Page 1

TEFLnow Course in Teaching English to Young Learners

Unit i 2

YL 002

Teaching Te n and lea e rn r ing n


Unit i 2 Teaching Te n and lea e rn r ing n Synopsis In this unit we will look at general theories about learning and development, from infancy to full maturation. We will then consider how we learn languages, both our native tongue (often referred to as L1) and other languages. Having decided upon a suitable approach to our teaching (pedagogy), we consider the learning environment for our students. We will look at the skills our students want and need from our teaching. Finally we will identify the process of maturation and how we can adapt our methods, to the changes that take place.

YL 002 Copyright Š 2012 TEFLnow.com. All rights reserved.

Page 1


Unit i 2 Teaching Te n and lea e rn r ing n Learning and developmental theories

It is impossible in a course of this depth to outline all the learning and developmental theories that exist. We must therefore present a potted history of the topic, which shows the major ‘camps’ or theories and who was responsible for their development. There are four major groups that emerge when looking at learning and behavior theories:

Constructivists

Maturationists

LEARNING & BEHAVIOR THEORIES

Environmentalists

Other

Maturation theory In this model of development, natural biological processes are fundamental.According to maturation theory, there is a natural sequence of events that will take place, regardless of any other stimuli. Names associated with this viewpoint are Gessell, Hunt and Reisner.

YL 002 Copyright © 2012 TEFLnow.com. All rights reserved.

Page 2


Unit i 2 Teaching Te n and lea e rn r ing n Environmental theory In this model, the environment in which we exist is fundamental. According to environmentalists, our behavior is a reaction to our surroundings and we are not pre-programmed in the way maturationists say. Names associated with this theory are Bandura, Watson and Skinner. Constructivists In its simplest form, constructivism may be considered to be a combination, or fusion of the previous two ideas. We interact with our environment and construct our own frameworks or settings, in which learning can take place. Names associated with this idea are Montessori, Vygotsky, Piaget and Dewey.. Other There are many other theories of learning and development, but we will outline just one further ‘camp’, which might be called cognitive developmentalists. This theory suggests that there are stages to our intellectual development. Names associated with this idea are Bruner and Papert. Theories of learning in general, theories of native language learning, theories of second language acquisition and teaching methodologies, all have their roots planted in either, one of the ideas presented above, or some combination of them.

YL 002 Copyright Š 2012 TEFLnow.com. All rights reserved.

Page 3


Unit i 2

Teaching Te n and lea e rrning n Native language (L1) & 2nd language (L2) acquisition

Most of us learn to speak before we go to school. Our parents/guardians probably had no formal training for language teaching. So how is this possible? It is probably fair to say that by the age of five, we have learnt a reasonable vocabulary and many of the structural/grammatical rules of our native language. Think back to your own childhood, what factors existed to allow this learning to take place? Your list may well include some, or all of the following, Q Q

Q

Q Q

Role models from whom you hear the language. Trying out the language for yourself, and noting from the positive or negative results, what seemed to work and what didn’t. Interaction, being with others, creating the need to communicate needs or desires. Listening to stories and songs. Inanimate stimuli, books, television and so forth.

No doubt there are other prerequisites for learning a native tongue. We can certainly construct complicated theories to try to explain the efficacy of the process, but for the purpose of our course we need at this stage only to consider: (a) Is there a difference between learning L1 and L2? (b) How do we learn a native language, as it may help us to develop a learning process for L2? We will come back to the second point in the following section: “Adopting an approach.” We will consider the first point on the next page.

YL 002 Copyright © 2012 TEFLnow.com. All rights reserved.

Page 4


Unit i 2

Te T eaching n and lea e rn r ing n Native language (L1) & 2nd language (L2) acquisition

For a full treatment of the differences in L1 and L2 language acquisition we would recommend reading D. Singleton’s Language Acquisition: The Age Factor (1989). Some of the more important research findings about language acquisition include: Q

Q

Q

Q

Q

Language learning is not a linear process;; in other words we don’t learn the easy bits first. Language is learnt through its use. For L1 this is through total immersion. L2 learning draws on the learning experiences of L1. Students may try to directly translate between L1 and L2 (this is not always possible) which may cause problems. Young learners do not learn (as a conscious process) language as quickly as older learners. There is an obvious need to learn L1 this may not be true for L2.

