Shaping the Way We Teach English: Module 02, Building Language Awareness


THE FOCUS IN MODULE ONE WAS ON THE IMPORTANCE
OF CONTEXTUALIZING LANGUAGE. IN MODULE TWO, THE FOCUS
IS ON THE NEED TO BE AWARE OF THE SPECIFIC LANGUAGE
WITHIN THAT CONTEXT. THAT IS, THE AWARENESS,
THE ATTENTION, AND THE NOTICING
OF THE PARTICULAR FEATURES OF LANGUAGE
THAT ADD TO LEARNING. THIS MEANS THAT IT IS IMPORTANT
TO PAY ATTENTION TO LANGUAGE FORM,
FOR EXAMPLE, GRAMMAR, VOCABULARY,
AND PRONUNCIATION. HOWEVER, TEACHING THESE
FORMAL ASPECTS OF LANGUAGE THROUGH RULES, EXERCISES,
MEMORIZATION, AND DRILLS DOES NOT APPEAR
TO BE ENTIRELY EFFECTIVE. RESEARCH SHOWS
THAT SELECTIVELY FOCUSING ON ASPECTS OF LANGUAGE USE
WITHIN A GIVEN CONTEXT CAN BE EVEN MORE EFFECTIVE. “LANGUAGE AWARENESS”
IS THE NAME FOR THIS KIND OF FOCUS, AND BECAUSE LANGUAGE AWARENESS
IS A FOCUS ON THE PRAGMATIC USES
OF LANGUAGE, THE LANGUAGE INPUT
MUST BE IN CONTEXT. TWO ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS
OF LANGUAGE AWARENESS ARE THAT THE CONTEXT
SHOULD REFLECT LANGUAGE THAT LEARNERS
ARE MOST LIKELY TO USE AND THAT LANGUAGE PRACTICE
IN CONTEXT SHOULD BE ACCOMPANIED
BY CONSCIOUS EFFORT AND REFLECTION
ON THAT PRACTICE. SOME CHARACTERISTICS
OF LANGUAGE AWARENESS INCLUDE: THE USE OF META-LANGUAGE TO TALK ABOUT LANGUAGE
AND LANGUAGE FORMS, TRAINING OF LEARNERS
TO BECOME BETTER, MORE CONSCIOUS PARTICIPANTS
IN THEIR OWN LEARNING — THEY DO THE WORK — A BALANCE OF INDUCTIVE
AND DEDUCTIVE TECHNIQUES TO FOCUS ON SPECIFIC ASPECTS
OF LANGUAGE, FOCUS ON APPROPRIATENESS
OF LANGUAGE USED, BOTH SITUATIONAL
AND CULTURAL, AND THE USE
OF COMPREHENSIBLE INPUT IN THE FORM OF MATERIALS
FROM AUTHENTIC SOURCES FROM THE LOCAL ENVIRONMENT AND FROM THE INTERNET,
FOR EXAMPLE. VIDEO SEGMENT NUMBER ONE. LOOK FOR EXAMPLES OF LEARNERS
USING PREVIOUS INFORMATION TO UNDERSTAND AND MAKE USE
OF NEW INFORMATION, PAIR AND GROUP WORK
FOR COLLABORATIVE DISCOVERIES ABOUT LANGUAGE AND CONTENT, AND INFORMATION
FROM AUTHENTIC SOURCES FOR LANGUAGE PRACTICE
WITH ATTENTION TO FORM, CONTENT, AND PRAGMATICS. MISS ROSS’ THIRD-GRADE CLASS
WILL ROLE-PLAY ACROSS THE WIDE, DARK SEA:
MAYFLOWER JOURNEY. THE CLASS WILL ACT OUT
HOW THE PILGRIMS TRAVEL AND STRUGGLE THROUGH
A LONG JOURNEY FOR A NEW LAND. OKAY. FATHER, FATHER,
PLEASE WAKE UP. I AM SO FRIGHTENED. DON’T BE AFRAID, SON.
IT’S JUST ANOTHER STORM. WE HAVE HAD SEVERAL SINCE
WE SAILED FROM ENGLAND. I’M AFRAID THAT IT
WILL HIT THE SHIP OR THE WAVES
WILL PULL US UNDER. I’M TIRED OF BEING
COLD AND WET. I UNDERSTAND,
BUT WE MUST BE BRAVE. WE ARE ON A LONG,
HARD JOURNEY TO A NEW HOME. WE MUST TRUST THAT WE
WILL GET THERE SAFELY, WHERE WE CAN WORSHIP
IN OUR OWN WAY. IT IS THIS FREEDOM
WE SEEK IN A NEW LAND… COLD AND SHIVERING!
