Zone Of Proximal Development

The Zone of Proximal Development is a concept that was introduced by Lev Vygotsky and is still one of the foundations for educational development together with Piagetian theory. I’m personally a big fan of the Zone of Proximal Development and it’s little brother, scaffolding. Whether this is teacher-initiated or self-guided scaffolding it doesn’t matter… finding your own zone or the zone for your students is integral. Much as Krashen’s Input Hypotheses focuses on comprehensible input, the Zone of Proximal Development has this same notion at it’s core.ย As an approximation, if you can understand 90-95% of something, you are in your ideal zone. And even though Vygotsky’s idea is typically aimed at the education field globally, it’s pretty ideal for the language setting. There is a focus on language and understanding… which is fundamentally what language is about right? …understanding? …Vygotsky’s biggest critics point at his stress of language in relation to understanding, but how do we understand without language? (even observing actions is language right? …body language… and you still need to understand it to learn…) So take the Zone of Proximal Development and apply it to your setting… You are likely to already do it even if you aren’t aware of it. If you’re a teacher, you typically tailor your language usage to your students – aiming for comprehensible input… If you’re a student, you typically select material that challenges you but isn’t beyond your ability or too easy. I would hazard a guess that without actually being aware of the theory, you are selecting things that are somewhere approaching the 90% mark… maybe 85%? I find that as a motivated language learner, people are capable of pushing the boundaries of the Zone of Proximal Development. They will gain benefit from materials that are below their proximal zone by Vygotsky’s definition. Not because it’s ideal, but because they have concrete goals that they are aware of. Material which you have 85% comprehension of is going to improve your language ability… but will it improve your ability as much as material you have 90% comprehension of? This is an interesting question… In my opinion, I do think that Vygotsky’s boundaries can be stretched a little further in the language learning setting; mainly because the aim is language and not a secondary topic through language. In the language classroom it may be worth considering that if you do select materials that your students have a 90-95% understanding of, they may in fact become bored becase they consider it too easy… it’s a fine balancing act. And at the end of the day, experiment… you will find the level that certain...

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TESOL Qualifications

Assuming you’re interested in being a professional teacher – as opposed to a backpacker that has no actual interest in teaching but needs to pay off student loans back home – then here are a few thoughts on different TESOL qualifications and how useful they may be. First up, I may as well point out that to work in a lot of countries your don’t technically need a teaching certificate and just a BA/BSc will do… but you do intend on being professional right? The most basic qualification and one of the most common is Cambridge’s CELTA or Trinity’s TESOL. These are both intensive certificate courses and prepare someone with no experience for the classroom… giving them a good foundation to work from and develop their skills. There is a practical element involved showing you some of the reality to come. Both the CELTA and TESOL build into Diploma level courses for down the road and enhance institutional management skills. BA (TESOL) or similar is obviously a specialised undergraduate degree that gives you a good basis to grow from. It would be better if you find a course with a practical element to test your skills and develop confidence. So this perhaps opens the door for a BEd with a TESOL major. Down the road and when you get more serious there are post-graduate options. MA or MEd (even PhD)… These will vary from university to university but may include Applied Linguistics, TESOL,TEFL, etc. Through these you show your professionalism and dedication to your career within ELT. There’s a strong research element when you can further your understanding within the areas of ELT that you believe are lacking. As a general rule… don’t do online courses! The only two certificate level courses that have credibility across the globe are the two above. There are a few more out there, but they aren’t as widely known. There are other routes to becoming a serious teacher and this doesn’t pretend to be exhaustive, but it gives you a few ideas with regard to the major...

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Pronunciation Models

What are the aims in the classroom when we teach pronunciation? Or more importantly, what should the aims be? Many a school policy is designed to teach the “native” model of pronunciation, but is this a realistic notion? Not only does research suggest that the so-called “native” models of English are amongst the least intelligible but the model itself is often unattainable. English itself has so many varieties around the globe that there is no one standard and that’s one of the reasons why the “native” model is typically unattainable. We have people from parts of USA that have difficulties communicating with people from parts of England… They are both L1 speakers and use a “native” model, but in an international setting it’s just unrealistic. There has been a push in recent years toward English as a Lingua Franca [ELF] (and English as an International Language [EIL]) where certain phonological features have been deemed redundant for successful communication. If this is the new thing and it actually assists communication as well as offering an attainable model of pronunciation for students, then why isn’t it being promoted in the ELT world more aggressively? There are a few possible reasons for this… Perhaps the biggest of these being the ELT industry itself would implode if the English “native” became redundant. Imagine the chaos if the acceptable model of pronunciation was a “non-native” variety. There would be a total uproar… I mean, afterall… which English is dominant? L2 speakers of English already outnumber L1 speakers by quite a way… But seriously, aren’t we as teachers supposed to be helping our students to communicate effectively? And if ELF is the way to do this, why isn’t it gaining recognition in the larger markets of North-East Asia (Japan, Korea, China and Taiwan)? …Are the institutions to blame? Is it we teachers? …And what do students really want – a “native” accent or communicative...

