The pre-production phase, or silent period, is one which many beginner second-language students have had experience with. In my years teaching EFL to young learners in China and Korea, I have dealt with many students who looked completely overwhelmed by the new language. I believe the most important thing for a teacher to do is to respect this silent period as a natural phase. It is part of the development, that is the language development, that a period of input needs to be built up before a student is ready to produce, and so it is the teacher's job to provide the student with a developmentally appropriate environment while he or she works through this initial phase in language acquisition.
Keep them moving
One approach which I have found to work really well during this phase is the Total Physical Response (TPR) approach. In this approach, the teacher gives a series of commands while demonstrating (or modelling) each one; the student then demonstrates comprehension, not verbally, ...
Dec 15, 2015
Teacher Training 3086 Views
Across the nation it is becoming more and more difficult to recruit classroom teachers. It is not that we are lacking in young folks with special ideology for making a difference in the lives of children and adolescents, it is just that the job is exceeding tough with ever-increasing expectations plus the salary is generally quite low when compared with other professional opportunities with equal education. In addition, no matter how hard a teacher works and applies him/herself, kids are the variables - some get it; some don't; sadly, some won't. But having taught students, future teachers, and new hires for over 45 years, I can tell you that it is fun, exciting, and rewarding job, coupled with bits or worry and frustration. No other profession keeps you young through the insight of kids or on top of understanding and thinking of young minds. It is fascinating, awesome, and gratifying.
Because it is hard to find teachers in most locales, alternatives have been implemented. This ...
Dec 9, 2015
Teaching Methodology 4082 Views
With the No Child Left Behind legislation, teachers are being increasingly pressured to meet several standards, both at the state level and federal, as well as being accountable for the progress of their diverse student body. Many teachers don't feel comfortable teaching English Learners, and so presenting the content in a way that is efficient and effective can appear daunting.
The answer may be in integrating across content areas. According to the Utah Education Network, when we integrate content areas, instruction increases in depth and cross curricular connections to real life emerges. With English Learners, this will mean more opportunities to explore, investigate, and, scaffolded learning through the use of funds of knowledge, and motivation to demonstrate and share findings through multiple channels of production.
Short and Eschevarria (1999) recalls how teachers find the task of fitting all standards of language skills and content into each and every language lesson. They ...
Dec 9, 2015
Lesson Planning 3891 Views
In 1956, Princeton University cognitive psychologist George Miller published a study called "The Magic Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on Our Capacity for Processing Information." In this landmark study, Miller showed that people were only capable of holding a certain amount of information in conscious, working memory at a time. For teenagers and adults, he found this number to be no more than seven items--thus his "magic number" of seven.
Moreover, Miller found that, when someone tries to hold in mind and think about more than this short-term memory "buffer" can hold, something has to go. That is, when a person tries to add one more item into conscious memory, something else that he was holding in mind previously drops out. It's a biological constraint. We simply "max out" and are incapable of holding anything more in memory until we do something with what we already have in our minds.
The findings of this study have been replicated many times and, in fact, more recent ...
A relative clause gives more information about someone or something referred to in a main clause. Some relative clauses are used to specify which person or thing we mean, or which type of person or thing we mean:
Example: The couple (who) live next to us have sixteen grandchildren. Example: Andrew stopped the police car (that) was driving past.
Notice that we don't put a comma between the noun and a defining relative clause. Relative clauses begin with a relative pronoun: a wh- word (who,which,etc.) or that. However,sometimes we omit the wh- word / that and use a zero relative pronoun:
Example: We went to a restaurant (which/ that) Jane had recommended to us.
We prefer to put a relative clause immediately after or as close as possible to the noun it adds information to:
Example: The building for sale was the house (which) had a slate roof and was by the stream. (rather than The building for sale was the house by the stream which had a slate roof.)
When we use a defining relative ...
