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TESOL Arabia's 15th Annual International Conference English in Learning: Learning in English Content, Language and task-based learning: a balancing act Jane Willis Honorary Visiting Fellow Aston University. A balancing act. Content, Language and task-based learning: a balancing act. Overview

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TESOL Arabia's 15th Annual International ConferenceEnglish in Learning: Learning in EnglishContent, Language and task-based learning: a balancing actJane WillisHonorary Visiting Fellow Aston University

content language and task based learning a balancing act
Content, Language and task-based learning: a balancing act

Overview

  • Learning in English
  • Content and tasks – CLIL and TBL together

3. A focus on English in learning - getting the balance right

1 learning in english
1. Learning in English

What are the main benefits for your students of Learning in English?

  • Exposure to language in use – rich potential input
  • Real purpose for using language – to learn something new
  • Real purpose for learning language - integrated within a real context
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If well implemented, it can

  • increase learner motivation and participation
  • save time and lead to higher language levels
  • - be satisfying and rewarding for the teacher and learner

If well implemented, learning in English can

  • increase learner motivation and participation
  • save time and lead to higher language levels
  • be satisfying and rewarding for the teacher and learner
so what is content and language integrated learning
So what is Content and Language Integrated Learning?

Do Coyle, CLIL: Motivating Learners and Teachers,

explores the dual aims of CLIL and defines it thus:

‘a powerful pedagogic tool which aims to safeguard the subject being taught whilst promoting language as a medium for learning as well as an objective of the learning process itself.’

http://www.scilt.stir.ac.uk/Downloads/slr/issue_13/SLR13Coyle.pdf

some successful fl projects
Some successful FL projects
  • Content Based Instruction in FLs e.g. NASA space team, diplomats, peace keeping forces – intensive courses in the USA 1990s
  • Immersion Education in Canadian schools – French and English
  • Bilingual Schools Project integrated Spanish/English Curriculum 3-16 year old children in Spain 1966
  • Content and Language Integrated Project (CLIP)- 8 UK schools begun in 2002
  • In the Middle East – a variety of projects at a range of levels to be reported at this conference
in what ways were these successful
In what ways were these successful?

A recent evaluation of the Spanish project has reported the following successes:

  • interest and motivation on the part of the children
  • the enthusiasm of the parents
  • a growing sense of satisfaction from head teachers in schools, many of which are in economically deprived areas
  • learning in two languages not only contributes to the progress of the children in their first language, but would appear to assist the children's cognitive development.
feedback on the uk clil project
Feedback on the UK CLIL project

a researcher:

  • … it allows pupils to use language in a range of different ways,[] and in more complex ways; they have a higher level of comprehension skills, develop better strategic skills… [] focus less on word-by-word comprehension..

a teacher:

  • You change your mind about what is possible. I would never have believed it before- that beginners could make so much progress so quickly.
do such projects always succeed
Do such projects always succeed?

NO!

  • David Graddol speaking at the IATEFL CLIL debate in 2005:

…. there is a potentially large downside to it. In many countries they just don't seem to be equipped to implement Clil. When it works it works extraordinarily well, but it is actually quite a difficult to do well. My feeling is that it may actually take 30 or 40 years for a country to really to pull this one off.

hong kong secondary schools
Hong Kong - Secondary Schools

Amy Tsui reported at the same CLIL debate

  • a) the students who learned content through English ended up two years behind those learning in Chinese
  • b) Chinese-medium school students got much higher grades when taking the Chinese school-leaving public examination
  • c) by the 3rd year of CLIL, the self perception, self esteem of English-medium students were significantly lower than Chinese-medium students - and motivation as well.
possible reasons for failure
Possible reasons for failure
  • Teachers’ perceived linguistic competence
  • Stakeholders’ beliefs
  • Assessment procedures and grading schemes
other challenges mentioned by teachers
Other challenges mentioned by teachers
  • Making content input comprehensible

– new concepts and new language together

  • Mother tongue use – when to allow it
  • Learner motivation – how to increase it
  • When and how to work on language

and focus on form? Before? In parallel but separate? Integrated?

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The last four challenges can be met by making flexible use of tasks within a coherent framework
  • Need to start small – with support…..
  • So on to Part 2….
2 clil and tbl together how can tasks help
2. CLIL and TBL together: How can tasks help?
  • There is a rich literature on TBL which can be applied to the problems of CLIL .
  • Tasks have to be about something and Content can provide the topics.
  • Content has be broken down into activities that learners can engage with, and these fit our definition of a Task.
clil through tasks
CLIL through Tasks

Do Coylelists Task design in her curriculum planning model and stresses the need for a ‘strategy for promoting genuine communication in the FL if learning is to take place’.

  • Tasks can be the main strategy

She adds: The CLIL environment demands a level of talking and interaction that is different from the traditional language classroom.

