Last Sunday’s #KELTchat fell on the Korean holiday of Pepero Day, a day reserved for the giving and receiving of chocolate coated crackers in the form of sticks. In spite of the holiday, #KELTchat forged ahead with our topic of “Bringing L2 output into our classrooms”. (See the preview here!) The chat was co-moderated by Alex Walsh and John Pfordresher.
After a brief roll-call, a hash-tag reminder, and some banter the chat began with Mr. Pfordresher’s question: “it’s said the maj of daily Eng comm is L2->L2. How do you think your Ss will be using Eng outside the classroom? #keltchat”
Answers ranged from “Maybe they won’t” and “right now, they probably aren’t at all, and in the future, I have no idea how they’ll use it” to “multicultural societies mean they are likely to meet people from other countries, Eng likely to be common language” and “My SS will likely use English for work and travel.. Realistically, in ELF contexts”. Other #KELTchatters agreed that students would use English for work, travel, business meetings and be exposed to English on TV, radio, movies as well as business and friendships. Some have students who want to be flight attendants or who want to emigrate to L1 countries or study abroad.
English, it was pointed out, is the language of the skies and also of the majority of the internet, especially since many online games are cooperative and English is the default – and as one chatter pointed out, some teachers use Second Life as an assignment for their students for that reason. Other chatters talked about the importance of computer-mediated communication and the interaction hypothesis (which states that L2 proficiency is promoted by face-to-face interaction). Students might also be interested in English-language comic books or video-games, or want to understand English songs or dramas. In Korea, students might find themselves needing English to communicate with
stray lost foreigners.
The topic then turned to what goes on inside the classrooms: “perhaps next we could think about why using L2 output [summariser’s clarification: output from English learners of other L2s as input] could be beneficial? or a drawback? for our Ss #keltchat”
Some answers included:
@breathyvowel: My big point would be giving ex. of successful communication, creative language use that may be NS non-standard.
@JohnPfordresher: how about confidence? many Ss, esp in Korea, idealize American accent…many don’t realize the varied acceptable forms
@GemL1: what exactly do u mean drawbacks of using L2 output? Difficulties…?
@AlexSWalsh: exposure to culture of other l2 users i think also important
<There was a lot of agreement on this point.>
From this discussion a couple new questions arose:
@JohnPfordresher: “in terms of benefits: motivation is big in our field. could bringing L2 into our classrooms aid in terms of motivation? How?”
@AnneHendler: “motivation: students won’t feel like they have to be perfect.”
@AlexSWalsh: “i think the interest it creates can be intrinsically motivating if used correctly, esp’ regarding culture”
@breathyvowel: “I think if you can achieve some kind of connection to other L2 English users it could be hugely motivating.”
@languagebubble: “perhaps in raising awareness & acceptance, self-confidence in own output can be pos affected”
@ChopEDU: “Agreed. Ss can have unrealistic output expectations. Eg. speaking accuracy: achieved lang goal? = success IMHO”
@JohnPfordresher: “I’d agree. hyper focus on accuracy limits my Ss communicative competence. IMO”
@AlexSWalsh: “also hearing other l2 users and u/s them might make them more comfortable using l2 themselves”
Outside of the motivation factor, How can L2 input aid learning: @breathyvowel “Well, it’s often delivered at a slower rate, less idiomatic, and perhaps less connected speech so more comprehensible … and so perhaps a better chance of uptake/acquisition?” @JohnPfordresher: “i personally have seen greater noticing, and higher motivation to communicate. helps w/ ENG as only vehicle to comm” @languagebubble: “& offering a range of prosodic diffs can help listening comprehension & interpretability in general” @ChopEDU: “I believe classroom activities that focus on output should have a meaningful, communicative purpose – just sayin … …however, there’s a time and a place for output-focused instruction – Eg. Pronunciation”
A final stage of the chat focused on using L2 output as input in our own classes and activities to do so:
@JohnPfordresher: “moving into the final phases of our chat tonight…if L2 output were readily avail…how could you use it in your classrooms?”
@seouldaddy made his entrance with the reminder that L2 output is available: TED is full of useful talks by non-native speakers.
@seouldaddy: “Big fan of using Ss own output for class materials.Peer editing in writing classes, presentations/recordings in speaking classes.” @JohnPfordresher: “how about ideas? L2 input tasks…and or L2 output tasks utilizing L2 output from sources outside the classroom?” @seouldaddy: “certainly. these are how i’d use video sharing sites and some listening sites.” @ChopEDU: “How about drawing attention to common L2 errors by activities that promote ‘noticing’ in learner’s own output?” @AlexSWalsh: “again, I think that wud be a very important &effective task, teaching a St to correct themselves cant be overstated IMO”
Many ideas for using L2 input arose from the discussion:
@JohnPfordresher: “ideas – transcribe and decode…transcribe and determine ?/topic/subject matter … linking classrooms with ESL classrooms around the world…delayed interviews…” @languagebubble: “gonna try to step this up with Google Hangout to try to bridge that smart phone barrier” @AlexSWalsh: “i think imp’ aspect of activities has to be focusing Ss on understanding meaning of non-native english”
A popular idea was poster presentation: @michaelegriffin: “Poster presentations! just like make a poster (with a partner) and stand there and talk about it while others mill about. Then change roles” @languagebubble: “nice one… I’m trying Ss making board games this week and then playing each others games”
@annehendler: “idea: modifying output to be understood by international audience.” @JohnPfordresher: “idea- decode L2 output…try and improve it…”
Other ideas included the learners’ output library, L2 English interviews, penpals, language exchanges, and of course Facebook and Twitter.
@AlexSWalsh: “also it would be a shame not to mention the ESL Learners’ Output Library and take any questions you have for John or myself about it” @GemL1: “One Stop English have some good authentic listening interviews” @seouldaddy: “penpals is an old idea, but one that is still perfect for this topic.” @AlexSWalsh: “ye, i was thinking cyber penpals” @seouldaddy: “Epals is an old penpal site that’s still going strong” @GemL1: “yep and Ss can do this thru chat tools or even video chats.” @languagebubble: “To get output out there interculturally and interantionally, how about online lang. exchange? (Lang-8, The Mixxer, etc) This also could be used as the portal to connect classrooms around country and world” @michaelegriffin: “Facebook? Twitter?”
And the #KELTchat closed with the astute reminder of why L2 input (and output) has a place in our classrooms – it shows that it is okay to make mistakes.
@ChopEDU: “Closing thought on output: mistakes in output might actually be a sign of learning progress!”
See the transcript for this chat at Storify!
Useful links on L2 output as input:
1.usa.gov/RQhWZf ← Intercultural approach to EFL teaching and learning by Zofia Chlopek
Vimeo ← Authentic L2 English
Short of the Week ← another website for L2 videos
Wingclips ← another website for L2 videos
Malcolm Gladwell on cockpit communication culture ← English in the air
http://web.ku.edu/~idea/northamerica/usa/massachusetts/massachusetts.htm ← accents and non-standard English
Elllo ← Recommended place to find video materials
ESLLOL ← Excellent resource for L2 output
One Stop English ← Another resource
Epals ← Penpals
Magicians RPG ← A language learning RPG (shared by @hallg)
Tale Crafters ← #KELTchatter @dbr_wn ‘s classroom RPG