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What is ‘good practice’ in teaching an additional language?

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1 What is ‘good practice’ in teaching an additional language?
Richard Johnstone Milan, March 2011

2 Overview Introduction What is ‘good practice’ in teaching? Conclusions
Teaching an additional language at primary school Three models of Languages Education Factors and Outcomes What is ‘good practice’ in teaching? How might we recognize ‘good practice’? Some examples Conclusions

3 Three models of Languages Education at primary school
MLPS Limited amount of time / Variety of starting ages Main aims are to teach initial aspects of the additional language and associated cultures By far, the dominant model across the world CLIL Teaching one or two subjects (or aspects of subjects) througth the medium of the additional language More time (e.g % of time overall) Strongly endorsed by European Commission BILINGUAL/ IMMERSION EDUCATION Considerably more time (Minimally 40% of time overall) A range of underlying deep societal aims

Exposure to TL Business Need Time Intensity Teaching Instruction Age Literacies Plurilingual proficiency Dominance of English Information Innovation Learning Acquisition Ethnicity Prior languages Proficiency in a particular language Treatment by the media Place of Ls in the curriculum Problem-solving Networking Gender Prior attainments Examination Attainments Internet Globalisation / Localisation Supply, Training and CPD of teachers Communication Interaction Socio-economic background Identity Sense of self Transferable skills Political will Parental Demand Teacher clusters and networks Assessment Evaluation Attitudes and Motivation Citizenship Mobility Attitudes to particular languages and communities Policies and support (transnational / national / local) Planning Management Administration Personality Cognitive style Learning strategy Autonomy Intercultural competence EU citizenship (e.g. basic right to mobility) Infrastructure for continuity across sectors Development Research Confidence Anxiety Self-esteem Teachers Job satisfaction Career prospects Fast capitalism / elite bilingualism Fund-raising Profile-raising Values Beliefs Schools Ethos&Reputation Performance

SOCIETAL PROVISION PROCESS Political will Parental interest & demand for EBEiE But pupils had very limited contact with English outside school An early start (in some cases from age 3) Substantial time for English (40%) Leadership at national level from Ministry & British Council together Supernumerary teachers fluent in English Agreed continuity across primary and secondary education Supportive national Guidelines on BEP curriculum In-service courses for teachers Highly reputable external international examination for students at age 16 General teaching strategies Language-focused strategies Activities which offer students cognitive challenge, integrating their knowledge Creation of community atmosphere in class Use of assessment in support of learning Management approach based on consultation and collaboration

6 What is ‘good practice’ in teaching a ML?
Doing things which are considered to be ‘good’ ‘As a teacher, I am implementing a communicative approach’ ‘I am using the Council of Europe Portfolio’ ‘I am developing a learner-centred approach’ ‘I am developing intercultural competence’ ‘I am introducing CLIL ’ BUT Although these things are probably ‘good’, and I have observed some excellent teaching based on them I have also observed some unimpressive teaching based on them So ‘good practice’ should also minimally imply ... ... Doing these things well!

7 Recognizing ‘good practice’
Doing these things well ..... Yes, we can look at how well the teacher performs certain activities But we should also make judgements about good practice in teaching by observing closely its actual effects on pupils/students What were pupils doing really well? What teacher behaviours seemed associated with this? (BEP Evaluation, Spain)

8 Three components of ‘good practice’
. 2. Doing them well / skilfully / smoothly /coherently / responsively 1. Implementing activities which are desirable 3. Taking careful account of effects on pupils / students In the BEP evaluation, we worked from 3. to 2. to 1.

9 BEP STUDY 1: Primary 5 & 6 pupils’ performance and attainments in classrooms
Fluent and confident command of English, including technical vocabulary Production of extended utterances General ease of comprehension and of interaction with the teacher A range of language functions to express the discourse of science and English language & literacy lessons. Some errors but these seemed developmental and not to detract from pupils’ generally promising performance.