Taking these factors into account means, Q

Q

Q

Q

Q

That as language learning is a dynamic process, it must be used in meaningful contexts and not studied solely in an abstract way. Children should be given the opportunity to solve problems, using language, and they should do this in groups, so they can interact with their peers. Total immersion is one of the most efficient learning styles, but we should not totally exclude the use of L1 in the classroom (particularly for lower levels).What we should endeavor to do, is to make L2 learning as similar to L1 learning as we can.(Because this is the only proven universal method that works.) There may be no ‘magical age window’ for language learning, so we cannot assume that learners are automatically receptive to our teachings. You will need to show the relevance of and present a need to learn L2.

YL 002 Copyright © 2012 TEFLnow.com. All rights reserved.

Page 5


Unit i 2 Teaching Te n and lea e rn r ing n

Adopting an approach

In order to move on to the design of a syllabus, it is necessary for us to adopt one particular approach or methodology. It is possible to use an eclectic approach, where lots of different learning approaches are used, but evidence has shown this to be confusing for students (and many teachers). We have already designated young learners as anyone in the age range of five to thirteen for the purposes of this course, but this is too wide a group to consider only one form of teaching methodology. We will therefore split this age band further: The first group we will refer to as the A1 level and this is for the 5 to 9 years of age group. The second group we will call A2 level and this is for the 9 to 13 years of age group.

A methodology for the A1 group We are going to follow the ‘standard communicative approach’, which means that all of our teaching will take place in English. Our lessons will be student-centered, with their speaking being the highest aim, however with this age we will need far more verbal repetition and drilling, following the teacher’s lead. Lessons will involve a high level of physical activity and possibly high noise levels. There isn’t really a standard industry term for such a methodology outlined above, so we will call it EP (Engage and Practice). The term practice relates to all the activities that follow the engage phase. As attention spans at this age are short, this section of the lesson would normally encompass a whole range of activities.

YL 002 Copyright © 2012 TEFLnow.com. All rights reserved.

Page 6


Unit i 2 Teaching Te n and lea e rn r ing n

Adopting an approach A methodology for the A2 group We are again going to follow the standard communicative approach, which means that all of our teaching will take place in English. Our lessons will be student-centred (which means we act as a facilitator) whenever possible, rather than using didactic teaching (teacher talk). Student talking time is the main aim of our lessons and a variety of practice activities, in a safe and controlled environment should be covered, before moving on to free speaking activities. For this group we will roughly follow Jeremy Harmers’ ESA (Engage, Study, Activate) methodology. In case you’re not familiar with ESA, this methodology encourages independent learning and language creation in a student centred environment. The lesson time is broken down into a series of discrete stages or sections: The first section, ‘Engage’, is purely to get the students talking and thinking in English. It doesn’t matter if this phase links to the lesson content, though if it can do so without pre-empting the content, it would be preferable. It usually takes the form of some ‘warmer’ activity such as a language game like Hangman or Simon Says, for example. Straightforward question and answer about any topic is also suitable, providing it meets the primary aim of this phase. In the second phase, ‘Study’, the actual teaching takes place. This usually involves looking at the structure of a grammar point or set of vocabulary words, using the board to highlight ideas. Then the students undertake a series of study activities to check understanding and practice the language that is being studied that day in a structured and safe environment. Study activities are carried out in pairs or small groups to encourage maximum interaction and student talking time. Typical activities for this section would be gap fills, matching exercises and so on. The final phase, ‘Activate’, aims to be the longest part of the lesson and is where the students can use all their language knowledge (not just that of the day) to create context based output. Typical activities for this section would be role plays and various student created dialogues where the use of a game element helps to motivate students in the creation of their language for this phase of the lesson. Although the order of the stages is fairly flexible, whatever the ESA order all lesson models start with an Engage activity and finish with an Activate.

