Touro TESOL Teacher Candidate Christine Agnello’s website review for EDDN 639 – Trends and Current Issues in Second Language Acquisition

Christine Agnello is currently a TESOL candidate at the Touro College TESOL graduate program. She has worked with children for over fifteen years and looks forward “to becoming a classroom teacher who can help my English language learners succeed in their academic career.”

Ms. Angelo’s submission is exemplary as it focuses on 6 websites or applications featuring:

  1. The Common Core Standards as they relate to ELLs
  2. The New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test (NYSESLAT)
  3. The Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP), the Specially Designed Academic Instruction in English Protocol (SDAIE), and the Cognitive Academic Language Learning Approach Protocol (SIOP)
  4. NCLB & AYP requirements and RTTT
  5. Bilingual Education

Website 1: Common Core

 http://www.nysed.gov/bilingual-ed/parents-guide-common-core-state-standards-ccss 

This website is about the New York State common core standards and how they apply to English language learners. This website offers a wide variety of information to help guide parents and guardians in understanding the common core standards and how they apply to ELLs. When you first click on this link, you are brought to a page that showcases a video of a bilingual classroom; from there, you will find information regarding the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). It is explained that the CCSS are meant to make sure that all children succeed once they graduate from high school. This website explains that the CCSS are essential because they help all children, regardless of their age, race, gender, or background. The website offers a description of the CCSS, which states clear expectations for what each student should know in key critical areas of reading, writing, speaking, and listening. This website is meant to provide parents and guardians with the standards as a way to help them work along with their child’s teachers in guiding their children to be successful. 

A positive aspect of this website is that it provides a ‘Parent Workshop Backpack Guide’ in multiple languages. This will allow all families to become familiar with the CCSS, regardless of their home language. The backpack guide is a two-page information sheet, which details the CCSS and what they should expect to find in their child’s backpack in regards to learning. This information is vital to helping parents keep up to date on what is going on in their child’s academic learning. This website also offers a wide variety of information about ELLs regarding their education. Parents and guardians can navigate the website and view extra details by clicking on the links located on the left side of the screen. While it is significant that the website offers so much information, I do believe a negative is that there might be too much information which will cause parents and guardians to become overwhelmed. 

In the future, I would use this website to help guide the parents and guardians of my English language learners. I may reference this website during parent/teacher conferences, and use it as a guide to show parents and guardians where their children are in terms of their academics and what steps we could take together to get them on the level they need to be in regards to the common core standards. 

Website 2: NYSESLAT

https://www.engageny.org/resource/new-york-state-english-a-second-language-achievement-test-nyseslat-resources 

This website is designed to detail The New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test (NYSESLAT). This website offers a wide variety of information in regards to the NYSESLAT, such as a description of the exam, how the exam is measured, and a checklist for review. This website provides a lot of information regarding the exam, and on the left side of the screen, you can view resources and materials that will be used to assess the exam. 

While this website is full of a lot of information, I do believe that it could be overwhelming for English language learner parents and guardians. The website is only in English, which will make it difficult for others to read and understand. At the bottom of the screen, this is another link which brings you to a ‘Parent Brochure.’ Once you click on this link, you are brought to another website which provides a brochure detailing the exam in a variety of languages. 

Although this website may be more geared towards teachers, I believe it is helpful for parents and guardians to view the information provided here. This information can help parents and guardians understand what the NYSESLAT is and what it entails for their children. In the future, I would love for my school’s main office to provide the information regarding this website to newly registered parents, as they can view the data before their child takes the exam. 

 

Website 3: The Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP)  

http://shelteredenglish.weebly.com/ 

This website is designed to offer you information regarding The Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP). As stated on the homepage of the website, it is understood that The Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol approach is for teaching content to English language learners in a strategic way which will make the subject matter and its concepts comprehensible while promoting student’s English language development. This website provides information on the eight components of SIOP, as well as resources that can be used to implement. 

This website is very clean; there aren’t many areas to explore, which makes it easy to navigate. When you view the eight components link, you are brought to a well thought out PDF that details the eight components that you can use. This information can be useful for future teaching and is easily accessible. A negative to the website is that unfortunately, some of the links do not work, and you are brought to a website that is not helpful. 

In the future, I would use this website to help reference how I could use the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) in my classroom. With its clean interface, I feel like I would access it more often, as all the information easily laid out for me. 

Website 4: No Child Left Behind (NCLB) act

https://www.colorincolorado.org/article/no-child-left-behind-and-english-language-learners 

This website provides an article detailing the information regarding the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) act, and how it especially applies to English language learners. The article explains that the NCLB act requires all English language learners to receive quality instruction for learning English and grade-level academic content. This act allows flexibility for choosing programs of instruction, especially for ELLs. The article explains that states are required to develop standards for English language proficiency, and to link those stands to the state’s academic content standards. The article goes on to list the requirements of the NCLB act in correlation to English language learners. 

This website provides short but very insightful information regarding the No Child Left Behind act and its relation to English language learners. It gives details that I believe would be beneficial to parents and guardians of English language learners. The website provides alternative links to some terms which are not easily understood by parents or guardians unfamiliar to the act. While I find the site useful, I do find it disconcerting that the information is only provided in English.  

