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ESL Methodology

A Prezi introducing ESL instructors to Language Acquisition, ESL teaching methodology, and the Canadian ESL system
by

Christopher Taylor

on 15 February 2012

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Transcript of ESL Methodology

ESL Methodology and Background Instructor: Christopher Taylor English School of Canada
Academia Ken Summer Program, 2011 Similarities and Differences What is ESL? Or... what's in a name? English as a Second Language (ESL) English Language Learners (ELLs) Three types (in Canada) 1) Canadian-born English Language Learners

Aboriginals
People who have kept their traditional languages in their communities or families
Or, children from immigrant communities who do not speak English in their home/community 2) Newcomers from other Countries

Voluntary Immigrants
Involuntary Refugees 3) Visa Students 1) A more traditional name for students learning (E)nglish as a (S)econd (L)anguage Note: this is no longer 'politically-correct' in Canada

(Although we still say it a lot!) 2) In the Ontario Curriculum, these are courses for English Language Learners (ELLs) designed to help them improve their English language skills. 3) ESL-Modified courses are classes which have had modifications to make them more accessible to ELLs. English Literacy Development (ELD)


These are courses which are designed for English language learners who are both learning English, but who also have limited prior schooling.

They have significant gaps in their education, and have literacy needs.

They need more support for a longer period of time With a group of 2-3 other students, write down as many things as you can think of about:

What is the same about the English Language Learners in your class and here in Canada?

What is different? Similarities Differences What do we know about Language Acquisition
(How do we Learn Language?) L1 Acquisition L2 Acquisition --Skinner's Theory (Learned via repetition, rote, rewards) - Unlike 1st Language (L1), it is not 'just learned' the same way. --Innatist theory

We are all born with the ability to learn language
This includes grammar, pronunciation, etc.
We learn a specific language based on what we hear when we are young
Critical Period Hypothesis: without exposure, after a few years, it becomes very difficult to learn new languages (or a first language!) --Current theory

Mixture of both Innate ability and Nurture (learned)
There does seem to be a point when we stop learning language as quickly as when we were young
Still many questions about how this all works! - Students learning another language have to make a conscious effort to learn the target language.

- On average, it takes 5-7 years to become fluent in the target language (to seem like a native speaker/to speak at the same proficiency level as a native speaker)

- However, most students can achieve basic converstational fluency a few years (Ontario Ministry of Education (2005). Many Roots Many Voices, pg. 49)

- Begins with basic concepts (food, water, classroom materials, bathroom, etc.)

- Many different theories as to how L2 Acquisition works, but...

Noticing Hypothesis: you must be aware that you need to learn something/you must notice the target language to learn, or it won't stay in your brain.
Younger learners *do* seem to do better at learning new languages (more flexibility in the brain, still some innate ability to learn, better development of phonetics)
BUT! Older learners learn faster. They have more 'meta-linguistic awareness'
This means they can compare L1 & L2, and learn from the differences, better than younger learners

- Do you have to start a younger age? No (But it does help a bit) OK, Great, but how should we teach L2? Methodologies of ESL Instruction Grammar Translation Method Audio-Lingual Method Direct Method Communicative Language Method/Theory Content and Language-Integrated Learning (CLIL) Traditional method, originated in the 1800s with Latin instruction.
Students "were presented with vocabulary lists [...] and grammar rules" (Spada, pg. 138).
Goal was not to learn the language, but to learn the literature/the content

Typical activity: read a text together, and translate it from L2 into L1
Then, teacher shows a grammar rule from the text (ex. verb forms)
Exercises on practicing the grammar rule with fill in the blanks

Example: Grammar in Use textbooks Started as a reaction against the Grammar-Translation method

Was also used in pilot training. Based on Skinner's idea of repetition of target language

Oral drills very common, but not very spontaneous (it's very controlled, not a lot of 'real world' examples

Examples: Second Language Acquisition (pg. 139) P-P-P (Present, Practice, Produce) method P-P-P Method is one variation on Audio-Lingual method (although it is sometimes called communicative -- there's a lot of debate about this!

First, the teacher presents the target language (Present)
-- This might be a grammar structure, pronunciation, vocabulary, etc.

Then, the students practice the target language
-- This might be through drills, very restricted roleplays, fill-in-the-blanks, and some standardized dialogues

Then, the students produce the target language
-- This might involve a free-form roleplay, improvisational dialogues, writing exercises, etc.

So why is this Audio-Lingual?
-- The focus is still on drills, and is still very structured
-- Very teacher-centric
-- Focus is on *accuracy*, not *fluency*

Some teachers use this with more communicative methods (many students *like* structure, especially adults!) What do ELLs need to learn the target language better? Another reaction against the Grammar-Translation model
(started in the 1900s)

Teachers would teach language using real-life objects, visual materials, gestures, and *spoken* language

It was also taught *in the target language,* which was a big change from G-T method

Grammar was taught inductively--this means that the teacher didn't focus on specific grammar. The students would 'pick it up' as they went along, based on clear patterns
(I walk to the door, I get near the door, I reach the door...) Originated in the 1970s
It is currently one of the dominant methodologies in ESL teaching

Instead of teaching specific grammar points, and then letting students practice those points, the teacher and students use real-life situations, or simulations of real-life, to create communication topics

The goal is not 'grammar accuracy,' but on being able to speak fluently and to have clear meaning in the situation

Grammar *is* taught, but is taught in context (future tense when talking about a vacation plan, for example)

ESC uses this

Uses a lot of activities, handouts, exercises, and conversation

Very student-centred, not teacher-centred

Hard to implement (not all students like it, danger of 'too many games,' hard to design all the activities and handouts!) Task-Based Learning A specific form of Communicative language methodology, created by N. Prabhu in India

Eventually, it was adapted by Jane Willis, into the more common form used in North America (The Willis Method)

The teacher introduces a task, and students work on useful vocabulary and expressions that could be useful for talking about the task

The students roleplay the task (selling a vacation to a customer, introducing a newcomer to the sights in Toronto, etc.)