Dec 9, 2015
E-Learning/CALL 2444 Views
For over a century and more, education has remained unchanged in the format of teaching, the subjects taught and the curriculum followed by schools and colleges. Classrooms of students intently listening and absorbing the knowledge and wisdom put forth by a teacher or professor has been the established mode of teaching. Despite advances in technology and teaching concepts, this traditional mode has remained unchanged. The number of courses or subjects and the duration may have varied but largely the framework and the method of teaching have withstood changes that are otherwise visible in other elements. But educators have largely been incased in a kind of immunity against technological advancements until now.
However, it is evident that trends have been changing in the last decade or so and these changes, most of them brought about by technology will change end results. As technology continues to place its emphasis and impact on education, the role that education will play in the ...
Oct 30, 2015
Classroom Management 4815 Views
'Experienced teachers don't deal with problems, they prevent them from occurring' - so begins Geoff Petty's section on classroom organisation in his book 'Teaching Today - A Practical Guide" (Stanley Thornes (Publishers) Ltd, 1998). Ground rules are fundamental to order in the classroom, and order in the classroom is essential if effective teaching and learning are to take place. Here we will consider how to prevent problems from occurring through the establishment of appropriate classroom rules.
You can simply tell the learners what the rules are - you have complete control in this case, they are YOUR rules and it is your responsibility to enforce them. By letting them decide the rules learners have a greater commitment to keeping them. This latter approach sounds good, but it's likely that the rules won't meet your perceived needs: words like 'silent' and 'respect' and 'on-time' might be missing!
Better that Rules are agreed between teacher and learners, and best that they are ...
Oct 30, 2015
Speaking/Listening 3380 Views
When you first start learning the French language or the German language, or any second language, the fastest way to "open mouth, insert foot" is to use idioms like the one I just did. Idioms can make for idiots. Not really, but I love alliteration.
The initial response of my students when I impart that advice is "What's an idiom?" An idiom is an expression or phrase, where the meaning of each individual word does not add up to the message being conveyed. The whole is not the sum of its parts in this case. Therefore, the meaning of an idiom is not at all predictable. This is why they don't translate at all into the second language.
Here are some examples of idioms in American English:
brain dead. Is your brain really dead? Of course not.
I am full. What part of you is actually "full"? What are you full of? Don't say it. I know what you're thinking.
What's up? "up" to a non-English speaker is in an upward direction, over one's head. The sky is up. The sun is up.
I'm wiped out. Did ...
Oct 25, 2015
Teacher Training 4316 Views
I always looked forward to being asked to supervise trainee teachers during my teaching career. This was because it forced me to look at my teaching. With the constant pressure of the job, I, like many others in the profession, sometimes went back to the old chalk and talk types lessons far too often. The arrival of the trainee teacher reminded me of all the different pedagogue/teaching strategies I could use to stimulate my students' learning.
So I would look at ways in which I could show the trainee a variety of teaching strategies that increased interest in my students. Their arrival also meant I would endeavour to teach the "perfect" lessons to inspire them and my students.
In doing this I was trying to create an image of how a teacher works in a professional way. As well I would endeavour to give the trainee a wide experience of school life, not just in the classroom but in the staff room and in the playground.
I always provided more opportunities to experience teaching than was ...
Oct 25, 2015
Other 2448 Views
Coming to America may seem lightheartedly amusing and exciting in the 1988's Eddy Murphy comedy film, but to an adolescent it can be a time-sensitive challenge he or she needs to quickly resolve in order to secure her place in the new land and in the new developmental stage of being an adult. Identity formation is a complex process, as Erik Erikson put it, "located in the core of the individual and yet also in the core of the communal culture; a process which establishes, in fact, the identify of those two identities" (Erikson, 1959). But if identity formation are intertwined in such a multifaceted way, how does an adolescent, who is a newly arrived immigrant and also an English Learner, deal with this struggle of defining who they are, what their culture will be, and what the self will ultimately be?
The answer may not be an easy one. The multiple "me's" that emerge-such as, the home me, the school me, the peers me, and the various selves that adolescents quickly learn to manage in ...