One of the biggest challenges trainee ESL teachers face is identifying how they were taught and realizing when they’re teaching the same way.
While the teacher-fronted PPP model works fine for elementary and secondary school students; today’s adult ESL students require their learning to be both self directed and embracing of their prior experiences.
Attached is a powerpoint I used to introduce the concept of teaching ESL to adult learners. lnkd.in/aPP3Yx
Feedback is welcome.
A major hurdle for ESL student’s developing language proficiency is academic vocabulary use. Using a fun and familiar language task, such as a crossword, as a form of alternative assessment, engages students in using both memory and problem solving/exploratory learning skills to solve the task. In addition, crosswords can scaffold students’ participation during the task as identification of known words helps students identify less familiar ones.
I created the following crossword using a Mac App called “Puzzlemaker Lite.” The task helps me study the terminology used in my language assessment class. I’m hoping to use the same software to create crosswords for a vocabulary and spelling class in NVCC’s non-credit ESL program.
What’s the Best Pronunciation Diagnostic Tool?
Finding an authentic, practical, valid, and reliable assessment tool for pronunciation is a bit of a struggle. I’m torn between wanted to used a controlled method by having students read a paragraph or a semi-controlled method by having students read a first part of a story and then use pictures to finish it in their own words.
Controlled Vs. Semi-Controlled Methods to Generate Speech
Both have pros and cons. Controlled methods have students produce speech acts that they may not do on their own, i.e. pronounce multi-syllable words, ask questions, use reported speech, etc., but the act of reading aloud doesn’t produce natural speech in NES, let alone NNES. With the cons in mind, this semester I’ve opted for the semi-controlled method.
A “complete the story task” has students produce authentic speech and reading acts so that the teacher can assess students’ reading comprehension, fluency, and pronunciation accuracy. By assessing interrelated language skills, the test is integrative. The task is communicative in that it produces an authentic speech act: telling a story, and an authentic reading task: reading for information. The task is an example of alternative/formative assessment in that it assesses students’ developing English language skills and the feedback would later be used to inform both the teacher’s identification of strengths and weaknesses and foster students’ independent learning. The tester uses the same story task with each student and evaluates students’ responses using a rubric, thereby aiming to promote inter-rater reliability. The rubric insures that the tester assesses students’ reading comprehension, fluency, and pronunciation accuracy; not their consistent use of tense, agreement, etc., thereby making the assessment valid.
While using “critical literacy skills in a digital world” may seem like just another new skill for students to master, it’s important for teachers and students to remember that they already perform similar critical literacy functions when they review non-electronic media, such as books, newspaper articles, reports, etc.
As teachers of any subject, but esp. of ESL, I believe we need to use the known to teach the unknown. I present this challenge (being critically digitally literate) to my students in terms of we are building upon their practices of evaluating the “person, purpose, and period (of time)” when researching/reading non-electronic media. I use this same mantra whether they are searching the Web, watching interviews from TV/YouTube, or listening to CD recordings.
In enabling our students and ourselves to be critically literate in the Web 2.0 world, our challenge is three-fold:
- realizing that we have the expertise to construct pedagogically sound instruction
- realizing that the skills students need to be electronically literate are often already used in a slightly different form/different media
- realizing that we can apply our own understandings/uses of digital media as an important step in the process of aligning Web 2.0 tools to our curricular goals.
This weekend, our Technology in English Language Teaching class at American University presented our major project of the spring: digital stories.
Final DS Poster_WATESOL_2011