Applying the FLIP – Part 2

SCAD Language Studio ? Professor Christina Cavage, Human Resources headshot, Fall 2013 ? Photography by Stephanie Krell, courtesy of SCADChristina Cavage

Like many of you, I am bombarded on a daily basis with ESL and education “news” from a multitude of sites. There are a few I breeze over, and others that I really pay attention to. One that has me stopping and thinking on a weekly basis is te@chthought.com. For those of you who may not be familiar with te@chthought, it is a vibrant website that is committed to providing resources for the 21st century teacher. Personally, I love the site because it really holds true to its mantra: learn better.

I recently came across a great article that reinforces what I believe about a good blended or flipped model. The article highlights the difference between using technology in the classroom and integrating technology.
UsingTech

While many of us are simply trained to use technology in the classroom, few of us are trained to effectively integrate this technology in a planned and purposeful way into our students’ learning experiences beyond the classroom walls. This integration of technology transitions us nicely into our discussion on the next two pillars of a FLIPped model: Intentional content and Professional educators. Continue reading

Roll Your Way to Grammar Fun

CVR_FEG9326_SB_CVR.indd

Would your students enjoy working on editing skills via a board game? Are you interested in an activity that takes just minutes to prepare? Here’s a lively and collaborative activity that works with any of the Check your knowledge exercises found in all three levels of the Azar-Hagen Grammar series.

Materials: A game board (attached) and dice.

1. Choose any Check your knowledge exercise from the text you are working in. These exercises are usually toward the end of the chapter.

2. Students work in groups of three or four. You need a game board and one die for each group.

3. To prepare the board, randomly write the number for the sentences (not the sentence) in the blank squares. If there are 12 sentences, you will have 12 marked squares. Skip the example sentences. (You can mark one board and then make photocopies, or make each board different for every group.)

4. Each student needs his/her own token: a coin, a paper clip, etc.

5. The first student rolls the die and moves accordingly.

6. When students land on a sentence number, they have to give the correction for the corresponding sentence in the book. The other students in the group can decide if it is correct or not. If they are unsure, they can check with the teacher.

7. If the answer is incorrect, the student goes back 2 spaces. (When this happens, the student skips any instructions on the square two spaces back.)

8. Play continues until one student reaches You Win! (You can decide if they need to roll the exact number or not to get to the final space.)

9. As a follow-up, the teacher can review the more difficult or challenging sentences.

A wealth of activities to supplement the texts can be found at: AzarGrammar.com/Classroom Materials

Board game template_Final

Constructivism: Increasing Student Engagement

susan_gaerSusan Gaer

Constructivism is an educational philosophy that became popular in the early 1990s. The basic framework of constructivism is that students create their own learning; that is, we can’t teach students to learn – they have to learn for themselves. Using this framework, teachers take on the role of facilitator, and each student learns what he or she needs to. This fits in well with the new Bloom’s taxonomy where creating becomes the most powerful rung on the taxonomy ladder. Constructivist learning also fits right in with multi-level instruction and flipped learning.

Constructivist theory posits that there is no learning unless learners have created it from experiences; therefore, when using the constructivist approach, you are also creating a more engaged classroom that is student centered. Here are a few techniques that I use to make my classroom more constructivist. Continue reading

Video-based Lessons Bring Workplace and Practical Skills to Life

Project Success is a new standards-based, media-rich hybrid course that integrates video, audio, and online tools for a seamless blend of classroom and independent learning. Each unit of Project Succefss follows a person through his or her day. At the center of each lesson are a series of 170 videos that model the situational language, employment, and educational skills students are learning.

Check out Project Success Level 1, Unit 8 – Fresh Foods

https://media.pearsoncmg.com/intl/elt/Project_Success/videos/proj1_vid_u08ls09_01.mp4

 

Four Key Academic Challenges

CarolNumrich Carol Numrich 2014_Frances_BoydFrances Boyd

Each year, teachers face new, more complex challenges in their classrooms. As students’ interests and motivations for learning English evolve, so must the ESL teacher’s pedagogical resources and techniques. Four “A’s” identify today’s key challenges:

Attention

How can classroom teachers attract and maintain students’ attention in this fast-paced, tech-driven world? Students are all multi-tasking, but studies suggest that multi-tasking doesn’t work. So, how can teachers get students to attend?

Compelling themes and topics can be carefully chosen to arouse student interest. Scaffolding of content and skills helps maintain student interest as content is deepened and language skills are developed.

 Authenticity

Students may have difficulty attending because the material with which they are provided is not always relevant to their lives. In a world where so much information is found with just a click of the mouse, students are not willing to spend their time reading or listening to texts that are not “real.” They know the difference between “ESL texts,” material that has been created for the second-language learner, and material that is meant for native ears and eyes. They may “tune out” when asked to participate in activities that do not seem genuine.

Teachers can seek to provide authentic materials and real-life language activities whenever possible, even at the intermediate level.

Accountability

In ESL classes, students are often not held accountable for producing the new language they are taught. They study new vocabulary and idioms, grammatical structures, and writing techniques, but then they may never actually use this new language in their own writing or speaking assignments. This could be because students do not get enough exposure or opportunities to practice, or it could be because the contexts in which they learn this new language may not be the most conducive to reaching the goals of language production. How can students be held more accountable for producing new language in their oral and written production? How can teachers lead students to a more natural production?

A purposeful recycling of language is essential if students are to produce new language on their own. Students need multiple exposures to new language in a variety of contexts to ensure their production of that language. Assessments must be well aligned to the language-learning goals of a particular course.

Academic Preparation

Students may struggle with meeting the expectations of an academic program. For example, discourse synthesis is a skill required in both high school and college-level courses, but ESL learners may feel overwhelmed with the task of writing about a topic with reference to multiple texts. They may need help in selecting, summarizing, and organizing texts.

In addition, performing well in college-level classes and on tests requires a variety of critical thinking skills. L2 learners from cultures that do not teach critical thinking may be especially challenged.

ESL teachers can teach organization and synthesis strategies and inference comprehension skills as part of their language curriculum. Higher-level critical thinking skills can also be incorporated to prepare students for the demands of an academic program.