#AusELT Twitter chat Sunday 5 March 2017 – Discrimination against non-native English speaking teachers

In our Twitter chat for March 207, we discussed discrimination against non-native English speaking teachers. This chat has now taken place but you can read the summary here.

Have a look at the following questions and links to prepare for the chat.

Questions

  • Why should we be concerned by this topic?
  • Why would students from abroad pay to study in Australia, only to be taught by a teacher from their home country or a surrounding country?
  • Do students need a native speaker to acquire native sounding accent?
  • Is a native sounding accent really important?
  • What can we do about discrimination, and why is it important to do something?

Links

You’ll see we had a similar chat last year, so a quick read through that (link above) would allow us to really move the topic forward.

This chat has now taken place but you can read the summary here.

For those new to Twitter chats, these posts should get you started:

If you are not sure about Twitter and need a hand to get started, do message Gerhard on Facebook or Twitter (@heimuoshutaiwan) or by leaving a comment below.

#AusELT Twitter chat: What would you like to talk about on Sunday 5th March 2017?

We are approaching March which means we need to start planning for our next Twitter chat. That’ll be on Sunday, March 5, at 8:30pm Sydney time.

We have a choice of three topics, based on topics which have generated some interest on the #AusELT Facebook group recently.

Please vote in the poll below and we’ll announce the winner on our Facebook page and on Twitter towards the end of next week. The chat will take place on Sunday 5th March at 8.30pm Sydney time (click here to see the time where you are).

Vote here:

For those new to Twitter chats, these posts should get you started:

If you are not sure about Twitter and need a hand to get started, do message Gerhard on Facebook or Twitter (@heimuoshutaiwan) or by leaving a comment below.

Transitions and Transfer: From EAP to Uni (#AusELT Twitter chat, 5th Feb 2017)

puzzle-1020221_1280In this post, Meredith MacAulay discusses how we can better help students transfer their knowledge from preparatory courses to the real world. (NB: The Twitter chat referred to has now taken place but you can read the summary here.)

Despite the increasingly high enrolments in EAP courses in Australia, particularly Direct Entry courses, there is still limited published research into what impacts these courses have on students’ success at university. It can be argued that the ultimate goal of an English for Academic Purposes course is for students to transfer the language, skills and strategies they learn to the tertiary context. However, to what extent does this occur? What affects whether our students use what they learn in their EAP courses? And are we teaching what they really need?

This Twitter Chat will focus on issues surrounding the teaching of EAP courses and learning transfer, that is the application of skills or knowledge learned in one context to a new context. The inspiration for the chat comes from my personal interest in learning transfer and research I carried out on the transfer of learning from a Direct Entry EAP program [DEP] to students’ university mainstream subjects. It focused specifically on speaking skills and the related assessments from the DEP course, and you can read more about it here.

In the Twitter Chat, I’d like to draw on three factors that have been suggested as possible influences on transfer of learning, and which also featured in my results.

They include:

  • students’ perceptions of task similarity – do tasks that students are required to do at uni seem similar to tasks they have done before?
  • students’ perceptions of transfer ‘climate’ (James, 2010) – do students feel supported by the context, including their peers, teachers and assignments?
  • instructional strategies – we can teach for transfer by making our courses similar to the target context and by making students aware of these similarities. We can also encourage students to reflect, plan and monitor their activities and to anticipate future applications (Green, 2015). These strategies are outlined in the  ‘hugging and bridging’ model.

So bring your experience and ideas and let’s discuss the following:

  • What skills do you expect your students to take from your class to uni?
  • To what extent do your students transfer what they have learnt in their mainstream classes? How do you know?
  • How can we strike a balance between near transfer (learning for the test) and far transfer in a DEP course?
  • What can we do to familiarise our students with the target context?
  • What else do you (or your institute) do to facilitate transfer?
  • What information or research would help us to plan our courses and teach for transfer?

All are welcome to this chat, even if you don’t teach EAP! Transfer from our courses to a ‘real life,’ context is relevant to all teachers-General English, Business English, English for Migrants, Teacher Training, etc…Look forward to seeing you there!

This chat has now taken place but you can read the summary here.

Further Reading & References

Green, J. (2015). Teaching for transfer in EAP: Hugging and bridging revisited. English for Specific Purposes, 37, 1-12.

MacAulay, M (2016). Transition and transfer: Effects of an EAP direct entry course on students’ discussion skills at university. University of Sydney Papers in TESOL, vol 11, pp. 97-130.

James, M.A. (2006b). Teaching for transfer in ELT. ELT Journal, 60 (2), 151-159.

