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Re: Online teaching and learning

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  • Anne Fox
    Hi Elizabeth Thanks for your considered response. My inclination is to plan a rich and authentic experience and analyse it later to see what was covered (or at
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 25, 2004
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      Hi Elizabeth
      Thanks for your considered response.

      My inclination is to plan a rich and authentic experience and
      analyse it later to see what was covered (or at least what
      opportunities learners had to meet which structures and so on). I
      agree that the group processes are the important aspect and this is
      what is largely invisible when viewing a course website.

      I suppose one concern I have is that, unlike the Streetlife project
      which I implemented myself, what I am being asked to do here is for
      general consumption so I need to pay attention to making both the
      teacher's and learners'roles explicit and visible.

      In the end I feel that there is an inherent contradiction in trying
      to apply constructivist principles to what is going to be, in the
      end, a tradable product (one major reason by the way why I wouldn't
      feel comfortable asking for webhead contributions on this in the way
      you suggested). Perhaps what I need is a different perspective;
      instead of course book equivalent, maybe I should be thinking more
      on the lines of motivational training and how that is done! ie It's
      technique rather than content. I guess I'm wondering how to
      mainstream constructivist principles.

      Anne





      --- In evonline2002_webheads@yahoogroups.com, Elizabeth Hanson-Smith
      <ehansonsmi@y...> wrote:
      > Anne raises some really important considerations for
      > online teaching and learning.
      >
      > Though I am away from home and can't give you good
      > references, all of my professional teaching experience
      > would indicate that learning a language is much more
      > like athletics or music than the kind of segmental,
      > incremental knowledge learning, say, a spreadsheet
      > application implies.
      >
      > So it is a huge problem to reconcile the short
      > segmented time you are given with authentic tasks, but
      > I think it could work. Each task would lend itself to
      > learning particular kinds of language, but ultimately,
      > completing the task would provide the practice that
      > makes the whole (what is learned) greater than the
      > individually learned parts. Performing the task in a
      > structured group setting would be ideal, as
      > participants would have to also practice social
      > language while learning the language of the task.
      >
      > I think one could start from either end--either the
      > task or the structures/vocab/grammar needed. Maybe
      > Webheads could contribute some units of this together,
      > as a way of testing out this approach?
      >
      > Anyway, my sympathies on the difficulty of your
      > assignment.
      >
      > Cheers--
      > --Elizabeth
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
      > Date: Thu, 22 Jan 2004 11:59:14 -0000
      > From: "Anne Fox" <af@g...>
      > Subject: Is language learning different?
      >
      > Reading through Vance's great speech with his clear
      > explanation of
      > where we are now with language learning made me decide
      > that this was
      > the right place to ask about something which is
      > bothering me.
      >
      > I am becoming more and more deeply involved with
      > producing materials
      > for e-learning. My task is to produce materials for
      > learning English
      > but that is only part of the package which also
      > includes IT and
      > accounting. What troubles me is that I realise that we
      > are going down
      > the route of dividing all the learning into `learning
      > objects'
      > (direct translation from the Danish but I presume it
      > originates from
      > the English). This is to enable `just in time' and
      > `only
      > as needed' learning. So what it implies is that I
      > have to break
      > down
      > the process of learning a language (here English) into
      > bite-sized
      > chunks which would take 20-40 minutes to
      > deliver/assimilate. This
      > makes me uncomfortable because it almost forces me to
      > go down the
      > grammar/structures/vocab group route when sources such
      > as Vance's
      > synthesis emphasise the scaffolding, constructivist
      > and authentic
      > approach which I think is impossible in the framework
      > I've been given.
      >
      > Of course I could simply try to produce a whole suite
      > of 20 minute
      > authentic tasks but the job doesn't end there since
      > for every
      > unit I have to identify what learning it is intended
      > to promote so
      > that the learner and/or his tutor can identify which
      > bits he or she
      > needs, also so that a needs analysis can be carried
      > out which would
      > result in a recommended learning path. Is language
      > learning really so
      > different from learning how to use a spreadsheet or am
      > I just making
      > it up? Am I being given an impossible task? The
      > Streetlife project
      > which I trialled last autumn with the support of
      > several Webheads
      > would not fit these requirements for example because I
      > saw the module
      > as a process which had to be completed as a whole and
      > not something
      > which learners could pick and choose from which bits
      > they wanted to
      > do or felt they needed to do. A pragmatic solution
      > would be to go
      > down the structures route anyway but I feel that this
      > would be very
      > second rate.
      >
      > Most people would accept that you cannot learn
      > practical skills such
      > as swimming through e-learning so the question is, is
      > language
      > learning more like swimming or more like learning to
      > use a
      > spreadsheet in its ability to be divided up into
      > learning units?
      >
      > I'd be really grateful to have some opinions on this.
      > Anne
      >
      > >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
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