TEACHER-TRAINING DISCUSSION by Touro GSE TESOL teacher candidate Crystal Demma for EDPN 673 – Methods and Materials for Teaching English as a Second Language

Crystal Picture

Touro GSE TESOL teacher candidate Crystal Demma holds a Bachelor Degree in Early Childhood and Childhood Education. She is a NY certified teacher working on her Master’s Degree for TESOL and works in the Brentwood Union Free School District where there is a high population of ELL students. Here her personal quote, ” I have worked closely with these students, and truly enjoyed the relationship we built.”

Every week in our Touro online course EDPN 673 – Methods and Materials for Teaching English as a Second Language, teacher candidates analyze and reflect on videos and readings with direct applications to their teaching practice.  This discussion board contribution by Crystal Demma shows the dedication and thoroughness of Touro’s candidates.

TEACHER-TRAINING DISCUSSION QUESTIONS BASED ON THE VIDEO

English, A. (Ed.). (2013, January 25). Language Teaching Methods: Suggestopedia.
1. What did the students learn in this lesson?
• What was introduced?
• What points were practiced?
• What was mastered?
2. How were the four basic language skills (listening, speaking, reading, writing) used in the lesson?
3. What were the contents of the different posters? What functions did they fulfill?
4. Examine the contents of the passage itself. In the contents, what is suggested?
5. What direct suggestions does the teacher make to the students?
6. Examine the teacher’s manner: What variations do you see from activity to activity, from beginning to
end? What might explain these variations?
7. What forms of indirect suggestion, beyond the teacher’s manner, were used?
8. In the initial concert, the teacher asked the students to both watch the actions and listen to the words being read. This is an example of an activity with a dual focus. Which other activities divided the students’ attention? Specify the focus for each activity.

1. Lesson-
• The students learned about verbs, the pronunciation of past-tense verbs (t or d sound), vocabulary, and intonation of phrases.
• She introduced acting out verbs as you are speaking them and verbs in the passage.
• The class practiced pronunciation of past-tense verbs, listening/speaking to a partner, acting out verbs, reading from a paper, repeating dictation, past to present tense of same words, and writing down dictation
• I believe repeating dictation and acting out the passage was mastered. They did this multiple times in differing variations. They did this with the class, with partners, and with a student demonstrator.

2. The four basic language skills were used throughout the lesson in multiple activities. The teacher had the students use more than one language skill at a time to create dual focus. The students were expected to listen to a passage, verbs, and sentences while also doing another action. Sometimes this action included orally repeating, reading, and writing. One example of the students using two language skills is the activity at the end of the lesson. The teacher dictated a sentence to the students (listening), and the students wrote down what they heard (writing). Another activity that required students to practice language skills was when the class chorally read the passage and acted it out together. There were many more activities that helped refine the language skills of the students.

3. The posters hanging in the classroom had a purpose. One poster she specifically drew the class’ attention to had past-tense verbs. This could be to help the students visualize the written word and focus on listening to the sounds of the word. The other posters were there to create a comfortable and non-threatening environment. The students learn best when they are in a positive learning environment.

4. As I listened to the passage a few times I realized that it had some implicit suggestion within. I believe that it was implying that although Sarah had a lot to do she was still calm, relaxed, and assured she would complete her task. The video states, “She stretched lazily and placed her feet one by one on the floor… She tiptoed through the boxes, which lay everywhere, and put a kettle of water on to boil.” This shows me that the character is not overwhelmed and implies that it is best to remain calm and at peace.

5. The teacher makes direct suggestions in the lesson. In the beginning of the lesson, she asks the students to sit back and relax. She adds that the students should take a deep breath and think about something pleasant like the beautiful weather they were having. Another direct suggestion she makes is at the end of the lesson during the closing. She advises the students to read the piece of paper with sentences on it and think about the pronunciation and intonation of the words.

