TBLT & CALL: challenges and obstacles in ELT

An introduction to computer-assisted language learning (CALL) and task-based language teaching (TBLT) for student teachers in our Masters in Teaching English programme at the University of Nice. I’ve linked to a number of examples of CALL projects and classroom technology use, as well as references to other resource sites and a short annotated bibliography. Feedback welcome!

Technology-mediated CALL in your classroom

Story Slam

Moth story

an example of a technology-mediated task: storytelling with second year students of English, Media & Communication.

  • the teacher prepares introductory lesson using a Moth story with transcript prepared on storyscribe
  • students talk in class, record on smartphones, then upload a recording to SoundCloud
  • the teacher creates a Google Form to collect SoundCloud links (see also Form tips here)
  • the teacher creates a generic message on gmail for individual feedback
  • the teacher makes a webpage for general feedback including resources for further study (WordPress, Google sites or Weebly)

NB: play safe (learner/parental authorisation) and play fair (copyright/creative commons). Voir également cette présentation en 180 secondes en français.

Technology-mediated CALL to connect classrooms

Who’s who? task

Primary EFL class exchange (France-Germany)

The French primary class makes a set of video selfies to send to a partner class in Germany, using English as a lingua franca. The German class does the same, and each class watches their partners’ videos to identify the pupils in a group photo.

Tools

  • Tablet technology: to make and share their video selfies, the learners used the iPad camera
  • Online sharing: for exchanging videos, the teachers used Google Drive and Gmail.
  • Classroom exploitation: to watch the videos, the teachers used
      • iPads
      • a laptop computer (with projector)
      • an IWB.
  • Video-stimulated recall: to facilitate discussion of classroom activities, the teacher educator used
    • camera, microphone, tripod
    • iMovie video editing application
    • Vimeo video sharing platform (http://vimeo.com).

Technology for professional development

Peer filming in task-based language teacher education

This activity was designed for first year students in our Masters in Teaching English programme at the University of Nice. It involves peer filming, where student teachers watch each other teach an activity in a secondary school EFL class and make video recordings using their smartphones. They then select an episode for discussion in their university class, and write up their analysis in a reflective paper.

Going further

Digital tools for the language classroom

iTILT mini-guides to technology for language teachers

  • digital resources
  • digital tools
  • digital networks

12 tools plus 1: Basic tools for language education

Going open with LangOER: advice for using and sharing open educational resources

ViLTE project

Task-based language teaching

Musicuentos Black Box video series (YouTube) – a set of presentations explaining classroom implications of second language research

PPP or TBLT? (slideshare) – explaining the difference between presentation-practice-production (PPP) and task-based language teaching (TBLT)

Language educators in ELT

EFL Classroom 2.0 (D Deubelbeiss)

TESOL teaching and learning website (P Chappell)

Reading

1. Goals for language education

    • Kramsch, C. (2018). Is there still a place for culture in a multilingual FL education? Langscape Journal, 1. doi 10.18452/19039

A recent discussion of critical approaches to foreign language education tackling intercultural and symbolic competence and multilingual practices, including criticism of stereotypical attitudes to FL culture in textbooks. Read some extracts here.

    • Unsworth, S., Persson, L., Prins, T., & De Bot, K. 2014, An investigation of factors affecting early foreign language learning in the Netherlands. Applied Linguistics.

Research on young and very young learners of English in the Netherlands (summary)

    • Whyte, S. (2016). Who are the specialists? Teaching and learning specialised language in French educational contexts. Recherches et pratiques pédagogiques en langue de spécialité, 35(3) [link]

Modern foreign languages, second language research and languages for specific purposes: what are the intersections and what does this mean for language teaching and learning?

    • Whyte, S. (2014). Digital pencil sharpening: technology integration and language learning autonomy. EL.LE, 3(1): 31-53. Università Ca’ Foscari, Venezia. [PDF]

This article discusses pedagogical goals in language education and gives suggestions for how teachers can create conditions for language acquisition to occur using classroom technologies.

2. Language teacher education

    • Bland, J. (Ed.). (2015). Teaching English to young learners: critical issues in language teaching with 3-12 year olds. London: Bloomsbury.

A collective volume on ELT with younger learners focusing on research and practice in key areas of language education.

    • Cutrim Schmid, E., & Whyte, S. (Eds.) (2014). Teaching languages with technology: communicative approaches to interactive whiteboard use. A resource book for teacher development. London: Bloomsbury.

This book offers a collection of classroom case studies showing how different language teachers integrated the interactive whiteboard into communicative approaches in a variety of contexts (ages, languages, proficiency levels).

    • Edwards, C., & Willis, J. R. (Eds.). (2005). Teachers exploring tasks in English language teaching. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

A collection of action/exploratory research projects conducted by graduate students in language education to address questions and problems arising in their own teaching contexts. A good source for replication for student-teachers new to classroom research.

