Slippery paths towards unknown destinations? More

Report
Slippery paths towards unknown
destinations? More questions than
answers for EFL teachers in
Southeast Asia today.
William Littlewood
Hong Kong Institute of Education
1
Introduction 1
 The ‘postmodern’ world has led to widespread
questioning of accepted views and sustaining
assumptions that we have grown up with.
 In many domains there are no longer universally
accepted truths; all truths are regarded as situated
and relative.
 ‘Actual minds, possible worlds’ (Bruner, 1986)
2
Introduction 2
 The global flows of ideas and forms
meanings are seen less and less as oneway from ‘centre to periphery’
 … and occur increasingly as part of ‘a
cosmopolitan conversation of humankind’
(Schuerkens, 2004, p. 15).
3
The Present Paper
This paper focuses on three domains in which the
sustaining assumptions of the EFL teacher in Southeast
Asia have undergone processes of questioning:
1.
2.
3.
The goals of teaching (unknown destinations?)
Methods of teaching (slippery paths?)
Assessment of learning (will we know when we
arrive?)
--- and considers some implications for the role and identity
of the EFL teacher.
4
Part 1
The Goals of Teaching
5
The Goals of Teaching
 The goals of teaching and learning have become
less easily definable.
 Not only are we still coming to terms with the shift
of attention from linguistic products to
communicative processes.
 … even in a product-oriented approach, notions of
English as a lingua franca have raised doubts
about desirable models.
6
What Model of English? 1
 Until recently, native speaker models have been
seen as transmitted along a ‘one-way street’ from
the ‘centre(s)’ to the ‘peripheries’.
 Though the range of centres has widened to
include more varieties of English, the dominant
assumption has been that EFL and ESL speakers
should follow native-speaker norms, so that local
forms are errors to be rectified.
7
What Model of English? 2
 There is now a growing belief that ‘English as a lingua
franca’ need not obey the norms of any particular native
speaker version.
 Each country can develop its own local forms of English,
constrained only by the requirements of transnational
communication.
 ‘In the teaching of English …the goals set and the models
adopted should be appropriate and relevant to the norms
and needs of the learners and users of English’ (Kirkpatrick,
2007, p. 197).
8
The Grammar of English as a Lingua
Franca
According to Seidlhofer (2004), these features are ‘non-core’ in ELF i.e.
they do not hinder communication and need not be corrected:
 Dropping the third person present tense –s
 Confusing the relative pronouns who and which
 Omitting definite and indefinite articles where they are obligatory in ENL,





and inserting them where the do not occur in ENL
Failing to use correct forms in tag questions (e.g., isn't it? or no? instead of
shouldn't they?)
Inserting redundant prepositions, as in We have to study about…)
Overusing certain verbs of high semantic generality, such as do, have,
make, put, take
Replacing infinitive-constructions with that-clauses, as in I want that
Overdoing explicitness (e.g.black color rather than just black)
9
The Pronunciation of English as a
Lingua Franca
According to Jenkins (2003), these features are ‘non-core’
in ELF i.e. they do not hinder communication and need not
be corrected:
 The sounds for ‘th’ and dark ‘l’
 Vowel quality
 Weak forms
 Other features of connected speech such as assimilation
 Pitch direction to signal attitude or grammatical meaning
 Placement of word stress
 Stress-timed rhythm
10
English as a Lingua Franca in the
Classroom 1
 ‘Teachers can ignore [non-core features] with a
clear conscience and spend classroom time on
more useful issues’. (Kirkpatrick, 2006, p. 79)
 If a Japanese speaker substitutes /l/ for /r/ in ‘red’,
this can be classed as an ‘error’.
 “I’ll go now. I want to go and pray with my
boyfriend.” (Good girl!!!) (???)
11
English as a Lingua Franca in the
Classroom 2
 But vowel addition as in ‘Macudonaludo’ is
non-core and therefore not an error.
(Jenkins, 2006, p. 37)
12
English as a Lingua Franca in the
Classroom 3
 Ask any of our team member for assistance.
 If I raise one angle and they do not come
back with the other three angles, I will not
repeat myself.
13
Some Questions about ELF
 Can the intelligibility of features be judged independently of
contexts? (Compare ‘give me an answer’ with ‘give me the
answer.)
 The contribution of ‘top-down’ processes (schemata) to
comprehension is always variable.
 Can ELF speakers really be sure of readiness to
accommodate in real life situations? (c.f. Norton’s studies)
 Is it feasible for teachers to make such fine decisions in the
flow of classroom interaction?
14
Part 2
Methods of Teaching
15
Methods of Teaching 1
 There are so many individual differences amongst
learners, situations and teachers, that they cannot
be served by one single method.
 Teachers need to explore how they can base
teaching on a flexible framework of principles and
procedures, less prescriptive than a fixed method
and adaptable to their own situations.
16
Methods of Teaching 2
 In East Asia, teachers seek ‘an extensive cross-
breeding of elements drawn from different ELT
techniques, methods and approaches
 … to form a localized methodology that supports
the effective teaching and learning of English’
(Wong & Ho, 2004, p. 464)
17
Ten Macrostrategies
(Kumaravadivelu, 2006)
 (a) maximize learning opportunities
 (b) facilitate negotiated interaction
 (c) minimize perceptual mismatches
 (d) activate intuitive heuristics
 (e) foster language awareness
 (f)
 (g)
 (h)
 (i)
 ( j)
contextualize linguistic input
integrate language skills
promote learner autonomy
ensure social relevance
raise cultural consciousness
18
A Methodological Framework:
From Focus on Form to Focus On Meaning
(Littlewood, 2004)
Focus on form
Noncommunicative
learning
Focusing on the
structures of
language, how
they are formed
and what they
mean, e.g.
substitution
exercises