  • Tasks provide opportunities for genuine communication and rich meaning-focused interaction
characteristics of effective tasks
Characteristics of effective tasks
  • have a primary focus on meaning
  • have a clear outcome for learners to achieve
  • relate as far as possible to real world activities
  • engage learners’ interest
clil and music a task to try
MUSIC syllabus for children

Here is an activity with the aim: to develop left hand / right hand co-ordination

ARE YOU READY?

CLIL and Music - a task to try
how did that fit the criteria
How did that fit the criteria?

Characteristics of effective tasks

a primary focus on meaning

a clear outcome

a real world skill

engaging

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Language: one hand / the other hand / both hands / both together and lots of other input

a higher level task design a library brochure
Design a Library Brochure for new students

a sequence of enabling tasks planned by the students themselves

Followed by three evaluation tasks after the publication of the brochure

HCT Ras Al Khaimah Men’s Collegehttp://ilc.rkmc.hct.ac.ae/ILCSite/1FB_Mohamed%20Khaled_1.pdf

A higher level task DESIGN A LIBRARY BROCHURE
a task based lesson framework
A Task-based lesson framework

Tasks are most effective when used within a coherent Framework.

Priming & Preparation

Task Cycle

Task >> Planning >> Report of outcome

Form focus

pre task priming and preparation
Pre-task priming and preparation

can help make content input more comprehensible.

It requires:

  • prior analysis of the linguistic and cognitive demands
  • a series of mini- tasks, often teacher-led
  • lots of visual support
bbc co uk geography rivers
BBC.co.uk GEOGRAPHY Rivers
  • http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/riversandcoasts/index.shtml
use the web and fine tune activities
Use the web and fine-tune activities
  • BBC HomepageSchools

>>What is a river?The water cycleHow do rivers change?People and rivers

what is a river
What is a river?

A river is fresh water flowing across the surface of the land, usually to the sea. It flows in a channel. Thebottom of the channel is called the bed and the sides of the channel are called the banks.

All rivers are different, but they all work in a similar way. The key idea to rememberis that water flows downhill. Flowing water has ENERGY!

Now make a diagram and label it.

Choose 3 useful phrases to remember.

framework task cycle
Framework – Task cycle

Priming & Preparation

Task Cycle

Task >> Planning >> Report of outcome

Form focus

sample tasks for rivers
Sample tasks for rivers

All the next few tasks have a purpose for the report except one – which one?

If water is flowing down the river to the sea, why doesn’t the river empty, dry up, or run out of water? The answer lies in The Water Cycle.

Read the web-link, and write a full caption for each of the six stages in the process. Then mix them up – to use as a quiz next lesson.

map task settlements
Map task: settlements

Note: Settlements are villages or towns

Use a map and trace a local (or famous) river from its sources to its mouth. How does the size of the settlements change? How does their shape change?

Work in twos. Plan how to report your findings to the class in English.

Compare your findings – find one thing in common.

exploring reasons why we settled by rivers
Exploring reasons why we settled by rivers

a) Why were so many towns and villages built by rivers? List 3 reasons. Prepare to tell the class and compare lists. Add one more reason.

b) In groups of 2 or 3, choose one reason and expand it further, giving two or three examples (do some research!) Exchange with another group and think of two questions to ask them.

(Written or spoken).

problem solving floods
Problem-solving: floods
  • Flooding is a major disadvantage of living near a river. How might this be overcome?

b) Flooding can also be an advantage – in what way? Read the text on the river Nile .

planning and report stages
Planning and Report stages

Which task did not specify a purpose or report stage?

The report stage is importantbecause it

- gives a purpose for task completion – enhances motivation and chance of success

  • presents opportunities for learner’s personal language development at the planning stage, before ‘going public’- in English
  • -------------------------------------------------------------------------

Motivation was one problem – L1 use was another

l 1 use when in the task framework
L 1 use – when in the task framework?

Priming & Preparation

Task Cycle

Task >> Planning >> Report of outcome

Form focus

when to work on language and focus on form
When to work on language and focus on form?

Priming & Preparation

Key lexis & useful phrases

Task >> Planning >>>> Report of outcome

Language extension >> Prestige language use

Form focus

Analysis & practice

of language features from

texts written or spoken that learners have read or heard

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

C. Eide (PI in Abu Dhabi):

Learners record their tasks, then ‘listen, transcribe, discuss..’

from a text based task to form focus
From a text-based Task…. to form focus

TASK Look at your river on the map again. Read this text- how far is it true for your river? Compare with another group.

TEXT (from web-site)

Remember that the source of a river is on higher ground, and is often remote. The middle course is usually hilly ground. The lower course is usually flatter ground and the mouth of a river is nearly always at the sea.

The shape or form of the landscape through which a river flows will affect the form of settlements beside the river. Some towns and villages will be long and thin, along the river's banks, others will be able to spread out in all directions.

to form focus for geography
To form focus – for Geography
  • Underline 4 phrases for parts of a river; what others do you know? What other landscape features are mentioned?
  • Find 5 or 6 phrases with prepositions, describing location. Write them with a gap omitting the preposition. Play ‘what is where?’
  • Find 4 phrases with frequency adverbs expressing probability.
  • Find 3 phrases with will. What does ‘will’ mean here? Is it expressing future? Or predicting? Does this happen in Arabic?

