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Guidelines for Assignment 1: Focus on the learner

The following document is a set of guidelines for Assignment 1. It should be read in conjunction
with the Assignment 1 Rubric as the guidelines will refer to different sections of the rubric. This
document is designed to help you prepare for the assignment, but if you have further questions
contact your Online Course Tutor. There will also be an Assignment Forum where you can post
questions and comments.
Introduction
This assignment focuses on learners as individuals and looks at how to assess their language
development and address their needs. After some research, you will be required to write a report
on your chosen individual or group of learners. As a practising teacher, it is often necessary to
write reports about individuals or classes; for example, when passing on information to a colleague
or providing a reference for a learners employer. It will also help you to understand the needs and
motivations of the learners in your teaching practice groups during the course, and students that
you will teach beyond the course too.
It is important to refer back to the unit More about the Learner when preparing for the
assignment, as this unit analysed factors which affect learning, explored different types of learner
motivation and considered different learning styles. It also looked at how to analyse student errors
and provide solutions to these problems.

Part A: Write a learner profile


Look back at the section on learner profiles in the unit More about the Learner when Ahn and
Nihan were interviewed about their backgrounds and needs. You could use the same list of
questions in your interview.
Here are some possible methods you could use to collect the information for your profile:

observe learner(s) and make notes during teaching practice


interview learner(s) during unobserved teaching practice or after class
record an interview with your learner(s) or record part of a lesson
ask learners to complete a written questionnaire
ask learners to give you examples of their written work
write a letter to the learner(s) and ask them to write you a reply
share data with members of your teaching practice group.

Part B: Identify language problems and provide suitable activities from published
material
Refer back to the sections on identifying errors and providing solutions in the unit More about the
Learner. Ahns and Nihans errors were categorised into grammar, lexis or pronunciation errors
and then analysed:
e.g. Grammar: Its so safer. Its so safe/ Its so much safer. Nihan struggles with using
comparative structures.
There are several different resources you can use for this part of the assignment, for example,
coursebooks and their accompanying resource books, grammar books, or websites. You may have
to spend some time searching for the most appropriate activities, but here is a list of useful
resources:
Grammar
Eastwood, J. (2006) Oxford Practice Grammar Intermediate, Oxford: Oxford University Press
Forsyth, W. & Lavender, S. (1995) Grammar Activities 2 Upper Intermediate, Oxford: Heinemann
Vince, M. & Emmerson, P. (2003) Intermediate Language Practice, Oxford: Macmillan
Lexis
Gairns, R. & Redman, S. (2006) Oxford Word Skills, Oxford: Oxford University Press

Flower, J. (1993) Phrasal Verb Organiser, Hove: Language Teaching Publications


McCarthy, M. and ODell, F. (2008) English Vocabulary in Use Upper-Intermediate and Advanced,
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Pronunciation
Cunningham, S. and Bowler, B. (1999) New Headway Pronunciation Intermediate (Students
Practice Book), Oxford: Oxford University Press
Hancock, M. (1995) Pronunciation Games, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Hancock, M. (2003) English Pronunciation in Use, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

References
According to the assessment criteria for the Focus on the Learner assignment, candidates need to
demonstrate their learning by finding, selecting and referencing information from one or more
sources. Therefore, it is important to reference at least one methodology text to support your
observations. Be sure to include the author, year of publication and page number when quoting
directly. Below is an example of how to refer to reference books in the body of your assignment:

Motivation is a big factor for successful learning, as Jeremy Harmer explains "
(Harmer, 2007:17). These motivations are primarily extrinsic, which may cause issues for the
teacher; intrinsic motives are more closely linked with successful outcomes. It is beneficial,
therefore, for students to enjoy classes, so that some measure of intrinsic motivation can be added
to their other reasons for attending. As Harmer puts it, ..
(Scrivener, 2005:28).

Here is a list of useful methodology books. You could include a bibliography at the end of your
assignment.

Harmer, J (2007) How to Teach English: An Introduction to the Practice of English Language Teaching
2nd Edition, Harlow: Pearson Longman (Unit 1)
Harmer, J (2007) The Practice of English Language Teaching, Harlow: Pearson Longman (Chapter 3)
Riddell, D (2010) Teaching English as a Foreign Language, Teach Yourself London: Hodder Education
(Units 1 & 27)
Scrivener J (2005) Learning Teaching, Oxford: Macmillan Education (Chapters 4, 12 and 13)
Swan M. and Smith B. (eds), (2001) Learner English, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Assignment checklist
It is sometimes necessary to resubmit assignments, often because parts of the rubric have been
omitted or the criteria have not been met. In fact, re-doing the assignment can be a useful part of
the learning process. However, some common mistakes can easily be avoided, and the list below
shows the main reasons why candidates have to resubmit Assignment 1:

the level of the learner(s) is not included


there is not enough information about learner motivation and learning styles
the profile focuses on either strengths or weaknesses. Provide a balance of both strengths
and weaknesses
learner strengths and weaknesses are not specific enough saying students are not good
at listening is not precise enough. Be specific with sub-skills and give a concrete example
of this, e.g. students find it difficult to listen for specific information when they are
listening to authentic texts, such as a news broadcast
suggestions for remedial work are not specific enough saying revise past simple verb
forms or improve intonation is not enough. Include a task from published material and
justify your choice
activities have not been submitted with the assignment
examples and quotations from interviews with the learner(s) have not been included
there are not enough references from methodology texts.