A Profile of Dumindi - Sri Lankan Learner by Sharon Buddemeier

Table of Contents

The Learner
• Learner Background and Candidacy
• Learner Needs and Motivation
• Learning Style

The First Certificate in English Exam and Learner Samples

• Rationale
• Testing Factors
• Samples

Analysis of Data

• General Findings
• Speaking
• Writing
• Reading
• Listening

Learner Objectives

References and Sources Cited

References to Learner Objectives (Exercises and Activities)

Appendices

• Appendix 1 Individual Speaking Tasks (FCE Paper 5)
• Appendix 2 Writing Sample One (FCE Paper 2, re-typed)
• Appendix 3 Writing Sample Two (FCE Paper 2, re-typed)
• Appendix 4 Transcript of Informal discussion with Dumindi

The Learner

Learner Background and Candidacy

Dumindi is an 18-year-old Sri Lankan student studying for her ‘A’ levels. She lives in Nugegoda, just outside Colombo, with her parents; she is an only child. Her father works for the UN as an engineer and her mother works for the Colombo Police Commission. Her father speaks English and he and Dumindi sometimes communicate in English at home; her mother only speaks Singhalese.

Dumindi has studied English in school since she was six years old. All of her current classes, with the exception of a twice-weekly English language class, are in Singhalese. She studies seven days a week, including twice a week at the British Council, Colombo. She has taken two out of four 10-week (45 hours) FCE preparation classes and is now following a pre-Advanced course. She uses the self-access centre at the British Council about once a week and usually does listening practice.

I first met Dumindi outside of the British Council library where we had a very interesting conversation in which she told me that she wished she had a ‘personal English trainer.’ We discussed why she was learning English and her future plans, and continued to run into each other around school over the following weeks. So, when the time came for me to start this assignment, she came quickly to mind. She was very keen to participate in the project and get detailed personal feedback that would help her attain her short-term goal of passing the First Certificate in English exam (FCE).

Learner Needs and Motivation

During our first ‘official’ meeting, Dumindi and I discussed her needs and motivation. They are inevitably linked to one another, and yet in Dumindi’s case, they are quite complex. Her short-term needs are exam-based and her life goals are at the heart of why she is learning English. She wants to be a navy doctor, and the first step on the path to achieving her goal is to get admitted to an appropriate university.

Her preference is to attend a university in Colombo, but places are scarce and the competition is fierce. She therefore feels there is a high probability that she will not be accepted for immediate entry. It is common for students in Sri Lanka to be admitted to a university, but to have to wait one to two years before a space becomes available for them to actually begin their course of study. Dumindi, and moreover her parents, feel that such a long waiting period is unacceptable and so if she does not receive immediate placement, she will go abroad to study. Dumindi shared that both of her parents “strongly encourage” her to study English so that she will be prepared if and when she must go abroad. To do this, her goals over the next two years are to pass the FCE exam, to pass the CAE exam in 2009, and to score high enough on the IELTS exam to gain admittance to a UK university program in 2010.

Her motivation, therefore, is both extrinsic and intrinsic. Dumindi comes from a culture and a family background where obedience and filial piety don’t end when you reach a certain age. Williams (1999), writing about motivation, asserts, “from a cognitive perspective, one factor that is of central importance is choice” (p.3). It is essential to remember that ‘choice’ has very different connotations in different cultures. In many cultures, including Dumindi’s, parental approval and obedience are far more central to one’s life than personal wants and private ambitions.

As a result, her reason for studying English has what Gardener (1985) calls an instrumental orientation because her motivation arises from the external goals of passing exams that will, eventually, lead to a successful career. She very much wants to please her parents, and although she personally would prefer to wait and attend a local university, she won’t consider delaying her education and disappointing her mother and father. That said, she is definitely willing to go abroad and her parents do accept her goal of becoming a doctor in the navy.

Learning Style

Dumindi completed Ellis and Sinclair’s quiz “What sort of language learner are you?” (Appendix 6) as well as Nunan and Lockwood’s (1991) student questionnaire (Appendix 7). She scored ‘18’ on the quiz which means that she has a mixture of both analytical and relaxed learning styles. The most revealing points on the Nunan questionnaire and during the follow-up discussion showed that she is generally more relaxed than analytical. From Nunan it was discovered, “It doesn’t matter if I don’t understand every word,” “I [don’t] plan what I am going to say before I speak,” “Out of class I always try and practice my English,” and “It doesn’t bother me if I make mistakes.”

In the follow-up discussion about her learning style, she said, “I have to [spend more time thinking and practicing grammar] because I never take much time to correct my faults” (see Appendix 8) for a complete transcript of our discussion). She also clarified her rankings in regard to the question “How and where do you like learning?” on the Nunan survey. She had ranked ‘learning at home by yourself’ number one, but explained that this was true for her in general, but not true for learning English. She said “In class listening to the teacher” and “In class working in groups” were most important because of the immediate feedback and error correction from the teacher and classmates.

Overall, she feels that her communication skills are good but she struggles with range and accuracy. After numerous meetings and observing her in class for a total of three hours, I believe that her self-awareness will help her immensely in improving her English.

