In the last decades several approaches to teach English in EFL contexts have made an appearance and disappeared as research in this area has developed. Since the 1980s, when constructivism made an appearance "using its emphasis on social discussion and the discovery, or structure, of so this means "(Brown, 2007, p. 12), several methods have come up saying to be the best to incorporate the essential elements of this theory and to be the answer for English professors to make all their students learn and have fun with the mark language. As Dark brown (2007) explains several methods are believed representatives of what is nowadays known as the Communicative Dialect Methodology, which is "an eclectic mixture of the efforts of earlier methods in to the best of what a teacher can offer in traditional uses of the second dialect in a classroom". (Dark brown, 2007, p. 18)
The purpose of this paper is to investigate advantages and down sides of applying one of the 'so called' communicative strategies, the Theme-Based Procedure, in the context of a freshman university span of English as a foreign Language. Though the author of these paragraphs thinks that there is no such thing as the 'perfect method', and that it is a good teacher's job to choose the pedagogical techniques that best suit her learners' needs and her values about language teaching, she'll only measure the benefits and handicaps of using the strategies proposed by this solo methodology in her own teaching context.
Yang (2009) clarifies that the theme-based training is usually considered within the model of content-based training. (p. 162) As the name advises, the curriculum of this approach is prepared around themes or subject areas which contextualize the components of the target terms that are provided to learners. Many of these designs can be derived from the subject subject details that the students are learning in different stages of these education.
Shin (2007) states that "When instructing British as a Foreign Language (EFL) at any level, the school room has to be a place where language isn't just trained but also used meaningfully". (p. 2) Window curtain and Dahlberg in their book Dialects and Children: Making the Match (2010) assert that as " the teacher connects language training to existing topics or creates language-specific designs, the language school is clearly a built-in part of the college day, and dialects are perceived to be meaningful components of student learning". (p. 1-2)
Brinton (cited in Shin, 2007) promises a thematic curriculum can offer "rich suggestions for lessons that are either language-based (i. e. , with a focus on vocabulary, pronunciation, and sentence structure) or skills-based (i. e. , with a concentrate on tuning in, speaking, writing, or reading). " (p. 2)
Gao (2011) details the theme-based strategy as counting on Krashen's dialect acquisition theory which declares that learners need to be offered sufficient comprehensible type. This input must reflect his idea of i + 1, where 'I' is the learners' current terms competence and '+ 1' is the "input supposed to be the slightly higher-level than students' faculty". (p. 34) The professor would be in charge of providing this insight and of supporting students to enhance this suggestions into intake. To get this done, she or he has to select the theme and the activities related that could best suit the passions and needs of the students. Yang (2009) provides that whenever choosing the theme and planning the activities, the "children's effectiveness level" should also be looked at. (p. 170) As in virtually any communicative syllabus, in the theme-based procedure, the learner is the protagonist of the process, so that it is unthinkable to organize a syllabus without considering the learners' hobbies and needs as a starting place.
In the next paragraphs the coaching context will be provided together with the several aspects of the theme-based procedure that are believed to be applicable to this context.
Nowadays most universities are increasing the amount of hours of British in their curriculums. Hence they are simply requiring instructors with a higher command line in the four skills of the terminology. Most schools are incorporating English in more than one subject material. The Escuela de Educacin of Universidad de los Andes took this need under consideration when planning the new curriculum and included 5 semesters of compulsory English courses. The overall aims of the English curriculum are "to improve the four words skills through reading, discussing and dealing with an array of texts that aid in a better knowledge of human beings and teaching" (English II, 2012). Students are divided in two proficiency levels which allow the students to feel laid back as well as demanded in a level that works with their proficiency.
Nunan (cited in Yang 2009) boasts that language is most beneficial purchased when the learners are prepared in homogeneous levels of proficiency. The theme-based way allows the teachers to adjust the designs, materials and activities to the students' proficiency level, which is regular with the organization of students in this context.
Since the school described this is a freshmen lower-level English class, the students, who are to be elementary teachers, are anticipated to produce brief discussions on various issues using grammatically accurate, formal and casual terminology, and a good control of the British sound system. They need to display critical thinking and knowledge of the specific matter and related vocabulary. They also have to have the ability to identify the main and secondary ideas in a short text (British II, 2012). These targets make reference to cognitive process as well as language command. The terms is an device to build up thinking skills.
A Theme-based syllabus seems very suitable to allow each one of these objectives to be achieved. The English terms can be learnt using the extensive topic of Education, and in this particular, a myriad of themes ranging from elementary levels subject concerns, to learning and teaching theories, or cultural knowledge of the English speaking countries. "When styles are well chosen, students could be more engaged with the learning because they can easily see its purpose and find it interesting -and fun". (Window curtain & Dahlberg, 2010, p. 2) In other words, this process motivates students to learn dialects. Gao (2011) mentions the test carried out inside the Jiang School that facilitates this assertion. Freeman & Freeman (cited in Yang, 2009) verify this notion when they communicate that students are definitely more willing to participate in the category, try harder, and stay focused, when the "content of the lessons is pertinent and interesting" to them. "Their motivation is more likely to increase". (p. 162) In the case of the context examined in this newspaper, around 1 / 3 of the students take it very critically and understand the importance of learning British for their future career; 1 / 3 are average students, who want to learn, but do not do any extra work and, 1 / 3 who take it just within the curriculum. This is very pitiful if it is considered that intrinsic inspiration is most important along the way of learning. A lot of the class does not have it in a desirable level. The theme-based way can be considered a major contribution to the issue.
