Алтынбекова Айгуль Субанбековна КГУ «Гимназия №15» учитель английского языка
Some Psychological Aspects of Teaching Foreign Languages.
While teaching foreign languages one should not forget the factor as far as human beings with their feelings and their effects on the teacher's actions.
Moreover, the success of a teacher much depends on the attitude of the learner to the process of learning.
Psychological approaches to teaching foreign languages were mainly based as authors state, on the behaviourist theory that says that learning is a mechanical process of habit formation and continues by means of frequent reinforcement of a stimulus – response sequence. Some Methodist give some precepts of these approaches: Never translate. New language should always be dealt within the sequence: hear, speak, read and write. Frequent repetition is essential to effective learning. All errors must be immediately corrected.
However, the behaviourist theory did not deliver the results promised, mostly for the reason of giving the learner the role of a passive receiver of information. So scholars turned to the cognitive theory of learning which takes the learner to be active processor of information and is based on the mentalist view of the mind, that is, the ability of the mind to transfer what was learnt to other situations. The basic technique o the cognitive theory of language learning is the problem – solving task.
While teaching foreign languages one should not forget the active factor as far as human beings with their feelings and their effects on the teacher's actions. Moreover, the success of a teacher much depends on the attitude of the learner to the process of learning. The cognitive theory tells that learners will learn when they actively think about what they are learning, but if before learners can actively think about something, they must want to think about it, so there must be the motivation.
The study of motivation has been profoundly done by R. Gardner and W. Lambert, they identified two forms of motivation: instrumental – the learners are learning a language because they need to; integrative – learning because of desire. Both forms of motivation are present in all learners, but one may prevail over another due to the audience and personal conditions (age, experience, occupational or social needs).
Motivation should be encouraged by teachers by introducing variety in their lessons. Having in mind the aim of teaching as formation of skills and habits and using different thrill exercises for it, a teacher should introduce and run other techniques which require much preparatory work from the teacher side, such as: role play, informal drama exercises, games case study and simulations.
The last one is defined by K. Jones as reality of function in a simulated and structured environment and described by him at length in his “Stimulation in Language Teaching” . Teachers are expected to not simply followers of instruction but professionals who are open to new ideas, while being at the same time, practical and sensible in selecting and applying them.
Much depends on the personality of a teacher and the forms of contracts between him and learners. M.M. Vasilyeva names some factors that do much to raise the efficiency of communication between them. These are: partnership, cooperation, interest in a partner, general value orientation, orientation to the personality of partner and non distance character of communication. One more point that deserves mentioning here is the necessity of forming orientation of learners to the ways of getting knowledge, not only to the knowledge itself in the process of teaching, especially in its initial stage. Usually learners appear to be unaware of formal types of behaviour while performing different activities, even ordinary ones, and the task of the teacher is to form definite habits of conduct, on which the results of study course depend.
This opinion correlates with the I.A.Zimnyaya's one, who speaks about teaching as the process of forming and developing habits and skills and in accordance with it determines the following psychological factors for efficient teaching as:
Purposefulness of fulfilling the action by a pupil – he must know what for his activity is directed to;
Understanding of the essence of the given phenomena as well as the sequence of actions to achieve the result.
A regular distribution of exercises in the process of teaching – training of the definite skill is conducted through the series of exercises, which are more intensive at the beginning of training, than the time interval between them gradually increases until the aim is achieved.
These are different opinions on the problem of errors correction and the ways of correcting. Some learners are shy and attempts of the teacher to make them speak correctly may have the opposite effect. A learner may become afraid of speaking in public and prefer to keep silence during classes. That is why some teachers pay no attention to errors and even ignore them. I do not agree with this. Mistakes should be corrected but in ways due to personality of a learner. The teacher may call the learners attention to the error that is general to majority of them, or he may repeat a word or a statement after the learner in the right way as if for himself, but purposefully for the student. In any case, correction of mistakes may be done in the way nobody is offended.
The last but not the least important is that control should be established over the work of learners, every type of their activity should be objectively estimated and may be commended in some cases. If it is not so, learners would think of the teacher's indifference to their work and would not be eager to perform it in a proper way.
As a conclusion, we may state: psychological aspects are important in the process of teaching foreign languages, to achieve the aim the combination of behaviourist and cognitive theory is available. A teacher should:
Know what to teach and how to teach, choose right styles and strategies of learning, use variable techniques of teaching to support the motivation of learners;
Teach students the ways of learning, make for them clear the aims of study process;
Take control over learners activities;
Be communicative, not indifferent to his work, industrious in searching for new methods of teaching and applying them in his lessons.
The teacher may call the learners attention to the error that is general to the majority of them, or he may repeat a word or a statement after the learner in the right way as if for himself but purposefully for the student. In any case, correction of any mistakes may be done in the way nobody is offended.
Hutchkinson T., Waters A. English for Specific Purposes, 1987
Vasilyeva M.M. On some ways of Establishing Personal Contracts Between a Teacher and a Student in Learning in a Foreign language, 1979
Zimnyaya I.A. Psychological Aspects of Teaching Speaking Foreign Languages, 1985
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