What English Do University Students Really Need

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Presentation by Terry Philips at the ELT conference/Khartoum University and British Council/ Sudan/ 1-3 March 2010

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  • Continental drift – or Tectonic Plates or Alfred Wegener Quarks - Atoms – Electrons
  • When we listen in L1, we are able to predict: - the exact next word or phrase - the kind of word or phrase - the part of speech the communicative value We use: schema real world knowledge lexical knowledge grammatical knowledge particularly phrase structure grammar
  • When we listen in L1, we are able to predict: - the exact next word or phrase - the kind of word or phrase - the part of speech the communicative value We use: schema real world knowledge lexical knowledge grammatical knowledge particularly phrase structure grammar
  • This does not mean that a listener knows exactly what a speaker is going to say. When that is the case, we can’t be bothered to listen But a listener engaged in active listening is always predicting and checking hypotheses. Sometimes those hypothesis can be at the word level, sometimes at the discourse level.
  • This does not mean that a listener knows exactly what a speaker is going to say. When that is the case, we can’t be bothered to listen But a listener engaged in active listening is always predicting and checking hypotheses. Sometimes those hypothesis can be at the word level, sometimes at the discourse level.
  • This does not mean that a listener knows exactly what a speaker is going to say. When that is the case, we can’t be bothered to listen But a listener engaged in active listening is always predicting and checking hypotheses. Sometimes those hypothesis can be at the word level, sometimes at the discourse level.
  • Phrase = a group of words consisting of a head – noun, verb, preposition etc. and its modifiers
  • What English Do University Students Really Need

    1. 1. What English do university students really need ?
    2. 2. Switching Codes <ul><li>L2 code </li></ul><ul><li>100% </li></ul><ul><li>L1 code </li></ul>
    3. 3. Switching Codes <ul><li>Schema / Socio-cultural Knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Real World Knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Discourse Structure </li></ul><ul><li>Orthography </li></ul><ul><li>Phonology </li></ul><ul><li>Syntax </li></ul><ul><li>Lexis </li></ul>
    4. 4. Schemata <ul><li>We must share or at least be aware of the values, attitudes, relationships, background culture of another speech community to be able to understand its stories . </li></ul><ul><li>Bartlett, 1932 </li></ul>
    5. 5. The Schema Code <ul><li>It is essential to everyday life. </li></ul><ul><li>We have done it for thousands of years. </li></ul><ul><li>However, some people never do it. </li></ul><ul><li>Young children don’t do it. </li></ul><ul><li>Old people often don’t do it. </li></ul><ul><li>Even some mature adults don’t do it. </li></ul><ul><li>Do you? </li></ul><ul><li>breathing, eating, drinking? </li></ul><ul><li>aaargh! </li></ul><ul><li>??? </li></ul><ul><li>??? </li></ul><ul><li>??? </li></ul>
    6. 6. Knowledge <ul><li>… common-core knowledge …in my view is the next big step for ELT to take in the 21st century. </li></ul><ul><li>David Crystal, personal comment on Skills </li></ul>
    7. 7. The Knowledge Code <ul><li>I’m going to talk to you today about… </li></ul><ul><li>The Solar System </li></ul><ul><li>Continental drift </li></ul><ul><li>The Renaissance </li></ul><ul><li>The Theft Act </li></ul><ul><li>Scaffolding </li></ul><ul><li>Quarks </li></ul>
    8. 8. Discourse <ul><li>Arabic allows, and may even encourage, diversion from the main point; when a speaker writes a paper in English, the paper may make sense for a while to the English-speaking audience, and then suddenly it may seem to go way off track. Eventually, the paper may seem to regain its focus, only to lose it again. </li></ul>
    9. 9. Discourse <ul><li>This rhetorical structure, which appreciates adding interesting information or a story to a linear text, is beautiful and correct in some languages, but it generally does not work well for papers at a Western university, which we usually expect to follow either a deductive or an inductive pattern, with a thesis at the beginning or a conclusion at the end. </li></ul><ul><li>Dr. Anne Bliss University of Colorado </li></ul>
    10. 10. Syntax <ul><li>For us to be able to [write] … novel sentences, </li></ul><ul><li>we have to store in our heads not just the words of [a] language </li></ul><ul><li>but also the patterns of sentences possible in [the] language. </li></ul><ul><li>Jackendoff, Patterns in the Mind , 1994 </li></ul>