The First Certificate in English Exam and Learner Samples

Rationale

The FCE exam was chosen as the primary assessment tool because it fits with Dumindi’s needs and level. After completing the third and final portion of the upper-intermediate level course at the British Council, Dumindi took two classes in preparation for the FCE exam. This follows the center’s recommendation for learners at her level. She has a definitive plan to take the exam this year and passing the exam is her current priority as it is the first hurdle she must cross in order to reach her goal of entering a UK university.

The most important consideration when choosing a test is that it is useful for the purpose for which it is intended. The FCE exam is particularly useful to Dumindi because she must pass it in order to achieve her goals. Because the results of the exam will have a significant impact on her life, beneficial backwash was one reason that it was chosen. The exam is also useful for me because I am familiar with it having been both the Assessor and the Interrogator for many FCE speaking tests over the last two years. The fact that the test covers the four skill areas and includes language systems is useful for both of us because it allows me to pinpoint areas for Dumindi to work on. The analysis of these areas has allowed me to prioritize and enumerate clear objectives for her short-term study goals.

Testing Factors

When further considering the usefulness of the test, I will look at the qualities of reliability, validity, authenticity, and practicality. The entire exam takes just under 5 hours of ‘testing time’ to complete and there are 5 sections to the exam: Reading (paper 1), Writing (paper 2), Use of English (paper 3), Listening (paper 4), and Speaking (paper 5). I will look at these sections together when evaluating the usefulness of the exam, making reference to particularities of certain sections where applicable.

Reliability.
All of the Cambridge exams are reliable in that they are pre-tested, they have a familiar format that is accessible for free online, and they are constantly being improved (the FCE exam is changing somewhat in December 2008, for example). Reliability simply means that a test is consistent in its measurement. This is pertinent not only because it means that the criteria that I use in the analysis is fair, but also because when the time comes for Dumindi to take the actual test she will feel confident knowing that there are no ‘tricks’ to the exam and that she can depend on its uniformity.

Reliability is achieved in all sections by having specific marking criteria for assessment and by making the learner aware of these criteria. The exam gives clear instructions and allows for totally objective scoring in Papers 1, 3, and 4. Papers 2 and 5 are marked somewhat subjectively, but using qualified, trained examiners and having detailed marking criteria ensures their reliability. There is discreet item testing in Paper 3, and all of the papers have a number of texts and topics. This gives the learner the opportunity to re-focus and attempt each area with a fresh start.

Validity.
The Cambridge FCE has high face validity because it is internationally recognized and respected. Moreover, its internal validity means that the marks reflect the areas of language ability I want to measure, and little else. This is essential because it means that the analysis that I make of Dumindi’s English language ability, with the premise that I am able to analyze language properly, will be accurate and useful to her as she prepares for the exam and for further study and not skewed because of the test itself.

Validity is achieved by ensuring that the tasks are authentic, integrative, and communicative. The reading texts are authentic and of different genres (3 articles from different types of publications and an interview) and the writing tasks and topics are relevant to EFL learners and are not particularly culturally biased (letters to friends, food, family). Paper 3 tests a wide range of grammatical systems that a learner at this level should be able to use with some degree of success. The number of structures that it tests allows me to identify and analyze particular areas that Dumindi needs to work on. Similarly, Paper 4 tests a number of listening skill areas through use of very different genres such as two friends talking and a radio program.

The examinees can choose the person that they want to do the communicative speaking paper with and the subjects discussed are again relevant and neutral. The level of lexis is appropriate to each task, and the skills and systems are integrated. For example, listening and speaking in Paper 5, and reading and writing in Paper 2, Part 1. Cross-analysis of the data will help to show areas in need of improvement as well.

Authenticity.
Authenticity is closely related to validity because it relates the test tasks to the general area that we want to interpret. The FCE exam does this by extensive use of a variety of authentic reading and listening texts, maps, charts, and photographs. This genuineness also helped make certain that Dumindi responded positively to the tests and performed at her best at that given moment.

Practicality.
Practicality in the context of this situation is not related to usefulness of the test, but to the way the test is implemented and marked. I had the available and required resources necessary to give Dumindi the test and to do so under exam-like conditions. In addition, I was able to mark papers 1, 3, and 5 quickly and easily using the First Certificate Practice Book 1 Test 4 answer key. It was also practical because I am an FCE examiner and have experience marking paper 5
.

The Samples

The speaking samples have been transcribed and comprise Appendices 1 (individual speaking tasks) and 2 (interactive speaking task) but the line numbering is continuous to avoid confusion when referring to examples in the analysis.

The writing samples have been re-typed and comprise Appendices 3 (a letter giving directions) and 4 (description of a typical dish). Again, the line numbering is continuous to ease the burden on the reader.

The entire original test can be found in Appendix 5. These appendices will be referred to as necessary in the analysis.

Analysis of Data

General findings

According to the FCE marking criteria on the Cambridge ESOL website, a pass grade (C) “corresponds to about 60% of the total marks.” Dumindi scored 66% in Reading, 52% in Use of English, and 77% in Listening. One of her writing papers fulfilled the requirements of the task to a satisfactory level, but one did not. Her speaking paper was quite reasonably effective overall; as an FCE oral examiner and I would give her a ‘global achievement’ score of ‘3.5’ which is a pass. All of these areas are analyzed in much greater detail below.

