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Messages - Afroza Akhter Tina

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English Grammar / Re: Difference between British & American English
« on: April 04, 2019, 11:23:26 AM »
I have shared this with my students of 'English Language Usage'.

Afroza Akhter Tina
Senior Lecturer
Department of English, DIU

Reading Skill / Re: How to Improve Reading Comprehension
« on: March 25, 2019, 02:41:17 PM »
Reading Comprehension Tips

Improving your vocabulary and increasing the amount of time you spend reading overall will help you to improve your reading comprehension over time, but what do you do to help you to comprehend a particular piece of text?
Here, I'll walk you through the steps to take as you're reading so that you can understand the text and improve how you're reading, when you're reading.

Tip 1: Stop When You Get Confused and Try to Summarize What You Just Read
As you read, let yourself stop whenever you lose focus or feel confused. Just stop. Now, without re-reading, summarize aloud or in your head what you've comprehended so far (before the place where you became confused).

Skim back through the text and compare how you've summarized it with what's written on the page. Do you feel you've captured the salient points? Do you feel a little more focused on what's going on now that you've put the material into your own words?

Keep reading with your summation in mind and let yourself stop and repeat the process whenever the piece becomes confusing to you. The more you're able to re-contextualize the work in your own words, the better you'll be able to understand it and lock the information in your mind as you keep reading.

Tip 2: If You’re Struggling, Try Reading Aloud
Sometimes, we can form a sort of “mental block” that can halt our reading progress for whatever reason (maybe the sentence looks complex or awkward, maybe you’re tired, maybe you feel intimidated by the word choice, or are simply bored).

Reading these problematic passages aloud can often help circumvent that block and help you to form a visual of what the text is trying to convey.

Tip 3: Re-read (or Skim) Previous Sections of the Text
For the most part, reading is a personal activity that happens entirely in your head. So don’t feel you have to read just like anyone else if "typical" methods don’t work for you. Sometimes it can make the most sense to read (or re-read) a text out of order.

It is often helpful to glance backwards through a piece of text (or even re-read large sections) to remind yourself of any information you need and have forgotten—what happened previously, what a particular word means, who a person was...the list is endless.

Previous sentences, sections, or even whole chapters can provide helpful context clues. Re-reading these passages will help to refresh your memory so that you can better understand and interpret later sections of the text.

Tip 4: Skim or Read Upcoming Sections of the Text
Just like with the previous step, don’t feel that the only way to read and understand a text is to work through it completely linearly. Allow yourself the freedom to take apart the text and put it back together again in whichever way makes the most sense to you.

Sometimes a current confusion in a work will be explained later on in the text, and it can help you to know that explanations are upcoming or even just to read them ahead of time.

So skip forward or backwards, re-read or read ahead as you need to, take the piece in whatever order you need to in order to make sense of the text. Not everyone thinks linearly, and not everyone best understands texts linearly either.

Tip 5: Discuss the Text With a Friend (Even an Imaginary Friend)
Sometimes discussing what you know so far about a text can help clear up any confusion. If you have a friend who hasn't read the text in question, then explain it to them in your own words, and discuss where you feel your comprehension is lacking. You'll find that you've probably understood more than you think once you've been forced to explain it to someone who's completely unfamiliar with the piece.

Even if no one else is in the room, trying to teach or discuss what a passage says or means with “someone else” can be extremely beneficial. In fact, software engineers call this technique “rubber duck debugging,” wherein they explain a coding problem to a rubber duck. This forces them to work through a problem aloud, which has proven time and time again to help people solve problems. So if a piece of text has your head spinning from trying to work through it by yourself, start chatting with your nearest friend/pet/rubber duck. You'll be surprised with how much easier it is to understand a text once you've talked it through with someone.

Afroza Akhter Tina
Senior Lecturer
Department of English, DIU

Reading Skill / How to Improve Reading Comprehension
« on: March 25, 2019, 02:32:09 PM »

