Friday, August 18, 2017

Interested in Service Learning and English Language Teaching and Learning? New Article in the TESL Canada Journal ...

Tracy Riley and I have recently had an article published in the TESL Canada Journal on a service learning experience for English language learners.  I was Tracy's MA supervisor on this project.  If you are interested in doing an MA related to English as an additional language teaching and learning, check out the graduate programs on my campus: https://education.ok.ubc.ca/programs/grad.html.

In the meantime, here is the link  to the article followed by the English and French abstracts:

The Multicultural Café: Enhancing Authentic Interaction for Adult English Language Learners Through Service Learning

While service learning platforms hold great potential for adult learners of English as an additional language (EAL), there has been little research to date related to the impact of these programs on adult newcomers’ linguistic and social development. The Multicultural Café was a food service learning platform for adult EAL learners operated over a 7-month period at a regional college in the British Columbia interior. The café was developed to provide adult immigrant learners of EAL with an opportunity to authentically engage in using English to provide a valued service to the local community. The current study was conducted to explore the impact of the service learning experience from the perspective of the participants. Using a qualitative case study research design, data were gathered from participants (n = 10) through a questionnaire, semistructured interviews, and a focus group. Data were transcribed, coded, and collected into emerging themes. Opportunities for authentic interactions with customers and with other volunteer coworkers emerged as two of the primary outcomes of the service learning experience. Incorporating the service learning opportunity of the Multicultural Café into the participants’ English language learning experiences appeared to enhance their interactions within the college community.

Les cadres d’apprentissage par le service communautaire sont très prometteurs pour les apprenants adultes d’anglais langue additionnel (ALA); pourtant, peu de recherche a porté sur l’impact de ces programmes sur le développement linguistique et social des nouveaux arrivants d’âge adulte. Le Café Multiculturel a constitué, pendant une période de 7 mois, un milieu d’apprentissage par le service pour des apprenants adultes d’ALA dans un collège régional de l’intérieur de la Colombie-Britannique. Le café a été développé pour fournir aux immigrants adultes apprenant l’ALA l’occasion de communiquer authentiquement en anglais tout en offrant un service important à la communauté locale. La présente étude a porté sur l’impact de l’expérience d’apprentissage par le service selon la perspective des participants. Employant un plan de recherche qualitative visant une étude de cas, nous avons recueilli des données de participants (n = 10) par le biais d’un questionnaire, d’entrevues semi-structurées et d’un groupe de discussion. Les données ont été transcrites, codées et rassemblées selon des thèmes qui s’y dégageaient. Deux des résultats principaux de l’expérience de l’apprentissage par le service consistaient en les occasions d’interactions authentiques avec les clients et avec les autres collègues bénévoles. L’intégration, dans le parcours pédagogique des apprenants d’anglais, de l’expérience de l’apprentissage par le service au Café Multiculturel semble avoir mis en valeur leurs interactions au sein de la communauté du collège.


Thursday, July 27, 2017

What Should Canada’s Teachers Know?

I recently had a chapter published in a publication by the Canadian Association for Teacher Education (CATE). Every two years, CATE holds a working conference for teacher educators, and this book was the result of the 2015 conference that was held in Toronto.  The book is available as a pdf, and it is free.  You can find the book here:


Here is the title and abstract for my chapter:

Preparing for Linguistic Diversity: Teacher Candidate Reflections on an Elementary Education Course in Additional Language Teaching and Learning

Teacher candidates in Canada encounter a rich range of linguistic diversity in their school experiences. The goal of this qualitative study was to examine, from the point of view of elementary teacher candidates, the extent to which an additional language teaching and learning course prepared them for their encounters with students from linguistically diverse backgrounds. Data were gathered through an online open-ended questionnaire exploring teacher candidates’ perspectives on the most and least beneficial elements of the course, along with what they thought might be missing. Results point to Canadian classrooms being home to a wide diversity of English language learners. Participants also felt that instructional strategies, empathy, confidence, and transferability were some of the benefits of a course in additional language teaching and learning. However, they felt that it lacked enough time with actual students and content related to culture, socioeconomic factors, and immigration status. The findings underscore the necessity of addressing the needs of English language learners from diverse linguistic backgrounds throughout a teacher education program and the importance of having a specialized course in additional language teaching and learning.


