wk 10 reflection

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From Parrots to Puppet Masters: Fostering Creative and Authentic Language Use with Online Tools (by John Milton, 2005)

 

The exam-oriented English language education is very popular in South East Asia. Students become “parrots” as they are encouraged to do many imitative practices and they learn much exam language skills instead of real language skills as they only focus on how to handle different kinds of standardized assessment well. Due to lack of creative English teaching approach, students become less innovative. Besides, their exam-oriented language skills are not enough for their life outside the classroom.

 

 

Luckily, internet and computer ownership are common so many useful online resources can be used for teaching and learning in English as a Foreign Language (EFL). These kinds of language learning tools are objective and productive with automatically graded tasks. Teachers can provide computer-enhanced feedback for the subjectively evaluated activities too.

 

As Milton supports more collaborative as well as individualized creative language teaching pedagogies instead of exam-oriented teaching method, he recommends four useful tools which provide broader teaching and learning opportunities for teachers and learners worldwhile.

 

Four tools are listed as follows.

(1)   Targeting Oral Fluency: Asynchronous Voice Messaging

(2)   Online Data-driven Language Learning

(3)   Providing Feedback on Student Writing

(4)   Online Role Plays

 

This encourages students to become independent and life-long learners by using these tools because the tools aims at providing practice in speaking the second language (L2, same as English language), making L2 lexis, structures and texts more accessible, improving teacher feedback and promoting creative use of the L2. This also addresses the cognitive, affective and social learning needs and allows students to pursue their own language learning goals without any limitations. The online activities can let students extend and enrich their in-class tutorials.

 

I think the language learning tools are very motivating, convenient and useful for every language learners because they can learn from easy to deep language skills. Learners can even do different role plays and make the learning fun and creative. The tools also provide chances for learners to collaborate with their schoolmates or other online users. It can enhance their interpersonal skills, critical thinking and language-related problem solving skills. Language education is not just teaching a person how to handle the exams/tests and do assignments/projects efficiently. It is more important for educators to inspire students how to use efficient study tools and learn sufficient life skills so that students can continue their life-long learning procedures, unleash their potentials, and handle their different future challenges well.

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WK 9 Reading reflection

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FOSTERING LEARNER AUTONOMY IN ENGLISH FOR SCIENCE: A COLLABORATIVE DIGITAL VIDEO PROJECT IN A TECHNOLOGICAL LEARNING ENVIRONMENT

(Hafner & Miller, 2011)

Hafner & Miller (2011) conducted a digital video project for a group of university science students and evaluated how the technological learning environment developed students’ autonomy in language learning. The project was divided into three stages as follows.

 

Stage 1: Planning

Students learned to use a variety of Internet search engines and online databases for finding and evaluating the relevant information of their project

Stage 2: Filming and Editing Stage:

Students learned to use DV equipment and related editing softwares such as Photostory 3, Windows MovieMaker, iMovie etc.

 

Stage 3: Sharing

Students uploaded their videos to the course YouTube channel and the videos were also embedded in the course Weblog for students’ comment and feedback. The sharing sessions were conducted online and in class.

After that, the writers adopted a qualitative interpretive approach by evaluating students’ comments from the anonymous questionnaires, students’ focus groups and students’ weblog comments. They found that the project promoted some forms of learner autonomy and students had benefits from it. They were motivations, authenticity, independent learning, teamwork and managing the learning process, peer teaching and reflection on learning.

I quite like this project idea as students not only learn the multiliteracy skills but also the language skills in a fun and creative way. They can support and learn from each other if all of them are responsible team members. The student-centered pedagogy can provide more opportunities for them to contribute their own ideas, experiences and feelings to their learning process. Through extending students’ learning beyond the classroom, their learning and generic skills can be enhanced.  All teachers are happy to see their students become active and independent learners in the long run.autonomymultimodal2

 

Reflection about using games or music for language teaching

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On the paper ‘COMMENTARY: YOU’RE NOT STUDYING, YOU’RE JUST…’, Purushotma (2005) examined how the entertainment-focus media can be altered to provide natural and rich language learning environment for students. He mentioned the following ways for learning language

1)    The Sims

2)    Modern massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs)

3)    Speech recognition technology

4)    Online tutorial websites

5)    Music

 

I am not a real game lover but I am so fascinated by some games such as the Sims, Endless Ocean and Second Life. I would like to use it for teaching English in the future. However, I am more interested in using music as I did it before. It is one of the best ways to make learning English fun. The students I taught are teenagers so I use the updated pop songs or songs with positive meaning. I can teach them grammar (tenses, conditional, preposition, verbs, nouns, pronoun etc.) and ask students to do blanks filling (vocabulary). If the students’ proficiency is not high, I provide some hints for them such as a vocabulary list or first two letters for relevant words. At the same time, I explain each word so everyone have some ideas. After listening to the song once or twice, I also ask students how they feel about the song. Then we discuss the answers and lyric meaning. In some lessons, students can be the class DJ and play their favorite songs so we share and explore more music choices. Of course, I have to make sure the music content is appropriate beforehand. Here I leave you one of my favorite songs:

‘Rocket’ by The Wanted