Reading is a skill many people take for granted, but the act of reading and properly comprehending a text is a complex and interactive process. It requires several different brain functions to work together and most often requires one to puzzle through multiple layers of context and meaning.
Because reading comprehension is so complicated, we can often find ourselves understanding the most basic interpretation of a text, but missing the emotional core or the “big picture.” Or we might just find our brains spinning with no clue at all as to what a text is attempting to convey.
But luckily for everyone who struggles in English classes, on standardized tests, or in daily life, reading comprehension can be improved upon (and it’s never too late to start!). In this guide, I explain step-by-step how to improve reading comprehension over time and offer tips for boosting your understanding as you read.
What is Reading Comprehension?
Reading comprehension is the understanding of what a particular text means and the ideas the author is attempting to convey, both textual and subtextual. In order to read any text, your brain must process not only the literal words of the piece, but also their relationship with one another, the context behind the words, how subtle language and vocabulary usage can impact emotion and meaning behind the text, and how the text comes together as a larger, coherent whole.
For instance, let's look at the first line from Jane Austen's novel, Pride and Prejudice:
"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife."
Now, a completely literal interpretation of the text, just based on word-meaning, would have us believe that 'all rich men want wives.' But the context, word choice, and phrasing of the text actually belie that interpretation. By using the phrases "universally acknowledged" and "must be in want of" (emphasis ours), the text is conveying a subtle sarcasm to the words. Instead of it being an actual truth that 'rich men want wives,' this one sentence instantly tells us that we're reading about a society preoccupied with marriage, while also implying that the opening statement is something people in that society may believe, but that isn't necessarily true.
In just a few short words, Austen conveys several ideas to the reader about one of the main themes of the story, the setting, and what the culture and people are like. And she does so all the while seeming to contradict the literal words of the piece.
Without practice in reading comprehension, nuances like these can become lost. And so it can happen that someone may find themselves reading, but not truly comprehending the full meaning of a text.
As you can see, reading comprehension involves many processes happening in your brain at once, and thus it can be easy for some aspects of a text to get lost in the muddle. But the good news for anyone who struggles is that reading comprehension is a skill just like any other. It must be learned through practice, focus, and diligence, but it absolutely CAN be learned.
Why Reading Comprehension is Important?
Proper reading comprehension can be difficult, so why bother? Even though learning how to properly read and comprehend texts is a complicated process, it is a necessary skill to master, both for work and for pleasure.
You will need to know how to read and interpret all kinds of different texts—both on the basic, literal level and on a more in-depth level—throughout your schooling, in college, and in the working world (as well as in your recreation time!). If we think about "reading" just as a literal or surface understanding of a piece and "reading comprehension" as the complete understanding, a person can only get by in the world on pure "reading" for so long.
Reading comprehension is essential for many significant aspects of daily life, such as:
•   Reading, understanding, and analyzing literature in your English classes
•   Reading and understanding texts from your other class subjects, such as history, math, or science
•   Doing well on both the written and math sections of the SAT (or all five sections of the ACT)
•   Understanding and engaging with current events presented in written form, such as news reports
•   Properly understanding and responding to any and all other workplace correspondence, such as essays, reports, memos, and analyses
•   Simply taking pleasure in written work on your own leisure time
Just like with any goal or skill, we can master reading comprehension one step at a time.
How to Improve Reading Comprehension: 3 Steps
Because reading comprehension is a skill that improves like any other, you can improve your understanding with practice and a game plan.
Dedicate yourself to engaging in a combination of both "guided" and "relaxed" reading practice for at least two to three hours a week. Guided practice will involve structure and focused attention, like learning new vocabulary words and testing yourself on them, while relaxed practice will involve merely letting yourself read and enjoy reading without pressure for at least one to two hours a week. (Note: if you already read for pleasure, add at least one more hour of pleasure-reading per week.)
By combining reading-for-studying and reading-for-pleasure, you'll be able to improve your reading skill without relegating reading time to the realm of "work" alone. Reading is a huge part of our daily lives, and improving your comprehension should never come at the cost of depriving yourself of the pleasure of the activity.
So what are some of the first steps for improving your reading comprehension level?
Step 1: Understand and Reevaluate How You’re Currently Reading
Before you can improve your reading comprehension, you must first understand how you’re currently reading and what your limitations are.
Start by selecting excerpts from different texts with which you are unfamiliar—text books, essays, novels, news reports, or any kind of text you feel you particularly struggle to understand—and read them as you would normally. As you read, see if you can notice when your attention, energy, or comprehension of the material begins to flag.
If your comprehension or concentration tends to lag after a period of time, start to slowly build up your stamina. For instance, if you continually lose focus at the 20 minute mark every time you read, acknowledge this and push yourself to slowly increase that time, rather than trying to sit and concentrate on reading for an hour or two at a stretch. Begin by reading for your maximum amount of focused time (in this case, twenty minutes), then give yourself a break. Next time, try for 22 minutes. Once you've mastered that, try for 25 and see if you can still maintain focus. If you can, then try for thirty.
If you find that your concentration or comprehension starts to lag again, take a step back on your timing before pushing yourself for more. Improvement comes with time, and it'll only cause frustration if you try to rush it all at once.
Alternatively, you may find that your issues with reading comprehension have less to do with the time spent reading than with the source material itself. Perhaps you struggle to comprehend the essential elements of a text, the context of a piece, character arcs or motivation, books or textbooks with densely packed information, or material that is heavily symbolic. If this is the case, then be sure to follow the tips below to improve these areas of reading comprehension weakness.
Improving your reading comprehension level takes time and practice, but understanding where your strengths and weaknesses stand now is the first step towards progress.
Step 2: Improve Your Vocabulary
Reading and comprehension rely on a combination of vocabulary, context, and the interaction of words. So you must be able to understand each moving piece before you can understand the text as a whole.
If you struggle to understand specific vocabulary, it's sometimes possible to pick up meaning through context clues (how the words are used in the sentence or in the passage), but it’s always a good idea to look up the definitions of words with which you aren't familiar. As you read, make sure to keep a running list of words you don't readily recognize and make yourself a set of flashcards with the words and their definitions. Dedicate fifteen minutes two or three times a week to and quizzing yourself on your vocab flashcards.
To get started, you'll need some blank index cards and a system to keep them organized. These basic cards are an affordable option that are also available in fun colors. You can keep them organized with plastic baggies or rubber bands, or you can get an organizer. Alternatively, try these easy-flip flashcards that include binder clips. Though we strongly recommend making your own flashcards, you can also buy pre-made ones —the best option is Barron's 1100 Words You Need to Know, a series of exercises to master key words and idioms.
In order to retain your vocabulary knowledge, you must practice a combination of practiced memorization (like studying your flashcards) and make a point of using these new words in your verbal and written communication. Guided vocabulary practice like this will give you access to new words and their meanings as well as allow you to properly retain them.
Step 3: Read for Pleasure
The best way to improve your reading comprehension level is through practice. And the best way to practice is to have fun with it!
Make reading a fun activity, at least on occasion, rather than a constant chore. This will motivate you to engage with the text and embrace the activity as part of your daily life (rather than just your study/work life). As you practice and truly engage with your reading material, improvement will come naturally.
Begin by reading texts that are slightly below your age and grade level (especially if reading is frustrating or difficult for you). This will take pressure off of you and allow you to relax and enjoy the story. Here are some fun, easy reads that we recommend to get you started:
•   Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roksani Chokshi
•   Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
•   Ghost by Jason Reynolds
•   The Westing Game by Ellen Rankin
•   From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
•   The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson
•   I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
•   Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K .Rowling
Once you feel more comfortable reading and practicing your comprehension strategies (tips in the next section), go ahead and allow yourself to read at whatever reading or age level you feel like. Even if  you feel that you don't understand some of the text right now—or even a large portion of it!—if you enjoy yourself and give it your best shot, you'll find that your reading comprehension levels will improve over time.