Overall strengths include comprehensible pronunciation including tone softening, a wide variety of lexical chunks including multiword verbs, good interactive communication skills such as responding and turn-taking, and the quality and extent of her ideas when speaking.

Prominent weaknesses are problems with modality that obscure meaning, the lack of grammatical cohesion in both spoken and written discourse, grammatical accuracy for her needs and level, and frequent repetition even though her range is clearly evident at times.

A different type of interference

English is one of the official languages in Sri Lanka and so ‘mother tongue’ interference is two-fold when analyzing errors. In addition to ‘normal’ L1 interference, there is also Sri Lankan English. While the errors originally came from the mother tongue, they have become accepted in the Sri Lankan English. ‘Errors’ can be found in newspapers, official documents, and in English textbooks like Dumindi’s.

Differences include certain uses of present continuous, use of present and past perfect, use of some modal verbs, and the appearance of antiquated and excessively formal language. Hence, some errors were systematically fossilized at a young age as she was taught them at home and in school. Specific examples are noted in the detailed analysis of these and other errors while strengths are primarily just referred to by line number in order to respect word limit.

Speaking

The following criteria were used to assess Dumindi’s speaking:
• Range, accuracy, and appropriacy of grammar and lexis
• Discourse management
• Pronunciation
• Interactive communication

* Reminder: the following line numbers are from Appendices 1 and 2

Range and accuracy of grammar

strengths

• Some range of verb tenses:
o present continuous including negative form (1, 5),
o present passive (10, 11, 23)
o zero conditional (16-17)
o first conditional (44, 48)

• Range and use of multiword verbs such as advised to, keep her eye on (6, 23, 41, 45, 48)

• Use of adj + prep: interested in (4), good for (25)

• Use of direct speech to talk about her parents scolding her (21-22).

• Use of ‘like’ to mean ‘for example’ (23).

weaknesses

• Modality:
o she don’t have enough time (42)- fails to use ‘will’ for prediction
o misuse of ‘must’ instead of ‘will/might’: so the interviewers must misjudge (37)- this is a problem with meaning and use- she uses ‘will’ correctly in the same situation (47)

Systematic errors. Her father told me that Dumindi really wants to attend Colombo University but they “must not let her in” [probably will not].

• Errors with present continuous are confusing and strain the listener:
o with time words: after I am doing A levels (2)
o with state verbs- they are telling (21), she won’t be having (45).

(L1/Sri Lankan English interference; also grammar of say/tell)

• over-generalizes ‘made by’ + pronoun to ‘made by’ + noun (10, 12)

Range, accuracy, and appropriacy of lexis

strengths

• Wide range and variety of lexis:
o lexis related to houses and materials
o lexis related to giving advice about appearance
o good use of: prefer (16), deceive (28), waste of money (29), misjudge (38)

weaknesses

• inability to substitute pronouns or allow the listener to infer through use of ellipses leads to frequent repetition (dressing, 23-24) and elders (35, 36, 37).

• repetition of ‘good’ (27), perfectly (26, 29) and ‘suitable’ (18, 20, 21, 22, 30, 32) are evidence of a lack of range of adjectives.

• Misuse of vocabulary:
o ‘dress’ instead of ‘wear’ (19, 22, 23)
o ‘elders’ for ‘the elderly’
o ‘post’ for ‘position/job’ (correct in Sri Lankan English)
o ‘perfectly’ to describe a way of dressing (26, 29).
o ‘endless’ money (31)
o ‘patterns’ to mean appearance/style (39)

Discourse management (coherence, extent, relevance)

strengths

• Extends responses appropriately:
o when asked about interest in other languages (4-5).
o which house she would prefer to live in (16-17)
o importance of dressing fashionably (29-32)

• Relevant and mature ideas:
o the importance and implications of dress and appearance in the workplace
o how money should be wisely spent
o sensitivity to ‘elders’ feelings about clothing

• able to sustain a long turn without major pauses

• able to self correct- no one can say . . . no one can recognize (19)

weaknesses

• problems with grammatical cohesion:
o excessive repetition of words and phrases- suitable (18, 20-22), we are dressing (23-24) and good (27) due to avoidance or inability to use substitution or ellipsis as well as lack of vocabulary.
o misuse of pronouns (all), problems with plurality, and referencing difficulties (a flat?are apartment, a town?a big building) when describing houses makes utterances ambiguous.

• relevance:
o fails to use language for giving advice during interactive speaking task (Eg, should/n’t) and instead focuses on the reaction of the interviewer. This again probably relates to her lack of understanding about the meaning and use of modal verbs [see objectives].
o her utterance about not having time to put on make-up is a bit far-fetched (44).

Pronunciation (stress and rhythm, intonation, individual sounds)

strengths

• Utterances are almost always understandable so communication is not impeded.