James, M. A. (2010). Transfer climate and EAP education: Students’ perceptions of challenges to learning transfer. English for Specific Purposes, 29(2), 133-147.

merMeredith MacAulay (@MeredithMacAul1) is an active AusELTer and currently teaches a Direct Entry EAP course to international students pursuing tertiary study in Sydney as well as training pre-sessional and in-session teachers. She presented on this topic last year at the University of Sydney TESOL Research Colloquium and the English Australia Conference. This is her first time to moderate a Twitter chat!

Teacher Motivation & Recharging your Batteries (#AusELT Twitter chat summary, 6/11/16)

Read the summary for some great ideas and links on how to make your teaching life a more positive and fruitful one. Managers will also find some guidance on how to build teacher motivation in the workplace.

 

Happy 2017!

Poll: Last #AusELT chat of 2016!

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That went fast…

It’s already time for our last Twitter chat of this year (we usually take a little break over December and January as so many people are away) – and the topic is up to you! Please vote in the poll below and we’ll announce the winner on our Facebook page and on Twitter towards the end of next week. The chat will take place on Sunday 6th Nov at 8.30pm Sydney time (click here to see the time where you are).

If you are not sure about Twitter and need a hand to get started, do message me on Facebook or Twitter (@sophiakhan4) or by leaving a comment below.

You might also be interested in these posts:

Need help with Twitter?

#AusELT 1-page guide to Twitter

So you have a Twitter account – now what? 

AusELT/English Australia Journal Article Discussion – October 2016. “Fluency Development through Extensive Reading”.

11-built-in-bookshelves

Image from http://www.home-designing.com/2012/11/reading-spaces

Access the article here.

Access the transcripts of the discussion here.

(or search “fluency development” on the AusELT Facebook page)


Overview of the article

Paul Brigg and Alice Chik are reporting on a case study research project involving two English language learners, using two forms of extensive reading – 1) reading for language growth, and 2) reading for fluency development. While both forms of extensive reading are useful for second language literacy development, the authors argue that reading for fluency development is often overlooked in second language programs.

The primary purpose of reading is the competent construction of meaning from text, and fluency is a precondition for this. The development of fluency progresses from decoding words to extracting meaning and then on to the smooth and meaningful understanding of texts. Many international students read more slowly and with less confidence in English than in their first language. This is likely to restrict their ability to manage required academic reading and leads to a belief that they can gain more information and knowledge through their first language. (page 51)

In the literature review section, the authors report on exisiting research into the areas of extensive reading and fluency, shared book reading and read-alouds, and modifying books for fluency development. They then go on to outline the research design.

This project used case-study to investigate the possible fluency differences between participants undertaking two forms of ER in separate five-week courses, one participant reading for language growth (Ken), and the other for fluency development (Lin). After the completion of the courses, think-aloud interviews were used to investigate the mental processes of the participants as they read an extract based on their respective forms of ER. The interviews were conducted in a meeting room at their college, and the participants made their own recordings using their mobile phones – this facilitated follow-up discussions. (page 56)

The student participants were a 39 year old Vietnamese man who had recently arrived in Australia to study English, and a 25 year old Chinese woman who was also new to Australia. Both were keen readers in their native language. The findings of the research are presented in four sections:

  1. oral fluency levels (which is related to reading fluency)
  2. the think-aloud matrix (reporting on what strategies the students were using while reading)
  3. procedural development, (Which measures the length of the think-aloud utterances – an indication of fluency development), and
  4. error count comparison (which give an indication of reading difficulties).

Perhaps the significance of the findings is best summed up in the concluding remarks from the authors.

The present study has found significant evidence of fluency development from ER simplified to a 99–100% lexical coverage. Therefore, an enjoyable and relaxing period of easily understood ER will likely project most EAP students towards accomplishing fluency growth in English.

“Simplified to 99-100% lexical coverage” refers to modifications to the book so that readers can understand 99-100% of the words and phrases.

I hope this brief summary will encourage you to read the article and consider how it may inform your own teaching practices with respect to reading. Indeed, this will be the first question that we’ll discuss next week (w/c 17/10/16).

Question for discussion:

How might the findings reported on pages 60-65 lead to changes in how you approach the teaching of reading in your context(s)?

