Cognitive Development in English Language Teaching paves avenues for English Language users to facilitate the contextual language and thereby to enhance the creative competence that can make learners as effective communicators in accordance with the context.
With an eye on developing communicative competence in English, this book has been written to enable the learners acquire the mastery over the English Language. The systematic and unique approach adopted therein will definitely be helpful to the trainers as well as people who are interested in self-study.
This book has five chapters. Chapter one introduction, makes the proposition of the title the hypothesis and the plan of the study. In the same chapter the review of the relevant literature is also made. Chapter two studies the role of emergent syllabus in the second language acquisition of English among the U.G Students, Chapter three is the discussion of the various tasks, as many as twenty six, that may be used in the cognitive development of the students at the U.G level in the second language acquisition. Chapter four is the analysis of twelve tasks assigned to the students in order to study the cognitive development of the students in the U.G class. Chapter five is the record of the summation of the study made and the findings.
Chapter I -------- Introduction
Chapter II ------- Role of Emergent Syllabus
Chapter III -------- Cognitive Development in the
Chapter IV --------- Analysis
Chapter V --------- Summing Up
This book is an attempt to bring out the cognitive development of the Second language learners at the Under Graduate (hereafter to be referred as U.G) level. In the process it discusses the cognitive skills such as understanding and creativity of the learners. Through contextualization these abilities can be improved and effective communication skills in English may be achieved.
The need of the cognitive development arises due to the fact that the present teaching system at undergraduate level relies mainly on behavioural psychology. Behavioural psychology focuses on mimicry and memorization and rule-governed behaviour (where in importance is given to grammar). This kind of teaching based on behavioural psychology restricts the learner from practicing effective communication according to the context.
Learners imitate or memorize the text without understanding the subject and submit the same for examination for scoring high marks at UG. Level. Consequently the ability to understand and create is suppressed. The prevailing educational system follows the old texts which were published long back. It is hard to understand the old expressions, patterns of writing and foreign culture, which hinder the modern learner’s understanding. At the UG level learners are frustrated and confused by the mechanical rules of grammar drills. The conscious adherence to rule with laboured effort by learners is prone to misunderstanding. In this process they are taught only the structures of the language and not the usages.
It is learnt that from the study conducted among the UG students that there is no creativity-based syllabus or task-based syllabus. Contextualization of language use also is not within their reach. The educational system recommends the text-based teaching which hinders the creativity and communicative skills of the learners. Learner’s emotion, feeling, expression, strengths, weaknesses and needs are least taken into consideration by the present education system. Teachers fix the learning conditions in all the situations. So the learners never find any chance to learn anything on their own. It is disheartening that the present-day educational system ignores the system of cognitive psychology ie., insight-formation and problem-solving and it’s use in improving the learner’s rule-free communicative skills depending upon the context.
At the UG level conscious way of learning is being followed on neglecting the usages of the second language. The existing educational system fails to introduce the unconscious process of second language acquisition.
Cognitive development-oriented teaching is a competent process to enhance second language acquisition through contextualization. It is a suitable process to eradicate the present problems which are encountered at the UG level. The problems of text-based teacher-centered teaching, lack of creativity-based syllabus, ignorance of context, fixed notions towards learner’s needs, negligence of learner’s understanding and creativity through mimicry and memorization should be reorganized within the existing system. To overcome the present problems and to enhance learner’s understanding, thinking and creative process, the competent process of learner-centered task-based as well as the emergent syllabus with emergent themes of context can be implemented to hurry up second language acquisition.
Perception and recreation are the core processes in the process of communication. What human brain and nervous system know by intuition or by reasoning or through senses to understand and create or solve the issue or subject is cognition.
Cognition is defined by the second major school of psychology namely the school of cognitivism. The cognitivists are of the opinion that the learning depends on perception, and insight-formation. They feel that all learning is in the nature of problem-solving; the new experience constitutes the problem, which the learner tries to solve on the basis of previous learning.
According to Mead Johnson “Cognitive development is the development of the thinking and organizing system of the brain; It involves the language of mental imagery, thinking, reasoning, problem-solving, and memory development”. (Cognitive development,http://www. Google.com 2001).
It would be best to distinguish acquisition from learning. “Acquisition refers to an unconscious process that involves the naturalistic development of language proficiency though understanding language and through using language for meaningful communication. Learning by contrast refers to a process in which conscious rules about a language are developed”. (Approaches and Methods in language Teaching 131).
Acquisition and learning can be illustrated by the following figure:-
Biologists believed that physical growth is a factor to cognitive development. Lenneberg makes the following observation on the matter: “Children are born with the physiological ability to learn a language not the particular language of their parents but any language to which they are exposed. Language cannot begin to develop until a certain level of physical maturation and growth has been attained”. (Language and Cognition, 11)
According to Lenneberg the role of environment in language development diminishes as the child advances in age: “The incidence of language-learning-blocks rapidly increases after puberty. Also automatic acquisition form mere exposure to a given language seems to disappear after this age, and foreign languages have to be taught and learned through a conscious and labourd effort”. (Language and Cognition, 109).
Piaget formulated Biological theory of knowledge. Piaget felt that living organisms are self-regulating in their choices of ways to adopt. Piagetian theory explains how human intelligence develops through an intellectual regulating process geared by adaptation to the environment. During this on-going relationship with the environment, the child exhibits certain organizations based upon assimilation which means the taking in process of experience accepting new encounters and fitting them into existing schemes; and accommodation which means the reaction of the individual who encounters new experiences that are not consistent with existing schemes and so the accept or accommodate the new information. Piaget felt that a baby is an active and curious organism, that reaches out and seeks to regulate a balance between assimilation and accommodation. This balance is what Piaget describes as equilibrium. Piaget considered the process of equilibrium an important factor in the cognitive growth and development of a child.
“Piaget realized that humans progressively develop or mature to higher states of cognitive development and realized that children acquire knowledge transmitted by parents, teacher, and books, he called this Social transmission” (A biological Theory of knowledge, http://www.Google.com).
Vygotsky introduced contextualist approach which stresses that the social situations are (Social transmission) involved in cognition. “Vygotsky assumed that children are born with fundamental cognitive (e.g. attention and memory) and perceptual abilities. This contextualist approach paved way for cognitive growth”. (“Vygotsky and contextualism”, http://www.Google.com.). Later people like “Piaget, Bruner emphasizes the importance of experience for cognitive growth”.
(The ELT-Curriculum, 34).
Piaget, Lenneberg and Vygotsky convey that the process of acquisition of language declines as the child advances in age. For them the child is better than the adult. As far as the second language is concerned, the learner acquires second language later than the first-language. Psycholinguists prove that adult learner also can acquire and create the language cognitively:
It should be noted, however, that an adult learner may use another gift in the learning of language which the child doesn’t possess: the power of mature reasoning, which helps the adult to discover and understand rules more easily than the child. In some cases the adult may,therefore, prove to be a better learner. (”Methods of Teaching
English”, Block –II, 27).
According to Asher “the brain and nervous system are biologically programmed to acquire language”. (Approaches and Methods in language Teaching ,90)
For a second language learner the process of internalization is a must to acquire language. Parallel to the process of first language learning, the foreign learner should first internalize a “cognitive map” of the target language through listening exercises (Approaches and Methods in language Teaching, 90).
Asher in his Total physical Response method directed to right-brain learning. Whereas most of the second language Teaching methods are directed to left-brain learning. Asher interprets that the brain is divided into hemispheres according to function, with language activities centralized in the right-hemisphere. According to jean Piaget for him “sensorimotor stage (infancy) is the first stage of cognitive development where intelligence is demonstrated through motor activity without the use of symbols. Knowledge of the world is limited, but developing. Because it is based on physical interactions or experiences. Some symbolic (language) abilities are developed at the end of this stage”. (Biological Theory of knowledge, http://www. Google.com). It is learnt that the physical interactions and the experiences play a major role in language learning. The same process will continue in second language acquisition also. “Asher holds that the child language learner acquires language through motor moment-a right-hemisphere can process language for production”. (Approaches and Methods in language Teaching, 91).
The human brain system may be pictured as follows.
According to Asher the adult should proceed to language mastry through right-hemisphere motor activities, while the left-hemisphere watches and learns. “When a sufficient amount of right-hemisphere learning has taken place, the left-hemisphere will be triggered to produce language and to initiate other, more abstract language process”. (Approaches and methods in language Teaching, 91).
Cognitivists believed that, “the problem may be entirely mental, requiring a mental solution; it may involve nothing more than an “explanation” to help the learner “understand” the situation. However, the explanation has to be available in a form in which it can be extended to other words, an explanation which can be generalized”.(”Methods of Teaching English”, Block –II 20).
Cognitivists believe that basically all learning involves the process of generalizing from particular instances.
Any learning experience has to be incorporated into the “cognitive map” or the generalized pattern which the learner is able to abstract from a series of learning experiences. “Learning, therefore, can be thought of as a process of induction; individual experiences contribute to the general pattern of understanding”.(”Methods of Teaching English”, Block –II, 20).