• Problems with staccato rhythm combined with and ‘sing song’ intonation rarely interfere with meaning or listener comprehension because she speaks and she puts the primary stress in the correct place on words and puts stronger emphasis (although not with the appropriate tone) on the important parts of the sentences.

weaknesses

• Speech is often ‘sing song’ (4, 13, 42, 44) due to mother tongue being syllable-timed as opposed to stress-timed. Also lack of weak forms and contractions.

• some words which caused difficulty were ‘personality’ (25), deceives (28), and misjudge (38) due to uncertainty of stress placement. Also, ‘interviewers’ (34) because of the /v/ and /w/ sounds being so close together, and ‘through’ (45) because of the consonant cluster /?r/.

Interactive communication (initiating and responding, hesitation, turn-taking)

strengths

• Appropriate responses and ability to politely soften her tone when expressing disagreement.

• Appropriate turn-taking and interaction particularly evident when she helps Asha to complete her thought when she couldn’t find the right words (43).

weaknesses

• Many brief but noticeable hesitations in the form of ‘uh’ even in short utterances sometimes put a strain on the listener. This may related to stress-timing as many of the ‘hesitations’ appear to be put in to create a rhythm that feels right to her.

Writing

The following criteria will be used in assessing Dumindi’s writing:
• Task achievement and Content (includes effect on the reader)
• Appropriacy of organization, style and genre (includes effect on the reader)
• Range and complexity of language
• Accuracy of language (including lexis, spelling, and grammar)

The two writing samples are of similar genres, but are written with very different purposes and styles. The first is a formal letter with the primary purpose of giving directions, and the second is an informal letter to a friend with the purpose of giving instructions for a recipe.

* Reminder: the following line numbers are from Appendices 3 and 4; Sample 1= (S1) and Sample 2 = (S2)

Task achievement and content

strengths

• she gives the origin of the dish, it is clearly described, and can easily follow the recipe (S1)

• she has a very friendly way of writing and including the reader: your mouth will be watering (36), as you know (28), I am very happy to give you (26)

• all of the information in S2 is clear, necessary, and nothing major is omitted.

• The apology is clear and is repeated. Because of her correct use of polite language in both the introduction and the conclusion, the reader is likely to understand that she doesn’t mean to be rude (S2)- [see weaknesses under appropriacy]

weaknesses

• Task not achieved in S1:

o Unable to choose useful and relevant subject matter: just the bus number, the number of stops and/or a landmark, how to meet her

o She includes a lot of unnecessary/illogical information see highlights (5-9)

o She exceeds the word count in both samples, and will struggle to be succinct when she takes the exam.

Appropriacy of organization, style and genre

strengths

• Both samples are in the correct format including proper paragraphing, closing, and signature

• Organization:
o both texts are logically structured

o Good use of sequencers (S2) and control over usage of capital letters and full stops, and appropriate use of commas make the texts easy to read.

• Appropriate use of good language for an informal letter (highlighted in analysis)

weaknesses

• Organization:
o no greeting or date (S1)
o inappropriate identification of self and why she is writing (S1)

• Inappropriate language (S1) evidence of lack of awareness of register differences in
o formal/ informal writing and spoken/written English and will have a negative effect on the reader. Examples include: To be honest (5) and I hope my road guidance are clear enough for you (17). [See highlights].

Range and complexity of language

strengths

• Good range of:
o Impertives for recipe instructions
o Recipe and food-related lexis (but not recipe!)
o Amounts and quantities

• Language for giving directions:
o it runs through (9)
o reach/pass the junction (10, 11)
o before it reach to (11)
o it takes Mount Pleasant Road (12)
o you will see (14)

weaknesses

• repetition of ‘then’ (33, 34, 35, 37, 38) instead of substituting ‘after that’ or ‘next’ makes S1 a bit boring to read; she also uses ‘then’ in (10, 11, 14).
• other problems with range are linked with task achievement and content and can be found in those sections.

Accuracy of language (including lexis, spelling, and grammar)

strengths

• Spelling is very good and never causes miscommunication or strain on the reader.
• Control over use of pronouns and subject-verb agreement
• Good use of conjunctions:
o for compounding to join or giving alternatives (33-34, 35-36, 37-38)

weaknesses

Accuracy for the level is a problem as evidenced by her writing and the low score on Paper 3. Like many students in Sri Lanka, she has been pushed through the system too quickly due to her communicative competence and listening skills at the expense of accuracy.

• Unable to use her range of phrases for giving directions accurately to create meaningful discourse [see task achievement].

• modality and other verb tenses:
o I don’t be able to come (3)- a fossilized phrases that also appeared in her speaking
o I must attend to (4)
o Hope that you will enjoy the journey (19)
o you will have food that you could never forget (30)

o When you arrived at the station call a taxi and asked the driver (7)
o While you are travelling you will see (13)

• Use of articles causes confusion because she only uses the definite article (the) in lines 10-12 and so the reader doesn’t know which junction is being referred to.

• Use of prepositions such as reach to (5, 6)
o see highlights

• Failure to use contractions in S2 makes text overly formal

Reading

Dumindi’s told me that she loves reading and often reads books in English that she has previously read in Singhalese; she rarely reads newspapers and magazines. This admission may help to explain her strengths and weaknesses in that she often reads for detail and specific information, but she doesn’t read text that lends itself to gist reading.

strengths

• reading for detail and specific information
• re-structuring text

Improvements can be made in reading for gist and deducing meaning from context, but overall she’s a strong reader.