10 Specialized vocabulary to cope with particular content areas: e.g.
BEP STUDY 3: Secondary 2 students’ performance and attainments in class Fluent and confident use of language reflecting students’ maturing cognitive capacities. Specialized vocabulary to cope with particular content areas: e.g. ‘fertilisation’, ‘characteristics of predators’, ‘acids & alkalis’ Range of language functions, related to English (language & literacy) and Science: e.g. providing explanations; coping in an interview; improvising; making a presentation; elaborating the consequences of particular processes; constructing their own arguments Range of social and task-related purposes: e.g. banter; peer-support; conducting experiments

11 BEP STUDY 5: Infants and early primary
The lessons observed show substantial progression from age 3 to age 7 in pupils’ learning and language development: Initially, their activity was based on actions, songs, chants, games, objects and visuals By Year 2 of primary school they had moved into the use of English for doing science in the form of studying the environment: Generated longer utterances in response to technical questions Some degree of verbal reasoning Pronunciation generally very good High speed of comprehension and an ability to demonstrate this quickly through actions and mimes The teachers were generally pleasant, calm, organized and encouraging. Their English was good, as was their planning and organization. They had high expectations of their pupils.

12 BEP Primary 5/6 performance in class
T: ‘What happens when you have a cold?’ P: ‘Mucus goes through the Eustachian tube into the middle ear.’ T: ‘How does the doctor know this if he cannot see into the middle ear?’ P: ‘He sees a change in the position of the eardrum.’

13 BEP Primary 5/6 performance in class
‘If a liquid is not in a container, it will spill (spread) out.’ (boy) ‘If we pour a liquid from one container to another, it changes shape’(boy) ‘If you put the water from the jar into the beaker, it will take the shape of the new container. The shape of the water change’ (sic). ‘We can see that solids can be different. They have different volume and matter’ (girl)

14 BEP Primary 5/6 performance in class
‘We know that light travels in straight lines because ……… behind the opaque object, you cannot see the light, only the shadow. When you put a bottle or glass in front of a source of light, the light travels through it’.

15 BEP Good Practice: General Teaching
Keeps all pupils involved in the lesson Checks pupils’ outputs Is willing to collaborate with colleagues Is firm but pleasant Uses visual aids Gives clear explanations of what pupils are to do Reviews pupil outputs with the whole class Gives clear guidelines for use of ICT in class Keeps pupils’ attention focused Avoids spoon-feeding Presents tasks in a clear and interesting way Keeps a log of mistakes for subsequent comment Chooses websites which are appropriate and comprehensible Helps pupils work out their own solutions Exudes ‘presence’

16 BEP Good Practice: More language-focused
Helps pupils focus on linguistic form as well as function and meaning  Pays due attention to accuracy, especially where meaning would otherwise be compromised Introduces deliberate mistakes for pupils to identify and correct Helps pupils focus on key words Helps pupils develop clear definitions  Helps them describe the properties of things Helps them make contrasts, e.g. …. whereas …..  Helps them develop robust classifications Helps them develop use of the passive voice, essential for science Pupils have to extend their utterances by using additional vocabulary Colour-codes in order to highlight particular types of word, e.g. verbs Allows judicious use of Spanish

Wu (2003) studied children aged 5 learning English primary school in Hong Kong, monolingual Cantonese classroom activities which fostered intrinsic motivation These included a predictable learning environment, moderately challenging tasks, necessary instructional support, evaluation that emphasises self-improvement attribution of success or failure to variables that the learner can do something about.

18 L1 / L2 within one overall system
Primary Year 1& 2 Introduction of some 30 language concepts in the national language Primary Year 3 & 4 These same concepts systematically transferred into the learning of a foreign language Initially for recognition / comprehension, then for production Pupils used these concepts in order to monitor their own spontaneous oral production and to plan and then monitor their own spontaneous and planned written production Outcomes Spoken and written output that was fluent, creative and accurate

19 EARLY READING Mertens (2003) found that children in Grade 1 learning French benefited from being introduced to written French immediately showed results superior to those in purely oral approaches Vickov (2007) claims that children at Grade 1 in Croatia were not disadvantaged in their writing in Croatian by being introduced to writing in English. Dlugosz (2000) found that the introduction of reading in the foreign language at kindergarten even when reading in the first language was also only just starting helped speed the process of understanding and speaking the foreign language.

Mitchell (2003) claims that second language learning is not like climbing a ladder; but is a complex and recursive process with multiple interconnections and backslidings, and complex trade-offs between advances in fluency, accuracy and complexity. Pelzer-Karpf & Zangl (1997) found that children’s utterances seemed impressive in Years 1&2 but then in Year 3 went through a phase of ‘Systemturbulenz’ in which their grammar control seemed to fall apart when the cognitive demands of their tasks were raised to the point that temporarily their grammar-systems could not fully cope But by Year 4 it sorted itself out.

Lyster (2004) studied ‘form-focused instruction’ (FFI) and ‘corrective feedback’ (CF) with Grade 5 children. FFI and CF were found to be more successful than an approach based on no-FFI and no-CF Recasts: an example of no-FFI & no CF What did you do yesterday evening? I watch television Oh, you watched television? Yes He also found it useful to encourage pupils in ‘noticing’ particular formal features of the target language This helped them develop an awareness of language and to refine their internalised language systems as they progressed

22 Thinking of introducing CLIL or EBE
Not to be undertaken lightly Think carefully about it and analyze your own situation What are the key societal / provision / process factors I must take into account in my context, in order to make a good start? In particular, think of teacher supply, teacher CPD and provision of appropriate materials Consult staff, parents and relevant authorities Inform yourselves + staff + parents about what CLIL and EBE are and require Plan for sustainability Seek to develop ICT and other contacts Joint projects / intercultural learning / exposure to wider range of L2 models

Plans, practices, revises Reviews, Self-assesses Processes input, e.g. notices, guesses, infers, predicts Seeks opportunities to use the additional language ‘for real’ Seeks feedback: negative as well as positive Relates learning & use of the additional language to the learning of other things Uses reference material appropriately Interacts and negotiates meaning, e.g. probes, seeks clarification Offers help, seeks help Takes personal responsibility Is aware of and manages different types of discourse Produces spontaneous as well as non-spontaneous output Focuses on form as well as on meaning, at different times Controls anxiety and uses this productively Feels confident, self-efficacious Seeks underlying pattern Pays attention, focuses attention, sustains attention Develops strategies, uses these and reflects on / revises them Self-motivates, self-rewards, is curious and seeks challenges …… Other?

24 REFERENCES Chesterton, P., Steigler-Peters, S., Moran, W. & Piccioli, M. T. (2004). Developing sustainable language learning pathways: an Australian initiative. Language, Culture & Curriculum, 17, 1, balance. Windsor: NFER Publishing. Dlugosz, D.W. (2000). Rethinking the role of reading in teaching a foreign language to young learners. ELT Journal, 54 3, Edelenbos, P., Johnstone R. M. & Kubanek, A. (2006). The main pedagogical principles underlying the teaching of languages to very young learners. Languages for the children of Europe: Published Research, Good Practice & Main Principles. Brussels, European Commission. European Commission. (2003). Promoting language learning and linguistic diversity: an Action Plan Brussels: European Commission Johnstone, R. M. ( Addressing 'the age factor': some implications for languages policy. Guide for the development of Language Education Policies in Europe - From Linguistic Diversity to Plurilingual Education. Strasbourg, Council of Europe Reference Study

25 REFERENCES (continued)
Lyster, R. (2004a). Differential effects of prompts and recasts in form-focused instruction. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 26, Lyster, R. (2004b). Research on form-focused instruction in immersion classrooms: implications for theory and practice. Journal of French Language Studies, 14, 3, Mertens, J. (2003). Rhythm, rhymes and rules. Vom Nutzen der Schrift (nicht nur) beim frühen Englischlernen. Fremdsprachenunterricht, 47 (56) 3, Mitchell, R. (2003). Rethinking the concept of progression in the national curriculum for modern foreign languages: a research perspective. Language Learning Journal, Winter 2003. Peltzer-Karpf, A. & Zangl, R. (1997). Vier Jahre Vienna Bilingual Schooling: Eine angzeitstudie. Vienna; Bundesministerium für Unterricht und kulturelle Angelegenheiten., Abteilung 1/1. Vrhovac, Y. (Ed.) (2010. Introducing the European Language Portfolio in the Croatian and French foreign language classroom: teachers’ experiences and classroom activities with 8 to 14 year-olds. University of Zagreb: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. Vickov, G. (2007) Pisanje na engleskom u prvom razredu osnovne skole (Writing skills in English in the first Grade of primary school), Stranijezici. Wu, X. (2003). Intrinsic motivation and young language learners: the impact of the classroom environment. System, 31 4,

Planning: Seeking to develop not only AL proficiency but also broader aims, e.g. citizenship, intercultural learning, social skills Collaborating and joint planning with other colleagues in the school, with parents and with teachers in secondary schools Planning long-term for sustainability, as well as short-term for success Adopting an inclusive approach, bringing encouragement, emotional warmth appropriate support to all pupils Understanding that true progression in a language is not based on the ‘ladder’ model but is a more complex and recursive process. Building on children’s first language, whatever that may be, helping them to develop explicit conceptual knowledge of this which is then transferred systematically to the additional language they are learning.

Providing: a clear example to pupils of oneself as an enthusiastic, though by no means perfect, AL learner and user encouragement, sustained and varied input, interaction, feedback, a supportive learning environment and guidance •a challenge which stimulates pupils’ interest and curiosity •corrective as well as positive feedback, while ensuring that this does not undermine confidence or self-esteem •open-ended questions and stimuli, encouraging children to be free and creative.

Encouraging learners: to be strategic &reflective, to engage in self-assessment & self- monitoring to begin reading, writing from an early stage to draw holistically on their range of capacities and senses, e.g. physical movement, sense of shape, colour, gesture ….. to derive motivation from feelings of pleasure and success in what they are attempting to do •to focus on the structure of different kinds of discourse, e.g. conversations, stories, reports, essays, letters … to develop skills of predicting, guessing and making inferences to reflect on and explore the rich diversity of human language and the immense linguistic potential that each of us possesses

29 KEEPING A PORTFOLIO Short statements of what learners think they can do I can explain … a game, a recipe, how to make something I can narrate/tell … an experience, a story, a film I can say … what I like/dislike, and explain why I can speak/talk about … my friends, family I can read … an illustrated children’s book I can find … in a text what I am looking for Personal diary of occasions outside school when the learner used the target language Brief discussion of language-learning problems encountered, and of solutions which the learner has found ….. Other?

30 Portfolio: impact on pupils
The Portfolio offers an opportunity for the teacher to continuously follow and assess the pupils’ achievements; it motivates pupils to use the foreign language, and develops their awareness of the need to take responsibility for their learning and performance. It helps pupils to consciously follow the development of their overall language and communication competence. Teachers see that pupils, with their help, can independently and with full responsibility do the tasks, prepare their language production, think about it, and decide what they have done well, and what could be improved, and finally, assess their own performance. Vrhovac et al (2010)

Nikolov (1999) followed three cohorts of children for eight years, taught by the same teacher It was found that learners’ motivation could be maintained by intrinsically interesting and cognitively challenging tasks Intrinsic motivation Initially associated with ‘fun’ activity Then becomes linked to ‘curiosity’ and ‘challenge’ Then becomes associated with perception of self as successful language learner

Xu, Gelper & Perkins (2005) studied class-wide peer-tutoring (CWPT) Children at elementary school Grade 2 in the United States Regular instances of: cooperative play reciprocal initiation & response. The researchers concluded that: CWPT had significantly helped the children in their social behaviour. Reference: Xu, Y., J. Gelfer & P. Perkins. (2005). Using peer-tutoring to increase social interactions in early schooling. TESOL Quarterly, 39, 1,

Nutta et al (2002) compared a conventional text-based approach with a computer-enhanced multimedia approach, pupils Grades 2-5 in a USA elementary school. The computer-enhanced group: more interactive greater access to immediate feedback more precise in pronunciation smoother flow of reading produced larger chunks of language. Concluded that: ICT can help younger learners in integrating their languages skills and in developing important strategies of monitoring. Reference: Nutta, J. et. al. (2002). Exploring new frontiers: What do computers contribute to teaching foreign languages in elementary school? Foreign Language Annals, 35 , 3,

It works well when across the two sectors (Primary- Secondary) there is the following: exchange of information and support reciprocal visits collaborative planning mutual esteem Large-scale project in New South Wales,Australia: Chesterton et al (2004) Joint planning by teachers covering 3 years at Primary School and 2 years at Secondary School

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