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authentic language and multimedia design

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1 authentic language and multimedia design
Why? to meet local language needs How? through linguistic ‘undercover’ work Stephen Woulds Leeds City College / University of Leeds 1

2 Many of these ‘sites’ are interventionist technology, in that each responded to meet a language and literacy need that wasn’t being met by traditional methods. Discuss the background of the website. Driving and Food came first. Explain rationale. ESP. Then ESOL Leeds and citizenship – to capture natural language. 2

3 ‘there are rules of use without which the rules of grammar would be useless’ (Hymes: 1971)
Did anyone understand some of the meta-language being used here? The same is with our learners? Communicative language teaching from the 1970s (Hymes, etc) is still with us (communication over form) but so is the traditional model. Hymes, 1971, ‘there are rules of use without which the rules of grammar would be useless’ Ah, erm...third person plural present indicative. 3

4 Contemporary picture Even after the communicative competence model of Hymes, behavioural methods of language teaching are still evident where we see greater emphasis on the mechanics of language, the meta-language of grammar, and less on the pragmatic nature of language. This social contextualising is a sociopragmatic theory of language learning. Emphasis is on discourse in context, social as well as linguistic, where ‘language is seen as a tool for the creation of social transactions between individuals,’ (Richards, 1986: 17). This type of language teaching focuses on conversational behaviour, for example, patterns of exchange, turn-taking, conversational openings and endings, politeness, paralinguistic gestures to confirm understanding or misunderstanding. What is needed then for successful language learning, based on pragmatic functions as well as linguistic features, is exposure to natives using the target language. However, the process of exposure requires control. Conversations need to be deconstructed and their constituent parts analysed. 4

5 Context: a novice on language
“I no want to speak posh, posh like you. I want to speak like in street." How do you teach ‘street’ language? I am always struck by the story of the ESOL student who arrived at a college reception asking for English classes. His request was unusual: "I no want to speak posh, posh like you. I want to speak like in street." ESOL tutors may recognise this language need. We teach to a curriculum, to an examinable standard of English ability. Our learners want this too. Yet our learners are also quick to recognise 'real' English, the so-called authentic English of the 'street'. 5

6 An expert on language How closely do you think the activities you use in the classroom resemble those of learners who learn a language ‘naturally’ by being immersed in situations in which they need to use the language (Lewis, 2005: 7). Communicative – goal orientated exchange of meanings 6

7 Authenticity (relative at best!)
An authentic text is a stretch of real language, produced by a real speaker or writer for a real audience and designed to convey a real message of some sort (Morrow, 1977: 13).   Authentic texts ... are those which are designed for native speakers: they are real texts designed not for language students (Harmer, 1983: 146) .   A rule of thumb for authentic ... is any material which has not been specifically produced for the purposes of language teaching (Nunan, 1989: 54) . Widdowson (1990, pp. 46-7), that we have to distinguish between language-learning activity and language-using activity. As Widdowson says, inauthentic language-using behaviour may well be effective language-learning behaviour (p. 45). Kramsch concludes that all pedagogy is an artifact of educational discourse (p. 184) and that we need to measure what goes on in the language classroom, not against some problematically defined criterion of authenticity, but against whatever communicative and cognitive goals are accepted as appropriate in a particular educational context. 7

8 Four types of authenticity
Authenticity of the text; Authenticity of the learners’ interpretations; Authenticity of the tasks; Authenticity of the social situation used in the classroom (Breen, 1985: 61). What’s missing? Present Continuous FORM [am/is/are + present participle] Examples: I am giving you this pen. 8

9 Authenticity of the language
Where we see local variation in accent, dialect, mannerisms, tone, pace, paralinguistic cues, etc. 9

10 Authentic language - a working definition -
Authentic language is unedited, as people use it spontaneously in their `real lives’, in situations where they are not monitoring their language and are not thinking about how other people might be judging their language use (adapted from Schiffman). "I only understand English when I come to class," is a sentence I have heard many times. 10