Another interesting probability allowed by this process is the use of real materials. The instructor can select traditional readings such as poems, rhymes, short stories, paper articles, academic paperwork, amongst others, that present the learners with new vocabulary found in real situations with regards to the chosen theme. Aside from growing the skill of reading, these readings could possibly be the starting place to students' production in British. "Ideally, the varieties of activities instructors design for the materials should move from understanding activities to such development activities as making presentations to the course, or writing accounts, creating a school anthology of reviews, or even submitting a newspaper". (Strong, 1995) Hence, the four language skills can be marketed. Also, vocabulary related to the decided on themes is easier learned, as Khayef and Khoshnevis (2012) demonstrated in their analysis carried out in Iran.
Themes also allow students to show critical thinking and understanding of the specific subject matter and related vocabulary. Drape and Dahlberg assert that activities in a theme- founded approach can indulge students "in intricate thinking and more sophisticated use of dialect" (p. 4) Dialogue around topics of interest to the learners can lead them to the introduction of sophisticated ideas that involve the utilization of intricate cognitive skills, such as analyzing, synthesizing, contrasting, contrasting as well as others. These skills are desired for our students, not only for their own benefit, but for their future students', too.
Students in the framework described know that we now have high expectations of them and that any help required will be accessible. This makes them feel encouraged to put their finest work in using the prospective language and participating in the collaborative activities. "The students in a theme-based school room accomplish a diversity of communicative jobs in cooperative organizations where they share a typical goal working productively" (Gao, 2011, p. 37) The disciplined environment that prevails in this context would favor this type of work.
Some of the techniques used in category are choral reading, grammar exercises in a context, oral presentations of different issues, cloze, dialogues, reflection, debate and conversation. The theory is to help learners use the terminology more spontaneously. It is important to consider different learning varieties of the students as it is performed in this course, and to choose techniques that develop fluency and accuracy and reliability as well. Most, if not all, of the techniques can be easily followed in the theme-based approach, but most of all, it helps the development of exactness by integrating the coaching of grammatical components of the language in a meaningful context. "Thematic education avoids the utilization of isolated exercises with grammatical set ups, applied out of framework" (Window curtain & Dahlberg, 2010, p. 4). This view is totally consistent with just how grammar is shown in the framework handled in this paper, although there's a risk of not providing enough awareness and depth to the syntactic components of the terms. As future professors, these learners may desire a more profound understanding of the buildings that configure the British language, so that they are able to solve the doubts with their future students.
Fluency also performs an important role in this approach for it helps bring about instances of dental communication. Gao (2011) established in his analysis "that the students under the direction of Theme-based Oral Approach (TOA) will improve their oral English abilities and even more enthusiastic and enthusiastic about oral British learning". (p. 37) Discussing topics and themes of common interest, like the ones related to the students professional field or even to the Anglo speaking culture, helps the relationship and negotiation of and therefore are referred to as area of the goals of the course which underlie the sort of activities that the Theme-based methodology advocates.
It is important to remember these learners are future teachers, so the framework is different from the normal language course. These are supposed to be models to other students in the foreseeable future, either in the utilization of the target language just as her attitudes. Therefore an extra changing taking part in in this second terminology learning environment that can be assumed by this approach. The educator is dependable of selecting the issues and adapting those to the different degrees of skills and thinking skills of his / her students. Students in this program may adapt all the activities they may be learning English with to the contexts where they will be teaching in the future. Even though a theme-based syllabus reestablishes the importance of the role of professors in the training process, it gives them a great responsibility in the success or inability of this process, as well. Yang (2009) asserts that " theme-based teaching as a strategy will not automatically make learners become more interested in learning British, unless teachers have the ability to use interesting activities and suitable materials". Selecting the right themes or templates, materials, activities and arranging the students' work in the right way is what boosts learning. This may also be said about most strategies. Perhaps one of the primary factors for just about any methodology to be successful is the way in which the educator uses it in a specific framework. The theme-based procedure requires that the professor invest a considerable amount of time in planning the lesson. Teachers can simply feel confused with the pressure of determining the goals, selecting the theme, creating the activities and materials, evaluating the outcomes and all the other features involved in lesson planning. All this planning can be quite time-consuming, being time one of the very most important and elusive treasures in a teacher's life.
All in every, I think that the advantages for using the theme-based methodology in the framework described exceed definitely the negatives. This technique can help instructors encourage students to learn British as a foreign language, promoting its used in significant situations that encourage students to develop the four skills, tuning in, reading, writing and speaking, as well as important thinking skills. The expenses or disadvantages influence mainly the professor who is the one in charge of planning the lessons. I believe the time committed to doing so thoroughly will pay again with high interests. The confirmation of students' learning is a good reward any instructor can have. As for the sentence structure knowledge issue mentioned as important in this framework, I feel that teachers can resort to other kinds of activities to provide extra opportunities to exercise this element, even if it generally does not fit properly well in the theme- structured approach.
Ana Mara Reyes