How to Write your Introduction, Abstract and Summary

The Art of Scientific Communication

These are the most important components of your thesis or report.  Put your biggest effort into getting them perfect.  Most professors read the Abstract, Introduction and Conclusions chapters of a thesis first, then they dive into the main body text afterwards.  This means that you have to be particularly careful in wording these sections, since there is some content overlap.  If you just copy and paste text between them, people will notice and it won’t leave them with a very favourable impression.  Many people read technical reports in the same order – in fact, some people actually never read anything but the Abstract, Introduction and Conclusions!  

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The Use of Technology among the Students in Effat University

1

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to study the effect and role of using technology in learning English. The research discusses various means that students of Effat University use to improve their skills in learning the English language including Movies, Dictionaries, YouTube, BBC Learning and the Effortless English program. Six participants are currently involved in this study. Students were asked questions in semi-structured interviews. Results indicate that technology helps the learners to acquire a language. Among these technologies, students showed considerable advances in their listening, reading and speaking ability. Also, they showed more improvement in vocabulary and comprehension.

Keywords: technology, learning language, computer software, online tools

 Introduction

Technology plays a major role in our every day life and allows people to improve their surroundings. The education system has been inundated as well, and technological development has become one of the most important measurements of a nation’s progress.

Learning a language is an ongoing process that does not stop at a certain benchmark, but continues throughout life. Today, technology provides students numerous approaches to learn the English Language. These ways may be more convenient, and also may fit the learning styles of a student who wants to learn English. The computer is a modern educational tool in the teaching of language, an advance that helps make education fun and may also create a positive learning environment. Also, it provides students with new experiences and learning opportunities to help make different decisions and to think critically. The World Wide Web increases student’s interest and also offers many software packages that are designed for students who want to learn a language.

Literature Review

Rationale behind learning English as a foreign language:

The English language is an integral part of people’s lives today, and they are motivated to learn it for different reasons. It is considered a second language in many parts of the world. Advancements in almost every discipline necessitate learning English, as most research is published in the language, leading it to be regarded as an important and universal language. Additionally, many schools and higher education systems use it as the medium of instruction (Morris and Maxey, 2014).

Learning the English language is not an easy task (Ishihara and Cohen, 2014). Teaching methods for the language have also undergone myriad changes, and each one has been geared toward facilitation of the students’ understanding. The conventional teaching method was partnered with such mediums as radio, television and finally, information technology. The role of technology has been realized as vital in education of the English language and many areas in the world have come to realize the importance of information technology within the context of English education. These have facilitated and augmented English learning to a great extent. Indeed, Graddol (2012: 18) states “technology lies at the heart of the globalization process, affecting work, education and culture”. This is especially true in current times, while technology is indeed reshaping the world we live in through each and every facet of an individual’s life.

Role of technology in learning English:

The important role that information technology plays in English education cannot be over-emphasized in current times. The most obvious advantage of using the technological medium for language instruction is ease and timeliness of access. It is helpful for both the teachers and students. Use of digital libraries as well as dictionaries and thesaurus’ have facilitated quicker learning and has substantially improved learners’ vocabularies. Furthermore, the use of such technologies within the educational mediums has also facilitated fast, interactive, and more integrated learning.

Language learning has changed substantially with the use of information technologies. The medium provides myriad options that make for interesting learning avenues while producing better results as compared to conventional learning methods. Teachers make use of multimedia facilities to electronically educate their students, while keeping them abreast of the latest trends within their disciplines (Huang et al, 2012). The conventional system of learning, where the teacher lectured and many students failed to listen or pay attention, is quickly being replaced by integrated technologies for a class that is more responsive, both in terms of learning and in terms of responding to the challenges posed by the linguistic curriculum. A higher number of students are engaged than was previously possible.

Distance learning for English language curriculums is also facilitated through the use of information technology. Interactive media allow for real time learning, again facilitating the English language learning process.

Nomas (2013), sees a great benefit in using modern technology for learning English as a second language. He discusses the various means by which English language learners, including the use of web sites directed at English language learning, computer assisted language learning programs, videos, audio resources, software for making innovative presentations, dictionaries, chat features and email. The research is rooted in the case study tradition, looks at how a group of students used technology in their classroom in learning the English language. In the recommendations for future research, Nomas draws attention to the current problems with technology in the classroom and how these can be accounted for. Such problems are the division between theory and practice in the modern classroom. He calls for the integration of technology into the practice of language learning these classrooms, and that the teacher educators should also account for these types of innovations as well.

According to Arrabtah and Nusour (2012), technology, specifically computers and the Internet, have a positive impact upon students learning Arabic language grammar at Princess Alia University College at Al-Balqa University. The quantitative based research methodology of the study looked at the descriptive and inferential analysis of a sample drawn from students in an Arabic grammar class at the university. Between the control and experimental group, Analysis of variance between GPA mean measures indicated that there was a statistically significant difference in pre and post test scores in the experimental group, but that there was no statistically significant difference between grade point average achievements (GPA). The researchers concluded that there was enough evidence to encourage the use of technology on Arabic grammar learning environments.

