1 The Art of Facilitating Language Learning (AFLL) Course Resource Book

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First in a series of courses that comprise the PRIME Teacher Training Program. This course looks at the nature of learning and begins looking at the features of a productive relationship between …

First in a series of courses that comprise the PRIME Teacher Training Program. This course looks at the nature of learning and begins looking at the features of a productive relationship between teacher and student. The book is a course reference compilation of articles to support the PRIME Approach.

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  • 1. Pragmatics Predictability Performance Perception Practical Resources Recognition Realia Resolve Relevant Imagination Investigation Inclusion Insight Integrated Multiple Mystery Motivation Media Intelligences Meaningful Energy Enthusiasm Extension Engagement Enriching C O M M U N I C AT I O N I N E N G L I S H A Modern Approach to Facilitating the Acquisition of English as a Foreign Language The Art of Facilitating Language Learning William Tweedie Part 1 of the PRIME Teacher Training Program
  • 2. The Art of Facilitating Language Learning Introduction to the PRIME© Approach and Method For English Language Acquisition Facilitation Course Reference Book William Tweedie © 2005 - 2010 Kenmac Educan International & William M Tweedie 2
  • 3. TABLE OF CONTENTS THE ART OF FACILITATING LANGUAGE LEARNING..........................................................................................2 INTRODUCTION TO THE PRIME© APPROACH AND METHOD..........................................................................2 FOR ENGLISH LANGUAGE ACQUISITION FACILITATION...................................................................................2 COURSE OUTLINE..........................................................................................................................................5 KEY PRINCIPLES OF THE PRIME© APPROACH AND METHOD..........................................................................6 THE DIMENSIONS OF LEARNING......................................................................................................................................7 PRIME© CLASSROOM TIPS..........................................................................................................................15 THE ART AND CRAFT OF MOTIVATING STUDENTS .......................................................................................16 LIZ REGAN'S 20 TEACHING TIPS...................................................................................................................18 TEACHING TIP 1: PAIR WORK / GROUP WORK.............................................................................................18 TEACHING TIP 2: READING ALOUD...............................................................................................................19 TEACHING TIP 3: CHECKING UNDERSTANDING.............................................................................................20 TEACHING TIP 4: PRONUNCIATION..............................................................................................................20 TEACHING TIP 5: SPEAKING TO OTHER STUDENTS IN ENGLISH.....................................................................21 TEACHING TIP 6: GUESSING ANSWERS.........................................................................................................22 TEACHING TIP 7: STOPPING AN ACTIVITY.....................................................................................................23 TEACHING TIP 8: FEEDBACK.........................................................................................................................24 TEACHING TIP 9: DEALING WITH VOCABULARY QUERIES.............................................................................25 TEACHING TIP 10: MONITORING.................................................................................................................26 TEACHING TIP 11: ERROR CORRECTION.......................................................................................................27 TEACHING TIP 12: ELICITING........................................................................................................................28 TEACHING TIP 13: CHECKING TOGETHER......................................................................................................28 TEACHING TIP 14: READING BEFORE WRITING.............................................................................................29 TEACHING TIP 15: BRAINSTORMING............................................................................................................30 TEACHING TIP 16: PERSONALISING..............................................................................................................30 TEACHING TIP 17: TRANSLATING.................................................................................................................31 TEACHING TIP 18: PACING...........................................................................................................................32 TEACHING TIP 19: CONCEPT CHECKING........................................................................................................33 TEACHING TIP 20: USING DICTIONARIES......................................................................................................33 WHAT DOES A GREAT LESSON LOOK LIKE? ..................................................................................................35 CHARACTERISTICS OF EFFECTIVE TEACHING.................................................................................................36 ENTHUSIASM RATING.................................................................................................................................39 DEGREE OF PERFORMANCE.........................................................................................................................39 OVERVIEW OF SELECTED CLASSROOM STRUCTURES....................................................................................43 THE TEACHER'S USE OF LANGUAGE ............................................................................................................45 CONTEXTUAL SUPPORTS FOR LINGUISTIC DEVELOPMENT ...........................................................................46 3
  • 4. QUOTATIONS TO INSPIRE............................................................................................................................48 …. ..............................................................................................................................................................49 …. ..............................................................................................................................................................50 …. ..............................................................................................................................................................51 …. ..............................................................................................................................................................52 Articles are the property of the authors and copyright owners. Permission is granted for reproduction. Please cite the authors and source. 4
  • 5. Course Outline The Art of Facilitating Learning Developed and Presented by William M. Tweedie A) What Is Language? B) The Nature Of Language As A Means Of Communication 1) Communicating Is A Creative, Imaginative Act (a) Thinking And Writing Individual Activity C) Learning and Teaching as Communication - The Practical Purposes D) What Are The Practical Purposes Of Communication? 1) The Models Of Language Use - Real Needs And Wants Defined And Categorized (a) Small Group Brainstorming and Categorizing Activity E) How Important Are Practical Purposes In Facilitating Learning? (a) “I Have To Do This.” Vs. “I Want To Do This.” - Whole Group Discussion F) Relevance And Learning G) Learning Vs. Acquiring A Language - Purposeful Language Is Acquired 1) Sequencing And Ranking Practical Purposes In Terms Of Relevance (a) Small Group And Group Reporting Activity H) How Effectively Do Contemporary Textbooks Provide Opportunities For Practical And Relevant Use Of The English Language? How Can We Make The Textbooks Relevant? 1) An Introduction To The Seven Levels Of Engagement 2) Engaging The Imagination And Providing Opportunities For Real Use Of Language (a) An Introduction To Theme Webbing And Project Based Learning (i) Video Presentation And Small Group Webbing Activity II) How Do We Facilitate Learning? Integrated Means… A) The Human Means Of Communicating 1) Whole Group Brainstorming And Categorizing Activity B) How Can The Means Of Communication Help Facilitate ELA? 1) Small Group Integrated Interactive Activity III) What Do We Communicate? Meaning Means… A) The Meaningful Nature Of Language 1) Accuracy And Fluency – “The Chicken Or The Egg” (a) Demonstration Of The ‘Echo’ And ‘Backward Build-Up’ Techniques IV) Education - an Engaging and Enriching Process of Discovery 5
  • 6. A) Learning Enrich Lives and The Global Community Key Principles of the PRIME© Approach and Method By William M. Tweedie Communication is the primary goal in the facilitation of English Language Acquisition. The implications take us beyond the accepted axiom that we should teach language usage, not about the language. English, like all human languages, has one general purpose, which is to convey our thoughts and feelings to other beings, to communicate. English is not the end. It is one means to the end. Communication is PRACTICAL. People communicate for specific, identifiable purposes. We need to know and understand why people communicate and how English can be used as one means to accomplish these purposes. Human communication exists when intelligible signals are transmitted and received in the context of the satisfaction of needs and wants, fulfilling purposes. All else is communicatively useless action or noise. Students acquire English if it is RELEVANT to their lives, that is, if it satisfies real needs and wants, involves them as individuals, addressing their backgrounds, interests, and goals. The choice of language used in oral and written communication involves interactional uncertainty. The language used in communication is, largely, unpredictable. Providing students with strategies to manage this uncertainty and the unpredictability in discourse is essential to building beginners’ confidence and sustaining their motivation. Communication is accomplished through a variety of INTEGRATED means that should not be isolated in the learning/acquisition process. Observation takes its rightful place as an essential skill along with Listening, Reading, Speaking, and Writing. All other motional and emotional means of communication figure importantly in the process. Beginners need as many options as possible to support their efforts to communicate. All communication options should be explored before resorting to their native language and translation. Communication is context dependent, must be comprehensible, and MEANINGFUL to both sender and receiver. Facilitators must ensure that their communication with students and the language students are engaged in acquiring are both comprehensible and meaningful and that the understanding and conveyance of meaning takes precedence over correctness of form, content, and structure. The most important criteria in assessing students’ progress are first, the degree to which the student is actively engaged in the process of English language acquisition and secondly, how effectively s/he comprehends, negotiates, and conveys meaning, not the correctness of form or grammar. Facilitators of language acquisition have the responsibility of providing students with the tools necessary for progress. These include an array of strategies for learning in general and language learning specifically. Language learning strategies, direct and indirect, must be incorporated into the curriculum. Students will acquire the English they want and agree they need to. Therefore, Students must first Initiate, then Direct, Control, Monitor, and Evaluate (SIDCME) their own learning (The PRIME© METHOD). Facilitators provide the framework and guideposts, students provide the substance. The most significant implication of this principle is in the facilitator’s acceptance of the role as ‘guide on the side, not sage on the stage’. To achieve the objective of students becoming autonomous learners, the facilitator must have patience, resolve and be flexible, resourceful, engaging (motivating) and enriching (FREE) in taking this Approach. 6
  • 7. Language acquisition is an indefinite process with characteristics distinct from other subject matter learning. The psychological and emotional factors in language acquisition must figure largely in the approach facilitators and students take to the process because communication is the expression of self, one’s identity, in the process of fulfilling its purposes. Students cannot be expected to achieve goals set out on a continuum of grammatical structures, forms, and functions. The content they need and want to express in achieving relevant purposes will require different and varied structures and forms at different times. The facilitator must have sufficient command and knowledge of English usage to be an effective model for the students and provider of the information they need. The facilitator’s language and classroom material are known and perceived by the students to be models for their own language development. The process must be enjoyable and ENRICHING to self and society. Is it not our ultimate goal, as facilitators of the acquisition of language for its practical use in achieving meaningful purposes, to help people understand each other so they can help each other progress towards a better world? This principle will guide facilitators and students in the selection or development of material for classroom modeling and practising. Language acquisition is a process tangent to and reflective of the student’s development and growth across all the dimensions of learning. The next section takes a closer look at this important concept. The Dimensions of Learning ESL standards articulated by such organizations as TESOL, USA and most commercial ESL programmes pay little attention to the progress of students across all the dimensions of learning. It is important that the facilitators be aware of the students’ progress along these dimensions as it is likely they correlate directly to their progress in the acquisition process.1 The dimensions of learning commonly articulated are: 1. Confidence and Independence 2. Skills and Strategies 3. Knowledge and Understanding 4. Use of Prior and Emerging Experience 5. Reflection - Contemplative and Critical ‘Learning occurs across complex dimensions that are interrelated and interdependent. Learning theorists have argued that learning and development are not components of an assembly line that can be broken down into discrete steps occurring with machine-time precision, but an organic PROCESS that unfolds along a continuum according to its own pace and rhythm. The facilitator/facilitator and student should be actively searching for, and documenting positive evidence of the student’s development across the five dimensions listed above. These five dimensions cannot be separated out and treated individually; rather, they are dynamically interwoven and interdependent.’ (Iverson, S) Confidence and Independence Growth and development occur when learners’ confidence and independence become coordinated with their actual abilities and skills, content knowledge, use of their experience, and reflective of their own learning. It is not a simple case of ‘more is better’. The overconfident student, who has relied on faulty or underdeveloped skills and strategies, learns to ask for help when facing an obstacle; the shy student begins to trust his/her own abilities and begins to work alone at times, or to insist on presenting her own point of view in discussions. In both cases, students develop along the dimension of confidence and independence. Skills and Strategies Specific skills and strategies are involved in the process of language acquisition as well as other areas of learning that require instruction and the active participation of the students. These skills 1 While great progress has been made in expanding the scope of factors that affect ELA facilitation in recent years such as Multiple Intelligence and Thinking Styles Theories, there is a need for more research of the relationships among emotion, the psychology of learning, and language acquisition. 7
