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Keeping Teacher and Student Talk in the Target Language June 11-13, 2007 University of Wisconsin, Madision PowerPoint Presentation
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Keeping Teacher and Student Talk in the Target Language June 11-13, 2007 University of Wisconsin, Madision

Keeping Teacher and Student Talk in the Target Language June 11-13, 2007 University of Wisconsin, Madision

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Keeping Teacher and Student Talk in the Target Language June 11-13, 2007 University of Wisconsin, Madision

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  1. Keeping Teacher and Student Talk in the Target LanguageJune 11-13, 2007University of Wisconsin, Madision Charlene Polio Michigan State University Linguistics & Languages Center for Language Education and Research Fei Fei Michigan State University Second Language Studies Program Center for Language Education and Research

  2. Day one • Objectives (students will be able to…) • to understand why maximum use of the TL is important • to understand when the NL, used very sparingly, can be helpful • to make oneself comprehensible while speaking in the TL without using the students’ NL

  3. Day one • Agenda (focus on comprehension) • Class introductions • Some background information • Introductory video of French class and discussion • Some assumptions about language learning • Challenges to using the target language • Introductory sample lesson and discussion • Teaching new writing systems in the target language • Teaching grammar in the target language • Sample lesson and discussion • Expanding grammar and vocabulary through comprehension-based lessons • Moving to speaking through story telling

  4. What’s happening in class? • The National Association of Sport and Physical Education says that student students should get 45 minute of physical education class each day. How much activity does the average student get in a 45-minute class? • 16 minutes ( • Think about an hour long language class. How much input are the student getting in the target language? (Duff & Polio, 1990). • One study of 13 languages showed a median of 79% in second-quarter language classes with a range of 10 to 100%. • This variation did not seem to be related to language type or writing system type. • How much are the students talking? (Zyzik & Polio, 2006) • Some evidence from three advanced Spanish literature classes Ellen Patricia Lourdes_____ CL1 CL2 CL1 CL2 CL1 CL2 Total T words 7042 6887 5490 6463 6653 6696 Total S words 927 613 284 216* 398** 291** *Excluding a student presentation **Excluding students reading passages from text

  5. As you watch, answer the following • Is your teaching similar to or different from what you see in the video? • What visuals does the teacher use to keep the class in the TL? • What does the teacher do with her language to keep the class in the TL? • How does she make her instructions comprehensible to beginners in the TL? • What authentic materials does the teachers use? Are these helpful for beginners? • Should students be allowed to ask questions in English? • Should students be allowed to speak English in group work? • What grammar point does the teacher explain in French? • How does she use the written language to keep the class in the TL? • How does the teacher include culture in the TL for beginners? • How does the teacher correct students' errors? • What is your opinion of the "What's Missing?" game? • What is your opinion of the information gap activity? • What can be done to make more efficient use of class time? • What can be done to keep all students engaged and participating?

  6. Theoretical framework: Interactionist approach • The interactionist approach focuses on three major issues. • Exposure (or input) is essential but not sufficient for language acquisition. It provides examples of language for learners, and interaction can help make input more comprehensible because it can help them ask for modifications to the input. • Production (or output) help learners notice specific problems or gaps in their language and helps them test hypotheses about the language. • Feedback on incorrect utterances are received during interaction in various forms and this facilitates acquisition.

  7. Interactionist approach (cont) • A variety of factors can affect learning. • The main focus of interaction research was not originally on individual differences, but certain cognitive factors (e.g., working memory) and social (e.g., motivation) can affect acquisition. • Explicit feedback, which does not happen naturally outside of the language classroom, can positively affect acquisition. • Different tasks will elicit different linguistic structures as well as different types of feedback. • Learners’ developmental level will affect their ability to process feedback on given structures. • Much acquisition happens incidentally but some type of focus on form is necessary for full acquisition. • Note that explicit grammar instruction is considered useful if it is part of the target language input, and explicit feedback is useful if it takes place during interaction or in context.

  8. What about Sanskrit? • Is it useful to provide input and interaction for languages which are going to read and not spoken? • Pros • When we read, we access the phonology of the language, so hearing the language might be useful. • It might motivate students because it is more fun and could be a change of pace. • Output will help students learn. • Cons • The teacher must be able to speak the language. • If reading is the goal, speaking in and listening to the target language might not be the most efficient way to reach that goal. • Necessary words might not exist in the target language. (How do you say “cell phone” in Sanskrit?) • Considerations • The teacher needs to use language related to the texts that will be read, as reading text is the ultimate goal. • Examples of language programs • University of Kentucky Latin Program ( • “It is well established that participation in a variety of learning modes, including writing, listening and speaking - not merely reading and translating - enhances the comprehension of any language and the appreciation of its nuances.”

