Masters in Education – Research?

 

There has been much research into the minds of language learners, both native and non-native speakers. Researchers have and continue to delve into learners’ minds and behaviour in acquiring language competencies. Some aspects of language through research have confirmed many questions such as how children learn a language, and that children will almost always fully acquire their first language, whereas second language learners rarely will ever attain full fluency and will indefinitely continue with errors, some that will unlikely be corrected in their lifetime.

Embarking on the masters course in Education I have been embattling ideas to propose a research. Language has always been a fascination and of great interest to me. One proposed idea I wish to pursue is skills in writing and speaking. I currently teach level 1 ESOL learners. All show fluency in speaking, despite this, their writing skills lack much and when compared to their speaking ability it shows much to be desired. As many language practitioners know we acquire speaking skills by default, a skill of survival to communicate with the human race and to ‘live’. Writing however, does not begin even for natives till school, around the age of 5 or 6 or in some countries even older. Native speakers are not exempt from the complexities and challenges of writing. The UK government has now made it mandatory for education up until the age of 18. Lessons always must embed literacy and numeracy in every instance regardless of the subject. Literacy has become an immediate desire for both learners, educational institutions and employers.

Learners who never attain a good understanding and skills in writing are effectively robbed of the ability to express themselves, comprehend and share information. Those who speak do so at the moment in time and it is much a played out event. With writing we can delve deeper into thoughts, feelings and experiences. We should all as teachers make writing an integral part of the class. As learners gain new skills there will be continuous errors formed which language teachers should prioritise for correction. I am currently reading upon past and current research into students’ writing speaking, why some students speak fluently but cannot write well and vice versa. What barriers are there stopping learners from writing effectively? All these questions are interesting and require further research.

 

Make the classroom come alive!

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I had the opportunity to attend a CPD session (conference) with Bradford College and HAYs education. The conference titled, ‘ 28 Ways to Bring Your Classroom to Life’ explored topics of engagement, behaviour, literacy and differentiation. Sometimes we as teachers are at odds with methods and strategies to excite, engage and encourage students to learn. Anyone knows to execute excitement and draw attention from a friend, child or student is no easy task. Within the classroom, where teachers may be grappling with up to 25-30 students, each one of those students count, and their attention, retention and success in learning is reliant upon the teacher’s strategy, activities and methods he/she employs.

Within my classroom my students come from mixed backgrounds and cultures, something that works with one student may not work with another. In order to succeed one has to strike a balance. Differentiation was one aspect explored. If a student is disengaged, pair him/her up with one who is. The enthusiasm may then be shared and passed on to others less inclined to learn.

Striking a balance between students’ behaviour was also explored. We teachers need to understand that we must not escalate students’ bad behaviour -rather always keeping situations under control such as through non-verbal cues and the silent- insist and persist method.

Literacy was given an important role within the conference, through the saying, ‘Every teacher is a literacy teacher.’ Every teacher regardless of the subject being taught must embed the literacy skills within their teaching. Good reading, writing and speaking skills are fundamental aspects in gaining employment and success in life – something teachers must promote in their classroom from the onset.

After the conference, I developed some strategy with my ESOL students. At the end of the class rather than students disappear as they wish I got them to stand behing their chairs and clear their tables. One – by – one I asked a question they had to answer to leave, the question was related to the topic of the lesson such as give me the past tense of go. They quite enjoyed it, although there were a few giggles, it worked fine and deployed in the students a sense of discipline and morale.

Download ideas: 24 ways to bring your classroom to life download  2016-10-16-14-22