Listening

strengths

• understanding global meaning and main points
• understanding mood and attitude of speakers and their intentions, feelings and opinions
• understanding detail and specific information in a context with which she is familiar

Areas to work on, but not particular weaknesses:

• understanding dialogues, particularly those that include lots of pronoun references when more than one topic is discussed simultaneously
• understanding connected speech that includes lots of elision

Learning Objectives

Primary areas to focus on over the next two terms (20 weeks):

1) improve oral fluency
2) improve grammatical accuracy
3) extend and build lexis to improve discourse
4) improve formal letter writing skills
5) prepare for the FCE exam (in December)

To improve oral fluency:

• Record herself speaking alone (describing pictures) and with a partner (about a topic from an FCE practice exam). Then listen and notice the number of times she hesitates and/or repeats. After she has gained an awareness, she can work on removing them from her speech.

• She is confident in her speaking ability, so she could ask a classmate to signal her when she hesitates or repeats herself in a task during class.

• Use the tapescripts in her coursebook and circle the contractions. Practice reading the text using the contractions.

• Attend Speaking Club on Wednesdays.

To improve grammatical accuracy:

- Set a schedule to work through English Grammar in Use to review and consolidate grammar that she must be in control of at her level. (1)

- Review notes and exercises from your FCE class, focusing on ‘Use of English’ sections.

- Modal verbs (3, 9, 12, 15, 21, 26) and Present continuous (11, 17, 21, 26)
o Raise awareness of differences in Sri Lankan English usage by making own rules and definitions for the modals will, have to, must, and shall. Compare ideas to Grammar in Use and note differences.

- Articles 2, 13, 21, 25

- Prepositions 5, 15, 21, 25

To extend and build lexis to improve discourse:

- Begin a vocabulary notebook of new lexis and spend time reviewing possible word class and various use of items. Try recording in categories, collocations, and spidergrams and see what works best. Work on building word families. 17, 19, 20

- Continue reading novels and check out the graded readers in the library. Look for magazines in the school library that may be of interest such as Reader’s Digest. Record useful expressions and language in vocabulary notebook.

- Practice identifying formal and informal styles of language by underlining phrases in your own writing you are unsure about and checking their use in a dictionary.

- Work on avoiding repetition by practicing referencing and substitution activities. 7, 21, 22

To improve writing skills:

- Review process writing and focus on the different stages, particularly selecting relevant information to include, and reference markers. Ask questions in class when you discuss writing.

- Keep a writing diary and try to incorporate newly acquired lexis. Check past writing focusing on problematic grammatical areas.

- Practice use of text organizers. 2, 14, 18, 21

- Read examples of formal and informal letters and note differences in register and practice re-writing informal text to make it formal. 6, 14, 16, 18

To prepare for the FCE exam (to take in December):

- Continue to use the practice tests in the computer room and practice at home: http://www.examenglish.com/FCE/Use_of_English.htm
http://www.english-online.org.uk/fcefolder
FCE Practice Test Self-Study Guide (22)

- Always list ideas and select the best, do an outline, and check the word count before writing.

- Organize a ‘speaking time’ with Aisha where you practice the interactive task and give each other feedback. Review language for giving directions then do these activities. 23, 24

A look to the future

Dumindi will need to work more on her pronunciation as well as her reading and listening skills in future, but her immediate focus is the FCE exam and her level in these areas is enough for her needs. Many exercises and tasks listed here integrate all of the skills and the areas listed above must take priority.


Biodata

Sharon has been teaching at the British Council in Colombo, Sri Lanka since 1996. She has previously taught in various southeast Asian countries including Thailand and China

References and Sources Consulted

The Learner:

Ellis, G. and Sinclair, B., Learning to Learn English, Cambridge University Press, 1989.

Gardener, R.C., Social Psychology and Language Learning: the role of attitudes and motivation, Edward Arnold, 1985.

Nunan, D. & Lockwood, J. The Australian English course, Cambridge University Press, 1991.

Williams, M. ‘Motivation in language learning.’ English Teaching Professional, Issue 13, October 1999.

Williams, M. and Burden, R., Psychology for Language Teachers: a Social Constructivist Approach, Cambridge University Press, 1997.

Testing:

Bachman, L. & Palmer, A. Language Testing in Practice, Oxford University Press, 1996.

Carne, P. et al. Cambridge Practice Tests for First Certificate, Student’s Book 1 & 2 (Book 1, Test 4), Cambridge University Press, 2000.

Figueras, N. Testing, testing, everywhere, and not a while to think, ELT Journal, Oxford University Press, Volume 59/1, January 2005.

Taylor, L. Washback and impact, ELT Journal, Oxford University Press, Volume 59/2, April 2005.

Tomlinson, B. Testing to Learn: a personal view to language testing, ELT Journal, Oxford University Press, Volume, 2003.

