EngEDU 1/2015

Forum for English Major students, Faculty of Education, Mahasarakham University, Thailand
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 Increasing classroom talk with English-language learners

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Posts : 117
Join date : 2015-08-17

PostSubject: Increasing classroom talk with English-language learners   1st December 2015, 11:00 pm

The focus in this discussion is on English language learners, but these discourse patterns apply in many learning contexts. However, it is ELLs who are more likely to become passive because language and cultural differences can disconnect them from mainstream schooling. Teachers at all grade levels face the challenge to increase and improve the language use of their students; thus educators should consider what they do and could do better and then apply communication structures that are appropriate for both the age and proficiency of the student. The following are some general guidelines.

-Uphold high expectations for student participation. Expect everyone to contribute. During key discussions, use a class roster to keep track of students' participation levels and employ ways to get students talking beyond having them raise their hands (e.g., choral responses, shared reading, and paired discussions).

-Practice behaviors that value and elaborate students' contributions. Smile and share common courtesies. Make eye contact and move closer to the speaker, if possible, unless these gestures seem to make a student uncomfortable.

-Allow sufficient wait time, including patient pauses that support students' possible need for code switching (i.e., thinking or speaking in one language and switching to another). Repeating the question or prompt allows more time for processing while engaging more students.

-Use yes or no, either, or other prompts to bridge language gaps. Because oral language production competence follows reception skills, students can comprehend more than they can verbalize. Giving students a way to show their knowledge without having to construct complete sentences keeps students involved and scaffolds their use of English to evidence their understanding.

-Accept phrases and partial answers and model more complete sentences. Helping students elaborate their ideas into full sentences with academic structures and terms will help them to write their ideas down in more standard English.

-Model standard pronunciation and grammar. Slowing down, oversimplifying, or speaking more loudly are not necessary. Rephrasing and gesturing to help convey meaning are more helpful. Remember to amplify, not simplify (Gibbons, 2002).

-Find time to make small talk on a one-to-one basis. Ask questions frequently and listen carefully to student responses. Making time for less intimidating exchanges (e.g., small groups, individual conferences) may provide information that you can use when leading whole-group discussions later.

-Don't relent on your expectation of participation. Practice possible follow-up responses to enlarge your response repertoire. Videotape some key class discussions to help self-assess your effectiveness with ELLs.

-Be a good listener, focusing on the content of the message rather than its grammatical structure. Acknowledging a student's message is likely to increase interaction, while correcting grammar may not and, in fact, might shift the focus from content to form.

-Learn some key phrases in the student's native language to make a connection and to share the language-learning process with your students.

Farada 061 3EN
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