I was wondering what you all thought of learning designs pertaining to English language teaching? What are the ways in which you design your lessons to achieve better learning in your students?Continue
Reading is a topic close to all teacher's hearts. All learner's hearts too. It is so much a part of learning and thank god not only for Gutenberg but our own brain and its wonderful capacity to process text.
Bring up the topic of reading in the classroom and you have so many opinions also. For the moment I'll hold off on my own and just ask: What do you think about phonics? When and where should it be used? wonderful, unique, yuck? Any pitfalls? What about Extensive reading or as Krashen might have put it -- reading for pleasure. What is its place? How do you feel about it in your classroom?
Further, to get the juices flowing, try this video by Michael Rosen. Really engaging, whatever you believe! It's a bit British and L1 oriented but this issue of literacy is something of concern for all teachers whatever the subject, wherever you are....
I'm glad this topic has come up as this is something I've spent quite a bit of time thinking about. My school has applied for extra funding to diversify the English program,and I'm leaning towards spending money on all forms of input, but specifically book collections and reading orientated material. I definitely think phonics taught bottom up style has a place, but I tend to think it's better taught implicitly and inclusively. Layer your activities and lessons to include phonics, but with emphasis and not always direct attention.
As for reading, I think it's better for whole language to be pursused, and to work from both top down contexts and with the bottom up support needed to promote widespread success in negotiating any of the content. There are many avenues for basal type/leveled readers. There's a company right here in Korea that provides this type of material: JY Books By enabling reading, we're helping build the best strategy of all: being able to learn through our own mediation. Not only that, but reading provides the completely necessary input that so many EFL environments are lacking. E.G: there is a private school in Japan that boosted their reading time to 90 mins per week; check that again, 90 minutes per week for reading alone!! And, reading is motivational, empowering, and can be adapted to fit many teaching scenarios and ideas.
I have some problems with motivation, and mixed levels that cross the spectrum. Besides implementing reading times outside of class, I plan on developing an in class personalized program where the students will be working on texts, reading, listening, etc, but will also have the freedom to take part in any part of the lesson they find interesting.
Great topic! I'd love to hear from some other teachers on this one.. :)
I second that notion and would love to hear from others. Horror stories or accomplishments.
I am much like yourself and don't believe it is a case of either/or. That is where things usually go wrong (much like in the case of Britain) and there are times for a focus on both. But as Michael Rosen really points out well -- it is all about engaging students with text. It is all about the heart. Sometimes phonics does that and metalinguistics really benefits them. Sometimes it doesn't and it is just about a "task" and "getting it right".
I think research shows that "most" students can figure it out and the mind is an amazing thing when it comes to sound/text connecting. Still, some students do need the structure and objective awareness of phonics but I think too many teachers like phonics because it seemingly has a "goal" and there is seemingly immediate "achievement. I'd caution that mindset.
Here is a good pile of links about reading (from our Buzka of links). A few extremely well written articles there about this debate. I would also send teachers to both our games page (which has many phonics style activities) and the Practice page where I have put up a pile of phonics activities (look under the category Phonics).
The pleasures of a new vocabulary
By Verlyn Klinkenborg
Published: April 9, 2008
Lately I've been thinking about the word "vang." It is a sailing term, and if you look it up in the glossary of Royce's "Sailing Illustrated," you find that it refers to a line to prevent "the peak of a gaff from falling off leeward." That is how it goes when you're learning a new technical vocabulary. The language seems self-enclosed at first, each new definition an opaque cluster of words that themselves need defining. I was taught, during vocabulary in grade school, to try using a new word in a sentence. "There is a vang." "Can someone show me the vang?" Those are my best efforts so far.
Part of the trouble is that I have never seen a vang. But it's also that "vang" doesn't sound like a noun to me. It sounds like the past tense of "ving," which sounds like something you might do to a "vong." And those are words with no meaning - nautical or otherwise.
It brings me back to that childhood feeling of being happily encumbered with new words and trying them out tentatively, watching to see, on the faces around me, whether I'd misused them. I trust myself to employ only a few easy sailing terms, like mast and anchor. I worry about the rest. I somehow imagine myself standing at the tiller and shouting out nonsensical commands: "Vang the leach!" "Steeve the bumkin!" "Harden the Quangle-Wangle!" At sea, I am fit only to crank a winch, unless, that is, one "winds" a winch.
I am a longtime reader of sailing narratives, and when I come to the technical bits - where the bumkin is being steeved and the leach vanged under gale-force winds - I always let my mind glaze over the way I do when I come to the math in books about cosmology. Something important is happening, and I'll wait till the plain English tells me what it is.
But there's no glazing over when you begin sailing, as I did under tutelage for the first time a few weeks ago. You find yourself at sea, awash in the natural world, and yet at the same time you find yourself immured in a vigilant kind of properness, a clear sense of how things should be. It's not just a matter of proper names. It's a matter of proper actions and responses, without which there is a world of trouble. There is something deeply ethical about it, as there always is in the command of language.
Being lost in all this terminology - struggling, for instance, with the nautical meaning of "scandalize" (a temporary reef [which means gathering-in] of a sail) is a familiar feeling. I realize that I've spent most of my life happily sailing into fogbanks of specialized language. Some, like the vocabularies of philosophy and literary theory, never lost their slightly foggy quality, thanks to their inherent abstraction. But others, like the languages of fly-fishing and hog-raising and horse-riding, cleared up just as soon as I laid hands on the objects they named. I wondered for a long time what a "pulaski" was, (a multipurpose firefighting tool) until I used one. There is something endlessly appealing about the care with which the contents of the world, and especially the tools of the working world, have been named.
Those words - like "fid," (a tool for splicing rope) - seem to have been smoothed by the friction of so many hands over the years. This is the elemental poetry of the human mind. And yet it is all just vocabulary until it comes alive.
Sailing is just one more thing I've taken up as an adult but wish I'd begun doing as a child. The reason for wishing that isn't just the experience that would have accrued by now. It's the innateness you feel for things you have been doing a long, long time, the utter lack of self-consciousness with which you inhabit a language that seems outlandish to newcomers.
I look back and wonder what it is I've been doing innately since childhood, and I can think only of this. I've been picking up words one by one, feeling their heft, wondering who's used them before, and slowly adding them to my permanent collection.
Verlyn Klinkenborg is a member of the New York Times editorial board.
For 5 years, my school used Letterland programs to teach the kindergarten students how to read. I think it is a good program. Each letter has a characteristic, a story which are interesting for the students. Letterland programs use phonetic to teach reading. But since last year, my school changed the program. We use "sight words" to teach reading. Some teachers and parents said that sight words make the children memorize the words, not read them. So they prefer use Letterland programs to sight words. The others said we should combine the methods. It seems Letterland meet parents' need because as people whose mother tongue is not English, they really expect their children (sometimes they push their children too hard, set too high expectation) to be able to read and speak English fluently.
I'm going to "digest" the social constructivist article......should be good eating but I don't know about the "digesting"!
If others are interested in the "theory" behind reading (and by all means, there are many GREAT teachers who don't need this metacognition and just do the right thing intuitively) -- two standout books are;