#KELTChat 3, Sunday 1st April 8pm: Fostering confidence in Korean students.

*** SPECIAL ANNOUCEMENT ***

If you’re going to the Seoul KOTESOL Chapter Conference on Saturday, some of our members are meeting for a #KELTChat lunch. Anyone is welcome to join us. We will be at the main gates of Sookmyung University at 1.10pm, and then heading to a restaurant of our choosing nearby . It’s number 19 on the map on this flyer. If you can’t find us, send us a DM on Twitter with your number and we’ll call you. 

#KELTChat is back once again for another Sunday session and we are expecting to see numbers grow again. If you missed last week’s chat, you are strongly advised to check out @josetteLB‘s wonderful summary. This is a great chance to improve your own knowledge and that of the Korean ELT community by thinking, sharing, listening and challenging each other’s ideas. It’s also, more importantly, great fun.

I’m sure that all of us have at some point here spent ages planning an activity based on the latest, most communicative theories, only to see our learners shrink down in their chairs, and try to get through it by saying as little as possible to the teacher or each other. While we should recognize that all learners have their own needs, styles and foibles, they are still affected by the culture of their nation. On Sunday we will be discussing the common features of Korean learners, and the best practice for helping students to be confident within our context.

The discussion will tackle the way that Korean culture affects learner attitudes to confidence and success in the classroom, for example how fitting in may be a greater measure of success here than standing out. From this, we hope to find some strategies to help learners better in terms of group dynamics, classroom management and activities, and how to define success in the Korean classroom. We hope that you’ll join us to share your ideas and doubtless pick up some from others.

If you’re new to Twitter chatting and aren’t sure quite how it works, check out this handy guide. If you have no idea what #KELTChat is, have a look here or here.

We’d be delighted to see you on Sunday.

Alex (@breathyvowel)

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#KELTChat Summary for March 17, 2012: Teaching our learners how to learn languages

On Sunday, March 17, 2012, marked the second round of #KELTchat. Alex Walsh was the moderator, and the participants included Alex Grevett, Michael Griffin, Anne Hendler, Daniel Craig, Josette LeBlanc, Dayle Major, and Rhett Burton. The discussion was focused on different ways teachers help learners learn languages. This is a summary of the discussion.

WRITING

One teacher has begun to encourage his students to write in online journals such as Lang-8 where they can corrections and feedback from native speakers (caters to many different languages).

Blogs, Twitter, and other forms of online production can motivate students to write because of the prospect of a public audience. It is also interesting because the audience is also able to provide feedback. However, as knows, this can be a time-consuming process if the teacher has to give feedback on each individual.

SPEAKING

Livemocha was highly recommended as a social network where language learners can test out their skills by speaking to native speakers.

VOCABULARY, CHUNKS & COLLOCATIONS

“Words are known by the company they keep.”

A little help from our moderator, Alex Walsh: chunk = A lexical chunk is a group of words that are commonly found together. Lexical chunks can include collocations.

Alex Grevett teaches his students how to use Anki, a flashcard program which helps you remember things efficiently:

“I try to get therm running two databases, one of chunks and phrases and one of individual lexical items to add. I try to get them to use anki for chunks, especially constructive ones.”

The idea that some lexis is easily translatable while some requires visual stimulus such as pictures was mentioned as an important point for retention.

Rote learning was also discussed as a method for memorization; however, we were also reminded of the value of context when it comes to remembering language.

LISTENING & WATCHING TV SHOWS

With her university students, one teacher says she encourages them to watch TV shows as a way to learn English in context. The students report on the different ways language is used by characters. Watching TV shows could be seen as a way of bridging the gap between the textbook and real life.

While watching videos, students are encouraged to listen purposefully. By being given a task (listening for expressions, pronunciation, pop culture references, or just listening for the confusing/unknown)

VLC media player is a great tool for slowing down the dialogue for any video.

READING

Since students in Korea have often been taught to translate text into Korean, one teacher proposes setting time limits to reduce this factor.

