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1 CALICO with IALLT 25TH Annual Conference “Bridging CALL Communities” University of San Francisco March 18-22, 2008.

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Presentation on theme: "1 CALICO with IALLT 25TH Annual Conference “Bridging CALL Communities” University of San Francisco March 18-22, 2008."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 CALICO with IALLT 25TH Annual Conference “Bridging CALL Communities” University of San Francisco March 18-22, 2008

2 2 CALL Design and Video Comprehension: Insight from Research and Practice Luba Iskold, Ed. D. Muhlenberg College Allentown, PA

3 3 Presentation Outline Examination of theoretical perspectives Exploration of the ways to integrate research, design and development Demonstration of examples of online materials to facilitate Comprehension of: –Simulated authentic discourse –Authentic online newscasts –Collaborative service-learning project Discussion of a Student survey

4 4 Background Information: Why is Listening Important? Rivers (1975) reported data on how adults spend their communicative time: 40%-50% listening 25%-30% speaking 11%-16% reading 9% writing In our “media saturated” world students are “increasingly expected to obtain information from oral rather than written sources” (Joiner et al., 1989, p.427)

5 5 Statement of the Problem How do students develop listening skills by using video materials? Do they learn best by mere exposure to “comprehensible input”? Should we assist learners in comprehending a videotext? Do listening tasks performed during video viewing help learners concentrate on important information in that videotext? Which tasks leave learners with higher levels of video comprehension?

6 6 Comprehension-based Approaches Krashen, ; Terrel, 1986 articulated the most influential and the most controversial hypotheses about L2 acquisition Advocated a “natural order” of language acquisition Emphasized listening to large amounts of “comprehensible input” in early stages of instruction Was instrumental in bringing listening comprehension to the front with regard to its importance to the overall process of language acquisition Provided the foundation for comprehension-based approaches to L2 Supporters: Terrel, Ehrman, and Herzog, 1984

7 7 Cognitive-theoretical View of Language Learning Is based on cognitive view of learning represented in the work of Anderson (1985), and instructional implementations drawn by Gagné (1985), Perkins & Solomon (1989) Contradicts the view of L2 acquisition as a learning process which is most effective when it occurs unconsciously (Schmidt, 1990) Advocates high degrees of learner involvement in the process of learning Learners: –Consciously select information from their environment –Organize this information –Relate it to what they already know –Retain the information they consider important –Use the information in appropriate contexts –Reflect on their own success in learning

8 8 Cognitive-theoretical View of Language Learning O’Mally and Chomat (1993), based on cognitive-theoretical view of learning, assert that in classroom and non-classroom settings L2 learners: –Think about the language demands –Apply prior knowledge and skills to new learning –Model “expert” performance; Seek feedback –Refer to rules for refinements in performance –L2 learning occurs most effectively with high degrees of learner involvement –Learners should be able to achieve expert-like performance. Automaticity is the shift from conscious to spontaneous processing (McLaughlin, 1990)

9 9 Sociocultural Approaches to Language Learning Place L2 acquisition in a context of social practices Emerged from a more general sociocultural theory proposed by Vygotsky (1962, 1978) Examine the relationship between –Mind –Language –Communication –Culture Focus on three major concepts: –Genetic Analysis –Social Learning –Mediation

10 10 Sociocultural Approaches to Language Learning Genetic analysis –Interpretation of learning should take into account social, cultural, and historic trends Social learning –Learning to read and write is a social practice rather than an individual skill –Interactions with teachers or peers allow learners to advance through their “zone of proximal development” (ZPD), the distance between what they can achieve by themselves and what they can accomplish when assisted by others (Vygotsky, 1978, p. 58) Mediation –Interprets the teacher’s role as a “facilitator, guide, and, when appropriate, expert” in apprenticing students into “discourse and social practices” of the communities of native speakers (Warschauer, 1997, p. 90)

11 11 Research Related to Listening The process of listening consists of internal operations and therefore is not easy to measure Process refers to how listeners interpret input in terms of what they know, or identify what they do not know, and use different kinds of signals to interpret what is said (Rubin, 1994, p. 210) Researchers examined top-down, bottom-up, and parallel processing: Bacon, 1992; Bernhardt & James, 1987; Danks, 1980; Chaudron, 1983; Glisan, 1988; Lund, 1990, 1991; Rubin, 1994; VanPatten, 1989