Focus on meaning
Precommunicative
language
practice
Communicative
language
practice
Structured
communication
Authentic
communication
Practising
language with
some attention to
meaning but not
communicating
new messages,
e.g. “questionand-answer”
practice
Practising pretaught language
in a context
where it
communicates
new information,
e.g. information
gap activities
Using language
to communicate
in situations
which involve
some
unpredictability,
e.g. structured
role-play
Using language to
communicate in
situations where
the meanings are
unpredictable, e.g.
creative role-play,
discussion
19
Task Involvement in CommunicationOriented Language Learning
↑
↑
↓
↓
T
A
S
K
I
N
V
O
L
V
E
M
E
N
T
High Task Involvement
Low Focus on Meaning
(High Focus on Form)
High Task Involvement
High Focus on Meaning
(Low Focus on Form)
Low Task Involvement
Low Focus on Meaning
(High Focus on Form)
Low Task Involvement
High Focus on Meaning
(Low Focus on Form)
FOCUS ON FORM ←
←
→
→ FOCUS ON MEANING
20
Processes in the Foreign Language
Classroom
1
2
3
4
5
Facilitative
processes
Inhibitive
processes
Pedagogic
processes
Developmental
processes
Processes as
outcomes
Affective processes
e.g. selfconfidence
e.g. excessive
anxiety
e.g. creating a
relaxed
environm
ent
(leading to)
positive
attitudes,
etc.
Cognitive processes
e.g. making
inferences
e.g. premature
closure
e.g.
(leading to)
critical thinking,
etc.
Social processes
e.g. group
cohesion
e.g. social
loafing
e.g. effective
grouping
technique
s
(leading to)
cooperation
skills, etc.
Communication
processes
e.g. comprehension
e.g. dominance
in turntaking
e.g. creating
space to
communi
cate
(leading to)
the ‘four skills’,
etc.
challengi
ng ideas
21
Part 3
Assessment for Learning –
and Accountability!
22
Process-orientation in Language Teaching
The process-in-progress
perspective
The process-as-outcome
perspective
1
Processes are the means of learning
Processes are the product of learning
2
Actual processes in classroom
learning
Desired processes as learning outcomes
3
Processes of learning and using
language
Processes of using and learning
language
4
Processes lead to intended or
unpredicted products
Processes are specified as the intended
products
5
Facilitative and inhibitive processes
Targeted processes (intended outcomes)
6
How do students learn best and how
can we best facilitate their
learning processes?
How can / should students be able to act,
think and communicate as a result
of learning?
7
Facilitation model with focus on
classroom pedagogy
Control model with focus on planning
and assessment processes
23
The Process-as-Outcome
Perspective 1
The Singapore English Language Syllabus 2001 lists
intended outcomes from all levels of processes. For
example, by the end of Primary 2, ‘pupils will’:
 Enjoy the creative use of language in e.g. similes, poems and
jokes (affective level)
 Infer and draw conclusions about characters, sequence of
events (cognitive level)
 Follow agreed-upon rules for group work (social level)
 Speak to convey meaning using intonation (communication level)
24
The Process-as-Outcome
Perspective 2
The English Language Curriculum Guide (Primary 1 – 6)
for Hong Kong states that by the end of Primary 6,
students should learn to:
 be confident of their own judgement, performance and
capabilities (affective level)
 question obvious bias, propaganda, omissions, and less obvious
fallacies (cognitive level)
 work and negotiate with others to develop ideas and achieve
goals (social level)
 present information, ideas and feelings clearly and coherently
(communication level)
25
Outcome-based Planning and
Assessment 1

Its first motive is to ensure that learning has clear
directions. Teachers and course-developers
decide what they would like students to learn
and determine to what extent these have been
achieved.