Cognitivists oppose the behaviour method of mechanical grammar drilling and believe that repetition as unproductive. “Repetition and practice have been considerably devalued as language learning devices, and hypothesis-formation and problem-solving have been emphasized. In particular any kind of mechanical drilling is regarded as unproductive today”. (“Methods of Teaching English Block-II”, 30).
American linguist Noam Chomsky has proved that linguistics is a branch of cognitive psychology. Chomsky gives importance to the linguistic competence of the native speaker.
To Chomsky, view of language as a collection of structures was too limited. Instead of concentrating on taxonomic classifications of structures, Chomsky proposed in ‘Aspect of the Theory of syntax’ that “linguistics should develop the rules which would account for these structures. These rules constitute linguistic competence, which is the unconscious knowledge of the ‘ideal speaker-listener’ operating in a completely homogeneous speech community” (The ELT Curriculum, 16).
Hymes turned the attention from the ideal-speaker-listener in a homogeneous speech community to differential competence within a heterogeneous speech community.
Hymes argues that, “we require a theory that can deal with a heterogeneous speech community, differential competence, and the constitutive role of socio-cultural features” (“Introduction to Linguistics, Block-V”, 4).
While answering to linguistic competence Hymes stresses upon communicative competence. The ultimate aim of language is communication. Hymes makes the point by observing that, “the rules of use are not a late grafting, but are acquired from the first years of language acquisition”. His account of communicative competence focuses on language in acquisition. (The ELT Curriculum, 16).
Hyme’s theory of communicative competence proved to be an important influence for the evolution of communicative language teaching. The importance of communicative competence shifted the learning process from grammar form focus to content and communication.
Context determines the meaning of utterances. Language learner has to understand the utterances according to the context. Hymes gives great importance to context. Hymes views the role of context in the interpretation as limiting the range of possible interpretation on the one hand. And on the other as supporting the intended interpretation: “The use of a language form identifies a range of meanings. When a form is used in a context, it eliminates the meanings possible to that context other than those the form can signal: The context eliminates from consideration the meanings possible to the form other than those in the context can support” (Discourse Analysis, 37).
Hymens expanded his views on competence. Hymen’s classical description of competence found in a normal, first language child is; as follows: “He or she acquires competence as to when to speak, when not, and as to what to talk about with whom, when where, in what manner. In short a child becomes able to accomplish a repertoire of speech acts, to take part in speech events, and to evaluate their accomplishments by others”. (Language use Language Teaching and The Curriculum, 285).
Canale and Swain have expanded Hyme’s communicative competence. They provide a theoretical framework for communicative competence to include: grammatical competence, sociolinguistic competence and strategic competence.
Grammatical competence includes the concepts of knowledge of lexical items, and ‘… rules of morphology, syntax, sentence-grammar semantics, and phonology’. Strategic competence concerns repair strategies, both verbal and non verbal, due to a breakdown in communication. A main component of sociolinguistic competence is the notion of socio cultural rules which determine the appropriateness of how utterances are produced and comprehended. (Language use Language Teaching and The Curriculum, 286).
Canale and Swain give much importance to sociolinguistic competence in the process of developing communication: “……On the extent to which certain propositions and communicative functions are appropriate with in a given sociocultural context depending on contextual factors such as topic, role of participants, setting and norms of interaction”. (Language use Language Teaching and The Curriculum, 286).
Second language acquisition is revived by many theoreticians. Theorists propose that the second language can be acquired as first language.
Stephen Krashen an applied linguist sees acquisition as the basic process involved in developing language proficiency. He is of the opinion that the conscious learning of grammatical knowledge that has resulted from instruction, cannot lead to acquisition. Krashen opposes the mechanical-drills of grammar –instruction.
Krashen expects that learners will be able to function adequately in the target situation:
They will understand the speaker of the target language (Perhaps with requests for clarification) and will be able to convey (in a non-insulting manner) their requests and ideas. They need not know every word in a particular semantic domain nor is it necessary that the syntax and vocabulary be flawless but their production does need to be understood. They should be able to make the meaning clear but not necessarily be accurate in all details of grammar. (Approaches and methods in language Teaching, 134).
Krashen and Terrell view language as a vehicle for communicating meanings and messages. Krashen and Terrell state that “acquisition can take place only when people understand messages in the target language”. (Approaches and methods in language Teaching, 130). Here it is make aware that the learner should have the minimum amount of cognition to understand the target language. At the undergraduate level the learners come with the internalized language rules, words, sounds and meanings. It is to note that the problem at UG level is the confusion in the use of appropriate rules and context. The conscious application of the rules makes the learner afraid and frustrated.
If the centre of attention is on the proper use of rules [accuracy], the communication gets less attention. Concentration on rules hinders the learner from practicing effective communication and creativity. When the language is contextualized learner can acquire and use grammar unconsciously.
The Natural order hypothesis deals with acquisition as follows:
“Research is said to have shown that certain grammatical structures or morphemes are acquired before others in first language acquisition of English, and a similar natural order is found in second language acquisition (but not during learning). Similar developmental errors occur in learners no matter what their mother tongue is”. (Approaches and methods in language Teaching, 132).
N.S. Prabhu supports to language acquisition through cognitive process, Prabhu suggests “the notion of deploying language through problem-solving to acquire the grammar of English unconsciously” (Methods of Teaching English, Block p. 70). When a speaker uses language the acquires the language while his collegues and teacher speak. While acquiring language, the learner corrects his wrong understanding of words and usages without the influence of others. When the learner speaks, at an incipient stage s/he may commit mistakes. The wrong use of words would be corrected unconsciously on his own when others speak. Here there is no formal instruction. The mistakes are corrected unconsciously when he acquires the proper usage of language in context.
Krashen points out that the language acquisition is a natural process; He made a sharp distinction between conscious knowledge about language, which is ‘learned’ through formal teaching and which is useful for a very limited range of purpose such as proof reading; and unconscious knowledge, which s ‘acquired’ from natural input which provides the means by which we actually communicate. Krashen emphasized the discontinuity between these two types of knowledge and took the strong position that conscious, learned knowledge cannot be transformed into unconscious knowledge.
It is to understand from Krashan’s view that formal teaching cannot help unconscious acquisition. When the learner is allowed to speak, unconsciously she/he comes to understand the content for context. If the class room is teacher-centered the learner would be passive recipients. When the class is learner-centered the learner can acquire language without inhibition. Naturally learner speaks the language unconsciously. Unconscious use of language rules can help the learner to communicate effectively. Communication should be given due consideration than the rules in the second language.
Wilkins opposes the traditional concepts of structure of grammar and vocabulary. Wilkins contribution was an analysis of the communicative meanings that a language learner needs to understand and express: “Rather than describe the core of language through traditional concepts of grammar and vocabulary, Wilkins attempted to demonstrate the system of meanings that lay behind the communicative uses of language”. (Approaches and Methods in language Teaching, 65)
To facilitate learner’s acquisition of language, rule-free situation should be created. Improving effective communication at the fixed condition on learning and teaching should be eradicated. When the learner is controlled by fixed rules, he cannot create any utterances. It will restrict learner’s productivity.
A rule free, stress free situation is needed to acquire and produce language. Asher recommends stress free language acquisition, that is “reduction of stress as key to success-full language acquisition”. (Approaches and Methods in language Teaching, 97)
One characteristic feature of language is creativity. It is important to convey that the hypothesis of language acquisition is not only to acquire a language, but to produce. Here it is to improve learner’s creativity through his/her cognitive abilities. Through the Researcher’s present study the hypothesis of acquisition and creativity processes of cognitive process can be illustrated as follows:
Learner’s cognition plays a vital role in understanding and developing creativity. Learner acquires language from his peer-group, teacher, society, and from the materials such as computer, newspaper, audio, video aids etc. After attaining certain levels of acquisition the cognition functions to produce utterances. Cognition induces the instinct to produce utterances, which are totally new. Here the cognitive functions of insight-formation and problem solving play a major role. The Referential meaning, which is acquired by the learner, and the emotive or expressive meaning of learner can rapidly improve learner’s effective communication and creativity.
Emotive and referential meanings are defined by Eugene A. Nida in his book ‘Toward A Science of Translation’ as: “Referential meanings refer primarily to the cultural context identified in the utterance (though of as dictionary meaning), while emotive meanings relate to the responses of the participants in the communicative act (feeling)” (Toward A Science of Translation.70)
At the U.G level the learners are not allowed to express their views or the emotive meaning of their feelings freely. The chance should be given to the learners to meet their emotions to improve their creativity. This would encourage learner to produce unlimited contexts. The acquired system and emotion will produce several messages for various contexts. Specifically the learner should be allowed to speak.
