When studying any language, students follow a similar learning process. Reading, writing, listening and speaking skills are all essential components of language learning, each setting up their own barriers to fluency. Such barriers are even more exacerbated by the challenges of being an adult (or non-traditional) student. According to the U.S. Department of Education Office of Vocational and Adult Education, "In 1998, 47% of the participants in federally funded adult education programs were there to learn English as a second language" (Florez and Burt). Such students often return to education after a period of time away with only fledgling learning skills, making it even more difficult for them to succeed in school. Thus, the need for instructors who are keyed into their specific set of needs is ever-increasing. Both factors are relevant among the adult English Language Acquisition learners at Kirkwood Community College. In response, Kirkwood ELA instructors have developed a number of teaching strategies encompassing all four facets of the language learning process with which to help their students succeed, both in school and beyond. In the ensuing presentation, this panel will discuss specific teaching strategies, and analyze how they are attuned to adult ESL learners.
As Florez and Burt explain, Malcolm Knowles' 1973 principles of andragogy, or "the art and science of facilitating adult learning," provide a foundation for working with adult English second language learners. Namely, Knowles offers that adults are "self-directed" learners with "reservoirs of experience that serve as resources as they learn." In addition, adults are "practical, problem-solving-oriented learners" who wish for the material they are learning in the classroom "to be immediately applicable to their lives." In essence, they "want to know why something needs to be learned." When applied to the adult English language learner, Knowles' foundation must be filtered through the lens of "culture, language, and experience" (Florez and Burt).
At Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, IA, students enrolled in the award-winning English Language Acquisition course of study take classes at five different levels of proficiency, all of which are taught fully in English. Prior to being enrolled in courses, students are assessed by a placement exam, upon which they are placed in classes that best fit their current skill set, which may or may not be all at the same level. As the Kirkwood ELA Web site offers ("Placement"), Level 1 is for students of "Beginning English" proficiency; Level 2 for "Advanced Beginning English"; Level 3 for "Beginning Intermediate English"; Level 4 for "Advanced Intermediate English"; and Level 5 for “Beginning Advanced English." Students must have at least beginning English proficiency skills in order to enroll in the ELA program at Kirkwood.
During each semester, ELA students take 5-6 classes and gain proficiency in several areas, including academic writing, pronunciation, research skills, conversation fluency, grammar, listening and note-taking, computer literacy, reading and vocabulary development, American cultural skills, and presentation skills. An ELA student at Level 1 in all of his/her courses, for example, will have a 15-credit schedule, including a Listening and Conversation class (3 credits); Phonetics and Pronunciation (3 credits); Reading and Vocabulary (3 credits); Grammar (4 credits); and Writing (2 credits) (Kirkwood ELA Web site, "What You Will Study"). While several of Kirkwood's ELA students use their English language learning coursework to better prepare them for "further study at Kirkwood or other colleges and universities," others seek to "improve their employment and promotion opportunities" in America via their increased English language fluency ("Why Study English?").
As current ELA Coordinator, Dr. Catherine Schaff-Stump notes (personal communication, October 19, 2010), the first incarnation of the Kirkwood ELA program began in the late 1980s, when several adjunct instructors decided that second-language English learners needed additional assistance. Both the International Studies and Learning Services departments have housed the program throughout its history, though it has resided as a subset of the English department since 2005. During the Fall 2010 semester, the ELA department enrolled over 800 students, up from 665 during Spring 2010. Students from five continents have traveled to Kirkwood to undertake ELA coursework since its inception. All of the classes under the Kirkwood ELA umbrella center on the core areas of language acquisition – Reading, Writing, and Listening and Speaking – all of which contain their own challenges. In the ensuing presentation, this panel will illustrate a specific challenge within each core area, and how Kirkwood ELA instructors have worked with their students to overcome it.