Afroza Akhter Tina
Senior Lecturer
Department of English, DIU

Speaking Skill / Re: THE ART OF SPEAKING
« on: March 25, 2019, 02:18:43 PM »
Great sharing Sir.

Afroza Akhter Tina
Senior Lecturer
Department of English, DIU

ELT / Product–based communicative language teaching approaches
« on: February 13, 2019, 12:35:28 PM »
Product – based communicative language teaching approaches

These days demand for communicative language teaching is relatively very high. This increased demand put pressure on educators to change their teaching methods. In this article, we will examine two approaches, which focus more on the outcomes or products of learning as the starting point in course design than on classroom processes. They start by identifying the kinds of uses of language the learner is expected to be able to master at the end of a given period of instruction. Teaching strategies are then selected to help achieve these goals.

Text-Based Instruction

Text-based instruction, also known as a genre-based approach, sees communicative competence as involving the mastery of different types of texts. Text here is used in a special sense to refer to structured sequences of language that are used in specific contexts in specific ways. For example, in the course of a day, a speaker of English may use spoken English in many different ways, including the following: −

Casual conversational exchange with a friend

Conversational exchange with a stranger in an elevator

Telephone call to arrange an appointment at a hair salon 

An account to friends of an unusual experience

Discussion of a personal problem with a friend to seek advice.

Each of these uses of language can be regarded as a text in that it exists as a unified whole with a beginning, middle, and end, it confirms to norms of organization and content, and it draws on appropriate grammar and vocabulary. Communicative competence thus involves being able to use different kinds of spoken and written texts in the specific contexts of their use.
Providing students with guided practice as they develop language skills for meaningful communication through whole texts. According to this view, learners in different contexts have to master the use of the text types occurring most frequently in specific contexts. These contexts might include: studying in an English-medium university, studying in an English-medium primary or secondary school, working in a restaurant, office, or store, socializing with neighbors in a housing complex.

Contents of a Text-Based Syllabus

As its name implies, the core units of planning in TBI are text types. These are identified through needs analysis and through the analysis of language as it is used in different settings (text-based teaching thus has much in common with an ESP approach to language teaching, discussed above). However the syllabus also usually specifies other components of texts, such as grammar, vocabulary, topics, and functions; hence, it is a type of mixed syllabus, one which integrates reading, writing, and oral communication, and which teaches grammar through the mastery of texts rather than in isolation. Texts, which combine one or more of these text types, Recounts Narratives Opinion texts Expositions Discussions. A text-based approach has been adopted in Singapore and forms the framework for the 2002 syllabus for primary and secondary schools. In the Singapore context, the text types that are identified can be understood as forming the communicative building blocks Singapore children need in order to perform in an English-medium school setting. The Singapore syllabus also identifies the grammatical items that are needed in order to master different text types.

While implementing a Text-Based Approach students:

Are introduced to the social context of an authentic model of the text type being studied 
Explore features of the general cultural context in which the text type is used and the social purposes the text type achieves
Explore the immediate context of situation by investigating the register of a model text which has been selected on the basis of the course objectives and learner need. An exploration of register involves:
1.Build knowledge of the topic of the model text and knowledge of the social activity in which the text is used, e.g., job seeking
2.Understand the roles and relationships of the people using the text and how these are established and maintained, e.g., the relationship between a job seeker and a prospective employer
3.Understand the channel of communication being used, e.g., using the telephone, speaking face-to-face with members of an interview panel

Context-building activities include:

Present the context through pictures, audiovisual materials, realia
Establish the social purpose through discussions or surveys, etc.
Cross-cultural activities, such as comparing differences in the use of the text in two cultures
Compare the model text with other texts of the same or a contrasting type, e.g., comparing a job interview with a complex spoken exchange involving close friends, a work colleague or a stranger in a service encounter.

After all these have been done, students will have to do independent construction of the text. Here students work independently with the text. Independent construction activities include: Listening tasks, e.g., comprehension activities in response to live or recorded material, such as performing a task, sequencing pictures, numbering, ticking or underlining material on a worksheet, answering questions.

Listening and speaking tasks, e.g., role plays, simulated or authentic dialogs. Speaking tasks, e.g., spoken presentation to class, community organization, or workplace. Reading tasks, e.g., comprehension activities in response to written material such as performing a task, sequencing pictures, numbering, ticking or underlining material on a worksheet, answering questions. Writing tasks which demand that students draft and present whole texts.

There are also some problems with implementing a Text-Based Approach.

As can be seen from the above summary, a text-based approach focuses on the products of learning rather than the processes involved. Critics have pointed out that an emphasis on individual creativity and personal expression is missing from the TBI model, which is heavily wedded to a methodology based on the study of model texts and the creation of texts based on models. Likewise, critics point out that there is a danger that the approach becomes repetitive and boring over time since approaches described above applied to the teaching of all four skills.