Amiri and Branch (2012), see the study of digital technologies in teaching and learning English as integral to improving and making education more efficient. Through a case study of students at a school in Tehran, Iran. The researchers argue that students are much more engaged and interested in the subject matter of learning English when technology is incorporated into the classroom structure in different ways. They cite the use of instant messenger, Ipods for podcasts, email, and other tools as important aspects of technology being integrated into classrooms.

Data Sources

The main data source in this research results from semi-structured interviews. Semi-structured interviews allow for a flexible data collection process in which the interviewer does not follow a formalized list of questions. Instead, he or she has a list of general topics, which guide the questioning through open-ended questions. Through this semi-structured interview process, the interviewer will tailor her questions to the specific interviewee, allowing for a more fluid conversation. The semi-structured interview format also permits two-way communication; both the interviewer and interviewee can ask each other question.

Methodology

The study was conducted with the cooperation of six Saudi students between 20-24 years of age. The participants were asked the following questions:

  • Do you use a technology in learning English?
  • What technology do you use for learning English?
  • How do you use it?
  • Do you feel any progress in your English level?

Results and Discussion

With the growth of technology, people can choose their way to learn a language. These days most people are hooked on smart phones and social media, and we can find many interesting ways that technology offers improved methods for students to learn the English language. Von Ahn, who founded DuoLingo, says “most people who want to learn a language don`t have the money but becoming proficient in language can cost a lot.” it could be apps or interactive software that connect the gaps between low income students and language acquisition. Rosetta Stone Inc., which is a Software Company that improves language, has created many platforms suited with the tools of language learning.

During the interview, the girls mentioned many tools, websites, and apps that enhanced their language-learning process, which are listed below.

Movies

Numerous students said the most effective way of learning a foreign language is by watching a movie. Movies may be is considered an important source for learning the English language. Through this method, the students can learn English in a fun way by relaxing on her seat in her house and watching her favorite movie. Sara and Reem have watched movies on MBC 2 and MBC action. They noticed improvement in their listening and speaking skills. While Raneem downloaded the movies on her computer, she watched movies with English subtitles. She said she gained more vocabulary and can understands more than before.

Dictionary

The dictionary is an important tool for many English language learners and also for native English speakers. It offers definitions of a word if one does not know what it means. It also offers synonyms, or words with similar meanings.

For Nada, dictionary.com was an important website due to the many new words that she encountered in academic language or in new areas of education. This website helped her to clarify new words found in the learning process. This website is useful in helping academics to define terms, use synonyms, and clarify concepts used in the English language.

Farah used Google translator as an app in her phone or through the website. She used it for the majority of her courses to find difficult words, definitions, and examples for idioms, synonyms, and antonyms.

YouTube

YouTube is a valuable website for students that cannot process live or in real time. It is a good website for teachers, students, or anyone who wants to learn a process or engage with a research topic .The quality of the videos may vary, but the large number of topics and presentations make the chances of finding a quality presentation high. According to Snelson (2011), the theme of YouTube is as an open sourced video-based format, which makes for a visual learning experience, and this simulates a live presentation through video format.

According to Sara, a student in the English department, “in my own academic life, I use YouTube as an app in my phone to see videos relating to syntax and semantics. I also use this resource to study theories for language acquisition.”

BBC Learning

BBC learning is a free resource that is easy to use in terms of searching for content. The website content of the platform is organized according to the developmental level of students. There are many interactive resources for language acquisition, children’s research, and links to other follow up sites. The reliability of the British Broadcasting Corporation is well known as a trusted news source of respected renown, a reputation that has been extended to their educational site (Whitton, 2009).

Reem uses BBC learning to read and watch various resources about language learning. At other times she uses BBC learning website to practice language skills. She feels that there is a progress in her accent and reading skill since she can read an article and understand many words without any help.

Effortless English program

Effortless English is a helpful application for many English language learners. The application offers vocabulary Lessons, and listening modules, which involve question and answer mini stories, point of view story lessons and audio articles.

Bashair liked Hoge `s way in teaching who used a listening approach. She downloaded the application on her computer and MP3 player (IPod). This program helped her to listen to the lessons anywhere and at any time. It supported her to overcome nervousness and fear when she spoke English. Also, the audio tracks of the vocabulary lessons helped her to improve listening and speaking skills.

The responses from this study revealed that for many of the girls, technology is considered an important source in learning the English language.. I noticed that each student had her own way of using technology to learn a language. All the students agreed that using many apps on their phones, computers, Ipads or MP3 players gave them excellent opportunities for learning a language. The results demonstrate that these examples of technology helped these learners to acquire a language. The majority of the students showed a improvements in their listening, reading and speaking abilities. Also, they showed more improvement in vocabulary and overall comprehension.

Conclusion

Technology plays a major role in learning the English language among Effat University students. Students prefer learning English while using technology due to the useful skills that they gained throughout the learning. Utilizing online tools and application software helped students to learn more easily and also to acquire English language skills, which are valuable.

References

About – Learn to Speak English Powerfully With Effortless English. (n.d.).

