Making the short story long: An approach to Meeting the Needs of Low Level University Students in South Africa  Susan Ntet...
Introduction: Background <ul><li>UWC’s HDI status and admissions policy- open access – attract a mixed-bag of abilities  <...
The E105 Course <ul><li>A semester-long foundation course </li></ul><ul><li>To meet academic needs of  students with low p...
Assessment Criteria <ul><li>Continuous Evaluation </li></ul><ul><li>Exam Mark (EM) = 40% </li></ul><ul><li>Coursework Mark...
Some Objectives of E105 <ul><li>To demystify the language of the book </li></ul><ul><li>To present reading as fun and to p...
Course Material <ul><li>Course Reader with carefully selected: </li></ul><ul><li>(mainly) SA-based short stories </li></ul...
E105 Student Profile  <ul><li>Differentiated according to: </li></ul><ul><li>Origins </li></ul><ul><li>Competence levels, ...
Origin <ul><li>Local and visiting international (Africa, Chinese, French, etc.) students </li></ul><ul><li>Rural (disadvan...
Competence Levels  <ul><li>New enrolments (young/old) and mature students (extensive working experience) </li></ul><ul><li...
Needs <ul><li>Some Chinese- affordable access to English for survival in the USA </li></ul><ul><li>Some French students- t...
Some Pedagogic Principles informing E105 <ul><li>Caine and Caine’s concept of brain-based learning </li></ul><ul><li>Krash...
Pedagogic Principle 1 <ul><li>Caine & Caine’s brain-based learning theory: </li></ul><ul><li>The brain - a physiological o...
Pedagogic Principle 2 ... <ul><li>Krashen on L2 teaching advises: </li></ul><ul><li>Creation of natural communication situ...
Pedagogic Principle 3 … <ul><li>Freire & Giroux- ‘border pedagogy’ </li></ul><ul><li>story-telling effective – where stude...
Why the short story? <ul><li>Language not innocent </li></ul><ul><li>Difference between what is said and meant </li></ul><...
How to use the short story? <ul><li>Careful selection key- length, interest, relevance, suspense, topical, reflection ... ...
The short story in action: Ursula K. Le Guin’s ‘ The Wife’s Story ’  <ul><li>Unlike most in E105 Reader- not SA </li></ul>...
How to use story: Activities based on the story <ul><li>Brainstorming session- individual </li></ul><ul><li>Close reading:...
Activity 1: Brainstorming Session <ul><li>The title – who they expect to be the main subject of the story </li></ul><ul><l...
Activity No. 2: Close Reading <ul><li>Detecting ‘tone’ in first few lines  </li></ul><ul><li>Analysing tenses- relevance o...
Activity No. 3: Group effort and Role Play  <ul><li>Students sensitized - the different tones in opening lines of the stor...
Activity No. 4: Assignment Topic <ul><li>In the given extract the wife is presented as having buried her head in the sand,...
Academic benefits of the short story approach <ul><li>Students become engrossed in the story-line  </li></ul><ul><li>They ...
Academic benefits of the short story approach cont. <ul><li>Student at centre of learning experience, teacher provides nec...
Academic benefits of the approach cont. <ul><li>The tendency to lock up acquired knowledge in neat little boxes challenged...
Measurement and Evaluation <ul><li>Transfer of skills difficult to monitor and evaluate </li></ul><ul><li>Students’ evalua...
Measurement and Evaluation <ul><li>Annual pass rate of about 80%  </li></ul><ul><li>E105 students who are able to hold the...
Some Sources <ul><li>Bee, B. The politics of literacy … </li></ul><ul><li>Giroux, H. 1992. Border Crossings: Cultural Work...
Appendices: Guided Writing <ul><li>Cartoons and Cartoon strips: </li></ul><ul><li>A. Students’ own title- genre, visual cl...