    • Whyte, S. (2015). Implementing and Researching Technological Innovation in Language Teaching: The Case of Interactive Whiteboards for EFL in French Schools. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

A study of 9 French EFL teachers (4 primary, 2 lower secondary, 2 upper secondary, and 1 teacher educator) learning to integrate interactive technologies in their classrooms through an extended collaborative action research project. It seeks to explain differences in uptake of new pedagogical and technological affordances.

3. Task-based language teaching

Compare these two articles:

    • Anderson, J. (2016). ‘Why practice makes perfect sense: The past, present and future potential of the PPP paradigm in language teacher education’. ELTED, 19: 14-21.
    • Ellis, R. (2013). Task-based language teaching: Responding to the critics. University of Sydney Papers in TESOL, 8(1), 1-27.

See also

    • Erlam, R. (2015). ‘I’m still not sure what a task is’: Teachers designing language tasks. Language Teaching Research.
    • Erlam, R. (2013). Listing and comparing tasks in the language classroom: Examples of Willis and Willis’s (2007) taxonomy in practice. The New Zealand Language Teacher, 39,7-14.
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Tools, tasks, and teachers in language education research

Links and references to some of my work on ESP and CALL teacher education.

English for specific purposes (ESP)

  • discourse domains (Whyte 1994)
  • task-based language teaching for ESP (Whyte 2013)
  • ESP didactics
    • Sarré & Whyte (2016), Whyte (2016)
    • Sarré & Whyte (2017) New developments (edited volume)
    • replication study (in preparation)
    • ESSE seminars Galway and Brno

Language education

  • interlanguage pragmatics (Siddiqa 2018)
  • open educational practices
    • sheltered contexts vs ‘in the wild’ (in preparation)
    • solitary thinkers (Whyte 2016)
    • bridging gaps (Whyte 2014)

Computer-assisted language learning (CALL)

  • integration of classroom technologies in communicative and task-based approaches to language teaching
  • young learners (Cutrim Schmid & Whyte)
  • open education repositories: www.itilt2.eu

Teacher education

Projects

 

References

Cutrim Schmid, E., & Whyte, S. (Eds.) (2014). Teaching languages with technology: communicative approaches to interactive whiteboard use. A resource book for teacher development. London: Bloomsbury. [link]

Sarré, C., & Whyte, S. (Eds). (2017). New developments in ESP teaching and learning research. Researchpublishing.net. 10.14705/rpnet.2017.cssw2017.9782490057016

Sarré, C., & Whyte, S. (2016). Research in ESP teaching and learning in French higher education: developing the construct of ESP didactics. ASp, 69, 113-164. [link]

Siddiqa, A. (2018). The Acquisition of Politeness by Young EFL Learners in France. An Exploratory Study of Interlanguage Pragmatic Development. Unpublished doctoral dissertation

Whyte, S. (2018). Using mobile technology in foreign languages: a telecollaborative task for primary classes. In Zubikova, O., Braicov, A., Pojar, D. (Eds). E-teaching: studii de caz. Chisinau: Tehnica-Info. http://teachme.ust.md

Whyte, S. (2016). From “solitary thinkers” to “social actors:” OER in multilingual CALL teacher education. Alsic, 19. [link]

Whyte, S. (2016). Who are the specialists? Teaching and learning specialised language in French educational contexts. Recherches et pratiques pédagogiques en langue de spécialité, 35(3) [link]

Whyte, S. (2015). Implementing and Researching Technological Innovation in Language Teaching: The Case of Interactive Whiteboards for EFL in French Schools. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan. [link]

Whyte, S. (2014). Bridging gaps : Using social media to develop techno-pedagogical competences in pre-service language teacher education. Recherche et pratiques pédagogiques en langues de spécialité – Cahiers de l’APLIUT, 33(2):143-169.

Whyte, S. (2013). Teaching English for Specific Purposes: A task-based framework for French graduate courses. Asp 63 (9), 5-30. DOI : 10.4000/asp.3280

Whyte, S. (1995). Specialist knowledge and interlanguage development. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 17(02), 153-183.

 

Sustainability and open practices in teacher education: EuroCALL2018

EuroCALL 2018
Future-proof CALL: language learning as exploration and encounters
22-25 August 2018 Jyväskylä, Finland

Abstract

With the maturation of the open educational resources (OER) and open educational practices (OEP) movement, the question of sustainability in teacher education is critical (COL, 2017). In CALL teacher education programmes, much effort is directed at helping new practitioners a) identify resources appropriate to their own teaching contexts, and b) design and implement activities appropriate to the techno-pedagogical affordances of the modern foreign language (MFL) classroom. The same is true of in-service workshops and teacher development projects, and in both cases, open practices may be encouraged to improve uptake and adoption of new practices (Zourou 2016). But what do we know of the effectiveness and durability of such training? Previous research highlights a number of challenges even in short-term initiatives, and Reinhardt (2016) suggests that “sustainability may depend on whether teachers perceive and practice agency in all the processes involved.”