Article Discussion Group: Vote now for an article to discuss during w/c 17/10/16

 

 

book-club

Image courtesy of http://kausarbilal.com/book-club-launch-at-south-asian-study-group/

The poll is closed. The article for discussion is Paul Brigg and Alice Chik’s “Fluency development through extensive reading: two case studies”. An introduction to the article will be posted tomorrow morning (Tuesday October 11).

screen-shot-2016-10-10-at-5-25-17-pm

 

Welcome to the voting page of the third Article Discussion Group. The idea is for us all to vote for our preferred article from the latest English Australia Journal, read it, and then join in a moderated discussion of the article. Authors will either join in on the discussion, or respond offline to points raised and questions asked, facilitated by the moderator. The discussion will take place on the #AusELT Facebook page and is scheduled as such: October 10-16 is reading time; October 17-23 is discussion time.

The articles are all relevant to many of the contexts in which AusELT folk practice. They are primary research articles, that is, the authors have devised and conducted their own research study and reported their findings. In addition, each article has been peer-reviewed, meaning that the editor has invited leading TESOL scholars to review and offer suggestions for improving earlier drafts. We have some excellent reviewers who, together with the authors, have ensured you receive the best quality research reports upon which you can make some decisions about your own teaching.

In order to assist those who are new to reading research articles, the moderator will orient you by providing a summary of the research design and the overall purpose of the research. The discussion will not only focus on how the article can inform your own teaching, but also on opportunities for further research in any form. It will hopefully spark ideas for improving the quality of life in many classrooms! Each article has an abstract for you to read; after all, just as you can’t judge a book by its cover, you can’t judge a research article by its title. The complete articles are all open access, freely available online here (article 32.1 – available Friday Oct. 7) and can also be downloaded in pdf here. The chosen article will be made available as a pdf and available for download on this page.


Teacher motivational strategy practice and student motivation in tertiary ESL

Owen Wilson: King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia

Aek Phakiti: University of Sydney

This article reports on an empirical investigation of the process-oriented/ socio-dynamic phase of second language learning motivation theory. One hundred and sixty three students from 11 tertiary English as a second language classrooms took part in the study. They were taught by 11 different teachers at a Foundation Studies Program in Sydney, Australia, which prepares these students to enter an undergraduate program. The research instruments include an adapted version of Guilloteaux and Dörnyei’s (2008) motivation orientation of language teaching (MOLT) classroom observation scheme and post-lesson teacher evaluation system (PLTES), and Papi and Abdollahzadeh’s (2012) students’ motivated state (SMS) questionnaire (slightly modified to fit the context of the current study). It was found that teachers’ motivational strategy practice was positively related to students’ motivated behaviour, although the relationship was not as strong as those found in previous research of middle or high school English as a foreign language contexts. The implications and recommendations for future research are discussed.


Ability grouping and scaffolded learning with large classes: Vietnamese students’ attitudes to learning approaches

Michael Carey: University of the Sunshine Coast

Tuan Do: University of Danang, Vietnam

In Asian college programs with large class sizes, the common practice of heterogeneous grouping of students may hinder EFL teaching. In this context, students with different levels of English language proficiency achieve their learning goals in various ways, so require differentiated input. The question of how diverse learners respond to differentiated learning and teaching methods in large Asian classes is under- researched. We report on an experiment in which ability grouping was combined with scaffolded learning (two experimental and independent variables) to teach a large EFL class. The dependent variables we evaluated were the students’ attitudes (emotional, behavioural and cognitive) towards the experimental teaching technique, with data collected through observation and a questionnaire. Quantitative and qualitative analysis suggests that the students’ attitudes towards the teaching technique were positive. Although this was a relatively small- scale experiment (N=52), it provides evidence that a combination of ability grouping and scaffolded learning can be a beneficial teaching technique for large EFL classes.


Fluency development through extensive reading: Two case studies

Paul Brigg and Alice Chik: Macquarie University

This paper compares the development of fluency from two forms of Extensive Reading (ER) in case studies of learners who had just completed five-week ER courses. These involved 1 hour per week of shared-book reading and 3.5 hours weekly of individual sustained silent reading (SSR). The two participants were preparing for university entry at an English Language Centre (ELC) and both were enthusiastic leisure readers in their first language. In the ER courses, one read intermediate-level graded readers for language growth, with the other read simplified-intermediate books for fluency development. At the conclusion of their courses, the participants undertook think- aloud interviews while reading a graded reader excerpt at their respective levels. Their transcripts were then evaluated using semantic assessment, procedural development measurements and error counts. It was established that the participant reading for fluency development experienced significant growth in that area. This suggests that fluency training should be included in university language preparation courses.


So, without any more fanfare, please cast your vote! Closes Monday October 10, 2016 at 5 pm DST

Your moderator, Phil Chappell (@TESOLatMQ, Executive Editor of the English Australia Journal)