YL 002 Copyright © 2012 TEFLnow.com. All rights reserved.

Page 7


Unit i 2 Teaching Te n and lea e rn r ing n

Running through the stages in this way is known as a Straight Arrow lesson:

Engage

Other alternatives to the straight arrow are: Boomerang lessons, for example:

Engage

Study

Activate 1

Activate

Study

Activate 2 Here, the idea being that it is more obvious what needs to be learnt if the first Activate stage shows students gaps in their knowledge. These gaps are addressed in the Study phase and finally the second Activate shows that learning has been achieved.

Patchwork lessons, for example:

Engage

Study 1

Activate 1

Study 2

Study 3

Activate 2

YL 002 Copyright Š 2012 TEFLnow.com. All rights reserved.

Page 8


Unit i 2 Teaching Te n and lea e rn r ing n

The learning environment

We should define the term environment first. What we mean here is both the organization of the physical surroundings in which our teaching takes place, and the classroom atmosphere that we attempt to generate. If we are to create interaction between our students, it is fairly inefficient to have the classroom arranged in rows, so let us consider some of the possible arrangements we can use, to promote full class interaction: Circular This is great for students as everyone is visible to everyone else, but not so good for board work, as some people will have to turn around. Another problem is that it isolates you from the group, and makes you, the teacher, an ‘outsider.

Semi-circular This has the benefits mentioned above and obviates the disadvantages, possibly the best arrangement for communicative language approaches, it is quite easy for everyone to get up and move around.

YL 002 Copyright Š 2012 TEFLnow.com. All rights reserved.

Page 9


Unit i 2 Te T eaching n and lea e rrning n Group tables This arrangement is less formal than rows, but has the disadvantage that it breaks the class up into groups, which can lead to problems. You may need to change positions on a regular basis so that ‘cliques’ don’t develop.

The classroom seating arrangements can go a long way towards generating the atmosphere in the classroom. Along with this we should also consider The teacher’s position Quite often this will depend on the activity in the classroom at the time, for example you would expect to be in a dominant position, with everyone facing you when writing on the board. When the students are carrying out a speaking activity, in groups you do not need to be in a dominant position.

Teacher resources Resources such as the white board, overhead projector screen should be in sight for all, without the students having to move position or arch their necks. Student resources These should be stored so that students have access to them, without disturbing other students.

YL 002 Copyright © 2012 TEFLnow.com. All rights reserved.

Page 10


Unit i 2 Teaching Te n and lea e rn r ing n Students’ work It is useful to display some of each student’s work, to add value to it. The teachers’ role The teacher’s role will vary at different times depending upon the activity, you may be acting as a: Q

Instructor:

The ‘knower’ of a certain body of knowledge

Q

Facilitator:

The provider of a learning environment

Q

Mentor:

Role model

Q

Psychologist:

Deal with their personal problems

Q

Counselor:

Give help and advice

Q

Policeman:

Crowd control

YL 002 Copyright © 2012 TEFLnow.com. All rights reserved.

Page 11


Unit i 2 Teaching Te n and lea e rn r ing n Skills

Here we are talking about the two productive skills of speaking and writing and the two receptive skills of listening and reading. We need to give some examples of the types of language that the students should be able to use. We will present this in two discrete sections for our group 1 (5 to 9 years old) and group 2 (9 to 13) groupings.