  9. Some assumptions for the classroom • The importance of teacher speech (input) • The teacher has to use the TL if he or she wants students to. • True communication in the TL is necessary for acquisition to occur. • Using the TL for classroom management ensure true communication. • There are a wide variety of strategies that a teacher can use to stay in the TL. • The importance of student production (output) • The teacher has to teach students the TL they need and then construct activities so that the students can use the language. • With more advanced learners, teachers need to push learners to use TL beyond their comfort level; open-ended activities often don’t accomplish this. • Teachers need to help learners feel comfortable when they are speaking the TL. • Discrete (not discreet) times for English • Assistance from visuals and written language (sometimes in English) • Grading only what has been taught • Providing a time to take risks

  10. Challenges • Various logistical issues related to teacher and student use of the TL should be considered. • Covering the curriculum • What needs to be graded • Setting class policies • Specific times for English • “Punishment” for English use? • Amount of homework • Coordination with textbooks • Class Size • Motivation and attentiveness of students • Different difficulties for different levels • Beginners • Making yourself understood • Providing learners with enough language to speak • Intermediate • Getting students to talk more freely • Making yourself understood when discussing complex ideas • Pushing students to use complex language • Advanced • Pushing students to use complex language

  11. Some exchanges from foreign language classes • Exchange 1 • T:Atem rotsim xazara. Ma ze xazara? Xazar. Ma ze xazar? • [You want a review. What does review mean? He reviewed. What does 'he reviewed' mean?] • SSS:Returned.// • T: //Returned. Repeat‑ returned. And it's xazara is review. Kein? Xazara is review. • [Yes?] • SSS: xxx • T: Atem rotsim et haxazara b'yon gimel, o b'yom daled? • [Do you want the review on Tuesday or on Wednesday?] • Eize yom atem rotsim? • [Which day do you want?] • Exchange 2 • T : ¿Por qué se atreve? ¿Qué es atreverse? To dare. Osar. ¿Por qué se atreve Camila? • [Why does she dare? What is to dare? To dare. Why does Camila dare?]

  12. Exchange 3 • T:Mwusun ttusdlyeyyo? Mekun ili isseyo. • [What does that mean? Have the experience of eating] • ((7 seconds, no response from students)) • T: What does that mean? Having the experience of having lunch? • Exchange 4 • T:Tanggoeyse chumchun ili isseyo? • [Have you (ever) danced?] • S:Do you want‑ do you want me to say yes? • T:Have you? • S:No. • T:OK. • S:Anniyo. • [No.]

  13. Strategies used by teachers to stay in the TL: Tone lesson • Give students expressions to ask for help. • Use written language to help learners keep track of information, including new vocabulary. • Use written language to help segment sentences and phrases. • Organize information well on blackboard. • Use small amounts of written English if necessary. • Debrief in English to address complex ideas or lack of understanding.

  14. Sample beginner lessons in the TL: Teaching the writing system • How do you currently teach the writing system of your language? What techniques do you use? How long does it take to master? • Do you teach the writing system in the TL? • What challenges might there be to teaching the writing system in the TL? • Get into the following groups of two or three. • Bengali,Gujarati, Sinhala • Hindi (two groups) • Nepali • Sanskrit (find an appropriate group) • Tamil • Tibetan • Urdu • Plan a 10-20 minute lesson, for complete beginners, introducing the writing system of your language. This lesson must be completely in the TL but you may write on the board in English if absolutely necessary. Choose one person in your group to teach the lesson to the class. • I will choose about three people to present their lessons.

  15. Day two objectives • Students will be able to • to introduce new writing systems to beginners using only the TL • to determine which grammar points can be taught in the TL • to teach some grammar to beginners using only the TL • to teach grammar and vocabulary using comprehension-based methods (such as TPR and structured input) • to understand the difference between activities that focus on form and those that focus on meaning • to use a variety of storytelling activities to teach language

  16. Day two agenda • Writing system teaching demonstrations • Teaching grammar in the target language • Discussion • Chinese demonstration • Comprehension-based methods • Total physical response (TPR) • Structured input • Grammar teaching demonstrations • Moving to speaking through storytelling activities

  17. Teaching grammar in the target language • Do you teach grammar in the target language?  If no, why not? • If sometimes, when do you use the target language and when do you not? •  If you do use the target language to teach grammar, how do you make your language comprehensible to the students? • What are the advantages of teaching grammar in the target language? • What are the disadvantages of teaching grammar in the target language? • What are some strategies that you can use to teach grammar in the target language?

