Inquiry project paper
Inquiry project proposal: Checking for comprehension during a lesson Exploring how teachers check for comprehension. Examine how different teachers at the placement check for comprehension during a lesson.
I. Research Questions
1) What kind of tools does each teacher use to informally or formally check for comprehension (example. Thumbs up, act it out, etc.). Provide a context for your answer. 2) How many times does each teacher check for comprehension in a lesson? Provide a context for your answer. 3) Does a teacher check for comprehension with different students in different ways? (Example. “David, put your hand on your heart if you think that the magnet will pick up the penny and put your hand on your head if you think that the magnet will not pick up the penny.”) Provide a context for your answer.
II. Literature Review
“Total physical response is an approach to language learning which pairs actions with words to convey meaning” (Asher, 2000, pg. 212). Total physical response is a technique teachers can use to see if their students understand the lesson and what they are learning. A teacher can check for comprehension by having student’s copy her hand symbols that she uses so her students better understand the lesson. For example, in a math lesson she uses her hands and arms to show and explain the different directions of slope. The teacher can also tell students to repeat what she is saying in order to fully understand the concept. The teacher can require students to talk to a partner to re-describe what they just learned. Teachers use a lot of repetition and mimicking to check for comprehension. I believe total physical response definitely helps students learn. All of these techniques allow the students to understand the lesson more easily. “Total physical response is an active learning approach for supporting comprehension in a low-anxiety atmosphere” (Krashen & Terrell, 1988, pg. 67). Total physical response can be used in a variety of subjects and lessons. “Through active participation, students learn new actions words by watching, imitating and responding to the teacher’s commands” (Shunk cited in Facella, Rampino, and Shea, 2005, pg. 213).
According to Li, a critical concept for ELL students is to increase comprehensible input in their learning process. "According to this theory, learners must be able to understand the essence of what is being said or presented to them, i.e., the message must be comprehensible" (Li, 218). To ensure that ELLs understand the materials presented to them, various teaching techniques and strategies must be used. It is important that oversimplified words are not used to teach ELLs. English language learners learn best when they receive a little more difficult material than they easily understand. "As noted earlier, comprehensible input refers to language used in ways that make it understandable to the learner even though second language proficiency is limited" (Krashen, 1982). The ELL population is rapidly growing so it is important for teachers to understand how to successfully teach these students. A teacher demonstrates total physical response by using her hands and fingers to represent different words being taught in a lesson. For example, the word "equals" a teacher can use both her arms to create an equal sign when discussing that word. Another way comprehensible input can be used is through visual aids or artifacts. A poster can be created with definitions clearly written and hung in the classroom so the students can read them clearly. Putting students in groups or pairs to discuss different terms that were taught during the lesson is also an example of comprehensible input. To benefit the students, they can be paired by above level with below-level students or ELL students with native speaking students. These groupings can help students better understand the lesson and encourage social...
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