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Basic English [ for Computing 1 страница
Eric H. Glendinning JohnMcEwan
Teacher s Book
Eric H. Glendinniiig JohnMcEwan
Introduction to the course
This course is intended for students of computing and information technology with an English level of beginner plus to lower-intermediate. In particular, targeted readers are secondary school and technical college students of 16+ who have studied general English for three years or more. The book is also intended for professionals who have not studied English formally for some time, and wish to refresh their knowledge of the language within the context of their specialism.
The specialist content is drawn from introductory syllabuses at senior secondary and technical college level, with additions to ensure that the most promising of future trends are covered. The content is graded both to match the usual sequence of presentation in the specialism, and to provide an introduction to computing for the teacher who may feel less at home with technical texts.
Objectives of the course
The course aims to develop students' language skills in the context of computing and information technology with emphasis on reading, listening, speaking, and writing - in that order. The language content has a number of strands: firstly, key points of grammar and key functions appropriate to this level are covered; secondly, language items important for decoding texts in the specialism are included (around 400 terms in computing and information technology are introduced); thirdly, language skills are developed as outlined below.
The skill of reading for information is developed by means of a wide range of practical reading tasks, based on a variety of authentic texts in the specialism. The texts are drawn from genres such as textbooks, newspapers, popular computing magazines, Internet newsgroups, screen displays, web pages, manuals, and advertisements.
The skill of listening for information is developed from a range of inputs, including interviews with students and professionals in computing and information technology, specialists describing aspects of hardware and software, simulated voice- mail, and email attachments. In addition to listening for specific information, the listening activities aim to develop the skills of listening for the main points in a description, explanation, or argument.
The course develops the students' ability to participate in simple exchanges of information and opinions in the context of the specialism. There is an emphasis on survival skills, such as strategies for coping with not understanding and not being understood.
Students learn to write simple instructions, descriptions, and explanations about topics in computing and information technology.
Course components and structure
The course consisists of three components: a Student's Book, an audio cassette, and this Teacher's Book.
The Student's Book
The Student's Book consists of twenty-eight units and a Glossary of computing terms and abbreviations.
Most units begin with a Tuning-in section, which contains short 'to make you think' warm-up tasks. These encourage students to think about the topic of the unit, to pool their knowledge of language and the specialism, and to start working co-operativcly.
The main input of the unit follows in the Listening and Reading sections, which are often based round an authentic diagram or other visual. These sections introduce new content, and serve as a basis for skills development in the two areas.
They are usually followed by a Language work section in which key language items are explained, and then practised.
After the language work, there is usually a Problemsolving task, which is intended to create a need to use language in order to communicate with other students and as a comprehension check. The solution requires use of language, logic, and content from earlier texts.
Most units finish with either a Writing, or a Speaking task, or both. The function of the writing-for which suitable guidance is provided - is primarily to practise language items in extended contexts. Practice is also provided in writing simple instructions, descriptions, and explanations. Every fourth unit contains an information and opinion exchange task for pair practice. This is in addition to the speaking opportunities provided by the other sections, such as Tuning-in and Problem-solving.
Every fifth unit is built round authentic interviews with a student and with professionals in the specialism. Each of these units (5,10,15,20,25, and 28) includes a section on new vocabulary - Computing words and abbreviations. This contains tasks to help the student cope with organizing, remembering, and using appropriately their growing vocabulary of specialist terms and abbreviations. In addition, each of these sections summarizes the new words and abbreviations studied up to that point in the textbook.
The audio cassette
This consists of approximately 6 5 minutes of recorded material for the listening tasks. Most of the material is authentic, and comes from a wide range of sources.
The Teacher's Book
This book is intended to be used as a guide to help the teacher handle the course most effectively. It aims to provide technical support for the non- specialist teacher, as well as guidance for teaching the language. The units contain teaching hints and suggestions for further exploitation of the material, and a Key for each of the tasks in the Student's
Book. Each unit begins with a short technical introduction which presents the unit topic to the teacher, explains the main issues in simple terms, and introduces some of the technical vocabulary.
Using the course
Some teachers of English for Specific Purposes worry about (heir own lack of knowledge of the specialism, the fact that they are not experts in the field. They should not be so concerned. What ESP teachers should aim to be is experts at language teaching. All ESP teachers, however, should have an interest at an amateur level in the specialism. The technical introductions to the units are designed to help non-specialists cope with the technical input of the course, but it is also worth reading round the subject as much as you can. Developing links with teachers of the specialism who can explain technical aspects to you - and may provide help in locating authentic materials for your teaching - is also a good Idea. It is not difficult to keep up with developments in computing these days. Many national newspapers carry regular articles about computing, and some have special supplements on a weekly basis. There are often television programmes on related subjects. And of course your students can often help you.