Teachers arguably have greatest agency when making their own pedagogical choices as qualified professionals in their own classrooms. Thorne illustrates the advantages of exploring autonomous or “wild” language learning practices to exploit their potential for “rewilding” the language classroom (Little & Thorne 2017: 26). Similarly, practitioners who have completed formal teacher preparation programmes may be viewed as teachers “in the wild,” and investigating how their classroom practice evolves can help us evaluate our training programmes, as well as adapt to changes now occurring in schools. This approach is consonant with current “post-transmissive and post-directive approaches” in CALL teacher education, where educators are “influenced strongly by notions of independent and self-directed learning, and critical and reflective engagement” (Farr 2010: 621).

The present paper thus seeks to address issues of sustainable practice and teacher agency through an investigation of engagement with open CALL practices outside formal teacher preparation programmes. It focuses on previous participants in CALL courses and workshops conducted by the author over the past 5-8 years in both pre- and in-service contexts. Pre-service training was conducted in graduate courses for future secondary school MFL teachers at a French university. In-service teachers at primary, secondary, and tertiary level were involved in occasional workshops, webinars or longer teacher development projects on CALL integration and/or open educational resources and practices in several European countries.

The research questions concern these teachers’ current use of CALL and OEP, in particular

  1. What kinds of practices and resources do language teachers typically use?
  2. What factors seem to influence teacher adoption of specific practices?
  3. What challenges and opportunities do these language teachers identify?

Data are collected via questionnaires addressed to some 300 MFL practitioners, plus semi-structured interviews with selected respondents. The aim is to a) document the current practices of these teachers regarding CALL and OEP in their own teaching contexts, and b) interpret results with respect to background information on attitudes and institutional constraints. By uncovering practices and networks which develop in the absence of specific pressure or support for pedagogical change, the study examines the longer-term impact of professional development initiatives and draws lessons for future CALL teacher education.

Keywords

CALL teacher education, sustainability, open educational practices

Projects and programmes

  1. ITILT Interactive Technologies in Language Teaching
    28 month Lifelong Learning Project on language teaching with interactive whiteboards (2011-13)

    1. searchable repository of classroom video clips
    2. handbook for language teaching with the IWB
    3. selection of classroom clips linked to language teaching criteria
  2. ITILT 2 Interactive Teaching in Languages with Technology
    3 year project (2014-17)

    1. repository of language teaching tasks
    2. handbook on TBLT with technologies
    3. community of practice mini-guides on digital tools, resources, and networks
  3. Masters in Teaching English (University of Nice)
    1. Two-year programme
      1. M1: disciplinary courses (English studies – language and culture), classroom observation; national teaching entrance exams
      2. M2: teaching placements with tutors, teacher education courses; thesis
    2. types of research paper and popular topics
    3. classroom practice projects:
      1. peer filming project
      2. pragmatics
      3. telecollaboration
      4. YouTube You Teach
  4. In-service sessions on language teaching with technologies and open educational practices
    1. workshops and webinars
    2. research
      1. Whyte, S. (2016). From “solitary thinkers” to “social actors:” OER in multilingual CALL teacher education. Alsic, 19. [link]

      2. Whyte, S. (2014). Bridging gaps : Using social media to develop techno-pedagogical competences in pre-service language teacher education. Recherche et pratiques pédagogiques en langues de spécialité – Cahiers de l’APLIUT, 33(2):143-169.

References

  • Commonwealth of Learning (2017). Open Educational Resources: From Commitment to Action. Burnaby: COL.
  • Farr, F. (2010). How can corpora be used in teacher education. Routledge Handbook of Corpus Linguistics, London and New York: Routledge, 620-632.
  • Little, D., & Thorne, S. L. (2017). From Learner Autonomy to Rewilding: A Discussion. In M. Cappellini, T. Lewis, and A. R. Mompean (Eds.), Learner Autonomy and Web 2.0 (pp. 12-35). Sheffield, UK: Equinox.
  • Reinhardt, J. (2016). Preparing teachers for open L2TL: Frameworks for critical awareness and transformation, Alsic, 19: 1. http://alsic.revues.org/2959
  • Whyte, S. (2016). From “solitary thinkers” to “social actors:” OER in multilingual CALL teacher education. Alsic, 19. [link]
  • Whyte, S. (2015). Implementing and Researching Technological Innovation in Language Teaching: The Case of Interactive Whiteboards for EFL in French Schools. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Whyte, S. (2014). Bridging gaps : Using social media to develop techno-pedagogical competences in pre-service language teacher education. Recherche et pratiques pédagogiques en langues de spécialité – Cahiers de l’APLIUT, 33(2):143-169.
  • Whyte, S., & Alexander, J. (2014). Implementing tasks with interactive technologies in classroom CALL: towards a developmental framework. Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology, 40 (1), 1-26. PDF
  • Whyte, S., Beauchamp, G., & Alexander, J. (2014). Researching interactive whiteboard use from primary school to university settings across Europe: an analytical framework for foreign language teaching. University of Wales Journal of Education, 17, 30-52. [link]
  • Whyte, S., Beauchamp, G., & Hillier, E. (2012). Perceptions of the IWB for second language teaching and learning: the iTILT project. In L. Bradley & S. Thouësny (Eds.), CALL: Using, Learning, Knowing, EUROCALL Conference, Gothenburg, Sweden, 22-25 August 2012, Proceedings (pp. 320-6). © Research-publishing.net Dublin 2012. doi: 10.14705/rpnet.2012.000074
  • Whyte, S., Cutrim Schmid, E., & Beauchamp, G. (2014). Second language interaction with interactive technologies: the IWB in state school foreign language classrooms. AILA, Brisbane.
  • Whyte, S., Cutrim Schmid, E., van Hazebrouck, S., & Oberhofer, M. (2014). Open educational resources for CALL teacher education: the iTILT interactive whiteboard project. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 27 (2), 122-148 doi: 10.1080/09588221.2013.818558
  • Zourou, K. (2016). (Ed). Social dynamics in open educational language practice. Alsic, 19: 1.

