Promoting holistic learning through ESP materials

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					Promoting holistic learning through ESP materials: Visit Korea

INTRODUCTION
It could be said that all TEFL is about “English for Special Purposes”, in that EFL teaching should be
tailored to the special needs of the students. In practice, however, it is very difficult to give
everyone what they need, which is why autonomy, learning-to-learn, and the student-centred
approach began.


Korea is experiencing a boom in 2-year vocational colleges. When we look at the teaching materials
available for fields such as Tourism English, Nursing English, Engineering English, or Medical English,
however, we find that they are very traditional and non-communicative. There is thus a need for
learning materials which apply contemporary TEFL principles to the ESP situation.


There is also a perception that ESP is just a matter of vocabulary and phrases, which can be learned
by rote, using the Notional/Functional approach. Airline companies estimate that it takes 6 weeks
to train beginning stewardesses the language that they need. However, being able to ask “Red
wine or white wine?” or “Would you like chicken or fish?” is not enough when unusual situations
arise, or when passengers ask unpredictable questions.


This workshop will use the book Visit Korea to look at the learning needs of Tourism English
students in particular, though the principles and ideas investigated are applicable to most ESP
learners. The main point of this book is that ESP learners have the same learning needs as every
other English learner. Their needs appear more specific, but in fact they also need to develop
autonomy, confidence, motivation, and self-esteem through materials which are culture-specific,
authentic, meaningful, interactive, and collaborative. Just like everyone else, they need materials
which challenge them to grow cognitively, affectively, socially, culturally, and linguistically.


In the first part of the workshop, the presenters will offer sample activities, explaining how these
satisfy conditions of holistic learning and how this helps students to become more effective
learners in their own specific field (Tourism English). In this part, task-based activities will be used,
aiming to help Tourism English students to learn the necessary language and to communicate in
appropriate Tourism-related situations (Hotels, Travel Agencies, Korean Landmarks, etc.). This
approach leads into project-based learning, as students become familiar with the learning
strategies involved and can make learning projects about the special types of English that they
require.


In the second part of this workshop, participants will be invited to try out sample activities and to
discuss the issue of ESP and Content-Based learning. (260 words)
METHOD
The approach taken in this book is one of collaborative, student-centred, interactive group-work.
In this way, affective growth and social growth can be fostered, in addition to linguistic growth.
Notional, functional and structural linguistic aims have been suggested, within the overall context
of providing practice in integrated performance skills (reading, listening, speaking and writing). A
number of the structural aims appear more than once. This is intentional, and is aimed at giving
students chances to review, re-learn, and re-try various communication strategies, in a cyclic
approach to learning.


Form-focused aspects are also important, and various opportunities arise to practice vocabulary,
phrases and tenses, though these are not the ultimate goal of any particular Chapter. Instead, it is
hoped that students will develop their skills and abilities in the transferring of (tourism-related)
information and opinions, using the target language as the medium for this communication.


Instructions for the activities are directed to the students at their level of proficiency, and do not
need teacher-explanation. Groups who comprehend the instructions will perform the activity,
while those who do not understand will ask the teacher for help. This approach allows groups to
proceed at their own speed, learning what is appropriate for them to learn, and performing the
activities in ways that are appropriate for them.


Promoting fluency in use of English can be done not only through the performance of language
tasks and activities, but also through the negotiation of these activities. Situations in which
students discuss how to perform an activity are great chances for authentic use of English, since
they require the use of questioning/answering, agreeing/disagreeing, explaining, giving opinions,
and expressing comprehension/incomprehension. The discussion of how to perform the activity
thus becomes in itself a communication activity.


Evaluation of linguistic success depends on the amount of communication achieved. If students
carry out the language task (e.g. information retrieval, information transfer, opinion transfer, etc.)
with full comprehension on the part of every participant, then they have been successful. If
participants experience difficulties in understanding, then a communication “error” has occurred
and can be addressed. From this point of view, errors are “failures to communicate,” and learning
becomes a matter of finding strategies to communicate effectively and appropriately.


Teachers of ESP (including university/college instructors who have students from varying
disciplines in their classes) cannot be expected to know the technical language of doctors, nurses,
lawyers, mechanics, or engineers. However, by giving students the skills to make projects, teachers
can help students to access the language they need and to satisfy their ESP goals.
PUTTING IT INTO PRACTICE
Visit Korea was written by the English and Korean authors, who are TEFL educators working in
Korea. It was written for Korean students and takes their own culture as the starting point. Rather
than concentrating on the stereotyped target language culture, therefore, this book encourages
students to investigate their own culture, and to be ready to explain it to visitors to their country.


Each Chapter of Visit Korea takes a situation in which communication occurs in real-life, and
presents a number of activities which use that situation. Some activities are designed around
vocabulary, some around fluency, some suggest relevant language, and others simply focus on the
situation itself, with no linguistic emphasis. The final, Extra section contains a number of free-
talking pages that teachers and learners can turn to at any time. This section is particularly useful
for students who have time on their hands (e.g. when waiting for others to finish).