  • 8. include technological skills for computer communication for all students if they are to become active participants in the global village. ‘Skills and strategies represent the “know-how” aspect of learning.’ How well students actually learn (performance ability or mastery of any given content ) or acquire, in the context of second language acquisition, depends on how well they know and use the skills and strategies laid open to them for their personal use. Knowledge and Understanding Content knowledge refers to the extent students understand the theory of new or revealed methods, techniques, and topics and the relationship between theories and practise. It is measured by how effectively the knowledge (ideas) is conveyed by facilitators of learning as well as by how well students demonstrate their understanding of the ideas through formal and informal presentations (examinations, writings, practical and relevant use of the knowledge). This dimension of learning is the most familiar as it has been the most quantifiable and justifiable in terms of historically modern educational systems. What is the simple past of the verb ‘to think’? What is a “web site” on the World- Wide Web? These are typical content knowledge/understanding questions. Use of Prior and Emerging Experience Use of prior and emerging experience involves the students’ awareness of the importance and relevance of their own experience, the ability to draw on this experience and connect it to their engagement in the process of learning. ‘A crucial but often unrecognized dimension of learning is the ability to make use of prior experience in new situations’ or when confronted with new learning challenges. It is necessary to overtly encourage and value learners’ experiences and more over to help them incorporate their experiences into the process of learning and acquiring a new language in that case. ‘Observing learners over a period of time as they are engaged in a variety of activities will allow this important capability to be accounted for.’ This dimension of learning is, after all, at the heart of new imaginings and their realization. In structured, inflexible, predetermined curricula we cannot discover, nor can the student, how his/her prior experience might help build new or greater understandings, or how ongoing experience shapes the content knowledge and understanding, skills and strategies, indeed, the confidence and independence he/she is developing. Imagine you have no imagination. Reflection - Contemplative and Critical It is important to contemplate our own learning process and to analyse how we are progressing in the process of acquiring our knowledge or a second language. How well are we using the skills and strategies available to us to communicate better our thoughts and feelings? Are our students and we developing the ability to distance ourselves enough from the process to reflect on it in the general terms of the extent we are engaged in it and how important it is to our development as human beings and as a global society? Is our ability to think critically of the specific aspects of the process, i.e., how well we using the skills and strategies we need? How much effort are we putting into developing our confidence? How courageous are we becoming in validating our own experiences and using them to build our futures on? This overview thinking and recognition of limitations and obstacles provides the impetus for continued progress and is a necessary dimension of learning and acquisition of language for stronger, clearer communication. (Source: Adapted from Sue Iverson for original Facilitator Training Workshops by J.W.M. Tweedie)2 Facilitators in this programme must monitor all the factors articulated because language cannot be acquired effectively without the management of and accomplishment in these areas. While students are expected to achieve some of these minimum standards or learning outcomes, their efforts and progress should be the most important factor in assessments and evaluations, not the quality or quantity of English they have acquired. This is according to the unique nature of second language acquisition. 2 Sue Iverson introduced the concepts of the five dimensions for the University of Texas in 1997 for general learning. I have adapted and related them specifically to the arena of second language acquisition. 8
  • 9. PRIME© Principles in Action in the Classroom By William M. Tweedie Adapted From the NCBE Program Information Guide Series, Number 19 Silence is often needed Students must be silent at times as they learn to speak a second language. Some learners need to focus more on listening than speaking, especially during the early stages of learning and acquiring a new language. For others, there may be a need to briefly "tune out" at points in the course of a day to "recharge" from the constant effort of listening and speaking in a new language. Silence may also occur in extended pauses before a student answers a question. Allow students additional time to collect their thoughts and structure their answer. Moving too quickly to the next student discourages efforts to respond; in contrast, recognizing that the student needs more time to answer lets the student know that you are interested in listening. Errors generally indicate progress As with first language acquisition, errors can actually have a positive meaning. They often appear when a learner is trying out new grammatical structures. When the focus is on communicating, direct correction of errors can hinder students' efforts and discourage further attempts to express ideas with the language skills they have available. Rather than correct errors directly, a teacher can continue the dialogue by restating what the student has said to model the correct form. Valuing diversity Valuing the diverse backgrounds and resources that EFL students bring to the classroom and being sensitive to their unique needs can serve to build an instructional environment that can benefit all students. Current education research and reform focus on increasing student participation in instruction and on basing instruction on the real-life needs of students. An active learning and acquiring instructional model for EFL students includes elements that address the special language-related needs of students who are learning and acquiring English. Instructional content should utilize student diversity. Incorporating diversity into the classroom provides EFL students with social support, offers all students opportunities to recognize and validate different perspectives, and provides all students interesting information. Also, examples and information relevant to EFL students' backgrounds assist them in understanding content. Increasing comfort levels The classroom should be predictable and accepting of all students. All students are able to focus on and enjoy learning and acquiring more when the school and classroom make them feel safe - comfortable with themselves and with their surroundings. Teachers can increase comfort levels through structured classroom rules and activity patterns, explicit expectations, and genuine care and concern for each student. Instructional activities should maximize opportunities for communication and as much as possible, language use. Opportunities for substantive, sustained dialogue are critical to challenging students' abilities to communicate ideas, formulate questions, and use language for higher order thinking. Each student, at his or her own level of proficiency, should have opportunities to communicate meaningfully in this way. 9
  • 10. Involving students Instructional tasks should involve students as active participants. Students contribute and learn more effectively when they are able to play a role in structuring their own learning and acquiring, when tasks are oriented toward discovery of concepts and answers to questions, and when the content is both meaningful and challenging. Instructional interactions should provide support for student understanding. Teachers should ensure that students understand the concepts and materials being presented. For EFL students this includes providing support for the students' understanding of instruction presented in English. Creating an accepting and predictable environment A supportive environment is built by the teacher on several grounds. There is acceptance, interest, and understanding of different backgrounds, beliefs, and learning styles or Multiple Intelligences. Explicit information on what is expected of students is provided and is reinforced through clearly structured daily patterns and class activities. These provide important social and practical bases for students, especially EFL students. When students are freed of the need to interpret expectations and figure out task structures, they can concentrate on and take risks in learning and acquiring. Provide a clear acceptance of each student. Maximizing opportunities for language use Communication in all its aspects, i.e., observing, listening, reading, writing, and all other means, including oral expression, is really central to learning and acquiring for all EFL students. Through experience in trying to express ideas, formulate questions, and explain solutions, students' use of their native as well as English language and other communication skills, supports their development of higher order thinking skills. The following points are important ways to maximize language use. (i) Ask questions that require new or extended responses. b) The teacher's questions should elicit new knowledge, new responses, and thoughtful efforts from students. They should require answers that go beyond a single word or predictable patterns. Students can be asked to expand on their answers by giving reasons why they believe a particular response is correct, by explaining how they arrived at a particular conclusion, or by expanding upon a particular response by creating a logical follow-on statement. (i) Create opportunities for sustained dialogue and substantive language use. c) It is often hard to give many students the opportunities needed for meaningful, sustained dialogue within a teacher-centered instructional activity. To maximize opportunities for students to use language, teachers can plan to include other ways of organizing learning and acquiring activities. For example, in cooperative learning and acquiring groups, students use language together to accomplish academic tasks. In reciprocal teaching models, each student/group is responsible for completing then sharing/teaching one portion of a given task. d) Opportunities for maximizing language use and engaging in a sustained dialogue should occur in both written and oral English. Students can write in daily journals, seen by only themselves and the teacher. This type of writing should be encouraged for students at all levels. Some EFL students may be too embarrassed to write at first; they may be afraid of not writing everything correctly. The focus in this type of writing, however, should be on communicating. Students should be given opportunities to write about what they have observed or learned. Less English proficient EFL students can be paired to work with other, more proficient students or be encouraged to include illustrations, for example, when they report their observations. e) The teacher should also ensure that there are substantive opportunities for students to use oral and written language to define, summarize, and report on activities. Learning and acquiring takes place often through students' efforts to summarize what they have observed, explain their ideas about a topic to others, and answer questions about their presentations. EFL students' language proficiency may not be fully equal to the task; however, they should 10
  • 11. be encouraged to present their ideas using the oral, written, and non-linguistic communication skills they do have. This can be supplemented through small group work where students learn from each other as they record observations and prepare oral presentations. (i) Provide opportunities for language use in multiple settings. f) Opportunities for meaningful language use should be provided in a variety of situations: small groups, with a variety of groupings (i.e., in terms of English proficiency); peer-peer dyads (again, with a variety of groupings); and teacher-student dyads. Each situation will place its own demands on students and expose them to varied types of language use. g) The physical layout of the room should be structured to support flexible interaction among students. There can be activity areas where students can meet in small groups or the teacher can meet with a student, or the furniture in the room can be arranged and rearranged to match the needs of an activity. (i) Focus on communication. h) When the focus is on communicating or discussing ideas, specific error correction should be given a minor role. This does not mean that errors are never corrected; it means that this should be done as a specific editing step, apart from the actual production of the written piece. Similarly, in oral language use, constant, insistent correction of errors will discourage EFL students from using language to communicate. Indirect modeling (echoing) of a corrected form in the context of a response is preferable to direct correction. (i) Provide for active participation in meaningful and challenging tasks. i) Shifts in approach, that recent research and reform efforts indicate are effective for all students, are especially necessary in EFL contexts. For example, many descriptions of instructional innovation focus on increasing student participation in ways that result in students asking questions and constructing knowledge, through a process of discovery to arrive at new information that is meaningful and that expands students knowledge. An important goal is to create or increase the level of "authentic" (Newmann and Wehlage, 1993) instruction, i.e., instruction that results in learning and acquiring that is relevant and meaningful beyond success in the classroom task alone. (i) Give students responsibility for their own learning and acquiring. j) In active participation, students assist the teacher in defining the goals of instruction and identifying specific content to be examined or questions to be addressed. Students also play active roles in developing the knowledge that is to be learned (e.g., students observe and report on what they have observed, write to organizations for needed information, and assist each other in interpreting and summarizing information). Active participation also involves some shifting of roles and responsibilities; teachers become less directive and more facilitative, while students assume increasing responsibility. k) EFL students need to participate. Their participation can be at a level that is less demanding linguistically, but still requires higher order thinking skills and allows them to demonstrate or provide information in non-linguistic ways. For example, using limited written text, an EFL student with very little oral or written proficiency in English can create a pictorial record of what was observed in a science class, noting important differences from one event to the next. (i) Develop the use of a discovery process. l) When students take an active role in constructing new knowledge, they use what they already know to identify questions and seek new answers. A discovery process is one in which students participate in defining the questions to be asked, develop hypotheses about the answers, work together to define ways to obtain the information they need to test their 11
  • 12. hypotheses, gather information, and summarize and interpret their findings. Through these steps, students learn new content in a way that allows them to build ownership of what they are learning and acquiring. They are also learning and acquiring how to learn and acquire. (i) Include the use of cooperative student efforts. m) Recent findings about how people learn emphasize the social nature of learning and acquiring. Many successful examples of classroom innovation with EFL students show the value of using cooperative working groups composed of heterogeneous groups of students, including students at different levels of ability. The composition of groups should be carefully considered and should be flexible so that students experience working with different individuals. Mixing less English proficient EFL and more English proficient students within groups promotes opportunities to hear and use English within a meaningful, goal-directed context. n) Learning to work in cooperative groups requires practice and guidance for the students. Formal roles should be assigned to each member of a group (e.g., note-taker, reporter, group discussion leader), and these roles should be rotated. At older grades, as students identify different tasks to be accomplished by a group, students might define and assign their own responsibilities. In all cases, the use of group work requires attention to ensure that each individual has opportunities and responsibilities in contributing to the development of the overall product. Teachers need to be sensitive to the fact that some students prefer independent rather than cooperative learning and acquiring structures and activities. Teachers may want to consider adjusting the balance of learning and acquiring activities for students to accommodate such differences and to provide more support, thereby allowing students to gradually become more comfortable in these activities. (i) Make learning and acquiring relevant to the students' experience. o) Content matter is more meaningful for students when it relates to their background and experience. Furthermore, new knowledge is best learned and retained when it can be linked to existing "funds of knowledge" (Moll et al. 1990) so new content should be introduced through its relationship to an already understood concept. For example, a discussion of food cycles can begin with a discussion of foods commonly found in students' homes and communities. p) It is important that the learning experience regularly draws links between home, the community, and the classroom because this serves to contextualize and make content meaningful for students and ultimately to better acquisition of English. An active learning and acquiring instructional approach ultimately seeks to develop in students a view of themselves as learners in all aspects of their lives, not only in the classroom. Students should see opportunities and resources for learning and acquiring outside of the classroom as well. Whenever possible, the resources of the home and community should be used. For example, when a class is learning about structure, a parent who is a carpenter can be called upon to explain how the use of different materials can affect the design and strength of a structure (taking into account function, strength, flexibility, and so on). (i) Use thematic integration of content across subject areas. q) Learning and acquiring is also made more meaningful when it is contextualized within a broader topic. Business administration, Telecommunications, and Information Technology can all become interrelated through their common reference to the same theme or topic of interest just as Maintenance, Production processes, and Food Technology can (or any combination for that matter). In this way different perspectives on the topic are developed through linkages across different types of learning and acquiring activities. (i) Build in-depth investigation of content. 12