 

An audio-visual corpus of technology-mediated classroom language teaching: two CALL OER projects

Teaching and Language Corpora (TaLC) Conference
University of Cambridge, 18-21 July 2018

An audio-visual corpus of technology-mediated classroom language teaching: creating an open repository for CALL teacher education

Abstract

Historically, corpora have often been developed with an eye on practical applications, and as Boulton and Tyne (2014: 301) remind us, “in many cases, these applications were pedagogical in nature.” Cheng (2010) detects a shift in recent years from teaching to learning, with more attention given to tools and training for teachers to support learner use of corpora via data-driven learning. This goal of encouraging greater learner autonomy is mirrored in teacher education in what Farr (2010a: 621) calls “a cocoon of post-transmissive and post-directive approaches” which favour “independent and self-directed learning, and critical and reflective engagement.” A useful tool for teacher education in this respect is offered by teaching corpora, which O’Keefe, McCarthy and Carter (2007: 220) view as a unique application of corpus linguistics, since they focus not on “what we can learn about language use from a corpus” but rather on “what corpora can tell us about our own teaching.”

O’Keeffe and colleagues have used transcriptions from audio-visual teaching corpora to raise language awareness (O’Keeffe & Farr, 2003; O’Keeffe & Walsh 2012) and to support pedagogical development among trainee teachers (Farr 2010a, 2010b), using both discourse analysis and conversation analysis frameworks. Research in computer-assisted language learning (CALL) research has also investigated teacher corpora, using multimodal corpora to explore the semiotic dimensions of online language teaching, such as multimodal interactions via webcam (Cohen & Guichon 2016; Guichon & Wigham 2016; Holt, Tellier & Guichon, 2015). To date, however, little research has considered video corpora in CALL teacher education.

Our research in this area is built on two funded European projects supporting language teacher integration of classroom technologies. A first project collected short video clips of actual classroom practice with interactive technologies in a range of target languages at different age/proficiency levels. These practice examples were tagged for a variety of language, pedagogical, and technological features to create a searchable open repository for teacher education (Whyte, Cutrim Schmid, van Hazebrouck Thompson & Oberhofer 2014). A follow-up project was designed to address techno-pedagogical concerns identified in the first corpus (Whyte 2015), this time adopting a specific pedagogical approach (task-based language teaching; TBLT), a wider range of technologies (mobile devices and videoconferencing), and longer videos showing edited teaching sequences.

This presentation analyses this second teaching corpus, ITILT 2, constituted by 117 video examples of learning activities prepared by 28 pre- and in-service teachers in 15 schools and universities in 5 European countries. The poster shows the background to the project and an overview of the teaching corpus created. The videos are analysed in comparison with the original corpus in terms of language, pedagogical, and technological features, as well as with respect to the new dimension (TBLT sequences). Secondary data on teachers and learner perspectives provides additional insight on this open learning project and the opportunities for teacher development afforded by this kind of teaching corpus.

Poster presentation

Background: ITILT 1 and ITILT 2, teacher education in classroom technologies

ITILT  2 data: fewer practice examples, languages, (more young beginners) in second project. 76 videos from 31 tasks by 23 teachers of 4 languages in 5 countries at 3 educational levels.

First project findings: the effect of IWB on interactivity, learner engagement in interaction, and task-oriented teaching was somewhat limited.

ITILT 2: there was more group work compared to teacher-fronted activities, technologies were used for learner action rather than L2 input, and activities focused on listening and speaking rather than grammar or culture. More communicative activities as opposed to drill and display were presented, though display was still common with young learners.

Task-based language teaching: practice examples show more TBLT criteria were met, and no increase with proficiency.

Discussion: new corpus suggests mobile technologies allowed greater interactivity, interactional engagement and task orientation across languages and educational levels. Practice examples included activities without technology and some gratuitous uses. IWB coding system adapted to mobile devices.