Joan Rubin says, “The students who had no experience in learning a language were easily frustrated and ended up scoring the lowest” (Language Teaching Language use language Teaching and the curriculum, 272)
Successful language learners are very effective in using their acquired knowledge to build a new system of communication. When the learning situation does not support learner’s knowledge they would be frustrated and bored. While acquiring the new material or the subject, learners strive to understand. Learner’s misunderstanding of the subject can be avoided with the use of suitable techniques. To facilitate and develop learner’s cognition, cognitive and metacognitive strategies can be used. Metacogntion is the knowledge or awareness of learner of the subject before getting a proper cognition or acquisition. It is the knowledge that helps cognition. Cognition is a process where learners come to understand the subject clearly by comparing with metacognition of the knowledge.
The cognitive and metacognitive strategies can be explained through the
Cognitive and metacognitive strategies are defined by experts as follows:
Cognitive strategies are behaviors techniques, or actions used by learners in a particular learning situation to facilitate acquisition of knowledge or skill. Meta cognitive strategies include learners awareness and knowledge of their own learning processes, as well as their abilities and tendencies to control these processes during learning. (Language Teaching Language use language Teaching and the curriculum, 274)
The aforesaid two quotations indicate that the cognitive and meta cognitive strategies can by used in developing learning condition. According to the researcher’s point of view, the same cognitive and metacognitive strategies can be applied in the process of second language acquisition also.
Meta cognitive and cognitive strategies allow the learner be a problem –solver and to expand their knowledge. Learners have to collect the knowledge through internet browsing; newspapers, articles, books and from other sources. When meta cognition is activated the learner gains cognition. Learner’s guessing acts as a major role in metacognition. Learners may differ in their metacognition. During classroom acquisition learner regulates his metacognition.
In the classroom some learners may perform well, and not well. The learner who performs classroom activities with less cognition should not be treated as a problem. The learner acquires less cognition, which indicates that s/he does not get enough metacognition. Some learners are more intuitive others more analytic. Here the teacher can facilitate their cognition by identifying their strength and weaknesses. Sometimes the metacognition maybe confused with cognition in their sense of understanding. To avoid learner’s sense of difficulty in understanding, the cognitive grading principle can be used.
According to the cognitive Grading principle:
One of the justifications for the principle that each new items should confirm what has been taught and should prepare the learners for what is to come, is the prevention of what the psychologists call retroactive-inhibition, where new material is confused with old materials in such a way that neither can be remembered. The term retroactive inhibition basically refers to the effect of later learning on earlier learning. (“Materials for the Teaching of English, Block –I”, 20)
By contrast, proactive interference or inhibition is the interfering effect of earlier learning on later learning. “In good gradation, the new material would strengthen the known material by the process of facilitation” (“Materials for the Development of Language skills, Block –I”, 20).
Teacher can facilitate learner’s cognitive process of acquisition and creativity by learner–led classroom activities. In the learner-led class the learner is allowed to do the classroom activities. There each learner can act as a teacher. Learners are divided into groups. Through the peer-group activities such as discussion, Role-play, simulation and other cognition improving activities the learner acquires and expresses his entire ability. The teacher-led classroom activities may be needed to help the students in their difficulty. When the socio cultural economic situations which s/he knows are brought into the classroom, learners can interact easily with the help of his/her metacognition. However ,when the learner comes to encounter new or the emergent contexts, s/he tries to solve or create the utterances with his/her own emotion which are totally new. In this context learner’s cognition plays as a problem solver. Consequently his/her acquisition and creativity improves.
Learner has to produce effective utterances in accordance with emergent syllabus along with emergent themes. Emergent syllabus means. Something that is interesting to the learners which is totally new and that which focuses on classroom discussion. Cognitive development is the only competent process to improve the learner’s effective communication creatively. It is possible that the learner can enhance his/her second language acquisition and creative abilities through contextualization of classroom activities.
This project recommends to break all the barriers of fixed notions on learners and their acquisition of language cognitively.
Researcher’s hypothesis intends that the classroom proceedings should be on the basis of the student’s needs. The age, psychological, socio-economic-cultural factors are to be taken into consideration before the syllabus is framed. Emergent syllabus and emergent themes can help the learners to produce any number of new utterances according to the context.
ROLE OF EMERGENT SYLLABUS
Emergent syllabus is a competent syllabus to exalt the creativity of the learners. The emergent syllabus is based on the contextualization of the language. The process of contextualization of subject is vital in second language acquisition. To create an appropriate context, to develop understanding and to encourage the creativity of the learners, the emergent syllabus would be helpful. The emergent syllabus has the capacity to improve the cognition of the potential knowledge of the learners to solve various problems and to create a new situation for practicing effective communication. The second language learner has to use the language according to the socio cultural context. So the learner must be capable of adapting his/her speech acts to match the specific socio cultural context. Context – based language acquisition may help the learner to avoid misunderstanding. Emergent Syllabus is task – based and learner centred to meet out the requirements of the learners.
Syllabus may be defined as: “ Syllabus refers to the content or subject matter of an individual subject “(The ELT Curriculum, 4). In a broader sense, besides the textbook, the only guide or blue – print the teacher gets is the syllabus. It is seen as a document, which, on the basis of the information, gives guidance on the details of the transmission of knowledge. These details pertain to the selection, clarification, distribution, transmission and evaluation of knowledge. “ The syllabus contains what, according to experts (and society) is considered to be valid knowledge and valid transmission of knowledge. An Emergent Syllabus is defined as “ One which develops with decisions made at the moment of teaching – learning. “Materials for the Teaching of English, Block-II,” 35)
Emergent Syllabus is not product – oriented but process – oriented syllabus. According to N.S.Prabhu, “ The process syllabus focuses on what is to be done in the classroom as opposed to what is to be taught (“Materials for teaching of English, Block-II”, 35).
Breen adds on the subject as : “ The classroom is therefore the meeting place or point of interaction between the predesigned syllabus and the individual learner syllabus. This interaction will generate the real – syllabus or the syllabus in action – which is jointly constructed by teachers and learners together” (“Materials for Teaching of English, Block – II”, 33)
Emergent Syllabus is the actual syllabus opposed to the ideal syllabus. Ideal syllabus is based on what ought to happen in the classroom. Actual syllabus basically involves implementation or actual classroom activity.
Emergent syllabus depends on the decisions of the moment made by the teacher and student together. Emergent syllabus considers learner’s needs. After the joint decision making, the classroom syllabus is framed.
Diagrammatically the distinction made by Breen can be seen as follows:
The Syllabus [ syllabus . A ]
The teacher’s The student’s
[ Syll.B ] [ Syll.C ]
You can have several Syllabus D
The real syllabus
The classroom syllabus
(“Types of syllabus and materials, Block-II”, 32)
Syllabus - A may refer to a document for speaking skill that has to be taught. The teacher decides to teach this skill by allowing the learners to speak on certain emergent problems of the world. This is the teacher’s syllabus or syllabus-B. Students X and Y Responds to the teacher without interesting. Instead this student talks an ongoing foot ball match. This is Syllabus-C; or the individual syllabus. There can be many students syllabus as C1, C2, C3, C4, C5, C6, etc. The general interaction between students and teacher produces the classroom – syllabus or syllabus-D. If the whole class prefers to speak on football match, the interest in the classroom task would be very high.
At the present, decisions are made by educational system and teachers alone. This has been confronted by many theoreticians.
For Breen, what distinguishes the process syllabus is, the way in which it organized. He emphasizes the learner’s participation in the decision making process.
According to Brian Kenny; “ In a language development class, it is not always necessary for the teacher to be introducing the subject – matter, learners can introduce the same on their own. The content of this introduction will form the raw material of the educative process in which it will be submitted to analysis, verification, criticism, comparisons and judgments”. (Language use Language Teaching and The Curriculum, 259).
For a favourable classroom decision; the interaction should be taken be between the learner and teacher. Allwright proposed this co-operative management of the syllabus. “In co-operative management of the syllabus the decision-making process is shared with teachers and students who work together as partners in the management of language learning”. (Language use Language Teaching and The Curriculum, 356).
Lynn Stein endorses cooperative learning classroom – centred research and suggests as follows:
In an effect to involve my students in their learning, and to observe and learn from them, co-operative management has become as an integral and important component in my teaching. Results indicate that language learners can and should, to the maximum degree possible, be involved in the decisions which affect their learning . (Language use Language Teaching and The Curriculum, 356).
As a second language learner, s/he should be allowed to do the classroom activities. Present teaching system is basically teacher – directed to overcome fear and misunderstanding, learner-directed interaction should be made.
“Pica through his research found that teacher-directed participation produced relatively less modified interaction than the learner-directed groups”.
(Language use Language Teaching and The Curriculum, 324). He also opines that unless the learner is allowed to speak s/he cannot speak fluently. So the classroom activities should be shared with learners.
