Presentation on theme: "Learner language: Tools for teachers Elaine Tarone University of Minnesota Workshop on Learner Language, NHLRC STARTALK 2012."— Presentation transcript:
Learner language: Tools for teachers Elaine Tarone University of Minnesota Workshop on Learner Language, NHLRC STARTALK 2012
Puzzles in learner language What do we know from second-language acquisition research about the development of higher level speaking and listening skills in a second language, and how teachers can better understand it? How does this knowledge affect curriculum development for speaking/listening (the essential base for reading/writing)?
Learner language: implicit & explicit knowledge What you teach explicitly is different from what students learn implicitly INPUT ≠ INTAKE (Corder 1967). Learners have an implicit built-in syllabus that is different from the teacher’s explicit syllabus; implicit learner language structures develop in particular sequences.
Individual learner languages Individualized instruction relies on teacher’s ability to identify individual differences in learner language: what can they DO with their implicit knowledge? What explicit knowledge do they have? The textbook & curriculum provide a framework within which you can diagnose learner language issues and change instruction to meet learners’ needs Being able to see what has been learned allows the teacher figure out what each learner needs to learn next …. It impacts the curriculum.
What does it mean to teach a language? Provide blocks to be assembled? Explicit knowledge Provide an environment for plants to grow? Implicit knowledge
GOAL: EXPLICIT KNOWLEDGE Explicit descriptions of grammar rules and vocabulary. Students memorize and manipulate building blocks to complete paper and pencil tests. Low on Bloom’s taxonomy When students speak only to practice memorized sentence patterns they may not have communicative competence Focus on accuracy can leave out sentence complexity, discourse coherence, appropriateness and effectiveness GOAL: IMPLICIT KNOWLEDGE SLA research: implicit learner language is like a plant, its growth guided by its built-in syllabus just as a plant’s is guided by its DNA. Teachers create an environment in which learner language can grow. Assign puzzles for group to solve using L2 to express thinking skills higher on Bloom’s taxonomy Students need to use language spontaneously with others to develop implicit learner language w/complexity and coherence
Learning a Second Language Which approach did you follow to learn English? Which approach do you use to teach a heritage language? Explain why. What is your teacher role in the classroom in following each approach?
How can doing unrehearsed oral activities help learners acquire L2 (for critical thinking) implicitly ? Learners: ‘Rodrigo’ and ‘Antonio’: age 28 & 29, 5-year law degrees from a university in Mexico City, placed into lowest level of a university IEP. Strong academic background in L1, very low proficiency in L2 Data Collection: videorecorded doing unrehearsed communication tasks for Tarone & Swierzbin (2009): book for teachers of ESL on how to elicit and analyze learner language to improve classroom instruction
English Language learners: Rodrigo: Age: 28 Native Language: Spanish Other languages: None Studied English: three years in high school, starting age 14 Native country: Mexico Education: Five-year law degree from university in Mexico City Length of time in US: 36 days Occupation in US: university intensive English program student Living situation: American friends in suburbs. Antonio Age: 29 Native Language: Spanish Other languages: Some French Studied English: two to three years in high school, starting age 13 Native country: Mexico Education: Five-year law degree from university in Mexico City Length of time in US: 22 days Occupation in US: university intensive English program student Living situation: American friends in suburbs.
Rodrigo and Antonio interact Watch Rodrigo wants to talk about social class, but can’t remember the word in English Collaborative scaffolding Do you think Rodrigo will acquire the new word? Why or why not?
Heritage learners need academic L2 varieties Academic & professional language requires critical thinking, w/ cognitive processes that are higher on Bloom’s taxonomy: memorization is low, while analysis and evaluation are high (Anderson et al 2001) Three measurable dimensions of learner language: accuracy, fluency, complexity (Ellis & Barkhuizen 2005) Expressing higher level cognitive processes usually requires more complex syntax (Biber 2006)
Using images to elicit more complex ‘academic’ learner language (Barnes-Karol & Broner 2010) Unrehearsed communication tasks using images as prompts in content-based class elicit more critical thinking and cognitive complexity Goal: learners use USE L2 for the same kinds of academic & critical thinking skills in their L2 class as they use in English in all their other college level classes Learners ‘read’ culturally rich images as ‘texts’, in addition to traditional academic texts Learners use L2 in collaborative dialogue to construct hypotheses about SES, education, cultural values Learners juxtapose images, use L2 to critically evaluate them, and revise their hypotheses based on the data
How can a teacher figure out what students know and don’t know? 1. Use collaborative oral communication tasks (pref. academic content) in the classroom that require implicit use of more complex syntax and vocabulary 2. Teacher analyzes students’ learner language as they do the tasks 3. Teacher provides students with explicit feedback and suggestions AFTER their task performance
“Baby steps” B-K & B achieve success getting their students to produce academic language in Spanish. They use image-based critical thinking tasks as part of a curriculum that also includes written and spoken samples of academic Spanish. Can use of B-K & B ‘critical thinking’ tasks have an impact on the complexity of learner language, even without explicit instruction?
Data collection w/B-K & B tasks Two tasks juxtaposed culturally-rich photos of houses, one in an upper middle class neighborhood and one in a lower class neighborhood of the same city. Administered as totally unrehearsed speaking tasks, in pairwork: NO previous preparation at all Same photos in Jigsaw & Comparison tasks
Doing an unrehearsed oral activity Try out a task
Can language learners do the Jigsaw and Comparison task w/these photos? Let’s see what happens.
Looking at learner language Watch the video of ‘Rodrigo’ and ‘Antonio’ doing the two tasks. Transcripts appear in your workbook, p. 4 Answer the questions in your workbook, p. 4
Questions 1. Are ‘Antonio’ and ‘Rodrigo’s’ critical thinking and the complexity of their implicit learner language the same or different on each of these two tasks? Explain. 2. In the Comparison Task: What language do they use to mark hypotheses about who lives in the houses? What explicit language could you teach them when you debrief this task with them? 3. In the Comparison Task, do they use language to mark evidence for WHY they think what they do? What explicit language could you teach them when you debrief this task with them?
Chinese, Korean, Persian learners do these tasks Do you think these same tasks would encourage critical thinking and more complex syntax in the language you teach? Let’s find out. Workbook p. 6
Do these tasks work with learners of critical languages? Workbook p. 6: The learners ◦ Chinese: AnnaLi and Jiulin Chinese: AnnaLi and Jiulin ◦ Korean: Sophia and Anna B Korean: Sophia and Anna B ◦ Persian: Pari and Fereshteh Persian: Pari and Fereshteh Next slide: examples of analyses of Chinese learner language
Mandarin Chinese Does the Comparison task elicit more complex syntax? How?How? What language expressions do the learners use to mark inferences? What language expressions do they use to justify their inferences? CARLA activity on inferences and justifications
Complexity in Comparison Task Korean learner Persian learner
Using these tasks w/ heritage learners? Workbook p. 7: Make Predictions 1. How do you think heritage learners of your language would do on these tasks? Would they do better? How? 2. Would they have more trouble? How?
Using visual images to encourage critical thinking & complex syntax in oral activities Workbook p. 7 ◦ Maps ◦ Almanac data (facts: geog, demog, educ) ◦ Material World ◦ Hungry Planet ◦ Advertisements & political ads (crit) ◦ Others?