    11. 11. Syntax <ul><li>Phrases are not , as they might appear to be, strung together serially, like beads on a string . </li></ul><ul><li>Phrases are like Chinese boxes, stacked inside one another. </li></ul><ul><li>Bickerton, 1990 </li></ul>
    12. 12. The Value of Syntax <ul><li>The </li></ul>
    13. 13. The Value of Syntax <ul><li>The horse </li></ul>
    14. 14. The Value of Syntax <ul><li>The horse raced </li></ul>
    15. 15. The Value of Syntax <ul><li>The horse raced past the barn </li></ul>
    16. 16. The Value of Syntax <ul><li>The horse raced past the barn fell. </li></ul>
    17. 17. The Value of Syntax <ul><li>The </li></ul>
    18. 18. The Value of Syntax <ul><li>The car </li></ul>
    19. 19. The Value of Syntax <ul><li>The car driven </li></ul>
    20. 20. The Value of Syntax <ul><li>The car driven past the barn </li></ul>
    21. 21. The Value of Syntax <ul><li>The car driven past the barn crashed. </li></ul>
    22. 22. The Value of Syntax <ul><li>The car (driven past the barn) crashed. </li></ul>
    23. 23. Syntax <ul><li>In additional to [phrase structure], there is argument structure , which is particularly helpful in guessing the role of the various nouns in a sentence. </li></ul><ul><li>If you see an intransitive verb , such as “sleep”, you can be sure that one noun (or pronoun) will suffice to complete the thought – namely, the actor. </li></ul><ul><li>Calvin, 1997 </li></ul>
    24. 24. Syntax <ul><li>[a sentence is like] a little play or story, in which each of the characters has a specific role to perform… </li></ul><ul><li>Agent…, John cooked dinner. </li></ul><ul><li>Theme …, John cooked dinner . </li></ul><ul><li>Goal…, I gave it to Mary. </li></ul><ul><li>Beneficiary… I bought it for you. </li></ul><ul><li>Bickerton, 1990 </li></ul>
    25. 25. Syntax <ul><li>[SVO] is only one of the six permutations of those units, and each permutation is found in some human language. </li></ul><ul><li>Some word orders are more frequently found than others, but the variety suggests that word order is a cultural convention … </li></ul><ul><li>Calvin, 1997 </li></ul>
    26. 26. Syntax <ul><li>Comprehension demands an active intellectual process of listening to another party while trying to figure out, from a short burst of sounds , the other’s meaning and intent – both of which are always imperfectly conveyed. </li></ul><ul><li>Production by contrast, is simple . We know what we think and what we wish to mean. </li></ul><ul><li>Sue Savage-Rumbaugh quoted in Calvin, 1997 </li></ul>
    27. 27. Syntax <ul><li>Normal speech consists, in large part, of fragments, false starts, blends and other distortions of the underlying idealized forms. </li></ul><ul><li>Nevertheless,… what the child learns is the underlying [idealized form ]. </li></ul><ul><li>Chomsky, quoted in Calvin, 1997 </li></ul>
    28. 28. The Orthographic Code <ul><li>r otc`n a m` i<nh, j> S e m A nym </li></ul><ul><li>myn A m e S <j,hn> i`m an`ct or </li></ul><ul><li>myn A m e S j,hn i`m an`ct or </li></ul><ul><li>myn A m e S jo hn i a m an A ct or </li></ul><ul><li>myn A m e is jo hn i a m an A ct or </li></ul><ul><li>mynam e is jo hn i am anact or </li></ul>
    29. 29. The Orthographic Code <ul><li>myname is john i am anactor </li></ul><ul><li>my name is john i am an actor </li></ul><ul><li>my name is john i am an actor. </li></ul><ul><li>my name is john. i am an actor. </li></ul><ul><li>my name is John. i am an actor. </li></ul><ul><li>My name is John. I am an actor. </li></ul>
    30. 30. The Orthographic Code <ul><li>written left to right </li></ul><ul><li>space between words </li></ul><ul><li>no space between letters in the same word </li></ul><ul><li>capital to mark the start of new sentence </li></ul><ul><li>capital to mark proper nouns </li></ul><ul><li>letters keep same basic shape wherever they appear in a word </li></ul>
    31. 31. The Orthographic Code <ul><li>one letter cannot change the shape of another letter </li></ul><ul><li>diacritics are not the only difference between letters </li></ul><ul><li>some letters can be combined to create distinct phonemes </li></ul><ul><li>short vowels are represented by letters </li></ul>
    32. 32. The Orthographic Code <ul><li>complete ideas are formed into sentences </li></ul><ul><li>the end of sentence marker sits on the line </li></ul><ul><li>single brackets contain extra information </li></ul><ul><li>cursive style varies from person to person </li></ul>
    33. 33. Switching Codes
    34. 34. Switching Codes
