According to recent research by the British Council, two billionMilliardebillion people around the world will be actively learning English by 2020 — and you are probably one of them. Lots of learners mean lots of teachers, who can share their experiences and learn from each other. By sharing ideas, resources, innovations and approaches, language teachers aim to make the learning experience more effective and more enjoyable for their learners. Trends come and go, but some ideas and methodologies that make their way into the classroom prove their worth and dableiben, sich haltenstick aroundstick around for years or decades. Here, you can find out what teachers are trying to do these days to make language learning more engagingfesselnd, angenehmengaging — and maybe get an idea of which approach might be just right for you. That way, next time you are looking for an English course, you will know exactly what to look for and which questions to ask beforehand.
In an ideal world, every classroom would have eight to ten learners at exactly the same level. But no class is ever completely homogeneous, which means that teachers have to make sure that, at one end of the spectrum, learners are not left behind while, at the other, they are not bored and frustrated. The techniques and strategies teachers have developed to deal with mixed-abilityleistungsgemischtmixed-ability classes are called “differentiationhier: Binnendifferenzierungdifferentiation”.
In an ideal world, every classroom would have eight to ten learners at exactly the same level
Differentiation can be to applyanwendenapplied to materials, tasks and teaching methods. Tasks can be modified or extended to provide more of a challenge for stronger learners, while vocabulary lists with definitions, for example, can be provided for weaker learners. As a student, you might be asked to do tasks and activities that involve group or pair work. During these activities, you can work at your own level and learn from and support others, while the teacher moves around the room, offering help where needed. Feeling comfortable is the key to learning, so your teacher should to fosterfördern, unterstützenfoster an atmosphere of inclusionEinbeziehung, Einbindunginclusion. And if he or she uses a variety of teaching methods and provides a range of different materials, you and your fellow learners’ needs should be well to cater for sth. (UK)einer Sache gerecht werdencatered for. Spotlight magazine, by the way, applies the concept of differentiation by marking contentInhalt(e)content with different-coloured logos for different language levels — making it easy for readers to find just the right text to to suit sth.sich für etw. eignensuit their knowledge of English.
The lexical approach
Native speakers do not learn their mother tongue by studying grammar and learning long lists of vocabulary. They take it for granted that they are able to use “lexical units” — fixed phrases and chunkhier: Wortkombination, Block sprachlicher Informationchunks that are formed from collocations — such as “I couldn’t be happier”, “I’m sorry to bother you” or “I don’t mind if I do”. To learn a foreign language successfully, it is important to be able to understand and produce not individual bits and pieces, but chunks of language. Teachers who use the lexical approach raise your awareness of the lexical nature of language and help you produce language that occurs naturally.
In other words, your teacher helps you become more fluent in English by encouraging you to produce whole phrases rather than trying to to string togetheraneinanderreihen, verknüpfenstring words together from scratchaus dem Nichtsfrom scratch. He or she will help you develop a feeling for what sounds right in certain situations without having to worry about which grammar rules might apply. In fact, this is exactly what we are doing in Spotlight magazine’s “Words that Go Together” section, where we provide you with collocations and lexical units such as “to get off to a flying startdurchstartenget off to a flying start” or “to add the finishing touchesletzte Hand anlegenadd the finishing touches”. As we say in the introduction to that section, “learning such word combinations will help you read and speak more fluently”. You can find some helpful collocations exercises on our website.
It is much easier to remember things we have processed more deeply
High Order Thinking Skills (HOTS)
High Order Thinking Skills are what we use when we do more than simply memorize the facts that are presented to us. HOTS require us to do something with the information, to apply the knowledge and skills we have learned to new situations. They include the ability to analyse situations critically, evaluateauswerten, einschätzenevaluate possibilities and come up with appropriate solutions. It is much easier to remember things we have processed more deeply — which is why HOTS tasks are widely used in language teaching. Has your teacher recently asked you to think about an English-language text, to interpret the information given in it and to relate it to your own experience? Well, that’s one way of encouraging intellectual development and making language learning interesting and fun. Our exercise booklet, Spotlight plus, is full of exercises meant to encourage HOTS. Whether we ask you to create mini-dialogues, find the definitions of new words you have learned, do a crossword or decide whether statements are true or false — it’s all about applying what you have learned.
Resources for language lovers
The best way to keep up with the latest trends in English language teaching is by visiting language fairs as well as reputableangesehen, seriösreputable language learning websites.
Teachers can keep up to date by attending workshops and talks organized by their local teaching association (ELTA), going to conferences such as IATEFL and reading articles in journals and on the internet.
didacta — The Education Trade Fair. Hanover, 20–24 February 2018
Expolingua. Berlin, 16–17 November 2018
Business Spotlight magazine
LearnEnglish websites from the British Council