  • 13. r) Instruction is more challenging and engaging when it provides in-depth examination of fewer topics rather than more limited coverage of a broader range of topics. Furthermore, a comprehensive exploration of one or more content areas promotes understanding and helps students retain what they learn. Also, integrated, thematic curricula that address the same topic across different content areas provide students opportunities to explore a given subject in greater depth. (i) Design activities that promote higher order thinking skills. s) Classroom tasks should challenge students by requiring them to develop and utilize higher order skills. Higher order thinking activities require students to use what they know to generate new information (e.g., to solve problems, integrate information, or compare and contrast). Higher order skills are utilized, for example, when students are asked to review a folktale from one country that they have just read, to identify another folktale from their own background that they think makes a similar point, and to explain the similarities and differences. This is in contrast to lower order thinking skills such as rote repetition of responses or memorization of facts. (i) Provide support for understanding. t) Students need opportunities to take responsibility for their own learning and acquiring - to seek out information and formulate answers. This is what the active learning and acquiring instructional model provides. However, essential to the process, is the support provided by the teacher. As a partner in students' investigations of new content, the teacher should guide and facilitate students' efforts. u) The teacher's input as a facilitator and guide to students should be carried out in a variety of ways, such as: i) asking open-ended questions that invite comparison and contrast, and prompt students to integrate what they have observed, draw conclusions, or state hypotheses; ii) assisting students in identifying needed resources, including setting up linkages with resources in the local community (e.g., local experts who could visit, field trips to organizations, and so on); iii) structuring learning and acquiring activities that require students to work cooperatively, modeling the different group member roles if necessary; iv) encouraging students to discuss concepts they are learning, to share their thoughts, and to express further questions that they would like to tackle; v) establishing long-term dialogues with students about the work they are doing, either in regular teacher/student conferences or dialogue journals; and vi) setting up opportunities for students to demonstrate or exhibit their work to other classes in the school as a means of prompting further dialogue outside of the classroom (i) Work together with others. v) The attempt to restructure activities in your classroom and to deal with new forms of diversity is a challenging one. It is not one that a teacher needs to face alone. Combine your expertise with that of other teachers. w) A significant body of recent research has focused on the value of teachers combining their professional expertise and sharing their experiences with one another. Teachers can offer important support to each other by serving as sounding boards for successes and failures, as additional sources of suggestions for resolving problem situations, and as resources to each other in sharing ideas, materials, and successful practices. Also, the more teachers who work with the same students share information, the more consistent and effective their students' overall instructional experience will be. x) Teachers should take steps to: i) collaborate and confer with EFL specialists; 13
  • 14. ii) collaborate with other content area teachers who work with the same EFL students to share resources, ideas, and information about students' work; iii) share ideas and experiences with teachers who are interested in trying out more active instructional activities with their students; iv) involve the program director; let him know what you are doing; explain how you are implementing an active instructional model in your class, and the benefits for the students. Ask for support; some of this support should come in tangible ways, such as assistance in scheduling joint planning periods or in-class sessions in co-teaching or straightforward observation. YOU CAN'T DO IT ALL AT ONCE If you are interested in moving toward an active learning and acquiring instructional model, starting small is okay. Begin by becoming more familiar with your students. Perhaps set up a regular time with each for discussion. Learn about models for cooperative group work and plan to try cooperative work for one specific type of activity on a regular basis. Talk with other teachers and develop ideas together. Step by step you will be able to build an active learning and acquiring approach that will benefit all students in your classroom. REFERENCES  COLLIER, V. (1989). HOW LONG: A SYNTHESIS OF RESEARCH ON ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT IN A SECOND LANGUAGE. TESOL QUARTERLY, 23, 509-531. FATHMAN, A. K., QUINN, M. E., AND KESSLER. (1992). TEACHING SCIENCE TO ENGLISH LEARNERS, GRADES 4-8. NATIONAL CLEARINGHOUSE FOR BILINGUAL EDUCATION, PROGRAM INFORMATION GUIDE SERIES, NO. 11. WASHINGTON, D.C.: NATIONAL CLEARINGHOUSE FOR BILINGUAL EDUCATION.  KOBER, N., EDTALK: WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT SCIENCE TEACHING AND LEARNING AND ACQUIRING. WASHINGTON, D.C.: COUNCIL FOR EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND RESEARCH.  MCLAUGHLIN, B. (1992). MYTHS AND MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT SECOND LANGUAGE LEARNING AND ACQUIRING: WHAT EVERY TEACHER NEEDS TO UNLEARN. NATIONAL CENTER FOR RESEARCH ON CULTURAL DIVERSITY AND SECOND LANGUAGE LEARNING AND ACQUIRING. WASHINGTON, D.C.: CENTER FOR APPLIED LINGUISTICS.  MOLL, L., VELEZ-IBANEZ, C., AND GREENBERG, J. (1990). COMMUNITY KNOWLEDGE AND CLASSROOM PRACTICE: COMBINING RESOURCES FOR LITERACY INSTRUCTION. HANDBOOK FOR TEACHERS AND PLANNERS. INNOVATIVE APPROACHES RESEARCH PROJECT. ARLINGTON, VA: DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATES, INC.  NEWMANN, F. M., AND WEHLAGE, G. G. (1993). FIVE STANDARDS OF AUTHENTIC INSTRUCTION. EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP, 50, 7, APRIL, 8-12.  LATRHOP, L., VINCENT, C., AND ZEHLER, A. M. (1993). SPECIAL ISSUES ANALYSIS CENTER FOCUS GROUP REPORT: ACTIVE LEARNING AND ACQUIRING INSTRUCTIONAL MODELS FOR LIMITED ENGLISH PROFICIENT STUDENTS. REPORT TO U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, OFFICE OF BILINGUAL EDUCATION AND MINORITY LANGUAGES AFFAIRS (OBEMLA). ARLINGTON, VA: DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATES, INC.  Warren, B., and Rosebery, A. (1990). Cheche Konnen: Collaborative scientific inquiry in language minority classrooms. Technical Report from the Innovative Approaches Research Project. Arlington, VA: Development Associates, Inc. Naturally and obviously, the suggested activities described in this resource book must be modified or adapted for the students’ levels of ability. 14
  • 15. PRIME Classroom Tips © By William M. Tweedie 1. Give regular attention to each student or group of students and to individual students with exceptional needs. Set a timer to ring at 5 - 10 minute intervals if possible. 2. Choose students in each class for classroom management tasks every two weeks or so. For example, cleaning the board, straightening up tables, organizing file boxes, watering plants, caring for special projects, distributing supplies, etc. Occasionally, make this a class activity. 3. Give directions clearly, shorten and rephrase if not understood, give visual clues as often as possible. 4. Do not ask rhetorical questions. (Can the ‘can you…’ questions.) Be declarative. Teach before you test! 5. Praise good listening – often. Give specific, meaningful affirmations. Watch out for the slip-ups like “Well, it’s about time!” There are at least 102 ways to say “Good job!” 6. Give a student a partner who can help them whenever possible. 7. Do not make students recopy written work. Have them read it to you (or another student) instead and have them practice with writing worksheets at home. 8. Arrange the class to minimize distractions. Keep regularly used materials in the same location. Use labels and signs as much as possible. 9. Encourage students to use a tape recorder for recording the teacher’s, their own or other students’ use of English. 10. Do not call on a student who is not ready or prepared (academically, psychologically or otherwise) to answer questions, read aloud, or otherwise respond or participate. Spread the participation among those who are ready. Do not be afraid to ask a student “Are you ready?” They will respond honestly if they know they will not be ridiculed or pressured – by you or by other students. Let students know in advance that they will be called upon during class whenever possible. A student’s readiness can be checked and encouraged this way. Write out lesson questions beforehand, whenever possible, to allow students to better prepare their answers. 11. Post the class rules and expectations and have the class discuss them (in the first lesson ideally) to ensure agreement and understanding. Be thorough. Cover all aspects of classroom behaviour. Model the behaviour. (Discuss entering and leaving the class (when and how); requesting permission to leave the class for washroom, illness or other reasons; procedural and organizational considerations; homework and class work submissions – include name and number in top right hand corner, for example; classroom duties; etc.) 12. If possible, videotape your class to monitor your and the students’ behaviour. Share the results with the class or use it to help individual students with behaviour or instruction/content problems. 15
  • 16. The Art and Craft of Motivating Students Control, Competency, and Connection By Diane Walker - Updated by Melissa Kelly The educational equivalent to "location, location, location," is "motivation, motivation, motivation," for motivation is probably the most significant factor educators can target in order to improve learning. Teachers routinely attest to its significance, lamenting how easily students memorize un-ending rap songs despite their needing a truckload of teaching tricks to remember directions for a simple assignment. Considering its importance, surprisingly little advice about how to motivate students is available on the Internet. The most helpful site reviews motivational research. In it Barbara McCombs states that "almost everything [teachers] do in the classroom has a motivational influence on students--either positive or negative. This includes the way information is presented, the kinds of activities teachers’ use, the ways teachers interact with students, the amount of choice and control given to students, and opportunities for students to work alone or in groups. Students react to who teachers are, what they do, and how comfortable they feel in the classroom." Based on research findings, we now know that motivation depends on the extent to which teachers are able to satisfy students' needs: • to feel in control of their learning • to feel competent • to feel connected with others How to Give Students More Control Being in control of their learning, means students have significant input into the selection of learning goals and activities and of classroom policies and procedures. Knowing that students need to have significant input into decisions about their learning situation does not, however, simplify the task of meshing what, when, how, and where students want to learn with mandated content and objectives, the school's schedule, and the teacher's room assignment. Fortunately, research suggests that students feel some ownership of a decision if they agree with it, so getting students to accept the reasons some aspects of a course are not negotiable is probably a worthwhile endeavour. Then, whenever possible, students should be allowed to determine class rules and procedures, set learning goals, select learning activities and assignments, and decide whether to work in groups or independently. In addition, while inconsistent with best practice in cooperative learning, allowing students to select learning partners has been shown to improve their motivation to learn. With this, as with other instructional issues, the teacher must continually weigh the benefits of making the "preferred" instructional decision against the motivational benefits of giving students choices among appropriate alternatives. How to Help Students Feel Competent Filling the need to be competent requires assignments that "cause students to challenge their beliefs, actions, and imagination by having them investigate and respond to issues relating to • survival, • quality of life, • problem solving, and/or • real products." The more interesting and personally relevant lessons are, the more motivating they will be. School-to- work programs have been particularly successful in this area; however, the relevance of class work to future employment, quality of life, and/or life skills should be shown in traditional classes as well. If we 16
  • 17. have difficulty finding convincing examples of how class work has relevance to our students' lives, perhaps we should consider revamping our programs. To foster competence, "learning experiences should involve "both creative and critical thinking”...requiring students to: • define the task, • set goals, • establish criteria, • research and gather information, • activate prior knowledge, • generate additional ideas and questions, • organize, • analyze and • integrate all this information (Farges, l993) Use question starters promoting critical thinking and directions for writing lesson plans that facilitate critical thinking. How to Help Students Feel Connected The third factor, the need to feel connected, has been successfully addressed in advisory programs, cooperative learning, and, on a smaller scale, peer mentoring, peer counselling, and community service. Whether or not students participate in these programs, they need a "climate or culture of trust, respect, caring, concern, and a sense of community with others." (Deci & Ryan, 1991) Since student/teacher interactions play such a crucial role that even a single event can determine how the student feels about a class and how he will perform (Caruthers) you may want to review some of the following suggestions for creating a warm and nurturing climate: • Greet students at the door using their first name. Make eye contact and smile. • Listen to students and show you are listening using active listening techniques. Avoid giving advice. • Be genuine, be clear in approval and disapproval, and let students know you don't carry a grudge. Avoid sarcasm. • Talk to students about their discipline problems privately, perhaps outside the classroom door so as not to embarrass them in front of peers. • While using cooperative learning, walk around the room giving students an occasional pat on the back. Catch their eyes and give an okay sign. • Take pictures of all students putting them on the bulletin board. You may want to protect them by putting them under Plexiglas. • Celebrate birthdays and accomplishments during a scheduled "cultural event." One per quarter is probably sufficient. Put birthdays on a database so you can wish students a happy birthday on their special day. • Occasionally bring in goodies, such as hard candy, to distribute to the whole class while complimenting them on their progress. Be sure it is genuinely deserved and use positive remarks such as, "You've been really working at this," and "You've been thinking and making progress." • Have class officers in each class such as a secretary to record assignments for absentees and a cultural experience chairman or social chairman to plan events. Let students decide the duration of the jobs and whether they will be filled by appointment or vote. Volunteer service hours can be given if officers spend a lot of time on the class job. Remember the keys to motivating students are control, competence and connection. 17
  • 18. Liz Regan's 20 Teaching Tips These teaching tips by Liz Regan found on the About.com website will be of general help to new teachers or others who simply wish to brush up on their techniques. 1) Pair work / Group work 10) Monitoring 2) Reading Aloud 11) Error Correction 3) Checking Understanding 12) Eliciting 4) Pronunciation 13) Checking Together 5) Speaking to Other Students 14) Reading before Writing in English 15) Brainstorming 6) Guessing Answers 16) Personalizing 7) Stopping an Activity 17) Translating 8) Feedback 18) Pacing 9) Dealing with Vocabulary 19) Concept Checking Queries 20) Using Dictionaries Teaching Tip 1: Pair work / Group work How: 1. Make a list of pairs of names before the lesson starts or while the students are coming in, or just tell them when the time comes: "Gianni, you work with Paola; Chiara, you’re with Stefano this time." 2. If there is an odd number of students make a group of three but break them up later in the lesson and put them into pairs with someone else so they get more chance to speak. 3. You could put them in small groups to start with if the activity allows. You could even make the activity a competition in small teams if the activity allows, seeing which team gets the most answers right. Use the board or a piece of paper for keeping score. 4. Change the partners quite often so that the students don’t get bored with their partner. This is especially important if there is a student who isn’t very popular with the others. Why: It’s good for the students to speak to each other in English (see TT5 for further explanation). It’s good for the students to work with another student sometimes rather than alone (see TT5 and TT13) for further explanation). Extra Info: I don’t put my students into groups bigger than 3 because I don’t think they get enough chance to speak in such a large group so they switch off, start fidgeting, get frustrated, let the hard-working students do all the work, fall asleep etc. In a pair, one student is speaking and one is listening and formulating a response, in a group of three, one is speaking, and usually 18
