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July 11, 2005

More English Mustering

In his latest "Practical Linguist" column in the Daily Yomiuri, Marshall Childs continues his theme of "mustering up" a second language, looking at the teacher's role in helping students to achieve success. He sees confidence, or lack of doubt, on the part of both the teacher and the student as a vital requirement. Quoting a teacher who is developing an ABLE (action-based language empowerment) teaching approach, he says it's necessary to get learners ready to "tolerate" a new way of communicating. In particular, using something that the students likes - a type of music, for example - can help break down psychological resistance to learning a "difficult" subject. Childs also talks about the importance of interjections, grunts, murmurs and other language chunks that facilitate conversation but are often dismissed as grammatically insignificant. He sees them as empowering tools that allow even beginner level students to feel part of an English conversation.

Teaching learners to muster up a second language (link will expire)
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