New American Streamline: Departures consists of
1. a Student Book, divided into 80 units;
2. a Teacher's Book, containing all the pages from the Student Book interleaved with complete step-by-step procedures for teaching each unit;
3. Cassette or CDs, containing the conversations and texts from the Student Book;
4. Workbooks A and B (each with 40 units) providing language summaries for the student, grammar and writing exercises, and reading tasks.
New American Streamline: Departures is an integrated intensive series in English for adult and young-adult beginners and "false" beginners. It assumes no previous knowledge of the language, but may also be profitably used with students who have already acquired some imperfect knowledge of English.
New American Streamline: Departures adopts a practical approach to language teaching and learning. This approach is based on the results of recent research into language acquisition and on extensive classroom experience. It aims to lead the student toward communicative competence in English by:
1. presenting the target language in interesting contexts;
2. providing manipulative practice of the language;
3. extending the language into real communicative functions insofar as the classroom situation will allow;
4. encouraging creative application of the newly acquired language.
Selection and grading
In selecting and grading the language to be taught at this level, teachers are always faced with the problem of reconciling the student's short-term needs with the long-term strategy of working toward a general level of linguistic competence. We have tried to balance these two aims by selecting and grading the elements of the language in terms of:
3. general usefulness
4. immediate usefulness
The four skills
New American Streamline: Departures adopts as its first principle the maxim that people learn to do something by doing it.
People learn to listen by listening.
People learn to speak by speaking.
People learn to read by reading.
People learn to write by writing.
In New American Streamline: Departures the listening activities for the student are:
1. Listening to the teacher. The teacher from the outset will provide the most important model on which the student will base his/her own language behavior.
The teacher should speak English at a speed consistent with normal stress, rhythm, and intonation patterns. "Teacher-talk" should be avoided, however great the temptation. It may help the students to understand the teacher, but not to understand authentic conversational English.
2. Listening to recorded voices on the CD/cassette. The obvious advantage of exposing the student to a variety of voices is that in any authentic situation the student will have to cope with such variety. The talented teacher can often act out a variety of voices, but it is always second-best. We suggest using the recording as part of the presentation of each unit.
3. Listening to fellow students. There are certainly risks in such activities as pair work and role playing in that the students may be exposed to imperfect language models. We feel that the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. The risks can be minimized by ensuring that the speech models have been thoroughly practiced in a controlled setting before embarking on a less controlled activity.
4. Listening to himself/herself. This activity is much underrated. The student should be constantly encouraged to compare his/her own speech with accurate models. This can be done with constant monitoring by the teacher in the classroom and in the language lab, or by the students themselves in the lab.
In New American Streamline: Departures the speaking activities for the student are:
1. Repetition of model utterances. These are first presented by the teacher or by voices on the recording, and the student is encouraged to approximate the model as closely as possible. Choral repetition has the advantage of maximizing the amount of language practice for the class as a whole and makes the individual student feel less conspicuous. Individual repetition enables the teacher to check the accuracy of each student.
2. Manipulative Practice. These exercises are designed to give the student practice in accurately forming language patterns. Such practice is an essential step toward the ultimate goal of creative speaking. The student must be able to say what he/she wants to say when he/she wants to say it.
3. Controlled Practice. These activities are designed to enable the student to use the newly acquired language in situations that minimize the possibility of error. Response Exercises, Questions and Answers, Guided Retelling, Invention Exercises, Oral Completion
Exercises, Correct the Statement, and Pair Work are all used to provide this kind of language activity.
4. Application or Transfer. Whenever possible the student is encouraged to use the newly acquired language in some way meaningful to him/her. The degree of real communication that takes place is of course limited by the nature of the classroom environment and the level. However, by setting up simulated situations, we hope to give the student practice in generating the language necessary to cope with real communicative situations.
In New American Streamline: Departures the reading activities for the student are:
1. Reading from the board. The teacher will often feel it useful and necessary to write language models, vocabulary items, grammar summaries, etc., on the board.
2. Reading everything that appears in the Student Book. This will include conversations, texts, letters, forms, lists, signs, instructions, and exercises. However, apart from the table of contents and the Grammar summaries tables at the back of the book, the Student Book does not include linguistic descriptions either of the traditional grammatical kind (the simple present, frequency adverbs, etc.) or of the functional type (introducing yourself, saying what your job is, etc.). Such descriptions can be of value to the teacher and are confined to the Teacher's Book. It is up to the teacher whether or not he/she wishes to use grammatical descriptions when presenting points of grammar to the students.
Like listening, reading is a receptive skill. It would normally occur after listening and speaking in the sequence of learning a language.
Reading silently (or aloud) does not help the student to speak, but nevertheless serves a useful purpose in the learning sequence even when the major aim is oral ability. Reading can help to reinforce and fix in the memory what has already been heard and practiced orally. Moreover, the student gets a sense of satisfaction and achievement from reading. The silent reading activities also serve the practical purpose of providing oases of calm in the general hurly-burly of an active language lesson. These give both the students and the teacher time to reflect and to gather their thoughts.
3. Reading development activities in the Workbooks. These include reading for gist and reading for specific information, and can be used for homework.
In New American Streamline: Departures the writing activities for the student are:
1. Copying from the board. The student may be asked to copy language models, vocabulary items, grammar summaries, etc.
2. Exercises. These appear in the Student Book and fulfill a number of purposes. They reinforce and
consolidate what has been heard, said, and seen. They also give the teacher useful feedback. The exercises are designed so that they summarize the focal points of the lesson. They can be done orally first, and then written either in class or for homework. In the case of fill-in exercises, students should write out the complete sentences. These fill-in exercises in the Student Book are indicated by a convention of three dots (• • •), and it is recommended that the students write these exercises on a separate piece of paper rather than in the text.
3. Guided Compositions. The compositions in New American Streamline: Departures arc always controlled to the extent that the choice of structures and vocabulary is limited. The student works from a model, but is encouraged to relate it to his/her own situation.
4. Comprehension Questions. At frequent intervals throughout the course comprehension questions appear in the Student Book. These should always be done orally but, at the discretion of the teacher, can be used to provide written reinforcement.
5. Dictation. Formal dictation activities are not suggested in the Teacher's Book. Individual teachers, however, may occasionally feel the need to include a short dictation activity. Nothing should be dictated unless it has already been heard, said, and seen.
6. Exercises in the Workbooks. These are designed to consolidate the core material in the Student Book.
They can be in class or for homework, but students should only attempt them after full oral practice of the target language.
Pacing and integration
New American Streamline: Departures is an intensive series and, as a general rule, each unit should be considered as one lesson. Obviously, different groups of students have different learning rates and each unit can be adapted to suit their varying needs. With a very fast class, an imaginative teacher can easily expand the application stage of the lesson, use exercises from the Workbook, or do one or more of the further activities suggested. With a very slow class, the teacher may decide to proceed more slowly, particularly in the early stages. For example, Units 1-5 have two Student Book pages per unit, and it may be convenient to consider each page as one lesson for absolute beginners.
There are great advantages in completing one unit per lesson. Each unit has been carefully devised to provide a gradual transition from the listening and repetition phase through manipulative exercises and controlled practice to application. This order should be maintained as far as possible.
New American Streamline: Departures is a fully integrated series, providing all the material necessary for a beginning-level series, including a spiraling element. Unlike many series, we have not planned our lessons according to a single formula. No matter how good a single form may seem to be, the constant employment of it is often counter-productive in terms