In my future, as an educator, I would use this website to inform parents/guardians about the No Child Left Behind act. I think this website would be excellent if it were used during a parent/guardian workshop, which could be set up for the beginning of the school year. This workshop could be conducted during the parent/guardian outreach time, which is mandated by the Department of Education for all teachers on Mondays and Tuesdays. I think it would be beneficial for there to be translators available, as each translator could assist in helping parents and guardians of a variety of languages understand what is being discussed. 

Website 5: https://www.nysut.org/resources/all-listing/research/fact-sheets/fact-sheet-nys-requirements-bilingual-education-and-english-new-language-programs 

This website provides information regarding the requirements for bilingual education and English as a new language program. This website offers a fact sheet, which gives you an outline and guide on these requirements. The website starts off by providing a background in bilingual education and English as a new language program and explains the amendments that are required of school districts in order to provide English language learners with opportunities to achieve the same educational goals and standards established for all students. The website also contains resources for English language learners, as well as definitions of key terms regarding English language learners. 

This website provides a lot of information and has it broken down into easy to follow sections. I believe that this information is vital for any teacher of English language learners, and it is essential to be knowledgeable of this information to reach your students. The definitions of the key terms are a positive aspect of this website, as they can be referenced frequently for clarification. Along the top of the site you can find resources that lead you to another page that has more information regarding educational news. The website itself is self-explanatory and easily accessible. There is also a PDF fact sheet, which is beneficial for understanding the information. 

In my future endeavors as an educator, I will use this website to reference the NYS requirements for bilingual education and English as new language programs. I think it is essential to keep yourself abreast of any new information regarding these programs, as that knowledge will help me better understand the opportunities available for my English language learners, and how I can apply them to my teachings. 

Application 6: NY State Learning Standards, developed by MasteryConnect, for ios. 

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.masteryconnect.ny&hl=en_US

This application provides you with an overview of the New York State Common Core Standards. Upon opening the application, you are brought to a straightforward screen which states the standards and information regarding the developer of the application. Once you click on standards, you are brought to a screen that allows for a personal search, or you may click between standards for mathematics, language arts, social studies or science. Each standard provided you with a list of kindergarten through high school, and as you further explore the application you will be brought to the common core standards for each grade in each subject area. You can change the font, and you can make notes that can be referenced at a later time. 

I believe that this application is extremely beneficial to teachers. This application provides you with all the information you need regarding the New York State Common Core Standards, at the tips of your fingers. They are easily accessible, and the design of the application is clean and clear. There isn’t much to get confused by, even there are a lot of standards to reference. I believe that the ability to add notes and providing the user to do their own search is especially helpful. The only negative that I found was the lack of a bookmark of some sort just so it is easier to find the next time. 

I know that I will be able to implement this application in my future teaching practice, as it will provide a guide for myself to ensure that my lessons are aligned with the New York State Common Core Standards. I will be able to reference this application when designing my lessons and use the information provided to me to confirm that I am indeed teaching the information I need to help my students become successful. 

 

 

Reflections on the article Sociocultural Perspectives on Foreign Language Learning by Samantha Solomita TESOL Course EDPN 673 Touro College

This week I am featuring TESOL candidate Samantha Solomita’s thoughtful Reflective Journal assignment. All teacher candidates are required to write reflective learning journals for every course as part of the TESOL Touro program, CR-ITI-BE in TESOL and CR-ITI-BE in Bilingual Education.  As teacher candidates prepare for a career in TESOL and Bilingual education becoming a reflective practitioner the hallmark for metacognitive learning and taking an active role in one’s own learning. Therefore, the TESOL Program at Touro College, CR-ITI-BE in TESOL, CR-ITI-BE in Bilingual Education requires Reflective Learning Journals for both professional growth and assessment.
Purpose: To provide teacher candidates with a framework making connections between prior knowledge and new information. The framework engages teacher candidates in a systematic process to guide their ongoing reflection, a process they can internalize and practice as constructive educators. Teacher candidates will be able to engage in this process to improve their teaching throughout their careers. Teacher candidates reflective journal entries will be included in the final portfolio.

Bio: Samantha Solomita, a TESOL candidate at Touro College, GSE currently teaches a 12:1+1 bridge self- contained class in  Sunnyside, Queens. Her class is composed of 3rd and 4th graders who have learning disabilities and are mostly English Language Learners. Ms. Solomita is certified in childhood studies and students with disabilities 1-6 and holds a Masters in Educational Psychology.

Description of Highlight(s) – chapter, article or event that pertains to EDPN 673 course. 

