Aim (in terms of subject matter): to revise the vocabulary and grammar learnt before; to learn recognizing and understanding English loan words in Chinese; to practise pronunciation.

Aim (in terms of thinking): to learn how to use pronunciation for identifying loan words and translating them without a dictionary.

Task: a list of sentences written in pinyin (phonetic script). The sentences mainly consist of familiar words, the unknown ones are loan words. The gaps in the sentences have to be filled in with appropriate grammar items.

Eg.: “I’ve been running ‘malasong’, I ___ tired.” (The word ‘am’ to be inserted. “Malasong” means “marathon”.)

Procedures: The students read the sentences, translate them and fill in the gaps. For understanding the unknown words the students have to pronounce them correctly: this helps notice the phonetic similarity with the English words and guess the meanings.

Learners’ output: the difficult part was to understand the meanings of the loan words because the students read them too slowly and often mispronounced, thus making the words unrecognizable. After several failed attempts the teacher pronounced the words so that the students could hear and guess. The students then expressed their guesses. Having found the correct meanings the students thought about the grammatical forms to put into the gaps.

Overall reflection of the task: when done collectively, the task can be evaluated as useful for revision of grammar forms, vocabulary and pronunciation in an amusing way. When done individually, it appears to be too complicated for beginners because too many aspects have to be cared about at the same time. Therefore, such tasks should be given more often and in combination with other tasks.

Steps of thinking task framework: there isn’t much space for thinking in this task, but the students have to discover that pronouncing the word correctly is the key to its meaning, and the key to the grammar task eventually. We can say that at lessons we worked with Step 2, because the teacher stressed the importance of pronunciation, thus showed the basic tool for coping with the task. 


# Alexander Sokol 2012-11-08 18:36
Marija, thanks for sharing. A few comments.
From the thinking point of view, it's actually not bad when students get stuck with something (inability to pronounce correct or fast enough, in your example). This is a problem, something we are interested in in Step 1. The question is if there can be some kind of strategy for learners to develop to be able to check how they read and increase the speed. If so, can you think of tasks that would help learners develop such a strategy and test it? I think this would be useful from the TA point of view. I'd also say that the thinking aim should be connected with this aspect, as 'learning how to use pronunciation for identifying loan words and translating them without a dictionary' sounds like a subject aim to me.
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