Week3 Reflections Integration of Theory and Practice

Week3 Reflections   Integration of Theory and Practice

This week it’s wonderful for us to create our own websites on Delicious and from now on I can save some wonderful sites as my Favorites or Bookmarks. It is beneficial to my professional development and I can share the English learning resources with my students. Surfing the internet and searching for the resources for our English teaching and learning make me understand that these activities embody the practice of constructivism learning theory. I enjoy touring in the knowledge sea.

 1. Practice of Constructivism Learning Theory

There are two themes in current language pedagogy. The first is a focus not on the language as an object of study, but as a means to communicate. The second theme is an emphasis on constructivist principles of learning. Constructivism is a learning theory that sees learning is an active process by which the learners create their own understanding of the subject matter, as Jonassen and Winn each wrote in 1991. One kind of constructivist learning activity using technology is the webquest. This was one of the first pedagogical activities that were specifically designed to make use of the rich information resources on the Internet (Dodge 1995).

  A webquest is an information gathering and synthesis task in which learners are assigned research topics, and use the Internet as a source for information. I have already found out some resources and put them in my Bookmarks, for instance, the website http://www.cctv.com (China Central Television); the website http://www.bbc.co.uk (BBC). The programs in CCTV include financial news, culture news, sports news and comprehensive news, etc. at home and abroad. Since many contents of news are familiar to us, they can be understood easily. When encountering new words students can guess the meaning against the context. What’s more, the programs tell us the real world and matters happened around us, which can appeal to audience’s interest. The programs in BBC let students understand the world from different angle, and other countries’ culture, history and economy. Both CCTV and BBC provide video and audio effect, which is popular with me. What’s more, they offer Authentic Materials, which is beneficial to enhancing Comprehensible input

 2. Comprehensible input for university students’ level

  According to Krahen’s ‘ hypotheses’ theory, “Humans acquire language in only one way-by understanding messages or by receiving ‘ comprehensible input’”.(Krashen,1985a,p.2). To be useful to the learner, the input must be neither too difficult to understand nor too easy.

The students in universities can best use this site, for university students have learned English for several years, and they have laid a good foundation in English basic knowledge. It can enhance students’ listening skills and widen culture knowledge. In my course objectivities, enhancing students’ culture attainment is included in it. We ask students not only to learn Language but also to understand culture. The usage of this innovative modern technology realizes their incorporation.

 Furthermore, the students are eager for gaining social culture knowledge. L2 learners acquire a new language by hearing it in contexts where the meaning of sentences is made plain to them. They are good sites for Language and Culture Learning. We can let students tell the news and stories in English. In this way, students’ oral skill can be enhanced as well. They can not only gain the improvement in English language but also widen their experience and broaden your horizon.

 3.  Language as a means to communicate

   If we accept the theme “in current Language pedagogy, language is regarded as a means to communicate, not as an object of study”, then the current best practice in Language teaching, using tasks that require an integration of language skills, should be taken into consideration by English teachers. Therefore instructors ought to pursue the goal of addressing all skills at the same time. In order to achieve communication goals, activities and tasks can be carried out using Language by learners. Applying the innovative modern technology can be helpful for Language teaching.

How to take advantages of it in the class and how to instruct students to get benefit of it are the main issues that we as teachers have to face and deal with. The following content is what I plan to do in teaching activities. Taking listening to or watching BBC and NPR as an example:
  I’ll assign some pre-listening tasks, asking students to be familiar to programs in BBC and NPR and thinking of the question “What’s in the news?”

  In the class, first let students listen to the news and stories or watch videos in BBC or NPR, then the students are required to collect the information they need via internet (while-listening task) (Behavior). Next conversation and communication are carried out among the students, either in groups or in pairs. (Behavior)

At the end of the lesson, homework (post-listening task) is assigned and students (Audience) are required to write 1) how much did they understand what they listened in the class; 2) reflections on what they listened. (Degree)

4.  Comment:  In order that such kind of teaching technique is carried out, it must be with the help of the innovative modern technology. (Condition) With the rapid development of new technologies the nature of literacy is undergoing a rapid metamorphosis.(Mary Grace) I would like to increase that the Language environment of listening and speaking is undergoing a rapid metamorphosis, too. As Labayen says, “The internet is a suitable place to practice Languages as it offers the possibility, with the right software, of using images and audio resources at the same time, combining sounds and images as in communicative situations in the real world. It also provides users with a highly appealing and innovative format”. (Labayen et.al. 2005, p.9)

References

1. Developing Listening Skills with Authentic Materials   by Lindsay Miller

2. Best Practices in Technology and Language Teaching   by Dennie Hoopingarner

3. Current Practice in Pedagogical Activities

4. Conversation Lesson Plans for English Learners at All Levels

5. Deborah Healey’s Attic: Pronunciation; Interesting Websites for Pronunciation Practice

6. The Best Sites to Practice Speaking English           by Larry Ferlazzo

7. The Pedagogy-technology interface in Computer Assisted Pronunciation Training

    By A. Neri, C.Cucchiarini, H. Strik, L.Boves

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