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Approaches and Methods in ESL/EFL Instruction and the Purposes of Assessment

Approaches and Methods in ESL/EFL Instruction and the Purposes of Assessment Douglas Fleming PhD Faculty of Education University of Ottawa Lecture 1: Sunday May 11, 2014
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Title: Approaches and Methods in ESL/EFL Instruction and the Purposes of Assessment 1 Approaches and Methods in ESL/EFL Instruction and the Purposes of Assessment
  • Douglas Fleming PhD
  • Faculty of Education
  • University of Ottawa
  • Lecture 1 Sunday May 11, 2014
  • Yanbu University College, Saudi Arabia
  • 2 Purposes of Assessment
  • this lecture concentrates on introducing the notion of competence through a review of historical and current trends within the field.
  • 3
  • Grammar Translation
  • developed out of the ecclesiastic use of Latin
  • adopted by educated and class elites
  • centered on the memorization of verb forms, grammar rules, and vocabulary
  • methods concentrated on
  • the translation of literary texts
  • comprehension questions following a text
  • teacher-centered activities.
  • 4
  • Audio-lingual Approach
  • originated out of the U.S. Army Method
  • based on the behaviorist belief that language learning consists of habit formation
  • communication and context not emphasized
  • purpose of language use for learner not judged to be important
  • features repetitive drills and memorization of dialogue
  • emphasis placed on pronunciation
  • activities usually teacher-centered.
  • 5
  • Designer Methods
  • a multitude of techniques developed by specific curriculum and materials designers in the 1960s-1980s
  • often spawned dogmatic attitudes
  • most were based on the pop-psychology of the time
  • examples include
  • Total Physical Response
  • Suggestopedia
  • The Silent Way
  • 6 Criticisms
  • acquisition is not the same thing as learning (Krashen, 1982)
  • we need to discard simple formulas (Stern, l983)
  • tensions exist between conceptions of teachers as a) technical implementers of fully developed curricula and b) fully developed professionals (Pennycook,1989)
  • singular methods are irrelevant to most practice (Nunan, 1991)
  • 7 The Communicative Approach
  • the most commonly accepted methodology today
  • concentrates on function rather than form
  • the goal is to create a realistic context for language acquisition in the classroom.
  • emphasizes the communicative aspect of teaching language, concentrating on function rather than form as Allen and Widdowson (1979) stated, the approach involves, "the learning of rules of use as well as rules of grammar" (p.141).
  • The goal is to create a realistic context for language acquisition in the classroom through the use of pedagogical tasks.
  • 8
  • however what is the place of grammar?
  • new research has shown the need to balance explicit treatment of grammar with communicative practice, especially in particular situations and with specific groups of students
  • this balance has to be carefully considered, especially in EFL contexts.
  • 9
  • grammar is heterogeneous, meaning that some grammar points are easy to explain and easy to apply, and other points are difficult if not impossible to apply...
  • good pedagogy profitably mixes explicit and implicit techniques depending on the grammar item and the communicative task (Kennedy, 2004)
  • 10
  • what is the relationship between explicit knowledge of the language and actually using it?
  • Ellis (1997) identified 3 positions in the research
  • Strong Interface Position
  • (Biaystok, McLaughlin, Sharwood-Smith)
  • Non-Interface Position
  • (Krashen, Terrell)
  • Weak Interface Position
  • (Ellis, Long, Selinger)
  • 11
  • Focus on Form Approach
  • builds on the Communicative Approach
  • explicit instruction is a consciousness-raising activity the enhances input
  • 1) for comprehension, helping the learner to intake (recognise and understand features of the input)
  • 2) for explicit knowledge, helping a learner learn about the structure metalinguistically
  • facilitates noticing and noticing the gap.
  • 12
  • Ellis, 1993, p.97
  • 13
  • Implications
  • learners
  • should become less dependent on rote learning and more adept at understanding and manipulating linguistic forms in actual communication.
  • teachers and curriculum experts
  • should exercise professional agency in the interests of a balanced and thoughtful approach to curriculum development, lesson planning and task design
  • 14
  • One should distinguish between classroom activities that are either
  • Meaning focused
  • that concentrate on purely communicative activities
  • Form-focused
  • that draw attention to the way language forms are used in discourse
  • 15 Current Trends in the Field
  • conceptualizing English as practical means of communication
  • moving away from grammatical accuracy
  • linking language learning to disciplinary content and critical thinking skills
  • de-emphasizing native speaker models for language and culture
  • moving towards electronically based teaching resources
  • professionalizing and training English teachers.
  • 16
  • which methods have you experienced as a student and teacher?
  • how much explicit grammar instruction do you engage in?
  • how much standard English grammar should form part of your assessment criteria?
  • how do you assess communicative competence?
  • what roles do pedagogical tasks play?
  • what alternative forms of assessment have you used?
  • What alternative forms would you like to use?
  • what are the roles of the student/ teacher/ administrator
  • what are the purposes for assessment in the Saudi context?
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