Retrieved from http://effortlessenglishclub.com/about

Amiri, E., & Branch, L. (2012). A Study of The Application of Digital Technologies In

Teaching and Learning English Language And Literature. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SCIENTIFIC & TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH, 1(5). Retrieved from http://www.ijstr.org/final-print/june2012/A-Study-of-The-Application-of-Digital-Technologies-In-Teaching-And-Learning-English-Language-And-Literature.pdf

Arrabtah, A., & Nusour, T. (2012). Using Technology For Teaching Arabic

Language Grammar. Journal of International Education Research, 8(4).

Codrea-Rado, A. (2014). Can I successfully learn a language online? Retrieved

from http://www.theguardian.com/education/2014/feb/21/can-i-learn-a-language-online

Graddol, D. (2012). The impact of macro socioeconomic trends on the future of

the English language.

Morris, M., & Maxey, S. (2014). The Importance of English Language Competency

in the Academic Success of International Accounting Students.Journal of Education for Business89(4), 178-185.

Nomass, B. (2013). The Impact of Using Technology in Teaching English as a

Second Language. English Language and Literature Studies, 3. Retrieved from file:///Users/Salmah/Downloads/25002-83673-2-PB (3).pdf

Rosetta Stone (company). (2014, December 11). In Wikipedia, The Free

Encyclopedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Rosetta_Stone_(company)&oldid=637673412

Snelson, C. (2011). YouTube across the disciplines: A review of the literature. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 1(7), 159-169

Whitton, N. (2009, April). Review of the research literature on the impact of multimedia revision web materials: Report for the BBC. Manchester Metropolitan University. Accessed from http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/learning/learningoverview/research_report.pdf.

Ybarra, R., & Green, T. (2003). Using Technology to Help ESL/EFL Students

Develop Language Skills. The Internet TESL Journal, 3. Retrieved from http://iteslj.org/Articles/Ybarra-Technology.html

Effortless English

Podcast_Big

Introduction

It is well known that technology plays an important role in improving our life. There are many technological tools that facilitate in aiding English language learning and teaching. Learners of English as a second language need to speak English easily and effectively. For completing such tasks, there are many applications available for ESL/ EFL students or teachers to choose from on the web; each varying in content and usefulness. One factor that makes an application valuable to students or teachers is the amount of information the application can organize and present in ways which are easy to view. Another aspect of usefulness is how the information is presented in terms of design and features. In this report, I will suggest Effortless English, which is an application that can provide learners with a step by step guide to achieve success in learning English.

About Effortless English

Effortless English is a helpful application for many English language learners which was prepared by Allen Hoge, who is an English teacher. He used a listening approach, which is known as Automatic Language Growth (this includes a long silent period for the students for several months). An American linguist, Dr. J. Marvin Brown, developed this approach. He based this method on the way children learn a language when they listen to their parents. Hoge set seven rules for learning English, which are:

RULE 1: Study Phrases, Not Individual Words.
RULE 2: Don’t Study Grammar.
RULE 3: The Most Important Rule- Listen First.
RULE 4: Slow, Deep Learning Is Best.
RULE 5: Use Point Of View Mini-Stories.
RULE 6: Only Use Real English Lessons & Materials.
RULE 7: Listen and Answer, not listen and Repeat.

Description and Features of Effortless English

Hoge`s program consists of two English-speaking courses which are: Power English Course and V.I.P. Membership. The application offers Vocabulary Lessons, and listening modules which involve question and answer mini stories, point of view story lessons and audio articles. The students have been observed to speak naturally after six to twelve months of listening. A student or teacher can download the application on a computer or MP3 player (IPod) and this program can help you to listen to the lessons anywhere and at any time. According to the Power English Lessons course website, the program costs $97 and consists of over 30 audio English lesson sets (each set contains 2-3 audio files and the text).  The learners are advised to focus on one set each week. The second course is labeled the VIP Club, which costs $37 a month and is designed for learners that are highly motivated.  Each month, the learners will receive a lesson (including a video lesson, 3 audio lessons, and text in each set).

Advantages of Effortless English

Each method of teaching and learning has pros and cons. In this program, the learner will approach English in a natural way, without having to focus on rules. Effortless English is a relaxing way in learn English through listening to interesting topics. The program helps students to overcome nervousness and fear when they speak English. Also, it will help them to communicate and understand native speakers easily. On the other hand, Effortless English isn`t free and not all learners are able to afford paying the price it is sold for. However, before enrolling in you have a chance to preview the program on Hoge`s website.

Suggested way of using Effortless English in the classroom

As an English teacher, I can use audio tracks of vocabulary lessons to help the students be more effective and confident in their listening and speaking skills. To improve their speaking and listening skill acquisition, they can answer simple questions in Mini-Story lessons. In this way they will learn valuable information when they listen to the articles that have different topics.

Conclusion

I think Effortless English will help thousands of learners to achieve their goals related to learning English. It will help them to be confident and more effective when speaking the English language. The program advocates for creative ways to imagine, think, smile, and to laugh while learning. I really enjoy using Effortless English. After completing the lessons, I think you need to have a basic understanding of the English language. I recommend to everyone who interested in learning English to use it to improve their English language as well as a way to have fun.