Competency-Based Instruction

Competency-based instruction is an approach to the planning and delivery of courses that has been in widespread use since the 1970s. The application of its principles to language teaching is called competency-based language teaching (CBLT) — an approach that has been widely used as the basis for the design of work-related and survival-oriented language teaching programs for adults. It seeks to teach students the basic skills they need in order to prepare them for situations they commonly encounter in everyday life. Recently, competency- based frameworks have become adopted in many countries, particularly for vocational and technical education. They are also increasingly being adopted in national language curriculum, as has happened recently in countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines.

What characterizes a competency-based approach is the focus on the outcomes of learning as the driving force of teaching and the curriculum. Auerbach (1986) identifies eight features involved in the implementation of CBLT programs in language teaching:
1.A focus on successful functioning in society. The goal is to enable students to become autonomous individuals capable of coping with the demands of the world.
2.A focus on life skills. Rather than teaching language in isolation, CBLT teaches language as a function of communication about concrete tasks. Students are taught just those language forms/ skills required by the situations in which they will function. These forms are normally determined by needs analysis.
3.Task- or performance-oriented instruction. What counts is what students can do as a result of instruction. The emphasis is on overt behaviors rather than on knowledge or the ability to talk about language and skills.
4.Modularized instruction. Language learning is broken down into meaningful chunks. Objectives are broken into narrowly focused sub objectives so that both teachers and students can get a clear sense of progress.
5.Outcomes are made explicit. Outcomes are public knowledge, known and agreed upon by both learner and teacher. They are specified in terms of behavioral objectives so that students know what behaviors are expected of them.
6.Continuous and ongoing assessment. Students are pre-tested to determine what skills they lack and post-tested after instruction on that skill. If they do not achieve the desired level of mastery, they continue to work on the objective and are retested.
7.Demonstrated mastery of performance objectives. Rather than the traditional paper-and-pencil tests, assessment is based on the ability to demonstrate prespecified behaviors.
8.Individualized, student-centered instruction. In content, level, and pace, objectives are defined in terms of individual needs; prior learning and achievement are taken into account in developing curricula. Instruction is not time-based; students’ progress at their own rates and concentrate on just those areas in which they lack competence.

There are two things to note about competency-based instruction. First, it seeks to build more accountability into education by describing what a course of instruction seeks to accomplish. Secondly, it shifts attention away from methodology or classroom processes, to learning outcomes. In a sense, one can say that with this approach it doesn’t matter what methodology is employed as long as it delivers the learning outcomes.

Implementing a Competency-Based Approach

As we saw above, CBLT is often used in programs that focus on learners with very specific language needs. In such cases, rather than seeking to teach general English, the focus is on the specific language skills needed to function in a specific context. This is similar to an ESP approach and to some versions of a task-based approach. The starting point in course planning is therefore an identification of the tasks the learner will need to carry out within a specific setting (e.g., in the role of factory worker, restaurant employee, or nurse) and the language demands of those tasks. The competencies needed for successful task performance are then identified and used as the basis for course planning. For example, part of a specification of competencies for a job training course includes the following:

The student will be able to:

− Identify different kinds of jobs using simple help-wanted ads
− Describe personal work experience and skills − Demonstrate ability to fill out a simple job application with assistance
− Produce required forms of identification for employment
 − Identify Social Security, income tax deductions, and tax forms
− Demonstrate understanding of employment expectations, rules, regulations, and safety
− Demonstrate understanding of basic instructions and ask for clarification on the job
− Demonstrate appropriate treatment of co-workers (politeness and respect).

Critics of CBLT have argued that this approach looks easier and neater than it is. They point out that analyzing situations into tasks and underlying competencies is not always feasible or possible, and that often little more than intuition is involved. They also suggest that this is a reductionist approach. Language learning is reduced to a set of lists and such things as thinking skills are ignored.

The link:

Afroza Akhter Tina
Senior Lecturer
Department of English, DIU

Pragmatics / Re: What is pragmatics?
« on: February 13, 2019, 12:11:03 PM »

Pragmatics has its roots in philosophy, sociology, and anthropology. Morris, a psychologist and philosopher, drew on his background in these fields when he laid out his theory of pragmatics in his book "Signs, Language and Behavior," explaining that the linguistic term "deals with the origins, uses, and effects of signs within the total behavior of the interpreters of signs." Signs, in terms of pragmatics, refers not to physical signs but to the subtle movements, gestures, tone of voice, and body language that often accompany speech.
Sociology—the study of the development, structure, and functioning of human society—as well as anthropology also played a large role in pragmatics. Morris developed his theory based on earlier work he did in editing the writings and lectures of George Herbert Mead, an American philosopher, sociologist and psychologist, in the book "Mind, Self, and Society: From the Standpoint of a Social Behaviorist," John Shook writes in  Pragmatism Cybrary, an online pragmatism encyclopedia. In that work, Mead, whose own work also drew heavily on anthropology (the study of human societies and cultures and their development), explained how communication involves much more than just the words people use; it involves the all-important social signs people make when they communicate.

Pragmatics vs. Semantics

Morris also explained that pragmatics is different than semantics, which concerns just the relations between signs and the objects they signify. Semantics refers to the specific meaning of language; pragmatics, by contrast, involves all of the other social cues that accompany language.
Pragmatics focuses not on what people say but how they say it and how others interpret their utterances in social contexts, says Geoffrey Finch in "Linguistic Terms and Concepts." Utterances are literally the units of sound you make when you talk, but the signs that accompany those utterances are what give the sounds their true meaning.