COLD AND SHIVERING! COLD, SHIVERING!
STOP! ALL RIGHT, FATHER AND SON,
LET’S PICK UP HERE. LET’S GO. THIS IS WHAT WE CALL… LAND!
WE’RE HERE AT LAST! LAND! LAND! LAND! All:
LAND!! OKAY, NOW WE HAVE EXPERIENCED
THE JOURNEY OF THE PILGRIMS GOING THROUGH THE WIDE,
DARK SEA. AND NOW WE’LL HAVE MISS WOODS
DO SOME QUESTIONS REGARDING THE JOURNEY. Woods:
BOYS AND GIRLS, HAVE YOU EVER HAD TO LEAVE
YOUR HOME OR COUNTRY? YES. YES, I HAVE WHEN I WENT
FROM — WENT FROM — I WENT FROM ETHIOPIA
TO AMERICA, AND I WAS EXCITED
TO GO THERE — TO GO TO A NEW PLACE, AND I’M STILL MAD
BECAUSE I HAD TO LEAVE MY COUNTRY THAT I WAS BORN IN
AND HAD A LOT OF MY FRIENDS. WHAT WERE YOUR REASONS
FOR LEAVING? REASONS FOR LEAVING
YOUR HOME COUNTRY AND GOING TO ANOTHER? SO WE COULD
HAVE FREEDOM. SO YOU COULD HAVE FREEDOM.
CYNTHIA? TO START A NEW LIFE. TO START A NEW LIFE.
VERY GOOD. OKAY, LET’S GO ON
TO THE NEXT QUESTION. HOW DID THE CREW FEEL
ABOUT LEAVING THEIR FRIENDS IN THE STORY? HAS ANYONE EVER LIVED
IN ONE PLACE AND HAD TO MOVE
TO ANOTHER? HOW DID YOU FEEL?
EXPLAIN YOUR FEELINGS. HOW’D YOU FEEL?
YES? I FELT SAD
BECAUSE I LEFT — I LOVE MY GRANDMOTHER, AND SHE —
SHE DIDN’T WANT — SHE DIDN’T WANT TO MOVE. YOU LOVED YOUR GRANDMOTHER,
AND SHE DIDN’T WANT TO MOVE. OKAY, VERY GOOD. WHEN I LEFT MY UNCLE, I WAS SAD BECAUSE I WASN’T
GOING TO SEE HIM ANYMORE. OKAY, LET’S GO
ONTO THE NEXT QUESTION. WHEN THE PILGRIMS
ARRIVED ON LAND, WHAT ACTIVITIES, CHORES,
OR JOBS DO YOU THINK THEY HAD TO ORGANIZE
TO GET EVERYTHING DONE? YES, ANNA? FIND A PLACE TO SETTLE. THEY HAD TO FIND A PLACE
TO SETTLE, VERY GOOD. ISAAC? THEY HAD TO FIND MATERIALS
TO BUILD NEW HOMES. THEY HAD TO FIND MATERIALS
TO BUILD THEIR NEW HOME. VERY GOOD. THEY HAD TO GROW FOOD
FOR THE WINTER OR THEY WOULD
BE STARVING. THEY HAD TO GROW FOOD.
YES, EMANUEL? WASH CLOTHES. THEY HAD TO WASH
THEIR CLOTHES. MY LAST QUESTION: WHAT SIMILARITIES
OR DIFFERENCES DO YOU HAVE WITH
THE PILGRIMS IN THE STORY? YES. WE GROW FOOD —
WE BOTH GROW FOOD IN — IN PLACES, AND IN DIFFERENT PLACES,
WE PLANT FOOD, AND PEOPLE GO TO
DIFFERENT PLACES TO TRAVEL TO MAKE THEIR OWN LIFE —
TO HAVE THEIR OWN LIFE. VERY GOOD.
VERY GOOD. NOW MRS. ROSS
IS GOING TO TALK SOME MORE ABOUT JOURNEYS
AND TAKING TRIPS. MISS ROSS? OKAY,
YOU DID A GREAT JOB. PAT YOURSELF ON THE BACK.
EXCELLENT JOB. VERY GOOD.