Douglas, S. (2016). Preparing for linguistic diversity: Teacher candidate reflections on an elementary education course in additional language teaching and learning. In M. Hirschkorn & J. Mueller (Eds.), What should Canada's teachers know? Teacher capacities: Knowledge, beliefs and skills (pp. 536-568). Ottawa, ON: Canadian Association for Teacher Education. Retrieved from https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-36OcipMmoPbTdia2hrN1F5RjQ/view

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

My new article in the TESL Canada Journal's special issue on language assessment in Canada

Here is the link to my latest paper in the TESL Canada Journal, Volume 32, Special Issue 9, 2015: Language Assessment in Canada: Critical Issues and Research Agenda:

The Relationship Between Lexical Frequency Profiling Measures and Rater Judgements of Spoken and Written General English Language Proficiency on the CELPIP-General Test

Abstract

Independent confirmation that vocabulary in use unfolds across levels of performance as expected can contribute to a more complete understanding of validity in standardized English language tests. This study examined the relationship between Lexical Frequency Profiling (LFP) measures and rater judgements of test-takers’ overall levels of performance in the Speaking and Writing modules of the CELPIP-General test. In particular, the potential of measures such as lexical stretch and number of frequency bands accessed was examined. Randomized quota sampling from previously rated test-taker responses resulted in 200 speaking samples and 200 writing samples being compiled to create corpora of 211,602 running words and 70,745 running words respectively. Pearson r was used to examine the relationships between the LFP measures and rater judgements of CELPIP levels. Results point to significant correlations, with increasing CELPIP levels of performance generally accompanied by test-takers’ increasing ability to produce greater numbers of words, deploy a greater variety of words, rely less on high-frequency vocabulary, tap into mid-frequency vocabulary, and access a greater number of frequency bands. These results underline the contribution of independently obtained lexical measures toward a fuller understanding of concurrent validity in standardized English language proficiency testing.
La confirmation indépendante que le vocabulaire d’usage se répand sur plusieurs niveaux de performance tel que prévu peut contribuer à une meilleure interprétation de la validité des tests standardisés de langue anglaise. Ce e étude a examiné le rapport entre les mesures de profilage de la fréquence lexicale et les évaluations de la performance globale des élèves aux modules de parole et de rédaction du Programme canadien d’évaluation du niveau de compétence linguistique en anglais (CELPIP). Plus précisément, on a examiné le potentiel des mesures telles l’étendue lexicale et le nombre de bandes de fréquences a eintes. L’échantillon- nage par quota aléatoire de réponses d’élèves déjà évaluées a entrainé la formation de 200 échantillons de parole et 200 échantillons de rédaction représentant deux corpora, un de 211 602 mots liés et l’autre de 70 745 mots liés. On a employé le coe cient de corrélation de Pearson pour examiner les rapports entre les mesures de la fréquence lexicale et les évaluations en fonction des niveaux du CELPIP. Les résultats dévoilent des corrélations signi catives entre, d’une part, les meilleures performances au CELPIP et, d’autre part, une capacité à produire une quantité et une variété plus importantes de mots; à moins recourir aux mots les plus fréquents; à puiser dans du vocabulaire à fréquence moyenne; et à accéder à un plus grand nombre de bandes de fréquence. Ces résultats soulignent la contribution des mesures lexicales obtenues indépendamment à la compréhension de la validité concourante des évaluations standardisées des compétences linguistiques en anglais. 

Monday, September 28, 2015

JALT Conference Proceedings - JALT2014

I can't believe that it is almost a year since I was in Japan for the JALT 2014 conference in Tsukuba.  The peer-reviewed conference proceedings have just come out, and I thought I would share the abstract and the link:

