1. Cognitive Behaviourism
RIvers & Temperly (A Practical Guide to the Teaching of English, OUP, 1978, p. 47) list 14 purposes or categories of language use
- establishing and maintaining social relations
- expressing one’s reactions
- hiding one’s intentions
- talking one’s way out of trouble
- seeking & giving information
- learning or teaching others to do or make something
- conversing over the telephone
- solving problems
- discussing ideas
- playing with language
- acting out social roles
- entertaining others
- displaying one’s achievements
- sharing leisure activities
I have been racking my brains over the past few weeks in vain. I am incapable of thinking of a proper topic myself and that prevents me from starting work on the assignment which reads as follows
This assignment consists of two interrelated parts:
A multimedia resource for language learning for classroom or self-access use.
An accompanying rationale.
A multimedia resource
You should create a working piece of courseware that reflects the aims, objectives and learning outcomes outlined in your rationale and reflects good practice in both TESOL and the use of multimedia in language learning. This may be produced using any web authoring tool (although the expectation is that you use the WordPress CMS), and will include links to other media (audio or video, for example) and applications such as Hot Potatoes.
The resource does not need to be long or complex. It should, however, be coherent and it must work. For example, you could exploit a piece of listening or reading material with a relevant task or sequence of tasks providing practice on a specific grammar point. It can also be a piece of teacher education material. It may represent part of a larger package, but it should not simply consist of a sequence of tasks produced using authoring software. This multimedia resource should clearly reflect the issues discussed in the rationale.
So far a number of ideas have been put forward by some of my friends and acquaintances, but I can’t make up my mind. I have contemplated
- creating a set of interactive grammar quizzes to practise a particular language point (I mean there are thousands of interactive quizzes out there already, I have to create something really unusual)
- designing a multimedia resource for very young learners, e.g. a picture dictionary with tasks (this one sounds OK-ish, I just need to get myself a proper digicam and learn photography – easier said than done. Plus where should I get the audio? I am not a professional anchor after all. )
- devising a few topic-based units of sequenced tasks for a certain level or exam purposes (well, that’s sort of stretching and there are copyright issues as usual. Just can’t think of a place to get all those texts, pics and audio for free. So thats’ all about becoming a digital coursebook writer at the end of the day and I find it daunting, because this is LOADS of unpaid work)
I wish I could paint and draw, sing and act. I wish I were a prolific writer and could write engrossing stories and articles exceptionally well.
It looks like more and more language teaching is being done on the web. Let me summarize what online language teachers have on offer, what they do or could do in theory. I will list several examples from Curtis J. Bonk & Ke Zhang’s (2008) Empowering Online Learning, pp. 62-63.
Types of resources & activities for online language learners
- online flashcards
- electronic dictionaries, glossaries & corpora
- presentations / slide shows
- grammar lessons
- vocabulary lessons
- voice games
- word games
- interactive speaking games
- news portals
- topic-specific websites
- reading exercises
- listening quizzes & exercises
- collaborative writing tasks
- digital storytelling
- text & voice chat sessions
- asynchronous discussions
- pronunciation labs
- progress reports
- interactive quizzes
- online conversation classes
- placement tests
- self-paced lessons
- peer-to-peer practice conversations
- expert mentoring, etc
What else is out there? Is there anything on the list you either have tried and liked or hated, or would like to try?
According to research, e-learners are likely to be frustrated by
- technical difficulties
- communication breakdowns
Ian Forsyth (Teaching & Learning Materials & The Internet, 3rd edition, p. 135) defines interactivity as
emulating the traditional classroom
He lists the 5 Ts that cause interactivity to fail on the Internet (pp. 19 -23)
time technology timid territoriality on topics training truss – an infrastructure requirement
Let me list some of the topical issues that keep emerging and need to be addressed asap.
- usability – what I mean here is all the extra clicks that either my students or I make, which takes time. Distributing courseware in space often results in learners’ having to spend more time online than they would otherwise have, and that should be avoided.
- feedback – it is not enough to provide feedback, it also has to be easy to locate your comments and respond to them, i.e. there is a need for greater interactivity in this respect
- note-taking – I’ve recently described an ideal e-notebook, now I have to put my ideas into practice
- archiving – this is an issue with longer courses, because your online learning space tends to get really crowded and something needs to be done with older materials: it is unwise to delete them, but it is very inconvenient to keep them up front, because they slow you down when you want to read the latest course news. Scrolling down to the most recently added worksheets and other materials also starts taking more time than you can possibly afford.