LEARNERS AND LEARNING ASSIGNMENT 4
Students learning English as a foreign language are often confronted with the challenge of learning and using English effectively. Some students seem to cope with the difficulties of language learning with great success and neither little effort, while for others the task is neither an enjoyable nor a successful one. What is it that makes learning a new language so easy for some and so difficult for others? One reason is that “each student has his/her own preferred way of learning that is determined by his/her cultural and educational background and personality” (Shoebottom, 2007).
BRIEF LESSON OUTLINE
In this assignment I evaluated differences in learners’ responses and considered ways in which the quality of their learning could be improved. The lesson was aimed to help the students understand and use the 2nd Conditional in the context of life survival. I designed a lesson of an escape survival plan at school which consisted in following rules of a fire exit plan in every room. It’s the kind of thing you always see on your hotel door, with a plan of all the exits, staircases, elevators and rooms. I gave them a fun and language rich way to use these plans in a zombie-infested building right here at school, of course, containing plenty of grammar-juice in it. ✔
There are 20 students in my class. The learners described are intermediate students whose ages varied from 16’s to 17’s.I have been teaching them for about 9 months. They show great interest in language learning and most of them like my teaching approaches and interact with me well in class. 2/3 of the students are of average level of the class. They like to communicate in class but are weak at the accuracy of language.
DIFFERENCES IN LEARNERS’ RESPONSES AND ACHIEVEMENTS
Having observed and taught the class, I can figure out that each student has his/her own way of following my teaching stages and activities during the lesson. These different ways seemed to influence how they responded to different teaching methods I applied in each activity and how successful they were in understanding and using the language focus. The differences discussed later include the learners' age, motivation, personality, and social and cultural background.
Compared to motivation, personality, and social and cultural background, age seems to be easier to define and measure. Nevertheless, the relationship between learners' age and their potential success in foreign or second language acquisition is still a subject of debate. “Linguists argue that many young learners are capable of communicating successfully in a foreign language, in terms of accent, word choice, or grammatical features because they begin learning a language when they are young” (Lightbown & Spada, 2003). I, therefore, planned and set up activities that helped them understand, practice, and produce the language form gradually in a relaxed atmosphere and a non-threatening way. My group stated that they preferred working in pairs to other options. They were shown to be well balanced in the primary senses; Visual, Auditory or Kinesthetic which people use principally in learning. This information is in line with my observations of this group in class and I believe is also somewhat representative of their age. Being teenagers, they have still to fully develop their preferred learning styles and learners of this age group often feel self-conscious about being 'criticized' or corrected in front of others. Having said this, I found my group to be attentive and well-balanced learners.
My students were very motivated and excited planning their way out of a zombie-infested building. They started acting a little, and they could not wait to start the lesson. They did not mind following my instructions and were willing to do any activities set up in each teaching practice. In order to sustain the pupils' motivation,...
References: Shoebottom, P. 2007. Language learning styles. Retrieved on November 23, 2007 from http://esl.fis.edu/parents/advice/styles.htm
Lightbown, P.M. & Spada, N. 2003. How Languages Are Learned. UK: Oxford University Press
Williams, M., & Burden, L. R. (1997). Psychology for language teachers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Gardner, R. C. (2006). The socio-educational model of second language acquisition: A research paradigm. EUROSLA Yearbook, 6, 237-260.
Lamb, M. (2012). A self-system perspective on young adolescents’ motivation to learn English in rural and urban settings. Language Learning, 62, 997-1023.
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