For our group 1 (5 to 9 years old) The following descriptors (examples) are taken from the Council of Europe Language Portfolio, produced by the Centre for Information on Language Teaching and Research (CiLT), and deal with each of the four skills individually

LEVELS

Waystage Level

Listening Even if I have to hear things more than once I can pick out the general meaning of some detail I can understand when people are talking about the present or future, but I may need to hear it more than once

Breakthrough Level

Speaking I can give the names of some people, places and objects I can recite or sing songs and rhymes I can take part in short conversations of 2 – 3 sentences I can say 3 – 4 sentences about myself

Reading

Writing

I can read and say which are the most important passages in a book

I can write about things I like and dislike

I can use a dictionary to look up new words

I can write postcards and short messages to friends and family

I can understand some songs and rhymes

I can speak by copying words spoken by the teacher or tape recorder

I can match some simple pictures and words

I can copy single words without making mistakes

I can understand longer questions and instructions in the classroom, even if they have to be repeated sometimes

I can answer simple questions using single words

I can read and understand some rhymes and poems

I can label pictures with words I know

YL 002 Copyright © 2012 TEFLnow.com. All rights reserved.

Page 12


Unit i 2 Teaching Te n and lea e rn r ing n

Group 2 (9 to 13 years old) For this group we can use the ALTE framework (Association of Language Testers in Europe) LEVELS

Listening/speaking

Reading

Writing

C2 Level 5

CAN advise on or talk about complex or sensitive issues, understanding colloquial references and dealing confidently with hostile questions.

CAN understand documents, correspondence and reports, including the finer points of complex texts.

CAN write letters on any subject and full notes of meetings or seminars with good expression and accuracy.

C1 Level 4

CAN contribute effectively to meetings and seminars within own area of work or keep up a casual conversation with a good degree of fluency, coping with abstract expressions.

CAN read quickly enough to cope with an academic course, to read the media for information or to understand non-standard correspondence.

CAN prepare/draft professional correspondence, take reasonably accurate notes in meetings or write an essay which shows an ability to communicate.

B2 Level 3

CAN follow or give a talk on a familiar topic or keep up a conversation on a fairly wide range of topics.

CAN scan texts for relevant information, and understand detailed instructions or advice.

CAN make notes while someone is talking or write a letter including nonstandard requests.

B1 Level 2

CAN express opinions on abstract/cultural matters in a limited way or offer advice within a known area, and understand instructions or public announcements.

CAN understand routine information and articles, and the general meaning of non-routine information within a familiar area.

CAN write letters or make notes on familiar or predictable matters.

A2 Level 1

CAN express simple opinions or requirements in a familiar context.

CAN understand straightforward information within a known area, such as on products and signs and simple textbooks or reports on familiar matters.

CAN complete forms and write short simple letters or postcards related to personal information.

A1 ALTE Breakthrough Level

CAN understand basic instructions or take part in a basic factual conversation on a predictable topic.

CAN understand basic notices, instructions or information.

CAN complete basic forms, and write notes including times, dates and places.

YL 002 Copyright Š 2012 TEFLnow.com. All rights reserved.

Page 13


Unit i 2 Teaching Te n and lea e rn r ing n

Your curriculum may not be set out in such a logical or even subject based way. For example in many private schools, particularly those eventually following the (IB) International Baccalaureate program, they may follow (PYP) The Primary Years Program. This program is designed to give students five skills: Q Q Q Q Q

Understanding of concepts The acquisition of knowledge The mastering of skills The development of attitudes The decision to take responsible action

The program of inquiry is set up through trans-disciplinary themes of: Q Q Q Q Q Q

Who are we? Where we are in time and place? How the world works How we express ourselves How we organize ourselves Sharing the planet

In such programs you may be teaching English through these themes.

YL 002 Copyright Š 2012 TEFLnow.com. All rights reserved.

Page 14


Unit i 2 Te T eaching n and lea e rrning n

Maturation

It is important here to distinguish between ‘maturation’ and ‘getting older’. Maturation, in this context, refers to a psycholinguistic development process, which involves the students’ ability to understand more concrete concepts and theories. We start with the premise that this process occurs and then consider how to adapt our approach—to take account of the developments taking place. With the results of a lot of research being fuzzy, how and when to go about this does not appear to be an easy question to answer. The starting point of considering maturation and its effects on classroom behavior may be physical rather than intellectual. For example, you may ask how you would design a syllabus for students who are too young to hold a pencil in their hands. For this reason, we are starting at the lower end of our chosen age band (five years) and will consider in which order, the four skills mentioned in the previous section could be tackled.

