Jones (2010) and Ellis (2002) have made
suggestions for activities using the processes of noticing, exploring and
practising. Ellis (2002) as mentioned earlier in the assignment, suggests five
teaching activities which can be used to develop knowledge of a problematic
feature. His suggestions would be highly effective for the teaching of ESP for
diploma students. My former LTM students struggled with the key lexis required
for their main subjects. One ‘noticing’ approach that could be used with them
is listening to comprehend. One example is lexis related to jobs in the supply
chain industry. Students listen to a dialogue (see appendices 4 and 5) describing
a job advertisement for a corporate procurement manager. This dialogue is rich
with the target language. The students then ‘listen to notice’ by listening to
the same dialogue again but are given a gap-fill activity with the target
language missing. They have to listen to fill it in exactly as they hear it to
notice the form. With assistance from the teacher who prompts them, they
discover the words. The students then check their answers in groups and they
can practise the new lexis in a production activity by making their own
logistics job advertisement. It is clearly apparent that noticing is easy to
adapt to all learning contexts and an approach that I as a teacher cannot wait
to use and notice the impact it has on my learners.
In conclusion, ‘noticing’ is a highly
interactive and engaging approach to teaching and one that I will put into
practice. It is a complete contrast to earlier approaches which focused on
subconscious processes (Krashen, 1996) by focusing on awareness, intention and
knowledge (Schmidt, 1998) and helps to combine explicit and implicit knowledge
of the target language. The five teaching activities suggested by Ellis (2002)
and those suggested by Jones (2010) provide an exciting and innovative way for
students to notice and bridge the gap in their language learning. The usage of
words such as ‘notice’ and ‘explore’ make the approach enticing and one that I
as a teacher would love to be part of. Of course, like any approach it has its
opponents. According to Qi and Lapkin (2001) that as learners get more
proficient, it is easier for them to notice the gap between their mother tongue
and the target language. Whereas Shin (2010) sees this in a different light
stating that as the learners get more proficient, they become complacent and
careless about the gap. Furthermore, it is seen that much is expected from the
students as they need to pay attention and be alert to the process (Ünlü,
2015). I am still highly in favour of using this approach and as this
assignment is looking at how ‘noticing’ can be used for the acquisition of
grammar, I believe that the approach can be adapted to be used for all the
skills and sub-skills in language learning.
A traditional style grammar lesson would have
ended in disaster with such a class and with a ‘noticing’ lesson the students
could then follow on the grammar by self-directed approaches in that they could
do more research into the topic of ‘phrasal verbs’ now that they were somewhat
aware of what the grammar was, what they knew and what they did not know. The
research could be followed on with a group presentation where they could
present to the rest of the class what they knew about phrasal verbs using power
point or flipchart paper. And as mentioned earlier, the students can compare
and make comments on each other’s work. Such activities clearly reinforce the
salient noticing strategies suggested by Cross (2002), Ellis (2002) and
Thornbury (1997). ‘Noticing’ can be an effective activity for any level or
culture of student when prepared properly and with the emphasis being on
noticing and the student.
The learners who would be using such a
profile would be a group of learners in the B1/B2 spectrum and who see
communication and effective use of grammar as the way forward. If I had used
this lesson a year ago in Oman, I would have used it with my LTM 1A class. They
were a class of 25 students with an average age of 19. It was a mixed group of
males and females with 15 male students and 10 female students. 23 of them were
Omani, 1 was Saudi Arabian and 1 was Pakistani. Their mother tongues were
Arabic and Urdu. They were a very motivated class and student-centred
activities were a prevalent feature in all my classes with them. I was often
able to take a back-seat role and monitor. They were in their first year of
diploma and very ambitious. The ‘noticing’ approach would have been highly
effective with them as they had a very strong implicit knowledge, but their
explicit knowledge was lacking somewhat leading to errors in grammar when
speaking and writing. A ‘noticing’ style lesson would have helped them bridge
the gap between their implicit and explicit knowledge of English. There were
also some students who knew more than the others and with the students
reformulating, reconstructing and comparing each other’s work, noticing would
have been effective in discovering the gaps in learning that lay within the
By the end of this lesson, the students
should have gained some insight into phrasal verbs. It is crucial that this
activity or a very similar one is done again as repetition is a must.
students compare and make comments on each group’s work.
students can present their dialogues in class orally.
some phrasal verbs to do with telephoning on the board (or display on
powerpoint) and get students in groups to devise their own telephone dialogue.
They can use the phrases from earlier to help scaffold their work.
Then get students to figure out the missing
verb or article in the following short gap fill activity (see appendix 3).
Doing this is an effective way of drawing students attention to the target
language and is a sound starting point.
Give feedback on the students’ answers.
