English Practice Lessons Projecting Based On The Activity Approach

Abstract

The requirements of Federal State Educational Standard of Higher Education suppose the modernization of the education process of the English language in Higher Education based on the transition from the knowledge paradigm to the activity one within a framework of the training program 44.03.05 Pedagogical education. As a result, teachers should project the educational process in the way that the acquisition of the most notions should be held simultaneously with gathered experience, providing the development of learning skills, individual search and mastering, and as the candidate of psychological sciences, L.N. Nosova says: «A student should build up a Recommended Sequence of Activities». The article under discussion reveals the method of learning process organization when mastering general subject and meta-subject skills based on the activity approach of the scientific school by P.Ya. Galperin, V.V. Davydov, V.S. Lazarev, L.N. Nosova. It presents an innovative functional educational model that promotes the creation of conditions to project educational process content of the subject «Practical course of the English Language» based on activity approach; the authors presents characteristics of the model and its components, the presented approach; identified and described methods and ways (techniques) for working with content of mastered notion, which is identified as Recommended Sequence of Activities. The work’s originality is connected with the notion content which is defined through the Recommended Sequence of Activities.

Keywords: Subject skillsmetasubject skillsnotion contentRecommended Sequence of Activitiesactivity approachBachelor’s degree model

Introduction

The most important target of the modern education is concerned with the development and upbringing of every person’s intellectual, emotional, moral, creative, spiritual, mobile potentials. Within the world’s standard of the quality of education, the very important role plays the problem of mobility formation, skills of working with information, good decision making in non-standard situations.

The Federal State Educational Standard adopted by the legislation defines the requirements to the results at all levels of education. A school leaver is a person who is able to set a task of his own development and handle it not only in cognitive activity, but in practical one too. It means that the target of education is to create special conditions for a subject formation in educational activity. Being a subject of educational activity stands for the skills of setting objectives, projecting their decision and mastering problems solution. The requirements of Federal State Educational Standard of Higher Education suppose the modernization of the education process of the English language in Higher Education based on the transition from the knowledge paradigm to the activity one within a framework of the training program. (Nosova, 2013)

Problem Statement

One of the most urgent problems in Federal State Educational Standard realization is a student’s subject position in subject and meta-subject skills acquisition. These skills are mostly mental activities.

Any new mental activity based on L.S. Vigotsky’s hypothesis about psychical function is formed firstly in outer form, but only then becomes inner growth of individual’s psyche. Such kind of a process is called interiorization and it is held in three stages:

The first stage is held together with a teacher and a child. The second one is done closer to a teacher. The third is done individually.

Later, the process of interiorization was studied by P.Ya. Galperin and it was taken like foundation of planned mental activities and notions formation.

To form mental activities means to form appropriate notions as means of their implementation. As V.V. Davydov said: «A notion is a form of mental activity. It helps to display an ideal subject and system of its connections reflecting generality, core activity of any material object. A notion is presented both a form of material object reflection and means of its mental reproduction in other words special mental activity» (Davydov, 2000).

The Czech educator-humanist Ya.A. Komensky once said, that everything that should be studied and learnt ought to be presented according to age class. When teaching children, pay much attention to their level of training, rely on their learning opportunities, take into account life experience, their interests and developmental challenges (Podlasy, 1999)

Ya.A. Komenskiy laid emphasis many times to the fact that not only taking into considerations individual peculiarities helped improve pedagogical work effectiveness, but the necessity of developmental age awareness too. It completely helps teachers see in what way they are to organize the pedagogical process and what types of activities are of greater influence on students at this or that period of their developmental age (Komenskiy, 1989).

Today the requirements of Federal State Educational Standard of Higher Education demands educational process modernization within the framework of the activity approach. The question of content projecting based on activity approach attracts attention of both national scientists (L.N. Ananyev, L.S. Vigotsky, V.V. Davydov, V.S. Lazarev, L.N. Nosova, D.B. Elkonin) and foreign ones too (Ph. Barker, Jac. Neale, A.R. Putnam, L. Shulman).

The academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences, a doctor of psychological Sciences, V.S. Lazarev says that students’ attention transmits from the background, that is essential for doing professional functions, to individual and professional development encouragement based on skills to do typical and non-standard professional tasks on their own, keeping current received knowledge, experience and human personality. (Lazarev, 2011; Lazarev, 2017; Nosova, 2011; Nosova, 2013)

Research Questions

Traditional way of teaching English through books, studying grammar, text translation has been replaced by new approach. Using activity-based one, students learn to translate from Russian into English and back, study grammar in detail, study to compare and analyze.

