EN2: Reflections

19th of December

An Options based Approach to Doing Task based Language Teaching

My reflections on Chapter 1 in Basic Issues in EFL Teaching and Learning by Rod Ellis.

19th of December

Teaching listening and speaking

My reflections on Chapter 5 in Teaching Young Language Learners by Annamaria Pinter.

In this chapter there are a lot of examples of how to teach listening and speaking. The chapter suggests starting with listening and speaking with the younger students because they probably haven’t even leant to read and wright in their own language yet. It goes on to say that you will have to start out with listening exercises so to expose the students to the target language to learn it. But, it is important to remember that listening can be difficult. Teachers need to help the students to listen by support their listing with showing them and being very expressive. It is a good idea to slowly introduce speaking so the students can join in their one pace.

An important term in this chapter is negotiation. Negotiation happens when 2 students have to negotiate the meaning of a word. This is a really central skill that younger student doesn’t have, so this is a when the students get a bit older and have a understanding for the English language. When the students get even older you can introduce fluency exercises where you practice to speak and think at the same time and correct yourself in the process. But, fluency exercises can also include what is appropriate to say in certain situations, how to manage conversations, and how to interrupt and offer their own contributions.

My own reflections on this chapter are mainly about the older students, since that is the age group that I considering working with. It is very important to have a lot of listening input at all ages, but the older students will be exposed to a lot of English speaking media and therefor listening might not be my first priority. My listening focus will probably be on different dialects, making the students aware of it and that it is still correct English.

When it comes to speaking practice is the key. Speaking is very important to me and will have a high priority in my classroom. I love a classroom were the students can talk together and actually use the language and practice all the time. This is very important for me and I would also like to have fluency exercises with the oldest students and not just talking correctly but also teach them about the culture that influences the language.

14th of December

Learning to learn

My reflections on Chapter 6 in Teaching Young Language Learners by Annamaria Pinter.

14th of December

Introdution: Heterogeneity and differentiation

My reflections on Chapter 10 in Basic Issues in EFL Teaching and Learning by Maria Eisenmann.

28th of November

Introduction: Teaching Grammar

My reflections on Chapter 5 in Basic Issues in EFL Teaching and Learning by Ivor Timmis.

In this chapter, we are introduced to a lot of different ways of teaching gramma, and the choices teachers have to make before teaching gramma. There are two main ways of approaching gramma teaching, The Interventionist Position and The Non-Interventionist Position.

On one hand, there is The Interventionist Position that wants to focus on form and teach gramma rules. This side argues that you cannot just say that a L2 can be learned as an L1, just as you teach L2 very different working with adults than with kids. An example of The Interventionist Position is Reactive Grammar Teaching. In Reactive Grammar Teaching you can Focus on forms, where you have planned instruction of discrete gramma rules your students have learned, this could be following a gramma book; or you have Focus on form, were you deal whit the gramma problems as they create difficulties in the activities.

On the other hand, we got The Non-Interventionist Position. This side thinks that teaching gramma should only have a minor role in teaching a L2. An example of this is Input-based Approach where by reading and listening to the language you will unconsciously learn the gramma, this is also called acquisition. Krashen defines acquisition as a subconscious process triggered by exposure to comprehensible input, where he defines learning as conscious process triggered by instruction. The Non-Interventionist Position believes in acquisition, and argues that in your L1 you learn gramma without learning the gramma rules.

I have already reflected on gramma teaching in my reflection on “Teaching vocabulary and grammar”, you can watch it underneath this reflection.

Though, I didn’t know the term at that time I like The Non-Interventionist Position and this chapter haven’t changed my mind. Of cause I need some gramma tasks, and I’ll try to work it in somehow without the students knowing it, probably whit the help form some vocabulary. If I find that my class has a problem with something specific to do with gramma I might work with it more traditional as in Focus on form or Proactive grammar teaching.

I don’t know many rules myself and I should probably work on that next semester.

23th of November

Teaching vocabulary and grammar

My reflections on Chapter 7 in Teaching Young Language Learners by Annamaria Pinter.

2nd of November

Snyd eller stilladsering

My reflections on Snyd eller stilladsering by Susanne Jacobsen.

19th of October

Competencies Explored and Exposed: Grammar, Lexis, Communication, and the Notion of Level.

My reflections on Chapter 2 in Basic Issues in EFL Teaching and Learning by McCarthy and O’Keeffe.

This chapter is divided in to fore subjects. Overall, this chapter is about how competencies best can be measured and the English Profile programme. The first subject is “How can We Measure Competencies Using Learner Data?”. In this part we are introduced to the Common European Framework (CEFR) that we have been working with in class, and the EP which has the goal of achieving a more faithful and detailed description of the different CEFR levels. And “…the EP research will, it is hoped, make a substantial contribution to the understanding of the relationship between tasks and their outcomes in linguistic terms and will lead to better task design, especially in the classroom and assessment contexts.” page 66.

In the second part we learn about the Cambridge Learner Corpus (CLC) which is a database of over 35 million words from Cambridge exam scripts. The corpus is collected from 130 different first languages. We also learn how to read the text in the extracts form the computer program CLC. There are a lot of figures in this part of the chapter, and they are all about trying to define what the different levels of the CEFR mean and find some can-dos as it says on page 61 …by looking at learner data in this empirical way, we can potentially profile what it is a typical A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 or C2 learner ‘can do’ in terms of grammatical competence.”

The third part is “The Learner Lexicon: the Case of Collocation”. This part addresses the collocation, for example knowing that fair is more likely to be connected to hair than light. There is no mention of this part of the language with the Collocation in the CEFR. The last subject of the chapter is “Speaking Skills: the Case of Fluency”. This last part is focused on turn-openers such as Yeah, mm, oh, and, I, on, well, yes, but, and you. Turn-openers is used to make a conversation more fluent and natural.

My own reflections on this chapter are mostly about if we can actually use the CEFR. I read the CEFR and tried to find my own level in the CEFR. When I assessed myself I came to the conclusion that I was a C2 in listening, spoken interaction, and spoken production. In Writing I was a B2 and in reading I was in between B2 and C1. It was really hard to figure out because what does it mean to “express myself in clear, well-structured text, expressing points of view at some length” which it says in C1 in writing. I can do that but not without spelling mistakes. I do have my dyslexia programs and get a lot of help from them, so I only have a few mistakes, but am I then a C1 in writing?

This problem became very clear in class. Some people thought that C2 was almost impossible to reach, even in your first language, and some said that they thought no one in class was less than a C1.  I’m really happy that the EP is trying to find some can-dos, in the hope that it will make it clearer. But I do question the way the EP are doing it. They decide that a group of students are a level on the CEFR and then figure out what that entails. I would probably have gone the other way around and said “on this level you can do…” but I do believe that the EP has a good reason why they are doing it the other way; I just don’t know it yet.

15th of October

Teaching reading and Writing

My reflections on Chapter 6 in Teaching Young Language Learners by Annamaria Pinter.

15th of October

Intoduction: Key Compertences in foreign language learing

My reflections on Chapter 2 in Basic Issues in EFL Teaching and Learning by Svetlana Kurteš .