SLA/TMA (Hanyang)

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Note: I taught this course as TMA, 2008-2010; the TMA course was later fused with the SLA course.

1 Teaching Methods and Assessment (LIN 545t)

1.1 Description

This introduces basic approaches to L2 pedagogy, including its basis in language acquisition and educational psychology. Topics include:

  • Different approaches to language teaching - their history, and achieving an informed, balanced approach to communicative language instruction
  • Lesson planning
  • Classroom dynamics
  • Teaching different language skills
  • Language testing and assessment issues

This course is designed to prepare EFL/ESL professionals with the ability and confidence to create English learning environments that meet the linguistic and educational needs of students. This will include discussion of the Korean educational context, and application of principles to classroom teaching. Throughout the course students will be encouraged to think critically about language teaching theory and to reflect upon their own assumptions about teaching methodology. Students will also be asked to consider and reflect on their own personal teaching philosophy, views, and assumptions, how your views work in practice, and how these might change – i.e., reflective practice. Course load: 3 hours per week.

1.2 Required text

Harmer, Jeremy. (2007). The Practice of English Language Teaching. 4th edition. England: Pearson-Longman.

2 Tentative outline

  • Week 1: course intro; history of pedagogical methods (Harmer ch. 1-4)
  • Week 2: pedagogical methods; communicative methods & tasks (Larsen-Freeman, ch. 2 [GTM], 4 [ALM], 9-10 [CLT, TBLT])
  • Week 3: communicative methods & tasks; lesson planning (Harmer ch. 6, 12, 21)
  • Week 4: lesson planning; group exercise on lesson plans (Harmer ch. 11*, 12, 21)
  • Week 5: classroom dynamics; midterm assignment due (Harmer ch. 9, 10)
  • Week 6: classroom dynamics, group work; instruction in specific modules / skills (Harmer ch. 9, 10; Harmer ch. 16)
  • Week 7: instruction in specific modules / skills; teaching listening / speaking (Harmer ch. 16, 18, 20; Harmer ch. 13-15, 17-20)
  • Week 8: instruction in specific modules / skills; assessment and feedback (Harmer ch. 8, 22)
  • Week 9: assessment and feedback; final presentations (Harmer ch. 8, 22)

3 Assignments (TMA, various semesters)

3.1 Homework assignment #1: Your teaching philosophy

Write a brief description of your philosophy of language teaching. What is your general educational philosophy (e.g., humanistic, progressive...), and why do you hold to that philosophy (or mixture of philosophies)? How would that affect how you teach, and the approach or methodology that you use? What general approach or methodology to language teaching do you prefer, and why? How does that affect how you plan your lessons, the classroom exercises and activities you choose, and how you interact with your students? You may choose to focus on your particular teaching area, and if applicable, you may include issues such as: your students’ age level; psychological aspects of learning; psychological aspects of students and/or classroom interaction;and aspects of the language that you would focus on (e.g., grammar, pragmatics, or conversation).

  • Length: 1-3 pages, 1.5 or double spaced.

3.2 Homework 2: Group lesson plan

Form a group, and together develop a lesson plan. You will need to decide on what kind of class (public school, hagwon; age level; level of English ability; a general English class or one focusing on a specific language skill), and the content you want to teach. Then decide on a specific skill and objective for the lesson, and the kind of activities and exercises that you want to use. You may refer to the samples and notes on lesson plans on my course website, including different ways of structuring a CLT-style lesson. Your lesson plan should contain the following:

  1. A brief description of the type of class or teaching context, the age level, and language level. Also, what kind of syllabus does this fit into (grammatical, notional, functional, mixed)?
  2. A statement of the specific lesson objective, e.g., what specific skill are they to learn and/ or practice?
  3. A table summarizing the lesson stages, approximate time allotment for each activity, what the students do, and the purpose of the activity (not more than one page; preferably 1⁄2 pg.).
  4. A brief description or summary of any authentic materials, textbooks, or realia used.
  5. A paragraph explaining the rationale for how the lesson is designed. Explain why you chose the exercises / activities used, the structure of the lesson, and the materials. At the end of the lesson, how will you know if the students have learned, i.e., whether the lesson was effective, and the stated lesson objective was achieved?
  6. Total length: 2 pages, 1.5/2× spaced; due date: one week after HW#1.