Student Perspectives on a Short-Term Study Abroad Experience
Research that uncovers Japanese undergraduate student perspectives in connection to the short-term study abroad experience can provide valuable insights for educational program developers. The current study focused on what Japanese university students visiting Canada on a short-term study abroad program felt were the ideal elements of this kind of educational experience. Data were collected from participants at four points before and during the experience. Qualitative data analysis methods were used to identify the most prominent themes. Findings pointed to meaningful intercultural encounters, rich content-focused classroom experiences, and varied extra-curricular activities as being the key elements of an effective program. However, program developers should be mindful that intercultural encounters may not occur naturally, and extra-curricular activities might not happen spontaneously. Creating an ideal short-term study abroad program involves finding ways to encourage organic intercultural encounters and providing unique and engaging activities outside of the classroom. 
本研究は、日本人短期留学生の視点から留学を捉えることが、有意義な留学プログラムを作成する重要な手がかりとなりうることを明らかにしたものである。調査は、カナダに留学した日本人大学生のグループを対称とし、短期留学において最も重要な要素は何かという点について留学前、留学中に計4回おこなった。そのデータを定性的に分析した結果、学生にとって理想的な短期留学とは、有意義な異文化体験、内容重視の授業、そして様々な授業外活動を含む留学であることが明らかになったのだが、有意義な異文化体験や授業外活動は、海外に来たというだけで自然に発生するものではなく、生徒の自主性だけに任せたプログラムでは、うまくいかないことが多い。それゆえ、理想的な短期留学プログラムの作成にあたっては、生徒が自然に異文化体験ができる方法や留学先ならではの授業外活動をどのように提供できるかという点を考慮して、プログラムを作成する必要がある。

Monday, September 07, 2015

TBLT and EAP

Marcia Kim and I have an article in the TESL Canada Journal on how instructors perceive and practice Task Based Language Teaching in the Canadian context.  Here is the abstract followed by the link:

TESL Canada Journal, Volume 31, Special Issue 8, 2014

Task-Based Language Teaching and English for Academic Purposes: An Investigation into Instructor Perceptions and Practice in the Canadian Context

Scott Roy Douglas, Marcia Kim

Abstract


English for Academic Purposes (EAP) programs designed to meet postsecondary English language proficiency requirements are a common pathway to higher education for students from non-English-speaking backgrounds. Grounded in a Canadian context, this study seeks to examine the prevalence of Task-Based Language Teaching (TBLT) in EAP, common examples of EAP tasks, and the benefits and drawbacks of this approach for EAP students. EAP professionals (n = 42) were recruited from the membership of TESL Canada, and participants completed a questionnaire on their perceptions of TBLT for EAP. Of those who participated, 69% reported using TBLT in at least half of their lessons, with 86% of the par- ticipants indicating that TBLT was suitable for EAP instruction. Further qualitative analysis of the data revealed that presentations, essays, and interviews were the top three tasks employed by EAP teachers; the practicality, effectiveness, and learner-centredness of TBLT were its major benefits; and mismatched student expectations, lack of classroom time, and excessive instructor preparation were TBLT’s major drawbacks. Ambiguity regarding what constitutes TBLT was also found in the data. It appears that TBLT is used by participants across Canada and is well accepted as a teaching approach. However, some concerns associated with TBLT in EAP remain to be addressed.
Les programmes d’anglais académique visant à combler les exigences en matière de compétences linguistiques pour l’anglais au postsecondaire représentent souvent une voie vers les études postsecondaires pour les élèves allophones. Située dans un contexte canadien, cette étude porte sur la prévalence de l’enseignement des langues basé sur les tâches (ELBT) dans les cours d’anglais académique, des exemples courants de tâches dans ces cours, et les avantages et les inconvénients de cette approche pour les élèves. À partir des membres de TESL Canada, on a recruté des enseignants d’anglais académique (n = 42) et ceux-ci ont complété un questionnaire portant sur leurs perceptions de l’ELBT dans les cours d’anglais académique. Les résultats indiquent que 69% des participants emploient l’ELBT dans au moins la moitié de leurs leçons et que 86% jugent l’ELBT approprié pour l’enseignement de l’anglais académique. Une analyse quantitative plus poussée a révélé que les trois tâches les plus fréquemment employées par les enseignants d’anglais académique étaient les présentations, les rédactions et les entrevues. De plus, les participants ont indiqué qu’ils estimaient que les atouts principaux de l’ELBT étaient son aspect pratique, son efficacité et le fait qu’il est centré sur l’apprenant; comme inconvénients majeurs, ils ont noté une inadéquation des attentes de la part des étudiants, l’insuffisance des heures de cours et la formation excessive des enseignants. Les données ont également révélé une ambigüité par rapport à ce qui constitue l’ELBT. Il parait que l’ELBT est employé partout au Canada et est bien accueilli comme méthode enseignement; toutefois, il faudrait aborder certaines préoccupations quant à son emploi dans l’enseignement de l’anglais académique.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Article in the International Student Experience Journal