In an estimation of skills ranging from Beginning, Approaching, Met, and Exceeds, the Level 3 Listening & Culture Kirkwood ELA class focused on in this portion of the presentation is perhaps best described as meeting expectations for the Arizona English Language Acquisition for Adults (ELAA) II Proficiency Standards for Listening and Speaking. In this stage of proficiency, learners "comprehend short conversations and interactions that are face-to-face with one person at a time or in small groups. The context of the conversations is familiar[,] clear and predictable, with learners relying on "repetition, gestures, and other nonverbal cues to sustain conversations. Circumstances of oral communications range from informal to more formal occasions," using "moderately short monologues and dialogues on familiar, routine topics ... at a slow-to-normal rate" of speech. Such students are able to "Describe ... obligations, complain[t]s," make excuses and apologies, and offer one another invitations using "varied vocabulary and appropriate intonation." In addition, they can "Give ... two- or three-step routine directions using appropriate intonation including simple references to time, location and movement," and can "Retell ... simple stories or events about routine activities or personal experiences, using logical organization and varied vocabulary." More succinctly, Cary with Benchmark Education describes "intermediate fluency" as the fourth stage of language acquisition, one rung below “advanced fluency,” wherein "the student engages in ordinary conversations and uses more complex phrases and sentences. Most of the errors that are made do not hinder comprehension. Students begin to participate in literacy activities in the classroom, and use strategies to construct meaning from the printed page.” Kirkwood’s L3 ELA students are most accurately described as holding intermediate fluency skills in listening and speaking, or “beginning intermediate English” skills, according to Kirkwood’s own prescribed five levels of English language acquisition.
Florez and Burt offer several indicators of effective ELA instruction. Of note in relation to listening and speaking is the notion that "Meaningful interaction and natural communication in the target language are necessary for successful language acquisition." Florez and Burt expound on this: "Learners need to use the language, not simply talk about it." They suggest giving learners "opportunities and purposes for communication that reflect or relate to their lives," such as role-playing. In addition, the use of "authentic materials in activities whenever possible," such as actual telephone conversations or reading classified ads from a newspaper are recommended.
In Kirkwood’s L3 Listening & Culture class, ELA students are frequently tasked with listening and responding to conversations from source material such as Real Talk, written by Lida Baker and Judith Tanka, who pride themselves on introducing students to “Authentic English in Context,” including the use of “hesitation, interruption, and interjection” (back cover) in a variety of familiar settings outside of the classroom; for example, Chapter 3 is dedicated to the discussion and exploration of “Looking for Love.” During the unit, students listen to a conversation between a potential dating service client and a salesperson, and also discuss cultural norms involving romantic relationships. In this manner, students are given the opportunity to connect the material to their own cultures and life experiences. This is also a feature of the Idioms in American Life textbook by Julie Howard, which is also used for Kirkwood’s L3 Listening & Culture class. “Who usually foots the bill for a wedding in your country?” (Howard 30) students are asked in Lesson 5. Thus, classroom lessons focus on the assimilation of English vocabulary and cultural norms into students’ daily speech, while simultaneously asking students to relate these new ideas meaningfully to their own lives.
Of particular note when combining such skills is the process of role-playing in the classroom. Siabhra Woods, a London-based teacher offers "A Validation" of the use of drama in a classroom setting, wherein "the main emphasis is on process rather than product or discreet items, a process in which all students are always involved in some way, either as listener/watchers (audience) or listener/speakers (performers)." In essence, drama is an active form of learning, with listeners/watchers being as involved as the performers. Woods adds that "nobody feels excluded” in this manner, which is "of particular benefit to the quieter, slower, or shyer members of the class who can sometimes feel 'too quiet,' 'too slow,' 'too shy.' In a listener/watcher situation they have the time they need to reflect and absorb until/if they are ready to become listeners/speakers." In addition, "Drama-based activities usually create an emotional involvement, because students are putting themselves in the place of, and are having to think like, characters who are dealing with the Big Issues which affect us all: death, birth, love, hate, madness" (Woods).
Pearson-Longman speaks specifically on using role-playing as a teaching tool, offering that it allows students "to develop fluency by forgetting themselves and concentrating on the task [at] hand." Pearson-Longman suggests giving students "time to get into their characters. Tell them to think about the meaning and the situation." Students should be encouraged to consider their facial expressions and pronunciation, as well as the language and vocabulary that they will need to use in order for the role-play to be successful. "Never go into role plays 'cold'," Pearson-Longman suggests. In addition, it is proposed that natural, organic development within a role-playing session is preferable over students simply reading from a script. "If something interesting or funny comes up, they should react to it naturally and ask questions about it, e.g. Oh, really?" The teacher should take an active listener role during the role-play, treating it as a performance that should not be interrupted. Only after the role-play is complete should an instructor offer constructive feedback regarding grammatical errors, fluency, stress and intonation, facial expressions, etc. As Pearson-Longman suggests, "The aim is to boost students' confidence so that they will be keen to do more role plays in the future.”