In the article Sociocultural Perspectives on Foreign Language Learning, the authors Mansoor Fahim and Mastaneh Haghani discuss how the sociocultural theory (SCT) relates to learning and teaching a second language. According to Fahim and Haghani (2012) “In sociocultural theory learning is thought of as a social event taking place as a result of interaction between the learner and the environment (p. 693) Therefore, language learning is optimal when the learner is actively involved in their learning and interacting with others. Language and learning are also strengthened as the individual participates in cultural, linguistic, and historical settings. For example, the learner is involved in interactions within peer groups, families, sports activities, etc. Sociocultural theory uses a holistic approach in which meaning is developed through complex forms rather than isolated concepts; therefore, learners have a role in their own learning process. They are problem solvers and meaning makers in their language acquisition process. In addition, this theory stresses an interconnectedness among teachers, learners, and tasks. Social interaction is believed to facilitate the learning process. Learners work together with their teacher to solve the problems. As they work together to solve a problem, individuals are internalizing how to solve the problem on their own. As the learner is developing the language, he/she is benefiting from others participation in the process. With the support of peers and teacher, students can develop language (Fahim & Haghani, 2012). Vygotsky introduced a concept called Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD). With this concept, Vygotsky argues that “psychology should be more concerned with the potential abilities of a child, i.e. what a child will be to accomplish in the future but he/she has not achieved yet” (p. 694). Therefore, scaffolding must take place so that the child can grow and develop. Scaffolding can be referred to as social assistance. Scaffolding can also be anything a learner benefits from. Therefore, scaffolds may be textbooks, dictionaries, and diagrams; however, scaffolds can also be peer feedback and teacher support. Scaffolds may be direct or explicit instruction. The key is that the learning takes place within the learner’s zone of proximal development. Therefore, no learning is “out of reach.” Another concept of SCT is internalization. There needs to be an enhancement of interactions among the learners. The expert role can be applied to the teacher but also to learners as well. Reciprocal teaching may be adopted to have expert learners teach students who are still developing the language. Teachers could adopt a learner-centered approach to instruction to help students with internalization (Fahim & Haghani, 2012). Another essential component of SCT is the activity theory. Activity theory focused on task-based performances which provide learners with an active role. The learner becomes socially and academically motivated which leads to success in the language learning process. Engaging the students in interviews, role-plays, and other real-world tasks increase the value of learning for students. The learners’ motives, goals and values contribute to their success in language acquisition. Overall, the SCT argues that learning is optimal when it is within the learner’s zone of proximal development, scaffolds are provided, and there are interactions within social contexts (Fahim & Haghani, 2012).

2. Initial Emotional Response (surprised, embarrassed, sad, inspired, excited, puzzled, etc.)

Initially, I was surprised when I read this article because I did not think that the sociocultural theory applied to language learning. I have researched and read a lot about Lev Vygotsky’s theory in my undergraduate and graduate courses; however, I do not remember any research focusing on language learning. I was surprised and excited to learn that there are connections between what I have learned in psychology courses and TESOL courses. I was surprised that the sociocultural theory connects to language learning; therefore, I was eager to reflect on this article.

Learning Process

3. Prior Assumptions or Opinions about the described highlight

Prior to reading this article, I thought that second language learning should be mostly teacher-directed. I assumed that for students to learn the language they needed to be passive learners. I thought ENL teaching was very teacher-directed with limited interaction and discussions between peers and teacher. I thought that students simply listened to the teacher and repeated what the teacher stated. I perceived ENL teaching as teaching the basics of English such as grammar, spelling, and verb agreement. I also thought ENL teaching incorporated mostly drill practices and repetition. In addition, I believed ENL was a pull-out service which was separate from content. I thought students were pulled out to practice basic English skills which were not aligned to the curriculum taught in the classroom. Therefore, as a student, I thought that ENL teachers were separate from classroom teachers. I did not realize that an ENL teacher could be a classroom teacher as well. Lastly, I also thought that ENL teaching incorporated specific teacher feedback as opposed to self- and peer- feedback.

4. Source of Assumption or Opinion What made you have such an assumption? (

I had this assumption because most of the videos that I have watched for this course have been very teacher-directed. Also, the readings from earlier on in the course were also more teacher-directed methods. For example, the Audiolingual Method, the Grammar-Translation method, and the Direct Method and very teacher-centered. The teacher is the expert and the students practice language without really understanding the content. The student’s role is mostly to listen to language and then repeat words and phrases. However, when I read the title of the article, I knew that the sociocultural theory focused on interactions; therefore, I was eager to read the article and make connections to language learning. Another reason is, before I became a teacher, I always thought that ENL was teaching simply English. I did not realize that it was integrated. I envisioned the ENL teachers doing basic grammar and sentence structure. From elementary school, I remember the ENL teachers having their own rooms and the students only going to their rooms. I do not remember ENL teachers ever coming into my classroom or teaching general content.

