Chris B.

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Chris B.

Chris - You have really worked on your ideas from chapter 3. I'm thrilled to see that! This is a useful first draft. You have included a number of aspects about focus on form and focus on forms. I think it would be more helpful to come back later and try to summarize into one or two guiding principles at most. With that, be sure to describe what you mean by focus on form (a focus on form that stems from ... you finish) vs. focus on forms (a syllabus that is designed around certain forms to cover).
Then list one or two things that the teacher would do like "give students a communicative task or activity and see what forms naturally arise as needing work."


Hey Lois, I hope I did this correctly! This is my Wiki post for last Thursday's assignment: 1. Although both focus on form and focus on forms should be used in teaching and learning a target language, focus on form is more effective.

  • The content in focus on form is more meaning-based and task oriented; target language learners can communicate more authentically in the the target language.
  • Moreover, focus on form evokes more motivation from target language students. Sometimes more traditional syllabuses, such as focus on forms, does not offer a lot of variety or flexibility in language learning syllabuses; students could get bored.
2. Vygotsky's "scaffolding" should be used in ANY target language classroom.I love the enthusiasm and conviction here. This needs to say more about what aids learning, however. :>) The ones below are more principles. This is not so much. You need to say why and the affect on learning and you do that more below. You want to link principles to learning. Great start. Come back later and revise. - Lois
  • Yes, discovery learning pushes students to learn or discover language content on their own, thus making the material more memorable in the brains, but scaffolding fosters a better teacher-student relationship in the classroom.
  • Teachers should be a source of reliability for students, even in moments of discovery learning. After all, students cannot come to these conclusions on their own without the teacher's scaffolding.This is the beginning of a guiding principle. It says what you believe and will guide choices you make in the classroom. What would the teacher say, do, write, respond with in class to scaffold learning?
Hey Lois, I'm assuming we just tag on the rest of our beliefs to this post? Chris - Yes, you continue to add your beliefs or underlying principles as they develop, but erase my comments or those others make. But first read my comments. :>) I think you have done a lot of useful work on clarifying what you believe. That is very useful. That's half of what this WIKI is for. The other half is to clearly state what practices you will do in class to manifest those beliefs. I'm going to say again that I think your next step is to take what you have written on each topic and synthesize your ideas into a principle about what aids learning: Students benefit from.../ Learning is aided when.../ XXXX is ---- and should be ----/ For example, using your ideas...from below about teacher roles:
Principle: "Teachers should take a primarily facilitative role in order to foster student initiative and motivation, and therefore learning."
Practice 1: The teacher should avoid acting as a controller doing drills, providing a narrow language or topic focus and being the sole determiner of grades, and instead should give students choices, ask for feedback and respond to it and give students responsibility in pair and small group work.

You can see that I synthesized your ideas about the controller role into a principle (Teachers should be primarily facilitative - it's good to have a principle be something you strive to do not to avoid, so I switched from avoiding the controller role.) Then I wrote some things you could see in class if this principle were manifest. You could write a number of different practices - this is just an example.

Does that help clarify? Try it out and I will give you comments the next time around, too. -- Lois

Anyway, on methods and approaches: 1. Culture should factor into any target language methodology in instruction based settings.
  • We never know what to expect from our students or classes when teaching another language; some language teaching and learning methods may be culturally appropriate and effective in some cases, whereas other content could offend and demotivate students.
  • Culture not only accommodates a student's affective filter in the target language classroom, but also provides them with unique topics and activities. Such immersion sets up a positive atmosphere and motivates students to appreciate the language learning content.
2. Language teachers should not follow one or two methodologies.
  • Sometimes language teachers believe that only certain methods are effective, so their classes are dedicated to that one method. However, there is no "right" way in teaching another language: every method has its advantages and disadvantages.
  • That being said, an open-minded approach to teaching another language helps teachers to understand what works and doesn't work for their students---and for the teachers, too.
1. Mastering accuracy and or fluency depends on the target language learner's motivation. Therefore, focusing on one or the other or both is not the issue; it is an individual difference.
  • If someone is learning English as a second or foreign language to land a good career or apply to a good school, their motivation is instrumental. This learner will most likely focus on accuracy, so that they learn the correct uses of grammar and syntax for better proficiency levels.
  • Maybe someone just wants to communicate the language for more enjoyable or personal reasons, so their accuracy inhibitions are lower. They would rather communicate to become more fluent in conversation. Here, their motivation is intrinsic.
2. Whereas most teacher roles are appropriate under different circumstances, the teacher as controller should be discouraged.
  • This role limits a student from exploring their own interests and paths in education, as the teacher will lead them in one direction.
  • Moreover students, no matter what age, should always have the opportunity to take initiative in their education. Sometimes granting that responsibility or privilege to your students prompts students to take education seriously.
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