Explain that depending on the context that verbs can have a formal and an
informal form which is called ‘phrasal verbs.’
own knowledge, do you know any other verbs and prepositions that are not in the
change the meaning?
verbs in dialogue 1 have a formal equivalent verb in dialogue 2?
Give feedback on students’ answers to the
previous questions and have them discuss the following questions:
some of the verbs followed by a preposition or adverb in dialogue 1 and not in
the differences in meaning between connect
and put through; wait and hang on; deactivate and switch
off; speak louder and speak up…?
Students discuss the following questions.
students what differences they notice between the verbs in the two dialogues.
students list the differences in the underlined verbs from the two dialogues.
their understanding of what is happening in the dialogues.
two similar telephone phrase dialogues to the students and have them read them.
The lesson will be split up into three main
parts to cover the learning outcomes mentioned before. They are Noticing, Exploring and Practising. Comparing will fall under
the practise section.
As mentioned before all the lessons must be
tailor made and adapted to align with the students main Logistics and Transport
Management subjects. As effective communication skills are vital, it is
beneficial to base lessons on real life situations. In this lesson, students
will be given key phrases from telephone communication within the business
and give feedback to peers
using phrasal verbs to do with telephoning
the observations they have made and give reasons why
the differences between phrasal verbs and non-phrasal verbs
Jones (2010) gives clear advice on how to
formulate a lesson plan for a successful ‘noticing’ lesson and taking their
advice into consideration I have devised the following learning outcomes for a
phrasal verb related lesson. This will be a ‘noticing’ activity comparing two
similar telephone dialogues used in the logistics industry – one using phrasal
verbs and the second dialogue using formal English and not containing any
phrasal verbs. By the end of the lesson students will be able to:
I like to try out innovative approaches that
evolve around student-centred learning having written about the Lexical Approach for the Acquisition of ESP
Vocabulary in Part A. Therefore, I have decided to describe and analyse
‘Noticing’ in the acquisition of phrasal verbs used in LTM. Before starting
this masters course, I had taught ESP to first year diploma students of
logistics at a college in Oman for 6 years. I am keen on student-centred
learning and spent a lot of time developing materials and lesson plans which
promoted this. Unfortunately, many of the students were used to more
traditional methods of teaching which were teacher dominated with teachers
giving the students sheets of notes to memorise. Working in groups and giving
peer feedback was something very alien to them. What we were faced with was
disengaged and totally unmotivated students. Aware of this the college started
to train its teachers to show them the importance of student-centred learning
and autonomy. With teachers using a wide array of innovative teaching
strategies and activities, students started to become interested and taking the
initiative in their own learning. As I hope to go back to ESP teaching after I
have completed my masters, approaches like ‘noticing’ are ones that I will
incorporate into my lessons. When using the lexical approach to teach ESP
vocabulary, I touched upon noticing activities such as task
repetition by collecting students’ work and highlighting their work. I was
inspired by the article on noticing by Thornbury (1997). ‘Noticing’ totally engages the students and when
grammar is presented in context, students can notice the grammar rather than
being told about it. They will recognise the grammar when they see it again
(Harmer, 2015). And ‘noticing’ activities in the classroom can help the
learners to notice and find out where the gap in their learning is (Jones,
2010). Students can get more interested in their own learning, it helps them to
develop deep learning skills and keeps them from daydreaming. Having also
taught ESP at an automobile company in Germany prior to my teaching in Oman,
one of the hot issues for my learners both in Germany and Oman, was how to
communicate effectively on the telephone in a business context. Trying to find
different approaches for my students was something that I was and am still
interested in. Jones (2010) recommends presenting challenging but
comprehensible input. In the case of my former students, they were having to
deal with high level logistics materials and ‘noticing’ is one approach that
with assistance would be highly effective and productive for the learners.
Effective communication skills in English were a must for my students because
at the end of their second year of diploma they had to do training in a company
related to the field of logistics such DB-Schenker or Oman Air Cargo.
Developing students into autonomous learners was also a great step in preparing
them for the world of work after their studies. And I hope to gain more insight
into ‘noticing’ and how it can be beneficial for my future students.
Through explicit teaching, teachers can draw
students’ attention to certain language features (Ellis 2002).
(Ellis 2002, p. 30-31)
5. Trying it: students apply their knowledge
in a production activity.”
4. Checking: students are given a written
text containing errors and are asked to correct them.
3. Understanding the grammar points: with
help from the teacher, the students analyse the data and ‘discover’ the rule.
2. Listening to notice: students listen to
the same text again, but are given a gap-fill exercise. The target form is missing, and
the students fill it in exactly as they hear it to help them notice the form.
“1. Listening to comprehend: students listen
to comprehend a text that has been structured to contain several examples of
the target form.
But how can teachers help students notice?