5. Assumption/Opinion Check – Validation/Invalidation 

My assumptions about the instruction of a foreign language were invalidated due to research on sociocultural theory and other methods of teaching. For example, Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory proposes for students to be active in their learning in order to create meaning. According to Fahim and Haghani (2012), “the theory also lays great stress on the dynamic nature of interconnections among teachers, learners and tasks and advocates the concept of learning which stems from interactions among individuals” (p.694). Therefore, according to SCT, learners should be engaged in tasks that are meaningful and challenging. Students show optimal growth when learning is within their zone of proximal development and they are supported by peers and teachers. According to SCT, language learning is best when there are meaningful interactions between students and teachers. Similarly, further research has supported and validated the points made by Vygotsky regarding language learning. For example, in the article On Teaching Strategies in Second Language Acquisition Yang Hong argues for creating a learner-centered classroom. According to Hong (2008), “In the learning process, the teacher can guide, facilitate, present materials clearly and answer questions, but the teacher cannot learn the language for students or even make students learn the language” (p. 64). The teacher’s role is the role of the facilitator. It is up to the student to take initiative for their learning. Teachers should facilitate the learners through meaningful tasks. For example, “second language learners are more motivated on tasks that they value (Hong, 2008, p. 66). Students may value a task more if it is applicable to their daily life or if it incorporates their interests. Teachers can try to increase value by incorporating authentic literature, using culturally relevant topics, or providing student choice. Also, Hong argues that teachers should provide opportunities for success. Therefore, teachers should choose tasks that are authentic and appropriately challenging. Appropriately challenging tasks are supported by the Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development. In addition, the Silent Way method also uses some strategies which are reflective of the sociocultural theory. Using the Silent Way Method, the teacher does not have to explicitly model for students. The teacher provides students with learning tasks and activities that encourage student responses. According to Richards and Rogers (2016), “the materials are designed for manipulation by the students as well as by the teacher, independently and cooperatively, in promoting language learning by direct association” (p. 108). Therefore, the students work together to make sense of the content and develop the language. The students rely on each other to strengthen their language; therefore, the students work collaboratively and provide specific, constructive feedback. Also, the silent way uses materials that are meaningful to the students. For example, According to Richards and Rogers (2016). “the materials are designed for manipulation by the students as well as by the teacher, independently and cooperatively, in promoting language learning by direct association” (p.108). Like the sociocultural theory, the Silent Way integrates tasks that are meaningful and authentic in order to promote language learning.

6. Realization/Aha Moment or Epiphany 

I had an “aha!” moment when I realized how the recent articles I read and the videos I watched related. The articles I mentioned all stress the importance of students collaborating to develop language. In addition, students provide each other with feedback during this process. The teacher works as the facilitator who guides the students through meaningful, authentic tasks. The teacher provides scaffolds such as various materials, teacher support, and peer support to assist the students throughout their language learning process. I believe that this type of second language teaching and learning is the best for my students. For the first few weeks of this course, I was having a difficult time applying the information from the readings and my observations from the videos to my teaching. A lot of the new content I learned about second language teaching was teacher-centered. Methods such as the Audiolingual Method and Communicative Language Method seemed very time consuming and hard to fit in with teaching the general curriculum. Similarly, methods such as Grammar Translation Method and the Direct Method seemed to be very specific and difficult to integrate into content. However, after recent readings and videos, I am envisioning how I can implement strategies into my classroom to teach and support second language learners. After learning more about the Sociocultural theory, I realize that students need to work together more to develop language. Instead of modeling as a teacher, I can have my students act as models for each other. The learning is more valuable when the students are presented with engaging tasks. Therefore, I would like to incorporate more tasks such as the one in the Silent Way video (English, 2013). In the video, the teacher provided the students with a hands-on experience of a floor plan. Students were able to manipulate the pieces and make sense of language as a group. This was a great example for me, students developing language through participating in a meaningful task. Through this task, students learned vocabulary terms, spatial relationships, and prepositions. This was a great “aha!” moment for me because I was able to actually see the concepts that I was reading about portrayed in a lesson. This video helped me put the readings into perspective. Moving forward, I trust that I have research-based practices that I can apply to my classroom to best support my English Language Learners. My thoughts have been changed about second language teaching. I no longer believe that second language teaching should be teacher-centered and teacher dominated. I believe to teach a second language I should use tasks that are meaningful and authentic. In addition, I should provide opportunities for the students to collaborate and provide feedback to one another. I believe that if the students value the learning, they will truly internalize it and strengthen their language.

7. Implications for future teaching practice

As I reflect on what I have learned so far in this course, I plan on making many changes to my teaching and classroom environment. I will incorporate many aspects of the sociocultural theory into my classroom. I would like to incorporate the Zone of Proximal Development as I plan for lessons. As I plan for tasks, I want to ensure that I am selecting materials that are within the ZPD for my learners. I want to make sure that it is appropriately challenging, yet not out of reach; therefore, students can experience success as they work with scaffolds. I plan on scaffolding for my students. Scaffolds will vary depending on the lesson. Scaffolds I would like to include for my students are words walls, reference books, familiar charts, and sentence stems. In addition, I will provide support as a teacher such as prompting questions and guiding the students to refer to resources. In addition, students will scaffold for one another by providing peer feedback. In addition, I would like to implement the Activity Theory in my classroom. For example, I will provide my students with meaningful learning opportunities for them to practice language and learn content simultaneously. For example, I will infuse more group work and partner work into my lessons so that students have an opportunity to share and learn from one another. I will have students participate in authentic, meaningful tasks that target language needs. For instance, my students struggle with prepositions. I would love to incorporate an activity like the one in the video. I would try to connect it to content that is in our curriculum. When my students create dioramas of the rain forest, I can have them practice and use prepositions in their speech and writing. Students task can be to describe the plants and animals in their rainforest using spatial relationships and prepositions. As a group, students can work together to decide where the plants and animals go in the diorama and how to describe them. Similarly, I would like to incorporate real-world mathematics problems in which the students can practice their mathematics vocabulary because that is also something my English Language Learners struggle with. I do anticipate some challenges with incorporating the sociocultural theory into my classroom. I think it will be difficult to incorporate meaningful, authentic tasks into the classroom daily; however, I do believe that it is very beneficial for my learners. Therefore, I will try to start building tasks by evaluating each unit and developing a task per unit. As I continue to develop tasks, I hope to build a repertoire of meaningful tasks that can be implemented into many lessons in all content areas. Overall, there are many strategies that I have learned through coursework that I am eager to implement into my classroom. I trust that implementing concepts from the sociocultural theory will have positive impacts on my English Language Learners.