The present paper is devoted to activity-based method of teaching languages and seeks to the following research questions:

  • define the components of activity approach; identify the features and requirements;

  • work out the innovative functional educational model, promote and create special conditions for the content of educational process projecting based on activity approach;

present effective practices and experience for activity approach usage.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to demonstrate the experience of working and assessment of the innovative functional educational model of mental activity formation during the English lessons within the subject «Practical course of the English Language» of the direction 44.03.05 Pedagogical education.

the scheme of Recommended Sequence of Activities formation is in the centre of teachers’ attention namely acquisition of the way of making up a simple declarative sentence in English. From L.N. Nosova’s point of view, the scheme of Recommended Sequence of Activities supposes the answers for the following questions: What will be the result of such kind of a scheme? What are the requirements for the result? What is the way for the result assessment? What are the steps to get a qualitative result? (Nosova, 2017)

Research Methods

The main research methods involve analysis of scientific literature on the problem of activity approach, educational process implementation within the subject «Practical coarse of English lessons»; as well as diagnostic methods, including observation, description, methods of statistical data processing.

Findings

The study presents an innovative functional educational model that promotes the creation of conditions to project educational process content in «Practical coarse of English lessons» based on activity approach; the authors presents characteristics of the model and its components, the presented approach; identified and described methods and ways (techniques) for working with content of mastered notion, which is identified as Recommended Sequence of Activities.

In the scientific research there is an emphasis on activity approach implementation into the educational process. For the last 20 years there have happened a lot changes in the society. New generation have grown up in new conditions. Now it demands new ways and methods in the educational process. That is why it is necessary to create new conditions for new environment orientation, to find the best possible decision for complicated questions showing mental flexibility and creativity. The target of the High school is to prepare school leavers for society who have all the necessary set of knowledge and skills letting feel them more confident in the independent life.

Let’s stop and describe in detail one of the modules, where the educational process organization is presented aiming at universal learning activities formation. The module is created within the framework of the activity approach of the scientific school by P.Ya. Galperin, V.V. Davydov, V.S. Lazarev, L.N. Nosova.

It is important to take into account the set of requirements when projecting a lesson in the activity paradigm:

  • The lesson is directed to mental activity formation;

  • The aim of a lesson is set in the operational way;

  • The students master Recommended Sequence of Activities during a lesson;

  • The structure of a lesson includes: students integration into the situation which demands tasks’ completion; result image presentation; direction search; execution of algorithm; assessment of received results; self-analysis of received results;

  • The form of organization is group learning activity;

  • The questions are directed to the ground reveling: What way did you act? What is the reason? How is to define that the received result is qualitative? What is the reason?

  • The special conditions are created for searching opportunities mistakes avoiding;

  • The teacher’s communication is less than 30% of study time.

The way of English practice lessons’ projecting based on the group work is presented to you. It has several stages. They are:

Stage 1. The problem introduction to students demanding action realization.

At the first, or conative stage the teacher suggests a practical task dealing where students are to feel the task of the professional activity in particular to write about themselves in the form of simple declarative sentences paying attention not only to the content, completeness and cohesiveness, but to the order of words and grammar composition too. As a result, students prove currency of the practical task as a problem, accept it and together with a teacher switch a practical task into a training one directed to acquisition of a generalized way of activity.

With a view to developing a practical task, a teacher offers students to set a practice target, objectives and a result of completed activity. So, the change of a subject task into a metasubject task is carried out.

Problem situation: What are the principles of a curriculum vitae which are required and valued by EF Efekta learning system?

Activity problem: skill formation to fix difficulties in activity, determine reasons, think over and realize the way out (monitor control and manage the way of activity and its result).

Content target: creation of Recommended Sequence of Activities for module learning.

Objectives:

  • be able to set a training task;

  • be able to point out dominant features and requirements;

  • be able to choose ways of developing a training task;

  • learn analyzing especial conclusions and generalize them;

  • master criteria for the assessment;

  • practise self-reflection based on activity approach;

  • master metacompetence.

Result: student’s presentation about their background.

Stage 2. Decision making.

At the second stage a teacher put students in working out the practical task. Students are divided into groups of three. Taking the result into account, a teacher gives students a task to work out Recommended Sequence of Activities in the present situation, criteria for the result assessment of the training task in the form of dominant features and requirements to simple declarative sentences. During the task student work in groups; they are given a task to present a list of dominant features and requirements of a sentence and prove the relevance of any of them.

Students are suggested the information for searching and finding answers for the questions asked, as the information is not ready for use. For this purpose, a teacher pays much attention to the fact, that tense determination in a sentence and its order of words are different and depends on a situation of communication.