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Study Methods: Learning Vocabulary

I think I’m safe in assuming that actively studying vocabulary isn’t very popular for most people. It’s something that is often tedious and associated with rote memorisation. This doesn’t have to be the case as there are a few other popular methods out there. Your best bet is to fiddle around and find out what works best for you. For some, rote memorisation is the most effective. For others, they use a mnemonics, space-repetition software (SRS), word lists, continuous and extensive reading, watching TV with a notebook… the list is endless. This article will mostly look at SRS / flashcards and word lists as continuous and extensive reading needs it’s own place. First up, what is SRS? Well, it’s just some software that simulates old-fashioned flashcards working on the Leitner Box system; that is, your cards start at level 1 and each time you find it easier, you move it up a level until you reach level 5. Level 1 cards are shown more frequently than level 2 cards, and even more frequently than level 3 cards and so on. This ensures that you see cards you don’t fully know more often than cards you have a moderate or complete understanding of that only need to be reviewed. There are a few free programs available online (I have Anki and have used Mnemosyne in the past) and some can even be used via a USB flash drive for portability. Personally, I still prefer the feel of card in my hard, managing my own deck of cards and doing manual repetitions with flashcards, but they are sometimes time-consuming to prepare. SRS software is as easy as typing the words in and hitting save.. so in our fast-food society, perhaps SRS will win. Having said that, you can’t exactly pull out your SRS software in a queue in the bank… so… ? (there may be some portable device versions available, I’m not sure… if anyone knows the answer, please let me know) There are a couple of ways to make flashcards (electronic or traditional). Some people prefer learning just the words. I find this often ineffective. Many people believe that you should learn words in context, so it’s best to have an example sentence or phrase on hand. This way you’re not only being exposed to the word you wish to acquire, but also some useful grammatical usage. Even more useful if it’s a phrase of direct interest to you (this is much like sentence mining in Khatzumoto’s 10000 Sentence Method). This way you’re not only getting the word but also a phrase you can slip direct into conversation. Now for...

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Writing Practice Online

Age old advice has been to keep a diary or journal as a way to improve your writing and general language skills. The problem with this advice has often been the inability to find someone to offer you corrections. Meaning that you’re quite often reinforcing errors. That’s kind of a problem! How to solve this mild problem… Use the internet to your advantage. There are dozens of language exchange websites and portals around these days and I’ve tried out quite a few of them over the last few years. Some are useful and practical, others not so. I’ll give you a few inside tips so you don’t waste time registering at some of the places I’ve found less useful…. But by all means, use other sources; you may have more success than I did elsewhere… maybe my profile just isn’t appealing enough ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’ll give you two links.. these are the two sites that I’ve found by far the most beneficial for me for the widest numbers of languages: – Palabea – Lang-8 Palabea is just your general language exchange type of community. You find friends, you send messages to one another and try to help each other out… typical language exchange, only online. I’ve made some pretty good e-pals on there and have improved my languages through the site somewhat. The site in general seems pretty serious and not a poor excuse for a dating website like some of the others out there… but it takes all sorts ๐Ÿ˜‰ Lang-8 on the other hand is something fantastic in my opinion. Not just a tool for language exchange or for people wanting to practice their target language. Lang-8 is a place I have suggested to many of my students and friends for extra practice. The premise behind the community is that you help out others learning your language (your L1) and in exchange you’ll get help in your target language. There isn’t the need to do all of the cold-calling and trying to make friends first… you can get help straight out the box! Basically, all you do is write a journal and submit it… Then go find someone that’s posted a journal in your L1, correct it for them (takes you about 5 minutes!).. and when you’re done, your journal will usually have been corrected as well. It’s like having a personal tutor right there at your computer. It’s a seriously fantastic system – and no, I have nothing to do with Lang-8! (If you’re a teacher, then suggest it to your students… let them keep an online journal for homework and have them give you their ID...

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