Tomlinson, B. A response to Neus Figueras. ELT Journal, Oxford University Press, Volume 59/1, January 2005.

http://www.cambridgeesol.org/teach/fce/

Analysis and Objectives:

Batstone, R. Grammar, Oxford University Press, 1994.

Bolitho, R. & Tomlinson, B. Discover English, Heinemann, 2002 .

Bygate, M. Speaking, Oxford University Press, 1987.

Cook, G. Discourse, Oxford University Press, 1989.

Corder, S. P. Error Analysis & Interlanguage, Oxford University Press, 1982.

Ellis, R. The Study of Second Language Acquisition, Oxford University Press, 1994.

Fowle, C. Vocabulary Notebooks: Implementation and Outcomes, ELT Journal, Oxford University Press, Volume 56/4, October 2002.

Gairns, R. and Redman, S. Working with Words, Cambridge University Press, 1986.

Hedge, T. Teaching and Learning in the Language Classroom, Oxford University Press, 2000.

Leech, Geoffrey N. Meaning and the English Verb, Second Edition, Longman, 1987.

McCarthy, M. Discourse Analysis for Language Teachers, Cambridge University Press, 1991.

Meyler, M. A Dictionary of Sri Lankan English, 2007.

Norrish, J. Language Learners and their Errors, MacMillian, 1983.

Parrott, M. Grammar for English Language Teachers, Cambridge University Press, 2000.

Richards, J. C. Error Analysis: Perspectives on Second Language Acquisition, Longman, 1974.

Shackle, C. ‘Speakers of Indian languages,’ in Swan and Smith’s Learner English: A teacher’s guide to interference and other problems, Cambridge University Press, 1987.

Swan, M. Practical English Usage, Oxford University Press, 2005.

References to Learner Objectives (Exercises and Activities)

1) Murphy, R. English Grammar in Use, CUP, 1985.
2) Jones, L. Making Progress to First Certificate Workbook, 2005, p. 16, 67-8.
3) Jones, L. Making Progress to First Certificate Workbook, 2005, p. 26, 83.
4) Jones, L. Making Progress to First Certificate Workbook, 2005, p. 34, 37-8.
5) Jones, L. Making Progress to First Certificate Workbook, 2005, p. 86.
6) Mower, D., et al. Opportunities Upper Intermediate Powerbook, Longman, p. 8-9, 35, 61, 87.
7) Mower, D., et al. Opportunities Upper Intermediate Powerbook, Longman, p. 52.
8) Mower, D., et al. Opportunities Upper Intermediate Powerbook, Longman, p. 72.
9) Mower, D., et al. Opportunities Upper Intermediate Powerbook, Longman, p. 78-9.
10) Mower, D., et al. Opportunities Upper Intermediate Powerbook, Longman, p. 83.
11) Soars, L. & J., Headway Upper Intermediate Student’s Book, OUP, 2005, Unit 2.
12) Soars, L. & J., Headway Upper Intermediate Student’s Book, OUP, 2005, p. 89, Unit 7.
13) Soars, L. & J., Headway Upper Intermediate Student’s Book, OUP, 2005, Unit 12.
14) Allemano, J. & Stephens, M. Fast Track to FCE, Longman, 2001, Units 2, 3, 7.
15) Allemano, J. & Stephens, M. Fast Track to FCE, Longman, 2001, Units 5, 9.
16) Acklam, R. Going for Gold Upper Intermediate, Longman, 2003, Units 2, 3, 7, 10, 13.
17) Acklam, R. & Crace, A. Going for Gold Upper Intermediate, Longman, 2003, Unit 1.
18) Coe, N., Rycroft, R. & Ernest, P. Writing Skills, CUP, 1983, Units 1-3.
19) Watcyn-Jones, P. Test Your Vocabulary Series, Penguin Books, 1979.
20) Redman, S. & Ellis, R. A Way With Words Series, CUP, 1990.
21) Hewings, M. Advanced Grammar in Use, CUP, 1999, (tenses, modals, organizing information)
22) FCE Practice Test Self-Study Guide, McGraw Hill, 2005. (www.mhe-elt.com/fce)
23) Watcyn-Jones, P. Pairwork 2, Longman. (p. 40, older edition).
24) Granger, C. Play Games with English 2, Heinemann, 1982, p. 11.
25) Bolton, D. & Goodey, N. Trouble With Verbs, Delta, 1989.
26) Bolton, D. & Goodey, N. Trouble With Prepositions, Articles, Nouns, Word Order, Delta, 1989.

Appendix 1: Individual speaking tasks

Speaking: FCE Paper 5

Interrogator: Sharon
Students: Dumindi (speaking partner- Asha)

Individual task 1

Sharon: Are you studying English for any special purpose?

1) I am studying English for my higher studies. I am hoping to go abroad after I am
2) doing ‘A’ levels. For my own knowledge it seems and because it’s international
3) language.

Asha: (responds to same question)
S: Are you interested in any other languages other than English?
A: (responds)

4) I am interested in Tamil because it is one of the main languages in my country.
5) I’m not learning it as a … professionally but I’m picking words and learning.

A: (responds to the same question.)
S: Dumindi, can you tell me about your career plans?

6) I hope to be a doctor in the future and I plan to join the military service as a navy 7) doctor.

