(Photo: CCTV-9, July 28, 2009) EFL Teacher Education 09: Strategic Interaction - ST
Strategies Success (Photo: China Daily, July 28, 2009)
Strategic interaction in the Senior EFL classroom: Teacher’s perspectives 高中英语课堂策略互动：教师视角 外语研修部 黄军生 August 20, 2009 firstname.lastname@example.org
Biodata • Research 1. Interactive integration: English language learning strategies, styles and tasks at the senior secondary level in China (at the University of Hong Kong, August 2004 – October 2008) 2. Understanding successful university students’ English learning strategy use (at the University of Hong Kong, December 2007 onward) • Research interests Second language acquisition (SLA), specifically, language learner knowledge, strategies and self-regulation • Contact at: E-mail: email@example.com; Tel. 13509321692
Today’s topics: • Rationale for strategic interaction • Understanding language learning strategies • Exploring the interactive integration: Learning strategies in the ECS Learning strategies integrated in textbooks Learner knowledge & strategy use Strategies as goal-driven actions Strategies as task-focused actions Strategies as situated actions • Conclusion
Elements involved in today’s seminar: Theme: Strategic interaction Elements: • Language learning strategy (LLS) theories • The English Curriculum Standards (ECS) (MOE, 2001, 2003) • Research data • Textbook analyses • My interpretations based on research, practice, and experience • My suggestions for the Junior EFL instruction
A story of a strategic learner (A successful English learner) Initial stage: “Interest is my best teacher.” (The learner recalled) “Compared with Chinese, English is in reverse order.” (Father) Junior: A chant taught in his first English lesson: “One two three four five, once I caught a fish alive. Three four five six seven, but this fish slipped off my hand.” (Teacher) Findings: (1) Not always in reverse order; (2) Rhymes (e.g., five, alive); (3) Fun and interesting like Chinese.
Strategies used by the teacher and the student: Imitating: e.g., “It’s none of your business. This is a private conversation!” Repeating: (“… until the teacher smiled.”) Making Chinese work for English learning: “Chinese and English are the same at the deepest level” Chinese can be used “as a bridge” (Learner) Inducing grammar: e.g., Xiao Ming is driving a car. (“is driving” is the grammar) Guessing: “Guessing is like playing a jigsaw game.” (Learner) Taking the “first risk”: Challenging an expert interpreter from an oil company: “What’s this in English?” (Pointing to a mirror on the wall) “Oh, it is a mirror.”
Senior:Strategies used by the teacher and the student: (Knowledge-based learning) Taking notes: (T wrote all language points on the board; S made a “grammar book” by pooling together all the notes); Studying grammar: e.g., The T’s “12-verb rule” (5 “see” – 2 “hear” – 1 “feel” + “let, make, have, and help”); Summarizing: “Adding bits and pieces to build up my own English mansion.” Setting grammatical questions: “Grammar is dead, but language is alive.” (T) Understanding changes in English: “English changes at 2 levels: words and sentences.” (The learner) Understanding grammar: e.g., the principle of simplification; “A feel for the language – the ability to internalize grammar into a habit”; “The essential difference between Chinese and English is grammar, which reflects the differences in thinking and cultures.” (Learner) Imitating: “A good English learner is a smart imitator.” “I learned English in the way of studying science and technology.”
Tertiary:Strategies used by the learner & his peers (Self-access study; the way to G & T – CET4&6, GRE, TOEFL) Memorizing vocabulary in any possible ways: - Word formation: 500 roots/affixes/stems - Keyword strategies: e.g., conundrum “可难琢磨”; issue 问题难不倒“一休”; - Using an English dictionary (to understand accurate meanings) - Memorizing the “Red Book” (“Red Book” + MP3) - Listening to MP3 English corner (to improve oral English greatly): “Failure in the dorm; success in the English corner.” Topic discussions English debates Creating an environment for English learning Using podcast to “sit in” university seminars in the U.S. “I’m honored to be given a nickname, Mr. Dictionary.”
