Presentation

Did you know that you are responsible for correctly presenting each new text to yourself?

by Louis Alexander


As you are already aware, 'presentation' makes up the first half of each lesson in Direct English. It is during this stage that you view the new text on video and read it in your coursebook. Each fresh text establishes the new language and communicative strategies to be acquired in the lesson. The 'presentation phase' is followed by an 'activation phase' in the second half of the lesson, when you are given the opportunity to study and practise the new language that was established in the first half.

It's only too easy to get into very bad habits during the presentation phase and to ignore all the methodology that is recommended in the Study Guide. Here are two very important 'Don'ts ...' when you start a new lesson.

Don't learn all the new vocabulary (from the lesson-by-lesson vocabulary listing) before you approach the text. Why is this bad? It's bad because it deprives you of the opportunity of making intelligent guesses at the meanings of new words as you hear them in context. After all, this is what you will be required to do in real life when you converse in English with someone else. The person you are talking to doesn't say, 'Let me explain the new vocabulary I'm going to use before we have this conversation'! Right from the start, you have to get used to the sound of English spoken at natural speed, so if you study the new vocabulary first, you are doing something highly unnatural. (I know teachers are fond of presenting the new vocabulary on the blackboard before each lesson, but this is extremely harmful for the reasons just given.)

Don't start reading the text with the aid of a bilingual dictionary before you view the video and listen to the CD. This is probably the very worst thing you can do. Why? Because it encourages you to think bilingually, where you should be training yourself to think in English. It also prevents you from learning the correct pronunciation of new items because your are reading and translating before listening. Again, in some parts of the world, teachers are fond of translating a new text first, for all the wrong reasons. They shouldn't do it and nor should you.

So what should you do? You should follow the advice in the Study Guide carefully. This requires you to read the description of the new situation to be presented on video, followed by the question you have to answer after watching the situation. This means you don't 'prepare' the new text in any way. You view it on video, listen carefully while you are viewing and then attempt to answer the question you were set. The effect of this is to train you to make intelligent guesses at the meanings of new words and phrases in context. Constant practice of this kind also trains you for real-life encounters with other speakers, so you sharpen your listening skills. After you have viewed the new situation on video, you can listen to it on CD. The first recording on the CD is at natural speed, so again you are trained to cope with natural delivery. The second recording is slower than natural speed, so you are given the opportunity to connect sound and meaning.

It is entirely up to you to apply this method. If you fail to do so, the consequences are dire because you will be sacrificing the chance to understand new language as you encounter it. If you follow the advice in the Study Guide, the rewards are great because you will be developing fluency skills which are so vital to successful communication.

 

© LG & DE Limited 2006

 

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