Cross (2002), Ellis (2002) and Thornbury (1997) have come up with some valid
and interesting ideas on how to help students notice the target language. Cross
(2002) has written about factors that draw attention to certain features in
input. Thornbury (1997) has written about noticing strategies that will lead to
autonomy in the students’ language acquisition such as giving students
opportunities for silent study and reflection; exploiting vocabulary
acquisition to cement noticing; developing their scanning and proof reading
skills; reconstruction activities and using ‘notice’ in the classroom language
e.g. Did you ‘notice’? What is ‘noticing’? Thornbury (1997) states that what he
writes are only suggestions in helping to develop the learners’ cognitive
learning strategies. As grammar acquisition is the central focus of this
assignment, it is interesting what Ellis (2002) outlines in his five teaching
activities to develop grammatical knowledge of a problematic feature.
If learners pay attention to the form and
meaning of the language they are learning, they will understand the rule
(Batstone 1996) and noticing can help them to notice the gaps and make them
aware of the mistakes they are making in the target language in that they
notice differences between their own language and the L2 (Ellis, 2002).
Schmidt (1998) came up with the ‘noticing
hypothesis’ suggesting that nothing can be learned until it has been noticed by
the learner. His hypothesis came from his own personal experience of learning
Portuguese in Brazil where he kept a diary realising that Portuguese started to
enter his language learning when he noticed it, when brought to his attention
or from some notable experience. Schmidt identifies three points of
consciousness involved in language learning which are awareness, intention and
knowledge (Lightbown and Spada, 2013). Noticing tries to deal with the problem
of combining explicit and implicit knowledge. Explicit is the knowledge which
is learnt in a formal classroom setting whereas implicit is the engrained
knowledge that is available to speak (Noonan, 2004).
There are so many
approaches to teaching, but it is a question of which one to use and which one
would help students acquire it effectively. The form-focused audio-lingual
approach produces students who know a lot of grammar but who are unable to use
it spontaneously when speaking. On the other hand, the lack of grammar used in
the Communicative Approach produces students who can speak well but have a
deficit of grammar even in speech (Noonan, 2004). Then what is the ‘noticing’
PART B: ‘Noticing’ in the acquisition of
phrasal verbs used in LTM (Logistics and Transport Management).
As Kavaliauskiene and Janulevieiene (2001) concluded
in their paper, I too was convinced that learning in multi-word chunks assisted
greatly in vocabulary acquisition mainly because learners really get involved
in being aware of identifying lexical phrases and can use them effectively in
spoken and written discourse.
This was followed on with the students thinking about
problems that occur when shipping goods and for them to invent their own
dialogue using flipchart paper. Students presented and identified their own
ideas. Whilst preparing their own dialogues it was good to see them looking
back at the original one I had given them and that they were scaffolding from
it. Students then identified 10 important words or phrases from their own dialogue
and told them to their partner. This proceeded with them telling their dialogue
to another person. Task repetition was an effective way
of acquiring the target lexis. I collected the students’ work and highlighted
the chunks they had written. It was important for my students to notice their
learning. ‘Noticing’ is clearly explained by Thornbury (1997) in his article and
a teaching practice that I endeavour to incorporate in future lessons. Examples
of these chunks were written on the board and in the next lesson I gave their
‘chunks’ back to them on a handout.
My students were encouraged to analyse various texts
and audios. In a typical LTM lesson, I gave the students a dialogue to read
from a handout (appendix 1) e.g. between a seller and his customer in Iceland.
I then took the handouts back and gave the students a sample of chunks from the
dialogue with missing words and in pairs they had to figure out what the
missing words were. As a class we then went through possible answers. Following
this we listened to the audio version to get the answers. The immediacy of
doing this task and the challenge for my students to remember it created
motivation and was an effective way of doing collocations and any of the
lexical chunks I hoped to do.
Lewis (1993) scrutinised the view of separating
language into grammar and vocabulary by arguing that in fact it consists of
lexical terms and puts them into four major categories which were words and
polywords; collocations; fixed expressions and semi-fixed expressions.
Until 31 July 2017 of this year I was teaching
Transport English (ESP) to first year diploma students of Logistics and
Transport Management (LTM) in a college in Oman. My students were having to
deal with very complex material in their main LTM subjects which meant that
they had to learn high-priority lexis, which I had to select and include in
class handouts and class activities. I had to find an effective way for my
students to acquire and utilise this lexis. I experimented with the lexical
approach as described by Scrivener (2010), Richards and Rodgers (2016), Carter
and Numan (2002) as I needed to teach words and phrases that were most common
and most useful to my students in LTM (Kavaliauskiene and Janulevieiene, 2001).
With this approach, I exposed my students to and taught them a wide variety of
vocabulary as it happened and in the context of LTM (Kavaliauskiene and
PART A: The Lexical Approach for the acquisition of