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FRAMING THEIR EXPERIENCE Experiential Methods and Reflection in Second Language Classrooms.

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Presentation on theme: "FRAMING THEIR EXPERIENCE Experiential Methods and Reflection in Second Language Classrooms."— Presentation transcript:

1 FRAMING THEIR EXPERIENCE Experiential Methods and Reflection in Second Language Classrooms

2 Video Discussion Questions Diane Larsen-Freeman: ESL Methodology Collection Roles: Materials Manager Materials Manager Recorder Recorder Reporter Reporter Encourager Encourager 1.Would you feel comfortable facilitating a class in this way? 2.What, in your opinion, was the facilitator trying to accomplish with this type of questioning?

3 Relationship between experience and learning? Confucius: “I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand.” Confucius: “I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand.” “Experience is the best teacher.” “Experience is the best teacher.” “The school of life.” “The school of life.” Do all experiences lead to learning? Do all experiences lead to learning? What is it about experience that leads to learning? What is it about experience that leads to learning?

4 L2 Learning and Experiential Teaching Language use and learning are social activities. (Wilhelm, 1999). Language use and learning are social activities. (Wilhelm, 1999). Motivational and risk-taking factors complicate L2 learning. (Hussin, Nooreiny & D’Cruz, 2000). Motivational and risk-taking factors complicate L2 learning. (Hussin, Nooreiny & D’Cruz, 2000). Prior learning experiences can greatly affect how students perceive and possibly resist new learning experiences. Prior learning experiences can greatly affect how students perceive and possibly resist new learning experiences. Experiential teaching employs phases of reflection to assist students to work collectively towards finding their own solutions to the problems they face in their L2 learning experiences. Experiential teaching employs phases of reflection to assist students to work collectively towards finding their own solutions to the problems they face in their L2 learning experiences.

5 Students feel nervous about speaking their L2 in public. Students feel nervous about speaking their L2 in public. Students don’t want to work in groups. Students don’t want to work in groups. Students don’t believe that they will use the skills they are gaining in their chosen discipline. Students don’t believe that they will use the skills they are gaining in their chosen discipline. Students are inexperienced with group discussions and reporting of group results. Students are inexperienced with group discussions and reporting of group results. Students get frustrated with expressing themselves in their L2 and switch to mother tongue. Students get frustrated with expressing themselves in their L2 and switch to mother tongue. Academic Speaking: Main Areas of Resistance

6 High School ESL: Main areas of Resistance In Quebec, the English language is frequently not seen by students as important or “cool”. In Quebec, the English language is frequently not seen by students as important or “cool”. Students have been studying English for many years by the time they reach high school, yet feel that they have made little progress. Students have been studying English for many years by the time they reach high school, yet feel that they have made little progress. Lack of hours in-class Lack of hours in-class Outdated and unmotivating class material Outdated and unmotivating class material Students very nervous about oral evaluations (presentations) – worried about making mistakes. Students very nervous about oral evaluations (presentations) – worried about making mistakes. Getting students to get their work accomplished in communicative settings is challenging. Getting students to get their work accomplished in communicative settings is challenging.

7 How Can Experiential Teaching Help? Skillfully designed reflective type questions can assist students with: Skillfully designed reflective type questions can assist students with: Personal goal setting (Why are you learning English? What do you hope to be doing in 5 years, and how will this class help?). Personal goal setting (Why are you learning English? What do you hope to be doing in 5 years, and how will this class help?). Teamwork skills ( finding solutions to observed difficulties based on group discussions of an activity: what were the challenges of ___? How did your group handle it? Can you think of another way …?). Teamwork skills ( finding solutions to observed difficulties based on group discussions of an activity: what were the challenges of ___? How did your group handle it? Can you think of another way …?). Combating feelings of isolation (everyone struggles with the same feelings; language learning needs to be a communal effort: Why did your group slip into your mother tongue during that activity? What could you do personally so that your group uses and practices as much English as possible?). Combating feelings of isolation (everyone struggles with the same feelings; language learning needs to be a communal effort: Why did your group slip into your mother tongue during that activity? What could you do personally so that your group uses and practices as much English as possible?).

8 Experiential Teaching Methods Exposure phase: introduce activity through use of questions designed to activate background schema on topic and explore any resistance that you anticipate. Exposure phase: introduce activity through use of questions designed to activate background schema on topic and explore any resistance that you anticipate. Participation Phase: Choose an activity according to class needs and allow to run. Participation Phase: Choose an activity according to class needs and allow to run. Internalization phase: in relaxed, casual atmosphere, discuss successes and challenges of activity through use of reflective questioning. Internalization phase: in relaxed, casual atmosphere, discuss successes and challenges of activity through use of reflective questioning. Dissemination phase: Assist students to relate learning to real life situations and/or present finished product to a wider audience. Dissemination phase: Assist students to relate learning to real life situations and/or present finished product to a wider audience.