This information can be gathered not only at the
end of a course but also during the course. Thus
the second motive is to facilitate formative
‘assessment for learning’.
26
Outcome-based Planning and
Assessment 2

The wider system can transform information gathered to
support learning into information used for reporting and
grading, as a basis for gatekeeping and accountability.
(Brindley, 2001)

When the system itself (a) specifies expected learning
outcomes, (b) measures whether they have been
achieved, and (c) makes student progression and
institutional funding contingent upon the results, tools are
in place for the centre to exercise control over the goals
and implementation of the educational process.
27
Yes, but what does it all mean? 1
Speaking: Level 3 (Excerpts)

Pronunciation / Delivery techniques
 Pronunciation of familiar words can usually be understood; less familiar
words, if used, can sometimes be understood within the overall context.
 Intonation, volume and pacing are generally appropriate enough to be
understood.
 Some features of body language are appropriate, e.g. occasional eye
contact.

Accuracy and appropriacy of vocabulary and language patterns
 Simple familiar vocabulary is usually used appropriately.
 Simple language patterns are used, sometimes accurately and
appropriately. Errors do not usually impede communication when topics
are familiar.
28
Yes, but what does it all mean? 2
Vague terms in the HKCEE English ‘Component Grade Descriptors’
Term
Number of occurrences
some / sometimes
76
familiar
56
appropriate / appropriately
51
may
41
more
29
(more complex: 22)
generally
24
accurate / accurately
23
most
22
usually
14
mainly
13
occasional / occasionally
12
range
12
(a range: 6; small range: 4; limited range 1; good range: 1)
29
Teachers Beware!
We need to avoid what Alexander (2004) sees in the UK
National Curriculum:
 a ‘highly centralized and interventive education system’ in which
 ‘those who have the greatest power to prescribe pedagogy’ may be
those who have ‘the poorest understanding of it’, leading to
 a ‘culture of compliance’ in which teachers are merely ‘technicians
who implement the educational ideas and procedures of others’
and
 attention to outcomes deflects attention from the classroom
pedagogy that should produce them.
30
Implications for English Language
Teaching
 These developments ask teachers to assume high
degrees of autonomy in their decision-making.
 At the same time they have to accept high
degrees of accountability for the outcomes of
these decisions.
 They have far-reaching implications for the role,
responsibilities and identity of the EFL teacher.
31
What other implications?
Thanks for your attention! (I hope)
32
References 1









Alexander, Robin (2004). Still no pedagogy? Principle, pragmatism and compliance in
primary education. Cambridge Journal of Education 34/1, 7 – 33.
Brindley, Geoff (2001). Outcome-based assessment in practice: Some examples and
emerging insights’. Language Testing 18/4, 393-407.
Bruner, Jerome (1986). Actual minds, possible worlds. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard
University Press.
English Language Curriculum Guide (Primary 1 – 6) (2004). Hong Kong: Education
Bureau. Available at: http://www.edb.gov.hk/index.aspx?langno=1&nodeID=2770
English Language Syllabus 2001 for Primary and Secondary Schools. (2001). Singapore:
Ministry of Education. Available at: http://www.moe.gov.sg/cpdd/syllabuses.htm
Grade Descriptors for HKCEE English. Hong Kong: HKEAA. Available at:
http://www.hkeaa.edu.hk/doc/sd/grade_descriptors_ec.pdf
Jenkins, Jennifer (2003). World Englishes: A resource book for students. London:
Routledge.
Jenkins, Jennifer (2006). Global intelligibility and local diversity: Possibility or paradox? In
Rubdy & Saraceni (eds.), pp. 32-39.
Kirkpatrick, Andy (2006). Which model of English: Native speaker, nativized or lingua
franca? In Rubdy & Saraceni (eds.), pp. 71-83.
33
References 2








Kirkpatrick, Andy (2007). World Englishes: Implications for international communication
and English language teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Kumaravadivelu, B. (2006). Understanding language teaching: From method to postmethod. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Littlewood, William (2004). The task-based approach: Some questions and suggestions.
ELT Journal 58.4, 319–326.
Littlewood, William (2007). Communicative and task-based language teaching in East
Asian classrooms. Language Teaching 40/3, 243-249.
Rubdy, Rani & Saraceni, Mario (2006). English in the world: Global rules, global roles.
London: Continuum.
Schuerkens, Ulrike (2004). The sociological and anthropological study of globalization
and localization. In U. Schuerkens (ed.) Global forces and local life-worlds: Social
transformations (pp. 14-26). London: Sage.
Seidlhofer, Barbara (2004). Research perspectives on teaching English as a lingua
franca. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics 24, 209-239.
Wong, Ruth Y. L. & Ho Wah Kam (2004). The future of English language teaching in
East Asia. In W.K. Ho & R. Y. L. Wong (eds.) English language teaching in East Asia
today (pp. 455-465). Singapore: Eastern Universities Press.
34

similar documents