Previous work

ITILT open educational resources: http://www.itilt2.eu

References

Boulton, A., & Tyne, H. (2014). Corpus-based study of language and teacher education. The Routledge handbook of educational linguistics, 301-312.
Cheng, W. (2010). What can a corpus tell us about language teaching. The Routledge handbook of corpus linguistics, 319-332.
Cohen, C., & Guichon, N. (2016). Analysing multimodal resources in pedagogical online exchanges. Language-Learner Computer Interactions: Theory, methodology and CALL applications, 2, 187.
Farr, F. (2010a). How can corpora be used in teacher education. Routledge Handbook of Corpus Linguistics, London and New York: Routledge, 620-632.
Farr, F. (2010b). The discourse of teaching practice feedback: A corpus-based investigation of spoken and written modes. Routledge.
Guichon, N., & Wigham, C. R. (2016). A semiotic perspective on webconferencing-supported language teaching. ReCALL, 28(1), 62-82.
Holt, B., Tellier, M., & Guichon, N. (2015). The use of teaching gestures in an online multimodal environment: the case of incomprehension sequences. In Gesture and Speech in Interaction 4th Edition.
ITILT, Interactive Teaching in Languages with Technology, http://itilt2.eu
O’Keeffe, A., & Farr, F. (2003). Using language corpora in initial teacher education: Pedagogic issues and practical applications. Tesol Quarterly, 37(3), 389-418.
O’Keeffe, A., McCarthy, M., & Carter, R. (2007). From corpus to classroom: Language use and language teaching. Cambridge University Press.
O’Keeffe, A., & Walsh, S. (2012). Applying corpus linguistics and conversation analysis in the investigation of small group teaching in higher education. Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory, 8(1), 159-181.
Whyte, S. (2015). Implementing and Researching Technological Innovation in Language Teaching: The Case of Interactive Whiteboards for EFL in French Schools. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan

Whyte, S., & Alexander, J. (2014). Implementing tasks with interactive technologies in classroom CALL: towards a developmental framework. Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology, 40 (1), 1-26. PDF

Whyte, S., Beauchamp, G., & Alexander, J. (2014). Researching interactive whiteboard use from primary school to university settings across Europe: an analytical framework for foreign language teaching. University of Wales Journal of Education, 17, 30-52. [link]

Whyte, S., Cutrim Schmid, E., & Beauchamp, G. (2014). Second language interaction with interactive technologies: the IWB in state school foreign language classrooms. AILA, Brisbane.
Whyte, S., Cutrim Schmid, E., van Hazebrouck, S., & Oberhofer, M. (2014). Open educational resources for CALL teacher education: the iTILT interactive whiteboard project. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 27 (2), 122-148 doi: 10.1080/09588221.2013.818558

Topics

Teacher education and language corpora
Developing resources for language learning and teaching

Peer filming in task-based language teacher education

This is a series of three short videos on the topic of peer filming in language teacher education. They were made in connection with the Video in Language Teacher Education (ViLTE) project at Warwick University which showcases different uses of this medium to support new teachers of English as a second or foreign language (ESL/EFL).

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

My contribution is based on an activity I designed for first year students in our Masters in Teaching English programme at the University of Nice. It involves peer filming, where student teachers watch each other teach an activity in a secondary school EFL class and make video recordings using their smartphones. They then select an episode for discussion in their university class, and write up their analysis in a reflective paper.

Part 1: background to peer filming in language teacher education

Here I look at three types of teacher education: one of my first experiences, which involved temporary EFL instructors in our English department; a second primary school initiative on video-conferencing in tandem exchanges; and two European projects where we used short video clips to illustrate different types of technology integration in the language classroom. This provides some background on video-stimulated recall and peer observation/discussion, both techniques which proved helpful in overcoming difficulties these teachers experienced in making pedagogical changes.

Whyte, S. (2011). Learning to teach with videoconferencing in primary foreign language classrooms. ReCALL 23(3): 271–293. doi.org/10.1017/S0958344011000188

Whyte, S., & Cutrim Schmid, E. (2014). A task-based approach to video communication with the IWB: a French-German primary EFL class exchange. In Cutrim Schmid, E., & Whyte, S. (Eds.) Teaching languages with technology: communicative approaches to interactive whiteboard use. London: Bloomsbury.

Whyte, S. (2015). Implementing and Researching Technological Innovation in Language Teaching: The Case of Interactive Whiteboards for EFL in French Schools. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

Part 2:  Peer filming in the secondary EFL classroom in France

Building on the background of task-based language teaching (TBLT), video-stimulated recall (VSR), and peer discussion described in the previous film, here we show the advantages of peer filming in bridging the gap between school and university during the school placements organised for our Masters in Teaching English students at the University of Nice (UNS). This video sets out the five steps involved in peer filming, where the students

  1. design tasks in groups
  2. teach and observe the activity in school
  3. film the activity on their smartphones
  4. share critical incidents at university
  5. write a reflective paper on the experience

In the film we discuss

  • the example of a driving instructor task designed for lower secondary EFL,
  • excerpts from class activities filmed on students’ phones, and
  • feedback from a student teacher who is now a practising teacher. We end with some practical advice for implementing this procedure in initial teacher education, and a link to the next video which offers two possibilities for exploiting peer films for teacher development.

