Analysis (Oxford University Press, 2004) The New
Analysis of Teaching Material- NEW HEADWAY ADVANCED The material chosen for analysis is the New Headway Advanced Student’s Course Book published and released in 2004 and written by Liz Soars, John Soars. The New Headway claims to the best-selling series that combines the best of traditional methods with current teaching techniques. It is renowned and valued for a reliable methodology that works at every level.
Headway goes on to assert that no course offers more in terms of levels, components, and support.The long-awaited, totally new edition of the Advanced level of New Headway, provides a real challenge and stimulus for Advanced learners. (Oxford University Press, 2004) The New Headway Advanced Student’s Book is targeted for Advanced learners who are not at the stage of expanding their knowledge of English into the realms of social and cultural differences within the English speaking world.
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The New Headway Advanced Student’s book is set out into 12 units of work. Each unit topic is titled in a way that it shows its relevance and relation to everyday life and scenarios.Starting off with “Our land is your land” and moving on to “Never lost for words” and so on.
However each unit does have specific aims of language that it is teaching the students such as its specific language focus for the unit, the vocabulary that is to be used, reading and listening activities, as well as a speaking component. And finishing off each unit with a “Last word” where they discuss a variety of things ranging from the differences in American and British Englishes, to how to sound more emotional with the choice of words used.In the case of Unit one for example, students are to read and listen to a conversation in American English and to turn it into British English making the necessary word substitutions.
At the end of each unit students are to do a writing exercise which ranges from writing a letter to writing a film or book review. In each instance, the student is required to choose the appropriate writing style and use the appropriate vocabulary.The New Headway Advanced Student’s Book (Soars 2004)is aimed at students who have a sound level of developed language skills and knowledge that which to further enhance their communication approximating as much as possible to a native speaker.
For this reason Soars has created a work book that incorporates real life and cultural specific units that have a particular angle towards American culture. Throughout the work book there is an emphasis towards group work, specifically working in pairs. This seems to be an ideal method for students to learn, interact and practice their language.Long & Porter argue in favour of group work stating that “In all probability, one of the main reasons for low achievement by many classroom SL learners is simply that they do not have enough time to practice the new language. This is especially serious in large EFL classes in which students need to develop aural-oral skills, but it is also relevant to the ESL context.
” (Long & Porter, 1985, p208) So through group work, Headway gives students plenty of reading and comprehension to work through. Headway is atoll primarily suited for adult learners.Because of the different tasks that are put forward through the book, the individual works independently and uses his or her initiative to go through the exercises. Ozman found that “A study by psychologist David Kolb on the question “How adults learn? ” shows that when the adults undertake to learn something through their own initiative, they start with a concrete experience. Then they make observations about the experience, reflect on it and diagnose what new knowledge or skill they need to acquire in order to perform more effectively.Then, with the help of material and human resources, they formulate abstract concepts and generalizations which they deduce what to do next. Finally, they test their concepts and generalizations in new situations, which refers to the new experiences.
” Ozman (2000) Headway also endeavours to extend the vocabulary and grammar of the student through the various listening tasks incorporated into the units. According to Miller “The aim of all listening lessons should be to allow learners a greater degree of independence when confronted with listening to the foreign language in a real world context, and that means using authentic texts.Authentic texts are any spoken texts which have not been specially prepared for language learners, and they are often delivered via technologies like radio, television/video, and the Internet or CD-ROM.
” (Miller,L 2003) The New Headway Advanced Student’s Book (Soars, 2004)makes good use of this with its varied use of listening examples, especially ones that carry a very contemporary and everyday setting. (See Appendix: Soars, 2004. p16) Headway uses a variety of strategies with an emphasis on visual stimuli which requires the student to match up and interpret different pictures, photos, charts, excerpts of literature.Other visual elements include the written instructions found in each unit as well as written definitions. One eye catching activity presented in Headway Advanced involves the student to read an excerpt from a certain book and match it up with the picture of the book cover. (See Appendix: Soars, 2004.
p17) Auditory learning is also evident in Headway with its various listening activities which require the students to listen to a dialogue and then to answer questions relating to that dialogue. This in turn creates classroom discussion as students compare answers.Auditory learning is encouraged with the frequent use of recordings and listening tasks which promote discussion and questioning and require the student to draw from their vocabulary and also to acquire new vocabulary.