The activities in each chapter follow a sequence which starts with basic, one-way, static,
grammar/vocabulary activities, and which gradually becomes more interactive, dynamic and
demanding. For learners who find early tasks difficult, this is the time to learn new grammar, lexis,
structures or phrases, and they should be allowed to spend as much time as they need on these
activities. For those who experience little or no trouble with the early activities, the later activities
are there to take them further, and to extend their use of the target language.


The language in Visit Korea speaks directly to the students, in an interactive, student-centred
manner. Instructions (e.g. on how to perform an activity) are comprehension tasks in themselves,
and indicate proficiency levels and learning needs. Students who read the instructions and perform
the tasks without asking for help, will not only be demonstrating comprehension, but will also be
enabling the teacher to assist others who need immediate help and counselling.


This approach assumes a degree of freedom in the classroom which reflects another aim - to
encourage the students to set out on the road to autonomous learning. Students should therefore
be encouraged to turn the page, and move on to another task, or to take on some sort of project-
activity as a follow-up. Those who feel more comfortable working at basic tasks however, should
also be allowed to do so. The teacher, as facilitator and counsellor, can then judge what input is
appropriate for different groups, and is able to offer more personalized advice and tuition, having
been freed from the burden of presenting the same lesson content to everyone.


A further aim of this series is to encourage students to participate creatively in interpretation of
lesson content, and to devise new ways in which that content can be improved or adapted for their
own purposes. The fostering of such an attitude is a valuable step towards autonomy and self-
assessment, as well as helping learners to value their own ideas more. Because of this, many
activities can be (and should be) performed in a variety of ways, and a useful follow-up (or review)
for any activity (however basic) is to suggest that the students find another way of performing it.
This book therefore presents the framework within which the teacher can work, and gives freedom
to the teacher to adapt and adapt the activities, according to the particular needs of the students.
Within this framework, a number of suggestions are made (below). These suggestions focus on
maximizing the learning potential of task-based learning.


    1. Allow the students to read the instructions for each activity by themselves, and (if they
       understand them) to perform the activity without teacher intervention. Do not explain the
       instructions to everyone at the beginning of the lesson. Wait until students have tried to
       understand the instructions, and then help those who do not comprehend them.
       Remember that everyone has different learning needs.
    2. Allow the students to complete each task that they perform. Task-completion is extremely
       important in the learning process. Don’t interrupt the students when they are on task.
       Structure the lesson to allow for task-completion.
    3. Allow the students to proceed at their own rate. What might seem an easy task for some
       students might be considered difficult by others with different learning needs. If everyone
       is learning something, the teacher can be content.
    4. Each chapter has one main concept, investigated and developed by up to 15 activities.
       Allow the students to work through as many activities as they can in the time allotted to
       that chapter. They do not have to work on the same activity at the same time.
    5. The tasks in each chapter are structured according to difficulty. This means that students
       can work through them according to their abilities. If students get to the end of the
       chapter, encourage them to make a project, based on the ideas in the chapter.
    6. Try giving students the freedom to choose which activities to perform in the allotted time.
       This increases responsibility, confidence and motivation.
    7. Encourage students to explain activities to each other. Students who have already
       performed an activity can get valuable language-performance practice by explaining it to
       other students.
    8. Encourage students to make their own rules for activities, to write these rules down, and
       to explain their rules to other students. This will improve creativity, autonomous learning,
       and inter-personal responsibility.
Reflection on teaching materials
Task 1: Make marks along the continuum lines to describe your opinions.

Teaching materials should:
    1. always ______________________________________________________ sometimes
       … present new information or learning material.
    2. Teaching materials should:
       always ______________________________________________________ sometimes
       … help students memorize new information or learning material.
    3. Teaching materials should:
       always ______________________________________________________ sometimes
       … help students comprehend new information or learning material.
    4. Teaching materials should:
       always ______________________________________________________ sometimes
       … require students to use knowledge or skills that have been previously acquired.
    5. Teaching materials should:
       always ______________________________________________________ sometimes
       … require students to apply learned items in a new situation.
    6. Teaching materials should:
       always ______________________________________________________ sometimes
       … require students to personalize learning items through relating them to their own ideas,
       needs, feelings and experiences.
    7. Teaching materials should:
       always ______________________________________________________ sometimes
       … encourage development of learning strategies by the students.
    8. Teaching materials should:
       always ______________________________________________________ sometimes
       … encourage development of interest, confidence and positive attitudes to learning.
    9. Teaching materials should:
       always ______________________________________________________ sometimes
       … be “pleasing to the eye” (catch the attention of the learner).
    10. Teaching materials should:
        always ______________________________________________________ sometimes
        … enable the teacher or student to evaluate how much the goals of an activity have been
       achieved.