The story tells us that … - the learner has his own story of strategy use for English learning. - he uses strategies at different stages (Junior, Senior, and Tertiary) - his learning strategies involve not only actions but also knowledge and beliefs about himself and his learning process. - his story of strategy use is a mental journey situated in particular learning cultures and communities and related to others. - he starts with interest, sustains progress through strategy use, and achieves the self-regulation, … … and his story will go on and on …
1. Rationale for strategic interaction • An example for strategic interaction Stick with your friends through thick and thin (Key to success; SEFC, B3, U11, p.91) T: This is an interesting idiom, isn’t it? Who can explain it? (Asking questions) S1: May I say it in Chinese? (Asking for permission) T: OK. Go ahead, please. S1: 与朋友患难与共。A ‘stick’ is a piece of wood. It’s straight, pushing continuously through to the bottom. So it means ‘continue to stay’ . (Association: a process of metaphorical cognition)
T: A good explanation! What about ‘through thick and thin’? S1: Sorry, I know it’s an idiom, but I have no idea how it works in this sentence. (Asking for clarification) T: OK, … ‘thick and thin’ implies both good and bad times. When you stay with your friends through both good and bad times, how can you describe the friendship? (Paraphrase) (Association) S1: A true friend! T: Yes, we can say you are good/true/real/faithful friends, as a saying goes, ‘A friend in need is a friend indeed’ 患难朋友才是真正朋友.” (Collocation) (Quotation) (Oral translation) (Based on Huang, 2008: 196)
A question for discussion: Do you have any other interpretations for the classroom interplay between the teacher and the student?
The strategic interaction makes teaching & learning more meaningful and enjoyable: • facilitating classroom communication; • enabling Ss to learn how to learn and use English; • allowing Ss to become more self-directed; • making Ss undertake more responsibilities for learning; • adding to Ss’ knowledge and skills; • expanding the role of teachers (e.g., co-constructor, cooperator, participant, facilitator, catalyst, counselor, evaluator, mediator …); Why? - Contributing to communicative competence
Communicative competence The ability to make language relevant to the context and, in turn, sustain the context through language use (Hymes, 1971, 1972).
Four components of communicative competence Possibility – the ability to produce grammatical sentences; Feasibility – the sentences can be decoded by the human brain; Appropriateness – the ability to use correct language forms in a specific sociocultural context; Performance – the fact that the utterance is completed (Hymes, 1971)
Another model: • Grammatical competence What Chomsky (1957) calls “linguistic competence”; • Sociolinguistic competence An understanding of the social context in communication; • Discourse competence The ability to achieve cohesion in form and coherence in thought; • Strategic competence The ability to use strategies to compensate for limited language knowledge. (Canale & Swain, 1980; Canale, 1983)
Strategic interaction Human interaction, in essence, is strategic interaction, which starts with the premise that “learning takes place only when the internal mind can be linked to the external world.” (Di Pietro, 1987: 10) Strategic interaction is a communicative and learner- centered approach to language teaching and learning that recognizes that students’ learning is under their own control (Wenden, 1993: 568)
2. Understanding learning strategies • Good language learner (GLL) studies Successful learners’ strategic approaches to language tasks could provide teachers with guidance in transferring them to less successful learners (Rubin, 1975; Stern, 1975; Naiman et al., 1978) .
7 major GLL strategies An active task approach; An awareness of learning styles and strategies; Willingness to use or practice the language; A concern for language form; A concern for meaning; Monitoring of the learning process; Management of emotions. (Based on Rubin, 1975; Stern, 1975; Naiman et al., 1978)
A key question Does strategy use result in learning or does learning increase learners’ ability to employ more strategies? (Ellis, 1997) ？
Defining learning strategies Definition 1: as “specific actions taken by the learner to make learning easier, faster, more enjoyable, more self-directed, more effective, and more transferable to new situations.” (Oxford, 1990: 8) Definition 2:as “complex procedures that individuals apply to tasks; consequently, they may be represented as procedural knowledge which may be acquired through cognitive, associative, and autonomous stages of learning.” (O’Malley & Chamot, 1990: 52)
Definition 3: as “(1) language learning behaviors learners actually engage in to learn and regulate the learning of a second language; (2) what learners know about the strategies they use …; (3) what learners know about aspects of their language learning …” (Wenden, 1987: 6-7) Definition 4: as “actions and steps taken by students to enhance their learning and development.” (MOE, 2001: 23; 2003: 18)
Main characteristics of LLS Both actions and knowledge/beliefs; Steps taken by Ss to enhance learning; Both general and specific approaches; (Strategies, tactics or techniques) Both direct and indirect procedures; Goal- and problem-orientated (Proficiency in L2; 10 words a day; word lists / dictionary use) Task- and context-dependent;
Memory strategies (for storing and retrieving information) e.g., using phonological rules; using word lists • Cognitive strategies (for reasoning, analyzing, summarizing, & practicing) e.g., rehearsal; elaboration • Compensation strategies (for overcoming limitations in knowledge) e.g., guessing; gestures; code-switching • Metacognitive strategies (for organizing and evaluating learning) e.g., goal-setting; attention; monitoring while performing a task • Affective strategies (for managing emotions and attitudes) e.g., relaxation; reward • Social strategies (for learning with others) e.g., asking for correction; asking for slowness/repetition; self-talk • Resource strategies (for obtaining resources needed in learning) e.g., using resource and reference books; using audio-video materials
A question for discussion: Should we overtly teach our students learning strategies in our classroom instruction? Why?
