EFL and Homework IATEFL 2011


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The subject of Homework and Out-of-Classroom learning in EFL/ESL has long been neglected. Web 2.0 platforms, however, allow us to transform a chore into a learning challenge, in a way that is both more strategic as well as more stimulating and productive for learners and teachers alike.

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EFL and Homework IATEFL 2011

  1. 1. HOMEWORK…   Paul  Maglione                              The  Final  Fron4er?  EFL  and  Out-­‐of-­‐the-­‐Classroom  Learning   IATEFL  2011   16  April  2011  
  2. 2. EdTech  Applied  to  EFL   Ohura  The  past  10  years  or  so  have  seen  an  explosion  of  interest  in  the  use  of  technology  in  the  EFL  classroom:  from  IWB’s  to  Blogs,  TwiEer,  Podcast,  Moodle,  and  Mobile.  EdTech  in  the  EFL  classroom,  in  short,  is  sexy.    
  3. 3. EdTech  Applied   EdTech  Applied  to    to  EFL   EFL  Homework   Ohura   Klingon   Sexy     Not  sexy    When  it  comes  to  topic  of  homework  in  EFL,  however,  the  enthusiasm  fades.  No  one  seems  interested.  It’s  just  not  sexy.  
  4. 4. Yet  surely  there  is  a  disconnect  here.  We  know  that  learners  spend  98%  of  their  Rme  outside  of  the  classroom.  We  also  know  that  learners  are  integraRng  technology  into  virtually  every  aspect  of  their  lives,  from  communicaRon  to  entertainment,  to,  yes,  educaRon.    
  5. 5. In  the  past  40  years  we’ve  seen  huge,  tectonic  shiTs  in  the  way  we  think  about  EFL:  from  Grammar  TranslaRon  all  the  way  to  the  current  thinking  about  how  to  best  implement  the  CommunicaRve  and  Lexical  approaches  that  we’ve  adopted  more  recently.      
  6. 6. In  terms  of  classroom  approaches,  too,  we’ve  evolved  from  textbook-­‐driven,  teacher-­‐centric  teaching  to  task-­‐based  learning,  pairs  and  group  work,  learning  games,  physical  movement,  music,  roleplay,  and  other  great  techniques.      
  7. 7. As  soon  as  learners  step  outside  the  classroom,  however,  they’re  mostly  on  their  own.  At  best,  they  might  get  assigned  pages  in  a  workbook  or  a  vague  suggesRon  that  they  “read  an  arRcle  in  English.”  
  8. 8. Trying  to  find  useful  pedagogical  theory,  academic  work,  or  case  studies  on  the  subject  of  EFL  Homework  turns  up  very  liEle  informaRon.  
  9. 9. Specifici4es  of  Homework  •  Tasks  assigned  to  learners  for   compleRon  during  non-­‐ classroom  hours        •  Invades  the  personal,  “home”   domain  of  the  learner        •  The  academic  task  subject  to   more  external  influences  than   any  other          •  CORRELATED  WITH  ACADEMIC   ACHIEVEMENT  
  10. 10. Specifici4es  of  Homework  in  ESL/EFL?   The  few  academic  papers  on  the  subject  of  Homework   specifically  applied  to  EFL  conclude  that  it  is  very  useful   in  reinforcing  the  following  crucial  learning  skills:     •  Learner  Autonomy   •  Individualized  Learning   •  Mo4va4on  
  11. 11. The  Challenge   Homework   2.0  So  we  really  should  be  figuring  out  how  to  bring  Homework  into  the  fold  of  useful  EFL  approaches  we  now  consider  as  beneficial  for  language  learning.  
  12. 12. The  Obstacles  Let’s  start  by  invesRgaRng  the  obstacles….WHY  homework  doesn’t  play  the  role  it  should  in  EFL.      