9 Framing Language Experiences The exposure phase is two pronged: It can activate students’ background knowledge: Schema Theory recognizes that each student brings “information, knowledge, emotion, experience and culture” to each classroom activity (Brown, 1987, p. 284). It can activate students’ background knowledge: Schema Theory recognizes that each student brings “information, knowledge, emotion, experience and culture” to each classroom activity (Brown, 1987, p. 284). It can positively frame the experiences which students will have in class: laying out for students the pedagogical purpose and rationale for an activity can lead to greater awareness of and involvement in their own learning process (Nunan, 1995). It can positively frame the experiences which students will have in class: laying out for students the pedagogical purpose and rationale for an activity can lead to greater awareness of and involvement in their own learning process (Nunan, 1995).

10 Pre-activity Reflection 1. How is learning English going to help you reach your personal goals? 2. What are some of the ways you have tried to improve your English in the past? 3. Which area (L,S,R,W) have you had the MOST success with? Why, do you think? 4. Which area (L,S,R,W) do you have the most difficulty with? Why, do you think? 5. What are some of the feelings you experience when you ___________ in English? 6. How do you think you can make this English Program successful, not only for you own English learning, but for your classmates as well?

11 Reflecting on Language Experiences The internalization phase: Should be conducted in a relaxed atmosphere, at the conclusion of an activity; Should be conducted in a relaxed atmosphere, at the conclusion of an activity; Seeks to involve the emotions and the identity of the learner; Seeks to involve the emotions and the identity of the learner; Allows students to step back and examine their learning, as well as their personal contribution to the learning that took place. Allows students to step back and examine their learning, as well as their personal contribution to the learning that took place.

12 Post-activity Reflection Which group role did you take? Why? Which group role did you take? Why? Which part of the activity did you enjoy the most, do you feel the most proud of? Which part of the activity did you enjoy the most, do you feel the most proud of? Which part did you find the most difficult/stressful for you? Why? Which part did you find the most difficult/stressful for you? Why? What is one thing you like about group work? What is one thing you like about group work? What is one thing you really don’t like about doing an assignment with a group? What is one thing you really don’t like about doing an assignment with a group? What is something you tried to do to make the group experience positive for everyone? What is something you tried to do to make the group experience positive for everyone?

13 Classroom Observations: Academic Speaking Increased investment and fuller participation in class activities, due to linking of activities to personal goals; Increased investment and fuller participation in class activities, due to linking of activities to personal goals; Increased awareness that the classroom is a community of learners, each individual’s behaviour greatly impacts the learning experiences of the others; Increased awareness that the classroom is a community of learners, each individual’s behaviour greatly impacts the learning experiences of the others; Students more aware of the effect that switching to their mother tongue has on others; Students more aware of the effect that switching to their mother tongue has on others; Increase in development of group work skills. Increase in development of group work skills.

14 Classroom Observations: High School ESL Difficulty connecting ESL class to real life: life and career goals still vague; Difficulty connecting ESL class to real life: life and career goals still vague; Questioning techniques force students to reflect on why they are learning English, which is new to them, but leads to increased awareness; Questioning techniques force students to reflect on why they are learning English, which is new to them, but leads to increased awareness; Questioning techniques provide experience and a good lead- in for students to self-evaluate in portfolios. Questioning techniques provide experience and a good lead- in for students to self-evaluate in portfolios.

15 Observed difficulties High level of language competency is required to fully participate in discussions; High level of language competency is required to fully participate in discussions; Students may slip into mother tongue while discussing questions; Students may slip into mother tongue while discussing questions; Some students will always resist group work; Some students will always resist group work; Students are inexperienced with reflective type questions; Students are inexperienced with reflective type questions; Students who are studying ESL to prepare for a standardized test may resist any type of class work which they cannot directly relate to the exam. Students who are studying ESL to prepare for a standardized test may resist any type of class work which they cannot directly relate to the exam.

16 For Future Study Reflective questioning as a tool to develop intrinsic motivation and learner investment. Reflective questioning as a tool to develop intrinsic motivation and learner investment. Reflective questioning as a way to assist students to adjust to Western academic culture. Reflective questioning as a way to assist students to adjust to Western academic culture. The power of reflective questioning to provide students with a safe environment to express their feelings – giving them a voice and a forum. The power of reflective questioning to provide students with a safe environment to express their feelings – giving them a voice and a forum. Reflective questioning to assist New Canadian students in defining their shifting identity in the new society. Reflective questioning to assist New Canadian students in defining their shifting identity in the new society.

17 References Brown, H. D. (1987). Principles of language learning and teaching. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall Inc. Hussin, S, Nooreiny, M. & D’Cruz, J.V. (2000). Sustaining an interest in learning English and increasing motivation to learn English: An enrichment program. Internet TESL Journal. Retrieved June 19, 2001, from ‑ Motivation/ Nunan, D. (1995). Closing the gap between learning and instruction. TESOL Quarterly. 29(1), Wilhelm, K. H. (1999). Collaborative Dos and Don’ts. TESOL Journal, 8,


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