Before doing the class-room activities the learner’s needs should be taken into account. Ronald V. White, classified needs into two sorts: “Firstly, to acquire a knowledge of the second language system and culture, Secondly to acquire the ability to perform with some degree of fluency in the second language, that is, to develop communicative competence” (The ELT Curriculam,110 ). Classroom second language acquisition is supported by many experts, for example ( Long and Porter, 1985; Pica and Doughty 1985; Porter 1986; Rulon and Mc Creary 1986; Varonis and Gass, 1985 ) as teachers can enable language acquitision in classroom settings.
In the classroom second language acquisition, context plays a vital role in making learner’s communicative activities. Context includes various factors in framing the second language acquisition situation. The classroom teacher plays the role of a facilitator.
Aida Walqui, points out the contextual factors in second language acquisition as:
Language ( Native language proficiency, knowledge of the second language, Dialect and register, language attitudes ); the learner ( Diverse needs, Diverse goals, Peer groups, Role models, home support);Acquisition process ( acquisition styles, classroom interaction ); his research concludes that the social and cultural contexts have a tremendous impact on second language acquisition (“Contextual Factors in Second Language acquisition”,http://www.Google.com).
The Researcher found from his interaction with the students that the contextual factors include the following items;
(a) Learner’s age
(b) Learner’s psychology
(c) Learner’s environment ( cultural, socio-economic,
linguistic status )
(d) Learner’s field of interest and
(e) Learner’s language proficiency (Strengths and Weaknesses)
These contextual factors influence the communicative process of the learners. On the basis of the contextual factors, the syllabus should be framed for their maximum understanding.
At U . G level the communicative proficiency and their creativity should be developed. To improve the communicative proficiency the meaning-focused fluency-based communicative activities should be practiced. Here the form and accuracy of grammar is not important. Kelly and Titone have shown, how there has been what Titone describes as “ a swing of a pendulum “ between two basic positions held in ELT over the years. They are:
[ i ] Form- focused teaching, which emphasizes the teaching of the rules of grammar, structures, the development of vocabulary and the sounds of language; and
[ ii ] Meaning-focused teaching, which emphasizes language use, communication or fluency and appropriacy of expression in different situations. (“Methods of Teaching English, Block-II”,65)
Communicative language teaching places the emphasis on language meaning and it’s use appropriacy and fluency as opposed to the earlier form-focused objectives of correctness, usage and practice.
There were different positions held in ELT, there were the extremists who wanted no grammar teaching at all. There were those whose objectives were to teach communication. (for example A Brumfit, Johnson, Maley etc) and others who wanted to teach the grammar of the language through communication ( for example Prabhu ). (“Methods of Teaching English, Block-II”,70).
All these studies discussed above make clear that the purpose of language acquisition is to improve the communicative competence, which is the capacity to use language in speech community.
Present syllabus which are available have difficulties in language acquisition. They give much importance to teacher and the text-based learning situations. These syllabuses keep the learner as passive recipients; not give any chance to their creativity.
English as a second language functions as a lingua-franca (Link language) to unite various linguistic-cultural ethnic group of people. The need is communication served by English. So there is a thirst to acquire English. The matter then is to improve the second language acquisition easily. Various methods, approaches, techniques were introduced to hurry up language learning considerably. The available methods are Grammar Translation method, Direct Methods, Audio-lingual method, Communicative language Teaching, Total Physical Response, Silent way, Computer Assisted language learning, Community language learning, The Natural Approach, Suggestopedia and so on. They have merits and demerits of their own.
Grammar Translation method focuses on the items of grammar and their use. It is based on the translation of source language into target language. And it emphasizes the memorization of rules and vocabulary. It is difficult to memorize all the rules and vocabulary of the language.
Direct method argues that foreign languages can be taught without translation or the use of learner’s native tongue if meaning is conveyed directly through demonstration and action. Direct method needs native teacher or the native fluency.
Audio lingual method is a linguistic or structure – based approach to language Teaching. It advocates linguistic syllabus, which contains the key items of phonology, morphology and syntax of the language arranged according to their order of presentation. Here the students first hear a model dialogue, either read by the teacher or on tape; then they repeat each line of the dialogue individually and in chorus. Correction of mistakes of pronunciation or grammar is direct and immediate. Audio lingual method is based on behaviour psychology of repetition and memorization. So there is no possibility to produce the utterance which are not heard earlier. The mimicry and memorization method is a cremation of learner’s creativity.
Communicative language teaching breaks all the structure-based grammar- governed teaching methods. According to communicative language teaching communication is the ultimate aim. It was received by Wilkins who introduced Notional, Functional syllabuses, Hymes who introduced communicative competence, Howatt who introduced strong and weak version and by many other experts. Communicative language Teaching introduces problem-solving tasks. It needs materials of maps, charts, things etc. It does not give any importance to learner’s emotion.
Total Physical Response method is linked to memory connection ie., the stronger memory association will be recalled. It depends on motor activities of repetition and recall. It expects the learner’s to use the action, pronunciation, gesture of teacher. It argues human brain and nervous system are biologically programmed to acquire language.
The silent way supports to learner’s cognition. Learning is facilitated if the learner discovers or creates rather than remembers and repeats what is to be learned. It recommends teachers and students to be in a more co-operative position. In which silence is considered the best vehicle for learning; because in silence students concentrate on the task to be accomplished. Language learning is near-native fluency in the target language, and correct pronunciation and mastry of target language are it’s aim. Silent way gives importance to pronunciation and structure of grammar rules. It would be difficult to attain language proficiency easily.
Computer assisted language learning depends on computer-centred teaching. It avoids the teacher. Here the problem of the learner cannot be solved. Contexts gets less attention. Machine overpowers man, so the learner cannot get fluency by speaking with machine.
Community language learning supports counseling among teacher learner and peer-group. Here teacher gives the advise on usage and fine points of grammar. Learner’s are expected to ask questions. Here the learner’s fear on grammar may increase while he speaks.
Natural approach sees communication as the primary function of language. It avoids the attention on structure by language teacher, by the learner, or in language teaching materials. Natural approach recommends the unconscious process of acquisition to improve effective communication. Natural approach supports the meaning to be clear but not necessarily to be accurate in all details of grammar. Here teacher commands every classroom activities. So there is no chance to learner’s to be involved.
Suggestopedia’s significant feature is the concentration on the centrality of music and musical rhythm learning. It recommends the use of musical therapy. This music function seems to relax learner’s as well as to structure, pace and puntuate, presentation of linguistic materials etc. According to suggestopedia the students are not to read vocabulary memorization and acquiring habits of speech, but to learn the acts of communication. It supports the activities of acting, singing etc. It highly recommends yoga and other gymnastic exercises to bring up concentration. Suggestopedia gives no chance to learner’s and their creativity.
Using various methods of teaching is not important, the teacher must have known how to use the teaching method in a proper way, and simultaneously the teacher must have known the remedy to the problems face by the students.
At U .G level teacher facilitates contexts to speak; also learners create contexts to speak among their peer group. In an article as Gloria Gil elaborates on the role of the teacher thus : “ The teacher is at the same time an actor and stage-manager, who has to follow and lead students to follow a script and cope with the new situations that emerge so as to make the right decisions for the FL classroom to go on smoothly and fluently “. (ELT journal, volume 56 / 3, July 2002,278)
Teacher can facilitate learner’s creativity by adapting the techniques of the Role Play, Simulation, Mind-map, Story telling and speech events.
According to Charles Mc Hugh, Role Play activities offer the maximum chances of acquiring foreign language skills in a classroom setting:
Besides the simulation exercise in terms of linguistic skills, is the improvisation exercise where students are allowed the greatest amount of freedom of creativity, They may be asked to interpret and cope with a specific situation by either given no specific guidelines at all or only procedural guidelines. (Language use Language Teaching and The Curriculum, 291).
Simulation is whereon the participants explore their feelings, anxieties and attitudes toward the other group in language learning.
Researcher’s hypothesis intends to adopt these techniques to frame the context with emergent themes in emergent syllabus.
COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT IN THE CLASSROOM
In the previous chapter the role of emergent syllabus was discussed. It provides the room for cognitive development for learners. In this chapter, how the cognitive development takes place in the classroom is discussed.
It has been presumed that the learners at the U . G level should have
developed the required amount of cognition to cope up with any situation . Happy classroom atmosphere should be created to the learners to get rid of archaic conventions or rules.
The teacher can facilitate the context in the classroom to improve learner’s cognition. A friendly atmosphere between the teacher and the students is essentially needed. Otherwise the students may feel as fish out of water or as if under the sword of Democles. Classroom negotiation between the teacher and the learner and with peer group can urge the learner’s cognition to acquire second language effectively and leads to possible creativity. The communicative or the negotiation process between the teacher and the learner and among peer-group can be elucidated as given below.
Cognitive development in the classroom requires the exchange of information to improve the quality of communication. Teacher-framed and learner-framed contexts of interactions are needed to achieve the task.
