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JANGAN KETINGGALAN!

Monday, January 01, 2018

DESCRIBING LEARNERS


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A.    Age

1)      Young children
Up to the ages of nine or ten, learn differently from older children, adolescents, and adults in the following ways:
·         They respond to meaning even if they do not understand individual words.
·         They often learn indirectly rather than directly – learning from everything around them rather than only focusing on the precise topic they are being taught.
·         Their understanding comes not just from explanation, but also from what they see and hear also have a chance to touch and interact with.
·         Generally display enthusiasm for learning and a curiosity about the world around them.
·         They have a need for individual attention and approval from the teacher.
·         They are keen to talk about themselves, and respond well to learning.
·         They have a limited attention span – easy to get bored unless the activities are appealing for them.

2)      Adolescents
It is widely accepted that one of the key issues in adolescence, especially perhaps in the west, is the search for individual identity, and that this search provides the key challenge for this age group. There are a number of reasons why students - and teenage students in particular - may be disruptive in class. Apart from the need for self-esteem and the peer approval they may provoke from being disruptive, there are other factors too, such as the boredom they feel -not to mention problems they bring into class from outside school .However, we should not become too preoccupied with the issue of disruptive behaviour, for while we will all remember unsatisfactory classes, we will also look back with pleasure on those groups and lessons which were successful.

3)      Adult learners
Adult language learners are notable for a number of special characteristics:
·         they can engage with abstract thought.
·         they have a whole range of life experiences to draw on.
·         they have expectations about the learning process, and may already have their own set patterns of learning.
·         adults tend, on the whole, to be more diciplined than some teenagers, and crucially, they are often prepared to struggle on despite boredom.
·         they come into classrooms with a rich range of experiences which allow teachers to use a wide range of activities with them.
·         unlike young children and teenagers, they often have a clear understanding of why they are learning and what they want to get out of it.

However, adults are never entirely problem-free learners, and have a number of characteristics which can sometimes make learning and teaching problematic:
·         they can be critical of teaching methods
·         they may have experienced failure or criticism at school which makes them anxious and under-confident about learning a language.
·         many older adults worry that their intelectual powers may be diminishing with age - they are concerned to keep their crearive power alive, to maintain a sense of generativity.

B.     Learner differences

1)      Aptitude
·         Problems with IQ tests that favour analytic learners
·         Some students are better than others at learning languages: Peter Skehan (1998) relates this to unusual memories but there are other factors: sound discrimination, rule formation and capacity to infer and use deductions. Risk- taking.
·         Disadvantage of IQ tests: self-fulfilling prophecies. Students may become de-motivated.

2)      Good learner characteristics
Neil Naiman and his colleagues describe that a good learner has: a tolerance of ambiguity; positive task orientation; ego involvement; high aspirations; goal orientation and perseverance. Joan Rubin and Irene Thompson listed 14 learner characteristics such as: students who can find their own way, who are creative, who make intelligent guesses, who make their opportunity for practice, who make errors work for them not against them, and who use contextual clues.

3)      Learner styles
Tony Wright describes four different learner styles within a group:
a)      The ‘enthusiast’ ¾ looks at the teacher as a point of reference and is concerned with the goals of the learning group.
b)      The ‘oracular’ ¾ also focuses on the teacher, but is more oriented towards the satisfaction of personal goals.
c)      The ‘participator’ ¾  tends to concentrate on group goals and group solidarity.
d)     The ‘rebel’ ¾ is mainly concentrated with the satisfaction of his or her own goals.

Keith Willing suggested four learner categories:
a)      Converges
·         Prefer solitary than groups
·         Independent
·         Confident in their own abilities
·         Analytic
·         Cool and pragmatic
b)      Conformist
·         Prefer to emphasise learning ‘about language ‘over learning to use it.
·         Dependent
·         Perfectly happy to work in non-communicative classrooms
·         Prefers to see well-organized teachers
c)      Concrete learners
·         Enjoy the social aspects of learning
·         Like to learn from direct experience
·         Interested in language use and language as communication rather than language as a system
·         Enjoy games and group work in class
d)     Communicative learners
·         Language use orientated
·         Comfortable out of class and show a degree of confidence
·         Willingness to take risks which their colleagues may lack
·         Much more interested in social interaction with other speakers of the language.
·         Perfectly happy to operate without the guidance of a teacher.