A: (responds to the same question.)

Task 2

S: … Compare and contrast these two pictures of houses saying how you’d feel living in each of those places….

8) In the first picture it shows a village and it’s a normal house. It’s a thatch kind
9) of house and in the second picture it’s a modern and it’s like a flat…and there
10) are apartment. In the first house there are about.. uh.. the roof is made by hay.. 11) and it’s old and a thatch pattern. But in the second picture all are made
12) by concrete and are uh it seems they have all modern facilities. And in the first 13) picture there are flower pots and there are lots of trees around it and uh it shows 14) the all kinds of qualities in a village. But in the second picture it’s a town and
15) there are… uh.. I can see only a big building and some trees on it.

S: Asha, which of those two houses would you prefer?
A: (responds and then describes her pictures of houses- one by the sea and the other next to a bay)
S: Dumindi, which of those two places would you prefer?

16) I also prefer the first one because it’s a real picture of a place and if I want to live 17) a long life I can just look at the sea and enjoy it.

Task 3

S: Ok. Thank you . . . Now, do you think it’s important to dress smartly for work?
A: Of course because if you do any work you have to be attractive. Sometimes every people are watching us. Sometimes they are judge us by our clothes. Because every people can’t talk with us so they judge, ‘he’s good’ or ‘he’s nice’ when he’s working good I think like that- you should be smart when you work.
S: (to Dumindi) What do you think?

18) Yes, I agree because we have to dress the suitable for our job. If no then no
19) one can say that our … no one can recognise our post if we are dressing not
20) suitable for our post.

S: Have you ever had any problems with your teachers or your parents about the clothes you wear, Dumindi?

21) Yes, sometimes when I am dressing something not suitable they are telling,
22) “that’s not suitable for you. Don’t dress it.” And for special places also we are
23) advised to dress special clothes like in temple we are dressing white clothes and 24) for a funeral we are dressing white clothes. Like that.

A: (responds to the same question.)
S: How much do people’s clothes tell you about their personality?
A: (responds.)

25) Me also. That’s good for person’s personality. But when people are in bad
26) character and they are dressing quite perfectly in the future we think that the
27) person is good and the character is good but he’s not good. And it sometimes 28) deceives us because of clothes.

S: And how important is if for you to dress fashionably?

29) Personally I think fashion is a waste of money. Dressing perfectly and dressing 30) suitable for the place is the main thing. And sometimes people are using
31) endless money for fashion. That’s not good. We have to dress for the place and 32) for the event and otherwise all the fashions are not suitable for us.
S: (to Asha) What do you think?
A: (responds)
Appendix 2: Interactive speaking task

S: Now I’d like you to talk together. Here is a picture of a young woman. She’s going for a job interview tomorrow. She wants to get a job looking after elderly people. She wants your advice about her appearance. Talk together and discuss whether she should change her appearance and, if so, how….

33) This lady’s um… dressing modern clothes but for the interview it’s not suitable 34) because always interviewers looking for a simple dressing person especially
35) because she’s applied for uh… elders.

A: Well, I don’t agree with you because the main thing is the personality and all. I don’t think her appearance effects for that badly.

36) I agree with you but she’s going to… she applied for a job with elders and
37) normally elders don’t like very fashionable person so the interviewers must
38) misjudge.

A: Yes, that’s true but when we do… when we think about her side I don’t think she should change her appearance because she’s doing her job and if she do her job … did it correct and good…

39) Yeah, I agree with you but she also feel is hard to change her all patterns and 40) other things. But all the same I think that interviewers must misjudge her
41) because she applied for the elder and she always have to work on them. Then 42) she don’t have enough time to do her make-up when she’s working.

A: I think that she could manage that herself because it’s her thing… it’s her… I don’t know what… she uh…

43) She’ll manage it together.

A: Yeah, she’ll manage anything to do because this is not a new thing for her.

44) Yeah, but she applied for … if the elder person is very sick and she has to
45) keep her eye on her through all the time there she won’t be having enough time 46) to do that. So that if the interviewers are studying this sort of qualifications then 47) she will be misjudged because uh…

A: I think it’s not suitable for change her appearance. Better to be like who she is. That’s the best things….main things.

48) If she can take care of the elders and do whatever it is, her appearance won’t be 49) mind…


Appendix 2: Writing sample 1

Writing: FCE Paper 2, Part 1

1) I’am Dumindi K------. I am the secretary of the History Society of Swansea
2) College. We have invited you to speak to our society on 28th of March 2008. But 3) unfortunately I don’t be able to come to the railway station to pick you at 4.45
4) because I must attend to my Maths lesson. I am very sorry about that.
5) To be honest, it takes sometime to reach to our college. This is the way, how
6) you can reach to our college quickly because we are going to hear your lecture
7) at 5.30p.m. When you arrived at the station call a taxi and asked the driver to
8) drop you at the bus halt. There you will find the bus to the Mount Pleasant
9) Hospital, and its code is 1909. Get on to the bus, it runs through the High Street 10) until it reach the junction then it takes the west side, Alexandria Road. Then the 11) bus will pass another junction before it reach to the third junction Then it takes 12) Mount Pleasant Road which is on your right hand.
13) Our school is at the half way of Mount Pleasant Road. While you 14) are travelling you will see big browny set of buildings on your right. Then ask
15) the driver to stop the bus. There you will find me because my lesson will be
16) finished by that time.
17) I hope my road guidance are clear enough for you. We are
18) expecting to hear you speech about ‘The industrial revolution in South Wales’. 19) Hope that you will enjoy the journey.
20) Thank You.
21) Yours Truly,
22) (she signed her name here)
23) Dumindi K-------