Basic English for Computing takes a broadly communicative approach, with the addition of techniques such as problem-solving, a particularly appropriate technique for students of a subject which is very much concerned with finding solutions to problems. Most of the activities are designed for pair or group work, but there are also individual tasks for class-time and for homework. When the class arc involved in pair or group activities, use the time to monitor their performance. Try not to interrupt too much. Make a note of any serious inaccuracies and deal with them at the end of the activity.
These tasks are best set as pair or group activities, ending with a teacher-led round-up so that both language and ideas can be shared. Write the best ideas on the board, or use an overhead projector, so that the written form reinforces the spoken.
Most units contain a pre-listening task. These tasks usually consist of a small number of questions, often based on a diagram. Ideally, the students are able to answer a third of the questions from the data presented; they can make reasonable guesses about a further third; but are unable to make accurate guesses about the remainder. The reason for this structure is the following. The fact that the students are able to answer the easy questions is encouraging, and provides the incentive to continue with the task. The fact that they cannot answer the remaining two thirds of the questions supplies the reason for listening to the recording. They listen to check whether their guesses were correct, and to find the answers to the questions they could not answer. Because pre-listening tasks encourage the students to start thinking about and predicting the content of the text, they also make it easier for students to make connections between known information and new information from the text. Often, students are asked to pool their answers so that what they know about the subject can be shared; hence predictions about the content can be made more accurately.
Pre-listening tasks also serve to introduce important terms which the students will meet in the recording. However, the recording will also contain a number of words which are not familiar to your students. You should pre-teach a small number of these words which are important for an understanding of the text. Where a word can be inferred from context, you are advised not to pre- teach it, as students should develop this strategy for dealing with unfamiliar words. In most cases, the unfamiliar word can be ignored. Recognizing and ignoring irrelevant information is an important survival strategy in listening.
It is important to set the scene for your students before they listen. They should know how many speakers there are and what the context is. Encourage them to predict topics that will occur in the recording.
There are also things you can do to help students as they listen. The simplest way is to pause the recording at suitable points. This is done for you in the early units, but you can add additional processing or thinking time for students by increasing the number and length of the pauses. It is normally a good idea to play the recording more than once. When the tasks are complete, it's important that students have an opportunity to hear the recording all the way through without interruption.
Although the Key gives as full answers as possible, it is not always necessary to insist on such complete answers from your students, nor is it necessary for them to write complete sentences. The focus in these tasks is on understanding not on production.
Most units contain a prc-rcading task which has the same function as the pre-listening tasks described above.
Many of the tasks focus on developing the skill of scanning a text quickly for specific detail. To do this well, students must learn to ignore information which is not relevant to their task, and scan the text for clues which relate to the information they seek. Applying a little time pressure can help. If students are not given quite sufficient time to read word by word, they will develop more efficient ways of reading. Reading for main points is a more difficult skill to develop. Students must learn to ignore examples and fine detail. Defending their answers in groups or in whole class round-ups can help students identify what is important in a text.
Many of the reading tasks involve other skills, for example reading and note-taking, and reading and reporting. A common task of this kind - one which combines reading, note-taking, and speaking - is a 'jigsaw' read-and-report activity. In this kind of activity, students are asked to work in groups of three, to read one text each, and to note its main points. Then they are asked to exchange information with other students in their group, and to complete a table with information from all three texts. At this report stage, students may attempt to report in the mother tongue, or simply exchange notes with the other students in their group. Encourage them to do the reporting stage orally and in English so that all three skills are equally practised.
An alternative to a 'jigsaw' read and report for more advanced students is a 'triad' activity. Students work in groups of three. A, B, and C. Each has a separate role. A is the first speaker, B the reporter, and, C the judge. A's task is to report from their notes the main points of their text. B must listen
carefully and provide a brief oral summary. C must listen to both inputs and judge the accuracy of B's report, pointing out any changes, errors, or omissions. Students change roles three times so that each has a chance to play each part.
Most of the texts in group reading tasks are roughly equal in difficulty level. Where a text is easier or more difficult than the others, this is mentioned in the guide to the unit. You can direct these texts to the less and more able students in the group.
Reading aloud is rarely of value in the classroom but you may find the tapescripts of some of the easier listening texts, which involve more than one speaker, could be used for role plays or scripted interviews. The difference between them and the reading texts is that they are examples of authentic or semi-authentic spoken English.