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Making the short story long: An approach to Meeting the Needs of Low Level University Students in South Africa

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Presentation by Susan Ntete at the ELT conference in Sudan/Khartoum University /March 1-3

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Making the short story long: An approach to Meeting the Needs of Low Level University Students in South Africa

  1. 1. Making the short story long: An approach to Meeting the Needs of Low Level University Students in South Africa Susan Ntete, PhD. University of the Western Cape (UWC) [email_address]
  2. 2. Introduction: Background <ul><li>UWC’s HDI status and admissions policy- open access – attract a mixed-bag of abilities </li></ul><ul><li>My background- ESL rather than EFL </li></ul><ul><li>Talk to address practices offered in the English Intensive (E105) course at UWC </li></ul><ul><li>The Sudanese to chop and change, cut and paste- to suit unique circumstances </li></ul>
  3. 3. The E105 Course <ul><li>A semester-long foundation course </li></ul><ul><li>To meet academic needs of students with low proficiency levels in English </li></ul><ul><li>Communicative approach to language teaching- ‘language as social behaviour’ </li></ul><ul><li>Intensive- three hours/week, small groups </li></ul><ul><li>Literature used as vehicle to teach language and grammar </li></ul>
  4. 4. Assessment Criteria <ul><li>Continuous Evaluation </li></ul><ul><li>Exam Mark (EM) = 40% </li></ul><ul><li>Coursework Mark (CM)= 60% </li></ul><ul><li>25% - Term 1 Major Assignment </li></ul><ul><li>25% - Term 2 Major Assignment </li></ul><ul><li>30% - Short class-based assignments </li></ul><ul><li>20% - Participation: Oral (Individual and Group) + Attendance </li></ul>
  5. 5. Some Objectives of E105 <ul><li>To demystify the language of the book </li></ul><ul><li>To present reading as fun and to promote it as a way of life </li></ul><ul><li>Provides a non-threatening environment for students to take ideas for a test-drive </li></ul><ul><li>To help students form opinions, argue convincingly, develop an academic voice </li></ul>
  6. 6. Course Material <ul><li>Course Reader with carefully selected: </li></ul><ul><li>(mainly) SA-based short stories </li></ul><ul><li>Articles of interest - topical issues </li></ul><ul><li>Poems </li></ul><ul><li>Extra material includes: </li></ul><ul><li>Newspaper articles- hot off the press </li></ul><ul><li>Cartoons </li></ul><ul><li>Any material considered relevant </li></ul>
  7. 7. E105 Student Profile <ul><li>Differentiated according to: </li></ul><ul><li>Origins </li></ul><ul><li>Competence levels, and </li></ul><ul><li>Needs </li></ul>
  8. 8. Origin <ul><li>Local and visiting international (Africa, Chinese, French, etc.) students </li></ul><ul><li>Rural (disadvantaged) and urban (ex-Model C/township) learning backgrounds </li></ul><ul><li>Multilingual and multicultural (SA alone with 11 official languages) </li></ul>
  9. 9. Competence Levels <ul><li>New enrolments (young/old) and mature students (extensive working experience) </li></ul><ul><li>Most transitional- use English only at UWC; ESL and/or 3 rd language speakers </li></ul><ul><li>Majority not from a reading culture- little familiarity with language of instruction and the book, and some lecturers’ accents </li></ul><ul><li>Not considered English 1 material </li></ul>
  10. 10. Needs <ul><li>Some Chinese- affordable access to English for survival in the USA </li></ul><ul><li>Some French students- to make sense of the new environment, and to get by </li></ul><ul><li>Some senior students- a filler course </li></ul><ul><li>The majority- their academic survival dependent on E105 </li></ul>
  11. 11. Some Pedagogic Principles informing E105 <ul><li>Caine and Caine’s concept of brain-based learning </li></ul><ul><li>Krashen’s theories on L2 acquisition </li></ul><ul><li>Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development </li></ul><ul><li>Freire and Giroux’s concept of border pedagogy </li></ul><ul><li>My own experiences as an ESL speaker </li></ul>
  12. 12. Pedagogic Principle 1 <ul><li>Caine & Caine’s brain-based learning theory: </li></ul><ul><li>The brain - a physiological organ </li></ul><ul><li>School and life experiences that affect physiological function impact upon the capacity to learn </li></ul><ul><li>Learning highly influenced by emotions </li></ul>
  13. 13. Pedagogic Principle 2 ... <ul><li>Krashen on L2 teaching advises: </li></ul><ul><li>Creation of natural communication situations rather than explicit teaching </li></ul><ul><li>Necessary for learning- comprehensible input and a low affective filter (anxiety, attitudes, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Language to be slightly beyond students’ current level of L2 competence </li></ul>
  14. 14. Pedagogic Principle 3 … <ul><li>Freire & Giroux- ‘border pedagogy’ </li></ul><ul><li>story-telling effective – where students divided by invisible but concrete walls of race, ethnic-nationality identity, social and economic class </li></ul><ul><li>Literature being said to move students beyond their present circumstances </li></ul><ul><li>Readers get lost in a story/situation </li></ul>
  15. 15. Why the short story? <ul><li>Language not innocent </li></ul><ul><li>Difference between what is said and meant </li></ul><ul><li>Analogy- the short story as an ‘ice-berg’ </li></ul><ul><li>More to the short-story than meets the eye </li></ul><ul><li>Encourages students to be actively engaged- dig beneath surfaces, determine what’s left unsaid, read between the lines </li></ul>
