed sequence defines each lesson as a planned process. In the odd-numbered lessons, Lessons 1, 3, 5, etc., the process consists of three stages:
  1. Presentation
  2. Practice
  3. Synthesis and activation
Dialogue- based: - Language in context: ? whole sentences, held together by one theme. - no list of words at the top of the first left-hand page. Pre-teaching new vocabulary is bad pedagogy. Why?
- First, it does not teach Listening Comprehension; actively works against the students’ ability to listen and understand - Second, it reduces student motivation. - Third, it encourages the students to focus on individual words. - Fourth, it leads the teacher to talk too much. - Fifth, it leads to students being asked to say things before they are ready to speak. (‘silent period’: listening is primary activity). Recommended methodology:. Step 1: Introduce the story. ‘introduce’ NOT ‘tell the story’, NOT ‘tell another similar story’. NOT ‘introduce all the difficult vocabulary’. Is ‘set the scene’ Step 2: Understand the situation. part of the silence, not part of Language Practice section. Step 3: Listening objective: listening for gist. Step 4: Play the tape or read the dialogue. We can only pronounce what we can hear, and ‘hearing’ involves ‘tuning in’ to English Step 5: Answer the question: important training - NOT a moment for Language Practice questions. Step 6: Intensive reading: - Proceed by asking questions - Avoid introducing items that are not in the text Step 7: Play the tape again: possibly several times.. Step 8: Repetition: in chorus, - stress, rhythm and intonation are all important to auditory memory. Step 9: Reading Aloud: word-sound matching/ sound-spellings matching; word boundaries; visual memory

  1. Comprehension Questions: about content. What is ‘Comprehension’? Why short answers? Subject Phrase Verb Phrase. If Verb Phrase, which part? That part - the answer.
  2. Asking questions: ‘Ask me if …’ Students manipulate the word order of the English sentence. English regular and irregular verb system. Synthetic tenses: verb-tenses expressed by combinations of the verb-stem with elements of the verbs have and be. Irregular (strong) verbs - involve a sound change from the present to simple past /past participle forms. This section- essential part of auditory habit formation.
Pattern Practice and Synthesis
Gradual progression from author’s language to student’s language.
Pattern practice:
- more lexical items fit into structural framework. - further practice in the paradigm - drills deploy the auditory system for cognition - oral exercises move towards ‘transfer’ Written Exercises: - develop students’ control of written code.
- inventory of grammatical syllabus. - systematic approach to task. - students given wide range of styles and formats used in writing.
Julia Alexander
出生于英国的一个现代英语教师家庭,就读于伦敦大学国王学院英国语言和文学专业。大学毕业四年 后,朱丽亚成为朗文全球的教师培训师和教学方法顾问,在全球各地进行师资培训活动。她培训教师的主 要内容都是有关亚历山大的教材。 朱丽亚于 1980 年离开朗文公司,这一年她与路易?亚历山大结婚并很快开始直接辅助亚历山大的工 作。22 年来,朱丽亚与路易亲密合作,阅读他的稿件、与他讨论问题,并帮助他进行写作和编辑。这些年, 亚历山大的主要作品有《朗文英语语法》《朗文高级英语语法》 Right Word Wrong Word 等。所有这些作 , , 品,都有朱丽亚的心血。同时,朱丽亚也独立进行一些研究和写作项目。



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