Remember that the source of a river is on higher ground, and is often remote. The middle course is usually hilly ground. The lower course isusually flatter ground and the mouth of a river isnearly always at the sea.

The shape or form of the landscape through which a river flows will affect the form of settlements beside the river. Some towns and villages will be long and thin, along the river's banks, others will be able to spread out in all directions.

form focus for science
Form focus … for science

From science experiment to form focus

Analyse language…. identify typical features, patterns, functions…

How are experiments laid out?

What general language features are typical in each section?

What topic specific collocations? (e.g. properties of materials, verbs that are used with liquids)

Create exercises to focus on these.

a fundamental shift in the language syllabus
A fundamental shift in the language syllabus

Both TBL and CLIL recognise the need for a fundamental shift in the language syllabus:

No longer can the FL be parcelled into a grammatical progression, leaving past tenses and more complex linguistic structures until later. […]The topic of

sustainability requires access to expression of future; the Industrial revolution will require past tenses…

analyse the language of the content area
A need to analyse the language features typical of each subject.

What discourse types? What language is typically used in each?

Written & visual sources, e.g.

web,

text book,

other learners’ output,

journals, magazines

Realia – e.g. notices, leaflets, brochures

Spoken sources (planned and spontaneous) e.g.

teacher monologue,

teacher + class interaction,

group discussion,

presentations,

outside experts

CDs, DVDs, radio, podcasts

Analysethe language of the content area
materials planning process
Materials planning process
  • Work with specialist to choose content and break it down
  • Design your target tasks & task sequences
  • Design priming and preparation tasks for your learners
  • Devise form focused exercises

TRY IT ALL OUT

  • Evaluate and follow up – with learners and colleagues

And before long you will succeed in – and enjoy….

getting the balance right
… getting the balance right!

www.willis-elt.co.uk

slide44
Advice from CLIL and TBL practitioners
  • Any new project needs management / institution /stakeholder backing
  • to clarify rationale and support mechanics and motivation for change - and allow time for
  • co-operation between content specialists and language teachers
  • to plan, trial and evaluate materials and methods for teaching and assessment
  • ‘co-operation is the key’
  • Teachers need motivation to change, a strong project leader and ongoing support especially in early stages, and regular, confidence-boosting reviews
  • Students need an understanding of the process and end objectives - not just content syllabus aims but what levels of English are acceptable for each type of activity?
  • Start small – choose a topic and design some simple task sequences with clear achievable outcomes
  • Involve learners
  • Be positive
bibliography and references
Bibliography and references
  • About CLIL
  • If you only have time to read one article about a CLIL project see Do Coyle:

http://www.scilt.stir.ac.uk/Downloads/slr/issue_13/SLR13Coyle.pdf

She reports on the results of a pioneer project run in 8 Secondary schools in the UK for different FLs . She gives a sample lesson plan and a Framework for the process of CLIL Curriculum Design.

  • For a shorter very basic account of what CLIL is about, Steve Darn:
  • http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/think/articles/content-language-integrated-learning
  • Useful background:
  • http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/transform/teachers/specialist-areas/clil/websites-discussion-lists
  • http://www.britishcouncil.org/spain-education-bilingual-project
slide46
Resources
  • http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/websites/4_11/
  • http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/websites/11_16/
  • http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/riversandcoasts/index.shtml
  • http://www.internet-at-work.com/hos_mcgrane/egypt/egypt2.htm
books
Books
  • Bygate M. P. Skehan and M. Swain (eds) 2001. Researching Pedagogic Tasks: Second language learning, teaching and testing
  • Edwards, C. and J. Willis (eds) 2005. Teachers Exploring Tasks in ELT. Palgrave MacMillan. Prize winner - British Council ELT Innovations Awards 2006
  • Ellis R. 2003. Task-based Language Teaching and Learning. Oxford, OUP
  • Estaire S. and J. Zanon, 1994. Planning Classwork: a task-based approach. Oxford: Macmillan Heinemann
  • Foster P. 1996. ‘Doing the task better: how planning time influences students’ performance’. In Jane Willis & Dave Willis (eds) Challenge and Change in Language Teaching. Heinemann pp17-30
  • Leaver B.L. & J. Willis, (eds) 2004. Task-based Instruction in Foreign Language Education: practices and programs. Washington DC, Georgetown University Press. (See Chapter 1 for an overview of TBL perspectives and practices).
  • Mohan, B. A. 1986 Language and Content Addison-Wesley
  • Paterson, A and Willis, J. 2008 English Through Music OUP
  • Stryker, S. B. and Leaver, B. L. 1997 Content-Based Instruction in Foreign

Language Education: models and methods. Georgetown University Press

  • Willis D. 2003. Rules, Patterns and Words: Grammar and Lexis in English Language Teaching. Cambridge University Press
  • Willis, D. and Willis, J. 2007. Doing Task-based Teaching Oxford University Press