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    • #12642
      Nicholas Northall
      Moderator
          @nick-northall

          Post up to two questions on ELT methodology here and we will do our best to answer them. Please comment on each other’s questions.

        • #57488
          Robert Dailey
          Participant
              @robertd

              Post up to two questions on ELT methodology here and we will do our best to answer them. Please comment on each other’s questions.

              1. To what extent is AI affecting/ going to affect methodology? For instance, are students (at least perhaps in richer countries) going to want to be able to only speak a language because AI will do everything else? (And perhaps A1 will be able to do the speaking bit as well … )

              2. To what extent is it possible to measure the success or failure of a methodology? In other words, to what extent can it be “proved” that CLT, for examples, “works” and Suggestopedia, for example, doesn´t? Is it by testing? Something that we have already seen has its own complications.

              Thank you!

               

               

              • #57537
                Nicholas Northall
                Moderator
                    @nick-northall

                    Hi Robert,

                    You might find this useful. I’ll respond with my thoughts at a later stage.

                    Cheers,

                    Nick

                  • #57576
                    Gajinder Kaur
                    Participant
                        @gk

                        Lovely question there, Robert, about AI influencing language learner choices! It is a vastly and  fastly changing world and one is yet to see how it will impact conventional classroom curriculum…

                      • #57789
                        Nicholas Northall
                        Moderator
                            @nick-northall

                            Hi Robert,

                            Thanks for sharing your questions here. I’ve just noticed that the Scott Thornbury talk on AI in language teaching has now sold out! Shame, as I think it would be very informative :-(

                            1) I think is definitely a ‘hot’ topic at the moment – e.g. a lot of teachers in my department are concerned about AI and how students may use it to translate their work directly into English. TBH, google translate has been used by many students for a while – with grammerly then used to polish off their work. Students have told me this!

                            I think there is an issue in a university context as to whether understanding, applying and critically evaluating the content of a course in whatever language and then translating is more important than doing all of this in English… TBH, I’m not sure where I stand on this, but I do feel that students leaving an English-speaking university with a degree in subject X should would be expected by a potential employer to be able to use English to a very high level…

                            I’m sure AI will improve to the extent that it is able to replace every aspect of communication but is translation what learners (and other stakeholders such as employers) want. From my own experience, I find that some groups of learners do use it (see my point above) but many don’t. Perhaps it will be a cultural ‘thing’?

                            2) I have also often wondered this. For example, why is suggestopedia not used much these days? Is it because it is not liked (i.e. it is very ‘hippy-ish’) or is it because it is not effective. I think the only way to test an approach’s effectiveness is by testing learners who have followed that approach. But how can we ensure that a learner has only followed one methodology (I am using the terms interchangeably here)? I mean, they may have attended suggestopedia classes twice a week, but spend their free time playing games in the TL as well as reading graphic novels, etc. I think teaching would have to take place in a void with learners only allowed to be exposed to the TL using a certain method – which I’m not sure would be very ethical.

                            I hope my answers here help.

                            Cheers,

                            Nick

                             

                          • #57853
                            Robert Dailey
                            Participant
                                @robertd

                                Thanks for your answer Nick.

                                If I can also ask another question: I haven´t in the reading come across a “method” that deals specifically with using the memory.

                                I´ve used Tony Buzan´s colourful Mindmaps in learning and teaching and I was reading an article today about an 81 year old professor at Georgetown University who uses, for example, the number shape system that is set out in a Buzan book about using the memory. I wonder why we don´t introduce the teaching of memory systems into our classes as remembering vocabulary, for instance, is obviously such an important part of language learning.

                                I wonder if you have any thoughts on this.

                                Thanks!

                              • #58174
                                Nicholas Northall
                                Moderator
                                    @nick-northall

                                    Hi Robert,

                                    Yes, you can definitely ask me another question… I guess in terms of language learning, there is not particular ‘method’ as such which is explicitly dedicated to developing the memory, however, I would argue that several methods deal with memory. As language teachers we include as much repetition of the target language in our lessons as possible – think audiolingual which involves repeated listenings and drilling or Grammar translation which also uses  drilling and rote learning. We also need to give our learners a lot of language practice to enable learners to access language quickly – here consider CLT or even the Lexical Approach.

                                    So to develop our learners memory, we need to recycle and repeat language and give our learners a lot of meaningful language practice. But, I cannot think of a technique that specifically uses mind maps or other mnemonics – however, these can definitely be included in our lessons and are actually used in some course books for GE and EAP.

                                    I hope this helps.

