ENGLISH 345 LEARNER AUTHONOMY AND LANGUAGE AWARENESS
AGENDA Material Evaluation Sharing Blog-Class Discussions Discussion Facilitation on Learner autonomy and language awareness (Melissa and Sarah) Critical Language Awareness activities in K-16 Assignments Extra time to discuss final project progress meetings, addressing concerns/questions
IMPORTANT KEY WORDS Learner autonomy (both narrow and broader definition) General Language Awareness Critical language Awareness Doublespeak
Blog Discussions on Learner Autonomy
Kristina says… As I read Kuma's words about framing learning as a way for learners to learn now to liberate themselves, I couldn't help but think about how the closely the suggested classroom activities are aligned with writing. Kuma suggests that learners assume the role of "mini-ethnolographers," who "investigate and understand how language rules and language use are socially structured." This approach seems especially aligned with genre-based approaches to writing. Kuma also suggests writing indiaries or journals, forming learning (I say writers'!) groups, and utilizing online research databases. How exciting that learners can not only explore aspects of their lives through writing, but also the rules and language use associated with mediums and forums of communication, with an eye for becoming a participants in those discourses!
Sarah R. I never have thought about autonomy in a narrow and broad sense before, and I think Kuma made some interesting points about there is a difference between how one learns (narrow view) and how one can advance in their level of learning (broad view). I think this is important to understand and recognize as a future teacher because so often I think of these things as the same thing. Often I think of learning as being linear, when it is not. We do not just learn more and more, but we can learn higher too. (If that makes any sense!) I think it was good to read about learner autonomy from a perspective of some teacher responsibility because in most C&I courses it is explained simply from a “your students could be autonomous, but don’t get your hopes up” point of view.
Amanda As someone who plans on teaching in an elementary school, I can see how using the narrow view with more personal reflective activities, while the broad view would be beneficial for the big picture social tasks. The elementary school is a place where autonomy should be introduced, learned, and practiced so that young learners have those skills to help them in their future rather than teachers relying on direct teaching that works through a lot of material without teaching students how to seek information or rely on their own skills to learn
Question to the whole class What are some of the factors that contribute to your degree of autonomy in your teacher education classes? How can you, as language educator, contribute to the development of your students’ autonomy?
Blog discussions on Langue Awareness
Hillary says… I think being aware of how complicated the English language really is and how often the spelling of the words is nothing like the pronunciation of that word is very important; especially when dealing with English language learners. Being aware of the rules and factors that can make English learning difficult, can help people be more understanding towards those who are not "naturals" at acquiring the language. In other words, learning English as a second or even a foreign language is not as easy as some people make it out to be. Even native speakers have difficulties with the pronunciation of words based off of its spelling. Take Illinois State's very own Schroeder Hall. People who are visiting campus or are just not familiar with the building may pronounce the name as [shr-oder] because that is the way it looks like it should be pronounced. However, the correct pronunciation is [shr-ay-der] hall. Even though they might be native speakers, they are looking at the spelling to assist them in the pronunciation, which is not very helpful in this situation.
Kristina says… In chapter 7, the most salient issue seems to be that language learning MUST be connected to the exploration of social and political issues, because language is itself inherently political. To attempt to ignore issues of race, class, ethnicity, or sexuality in writing classrooms would be futile, because sooner or later they would bleed through in the language use of class participants. And, as Kuma points out, to ignore these issues leads not only to the marginalization of ourselves but also of the members of our classes.
Kelsey says… As Kuma emphasize, we must gain a critical language awareness and understand the power struggles and sociocultural ideals that are expressed through language and its use. Awareness of how class systems can be developed around linguistic differences needs to fostered in order to fully address issues of equality. Racism stills runs rampant in the United States and in other countries along the lines of linguistic boundaries. People--human beings--are being treated like dogs or second class citizens simply because they speak a different language. Simply because their language has fewer speakers gives us no right to steal their rights as human beings to be treated with respect and dignity. As I mentioned at the beginning of this blog, the fact that language and identity are so closely tied causes people forced to speak a language other than their native language to question their own identities and legitimacy as human beings. Often times, people thrown into these situations where their native language is banned from use in general society find themselves embarrassed by who they are, embarrassed by their own heritage and people. This can't continue! However, it will persist undoubtedly if people are not aware of the injustice. This is one of our roles as educators: make them aware.
Discussion questions Why do you think language education should be connected to sociopolitical issues? Do you agree with Gee that “if language teaching is not connected to social and political issues, you are cooperating in your own marginalization? (see his quote on page 165) To what extent, do you think, has the ISU’s teacher education programs help you examine the reality of language use in relevant educational settings” in order for you to develop language awareness? What do you do outside of your course work to contribute to your critical language awareness?
CRITICAL LANGUAGE AWARENESS (CLA) Raising awareness on the sociopolitical nature of language Sensitizing learners towards social inequalities Students are involved in critical analysis of the text Taking into account the ideological markers of a text Teaching out learners that language is used as a tool for social and political control. Analyzing and discussing language of current affairs. Some important scholars who do work on CLA in Educational settings: Normal Fairclough, Alan Luke, B. Kumaravedivelu, Ryuko Kubota, Suresh Canagarajah , John Baugh, Lisa Delpit, B. Kachru, Sami Alim, Shondel Nero, Lippi-Green
CLA-related areas of study Language and power Language Death Linguistic Imperialism Language variations Heritage Language Maintenance Creoles and Pidginized languages World Englishes
Critical Language Awareness Activities for ESL learners Create a lesson plan based on the text you are assigned. How would you introduce such a text to your ESL students? What type of social and political issues would you discuss with them? Create speaking and writing activities that will promote both general and critical language awareness.
Assignments Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Office of English Language Programs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-LkN-Pm_zA Watch one of the relevant clips and write a critical response based on your future teaching context Blog Response on the assigned readings