VERY GOOD. NOW WE’RE GOING TO MOVE
INTO SMALL GROUPS, AND NOW WE’RE GOING TO
EXPERIENCE BY DOING A PLAN — BY PLANNING A TRIP. OKAY, NOW WE HAVE
ALREADY EXPERIENCED HOW THE PILGRIMS
WENT ON THEIR JOURNEY, AND WE KNOW WE ALL
HAVE EXPERIENCED SOME SIMILAR
JOURNEYS, TOO. SO NOW WE’RE GOING TO
PLAN A TRIP, OKAY? WHAT I NEED YOU
TO DO BY TABLES IS TO GO TO
THE SOCIAL-STUDIES CENTER AND PICK UP ANY BROCHURES
THAT YOU NEED TO WORK BY CALLING BY TABLE. LET’S START WITH
TABLE THREE FIRST. PICK UP YOUR BROCHURES. START WRITING OUT
YOUR PLAN: A TRIP. WHAT YOU NEED TO DO, CLASS,
IS WRITE “PLACE,” WHERE YOU’RE GOING,
PACKING A LIST, THE TRIP ACTIVITIES, AND YOUR LENGTH OF TIME
AND TRANSPORTATION. LET’S DO THAT FIRST
ON THE GREEN SHEET, AND IF YOU NEED ANY HELP,
RAISE YOUR HAND. OKAY, LEAVE
A LITTLE SPACE. NOW LET’S WRITE
THE NEXT WORD: “LIST.” L-I-S-T-. GOOD JOB, EDWIN.
PLEASE DRAW THE LINE. WE HAVE TO USE AIRPLANE. OKAY, HE’S GOING
TO THE AIRPLANE. OKAY: AIRPLANE. …SIGHTSEEING. SIGHTSEEING. [ indistinct conversations ] Woman:
MAKE IT EXCITING. MAKE IT A WAY
THAT PEOPLE — “WHOO, I WANT TO GO
TO THAT PLACE.” OKAY, WHAT ELSE
DO YOU NEED? WE’RE GOING TO NEED
CLOTHES. OKAY, BUT WHAT TYPE
OF CLOTHES? SWIMSUITS…SHOES… AND SHIRTS AND PANTS. OKAY. THREE SUITCASES —
NO, TWO SUITCASES. NO, TWO SUITCASES.
PUT YOUR NAME ON IT. THEN WE’RE FINISHED. MAKE IT A CAPITAL “V,”
RIGHT? I SEE SOME NICE POSTERS! REALLY NICE! GOOD. SUMMARY: IN THIS CLASS, WE SAW EXAMPLES
OF AN ALL-CLASS SKIT ABOUT THE PILGRIMS
WHO FIRST CAME TO THE U.S. MANY YEARS AGO. THIS WAS FOLLOWED
BY A GUIDED DISCUSSION IN WHICH STUDENTS RELATED
THEIR OWN TRAVEL EXPERIENCES AND HOW THEY FELT
ABOUT THEM. AND, FINALLY,
STUDENTS WORKED IN GROUPS USING REAL TRAVEL BROCHURES TO CREATE A TRAVEL PLAN
OF THEIR OWN. THE TEACHER, HER AIDES, AND VARIOUS MATERIALS
POSTED AROUND THE ROOM PROVIDED THE NECESSARY
LANGUAGE SUPPORT OR AWARENESS FOR VOCABULARY,
ORGANIZATION, AND WRITING. NOTE THAT THIS APPROACH
AND THIS SEQUENCE OF ACTIVITIES WOULD ALSO WORK JUST AS WELL
WITH TEENS OR ADULTS. THE FOCUS IN MODULE TWO HAS BEEN ON DEVELOPING
LANGUAGE AWARENESS. WE CAN ASK OURSELVES, “WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO KNOW
A LANGUAGE FEATURE?” IT IS NOT ENOUGH
TO KNOW BASIC FORM AND A SIMPLE MEANING
FOR A LANGUAGE ITEM. THE SUCCESSFUL LEARNER
MUST ALSO UNDERSTAND THE MULTIPLE MEANINGS
AND USES OF THAT ITEM IN A VARIETY OF CONTEXTS. WE CAN ALSO GIVE CONSIDERATION
TO THE GLOBAL NATURE OF ENGLISH AND TO THE REASONS WHY OUR
LEARNERS ARE STUDYING ENGLISH. WHO WILL OUR LEARNERS
BE TALKING TO, WRITING TO? WHAT WILL THEY BE LISTENING TO,
READING? WHAT ENGLISH
SHOULD BE TAUGHT? WE CAN REFLECT ON IDEAS
AND EXAMPLES FROM THIS AND OTHER MODULES
IN THIS VIDEO AND THEN APPLY THEM
TO OUR CLASSES IN WAYS THAT WORK BEST FOR EACH OF OUR UNIQUE
EDUCATIONAL SETTINGS. SEE THE MANUAL FOR READINGS
AND MORE INFORMATION ON THIS AND OTHER TOPICS RELATED TO
BUILDING LANGUAGE AWARENESS.

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