  • 19. the other two are listening and formulating responses, in a group of four (or more), one is speaking, one or two are listening and formulating responses and the other one is asleep, aware that s/he hasn’t got much chance of getting a word in edge-ways. Or of course, in a group of four, two speak to each other while the other two often either fall asleep or end up speaking to each other too, in which case you might as well have put them in pairs in the first place. If you have an odd number of students don’t pair the extra student up with yourself - make a group of three somewhere. I used to take on the "odd" student myself when I started in EFL but I found that it didn’t work. The other students weren’t daft - they realised they were missing out on the teacher’s attention and I realised they were right - I was short-changing them by not monitoring them as I should. If you’ve got some talkative and some quiet students, pair the quiet ones together for the fluency activities (as opposed to the vocabulary/grammar activities) to encourage them to talk more. I used to put one talkative student in a pair with a quiet one, thinking that the quiet one would speak more if his/her partner was the chatty type. I was wrong - the talkative one monopolises the conversation and the quiet one is happy to let this happen. NB: If you only have one student, simply "pair up" with your student. Teaching Tip 2: Reading Aloud How: 1. Pick a student and ask him/her to read the instructions for Activity 1/2/3 or whatever. "Marco, please read the instructions for Activity 2 for us". 2. Pick a different student each time. Why: 1. It saves you doing it. 2. You can check pronunciation. 3. The other students may well understand the instructions better when read by another student. 4. The students are more likely to listen to another student than to you. 5. If they all read the instructions silently they will all finish at different times. If they listen to someone reading the instructions out loud they all finish at the same time. Extra Info: Getting students to read aloud used to be unpopular because the powers that be said that it was unrealistic as we never do it in real life - you read books silently, don’t you? Things have changed since then as it has since been argued that we indeed do it, e.g. "hey, listen to this; it says in the paper here that Prince Charles is already, secretly, married to Camilla! Listen - 'Prince Charles allegedly married Camilla Parker Bowles in a secret ceremony at Windsor Castle yesterday. The ceremony was attended only by the prince’s closest family and friends. A palace spokesman denied the rumour, saying that...'" 19
  • 20. Teaching Tip 3: Checking Understanding How: 1. Ask your students "Is that clear?” 2. If it’s clear, fine. If anyone says "No, can you explain that? /Can you explain again?” don’t. Ask if one of the other students can explain it. 3. If nobody understands it, go through an example step by step together. They should get it then. 4. If they still don’t get it, go through another example together. 5. If the poor things are still lost either... o do the whole activity together as a class, if possible, or... o give up and go to the next activity. o If it’s a word they are having difficulty understanding, you could set it for homework and get the students to explain the meaning to you next lesson. 6. Another way to check understanding of instructions is to ask the students to imagine that you are a new student who has just come in - can they explain how to do the activity? 7. Another way to check understanding, not only of instructions, is by concept checking (see TT19). Why: 1. You need to check that the students have understood because they are unlikely to tell you if they haven’t - they will simply bumble through the exercise, doing it wrong, probably aware that they are doing it wrong, and losing confidence. 2. You need to ask "Is that clear?" rather than "Do you understand?" because the chances of a student saying "No, I don’t understand" are very slim - they will feel very stupid. Would you admit to not understanding something in front of others in a classroom situation? I wouldn’t! 3. The student who doesn’t understand will be convinced s/he is the only one who doesn’t get it and will not want to admit that in public. Questions like "Is that clear?" shift the blame to the quality of the instructions instead. Neutral ground - much nicer. Teaching Tip 4: Pronunciation How: 1. Model the word yourself. (This means you say it in a normal way to the students). Then get the students to repeat it after you, all together like in a chorus until they get it nearly right. Don’t worry if they aren’t perfect. Who is? 2. Then model the word again and ask individual students to repeat the word after you. 3. You could put the word on the board and ask the students how many syllables it has and then practise some stress placement. Ask them which the stressed (strong) syllable is. For example: before = 2 syllables be FORE = The second syllable is stressed. after = 2 syllables AF ter = The first syllable is stressed. computer = 3 syllables com PU ter = The second syllable is stressed. 20
  • 21. afternoon = 3 syllables af ter NOON = The third syllable is stressed. If you know the phonetic alphabet you could write the words in that too. Why: 1. It helps the students to improve their pronunciation which is very important because there’s very little point in students learning a new word, learning what it means and how to use it in a sentence, if no one understands them when they say it because their pronunciation is so bad. 2. Doing a little pronunciation work can fill time here and there in a lesson. It’s especially useful as a filler (a quickie activity to fill those few minutes at the end of a lesson when you’ve run out of material but it’s a little too early to let the students go). Extra Info: If you’re planning to do some syllable work or stress placement or use the phonetic alphabet it’s a good idea to write the words, syllables, stress and phonetic spelling down before the lesson because, I don’t know about you, but I find it hard to do it spontaneously during the lesson! For some reason I get muddled and write the stress on the wrong syllable etc. If you want to do some stress placement work but you don’t know which syllable is stressed, look in a dictionary, especially one for students - it will have the stress indicated, usually by an apostrophe thingy. The syllable after the apostrophe thingy is the stressed one, usually. For example: be'fore 'after com'puter after'noon If you look in the first few pages of the dictionary it will explain how it indicates stress placement. Not all dictionaries indicate it in the same way. (For more information about dictionaries in general see TT20). Teaching Tip 5: Speaking to Other Students in English How: 1. Put the students into pairs or small groups (See TT1 for further explanation). Why: 1. Making students speak to each other instead of the teacher maximises STT (Student Talking Time) and minimises TTT (Teacher Talking Time). This is a good thing because the students are the ones who need to practise their English - you, hopefully, don't! 2. A lot of students will be using their English to speak to non-mother tongue speakers anyway so they might as well start getting used to it. For example, my students are Italian and they often need English to speak to other European clients and colleagues. Some of them never use English to speak to mother-tongue English speakers at all! Extra Info: Students like talking to the teacher because it makes them feel important and that they are getting value for money. While this is fine in a one-to-one lesson it is no good in a group because while one student is monopolising the teacher/conversation everyone else is losing out. 21
  • 22. When I encounter students who want to talk to me all the time in a lesson (flattering though it is) I advise them (politely) to consider having individual lessons if they want the teacher's full attention all the time. If that doesn't work I explain like this: 60 minutes divided by 6 students = 10 minutes each; so they can each talk to me for 10 minutes and I will listen to each of them for 10 minutes which is sad really when they've paid for a 60 minute lesson. And, let's face it, it wouldn't really be 10 minutes because you have to take time off for taking the register at the beginning of the lesson, giving everyone time to hang their coats up, sit down, get settled, receive their worksheets, read the instructions, listen to the teacher presenting grammar points or whatever, do a listening exercise or a role-play, go through homework together, receive more homework, get ready to leave etc. 5 minutes would be more realistic. So there you have it, pay for 60 minutes and get 5. Where's the logic? If that doesn't work I do this: Let the student have his/her way. Yup! Smile and listen very attentively. Make sure that everyone else is listening too. Let him/her start rambling, taking up everyone's valuable time and then just pick him/her up on every grammar mistake and correct his/her pronunciation every second word. I find that the student in question usually enjoys this to start with; getting so much attention - having a one-to-one lesson in front of everybody - but the novelty soon wears off. I either correct the student aloud, frequently, or write his/her errors up on the board as s/he goes along ("don't mind me, do keep going, we can all learn so much from your mistakes"). Generally speaking, correcting a student every few seconds destroys the impact of whatever s/he was saying and makes them (and everyone else) lose the thread. Writing their mistakes up publicly on the board tends to make students shrivel up and die (See TT11 for an explanation about how to do error correction nicely). After this, in my experience, the student is generally quite happy to get on with pair work. And so are all the other students! Sometimes I have students who don't want to speak much until they can be sure of getting it right and not making mistakes because mistakes are bad things, right? (Wrong! See TT11 for further explanation). These students tell me that they want me to talk to them (individually) because they will learn correct English through listening to me (By osmosis, presumably!). They can't see the benefit of talking to each other because if they make a mistake the other student won't be able to correct them. (Actually, the other student often can correct them, and does correct them and that's what they don't like!). In such cases I explain like this: Learning English is like learning to play the piano/to drive/to swim etc. When you want to learn to play the piano/drive/swim is it enough just sit and watch other people doing it or do you need to have a go yourself and make mistakes and practise a lot until you get it right? Speaking together gives you that chance to have a go yourself and the time to practice. Or like this: If you honestly think that you will learn correct English by listening to a mother-tongue speaker speaking correct English, why don't you just rent an English video? It's a lot cheaper than paying lesson prices to listen to me. Teaching Tip 6: Guessing Answers How: 1. When there is a list of possible answers, encourage students to guess the answers (by saying things like "There are two words to choose from and only one gap to fill so you've got a 50% chance of being right!) 2. Encourage students to look at the words before and the words after the gap (in a gap- fill - a.k.a. cloze - exercise) to help them decide what type of word is needed in the gap. Will the answer be a verb? an adjective? a noun? In most exercises this will limit their choice of answers and therefore increase their chances of guessing the right one (see the previous point I made). 22
  • 23. 3. If they are still looking a bit blank it's probably because they are suffering from "gap-fill tunnel vision" which means that this is what they see: Irrelevant gobbledegook an __________ with I needn't read this because it comes after the gap. Would you know what to write in the space? I wouldn't! 4. Encourage them to try to guess the meaning from the context (i.e. the sentence or paragraph the gap is in). Let’s look at the same example again, this time with the context: It rained yesterday when I was out but I hadn't got an __________ with me so I got wet. In this example the context tells us that the missing word is probably going to be "umbrella". 5. This technique also works well when there is a word which the students don't know in a sentence. If they have never seen the word "umbrella" before and it is in the sentence then the sentence will look something like this to the student: Irrelevant gobbledegook an umbskjdhfskjflla with I needn't read this because it comes after the gap. Some students will panic at this point and ask you what an umbskjdhfskjflla is. You don't need to spoon-feed them the answer. If the students use the context to help them they will probably be able to work out the meaning. (See point 4 above) and thus gain confidence as learners. Why: 1. The students know a lot more than they think they know - the posh term for this is "passive knowledge". This basically means that somewhere in the past they have seen or heard this word or phrase but they don't remember it consciously. (They don't know they know - they think they don't know, but you know better, you think they know - confused yet?) Anyway, if you can get them to make a guess, the chances are that they will get it right quite a lot of the time. If you put the students into pairs or small groups the chances are that with their combined passive knowledge they'll get most of the answers right, though they won't know how they did it. They'll probably think it is just luck. It isn't. Of course, the upshot of all this is that they get most of it right and consequently they feel very good. Their confidence is raised and that is half the battle with speaking a foreign language. 2. In real life (outside the classroom) the students will be put in situations where they don't know all the answers or they don't know all the words etc. If they have developed the confidence to trust themselves to make an educated guess here and there it'll help them survive linguistically. 3. In many English language exams it is necessary to do gap-fill/cloze exercises. Students who leave spaces because they don't know the answer should, in my humble opinion, be deemed "too stupid to live" and dealt with accordingly. Students taking exam courses should be encouraged to make guesses left, right and centre in order to avoid ever leaving a space on an exam paper. If nothing is written in the gap the student will receive no marks. If something is written in the space there is a chance, a fair chance, that the answer will be right. Teaching Tip 7: Stopping an Activity How: 1. If you have a small enough group that you can be heard by everyone, just say something like "OK, you can stop there. Well done everyone. Thank you, you can 23
  • 24. stop now. Yes, that includes you, Giovanni!" Then give the students a few seconds to finish their sentences until the room falls quiet. Let them finish what they were saying. 2. If you have a big group so you won't be heard if you try talk over everyone then don't bother to shout yourself hoarse, simply have a certain place in the classroom where you go and stand when you want everyone's attention and go and stand in it. The students will stop talking very soon. (I stand in front of the board, facing the class which gets their attention because for the previous ten minutes or so I've been cruising round the room monitoring). You can explain to students at the beginning of the course, "When I want your attention I will stand here and you will stop what you are doing and listen to me because I don't like shouting for your attention. Is that clear"? When: 1. It's not important if the students have finished the activity - it's the taking part that counts, as they say. 2. It's a good idea to stop things while they are swinging because it means you never hit the students' boredom threshold. Leave them wanting more and enthusiasm will remain high. On the other hand, don't stop it too soon because not everyone will have had a chance to speak or guess the answers yet so they'll feel cheated. Teaching Tip 8: Feedback How: 1. Ask one of the students what the answer to question 1 is. If s/he gets it right, fine. If not, ask if anyone else knows the answer. (If nobody knows and nobody can guess, you'll need to give it to them). 2. Ask one of the students what the answer to question 2 is. If s/he gets it right, fine. If not, ask if anyone else knows the answer. (If nobody knows and nobody can guess, you'll need to give it to them). 3. Ask one of the students what the answer to question 3 is. (Are you getting the hang of this?) 4. In the "True or False?" activities on my worksheets, the feedback questions would be: "How many of your guesses were right? How well do you know your partner? Which of your partner's answers surprised you?" Why: 1. Getting feedback from the students (i.e. information about what they've just done) means you can check how they coped with the exercise. You don't only need to get the answers. You can find out if they liked that type of exercise or not - if not, can they suggest ways to improve it? 2. You can check their pronunciation. You can deal with queries. You can allow the feedback session to develop into a class discussion, if you like. Whatever. Extra info: You can initiate a feedback session about the lesson as a whole as a filler (five-minute activity) to fill the last few minutes of a lesson by asking the students to decide which of this lesson's activities was the most enjoyable/useful and why, then compare their choices with 24
