LINKING THEORY TO PRACTICE TSL3110
“Educational theory comprises concepts, frameworks, ideas, and principles that may
be used to interpret, explain, or judge intentions, actions, and experiences in
educational or educational-related settings” (Eraut, 1994a, p. 70).
Theory with capital T is conceptual knowledge, generalized over many situations, theory with a
small t is perceptual knowledge, personally relevant and closely linked to concrete contexts. (See
Kessels & Korthagen, 1996, or Korthagen et al., 2001, chapter 2, for a more thorough discussion of
The concept of practice can perhaps be best translated as ‘professional situation.’ It
is a (learning) environment – with materials, tools and actors – in which a
profession is practiced.
What is teacher knowledge?
Teacher knowledge - “a body of professional knowledge that encompasses both
knowledge of general pedagogical principles and skills and knowledge of the subject
matter to be taught” (Grossmand & Richart, 1988, p. 54).
An overview of domains and categories of teacher knowledge (Shulman, 1987).
- content knowledge;
- general pedagogical knowledge, with special reference to those broad principles and
strategies of classroom management and organization that appear to transcend subject matter;
- curriculum knowledge, with a particular grasp of the materials and programs that serve as
‘tools of the trades’ for teachers;
- pedagogical content knowledge, that special amalgam of content and pedagogy that is
uniquely the province of teachers, their own special form of professional understanding;
- knowledge of learners and their characteristics;
- knowledge of educational contexts, ranging from the workings of the group or classroom, the
governance and financing of school districts, to the character of communities and cultures;
- knowledge of educational ends, purposes and values, and their philosophical and historical
grounds. (Shulman, 1987, p. 8).
English language teaching to young learners requires knowledge about child
developmental theories, specific classroom management techniques, selection and
use of specific teaching techniques, materials and activities appropriate for child
ITE provides professional knowledge and also its application to classroom settings.
Who is the young learner?
Slatterly and Willis (2001) define the young learners as those between 7–12 years
old while very young learners are defined as under 7 years of age.
Scott and Ytreberg (2001) distinguish between two groups of young learners, one
between 5-7 and another 8-11, considering mainly their ability to perceive the
abstract and concrete.
MOE definition of young learners ???
young learners‟ as the children from the first year of formal schooling (6 years old,
in our case) to 12 years of age.
How would you describe young learners? Write down on a piece of paper all the
adjectives you can think of that describe the characteristics of young learners.
Now read through the adjectives you wrote and categorise them into the T-chart.
HOW CHILDREN LEARN
Folom High School Behaviorism Blues.mp4
Piaget's Theory of Cognitive Development Free Human Growth and Development Video.mp4
Children are active
learners and thinkers.
Children construct knowledge from actively interacting
with the physical environment in developmental stages.
They learn through their own individual actions and
Children learn through
Children construct knowledge through other people,
through interaction with adults. Adults/teachers work
actively with children in the Zone of Proximal
Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD)
difference between the child's capacity to solve problems
on his own and his capacity to solve them with assistance
Children learn effectively
through scaffolding by
The adult’s role is very important in a child’s learning
process. Like Vygotsky, Bruner focused on the
importance of language in a child’s cognitive
development. He shows how the adult uses
“scaffolding” to guide a child’s language learning
through finely-tuned talk. (Cameron, 2001)
HOW DO YOUNG LEARNERS LEARN?
Concrete Operational Stage (from 7 - 11 years) in which children begin to
conceptualize and do some abstract problem solving, though they still learn best by
Piaget believed that children went through the stages above and that they could
only move onto the next stage when they had completed the stage before and were
ready to do so.
Another expert, Vygotsky (1978, cited in Hughes, 2009) believed that language was
central to the cognitive development of children, that it was instruction provided by
an adult that helped children learn and develop.
Overview of Learning Theories and Teaching Implications
Definitions and instructional implications
US c. 1914;
Learning as a response to environmental stimuli
and can be manipulated, observed, and described
(Watson; 1919, Skinner, 1938). Teaching thus is
through practice, repetition, and rewards.