The proposed outcome in groups is:

Dominant features are:

  • A notional set of words is the members of a sentence and answers some questions;

  • A message is complete;

  • Simple sentences are of extended and unextented kinds, complete and incomplete ones, positive and negative ones;

  • Fixed word order is essential in a simple declarative sentence;

  • Members of sentences are principal and subordinate parts;

  • Principal parts of a sentence are a subject and a predicate;

  • Subordinate parts of a sentence are an object, an attribute and an adverbial modifier;

  • A full stop is at the end of a sentence.

Requirements are:

  • A group of notional words consists of notional parts of speech which have lexical meaning, morphological and syntactical characteristics and functional parts of speech as linking elements;

  • There are coherence and completeness of an utterance, which contains a kind of communication, reports, says, conveys and etc. The utterance becomes clear who does; what he or she does;

  • Unextended simple sentences consist of principal members: a subject and a predicate. Extended simple sentences consist of both principal and one or more subordinate members: an object, an attribute or an adverbial modifier. They help clarify principal members.

  • The order of words is direct and fixed.

  • A subject expressed by any principal part of speech occupies the first place and answers a question who or what. Any form of a verb is for a predicate and it occupies the second place as a rule.

Students present their result in a chain. They speak about requirements and explain their necessity. In case of defined missing requirements, a teacher asks to clarify the meaning of presented statements. The representatives of other groups take an active part in discussion and offer other additional characteristics, not mentioned before. The detailing is mostly taken place at this stage.

During defining some dominant features and requirements, a teacher with questions takes into account to the following:

  • The order of words;

  • The content of statement;

  • The volume of lexical units;

  • The cohesiveness and completeness of supposed statements;

  • The fixedness of principal members of sentences;

  • The coherence;

  • The variety of word order of subordinate members of sentences in a simple declarative sentences.

At the third students work out the way of sentence translation from Russian into English, define conditions necessary for translating, develop criteria for assessing the result of the practical task.

The suspected result of work in groups:

  • Find and define a group of words of principal and subordinate parts of speech;

  • Point out the grammar base of a statement and complete with subordinate parts of speech;

  • Ask questions to a subject and a predicate;

  • Put a subject first, then a predicate. Further on, fix an attribute and an object. Pay attention to an adverbial modifier, especially of time and place, which can stand at the beginning of a sentence;

  • Translate all presented principal and subordinate members of sentence;

  • Define the tense and an aspect according to the table given;

  • Ask a question to a predicate;

  • Make agree a predicate in English with the tense according to the requirements.

Each group suggests their own variant for discussing. If students do not manage or cope with a task, miss some points or have some difficulties in result presentation, a teacher criticizes

and offers his own variant. A teacher presents that part of Recommended sequence of activities which correlates to the result of a practical task. It is of paramount importance to pay attention to things that students have not done as a result.

At the fourth stage groups demonstrate a worked out ways of a task solution. Each group presents their own project about themselves according to the algorithm, taking into account pointes out features and requirements. Groups begin analyzing each step and criterion. Students ask questions and them independently.

The teacher is in charge to make student feel rules and see disadvantages of an algorithm: what way did you act? why did you do it in this way? How can you understand that the result is qualitative? What are the reasons?

A teacher with the help of some questions, ideas generalizations should turn his attention to the following:

  • Whether requirements are defined well grounded, are pointed out logically or they are stated from intimate impulse;

  • Whether full requirements are provided with a result;

  • Whether criteria are defined operationally;

  • Whether the result is clear if it does not suit each requirement.

At the fifth stage a teacher return students to their practical task and together with students compose a presentation about themselves in the form of simple declarative sentences and work out a united algorithm of a task solution. Demonstrating the result of their work, students should pay attention to the previous result. If there are disadvantages or mistakes, the correction is held again. According to it, translation should be done again.

The final step is devoted to the self analysis of recommended sequence of activities. Students try to analyze the way of translation and reasons when they fail.

The presented model of mental effort formation is tried out during the lessons «English Practice» within the training program 44.03.05 Pedagogical education. The advantages of it are less lexical, grammar, structural and punctual mistakes; students concentrate their attention to tense and word order, double their work.

Conclusion

Studying activity-based approach used by the teachers aimed at the mastering general subject and meta-subject skill of students helps to project educational process content in an effective way. The authors concluded that the practical course of English lessons’ projecting based on activity approach and its innovative educational model will contribute to the formation and development of ability of activity and features of his/her individual, provided their successfulness in future life on a level with the world standards.

Summing it up the current study has demonstrated the importance of implementing activity-based approach in order to achieve the desired effect. Moreover, the study showed the importance of further investigation in order to explain if the present approach works the same way in other types of activities.

References

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Publisher

Future Academy

First Online

18.12.2019

Doi

10.15405/epsbs.2018.04.02.24

Online ISSN

2357-1330