A-Z Young Learner Methodology Guide

Primary English Teacher Training Online An A-Z Methodology Guide to Young Learner Teaching and Learning 1. Autonomy What and Why? Autonomy has two main aspects in language teaching. The irst concerns the students! use o the language. The ultimate goal o most language teaching is to de elop the students! autonomy in their own language use. That is# to de elop the a$ility to use the language as
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    Primary English Teacher Training Online An A-Z Methodology Guide to Young Learner Teaching and Learning   1. AutonomyWhat and Why?  Autonomy has two main aspects in language teaching. The irst concerns the students! use o the language. The ultimate goal o most language teaching is to de elop the students! autonomy in their own language use. That is# to de elop the a$ility to use the language as they need or want to. This has direct implications or the %ind o tas%s that students are as%ed to do. & students are only as%ed to do 'closed tasks'  they are unli%ely to de elop the a$ility to use the language with ease. Open-ended tas%s are much more important in this respect. The second aspect o autonomy# howe er# concerns how the students learn. & all the decisions a$out learning are always ta%en $y the teacher# the students will not ha e the opportunity to decide things or themsel es. This means that they will not de elop the a$ility to learn $y themsel es or to wor% out what wor%s $est or them as indi iduals. &n a rapidly-changing world# howe er# these a$ilities are increasingly important as people are continually re'uired to learn new s%ills and a$sor$ new inormation. Learning how to learn  should thus $e a ital component in any educational course. Practical ideas for the classroom (a e students decide things or themsel es# to plan and to e aluate. You can discuss these tas%s with the students so that they understand the alue o them in helping them to learn without your direct super ision. You can spend some time discussing with the students how they use the course $oo%# the wor%$oo% and reerence materials and so on. Once the students ha e done one o the units in the course $oo%# you can return to it ater a wee% or so and as% how many o the techni'ues they ha e used# why)why not# and so on. This type o e*ercise as%s students to ma%e decisions. You can increase the num$er o these in order to encourage the students to ta%e more responsi$ility. Ater thestudents ha e decided something and then carried it out# it is important to e aluate whatthey ha e done. You can discuss what they did# how it went and how they could impro e it ne*t time. +tress to the students that there are a num$er o ital tools or learning. They need to ha e a $ilingual dictionary# a grammar $oo%# note$oo%s# and a cassette player. You can discuss with the students dierent ways in which they can get practice. 2. BrainstormingWhat and Why? ,rainstorming! is the name gi en to a num$er o techni'ues used or generating and gathering ideas. The $asic principle is that the students suggest ideas which may $e collected# or e*ample# on the $lac%$oard. uring the collecting o ideas# all  ideas suggested are noted down - only ater the $rainstorming is inished are the ideas discussed# grouped# or eliminated. rainstorming can encourage students to spea% out and share ideas. &t also gi es the teacher an immediate impression o how much the students already %now a$out something. Practical ideas There are a num$er o dierent ways you can approach $rainstorming. /rite ,/hat do we %now a$out 0name o the topic12 in $ig letters on the $lac%$oard. Place a circle round it and some lines out rom the circle. As% the students what they %now a$out the topic. As they say things# write them around the circle. /rite ,/hat do we %now a$out 0name o the topic12 in $ig letters on the $lac%$oard. Gi e the students a ew minutes to note down ideas $y themsel es. Then# collect their ideas on the $oard. As a$o e# $ut students wor% in small groups. As a$o e# $ut play some sot music while they are 2  thin%ing)discussing +tudents wor% in groups to generate ideas and then cross-group to compare. You can use dierent types o music during these stages. The $rainstorming can $e put up on a poster and reerred to and added to o er a num$er o lessons. rainstorming doesn!t ha e to a$out things they %now. &t can $e a$out things they wouldli%e to %now. +tudents can $uild up a 'uestion poster. rainstorming can $e done in English or in the mother tongue. 3. hecking AnswersWhat and why?   Ater students ha e done an e*ercise# it is important that they ha e an opportunity to chec% what they ha e done. This will gi e them eed$ac% on their wor%. There are a num$er o ways in which you can do this. Practical ideas You can go through the answers while the students loo% at their own wor%. +tudents canwor% together and then sit with another pair to chec% the answers. +mall groups o students can go through their answers together. uring this time# you can circulate around the class# helping and chec%ing. You can pro ide an ,answer sheet! or students to chec% their own answers. 0This can $e circulated around the class while they are doing some other acti ity# pinned up on the $oard or students to chec% ater the lesson#or written on the $lac%$oard1. & students ha e incorrect answers# you can gi e hints or clues rather than simply gi e the correct answers. This can help them thin% through the tas% again and learn more. !. ritical Language AwarenessWhat and Why? &n language teaching# we now recognise that language is not simply grammar# $ut that itis also a system o !communication!. 