Pragmatics in Action

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) gives two examples of how pragmatics works, or how it influences language and its interpretation. In the first, ASHA notes:
"You invited your friend over for dinner. Your child sees your friend reach for some cookies and says, 'Better not take those, or you'll get even bigger.' You can't believe your child could be so rude."
In a literal sense, the daughter is simply saying that eating cookies can make you gain weight. But due to the social context, the mother interprets that same sentence to mean that her daughter is calling her friend fat. The first sentence in this explanation refers to the semantics—the literal meaning of the sentence. The second and third refer to the pragmatics, the actual meaning of the words as interpreted by a listener based on social context. In another example, ASHA notes:
"You talk with a neighbor about his new car. He has trouble staying on topic and starts talking about his favorite TV show. He doesn't look at you when you talk and doesn't laugh at your jokes. He keeps talking, even when you look at your watch and say, 'Wow. It's getting late.' You finally leave, thinking about how hard it is to talk with him."
In this all-too-familiar scenario, the speaker is literally just talking about a new car and his favorite TV show. But the listener interprets the signs the speaker is using—not looking at the listener and not laughing at his jokes—as the speaker being unaware of the listener's views (let alone his presence) and monopolizing his time. You've likely been in this kind of situation before, where the speaker is talking about perfectly reasonable, simple subjects but is unaware of your presence and your need to escape. Where the speaker sees the talk as a simple sharing of information (the semantics), you see it as a rude monopolization of your time (the pragmatics).
Pragmatics have even proved helpful in working with children with autism. Beverly Vicker, a speech and language pathologist writing on the Autism Support Network website, notes that many children with autism find it difficult to understand and pick up on what she, and many autism theorists, describe as "social pragmatics," which refers to:
"...the ability to effectively use and adjust communication messages for a variety of purposes with an array of communication partners within diverse circumstances."
Yet when educators, speech pathologists, and other interventionists teach these explicit communication skills—or social pragmatics—to children with autism spectrum disorder the results are often quite profound and can have a big impact in improving their conversational interaction skills.
Importance of Pragmatics

Pragmatics is the "meaning minus semantics," says Frank Brisard in his essay "Introduction: Meaning and Use in Grammar," published in "Grammar, Meaning and Pragmatics." Semantics, as noted, refers to the literal meaning of a spoken utterance. Grammar, Brisard says, involves the rules defining how the language is put together. Pragmatics takes context into account in order to complement the contribution that semantics and grammar make to meaning, he says.
David Lodge, writing in the Paradise News, further explains why pragmatics is so important to understanding language:
"What does pragmatics have to offer that cannot be found in good old-fashioned linguistics? What do pragmatic methods give us in the way of greater understanding of how the human mind works, how humans communicate, how they manipulate one another, and in general, how they use language?"
Lodge says that pragmatics is needed because it gives humans "a fuller, deeper, and generally more reasonable account of human language behavior." Without pragmatics, there is often no understanding of what language actually means, or what a person truly means when she is speaking. The context—the social signs, body language, and tone of voice (the pragmatics)—is what makes utterances clear or unclear to the speaker and her listeners.

The link:

Afroza Akhter Tina
Senior Lecturer
Department of English, DIU

Applied Linguistics & ELT / Re: Turn and talk: Tell us about
« on: December 02, 2018, 12:30:29 PM »
This one also will engage students effectively.Thanks for sharing!

Afroza Akhter Tina
Senior Lecturer
Department of English, DIU

Applied Linguistics & ELT / Re: My photos
« on: December 02, 2018, 12:29:26 PM »
Interesting idea indeed to engage students!!

Afroza Akhter Tina
Senior Lecturer
Department of English, DIU

Creative Writing / Re: Freshers' Guidelines
« on: December 02, 2018, 12:28:00 PM »
This post will definitely help the students in several ways Bashar Bhai.Thanks for sharing.

Afroza Akhter Tina
Senior Lecturer
Department of English, DIU

Pragmatics / What is pragmatics?
« on: October 27, 2018, 01:42:48 PM »
 What is pragmatics?

"We human beings are odd compared with our nearest animal relatives. Unlike them, we can say what we want, when we want. All normal humans can produce and understand any number of new words and sentences. Humans use the multiple options of language often without thinking. But blindly, they sometimes fall into its traps. They are like spiders who exploit their webs, but themselves get caught in the sticky strands"  Jean Aitchison

“Pragmatics studies the factors that govern our choice of language in social interaction and the effects of our choice on others.” David Crystal

 “Pragmatics is a way of investigating how sense can be made of certain texts even when, from a semantic viewpoint, the text seems to be either incomplete or to have a different meaning to what is really intended. Consider a sign seen in a children's wear shop window: "Baby Sale - lots of bargains". We know without asking that there are no babies are for sale - that what is for sale are items used for babies. Pragmatics allows us to investigate how this "meaning beyond the words" can be understood without ambiguity. The extra meaning is there, not because of the semantic aspects of the words themselves, but because we share certain contextual knowledge with the writer or speaker of the text.  Pragmatics is an important area of study for your course. A simplified way of thinking about pragmatics is to recognise, for example, that language needs to be kept interesting - a speaker or writer does not want to bore a listener or reader, for example, by being over-long or tedious. So, humans strive to find linguistic means to make a text, perhaps, shorter, more interesting, more relevant, more purposeful or more personal. Pragmatics allows this.”  Steve Campsall

Afroza Akhter Tina
Senior Lecturer
Department of English, DIU

The examples below are shared by some of the finalists of this year’s ELTons awards:

Blended learning

As teachers combine digital media with more traditional forms of teaching, their course materials and resources reflect the trend. The Combined Pre-Sessional Course offered by King’s English Language Centre (King’s College London) combines face-to-face teaching and online lessons. For teachers who want to pepper their everyday teaching with practical online activities, Lindsay Clandfield and Jill Hadfield’s Interaction Online - creative activities for blended learning emphasises the interaction between teachers and learners.