  • 25. their partner's or have an open-class discussion about it where the whole group talks to you and airs their views. Teaching Tip 9: Dealing with Vocabulary Queries How to avoid doing it: 1. Get the students to read the exercise completely before starting to actually do anything. They can underline the words they don't know, or (more positively) underline the words they do know. 2. When a student asks you to explain the meaning of a word, don't. Ask the other students if anyone can explain it. 2. You could put the students in pairs or small groups and get them to explain the words they don't know to each other. This sounds daft but it's quite logical really - the words Gianni is having difficulty with won't necessarily be the same ones that Marco is struggling with. (Beware of the students' tendency to translate the words. See TT17 for info on Translating). 3. It's a good idea to get the students to try to guess the meaning of the word from the context it's in. (See TT6 for further information on "deducing meaning from context"). 4. Get the students to look the word up in a (preferably English to English a.k.a. monolingual) dictionary, should such a thing be available (see TT20 for further information about dictionaries). Why to avoid doing it: 1. You are not a dictionary. You don't even look like one, do you? 2. There's a world of difference between telling someone something (spoon-feeding students who soon get into the habit of switching off, being passive, letting the teacher do all the work for them and not bothering to try to remember a single thing) and teaching someone something (creating an environment and a set of circumstances in which someone can actively learn, practise new skills, and develop confidence in his/her own abilities). 3. One day, out there in the big wide world, the students will be faced with situations in which they will not know all the words and you won't be there to help them. Then what will they do? (With any luck they will be able to fall back on all the useful skills you've taught them in class.) Explaining new vocabulary As a last resort, give the students an explanation of the new word or phrase in English. It's a good idea to give them an example sentence or two containing the word or phrase so that they can see how to use it. You may find it useful to demonstrate or mime the word to convey it's meaning quickly. Or maybe a quick line-drawing (of the "stick-man" type) would convey the meaning more quickly? Sometimes a synonym (similar word) is useful (e.g. wealthy = rich) or an opposite (e.g. wealthy = the opposite of poor). Extra info: If a student still thinks I should explain all the new words to him I refuse and explain like this: If you give a starving man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach him how to fish he can feed himself for life. (I explain "starving" as "very, very, very hungry"). In this case the "fish" is the explanation of a word, given by you. The "how to fish" is the ability to guess words from context, the confidence to ask a peer (a classmate, a colleague etc.) if they know the meaning, and the ability to use a dictionary. 25
  • 26. Teaching Tip 10: Monitoring How: 1. While the students are doing an activity you walk slowly round the classroom and listen to their conversations. 2. You can sit down too, if there are enough chairs, but try to sit in the background a bit or the students will direct their conversation to you. 3. Look at one pair whilst actually listening to a different pair nearby. Correct the pair nearby (which will probably make them jump because they thought you were listening to the pair you were looking at) just to keep everyone on their toes - they never know when you're listening to them so they can't ever switch off or revert to their mother- tongue. 4. Be ready to massage any flagging conversations back into life, to stop students monopolising conversations, to stop students falling out with each other and to offer encouragement and praise where appropriate. Listen and supervise. 5. Take a piece of paper and a pen with you on your travels round the classroom so that you can jot down any howlers (which can then be dealt with at the end - see TT11 for further explanation). Why: 1. If you spend your life in the classroom sitting down, this is your chance to stop numb- bum syndrome - get up and wander round. If you spend your life in the classroom on your feet, this is your chance to put your feet up (not literally, maybe, though I did when I was pregnant!) - sit down to listen to the students. 2. Monitoring gives you the opportunity to hear how the students are coping with the activity and to make notes about pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar points that are causing difficulty. I see the role as one of listener/supervisor/facilitator/encourager - not as one of error corrector. Extra Info: Although it's a good idea to indicate that you're actually listening to the students (even to the point of feigning interest in what they are saying) I wouldn't suggest crouching down to table height in order to listen to the students - it looks silly. Apparently, (according to books on body language) tipping your head to one side gives the impression that you are listening avidly to someone so if you were thinking of switching off and not listening to your students at all (...me??...never!!), tip your head to one side first and they'll be none the wiser! I generally don't correct mistakes very much when I'm monitoring - I jot them down and do a bit of error correction later because if I get caught up correcting one student's mistakes during the activity I can't monitor the other students properly and by the time I get back to monitoring I find that everyone has reverted happily to their mother tongue. 26
  • 27. Teaching Tip 11: Error Correction How: 1. Let the students make mistakes. They need to. We all learn best through making mistakes. Trial and error is the name of the game. 2. Give the students time to realise they've made a mistake and try to correct it themselves. If they can't, maybe someone else can help them. If nobody can help then you can either step in and give the correct form or make a note of it for later. 3. As far as possible, correct mistakes anonymously. Do this by making notes of students' mistakes as you monitor (see TT10 for further explanation) then putting them on the board later and give the students themselves the opportunity to correct them, in pairs or small groups. If no one knows the right answer, give it to them, but only as a last resort. Anonymous error correction is a kind way to deal with mistakes. It isn't important who made the mistake originally - the point is: can the students all correct it? I tend to doctor the mistakes so that even the perpetrators don’t recognise them as theirs. For example: Original error: "I have been to Paris last year." = On the board: "I have been to London last week." Extra Info: Mistakes are good things and students need to know that they are. I explain like this: "Please make lots and lots of mistakes in my lessons - new mistakes, mind you, not the same old ones over and over. I like mistakes because we can all learn from them and because if you don't make any I won't have a job. If I find a student who doesn't make any mistakes in my lesson I will move that student to a higher level class because s/he obviously isn't learning anything at this level." Learning English is like learning to ride a bike - you fall off a lot, but you get the hang of it in the end. You will make a lot of mistakes but you will be able to communicate effectively in the end. Very few people become successful international cyclists and the chances are that even though you can ride a bike you are not a professional cyclist. Very few students reach mother- tongue (supposedly error-free) level but many students learn to communicate very well in English in spite of this. You will probably never have error-free English so accept that you will always make some mistakes - just try to learn from them and learn to live with your linguistic imperfections. When a student makes a mistake it is usually counter-productive to say "No!"/"That's wrong!"/"Are you serious?"/"How long did you say you've been studying English?" etc. It's often kinder to say "Not bad"/"Nearly"/"Good try"/"That's an interesting mistake" etc. Some say that you shouldn't laugh at students' mistakes but I often do. They're often very funny so why shouldn't I? I find it breaks the "mistakes taboo" and makes linguistic risks and disasters an acceptable part of the classroom culture. Students catch on very quickly and we have a good giggle together when someone messes up. The ability to self correct when they make a mistake is an important one for students to develop. Encourage it and give them time to correct themselves - don't jump in immediately to correct them, keen though you are to prove that you are doing your job. Most students (and indeed some teachers) seem to think that it is the teacher's job to correct students mistakes but this is not necessarily so. Yes, teachers can correct their students endlessly but how will that help the students' when they go out into the big wide world. Who will be there to correct them then? 27
  • 28. It's much better for the students if they get into the habit of listening to themselves when they are speaking and correct themselves as they go along. Obviously they won't be able to correct all the mistakes they make but they will be able to correct a lot of them. Teaching Tip 12: Eliciting How: 1. Instead of giving information, ask if anyone in the class can provide it. When a student asks "What does this mean?" or "What's the past of this verb?" etc. say something like "That's a good question - what do you think?" Can you guess? Can anyone help Maria here?" 2. If you want to teach some vocabulary, for instance, then rather than giving it to the students, try to get them to give it to you. For example: I want to teach the word "cow". I could draw a little picture on the board. I could explain what a cow is. Or I could elicit the word from the students along these lines: "What do we call…what's the word for an animal which makes milk and goes "mooo"?! With any luck the students will say "cow". There you go - I've elicited the word "cow" from the students. I didn't say it to them - they said it to me; that's eliciting. Why: 1. 1. If you don't elicit you run the risk of telling the students everything they want to know and ending up spoon-feeding them (see TT9 - the "Why to avoid doing it" part for further explanation). 2. 2. Eliciting means getting information from people as opposed to giving it to them - asking, throwing questions back at the students, in a nutshell. Extra Info: When I take the register, I always elicit today's date from the students ("What's the date today?") because I find that even at high levels students are shockingly bad on dates. Sometimes students don't understand the value of eliciting. They think that you're not doing your job if you don't answer their questions. If I have a student like that I tend to explain like this: "I know I know the answer but I'm not the one learning English here. What is important is, do any of you know the answer?" or "Why should I explain again? We did this last week!" If you try to elicit something and obviously no one knows what you are getting at or they've all forgotten it or they haven't done their homework, then don't keep on trying to get it out of them. Flogging a dead horse will get you nowhere and it just embarrasses/irritates the students and wastes valuable lesson time. Teaching Tip 13: Checking Together How: 1. When the students have finished doing an activity on their own, put them in pairs or small groups and tell them to check their answers together. 2. Tell the students that if the answers are the same, they are probably correct but if they are different they need to explain/justify their choice of answer to their partner - in English! They can change their answers if they like. 28
  • 29. Why: 1. It's a good idea to let the students check their answers together before feeding back to the teacher because it gives them the chance to rub out/cross out any glaring errors before the teacher sees and thus avoid looking stupid in front of the class. 2. If a student hasn't a clue about some of the answers it's reassuring to find out that their partner hasn't the foggiest either. The students realise they are not alone. They can also copy their partner’s answers (if their partner has some that they don't) but their partner might not be right! 3. Peer teaching is considered a good thing in the world of EFL. Peers are equals. So in this case a student’s peers are a student's fellow classmates. Working together and checking work together is a form of peer teaching. This means that instead of the know-it-all (and/or) mother-tongue teacher always teaching them, the students can teach each other (by explaining grammar points, correcting pronunciation, explaining new words and phrases etc). The beauty of it is that the students are all equal to each other and are in the same boat, linguistically speaking. Teaching Tip 14: Reading before Writing How: 1. Tell the students to read the whole exercise first before writing anything. (This will be unbelievably hard for some students to do). 2. Once they've read it all, let them begin doing the exercise. Why: 1. It's a good idea to read the whole exercise before starting to write anything because sometimes more than one answer is possible but, in the exercise the students are doing, only one answer is the right one. For example: (a gap fill with these possible answers: take photos buy souvenirs): I always _______________ when I am on holiday because they help me to remember it. (Could be either answer! But not if you've read the whole exercise first because you know that one of the later sentences is: I _____ a lot of _____ on my last holiday because I had a new camera. This is true not only for my worksheets but also for the Cambridge exams such as First Certificate and as a useful strategy in exams in general. 2. Another reason is that the students can answer the questions they know the answer to and guess the rest (from a smaller selection because they've used some of the answers already and so have a higher percentage chance of guessing the right answer). A process of elimination. Extra Info: Exam students are strongly advised to read everything before putting pen to paper for the reasons stated above. Apart from anything else it gives them more context to help. 29
  • 30. Teaching Tip 15: Brainstorming How: 1. Ask the students to think of all the words they know connected with the topic. 2. Tell the students to write them on a piece of paper. 3. Give them a couple of minutes to do so. 4. Put them in pairs or small groups to compare their vocabulary and transfer words they hadn't thought of from their partner's list to their own. 5. Feedback (see TT8) on to the board. 6. Or you could do it all on the board in the first place - just ask the class to give you words to write on the board. (Or give board pens to one or more students and get them to do the writing!) Why: 1. If students have already activated their vocabulary related to the topic they will not be searching for words so much when they start the speaking activities. This should enable them to be more fluent. Extra Info: Brainstorming can be used as a warmer (a five minute activity at the start of the lesson) just to get them in the mood and to start them thinking about the topic or as a filler (a five minute activity at the end of the lesson) to see how many words they remember from the lesson. It can also be used as revision - "Write down all the words you can remember about X (which we studied last month)"! (The students will love you for that - not!) Teaching Tip 16: Personalising How: 1. It's been done for you on the worksheets. All the gap-fill exercises, question-forming exercises and even the majority of the grammar analysis exercises have been made to include that ever-important word "I". The discussion questions are mostly aimed at encouraging the students to give their personal opinion on aspects of the topic. Why: 1. In my experience, students like talking about themselves. And why not? Who doesn't? 2. They will remember new words etc. better if they have had the opportunity to use them in exercises, both written and spoken, that are relevant to their own experience in some way. 3. Apparently, when mother-tongue speakers talk, some of the most frequently used words are I, me, and you. 30
