Presentation: Creating Context for Language Learning

Slides from our (study group 1) presentation of chapter 2 from Pauline Gibbons’ Scaffolding Language Scaffolding Learning.

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Listening & Speaking (TELL)

Reflections on the presentation by a student group on chapter 3 from the book Technology Enhanced Language Learning (TELL).

The chapter lays out a series of skills students need to acquire to improve their language proficiency, along with a series of technology-enhanced lesson ideas designed to help students improve those skills, and additionally, the chapter offers a range of internet- or technology-based tools and class exercises that are contemporary (available) and free to use. One example is, that it is suggested to use chatbots, as a means of language practise or improvement – so chatbots, along with other already available free technology tools, are already available and eve though they were made for something else, are really benificial to include in the language teacher’s classroom (even more so; BECAUSE they are not made for educating purposes).

Language acquisition:

1. Psycholinguistic (Kantor)

  • How the mind process language
  • Using our cognitive skills
  • perception, memory and thinking

2. Social features

  • Using the contextual situation as a way of understanding language
  • The environment, context, genre, subject

And happens on 3 different levels:

– (Psycholinguistic) Acoustic-phonetic professor (the voice in your head, interpreting accents, dialects and

– (Psycholinguistic) Parser (making it into words you know)

– (Social) Conceptualiser (contextual)

Listening strategies:

Listening strategies is good for compensating for lack of skills (fields).

Strategies

Examples

Inferring

Guessing the maning of words the listener is uncertain about, or has missed, from clues in the linguistic or non-linguistic context

Seeking clarification

Getting the speaker to repeat something which the listener has missed.

Predicting

Rehearsing in your mind what speakers are likely to be going to say, in order to help you to understand better when they actually start speaking.

Focusing

Concentrating and persevering despite problems with understanding. Trying to get the main idea and not worrying about understanding every word.

 

Speaking Skills

Core skill

Examples

Pronounciation

Pronouncing vowels, consonants, and blended sounds clearly.
Using different intonation patterns to communicate old and new information.

Performance speech acts

Knowing how to make requests.
Knowing how to give opinions.

Managing interaction

Initiating, maintaining and ending conversations.
Turn taking.
Clarifying meaning.

Organising discourse

Using discourse markers and intonation to signpost changes of topic.
Being able to structure discourse for different communicative purposes such as stories or instructions.

Speaking Strategies

Strategies

Examples

Cognitive (or psycholinguistic) strategies

Finding ways round a lack of vocabulary through paraphrases, substitution, coining new words, etc.

Metacognitive strategies

Planning or rehearsing what you are going to say.
Monitoring your language while you are speaking.

Interaction strategies

Asking for help.
Checking understanding.

Requesting clarification.

When carefully picked, the language teacher can actually use internet-based technology tools to start humanising the classroom again, instead of the contrary (and unfortunate) common belief, that, technology, iPads and so on, are bad for students, their attention span, etc.

One example I came to think of regarding this subject, is how Khan Academy is allowing students to keep track of their own individual learning curve meanwhile the teacher get’s to use their time on the students when and how they need to be helped.

A teacher’s reaction on using Khan Academy in his classroom (and curriculum):

A brief introduction to Khan Academy:

Discourses of Othering

Reflection based on Fred Dervin’s paper Discourses of Othering (2014) in International Encyclopedia of Language and Social Interaction (WILEY-BLACKWELL).

“It’s easier to split an atom than a prejudice” – Albert Einstein

Because of students’ increasing intercultural contact in this globalised world, Fred Dervin is leading within the postmodern need to question and re-evaluate everything, and examines the concepts of culture, identity and collectivity and how to deal with these subjects in education. Out current education which is full of examples of historical labels of othering. E.g. Colonisations, indigenous people in Australia, Human zoos, South Africa’s Apartheid, etc. Where the othering identity markers include nationality, race, language, religion, gender, ethnicity, etc. Naturally, our educational institutions are only a representation of the current society, norms, and values thereof, and in there, exists a large variation of othering, both national and cultural:

  • Essentialism
  • Racism
  • Neo-racism (for which culture serves as a proxy for race)
  • Culturalism (culture as an explanation for all)
  • Ethnocentrism sexism
  • Exoticism
  • Islamophobia
  • Occidentalism (Dervin & Gao, 2012)
  • Orientalism

The other is been at the core of Human and Social Sciences (Interdisciplinary concept par excellence; psychology, sociology, philosophy – especially ontology, anthropology, linguistics, theology, archeology, history and gender studies).

Othering (sometimes written as otherising) is an interdisciplinary notion/topic that refers, amongst other things, to differentiating discourses that lead to a moral and political judgment of superiority and inferiority between ‘us’ and ‘them, and within groups. Critical approaches to mothering examine its construction in social interaction and take into account both power relations and the intersectionality of different identity markers. Researchers increasingly pay attention to their own contribution to othering. Othering can lead to racism, sexism and/or bigotry, thus has to be discussed, banished and fought against in educational discourses. Othering discourses that have led to acts such as hatred, killing, terrorism, slavery, genocides, etc., but in daily life show themselves as prejudice, power imbalance, discrimination and patronising attitudes.

Social representation (concept by psychologist Moscovici, 1961) is a system of values, ideas and practices that are shared by people and that enable them to grasp their world but also to interact with others — which is exactly what bothering allows in social interactions.

Thus being aware of the discourses of othering is important and relevant when teaching today’s students any subject, not just history.

“I emphasize in it [my Orientalism] accortdingly that neither the term Orient nor the concept of the West has any ontological stability; each is made up of human effort, partly affirmation, partly identification of the Other.”
―Edward Said