WED: To What Extent Can Multimedia Lessons with Formative Assessment Bridge the Language Gap for HE Learners Working in a Second Language (Teo Tureli)
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17 January 2015
Millions of students worldwide, and over 300 000 students in Turkey attend English medium universities in their home countries. In these universities all teaching, assessment and learning materials are in English, which is a second language for almost all the students. To be successful, learners need to be able to understand and communicate using advanced English language structures and there is a close correlation between grades and English language competence since all teaching, assessment and learning materials are in English.
Before they start taking classes in their departments all students are expected to have an advanced or effective operational proficiency level of English. Most students attend English language preparatory classes for a year or more and all take a language test to `prove` that their English language skills are at or above B2 level (Common European Framework) before starting to take classes in their departments.
However, most students beginning their classes in their departments have problems in using one or more language structures. Faculty, especially those teaching Academic English and writing heavy classes notice these problems in student essays, presentations and assignments. Unfortunately there is great diversity in student language problems and the curriculum, large student/teacher ratios, time constraints and assessment policies prevent teachers from addressing these and the problems are passed on and often persist.
According to Michael Swan (2005), a doyenne of EFL teaching,
`Languages have structural features that are complicated and hard to learn. For learners to master them, adequate experience, understanding and use of these features are necessary. Where time is limited and learners have little out-of-class exposure (as in most language-teaching situations the world over), this can only be brought about with the help of pedagogic intervention: explicit teaching and systematic practice informed by a syllabus of known problems.`
The artifact I propose to present is aimed to provide modules where such students can find explicit instruction, with follow up language practice through formative testing and language production using translation activities. Each module addresses a single language structure/grammar point. Faculty identify student`s language gap and direct her to a module relevant to the student`s language problem (eg: passive voice, noun clause, tenses).
In a typical module students will first watch a video explicitly explaining, in the students` native language, when and how to use the language structure and how to produce it. Next the module will test basic understanding through multiple choice, cloze and matching exercises and provide simple feedback to the student. This is followed by open ended and translation questions to provide opportunity for the student to `create` sentences using the target language structure.
In my presentation I will explain my artifact, providing a representative module with a short video explanation, followed by examples of the question types and language production practice included in the module.