6. The teacher uses different variations of activities. The first activity, the teacher spoke very slowly while acting out the passage. The second activity she started off the same by giving a direct suggestion to calm the students and then began. She read at a faster pace without using body movement. Next, she asks the students to act it out together instead of her doing it alone. She emphasizes the intonation more than the beginning. She speaks slower as the students try to keep up. I think her mannerisms change because she is trying to help guide the students when they are working together with her. She continues to give positive feedback and suggestions. Once she starts playing the game with the verbs with t or d she jokes around with the students. She laughs with them and makes it feel like they are playing a game. This could be because she wants the students to associate learning with fun. This is another technique to help imply relaxation and create a positive learning environment.

7. There was a lot of indirect suggestion in this lesson. The teacher decreased the fear of the students by creating a positive and pleasant learning environment. She played music, put out flowers, and displayed posters. Another example of indirect suggestion is the ball activity. The teacher used a game involving a ball with the class. This suggests to the students that learning can be fun and non-threatening. According to the video, learning should be facilitated in a comfortable environment because it increases the students’ confidence; therefore, the students will perform better and ultimately learn more in a non-threatening positive classroom.

8. The video displayed many activities that used dual focus:
• Activity 1- Listen to teachers sentence, repeat sentence, act out the story with body movement
• Activity 2- Listen to partner, act out dictation/Read aloud the passage, watch your partner’s actions
• Activity 3- Listen to past-tense verb, hold up sound card
• Activity 4- Listen to present-tense verb, catch a ball, dictate past-tense version of the verb
• Activity 5- Chorally read aloud passage, watch one student act out the dictation
• Activity 6- Listen to sentence, write down dictation

Reading Response:

1. As I was reading this chapter I noticed that there were not a lot of reading activities. There were many methods, but many of them had a focus off of reading. It was believed by some theorists that language is primarily what is spoken so that is how they would try to acquire the L2 instead of writing or reading (p. 49, 1986, Richards & Rodgers).
• Direct Method- Teachers taught from books containing short reading passages in the foreign language. After the class read they would study lists of vocabulary that was in the reading.
• Reading Based- Read passages in the foreign language, then discuss the passage in English to deepen comprehension
• Structured Linguistics- Studying characteristics of the language like morphemes, phonemes, words, structures, sentence types, etc.

I think the most effective reading activity would be the Reading Based Approach. It is important to expose students to text in the target language; however, it is even more valuable to discuss the text in their L1. This gives them the opportunity to digest and make sense of the text. Some students may not have understood the entire reading, and discussing it as a whole class can fix any misunderstandings they had. I believe discussing ideas deepens comprehension and increases speaking skills. This would also allow me the opportunity to evaluate if they understood the text or not. Students who do not participate and are unable to answer my questions probably struggled with the reading. I should make note who struggled and use this data to target my instruction. I could give them an easier text, or read the passage with them after they read independently.

English, A. (Ed.). (2013, January 25). Language Teaching Methods: Suggestopedia. Retrieved July 2, 2019, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=139&v=3rkrvRlty5M

Richards, J. C., & Rodgers, T. S. (2009). Approaches and methods in language teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Author: drcowinj

As an Assistant Professor for TESOL and Bilingual Programs at Touro College, Graduate School of Education Dr. Cowin’s focus is on the Responsibility to Touro Students (Teaching), Responsibility to the Discipline (Scholarship), Responsibility to Touro College and Community (Service). Dr. Cowin strives to inspire students to be creative and to model the love of lifelong learning by inculcating the habits and attitudes that create agile mindsets. 21st-century learning extends well beyond the classroom, and Dr. Cowin incorporates takes full advantage of online learning technologies for L2 language acquisition and current global trends in teaching English as a Second Language She represents high levels of scholarship and participates fully in the larger world of TESOL academic discipline. Ongoing research, expressed in scholarly contributions to the advancement of knowledge is demonstrated through publication, presentation and participation in academic conferences, articles in Education Update, blogging and other scholarly activities, including public performances or exhibitions at conferences and workshops such as the Plekhanov University of Economics keynote address in 2018. Of special interest to her are The Blockchain of Things and its implications for Higher Education, Current Global Trends in Teaching English; Developing Materials and Resources in Teaching English – Methodology; E-learning & Micro-Methodology in Teaching English; and E-Resources Discovery and Analysis.

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