References

http://effortlessenglishclub.com/

http://www.abroadlanguages.com/blog/what-is-automatic-language-growth_467/

QM

Abstract

This paper examines distance education and the opportunities provided by it. It also introduces Quality Matters as an online teaching license organization, and how this organization works. The paper demonstrates how the standers and methods of QM rubric work by analyzing an online course in King Khalid University. In addition this paper focuses on the importance of quality teaching in online course and qualifications of online course designing .The information drawn upon in this research is mainly taken from secondary data including sources on distance learning, Quality Matters standards and curriculum design.   To demonstrate the principle of QM in online teaching, this paper took the opportunity of analyzing and review the implementing of the QM rubric on an online course in King Khalid University in Abha Saudi Arabia. For this paper we chose an online course from the preparation year “011 ENG “ as a sample of an online course designed according to QM standards. The focus of this paper is to provide an insight on the importance of course designing in online courses and the impact it has on distance learning education.

Key Words: Curriculum design -distance learning – Quality Matters

Annotated Bibliograph

annotated-bibliography

Introduction

     The introduction of technology into all walks of life has been a contemporary phenomenon for the past two decades. With each passing year, new innovations for communication and access of information are introduced onto the world stage. As an integral cog in the development of the next generation, education is tied to how society engages with technology. Much research has shown the various means by which student performance and engagement is improved through the use of technology in the classroom. As is shown in the literature, the introduction of technology into pedagogy is a tool for improved English teaching and improved student learning.

The articles summarized below demonstrate that technology is transforming pedagogy and student teacher interactions in many different cultural contexts’, especially as it pertains to learning the English language.

1- Ybarra, R. & Green, T. (2003). Using technology to help ESL/EFL students develop language Skills. The Internet TESL Journal, 9(3). Retrieved from http://iteslj.org/Articles/Ybarra-Technology.html

This article looks at how computer assisted instruction (CAI) can be a positive aid for English Language Learners. It explains certain benefits in depth, such as improved performance for such language-learning students in the core subjects of reading and writing as related to English language acquisition. The authors discuss many researches about how teacher can use technology to help students to improve their language skills. Towards the end of the piece, the authors warn that the computer, or technology in the general sense, should not substitute for classroom engagement with the teacher and other students. The article finishes by stating that classroom technology is an assistive technology, which can help efficiently improve English reading and writing skills in a supplementary role.

2- Nomass, B.B. (2013). The impact of using technology in teaching English as a second language. English Language and Literature Studies, 3(1), 111-116. Retrieved from http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=5&ved=0CEAQFjAE&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ccsenet.org%2Fjournal%2Findex.php%2Fells%2Farticle%2Fdownload%2F25002%2F15584&ei=td2NVM_VBsP-ULbXgaAP&usg=AFQjCNHrUeNmiA7KVaIPiUzZljz3fb_h7w

This article discusses the importance of using technology in teaching English as a second language. The author has studied technology in the classroom, and has concluded it is a great benefit for learning English as a second language. The author discusses the various means by which English language learners, including the use of web sites directed at English language learning, computer assisted language learning programs, videos, audio resources, software for making innovative presentations, dictionaries, chat features and email. The author’s research is rooted in the case study tradition, analyzing how a group of students used technology in their classroom as an aspect of learning the English language. As a result of study, the learners prefer to use technology to develop their English skills. In the recommendations for future research, the author draws attention to the current problems with technology in the classroom and how these can be accounted for. Such problems are at the root of the division between theory and practice in the modern classroom. The author calls for the integration of technology into the practice of language learning in these classrooms, and that the teacher educators should also account for these types of innovations as well. This aspect of the article was especially interesting, as it addressed how teacher education programs address the realities of technology in the classroom. Often, it is in such programs where teachers learn and develop pedagogical habits that they later rely on in teaching language acquisition. Thus, it is important for teacher educator programs to account for this.

3- Arrabtah, A. & Nusour, T. (2012). Using technology for teaching Arabic language grammar. Journal of International Education Research, 8(4). 335-342.

This article discusses how technology, specifically CD-ROM, computers and the Internet, have had a positive impact upon students learning Arabic language grammar at Princess Alia University College at Al-Balqa University. This study was interesting due to its research methodology, which was based in quantitative data gathering and analysis. A pre-test was given to two classes to gauge baseline Arabic grammar levels. One control group was established, in which no technology was used in their instruction. The other classroom underwent the same lessons, though technology was used throughout the lesson sequence. Afterwards, a post test was given, and comparisons between the scores in each classes were made. The quantitative based research methodology of the study looked at the descriptive and inferential analysis of a sample drawn from students in an Arabic grammar class at the university. Between the control and experimental group, Analysis of variance between GPA mean measures indicated that there was a statistically significant difference in pre and post test scores in the experimental group, but that there was no statistically significant difference between grade point average achievements (GPA). The researchers concluded that there was enough evidence to encourage the use of technology on Arabic grammar learning environments, as significant statistical evidence showed.

