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Young EFL Learners S. Zaher Al-Hasani G : 1
The content of the talk <ul><li>Language learning at a young age </li></ul><ul><li>The spread of English </li></ul><ul><li...
Should a language be introduced at a young age? <ul><li>Informal (home) environment </li></ul><ul><li>vs. formal school se...
Formal Schooling:  2 schools of thought <ul><li>Against   </li></ul><ul><li>Interference with L1 </li></ul><ul><li>Researc...
For  <ul><li>Affective factors: less inhibited; greater motivation </li></ul><ul><li>Oral ability, particularly pronunciat...
But: Beliefs regarding language learning at school <ul><li>Depend on: Purpose, setting, frequency, teacher, resources, lan...
English as a Lingua Franca <ul><li>Emergence of English as a World Language due to </li></ul><ul><li>British colonialism <...
The Spread of English: 3 Circles  (Kachru, 1982) <ul><li>Inner:  Britain, USA, Canada, Australia, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>O...
Currently: Distinction Blurred <ul><li>New Englishes in Outer Circles (Periphery) asserting their rights:  </li></ul><ul><...
Native and Non-Native English speakers <ul><li>Who is a native speaker? Central or Periphery? </li></ul><ul><li>Who is the...
Young Learners of English <ul><li>Wide spread </li></ul><ul><li>Language prestige </li></ul><ul><li>Parental pressure: soc...
How Young is Young? <ul><li>Home environment: birth </li></ul><ul><li>School:  </li></ul><ul><li>Foreign language teaching...
What Knowledge-Base is required for teaching EFL to young learners  <ul><li>Knowledge of the language </li></ul><ul><li>Kn...
Home Room Teachers  Teaching English <ul><li>A common phenomenon in some European and Asian countries </li></ul><ul><li>In...
Knowledge on how to teach English to young learners Till recently: Lack of training in EFL teacher education programs  (Pr...
Programs for teaching EFL to young learners: Pertinent issues <ul><li>Goals: exposure, fun, or academic? </li></ul><ul><li...
Relevance to Israel <ul><li>The Younger the better: move to introduce English at younger ages  </li></ul><ul><li>One of th...
In-Progress Research: Home Room teachers teaching English in Grade One Headed by Prof. Elana Shohamy,  Tel-Aviv University...
Pertinent Issues Programs  (3 programs are being examined) Teacher’s Knowledge-Base  (English teachers vs. home room teach...
Research Tools <ul><li>Large Sample </li></ul><ul><li>Teachers’ questionnaires (home room and English) </li></ul><ul><li>P...
Students’ Research Tools <ul><li>Listening comprehension quiz (N=250) </li></ul><ul><li>Individual oral interaction interv...
Some initial observations <ul><li>Teaching of English in grade 1 in Israel is extremely common </li></ul><ul><li>Both teac...
Student Research Tools <ul><li>Specific age appropriate and language level considerations  </li></ul><ul><li>format (wheth...
Comparative Research Study? <ul><li>Similar phenomena in Germany? </li></ul><ul><li>Possibilities for joint and comparativ...
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  1. 1. Young EFL Learners S. Zaher Al-Hasani G : 1
  2. 2. The content of the talk <ul><li>Language learning at a young age </li></ul><ul><li>The spread of English </li></ul><ul><li>Learning English as a Foreign Language (EFL) at a young age </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge-Base for teaching EFL to young learners </li></ul><ul><li>Research in-progress: Home Room teachers teaching English in grade One </li></ul>
  3. 3. Should a language be introduced at a young age? <ul><li>Informal (home) environment </li></ul><ul><li>vs. formal school setting </li></ul><ul><li>Home (natural) environment: </li></ul><ul><li>Caretaker’s fluency and comfort in the language </li></ul><ul><li>Recognition of the advantages of bilingualism – contribution to complex cognitive skills (Baker,1998; Bialystock, 2002; Hornberger, 2003) </li></ul>
  4. 4. Formal Schooling: 2 schools of thought <ul><li>Against </li></ul><ul><li>Interference with L1 </li></ul><ul><li>Research shows efficient learning takes place at older ages- ability to utilize and transfer skills from L1 (Cenzos, 2005; Mclaughlin, 1992 Singleton, 2001) </li></ul><ul><li>Learning Fatigue </li></ul><ul><li>Early exposure and more teaching hours: not enough to ensure success </li></ul>
  5. 5. For <ul><li>Affective factors: less inhibited; greater motivation </li></ul><ul><li>Oral ability, particularly pronunciation enhanced at a young age (Johnstone, 1994; Marinova-Todd et al, 2000) </li></ul><ul><li>Confidence as a language speaker </li></ul><ul><li>Need to know language(s): Multilingualism is a key to success </li></ul>
  6. 6. But: Beliefs regarding language learning at school <ul><li>Depend on: Purpose, setting, frequency, teacher, resources, language </li></ul><ul><li>Discussion: Somewhat Passé </li></ul><ul><li>Especially with regard to English </li></ul><ul><li>Why? </li></ul>
  7. 7. English as a Lingua Franca <ul><li>Emergence of English as a World Language due to </li></ul><ul><li>British colonialism </li></ul><ul><li>US power </li></ul><ul><li>Advent technology </li></ul><ul><li>About a billion people engaged in studying English as a Second (ESL) or Foreign (EFL) Language: Only about 300,000 million L1 English speakers (British Council, 2004; Crystal, 2000) </li></ul>