In the teacher-framed context the teacher circulates emergent themes of context and learner interacts in the context. In the learner-framed context the learner himself produces the context among his / her peer group and speak on the theme. It makes the learner to be a problem-solver and helps to expand his/her cognition. Learners and produce by using their cognition which were acquired earlier and deal successfully with their emotive-meaning efficiently. It will give a persuasive effect on the part of the audience.
This process of cognitive development induces the learner to perform well; and it insists to acquire from newspapers, journals, the scientific inventions, discoveries, technology, incidents and accidents in and around the world; and it improves the curiosity to acquire matter from the web world, Television and from other sources. Unconsciously the learner participates in the development of the four skills of Listing, Speaking, Reading and Writing. The learner acquires metacognition or informations before entering into the class. It makes learner as a problem-solver and producer. According to the context, the learner’s mind produces a cognitive-map which includes the informations about the theme. For example if the context is “cloning“; sub-conciously, learner’s metacognition comes together in his mind; that may be illustrated as follows.
The aforesaid cognitive-map includes the learner’s ability to interact efficiently. Each learner brings different cognitive-maps into the classroom. Language is a medium through which s / he has to communicative.
Teacher plays in the role of facilitator and has to make space for the learner with relevant context. The deeds of the teacher in the classroom are; identifying learner’s needs, organizing language acquisition opportunities and measuring student’s achievement.
The Learner and the teacher collaboratively plan the goals, context, activities, settings, learner-role and teacher-role in the acquisition and creative process of cognitive development task.
The goal of language acquisition is to urge the creative process. Cognitive development for effective communication breaks the communication barriers or misunderstanding according to the context.
Participants of the study:
Twenty five Tamil speaking III year U.G level learners for whom English remains second language, were selected to participate in the study. In this study, comprehensive English language test and language proficiency interview were conducted to understand their effective language proficiency and their acceptability of developing cognition.
Learners were asked to speak and write on a specific context and those materials were used as samples for this study. From those samples Researcher could find out the following problems in using English at the
U . G level;
( a ) Apprehension on grammar mistakes while speaking
( b ) Limited exposure towards English
( c ) Unawareness of contextual usage of language
( d ) Lack of creativity
(e) Misundersanding in using “ Could have…….”, “ Might have beaten “, “ So did she “, “ Keep on “, “ dare “, “ If……have beaten “, “ If……did “, “If……beat “, “ Thanking you “, “ Let……Lets “, “ Riot…….Ryot “ , etc…
These mistakes caused due to poor understanding by the learners were encountered by the researcher. These mistakes were not considered as mistakes. Because learners were not aware of the contextual use of words. When their language was contextualized they could acquire the contextual use of words. In this attempt emergent themes were circulated to ameliorate their creativity. The researcher used both teacher- created and learner-created contexts in the classroom. Emotions were freely allowed to discuss the context.
The following techniques or activities were used to frame the emergent context to improve the learner’s cognition:
( a ) Information gap activities:
Information gap activities aim to improve speaking skill. It includes,
( i ) Getting to know each other:
Here the students are grouped in pairs, and they interview each other and introduce his / her partner to the class.
( ii ) Partner Puzzle:
Many copies of picture are cut up and put
into separate envelopes. Each student works with a partner. One student in each pair receives the complete picture, which s / he must not show to his partner. The other student gets the puzzle pieces. The first student now has to tell the second how to arrange the pieces, neither is allowed to see what the other is doing.
( b ) Opinion gap activities:
The students are asked to think about their lives and the people they know or have known. They had to find out at least two people each, who have influenced their lives. They may be their parents, relatives, friends or personalities from history or literature. They had to note down some points in order to be able to tell the rest of the class briefly how these people have influenced them.
( c ) Role Play:
Role play is a way of bringing situations from real life into the classroom in a dialogue form.
The students are asked to use their imagination. Learners have to do many roles, or they pretend to be a different person. (e.g, a businessman).
( i ) One student imagines he is a businessman, other students ask him questions about his daily work.
( ii ) A group of students imagine they are friends, planning a holyday together. They try to decide where to go and what to do.
( iii ) One student has lost her bag. She is at police station reporting it to the police. The other student is the police officer and asks for more details.
For Roleplay the suitable situations are selected from every day life; ( e.g, shopping, holidays, using local transport , etc… )
( d ) Simulation:
Learners of the class are divided into an Alpha group and Beta group. Teacher facilitates the learners to speak by arranging the group, by arranging the chairs in circle, by circulating different contextual topics. Here teacher acts as a chair person or referee.
In another way the learners are divided as main speakers, minor speakers, reporters and audience. Speakers who have a special interest in the matter are main speakers. The minor speakers are those who have lot of ideas but will join in from time to time by asking questions or by interrupting the main speakers.
( e ) Creative Speaking:
Among the peer groups they create the context and speak. For example, ‘Moon people‘, ‘ If I am the President ‘, etc……. Learners create new ideas and speaks on them to the class. Every learner gives different expressions with their expectations. Here different contexts are circulated to speak creatively.
( f ) Free Speaking:
Learners individually create context and speak freely. Some of their contexts are ‘against fixed notations’, ‘equilibrium’, ‘against infanticides’, ‘supporting against budget’, etc. Free speaking depends on learner’s mind what s / he intends to speak.
( g ) Reporting real events:
The learner presents the real events, the knowledge of which s/he has acquired from news papers, Television and from other mass medias. The events may be; ‘Cassini space craft’s recent discovery’, ‘recent invention of bio- polymer substituting for polythene products’, ‘accidents’, ‘international events’, etc.
( h ) Interviewing people:
Here learner comes to know the ideas of others through interviewing other students. For example the learner may ask the questions on topics like their ideas about future career, interesting field, a holiday they have experienced, favourable sports, etc.
( i ) Conducting a survey:
The students formulate a questionnaire, conduct a survey and present a report based on the results. The questionnaire may be to identify the likes and dislikes of learners. Some of the topics may be ‘smoking in public places’, ‘which party will win the election’ ?, ‘rights of politicians’, ‘the best eating places in town’ etc. Eventually the student presents the report to the class.
( j ) Observing and expressing:
Teacher brings to the classroom a picture of a tree, human skeleton, an engine etc. Teacher gives it to the learners to see and observe what is in the picture. Then learners are asked to describe the parts.
( k ) Carrying out mini-projects:
Here the peer group of learners work with their group. They analyse the problem and the solution. The study may be on water pollution which changes the river water as drainage water, traffic control etc. Each group member gathers information and the leader presents the same in classroom with their solution for the problem.
( l ) Giving directions:
A fairly large scale, clear and readable street map of the local area is displayed on the wall, or if there are sufficient copies, the students can use them in pairs. Each student is asked to locate a place on the street map which is his/her real or imagined home. The most important thing is that the student’s partner should not have the information.
The teacher asks one partner in each pair to invite the other, for a supper or a party, which includes explaining the directions to his/her home. The address and phone number s/he gives to the partner and with reference to a landmark which is clearly marked on the map the direction to the house has to be explained. For example, “ Get off the bus at the new bus stand….”, “ When you come out the bus stand…… “. His / her partner then asks the time of coming, the colour of house etc…
( m ) Jigsaw story telling:
In this tasks the use of picture stories to stimulate narrative speaking is established. Several picture sequences are prepared and the same would be cut up into single pictures for distribution to individual students. The students are arranged in groups. Each group or individual in a group has the same picture which was cut.
Each group is asked to assemble the parts into a narrative, and make necessary modifications to produce a logical story. Each individual tells different stories and it ends with teacher discursion.
( n ) Asking and giving advice:
In this tasks the learner asks the teacher to get the solution to a problem or advice on a matter. Peer group may give advice to the individual. The learner may ask for instance about effective speaking, water pollution, mental-torture, etc. Each learner asks and clarifies with both the teacher and with the peer group members. Eventually they come to a general discussion.
( o ) Matching descriptions to pictures:
The picture of people which were cut out from magazines or news papers are circulated to students. The pictures should show more than just the face or head, that is, some indication of clothing would be useful. Teacher may asks for written description of one of these “ Wanted “ people, “ Police are looking for..“, “ Victims “, etc. Learners are asked to focus on the distinguishing features of the pictures, that is, the way they look, their dressing, hair style, facial expression, etc. on the pictures, Each students gives his / her own opinion on the picture.
( p ) Describing and drawing:
Teacher provides the students with a picture of an unfurnished flat or draws the same on the black board. Each learner is asked to furnish the flat, drawing the items of furniture and then to give a description of the flat; to arrange the furniture in the room. Students exchange descriptions with a partner. Learner draws the arrangement of furniture on another blank plan and furnishes it. Each learner may describe the same in different ways.
( q ) Telling a newscast:
A set of news paper headlines or items from the news in brief section of a paper or a set of news paper articles are presented to the learners to read out. Students are asked to analyze the events as they happened, background of the events, contrasting reported comments of observes and possible future developments. Students are asked to work in pairs or small groups. For a headline they have to write a short article, picking out key points of information and using them, to broadcast in class. Then learners are asked to read their article which they have written. Eventually they discuss the same with the peer group and teacher.
