"To the amazement of many an ageing foreign language teacher, the development of language is often very much misguided through careless and uninspiring teachers, syllabuses and methodologies." (Mearns. D., 2014 www.davidmearns.blogspot.com)
This sentence is an example of how easy it is for us as English speakers, writers and teachers to make the necessary changes to word roots when we are putting together sentences, paragraphs and essays. In those seven examples highlighted we can see the roots as:
amaze age develop guide care inspire method
However, it is quite normal for us, as teachers, to forget this essential part of vocabulary building and language development. We not only want to have the students practise using roots and their suffixes (also some prefixes), but even more importantly, we want them to identify that these components exist. Here is an example from our student today commenting on a News Video Monday she presented this morning, and she clearly was not aware that changes have to be made when using different word forms:
So our student, Selin, inadvertently wrote down the noun forms of the root words instead of the necessary adjectives: SAD, SECURE & SAFE. This is after months of reminding her of the verb "to be " + adjective rule and the "More + comparative" rule of adjectives. However, there is no guarantee of when any individual will respond to rules naturally, right? So, no worries, we then reminded her of the fact and did this activity...
The students are given a vocabulary booklet (5 PAGES OF 10 WORDS, ON EACH) that has pages for them to identify and practise writing out the root words.
As the instructions convey the students have to CIRCLE the root and UNDERLINE the suffix. Then they write out the root word on the line provided.
The students are then given one of the word roots and asked to make a sentence with two of the forms such as either: the adjective/noun or verb.
In groups the students will be distributed cards. These cards are laminated for longevity, and then cut for use in class. They are given a mixture of ROOTS, SUFFIXES AND END-WORDS. The students will distribute the cards evenly between the group members and then they will negotiate for the correct root + suffix + end-word. Once they have tried their own piles, they then go to other groups for more negotiation.
The final part of the activity includes the students working with the cards and trying to place them onto their worksheets. They will find them and then write them out as a group. This will consolidate the activity and leave students with identification of the importance using ROOTS, SUFFIXES and NEW-WORD FORMS.
We tried this activity out and it was a success. In particular the students walked away knowing that it is not just a case of translating any word they come across as a verb (a very bad habit in Turkish).
The students worked in their groups to guess/recall work out the suffixes for the 12 root words they received beforehand. They then had to write them onto the papers with the empty boxes. This was finally followed with them choosing the FIVE sentences they felt most confident with and then they wrote them on the classboard. The images from this activity are below. A great productive 40 minute lesson.
So, this will now be part of our syllabus, and in fact, we will introduce it much earlier in the year for the Hazırlık students 2014-2015.