  8. 8. The Spread of English: 3 Circles (Kachru, 1982) <ul><li>Inner: Britain, USA, Canada, Australia, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Outer: Nigeria, Singapore, India (New Englishes) </li></ul><ul><li>Expanding : Israel, Netherlands, Germany, etc. </li></ul>EXPANDING EXPANDING OUTER INNER
  9. 9. Currently: Distinction Blurred <ul><li>New Englishes in Outer Circles (Periphery) asserting their rights: </li></ul><ul><li>Singlish in Singapore </li></ul><ul><li>Japanese English </li></ul><ul><li>Indian English </li></ul><ul><li>Expanding Circle countries (like Israel and Germany) embracing English as a semi-official language </li></ul>
  10. 10. Native and Non-Native English speakers <ul><li>Who is a native speaker? Central or Periphery? </li></ul><ul><li>Who is the best English teacher: </li></ul><ul><li>Native of standard (inner Circle) English or bilingual, non-native English speaker? </li></ul><ul><li>Criteria for material selection and for assessment: Central? Local? English as a Lingua Franca? </li></ul>
  11. 11. Young Learners of English <ul><li>Wide spread </li></ul><ul><li>Language prestige </li></ul><ul><li>Parental pressure: social mobility </li></ul><ul><li>The younger the better regardless of research findings </li></ul>
  12. 12. How Young is Young? <ul><li>Home environment: birth </li></ul><ul><li>School: </li></ul><ul><li>Foreign language teaching in the US- 12 </li></ul><ul><li>Europe: varies: often 9-10 (or earlier) </li></ul><ul><li>Cambridge Young Learners’ test: 7-12 </li></ul><ul><li>Israel and other “expanding countries” </li></ul><ul><li>The younger the better move to lower age. Currently: grade one </li></ul><ul><li>Sometimes kindergarten </li></ul>
  13. 13. What Knowledge-Base is required for teaching EFL to young learners <ul><li>Knowledge of the language </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge about the language </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge how to teach he language </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge about teaching young children </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge about teaching the language to young children </li></ul>
  14. 14. Home Room Teachers Teaching English <ul><li>A common phenomenon in some European and Asian countries </li></ul><ul><li>In Israel: Began 5 years ago in the town of Ra’anana </li></ul><ul><li>Reasons: </li></ul><ul><li>Rooted in educational philosophical thought </li></ul><ul><li>Availability, convenience </li></ul><ul><li>Economically viable </li></ul>
  15. 15. Knowledge on how to teach English to young learners Till recently: Lack of training in EFL teacher education programs (Program component in Beit Berl since 2001) Who has the advantage
  16. 16. Programs for teaching EFL to young learners: Pertinent issues <ul><li>Goals: exposure, fun, or academic? </li></ul><ul><li>Listening/speaking or literate skills? </li></ul><ul><li>Use of target language (English) vs. local language (Hebrew; German), and for what purpose? </li></ul><ul><li>Integration with in-going topics (taught in the local language) </li></ul><ul><li>Literacy? </li></ul><ul><li>Assessment? </li></ul><ul><li>Coordination with programs for the older learners? </li></ul>
  17. 17. Relevance to Israel <ul><li>The Younger the better: move to introduce English at younger ages </li></ul><ul><li>One of the flagships of the current Ministry of Education policy </li></ul><ul><li>Vast spread of first grade English initiatives </li></ul>
  18. 18. In-Progress Research: Home Room teachers teaching English in Grade One Headed by Prof. Elana Shohamy, Tel-Aviv University Initiated and Funded by the Israeli Ministry of Education
  19. 19. Pertinent Issues Programs (3 programs are being examined) Teacher’s Knowledge-Base (English teachers vs. home room teachers) Attitudes of the public (high level administrators, principals, parents) Students: achievements, attitudes, self-assessment
  20. 20. Research Tools <ul><li>Large Sample </li></ul><ul><li>Teachers’ questionnaires (home room and English) </li></ul><ul><li>Principals’ questionnaire </li></ul><ul><li>Interviews (administrators, program developers) </li></ul><ul><li>Sample of 7 schools: </li></ul><ul><li>Parents’ questionnaire </li></ul><ul><li>Classroom observations </li></ul><ul><li>Teacher interviews </li></ul><ul><li>Students’ research tools </li></ul>
  21. 21. Students’ Research Tools <ul><li>Listening comprehension quiz (N=250) </li></ul><ul><li>Individual oral interaction interviews (N=54) </li></ul><ul><li>Attitude questionnaires (N=250) </li></ul><ul><li>Self-Assessment questionnaires (N=250) </li></ul>
  22. 22. Some initial observations <ul><li>Teaching of English in grade 1 in Israel is extremely common </li></ul><ul><li>Both teaching models exist (home room and English teachers) </li></ul><ul><li>Programs: different objectives and modes of implementation (one program – home room teachers only) </li></ul>
  23. 23. Student Research Tools <ul><li>Specific age appropriate and language level considerations </li></ul><ul><li>format (whether individual, group or class) </li></ul><ul><li>choice of item and task types </li></ul><ul><li>choice of contexualized, age-relevant stimuli </li></ul>
  24. 24. Comparative Research Study? <ul><li>Similar phenomena in Germany? </li></ul><ul><li>Possibilities for joint and comparative research? </li></ul><ul><li>Contact us : </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>

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