Whyte, S. (2015). Taking to task(s): Exploring task design by novice language teachers in technology-mediated and non-technological activities. XVII International CALL research conference proceedings, 30-36.

Part 3: Design briefs and critical incidents: preparing tasks and exploiting peer films

This video builds on the three main stages of peer filming: a) the use of a design brief to create classroom tasks, b) the recording of a ‘quick and dirty’ record of the activity in progress, and c) the discussion of critical incidents to consolidate student teacher learning from the process. It then focuses on the first and last dimensions by presenting two frameworks for discussing peer films with student teachers. The first involves criteria for assessing language tasks from a TBLT perspective (Erlam 2013, 2015), while the second takes a more inclusive perspective, focusing on critical incidents (Breen et al 2001). We conclude with some recommendations for this aspect of peer filming in language teacher education.

Breen, M. P., Hird, B., Milton, M., Oliver, R., & Thwaite, A. (2001). Making sense of language teaching: Teachers’ principles and classroom practices. Applied linguistics, 22(4), 470-501.

Erlam, R. (2015). ‘I’m still not sure what a task is’: Teachers designing language tasks. Language Teaching Research.

Erlam, R. (2013). Listing and comparing tasks in the language classroom: Examples of Willis and Willis’s (2007) taxonomy in practice. The New Zealand Language Teacher, 39,7-14.

Samuda, V. 2005. Expertise in second language pedagogic task design. In Johnson, K. Expertise in language teaching. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

Whyte, S. (2015). Taking to task(s): Exploring task design by novice language teachers in technology-mediated and non-technological activities. XVII International CALL research conference proceedings, 30-36.

Overview texts

1 Background
2 Peer Film
3 Design Briefs and Critical Incidents

1_Background2_PeerFilm3_DesignBriefs_CriticalIncidents

ViLT resources

Mackay, J. (2018). IATEFL conference presentation on ViLTE project by Steve Mann

ViLTE project seminar, February 2018

ViLT YouTube channel

 

Research for EFL teachers: French secondary school preparation

Recent reforms in French teacher education have led to the creation of new university schools of education (Ecoles Supérieures du Professorat et de l’Education) with masters programmes combining education sciences, disciplinary knowledge, pedagogy and also a research dimension. In the master’s programme in teaching English as a Foreign Language (Master MEEF Anglais), for future secondary EFL teachers, this research strand sits alongside English language and culture, EFL teaching, education theory and ICT. The initiation to research is offered during each of the two years of the programme, which integrates university courses and teaching practice. At Nice University, we designed a programme where an introduction to classroom research is connected with the two first-year teaching placements, which occur alongside university courses preparing for secondary school entrance exams (CAPES). In the second year, students conduct research projects in relation to the more extensive teaching practice involving university lecturers, secondary school practitioners and teacher educators.

The objective of the research component of the master’s programme is to help students understand

  • how language is learned in classroom environments, and
  • how teaching affects the process and outcomes.

This post offers background on second language classroom research for university lecturers and secondary practitioners to inform second year student research projects. We begin with a brief discussion of current second language research, followed by a presentation of the action research framework recommended for master’s research projects, and finally some of the the wider implications and future directions for this work are considered.

bench-accounting-49906

Bench Accounting

Classroom research in ELT

Second language teaching research

The learning and teaching of foreign or second languages has been the object of research in a number of different disciplines. Second language acquisition research in the field of linguistics is often dated to early work on learner language and learner errors in the 1970s (Corder, 1967; Selinker, 1972). It is also often associated with experimental designs using test and control groups, and statistical analyses, in order to test the effect of particular aspects of the learning environment on language learning, for instance. In language education, on the other hand, researchers have used discourse analysis to investigate patterns of language use in the classroom, for example, and to examine how teachers develop their classroom skills. Neither of these types of research seems appropriate to our students, however, because they have little or no training in research methods, and are expected to become classroom language teachers, not researchers.

However, it is possible and worthwhile for our students to conduct a different type of classroom research which can support their developing teaching skills and encourage reflective practice. This in turn may help them become more effective teachers who are able to adapt to new challenges and opportunities throughout their careers.

Action research

Action research is frequently attributed to Lewin (1946) and involves the teacher acting as a researcher in his or her own classroom by finding a question (or puzzle, or problem) to investigate, collecting data, analysing and interpreting the data, and then acting on the results, often setting off a new cycles of action research. For example, a language teacher might wonder why some learners in a class seem more motivated to participate in learning activities than others (Ellis, 2013). The teacher would collect data to find out whether this intuitive judgement is correct (e.g., by recording lessons, or making field notes, or perhaps involving the learners themselves), and analysing this data. Then the teacher can consider ways to make changes, and again measure the effect on learners.