4- Monteiro, K. (2014). An experimental study of corrective feedback during video-conferencing. Language Learning & Technology. Retrieved November 2014 from http://llt.msu.edu/issues/october2014/monteiro.pdf

This article presents a study that emphasizes on the investigation of the effectiveness of the oral metalinguistic feedback and recasts as well as the effect of focused tasks in the development of implicit and explicit knowledge during video-conference interactions. The author discusses a number of issues including the interaction hypothesis and feedback, studies on oral recasts and metalinguistic feedback, synchronous CALL studies and corrective feedback, and implicit and explicit knowledge. This study was done by some replication in a classroom. It includes three groups of Brazilian EFL learners. The participants are included in different communicative tasks and tests given to them such as: Untimed and Timed Grammaticality Judgment Tests, Metalinguistic Knowledge Test, and Oral Imitation Test. As a result of this study, both corrective feedback types with focused tasks and focused tasks only are effective at helping learners develop explicit and implicit knowledge over time. Also, they add support to laboratory-based studies that indicate that both feedback moves tend to be effective when they are intensive, individualized, and controlled. However, the result indicated that there were no significant and remarkable differences among groups. This article ends up with discussing some challenges of experimental research in video-conferencing, and suggests some strategies on how this particular area of research can be improved.

5- Amiri, E., & Branch, L (2012). A study of the application of digital technologies in teaching and learning English language and literature. International Journal of Scientific & Technology Research, 1(5), 103-107. Retrieved from http://www.ijstr.org/final-print/june2012/A-Study-of-The-Application-of-Digital-Technologies-In-Teaching-And-Learning-English-Language-And-Literature.pdf

This article discusses the possible application in e learning such as mobile learning (iPod, cell phones, iPhone) blogs, e-mails and instant messenger and other tools as important aspects of technology being integrated into classrooms. The authors see the study of digital technologies in teaching and learning English as integral to improving and making education more efficient. Through a case study of students at a school in Tehran, Iran, the authors argue that students are much more engaged and interested in the subject matter of learning English when technology is incorporated into the classroom structure in different ways.

6- Chartrand, R (2012). Social networking for language learners: Creating meaningful output with Web 2.0 tools. Knowledge Management & E-Learning: An International Journal, 4(1). 97-101. Retrieved from http://www.kmel-journal.org/ojs/index.php/online-publication/article/viewFile/170/124

The article emphasis on using the Internet has provided learners of languages, and especially English Language Learners with a tremendous amount of resources for listening, speaking, and reading lessons. These somewhat static lessons, however, are improved upon through the potential of social networks for creative dynamic encounters with foreign languages in real time relationships building. Also the author discusses  that Language learners in disparate parts of the world can connect through social media networks (such as YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook) to improve their language abilities, and create an authentic experience that involves cross-cultural education as well as meaningful lessons. This potential for talking, writing, and reading with native English speakers in real time is an experience often lacking for English language learners outside majority English speaking countries around the world.

7- Kalambaeva, G. (2014). Methods and Activities of Using Mobile Phones in Teaching Foreign Language. Retrieved from http://www.enu.kz/repository/repository2014/methods-and.pdf

This article describes various methods and activities of using mobile phones in        teaching foreign Language. The author discusses the importance of using mobile as a learning tool .SMS-based learning and Game-based learning can support learning outside of classroom. Also the author mentions to others activities that are supported by mobile devices such as internet access, camera, audio/video recording, and video messaging (MMS).The author sees technology as an unavoidable addition to the modern classroom, especially regarding holding student interest. She suggests that technology has the potential to transform consciousness and the educational paradigm. She sees this paradigm shift as especially relevant to English language acquisition, where many countries strive to make improvements in their English language acquisition.

References

Amiri, E., & Branch, L. (2012). A Study of The Application of Digital Technologies In

Teaching and Learning English Language And Literature. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SCIENTIFIC & TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH, 1(5). Retrieved from http://www.ijstr.org/final-print/june2012/A-Study-of-The-Application-of-Digital-Technologies-In-Teaching-And-Learning-English-Language-And-Literature.pdf

Arrabtah, A., & Nusour, T. (2012). Using Technology For Teaching Arabic Language

Grammar. Journal of International Education Research, 8(4).

Chartrand, R. (2012). Social networking for language learners: Creating meaningful output

with Web 2.0 tools. An International Journal, 4(1). Retrieved from http://www.kmel-journal.org/ojs/index.php/online-publication/article/viewFile/170/124

Monteiro, K. (2014). An experimental study of corrective feedback during

video-conferencing. Language Learning & Technology. Retrieved November 2014 from http://llt.msu.edu/issues/october2014/monteiro.pdf

Nomass, B. (2013). The Impact of Using Technology in Teaching English as a

Second Language. English Language and Literature Studies, 3. Retrieved from file:///Users/Salmah/Downloads/25002-83673-2-PB (3).pdf

Kalambaeva, Т. (2014). METHODS AND ACTIVITIES OF USING MOBILE PHONES

IN TEACHING FOREIGN LANGUAGE. Retrieved from http://www.enu.kz/repository/repository2014/methods-and.pdf