11 Authenticity (EFL) Authenticity is typically a concern in EFL contexts where authentic language is sometimes regarded as any spoken or written document produced in the country of the target language. FOR natives by natives! “the medium is the message” marshall McLuhan Global coursebooks? “Many coursebooks are failing to prepare learners for the reality of language use” Tomlinson, 2003. Yet when we look closely at these media, such as news broadcasts, tabloid articles, televised interviews, etc, we find highly scripted, edited, monitored language. These 'found' texts might be authentic to the genres in which they were produced but do they demonstrate authentic 'street' language? Global coursebooks and the myriad of problems therein where the priority is mass appeal to the detriment of regional, local and individual language needs. - creates the wonderfully reassuring illusion that in the English-speaking world people are caring, sharing, cooperative and content. Middle-class and affluent. 11

12 Authenticity (ESOL) Authenticity in ESOL is not given as much concern as it is in EFL more broadly. This is a mistake. Adult ESOL in England and Wales is subject to adherence to the Adult ESOL Core Curriculum (AECC). The hegemony of AECC English, to the exclusion of regional differences, often produces ‘purified’ English in textbook language materials and multimedia products. The AECC gives no guidance on accent, dialectic variation and offers no guidelines for tutors to consider ethnolinguistic difference. 12

13 Connected texts “If we try to make our texts embody certain grammatical categories, the texts cease to be natural: they become either trivial, tedious and long-winded, or else they become more or less monstrosities,” (Sweet, 1899: 192). The Practical Study of Language Against the detached sentence in language learning where the emphasis is on producing language forms rather than exchanging meaning 13

14 Most widely used ESOL resource
In the Skills for Life language packs we find some of the most contrived, mechanistic, simplified, standardised ‘examples’ of the English language. Such language has its place but not to the exclusion of more problematic, naturally occurring language: '... to hold back potentially confusing language knowledge points both to a distortion of the teacher role and to a denial of the tight relationship between language taught in class and language knowledge required for daily life,' (Simpson, 2009: 3). 14

15 Dave’s ESL cafe (web-based)
Verb tense review – form over ‘goal-orientated exchange of meaning’ 15

16 Tribal (ctad.co.uk) “Realistic video scenarios, in authentic settings, reflect the language of everyday life in the UK.” Their words not mine! Listen, repeat, record verbatim. FORM over FUNCTION Three giant ESOL resources in this country but unquestioned, accepted and developed on dubious language and learning principles. Let’s look nationally at that is happening; where are people being located? 16

17 Asylum applications http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=261
The biggest ‘client’ of the ESOL class is asylum seekers and refugees; followed by migrant workers Provisional annual 2008 figures show that there were 25,670 applications for asylum in the UK. This was 10 per cent higher than 2007 (23,430), but still continuing the fall from a peak of 84,130 in 2002. 17

18 UK Distribution of Asylum Seekers (1)
Where is their concentration of placement? 18

19 UK Distribution of Asylum Seekers (2)
The map shows the UK distribution of Asylum Seekers in centres and emergency accommodation. We need to think of the linguistic challenges (e.g. accent and dialect) which each of those individuals will face in each of these cities. This is an unanswered question which needs ethnographic consideration. For example, is an ESOL adult penalised at a linguistic level because he or she is housed in Glasgow or Newcastle compared to someone housed in London or Leicester where, in broadly general terms, the type of English taught in a class and spoken on the street aligns more closely with the 'English' of the AECC and commerical language learning materials? 19

20 Anyone here from Leodis? Yorkshire accent and dialect
Watch the video and prepare for a test on your “Yorkshireness” It’s not just transactional, pragmmatic language but the many cultural references and knowledge which the language draws on. So how do we capture this 'authentic' English and how do we teach it, if it can be taught? The activities in Calling You are an attempt to integrate informal, colloquial language with standard, formal English. I chose to capture informal language use by recording telephone calls between family and friends, where 'authentic' language is unscripted and the speakers don't know they are being recorded. (remember our definition?) 20

21 Authenticity - a working definition
Authentic language is unedited, as people use it spontaneously in their `real lives’, in situations where they are not monitoring their language and are not thinking about how other people might be judging their language use (adapted from Schiffman). "I only understand English when I come to class," is a sentence I have heard many times. 21