Sociocultural 1970s to
Learning can be explained as deep, complex
psychological phenomena such as motivation,
schemas, and processes for learning (Bruner, 1996;
Piaget, 1974). Teaching occurs in phases with
Learning is influenced by social, cultural, and
historical factors. Learning takes place within
social interactions (Vygotsky, 1978; Wertsch, 1991).
Teaching occurs through meaningful
interactions between experts and novices.
Implications for teaching practice of some key ideas from learning theories
1. Learning is a process of
Learning is the interaction
between what students know,
the new information they
encounter, and the activities
they engage in as they learn.
Students construct their own
experience, interactions with
content and others, and
Provide opportunities for students to
connect with your content in a variety of
meaningful ways by using cooperative
learning, interactive lectures, engaging
assignments, hands-on lab/field
experiences, and other active learning
2. Students’ prior
knowledge is an
important determinant of
what they will learn.
Students do not come to your
class as a blank slate. They use
what they already know about
a topic to interpret new
information. When students
cannot relate new material to
what they already know, they
tend to memorize—learning
for the test—rather than
developing any real
understanding of the content.
Learn about your students’ experiences,
preconceptions, or misconceptions by
using pre-tests, background knowledge
probes, and written or oral activities
designed to reveal students’ thinking
about the topic.
3. Organizing information
into a conceptual
students remember and
Students must learn factual
information, understand these
facts and ideas in the context of
a conceptual framework, and
organize knowledge in ways
that facilitate retrieval and
application in order to develop
competence in a new topic.
Support students by using concept maps,
flowcharts, outlines, comparison tables,
etc., to make the structure of the
4. Learning is a social
Students learn with greater
understanding when they share
ideas through conversation,
debate, and negotiation.
Explaining a concept to one’s
peers puts knowledge to a public
test where it can be examined,
reshaped, and clarified.
Use Cooperative learning strategies, long-term
group projects, class discussions, and group
activities to support the social side of learning.
Use problem-based learning, simulations or
It is often difficult for students to
cases, and service learning to create learning
use what they learn in class in new environments similar to the real world.
contexts (i.e., other classes, the
workplace, or their personal lives).
5. Learning is context-specific.
6. Students’ metacognitive
skills (thinking about
thinking) are important
to their learning.
Many students utilize few
learning strategies and have a
limited awareness of their
Help students become more
metacognitively aware by modeling your
thinking as you solve a problem, develop
an argument, or analyze written work in
front of the class. Teach metacognitive
strategies, such as setting goals, making
predictions, and checking for consistency.
Focus attention on metacognition by
having students write in a learning journal
or develop explanations of their problemsolving processes.
Language Theories and Second Language Learning
Overview of Language Theories
Language is equated with its linguistic forms.
Language is a biologically predetermined mental
Language learning is a tool that is used to
accomplish things or for certain purposes (i.e.,
Language is a means through which exchanges,
performances, and human relationships are
created and maintained.
The Six Stages of Second-Language Acquisition
This is also called "the silent period," when the student takes in the new language but
Pre-production does not speak it. This period often lasts six weeks or longer, depending on the
The individual begins to speak using short words and sentences, but the emphasis is
still on listening and absorbing the new language. There will be many errors in the
early production stage.
Speech becomes more frequent, words and sentences are longer, but the individual
still relies heavily on context clues and familiar topics. Vocabulary continues to
increase and errors begin to decrease, especially in common or repeated interactions.
Speech is fairly fluent in social situations with minimal errors. New contexts and
academic language are challenging and the individual will struggle to express
themselves due to gaps in vocabulary and appropriate phrases.
Communicating in the second language is fluent, especially in social language
situations. The individual is able to speak almost fluently in new situations or in
academic areas, but there will be gaps in vocabulary knowledge and some unknown
expressions. There are very few errors, and the individual is able to demonstrate
higher order thinking skills in the second language such as offering an opinion or
analyzing a problem.