Ybarra, R., & Green, T. (2003). Using Technology to Help ESL/EFL Students

Develop Language Skills. The Internet TESL Journal, 3. Retrieved from http://iteslj.org/Articles/Ybarra-Technology.html

Classroom observation

ILT_9-30-10

By Salmah Alsulami

Introduction

The opportunity to visit the classroom of another teacher is a chance to learn, share and offer support. The beauty of being a member of the community of scholars, researchers, and philosophers involved in education is the sharing of information with others. This helps one to develop their own style of teaching and see what others have done before. Donnelly (2007) refers to the importance of peer observations for improving teaching skills and self-assessment. Also, the aim of the peer observation is to give the teacher support, feedback and assistance. Gosling (2005) has argued that one useful objective of peer observation is to develop learning and teaching quality. For me, I feel the peer observation process is a useful tool that has helped to improve my teaching methods and has encouraged me to teach in new and different ways. In this report, I will discuss the teacher’s strategy, the students’ behavior, and the class environment by observing and by interviewing with these different people.

Before the Observation

Last week, I had the opportunity to observe my colleague’s class at ELI in King Abdulaziz University. Before that, I met with her to provide me with a short overview of her class. We discussed the level of the students and the size of the class; there were 25 students of pre-intermediate level. She told me the course was composed of a six-week module consisting of 18 hours of instruction each week. Often this class met from 8-11 AM. The course was intended to accomplish its goal in one full academic module of seven weeks through developing students’ language skills related to:

  1. Reading and understanding the main ideas of a variety of texts.
  2. Understanding the main ideas in short oral communications, and to participate effectively in a short conversations using appropriate language.
  3. The production of a range of text types using coherent and cohesive paragraphs and appropriate vocabulary in an adequately developed response.
  4. Demonstrating control of a limited range of vocabulary and grammatical structures with minor inconsistencies (Instructor’s Pacing Guide, 2014 ).

The teacher planned to discuss units 10-11 and the class learning objectives concerning grammar, reading and listening. She told me that after the class, her students will ideally be able to understand and use the first conditional and future time clauses and produce written sentences utilizing these forms. Beyond this, the teacher wanted students to read, understand, and discuss medium-length texts about discoveries and inventions and to listen to extended conversations and interviews and understand straightforward factual information about everyday topics, identifying both general messages and specific details. (Instructor’s Pacing Guide,2014 )

During the Observation

The teacher started the class by introducing my presence to her students. She gave her students a small review of what they had learned in the last lecture. The teacher used the student’s book and student’s workbook and she presented the grammar content on the projector. The teacher engaged the students with the activities through a variety of interactive methods such as individual, pair, and group work – all involving student centered learning techniques. She encouraged her students by using positive words like excellent, very good, and thank you. She made the students feel comfortable when she called them by their names. The instructor gave equal attention to the students by moving around the classroom when they were engaged in the activities. During the activities, the teacher tried to correct errors she encountered with easy solutions. She spoke English fluently and used appropriate vocabulary and simple language while her voice was clear and audible for all students. Furthermore, the teacher used the computer and the projector to present her lesson .In the listening part , she played a very clear audio recording two times for the listening portion of the lesson. At the end of the class, the teacher asked the students if they had any questions or comments. The students asked her without any fear and she answered all the questions.

Use of technical tools

Many different types of techniques are used to facilitate English language learning. Use of technology by itself is necessary, since technological advancement has led to breaking of barriers and new domains have been chartered within this global and information age. Teachers make use of multimedia facilities to electronically educate their students, while keeping them abreast of the latest trends within their disciplines (Huang et al, 2012). Student and instructor involvement is not only facilitated, it is also improved upon. Classrooms are enlivened due to the engaging and interactive process.

During my observation, the teacher used some technical tools in the class including computer, projector, audio recording and dictionary. She used projector, which connected to computer to present her lesson in quick and essay manner. I noticed that the projector helped the teacher to engage with her students easily. Also, this tool allowed the teacher to create interactive lesson by using some images and videos.

Audio recording has a great impact in the classroom. To develop the understanding ability, the teacher used the audio recording. The learners were very eager to listen to the conversation. They took a note for some words. Also, they asked her teacher to repeat it two times. This tool can help students to develop their listening skills.

Using dictionary is another modern way that can help English language learners to improve their vocabulary. The teacher allowed her student to use the dictionary in their mobile to find the meaning of some words. They were very active by using this tool that can help them to be more confident and build their communication skills.

 Post class interview

After the class, I talked with the teacher about her class. According to the teacher, she told me that the student`s level was intermediate and that they were very eager to learn. They were teenagers and had graduated from high school. They were punctual coming to class, and if one of them had a problem, she apologized directly by sending a message or calling the teacher.

Furthermore, I asked the teacher how she ensured that her objectives of the lesson had been accomplished. She told me that by demonstrating a mastery of the activities, the students showed their proficiency in class.. Also, she gauged her assessment by the students` participation and answering questions that she asked them. Also I asked her if she likes to present her lessons with any kind of tech, she said, “Tech offers many interesting ways for teacher to teach English language”. She sometimes gives the students a chance to use their phones to find the meaning of some words and plays online games with them. Also, she created a twitter account for her class to share information with them.