I've been thinking a lot in the past few years about the validity of instructor-assessed final grades in English for Academic Purposes courses and how evidence can be gathered to contribute to the validity of these types of grades.  One on-going study that I've been involved with has been looking at the relationship between instructor-assessed EAP final grades and standardized English language proficiency test scores administered at the end of an EAP course.  The first paper published out of this study is in the Autumn 2014 issue of the International Student Experience Journal (http://isejournal.weebly.com/), and the paper looks at the concurrent validity of instructor-assessed EAP final grades.  Correlational analysis was used to compare the EAP final grades with TOEFL ITP scores that were gathered at the end of the semester.  There were statistically significant moderate correlations, contributing to the idea of concurrent validity, but the was also enough of a divergence to point to meaningful differences in what the instructors were assessing and what the TOEFL ITP was assessing.

The article can be found in the current issue here:  http://isejournal.weebly.com/current-issue.html

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Summary of the April 2014 BC TEAL Okanagan Meet and Greet / Lesson Swap

Last night was the BC TEAL Okanagan Meet and Greet / Lesson Swap, and it was a huge success.  It was a great opportunity for local teachers to sit around in a big circle and share some of our favourite teaching activities and learning tasks.  It was also a great opportunity to meet some more English as an Additional Language (EAL) teachers in the local area and build some face-to-face community.  Kudos to our BC TEAL regional representative, Jeanie, for putting the event together, and much thanks to BC TEAL for supporting us here in the Okanagan Valley!

Here is a summary of some of the teacher ideas that were shared last night.  If I’ve missed anyone out, please accept my apologies!  Also, if we’ve borrowed these ideas from anyone else, please accept our gratitude.  I’ve summarized about 18 activities below, but many more ideas were shared.  What I loved was the generative nature of the meeting.  As people were sharing their ideas, other ideas kept popping up, and by sharing, our ideas grew to fit all kinds of teaching situations.  Also, I tried my best to summarize everyone’s activities.  Any mistakes or omissions are my own fault J.  Anyway, as you can see, it was a very fruitful evening!

Crystal:

Password:  The class is divided into two groups, and two chairs are put in front of the room.  Then, one person from each team comes up the front and sits on the chairs with their backs to the whiteboards.  A vocabulary word is written up on the board, and then the each team has to give the person at the front clues so they can guess what word is up on the board.  Hilarity ensues!

Madjid:

Add the adjective or adverb:  Create a short story with just three or four sentences without any adjectives or adverbs.  At each noun, stop and have the class brainstorm as many adjectives as possible.  Put the choices up on the board.  Then, read the story again and stop at each verb and have the class brainstorm as many adverbs as possible.  Put the choices up on the board.  Once all the possible adjectives and adverbs have been exhausted, have groups rewrite the sentences with their choices of adjectives and adverbs added in.  Great for practicing collocations!

Eddie:

Liar Liar:  Give each student three pieces of paper on which they have to write three unique things about themselves.  Then, bring three students to the front of the class and have them put their papers in a pile.  The teacher picks out one paper and reads it aloud.  The students at the front all have to act as if what the teacher read aloud is true for them, but it will only be true for one person.  The class has to ask questions to figure out who is telling the truth.  Points can be awarded.  Great for getting the class to know each other at the beginning of a term.

Jeanie:

Vocabulary Review:  This is a really active activity for the teacher.  A topic is chose, such as body parts, and the student then have to brainstorm as many body parts as possible for the different areas of the body (head, torso, organs, etc.)  As groups guess a body part, the teacher writes that body part up on the appropriate area of the board.  As groups run out of ideas, they drop out of the game.  The last group still generating ideas wins!

Brenda:

Video Clip Idea:  I have a Headache ESL:  http://youtu.be/QJHtpAriDp0.  This catchy song can be used with students to learn some of the expressions and vocabulary that go along with having a headache.  The class can practice singing along, and then writing their own songs on the same theme. 

Participant (oops, forgot who shared this – sorry!):

Verb Tennis:  Create flashcards with the present tense on one side and the past tense on the other.  In pairs, students show the cards to each other, and they have to either shout out the present tense or the past tense.  Each correct answer gets a point. 

