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In my last talk, I discussed ways of fitting vocabulary items into the

grammatical syllabus. I pointed out that certain sentence patterns require


certain vocabulary items. But that theres a wide choice possible in the
vocabulary items which can be taught with most sentence patterns. Thus,
there is a wide choice possible in the actual vocabulary items which can be
fitted into a certain syllabus of sentence patterns. I also spoke of the need to
plan the introduction of the various special meanings with which any one word
may be used. I spoke of the principle Something known, something new as
one of the most important principles for regulating the teaching of new
sentence patterns and new vocabulary items, that were dealing with at a time.
This principle of Something known, something new has another very
important application to the teaching of English as a new language. This
application is related to the new environment in which English is being
learned, and the environment of the textbook from which it is being learned.
Here again, we can apply our principle of Something known, something new.
English is a new language for our pupils and so we need a known environment.
Many recent textbooks seek to avoid translation by presenting new
grammatical points in situations which are intended to make the meaning of
the grammatical points clear. Unfortunately, very few textbook writers take the
trouble to find out whether these situations will make things clear to pupils
who are learning English in a certain country. In England, or Australia, or
America, a certain situation might be excellent for teaching the meaning and
use of a certain grammatical pattern. This is because this grammatical pattern
is always used when this situation arises in those countries. And so, a textbook
writer may forget that in a certain Asian country, or in a certain African
country, such a situation may not normally arise, and so, may have no meaning
for pupils in those countries. Therefore, because the situation itself has no
meaning for the pupil, the new sentence pattern will have no meaning for him
either. This is why I believe that textbook writers should take the trouble to
find out whether their teaching situations will be understood in another
country, because completely strange situations are not likely to teach the
meaning of new sentence patterns.
For this reason, I prefer to use local situations to teach English as a new
language, situations which are part of the everyday life of pupils in the country
where they are learning English. Then the situation will be known and only the
English would suit the situation will be knew[03:47]. Here we found a very
important way in which class teachers can make their teaching more effective,
when theyre teaching English as a new language. They can teach new
sentence patterns in a local situation, a familiar situation, a situation which is
known to their pupils. And this will give their pupils the best possible chance
to learn the meaning and use of the new sentence patterns. All that the
teacher has to do is to look at the new lesson in his textbook and ask himself:
Is this situation a usual one in this country? Will it make my pupils understand
the meaning and use of these new sentence patterns?. If the teacher believes
that the situation in the textbook is not familiar and that it will not teach the
meaning and use of the new sentence pattern, he should try to think of some
local situations which will make the meaning and use of the new sentence

pattern clear to his pupils. Some teachers believe that foreign situations are
the best way of teaching a foreign language. Some textbook writers believe
that situations which are part of daily life in England, or America, or Australia,
are therefore the best situations for teaching English in India or Ghana or
Uruguay simply because these situations represent whats commonly called
English-speaking culture. But these people forget that English-speaking
culture may be just as foreign as the English language because the pupils
environment may be completely different. Food, transport, housing, clothing,
shopping, climate, type and methods of work in the pupils country may have
little in common with these aspects of life, in an English-speaking country. So,
if you rely on English-type situations to make the meaning of a new sentence
pattern clear, you will be disappointed. You should use local, familiar situations
to introduce new language features. Then later, you can use non-language
features to teach English-speaking culture, explaining the way in which it is
different from local culture. This then, is something that the teacher can do
when hes faced with a textbook full of foreign situations different from those
in his own country. His teaching of the English language can be made much
more effective if he teaches English as if it were an alternative languge to the
pupils mother tongue for use in the pupils environment. If the teacher does
this in the elementary stages, his pupils will be able to learn English in familiar
situations and will proceed more quickly with acquiring a knowledge of the
English language. Then, when they have some control of language, the foreign
situations can be introduced. Let us consider an example of what I mean. In
my last talk, I mentioned sentence patterns with can and cant, which are
used to talk about certain skills, and mentioned of verb play as the most
useful verb because it can be used with the names of musical instruments and
games.