As I observed student behavior, I noticed that they paid attention to the teacher. The students were active in the class but I noticed that they seemed to be bored as well. I asked them why they were bored and they told me: “this is the last week in this quarter and we have an exam next week.” They told me this level was harder than level two. They liked their teacher because she was very friendly. Also, I asked four students about the impact of level three on the development of their language skills. The first one told me she could use new vocabularies to talk about her feelings, opinions and experiences. Also, she could write a clear topic sentence and an effective concluding sentence for a paragraph. The second student told me she could now use a range of modal verbs (can/could/might/should/must/have) in conversation with her friends. The third student   told me she could handle phone conversations, make and respond appropriately to requests, suggestions, invitations and apologies. The last student told me she could recognize and understand the form and function of tenses including the present simple, continuous, perfect, and past simple tenses.

With regard to the views of students about using technology in the classrooms, they strongly agreed that using technology in a learning process motived them. They are interested in the subject matter of learning English when technology is incorporated into the classroom structure in different ways. Also, the students use many technical tools to facilitate language-learning process outside the classroom such as YouTube, and BBC Learning.

Reflection after the observation

According to my observation of the classroom, I noticed that the teacher was very friendly, kind and patient with her students. She gave the students enough time to work in activities and she sometimes tried to work with them as a student. I think that group activities are very important for students to improve their language skills. According to Hadley (2001) and Lightbown (2000), they believe that group activities are useful for students to correct errors by obtaining feedback and by listing to others. The teacher was supplied with a computer, a projector and a board. All of these objects were new in the classroom. The class atmosphere was warm and accepting.

However, The teacher didn`t write and explain the objectives for her students and she didn`t use the board very much. Some activities weren`t very interesting because the teacher read from the book; she rarely gave feedback at the end of activities. I did not like the seating arrangement, because when the students began group work they did not have to move.

Conclusion

By the end of the lesson, the teacher tried to achieve most objectives on the lesson plan. The teacher made the lecture interesting by using technology in learning English and by involving the students in the activities through a variety of different student centered learning methods. These methods are a good way to understand a topic, when the students are involved in-group discussion. I really enjoyed listening to the valuable ideas discussed in class.

References

Donnelly, R. (2007) Perceived Impact of Peer Observation of Teaching in Higher Education. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 19(2), 117-129.

Hadley, A. O. (2001). Teaching language in context (3rd ed.). Boston: Heinle and Heinle

Huang, Y. M., Huang, Y. M., Huang, S. H., & Lin, Y. T. (2012). A ubiquitous

English vocabulary learning system: Evidence of active/passive attitudes vs. usefulness/ease-of-use. Computers & Education58(1), 273-282.

Instructor`s Pacing Guide .(2014).

Retrievedfrom http://eli.kau.edu.sa/Files/126/Files/131127_PacingGuide103.pdf

Lightbown, P. M. (2000). Anniversary article: Classroom SLA research and second language teaching. Applied Linguistics, 21, 431-462.

5 Useful Websites for Researchers

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By Salmah Alsulami

In terms of top research websites, there are a tremendous amount to choose from the web, varying in content and usefulness. One factor that makes a website valuable to researchers is the amount of information the website can organize and present in ways which are easy to view. Another aspect of usefulness is how the information is presented in terms of design and features. Lastly, the quality of the website is important for research which bears a high standard of reliability. The best overall sites for me in terms of quality, helpfulness, and design features are BBC learning, Google Scholar, YouTube Education, Dictionary.com, and TED talks.

BBC learning is a free resource that is easy to use in terms of searching for content. The website content of the platform is organized according to the developmental level of users. There are many interactive resources for language acquisition, children’s research, and links to other follow up sites. The reliability of the British Broadcasting Corporation is well known as a trusted news source of respected renown, a reputation that has been extended to their educational site (Whitton, 2009). This site will be helpful in future academic work relating to the acquisition of foreign languages as a means to access academic papers written in other languages that have not been translated. I currently use BBC learning to read and watch various resources about language learning. At other times I use BBC learning to practice language skills.

Google Scholar is a helpful site for researchers who do not have access to university library databases. In Google scholar , you can find many free studies from around the world. It does not offer all of these materials on a free basis, it is a good place to start when searching abstracts and reference lists for in depth research into a topic. The theme of Google scholar allows you to access to knowledge and academic tools that were not available before. This tool is helpful for accessing academic articles, which are not available through the university library, or in accessing the reference lists of academic articles. I currently use Google Scholar to search and read articles, books, and studies for my projects in language acquisition and language awareness courses.