  18. Strategies for teaching grammar in the target language • Use props and visuals. • Give English grammar explanations for homework. • Brief/debrief in English. • Teach the vocabulary of grammar (e.g., noun, verb). • But this can be difficult if students have difficulty with English concepts. • Focus on easily teachable structures (e.g., not the subjunctive)

  19. Group discussion • Think of two to four grammar points, one or two for beginners and one or two for intermediate students, that you could teach in the target language. • Think of two to four that you could not teach in the target language. Explain why they could not be taught in the target language.

  20. Total Physical Response (TPR) • Assumptions • Motor activity is helpful. • Learning an L1 is similar to learning an L2. • Low anxiety facilitates language learning. • Comprehension precedes speaking. • Focus on meaning, not form. (?) • Use of unanalyzed chunks facilitates learning. • Pros • Can be fun and nonthreatening. (?) • Students learn to understand a lot quickly. • Good for children. • Good for large groups. (?) • Good for warm up activity. • Can be used to introduce new vocabulary. • Cons • Focuses on one skill – listening. • Difficult to incorporate all grammatical structures. • Based on probably false assumptions about language learning.

  21. Comprehension-based lesson for vocabulary and grammar • What did you learn about Chinese grammar? • What structure is being taught in the TPR lesson? • What is your general impression of the lesson? • Can you adapt this to other structures? • How can you get the students talking? • Do you remember how to say anything?

  22. What is attention to form/meaning? • Listening for a particular structure without having to understand the meaning (attention to form) • Listening for answers to comprehension questions (attention to meaning - primarily) • Can these be combined? • Yes, but it is difficult to focus on one particular structure. • Input processing/structured input approach

  23. Listening comprehension sentences using the passive • At the beginning of this story, the man was honked at by the boy. • In picture 1, the boy is being followed by the man. • The car was run off the road by the bike. • In picture 3, the boy is being passed by the car. • The man was annoyed by the boy.

  24. Structured input (also called input processing) • Assumptions • Learners will focus on content words before grammar words. • John traveled yesterday. • I bought five books. • The cat was chased by the dog. • Learners need activities to focus on form and meaning at the same time. • Explicit instruction can be used to introduce the structure. • How to use this technique • Present one new structure at a time. • Focus on both form and meaning. • Move from sentences to connected discourse. • Use both oral and written input. • Have the learners do something with the input.

  25. Listening comprehension sentences using the possessive • Maria Shriver’s mother is Eunice Shriver. • Maria Shriver is the mother of Sargent Shriver. • Robin Lawford’s daughter is Victoria Lawford. • Peter Lawford is the father of Christopher Lawford. • Kara Kennedy is Joan Kennedy’s mother.

  26. Preparing a grammar lesson • Get into your groups and prepare a grammar lesson that can taught completely in the target language to beginners. • Choose one person to teach. • The lesson should last about 15 minutes.

  27. Day three • Agenda • Grammar presentations • Getting students to talk through communicative activities • Getting students to talk through tasks • Activities for pushing advanced students • Vocabulary • Using the L1 • Getting students to talk during vocabulary activities • Storytelling activities (if time) • Objectives • To construct true communicative activities for students • To prepare students for communicative activities and give them feedback on such activities • To push advanced students to use more complex language • To use role play more effectively • To understand how to use minimal amounts of the L1 to facilitate vocabulary learning • To devise vocabulary activities that get students talking • To use a variety of story telling activities to teach language

  28. Constructing Speaking Activities to Get More Output • Beginners • Providing them with the language that they need to communicate • Intermediate and advanced students • Pushing their output beyond their comfort zone • Getting them to use new vocabulary and grammar • Students in large classes • Giving each student enough talking time • Keeping all students engaged • Shy students • Providing contexts where they must speak and where vocal students cannot do all the work • For all students • Creating truly communicative situations

  29. What is a communicative activity? An activity that… • requires communication? • is part of the communicative approach? • encourages communicative competence? • A communicative task is a task that requires a true exchange of information to complete correctly. • This forces learners to understand and to be understood. • Note that a noncommunicative activity is not necessarily bad. • Often such activities are needed for instructional purposes. • Sometimes an appropriate communicative activity cannot be devised.