Kirkwood L3 ELA students frequently use role-playing in their Listening & Culture class. During the class’ daily Review Exercise (see Appendix A), students are asked to read a short conversation, usually between two people, and then to fill in the blanks peppered throughout the conversation with idioms with which they have recently become familiarized. The main focus of such exercises is to verify fluency in said idioms, but a secondary focus is to have students practice their speaking skills, including pronunciation and enunciation. Students have also had the opportunity to attempt to write their own conversations using a handful of recently-learned idioms, which they then practiced reading aloud.
During a more succinctly role-playing-related activity used for midterms during the Fall 2010 semester, a group of L3 Listening & Culture students received a hand-out (see Appendix B) containing directions for a number of speaking activities, all focused around the aforementioned Chapter 3 of Real Talk. In Part I, students practiced “speaking with emphasis.” Taking cues from Pearson-Longman, scaffolding was provided for students to differentiate between “content words” and “format words,” and to use this knowledge to break up a written conversation into content words, which they learned to stress in their speech, and format words, which they learned were necessary for speech to be grammatically sound, but was otherwise not emphasized in a spoken dialogue. An excerpt provided by Baker and Tanka (61), including recommended emphasis is as follows:
CLIENT: How does your dating service work?
SALESPERSON: We are a membership club for busy single people who don’t have a lot of time to date. We have a huge pool of people to choose from. We meet every single one of our members in person-
CLIENT: Excuse me for interrupting, but what do you do? You hook people up?
Once students practiced the dialogue within small groups, they presented their role-plays to the class. Using a medium rate of speech, each group persisted in providing accurately pronounced dialogue, with special focus on emphasizing – and occasionally, overemphasizing – content words. In terms of pronunciation, students routinely mispronounced “ballpark figure,” in spite of additional coaching and repetitive practice with the ‘l’ sound. As Woods suggests, some students were habitually shyer than others, though all eventually participated in the activity once an appropriate amount of rapport had been developed. In addition, the students who served as audience members while each group presented its role-play performed admirably as courteous listeners. A high level of respect from all parties allowed the activity to run efficiently, with a minimal amount of frustration.
In Part II, students practiced interrupting one another in English. Pre-activity scaffolding was provided regarding the level of formality versus the level of rudeness, wherein “The more formal somebody is, the less rude their interruption tends to be.” For example, “I don’t mean to interrupt, but …” is significantly more polite than, “Hold on a second …” or “Yeah, but …” In addition, students were coached on the use of dashes to indicate cut-off speech: “When reading a conversation, [the dash] is silent.” Students then practiced interrupting one another using a conversation adapted from Baker and Tanka (62):
A: A funny thing happened to me last night. I went to a movie- B: Oh, did you go with anybody? A: My brother. Anyway, we went to a movie- B: Yeah, but what movie did you see? A: It was called “Le Divorce.” Anyway, as I was saying, I went to a movie, and as I was standing in line- B: Did you buy popcorn? A: No, I wanted nachos. Can I finish my story, please? B: Yes, I’m sorry.
As Pearson-Longman suggests, the humorous flavor of the conversation allowed students to react naturally to it, owing to more organic reactions. Students were amused at the script, and tended to lose themselves in it as they increasingly got into character. As with the exercise in Part I, students also focused on emphasizing content words, which they seemed to do more naturally as a result of the fun nature of the script. Nominally, students performed the second exercise with more gusto than they did its predecessor.
In the third exercise, students were asked to build on the skills learned in the previous exercise. Instead of being given a script, in Part III, students were merely prompted to assume roles as either a storyteller or an interrupter in one of several scenarios: “How did you meet your boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife?”; “What was the best/worst experience you ever had?”; “Describe your favorite TV show, movie or book.” While the storyteller (Person A) speaks, Person B should “interrupt at least three times with questions.” For example, if Person A was discussing how she met her husband, Person B could ask questions to the effect of, “What is your husband’s name?”; “What does he look like?”; “How many years ago did you meet him?”
The class was collectively asked to think about possible role-playing scenarios and questions between classes, and seemed excited to do so. An interesting gender discrepancy occurred when the two female students were paired, with the three male students in the class forming the second group. The two females tended to be more formal with one another than the male students; one woman told a story about when she first arrived in America from her home country of Sudan. When interrupted with questions (“When did you get here?”) and side comments (“Wow, that’s a beautiful city”), the storyteller was able to keep control of the conversation with comments learned from the previous exercise, i.e.: “You ask too many questions.” In contrast, the two male students sharing the interrupter role plied their storyteller with questions in rapid succession. Whereas the female storyteller was able to keep nominal control of the conversation and tell a complete, cohesive tale, the male student became easily frustrated and overwhelmed by his peers’ questioning, ranging from closely related to his story about working on a ship (“How much did you make at this job?”) to extremely tangential (“Does your wife work now?”). Though the group of male students obviously understood the assignment and performed their roles creatively, Person A’s story was significantly more disjointed and convoluted than the tale shared between the two female members of the class. Nonetheless, the entire class expressed enthusiasm and a sense of accomplishment after each activity.