                                    Cheers,

                                    Nick

                                • #57492
                                  Peter Wilson
                                  Participant
                                      @peterw

                                      Interesting questions Robert. The first one made me think of the use of artificial intelligence chatbots and whether they will be used more and more by language teachers and learners. Jamie from Lesson Stream tried it out and his chatbox created a “reassuringly bad” story (as it lacked human touch) which he used as “teaching potential”.

                                      My questions:

                                      If there is a trend for curriculum design to be more content and theme based with emphases on language and content knowledge, critical thinking, learning strategies for the real world etc how can language teachers keep up with this in terms of their training?

                                      What is meant by the term “intercultural communicative competence”?

                                       

                                      • #57794
                                        Nicholas Northall
                                        Moderator
                                            @nick-northall

                                            Hi Peter,

                                            Thanks for posting your questions here. Yes, I have read and heard various anecdotal evidence of chatbots not quite getting it right…

                                            Yes, I think there already has been this trend – especially in EAP. Again I think this may be due to the context in which I work in – an ESOL context might be different. I think like in any professional context, the key is to take Continuing Professional Development (CPD) seriously- i.e. by attending conferences, watching webinars and reading relevant articles (and blogs). But I do often think that a lot is expected of us language teachers. As well as teaching learners English, we are increasingly being asked to teach critical thinking, cultural awareness, ICC (see below) and 21st century skills (i.e. digital literacy, leadership, personal development, etc). Why can’t we just teach English?! I’m sure Maths teachers aren’t asked to teach all of these things!

                                            In terms of your second question, intercultural communicative competence (ICC) essentially just means the ability to communicate effectively and appropriately in various cultural contexts. I don’t know enough about it, but you can find information about here, here and here.

                                            I hope my answers help.

                                            Cheers,

                                            Nick

                                        • #57577
                                          Gajinder Kaur
                                          Participant
                                              @gk

                                              My questions :

                                              1) With the stress of curriculum teaching and  fast paced changes in the world around us, how often are teachers expected to update their CPD practically in methodology? What is recommended? Is there a peak qualification we are supposed to align to?

                                              2) If at some point in the future I want to teach writing in a specialized way, what do you recommend I do: an MFA in Creative Writing or MA in ELT/TESOL? What do writing instructors focus on?

                                              • #57801
                                                Nicholas Northall
                                                Moderator
                                                    @nick-northall

                                                    Hi Gajinder,

                                                    Thanks for posting your questions here.

                                                    In terms of your question about CPD, this really depends what you mean by CPD. I think a good way to keep up-to-date about CPD is to subscribe to various blogs and journals (e.g. the EL Gazette) and join mailing lists such as IATEFL and TESOL. I shared links to many of these in an email a few weeks ago; there are also links throughout the Foundry. You could also attend webinars, join a local teaching group and read blogs – again there are links throughout the Foundry. In terms of a peak qualification, you may consider taking an MATESOL, but remember that such qualifications can go out of date!

                                                    This depends what kind of specialised way you mean. For teaching, I would recommend an MATESOL. I’m not sure a qualification in Creative writing would help unless you want to become a writer – although I do not know enough about this award to really comment. A lot of teachers (although not all by a long way) have an MATESOL with a minority also holding a doctorate.

                                                    I hope this helps.

                                                    Cheers,

                                                    Nick

                                                • #58632
                                                  Amira Madkour
                                                  Participant
                                                      @amy-madkr

                                                      How could we integrate the 21 century skills? Is there a method or a course-book that focuses on the 21 century skill?

                                                    • #59051
                                                      Nicholas Northall
                                                      Moderator
                                                          @nick-northall

                                                          Hi Amira,

                                                          Thanks for posting. I think most course books now make some reference to 21st Century Skills. You can find more information here.

                                                          A bit of a rant: As I mentioned in my post to Gajinder, I am personally not convinced that it should be the role of the EFL / ESOL teacher to teach digital literacy, creativity, citizenship and the rest. I feel that teaching these skills put a lot of pressure on the teacher (e.g. some teachers may have very weak digital skills themselves) as well as on the learners who may be attending English classes to learn English and only English – i.e. they may feel it is patronising for a language teacher to be teaching them how to be a ‘citizen’. I also think these skills smack of colonialism too – a Western teacher in say an African or Asian country teaching their learners  how to think critically I feel is very condescending. Who made up these skills I wonder? For me, better 21st century skills would essentially be very context based and would include more practical (and I think essential) skills such as DIY, cooking and personal finance. Again though, I’m not sure it is the job of the English teacher to be teaching any of these.

                                                          What does everyone think?

                                                          Cheers,

                                                          Nick

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