( r ) Performing a play:
The teacher motivates the learners to write a play. Learners are asked to discuss among their peer group. They write a play creatively or which they have already read, with their own dialogues. Students exchange the dialogues with their partners. They perform as a mother, child, father, police, judge, etc. The play is performed as real life situation.
( s ) Explaining reasons in cause and effect arguments:
In this task, members of peer group or the teacher creates the context by introducing general truth in and around the world. Students are asked to suggest causes / reasons and effects / results. The discussion may start like, why do women live longer than men?, why do the holes on ozone-layer appear?, etc. Students are asked to discuss in pairs and to decide which are the most important reasons, which are secondary, and which are not true or irrelevant. They may wish to add other reasons and suggestions. Eventually every learner explains the cause and effect in the classroom and it leads to general discussion.
( t ) Making advertisements:
In this task learners need to collect advertisements from news papers and magazines. Learners take an interesting advertisement and discuss it’s context and language with peer group. Learners are asked to write a requisition letter to the advertisement agents and exchange the same with his / her partner. Then learners himself produce advertisement and perform in class.
( u ) Presenting news items:
This task includes the Editorial page, Letters to the editor, Sports column, Globe scan, Science and Technology column, Business columns etc. The teacher gives advice to the learners on framing the editorial column, letters to the editor and the news items. Teacher explains how to begin, how to end, the direction to be used etc.
The teacher presents the context and learners are asked to write and read out in classroom. Then the learner himself creates the context on his / her own and writes it down and presents the same in classroom. The context may be ‘Universities and Scientific Research ‘, ‘Economic Growth and Decline ‘, ‘Harbhajan Back in Team’ etc..
( v ) Creating Poetry:
It is a kind of personal expression which the learner has to show. Teacher motivates the learners to write poems. Students are asked to think about the context; and the teacher encourages them to imagine and use feelings. Students choose their own context and write and then read the poem to the whole class.
Teacher circulates the context for learners as homework and they have to readout their homework in the classroom. Learners are free to choose contexts and write poems. They may choose the context as My mother, Trauma of an Iraqi, My love etc.
( w ) Interpreting Persuasive Speaking:
Teacher circulates the persuasive speech and writing of famous writers, presidents, politicians, artists, etc.. Teacher makes a brief discussion on persuasive speaking and writing with learners. Learners of peer group create the context and speaks. Teacher gives advice and lead then to speak persuasively. The context may be the president’s address and may start with “ Blood of my blood, Heart’s beat, Blossoming buds, etc.”
( x ) Interpreting graphs and diagrams:
Teacher explains the use of charts and graphs. Teacher presents some model of charts and the ways of presenting information. Learners produce charts and graphs of their own, for the context. The context may be population ratio, level of inflation, rainfall etc.. Learners are asked to explain the graph or chart to his / her partner.
( y ) Interpreting intelligence:
It includes verbal ability, verbal fluency, numerical ability, spatial ability, perceptual ability, inductive reasoning, memory, etc..
The teacher gives context and advice. Learners are asked to create context and to explain to other students the ways to solve the problem. Each learner creates a context and explains the problem solving techniques to his / her partner.
( z ) Presenting Welcome and Concluding Speech:
Learners are asked to give welcome speech and vote of thanks for the created context. Learners discuss with peer group and for their choice they select them to give welcome speech or vote of thanks. Before making welcome speech or vote of thanks, learners are asked to get the information about the chief guest, the guests, the audience, theme of the meeting or function, etc.. The context may be Students meeting, Annual conference, Welcome day, Cultural fest etc..
These types of teacher created and learner created contextual practices are to improve the cognition of the learners and learner’s effective language. Participants negotiate as per the nature of context in which they are engaged.
It is evidently possible that the second language acquisition and the creative process can be developed while developing cognition of learners. The context gives the exact meaning for language. Emergent context can allow the learner to create. Any task can be achieved through cognitive development practice which improves the learner’s language. Any communication gap can be filled if learner’s cognition is developed. Hence the researcher has undertaken to study the hypothesis and establish the same.
In chapter three twenty six tasks have been identified, which would promotethe cognitive development and language acquisition at the U . G level language learners. Of these twenty six tasks, twelve were selected for preparing the analysis. The twelve tasks were identified because these tasks are more language oriented than the other fourteen; and also since there is factors like time and space constraint, the tasks had to be limited.
The sample selected are twenty five in number and they are the third year English major U. G students of Scott Christian College, Nagercoil. The samples included the high achievers, the average achievers and the low achievers. The study believed that the students who have average language fluency can acquire from other students through meaningful interaction. Due to the contextual use of language, the usage can be understood by the learners very easily when the socio-economic cultural contexts were brought into the classroom, the learners could understand and create various contexts on their own. Consequently, the learners were able to interact easily with the help of their internalized system or metacognition. By this metacognition the learners tried to solve various problems which s / he encountered. That is, s / he applied his / her language in various situations. If it was appreciated s / he came to understand the contextual use of language. When others spoke, s / he acquired the language properly. The new contexts or the emergent contexts could allow the learner to think and create on their own. Language is closely related to human psychology. It infiltrates into the receiver’s mind and attains the possible result. The learners at the U . G level should have the capability to use their cognition effectively to communicate spontaneously.
Cognition helps the learners to solve their problem at any situation. Cognitive development process strengthens the learners to improve their cognition and consequently to enhance the language acquisition process and their creativity. Any new situation is a problem, and the learner has to tackle it by his / her cognition which involves the process of insight-formation and problem-solving. When the language is contextualized the learner can acquire the language to use it for suitable context. Negotiation is more important than the written form in the communication process. To negotiate sensibly more cognition is needed.
The researcher could understand from a study among the third year U.G students that, the cognitive development is the right process to enhance second language acquisition and to speed up their creativity.
The condition of the students before introducing them to the cognitive development process was that they could not express the utterance or opinion orally. Learners were writing in the ordinary simple sentences with mistakes without knowing the contextual use of words. Their language was less effective in the initial stage.
After introducing cognitive development process at the U . G level, the learners could speak effectively and write effectively according to the contexts. The learners were very much interested to acquire the language and to improve their creativity through the process of cognitive development. After the introduction of cognitive development process the learners could internalize the contextual use of language. They could understand their mistakes and they corrected their language by themselves. The joyful classroom atmosphere and the interesting contexts created by both researcher and the students were presented to the U . G students. Learners interacted and created many new utterances effectively according to the emergent contexts.
Before entering into to cognitive development practices the learners were requested to listen to the utterances carefully. Learners were asked to correct the mistakes committed by his / her partner after finishing his / her talk through repeating the same utterance correctly to acquire the contextual use of language. Yet the researcher did not find fault with students for making the mistakes. Instead the researcher helped them to improve their cognition and to solve the problems that emerge at any context. The new context or the emergent context would be the problem; the learner has to solve it. To improve the problem solving capacity or the creativity, emergent contexts were presented. The mistakes committed by the speaker were underlined and the correction made by the listener have been marked in bold letters.
The Researcher used the following cognitive development practices to enhance second language acquisition and to improve the creativity of U . G level learners:
( a ) Information gap activities:
Activity – ( i )
Researcher: Shall we start from getting to know each other?....
Students: OK… We are awaiting to know..
Researcher: Sit in pairs; please…
Interview your partner and introduce your partner to the class.
Shanthi: Your name please?.....
Shanthi: Coming from?...
Shanthi: What is your hobby?..
Ronaldo: Watching T . V and playing football.
Shanthi: Football player, are you?
Shanthi: Did you win any match?...
Ronaldo: If I got a chance I can win…
Shanthi: I think you want to say if you get any chance you can actively participate.. isn’t it?..
Ronaldo: Exactly; if I get..
Shanthi: Thanking you Ronaldo.
My partner is Ronaldo; Coming from Nagercoil. His hobby is watching T . V . He is a football player
eager to participate; if he gets a chance..
( Every learner interviewed his / her partner and introduced him / her to the class )
Researcher: Thank you… listen please… Here is the
envelope. Every envelope contains picture copies
which are cut. You have to complete it. You must
not show it to Your partner. After the completion;
you give it to your partner and tell how to arrange
. You should not see what your partner is doing.
Linda: Yes.. Praveen. I could have completed.. Now it’s to
you.. I say how to arrange…
Praveen: I think you could not complete. Isn’t it?..
Linda: No…no.. I have completed… do it…
Arrange the tree first; then that girl… The birds
on tree.. The wind should come on top..
( b ) Opinion gap activities:
Researcher: Can you give your opinion…
Students: Opinion on what?..
Researcher: On anything. You find out at least two people
each who have influenced your life. They may be
your parents, relatives, friends, neighbours, etc.. You
have to note down some points about them, to tell
the rest of the class briefly on how these people
have influenced your life.