  16. 16. How to use the short story? <ul><li>Careful selection key- length, interest, relevance, suspense, topical, reflection ... </li></ul><ul><li>From the familiar to the abstract </li></ul><ul><li>Employs all 4 skills necessary for learning a language- listen, speak, read, write </li></ul><ul><li>Language and grammar taught in context </li></ul><ul><li>Tools of the trade- active engagement, dictionaries, reading as a way of life, etc. </li></ul>
  17. 17. The short story in action: Ursula K. Le Guin’s ‘ The Wife’s Story ’ <ul><li>Unlike most in E105 Reader- not SA </li></ul><ul><li>Confusing, interesting and full of suspense </li></ul><ul><li>Zone of proximal development- Greek mythology; fiction, creative writing </li></ul><ul><li>Demonstrates need for high level of active engagement - for understanding to occur </li></ul><ul><li>Sequencing of material important- sets the tone/level/pace for student participation </li></ul>
  18. 18. How to use story: Activities based on the story <ul><li>Brainstorming session- individual </li></ul><ul><li>Close reading: collaboration (pairs) </li></ul><ul><li>Role Play – collaboration (small groups) </li></ul><ul><li>Major Assignment- personalized writing- after the necessary scaffolding </li></ul>
  19. 19. Activity 1: Brainstorming Session <ul><li>The title – who they expect to be the main subject of the story </li></ul><ul><li>The kinds of marital issues they expect the story to throw up </li></ul><ul><li>Students tap into their own understanding of relationships between married couples </li></ul><ul><li>They learn that their ideas, thoughts and experiences are important </li></ul>
  20. 20. Activity No. 2: Close Reading <ul><li>Detecting ‘tone’ in first few lines </li></ul><ul><li>Analysing tenses- relevance of past tense </li></ul><ul><li>Language usage – what it suggests about identity of speaker- characterization </li></ul><ul><li>Words as used in context- e.g. what these suggest about eras, characters, events ... </li></ul><ul><li>Vocabulary – identification of words suggesting mystery in the story … </li></ul>
  21. 21. Activity No. 3: Group effort and Role Play <ul><li>Students sensitized - the different tones in opening lines of the story; </li></ul><ul><li>May be followed by a reading and detailed analysis of ‘ Death be not proud ’ by JD. </li></ul><ul><li>Imaginary dialogue scenes between the various characters in the story are created </li></ul><ul><li>In groups students write dialogue capturing different tones- roles: scribes … </li></ul>The beginning of creative writing
  22. 22. Activity No. 4: Assignment Topic <ul><li>In the given extract the wife is presented as having buried her head in the sand, … with bad consequences… Have you/ someone you know ever been in a similar situation …? Describe in detail what your circumstances were. What excuses did you use …? What lesson did you learn? What advice would you give? Provide a title that captures your experience … </li></ul>
  23. 23. Academic benefits of the short story approach <ul><li>Students become engrossed in the story-line </li></ul><ul><li>They see a bit of themselves in the characters, forget their linguistic shortcomings and fears </li></ul><ul><li>Familiarity with issues raised in story gives them confidence to participate </li></ul>
  24. 24. Academic benefits of the short story approach cont. <ul><li>Student at centre of learning experience, teacher provides necessary scaffolding </li></ul><ul><li>Talk about own experiences helps them take the story out of the Course Reader </li></ul><ul><li>Transfer of knowledge and skills across courses and spaces important </li></ul><ul><li>They learn to apply knowledge gained in real life contexts </li></ul>
  25. 25. Academic benefits of the approach cont. <ul><li>The tendency to lock up acquired knowledge in neat little boxes challenged </li></ul><ul><li>They learn to use themselves as useful resources </li></ul><ul><li>The story provides foundation on which students may model their own writing </li></ul>
  26. 26. Measurement and Evaluation <ul><li>Transfer of skills difficult to monitor and evaluate </li></ul><ul><li>Students’ evaluations at the end of the semester- +90% comments positive </li></ul><ul><li>Calls for the course to be extended to the second semester </li></ul>
  27. 27. Measurement and Evaluation <ul><li>Annual pass rate of about 80% </li></ul><ul><li>E105 students who are able to hold their own in second semester of Eng 1 (E121) </li></ul><ul><li>New students who join the E105 class on the basis of recommendations from previous students </li></ul><ul><li>Senior students and friends not registered for E105, who prefer my lunch hour classes to the music in the student centre </li></ul>
  28. 28. Some Sources <ul><li>Bee, B. The politics of literacy … </li></ul><ul><li>Giroux, H. 1992. Border Crossings: Cultural Workers and the politics of Education … </li></ul><ul><li>Mackie, R. (ed.) 1980. Literacy and Revolution: The pedagogy of Paulo Freire </li></ul>
  29. 29. Appendices: Guided Writing <ul><li>Cartoons and Cartoon strips: </li></ul><ul><li>A. Students’ own title- genre, visual clues </li></ul><ul><li>B. My Title: out of the comfort zone </li></ul><ul><li>C. The story behind the cartoon, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Other activities: </li></ul><ul><li>Free writing </li></ul><ul><li>Guided writing: the fable </li></ul>

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