  • 31. Extra Info: A lot of course books seem to try to make things look "realistic" for the students in this way. They show a photo of a man and a woman and say something like "This is Bob and Pam". Then they provide some sort of exercise which features "Bob" and "Pam" which may go something like this: Write the following verbs in the sentences below: get up go 1. Bob and Pam ____________ very early every morning. 2. Bob and Pam ____________ to work by bus. In my view, the chances of the students being really interested in "Bob" and "Pam" are slim and so are the chances of them remembering the target language (target language is the words and/or grammar structure you are trying to teach them). There may well be nice colour photos of people supposedly called "Bob" and "Pam" but, please do correct me if I'm wrong, it's hardly realistic. The students know full well that the people in the photos are called just about anything except "Bob" and "Pam" because they are models or actors or whatever. They certainly don't care what time they get up and how they get to work; that’s where personalising comes in. Sentences like: "My partner ______ very early every morning" can be turned into questions (Do you get up very early every morning?) which will begin a real, personally relevant conversation between two students in which they can talk to each other about themselves. (Yes, I do, I have to be at work by 8.15 every day including Saturday...Really? What do you do? …etc.) Teaching Tip 17: Translating How to avoid doing it: 1. Refuse to give translations for new vocabulary yourself. Pretend/admit you don't speak the student's language. 2. Encourage the students to guess the meaning of words they don't know or to ask each other for help or to look it up in a monolingual dictionary instead. (See TT6, TT9 and TT20 for further explanation). 3. Explain that you are a teacher, not an interpreter. 4. Remind students that you are a teacher, not a dictionary. Why to avoid doing it: 1. If students translate words and you don't speak their language you won't know if they've really understood or if they've translated it correctly. 2. There often isn't a direct translation for a word or phrase; there is only an "equivalent", sometimes not even that. Try translating a couple of modal verbs (like "must" or "would" and you'll see what I mean) and I doubt very much that there is a translation for "Yorkshire Pudding" in any language (because it's something solely British so other countries will presumably never have needed a word for it). "get" is hard to translate, as are phrasal verbs. 3. Translating some things word for word doesn't help. For example: My mother -in-law once told me that my husband is a "pezzo di pane" which translates as "a piece of 31
  • 32. bread". I was none the wiser for having translated this. Did it mean he was soft, I asked myself? Or stale? (It actually means he's a good sort, apparently.) 4. Translating slows students down which means you run the risk of getting bogged down in the fruitless pursuit of a word which isn't English anyway. 5. Thinking in two languages simultaneously (which is necessary for translating) is very hard. People pay simultaneous interpreters quite a lot of money to do this and you need to be very good at both languages to do it successfully. ("If you are a professional interpreter you may translate in my lessons, no problem" - funnily enough I haven't come across any such students yet!) 6. False friends can cause problems. In Italian the word "sensibile" means sensitive. Not sensible. The word "conveniente" means cheap. Not convenient. I could go on... 7. Often there is only one word in the students' language to translate two English words. For example: the Italian for make is "fare" and so is the Italian for "do". The Italian for "job" is "lavoro" and so is the Italian for "work". In such cases translating is actually the origin of the students' confusion over the words, not the solution to it. Extra Info: If I encounter students who are convinced that translating English into their own language is an essential part of learning English I try to discourage them by explaining like this: Let's imagine that I am a piano-teacher and a student wants to learn to play the piano so s/he has piano lessons with me. S/he may not be able to play the piano but s/he is an expert guitarist and brings his/her guitar to the lesson. I play a tune on the piano and s/he tries to copy it on the guitar. But it doesn't sound the same. In fact it doesn't sound like a piano at all. Well, it wouldn't, would it? I suggest that s/he tries playing it on the piano but s/he tells me that s/he will only be able to play it on the piano if s/he can play it on the guitar first. The lesson continues with me playing the piano and the student "translating" the tunes onto the guitar. At the end of this course of piano lessons, do you think the student will be able to play the piano? I think not. Teaching Tip 18: Pacing How: 1. Change the pace of the lesson by breaking things up a bit. Instead of simply doing one activity straight after another, allow a little time for something different (pronunciation work, for example - see TT4 for further information). 2. You can also change the pace during a lesson by allowing time for a brainstorming session (see TT15 for further explanation). 3. Another way to liven up the pace is to put a time limit on some activities - "You have 2 minutes for this, so get going!" Or introducing an element of competition - put the class into small groups and tell them that these are teams and the first team to finish this activity is the winner. (Prize = no homework, or something like that.) Maybe the activities which involve matching words with pictures would be a good one for this). 4. Use other material during the lesson - your course book etc. 5. Wake people up by giving them a 2 minute test on last week's vocabulary. 6. Allow silence at appropriate times during the lesson - while students are reading the questions or during speaking activities when students are formulating a response (thinking of something to say). Silence in the classroom can be a bit unnerving at first 32
  • 33. but it doesn't mean you're not doing your job - students need time to absorb information and time to think. We all do. Why: 1. The lesson will become rather monotonous if it's just a case of "Do Activity 1, then do Activity 2, then [lo and behold] do Activity 3." (!) 2. The lesson will become even more monotonous if the students spend all lesson with the same partner - change the partners over, make small groups instead, or (especially in a brainstorming session) have the group brainstorming directly to you. Extra Info: Exercises may be numbered 1, 2, 3 etc but that doesn't mean you have to do them in that order or feedback (see TT8) in that order. In the discussion activities I often tell students to read all the questions, select the 3 that interest them most and talk about them. When feeding back from another exercise I may ask for the answer to number 5 then number 2 then number 4 - keeps the students on their toes! Teaching Tip 19: Concept Checking How: 1. Ask the students a question closely related to the target concept. For example, if you are working on a third conditional sentence like this: "I would have done my homework if I had had enough time", your concept checking questions could be these: Did you do your homework? Did you have enough time? If you're checking the understanding of instructions which say: "Guess your partner's answers to the true or false questions below", you could ask: Do you need to speak to your partner at this stage? Why: 1. It's another way of checking understanding (see TT3 for further explanation). Extra Info: I suggest thinking up concept check questions before the lesson and jotting them down somewhere. I don't know about you but they never come to me spontaneously when I need them in a lesson. Teaching Tip 20: Using Dictionaries How: 1. If possible, give the students each an English-English dictionary. 2. Make sure they know how to use it. If not, teach them how. (If you don't know how to teach them how, see Extra Info below for some ideas). 3. Encourage the students to refer to their dictionary whenever appropriate during the lesson, though they should try to guess the meaning from the context first where possible (See TT6 for further info). 33
  • 34. Why: 1. A dictionary is an extra teacher for the student. 2. It helps the students to realise that you are not a dictionary and therefore shouldn't be treated like one (see TT9 for further comment). 3. It makes the student more independent - not relying on the teacher the whole time - and more able to study outside the classroom, at home, or whatever, and to continue studying after the course has finished. Extra Info: I help students get to grips with dictionary work and start to appreciate just how useful one can be by giving them some words to look up and then discuss in pairs. I often give the students different dictionaries too, different levels, different publishers, the lot, so they get the chance to develop a preference. If they do decide to go and invest money in a dictionary as a result of the lesson they have a better chance of buying one that is right for them and therefore a better chance of making friends with it. The words I give students to look up are false friends - what do they mean? confusing words - what's the difference between them? (I use "job" and "work" in the sentences "I enjoy my job/ I enjoy my work" - the nouns "job" and "work" mean pretty much the same here but there is a difference because between them, what is it? Words which are impossible to know how to pronounce - "thorough" is a good one, - how do we say it? Sentences to complete - "I'm good ___ using a dictionary" - what's the missing preposition? Phrasal verbs like "put up with" - do they know which word to look up? Words with more than one meaning - I use "get" - what does it mean? And does their dictionary give too much information about it or too little or just right? The aim of the game is to get students to realise that using a bilingual dictionary to translate a word is no way to go about dictionary work, especially if it is more than 5 years old - for a start, if they look up the word "mouse" it'll probably just say "small furry animal" and not mention computers at all. Using a monolingual English dictionary could really help them with their studying. 34
  • 35. What Does a Great Lesson Look Like? http://k6educators.about.com/cs/lessonplanskin/a/idagreatlesson.htm We spend all day every day teaching lessons to our students. Some lessons are intricately planned, while others are creative products of last-minute thoughts. In my classroom, I am constantly amazed by how a thoroughly planned lesson can often fall flat, while sometimes when I'm "flying by the seat of my pants," I can stumble upon magical teaching moments that really speak to and excite my students. But, what exactly, do the best lesson-plans look like? What do they feel like to the students and to us? More concisely, what characteristics must a lesson plan contain in order to reach maximum effectiveness? In sum, the best lessons contain a clear purpose, actively engage the students, cater to various learning styles, and challenge the students with higher level questions. At best, an effective lesson is the result of a simple recipe applied by you, the master chef of your classroom! The following basic formula makes sense whether you are teaching kindergarten, middle school, or even junior college. ______ State the Lesson Objective - Make sure that you know exactly why you are teaching this lesson. Does it correspond to a state or district academic standard? What do you need the students to know after the lesson is completed? After you're perfectly clear on the goal of the lesson, explain it in "kid-friendly" terms so that the kids will know where they're headed as well. ______ Teach and Model Behaviour Expectations - Set out on a successful path by explaining and modeling how the students should behave as they participate in the lesson. For example, if the kids are using materials for the lesson, show the kids how to use them properly and tell them the consequences for misuse of the materials. Don't forget to follow through! ______ Use Active Student Engagement Strategies - Don't let the students sit there bored while you "do" your lesson. As I recently heard at a conference, the person who does the work does the learning. Get your students engaged with hands-on activities that enhance your lesson's objective. Use whiteboards, small group discussion, or call randomly on students by pulling cards or sticks. Keep the students on their toes with their minds moving and you'll be many steps closer to meeting and exceeding your lesson's goal. ______ Scan Peripheral Students and Move Around the Room - While the students apply their new skills, don't just sit back and take it easy. Now's the time to scan the room, move around, and make sure everyone's doing what their supposed to be doing. You may be able to limit your special attention to "those" kids who always need to be reminded to stay on task. You know who I'm talking about! Answer questions, give gentle reminders, and make sure the lesson's going how you envisioned it would. ______ Give Specific Compliments for Positive Behaviour - Be obvious and specific in your compliments when you see a student following directions or going the extra mile. Make sure the other students understand why you are pleased and they will increase their efforts to meet your expectations. ______ Question Students to Develop Critical Thinking Skills - Ask Why, How, If, and What Else questions to strengthen student comprehension of the issues or skills at hand. Use Bloom's Taxonomy as a basis for your questioning and watch your students meet the objectives you set out at the beginning of the lesson. Use the preceding points as a checklist to make sure you are planning your lessons in the most effective way possible. After the lesson, take a few minutes to consider what worked and what didn't. This type of reflection is invaluable in helping you develop as an educator. So 35
  • 36. many teachers forget to do this. But, if you make it a habit as much as possible, you'll avoid making the same mistakes next time and you'll know what you can do better in the future! This information is based on the work of several experienced teachers who know what it takes to help students learn to their fullest potentials. Characteristics of Effective Teaching By Peter Saunders, PhD Twelve distinctive behaviours comprise an inventory of qualities found in effective teachers. This list is based on one developed by Harry Murray at the University of Western Ontario. Specific sub behaviours, for each inventory’s behaviour, are defined. 1. Enthusiasm – use of non-verbal behaviour to solicit student attention and interest 2. Clarity – method used to explain or clarify concepts and principles. 3. Interaction – techniques used to foster student’s class participation. 4. Organization – ways of organizing or structuring subject matter. 5. Pacing – rate of information presented, efficient use of time. 6. Disclosure – explicitness concerning course requirements and grading criteria. 7. Speech – characteristics of voice relevant to classroom teaching. 8. Rapport – quality of interpersonal relations between teacher and students. 9. Relevance – bridges made between course content, processes and the world. 10. Learning Centered – focuses squarely on student learning and mastery. 11. Flexibility – openness to change; diverse ways of looking at, approaching material. 12. Leadership – models civil behaviour, intellectual rigor and respect for diversity. 1. ENTHUSIASM: use of non-verbal behaviour to solicit student attention and interest • Speaks in a dramatic or expressive way. • Moves about while lecturing or presenting. • Gestures with hands or arms, yet avoids distracting mannerisms. • Maintains eye contact with students. • Walks up aisles beside students. • Avoids reading lecture verbatim from prepared notes or text. • Smiles while teaching. 2. CLARITY: method used to explain or clarify concepts and principles • Gives several examples of each concept. • Uses concrete everyday examples to explain concepts and principles. • Defines new or unfamiliar terms. • Repeats difficult ideas several times. • Stresses most important points by pausing, speaking slowly, raising voice, etc. • Uses graphs or diagrams to facilitate explanation. • Points out practical applications of concepts. • Answers students’ questions thoroughly. • Suggests ways of memorizing complicated ideas. • Writes key terms on blackboard or overhead screen. • Explains subject matter in familiar colloquial language. 3. INTERACTION: techniques used to foster students’ class participation • Encourages students’ questions and comments during class. • Avoids direct criticism of students when they make errors. • Praises students for good ideas. • Asks questions of individual students. • Asks questions of class as a whole. • Incorporates students’ ideas into presentation. • Presents challenging, thought-provoking ideas. • Uses a variety of media and activities in class. • Asks rhetorical questions. 36