Mobile learning

Online resources are more accessible with a mobile app or a mobile-friendly version. Wordable (Playlingo Ltd. with Cambridge University Press) turns vocabulary-learning into a fun, competitive game you could play with your friends. It has built-in, spaced repetition and active-recall learning to make new words stick.

Essential English (Oxford University Press) uses mobile technology to provide free resources for teachers and students, including flashcards, phrasebooks, lesson plans and activities. Meanwhile, Tri Pro English Website and Mobile Apps helps learners to practise their listening through free, high-quality recordings divided into levels and coupled with comprehension questions.


Appealing to football-lovers, LearnMatch (VE Vision Education GmbH) uses training sessions, friendly matches, leagues and cup games to make vocabulary learning fun for young learners. Get Set, Go! Phonics (Oxford University Press) uses chants, songs and games to help develop pre-school children’s phonological awareness.

On an even more immersive scale, Learn Languages with Ruby Rei (Wibbu) plunges the learners into an interactive adventure game. They have to use their language skills to negotiate, collaborate and build friendships in order to escape from a forgotten planet at the edge of the universe. Any learning that takes place is incidental.

Embodied learning

Embodied learning is based on the idea that learning is not just about remembering. It involves using the mind and the body, collaborating, discussing and exploring. Learners need to be emotionally, intellectually, physically and socially engaged.

Courses such as Doodle Town (Macmillan Education) use visual, audio and hands-on activities to stimulate and inspire learning, getting young learners to draw, create, and be inquisitive. Orbit (Richmond) develops the young learners’ socio-emotional and cognitive skills through a language course that follows the story of a ferret and children who go on adventures in multicultural environments.

Inquiry-based learning (or: 'learning in a complex world')

The scenarios that teachers come across in some course materials can seem simplified and unrealistic, leading us to wonder if we are adequately training our learners for real life in the 21st century.

Courses like Fast Track 5 (EF Education First Ltd) and Wider World (Pearson with the BBC) use authentic video and audio content to bring the real world to teenage learners. They encourage teenagers to practise the soft skills and communication skills needed to take part in the global communities of the 21st century. Aimed at the adult learner, Perspectives (National Geographic) uses real-life stories and TED talks to motivate learners to think critically and creatively.

Danny Norrington-Davies’s Teaching Grammar: From Rules to Reasons (Pavilion Publishing) is an alternative approach to teaching grammar. Teachers and learners discover how writers and speakers use grammar to express themselves in real life. Hugh Dellar and Andrew Walkley’s Teaching Lexically (Delta Publishing) combines the teaching of grammar and lexis for more effective classroom practice, rather than over-simplifying language into a more traditional ‘grammar + words’ view.

English as a lingua franca (ELF)

When the concept of English as a lingua franca was first discussed by teachers, academics, writers and trainers, it was controversial. Many refused to consider how the concept of English as an international language might fit into course materials and language teaching. Today, we see resource materials like PronPack 1-4 (Mark Hancock) taking a non-prescriptive approach to accent and instead focusing on increased intelligibility as the objective. Using elements of blended learning and gamification, this pronunciation course doesn’t help the learner sound British or American, but instead prepares the learner to use English in the global arena.

Multi-literacies and trans-languaging

In global communities where English is a common language of communication alongside other languages, knowledge of other languages is an asset. Rather than diminish the learners’ first language (also known as subtractive bilingualism), teachers are encouraging learners to use their own languages. This requires complex social and cognitive skills. In contrast, strict English-only classrooms are slowly becoming a thing of the past. Such linguistic diversity is celebrated in courses like the Family Skills Toolkit (Learning Unlimited Ltd) that encourages parents and carers of children learning English to see their bilingualism as a benefit.

Supporting learners of specific needs

As globalisation takes hold, 'glocalisation' (adapting an international product to match what people want in their particular country or culture) becomes necessary. The more we understand individual learners' needs, the more we can tailor our lessons to suit them. Ros Wright’s book Learning English: English for Health and Social Care Workers (Pavilion Publishing) provides learners not just with medical terms, but also knowledge of policies and procedures in the medical and care industry. Study Legal English – the world’s first legal English podcast includes online learning materials and quizzes to gamify learning.

However, catering to learners with specific needs does not only mean English for Specific Purposes (ESP). Imagine! (Silva Education Ltd) caters to Brazilian learners from low-income families. EAP for Syrian Academics Projects provides online EAP lessons and material support for Syrian academics exiled across Turkey. Supporting Learners with Dyslexia in the ELT classroom is a teacher resource providing teachers with both theory and practical ideas of how to ‘reach and teach’ students with dyslexia.

Creating and sharing content

While there’s much online content already out there for learners, some programmes and apps allow learners to produce their own content and share what they have created with others. Popular online sites like Quizizz and Socrative allow both teachers and students to create online games and play games that are shared by users from around the world. Websites like Canva allow teachers and learners to express their creativity through posters, social media memes and banners. Then there are mindmapping sites, comic-strip creation sites and movie-editing/movie-making sites.

