Celta – Focus on the Learner Essay
Celta – Focus on the Learner
The first part of the assignment focuses on the general overview of Entry 1 group who are majority females of South-Asian origin; also a Chinese, African & Arab learners are also enrolled in class. Learners of this group are housewives with little or no previous education background. They would have learnt Urdu or Gujarati in their country.
The ages range between 24 and 45. The majority of learner’s first language speaks Gujarati or Punjabi. They have been learning English between 1-3 years & some less than a year and they all enjoy learning English. Most learners are married housewives and have children.
They are motivated as they have children and would like to keep pace communicating and helping their children with English. Some also would like to find work. They also like to learn English so they can communicate with doctors, school staff and general everyday life. They like watching TV, Reading and using Computers.
From the observation they like listening to the teacher and prefer to learn from pictures, visuals, gestures etc. They prefer the kinaesthetic type of teaching by listening to audio, matching sentences and also interpersonal skills by working in pairs and groups.
However as Adults on the whole tend to be more disciplined, the South Asian learners are very well disciplined, listen and are motivated to learn. However they may struggle to learn coming from the cultural background and education experience.
“The traditional Eastern respect for the teacher and for the written word is still a prominent characteristic of learners from India and the neighbouring countries” Due to the culture, there education is more emphasis on discipline and written work. This may be the reason why learners are shy to speak and difficult for teachers to elicit from learners.
From observation during class learners find some difficulty in reading and writing as the majority of learners come from South Asia, where they do not share the Roman transcript; unlike learners from Poland who would pick up the letters of the Alphabet as they share the Roman transcript.
They may read out words, however due to not being confident; words may not sound as clear as they could be. They struggle writing in a straight line and also missing out capital letters when writing names of people etc.
The group are good at listening to audio exercises and enjoy this type of task as most learners achieve the correct answer.
They South-Asian learners struggle a little with their writing skills because of influence of spelling on pronunciation. “South-Asian scripts are for the most part phonetic, so that spelling is largely an accurate guide to pronunciation. Learners’ pronunciation of English words is consequently over-faithful to the written forms”
One of the features of South Asian language accent can be recognised by: “Tenser articulation than in English, with vowels produced further forward, leading to the loss of some distinctions between different vowels”
We observe this in words like Tom; consonants /t/ and /d/ are pronounced heavier.
I have also observed the form can/can’t whilst doing my TP. Learners struggle pronouncing both words with the weak form and can’t (stressed) /ka:nt/ with an open mouth; this could have a completely opposite meaning to their answer. They need to respond and get them to elicit more during class.
Grammar has also been a weakness as learners struggle with word order and the (ing) form. I have noticed their use of Present simple/continuous. They seem to use the (ing) from the opposite way. I.e. Learners will say or write ‘I am eat’ instead of ‘I am eating’.
The South Asian Grammar will have some similarities with English Grammar. “The ‘parts of speech’ of English and Hindi are broadly similar” There are other differences which will cause problems for our learners. “has no word class corresponding to the English articles, prefers postpositions placed after a noun or pronoun to prepositions and has its normal word order one in which the verb is placed finally in a sentence”
“With stative verbs rarely used in progressive forms, the present progressive may be used inappropriately by analogy with Hindi simple present, formed with the present participle and present auxiliary: We are not understanding what she means. (for We don’t understand what she means.)
The present progressive Hindi is used to say how long a present state of affairs has been going on: How long are you living in England?”
I have identified 2 areas of weaknesses, Grammar and Pronunciation.
Grammar activity I have chosen the Grammar activity from ‘‘Language in Use’ by Adrian Doff & Christopher Jones, CUP, Unit 11, pg 48 & 50. (see attached)
I would use the attached activity on ‘What’s going on’ for learners to practice with Present simple/continuous (ing) form. This activity is useful as learners omit the (ing) form when speaking and writing. This is due to word order with South Asian language as they tend to omit the ing after the verb.
This would be introduced at the start of the lesson with pictures on the whiteboard and elicit what they are doing. They can then think of an action and write on paper. They would then learn how to make the ing form by using basic rule of adding ing to verbs and verbs ending in e; removing (e) etc. They will then complete the exercise on pg 50.
Rationale This exercise would be useful as learners all understand the simple verbs and have come across before. This activity is good as it’s simple and clear with visuals; there is also a listening activity which will help learners understand more. I will give explanation on this topic followed by exercises using speaking and listening, which should address this weakness.
Pronunciation activity I have chosen the following activity from ‘Language in Use’ by Adrian Doff & Christopher Jones, CUP, pg 81-82. (see attached).
I have identified the use of can/can’t in simple sentences. Learners do not stress enough to differentiate between the two; they need to pronounce can’t /ka:nt/ (stressed) with an open mouth this is very important as they don’t convey the wrong meaning of what is being said. This will require a lot of practice listening, speaking and eliciting more from learners during lesson.
Rationale The exercise I have chosen is about a woman and what she can/can’t do. Learners will listen to the pronunciation of can/can’t and observe the difference carefully. I would also ask learners to look and observe at the mouth opening more and explain the long vowel in /ka:nt/. Learners are explained the stress and the open r in /ka:nt/. There will be lots of drilling chorally and individually. This would be done mid-way through the lesson after introducing the Grammar and listening to audio.
Learners have understood the weak form and open r in /ka:nt/ but have little practice pronouncing the stress form. More listening, drilling and getting learners to speak in pairs and in class should address this problem.
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 28 December 2016
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