    35. 35. EAP vs GE <ul><li>analytical </li></ul><ul><li>objective </li></ul><ul><li>intellectual </li></ul><ul><li>serious </li></ul><ul><li>impersonal </li></ul><ul><li>formal </li></ul><ul><li>not impressionistic </li></ul><ul><li>not subjective </li></ul><ul><li>not emotional </li></ul><ul><li>not conversational </li></ul><ul><li>not personal </li></ul><ul><li>not colloquial </li></ul><ul><li>Clanchy and Ballard,1992, </li></ul><ul><li>cited in Jordan, 1997, p.244 </li></ul>
    36. 36. Switching Codes <ul><li>Advanced GE EPP </li></ul><ul><li>Beginner </li></ul>
    37. 37. Switching Codes <ul><li>ESL </li></ul><ul><li>EFL </li></ul><ul><li>ESOL </li></ul><ul><li>ESP </li></ul><ul><li>EAP </li></ul><ul><li>ESAP </li></ul><ul><li>EOP </li></ul><ul><li>ENOP </li></ul><ul><li>EPP </li></ul>
    38. 38. EPP <ul><li>English for Professional Purposes </li></ul><ul><li>academic study </li></ul><ul><li>work in multinational companies </li></ul><ul><li>attendance at conferences </li></ul><ul><li>‘ membership’ of the world academic community </li></ul>
    39. 39. EPP <ul><li>Receptive skills… </li></ul><ul><li>Listening </li></ul><ul><li>Reading </li></ul><ul><li>are more important than </li></ul><ul><li>Productive skills… </li></ul><ul><li>Speaking </li></ul><ul><li>Writing </li></ul>
    40. 40. EPP is not ENOP <ul><li>clear end use </li></ul><ul><li>assumed knowledge / skills </li></ul><ul><li>genuine feedback loop </li></ul>
    41. 41. EPP is not ENOP <ul><li>Listening </li></ul><ul><li>Speaking </li></ul><ul><li>Reading </li></ul><ul><li>Writing </li></ul><ul><li>Grammar </li></ul><ul><li>to formal extended turns </li></ul><ul><li>formal extended turns </li></ul><ul><li>for research purposes </li></ul><ul><li>formal reports </li></ul><ul><li>of formal English </li></ul>
    42. 42. EFP is not ENOP <ul><li>Listening and taking notes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>not interactive listening </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>not ‘eavesdropping’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>not multiple listening </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>not ‘after doing’ comprehension questions </li></ul></ul>
    43. 43. EFP is not ENOP <ul><li>Speaking from knowledge </li></ul><ul><ul><li>not phatic communion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>not every function under the sun </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>not ad hoc </li></ul></ul>
    44. 44. EFP is not ENOP <ul><li>Reading for research </li></ul><ul><ul><li>not reading for pleasure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>not every text type under the sun </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>not ‘after doing’ comprehension questions </li></ul></ul>
    45. 45. EPP is not ENOP <ul><li>Writing in formal situation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>not first person </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>not informal postcards, letters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>not integrative </li></ul></ul>
    46. 46. EPP is not ENOP <ul><li>Grammar syllabus based on complexity in EPP </li></ul><ul><ul><li>not ‘every tense under the sun’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>not one or two word phrases </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>not short sentences </li></ul></ul>
    47. 47. EFP is not ENOP <ul><li>Themes based on areas of human knowledge </li></ul><ul><ul><li>not quirky </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>not invented </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>not ‘one-off’ human interest stories </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>not ‘teen topics’ </li></ul></ul>
    48. 48. How do we learn? <ul><li>This seems like a simple ... </li></ul><ul><li>but there is no simple … </li></ul><ul><li>In the next two lectures, we’re... </li></ul><ul><li>to look at theories of … </li></ul><ul><li>I’m going to talk... </li></ul><ul><li>theories from Ancient… </li></ul><ul><li>Next, theories from … </li></ul><ul><li>a Russian scientist, … </li></ul><ul><li>...agree about learning.... </li></ul><ul><li>question </li></ul><ul><li>answer </li></ul><ul><li>going </li></ul><ul><li>learning </li></ul><ul><li>about </li></ul><ul><li>Greece </li></ul><ul><li>Islamic scholars </li></ul><ul><li>Ivan Pavlov </li></ul><ul><li>However… </li></ul>