When it comes to reading longer, more advanced texts, another teacher suggests writing a brief summary in the margin (one sentence or a few words) that represents the paragraph read. This helps students focus on meaning rather than translation of each word.

The idea of summarizing paragraphs came up, but there was a worry that this placed too much focus on production when reading is a receptive skill.

AFFECTIVE STRATEGIES

A few teachers discussed the benefits of taking an exercise break during class time in order to give students the space to process and absorb what they are learning. (See Rebecca Oxford)

REMEMBER THE LEARNERS

Michael Griffin shared this important piece of information he referred to HD Brown: 10 Commandments for EFL Teachers and Students

NEXT KELTchat

Sunday, April 1 at 8pm (Korea time)!

Topic will be announced a few days before.

LINKS

Books:
Lessons from Good Language Learners
Language Learning Strategies: What Every Teacher Should Know
Cutting Edge

Links
Anki
BBC 6 Minute English
Livemocha

Documents
A Dogma for EFL
Common Writing Issues
Language Learning Strategies: An Update

Summary by @JosetteLB

#KELTChat 2, Sunday 17th March 8pm: Teaching our learners how to learn languages.

In the age of the internet, language learning is changing, and with it the role of the teacher. Gone are the days when to learn a language we had to seek out a native speaker or move to a different country to access a language. Now all of us can find people, words or audio in almost any language that we desire without leaving our desks. With all this data available, language teachers are increasingly serving more of a role as mediators between  the input and the student, serving as a guide through language, and helping students to make this input salient.

Sunday’s #KELTChat will focus on what are called learning strategies:

specific actions, behaviours, steps, or techniques that students (often intentionally) use to improve their progress in developing L2 skills. These strageties can facilitate the internalization, storage, retrieval, or use of the new language. Strategies are tools for the self-directed involvement necessary for developing communicative ability. (Oxford, 1992/1993, p. 18)

The discussion will try to focus on useful learning strategies that we can pass on to our learners, which strategies work best for different groups, and perhaps any strategies that we have found useful in our own language learning endeavours.

We welcome anyone who has a practical or theoretical interest in learning strategies to join the chat, we’d love to hear what you have to contribute. If the above sounds interesting but a little perplexing, please also join us and ask some questions.

If you’re new to Twitter chatting and aren’t sure quite how it works, check out this handy guide. If you have no idea what #KELTChat is, have a look here or here.

We’d be delighted to see you on Sunday.

Alex (@breathyvowel)

Reference

Oxford, R. (1992/1993). Language learning strategies in a nutshell: Update and ESL suggestions. TESOL Journal, 2(2), 18-22.

New to Twitter chatting? Here’s a beginners guide.

Ahead of tonight’s inaugural #KELTChat, “The First Day of School” at 8pm tonight, here’s a quick guide to Twitter chatting for anyone who has never participated in one before.

1. The first thing to do is to have a search running for #KELTChat. You can do this either on the Twitter site, or using a client such as Tweetdeck. I prefer the client approach, as it updates in real time, and makes replying to people a little bit easier. With your search set up, you will be able to see all the chats sent to the hashtag #KELTChat.

2. If you have something to contribute to the discussion, type it, add links if necessary, and then add the hashtag #KELTChat anywhere within your post. Adding the hashtag is the most important part, if you forget it, or mistype it, nobody will see your post. If you do forget it, don’t worry, just copy your tweet and send it again with the hashtag.

3. If you want to reply to something someone has said, just click reply on their post, or type @[their name] anywhere in the post. This will send them a notification of your reply. Remember, you also need the hashtag so everyone can follow your discussion.

The above is all you need to know in order to get started. #KELTChat is an open forum, so jump in with whatever you have, be it resource, opinion or anything else. If you’re confused about something, send a tweet to the moderator (@michaelegriffin for today’s chat) and he will try to help you out. If you have specific questions beforehand, post them as a comment below and we’ll solve your problems.

Enjoy your chatting,

Alex (@breathyvowel)