Through the use of role-play, L3 ELA students at Kirkwood have the opportunity to become increasingly proficient at speaking, with emphasis placed on accurate and emotive pronunciation. In addition, instructor scaffolding and a whole-class approach allows the students-in-question to build up a rapport, owing to increasingly natural speech. Similarly, considerations should be taken in regards to students’ cultural mores and the implications of specific activities in an effort to enhance overall performance and engage all students comfortably and completely as they become increasingly fluent English speakers.
ICLC 2010 Presentation
Darek Benesh, Jessica Haight-Angelo & Karen Veldhuizen
Iowa Culture & Language Conference
2 November 2010
Table of Contents
Background : Kirkwood’s ELA Program
Core Areas of English Language Acquisition:
Reading: Karen Veldhuizen
Writing: Darek Benesh
Listening & Speaking: Jessica Haight-Angelo
Reading, writing, listening and speaking skills are all
essential components of language learning, each
setting up their own barriers to fluency.
According to the U.S. Department of Education Office
of Vocational and Adult Education, "In 1998, 47% of
the participants in federally funded adult education
programs were there to learn English as a second
language" (Florez and Burt).
Kirkwood ELA instructors have developed a number of
teaching strategies to meet the ever-increasing needs
of the adult English language learner population.
ICLC 2010 3
Andragogy: The art and science of facilitating adult
learning; proposed by Malcolm Knowles in 1973.
Are practical, problem-solving-oriented learners;
Have a font of experience that serves as a learning resource;
Want what they learn to be immediately applicable to their
Adult English language learners must also have their education
filtered through a lens of “culture, language, and experience” (Florez
ICLC 2010 4
Acquisition at Kirkwood
Community College: A
selection of coursework in
which ESL students
improve their language
proficiency at five different
Began in the 1980s; has
been a part of Kirkwood’s
English department since
Fall 2010 enrollment: 800+
students; Spring 2010: 665.
• Level 1: Beginning
• Level 2: Advanced
• Level 3: Beginning
• Level 4: Advanced
• Level 5: Beginning
ICLC 2010 5
ELA students take 5-6 classes
each semester in areas such
Listening and note-taking
Reading and vocabulary
American cultural skills
All of the classes under the
Kirkwood ELA umbrella
center on three core areas
of language acquisition,
each with its own
Listening and Speaking
ICLC 2010 6
Extensive reading in a foreign language involves the
Reading extensively (though there are various ideas as to
how much reading this entails);
Reading for global understanding, not detail;
Reading with the intention of reading for pleasure;
therefore, no reading exercises are done, and any
“proof”’ that reading is being done should be brief.
ICLC 2010 7
Extensive Reading, redux
Why is Extensive Reading so beneficial to the Level 2
(“Advanced Beginning English”) learner?
Language acquisition occurs when a learner is exposed
to language that is comprehensible and slightly above
levels of proficiency (Krashen, 1985).
Acquisition can occur through oral or written input,
but learners are exposed to new input far more often
while reading than in conversation or watching
television (Hayes and Ahrens, 1988).
ICLC 2010 8
Benefits of Extensive Reading
Extensive reading can aid in developing:
A large sight vocabulary:
It is important that L2 readers repeatedly meet words with
which they already have some familiarity.
If the small amount of learning of a word is not soon after
reinforced by another encounter, then that learning will be
lost (Nation, 1997).
A large general vocabulary;
Knowledge of how the target language is used;
Knowledge of various text types, and extensive
knowledge of the world in which we live.
ICLC 2010 9
Benefits of Extensive Reading, cont.
In a number of experiments with intermediate level learner
readers, Tomlinson (1996, 1997, 1998b) found that most of them
used mainly low level cognitive strategies to decode the words.
Hosenfeld (1984) reports on an experiment in which
unsuccessful foreign language readers “tended to lose the
meaning of sentences as soon as they had decoded them.”
ER in turn discourages over-dependency on dictionaries, as
students begin to develop a tolerance for a few unknown words.
Once they realize that all new words at each level are carefully
contextualized, repeated, and sometimes glossed over , they can
be weaned off excessive dictionary use.
