Read the introduction of the book carefully, as most authors include information about how the text is to be used. The following steps will be useful for you in preparing for practice with the multimedia materials:
  1. Study the grammatical explanations.
  2. Read through the dialogues.
  3. Note the patterns demonstrated in the dialogues.
  4. Note how the words are being used in the dialogues.
  5. Note what is being said with respect to the communication situation.
  6. Test yourself, verbally, to see if you really understand the grammar, vocabulary usage, etc. For example: How do I form a question? What pattern do I use to compare two things?
  7. Make sure you understand the point of the exercise before you do it on the tape.

Studying the text carefully and understanding all the grammar rules and usage conventions is not enough to prepare you for class, let alone the exam. You will be tested, not on how well you understand the grammar of the language, but on how well you can speak and comprehend the language. “Knowing” the language and “using” it are quite different. The latter involves skill acquisition which comes with practice. In order for you to participate in class you will need to be able to apply the material in communicative activities.

While it is natural to rely heavily on the textbook during the initial stages of studying new material, you will want to rid yourself of the visual “crutch” (i.e the dialogues and exercises printed in the text) as soon as possible. Your textbook's primary value is in preparing you for the oral/aural practice. The text provides the starting point for practice, but the final test of your control of the material is the ability to comprehend, and appropriately respond to, the material without relying on the visual cues in the text.


Mary Beth Helderle

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