Ravi: I would like to tell about my mother. She takes care
of me from my birth. She won’t scold me but she
advises me to do some work; she will support me if
I quarrel with my father. So I love her so much. I
pray God to let me be with her until
my last breath.
( c ) Role play:
Researcher: OK !.....Do you know what is Role play?
Students: No…don’t know.
Researcher: I am sure you know… For example a game like
police and thief, seller and customer, etc.. What
you played when you were children. Here you
are a different person like farmer, policeman,
etc.. One of you can imagine as farmer or
teacher. Your partner will ask you questions
about your daily work or about the other
matters. Now you can play like that on your own
Lily: ei….Shall we play?.. It would be joyous…
Shanthi: What will we do?.. mmm…
Lily: I am having two stamps. So I am a post office
clerk. You are a customer.. OK?..
Shanthi: Good morning…..
I want to send a parcel to Chennai.
Lily: Yes….. Do you want to send it by ordinary
post or registered post?...
Shanthi: By registered post with acknowledgement
due…….How much is that costing?..
Lily: You mean How much does that cost?.... Yes?...
Lily: This parcel weighs ten kilograms…..
Lily: It will cost you two hundred rupees….. Here is your
Shanthi: This is my brother’s parcel. And it will not be
Lily: Yes.. I mean no….
Shanthi: And it will not be stolen?......
Lily: No…. it would be safely sent….
Shanthi: Good !..... Thank you…Excuse me.. Do you have
change for 100 rupees…
Lily: Yes I have……
Shanthi: Thank you……
( d ) Simulation:
Researcher: Now.. Please divide yourself into two groups.
Arrange the chairs in a circle. Here you have to
talk on your topic… Your group is ‘Alpha’.. Your
group is named ‘Beta’. Are you going to deal with
social problem or economic or the scientific
development? Decide on your own.
( discussion among group members )
Alpha group: We decided to talk on ‘society is demoralized
Beta group: We decided to talk on ‘Infanticide as a major
Researcher: The two groups may discuss their respective
topics….. Time given to you is ten minutes…
Researcher: OK… Shall we start?.... Alpha group please…..
Jones: Society is demoralized by the television serials,
cinemas, enticing advertisements, etc…. From new-born
baby to the man who is about to die are affected by
television; mentally or physically. In serials they focus
students as rowdies. Teachers as jokers….. Woman as
fashion beauties…Really what happens? People copydown
the cinema to their real life....It makes financial crisis in
their family. People; especially the college students buy
the new model dresses, cosmetics, etc….That are the
burden to the parents. Psychologically we become addicts
and follow the activities of actors. We are entrapped by
television. Childrens are seriously affected by T .V serials.
For example Shakthimaan incident.
You might have known the death attempt by childrens. If
you watch sports or advertisement or cinema, the less
dressed young ladies are largely focused. It diverts the
mind of students, businessmen, women, children, etc…
During examination they telecast the cricket matches. It
diverts the student’s concentration totally. So they
achieve very low marks. And the cinemas give the
techniques to robbers, kidnappers, eve-teasers, etc… It
creates violence and communal problems. In all the ways
television demoralizes the society. Thank you..
Researcher: Thank you Jones…….
Children are seriously affected by television serials
and cinemas. You might know like Shakthimaan
incidents……. Generally it affects every body.
( e ) Creative Speaking:
Reseacher: Can you speak on your own creation of context?...
Singh: Can I ?.....
Researcher: Yes Please…….
Singh: I am going to speak on ‘The moon people’…….
Moon people are very intelligent. They have flying
vessel. If they want to visit earth; they will come by
their vessel. But we can’t look at them. Because their
vessel will fly very fast. Their eyes would be very
bright. Their head would be big as yours…( he
indicates a fat boy ) They will drink what?.... I think
they make cool the cloud and get water for their need.
( f ) Reporting real events:
Researcher: You know the real events like accidents,
inventions, economic, growth, etc. which you have
known about from news paper, television, radio,
internet, etc. Now you share the matter with the
Jaffer: I have information to share with you.... That is….. The
research work done by NASA. The California
technological department discovered the tenth mars with
the help of NASA. For this tenth mars of sun; First
they named it as ‘2003 V.P 12’ and after the research
they named it as Zedna. They say it is red in colour
and that have separate moon. Also NASA’s Cassini
spacecraft was transported from earth to reach ‘saturn’
to do research. It took seven years to reach saturn and
it threadended a gap between saturn’s dazzling rings
and entered into orbit around the giant planet. It send
images of the planet to NASA.
Linda: Yes I also read this news in Hindu. They are
searching beyond everything. The tenth mars zedna; that
has separate moon. Cassini spacecraft, it sends images
of the planet to NASA… Oh God how human cognition
( g ) Interviewing people:
Researcher: Now.. you can interview your partner.
Dafni: ei……Stephen… What you are going to do next?....
Stephen: Myself?... I am preparing for competitive examination.
Dafni: I like very much you.
Stephen: Ok ! What are you going to do?..
Dafni: I want to work in a college as a lecturer…
Stephen: I like you very much….
Dafni: What about your friends…
Stephen: I believe they to be honest.
Dafni: Oh! You believe them to be honest?...
Dafni: What is your sister doing?
Stephen: She is schooling well.
Dafni: Did you meet your friend Nivas?...
Stephen: Yes…..When I conducted him over the phone
his boss said he took French leave yesterday…
Dafni: What do you mean French leave?....
Stephen: He didn’t inform to anybody…..
How did Linda gets high marks?...
Dafni: If she had studied; she would have passed.
Stephen: You mean she didn’t pass?....
Dafni: No…no… She studied well and passed.
Stephen: What does she do now?
Dafni: Her sister applied for UPSC exam; so did she…
Stephen: What do you mean so did she?..
Dafni: Like her sister she applied for UPSC exam.
Stephen: Did you see rain yesterday.. oh…
It rained as cats and dogs?.
Dafni; How rain would be as cats and dogs?
Stephen: It means a heavy lash of rain..
Dafni: Thank you..
Stephen: See you.
( h ) Free speaking:
Researcher: Well… India, Pakistan and other countries test
the nuclear and hydrogen bombs competitively.
Shall we talk about the effect of nuclear bombs!...
Researcher: Can you talk on ‘If nuclear war happens’….
Dafni: If nuclear war happens; all lives will be burn down by hot rays. Nothing will remain. The mud of rivers, juice of trees, blood of living-things will vapourize. Oil wells, petrol tanks, containers, fat of animals, birds, fat of human beings, trees, gas, chemicals, explosives and the rest of everything will exalt the heat. Smoke will smoke the world. Soft sand of dust will occupy the universe. There will be no water, no air. Nothing will have shape. Everything would be dust. Earth will become weightless. Every virus, bacteria, amoeba would be killed. The fire from everything will unite one flame. That flame will burn the air, earth wind and water. The heat will increase as measureless. The OZONE-layer would be ignited. The sea lives would be killed by the blue-hot rays. The fragmented ocean will be united. The ultra violet rays of sun will boil the sea. Eventually the time will end in a day. There would be no lives or sound or script to describe the effect of nuclear bombs, if nuclear war happens… Thank you…
Researcher: Very good..
Countries conduct the test of hydrogen bombs. It is 1500 times more powerful than nuclear bombs. If everything blasts what will stand at last?..
( i ) Carrying out mini-projects:
Researcher: Can you prepare a mini-project?, say the defects
of smoking or pollution.
Jones: Friends shall we prepare a mini project?...
Rubi: We can do this as a group work. One group to do in
one context; the other in another context. First that we
should analyse the problem and find the solution.
Jeni: Shall we do in the context of polluted river Vallyaru.
Rubi: ei……that is good….
Jones: I think the vegetable wastes, factory wastes, drainage water,
debris, colour factory wastes etc. are pollute the river.
Rubi: Really… Also human wastes, plastic papers, dead
chickens are thrown into the river…
These are polluting the river..
Jeni: How can we stop this pollutions ….
Jones: We can send a letter to the letters to the editor
column in Hindu news daily. And we can send a
petition to the district Collector and Municipal
corporation against those who pollute…
Rubi: River-bed people are affected by diseases very
seriously. Jeni you write the problems and solutions;
and readout it to the class.
(j) Making a newscast:
Researcher: These are the newspaper headlines; you have to
readout these and analyze the events as they happened,
background of the events etc. Write a short article on
looking at the headline; and you have to read your
article to the class.
Kalai: ei… Do you have any idea about this head line?. ‘India’s
dream at Athens’.
Jeni: Oh! The sad return of Indians at Athens.
Kalai: Ok.. it is enough. We can start. I write.
What appears to be the rarest of the rare is the finest of the fine in which many toughest of the tough was got the tough muscle power at Athens. Crores of eyes have expected the gold as Midas touch. The dream has ended in quagmire. The gold looking eyes got a silver for that India paid 100 crore. The highest power runned to reach the extreme, before the visible wisdom it slipped.