References

English, A. (2013, January 25). Language Teaching Methods: Silent Way. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=xqLzbLCpack

Fahim, M., & Haghani, M. (2012). Sociocultural Perspectives on Foreign Language Learning. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 3(4). doi:10.4304/jltr.3.4.693-699

Hong, Y. (2008). On Teaching Strategies in Second Language Acquisition. US- China Education Review, 5(1), 61-67.

Richards, J. C., & Rodgers, T. S. (2016). Approaches and methods in language teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Beatriz Martine, Teacher Candidate at Touro College on Prepositions and Articles

11102782_10152791417766381_2687658104203970642_nBeatriz Martine is a certified 7-12 Mathematics teacher currently working in the Roosevelt Union Free School District. She has had the experience of teaching in the 7th and 8th grades for four years and is looking forward to teaching many more. Beatriz has found a love in working with ENL students because of the predominantly high ENL population in her school district. She is currently pursuing her Masters in TESOL at Touro College to better support her students. Beatriz is hoping to continue her studies and work towards her Bilingual extension after graduating with her Masters.

Here the questions for the Discussion Board of our Touro online learning environment with Ms. Martine’s answers. Ms. Martine has given express permission to use her discussion board postings in my blog.

Why do you think learning correct prepositions, articles and when a noun needs an article or not takes so long to learn? Is this also true for native speakers?  

I think the reasons why learning correct prepositions, articles and when a noun needs an article or not takes a long time to learn is that the rules are complex, have many exceptions, and in certain situations interchangeable. Most of the time, practice is the key to learning these grammatical components. Tara Arntsen explains in Gerund vs. Infinitive, that “it takes a lot of practice to recognize which words this applies to and there is no rule to help,” referring to specific words that must be followed by infinitives or gerunds (2011). Prepositions are hard to learn because they have multiple meanings. Take the preposition on, for example, we can use this for different situations: to be in physical contact with something (on a shelf) or to participate in something (on a team). There are also instances where depending on where you are geographically, prepositions are used differently (standing in line vs. standing on line). Prepositions can also be interchangeable. When someone is waiting inside a restaurant, they can be in or at the restaurant.

Create a short worksheet requiring your students to demonstrate their proficiency in the use of prepositions, infinitives and/or gerunds. Post this on the discussion board for your colleagues to address.
I would use this as a Do Now for a succeeding lesson on when to use gerunds or infinitives. 

Name: __________________________     Date: ________   Period: _____

Gerund vs. Infinitive

Directions: Fill in the blank with the correct gerund or infinite

 

1. I enjoy (play)  ________________  hide-and-seek with my friends.

2. My teacher always says, “Keep (try)  ________________, next time you’ll get it right!”

3. I need (clean) ________________ my room this weekend, it’s a mess.

4. I don’t like (go)  ________________ to the store with my mom, she takes forever!

5. When my mom walks in my room, I pretend (sleep)  ________________ but I’m really on my phone!

Post two, thoughtful and insightful questions about grammar proficiency for your colleagues to discuss.

1. Does anyone have a good classroom resource for practicing gerunds and infinitives?

2. Matthew Lubin explains, “It’s easier to explain to an ESL class that gerunds sound more natural than infinitives when used as subjects or complements of a sentence” (2017). How would you model this to your students?

References:

Arntsen, T. (2011, August 22). Gerund vs. Infinitive: How to Explain the Difference. Retrieved from https://busyteacher.org/4123-gerund-vs.-infinitive-how-to-explain-the.html

Arntsen, T. (2016, October 30). How To Teach Prepositions Of Place (8 Simple Steps). Retrieved from https://busyteacher.org/3630-how-to-teach-prepositions-of-place.html

Lubin, M. (2017, July 27). How to Teach Gerunds and Infinitives to ESL Students Without Confusing Them. Retrieved from https://www.fluentu.com/blog/educator-english/esl-gerunds-and-infinitives/

Larita Hudson on Trends and Current Issues in Second Language Acquisition

As a Professor at Touro College I teach EDDN 639-  Trends and Current Issues in Second Language Acquisition – an Online Course at Touro College, TESOL/ Bilingual Advanced Certificate Programs, Graduate School of Education.  Students move as a cohort through the online course and produce weekly writings on complex questions.  Highlighting some of these excellent contribution of students is a privilege and honor as an instructor and guide.  Here the writing of Larita Hudson, who gave express written permission to use her contribution in my blog.

Larita Hudson:

I am currently in my 17th year of teaching at public schools in the Bronx, New York. I currently work at PS 140, as a 5th grade ELA/Social Studies teacher, in a departmentalized setting. I teach two single-gender classes, an all girls class and an all boys class, including several students from Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Colombia, Gambia, and Senegal. I started in Touro’s TESOL program in the early 2000s, but took a long hiatus. I started again last semester and am on track to graduate next winter.