3or this reason# we oten in ol e students in sharing inormation# using language or special purposes# e*pressing opinions# and so on. One result o a iew o language as !communicating!# howe er# is that it ignores the act that people do not use language neutrally  . Language is used not only as a means o sharing ideas# $ut also as a way o controlling people and inluencing what they thin% and do. Language use in ol es ma%ing choices a$out le*is# grammar# register# discourse structure etc.# and these choices are oten made or particular reasons. 3or e*ample# a choice o words may $e important - an armed group# or instance# might $e called !terrorists! or !reedom ighters! depending on whose side you are on. +imilarly# the passi e oice# or e*ample# might $e used to hide acts or gi e authority to a statement as in or instance 4Ten million pounds were lost last year.4 0/e could as% /holost them2 /hy2 (ow2 !lost! means what2 and so on.1 5egister might $e used to encourage people to act in certain ways. Ad ertisements# or e*ample# oten use a riendly# amiliar tone o oice 04/e care or you.41 to ma%e people eel that a product is important to them personally. iscourse structure can also determine what your !rights! are in a con ersation - as# or e*ample# in a 6o$ inter iew where only one person might ha e the !right! to as% 'uestions.&n recent years# this way o loo%ing at language has de eloped into what is now called 'critical language analysis'  and# in schools# many teachers now try to raise the students awareness o how language is used so they are not so easily inluenced $y others. The word !critical!# here# does not mean !negati e! $ut !careully# thoughtully!. Practical ideas   & you start rom the assumption that language use in ol es ma%ing choices# you can as% students 4/hy did they say that  2 /hy did they use that   word rather than another 3  word24 4/hy did use that   tense24 4/hat are they not saying24 and so on. There are many words in English that are typically only used when tal%ing a$out women# or a$out men or a$out children and this may aect the way we thin% a$out people. 3or e*ample# !gossip! is typically associated with women# while men might !tal%!. You can gi e the students a list o words and as% them to categorise them and then discuss why they ha e categorised them that way. 3or e*ample# they could try to categorise the ollowing words into !A$out women! !A$out men! !A$out $oys! !A$out girls!7 $eautiul# strong# trustworthy# silly# pretty# mature# gossip# wea%# handsome# rough# am$itious. & they put some words in two or more categories# you can discuss how they word changes its meaning. You can encourage students to thin% a$out statements a$out things and as% i they are !negati e!# !positi e! or !neutral!. & the students read a news story# you can as% how the story would change i someone else was reporting it. 3or e*ample# i the story is a$out stri%e in a actory# how would the story change i the stri%ers reported it# or the employers# or the go ernment# or customers. You can encourage students to thin% a$out what the writer thin%s a$out the reader. 3or e*ample# i you loo% at an ad ertisement# what type o people is it appealing to2 oes the ad ertisement suggest 0e en implicitly1 that certain things are desira$le2 (ow does the ad ertisement do this2 & there are words in English in pu$lic places in your country or i English is creeping intothe students! mother tongue# you as% students to consider why# in each case# English is used. +ome writers tal% a$out !linguistic imperialism! to descri$e how English is enteringinto other languages. You can as% students to thin% a$out mother tongue language use too7 which words are used mainly $y young people2 /hich words are more !oicial!2 8an they thin% o any English e'ui alents2 & that character changed to# or e*ample# !(ead Teacher! how would the language change2 . ritical PedagogyWhat and Why? Language Teaching is increasingly $eing seen as a part o education# and as such has a responsi$ility towards the students! whole personality# educational and social de elopment. +ome teachers ha e ta%en this idea urther and argue that teaching should try to de elop the students! a$ility to 'uestion# to thin% or themsel es and ultimately ta%e more control o er their li es. To do this# these teachers chose topics which will pro o%e discussion and thought# and encourage students to criticise. They also try to $ring a$out more student in ol ement and try to de elop the student!s sense o autonomy. A num$er o topics might re'uire students to thin% a$out wider social issues - the en ironment# gender roles# the content o news $roadcasts# ethnic minorities 0e.g. 9ati e Americans in the :+A1 and so on. These should aim to de elop the students! a$ility to thin% or themsel es and organise their own learning. Practical ideas   Many topics and themes can $e used as a starting point or students to thin% a$out and in estigate their own society. +tudents can wor% in small groups on a pro6ect and report $ac% to the class or you can allow time or displaying students! wor%. & you thin% that most o the students are li%ely to ha e the same opinion a$out something# you can as% some o them to prepare an argument against it. You can then in ol e them in class discussions or get them to prepare posters with their ideas. You can in ol e the students in planning some part o the wor% they will do in class o er the ne*t ew wee%s.3or this you can re'uire that they ma%e decisions and plan what they will do. +ee do it yoursel or more ideas. 8ritical pedagogy also encourages students to $e aware or critical o their own  attitudes# alues and pre6udices. A te*t or situation may pro o%e reactions in the students which you can encourage them to 'uestion and discuss. 4
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