Applied Linguistics - Mock Exam Answers

Applied Linguistics - Mock Exam Answers

Applied linguistics mock exam answers about: the CLT and CLL methods, textbooks and teaching materials, behaviorist method, teaching methods criteria, the ALM method, deductive or inductive grammar, and error correction.

1. In light of what you have studied, discuss the limitations of the community language learning method (3 Marks)

Given the fact that teachers, in this method, use facilitated teaching based on human relations’ concepts as warmth, trust and empathy and focus on helping students master language, they become too non directive; therefore, students often need directions based on concepts of subject matter.
On the other hand, this method relies completely on inductive learning. Yet, it is widely accepted that deductive learning is an efficient strategy of learning; so to speak, learners can particularly benefit from deduction and induction as well. This method through translation sets up a bridge between target and native language. Thus, the success of this method relies mainly on translation skills of the teacher.

2. In light of what you have studied, discuss ways in which different teaching / learning methods have used textbooks and other teaching materials. (3 Marks)

Teaching /learning methods have used textbooks are exploited differently. On the one side, textbooks serve as a core resource; that is, teachers rely strongly on them; all texts, exercises and tests are there. In some words, no textbook implies a non-successful course as in the Grammar-Translation Method, the Direct Method and Suggestopedia. On the other side, textbooks serve as an inspiration for classroom activities. Most of the time, they are given as homework handouts to be prepared for the next session as in the Communicative Language Teaching. However, all other methods don’t use textbooks. They rather use other teaching materials like pictures, charts, tape recorders, blackboards and cards which make teaching easier, suitable and convenient and provide confidence and security for both teachers and students. 

3. In light of what you have studied, can we consider the communicative language teaching a behaviorist method? Justify your answer! (3 Marks)

This method is issued from Noam Chomsky’s critiques to the behaviorists’ and structuralists’ approaches. He demonstrated that there is distinction between performance and competence. He also states that factors of imitation, repetition and habit formation are weak arguments to account for any language learning theory because a child is able to produce infinite number of sentences he never encountered, giving birth to the Communicative Language Teaching that aims to make communicative competence the goal of language teaching and differentiate between language and communication. This competence is developed through the process of social interaction between students themselves or students and teachers, involved in real communication; so, having the opportunity to incorporate their personal experiences into their learning of target language. Unlike behaviorist methods, CLT is based on the idea of communicating the message in terms of its meaning; instead of concentrating exclusively on grammatical perfection of phonetics; that is to say, learning strategies for understanding rather than staying closer others' explanations. In some words, CLT is a socio-cognitive approach rather than a behaviorist one.

4. Which of the following criteria define the audiolingual method? (3 Marks)

  x    Behaviorism      □ Interactionism,         □   Cognitivism,
  x    Accuracy,      □ Fluency,
  □ Learner-centeredness,      x    Teacher-centeredness,
  x    Structural syllabus,      □ Flexible syllabus,
  x    Games,      □ Drills,
  □ Focus on oral skills;      x    Focus on the four skills

5. In light of what you have studied, analyze and discuss the following quote (3 Marks)

Teaching grammar has been a controversial issue in the history of English language teaching methods and approaches. Several methods have adopted deductive or inductive approaches to teaching grammar, while others have totally ignored it.

Grammar is the core of each language, that is, no language can serve its purposes without Grammar. So, the need to teach it had arisen. Theories come and go but still having trouble with teaching grammar whether it works or not. If we teach rules, students may apply them and sometimes they don’t. Practice may have effects, but leads to disappointing spontaneous production.

Language teaching oscillates from one extreme, where grammar is given much importance, to the other, where it is backgrounded or completely ignored. The classical method, namely GTM, focuses on grammatical rules and vocabulary memorization. These rules are taught deductively, where learners are positive recipients and practice in a mechanical way. Accordingly, teachers need to know about grammar of students’ languages in order to perform the translation task.

From the Direct method and its descendants, teaching grammar reaches another extent. Grammar is taught inductively by providing examples, showing how the concept works, giving students the opportunity to learn to recognize the rule in a more natural way. As active Learners, they develop their cognitive skills and easily retain.

Bearing these two ways of teaching grammar, in fact, students know the rules explicitly but they fail to apply them in communication. They are unable to use grammar rules in speech. They don't understand how they work in sentences. In general, language is context-sensitive. This means that, without context words and phrases are meaningless. Thus, teaching grammar in real communicative situations gives students the chance to discover how grammar rules are used to convey meanings. The communicative approach has brought us greatly enriched repertoire of exercise-types enabling learners to practice grammar while saying real. By and large, considering the individual differences in cognitive learning styles among learners, it's more efficient to swing between these ways of teaching grammar to satisfy learners' needs and get the max benefit from them.

6. In light of what you have studied, discuss the importance of error correction in various methods (4 marks)

The issue of error correction has been discussed considerably over recent years. Since the raise of teaching methods, the view of the error has been changed so far. Teachers were expected to teach their students accurately without making errors. Accordingly, learners were not allowed to commit errors while learning as they are considered as sins, so a correct answer is needed. In Audio-lingualism, if an error occurs, no way to move forward unless the teacher gives the correct answer. Since then, an understanding of error as an opportunity to learn has raised giving birth to a shift by language teachers towards how to correct these errors. Therefore, practitioners swing to self-correction or peer-correction as in The Silent Way and The Direct Methods. On the other hand, they become aware of the learners’ state while being corrected; as a result: First, they repeat correctly what the student has said incorrectly, without calling attention to the error as in The Community Language Learning Method. Second, they correct gently using a soft voice as in Desuggestopedia Method. Thirdly, they carry out the correction in an unobtrusive manner as in Total Physical Response Method.

The big change of the role of error correction has taken place with the popularity of Communicative Language Teaching Method. Errors are seen as a natural outcome of the process of learning communicative skills. In this method, accuracy and fluency are seen as complementary principles underlying communicative techniques. Errors, then, are totally ignored during fluency-based activities. But teachers may note these errors to return to them later with an accuracy-based activity.

To sum up, error correction has been an important topic in language teaching discourses that was strongly influenced by the perception of the error itself, from being something undesirable that should be eradicated or prevented, to a tool or a key that facilitates and leaves the doors wide-open to foreign language learning efficiency and perfectness.

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