  13. 13. First:  technology,  or  the  lack  of  it  unRl  now.  Very  difficult  to  foster  autonomy,  exploraRon  and  moRvaRon  with  linear  and  mostly  uninspiring  materials  like  textbooks  and  workbooks.  
  14. 14. I’m  telling  you,  the   No,  no,  it’s  an   only  purpose  can  be   opportunity  for   to  consolidate  what   explora4on  and   is  learned  in  class.   self-­‐learning!  Secondly,  there  has  long  been  a  schism  between  those  who  see  homework  as  a  “consolidaRng”  tacRc  for  classroom  lessons;  and  those  who  see  homework  as  “something  else,”  i.e.  complementary  to  the  classroom  experience  but  with  its  own  unique  role  in  the  language  learning  process.        
  15. 15. Third,  homework  is  tricky  for  teachers  because  it’s  unpopular  with  learners.  
  16. 16. By  its  very  nature,  assigned  homework  is  at  a  huge  disadvantage  compared  to  what  is  is  compeRng  with  in  the  home:  relax  Rme,  television,  and,  especially  for  teens  and  young  adults:  internet,  music  and  mobile  texRng.  ,    
  17. 17. Fourth,  unRl  now   the  creaRon,   monitoring  and   marking  of   homework  has   implied  significantly  adding   to  the  teacher’s   workload.  
  18. 18. The  Obstacles   Debate  re:   Role  of   Homework   Unpopularity   Workload   Technology  not  ripe  yet   So  how  does  web  2.0  technology  allow     us  to  surmount  these  hurdles?  
  19. 19. Web  2.0  plaeorms  allow  homework  to  be  presented  in  a  much  more   dynamic,  interacRve,  mulRmedia,  non-­‐linear  format.  
  20. 20. ConsolidaRon   Autonomy   Rules!   Rocks!   The  issue  of  the  appropriate  role  of  homework,  however,  remains.  
  21. 21. What  is  the  correct   role  of  EFL   homework?  Sports  InstrucRon  analogy:   a  tennis  instructor   takes  you  through   the  mechanical   movements  you   need  to  master  the   backhand  stroke.  
  22. 22. How  to  best  consolidate  that  instrucRon?  Not  by  repeaRng  the  instrucRon   steps  by  yourself..  but  by  playing  tennis  for  fun  and  starRng  to  use  your   backhand  more  regularly,  even  if  imperfectly  at  first.  
  23. 23. How  can  technology  transform  the   “Unpopularity”  obstacle?  Not  by   retaining  the  look  &  feel  of   classroom  instrucRon.  
  24. 24. Music   Rather,   News   web  2.0  enables  us   to  make   Movies  homework   look  and   feel  a  lot   more  like  things  that   learners   Friends   already   enjoy   Games   doing  at   home.  
  25. 25. Learning    Chore Challenge  
  26. 26. English  Intermediate  B2  Even  compliance  monitoring  and  feedback  by  the  teacher  can  be  transformed  by  adopRng  a  points  /  scores  /  badges  approach  rather  than  grades  or  marks.  
  27. 27. Even  beEer,  web  2.0  homework  allows  homework  to  spill  over   into  the  classroom,  rather  than  just  the  other  way  around.    
  28. 28. EFL  Homework     2.0  Resources:     Xtranormal   Make  your  own  3D   movies  with     text-­‐to-­‐voice  For  example:  have  learners  create  a  scripted  dialogue,  like  a  re-­‐creaRon  of  something  funny  that  happened  to  them.  
  29. 29. EFL  Homework     2.0  Resources:     Voicethread   Show  &  tell  using   videos,  photos  and   avatars  For  example:  ask  learners  to  visually  document  a  day  in  their  lives,  from  morning  to  evening,  and  comment  on  the  photos.  
  30. 30. EFL  Homework     2.0  Resources:     Lino  It   Use  online  sRckies   to  make  a   collaboraRve   brainstorming  wall  For  example:  use  Lino  It  to  generate  ideas  for  a  class  ouRng.  