ICLC 2010 10
Benefits of Extensive Reading, cont.
In addition to vocabulary
development, extensive reading
can benefit students develop
confidence and motivation
Quantity: Reading more,
reading whole texts
Word attack skills: providing
opportunity to employ “good”
word attack skills
Types of reading technique:
improving flexibility of
reading rate depending on
purpose, e.g. skimming,
scanning, study reading
Reading practice: Learn to
read by reading
Transfer to other skills:
improving spelling, writing,
Learning resource: becoming
independent of others, e.g.
ICLC 2010 11
Research has shown that extensive reading is a skill best
acquired by English second language learners early on, in
order to aid in their comprehension skills. The benefits of
extensive reading on both vocabulary development and
reading skills themselves are enormous, though
Kirkwood's current 50-minute, three-day-a-week class
schedule for ELA reading courses makes the commitment
to extensive reading difficult. Ergo, it is imperative for
students to understand the benefits of doing so outside of
class, with hopes of such a habit continuing well beyond
their tenure at Kirkwood.
ICLC 2010 12
ICLC 2010 13
• Generating ideas
• Organizing ideas
Step 2: Writing
• Using ideas to
write a first draft
• Improving what
you have written
The “writing process” (pg. 11), from Ready to Write More: From
Paragraph to Essay, by Karen Blanchard & Christine Root.
The Problem with Product Focus
• Writing is often taught
with a product-focus:
particular forms of
writing, instead of
focusing on meaning
or processes of
Types of essays for L4
• Division and
• Cause and effect
• Compare and contrast
• Problem and solution
• Students become
unengaged and believe
that writing in English
needs to be formulaic,
and that their life
experiences are not
valued. They believe
they cannot draw
upon their life
experiences in their
writing. Their ideas
and topics must fit
within these essay
ICLC 2010 14
Alternative Writing Unit
A Solution: Eight 250-
most in response to a
about a text.
#1: Describe the
of how you came to be
in this class, in Iowa,
in the United States.
#2-5: Readings from
Exploring Processes and
Strategies, by Ilona Leki
"Excerpt from Bury My
Heart at Wounded Knee";
"Discovering the Truth
"Do Not Disturb";
ICLC 2010 15
Alternative Writing Unit, cont.
ICLC 2010 16
• #6 (left): The New World,
directed by Terrence Malick
• #7 (right): Excerpts from
American Indian Stories,
Legends, and Other Writings,
by Zitkala-Ša (pg. 83-103):
•"The Big Red Apples";
•"The School Days of an
•"The Cutting of My Long
• #8: Writing prompt: Write
about the culture you grew up
in, and the culture you live in
Alternative Writing Unit, cont.
Bringing it All Together:
Begin to think about ways
you can either expand
upon the writing you have
done or combine the essays
you have done within a
central and cohesive
Analysis: What did
students think about the
process? What kinds of
papers did they write?
Example: Not all students
directly activated their
personal or cultural
Two students spoke
generally about cultural and
One student detailed the
life of a revolutionary leader
in his country and how the
leader fought against British
ICLC 2010 17
Writing Sample: Student A
"My writing has
I practiced a lot
(essays). I added
also a lot of new
words to my
vocabulary. I am
proud about my
how to analyze
main ideas of each
of my essays and
made just one
ICLC 2010 18
Writing Sample: Students D & E
• “This paper is different from other
paper[s] because we write a
paragraph to explain how our
writing improve[d] this semester.”
• "I created my final paper when I
took the interesting part from all
my writing and I wrote the big
ICLC 2010 20
Writing Sample: Student F
Sample Reflection: "I would be
patient and thoughtful before
you start writing. Use your own
experiences and observations of
the things around you. Pouring
your feelings into your words
properly is also a good way to
express your idea. I would say
completing such a long and
serious writing is not an easy job,
but don't be afraid of, because the
more you write, the more ideas
you will find, and finally, the
more fun you will have."
Sample Paper: "Like Pocahontas
[sp] came to the Jamestown
Colony or the Indian girl
Zitkala-Sa came to the Red
Apple Country, I was full of
curiosity and nerves as well.
My family is far away. How
could I adjust myself to this
new world by my twenty-three
years [of] oriental philosophies
[Confucianism]? People who
are not in this certain situation
won't understand how I feel.”
ICLC 2010 21
Writing Sample: Student I
"The essay can
include my opinions
and feelings. I'm so
proud of myself for
challenging myself to
write in English and
write four pages.
