Academic journal article International Forum of Teaching and Studies

Presentation -an Initial Step to Introduce Structures and Functions

Academic journal article International Forum of Teaching and Studies

Presentation -an Initial Step to Introduce Structures and Functions

Article excerpt

[Abstract]

Presentation is the best way to provide students with clear information about the sentence structure and its functions. It also gives students the opportunity to produce the language they have just been taught. A good presentation should be something that arouses students' interest in researching and discussing at length. It should set students into deep thinking about their personal relationship with the themes of the text. This article explores the importance of this stage; introduces different stages in presentation; points out how it is different from the traditional methods. In addition, it provides a brief summary of constructivist learning principles to support this educational practice. Lastly, some specific practical presentation derived from my own teaching will be presented.

[Keywords] Presentation; constructivism; interaction; lead-in; elicitation; explanation; accuracy; reproduction

Introduction

Presentation is defined as the activity of users who present, to themselves and to others, their understanding of a particular problem through the use of various resources such as technical manuals, diagrams, or conversations. These resources may exist already for display through users' navigation, or they are articulated during presentation, for example, as questions, comments, to-do lists, sketches, or gestures.

In modern English teaching, the first task for teachers should be teaching students with clear information about the language they are learning. Students may not participate actively in English activities simply because they seldom have chances to practice what they've learnt in English in high school. They are afraid of making mistakes in front of other students or teachers. Losing face publicly seems to be one of the most difficult situations they can find themselves in during class. Presentation stage in language teaching is widely used to help overcome this problem. The aim of the presentation is to prepare the students for the understanding of the new language items or text. And I find the more effective and less frightening way of presenting the new items or the text orally is to let the students show interest in them, grab students' attention by somehow involving them into the target task. Theoretically, presentation helps students greatly to understand the teacher's lectures, motivates students to be active participants in class, and provokes communication at different levels.

"Constructivist Learning" Applied in Presentation

Constructivism is basically a theory - based on observation and scientific study - about how people learn. It says that people construct their own understanding and knowledge of the world, through experiencing things and reflecting on those experiences. As its name may imply, constructivism emphasizes the building (i.e., constructing) that occurs in people's minds when they learn. "Constructivist learning" (Von Glaserfield, E. 1995) stresses that:

1) Knowledge is physically constructed by learners who are involved in active learning;

2) Knowledge is symbolically constructed by learners who are making their own representations of action;

3) Knowledge is socially constructed by learners who convey their meaning making to others;

4) Knowledge is theoretically constructed by learners who try to explain things they don't completely understand.

After presenting the new item to the students, the focus tends to shift from the teacher to the students. The classroom is no longer a place where the teacher dominates the whole process of learning, while students, who wait like "empty vessels" to be filled, absorb the knowledge and do the exercises passively. Students are urged to be actively involved in their own process of learning. Their autonomy and initiative are accepted and encouraged. Teachers help students attain their own intellectual identity by respecting their ideas and encouraging independent thinking. …

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