Using content-creation tools like these allow learners to use language creatively, and turn language practice into a fun and engaging activity. ELTons finalist Brick by Brick (StandFor/ FTD Educaçāo) is one such course for younger learners that has them creating and embarking on hands-on projects as they learn.

Learning and teaching management platforms

Learning management platforms (LMSs) like Edmodo are increasingly popular. They give learners an online way to find handouts, continue classroom discussions and submit homework. Now, online platforms are also used to communicate with parents and other stakeholders, give teachers and administrators a better overview of the curriculum, and help manage lesson plans and materials.

The Royal ABC (Prosper Education Pte Ltd) curriculum for four-to-six year olds comes with a teacher platform that allows teachers to manage lesson planning, complete administration, schedule homework and report to parents. This gives teachers more time to work with children in the classroom.

These tools may appeal because they seem shiny and new. But the true value of innovations lies in how much they can help learners to become better communicators in English., and the extent to which they can help teachers encourage learners in the most efficient, motivating ways.

Afroza Akhter Tina
Senior Lecturer
Department of English, DIU

Second Language Acquisition / Five Stages of Second Language Acquisition
« on: October 21, 2018, 03:06:57 PM »
Five stages of second language acquisition

Proponents of second language acquisition theories, including Oliveri and Judie Haynes, another ESL teacher with 28 years of experience, identify five distinct stages of second language acquisition as originally espoused by linguist Stephen Krashen. These include the following:

1. Silent/receptive

This stage may last from several hours to several months, depending on the individual learner. During this time, new language learners typically spend time learning vocabulary and practice pronouncing new words. While they may engage in self-talk, they don’t normally speak the language with any fluency or real understanding.

This stage is controversial among language educators. Ana Lomba disagrees that second language learners are totally silent while they are in this first learning stage. Instead, Lomba states that “speech is fundamental in language acquisition” and learners excel in language acquisition when they apply what they learn as they learn it.

2. Early production

This stage may last about six months, during which language learners typically acquire an understanding of up to 1,000 words. They may also learn to speak some words and begin forming short phrases, even though they may not be grammatically correct.

3. Speech emergence

By this stage, learners typically acquire a vocabulary of up to 3,000 words, and learn to communicate by putting the words in short phrases, sentences, and questions. Again, they may not be grammatically correct, but this is an important stage during which learners gain greater comprehension and begin reading and writing in their second language.

4. Intermediate fluency

At this stage, which may last for a year or more after speech emergence, learners typically have a vocabulary of as many as 6,000 words. They usually acquire the ability to communicate in writing and speech using more complex sentences. This crucial stage is also when learners begin actually thinking in their second language, which helps them gain more proficiency in speaking it.

5. Continued language development/advanced fluency

It takes most learners at least two years to reach this stage, and then up to 10 years to achieve full mastery of the second language in all its complexities and nuances. Second language learners need ongoing opportunities to engage in discussions and express themselves in their new language, in order to maintain fluency in it.

The key to learning a new language and developing proficiency in speaking and writing that language is consistency and practice. A student must converse with others in the new language on a regular basis in order to grow their fluency and confidence. In addition, Haynes says it’s important for students to continue to work with a classroom teacher on specific content area related to the new language such as history, social studies and writing.

Afroza Akhter Tina
Senior Lecturer
Department of English, DIU

Applied Linguistics & ELT / Re: Motivation in ELT
« on: October 21, 2018, 03:04:02 PM »
Learner Motivation in Language Teaching

Learners' motivation is a key variable that frequently concerns and challenges practitioners in language classrooms (Cheng & Dörnyei, 2007; Scheidecker & Freeman, 1999). It is an abstract construct (Dörnyei, 2001) that has been defined in a number of ways. Dörnyei and Ottó (1998) define motivation in second language (L2) learning as "the dynamically changing cumulative arousal in a person that initiates, directs, coordinates, amplifies, terminates, and evaluates the cognitive and motor processes whereby initial wishes and desires are selected, prioritised, operationalised and (successfully or unsuccessfully) acted out" (p. 65). This definition captures various influential factors that drive learners' desire or arousal to acquire an L2.

Learners' motivation varies because of numerous endogenous (i.e., internal or inner inspiration) and exogenous (i.e., external to human personality) factors, such as sociocultural circumstances, professional needs, and language requirements for international education. Endogenous factors bring pleasure and satisfaction to a student, and exogenous factors relate to the tangible benefits attached to an activity (Noels, Clement, & Pelletier, 1999). A number of studies over the past couple of decades have analyzed patterns of motivation in language classrooms in a variety of situations (e.g., Cheng & Dörnyei, 2007; Dörnyei, 2001; Gliksman, Gardner, & Smythe, 1982). These studies have established a consistently strong relationship between motivation and L2 success. As a language professional, I have faced two main challenges in teaching—motivating learners and sustaining their motivation—and I have come to recognize learners' motivation as a vital element in language teaching.

To deal with the motivational variable (i.e., "cumulative arousal"), I employ several microstrategies, or "techniques that promote the individual's goal-related behaviour" (Dörnyei, 2001, p. 28). These are clustered under the following three macrostrategies, which are general guiding principles to enhance and sustain learner motivation and will need context-specific adjustments if considered for any other ESL or EFL instructional site.