    49. 49. How do we learn? <ul><li>This seems like a simple ... </li></ul><ul><li>but there is no simple … </li></ul><ul><li>In the next two lectures, we’re... </li></ul><ul><li>to look at theories of … </li></ul><ul><li>I’m going to talk ... </li></ul><ul><li>theories from Ancient… </li></ul><ul><li>Next, theories from … </li></ul><ul><li>a Russian scientist, … </li></ul><ul><li>...agree about learning. However... </li></ul><ul><li>deixis; lexis </li></ul><ul><li>lexis </li></ul><ul><li>schema, verb phrase </li></ul><ul><li>syntax </li></ul><ul><li>lexis, context </li></ul><ul><li>general knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>? </li></ul><ul><li>? </li></ul><ul><li>discourse markers </li></ul>
    50. 50. When we listen in L1… <ul><li>we predict: </li></ul><ul><li>the exact next word / phrase </li></ul><ul><li>the kind of word or phrase </li></ul><ul><li>the part of speech </li></ul><ul><li>the communicative value </li></ul><ul><li>we use: </li></ul><ul><li>schema </li></ul><ul><li>general knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>grammatical knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>lexical knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>discourse knowledge </li></ul>
    51. 51. Receptive Skills <ul><li>The receiver </li></ul><ul><li>must be </li></ul><ul><li>ahead of </li></ul><ul><li>the producer </li></ul>
    52. 52. Receptive Skills <ul><li>The listener </li></ul><ul><li>must be </li></ul><ul><li>ahead of </li></ul><ul><li>the speaker </li></ul>
    53. 53. Receptive Skills <ul><li>The reader </li></ul><ul><li>must be </li></ul><ul><li>ahead of </li></ul><ul><li>the text </li></ul>
    54. 54. Multiple paths… <ul><li>The brain can think... </li></ul><ul><li>four times faster than... </li></ul><ul><li>the mouth can speak. </li></ul><ul><li>and twice as fast as… </li></ul><ul><li>the eyes can read </li></ul>
    55. 55. … or Garden Path? <ul><li>Rapid … </li></ul><ul><li>writing </li></ul><ul><li>righting </li></ul><ul><li>riding </li></ul><ul><li>of the canoe </li></ul><ul><li>of ‘The Canoe’ </li></ul><ul><li>of the Kanu </li></ul><ul><li>saved their lives. </li></ul>
    56. 56. Receptive Skills:Top Down <ul><li>Schemata </li></ul><ul><li>Real world knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Hypothesis </li></ul><ul><li>Hypothesis vs contents </li></ul>
    57. 57. Receptive Skills: Bottom Up <ul><li>Pragmatic meaning </li></ul><ul><li>Grammatical meaning vs hypothesis </li></ul><ul><li>Grammatical meaning </li></ul><ul><li>Meaningful units </li></ul>
    58. 58. Receptive Skills:Top Down <ul><li>Schemata </li></ul><ul><li>Real world knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Hypothesis </li></ul><ul><li>Hypothesis vs contents </li></ul>
    59. 59. Receptive Skills: Bottom Up <ul><li>Pragmatic meaning </li></ul><ul><li>Grammatical meaning vs hypothesis </li></ul><ul><li>Grammatical meaning </li></ul><ul><li>Meaningful units </li></ul>
    60. 60. Productive Skills <ul><li>researched </li></ul><ul><li>meaning </li></ul><ul><li>into </li></ul><ul><li>rehearsed </li></ul><ul><li>words </li></ul>
    61. 61. Productive Skills:Top Down <ul><li>Research </li></ul><ul><li>Discourse plan </li></ul><ul><li>Topic sentences </li></ul><ul><li>Paragraph development </li></ul>
    62. 62. Productive Skills: Bottom Up <ul><li>Adding stance </li></ul><ul><li>Adding introductions </li></ul><ul><li>Joining sentences </li></ul><ul><li>Expanding sentences </li></ul><ul><li>Forming basic sentences </li></ul>
    63. 63. The consequence of failure
    64. 64. EAP vs ENOP <ul><ul><li>80% - 85% of academic and technical English is in … the present, including passives </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>5% - 10% is in … </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>… the past, including passives </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>5% is in … </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>… every other tense / verb form. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Biber et. al., 1999 </li></ul></ul>
    65. 65. EAP vs ENOP <ul><ul><li>90% of EAP is in simple aspect </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>7% of EAP is in perfect aspect </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>3% of EAP is in progressive aspect </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>0.5% of EAP is in perfect progressive aspect </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Biber et. al., 1999 </li></ul></ul>
    66. 66. EAP vs other genres