22 - meeting local language needs - linguistic analysis
“linguistic ‘undercover’ work is especially useful and suitable to those foreign language students who are learning to function in a target culture, not just acquire a target language,” (Norton, 2008: 2). 22

23 Equipment needed 1 voice recorder

24 Equipment needed 1 telephone pick-up coil (99p - £15.00)

25 1 wife And that’s it. At its most simplistic level, as a tutor, I have an authentic audio text. It is incredibly malleable. I can transcribe it. Chop it up. Create activities out of the transcribed text. S&L gapfills, reading gapfills, role-plays around the conversation. Here we are faced with the dilemma of simplification over easification. 25

26 - meeting local language needs - linguistic undercover work (with analysis)
Simone: What time are you off? 2 2. Note the use of ‘off’ instead of the standard ‘going’. Carol: As soon as they3 get dressed and ... 3. ‘they’ meaning her children. Can the learners identify this from the context? Because we’re on about4 going to the chippie5 for some dinner. 4. ‘we’re on about’ meaning ‘we’ve been talking about ‘ (perhaps with her children or her friends). 5. ‘chippie’ meaning the fish & chip shop. Alright, yes. that Sounds like fun!6 Yes. Erm, well they’re7 just getting dressed now. I’m just gonna get my clothes on. 8 6. ‘sounds like’; ‘like’ functioning here as an indicative or prophetic adverb. 7. ‘they’re’ meaning her children. 8. ‘gonna get my clothes on’ meaning ‘going to get dressed’; presumably, this is an early morning call and the family are still in their pyjamas. Can the learners identify this from the context? An example of linguistic undercover work where analysis of local variation in dialect can have beneficial impact 26

27 Simplification or Easification (Bhatia, 1983)
Nearly all ESOL language learning materials in the UK are manufactured and simplified to make them accessible … BUT “... to hold back potentially confusing language points both to a distortion of the teacher role and to a denial of the tight relationship between language taught in class and language knowledge required for daily life,” (Simpson, 2009: 3). So we have our language ‘samples’? What do we do with them? How should tutors present 'authentic' language for learning? Do we simplify language by editing it? In doing so we jeopardise any claims we might make to authentic language teaching. Do we easify language by providing unedited language but assist the learner with strategies? Simplification or Easification (Bhatia, 1983) are materials-development strategies for second language teachers. I choose easification for Calling You. To retain the authenticity of the colloquial conversations none of the language has been simplified or edited. Instead, the website activities have been developed to easify the telephone conversations through annotation, dictionary use, vocabulary building and bridging colloquial with standard English. 27

28 Easification Techniques
add white space or use a larger piece of paper add a gloss in the margins number the lines separate the paragraphs add sub-headings highlight words, sentences, paragraphs add visuals use colours to aid memory change the font size, enlarge the text, etc. add comments or questions add somebody else's text to it translate difficult words provide pronunciation of unfamiliar words using the IPA But as a materials developer, I want to provide that authentic text for tutors to use but also provide individual learning opportunities for independent learner access. A web-based platform does this 24/7. I want to share some of the design and language principles I use. 28

29 Design principle 1 - interactivity
The loop is complete from the teacher’s perspective, but not complete from the students perspective. The same interaction from the student perspective. The loop is not complete. But as a materials developer, I want to provide that authentic text for tutors to use but also provide individual learning opportunities for independent learner access. A web-based platform does this 24/7. I want to share some of the design and language principles I use. 29

30 Design principle 1 - interactivity
Interactivity is a message loop Multimedia allows for a reduction in time lag in response to learner input “Interactivity in instruction must occur from the student’s point of view” (Yacci, 2000, emphasis added). But as a materials developer, I want to provide that authentic text for tutors to use but also provide individual learning opportunities for independent learner access. A web-based platform does this 24/7. I want to share some of the design and language principles I use. 30