  30. What is a communicative activity? • Look at the activities and decide if they are truly communicative. • A: Pronunciation practice • Grant, L. (2001). Well Said. Boston: Heinle & Heinle. • B: Leading into a topic • Zwier, L. & Hughes, A.(2003). Essential Functions for Conversation. Hong Kong: Asia Pacific Press. • C: Agreeing and disagreeing • Barnard, R. (1995). Fifty-Fifty: An Intermediate Course in Communcative English. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: PrenticeHall Regents. • D. Giving and understanding directions • Dwyer, D., Polio, C., & Glew, M. (2000). African Language Tutorial Guide. Center for Language Education and Research, Michigan State University. • Try the find-the-difference activity. • Two people should do the task and one should observe. • Did both people have to talk? • Did one person dominate? • What grammatical structures were elicited? • Demonstration of communicative activity in Chinese

  31. Guidelines for analyzing activities: Consider the find-the-difference task • What is your general opinion of this activity? • How could you modify it for a large class? For beginners? For advanced students? • What are the objectives? What do you think the students will learn? • Write objectives from the students’ perspective. • Not: To provide students with vocabulary about the weather. • Instead: (Students will be able) To talk about current weather conditions. • Do not use the word practice in your objectives. • Not: To practice listening to a radio weather report. • Instead: (Students will be able) To understand a radio weather report.

  32. Guidelines (cont.) • What can you do to prepare the students for the activity? How would the teacher set up the activity for language students? • What grammar structures are being elicited? (Or what grammar structures will the students use?) • How can we adapt this activity to give students more talking time? • Will students have to speak in the target language? How can you help them avoid English? • Is this a communicative activity? Do students have to exchange information to complete the task? • Is the activity pushing learners’ output?  Do all students have to talk? • How can the teacher deal with errors in this activity? • How can the teacher check comprehension? • Is there cultural information included in the activity?

  33. Sample activity • From a Spanish textbook: • Look at this picture of a beach scene. Work in pairs. Take turns to make sentences about what is happening in the picture. • Complete this task with a partner pretending to be an unmotivated student with limited language skills. Willis, J. (2004). Perspectives on task-based instruction: Understanding our practices, acknowledging different practitioners. In Leaver, B. & Willis, J. (Eds.). Task-based instruction in foreign language education. (pp. 3-46) Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.

  34. Basic principles of task-based language instruction • Activities are purposeful and emphasize communication and meaning. • Learners learn by interacting communicatively. • Activities can be real-life goals or they may have a pedagogical purpose. • There is generally some type of outcome to the activity. • How can we use tasks to get learners to talk?

  35. Modified to have a clear outcome • On your own, draw a rough sketch of a beach you knew as a child. Write a list of the similarities and differences between your beach and the beach in the picture. • Ask your partner about his or her beach and compare them. Decide which beach would be better for a family day out. • Choose your or your partner's picture and plan how to describe it to the class so that they can draw it. Explain why this beach is the better one for a family outing. • Describe your picture to the class so that they can draw. You will also draw pictures of your classmates' beaches. • Compare your pictures to your classmates'. Whose beach is best for a family outing?

  36. Another information exchange activity (Picture drawing) • Teach students names of body parts by drawing a picture. • Draw a picture of an alien with, for example, one eye, four arms, two mouths, and so on. • As a class have the students describe your picture. • Have each student draw his or her own alien. • Pair up the students and have one of each pair describe the alien so that the other person can draw it. • While the students are working, circulate around room listening for grammatical and pronunciation errors. • When the first of each pair has finished, go over some of the errors you heard. • Have students repeat the activity with the other person describing the alien.

  37. Pushing advanced students to talk • Participate in the demonstrations, but think about how you would set up the activity in a language class. What would you teach the students before the activity? • Sentence sequencing • Picture sequencing activity one • Picture sequencing activity two • Role plays • Information gap role plays • Role play using authentic materials • Guided role play for beginners • Discussion role play for advanced students • Writing activities • Jigsaw Activities • Using pictures • Using written texts • Vocabulary activities • Find a partner • Go to board

  38. Answers to sentence sequencing • j. Mary and Stuart decided to buy a house. • b. Mary found a real estate agent to assist them in their search. • n. They told the real estate agent that they wanted to live in a quiet residential neighborhood. • d. They also said that they preferred small houses. • e. First, they looked at a stunning house in the suburbs, but the house was too far away from work. • a. Next, they toured a charming house by a lake. • i. They heard from their friends, however, that the lake was polluted. • g. The real estate agent then showed them a spacious house near some apartment buildings.

