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Learning outside the classroom. Richard Watson Todd King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi http://arts.kmutt.ac.th/call/doc/outsideclass.ppt. Why learning outside the classroom is important. Time Differences between language inside and outside the classroom

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Learning outside the classroom
Learning outside the classroom

  • Richard Watson Todd

  • King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi

  • http://arts.kmutt.ac.th/call/doc/outsideclass.ppt

Why learning outside the classroom is important
Why learning outside the classroom is important

  • Time

  • Differences between language inside and outside the classroom

  • Promoting lifelong learning

  • Lack of evidence for effectiveness of classroom learning

Some relevant issues
Some relevant issues

  • Motivation for learning

  • Resources for learning

  • Tasks for learning

  • Focus of learning

Motivation for learning
Motivation for learning

  • Is the learner studying an English course?

    • If no, autonomous learning

    • If yes, does the teacher assign work outside class?

    • Is the learner free to choose what work to do?

Resources for learning
Resources for learning

  • Is the situation EFL or ESL?

    • If ESL, can the learner use the community or the family?

  • Are learning resources (e.g. self-access) available?

  • What media can the learner access?

Tasks for learning
Tasks for learning

  • What skill does the learner want to improve?

    • If speaking or writing, how can the learner gain feedback?

    • If reading or listening, should the learner engage in open-ended or closed-ended tasks?

  • Students prefer to focus on receptive skills in outside-class learning (Hyland, 2004)

Focus of learning
Focus of learning

  • Does the learner intend to practise English?

  • Does the learner want to engage in meaningful use of English?

2 examples
2 examples

  • Homework

  • Autonomous CALL


  • Motivation: teacher assigns work

  • Resource: usually paper-based exercises

  • Task: usually to complete closed-ended practice exercises

  • Focus: specific language points

Summary of research into homework
Summary of research into homework

  • 4 main types of homework (Freiberg and Driscoll, 2000)

    • rehearsal (repetitive practice)

    • preparation (e.g. pre-reading)

    • review (transfer of skills to new situations)

    • integration (e.g. project work)

Summary of research into homework1
Summary of research into homework

  • Actual use of homework (North and Pillay, 2000)

    • Teachers perceive main purpose of homework as practice

    • Teachers most commonly assign grammar practice exercises

Summary of research into homework2
Summary of research into homework

  • Consequences of standard homework practices (Calzoni, 2003; Warwick and Jeffrey, 2003)

    • Students find homework one of the least enjoyable aspects of courses

    • Students especially dislike practice exercises

    • Students believe homework does not help their learning much

Summary of research into homework3
Summary of research into homework

  • Directions to improve homework (Cole and Chan, 1987; Stern, 1997)

    • Homework should encourage reflection

    • Teachers need to plan homework carefully

    • Teachers must give feedback on homework

    • Students should be involved in deciding on homework

Summary of research into homework4
Summary of research into homework

  • Homework, parents and the community (North and Pillay, 2002; Lazear, 2000; Stern, 1997)

    • Teachers rank involving parents with homework as a low priority

    • However, parents should be involved, especially in applying school learning to real situations

    • Parents can help with space and time for homework

    • Parents should be supportive, not competitive

    • Where possible, homework should be integrated with the community (e.g. NGOs, visits to museums, factories etc.)

Summary of research into homework5
Summary of research into homework

  • Innovative homework practices (Stern, 1997)

    • Integrating homework with what students want to do

      • Analysing camera angles while watching a TV concert

      • Comparing TV soap operas with real life

        • (e.g. no-one goes to the toilet, no swearing)

Conclusions about homework
Conclusions about homework

  • Reduce reliance on grammar practice

  • Assign innovative tasks

  • Involve students and parents in homework

Autonomous call
Autonomous CALL

  • Motivation: learner works voluntarily

  • Resource: CALL resources

  • Task: Internet, CMC

  • Focus: meaningful English use

Types of call
Types of CALL

  • Multimedia CALL software

  • Language exercises on the Internet

  • Knowledge resources on the Internet

  • Computer-mediated communication (CMC)

  • (cf. Linder, 2004)

Characteristics of call

Multimedia software and Internet exercises




Internet resources and CMC




Characteristics of CALL

Teachers assignments of call
Teachers’ assignments of CALL

  • Teachers want learners to focus on English

  • Teachers want learners to acquire specific language points

  • Teachers assign multimedia software and Internet exercises

Learners autonomous use of call
Learners’ autonomous use of CALL

  • Learners want to fulfill real-world tasks

  • Learners want to focus on content

  • Learners use Internet resources and CMC

Conclusions about autonomous call
Conclusions about autonomous CALL

  • If learners are learning autonomously, they will focus on meaningful content-oriented CALL

  • Will learners learn any English from this?

How to learn outside the classroom
How to learn outside the classroom

  • If homework consists of innovative tasks not focused on language practice,

  • and if autonomous CALL is content-focused,

  • then how can we be sure that learners will learn anything?

Types of autonomous learning
Types of autonomous learning

  • Self-instruction: learning is deliberately planned

  • Naturalistic learning: unintentional engagement with English and incidental learning

  • Self-directed naturalistic learning: learners seek naturalistic situations that can help English learning

  • (Benson, 2001)

Types of autonomous learning1
Types of autonomous learning

  • If self-instruction, learners may engage in language-focused tasks

  • For all types of autonomous learning, learners are more likely to engage in content-focused tasks

  • Still need to consider how to promote language learning in content-focused tasks

Theories of learning
Theories of learning

  • Child development theories (e.g. Piaget)

    • Not relevant to older students

  • Classroom-oriented theories (e.g. scaffolding, data-driven learning)

    • Not relevant to autonomous learning

  • Traditional broad theories (e.g. behaviourism, constructivism)

    • Learners need feedback (problem with open-ended tasks)

Learning orientations
Learning orientations

  • Attention, noticing, awareness

    • Language learners need to:

      • pay attention to input

      • pay particular attention to whatever aspect of the input is of special concern

      • look for clues to why English speakers say what they say

      • if a generalised principle cannot be identified, focus on specific instances in specific contexts

    • (Schmidt, 1995)

Applicability to autonomous learning
Applicability to autonomous learning

  • Exposure to language is not sufficient

  • Attention and noticing can help learning

  • Noticing is possible without a teacher

  • BUT is noticing innate or is it learnt?

  • If it is learnt, do teachers need to train learners in noticing to promote lifelong learning?

  • How can such training be conducted?

Guidelines for noticing
Guidelines for noticing

  • Use checklist of questions to guide noticing of new language

    • Where did you see/hear the new language?

    • Who wrote/said it to whom?

    • What happened before it was shown/said?

    • What happened afterwards?

    • What do you think the new language means?

    • (Adams, 2001)

Conclusions about learning outside class
Conclusions about learning outside class

  • Need to consider learners’ motivations, available resources and tasks, and learning focuses

  • Teacher-assigned learning should lead towards autonomous learning

  • Tasks should be open-ended, meaningful and content-focused

Conclusions about learning outside class1
Conclusions about learning outside class

  • Parents should be involved

  • Teachers can help students prepare for autonomous learning by promoting attention and noticing