ICLC 2010 Presentation


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My group's panel presentation on teaching techniques for adult ESL students at the Iowa Culture & Language Conference; November 2nd, 2010.

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  • 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

    1. 1. Darek Benesh, Jessica Haight-Angelo & Karen Veldhuizen Iowa Culture & Language Conference 2 November 2010 1ICLC 2010
    2. 2. Table of Contents  Abstract  Background : Kirkwood’s ELA Program  Core Areas of English Language Acquisition:  Reading: Karen Veldhuizen  Writing: Darek Benesh  Listening & Speaking: Jessica Haight-Angelo  Conclusion 2ICLC 2010
    3. 3. Abstract  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
    4. 4. Background  Andragogy: The art and science of facilitating adult learning; proposed by Malcolm Knowles in 1973.  Adult learners:  Are self-directed;  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 lives.  Adult English language learners must also have their education filtered through a lens of “culture, language, and experience” (Florez and Burt). ICLC 2010 4
    5. 5. Background, cont.  English Language Acquisition at Kirkwood Community College: A selection of coursework in which ESL students improve their language proficiency at five different levels.  Began in the 1980s; has been a part of Kirkwood’s English department since 2005.  Fall 2010 enrollment: 800+ students; Spring 2010: 665. • Level 1: Beginning English • Level 2: Advanced Beginning English • Level 3: Beginning Intermediate English • Level 4: Advanced Intermediate English • Level 5: Beginning Advanced English English Language Acquisition levels at Kirkwood: ICLC 2010 5
    6. 6. Background, cont.  ELA students take 5-6 classes each semester in areas such as:  Academic writing  Pronunciation  Research skills  Conversation fluency  Grammar  Listening and note-taking  Computer literacy  Reading and vocabulary development  American cultural skills  Presentation skills  All of the classes under the Kirkwood ELA umbrella center on three core areas of language acquisition, each with its own challenges:  Reading  Writing  Listening and Speaking ICLC 2010 6
    7. 7. Reading  Extensive reading in a foreign language involves the following:  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
    8. 8. 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
    9. 9. 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
    10. 10. 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
    11. 11. Benefits of Extensive Reading, cont.  In addition to vocabulary development, extensive reading can benefit students develop reading:  Speed  Background knowledge  Comprehension: Improving comprehension/text attack skills  Attitude: Promoting 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, speaking, listening  Learning resource: becoming independent of others, e.g. teachers, interlocutors (Walker, 1997). ICLC 2010 11
    12. 12. Bookends 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
    13. 13. Writing ICLC 2010 13 Step 1: Prewriting • Generating ideas • Planning • Organizing ideas Step 2: Writing • Using ideas to write a first draft Step 3: Revising & Editing • Improving what you have written The “writing process” (pg. 11), from Ready to Write More: From Paragraph to Essay, by Karen Blanchard & Christine Root.
    14. 14. The Problem with Product Focus Product-Focus • Writing is often taught with a product-focus: teaching or emphasizing adherence to particular forms of writing, instead of focusing on meaning or processes of writing. Types of essays for L4 ELA students: • Step-by-step directions • Division and classification • Cause and effect • Compare and contrast • Problem and solution The Problem • 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 structures. ICLC 2010 14
    15. 15. Alternative Writing Unit  A Solution: Eight 250- 500-word responses; most in response to a discussion question about a text.  #1: Describe the journey (physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual) of how you came to be in this class, in Iowa, in the United States.  #2-5: Readings from Academic Writing: Exploring Processes and Strategies, by Ilona Leki (pg. 290-302):  "Excerpt from Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee";  "Discovering the Truth About Columbus";  "Do Not Disturb";  "Sacred Places." ICLC 2010 15
    16. 16. 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 Indian Girl"; •"The Cutting of My Long Hair," etc. • #8: Writing prompt: Write about the culture you grew up in, and the culture you live in now.
    17. 17. 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 theme.  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 histories:  Two students spoke generally about cultural and religious differences.  One student detailed the life of a revolutionary leader in his country and how the leader fought against British rule. ICLC 2010 17
    18. 18. Writing Sample: Student A "My writing has improved this semester because I practiced a lot (essays). I added also a lot of new words to my vocabulary. I am proud about my understanding of documents and how to analyze subjects. I connected the main ideas of each of my essays and made just one story." ICLC 2010 18
    19. 19. Writing Sample: Student C ICLC 2010 19
    20. 20. 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.” Student D • "I created my final paper when I took the interesting part from all my writing and I wrote the big assignment." Student E ICLC 2010 20
    21. 21. 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
    22. 22. 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 theme." ICLC 2010 22
    23. 23. 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- established structures. ICLC 2010 23
    24. 24. 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 appropriate intonation".  Can "retell simple stories or events about routine activities or personal experiences, using logical organization and varied vocabulary." ICLC 2010 24
    25. 25. 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 acquisition."  "Learners need to use the language, not simply talk about it."  ELL need "opportunities and purposes for communication that reflect or relate to their lives," along with the use of "authentic materials" whenever possible. ICLC 2010 25
    26. 26. Context in the Classroom ICLC 2010 26 Left: Real Talk, by Baker and Tanka showcases “Authentic English in Context”; right: Howard’s Idioms in American Life encourages students to connect the material to their own lives.
    27. 27. 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, madness."  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- plays 'cold.'"  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
    28. 28. L3 Sample Review Exercise ICLC 2010 28
    29. 29. 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
    30. 30. Speaking With Emphasis, cont. ICLC 2010 30
    31. 31. 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 character. ICLC 2010 31
    32. 32. The Interrupting Game, cont. ICLC 2010 32
    33. 33. 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
    34. 34. Variations on a Theme, cont. Females (Khadiga and Kaltoum) versus … … males (Marco, Gevy and Melchiade)! ICLC 2010 34
    35. 35. Variations on a Theme, cont. ICLC 2010 35
    36. 36. The Final Say on Role-Playing  Role-playing emphasizes accurate and emotive pronunciation through 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 learning environment. ICLC 2010 36
    37. 37. Conclusion 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 worldly experiences. ICLC 2010 37