Burns has written on this topic for researchers (2005) and for practitioners (2010). She explains the different stages of the action research cycle: plan, act, observe and reflect (2010) and the benefits for teachers and for the field (2005). Cook (2012) has further practical advice for novice researchers at graduate level.

Analysing learner language

To investigate the effects of second language teaching it is important to obtain some kind of measure of classroom activities by collecting and analysing data. Data collection can involve recording class activities or gathering samples of learner productions (spoken or written work). Data analysis then requires studying the learner language in these interactions or productions in a systematic manner (not just assigning grades).

The Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA, University of Minnesota) has online materials to support teacher research on learner language. This resource identifies a number of orientations which teachers can adopt to analyse their learners’ language use; perhaps the most accessible are

Students often find data analysis particularly challenging and need support both with the rationale for this and methods of carrying it out. Tarone and Swierzbin (2009) provides a useful framework for this.

Masters research projects

Suggested approaches

For the research projects to be conducted in the second year of the master’s programme, students can start from a pedagogical question, as in standard action research, or replicate a published classroom study, or conduct a CLIL project.

Teaching article

Choose an article from a journal in the list below which addresses a teaching issue relevant to your learners. Read up on the issue starting with the article’s reference list, and use it as the starting point for your action research cycle.

Replication study

Choose an article from a journal in the list below which reports on research on an aspect of second language teaching which is relevant to your learners. Conduct a similar study with your learners.

CLIL study

Apply CLIL principles to a teaching unit on a literary theme or cultural notion which is appropriate for your learners. Working with your tutor and any other colleagues, plan and teach the unit, then analyse it using the critical incident technique described in Coyles, Hood and Marsh (2010).

Conducting and writing up research

I suggest the following framework for M2 research projects.

Research method

  • define a research question (problematisation)
  • collect data
  • analyse and interpret findings (two AR cycles if possible)
  • collaboration among student, school tutor and university tutor on definition of research question, method (classes, data) and analysis

Report format

  • in English, with French-English glossary
  • 20-30 pages (4-6000 words), double-spaced, 12 pt, table of contents, page numbers
  • structure:
    • abstract
    • keywords
    • introduction
    • background or literature review
    • method (participants, classroom context, data collection)
    • analysis/results/discussion
    • conclusion,
    • references (APA format, as in the present document)
    • appendices (lesson plans, research instruments)
  • oral defence with tutor(s) and another instructor: 10 minute presentation, 10 minutes for questions
  • evaluation on quality of project, write-up and presentation/discussion.

Future directions

Our work on master’s classroom research projects can contribute to our overall efforts for teacher education in the programme by supporting both novice teachers and their more experienced practitioner tutors. If thoughtfully conceived and carried out, student projects can also contribute to broader research in second (English) language teaching.

With this in mind, it is important for our classroom research to

  • draw on relevant recent research by language teachers and teacher educators;
  • define reasonable research questions which can be adequately addressed in the time available;
  • collect data in an organised and ethically appropriate manner (using participant authorisation forms and anonymising data);
  • write up and share findings with peers (past and future graduate students), colleagues (English teachers in the local academy) and stakeholders (inspectors, ESPE, university).

Sharing findings

Master’s in Teaching mini-conference

In Nice, we organised a day of Reflections on Classroom Practice in early June for first year students to share their teaching experiences using powerpoint presentations. We invited the students’ tutors and used these presentations as the basis for our grades. We used a similar format for second year student presentations, organised as joint half-day sessions including university and school tutors of all presenters.

Teacher education collaboration

We could also consider ways to build on second year master’s projects in Nice and Toulon by
organising combined research classes online (e.g., via the unice Connect platform)
organising outreach events with practising EFL teachers via inspectors and in-service training programmes
working with recent graduates and newly qualified teachers (T1, T2, T3) to continue professional support and encourage further practical research initiatives

Research collaboration

A final dimension to consider is collaborative research into language teacher education in our context. This is one area where I have done research with academic colleagues, graduate students and teachers (Cutrim Schmid & Whyte, 2012; Whyte & Alexander, 2014; Whyte, Cutrim Schmid, van Hazebrouck & Oberhofer, 2013), both in funded projects and independently. We might consider working together in similar ways with the MEEF students and tutors.

Organisations and conferences

Platforms for talks or publications include:

  • AFLA (Association Française de Linguistique Appliquée)
    http://www.afla-asso.org/
  • ARDAA (Association pour la Recherche en Didactique de l’Anglais et en Acquisition)
    http://www.ardaa.fr/ (colloque SAES (May)
  • EuroCALL (European association for Computer Assisted Language Learning)
    http://www.eurocall-languages.org/ conference (July/August)
    Special Interest Group in Teacher Education*
  • GERAS (Groupe d’Etude et de Recherche en Anglais de Spécialité)
    http://www.geras.fr/ colloque GERAS (March)
    Groupe de Travail sur la Didactique de l’Anglais de Spécialité*

Bibiography

References

Burns, A. (2010). Doing action research in English language teaching: A guide for practitioners. Routledge.