  • 37. • Listens and responds to students’ contributions and learning. 4. ORGANIZATION: ways of organizing or structuring subject matter • Uses headings and subheadings to organize presentation. • Puts outline on blackboard or overhead screen. • Clearly indicates transition from one topic to the next. • Gives preliminary overview at beginning of class. • Explains how each topic fits into the course as a whole. • Begins class with a review of topics covered last time. • Periodically summarizes points previously made. 5. PACING: rate of information presentation, efficient use of time • Digresses rarely from major theme. • Covers the important material in class sessions. • Asks and confirms if students understand before proceeding to next topic. • Sticks to the point in answering students’ questions. 6. DISCLOSURE: explicitness concerning course requirements and grading criteria • Advises students on how to prepare for tests or exams. • Provides sample exam questions. • Tells students exactly what is expected of them on tests, essays or assignments. • States objectives of each meeting. • Reminds students of test dates or assignment deadlines. • States objectives of course as a whole. 7. SPEECH: characteristics of voice relevant to classroom teaching • Speaks at appropriate volume. • Speaks clearly. • Speaks at appropriate pace. • Leaves pauses in speech silent and avoids "um" or "ah". 8. RAPPORT: quality of interpersonal relations between teacher and students • Addresses individual students by name (to the extent possible in larger classes). • Announces availability for consultation outside of class. • Offers to help students with problems. • Shows tolerance of other points of view. • Talks with students before or after class. • Acknowledges diversity in learners and their culture. 9. RELEVANCE: bridges made between course content, processes and the world • Provides broad (holistic) context for specific learning concepts and skills. • Integrates materials (examples, cases, simulations) from "real world". • Bridges specific learning concepts and skills to learners’ experiences. • Provides learners with access to external sources and experts to validate learning. • Provides opportunities for learners to apply learning to external world. • Provides opportunities for learners to bring external learning into the curriculum. 10. LEARNER CENTERED: focuses squarely on student learning and mastery • Focuses on learning outcomes and growth, not content taught. • Pre/during/post assessments used to ensure learning. • Instructor elicits student discovery and construction of knowledge. • Learners have some control over learning process. • Active, collaborative, and cooperative learning favoured over passive learning. • Instructors are primarily designers and coaches. 37
  • 38. • Instructors and learners work in teams where appropriate. • Learners are empowered to take over their own learning. • Motivates learners by supporting their self-efficacy – ability to succeed. 11. FLEXIBILITY: openness to change and diverse ways of approaching material • Teaching appeals to different learning styles. • Awareness of inter-subjective construction of knowledge. • Appreciation of multiple perspectives and intellectual curiosity. • Willingness to "give" responsibility of learning to learners where appropriate. 12. LEADERSHIP: models civil behaviour, intellectual rigor and respect for Diversity • Models and requires a learner’s behaviour that supports teaching and learning. • Models intellectual engagement with ideas, concepts and materials. • Provides intellectual challenge for all levels of learner abilities. • Demonstrates respect for diversity and requires similar respect in classroom. Based on the Teaching Behaviors Inventory created by Harry Murray, presented in The Teaching Professor, October 1988, pp. 3-4; Western Michigan University, 1999 38
  • 39. Enthusiasm Rating You can determine just how enthusiastic you are in class by using these eight enthusiasm behaviours. The most effective method would be to videotape one or two lessons and rate yourself. A word of caution: Don't rely too heavily on the results of only one observation. Repeated observations will enable you and your observer to evaluate the level of enthusiasm. Try changing your low-enthusiasm performance to high by practicing behaviours listed in the "High" category below. In general, a score of 8 to 20 indicates dull or unenthusiastic performance; 21 to 42 indicates a moderate level of enthusiasm; and 43 to 56 a very high level of enthusiasm. DEGREE OF PERFORMANCE BEHAVIORS LOW (1) (2) MEDIUM (3) (4) (5) HIGH (6) (7) VOCAL Monotone, minimum Pleasant variations of Great and sudden changes DELIVERY inflections, little variation pitch, volume, and from rapid, excited speech in speech, poor speed; good articulation to a whisper; varied tone articulation and pitch EYES Looked dull or bored; Appeared interested; Characterized as dancing, seldom opened eyes occasionally lighting up, snapping, shining, lighting wide or raised shining, opening wide up frequently, opening eyebrows; avoids eye wide, eyebrows raised, contact; often maintains maintains eye contact while blank stare avoiding staring GESTURES Seldom moved arms out Often pointed, Quick and demonstrative toward person or object; occasional sweeping movements of body, head, never used sweeping motion using body, arms, hands, and face movements; kept arms head, arms, hands, and at side or folded rigid face; maintained steady pace of gesturing BODY Seldom moved from one Moved freely, slowly, Large body movements, MOVEMENT spot or from sitting to and steadily swung around, walked standing position, rapidly, changed pace; sometimes would "pace" unpredictable and nervously energetic, natural body movements FACIAL Appeared deadpan, or Looked pleased; happy Showed many expressions, EXPRESSIONS frowned; little smiling, or sad if situation called broad smile; quick, sudden lips closed, few for changes in expression descriptors used WORD Mostly nouns, few Some descriptors or Highly descriptive, many SELECTION descriptors or adjectives or repetition adjectives, great variety adjectives; simple or trite of the same ones expressions ACCEPTANCE Little indication of Accepted ideas and Quick to accept, praise, OF IDEAS AND acceptance or feelings, praised or encourage, or clarify; many FEELINGS encouragement; may clarified; some variations in response; ignore students' feelings variations in response, vigorous nodding of head or ideas but frequently repeated when agreeing same ones 39
  • 40. OVERALL Lethargic; appeared Energetic and Exuberant; high degree of ENERGY inactive, dull, or sluggish demonstrative energy and vitality; highly sometimes, but mostly demonstrative an even keel From http://www.irc.uci.edu/TRG/Enhancing_Learning/Lecturing/enthusiasm_rating.htm Classroom Structures Which Encourage Student Participation William H. Bergquist and Steven R. Phillips 1. GROUP DISCUSSION Definition: Opportunity for pooling of ideas, experience, and knowledge. When used: For majority of meetings, because of adaptability to greater group participation. Preparation/Procedure: Preplanning to develop discussion outline. Leader encourages every member to participate by guiding the discussion. Limitation: Impractical with more than 20 persons; becomes disorganized without careful planning of material to be covered. 2. BUZZ GROUPS Definition: Allows for total participation by group members through small clusters of participants, followed by discussion of the entire group. When used: As a technique to get participation from every individual in the group. Highly adaptable to other group methods Preparation/Procedure: Prepare one or two questions on the subject to give to each group. Divide the members into small clusters of four to six. A leader is chosen to record and report pertinent ideas discussed. Limitation: Thought must be given as to the purpose and organization of groups. 3. PANEL DISCUSSION Definition: A discussion in a conversational form among a selected group of persons with a leader, in front of an audience that joins in later. When used: As a technique to stimulate interest and thinking, and to provoke better discussion. Preparation/Procedure: The leader plans with the four to eight members of the panel. The panel discusses informally without any set speeches. The leader then opens the discussion to the entire group and summarizes. Limitation: Can get off beam; personality of speakers may overshadow content; vocal speaker can monopolize program. 4. SYMPOSIUM DISCUSSION Definition: A discussion in which the topic is broken into its various phases; each part is presented by an expert or person well-informed on that particular phase, in a brief, concise speech. When used: When specific information is desired. Preparation/Procedure: Leader meets with the three or four members of the symposium and plans outline. Participants are introduced and reports are given, group directs questions to proper symposium members, leader summarizes. Limitation: Can get off beam; personality of speakers may overshadow content; vocal speaker can monopolize program. 5. DEBATE DISCUSSION Definition: A pro-and-con discussion of a controversial issue. Objective is to convince the audience rather than display skill in attacking the opponent. When used: In discussing a controversial issue on which there are fairly definite 40
  • 41. opinions in the group on both sides, to bring these differences out into the open in a friendly manner. Preparation/Procedure: Divide the group into sides of pro and con. Each speaker should be limited to a predetermined time, followed by a rebuttal if desired. Limitation: Members are often not objective toward the subject. 6. EXPERIENCE DISCUSSION Definition: A small or large group discussion following a report on the main point of a book, article, movie, or life experience. When used: To present a new point of view or to present issues that will stimulate thought and discussion. Preparation/Procedure: Plan with others participating on how review is to be presented. Then have an open discussion on pertinent issues and points of view as experienced. Limitation: Ability of participating members to relate to others and motivate thinking. 7. CONCENTRIC CIRCLE Definition: A small circle of members form within a larger circle. The inner circle discusses a topic while the role of the outside circle is to listen. The discussion is then reversed. When used: As a technique to stimulate interest and to provoke good discussion. This is especially good to get more response from a group that is slow in participating. Preparation/Procedure: Leader and planning group work out questions that will be discussed by the concentric circle and then by the larger circle. Debriefing is very important at the end of the activity. Begin with the inner circle, move to the outside observers and add any comments you have. Limitation: Much thought and preparation must be given to the questions for discussion. Room and movable chairs needed. 8. REACTION SHEET Definition: A method of reacting to ideas in the following ways: ideas that you question, ideas that are new to you, ideas that really "hit home." When used: As a way to get the group to react. Combine this with other methods. Preparation/Procedure: Prepare topic and reaction sheets. Explain and distribute reaction sheets with the instructions to write as they listen, watch, or read. Follow with group discussion. Limitation: Topic should be somewhat controversial. 9. PHILLIPS 66 Definition: This is a spontaneous method where six people view their opinions on a topic for six minutes. When used: To add spice and variety to methods of presentations. Preparation/Procedure: Define topic of presentation. Count off six people and allow six minutes for discussion. Allow for group discussion or reassignment of six people. Limitation: Must be used somewhat flexibly. 10. REVERSE THINKING Definition: Expressions of thought by thinking in reverse. When used: To gain an insight into others' feelings and to see another point of view. Preparation/Procedure: Prepare topic. Explain to group the theory of reverse thinking. Combine with other methods. Debrief the activity and give students an opportunity to share significant learning. Limitation: A challenge to group members. 41
  • 42. 11. ROLE-PLAYING Definition: The spontaneous acting out of a situation or an incident by selected members of the group. When used: As the basis of developing clearer insights into the feelings of people and the forces in a situation which facilitate or block good human relations. Preparation/Procedure: Choose an appropriate situation or problem. Have the group define the roles and general characteristics to be represented by each player. Enact the scene. Observe and discuss such things as specific behaviour, underlying forces, or emotional reactions. Debrief students. Limitation: Group leader must be skilled so that actors will play their parts seriously, without self-consciousness. 12. PICTURE MAKING Definition: A way of bringing out ideas or principles on a topic by means of simple illustrations made by group members on the blackboard or large chart paper. When used: As a technique to stimulate interest, thinking, and participation. Preparation/Procedure: Leader and members of planning group select general principles or questions on the topic which would be suitable to illustrate. Leader divides the group into four or five subgroups. Each subgroup is given a statement or problem to illustrate. After completing the picture making, each group shows and explains the picture. This is followed by discussion. Limitation: Instruction must be clear as to the value of picture making and adequate materials must be supplied. 13. BRAINSTORMING Definition: Technique in creative thinking in which all group members storm a problem with their brains [by generating as much information about a topic as possible. All pertinent information, cognitive and affective, is initially considered. This technique often leads to creative approaches.] When used: To get new ideas and release individual potentialities in thinking up ideas. Preparation/Procedure: Leader and members of planning group select suitable problems or questions on the topic selected by the entire group. The leader explains to the group the meaning of brainstorming and the following rules: Judicial (critical) judgements ruled out. Criticism to be applied later The more ideas, the better chance of good ones Freewheeling welcomed. The wilder the idea the better; it's easier to tame them down than to pump them up. Hitchhiking is legitimate. If you can improve on someone else's ideas it is so much the better. Leader rings bell when one of the above ideas is violated. Recorder lists the ideas. Follow-up: Type list and bring to next meeting to give to members. Limitation: To be utilized only as a part of the class. 42
  • 43. Overview of Selected Classroom Structures Excerpted from the Teaching Resources Guide at http://www.irc.uci.edu/TRG/Enhancing_Learning/Interactive/Overview. STRUCTURE BRIEF DESCRIPTION ACADEMIC & SOCIAL FUNCTIONS Team-building Round-robin Each student in turn shares Expressing ideas and opinions, something with his or her team- creation of stories. mates. Equal participation, getting acquainted with team-mates. Class-building Corners Each student moves to a corner of Seeing alternative hypotheses, the room representing a teacher- values, and problem-solving determined alternative. Students approaches. discuss within corners, then listen to Knowing and respecting different and paraphrase ideas from other points of view, meeting classmates. corners. Communication Building Match Mine Students attempt to match the Vocabulary development. arrangement of objects on a grid of Communication skills, role-taking another student using oral ability. communication only. Mastery Numbered The teacher asks a question, Review, checking for knowledge, Heads students consult to make sure comprehension. Tutoring. Together everyone knows the answer, and then one student is called upon to answer. Color-Coded Students memorize facts using a Memorizing facts. Helping, praising. Co-op Cards flash card game. The game is structured so that there is a maximum probability of success at each step, moving from short-term to long-term memory. Scoring is based on improvement. Pairs Check Students work in pairs within groups Practicing skills. Helping, praising. of four. Within pairs students alternate, one solves a problem while the other coaches. After every two problems the pair checks to see if they have the same answers as the other pair. Concept Development Three-Step Students interview each other in Sharing personal information such as 43
  • 44. Interview pairs, first one way, and then the hypotheses, reactions to a poem, and other. Students each share with the conclusions from a unit. Participation, group information they learned in the listening. interview. Students think to themselves on a Generating and revising hypotheses, Think-Pair- topic provided by the teacher; they inductive reasoning, deductive Share pair up with another student to reasoning, application. Participation, discuss it; they then share their involvement. thoughts with the class. Team Word- Students write simultaneously on a Analysis of concepts into Webbing piece of chart paper, drawing main components, understanding multiple concepts, supporting elements, and relations among ideas, differentiating bridges representing the relation of concepts. Role-taking. ideas in a concept. Multi-functional Roundtable Each student in turn writes one Assessing prior knowledge, answer as a paper and a pencil are practicing skills, recalling information, passed around the group. With creating cooperative art. Simultaneous Roundtable more than Teambuilding, participation of all. one pencil and paper are used at once. Inside-Outside Students stand in pairs in two Checking for understanding, review, Circle concentric circles. The inside circle processing, helping. Tutoring, faces out; the outside circle faces in. sharing, meeting classmates. Students use flash cards or respond to teacher questions as they rotate to each new partner. Partners Students work in pairs to create or Mastery and presentation of new master content. They consult with material, concept development. partners from other teams. They then Presentation and communication share their products or skills. understanding with the other partner pair in their team. Consultants Each student on the team becomes Acquisition and presentation of new an "expert" on one topic by working material, concept development. with members from other teams Presentation and communication assigned the corresponding expert skills. topic. Upon returning to their teams, each one in turn teaches the group; and students are all assessed on all aspects of the topic. Co-op Students work in groups to produce a Learning and sharing complex particular group product to share with material, often with multiple sources; the whole class; each student makes evaluation; application; analysis; a particular contribution to the group. synthesis. Conflict resolution, presentation skills. 44