  39. c. They didn't like it because the house was too big, and the apartment buildings were hideous. • h. Finally, they saw a quaint house on a cul-de-sac. • l. The little house was just right - not too expensive, not too far from work, and not too big. • m. Even though the house was little, it had a big kitchen, two modern bathrooms, and cathedral ceilings. • k. They finally decided to buy the house, remodel the outdated kitchen, and take out the old kitchen cabinets. • f. When I last talked to them, they were happy with their decision, and they liked the house a lot.

  40. Sentence ordering activity – standard method • Find a piece of connected text to use. For beginners, it is easier to use nonauthentic texts that target specific vocabulary. For more advanced students, you can use short authentic pieces. • Divide the text into sentences, one for each student. You will probably have to modify the text to do this. If you have someone absent, you can give one of your better students two adjacent sentences. • If you have a cooperative class, you can have the entire class participate together. If that seems unmanageable, the class can be divided into groups.

  41. Sentence ordering activity - modified method • Find a piece of connected text to use. For beginners, it is easier to use nonauthentic texts that target specific vocabulary. For more advanced students, you can use short authentic pieces. The text should have about ten – twenty sentences. • Divide the class in half. Give one half a handout with space to write half of the sentences on a blue handout. Give the other half space to write half of the sentences on a yellow handout. • On one side of the room, post copies on blue pieces of paper of half of the sentences, out of order, from the text. • On the other side of the room, post copies on yellow pieces of paper of the other half of the sentences, out of order. • Students must leave their answer sheets at their desks, go to the board, and try to remember the sentences. • Once the students have finished, they must pair up with someone who has a different color worksheet and put the sentences in order.

  42. Pushing learner output in role play • Demonstrations • Use authentic materials when possible. • Give guidelines for what students are supposed to talk about. • Create an true information exchange situation. • Give feedback on language. • If you have students write dialogues, have them present without reading them.

  43. Sample role play cards • Poorly constructed role play • Person A • You are in Chicago and want to buy a train ticket to East Lansing. • Person B • You are working in the ticket office at the Chicago train station. • Better role play • Person A • You are in Montreal and you want to a travel to Yonkers, New York. You know that the Adironack train travels from Montreal to Washington, DC. You call Amtrak to find out the following: • 1. The arrival and departure time of the train on a Monday • 2. Whether or not the train has the same weekend schedule • 3. Whether or not smoking is allowed • 4. The distance of the trip • Person B • You are working in the Amtrak train station in Montreal.

  44. Ticket Buyer (begins) Greet the ticket seller. Say that you want a ticket to Chicago. Ask about the price of a round-trip ticket. Ask if there are any trains leaving between 3 and 5 pm. Ask how long the trip takes. Say that you will buy a round-trip ticket for the 4:30 train. Ask where you should board the train. Thank the seller. Train station employee Greet the ticket buyer. Ask if the person wants a one-way or round-trip ticket. Explain that a round-trip ticket is $37.00. Tell the ticket buyer that there is a train leaving at 3:30 and 4:30. Ask which the person wants. Say that the trip takes about 2 hours. Give the ticket to the buyer and thank the person. Tell person that the train boards at gate 5. Guided (controlled) role play for beginners

  45. Role plays for advanced students • Create some type of debate. • Choose a controversial issue. • Give students cards with different points of view. • See example on handout. •

  46. Create your own role play • Create a role play for a class that you typically teach. • Write role play cards for the students. • How would you prepare the students? • How would you give feedback?

  47. Using Writing to Get Students to Talk • Freewriting activity • Use as pre- or post- listening, speaking, reading, or writing activity. • What is the rationale for using writing to teach speaking? • The teacher can call on all students. • Everyone is on task while writing. • Students who have stronger literacy skills can tap into them. • Students can get assistance from the teacher or dictionary for difficult vocabulary. • Students may notice gaps in their language and thus be better primed to learn. • Writing is a form of planning that can lead to improvements in speech, specifically, greater complexity. • Writing can activate students’ schema and help them organize their thoughts. • Writing may force students to use new vocabulary or grammatical structures. • The teacher can check all students’ comprehension after a lesson, not just those who talk. • Students will have to reflect on what they learned.

  48. Some resources • Books with teaching activities • • Videos • • Find-the-difference pictures •