Burns, A. (2005). Action research: An evolving paradigm?. Language teaching, 38(02), 57-74.

Cook, V. (2012). Starting applied linguistics research. Retrieved 4 July 2014 http://www.academia.edu/4356490/Starting_Applied_Linguistics_Research

Corder, S. P. (1967). The significance of learner’s errors. International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching, 5(1-4), 161-170.

Coyle, D., Hood, P., & Marsh, D. (2010). The CLIL tool kit: transforming theory into practice. Coyle, D., Hood, P., & Marsh, D., CLIL: Content and Language Integrated Learning.

Cutrim Schmid, E., & Whyte, S. (Eds.) Teaching languages with technology: communicative approaches to interactive whiteboard use. A resource book for teacher development. Advances in Digital Language Learning and Teaching (Series editors: Michael Thomas, Mark Warschauer & Mark Peterson). Bloomsbury.

Ellis, R. (2013). Interview with Rod Ellis. Language magazine. Retrieved 3 July 2014 http://languagemagazine.com/?page_id=3843

Lewin, K. (1946). Action research and minority problems. Journal of Social Issues, 2(4), 34-46.

Selinker, L. (1972). Interlanguage. International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching, 10(1-4), 209-232.

Whyte, S., & Alexander, J. (2014). Implementing tasks with interactive technologies in classroom CALL: towards a developmental framework. Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology, 40 (1), 1-26.

Whyte, S., Cutrim Schmid, E., van Hazebrouck, S., & Oberhofer, M. (2013). Open educational resources for CALL teacher education: the iTILT interactive whiteboard project. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 27 (2), 122-148 doi: 10.1080/09588221.2013.818558

Open access journals

Canadian Journal of Applied Linguistics / Revue canadienne de linguistique appliquée: http://journals.hil.unb.ca/index.php/CJAL/index
English Teaching Forum: http://americanenglish.state.gov/english-teaching-forum
The Asian EFL Journal: http://asian-efl-journal.com/
TESL E-J: http://www.tesl-ej.org/

Online resources
Learner language (CARLA)

Foreign language teaching methods (COERLL)

Further reading

Spada, N., & Lightbown, P. (2006). How language are learned. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Tarone, E., & Swierzbin, B. (2009). Exploring learner language. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

 

Internal report, UNS/ESPE Nice

S. Whyte, July 2014

Updating pedagogy with ITILT: against PPP

Presentation

ITILT 2 Multiplier Event, June 2017

Summary

Language teaching in public educational settings in Europe is subject to pressure from many different sources. Official programmes and curricula, textbooks and other ready-made teaching materials, educational institutions and other stakeholders, as well as teacher educators and researchers all offer different and often conflicting recommendations regarding language teaching in primary and second schools, as well as vocational and higher education settings. Learners must cover a certain part of a larger programme in order to succeed in high-stakes examinations. Textbooks have been purchased and need to be used efficiently. Schools want teachers to participate in class exchanges, and place pressure on teachers to use technology for international collaboration; at the same time, teachers must respect rules regarding internet safety and privacy laws. Educators and researchers generally call for change, for evidence of learning, and for reflective, collaborative, even open practices. All these can prove destabilising as well as time-consuming for teachers. In many ways, European projects such as iTILT, focusing on integrating technology to improve interactive language teaching, can appear to add to, rather than relieve the tensions of everyday classroom practice.
In this presentation, I intend to take a step back from the very practical details of technology integration and language pedagogy to ask a deceptively simple question: why change? What is wrong with the way we traditionally teach languages? Why not stick with the traditional presentation-practice-production (PPP) model which many of us experienced as language learners? After all, many modern textbooks still propose teaching units which Present a particular grammatical structure, provide exercises to Practice the new forms, followed by more open-ended Production activities where learners can test their new skills? Why are newer action-oriented approaches or task-based language (TBLT) considered more effective and more likely to produce confident users of the target language?
This presentation starts with an overview of two European projects: iTILT (LLP 2011-13) and ITILT 2 (Erasmus+ 2014-17). Then I contrast PPP and TBLT approaches, drawing on examples from French teachers of English in the iTILT project at primary, secondary, and university levels to illustrate these differences . A close analysis of the video examples shows the weaknesses of PPP in addressing the complexity of the language learning task facing learners, and suggests TBLT may offer a more flexible and ultimately more effective framework for second language acquisition and learning.

References

Anderson, J. (2016). Why practice makes perfect sense: the past, present and potential future of the PPP paradigm in language teacher education. ELTED, 19. PDF
Ellis, R. (2013). Task-based language teaching: Responding to the critics. University of Sydney Papers in TESOL, 8. PDF