Ways for presenting each language item are included in the guide to the units. Most of these rely on a straightforward presentation, involving writing on the board, and using key examples from the reading or listening texts. As far as possible, examples in the context of computing are used. You may have your own favourite way of presenting some of these items which you can substitute. The presentation is usually followed by two practice tasks. The first task is usually more controlled, and the second a freer and therefore more demanding activity. Depending on the level of your class, you may want to do these tasks orally in class, before the students write, or you may prefer to approach them as individual written exercises.
These tasks provide students with the opportunity to use and acquire language in a much less controlled way. The problems have been chosen to interest the students, and to allow them to use their knowledge of computing. The reading and listening texts in each unit, and from earlier units, should provide most of the English terms they need, and the Language work sections should provide the means of expression. You may wish to revise language you anticipate will be useful. In striving to communicate their solution to the problem to their partner or the other students in the group, students will make this language their own. Do not interfere too much unless communication has broken down completely. It is in making an effort to understand and be understood that language is best acquired.
As the book progresses, the Writing tasks move from very controlled to less controlled. Where you think your students need more help, do the task orally in class and set the writing as homework. There are many approaches to correcting written work. If yon wish to experiment with peer correction where students mark each other's work, ask students to mark lightly with a pencil dot any item in their partner's work which they do not understand or think may be incorrect. Each student should then return the work to his or her partner. If the partner does not agree that there is a problem, you can then intervene.
The Speaking tasks are straightforward exchange activities. In the early units, they are mainly information exchange, but in the later units there are examples of opinion-exchange tasks. Like the Problem-solving tasks, these activities provide opportunities for students to develop strategies for coping with not understanding and not being understood. In addition to the Aids to communication phrases presented in the earlier units, encourage your students to rephrase when they are not understood, and to think of ways round the problem of not remembering a key word.
Computing words and abbreviations
Train your students in good practice as regards vocabulary right from the beginning of the course. Get them to keep their own vocabulary notebooks in which they record not only the meaning of key terms in computing, but examples of their usage. Encourage students to spend a few minutes every day learning new words. Regular vocabulary tests are a stimulus for students to make the effort to do this. You can use these tasks in the textbook as vocabulary tests. They are spaced at five unit intervals and summarize the key terms presented in preceding units.
Present ways in which students can record and store their growing computing vocabulary. Encourage them to keep related words in the same part of their notebooks, and to list words with their common collocations, for example hard!floppy + disk, disk + drive. Simple crosswords arid word games like 'hangman' are useful short activities to revise key vocabulary at the start of a lesson.
Most machines are designed to do one job. Computers arc different: they are general purpose machines. By changing the program instructions, computers can be used to process information in very different ways. For example, a word processor program allows the computer to process text, a spreadsheet program enables the computer to perform calculations, a database program is used for searching and sorting records, and a browser program is used for looking at pages on the Internet (the Internet is the connection of computers from different parts of the world). Computers are therefore used in almost every type of work and are found almost everywhere. Computer equipment is known as hardware and programs and data are called software.
A variety of devices can be attached to a computer. Input devices are used to enter data into the computer for processing. An input device called a magnetic ink character reader (M1CR) is used to read characters printed using magnetic ink. Magnetic ink characters are commonly found on bank cheques.
An optical input device called a barcode reader uses the reflection of a light beam to read a sequence of printed parallel bars called a barcode. The bars are of different thickness, and each sequence of bars represents a different number according to a standard code. Barcode labels are used to code items. Each item can be identified by a computer, using a barcode reader to scan the labels. Barcodes are used in industry, shops, and supermarkets for stock control and to allow a computer to look up the price of items being purchased.
By the end of this unit, students should be better at: asking and answering simple questions about computing
asking for help when they don't understand listening and scanning a text for general information.
They should be able to:
understand the difference between countable and
use articles more accurately.
They should know and be able to use these words: barcode, barcode reader, calculate, computer, computing, control, memory, program, software.
You might like to begin the class with a discussion about computers in the students' own lives. Put some simple questions up on the board, for example:
What kind of computer do you have/use? (I have/usea...)
Do you use a computer everyday? (Yes! Sometimes/No.)
What do you use computers for? (I use computersfor ...ing.)