Promote Learners' Involvement in the Program

I involve learners in some decisions about the ESL program. For instance, setting assignment and project deadlines is one of the important decisions that interests learners. In one of my ESL courses, an independent research project is a semester-long component of the program. The project has a number of steps (e.g., deciding research focus, searching sources, developing an outline), and during the second week of the semester, the students and I discuss and set deadlines for all of the project stages. This collaborative decision making allows learners to feel that they set their targets themselves rather than someone else ordering them to do so. Furthermore, I give learners a clear understanding of my expectations, leaving no room for ambiguity or missing information. This objective can be achieved by providing a detailed course outline, using a clear assessment rubric, and, most important, making adjustments to teaching plans according to learners' reflective feedback (e.g., I use a self-assessment narrative with prompts such as "I learned from this project . . . " and "The major problem areas in this course were . . . "). These strategies are just a couple that are likely to help learners realize that their opinion matters in various course decisions and that the teacher cares about the learners. Thus, I strive to make my ESL teaching a bidirectional process through teacher–learner involvement.

Create a Safe Atmosphere for Learners in the Class

I make all efforts to provide learners with a low-anxiety, if not anxiety-free, classroom atmosphere (Brown, 2001; Cheng & Dörnyei, 2007). This motivational strategy also ties into my learner-centered approach in language teaching. I try to create a safe as well as supportive environment in which learners can learn and practice the language comfortably. I maintain this positive environment through good teacher–student working relationships. For example, I make regular contributions to a bulletin board in the classroom with welcome, happy birthday, and congratulations messages and encourage students to use the board to exhibit their projects. Additionally, I make use of Web-based chat rooms for virtual interaction and mutual support.

Other similar strategies can also strengthen good working relationships. Teachers can take simple yet highly effective steps, such as joining learners on field trips, hikes, and lunches. These confidence-building efforts over time help to develop a classroom community. Learners experience and appreciate the supportive teaching environment in which they are encouraged to take risks in using language structures creatively and accept that the mistakes made in this effort probably will not impede their initiatives (Cheng & Dörnyei, 2007; Reid, 1999).

Make Language Learning Enjoyable and Interesting

I believe making learning an enjoyable experience is crucial to maintaining learners' motivation (Dörnyei, 2001). This belief leads me to consider the application of various principles related to motivation when preparing a teaching plan for a semester or similar period. First, texts, audiovisual materials, tasks, and class activities should be related to students' interests. Second, the teacher should always give learners choices in assigning a task, and learners' preferences should get priority. Third, an extracurricular component in the course is a very desirable feature so that elements such as music and humor can be incorporated in teaching, thus increasing learning opportunities beyond regular lessons (Kumaravadivelu, 2003). These extracurricular activities can be simple speaking and writing acts such as sharing a cultural object from one's country/region, giving a musical or dramatic performance, and having poster competitions. I have tried these activities and found them quite successful in enhancing and maintaining learners' motivation.

Furthermore, it is important to appreciate learners' efforts and progress. To promote learner autonomy, I incorporate activities that involve peer support and feedback in addition to teacher commentary. The use of interesting icebreakers can help in overcoming classroom drudgery. For this purpose, I use cartoons and brief video clips related to the lesson. Moreover, sometimes changing the class venue to an open space or a corner in the school café can help break monotony, especially when a lesson does not require use of classroom equipment.


Though a magic formula for motivating language learners may not exist, motivational strategies that are suitable to a specific population can positively impact the "cumulative arousal" of language learners. The abstract nature of motivation makes it difficult for classroom practitioners to gauge or quantify learner motivation using a measuring instrument, so to cope with this abstractness, practitioners can rely on their critical observations about learners' motivational patterns during the course of an academic program. It's a plain fact about language teaching that motivation of language learners fluctuates (is "dynamically changing"), and practitioners need to factor awareness of this reality into all curricular stages.


Brown, H. D. (2001). Teaching by principles: An integrative approach to language pedagogy (2nd ed.). White Plains, NY: Longman.

Cheng, H., & Dörnyei, Z. (2007). The use of motivational strategies in language instruction: The case of EFL teaching in Taiwan. Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, 1,153–173.

Dörnyei, Z. (2001). Motivational strategies in the language classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Dörnyei, Z., & Ottó, I. (1998). Motivation in action: A process model of L2 motivation. Working Papers in Applied Linguistics, 4, 43–69.

Gliksman, L., Gardner, R. C., & Smythe, P. C. (1982). The role of the integrative motive on students' participation in the French classroom. Canadian Modern Language Review, 38, 625–647.

Kumaravadivelu, B. (2003). Beyond methods: Macrostrategies for language teaching. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Noels, K. A., Clement, R., & Pelletier, L. G. (1999). Perceptions of teachers' communicative style and students' intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Modern Language Journal, 83, 23–34.

Reid, J. (1999). Affect in the classroom: Problems, politics, and pragmatics. In J. Arnold (Ed.), Affect in language learning (pp. 297–306). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Shahid Abrar-ul-Hassan ( is a faculty member at the Language Center of Sultan Qaboos University, in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman.

Afroza Akhter Tina
Senior Lecturer
Department of English, DIU

Creative Writing / Re: পথিক হেটে চলেছে
« on: October 21, 2018, 03:01:45 PM »

Afroza Akhter Tina
Senior Lecturer
Department of English, DIU

Creative Writing / Re: To-Do list for Outgoing Students
« on: October 21, 2018, 03:01:10 PM »
That's definitely going to help our students a lot.

Afroza Akhter Tina
Senior Lecturer
Department of English, DIU

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