Teaching Foreign-Language Skills

Wilga M. Rivers

Teaching Foreign-Language Skills
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Wilga M. Rivers

2d edition
576 pages | © 1968, 1981
Paper $45.00 ISBN: 9780226720975 Published May 1981
Since its original publication in 1968, Rivers's comprehensive and practical text has become a standard reference for both student teachers and veteran instructors. All who wish to draw from the most recent thinking in the field will welcome this new edition. Methodology is appraised, followed up by discussions on such matters as keeping students of differing abilities active, evaluating textbooks, using language labs creatively, and preparing effective exercises and drills. The author ends each chapter of this new edition with questions for research and discussion—a useful classroom tool—and provides an up-to-date bibliography that facilitates further understanding of such matters as the bilingual classroom.
Contents
Preface: For Students and Teachers
1. Objectives of Language Teaching
Aims and Objectives
Student Attitudes and Interests
Societal Pressures
Areas of Controversy
Annotated Reading List
Research and Discussion

2. Language Teaching Methods
Formalists and Activists
Evaluating Language Teaching Methods
The Grammar-Translation Method
The Direct Method
The Reading Method
The Audio-Lingual Method
Restoring the Cognitive Element
"Natural" Language Learning
The Eclectic Approach
Areas of Controversy
Annotated Reading List
Research and Discussion

3. Theories of Language and Language Learning
What Is Grammar?
Grammatical Analysis and Description
Aspects of Language
Immediate-Constituent or Phrase-Structure Grammar
Transformational-Generative Grammar
Changing Views of How Language Is Acquired
The Impact of Transformational-Generative Theory on Language Teaching
The Influence of Sociolinguistics
Semantics and Pragmatics
Mentalism, Psycholinguistics, and Cognitive Research
The Affective Element
The Teacher's Choice
Annotated Reading List
Research and Discussion

4. Structured Practice
Learning a New Language in a Formal Setting
Grammatical Exercises for Classroom and Laboratory
Types of Structural Pattern Drills
Characteristics of a Structural Pattern Drill
From Intensive Practice to Self-Expression
Classroom Presentation of Structural Pattern Drills
Programmed Instruction
Annotated Reading List
Research and Discussion

5. Teaching Sounds
General Problems
Acoustic and Articulatory Phonetics
Sound Variation and Comprehension
Generative Phonology
Prosodic Features
Introducing the Phonology of the New Language
Evaluating Pronunciation
Physical and Psychological Problems of Teaching Sounds
Areas of Controversy
Annotated Reading List
Research and Discussion

6. Listening Comprehension
Theoretical Concepts Basic to Listening Comprehension
Learning to Listen to Another Language
Hearing and Comprehending
Developmental Stages
Presentation of Listening Comprehension Exercises
Areas of Controversy
Annotated Reading List
Research and Discussion

7. The Speaking Skill: Learning the Fundamentals
Communication Model
Three Aspects of Language
Written and Spoken Language
We Learn to Speak by Speaking
Analysis of an Act of Speech
Forging the Instrument
How Does the Student Acquire Structures for the Basic Functions?
Dialogues and Dramatizations
The Audio-Visual Approach
Areas of Controversy
Annotated Reading List
Research and Discussion

8. The Speaking Skill: Expressing Personal Meaning
An Act of Communication
Psychological Factors in Communication
Acquiring Basic Language Material
From Structured Practice to Spontaneous Expression
Encouraging Expression of Personal Meaning
Context and Meaning
The Functional-Notional Communicative Approach
Two Traditions of Language Study
Speaking Skill at the Advanced Level
Conversation Groups, Courses, and Clubs
The Natural and the Normal
Taking the Language Out of the Classroom
Areas of Controversy
Annotated Reading List
Research and Discussion

9. The Reading Skill
Why Reading?
What Is "Reading"?
When Should Reading Begin?
The Process of Reading
Developmental Stages
Areas of Controversy
Annotated Reading List
Research and Discussion

10. The Writing Skill
Writing Activities in the Classroom
Integration of the Skills
Writing Down: Notation
Writing Practice
Production: Guided Writing
Expressive Writing: Composition
Correction of Written Exercises
How Much Writing?
Areas of Controversy
Annotated Reading List
Research and Discussion

11. Cultural Understanding
What Is Culture?
The Components of Meaning
Culture or Civilization?
Problems of Teaching Culture
Goals for the Teaching of Culture
Culture in the Classroom
Types of Courses for Teaching Culture
Who Should Teach Culture?
The Contemporary Outlook
Areas of Controversy
Annotated Reading List
Research and Discussion

12. Testing: Principles and Techniques
Know Why You Are Testing
Know What You Are Testing
Understand How You Are Testing
Test What the Students Have Been Learning
Test to Find Out What the Student Knows
Construction and Use of Objective Tests
Designing Class Tests
Persistent Problems of Testing
Annotated Reading List
Research and Discussion

13. Technology and Language Learning Centers
The Language Learning Laboratory Is Not a Method
The Language Learning Laboratory Is a Patient Helper
Laboratory Work Must Be Designed as a Significant Part of the Language Program
Advantages of a Language Learning Laboratory
Types of Language Learning Laboratories
Laboratory Design
Installing a Language Learning Laboratory
The Director of the Laboratory
Choosing Taped Materials for the Laboratory Library
Using the Language Learning Laboratory
The Language Learning Laboratory at All Levels of Language Study
Has the Language Learning Laboratory Failed?
Areas of Controversy
Annotated Reading List
Research and Discussion

14. And What Else?
Learning Languages Early or Late?
FLES (Foreign Language in the Elementary School)
ELL (Early Language Learning)
Vocabulary Learning
Languages for Special (Specific) Purposes (LSP)
The Textbook
Planning the Language Lesson
Classroom Management
Keeping Abreast Professionally
Annotated Reading List
Research and Discussion

Appendix A: Absolute Language Proficiency Ratings
Appendix B: Learning a Sixth Language: An Adult Learner's Daily Diary
Abbreviations
Selected Bibliography
Index

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