Chris K.

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Chris K.

Chris - you have a good start at articulating some significant aspects of learning and teaching.


English is learned best when students are exposed to authentic English in the classroom, through real movies, books, and other materials.

  • Using authentic English listening/reading materials in class.
Teachers should allow, and encourage the pursuit of knowledge of, other Englishes.
  • Having classes exploring the differences between the Englishes of UK, USA, Australia etc.I appreciate the inclusion of Englishes. Consider when it is appropriate to be explicit about the differences and/or if the learners should focus on comprehending the message at lower levels and looking at linguistic differences later. What do you think?
Classes should be mainly communicative-based and focus on increasing communicative competence.I definitely agree with this principle - a really important this to include in your beliefs.
  • Students engage in meaningful discourse during class, exchanging information or opinions that are pertinent to everyday life
Repetition and drilling should be used sparingly and only when necessary
  • Teachers should use the bulk of their repetition and drilling in the 'preparation' or 'pre-task' stage of a lesson. This will allow students to be exposed and practice the language before they go on to do real communicative tasks and assignments. Teachers may also use repetition when students are having difficulty with specific phonemes or grammatical structures.
Language acquisition is at its best when students are intrinsically motivated to learn the langugae. It seems like incorporating the students' "real lives" would also develop classroom affect and help the students grow more comfortable with one another - triple win on this belief.
  • Discussions/Conversations/Materials used in class should be relevant and of interest to students' day-to-day lives, and provoke further interest in the language that the students may pursue.
Production is at its best when the students have a lowered affective filter, and are not worried about their mistakes from the past, present or future.
  • Teachers should not correct students' every error, but correct only the errors that cause total breakdowns in communication. Teachers should come back to consistent minor errors in class, but not stop students' attempts at communication because of errors that do not prevent students from communicating.
Students do not learn in a linear pattern, but backslide as they learn in a "U-Shaped development." Therefore, revision and revisiting is crucial in language-learning settings. Man, I remember slipping up in french class because we would never revisit old concepts...I wish my teacher would have done what you are talking about.
  • Teachers should do everything to reuse as much previously learned knowledge as possible, even when teaching new material. Constantly revisiting knowledge with natural repetition is an effective way for students to systematize their language use.
Error correction should never interrupt students during their production of language, save for vulgarities and unacceptable language use
  • Teachers should use pre-production and post-production time to focus on error correction. Students should have time to produce the language with corrections at first, but then be allowed to produce language freely and without the stress of error correction.
Teachers must be flexible and constantly change roles in the classroom.

  • Before real student production, teachers should act as modelers and instructors of the language, assisting students to acquire new language skills. However, when students are performing, teacher needs to step back into a monitor position and give the students their own opportunity to use the language without the pressure of an 'evaluator' type teacher.
Constant changes in group dynamics and setup add variety and 'spice' to the language learning environment.
  • Classes should use open pairs, closed pairs and a big class setting at varied times throughout each lesson and make sure students are constantly changing partners in class.
Technology in the classroom adds a new aspect to the class, but should never draw students' attention towards the technology rather than the material.
  • Teachers should use different means of presenting material, through videos, audio tracks, on interactive boards, and sometimes independent of materials to vary the input for students so classes do not become monotonous and repetitive.
Students do not all learn the same way, and teachers' teaching methods should reflect the many different types of learning that exist.
  • Classes should use audio and video for input, as well as having students moving around and not sitting in the classroom. Teacher's should have many different activities prepared for students.
Instructions should be given in only enough time to ensure clarity, but usually using English, and not learner's L1.
  • Teachers should give only the directions necessary for the next step. It is better to chop up the instructions into easy-to-manage chunks for the students rather than to overload students with directions. Should a total breakdown in communication happen, instructions may be given in an L1 for the sake of continuing the lesson.

This was really strong. I can tell that you know what you are talking about, and I think you did a great job laying out principles very simply. A lot of what you bring up about when to correct errors and the importance of revisiting older material I wish my own language teachers had done more of. Great job - this all seems very well developed.

I have a feeling this will be messy but.....

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MsoNormal">Learning a language is first and foremost a question of learning its grammar; Learning the grammar of the language should be the focus of the language classroom.

MsoNormal">I can’t agree with this. Although grammar is undeniably important, I don’t believe that there is one aspect of language that is the most important. Grammar can and should always be in the teacher’s mind, but the meaning and interpretation of the language should be held at an equal standard. 

MsoNormal">To support this I’d

MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst">Ø Allow my students to err without providing immediate (i.e. interrupting) feedback

MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">Ø Be sure to make notes (mental or physical) of the difficulties in grammar students are having to work on them at another time

MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">Ø Allow my students to be comfortable with mistakes/not feel pressure

MsoListParagraphCxSpLast">Ø Focus on meaning/use of the language

MsoNormal">

MsoNormal">It is the language teacher’s responsibility to know as much as possible about the language itself.

MsoNormal">

MsoNormal">Kind of. Saying ‘as much as possible’ would imply that the teacher should know ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING about a language. That’s a little unreasonable to ask of any speaker of any language, regardless of being a teacher or not. Although not completely unattainable, you could probably become proficient in about 3 or 4 languages in the same amount of time as mastering the ins and outs of one. So no, there’s probably better ways to spend that time. A teacher should however be willing to find out anything about a language they don’t know.