3.3 Homework 3a: Lesson reflection

Think of a specific lesson that you taught personally, or that you experienced as a student in a language class (English or any other foreign language) in the past few years – or even one that you observed recently. Critique the lesson, including:

  1. What was the level and topic of the class?
  2. What was the particular lesson about?
  3. What teaching principles did you see being used? Give specific examples of some these aspects in the lesson, either good or bad: [1] cognitive or learning related, [2] pedagogical, [3] affective, and [4] linguistic (whichever of these categories that seem applicable).
  4. How did the teacher introduce the lesson? How much time was spent explaining new concepts (too little, too much, enough)? What kin of activities did the teacher plan? How well were they connected? How well did they flow? Did the activities accomplish the teacher’s goal?
  5. How did the teacher handle student errors?
  6. Describe your overall impression and evaluation of the lesson, and any other comments.
  7. What aspects could you learn from and incorporate into your own teaching? What would you do differently or change, and why?
  8. Length: 1-3 pages; see the website for an example (main page, under ‘assignments’); due date: some time after the midterm project.

3.4 Homework 3b: Critique of Harmer’s lesson samples

Look at the sample lessons in Harmer, chapters 16-20, for different language skills. Focus on those that are relevant to the types of classes that you teach or would teach in the future. Comment on three of Harmer’s examples. Discuss two that you like, and one that you don’t like (about one paragraph each). Explain why you like or don’t like it, its strengths and weaknesses, and how you would change or improve it.

  • Length: 1 page; due date: some time after the midterm project.

3.5 Homework 4: Textbook analysis

Find a textbook that is commonly used for English instruction in Korean schools or private language schools, and critique it. First, briefly critique the overall organization and topics of the textbook; then pick one particular lesson or chapter for a more detailed analysis. This is due by the last day of class (hard copy). Length: 2-4 pages.

Book info:

  1. Book title (plus author, publisher, publication date)
  2. Type of textbook? (skill area – grammar, conversation, etc.)
  3. What is the skill area and grade level?

General critique:

  1. What are the topics of the various units? How well are they organized and sequenced?
  2. What kind of exercises / activities are used? What kind of teaching methodology do they reflect?

Choose one particular unit and discuss:

  1. What kind of exercises / activities are used? Are they artificial or authentic?
  2. What kinds of explanations are given? Are they helpful? Explain.
  3. What kind of classroom interaction are the activities designed for?
  4. How well do the activities / exercises contribute to the objectives of the lesson, and to the objectives for the course?
  5. If the lesson is not communicative or interactive, could it be modified into a more communicative or interactive lesson?
  6. What is your overall reaction of the text? Would you want to use it? If you don’t like it, could you modify or supplement it easily?
  7. Length: 2-5 pages (3-4 should be plenty); due date: last day of class.

4 Assignments (SLA)

Error analysis. Examine a video of an L2 speaker of English, and identify at least 10 errors. For each error, indicate the following:

  • [1] the specific problem,
  • [2] classify the error, e.g., phonological, syntactic, morphological, etc.;
  • [3] the possible source of the error; possibilities include: L1 interference (e.g., confusion between the English and an analogous structure in the L2); L1/L2 difference (e.g., the speaker's L1 has no structure like the problematic structure in English; or "don't know" - you cannot identify the source of the error.

Your write-up should be about two pages long.

  • Teaching video analysis. Examine the CLT or TBLT sample video below (or both, if you like), and critique it, in terms of their effectiveness. Discuss the aspects of the teaching example that you find effective, and those that might be useful for your teaching; also discuss aspects of the video that you don't agree with, and why. Length: at least two pages, typed and 1.5x or double-spaced.

4.1 Youtube videos

Youtube videos of various teaching methods * Audiolingual Method

Youtube videos of English lessons * Teaching kindergarten kids (toddlers, actually) English for children (plants, plurals lesson)

5 Course handouts

5.1 Pedagogy

6 Interactive classes and activities

  • Questions: using questions and leading class discussions
  • Intro to group work in classrooms: understanding why group activities and active learning methods work; understanding group dynamics; grading and assessment; and making groups work
  • Group activities: different types of group activities that you can try in teaching

7 Assessment