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Ed 505 - Teachers

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Homework #1

ED 505

May 21, 2018

Sien Moore

When attempting to instruct students of various cultures and backgrounds in language, a wide array of teaching concerns arise. Educators often wonder if their approaches or methods will work and are constantly trying to find methods as well as strategies that meet the needs of all of their students, even those who do not speak the language that is being used in their class. In order to make content more accessible for all the learners within the classroom, teachers are often look for research based practices that are proven effective for a wide array of students.

        The current methodological trends that exist in today’s world of education range from full immersion into the new language with heavy emphasis on reading and writing of the new language. In some methods, such as the direct approach, grammar is scrutinized more so than in the cognitive approach. However, in the affective-humanistic approach, language is mostly learned through peer and teacher relationships, with heavy emphasis on speaking and learning through the acquisition of personal relations. (Murcia et al, 2014, p. 8) In addition to these methods, there were many other methods referenced in the book. These methods used a range of strategies to enhance the acquisition of language for students. That being said, there was no way to tell whether one approach was more effective than another because they all were student driven. Seeing as all of these methods have their strengths and weaknesses, an educator might be tempted to try multiple approaches. However, this can cause issues because without trying methods individually, you cannot accurately tell which ones are being effective. Without this knowledge, you could be spending time with an approach that is not benefitting the student.

        According to Murcia et.al., “communicative language teaching is an approach to language teaching that emphasizes learning a language first and foremost for the purpose of communicating with others.” (2014) This approach to language learning is heavily based on experiential learning. Students are encouraged to speak about things that they have experienced in different points of their lives. It helps to enrich their learning of the new language when they must speak in that tongue.

        In chapter three, form is explicitly implied as a means to effective language acquisition. There are four ways of focusing on form that are discussed. All place emphasis on learning grammar and mechanics of a new language but approach it in different ways. The first focus claims that explicit instruction of grammar rules will help a student learn the new language. The second places emphasis on comprehension of tasks. The third has students make self-realizations and connections in grammar leading to the creation of examples. The fourth focus is on task performance which would require a lot of scaffolding on the teacher’s part as well as feedback to allow students to fix mistakes as they go through the process.  Each way has a unique approach to language learning that seems viable, but each one also might fail to meet the needs of the student as well. They may not comprehend enough of the new language to engage in any of these focuses.

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