Online Book: Understanding Second Language Acquisition by Lourdes Ortega

Question:

Considering both Ortega’s discussion of types of conversational modifications, your own experience/observations as an L2 learner, what kinds of interaction moves, interlocutor type, and contextual conditions have been the most effective for making input comprehensible, and what kinds have been the least effective?

Larita Hudson:

From my experience, asking clarifying questions and confirming have been effective interaction moves for negotiating meaning in language.  I think it’s extremely important for both interlocutors to engage in these techniques to ensure that each speaker’s utterances are valued and understood.  It boils down to respect for each other’s thoughts, ideas, and efforts.  As far as interlocutors, I think the least effective is one who is  “prejudiced”, exhibiting pre-existing or negative attitudes (Ortega).  For input to be comprehensible, Krashen says it must be delivered in a clear and safe way (as stated in Hamza, 2016).  One who is prejudiced will not be encouraging and praise successes, creating a hostile learning environment, which will result in the learner having high anxiety and low self-esteem (an affective filter to language acquisition development).

Question:

As by Ortega, the five factors of the linguistic environment that assist in L2 learning are: (a) acculturated attitudes, (b) comprehensible input, (c) interaction and negotiation of meaning, (d) pushed or comprehensible output, and (e) noticing. Ortega states that “these five ingredients were likely present in a case like Julie (see Chapter 2, section 2.2), the first of several exceptionally successful learners discovered since the mid-1990s” (p. 79). Revisit that article and discuss the ways in which these factors are evident or not evident in her language learning situation, and how positive attitudes alone were not sufficient for L2 language learning. You may compare Julie’s situation to that of Alberto and Wes, if applicable.

Larita Hudson:

Unlike Wes, Julie’s acculturation into Egyptian society was strong.  She had a husband and children there and was more invested in building a permanent life in Egypt.  Therefore, it was important for her to pay closer attention to the form of the language.  Wes only moved to Hawaii for business and career reasons.  This might explain why his drive to pay attention was missing (Schmidt, as cited in Ortega, 2009).  In addition, although Wes was interested in communicating with others, he didn’t have interest in negotiating meaning.  Schmidt (as cited in Ortega) noted that Wes was unwilling or unable to revise.  He didn’t explore checks for understanding.  For example, Schmidt “never caught Wes using the kinds of strategy that would foster longer-term learning, such as consulting a dictionary or asking his interlocutors metalinguistic questions about subtle differences or idiomatic appropriacy” (Ortega, 2009, p. 58). On the other hand, as a teacher of English to Arabic students, effective communication (comprehensible output) was probably very important to Julie as her career and livelihood depended on it.

Question:

Name and define the five components of Krashen’s Monitor Model. As teachers and language learners, what makes these components appealing or logical? Krashen5Hypothesis.pdf Click for more options

Please watch this YouTube Video of Krashen on Language Acquisition and Input. https://youtu.be/fnUc_W3xE1w

Larita Hudson:

The five components of Krashen’s Monitor Model are the Acquisition-Learning Hypothesis, the Natural Order Hypothesis, the Monitor Hypothesis, the Input Hypothesis, and the Affective Filter Hypothesis.  The Acquisition Learning Hypothesis explains the difference between acquisition (the “gist” of the language) and learning (more explicit and formal with explanations and lessons).  The Natural Order Hypothesis is a way of understanding that learners acquire grammar on their own at their own pace, in a predictable order.  The Monitor Hypothesis provides an explanation of how learners make conscious choices to edit and monitor their writing and/or speaking.  The Input Hypothesis pertains to how learners acquire language via the quality of the input (messages) they receive, which leads to understanding.  Finally, the Affective Filter Hypothesis stresses the importance of keeping anxiety low, and motivation and self-confidence high for language acquisition.  Krashen himself explained “We acquire language in one way, and only one way…when we get comprehensible input in a low-anxiety environment” (Hamza, 2016).

As teachers, it is critical to provide a safe learning environment, in which students are not afraid to take risks and feel free to make mistakes without ridicule or embarrassment.  It is only then that, according to Krashen, true learning can take place, which is the ultimate goal of education.

According to Krashen’s theory, learners should be able to take solace in the idea that language learning is not the same for every learner.  It is situational and happens in its own time, such as the Natural Order and Input hypotheses imply.

Question:

Ortega notes that while researchers have concluded that negative feedback is preferable to ignoring learner errors, “much less agreement has been reached as to when, how and why negative feedback works, when it does” (p. 80). Considering what you’ve read in the text and your own experiences teaching or learning language, what is negative feedback?  Give 2 examples.

Larita Hudson:

Based on the reading, negative feedback is simply providing cues to make the speaker aware of errors and prompting the speaker to make corrections.  For example, there is an entering ELL in my class this year.  Each day at dismissal, before I give her permission to leave I ask her to tell me the relation of the person picking her up.  Depending on the day, she responds, “My grandma”, “My uncle”, “My mother”, or “My aunt”.  For the first few months she used the words incorrectly, and I’d elicit the correct responses from her by asking her to try again.  Another example of negative feedback is recasting.  It’s when the interlocutor repeats what the learner has said, keeping the meaning intact, but providing a more suitable form of the utterance.  For example, Parker (2012) provides the example of a learner who says, “I want read”, and the facilitator responds, “Oh you want TO read.”

