Tra Mi: You have been watching the videos. Your
assignment was to choose a teaching topic, explain it in your own words,
and give an example of where you see it in the video course. Can you
tell me what you chose?
Rebecca Sui: I chose Constructivism.
Linh Dan: Mine is about the Communicative Language Teaching Method.
Laila Azimi: I looked for some Learner-Centered Practices, such as teaching students how to use learning strategies.
Tra Mi: Very good. Since Let’s Teach English is built on the theory of Constructivism, why don’t you start?
Rebecca Sui: Sounds good to me!
Rebecca Sui: When I think of building or
“constructing” something, I see a house or a school. To me,
constructivism means my students are taking in new ideas and new words,
and building their own understanding of the world around them.
I found an example of this in Unit 4.
First, the teacher prepares students to read a story by talking
about the content. She has her students bring in pictures of technology
that they know about. In this way, students start with things they
already know about. Then they can connect that to the new information in
the story. The teacher gets her students interested in the story by
previewing the title and images.
Rebecca Sui: The students know about technology and the internet. But, they do not
know that someone could learn from the internet without having an
internet connection. They read a story and learn about a mobile library
called SolarSPELL, where information from the internet could be stored.
Finally, her students make a picture to explain the SolarSPELL library
in their own words.
Rebecca Sui: I think this is a good example. They knew something to start with, but they had to construct
or build on their knowledge. They read about the Solar SPELL and then
they told about it in their own words. They learned some new words in
English and they also learned about a new place, Vanuatu.
Tra Mi: Okay, great start on constructivism. Who wants to talk next?
Linh Dan: I do! I decided to talk about the Communicative Language Teaching method.
Linh Dan: In Unit 5, the students do role-plays in
groups, and each group has different information. That way, their role
plays are all different. This is a great example of a real world task
and Communicative Language Teaching. Students use their own words to
shop, sell, and bargain in the marketplace.
Video clip of shopping role play
Linh Dan: The students were in a real-world
situation in this unit. They were using English in a meaningful way to
do the task. They had a clear purpose for communicating. And, just as
important, the activity was learner-centered because they had choices in
the language and actions that they used.
Tra Mi: Thank you, Linh Dan! Now, for Layla’s presentation.
Laila Azimi: I want to tell you what I learned
about Learner-Centered Teaching and Active Learning for students. In
Unit 9, the students practice an interview for a job. They each choose
the job that they want to get. Then, they practice the learning strategy
of “predicting” in two ways. They predict what kinds of questions can
occur in their interviews. And, during the role-play, the listening
group predicts what questions might come next.
Laila Azimi: We saw one student’s interview for
the job she chose. We know that every student chose a different job, did
research about that job, and wrote her own interview questions.
Tra Mi: What was the teacher’s role in this?
Laila Azimi: The teacher’s job was to support the
learners in their choices and research. She also gave them more control
over their learning by teaching them to apply strategies. In this case,
they predicted hard questions for the interview. They can use these
strategies later in other real-world situations.
Tra Mi: Thank you, all, for sharing these important topics of language teaching:
- Communicative Language Teaching
- Learner-Centered Practices and Active Learning
Tra Mi: So, let’s start with the first unit!
Laila Azimi, Linh Dan, and Rebecca Sui: Yes, let’s teach English together!