Running a college Language Lab


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Dr. Melodie Rosenfeld & Mr. Melvyn Rach
we help EFL teacher candidates improve their own English? This presentation discusses the challenges, solutions, findings and lessons from running an English Language Lab for two years in Israel academic college...

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  • All students need to seriously improve their English language skills: reading, writing, listening and speaking. Not all students are initially motivated to improve. Students do not usually know what or how to improve their English. There are many different levels of English proficiency among the students. Choosing materials and methods that will cater to all is a challenge, due to the many different levels of English proficiency.
  • (to build motivation & responsibility)
  • (to build motivation & responsibility)
  • Not a 3rd-person perspective: "Here's material that is best for you", Yes a 2nd-person perspective: "How can I help you take initiative to improve your own English?")
  • Every student needed to work on different skills: analogy with a gym: student and instructor determine where the student wants to lose weight. And that changes the role of the teacher [click right arrow on keyboard] into that of a “personal trainer”.
  • Hebrish Set #2
  • Maybe briefly highlight two or three of the items in the list.
  • Running a college Language Lab

    1. 1. Running a college Language Lab: Memoirs of two personal trainers ETAI International Conference, Ramada Hotel, Jerusalem – July 14 th , 2010 Dr. Melodie Rosenfeld & Mr. Melvyn Rach Achva College of Education
    2. 2. The Challenge at our college for EFL teacher candidates Need for language skill improvement (!) Many levels of English proficiency (!) Not all are strongly motivated (!) ------------------------------------------------------------ What and how to improve? Which materials? Which methods to develop skills & motivation?
    3. 3. Our Lab Population N=22 1 female native speaker 1 male 1 Arab female, aged 18 19 other females, ages 23 - 45
    4. 4. Room 216
    5. 5. The Lab Intervention <ul><ul><li>2 weekly hours; 2 semesters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No grades (pass/fail) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Personal Trainer” role of instructor </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Only-speak-English policy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Weekly presentations (instructor & students) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Independent-partner-group work online </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Lab online sites </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. The Language Lab websites
    7. 9. Student Requirements <ul><ul><li>Signs of life (mandatory attendance) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Signs of personal initiative to improve </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Signs of improvement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Typed, weekly paragraphs + corrections </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Online involvement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Vocabulary notebooks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dialogue journal entries </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mini-presentations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Midterm & final portfolios </li></ul></ul>
    8. 10. The Lab mindset <ul><ul><li>The instructor is your &quot;personal trainer&quot; </li></ul></ul>
    9. 12. The Lab Mindset <ul><ul><li>“ Not done to you, but rather done with you” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A 2 nd -person perspective rather than a 3rd-person perspective </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>An eye on authentic motivation to improve your own English: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Students need excellent English to keep their future jobs as English teachers . </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>The Lab mindset (cont’d)
    10. 13. <ul><ul><li>Many students came +/- 20 minutes before the lesson officially starts. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>10 minutes : Students work independently on the Lab computers; homework returned; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>5 minutes : Focusing the students – What are you working on? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>60 minutes : Independent/partner work with online sites; instructor's &quot;diagnosis&quot; of students (miscue analysis, help with study skills; correction of English; strategies, skills, motivational talks); partner/group work on course material (e.g. summarizing, paragraphing, reading academic articles in English). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>15 minutes : Interactive presentation by instructor (grammar, spelling, writing, speaking, pronunciation, issues bothering them in courses…) </li></ul></ul>Weekly schedule Semester Aleph ( Melodie )
    11. 14. Topics of Semester Aleph <ul><ul><li>Touch-typing: 20 wpm required test ( ) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Individual diagnosis of reading/writing/speaking (oral proficiency & miscue analysis of oral reading) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Separate vocabulary notebooks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Regular notebooks to write down websites & rules etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reading for pleasure & sharing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Strategies for reading academic articles in pedagogy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Strategies for summarizing articles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Strategies for writing a correct English paragraph </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Grammar and spelling strategies </li></ul></ul>
    12. 15. Weekly schedule Semester Bet ( Melvyn ) <ul><ul><li>Many students come +/- 20 minutes before the lesson officially starts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>10-15 minutes : students present web sites that have helped them improve their language skills </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>15-30 minutes : &quot;Bits and Pieces&quot; (teaching a general language point) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>35-55 minutes : Independent work at computer & individual counseling (including exchanging dialogue journals) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Final 10-15 minutes : Discussion of “ Hebrish ” (sentences were emailed) </li></ul></ul>
    13. 16. Example of Hebrish ( Melvyn ) <ul><li>הוא דומה לאחותו . </li></ul><ul><li>תארו לעצמכם שאתם זוכים בלוטו ! </li></ul><ul><li>היא תגמור את כל העוגה . </li></ul><ul><li>הוא גמר את כל העוגיות . </li></ul><ul><li>אני רוצה שהמורה ייתן לי 100! </li></ul><ul><li>קניתי בגד חדש . </li></ul><ul><li>דני גדל בחו &quot; ל . </li></ul>
