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Reflective Portfolios: Harmonizing Student Teachers’ Identities in ESL /EFL contexts


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  • 1. TESOL 2013 Dallas, TXReflective Portfolios: Harmonizing Student Teachers’ Identities in ESL /EFL contexts Natalia Orlova Katya Nemtchinova March 22, 2013
  • 2. Varieties of Portfolios:• Entrance Portfolio• Working (or Process) Portfolio• Exit Portfolio• Interview Portfolio /Product Portfolio Costantino, P. M. & De Lorenzo, M.N.  Downloads in various (2002). Developing a professional languages are available teaching portfolio. Boston MA. pp.3-4 from the EPOSTL website:  (Resources)
  • 3. The conceptual framework of the EPOSTL  Council of Europe  Common European Framework of Reference  European Language Portfolio European Commission/Univ. of Southampton  European Profile for Language Teacher Education – a frame of reference 3
  • 4. EPOSTL: What makes it different?Portfolio was regarded as EPOSTL:• “…an organized set of • addresses content of documents that provide teacher education evidence of a teacher’s  core competences knowledge, dispositions, • formulates didactic and skills in the complex art competence descriptors (I of teaching.” (Bird, 1990) can…) relating to language• “a purposeful collection of teaching any aspect of a teacher’s • maintains links between work that tells the story of CEFR, Teacher Profile and the teacher’s efforts…” English Language Portfolio (Brown &Wolfe-Quintero)
  • 5. What are the EPOSTL’s central aims?To REFLECT onthe competences a teacherstrives to attain;to facilitate self-assessment ofstudents’ competence;to provide support duringteaching practice and assist indiscussions with mentors andteacher educators.
  • 6. What is the structure of the EPOSTL? 6
  • 7. 7
  • 8. What can help student teachers to self-assess their actions?193 descriptors of competences, whichlanguage teachers should strive to attain I can encourage learner participation whenever possible.
  • 9. Using the EPOSTL with Pre-Service Teachers at UJEP• Piloting in 2008-2009• Using the EPOSTL systematically since 2009- 2010
  • 10. Model of Integrating the EPOSTL into Pre-Service EFL Teachers’ Program• Stage 1. Introducing the EPOSTL to student teachers. Setting the tasks in the Personal Statement.• Stage 2. Selecting the sections for self-assessment.• Stage 3. Integrating the ‘can-do’ descriptors into the course.• Stage 4. Employing ‘can-do’ descriptors for microteaching tasks.• Stage 5. Encouraging students to work with the EPOSTL during their school practicum.• Stage 6. Surveying students’ opinions of the EPOSTL.• Stage 7. Using EPOSTL at the graduate exam in ELT. (Tried out in May 2012)Read more inOrlova, N. (2011). Challenges of Integrating the EPOSTL into Pre-Service Teacher Training. In Using the European Portfolio for Student Teachers of Languages. Editors: David Newby, Anne-Brit Fenner, Barry Jones
  • 11. Some Challenges:Stage 1. Introducing the EPOSTL to student teachers. Setting the tasks in the Personal Statement. • concerns not to use theStage 2. Selecting the sections for self- assessment. EPOSTL as a check listStage 3. Integrating the ‘can- • making the descriptors do’ descriptors into the meaningful to student course.Stage 4. Employing ‘can-do’ descriptors for teachers microteaching tasks.Stage 5. Encouraging students to work with the EPOSTL during their school practicum.Stage 6. Surveying students’ opinions of the EPOSTL.Stage 7. Using the EPOSTL at the graduate exam in ELT.
  • 12. Unexpected challenge: Solution: I have never tried my hand at • I suggested reformulating the teaching. How can statements from I admit whether I can do something in class? ‘I can do…’ I am prepared/aware of how to do…’
  • 13. Practicum reflective paper guidelines.• Set your personal targets and think what areas of teaching you would like to reflex on and improve.• Select can-do descriptors from different sections of the EPOSTL (10 maximum) and reflect on them.• While reflecting on the EPOSTL descriptors rephrase them as questions, e.g.: „I can evaluate and select a variety of activities which help learners to learn vocabulary.” (p. 28)• How can I evaluate and select a variety of activities which help learners to learn vocabulary?