The individual communicates fluently in all contexts and can maneuver successfully in
new contexts and when exposed to new academic information. At this stage, the
individual may still have an accent and use idiomatic expressions incorrectly at times,
but the individual is essentially fluent and comfortable communicating in the second
If you have ELL students in your classroom, it is more than likely there will be
students at a variety of stages in the language acquisition process. What can
teachers do to differentiate instruction according to language level?
With a partner, list five methods according to which you think English Language
is taught in the Malaysian primary classroom.
Which particular method has predominated in your own experience as a
Did it work for you? Why? Why not?
Are there good teachers or good methods? Are there good learners or good
ELT is a field that has gone through considerable changes and
developments. The trends to ELT have always been renewed according to
the new emerging needs of every era.
The abundance of the literature on ELT methodology has become
problematic to many practitioners who no longer know what to choose.
Innovative approaches have been thought of as new solutions to the
inadequacies of the previous methods and approaches.
Eclecticism; a solution or a “Frankenstein monster”?
Method: A generalized set of classroom specifications for
accomplishing linguistic objectives.
Methodology:The study of pedagogical practices in general
(including theoretical underpinnings and related research).
Technique: Theoretical positions and beliefs about the
nature of language, the nature of language learning, and the
applicability of both to pedagogical settings.
• What is the best method?
There is no such thing as the best method.
No method is totally useless.
Methods and approaches to ELT are also tied by the pros and
• Being up-to-date is a must.
• Reflective teaching is key to successful teaching.
• Eclecticism should be considered.
ᶲ According to Gerard (1986:11-12), the eclectic T aims
The maximum benefit from all the methods and
techniques at his or her disposal according to the
special needs and resources of his/her pupils at any
• Anything goes?
ᶲ What to use?
I use the most popular methodology.
« novelties are propagated which sometimes show a
remarkable similarity to sales stunts in commerce »
I use the most modern methodology.
«modern» does not necessarily mean «better». Modern can
also be interpreted as ‘not thoroughly tested yet’
I use the methodology advocated by the experts.
ELT experts disagree.
I use an eclectic methodology.
My own methodology
Practices and principles
Everyday spoken language
Use of music
Use of commands
Subordinating teaching to learning
(low TTT, making it about Ss’ learning
rather than the T’s teaching)
Variety of activities appealing to
different intelligences (learn how to
Contextualization, ICT, real life tasks,
THE CHOICE DILEMMA
Our task is to extract the key components of the various methods and work on what our
learners need and what we should offer them.
Affect – Ls learn better when they are engaged with what is happening. Their feelings
and attitudes matter both in relation to their encounters with the language and the
Input – Input is received in the form of reading, listening, or the way the teacher talks to
the Ls. Comprehensible input is meaningful only if there is some language study
(grammar) , opportunity for noticing or consciousness-raising.
Output – Ls need chances to activate their language knowledge through meaningfocused tasks.
Cognitive effort – Ls should be encouraged to think about language as they work with it
since, this aids retention..
Grammar and lexis – Showing how words combine together and behave both
semantically and grammatically is an important part of any language learning programme
TSL 3110 Tutorial task
In groups, view the video clips and use the chart below to analyse the lesson.
Write YES or NO for each item.
If you marked YES, briefly describe which part of the lesson reflects that item.
If you marked NO, provide suggestions to make the lesson more effective and dynamic for the YLs.
Characteristics of YLs
b. active (learn by doing)
a. individual work
b. ss to ss in pairs
c. ss to ss in groups
d. T to ss, one on one
e. T to ss whole class
Yes / No
a. use authentic contexts/situations
b. use realia
c. encourage personalization
a. give plenty of comprehensible input
b. use techniques to make input comprehensible (i.e.
visuals, realia, gestures, repetition, rephrasing)
c. break down long or difficult tasks into
d. model tasks and clarify expectations
I find four great classes of students: The dumb who stay dumb. The dumb who become wise. The wise who go dumb. The
wise who remain wise.
--Martin H. Fischer