References:

Hamza, T. (2016, Jan. 28). Stephen Krashen: Language acquisition and comprehensible input [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnUc_W3xE1w&feature=youtu.be

Ortega, L. (2009). Second language acquisition. London. Routledge Taylor & Francis Group.

Parker, R. (2012).  Recasting: A language facilitation strategy.  Retrieve from:http://praacticalaac.org/strategy/recasting-a-language-facilitation-strategy/

ALWC 2018 accepted Proposal: From Russia with Love

2018 Applied Linguistics Winter Conference (ALWC 2018) accepted Proposal Applied Linguistic Conference 2018 in New York City 2018

Prof. Dr. Jasmin Cowin Graduate School of Education – Touro College

Presentation Title:

From Russia with Love – Communicative TESOL Workshops at Plekhanov University

Presentation Abstract:

Plekhanov’s Winter University organized by the University’s Foreign Languages Department focused on “Current Global Trends in Teaching English.” Over the course of five days, the workshop attendees were challenged to incorporate new teaching approaches based on communicative, student-centered components and activities with a view towards culturally relevant pedagogy.

Presentation Summary:

This presentation is a report on the Plekhanov Russian University of Economics Winter University 2018 conference of the University of Tomorrow: Innovative Pedagogy and Methodology. Thematically, Plekhanov’s Winter University focused on “Current Global Trends in Teaching English.” The overarching conference theme was on the urgency to adapt to a rapidly changing world while creating agile mindsets in students and facilitators. The workshops presented were: Current Global Trends in Teaching English; Developing Materials and Resources in Teaching English – Methodology in Teaching English; and E-Resources Discovery and Analysis. As a final project, participants submitted online learning modules for their EFL courses focused on content-based instruction while incorporating the flipped classroom model. While designing the workshops, it became clear that many of the communicative activities and teaching approaches would require participants to step outside their comfort zone. Over the course of five days, the workshop attendees were challenged to incorporate new teaching approaches based on communicative, student-centered components and activities. Through using Harkness method strategies which encourage open classroom dialogue, the workshops were transformed into “Think Tanks” emphasizing a nurturing environment. This anxiety-free, collaborative approach supported risk-taking, opening-up within the group, and personal initiation of hands-on activities and projects. Upon reflection, the four pedagogical C’s: communication, cooperation, creativity and critical thinking are culturally transferable and as relevant as ever in engaging teachers and students to become agile thinkers, leveraging learning for continuous improvement within a culturally relevant pedagogical approach.

Touro College GSE – Online Discussions & Exemplary Student Contributions

Connections picTRENDS AND CURRENT ISSUES IN SECOND LANGUAGE ACQUISITION

ONLINE COURSE EDDN 639

Jasmin B. Cowin, Ed.D.

 

 
Assistant Professor of  TESOL/ Bilingual Advanced Certificate Programs

Graduate School of Education , Touro College

 

O: 212-463-0400

232 West 40th Street, Room 408

New York, NY 10018

jasmin.cowin@touro.edu

www.touro.edu

As an Assistant Professor at Touro College, Graduate School of Education some of my teaching is online.  Part of the student-centered online learning experience are weekly discussion boards with questions and responses related to the assigned readings.

I believe discussion boards are reflective in nature as they provide students with “reflection and maturation time” to absorb and consider the required readings on a deeper level, see Reasons to Use Online Discussions. As courses move forward, student posts often mature in-depth and feature more thought-out commentaries on discussion boards.

In my opinion, the best online postings often personalize and connect the readings to their teaching experiences as is the case with the contribution of Mr. R.,a teacher candidate at the TESOL/ Bilingual Advanced Certificate Programs, Touro College, Graduate School of Education. Mr. R.’s contribution on chapter 3 – Crosslinguistic influences, Understanding Second language acquisition by L. Ortega is exemplary.   Mr. R. interweaves his analysis and reflection of the chapter with personalized references to his classroom experiences as an educator. The following discussion board contributions are published with the express permission by Mr.  R.

Understanding Second Language Acquisition by Lourdes Ortega

From reading Ortega and thinking about your own experience/observations as a teacher and a learner, how can an L1 negatively influence an L2 (e.g., L1 Mandarin Chinese and L2 English)? What about the other way around (e.g., L1 English and L2 Mandarin Chinese)? Are there any interesting asymmetries? (The Contrastive Analysis Hypothesis would predict reciprocal influences.) In your written response, please choose two languages to exemplify your discussion.

