Assessing intercultural capability

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Assessing intercultural capability: teacher and researcher perspectives Hnadout for presentation given by Melissa Gould-Drakeley and Angela Scarino at AFMLTA conference Sydney 2009

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Assessing intercultural capability

  1. 1. Maximising realistically: Strategies for maximising target language use in our classes Miles Turnbull, Ph.D. mturnbull@upei.ca AFMLTA in Sydney – July 11, 2009
  2. 2. My Philosophy • MAXIMIZE TL use! (teachers and students) • The teacher is the model! • L1 can be useful sometimes!And natural! • Maximized L2 use is not easy for teachers or students
  3. 3. More on my philosophy • Language is an important thinking tool • To learn language you have to use it • L1 for L2 learners is a powerful tool to figure things out and to think through difficult content/tasks • Bilinguals codeswitch naturally!
  4. 4. I am NOT talking about passing out a license to use the L1!
  5. 5. Focus on Teachers: What Does Research Say? • Studies show that the more students hear and read the TL, the better their TL skills • When teachers use the TL more, students report being more motivated to continue learning the TL • When teachers overuse the L1, students report being demotivated
  6. 6. More Research Findings • Observation studies have shown that teachers vary in terms of the quantity and quality of TL used • Context, teachers’ personalities, confidence levels seem to be the factors that influence teachers’ TL use the most
  7. 7. Why Do Teachers Tend to Use the L1? • Translation • Comparing L1 and TL • Grammar teaching • Social interactions with students • Discipline • Clarifying instructions
  8. 8. Teachers’ Beliefs About TL and L1 Use • Teachers agree that TL use is important • It is tough to use TL all the time • Past experiences seem to affect teachers’ TL use…especially new teachers
  9. 9. Focus on Students: What Does the Research Say? • “Kids’ speak” • Understand the demands • Make sense of activity • Sustain interaction • Natural phenomenon; however,... • L1 may diminish in tasks over time • A necessary evil?
  10. 10. Maximising TL Use: Teachers • Start firm and stick to your guns! • Use examples that relate to students' life experiences and interests….personalize • Point to or show real objects • Show or draw pictures
  11. 11. Sources for Pictures • Picture files…..students can help! • Clip art - “www.caslt.org” • Illustrated vocabulary books
  12. 12. More Practical Ideas • Use gestures, mime, facial expressions, demonstrations, models • Speak clearly and a bit slowly at first, increasing speed gradually to normal • Use intonation to emphasize key words
  13. 13. More Ideas • Repeat more than once...vary repetitions • Use synonyms, antonyms, paraphrasing and simplification when repeating
  14. 14. Other Important Strategies • Help your students understand that it’s ok if they don’t understand EVERY word they hear or read • Encourage guessing
  15. 15. When and How to Use the L1 Effectively: For teachers • Use your students’ voices • Ask your students' permission to speak the L1 and ask them to ask your permission to do so as well • Point out cognates
  16. 16. When Teachers Feel They MUST Switch to the L1 • Do not translate word for word • Do not switch to L1 immediately • Wait for at least 30 seconds • Translate only key words at first….
  17. 17. More on L1 Use • Use the L1 when you can see that a student is truly frustrated • Use the L1 after trying every strategy in the book - Be brief then switch back to the TL • Use the L1 to make a comparison between L1 and TL
  18. 18. Other Uses for L1 • Use the L1 for serious or exceptional discipline situations • Use the L1 in emergencies
  19. 19. Maximizing TL Use: Students • Let’s not dream in technicolor!   • Provide and practice common classroom phrases • Allow multiple opportunities • Start short, quick, and then build • Use clear models, especially for pair and group work
  20. 20. Maximizing Student TL Use • Provide needed vocabulary and structures for a given task • Provide clear TASK with an outcome • Model for students--use video! • Listen and understand
  21. 21. Students’ Use of L1 • Acknowledge effort and success! • Advanced students should be expected to speak TL more, if not always
  22. 22. Strategies for Maximizing Student L2 Use In Groups • Concrete and structured activities • Pre-activity and models • Give explicit time frame for task, but... • not too much time! • Distribution of specific roles • Recognize and reward use of TL
  23. 23. Notes and questions
  24. 24. Notes and questions

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