4)      Language levels
Students are generally described in three levels: beginner, intermediate and advanced.

               
source: https://www.slideshare.net/nadett93/describing-learners


5)      Individual variations
There are two theories which have tried to explain the individual variations and which can be useful for teacher in order to use them for the benefit of their learners:

a)      Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP)
According to its practitioners, we use a number of ‘primary representational systems’ to experience the world, described as VAKOG:
·         Visual ¾ we look and see;
·         Auditory ¾ we hear and listen;
·         Kinaesthetic ¾ we feel externally, internally, or through movements;
·         Olfactory ¾ we smell things;
·         Gustatory ¾ we taste things.

b)      Multiple Intelligences Theory (MI Theory)
It is a concept introduced by Harvard Psychologist Howard Gardner. In his book Frames of Mind, he suggested that we do not possess a single intelligence, but a range of intelligences, such as:
·         Musical/ Rhythmic
·         Verbal/ Linguistic
·         Visual/ Spatial
·         Bodily/ Kinaesthetic
·         Logical/ Mathemarical
·         Intrapersonal
·         Interpersonal

6)      What to do about individual differences?
We can simply do observation, or through more formal devices. We might ask students what their learning preferences are in questionnaires with items, or we might try to find out which preffered sensory system our students respond to.

C.    Motivation

1)      Defining motivation
At the most basic level, motivation is some kind of internal drive which pushes someone to do things in order to achieve something. Motivation can be:
·         Extrinsic motivation: caused by outside factors (passing an exam, having financial reward)
·         Intrinsic motivation: comes from within the individual (enjoyment of the learning process itself, desire to make yourself better)

2)      Sources of motivation
·         The society we live in: outside any classroom there are attitudes to language learning and the English language in particular. How important is the learning of English considered to be in the society? In a school situation, for example, is the language learning part of the curriculum of high or low status? If school students were offered the choice of two languages to learn, which one would they choose and why? Are the cultural images associated with English positive or negative?
All these views of language learning will affect the student's attitude to the language being studied and the nature and strength of this attitude will, in its turn, have a profound effect on the degree of motivation the student brings to class and whether or not that motivation continues.
·         Significant others: apart from the culture of the world around students, their attitude to language learning will be greatly affected by the in fluence of people who are close to them. The attitude of a student’s peers is also crucial.
·         The teacher: clearly a major factor in the continuance of a student's motivation is the teacher. An obvious enthusiasm for English and English learning, in this case, seems to be prerequisites for a positive classroom atmosphere.
·         The method: it is vital that both teacher and students have some confidence in the way teaching and learning take place. When either loses this confidence, motivation can be disastrously affected, but when both are comfortable with the method being used, success is much more likely.

3)      Initiating and sustaining motivation
·         Goal and goal setting: we have said that motivation is closely bound up with a person’s desire to achieve a goal. A distinction needs to be made here between long- and short-term goals.
·         Learning environment: although we may not be able to choose our actual classrooms, we can still do a lot about their physical appearance and the emotional atmosphere of our lessons. Both of these can have a powerful effect on the initial and continuing motivation of students.
·         Interesting classes: if students are to continue to be intrinsically motivated they clearly need to be interested both in the subject they are studying and in the activities and topics they are presented with. We need to provide them with a variety of subjects and exercises to keep them engaged. The choice of material to take into class will be crucial too, but even more important than this will be the ways in which it is used in the lesson.



CHAPTER 4
DESCRIBING TEACHERS

A.    What is a teacher?

According to the Cambridge International Dictionary of English, “teaching means to give someone knowledge or to intruct or train someone. Meanwhile according to the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English “teaching means to show somebody how to do something or to change somebody’s ideas”.

Teachers and learners
Teachers in such learner-centred classroom need special qualities including maturity, intuition, educational skills (to develop students’ awareness of language and learning), an openness to student input, and a greater tolerance of uncertainty.

