Sunday, September 23, 2012

20120922 Teaching English as a Foreign Language. Bridge TEFL Module 3.

20120922  Teaching English as a Foreign Language.

TEFL Bridge.  The TEFL course which offers accredited training by peer-review.

“The BridgeTEFL TEFL & CELTA certifications are recognized both in the United States and in many countries." says certified TEFL Online & CELTA Graduate Don Guadagni.  So the course is perfect for teaching in the USA and many other non-specific and un-named countries.  If you have no idea where you want to go, then BridgeTEFL can get you there.

Bridge TEFL upholds the standards of the industry by a peer review by the The Accrediting Council on Continuing Education, ACCET, who expresses its sincere appreciation to all volunteers who serve as evaluators.  ACCET was founded in 1974 for the purpose of improving continuing education and training and has been officially recognized by the U.S. Department of Education since 1978 as a "reliable authority" as to the quality of education and training provided by the institutions we accredit.  Being recognized by the Department of Education is apparently just as good as actually being a part of the Department of Education.

Here is an example of the standard of work that can be expected and accepted according to the rigorous marking scheme of the peer-reviewed and accredited BridgeTEFL.  It is unacceptable to use first-person when writing at the tertiary level at most respectable universities but at BridgeTEFL, they take a more modern and relaxed approach than an established and accredited university by allowing the use of first-person as the subject.  After, all this course is about you, the teacher.  The curriculum advisers were told to prepare teachers work in far-away exotic countries and the accountants were given the same instructions regarding your course fee.

Module 3. 

1. Take a look at the list of items below. Decide which system these relate to: lexis, phonology, grammar or function.

I went to London; I´ve been to London.

Lend me $5. Could you possibly lend me $5?

library; bookstore

foot; foots

I'd rather not; No way!

hit; heat

photograph; photographer

should; must

2. Imagine that you work in a language school. You have just received a new student from Korea who wants to study English prior to entering a university in the U.S. The student takes the placement test, which is all grammar and vocabulary and mostly multiple choice. She scores quite high; however, she does not speak very well and has difficulty understanding even the
simplest spoken language. What balance of the four skills and the four systems would you recommend for her study program? For example, would you focus on reading and writing or utilize her strengths in grammar to introduce topics, but make the exercises mostly listening and speaking? Would you focus on function, pronunciation, productive skills because the test was multiple choice and not a fair assessment of her success in a university with writing papers and listening to lectures?Explain what an appropriate balance would be. How did you reach that recommendation?

I would a create a study program where the student listens to recordings and then answers comprehension questions.  All instructions would be given in writing to take advantage of her reading skills. 
There would be no transcript of the recording – the student must listen to the recording.  I would choose a skill level that accounts for student’s difficulty in understanding the spoken language.  (Can we assume that there are no other factors such as a hearing impairment?) The test answers would start as multiple choice answers and other open answer questions that require a short written response progressing into spoken presentation answers as the student develops.
I would focus on function because the skills will be needed to participate in the course and also when she starts university.  The recordings would be examples of asking questions in a classroom and how to elicit a response from a teacher.  Within the teaching of function there would be built-in components of grammar, phonics and lexis that would develop her productive skills.
As her receptive skills improve, the focus would be shifted from developing her listening skills to a fuller, more rounded course where all the receptive and productive skills are further developed in harmony with each other – so that the student is equal in her abilities in each component of the language .
I believe an appropriate balance of receptive versus productive skills would be 80% receptive in the form of listening and 20% productive in the form of written and spoken answers.
My recommendation is based on information in the text – it states that the student has passed a multiple choice question test on vocabulary and grammar.  It seems that the student has developed the reading and writing components of the language well but has not developed the listen and speaking components equally.  The text also states that the student  ”does not speak very well and has difficulty understanding even the simplest spoken language”  and as a result the recommended course of action would be to develop her listening and speaking skills.

Teachers comments
Your choice to utilize reading as a segue to promote an intensive listening and speaking focus shows an astute grasp of integrating and balancing the skills based on individual student needs.    Also, your ability to match the items listed in the question with the appropriate language system shows an excellent grasp of the systems concept.

The History and Spelling of English
Describe how your knowledge of the history of the English language will help you explain things to your students in an EFL class. Give specific examples.

As a Native English Teacher working in China I have had times when I have had to explain that the English language is made up from other languages.  The explanation is usually centered around the terrifying number of wars that Europeans were so good at starting but really needed some help in learning how to stop.  Knowing that a good portion of English is from Latin helps to explain the strange names the English give to appliances as compared to the stark descriptions given to mechanical devices in China.  As an example, in English we have the word television derived from the Latin words “far” and “see” which basically describes the machine as the thing that lets you see what is far away.  The Chinese word for television is Din Shi – or “electrical job” or the thing that uses electricity and to make one is a big job. 
The Chinese students have an English text where a character in the book goes to France.  While there, the character meets a French man named Monsieur Bas – I had to explain to the Chinese students that this is not an English title or name and that most of the letters in French are not pronounced.  The correct pronunciation is “Monsieur Bah”.  I think that it is unfair to introduce a difficult French name to young children that are already trying to learn English.

What differences in student approach to English do you anticipate when working with students who speak a Latin or Germanic language versus students who speak Japanese, Chinese or Arabic?
As a Native English Teacher working in China I have had the experience of teaching the words “athletic” to Chinese children only to have the lesson taken up with explaining how to make the “th” sound.  The problem is compounded when teaching this to a young child who may not have the fine motor skills to form the correct sounds. 

Describe strategies you will use in class to help you with your own spelling, if it´s a problem, like bringing a dictionary to class or writing down troublesome vocabulary in your lesson plan.

I overcome spelling problems by having a dictionary and noting troublesome words in the lesson plan – also as discussed  – eliciting a response from the students can be helpful.

Teachers comments
Your answer shows that you understand the importance of having a working knowledge of the history of English, an awareness of your students´ linguistic backgrounds, and a strategy for dealing with your own spelling weaknesses.  However, more specific examples of how these issues might play out in the classroom would strengthen your response.  Also, when discussing the differences between students of differing linguistic backgrounds, don´t forget that Arabic and Asian students also have a completely different alphabet.

Overall mark