    14. 17. Topics of Semester Bet <ul><ul><li>Instructor and Peer correction of weekly written paragraphs. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Writing improvement: how to use a thesaurus </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Melvyn's &quot;Bits & Pieces&quot; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Poem &quot; Horrible English &quot; and the introduction of the site: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Difference between in/on/at (of time) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Forms of -ing (Five uses of the Present Participle) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Division of Writing and Proper Paragraphing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Six ways to effectively connect sentences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>When (and why) should we double a final consonant? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Three types of Questions: tags, subject and all the rest </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>An easy way to differentiate between Present Simple and Present Progressive </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The English Verb system: about auxiliaries and aspects </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>KWL, a dictation of difficult-to-spell words </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do adverbs describe anything else besides verbs? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Presentation of the Cobuild Collins Guide to English Usage </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What you MUSSSCC know about any new word </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Presentation of &quot; my best grammar book &quot; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Homonyms, homophones and homographs </li></ul></ul>
    15. 18. Examples of student work
    16. 19. The Research Questions <ul><ul><li>1. What English skills improved? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2. What other changes did they report? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>3. According to students, what contributed to their changes? </li></ul></ul>
    17. 20. Findings <ul><li>1. What English skills improved? </li></ul>
    18. 21. What improved? “How much did you improve in the following areas?” N=13 Reading __________________ reading for pleasure 2.60 reading vocabulary 2.50 comprehension of texts in English 2.46 finding academic articles 1.80 Writing paragraph structure 4.00 presentation skills 3.69 sentence structure 3.40 importance of drafts 3.30 grammar in writing 3.30 vocabulary 3.00 spelling 3.00 ________________ proofreading 2.80 writing correct emails in English 2.30 oral reading 2.00 Listening ______________ listening to lectures in English 2.61 listening to others in English 2.60 listening to TV & radio in English 2.23 Speaking vocabulary while speaking 3.00 pronunciation 2.92 motivation to speak lots of English 2.92 grammar 2.89 oral presentations in front of audience 2.89 ________________ Other Skills computer skills 4.07 other study skills 3.30 _______________ Affective Improvements bringing work to lab 3.92 taking initiative 3.77 coming on time 3.38 using Lab time effectively 3.15 ______________
    19. 22. Findings <ul><li>2. What other changes did they report? </li></ul>
    20. 23. Skill Changes using computer to improve English 4.07 other study skills 3.30 more aware & critical of my English 3.30 general English improvement 3.15 __________ Affective Changes bringing work to lab 3.92 taking initiative 3.77 taking responsibility 3.46 using Lab time effectively 3.15 ____________ I worried about the level of my English as an EFL teacher 2.3 Lab reduced the worry 1.92 Other Changes I received help in areas I needed 3.77 Lab helped identified areas to improve 3.60 ______________
    21. 24. Findings <ul><ul><li>3. According to students, what contributed to their changes? </li></ul></ul>
    22. 25. What contributed to making the Language Lab helpful to you? N=13 Affective Areas a supportive, non-judgmental atmosphere 4.38 ____________ The Instructors the &quot;personal trainer&quot; role of the instructor 4.38 the instructors themselves 3.54 ____________ The Pedagogy (what the instructors did) weekly correction of your written paragraphs 4.23 instructors' presentations 4.00 pass/not pass 3.69 &quot;speak only English&quot; policy 3.62 personal help from instructors 3.54 help in identifying weaker areas 3.31 opportunity to bring work from other courses 3.17 Lab requirement to show improvement 3.15 other students' presentations of websites 3.08 ____________ opportunity to work with other students 2.69 keeping a vocabulary notebook 2.30 The Material Melvyn's website 3.00 ____________ other online links with EFL activities 2.85 EFL material such as Longman programs 1.92 the Lab's online site 1.85 Other just knowing that you'll need excellent English to be an EFL teacher 4.23
    23. 26. Student Feedback Samples 1 Affective Issues <ul><ul><li>The teacher was very supportive, and no question was too &quot;dumb&quot;. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I try to speak about various subjects that in the past I was afraid of. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The individual time was a great opportunity to ask questions about things I had trouble with. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This course is very important for all the students. The ones that weren't confident and wanted to improve their English skills found a great deal of help. </li></ul></ul>
    24. 27. Student Feedback Samples 2 Writing & Sites <ul><ul><li>Thinking about my own mistakes in English helped me understand my own pupils better, because they often do the same thing: they think in Hebrew, and when they write, it comes out &quot;Hebrish“. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I found myself looking forward to writing in my journal, sharing my thoughts with you, but most of all, I was filled with anticipation to read your feedback. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I believe that sharing websites is very helpful; now I have a great list of useful sites that I might not know of without the mini presentations by my classmates. </li></ul></ul>
    25. 28. Student Feedback Samples 3 In General <ul><ul><li>I hope that this course will be available to other students that need to improve and boost their confidence in English. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The course improved my English in every aspect: grammar, oral proficiency, and common mistakes that many of us Hebrew speakers make, and need to pay extra attention to. </li></ul></ul>
    26. 29. Reflection Example
    27. 30. We need to improve in Lab <ul><ul><li>More EFL speaking + listening opportunities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Weekly monitoring & guiding of each student </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Better documenting of individual improvement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(vocabulary bees?) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Efficient updating of Lab websites </li></ul></ul>
    28. 31. More Questions <ul><ul><li>A one- or two-semester course? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The instructor as “personal trainer”: a model for other teacher colleges? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Make the English Lab available for other Departments? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How to practice oral English more? </li></ul></ul>
    29. 32. To Contact Us <ul><ul><li>Dr. Melodie Rosenfeld </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Melvyn Rach </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul></ul>