31 Design principle 2 - repetition
Cognitive learning theory assumes ‘working memory … is able to deal with information for no more than a few seconds with almost all information lost after about 20 seconds unless it is refreshed by rehearsal,’ (van Merriënboer, 2005: 148). Language acquisition typically requires much repetition and long periods of time. A web-based platform allows for this 24/7. As a materials developer, I want to provide that authentic text for tutors to use but also provide individual learning opportunities for independent learner access. Go the website here. 31

32 In conclusion authenticating tutor; authenticating designer
We should be looking for ‘the authenticating teacher’ not ‘the authentic text’ (Shomoossi & Ketabi, 2007: 154). Introducing easification techniques might enable tutors to introduce more diverse (non-standard) English(es) applicable to local contexts. Where does this leave the materials developer; the design professionals? As an implication for teacher training, it seems reasonable to spend, at least, as much time and effort on teacher training and professional development, as is currently spent on textbook development. A call for more bottom-up pedagogies in language learning and a reduction in top-down, form-based language learning principles. 32

33 References Bhatia, V.K. (1983) Simplification v. easification - the case of legal texts. Applied Linguistics 4, 1:   [9.2] Breen, M. P. (1985). Authenticity in the language classroom. Applied Linguistics 6, Candlin, C. (1993). Problematising authenticity: whose texts for whom? Paper presented at the TESOL Convention, Atlanta. Carter, R. (2004) Language and Creativity: The Art of Common Talk. England: Routledge. Department for Education and Skills. (2001) Adult ESOL Core Curriculum. London: Basic Skills Agency/DfES. Available online at Ellis, R. (1993). Interpretation-based grammar teaching. System 21, Harmer, J. (1991). The practice of English language teaching: new edition. London: Longman. Hughes, G. S. (1981). A handbook of classroom English. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Hymes, D. H. (1971). On communicative competence. In J. Pride and J. Holmes (Eds.), Sociolinguistics. Penguin, 1972. Kramsch, C. (1993). Context and culture in language teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Lewis, M. (1997) Implementing the Lexical Approach. England: Language Teaching Publications. Littlewood, W. T. (1981). Communicative language teaching: an introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Littlewood, W. T. ( 1992). Teaching oral communication: a methodological framework. Oxford: Blackwell. Morrow, K. (1977). Authentic Texts in ESP. In S. Holden (Ed.), English for specific purposes. London: Modern English Publications. Nunan, D. (1989). Designing tasks for the communicative classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Norton, S. (2008) Discourse analysis as an approach to intercultural competence in the advanced EFL classroom. Pawley, A.  and Syder, F.H.  (1983)  'Two puzzles for linguistic theory: Native like selection and native like fluency.'  In Richards, J. and Schmidt, R. (eds.)  Language and Communication.  London: Longman. Rivers, W. M. & Temperley, M. S. (1978). A practical guide to the teaching of English as a second language. New York: Oxford University Press. Shomoossi & Ketabi (2007) A Critical Look at the Concept of Authenticity, Simpson, J. (2009) In press. 'A critical stance in language education: a reply to Alan Waters'. Applied Linguistics 30/3 (autumn 2009). Stevenson, D. K. (1985). Authenticity, validity, and a tea party. Language Testing 2, Swan, M. (1985a). A critical look at the communicative approach. Part 1. English Language Teaching Journal 39, 2-12. Swan, M. (1985b). A critical look at the communicative approach. Part 2. English Language Teaching Journal 39, Sweet, H. (1899) The Practical Study of Language Taylor, D. van Merriënboer, J.G. & Sweller, J. (2005) ‘Cognitive Load Theory and Complex Learning: Recent Developments and Future Directions,’ Educational Psychology Review, Vol. 17, No. 2, June 2005. Widdowson, H. G. (1972). The teaching of English as communication. English Language Teaching. 27, Widdowson, H. G. (1979). Explorations in applied linguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Widdowson, H. G. (1990). Aspects of language teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Wilkins, D. A. (1976). Notional syllabuses. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [-11-] Yacci, M (2000) Interactivity Demystified: A structural definition for Distance Education and Intelligent computer-based instruction Educational Technology July-August, pp5-16


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