After the task is finished, the teacher leads the class through language focus exercises to highlight and help with language the students struggled with/needed to improve

Requires a lot of flexibility in the teacher, but leads to very authentic learning, and to practical language skills

Example: T-B-L by Ken Lackman This is the method I prefer in my own classes

Research shows that it works *very* well (but not as easily for lower-level learners) CLIL Dimensions and Focuses

According to the European Commission:

"Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) involves teaching a curricular subject through the medium of a language other than that normally used. The subject can be entirely unrelated to language learning, such as history lessons being taught in English in a school in Spain. CLIL is taking place and has been found to be effective in all sectors of education from primary through to adult and higher education. Its success has been growing over the past 10 years and continues to do so." ("Content and Language-Integrated Learning" (2008), European Commission. http://ec.europa.eu/education/languages/language-teaching/doc236_en.htm)

Believe it or not, it's older than you think! Tutors in the 18th and 19th centuries used to teach their students in foreign languages about specific content such as history, science, and so forth! ("CLIL - Content and Language Integrated Learning" (2007), Goethe Institute. http://www.goethe.de/ges/spa/dos/ifs/en2747558.htm).

-The goal, here, is to teach the subject, using (for example!) English as the language of instruction.

-Can be difficult to teach language *and* content at the same time, but it is necessary to teach both. Without learning the target language (grammar, vocab, pronunciation) as well as the content, students can get lost!

-Note: We don't really use CLIL in North America, except for French-Immersion, or for ELLs who are learning English as well as taking content courses.
-- Most of our ESL methodology in public schools is based on the ESL/ELD curriculum. Task-Based, CLM, and PPP are the most common methods, here


Useful CLIL websites:

http://www.cilt.org.uk/home.aspx (CILT has many resources and articles about language instruction)

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/clil (CLIL resources, methods, etc.)

http://www.clilcompendium.com/clilcompendium.htm (CLIL Compendium) 1. The Culture Dimension - CULTIX

A. Build intercultural knowledge & understanding
B. Develop intercultural communication skills
C. Learn about specific neighbouring countries/regions and/or minority groups
D. Introduce the wider cultural context

2. The Environment Dimension - ENTIX

A. Prepare for internationalisation, specifically EU integration
B. Access International Certification
C. Enhance school profile

3. The Language Dimension - LANTIX

A. Improve overall target language competence
B. Develop oral communication skills
C. Deepen awareness of both mother tongue and target language
D. Develop plurilingual interests and attitudes
E. Introduce a target language

4. The Content Dimension -CONTIX

A. Provide opportunities to study content through different perspectives
B. Access subject-specific target language terminology
C. Prepare for future studies and/or working life

5. The Learning Dimension - LEARNTIX

A. Complement individual learning strategies
B. Diversify methods & forms of classroom practice
C. Increase learner motivation Activity Time! Strategy: Pros & Cons discussion
Instructions: With your group, write down as many pros (good things) and cons (bad things) about the methods we’ve examined today as we can think of. When done, we’ll compare with the rest of the class

(Use your handout!) When you're done, we'll talk about them with the class Some general ideas:


1) Use simple vocab to introduce new ideas
2) Speak clearly, pause often
3) Say the same thing in different ways
4) Avoid idiomatic expressions
5) Use images and objects to illustrate content
6) Use gestures and body language
7) Print key words and instructions on the board while saying them aloud
8) Use overheads, charts, graphic organizers where appropriate
9) Check frequently to ensure that students understand
10) Give students time to process your questions—they’re thinking in two languages!

(Ministry of Ontario, "Many Roots, Many Voices," pgs. 20-21 Time to give your eyes a break! References British Council/BBC (n.d.). CLIL. Retrieved June 30th, 2011, from http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/clil

Brown, H.D. (2000). Principles of Language Learning and Teaching (4th Ed.). San Francisco: San Francisco State University, pgs. 13, 15-16, 43-45, 73-75, 107-108, 266-267

Harmer, J. (2001). The Practice of English Language Teaching. Essex, UK: Pearson Education Limited, pgs. 80-88.

Lightbown, P., and Spada, N. (2006). How Languages are Learned. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pgs. 10-20, 138-141, 155-156

Ontario Ministry of Education (2007). English Language Learners: ESL and ELD Programs and Services. Polices and Procedures for Ontario Elementary and Secondary Schools, Kindergarten to Grade 12, pgs. 8-10.

Thornbury, S. (1999). How to Teach Grammar. Essex, UK: Pearson Education Limited, pgs. 21-22.

Wolf, D. (2007). What is CLIL? Goethe-Institut. Retrieved June 30th, 2011, from http://www.goethe.de/ges/spa/dos/ifs/en2747558.htm
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