12 12 “Listening to Learn” & “Learning to Listen” (Lund, 1991) Traditional approach: listening is a language-recognition skill rather than a cognitively controlled process (Swaffer & Bacon, 1993) More recently, listening began to be recognized as the foundation of language instruction. The receptive skills of listening provided the basis for comprehension-based approaches which Lund (1991) characterizes as “listening to learn” At the same time, Rubin (1994) suggests that teachers and scholars “will recognize more and more the importance of teaching listening comprehension in a L2 classroom (p. 199), which Lund defines as “learning to listen” (p. 105)

13 13 Factors that Affect Listening Comprehension How do listeners integrate phonologic, syntactic, lexical, and sociolinguistic information? According to Rubin (1994), the following factors affect listening comprehension: –Text Characteristics (variations in listening passage/text or associated visual support) –Interlocutor Characteristics (variations in the speaker’s personal characteristics) –Listener Characteristics (variations in the listener’s personal characteristics) –Process Characteristics (variations in the listener’s cognitive activities and in the nature of interaction between speaker and listener) –Task characteristics (variations in the purpose for listening and associated responses)

14 14 Video as a Source of Authentic Discourse Geddes and White (1979) draw a distinction between the types of authentic discourse: –Unmodified authentic discourse, a genuine act of communication –Simulated authentic discourse, a discourse for pedagogical purposes, but at the same time exhibits features that have a high probability of occurrence in genuine acts of communication (p. 130) This presentation examines three types of videotexts: –Simulated authentic discourse in a video-driven course package –Authentic online newscasts –Interviews of native speakers conducted by students as part of a Service-Learning Project

15 15 What is Service Learning? Method of teaching, learning and reflecting that combines academic curriculum with meaningful service experiences that meet community needs. As a teaching methodology, it falls under the category of experiential education

16 16 Why Use a Variety of Videotexts? Factors that Affect Listening Comprehension as found in Course Packages –Text Characteristics Present scripts produced solely for student consumption Created to introduce specific linguistic structures Useful, but often insufficient for bring the target culture to students –Speech (Interlocutor) Characteristics Produced by native speakers, scripted discourse –Listener Characteristics Most students have had little prior exposure to authentic discourse L2 learners exhibit low tolerance for information gaps and find listening difficult –Process Characteristics Negotiation of meaning is absent from discourse Viewers carry out a passive, receptive role –Task Characteristics Solicit answers to artificial, unauthentic questions

17 17 Why Use a Variety of Videotexts? Newscasts as a Source of Authentic Videotext Available on the Internet in overflowing supply Major resource for information gathering, similar to newspapers Provide current information on matters in the target country Present paralinguistic information, including manners, gesture, and speaking styles Rich in cognates Allow viewers to see a country the way that country sees itself

18 18 Factors that Affect Listening Comprehension as Found in Online SCOLA Newscasts Text Characteristics: Unmodified authentic discourse: Texts are produced by native speakers and for native speakers Dry, monotonous monologues delivered by “talking heads” with little visual support Subject matter unfamiliar to students Long sentences with complex relative clauses Sophisticated, frequently unfamiliar vocabulary Figurative expressions, including idioms and metaphors

19 19 Factors that Affect Listening Comprehension as Found in Online SCOLA Newscasts Speech (Interlocutor) Characteristics News anchors and reporters express meaning efficiently, thus speech is characterized by: –Fewer normal pauses, hesitations, corrections, paraphrase –Diminished word or even sentence boundaries –Reduction of vowels and assimilation of consonants –Input is rehearsed and read (vs. produced spontaneously) –Written language is delivered via an audio-visual medium –Interviews are prepared and edited, thus merely resemble natural discourse

20 20 Factors that Affect Listening Comprehension as Found in Online SCOLA Newscasts Process Characteristics –By nature, a newscast is a one-way medium –Negotiation of meaning is absent from discourse –Viewers carry out a passive, receptive role

