First lessons in English for foreigners in evening schools
The following suggestions based upon experience may be of use to teachers: New Words. — It is intended that the meanings of many of the words used in the text be developed, if nouns, by having before the class the objects named, or if verbs or prepositions, by action or gesture. For instance, the meaning of basin, quart, hat, map, and similar words should be developed by reference to these objects before the class; and in reading lessons when a pupil asks, " What is this ? " he should hold or touch the object asked about.
Such adjectives as full, empty, wide, and long can best be explained in connection with the measures. The teacher can most readily explain such verbs as walk, carry, measure, wash, etc., by performing before the class the actions indicated. The relations in, on, under, near, by, etc., can readily be taught by the gesture. At the end of the text will be found a list of words, not readily explained otherwise, translated into German, Polish, Italian, and Yiddish. After the meanings of all new words in a lesson have been explained, the pupil should write the words, and their meanings, in his own language, in a book kept especially for that purpose.
Oral Lessons. — Proficiency in English can be attained only through the constant use of English speech. To learn to speak and understand English a pupil must use English words in speech and he must hear English spoken. It is necessary, therefore, that the teacher use over and over again, in every possible combination, every new word in each lesson; and in order that every pupil may use 5 the words the greatest number of times possible, it is recommended that these oral exercises take the form of questions which will require the use in the answer of these words incomplete statements.
Too much time can hardly be given to oral exercises of this kind. The "Reading Lessons for Two Pupils" occurring throughout the book are designed to follow such oral exercises; and immediately before these lessons the questions in them, which are to be read by a pupil, should be asked by the teacher as an oral exercise.
Action Lessons. — Facility in English is possible only when the pupil thinks in English. It is natural for a pupil to translate any English expression into his own language and, if an answer is required, to translate his thought back into English. To avoid this as much as possible, much oral work should be given in the form of acting lessons, in which the teacher should use familiar words in short commands which are to be obeyed instantly by pupils. Promptness in carrying out such orders as, "Shut the door," "Tell me the time, please," "Open two windows," demands that the pupil thinks in English. Throughout the text are many such action lessons, in which the commands are to be given by pupils, but these should be supplemented by, and in every case preceded by, oral lessons of the same kind, in which the teacher uses not only the new words of the lesson but the familiar words learned in previous lessons. Reading and Action Lessons for Four Pupils. —
These exercises, useful for giving practice in some of our English idioms, should be preceded, as in other action lessons, by similar, or identical, oral lessons, in which the teacher gives the orders and asks the questions. In the reading, however, one pupil is to give the order, one is to perform the action, one is to ask, and one to answer the questions.
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