When I wrote this
journal, [the] most
difficult thing was
deciding on one
ICLC 2010 22
The Final Pen Stroke
By de-emphasizing the step-by-step "process"
of writing, the composition instructor can
diminish students' potential to become
disengaged. Instead, the use of reflective essays
which stress the importance of life experience
and a close reading of the text allows students
to see the value of what they read and write,
rather than simply how they fit into pre-
ICLC 2010 23
Listening & Speaking
Students in a Level 3 (“Beginning Intermediate English”) ELA
Listening & Culture class at Kirkwood during the Fall 2010 term
fit the Arizona English Language Acquisition for Adults (ELAA)
II Proficiency Standards for Listening and Speaking.
Can comprehend short conversations and interactions, both face-
to-face and within small groups.
Repetition, gestures, and nonverbal cues sustain conversation.
Slow-to-normal rate of speech
Can describe obligations and complaints, make excuses and
apologies, and offer invitations using "varied vocabulary and
Can "retell simple stories or events about routine activities or
personal experiences, using logical organization and varied
ICLC 2010 24
Listening & Speaking Techniques
Florez and Burt describe several effective listening and
speaking techniques for the English language learner:
"Meaningful interaction and natural communication in
the target language are necessary for successful language
"Learners need to use the language, not simply talk
ELL need "opportunities and purposes for
communication that reflect or relate to their lives,"
along with the use of "authentic materials" whenever
ICLC 2010 25
Context in the Classroom
ICLC 2010 26
Left: Real Talk, by
Baker and Tanka
in Context”; right:
Howard’s Idioms in
material to their
The Merits of Role-Playing
Siabhra Woods: Drama is an active form of learning, wherein all
students are involved in some way, either as listeners/watchers
(the audience) or listeners/speakers (the performers). Nobody is
excluded, and everybody is emotionally invested in the activity
as students put themselves in the roles of characters "dealing
with the Big Issues which affect us all: death, birth, love, hate,
Pearson-Longman offers suggestions regarding the effective
use of role-playing in the classroom:
Give students time to get into their characters; "Never go into role-
Natural, organic development is important.
Teachers are active listeners, and should not interrupt the role-play
once it begins. Constructive criticism should be offered only after
students have finished performing.
ICLC 2010 27
Speaking With Emphasis
• Students practiced
differentiating between “content
words” (bolded here) and
“format words” in a conversation
from Chapter 3 of Real Talk,
focused on “Looking For Love.”
• Students tended to use a slow to
medium rate of speech with
deliberate emphasis – and even
overemphasis – of content words.
• Students routinely
mispronounced “ballpark figure,”
in spite of additional scaffolding
and practice with the ‘l’ sound.
ICLC 2010 29
The Interrupting Game
• Students first discussed levels
of formality in relation to
interrupting, i.e.: “I don’t
mean to interrupt, but …” vs.
“Hold on a minute” or “Yeah,
but …” They were also coached
on the use of dashes to
indicate cut-off speech.
•The humorous flavor of the
conversation allowed students
to react naturally to it, owing
to more organic reactions than
in the first activity. Students
were amused at the script, and
tended to lose themselves in it
as they increasingly got into
ICLC 2010 31
Variations on a Theme
In the third exercise, students were merely prompted
to assume roles as either a storyteller or an interrupter
in one of several unscripted scenarios. While Person A
(the storyteller) spoke, Person B was instructed to
"interrupt at least three times with questions."
If Person A was discussing how she met her husband, for
example, Person B could ask questions to the effect of,
"What is your husband's name?"; "What does he look
like?"; "How many years ago did you meet him?"
ICLC 2010 33
Variations on a Theme, cont.
Females (Khadiga and
Kaltoum) versus …
… males (Marco, Gevy and
ICLC 2010 34
The Final Say on Role-Playing
accurate and emotive
creative and active
learning. The instructor
scaffolds students and
builds up rapport in
regards to diverse cultural
mores, owing to
increasingly natural speech
in a comfortable and fun
ICLC 2010 36
Challenges to the core areas of language acquisition are myriad
and complex, owing to a number of different techniques to
hone second language students' skills. For ELA students at
Kirkwood, the benefits of extensive reading, reflective writing,
and role-playing as a device to enhance listening and speaking
have proven effective, though they are not isolated success
stories. As long as the instructors of English Language
Acquisition courses are aware of the challenges of both
andragogy and second language acquisition that their adult ESL
students face, they will be well-equipped to shape their lessons
with tools that respect their foreign students' cultures and
ICLC 2010 37