Teaching Second Language Learners On Mainstream Courses


Published on

Things to consider when teaching ESOL students on mainstream courses. Includes tips for simplifying assignment briefs etc.

Aimed primarily at those in the UK education system but with some wider application to other courses where English is the medium of instruction.

Published in: Education, Technology
1 Like
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Teaching Second Language Learners On Mainstream Courses

  1. 1. Teaching Second-Language Learners on Mainstream Kieran McGovern mcgovernk@citybathcoll.ac.uk
  2. 2. Alphabet Soup • EFL: English as a Foreign Language   • ESL: English as a Second Language   • (T)ESOL: English for speakers of other languages   • L1 – Learners using first or native language • L2 – Learners using an additional language   • IELTS - International English language testing system   • EAP – English for academic purposes   • FCE – Cambridge First Certificate in English
  3. 3. Typical profiles of L2 Settled in UK post Yr 8 International • Strong speaking & • Strong academic listening background • Weak written language • Strong motivation • Disrupted education • Good technical • Limited formal knowledge vocabulary • Weaker spoken English • Gaps in technical • Limited informal knowledge vocabulary • Under-performs in • Unfamiliar cultural unsuitable written context
  4. 4. Questions to ask L2 learners. • How long have you lived in the UK? • In which school year did you arrive? • When did you start learning English in your home country? • Which language do you speak at home? • Which language do you prefer to read/write in? • Did you have language classes at school? • What do find hardest about English? • Put these in order from your best to worst Reading * Writing * Speaking* Listening
  5. 5. Common problems: L2 student • Forced to take unsuitable courses: e.g. GCSE English Language • Labelled as ‘struggling’ • Confused by disruption in education • Confused by different register (formal/informal) • Low academic expectations amongst peers • High family expectations • Linguistically & socially insecure • Under confident • May have motivation problems
  6. 6. The English Language How many words? Typical vocabulary • OED defines 615,100 words • German: 180,000 words • 41,700 are obsolete. • Russian: 160,000 words • 240 ‘ghost words’ • French 150,000 • 430 uses of ‘set’ Why English? Use of English Most languages have limited • Lederer: Average English capacity to import words. speaker has access to 10,0000 words English has no academy vocabulary evolves through • Pinker: 60,000 words average use. by secondary school • English sometimes considered English is the ‘most democratic easy because of ‘relative
  7. 7. What L2 learners find Irregular Verbs Other common problems • Articles: use of a/the/an • 180 irregular verbs • Past present/agreement • Thousands of regular ones • Phrasal verbs • 70 % of all verbs used • Pinker: irregular verbs are fossils • New verbs are all regular • Children & L2 learners make similar mistakes • ‘writed’ ‘speaked’ etc 10 most used verbs : - be, make, do, take, go, come see, get, come, say
  8. 8. What is IELTS? What is IELTS? International English Language Testing System • Tests English proficiency across the globe. • Most popular English testing system. Which organisations accept IELTS? • IELTS is accepted by more than 6000 organisations worldwide. • universities, immigration departments, government agencies, professional bodies and multinational companies. IELTS has two versions – Academic and General Training. • Academic test is for those who want to study in an English-speaking country. • General Training test for those migrating to or living in an English-speaking country. • All candidates take the same Listening and Speaking tests but different Reading and Writing tests.
  9. 9. What do universities ask for? Kingston: Minimum IELTS Warwick: Minimum IELTS – Arts and Social Sciences; Faculty of Arts: 6.5 Pharmacy: 6.5 Faculty of Science 6.0 – Business and Law: 6.0 – Architecture; Art and Psychology 6.5 Design; Science; Social Studies 7.0 Engineering; Computing, Information Business School 7.0 Systems and Mathematics; and Surveying: 6.0
  10. 10. Resources Websites Books All L2 learners need: - an English-English http://iteslj.org// dictionary http://www.bbc.co.uk/ worldservice/learningenglish/ - A grammar reference http://www.eslreading.org book (e.g Murphy ‘English Grammar in Use’) - Regular graded readers
  11. 11. Readibility Stats Ideally you should have low numbers for: passive voice, words per sentence, characters per word and Flesch Reading Grade level
  12. 12. Typical Assignment brief How easy to read Sentences per paragraph: 1 (low) Words per sentence: 12 (high) Characters per word: 5.3 (low) Passive: 9% (very high) Flesch Reading Ease: (30.4 ) (very high) Flsch Kikaid: 12.1 (very high) Conclusion Text difficult to read. Biggest problems are: use of passive voice, number of long sentences. Vocabulary score slightly misleading because of amount of repetition. Solution: shorter sentences using active rather than passive verbs.
  13. 13. How can you help? 1. Make sure L2 learners are aware of ESOL provision. 2. Be aware of his/her specific linguistic background. 3. Take into account common technical errors. 4. Adapt your assignments to improve readibility. 5. Encourage L2 learners to read graded reading materials/listen to podcasts etc.
  14. 14. Author/Contact Details Kieran McGovern teaches in Bath, UK and is the author of graded reading materials for English language learners. His publications include original stories and adaptations for most of the major publishers in the field, including Heinemann, Oxford University Press, Longman and Penguin. Three of his titles were singled out for 'their particular excellence' in Bamford and Day's Extensive Reading in the Second Language Classroom (Cambridge, 1998) where he was described as being 'amongst the best writers of language learner materials in English.’ He has also written articles and reviews for magazines and journals including Seven Days and IATEFL Voices. He edits one of the most popular ESOL websites, www.eslreading.org Kieran was the BBC World Service Teacher Blogger in August 2009 and part of the open group blog in December 09 Contact: mcgovernk@citybathcoll 14