  • 14. Positive Effects:Stage 1. Introducing the EPOSTL to student teachers. Setting the tasks in the Personal • noticeable shift in the Statement.Stage 2. Selecting the sections for self- students’ accounts of the assessment.Stage 3. Integrating the ‘can-do’ descriptors practicum into the course.Stage 4. Employing ‘can-do’ descriptors for ‘impressionistic’ character microteaching tasks.Stage 5. Encouraging students to work with the EPOSTL during their reflection on competences school practicum.Stage 6. Surveying students’ opinions of the EPOSTL.Stage 7. Using the EPOSTL at the graduate • constructive self-criticism exam in ELT.
  • 15. Students´ feedback on the use of the EPOSTL:• “It made me reread some chapters in the textbooks on methodology. The EPOSTL provides a kind of a summary of all the aspects of my work as a teacher. It does serve as a reflection tool for me.”• “…can-do descriptors were thought-provoking for me. They showed what aspects of my teaching I have to think about.”• ”the EPOSTL helped to uncover my week points, that’s why it was thought provoking for me though time-consuming.“• “…it worked like a diary of self development in TEFL, I could check my skills.”• “The EPOSTL advised me where to go and what to explore in my profession… It lets students know how complex teaching profession is and what it feels like to be a good, skilled teacher. I have decided to reprint the EPOSTL (highlighted by the presenter) and check it up later again.”
  • 16. SOME DEVELOPED STRATEGIES:Explored different ways of using the EPOSTL.Practised these ways with my students and integrated the EPOSTL into my existing courses.Overcame some challenges that were connected with the use of the EPOSTL.Shared experiences of using the EPOSTL with colleagues.Thought over and identified what was relevant for my courses.Learned my students’ feedback and introduced some changes based on the received feedback
  • 17. Suggestions:The EPOSTL should be used – systematically – continuously – as an integral part of various courses related to FL teacher program MLPublications/tabid/277/langua ge/en-GB/Default.aspx
  • 18. EPOSTL: a different application• Seattle Pacific University’s MA TESOL Program• Language Learning Practicum (LLP)Students enroll in a beginning-level course in a language oftheir own choosing, one they have not studied previously. Inaddition to completing all assignments for the course, theykeep a journal reflecting on their learning experience, andcome together periodically, either face-to-face or online, todiscuss their reflections with fellow students engaged in thesame process.
  • 19. TESL 6930 Language Learning Practicum SyllabusCOURSE OBJECTIVES This course offers students an opportunity to develop character andethical sensitivity by reflecting on the experience of learning anadditional language, in both its practical and affective aspects.REQUIREMENTS• Active participation and sincere effort in the selected language course• Active participation in Practicum discussions• Regular journal entries describing and reflecting on class activities• A short summative paper EVALUATION The course is offered on a pass/fail basis. Active class participation andthoughtful completion of assignments in accordance with course duedates will serve as the evaluative criteria.
  • 20. Discussion Questions <-> EPOSTLWeek 1: IntroductionsThis assignment is in two parts:Part I(a) introduce yourself, (b) share how you became interested in theMA-TESOL program at SPU, (c) tell what language that you will betaking throughout the quarter, and (d) share one or twoexpectations about what you hope to learn in your language class.Part IIPlease respond to two of your peers postings about the aboveinformation.
  • 21. Week 2: Teaching PhilosophyAs you begin the Language Learning Practicum please consider thefollowing questions:(1) What may be the teaching and learning philosophy of yourinstructor in your language learning class?(2) How can you guess the instructors philosophy? Is it stated inthe syllabus, talked about in class, or can you tell by theinstructors choice of methods and interactions with the students?
  • 22. Thread: Method and PhilosophyPost: Method and PhilosophyAuthor: Ben HuhPosted Date: October 3, 2012 11:24 AMThere was an interesting moment in our class. When we were working on French negation,one student asked the instructor, "why does French have 2 words (ne~pas~) for negatingwhile English has only one word (not)? then she started talking about the English-centeredness. It was the first time she spoke English. Then she asked the student back "whydoes English have only one word for negating?" She seemed to try to explain that "Everylanguage has its own unique characteristics that are different from other languages." This isall for now. I am excited for next class. We also have some assignments to do. Then goodluck with your learning!Thread: Method and PhilosophyPost: RE: Method and PhilosophyAuthor: Katya NemtchinovaPosted Date: October 3, 2011 9:58 PMThat’s a very good point. Understanding and promoting the unique personal, intellectualand cultural value of the language students are trying to learn is an important part of one’steaching philosophy.