According to Ortega, Transferability can hold components that can negatively impact the L2’s development. This is represented by a study publicized in the Netherlands. It explains that learners both consciously and subconsciously have an intuition about how transferable certain phenomena are. One example provided in the text involves a study of the transitive and intransitive meaning of certain verbs in three different groups of L1 Dutch learners. The results showed that L1 learners who were more proficient in their L2 less likely accepted the intransitive verbs in comparison to the group of students who were beginners in the L2 language of English. The text suggests the reason why this may be the case is that the younger learners are more likely to rely on their L1 language when transferring both transitive and intransitive verbs, however, their older counterparts are more likely to mark those transfers as too similar to their L1 and therefore prevent themselves from transferring it. Ortega identifies this theory as “beyond success”, which was an expression created by Kellerman in 1985.
As an educator who has worked with ENL students of all levels, one phenomenon has presented itself over and over again.  Students who I’ve provided instruction to during their beginner levels were always more likely to use cognates as indicators that would assist them when reading out loud during guided reading instruction. As several other students who held higher levels of proficiencies in their L2 were placed in my classroom, it was obvious that some, although at a higher reading level, in fact, demonstrate more mistakes when they were given a running record in relation to phonological mistakes of pronouncing prefixes correctly. My further analysis of their running records was able to provide me data that could support this theory mentioned in the text.

2. From reading Ortega and thinking about your own experience/observations as a teacher and a learner, how does L1 positively influence L2 (e.g., L1 Arabic and L2 English)? What about the other way around (e.g., L1 English and L2 Arabic)? Are there any interesting asymmetries? (Contrastive Analysis Hypothesis would predict reciprocal influences.) In your written response, please choose two languages to exemplify your discussion.

As per Ortega, L1 is able to positively influence L2 when the L1 holds certain similarities such as the ones mentioned in this chapter. According to Ortega, research that was collected amongst Finnish students who also spoke Swedish had fewer advantages when learning English as an L2 language when comparing them to Swedish students who also spoke Finnish and were learning English as an L2. Ortega explains that certain similarities in typological features that exist between the Swedish and English languages contributed to the advantage.
One of my own experiences in relation to this is not only knowledge-worthy but also gently humorous. In my first year of teaching, there was a student who arrived from Portugal and spoke no English whatsoever, therefore he was placed in a newcomer’s class with a majority of the students who spoke Spanish as their L1. As the year progressed the students became more familiarized both socially and academically, therefore at which point many of us noticed that this student began to grasp the Spanish language at a much faster rate than English. It was clear that the students’ L1 language of Portuguese had many similarities, including cognates that descended from a common language to that of the L1 of the other students. In addition, much of our focus has always been on identifying common roots between our students L1 and their L2, in this case, English having been their L2. Through this emphasis in our instruction, we may have inadvertently identified those same similarities between the L1’s of our students; therefore the students grasped Spanish much faster than English. It truly was one of those cases where the students learned from each other and at the time I found it very intriguing as a first-year teacher.

3. What other issues, such as language universals, complicate cross-linguistic influence? And how is it that sometimes, even if a negative transfer occurs, it does not result in ungrammaticality? Please give examples to support your claims.

 

One additional issue mentioned in the text, that complicates cross-linguistic influence is titled Markedness. This source of universal language influence is covered in the text between the distinction of voiced and voiceless final stops. According to the text, English and German languages have the same number of voiced and voiceless consonants, however, based on how they use it within the word differs and can produce performance difficulties in their L2 language, more precisely due to the influence of markedness.

In regards to negative transfer that does not result in ungrammaticality, Ortega identifies errors of omission, also titled avoidance. According to a study by Jacqueline Schachter, ungrammaticality was avoided due to the lessening in probability for when a language learner would use the specific transferable component of their L1, as opposed to having the opportunity when they could. The example most extensively mentioned in the text is when examining the use of relativization by Chinese and Japanese L1 learners in comparison to Persian and Arabic L1 learners. The latter of the two pairs attempted to use relative clauses much more often than the former, consequently producing more errors, and taking additional risks in the L2 usage. The former of the two pairs displayed the consequences of avoidance because the Chinese and Japanese languages differ much more in English than that of the Persian and Arabic languages.
4. Consider Ortega’s discussion of avoidance (particularly Schachter, 1974), underuse, and overuse. How can understanding these phenomena better inform our understanding of cross-linguistic influence? Please give examples to support your claims.

The understanding of Avoidance discussed in Ortega’s text can better inform our understanding of cross-linguistic influences by providing a more in-depth look at the influences of those avoidances. Ortega provides examples of misdirection when observing the results produced by Jacqueline Schachter’s study in 1974. Although on the surface, her study showed that Chinese and Japanese L2 writers were displaying fewer mistakes than that of the Arabic and Persian writers. However, when further analyzing the writing samples, it was clearly obvious that fewer mistakes actually went parallel with how many attempts were made that would result in such a mistake, this case being in relation to relative clauses.

This phenomenon attempts to explain the impacts that exist from the idea that “accuracy equals appropriate development”, and how this idea can affect an L2 learner in a negative way. Furthermore, the idea of overuse and underuse better frames a picture of how L2 learners from variously different L1 languages can actually underuse a specific rule, based on the equivalency of such usage in their L1 language. The motivators in Ortega’s text indicate that these language differences can be attributed to semantics as well as the morphological rules in the L1’s language. In a practical and relatable view, as an educator, one can learn to understand why it’s so important to understand the differences that exist within the L1 languages that many of our students possess. However, no matter the similarities in educational placements that several L2 learners receive within an educational system, it’s important that we understand the difference that may influence their success at developing their L2. This will provide us with a more individualized picture of each student, precisely focusing on his or her language differences and how they may provide support to their L2.