B.     The roles of a teacher

1)      Controller
Teachers are in charge of the class and of the activity. They take the rolls, tell students things, organise drills, read aloud, and exemplify the qualities of a teacher-fronted classroom. In many educational context, this is the most common teacher role.
There are moments when acting as a controller makes sense, such as when:
·         announcements need to be made;
·         order has to be restored;
·         explanations are given;
·         leading a question and answer session.
Controller drawbacks:
·         denies students access to their own experiential learning by focusing everything on the teacher.
·         cuts down on opportunities for students to speak.
·         lacks of variety in activities and classroom atmosphere.
·         denies teachers and students many other possibilities and modes of learning.

2)      Organiser
Organising something is to get students involved, engaged, and ready.  Teachers have to organise students to do various activities, such as: giving them information, demonstrating what is going to happen, guiding them in the performance of the activities, grouping students, closing things down when it is time to stop, and organising some kind of feedback (question or detailed discussion of what has taken place).
Role of organiser: engage ® instruct (demonstrate) ® initiate ® organise feedback
Organiser drawbacks: If instructions are not clear, students will not understand what they are supposed to do and may not get full advantage from an activity.

3)      Assessor
A teacher acts as an assessor when they offer feedback or correction, and grade students in various ways. Students need to know how and for what they are being assessed. In this way, students will have a clear idea of what they need to concentrate on.
Assessor drawbacks:
·         Critical issue of fairness. When students are criticised or score poor grades and find that other students have suffered less criticism for equally good or bad performance, they tend to be extremely unhappy.
·         What they do not want is a feeling that they are being unfairly judge.
But, a bad grade can be made far more acceptable if it is given with sensitivity and support.

4)      Prompter
When we prompt we need to do it sensitively and encouragingly but with discretion.
Prompter drawbacks: If we are too adamant we risk taking in initiative away from the students and if we are too retiring we may not supply the right amount of encouragement.

5)      Participant
Teacher might want to join in an activity not as a teacher, but also as a participant in their own right. For the teacher, participating in an activity is more enjoyable than acting as a resource. Students also will enjoy having the teacher with the.
Participant drawbacks: Teacher can easily dominate the proceedings.

6)      Resource
Teachers as a resource will want to be helpful and available. Teacher can be one of the most important resources students have when they ask how to say or write something, want to know what a word or phrase means and want to know information in the middle of an activity about that activity or where to look for something.
Resource drawbacks: Teachers have to resist the urge to spoon-feed their students so that they become over reliant on the teachers.

7)      Tutor
Teachers can act as a tutor, working with individuals or small groups of students and pointing them in directions they have not yet thought of taking. The term implies a more intimate relationship than that of the controller or organiser. Teacher will allow more personal and real chance for students to feel supported and helped.
Tutor drawbacks: Make sure that teachers do not too intrude too much (learner autonomy) or too little (unhelpful).

8)      Observer
Teacher act as an observer to observe what students do, especially in oral communicative activities, so that teacher can give them useful group and individual feedback and also observe our materials and activities. Observing for success often gives teacher a different feel for how well the students are doing. Teachers need to be alert to the effect their actions are having: trying to tease out feelings and reactions in the classroom. One area of teacher development involves just such observation, built into an action research cycle (posing questions about what teachers do in the classroom and use observation to answer them).

Which role?
Teachers need to be able to switch between the various roles, judging when it is appropriate to use one or other. Teachers need to be aware of how they carry out the selective role and how they perform it.

C.    The teacher as performer

Different teachers perform differently. Each teacher has many different performance styles depending on the situation. Besides, we should decribe how teachers should play their roles:

Activity
1 Team game
2 Role-play
3 Teacher reading aloud
4 Whole-class listening
How the teacher should perform
energetically, encouragingly, clearly, fairly
clearly, encouragingly, retiringly, supportively
commandingly, dramatically, interestingly
efficiently, clearly, supportively


D.    The teacher as teaching aid

1)      Mime and gesture
Mime and expression probably work best when they are exaggerated since this makes their meaning eplicit. One gesture whic is widely used, but which teachers should employ with care, is the act of pointing to students to ask them to participate in a drill or give some other form of response.

2)      Language model
One way in which we can model dialogues in front of each of them when required to speak their lines. For such activities we should make sure that we can be heard and we should animate our performance with as much enthusiasm as is appropriate for the conversation we are modelling.

3)      Provider of comprehensible input

On most training courses a distinction is made between student-talking time (STT) and teacher-talking time (TTT). The whole we want to see more STT than TTT since as trainer frequently point out to their student teachers.

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