  • 23. Week 4: MethodologyIt was intriguing to read through your postings and to learn about thevaried teaching philosophies of your language instructors. It wasespecially interesting to note how both English and the target languagewere used in the instructional process. Based on your postings of lastweek please respond to the following questions:1) As a beginning language learner in your classroom, what types ofscaffolding helps (or would help) to support your understanding, skilldevelopment, and communicative competence in this new language?2) Please choose the language skill or combination of skills that tends tobe the most challenging for you ( reading, writing, speaking, listening) inthis new language. What types of scaffolding would support yourlearning of these skills?
  • 24. Student reflections: Language difficulty• Reading and writing is comparatively easier to me than speaking and listening. I feel like my teacher’s Spanish is quite fast for my ears. I think he helps my understanding whenever he speaks more slowly and more clearly, repeating the words or sentences again and again.• I find myself lost in class when only Japanese is spoken and no gestures are used, but usually I can get pieces of understanding when Japanese words are repeated by English follow ups or when gestures are used alongside only Japanese speaking. Language courses tend to move quickly, so it seems as though it would be challenging to catch up if you miss a day each week. This can be a good reminder for working with our future students - how can be catch them up and scaffold their learning when they miss a class (because everyone will at some point with how busy life gets!)
  • 25. Student reflections: scaffolding• The only qualified scaffolding I am seeing is when our instructor writes the Arabic letters in an equation format to offer hints in order for us to improve on our writing skills. I wish she would rely more on modeling that focused on visuals, sound, along with the Arabic alphabet.• I like the idea of having the important concepts or words of the lesson on the whiteboard. It helps keep focus on just a few items instead of trying to grasp everything. I can see listing on the whiteboard the first day of a lesson the important vocabulary words, the second day, maybe a couple of phrases, the third day the grammar point of the lesson.• I agree that repetition always helps, but I am not enthusiastic about it when it becomes unthinking parroting. I like it to be mindful and meaningful. When I get tired or bored, I can drift off onto autopilot and retain next to nothing... maybe its just me.
  • 26. Weeks 5-6: Lesson Planning1. Is there a place for learning activities that emphasize repetition or"drill " in a lesson? If so, where and how would you integrate this into alesson plan?2. Does the instructor of the class share the lesson plan with thestudents? As a student, do you think that it is important for theinstructor to share the lesson plan with the students? Why or why not?3. How does the instructor both pace and integrate the learningactivities into the lesson plan? Do the students have enough time ortoo much time to work through the lesson activities?4. Under what circumstances would you change the lesson plan in mid-lesson? How important is flexibility in planning and implementinglanguage lessons?
  • 27. Week 8: Assessment(a) How does your language instructor give both oral and writtenfeedback to the students?(b) How does your language instructor evaluate and respond tostudents errors and also to students correct responses?(c) What is your philosophy about giving student feedback,correcting errors, and giving students positive reinforcement?
  • 28. Assessment: Student responses• I think I would like to model my philosophy about positive feedback on my Chinese instructors philosophy - that is give lots of positive feedback to encourage students to talk. If and when a student isnt afraid to talk (done by providing a safe environment), then gently start correcting pronunciation errors. You cant correct errors if they dont talk. Written feedback on homework is also a great way to improve a students confidence but this can be time consuming to do. It also must be done with care in that if too many errors are corrected then it can be demoralizing.• This seems as though it would reduce student anxiety, and encourage experimentation. I guess it is a useful reminder to me that sometimes it is more important to increase motivation than to insist on perfection. Perfection can come later.
  • 29. Week 10: Independent thinkingFor this weeks post, please pose one question about languagelearning or teaching to the other members of your group. Thisquestion may be about something that you observed in yourlanguage class or an idea that you may want to discuss in yoursummative paper. Please post your question and then respond toat least two of your group members questions.
  • 30. Students’ questions• What techniques have you found work best to aid in listening comprehension or on the flip side what teaching methods have you found help students in their listening comprehension? What experience do those of you who speak more than one language have in this regard?• How do you handle a very large range of language ablilties in the classroom? Do you teach to the middle?• As I found myself challenged by this Japanese course, I began to think about how much the use of my own language (English) during instruction aided my learning and understanding of Japanese. What are some best practice teaching strategies for teaching English to speakers of other languages when the students speak a variety of native languages and you, as the instructor, do not speak those languages?• My wonder that stems from your questions is how do you decide what to cover at a beginning level? I found that, when my teacher chose to follow the course of the textbook, we learned a strange variety of things - all the way from introductions to telling time to asking what floor of the building something is on. Some things seemed especially useful to learn at the basic level and others seemed to be less important …• What I would like to know, is there something that stuck out that your instructor did that you feel you could use as a model for your own teaching? And, if not, is there something your instructor did that you feel you would never do?