(learners present to the class)
Researcher: Indian Sports men and women ran for the feasible
extent. We believe if they practice again and again
they can get gold in the next Olympic at China.
(K) Performing a play:
Researcher: Can you prepare yourself to act a play?
Discuss with your peer groups and write a play
creatively or one of you can read to perform with
your own dialogues.
Simon: Shall we do like this.. Father and mother. They quarrel
with eachother. The child cries. Mother abandons him
with her child. Father approaches court.
Lini: Good idea. Jeni you are mother. Jones is father. Rubi, you
child. I am Judge ok?. We discuss the dialogues.
Jeni: Shall we start?
Oh! my God please take me to your feet. He kills me everyday.
Jones: You idiot.. idiot..(slaps her)
Rubi: ma….ma…(child cries)
Jeni : I won’t see your face again. Death is better than to life with
you.. (goes to her home with child)
Jones: My lord.. that’s my child… Please allow me to keep
Jeni: No.. I won’t give.. he may kill my child..
Lini(Judge): What’s your opinion on your husband Jeni?
Jeni: He is a drunkard. He slaps me everyday. Sometimes
tries to strangle me. How dare he does this?
So I escaped from him.
Lini : How dare he do this..
Jones : My lord. I am a drunkard. I accept myself but I am a
human being. I have a human heart and affection.. I
can’t leave my child.. From now onwards I won’t drink
and won’t slap her.. Let me be with her..
Please… (all laughs)
(l) Creating Poetry:
Researcher: Don’t bother about grammar or anything.. Write a
poem of your own. Practice can make you better.
First you have to think about the feelings associated with
that context. It is individual work so don’t discuss with your
partner after writing you read your person to class.
Jones: I have written poem:
I’ll never commit wrong to my love..
A sound less…
Soul in soul…
A thousand cardiogram
But a soul can understand
That wonderful.. beautiful
Sweet’s sweet soul…
for my heart.. my soul....my life..
Not for kissing passing passionate
For this waste land’s thirst
she gives rain as a baby..
gives…happy…thinking… advice… plan…
Then why should I touch her…
that may be a disturbance…
That bird should fly freely…
Should not be controlled…
For my love I never commit wrong…
Her face to face smile.. not cry… but smile..
The researcher used both teacher created and learner created contexts to enhance their cognitive development process .
In the learner directed process the learners acted as teacher. They presented their contexts and solved the problem when they encountered a new context. The mistakes committed by the learners were corrected and internalized while his/her partner was speaking correctly. The samples included high achievers, average and low achievers. By this cognitive development practice they could equalize their knowledge (i.e.; they acquired from others). Students had more to say when they involved in cultural-socio-economic situations. The emergent context played an important role in improving their creativity. Some students were intuitive, some were more analytic. When they encountered new situation they could create new opinion on their own.
The researcher could understand the success of cognitive development process at the U.G. level in enhancing second language acquisition and creativity of the learners. It has been attained trough problem solving and insight-formation. Immediately after doing the tasks
the participants were asked to fill in a questionnaire to express their views on the training they received. The questionnaire is given below:
Please tick the appropriate box:
(i) The course was good
Yes ( ) No ( )
(ii) The course provided good opportunity in exercising our
Yes ( ) No ( )
(iii) The course helped us to speak and write effectively
Yes ( ) No ( )
(iv) Four skills of LSRW were improved by cognitive development
Yes ( ) No ( )
(v) Cognitive development process was the suitable method to
acquire second language
Yes ( ) No ( )
(vi) Creativity was improved
Yes ( ) No ( )
(vii) Cognitive development process is vital to cope with any situation
Yes ( ) No ( )
(viii) Problem solving and insight formation of cognitive process have
Yes ( ) No ( )
The following are the summary of their responses:
(i) The course was good - 70%
(ii) The course provided good opportunity
in exercising their speaking skills - 65%
(iii) The course helped them to speak and
Write effectively - 73%
(iv) Four skills of LSRW were improved by
Cognitive development process. - 68%
(v) Cognitive development process was the
Suitable method to acquire second language. - 74%
(vi) Creativity was improved - 75%
(vii) Cognitive development process is vital to
cope with any situation - 72%
(viii) Problem-solving and insight-formation of
Cognitive process have been developed. - 66%
The learners’ responses show what they felt. They have benefited from the cognitive development process. Therefore it was proved that the cognitive development is the competent method to acquire second language and to improve the problem-solving capacity (Creativity) in any context.
Cognitive development is the most-effective process to expedite and better the second language acquisition of learners. After an analysis of 25 student samples to whom the emergent syllabus was given for study it was possible for the researcher to confirm that cognitive development is the prerequisite for language acquisition. The study was conducted among the UG students who were following the stereotyped rule-governing learning of mimicry and memorization in frustration and fear. In the learning of the language the creative process was ignored. It was felt that there was a strong need among the UG learners for rule free, fearless, creative speaking and writing according to the context.
The researcher used the cognitive development process to usher in the learner’s cognition and to acquire language through their insights and problem-solving capacity. During the study it was observed that the UG students could internalize the contextual use of language and their intuitive process of creativity with remarkable difference. This experience has helped them to tackle any situation. This process of cognitive development included the reasoning, problem-solving, creative speaking and writing and verbal and non-verbal abilities etc.. The researcher used 12 among the 26 tasks and they are the Information gap activities, Opinion gap activities, Role play, Simulation, Creative speaking, Reporting real events, Interviewing people, Free speaking, Carrying out many project, Making a newscast, Performing a play, Creating poetry, etc. The result from the research conducted on the UG learners points to a significant development. The tasks were set based on learners needs; their age, psychology, socio-cultural environments and their field of interest. Learners were allowed to talk freely without any rules. Their emotions were overtly conveyed. These are the two distinctive features involved in this study.
The researcher used both teacher created context and learner created context to improve learner’s cognition and reduce apprehension. Learners were asked to perform with peer group, in pairs and individually to enhance their creativity. The researcher was the facilitator to the learner’s performance. To organize the context and to develop the problem-solving capacity, emergent themes were circulated. When the learner came to encounter emergent context s/he could create the utterances which were totally new with their own emotion. In this context learner’s cognition played the vital role of problem solver. With this problem solving capacity their creativity was enhanced. However, when the learner dealt with festivals, ceremonies, accidents and incidents, they could create unconsciously. They had more to say. While the socio-economic-cultural contexts were brought into the classroom, unconsciously the learners could understand and create for various contexts.
Educational system generally adopts the behavioural psychology of learners which restricts the cognitive development process of learners. Behavioural psychology keeps the learners as passive receptors; there is no room for learner’s emotion and active process of creativity. The rules, instructions, grammar drills, exercises of every order are thrusted on the learners who cannot improve their cognition. Present teaching and learning situations totally rely on text, and no space for creativity. Owing to this reason it would be difficult for learners to compete with new situations. If the cognitive development technologies are effectively practiced, the problem of cognitive depression may not arise among the learners. So there is a strong need to develop cognition. Meta cognition and cognition are the two supreme aspects or components in the learner’s brain that helps understanding and creativity. When language is contextualized, the learners can understand the contextual use of language, because context determines the meaning. Every new situation is a problem, and the learner has to solve it.
Cognitive development process induced alacrity among the learners. During the cognitive development practice, the learners were eager to interact, it embellished the study. The ultimate aim of the study was to alleviate the misunderstanding of the learners on language and to improve their creativity to achieve effective communication.
Cognitive development process improved the four skills of Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing (LSRW) of learners. Learner’s ability of creative speaking and writing were achieved to a greater extent. Researcher used peer group evaluation and individual evaluation to examine the learners cognition in performing the context.
In this book the researcher has concentrated on spoken communication, whereas other skills such as writing, reading skills are equally necessary to achieve communicative competence.
This book deliberately decided to turn the attention from fixed, rule-governed, passive teaching and learning conditions. Instead of this ongoing monotonous attention on grammar, the researcher used the rule free communicative process. The researcher could understand from the study conducted that the conscious use of rules will hinder effective communication. If conscious use of rule is stressed upon the whole attention would be on the accurate use of rules. Consequently, the communication gets less attention. That is the reason why the learner cannot perform well. Here the unconscious application of rule is needed to communicate effectively. The researcher used the rule-free communication among the learners to enable them perform without any restriction. In the classroom performance, the learners could acquire the contextual use of language from researcher, and his/her peer group. In the initial stage the learners committed mistakes and it was corrected by them intuitively, and therefore it led to effective communication. Eventually learners could speak and write creatively to any context.
The unconscious use of rule could help them to speak and write without any obstacle. Learners used their problem-solving technique of cognition in all the situations. So they could understand and create any situation easily. This study proved that the cognition can be developed to perform in any situation. It is hoped that this book will help the students who intend to improve their socio-linguistic competence, such as grammatical competence, communicative competence and strategic competence through self-study.
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Tag der Veröffentlichung: 02.03.2009
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