  • 45. The Teacher's Use of Language Excerpted from ESL Learners: A Guide for the Classroom - Classroom Planning with ESL in Mind, found at http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/esl/policy/classplanning.htm Provide additional "wait time" for student responses to questions When asked a question, ESL students typically translate it into their first language, formulate an answer in their first language, and translate an approximation of the answer into English, before giving their response. They accordingly need more time to respond than do students whose first language is English. Be conscious of the vocabulary you use In English, everyday words of Anglo-Saxon origin are generally the easiest for ESL students to comprehend, because they hear and read these words frequently. However, speakers of Romance languages (Spanish, Italian, etc.) comprehend many of our Latinate words more readily because their own languages have the same etymological roots. For example, most ESL students won't understand "comprehend," but Spanish speakers will understand that word sooner than "understand." Teach the language of the subject In some subjects students not only encounter specialized vocabulary (e.g., photosynthesis in biology), but also language structures that occur with high frequency in that subject. For example, passive construction, though not frequently used in everyday discourse, is extensively used to describe processes in subjects such as Science and Social Studies (e.g., the experiment was carried out, the logs are felled and floated downstream, the ballots are counted). Subject-specific vocabulary also includes many words that have different meanings in specific contexts (e.g., mass has more than one meaning, including its very specific and precise meaning in physics). ESL students need to have these words explained in context, as the dictionary generally lists common meanings of words first, which tends to increase the learners' confusion. Cloze exercises based on lesson content (i.e., passages with important key words omitted for students to fill in) are a good way to reinforce ESL students' grasp of content and new vocabulary. Simplify sentence structures and repeat sentences verbatim before trying to rephrase Short and affirmative sentences (no negatives) are easiest for new learners of English to understand. Complex sentences and passive verb constructions pose a greater challenge and should be used judiciously. ESL students will gradually become familiar with these more challenging constructions, if they are given help processing them. Explanations can be useful, but it is often a good idea to repeat verbatim difficult sentences containing important information and ideas. This gives students a second chance to process the same structure-- something they don't get if they are presented too quickly with a rephrased version that may be just as challenging as the original sentence. Rephrase idioms or teach their meaning ESL students often translate idiomatic expressions literally. For example, a teacher might say "Take a stab at it," to encourage a student; the ESL students would be very confused by their literal interpretation of this. If someone uses an expression like this, rephrase it so that ESL students can attach meaning to it. Post a list of the week's idioms for students to see. Clearly mark transitions during classroom activities To avoid confusing ESL students when changing topic or focus, explicitly signal the changes (e.g., "first we will...", "now it's time for...") Explanations and expectations need to be articulated explicitly and completely. Don't simply expect ESL students to "pick up on" assumptions, unstated premises, or subtle nuances of meaning. Periodically check to ensure ESL students are understanding ESL students may be reluctant to ask for clarification or to admit that they don't understand something, if asked directly (some may feel that it is disrespectful or an affront to the teacher 45
  • 46. to admit that they don't understand). To check for understanding, focus on students' body language, watching for active listening behaviours or for expressions or posture that indicate confusion or frustration. Bear in mind, however, that sometimes only later performance provides an accurate indication of the extent of students' understanding (see the earlier section on "Adjustment Challenges Facing ESL Students"). Contextual Supports for Linguistic Development Excerpted from ESL Learners: A Guide for the Classroom - Classroom Planning with ESL in Mind, found at http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/esl/policy/classplanning.htm Write key words on the board and use visual and other non-verbal cues, wherever possible, to present key ideas Concrete objects, charts, maps, pictures, photos, gestures, facial expressions, etc. form an important complement to oral explanations for ESL students. Advance organizers are sometimes useful cues for upcoming activities. Provide written notes, summaries, instructions, and pre-reading ESL students may not be able to process oral information quickly enough to understand fully or to make their own meaningful notes; your notes can highlight key ideas, new words, etc.; written instructions are particularly useful to students when homework or major projects are assigned. Use the students' native languages to check comprehension and clarify problems If you or some of your students speak some of the native languages of your ESL students, use the first language to clarify instructions, provide translations of key words that are difficult to explain in English, and find out what the students know but cannot express in English. Most ESL students will only need this additional support for a limited time or in rare situations. Research indicates that the more highly developed a student's first language, the more successful they will be in acquiring a second. In fact, bilingual learners who continue to develop their first language have more success than those who focus entirely on acquiring English; there are also many benefits for students' self-esteem when they know that their primary language is valued. Communicate interest in students' linguistic development and set expectations Recognizing that all students use language to both grasp and formulate ideas, let ESL students know that their progress in learning the language is important to you. Give feedback and evaluation on this as well as on the other aspects of their learning related to particular subjects. Respond to students' language errors When students produce incorrect grammar or pronunciation, rephrase their responses so as to provide feedback on the content of what they say as well as a model of correct usage, without drawing specific attention to the error (e.g., "Canada have many natural resource." "Yes, Canada has many natural resources. Can you name some of them?" or "Whose own pen is this?" "I'm afraid I don't know whose pen this is."). In responding to students' written errors, try to focus on consistent errors of a specific type (e.g., lack of plural endings) and concentrate on modeling or correcting only that error. If you target each and every error, the student cannot easily see the logical rule that must be applied in particular situations and may become confused and overwhelmed. Always remember to focus on content first, however. Use directed reading activities Many students hope careful reading of the textbook will make up for what they failed to understand in class. Guided or directed reading assignments will help them read purposefully and to better effect than if they simply attempt to wade through a chapter with the help of a dictionary. With ESL students it is often better to discuss before they read, rather than the reverse. Consider: • previewing the text (focusing on chapter headings, illustrations, glossaries, etc. so that students have a sense of the organization and content before they begin to read) 46
  • 47. • providing a pre-reading question about the main idea(s) in the text as a focus for reading • having students locate key words (e.g., technical terms) in the passage and use contextual clues to explain their meaning • having students keep vocabulary notebooks to record subject-related words and explanations along with contextualized usage examples (these can be checked and evaluated two or three times during the year) • providing follow-up questions that refer students back to the text to find details that support an argument or to draw inferences from their reading Use audio taped texts to combine aural and visual cues Some teachers have created audiotapes of their own selected texts. Establish a supportive environment for language learning Talk to the whole class about the need for language learners to feel comfortable speaking English without fear of ridicule. In most subject areas, ESL students should be able to grasp essential concepts, if these are presented carefully, emphasized through repetition, and clearly distinguished from finer points that the students are less able to fully assimilate. Use cooperative learning strategies Some ESL students may be unfamiliar with cooperative learning strategies or even culturally predisposed to reject them (see the earlier section on "Adjustment Challenges Facing ESL Students"). The rationale for cooperative learning may consequently need to be explained, and the related strategies may need to be explicitly taught. Cooperative learning groups provide opportunities for ESL students to interact orally with their peers in a small, non-judgmental forum. ESL students are able to hear others use the language of the subject to review key points. They are also able to ask questions they might be reluctant to pose in front of the whole class. Research studies show that the use of carefully structured learning groups has many positive outcomes in terms of academic achievement, communication skills, race relations, the development of socially responsible and cooperative behaviour and attitudes, and self-esteem. Encourage students to rehearse information or instructions orally Students can work in pairs or small groups to explain or reinterpret instructions to each other. In this way, peers help ensure that everyone in the group understands. Use peer tutoring Use of peer tutors is especially helpful for integrating new arrivals and helping orient them to school and classroom routines. The approach works best if the students being paired are compatible, if specific responsibilities are assigned, and if some training and recognition are provided for those who undertake the tutoring. For example, a supportive student (perhaps a well integrated ESL student whose language skills are already quite developed) can be assigned to work with an ESL peer on a set of math problems, verbalizing each step of the process aloud. If the ESL student can verbalize the process at the end of a specified period, both students receive recognition. Establish a homework club A homework club is usually a safe, quiet environment for students to complete homework assignments. 47
  • 48. Quotations to Inspire Imagination "Imagination rules the world." Napoleon Bonaparte, French soldier, statesman, revolutionary (1769-1821) "Imagination is more important than knowledge." Albert Einstein, German physicist (1879-1955) "Everything you can imagine is real." Pablo Picasso, Spanish artist (1881-1973) "A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing with him the image of a cathedral." Antoine Saint De Exupery, French author, aviator (1900-1944) "The man who has no imagination has no wings." Muhammad Ali, US boxer (b.1942) "Reason can answer questions, but imagination has to ask them." Ralph Gerard, US psychologist, author "Microsoft's only factory asset is the human imagination." Bill Gates, US computer engineer, entrepreneur (b.1955) "What is now proved was once only imagined." William Blake, British poet, painter (1757-1827) "Imagination is a quality given to a man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humour was provided to console him for what he is." Oscar Wilde, Irish dramatist, poet (1854-1900) 48
  • 49. Compiled from various sources by William M. Tweedie …. Motivation "The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled." Plutarch, Greek biographer, essayist (46-120 AD) "A key characteristic of transformational leaders is that they motivate people to do more than they originally expected to do." Elizabeth Chell, British academic, management author (b.1949) "Leaders in the new organization do not lack motivational tools, but the tools are different from those of traditional corporate bureaucrats. The new rewards are based not on status but on contribution, and they consist not of regular promotion and automatic pay rises but of excitement about mission and a share of the glory and the gains of success." Rosabeth Moss Kanter, US academic, management author (b.1943) "We don't want satisfaction. We want creative dissatisfaction associated with excitement about the job. That's what motivation is made of." Daniel Quinn Mills, US academic, management author (b.1941) "Do you want to sell sugar water all your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world?" Steve Jobs, US executive, co-founder of Apple Inc (b.1955) persuading John Sculley to leave Pepsi Cola "I'm slowly becoming a convert to the principle that you can't motivate people to do things, you can only demotivate them. The primary job of the manager is not to empower but to remove obstacles." Scott Adams, US cartoonist, author (b.1957) "In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flames by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit." Albert Schweitzer, Alsatian theologian (1875-1965) Finally, US humorist Ronnie Shakes said: "I was going to buy a copy of The Power of Positive Thinking, and I thought: What the hell good would that do?" 49
  • 50. Compiled from various sources by William M. Tweedie …. Questions "There are no foolish questions and no man becomes a fool until he has stopped asking questions." Charles Steinmetz, US electrical engineer (1865-1923) "The wise man doesn't give us the right answers, he poses the right questions." Claude Levi-Strauss, French anthropologist (b.1908) "Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers." Voltaire, French philosopher (1694-1778) "Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton was the one to ask why." Bernard Baruch, US statesman, businessman (1870-1965) "That is the essence of science: ask an impertinent question, and you are on your way to a pertinent answer." Jacob Bronowski, British mathematician, scientist (1908-1974) "I keep six honest serving men (they taught me all I knew): their names are ‘What’ and ‘Why’ and ‘When’ and ‘How’ and ‘Where’ and ‘Who’." Rudyard Kipling, British author, poet (1865-1936) "If you don't ask 'why this?' often enough, somebody will ask, ‘why you?’" Tom Hirschfield, US IT author Finally, Murphy says: “The obvious answer is always overlooked." Compiled from various sources by William M. Tweedie 50
  • 51. …. Learning "I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it." Pablo Picasso, Spanish painter (1881-1973) "The difference between what the most and the least learned people know is inexpressibly trivial in relation to that which is unknown." Albert Einstein, German physicist (1879-1955) "Sit down before a fact as a little child, and be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and to whatever abyss nature leads, or you shall learn nothing." TH Huxley, British biologist (1887-1975) "The illiterate of the future will not be the person who cannot read. It will be the person who does not know how to learn." Alvin Toffler, US management author, editor (b.1928) "In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists." Eric Hoffer, US philosopher, author, longshoreman (1902-1983) "The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper." Mary Adelaide Eden Philpotts, British author (1896-1996) "I am always read to learn, but I do not always like being taught." Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister (1874-1965) "In the book of life, the answers aren't in the back." Charlie Brown, cartoon strip character by Charles Schulz (1922-2000) Compiled from various sources by William M. Tweedie 51
  • 52. …. Fun "Work should be more fun than fun." Noel Coward, British actor (1899-1973) "The man who does not work for the love of work but only for money is likely to neither make money nor find much fun in life." Charles Schwab, US industrialist (1862-1939) "Serious-minded people have few ideas. People with ideas are never serious." Paul Valery, French poet, critic (1871-1945) "Laughter is the shortest distance between two people." Victor Borge, Danish entertainer, pianist (1909-2000) "First you have to have fun. Second, you have to put love where your labour is. Third, you have to go in the opposite direction to everyone else." Anita Roddick, British executive, founder of The Body Shop (b.1943) "If people never did silly things, nothing intelligent would ever get done." Ludwig Wittgenstein, Austrian philosopher (1889-1951) "We're all working harder and faster. But unless we're having fun the transformation doesn't work." Jack Welch, US executive, utility chief (b.1935) Compiled from various sources by William M. Tweedie 52