YouTube EDU is a valuable website for researchers that cannot process live or in real time. It is a good website for teachers, students, or anyone who wants to learn a process or engage with a research topic .The quality of the videos may vary, but the large number of topics and presentations make the chances of finding a quality presentation high. The theme of YouTube EDU is an open sourced video-based format which makes for a visual learning experience which simulates a live presentation through video format (Snelson, 2011). This type of crowd sourcing of academic information has been debated in the academic community due to the relative lack of “quality control”, however, many feel that the open source nature of the website enables free discussion in the comments section about issues that may be contentious (Snelson, 2011). This allows researchers to view opposing sides of material often presented elsewhere representing only one side of an argument. In terms of a theme, the open source nature of knowledge creation and validation underlies the essence of the website. In terms of reliability, YouTube EDU does not have the review and editorial process of other online resources (Snelson, 2011). Currently, in my own academic life, I use YouTube EDU to see videos relating to syntax and semantics. I also use this resource to study theories for language acquisition.

Dictionary.com is an important website for many English language learners and also native English speakers. The website offers definitions of a word if one does not know what it means. The website also offers synonyms, or words with similar meanings.   For researchers, this is important due to the many new words that may be encountered in academic language or in new areas of education. The theme of dictionary.com is clarification, as this website helps to clarify new words found in the research process. This website is useful in helping academics to define terms, use synonyms, and clarify concepts used in the English foreign language. Currently I use dictionary.com for the majority of my courses to find difficult words, definitions, and examples for idioms, synonyms, and antonyms.

Lastly, TED displays brief and concise shows by scholars in all academic areas. These talks are recorded around the world and displayed in an open source format for all to see. The talks promote many different academic, ranging from medicine to education. As a future academic, these talks are valuable for researchers around the world to increase the curiosity and critical thinking. I currently use TED talks to see different ideas about languages, cultures, global identities, and how to teach children a second language.

These five websites are valuable to researchers for their ease of use, their helpfulness in the research process, and their overall “open” approach to spread knowledge across the globe. They allow researchers outside of academic institutions and universities to access knowledge, which was previously protected or not easily accessed by the public. As researchers continue to publish their work online, the global knowledge base will grow in the coming years, as use of digital media and digital media users rise. In terms of broad characteristics which link these websites, the large, open sourced community of global knowledge offer researchers numerous ways to expand their reach into content.

 

 

References

Snelson, C. (2011). YouTube across the disciplines: A review of the literature. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 1(7), 159-169

Whitton, N. (2009, April). Review of the research literature on the impact of multimedia revision web materials: Report for the BBC. Manchester Metropolitan University. Accessed from http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/learning/learningoverview/research_report.pdf.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Should Parents Talk to Their Children in Their Native Language?

                                mom_daughter-600x401

By Ana Paula G. Mumy

As a speech-language pathologist and as a multilingual mother of bilingual children, I am finding myself shocked and confused at the number of parents I run into who have chosen not to speak their native language to their children for various reasons or who have been persuaded to believe that speaking their native language to their children will hurt them socially or academically if the primary language of the community is different.

There are so many great articles and literature (based on good research) available on the topic of bilingualism and its benefits, even for children who may be experiencing language delays, that it seems redundant to write on the issue, but I feel compelled to do so because the passing down of a parent’s native language appears to be diminishing more and more.

So why should parents talk to their children in their native language?  

The first and simplest reason is because that is the language in which they are likely to be most dominant or proficient, which in turn is the language in which they are able to provide quality language input as well as support effectively and consistently.

Even if a parent is able to pick up the language of the community, that parent’s vocabulary, grammar skills, and ease of communication will probably remain stronger in the native language.  I’ve often heard of recommendations from professionals and educators for parents to stop speaking the native language so that confusion is not created, so that language delays won’t occur, so that children can do well in school, but the research literature says the exactopposite!

The other occurrence that appears to be more prevalent is for the native language to be spoken from birth to preschool with a sudden shift to the community language once the child enters early intervention programs or school. 

The problem with this is that the very foundation of language (which was formed through the native language) is being pulled out from under the child in order to promote a new language.  The research shows that children with strong first language skills are more ready and able to learn a second language.  In other words, it’s difficult to build a second language if the first language foundation is not established and supported WHILE the second language is being learned.

To put a halt on the native language will only hurt the child’s language growth, and long-term negative effects will be inevitable.

I’ve said this before, but I reiterate that children must be able to function/communicate effectively in their homes before they can function/communicate out in the community, so the native language cannot be stripped away, even for children with language delays.

So if you are a bilingual parent reading this, or a professional or educator guiding bilingual parents, here are some tips for bilingual parents of school-age children:

You can still help with homework, projects, or assignments that are in the community language.  You can read the assignment’s text or the given passages in the community language.  Just be sure that all of the verbal interaction around that homework or reading activity remains in the native language. 

In other words, give the instructions in the native language.  Give explanations or clarify questions in the native language.  Discuss passages and their meaning in the native language.  Code switching, or the alternating between two languages, is a normal part of communication in bilingual individuals, and it does not promote or show signs of confusion.  It’s perfectly acceptable and appropriate for bilinguals.

And in everyday conversation and family routines, during family outings and celebrations, speak your native language!!!  Children need to hear quantity and quality language input in order to have strong language skills, and parents are the primary individuals who can provide the language input needed in the native language.

Professionals, educators, and parents should be working together so that the native language is flourishing at home!