  31. 31. EFL  Homework     2.0  Resources:     Glogster   Poster-­‐making  tool  For  example:  have  small  groups  of  learners  create  a  poster  on  an  assigned  theme,  like  preserving  wildlife  habitat.  
  32. 32. EFL  Homework     2.0  Resources:     Zimmer  Twins   Simple  cartoon-­‐ making  resource  For  example:  use  Zimmer  Twins  to  have  learners  create  their  own  funcRonal  language  situaRons,  like  ordering  food  in  a  restaurant.  
  33. 33. EFL  Homework     2.0  Resources:     Bubblr   Create  commented   “photo  strips”  from   Flickr  content  For  example:  have  small  groups  of  learners  capRon  idenRcal  photo  strips,  and  then  compare&  discuss    the  strips  to  illustrate  the  concept  of  creaRvity.  
  34. 34. EFL  Homework     2.0  Resources:     Fotobabble   Post  a  photo  and   provide  audio   comment  For  example:  have  learners  upload  their  favorite  digital  snap,  and  provide  commentary  as  to  why  it  is  their  preferred  photo.  
  35. 35. EFL  Homework     2.0  Resources:     English  A^ack!   Entertainment-­‐ focused  exposure   &  community  EFL   site  for  teens  and   young  adults  For  example:  have  learners  play  the  Video  Booster  of  the  Day  and  come  to  class  prepared  to  guess  what  happened  next.  
  36. 36. English  AEack!  -­‐  English  2.0     Videors   Photo  Vocabs The  only  EFL     Booste   out-­‐of-­‐classroom   Interac4ve     Thema4c   video-­‐based      visual     learning  plaeorm   exercises   dic4onaries     designed   specifically  for   teenagers  and   young  adults.     Pedagogical   principles  are   explained  at   Prac4ce  Games   blog.english-­‐aEack.com   Global  Community   Learning  &     Global  social  network  of   drill  games    learners  of  English  
  37. 37. In  conclusion:   I      Homework  is  a  currently  neglected  but   poten4ally  transforma4onal  tool  in  ESL/EFL     If  ac4ve  learning  is  central  to  language  acquisiRon,   then  selng  effecRve  and  moRvaRng  homework   should  be  a  key  skill  for  ESL  /  EFL  teachers    
  38. 38. In  conclusion:   II Homework  reinforces  precisely  those  learning   skills  that  are  difficult  to  develop  in  class:   •  Learner  Autonomy   •  Individualized  Learning   •  Mo4va4on  
  39. 39. In  conclusion:  III Online  technology  allows  us  to  blast  EFL  homework   directly  from  the  19th  to  the  21st  Century.   It  can  now  be  made  appealing   for  learners  as  well  as   pragma4c  for  teachers  
  40. 40. In  conclusion:  IV EFL  Homework  can  be  a  “third  (communica4ve)   place”  alongside  the  classroom  and  the  home.   Encourage  learners  to  make   links  between  the  classroom   and  communica4ve   opportuni4es  outside  of  it.  
  41. 41. For  more  ideas  and  informa4on:   TeachertrainingVideos.com   Nik’s  Quick  Shout   #efl    #esl    #elt    #edtech    #iatefl    #tesol  #eltchat    
  42. 42. Concluding  thought:  with  technology,   Nothing  Is  Impossible   Captain  Kirk  and  Bones  demonstrate  the  iPad  9   they  have  brought  back  from  Rme  travel  into  the   2020s  to  teach  Klingon  teenagers  proper  Starship   Command  English.  
  43. 43. Homework:  the  final  fron4er?  IATEFL  Brighton,  2011       Web:        www.english-­‐a^ack.com   Blog:      h^p://blog.english-­‐a^ack.com   Slideshare:    h^p://www.slideshare.net/EnglishA^ack       E-­‐mail:      paul.maglione@english-­‐a^ack.com   LinkedIn:    Paul  Maglione   Twi^er:    @paulmaglione