MsoNormal">In my class I’d

MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst">ü Keep resources around in case I don’t know something

MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">ü Give students access to any and all reference material

MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">ü Admit that I’m not exactly a scholar of the English language

MsoListParagraphCxSpLast">ü Be open to exploring more about the English language

MsoNormal">Grammar is best learned deductively - that is, by studying rules and then applying the rules to examples and in activities.

MsoNormal">I’m a big proponent of learner individuality. I don’t think I would ever agree with any statement that is an ‘absolute’ sort of thing. There is no ‘best’ way, because people aren’t programmed machines that take everything in the same way. I would diversify my class to the needs of my students and their learning styles

MsoNormal">To help my students I’d

MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst">TemporaryItems/msoclip/0clip_image001.gif" /> Examine their needs as students, and their type of learning

MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">TemporaryItems/msoclip/0clip_image001.gif" /> Construct lesson plans that appeal to all types of learners.

MsoListParagraphCxSpLast">TemporaryItems/msoclip/0clip_image001.gif" /> Be adaptable and flexible to different styles of grammar teaching

MsoNormal">Grammatical terminology is best avoided in the classroom.

MsoNormal">Again, some students LOVE grammar. Some. There may be a class of students that would thrive by having grammar explained in all the real terminology, and some others would throw up on their desk. Teachers need to be extraordinarily flexible in their approaches to help all students.

MsoNormal">Personally, I’d

MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst">v First explain (if even needed) grammar without the terminology.

MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">v If necessary (or student requests) use the terminology to be clearer

MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">v Learn the needs of my students to teach them best

MsoListParagraphCxSpLast">v Remain open to all styles of grammar teaching

MsoNormal">

MsoNormal">Students do not need to be cognitively engaged to learn grammar. They just need to memorize it.

MsoNormal">I’ll disagree strongly with this one. As we’ve seen, students learn what they think about. Students need to engage with any material that they have to really acquire it.

MsoNormal">Therefore, I’d

MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst">QCreate lesson plans that are fun an interesting for students

MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">QNot come straight out and tell students about grammar, and try to imbed it in lessons

MsoListParagraphCxSpLast">QTry and adapt lessons to students’ interests (i.e. not talking about Spongebob while teaching a room full of judges and doctors)

MsoNormal">

MsoNormal">Language should always be studied in its typical contexts of use, rather than in isolation.

MsoNormal">I agree with this assessment. Whenever we use language there is always a context, so why teach it without? Perhaps we can use isolated examples for strict practice, but as a first exposure, definitely in context.

MsoNormal">So I’d

MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst">>Use lesson plans that have authentic material (radio shows, movies etc.)

MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">>Provide my students with the context that the lesson is in whenever possible.

MsoListParagraphCxSpLast">>Limit the use of isolated grammar points and focus on them in context

MsoNormal">

MsoNormal">Grammar is form.

MsoNormal">It most definitely is. It also is most definitely meaning and use. Can’t forget the other two, even if they are a bit trickier that the simpler ‘form.’

MsoNormal">I don’t really get where to go with this but I’d

MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst">ð Not limit grammar lessons to just form

MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">ð Explore different uses of language

MsoListParagraphCxSpLast">ð Clarify meaning in the lessons.

MsoNormal">Grammar is best learned one structure at a time following a straight-arrow PPP or Engage®Study®Practice sequence

MsoNormal">Again, there’s no best way to do anything when it comes to education. A teacher needs to have variety in the classroom when it comes to lesson planning. Although I’d say that PPP probably appeals to a high percentage of people.

MsoNormal">So in my classes I’d

MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst">> Formulate a variety of lesson plans using different approaches

MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">> Get to know my students and how they like to learn

MsoListParagraphCxSpLast">> Be open to different types of lesson planning and activity execution

MsoNormal">In order to develop communicative competence, learners must engage actively in meaning-focused, communicative activities involving the grammar studied.

MsoNormal">Agreed. Classes should have a realistic context and have a genuine feel to it. If something is completely false it will turn off a lot of people to it. What’s the point of learning something in a context that is completely artificial? Best keep it realistic.

MsoNormal">Therefore, in my classes I’d

MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst">&Use real-life situations (going to the movies, planning vacations) to introduce grammar

MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">&Not use lesson plans about living on Pluto and what the weather must be like there and the like

MsoListParagraphCxSpLast">&Have students constantly using the language and working together with the language with jigsaw activities.

MsoNormal">

MsoNormal">Grammar is inherently not engaging and hard for students to learn. There’s nothing we can do about that.

MsoNormal">I agree that there is nothing we can do to make grammar an EASY subject to learn. But we can make it easier with different approaches. Grammar will always be hard, but we can make it fun and enjoyable and therefore easier.

MsoNormal">I’ll

MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst">♪ Engage students with the material in a fun way

MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">♪ Listen to students’ requests and learning styles

MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle">♪ Provide a variety of lessons that use a variety of materials like videos, songs, reading, magazines, books, short stories, poems.

MsoListParagraphCxSpLast">♪ Keep students comfortable with low affective filters by easing them into grammar and not throw them into it unwillingly.

MsoListParagraphCxSpLast">Been wrong before.....

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