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Data Driven Learning

Data Driven Learning

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A paper written for a course on the structure of the English language. It explores Data Driven Learning (using corpus linguistics in language learning)
A paper written for a course on the structure of the English language. It explores Data Driven Learning (using corpus linguistics in language learning)

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Published by: Apostolos Koutropoulos on Apr 15, 2010
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10/26/2010

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APLING 629: Structure of the English Language
Data DrivenLearning
Prof. Charles MeyerApostolos Koutropoulos5/12/2009
 
Data Driven Learning Overview
Data Driven Learning derives from the work of Tim Johns when he suggestedthat instructors should use corpora in language learning classrooms. (Braun, 2007)Data driven learning is the "application of tools (concordancers) and techniquesfrom corpus linguistics in the service of language learning." (Payne, 2008) Thebenefits of data driven learning is that the focus is on "the exploitation of authenticmaterials even when dealing with tasks such as the acquisition of grammaticalstructures and lexical items [...], on real, exploratory tasks and activities rather thantraditional «drill & kill» exercises, [...] on learner-centred activities," and on "the useand exploitation of tools rather than ready-made or off-the-shelf learnware."(Rüschoff)Data driven learning differs from traditional grammar learning in a few ways.For starters, the pedagogical approach to teaching grammar the traditional way isthrough a process of presentation of information on the teacher's part, then thestudents practice with this information, and then the students produce new content.In contrast, in Data driven learning students observe a grammatical phenomenon of the language, they hypothesize as to how this grammatical phenomenon works, andthen they experiment to see if their hypothesis is correct (Payne, 2008)In traditional language and grammar learning, the teacher is the driver andthe students the passengers, while in data driven learning the teacher is more of aco-pilot and navigator and the students are able to sit in the driver's seat and takecontrol of their learning. Because of this difference in the pedagogic approach, the2
 
materials used are also different in a data driven learning classroom compared totraditional classrooms.In a traditional classroom the main companions to instruction are textbooks. The textbooks and the traditional approach to grammar learning "divides upgrammar in an (sic.) system that ignores the nature of English and of authenticcommunication using English." (Byrd, 1997) This of course poses a few issues thatare outlined by Byrd, such as the inconsistency in defining what is easy grammarversus hard grammar, the ability to cover all the material in a given curriculum, andusing authentic materials in the language classroom (1997).Data driven learning solves some of these issues by not relying on textbooks,but rather relying on corpora, "a body of text assembled according to explicitdesign criteria for a specific purpose," (Payne, 2008) concordancing programs andkeyword-in-text (KWIC). By using corpora, you are using authentic text from thetarget language both in your instruction of that language and the grammar of thatlanguage. Thus you are exposing students to material that they are likely to comeacross as users of the language.
Resource Evaluation
Running a quick Google search one does not find a lot of resources pertainingto language teaching using a data driven learning methodology. Looking a littledeeper I found a number of journals, such as
ReCALL
, where I was able to find moreinformation about data driven learning in practice. What I found interesting was thatdata driven learning was the focus of experiments in classrooms in Europe, Asia andthe Middle East, however I did not find any articles where the focus of the3

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