Jane: 

Communicating with the Instructor:  Students collaborate in groups to think of ways to communicate with their instructor, for example via email, through face book, during office hours, twitter, etc.  For this discussion, a function can be added, such as:  Tell me more about that, can you expand on this idea, etc.  Great for building awareness of register and how to write an email to a teacher. 

Angela:

Vocabulary Envelope Filler:  Keep a big envelope of vocabulary words connected to the current topic in the classroom on the wall.  If there are five minutes left at the end of a class, students can grab words from the envelop to write sentences, make skits, do frayer models, fit the word into conversation, etc.  It’s a great filler, and a good way of incorporating recycling of vocabulary into day to day teaching.

Participant (oops, forgot who shared this – sorry!):

Muddiest point:  If there are five minutes left at the end of class, this makes a great closer.  Students work together in groups to decide on what the hardest, most confusing part of the day’s less was.  They then share the muddiest point of the day’s lesson with the class, and students try to clarify for each other.  The teacher facilitates the discussion, but doesn’t clarify. 

Desiree:

Getting to Know You:  Students are given cards with a topic on one side and numbers on the other side.  Students then have to find their classmates with the same numbers on the backs of their cards, and discuss the talking points on the front of the cards.  This is a great way to mix the class up, and break the ice with people they don’t normally sit with.

Laura: 

Blindfolded Drawing:  Divide the class into groups.  The groups all come up to the board, and one person from each group is then blindfolded.  The groups are given something to draw (for example, draw a house, or draw the teacher), and then the groups have to give directions to their blindfolded members to draw the topic on the board as best they can.  After a certain time limit, there is a big reveal and the class votes on the best picture.  Laura said she found this activity on Dave’s ESL Café. 

Heather:

Fruit Basket:  The teacher sets up a circle of chairs with enough chairs for each student except for one.  That one student has to stand in the middle of the circle.  Beforehand, the teacher has prepared a basket with statement strips.  These sentences can say things like “everyone wearing green socks”.  When the class hears that, everyone wearing green socks has to get up and change chairs.  Eventually, there will be a new person in the middle, and that person will read out the statement strips.  A variation of this game is called “just like me.”  In this variation, the person in the middle has to say something about her or himself and people who have the same thing in common have to get up and change chairs.  Lots of scrambling and lots of fun. 

Rob:

Roll the Dice:  This can be a great review activity.  There is a large game board up at the front of the class.  This could be a simple one drawn up on the board with a start, a finish, and squares in between.  Students are divided up into groups, and they are each given a mini-white board.  The teacher reads out a question, and the groups answer the question using the mini-white boards.  If a group gets the answer correct, they can roll a dice and then move that many spots on the game board.  The first group to get to the end of the game board wins. 

Karen:

Wise Sayings:  In this activity, the teacher shares a proverb or a wise saying with the students, such as “A teacher can open a door, but students have to decide to walk through.”  Then students come up with their own wise sayings and write them down along with their names on a piece of paper.  Once everyone has a wise saying, they can share their wise sayings with each other, explaining what they mean and why they chose them.  The teacher can collect these wise sayings.  Later, the teacher can bring out the wise sayings and quiz the class on who said what.

Participant (oops – I forgot who shared this.  Sorry!):

Draw Me:  Students take time to interview each other, but instead of writing down the answers to their interview questions, students draw each other as best they can.  When the interviews are over, the teacher gathers up the portraits and puts them up in the room like an art gallery.  Students can guess who is who in each of the pictures.

Eric:

Radio Plays:  The students can break into groups to write and record a radio play such as Casablanca or about Super Heroes.  The radio plays should have both narration and dialogue. 

Donna:

Making a natural product:  Students gather the ingredients and follow a recipe to make an all natural herbal ointment, such as a tick repellent.  This gets students working together to create something in English.  It’s a good example of Task-based language teaching.  This is great for students who are camping or hiking. 

Eddie (an extra one):


No No No Yes:  Poker chips are distributed to all of the students (for example each student receives six poker chips).  Students then mingle in the classroom having conversations with each other.  However, they are not allowed to say the words “no” or “yes” or any variations of those words.  For example, “yeah” and “nah” are not allowed.  If a conversational partner says “yes” or “no” they have to give a poker chip away to the person they are speaking to.  The person with the most poker chips at the end wins.