Educational Background of Learners
..... The class I have chosen to instruct is an ESOL class of 5 students. The Greek students are in the ages of 17-18 , advanced learners who are going to enter a UK University for studying English Literature. All students have passed the 'A' level examinations of English Literature. ..... The learners, although competent in English language and literature, were expressing their worries about confusing the timelines between literary periods and characteristics. They wanted to exercise their English and at the same time they wanted to learn something more about literature. They felt that they did not acquire rich vocabulary to be able to compete with native speakers of English when entering an English University and they felt that they lacked some pronunciation aspects. Since I had been a graduate of English literature, I knew exactly what the students needed in order to feel more confident. I designed a computer-based learning programme that gives them the choice to improve their English, learn more about literature and have fun.
Theory and Issues
The lesson aims to teach reading and vocabulary. The lesson plan is based on four theories: learner-centeredness, comprehensible input, authentic materials and feedback. As we have mentioned earlier, learner needs indicated that the focus of this lesson should be on comprehension and enriching their vocabulary.
Tricia Hedge (2000) argues that although the teacher's ultimate role is to build independence in learners by teaching strategies on how to learn a word, he or she will often have to explain new words. She argues that teachers should develop a variety of techniques for the teaching of meaning. ......
..... In the comprehension passage, I based my teaching method on Cook's prototype theory and introduced to the learners subordinate terms, since they are advanced learners and I assumed that they have already acquired the basic and superordinate terms. As these words, however, are listed in the category of low-frequency words, I have chosen to select a text, as these words can be learned better when encountered in a text. ..... As Nation(1990) argues, and as I have discovered myself, it is not easy to guess from texts, I have given them not only the choice of words listed above the text but also clues and hints for each word.
(2007) states that insufficient background knowledge hinders top-down
processing of new information and limited language competence makes the
decoding process even more difficult. Cobb suggests that a nice method is
expanding the occurrence of a word during or after reading by connecting it to
the same word as it appears in a range of texts.
Learners who used concordance information in a dictionary building project were more able to transfer new word learning to novel contexts than controls who had used glossary information (Cobb 1999b in Cobb 2007) In the Comprehension exercise, when students click on the text they are transferred automatically to a link where they can hear the pronunciation of any word and when double click it they can see the concordance of each word.
My criteria for selecting reading texts were based upon the
learner needs. Due to their interests I used authentic materials. I
tried to create purposes which would motivate the learners to read. I have
selected some really interesting passages from famous authors; in that way
learners could improve their English and get informed about literary
subjects. As they are literature students I have also selected some
texts that need critical process. Their ideologies are such that learners need
to find the hidden meaning and spot the elements of language that are manipulated
by the writers. Extensive reading is good according to Hedge so my site
provides them with other links. A variety of texts is said to provide
motivation: I give them songs, quotations, short stories.
Lesson Plan: "Art and Literature"
Description of activities
Fill the gaps exercise: The first exercise is quite easy. It is a gap fill exercise where learners listen to the music video of Pride and Prejudice and they have to fill the gaps. I have chosen this song because I wanted to combine learning English and learning about cinema adaptations of novels. The cinema adaptation is authentic and the most current one so it would certainly grasp the attention of learners. Viola Wong et al. (1995) argue that a striking characteristic of authentic materials is genuineness of time, location and people.
Skimming Exercise: This exercise is moderate. It requires learners to match the quotations of several authors with the themes. Learners again have the chance to get informed about literature and improve their skimming skills on reading. The level is moderate because learners have to read between the lines in order to understand what the quotation is about.
Information-transfer exercise: This exercise is moderate. Learners are required to transfer pictures of certain literary periods to the periods listed on the right. It is a multiple-choice exercise that needs top-down processing but information is given in the teaching pages.
Fill the gaps exercise: This exercise is difficult. Extracts from two short stories are filled with gaps and the words are offered in a list. The learners can guess the words from the structure and the meaning of the passage. The words, however, are quite difficult for L2 speakers so they are provided with hints and clues. Of course, in order to prevent students from asking immediately for help, learners lose points when they do ask.
Comprehension exercise: This exercise is difficult. There is a text on the left of the screen and questions on the right. The reader can choose between three options. If they press on the text they can go to a link where they can hear the pronunciation of a word and many concordances. The reader can click for a concordance while reading.
Non Linguistic Aims