21 21 Factors that Affect Listening Comprehension as Found in Online SCOLA Newscasts Task Characteristics: Ancillary Materials Provided by SCOLA Pros: –Insta-Class is an excellent addition to SCOLA –Provides weekly English translations for one news episode –Provides weekly comprehension questions for that same episode Cons: –Materials created by SCOLA developers are limited in quantity and variety –Seem appropriate for classroom environment only –Need substantial reworking to be completed online

22 22 Factors that Affect Listening Comprehension as Found in Student-conducted Interviews Text Characteristics –Texts are produced by native speakers for native speakers, but with learners of Russian in mind –Subject matter unfamiliar to students; no visual support –Long sentences with complex relative clauses –Sophisticated, frequently unfamiliar vocabulary Speech (Interlocutor) Characteristics –Normal pauses, hesitations, corrections, paraphrase –Occasional reduction of vowels and assimilation of consonants –Input is not rehearsed and is produced spontaneously –Interviews represent natural discourse

23 23 Factors that Affect Listening Comprehension as Found in Student-conducted Interviews Process Characteristics –Negotiation of meaning and questions for clarification characterize discourse –Listeners carry out an active participatory role Task Characteristics –Learners solicit answers to authentic questions of their interest

24 24 Instructional Challenges Adapting videotexts to the learning needs of students with various proficiency levels Adapting material to instructional goals: Listening to Learn vs. Learning to Listen (Lund, 1991) Listening to Learn – using video as a vehicle to other skills - an integrated approach Video provides a starting point for work on productive skills: –vocabulary development - structural analysis - –conversation - analytical writing - Instructional Objective: Creating activities to cultivate productive skills

25 25 Instructional Challenges Learning to Listen - skill acquisition for comprehension Purely receptive approach that involves the teaching of listening strategies Instructional Objectives: Creating activities to cultivate listening skills for structural and sociocultural comprehension Developing learning activities to accompany unmodified authentic discourse Assisting viewers with comprehension of unmodified authentic discourse

26 26 Designing Tasks for Video Comprehension The concept of helping students to develop their listening skills through specific strategies has emerged in the past fifteen years: Richards (1983) suggested manipulation of two variables: the input and the task (pp ) INPUT  MICRO-SKILLS  TASKS Activities & Tasks: Pre-viewing Watching the Video Post-viewing

27 27 Pre-viewing Objectives Elicit students’ background knowledge Identify students’ previous experiences Generate a meaningful framework for further development of comprehension Generate a meaningful framework for further development of linguistic skills Reduce anxiety of confronting the unknown

28 28 Low-production Activities & Tasks while Watching the Video Scaffolding, assisting with comprehension of lexical items: (e.g., add subtitles, or full scripts, then steadily withdraw help as the semester progresses) Identifying main ideas, characters, places (multiple choice) Focusing attention on particular features of the videotext Scanning the videotext for specific information

29 29 Low-production Activities & Tasks while Watching the Video Low-production Activities & Tasks while Watching the Video: Item format: multiple choice or T/F: Recognizing vocabulary Identifying cognates Conducting grammar observations Testing hypotheses Classifying statements (T/F) Determining intonation patterns

30 30 High-production Activities & Tasks and Post-viewing Objectives: Facilitating retention of linguistic items processed during video viewing: –Paragraph-level oral and written summaries –Cloze exercises for active vocabulary development Fostering critical thinking and students’ analytical skills: –Express your opinion about the event Tasks that bring the language of the video into active use: –Recall, recognition, and application exercises –Comparing findings with other students in the group

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37 37 Sample Student Survey QuestionMeanStandard Deviation Using Video Guides helped me to stay focused during video viewing Using Video Guides helped me to remember the video episodes better In my opinion, using an interactive Video Guide may help me learn more from the video episodes I would like to continue using a Viewing Guide while watching «Начало» episodes next year I liked the design of the current Video Guide The Video Guide distracted me from watching the video

38 38 Conclusion Avoid Cognitive overload Task overload Long video episodes, exceeding 3 min. in length Provide Comprehension checks to sustain high degree of concentration Parallel texts for reading (full text, captions, key words) More viewing sessions of fewer discrete episodes Class time and screen space for note taking

39 39 Contact Information: Dr. Luba Iskold 2400 Chew Street Muhlenberg College, Languages, Literatures and Cultures, Allentown, PA Phone: Fax:


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