From the Learner Corpus to Learner Autonomy at First Certificate Guy Brook-Hart Cambridge University Press Prague, 11th October 2008
In this workshop we will look at • what the Cambridge Learner Corpus (CLC) is • what information it can give • how it can be used in the classroom • how it can be used in course design • how it can be used to encourage learner autonomy.
Examples will be taken from Complete First Certificate (CUP 2008)
What is the Cambridge Learner Corpus (CLC)? More than 100,000 scripts from Cambridge ESOL Writing Papers allowing analysis of errors according to • level • L1 • type of error. Examples of real student mistakes.
What is the Cambridge Learner Corpus (CLC)? Exclusive to • Cambridge ESOL • Cambridge University Press
What information can it give? Grammar errors • Ana was dating Bob, that was Christine's boyfriend… • I am a 15 year old girl that speaks the English language fluently…
What information can it give? Grammar errors • I think the better thing we have to do is... • Laura was more calm and a little bit frightened.
What information can it give? Lexical errors • …a fiesta with typical Spanish clothes… • I hope your holiday was funny.
What information can it give? Collocation errors • I did the same mistake than you. • I felt free to use the phone and I did some phone calls home.
What information can it give? Collocation errors • It was an important day and I had to hold a speech in front of international visitors. • I’ll answer all the questions that you made me in your last letter.
What information can it give? Spelling errors • confortable • belive • preffer • accomodation • excelent
What information can it give? Spelling errors • accomodation • confortable • belive • excelent • preffer
What information can it give? Spelling errors - confusions with other words: • thing – think • exiting – exciting Spelling errors - confusions with American spellings: • center – centre • color – colour
What information can it give? Frequency of errors
What information can it give? Origin of error by language(s) • I will be able to control the children when they swim. Greek • We needed to control all the microfons before the performance. Spanish • The immigration officer started controlling us. Arabic • I use the internet to book a holiday, to buy a book or to control my bank account. Italian
How can the CLC influence FCE course design? • Corpus information can • influence what areas of grammar we focus on • highlight what students really find difficult, not what we imagine they find difficult • supply material for corpus-based exercises on error analysis and correction.
How can the CLC influence FCE course design? • Can instead of could in conditionals (including polite requests) and other hypothetical situations It's a mountain bike and if you can see it, I'm sure that you'd like it. • Can instead of could for past situations In contrast to this, I can swim when I was six. • confusion between when to use could/can and was/will be able to for past/future situations I had a car so we could make a number of tours…
How can the CLC be used in the classroom? • By ensuring that grammar explanations cover problem areas, not just areas we think will be tested in the exam. • By designing exercises which cover those areas • By including exercises which encourage students to think about the mistakes they make and to think critically about their productive use of language.
How can the CLC be used in the classroom? • By making students aware of problem areas so that they look for / avoid these particular errors in their productive work.
How can the CLC be used in the classroom? • Examples of the language to be focused on may be drawn from a reading or listening text. • Students see correct use of language in an authentic context. • They draw conclusions from the use of language in the context. • They check their conclusions by studying grammar rules.
How can the CLC be used in the classroom? • Students are told this is a problem area. • They work on a task which contains language used by candidates in the exam.
How can the CLC be used in the classroom? • The exercise which follows is closer to how this language area will be directly tested in the exam. • There may be further opportunity for freer, more productive practice.
How can the CLC influence FCE course design? • Corpus information can • pinpoint lexical problems and determine what lexis is worked on in the course • focus on students’ problem areas • provide a lexical syllabus based on research, not supposition.
How can the CLC influence FCE course design? • Dish, food and meal • …for example the beef food is really tasty and looks very healthy • Is there any vegetarian meal or only tradational cooking? • You will have free food breakfast, lunch and dinner. U4
How can the CLC influence FCE course design? Extracts from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary
How can the CLC influence FCE course design? • Clear definitions can be used to sort out students’ confusions. • Students can work out for themselves why a word is wrong / which word would be the right choice.
How can dictionary work help? • using definitions • using examples • work on common learner errors • work on collocations • getting students to think about, analyse and understand correct usage • going from a formal explanation to an exercise.
How can dictionary work help? Extracts from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary
How does error analysis and correction help students? • by building up systematic awareness of errors • by creating a error-finding and error-correcting habits • by making students more self-aware and therefore more responsible.
What else can we do in class apart from the exercises in the book? Work on correcting an answer to a writing task. • Take in an answer from another class. • Underline selected errors and indicate whether students should look in the dictionary or Student’s Book to correct them. • Students note errors and corrections in their notebooks • Students work on rephrasing.
What else can we do in class apart from the exercises in the book? • students read sample answer from Teacher’s Book • finally, students correct and revise their own answers to the tasks based on this session before handing them in.
Complete First Certificate (CUP 2008) • Is Corpus-informed throughout
Complete First Certificate Student’s Book • has been written specifically for the new FCE exam (December 2008) • is aimed at students aged 16 - 18 and young adults has 16 units containing • skills for one part of each FCE paper (Reading, Writing, Use of English, Listening and Speaking) • Corpus-informed vocabulary and grammar input.
Complete First Certificate Student’s Book has • a 16-page Grammar reference section • an 8-page Writing reference section • a 4-page Speaking reference section • a complete model exam for the new FCE exam, supplied by Cambridge ESOL • a CD-ROM for self-study.
Other components • A Teacher’s Book with step-by-step teaching notes, photocopiable activities, progress tests, photocopiable word lists, answer keys and recording scripts. • 3 audio CDs including recordings for the model Listening Paper supplied by Cambridge ESOL. • A Workbook with audio CD (authors Barbara Thomas and Amanda Thomas).
Complete CAE by Guy Brook-Hart and Simon Haines appearing next year.