Ask the students to go round the class and interview as many people as they can about their use of computers. It does not matter if they have difficulty making sentences: communication is the essential thing. Give them live minutes maximum and then ask for feedback, writing up the information on the board. For the task, ask them to work in pairs. Walk round the class helping them with the English words for the places that they might not know. If appropriate, teach How do you say ...in English?
a petrol station b
c clothes shop d
e bank f
Get the students to work in groups of three or four for this activity. Ask them to think of other places where they might find computer documents, and to make a list. Possible examples could be: theatre or cinema for tickets, garage for engine tests, hospital for lab results.
This activity introduces the students to vocabulary which they will hear in the next task. Pre-teach any words that you think may be unfamiliar, such as wages and tills, then let the students do the matching individually or in pairs.
1d 2a 3c 4a 5c 6d 7b 8b
Tell students not to worry about understanding every word, but to listen carefully for key words which will enable them to identify the place in each extract. Play the recording through several times, pausing as appropriate.
1d 2b 3a 4c
This activity could be used to begin teaching the reading strategy of scanning. The students should scan for vocabulary items related to each of the places on the list. To help them get an idea of what they should be looking out for elicit, or have the students brainstorm, two or three related vocabulary items for each of the words, home, hospitals, etc., and write them on the board.
hospitals, shopping, television advertising, banking, libraries, film-making
Talk through the explanation in the Student's Book. This is an area which can cause learners of English some uncertainty, and students will need a certain amount of practice before they feel confident with it. Explain that some nouns are uncountable because they name things which literally cannot be counted - these are usually abstract things (memory, speed, science, technology). Give the students the following example: we can count schools, teachers, and students, but we cannot count English, or mathematics, or computing. Get the students to suggest other examples like this, or give them more of your own.
This activity will introduce them to the Glossary, so start by making sure the students know where it is in the book and how to use it. Ask them to do the exercise in pairs, and check if there are students who are experiencing particular difficulties with the concepts.
1U 2 U 3C 4 C 5 C 6U 7 C 8C 9U 10 U
Read through the explanation of articles a/an, the, and plurals as a class. Get the students to do this activity in pairs, and to compare their answers with another pair when they've finished.
1 a 2 the 3 0 4 0 5 the 6 0 7 0 8 the 9 0 10 the
Aids to communication
Students may have already experienced the need for these particular expressions in order to ask questions in class. You may have actually taught some of them, but now is an opportunity to consolidate and practise. Model the pronunciation for the students and get them to repeat chorally or individually after you. Refer to this set of phrases frequently - whenever the students need to ask about language.
Get the students to do this activity in small groups. Monitor the discussions, and encourage students not to use their first language but to ask you for help in English, using the expressions practised above.
1 designers/engineers - to design new products or components
2 librarians/students-to find a book in a library
Ask students to work in pairs, and, if they seem confident, to complete the spaces without looking back at the unit. When they have done as much as they can, let them refer back to the appropriate parts of the unit to check.
1 calculate the bill
2 control machines
4 controls our money
5 provide entertainment and information
Ask the students to work on this preliminary matching task in pairs, and then to compare with other pairs. There is a certain amount of vocabulary recycling involved here, so they should be able to cope without too much support from you.
banks - control our money, factories - control machines, homes - provide entertainment and information, hospitals - look after patient records and medicines, shops - calculate the bill
Types of computer
A computer is a device that takes in data, processes it according to a program, and then outputs the processed data in some form. There is an increasing variety of computers of different sizes and designed for different purposes. One of the most important considerations when buying a computer is deciding how it is going to be used.
Computers can be divided into three broad categories: mainframe computers (mainframes), minicomputers (minis), and microcomputers (micros). Mainframes are large, powerful, expensive computers that are operated by a team of professionals and are designed to be used by many people at the same time. The most powerful mainframes are sometimes called supercomputers. Minicomputers are really cut-down mainframes and are no longer very common.
The most common type of computer is the microcomputer. Microcomputers are sometimes called personal computers. The abbreviation PC was originally used for microcomputers produced by IBM Corporation, but it is now sometimes used for other types of personal computer. However, microcomputers produced by Apple Computers Incorporated are not normally referred to as PCs. There is a wide variety of microcomputers but two common types are desktop computers and portables. Desktops are small enough to sit on an office desk and are relatively cheap. They are becoming cheaper and more powerful and are often used for running multimedia programs, i.e. programs that contain some combination of text, sound, high quality graphics, animation, and video. Multimedia computers need to have a sound facility and usually have a CD-ROM drive.
There is an increasing variety of portable micros that can be grouped according to their size. They can usually be powered from batteries and are useful in many different situations. However, as computers get smaller, it becomes increasingly difficult to use them with a keyboard. One of the reasons that notebook portables are popular is because their screens and keyboards are just big
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