Speaking should come first, as it is the first skill we demonstrate in L1. In order to learn to speak we have developed some skill in listening, so perhaps this should be developed next. Reading and writing are interlinked and will probably be developed last. In ordering the skills in this way, we are not suggesting the students learn to speak, listen and so on. Your approach should be integrative (bringing them all together). The idea of the list is to give some form of starting point

YL 002 Copyright © 2012 TEFLnow.com. All rights reserved.

Page 15


Unit i 2 Teaching Te n and lea e rn r ing n

Perhaps a good way to think about how w our classr classrooms will change as students get ge older is to think about some of the character traits of the different erent age bands. These are inevitably ine generalizations, so you should be aware that there will be oughout the world. w cultural and age related differences throughout Let’s start by thinking about what five to nine year olds like and dislike: Likes Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q

Movement Doing Talking/singing/shouting Listening to stories Playing games Draw and make Pretend to be something/someone else Structure

Dislikes Q Q Q

Being static Listening to instructions Being quiet

Now let’s think about the nine to thirteen year olds in the same way (again we will have to use generalizations) Likes Q Q Q Q Q Q Q

Games Talking with peers Thinking Collecting, classifying TV and film Pop music Computers

Dislikes Q Q Q Q Q Q

Structure Presenting in front of others Opposite sex Embarrassment Singing “pretending”

YL 002 Copyright © 2012 TEFLnow.com. All rights reserved.

Page 16


Unit i 2 Teaching Te n and lea e rn r ing n

There are also skills in which the different age groups show varying ability: Five to nine Q Q Q Q

Nine to thirteen

Concentration low Ability to see the abstract low Acquire (learn more unconsciously) Memorization skills low

Q Q Q Q

Concentration higher Ability to see the abstract higher Learn consciously Memorization higher

So taking these ideas into account we can describe a typical classroom. For the 5 to 9-year-olds, it should involve the following: Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q

Very active atmosphere Activities will change constantly and be short in duration There will be noise and movement Teacher instructions will be kept to a minimum There will be physical activity There will be games, role plays etc There will be art and music There will be a lot of repetition and recycling of language.

For the 9 to 13-year-olds it should be a little different: Q Q Q Q Q Q Q Q

Less active (but still far more active than an adult class) Activities will be longer There will be less noise and movement Teacher instruction will be higher There will be less physical activity There will be less pretending More abstract concepts More memorization tasks

YL 002 Copyright Š 2012 TEFLnow.com. All rights reserved.

Page 17


Unit i 2 Teaching Te n and lea e rn r ing n

Task sheet Unit 2 Check your knowledge before attempting the unit test.

Note: Not all the information needed for the answers can be found in the unit;; you may need to research from other sources 1. Outline Piaget’s stages of child development theory. ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ 2. Look for information on Stephen Krashen’s SLA theory. Using around 250 words for each, give: (i) a summary of the points for the theory, and (ii) a summary of the points against. ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................

YL 002 Copyright © 2012 TEFLnow.com. All rights reserved.

Page 18


Unit i 2 Teaching Te n and lea e rn r ing n

………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ …………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ …………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................

YL 002 Copyright © 2012 TEFLnow.com. All rights reserved.

Page 19


Unit i 2 Teaching Te n and lea e rn r ing n 3. Explain these terms: (i) Boomerang ESA lesson ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ (ii) Patchwork ESA lesson ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ 4. Explain the difference between language acquisition and language learning, giving as much detail as possible. ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................

YL 002 Copyright © 2012 TEFLnow.com. All rights reserved.

Page 20


Unit i 2 Teaching Te n and lea e rn r ing n

………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ 5. a) What age range do you consider to be ‘young learners’? ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ 5. b) Why? ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................ ………………………..…………………………………………..…………………………………………..………………………………................

YL 002 Copyright © 2012 TEFLnow.com. All rights reserved.

Page 21

Yl unit 2