Headway employs various cognitive strategies throughout the work book. According to the British Council BBC “Cognitive strategies are one type of learning strategy that learners use in order to learn more successfully. These include repetition, organizing new language, summarizing meaning, guessing meaning from context, using imagery for memorization.All of these strategies involve deliberate manipulation of language to improve learning.
Classifications of learning strategies distinguish between cognitive strategies and two other types, metacognitive strategies, and social/ affective strategies ”. (The Teaching English Website, British council BBC) All these are found in Headway (Soars, 2004) in its varied use of role plays, comprehension activities, listening exercises and so on. Vocabulary and grammar are to aspects of language that are emphasized in the New Headway Advanced Student’s Book.With regards to the grammar exposed in the book, much of it is of a higher standard than that of an intermediate learner. Aspects such as avoiding repetition, the use of tenses, ways of adding emphasis, relatives and principles and other aspects contribute to the learners greater use of English. The New Headway Advanced Students’ book is set up in such a way that the classroom teacher becomes more of a facilitator rather than the primary instruction giver. In this setting the teaching continues to be the holder f knowledge but works along with the book guiding the student through the different units adding explanations and in a sense breaking down the information so that students can take full advantage of the work presented.
Even though there is a great emphasis on group and pair work, the students is still required to take personal responsibility of their learning by independently reading and interpreting each task . By doing this independent aspect of learning, the student inevitably develops his or her own skills and gains greater confidence when learning and using the English language.Overall, The New Headway Advanced Student’s book (Soars, 2004) is a comprehensive teaching tool that covers a variety of aspects where the student can gain maximum benefit from the information with the aid of a teacher.
The use of the latest available technology within the units is also a big advantage, such as the use of audio and visual examples. The technological component would have to be available in the classroom for Headway to be effective. The teacher would also need to use a series of question and answer methods during the listening and comprehension activities found in Headway.In this instance, the questioning by the students would mostly be centered on clarification of the work in the book. Perhaps the teacher can come up with questions of their own using up to date and socially relevant topics that will grab the student’s attention. Of course all these different strategies as well as the text book would not be effective if the student lacks motivation.
Brown states that “Motivation is probably the most frequently used catch-all term for explaining the success or failure of virtually any complex task. It is easy to assume that success in any task is due simply to the fact that someone is motivated.It is easy in second language learning to claim that a learner will be successful with the proper motivation. Such claims are of course not erroneous, for countless studies and experiments in human learning have shown that motivation is a key to learning. But these claims gloss over a detailed understanding of exactly what motivation is and what the subcomponents of motivation are.
” (Brown, 2000) A way to motivate students through the use of the New Headway Advanced Student’s book is for the teacher to make good use of the various media that comes along with the book.As discussed earlier, the use of visual and audio excerpts creates variety and keeps the learners focused and motivated to work through the book. Before teaching from any text book, the teacher must be familiar with its content, in a sense be an expert on that specific teaching tool so as to be a fountain of knowledge for the students, and also for the students to put complete trust in their teacher. The New Headway Advanced Student’s book is an easy to use tool which, if used effectively can bring gratifying results.The teacher must always strive to take into account their students strengths and weaknesses as well as getting to know their cultural, social, religious backgrounds and when preparing for a lesson from headway, take into consideration all those factors. Reference list *Oxford University Press http://www.
oup. com. au/titles/elt/adult_courses/new_headway/9780194369329 *Long, M. H & Porter, P. A.
(1985). Group work, interlanguage talk, and second language acquisition. TESOL Quarterly 19(2), pp. 207-228. Retrieved 10th of January, 2011, from http://course1. winona. edu/hshi/documents/groupwork_interlanguagetalkandL2acquisition.
df *Miller, L. (2003). Developing listening skills with authentic materials. Issue of ESL Magazine. Retrieved 10th of January, 2011, from www. elthillside. com/up/files/article4.
doc *British Council BBC-Teaching English http://www. teachingenglish. org. uk/knowledge-database/cognitive-strategies *Brown, H. D.
(2000) Principles of Language Learning and Teaching. Fourth Edition. New York. Addison Wesley Longman *Soars. ( 2004) The New Headway Advanced Stuent’s book.
Oxford University Press *Ozman, K. S. (2000) The Cognitive Therapy Technique (CTT) in adult EFL classes. http://www. asian-efl-journal. com/04_kso.