Appendix 3: Writing sample 2

Writing: FCE Paper 2, Part 2, #2

24) Dear Sibborn,
25) Hi! Hi! Hi! for you. I received your letter yesterday and what on
26) earth you are going to make a traditional dish. I am very happy to give you
27) instructions to make one of the special traditional dishs in my country.
28) As you know we are having our New Year on 13th and 14th of April. 29) We make milk rice and chilli curry for it. So Sibborn follow the instructions and
30) you will have food that you could never forget.
31) These are the ingredients and the method for of making milk rice
32) for five people. First, take 1 kg of golden colour or white colour rice and wash it 33) at least three times. Then add 1 litre of coconut milk or if you can’t find coconut 34) milk bottles add 1 litre of fresh cow milk. Then cook it until the milk absorbed to 35) the rice and it is solid. Then take it out the stove and put it into a dish. While
36) you’are doing this I am sure your mouth will be watering. Now take 100g of
37) dried chilli and add three tablespoons of salt to it. Then put it into the blender 38) and chop it, but don’t chop it until it is creamy. Then add some lemon for your 39) flavour. Put it into the side of the milk rice dish and eat it.
40) You will find it really interesting. I will write another way to make a traditional
41) curry in my next letter. Give my kind regards for your sister. Bye.
42) With lots of love
43) (she signed her name here)

Appendix 4: Notes and excerpts from a discussion about learner styles questionnaires.

Sharon: You scored an 18 which means you have a mixture of relaxed and analytical styles. Can you have a look at the points under each of those styles and see if you think any of those things describes you?

D: Both of them have things which I have to make it…. Sometimes when I am speaking and make a mistake… If I say some grammar point are wrong I feel threat.

I don’t have enough time.

S: Are you very self-critical?

D: No, not really, but I think I have to be because I never take much time to correct my faults. I like learning but I don’t pay much attention to correcting my faults.

S: Do you have a memory of any particular positive experience?

D: I had said about my elocution exam I was successful. For all thing things I have got more than 85, so I feel confident about that. And at the British Council in my first term I did presentation and I got A for that. At that day I felt that I can do that.

S: So that was about a year ago then.

D: Yeah.

s: You wrote that at school sometime the teacher scold you. How do they scold you?

D: They scold that the grammar is bad. For students who are poor at English they feel very bad and don’t feel confident when they scold them like that way.

S: Did you get scolded a lot that way.

D: Yeah. I mean earlier like in that primary school they usually do that because I’m not that good in English but when I am about 11 years old I got a private tutor.

S: So after that there wasn’t any more scolding?

D: No, I never give a chance.

S: I want to talk about this question- where and how do you like learning. You wrote that you like learning at home by yourself and in class listening to the teacher. What do you like about those ways of learning?

D: I do like that but not in English but for other things that I am studying it is the best way.

S: So for learning English which way do you like best?

D: In class listening to the teacher.

S: Any others?

D: In class working in groups.

S: What do you like about that?

D: We get other students faults and we can correct that if we have that fault in our account we can also correct that one and get a large amount of knowledge.

S: So do you like learning English at home?

D: No, not really. In class. Because in the class I could ask but at home I can’t ask from anyone.

S: You wrote that you don’t like learning listening and grammar. What don’t you like?

D: In grammar I forget it every time. When I feel that thing is boring I never try to learn that and for listening it’s hard to focus what we have to write.

S: You mean the answers about the listening?

D: Yeah.

S: So what have you tried to do to improve your listening?

D: Yesterday I practiced about FCE. I take a work pack (from the English learning centre in the British Council library) and I practice one test. But I got not much marks for that.

S: Do you ever use the television or radio to help you learn? Do you think it’s a good way to practice your English?

D: Yeah. Watching movies probably. You know ArtTV? I am watching those home movies. I usually watch when I have free time. It’s in English with the Sinhala subtitles so I feel some difficulty I watch.. uh, read it. And I watch the English news- Channel ‘I’.

S: You wrote that you like to learn new words but that you always forget them. How do you learn new words.

D: If my teacher is saying a new word then I wrote it and the meaning in my language or in English. If I like the meaning or something like that I remember it, but usually no.

S: Do you look back over your notes and try to learn the words?

D: Yeah, if I got… If I’m writing something like a letter then I usually look at it and take it as point but I usually miss that.

S: Is the only time you speak English with you father or do you speak English with your friends or at your college?

D: At my college I usually don’t have enough chance because it’s a Buddhist school but sometimes if someone speaking to me English then I am speaking them English. But outside, on some public day, when someone is speaking English with me I speak in English to them.

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