Results 1 to 7 of 7
  1. #1
    Verona_82 is offline Senior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Russian Federation
      • Current Location:
      • Ukraine
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    993
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default teaching articles

    Dear teachers,

    I'd appreciate it if you found time to answer my questions. I'm interested to find out about your experience of teaching articles to ESL learners.
    How long, in your opinion, does it take to master articles? Is it possible to do it within a very short time, considering that the explanation is excellent?
    Have you ever had students who mastered articles? Is it true that French/German learners, whose language system has articles, are better at masteting them compared to others?

    I'd be grateful for your replies.

  2. #2
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    28,167
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: teaching articles

    Quote Originally Posted by Verona_82 View Post
    How long, in your opinion, does it take to master articles?
    Really master? A very long time for most learners (and many teachers!)

    Is it possible to do it within a very short time, considering that the explanation is excellent?
    I suppose nothing is impossible, but it is highly unlikely.

    Have you ever had students who mastered articles?
    I think I had one once; it was in 1982.

    Is it true that French/German learners, whose language system has articles, are better at mastering them compared to others?
    Not really, in my experience.
    My answers may seem a little flippant, but they are not far off the truth. On those rare occasions when someone whose command of English is extremely good makes a mistake, it is quite likely to be with an article. This is not surprising when you find educated native speakers arguing about which article to use in particular situations.

  3. #3
    Terri is offline Newbie
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • Sweden
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    1
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: teaching articles

    Hi -- I notice you are teaching in Russia, and my experience is, actually, that it is more difficult for my native Russian speakers than the Swedish speakers in the class. HOWEVER, that doesn't mean they can't learn to use articles.

    For now, I am fairly satisfied when they use articles, any articles, even if it is wrong, like "the nature". It just takes practice. I think including articles when they are learning new vocabulary is important. So learn -- a chair and the chair, an apple and the apple, etc.

    The rule is that English speakers are lazy, and so one should choose the article that is easiest to say. An easy article!

    Good luck

  4. #4
    Verona_82 is offline Senior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Russian Federation
      • Current Location:
      • Ukraine
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    993
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: teaching articles

    Thank you for the replies!
    I guess the hugest problem with the articles is that we fail to arrive at the full undertaning of that article logic. Whereas the difference between 'a man'/'the man' is more or less manageable, some things such as 'in the street', 'weather/the weather' and 'nature' seem mind-boggling for learners, especially when collocations and set expressions come into play.
    It's also interesting to know if you, native English teachers, appeal to students' logic as much as possible (nature but the environment) or just present them on the 'learn-this-expression'-basis.
    Are native speakers themselves taught articles at school?

  5. #5
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    28,167
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: teaching articles

    Verona: It's also interesting to know if you, native English teachers, appeal to students' logic as much as possible (nature but the environment) or just present them on the 'learn-this-expression'-basis.

    5jj: I generally intrroduced articles fairly logically for beginners. Most learners actually had few problems. Speakers of those languages without articles, such as some Slavonic languages, kept forgetting to use them, but understood them when reminded.

    When the oddities started creeping in - to school vs to the school, for example, they did not appear to present real problems, though communicative methodology and 'learn by doing' didn't always work. At some stage I would have to say something like, "You just have to accept that we view certain 'building-words' plus 'to' or 'in' more as activities than buildings. You just have to learn: school, hospital, prison, etc"

    The real problems arise at more advanced levels, when even native speakers argue about what is appropriate. This is not helped by gap-fill exercises in course books that reflect the writer's opinion more than what is actually possible.


    Verona: Are native speakers themselves taught articles at school?

    5jj: Yes, but in a different way from that in which foreign speakers learn. [/QUOTE]

  6. #6
    BookAddict is offline Newbie
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • Slovak
      • Home Country:
      • Slovak Republic
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    24
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: teaching articles

    Russian students are like Slovak. The only way is to repeat examples a thousand times, like
    the eagle (this eagle) is on the tree
    the eagle (in general, all eagles) build their nests ...
    I can see an eagle ( I see one)
    An eagle builds its nest high ... (=all eagles)

    And then you could use what is called the functional sentence perspective (the known - the unknown, mentioned for the first time). Basically it means what comes to the end of the sentence (utterance) is the rheme (new, the most important information), which is not always the case in English. A classical example would be
    Once there was a king. The king had a horse. The horse ...

  7. #7
    Mr_Ben's Avatar
    Mr_Ben is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • Switzerland
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    206
    Post Thanks / Like

Similar Threads

  1. Need help teaching articles
    By lt_sho in forum Teaching English
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 18-Jul-2007, 00:19
  2. what is indefenite articles & defenite articles
    By ragharch in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 30-May-2007, 14:39
  3. teaching vowels and teaching stress
    By noor in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 02-Jan-2007, 08:51
  4. Search for ERIC articles on teaching WRITING
    By Anonymous in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 18-Jan-2003, 18:46

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •