Forum Replies Created
As a teacher I might prefer to tailor my own course as mentioned by Sahar Amar in his comments and would prefer to do it in colloabiration with my colleagues provided that it is validated by the authority.
The issue of entertaining plurilithic views on language should be welcomed by everyone involved in the teaching/ learning process from the national level to the household level. However, we should give it a try and hope for the best !28 December 2020 at 7:01 am in reply to: Discussion 5.2 – Problems of public belief about English #4644
The issue with the public opinion is that most of them look up to the standards and trying to change that might cause drastic effects in some contexts. However, what we have to encourage is the pluralistic view in all aspects of teaching a language such as designing curriculum, planning teaching and learning material, testing and evaluation etc.
We’ll have to have much faith in our potentials in changing our ways of looking into learning a language.
Here, in Sri Lanka policies are designed at the national level considering most of the academic and professional bodies, but the pathetic condition lies in the implementation process where poor management and lack of supervision make the decisions enforced become null. And, sometimes what happens is policy decisions of teaching English changes with the change of political regimes.28 December 2020 at 5:36 am in reply to: Reflection 5.2 – Sharing Changing Englishes ideas with colleagues #4642
Persuading most of other colleagues for an awareness would be a challenge to a certain extent as some of them are so much embedded in the notion of a standard.
Besides all these, all curriculum, courses and most of all evaluation, as mentioned in a previous comment should be amended at a large national scale.
The idea of making English our own sounds far more pragmatic than trying to standardize being monolithic.
For example, here in Sri Lanka, lots of ‘foreignness’ is associated in teaching ESL where apples, for example are rarely grown but ‘Tom eats an apple every day ‘ is what you find in textbooks. Obviously, the distance is felt here, making the leaner feel it’s the others’ language.
So, the language should be authentic to its cultural contexts so that it becomes our own.
Sahar Amer’s comments on contexts of English usage in real life are true of our part of the world too deffrenciating only in the variety each learner uses.
Another issue is since these varieties are rarely codified in the forms of text books or rather in the standard patterns. So, what happens is that standard becomes the norm in testing. So, the tussle begins as to the contextual usage and testing and certification.
ELT practitioners should come in one forum at least regionally or locally and reach agreements on these issues soon.
This is where the conflict begins: we encourage all versions, varieties ,but safely tell them that they have to use the standard in testing.
I totally agree with Abdulla Alli’s statement on alternative assessments where plirilithic view of teaching/ learning a language is encouraged.
However, coming to a consensus on all these might take some time and establishing a plurilithic approach in all aspects of language teaching is what we have to encourage globally.
Personally my approach to language teaching is more student centred in all aspects. I use the text book also in a manner where almost all students gets an opportunity to take part and contribute to the lesson. Self – directed learning is encouraged respecting learning styles and learner needs as well. Towards the latter part of the lesson, activities are planned favouring autonomous learning to give the learners the confidence to handle the language. So, it isn’t student centred any more where the teacher is more a facilitator than a theory provider.20 December 2020 at 10:14 am in reply to: Reflection 4.1 – Talking to students about English(ee), learning/teaching it #4570
Making the students aware that there are different Englishes is itself a challenge as they so much look up to the so called ‘Standard English’. Even their own variety is looked down by ridiculing morphological patterns or phonological variations wanting everyone to talk in the so called standard.
However, I strongly believe that all teachers should advocate their own varieties at least to a certain extent though provisions may not be available in their curriculums which adhere to the standard norms.
When it comes to error correction,most of the time I give corrective feedback especially after completing a speaking activity. Speaking skills is consideted a bit challenging for a teacher as most learners lack confidence to talk fearing errors and due to inhibition, personality and so many other factors.
Of course, language teaching/ learning is a life long process which never ends and it’s indeed different from learning a theory- based subject
Though we say in forums ‘ we own our own English as Ayman says in a previous comment, proficiency tests are designed to test taker level of proficiency checking the extent to which standard has been established in learning L2. Mat be what we teach in class differs with what they really encounter in their real life situations or sometimes both classroom and other L2 sources coincide to make their own variety of English enriched with the culture, religion and other affective factors.
Constant change in policy decisions of shifting regimes paves the way for an unstable status of ESL teaching/learning in school education to a certain extent and at tertiary and higher education to a greater extent. The failure of addressing these issues at least to a satisfactory level makes the scenario here a bit ‘tricky’, but it should be streamlined and taken to a correct track !14 December 2020 at 8:27 am in reply to: Discussion 3.2 – Factors that shape the learning of English #4355
In Sri Lanka, the attitudes towards the language is one of the key factors coupled up with motivation, national and institutional policies, facilities provided for the purpose and so on.
In most cases , some students view learning an L2 – English as a rigorous task because of the teacher, text books , facilities etc whereas to some others it naturally comes from the homefront and/ or with the social milieu they deal with.14 December 2020 at 4:39 am in reply to: Discussion 3.1 – Places & Contexts of English Exposure #4353
Students experience different variations of English in editorials, news bulletins, in forms of entertainment such as movies, songs etc. Sometimes, they get different norms or rather variations for example, English in a movie and the English in an editorial, one gets different standards : the norm and alternatives to the norm. So, it’s a kind of a mixture they experience in real life usage.11 December 2020 at 2:01 pm in reply to: Reflection 3.1 – L2 Learners – Declarative vs Procedural Knowledge #4256
What we teach as ‘correct usage ‘ of L2 in classrooms may have drastic variations on their real life exposure to L2 where there can be vast entities of pluralistic mixtures in day to day functions. Sometimes, if they are advanced learners, they’ll identify the variations or alternatives, but if not these variations themselves will embed in their memory and lead to fossilization ,and in formal or planned L2 contexts such as classrooms the teachers might find it hard to take the learners into the so called correct track of using English.