My interpretation: “Strategy instruction can be a useful way in terms of the strategic interaction between teachers and students.”
3. Exploring interactive integration • Learning strategies in the ECS Overall ECS goal: “To develop students’ comprehensive competence of language use.” (MOE, 2001; 2003)
Five specific objectives: Language knowledge: Pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, functions, & topics; Language skills: Listening, speaking, reading, & writing; Learning strategies: Cognitive, controlling, communicative, & resource strategies; Cultural awareness: Cultural knowledge and cross-cultural communication; Affective attitudes: Interest and motivation, confidence and consistency, cooperation,and international outlook;
EFL teachers’ training needs (Huang, 2009)
A question for discussion: To what extent are these data presented above true of you?
My interpretation: “EFL teachers’ training needs are multidimensional, going beyond the traditional “double-bases” to involve the new innovations of learning strategies, cultural awareness and affective attitudes in the ECS.”
The strategy list in the ECS: Level-5 strategy list (29 items): Cognitive strategies (11 items); Controlling strategies (8 items); Communicative strategies (6 items); Resource strategies (4 items) (MOE, 2001: 24)
Level-8 strategy list (18 items): Cognitive strategies (6 items); Controlling strategies (6 items); Communicative strategies (5 items); Resource strategies (1 item) (MOE, 2001: 25)
Learning strategies integrated in textbooks Strategies in NSEFC series (PEP) Embedded in the textbook series Related to the learning goals in the unit Integrated with the text e.g. Developing cultural understanding (by means of going to a museum and looking at some real cultural relics) (Cultural relics, U1, SB2) Presented in terms of “learning tips” Inserted in the given task e.g. Taking notes (Task: Organizing an informal class debate) (Cultural relics, U1, SB2) Associated with learner difficulties e.g. Using body language (to overcome language limitations in communication) (Body language, U4, SB4)
My interpretation: “Learning strategies emerge from learning goals, learner needs and difficulties, task performance, and varying situations.”
Distribution of three-level strategy users (Huang, 2008: 97; N = 305)
Learner knowledge & strategy use A case of the use of the “self-talk” strategy: FGP8: “Whenever I come back from school, I lock myself in my room starting self-study. Studying alone has both advantages and disadvantages. It means that you are yourself completely. Nobody knows the mistakes you make. Nobody discusses questions with you. You may feel dull and bored. However, studying alone, I enjoy a quiet place, where I can do whatever I like to (laughing), and try whatever I think. For instance, I can make up an English story in my mind, but I may not have enough courage to say it out in public. But when I stay alone, I can say it out baldly to my ‘audience’ of dolls, tables, and chairs. I like literature and tried to make up stories in English. I moved tables and chairs over as my audience, and I was the speaker, speaking to them. I’m the only child in my family, having nobody and nothing to play with. In so doing, I just treat it as a recreation as well.” (Huang, 2008: 127)
Strategies as goal-driven actions What goal? - The grade-getting goal: Terms marked in the discourse: “grades”, “marks”, “scores”; “exams”, “tests”, “quizzes”, “dictations (as a quiz)”, “mock tests” … “I’m learning English for the sake of exams.” (Huang, 2008: 128)
Test-taking strategies Question-focused reading Question-focused listening Taking practice tests beforehand Rule out irrelevant choices Guessing the unknown Imitating the model compositions (Huang, 2008: 129)
Impact of grade-getting goal on strategies Strategy changes: e.g., Less risk-taking Unwilling to ask for help from the teacher Unwilling to ask questions for clarification Why? The teacher is too grade-centered (FGP2) --- (Goal) I got lower marks (FGP1) --- (Goal) The lower scores, the weaker self-confidence (FGP7) --- (Affective) Worry about making errors (FGP7) --- (Affective & ability) Classmates’ laugh at me (FGP3) --- (Social) I’d like to save face for myself (FGP47) --- (Social) No enough words to express ideas (FGP6) --- (Ability) (Huang, 2008: 129-130)
Strategies as task-focused actions The same strategy for different tasks Strategy: Guess meanings from the context Tasks: Reading comprehension Listening comprehension Cloze (Huang, 2008: 132)
Different strategies for the same task Task goal setting & strategy use for reading comprehension:
Strategies for non-communicative exercises Example: Strategies for grammar exercises: Memory: Memorize grammar rules Resource: Use grammar/reference books Cognitive: Learn grammar through teachers’ instruction Learn grammar through peer discussions Understand grammar by reading model sentences Consolidate knowledge by doing exercises Learn grammar by reading and accumulation Note-taking Analyze and use grammar knowledge Metacognitive: Find out weaknesses and missing points in learning (Huang, 2008: 133)