      Task 2: Now rank items 1 – 10 in your order of importance:

            Most important    … …     …   …   …   …   …   …   … …      Least important
Pre-design checklist (before you start)                              
Goals            Communicative
                 Affective (emotional management)
                 Language awareness (linguistic goals)
                 Cultural awareness
                 Study skills (Learning how to learn)
Input            Linguistic
                 Affective
                 Cognitive
                 Social
                 Cultural
                 Authentic
                 Non-authentic
Activity types   Information gap
                 Information transfer
                 Opinion gap
                 One-way task
                 Two-way task
                 Discovery task
                 Experience task
                 Shared task
                 Guided task
                 Questions & answers
                 Dialogues & role-plays
                 Learning-to-learn activities
                 Matching activities
                 Communication strategies
                 Pictures & picture stories
                 Puzzles & problems
                 Discussions & decisions
Teacher role     Ringmaster (controller)
                 Facilitator (making the infrastructure)
                 Monitor (observer)
                 Participant
Learner role     Passive recipient of input.
                 Active interacter and negotiator.
                 Listener/performer, no control of lesson content.
                 Involved in a process of personal growth.
                 Involved in social-based language learning.
                 Takes responsibility for his/her own learning.
Settings         Individual
                 Pair Work
                 Small Group Work
                 Whole Class
Today’s activities use a number of task types, for a number of purposes.
Discuss together and then write the types and teaching purposes that the tasks fulfilled.




                                                                                            Task name
                                                                                            Goals
                                                                                            Input data
                                                                                            Activities
                                                                                            Settings
                                                                                            Roles
 Where do you think today’s activities fit along the continua below?


1. Sample activity:
Top-down ______________________________________________________________ Bottom-up
Form-focused ______________________________________________________ Meaning-focused
Interactional tasks _________________________________________________ Transactional tasks
Product approach ___________________________________________________ Process approach
Real-world tasks ____________________________________________________ Pedagogic tasks


2. Sample activity:
Top-down ______________________________________________________________ Bottom-up
Form-focused ______________________________________________________ Meaning-focused
Interactional tasks _________________________________________________ Transactional tasks
Product approach ___________________________________________________ Process approach
Real-world tasks ____________________________________________________ Pedagogic tasks


3. Sample activity:
Top-down ______________________________________________________________ Bottom-up
Form-focused ______________________________________________________ Meaning-focused
Interactional tasks _________________________________________________ Transactional tasks
Product approach ___________________________________________________ Process approach
Real-world tasks ____________________________________________________ Pedagogic tasks


4.
Top-down ______________________________________________________________ Bottom-up
Form-focused ______________________________________________________ Meaning-focused
Interactional tasks _________________________________________________ Transactional tasks
Product approach ___________________________________________________ Process approach
Real-world tasks ____________________________________________________ Pedagogic tasks


5.
Top-down ______________________________________________________________ Bottom-up
Form-focused ______________________________________________________ Meaning-focused
Interactional tasks _________________________________________________ Transactional tasks
Product approach ___________________________________________________ Process approach
Real-world tasks ____________________________________________________ Pedagogic tasks
     1. Look at some of today’s sample activities.
                Try them with your partner or group.
                Assess them for promotion of affective strategies
Activity name:                                                                         Yes - - - - - No
1.   Did this activity help my self-esteem?                                            3     2       1    0
2.   Did this activity help my language-learning confidence?                           3     2       1    0
3.   Did this activity motivate me to learn more?                                      3     2       1    0
4.   Did this activity reduce my anxiety?                                              3     2       1    0
5.   Was this activity stressful to me?                                                3     2       1    0
6.   Was this activity collaborative?                                                  3     2       1    0
7.   Did this activity help me to manage my emotions?                                  3     2       1    0
8.   Did this activity encourage realistic expectations about making errors?           3     2       1    0
9.   Did this activity offer training in affective strategies?                         3     2       1    0
10. Did this activity help me to improve my performance?                               3     2       1    0
                                                                               Total
Activity name:                                                                         Yes - - - - - No
1.   Did this activity help my self-esteem?                                            3     2       1    0
2.   Did this activity help my language-learning confidence?                           3     2       1    0
3.   Did this activity motivate me to learn more?                                      3     2       1    0
4.   Did this activity reduce my anxiety?                                              3     2       1    0
5.   Was this activity stressful to me?                                                3     2       1    0
6.   Was this activity collaborative?                                                  3     2       1    0
7.   Did this activity help me to manage my emotions?                                  3     2       1    0
8.   Did this activity encourage realistic expectations about making errors?           3     2       1    0
9.   Did this activity offer training in affective strategies?                         3     2       1    0
10. Did this activity help me to improve my performance?                               3     2       1    0
                                                                               Total
Activity name:                                                                         Yes - - - - - No
1.   Did this activity help my self-esteem?                                            3     2       1    0
2.   Did this activity help my language-learning confidence?                           3     2       1    0
3.   Did this activity motivate me to learn more?                                      3     2       1    0
4.   Did this activity reduce my anxiety?                                              3     2       1    0
5.   Was this activity stressful to me?                                                3     2       1    0
6.   Was this activity collaborative?                                                  3     2       1    0
7.   Did this activity help me to manage my emotions?                                  3     2       1    0
8.   Did this activity encourage realistic expectations about making errors?           3     2       1    0
9.   Did this activity offer training in affective strategies?                         3     2       1    0
10. Did this activity help me to improve my performance?                               3     2       1    0
                                                                               Total

				
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posted:9/14/2012
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