    67. 67. 10 things more common in EAP… <ul><li>nouns = hypernyms, hyponyms </li></ul><ul><li>nominalisation = Oxygen was discovered… – The discovery of… </li></ul><ul><li>prepositions = embedding in the NP </li></ul><ul><li>or = alternative; definition / explanation </li></ul><ul><li>cataphoria = e.g. the problem + exposition </li></ul><ul><li>its, their = non-human reference </li></ul><ul><li>our = to avoid my </li></ul><ul><li>-tion nouns = production, definition etc. </li></ul><ul><li>passives = although still only 25% of total </li></ul><ul><li>noun C = e.g . the person that…; a way of doing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Biber et. al., 1999 </li></ul></ul>
    68. 68. 7 things less common in EAP… <ul><li>pronouns = EAP uses alternative nouns </li></ul><ul><li>not / no = EAP states positive propositions </li></ul><ul><li>questions = except as rhetorical devices </li></ul><ul><li>imperatives = although technical has many </li></ul><ul><li>phrasal verbs = Latinate words used instead </li></ul><ul><li>clefting = The thing I did was… </li></ul><ul><li>pseudo clefting = What I did was … </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Biber et. al., 1999 </li></ul></ul>
    69. 69. Research <ul><li>BARTLETT F.C. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Remembering: An Experimental and Social Study . (CUP, 1932) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Thinking . (Basic Books, 1958) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>BIBER D. et al. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English (Longman, 1999) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>BICKERTON D. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Language and Species (University of Chicago Press, 1990) </li></ul></ul>
    70. 70. Research <ul><li>BRANSFORD J.D., & FRANKS J.J. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ The abstraction of linguistic ideas.” Cognitive Psychology, 2, 331-350. (1971). </li></ul></ul><ul><li>CALVIN W. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How Brains Think (HarperCollins, 1996) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Cerebral Code (MIT Press, 1996) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>HIGGINS, J. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ I speak analogue, you hear digital”. In Mary-Louise Craven, Roberta Sinyor & Dana Paramskas (Eds.), CALL: Papers and reports (pp. 17-21). La Jolla, CA: Athelstan. (1990). </li></ul></ul>
    71. 71. Research <ul><li>JACKENDOFF R. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Patterns in the Mind: Language and Human Nature (Basic Books, 1994) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>MANDLER J. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Stories, Scripts, and Scenes: Aspects of Schema Theory . (Erlbaum, 1984) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>MILLER G. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ The magical number seven, plus or minus two: some limits in our capacity for processing information”, Psychological Reviews 63: 81-87 (1956) </li></ul></ul>
    72. 72. Research <ul><li>NATION, P. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Teaching and learning vocabulary. (Heinle & Heinle, 1990). </li></ul></ul><ul><li>PINKNER, S. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Language Instinct (Morrow, 1994) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>QUINN, N. & HOLLAND D. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cultural Models of Language and Thought. (CUP, 1987). </li></ul></ul>
    73. 73. Research <ul><li>RUMELHART, D.E. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Schemata: The building blocks of cognition.” In R.J. Spiro, B.Bruce, & W.F. Brewer (eds.), Theoretical Issues in Reading and Comprehension. (Erlbaum 1980). </li></ul></ul><ul><li>SIMON, H. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Models of Thought (Yale University Press, 1979) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>SLOBIN, D. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>see bibliography at: http://ihd.berkeley.edu/slobin.htm </li></ul></ul><ul><li>SWAN, M. AND SMITH, B. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Learner English (CUP, 1987) </li></ul></ul>
    74. 74. Research <ul><li>Research papers available on the Internet including: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>University of Kwazi Zulu, South Africa </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>see, inter alia, work on language acquisition </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>see, inter alia, work on psycholinguistics </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>University of Groningen, Netherlands </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>see, inter alia, work on speed of speech, and speed of speech perception. </li></ul></ul></ul>
    75. 75. [email_address]

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