You are on page 1of 9

Assignment - DLSC

ENGLISH SKILLS IN TWO DIFFERENT UNITS

Assignment:

FP008- Developing language skills in the classroom.

Students’ names:

Jhonny Enrique Sarmiento Pimienta


Ricardo Rendy Ramírez Muñoz

Group:

fp_tefl_2017-10_unini

July, 2018

1
Assignment - DLSC

INDEX

1. The learning theories implicit in the units. .............................................................. 3

2. Integrated Skills ..................................................................................................... 4

3. The product-process aspects ................................................................................. 5

4. The ‘authentic/genuine’ aspects............................................................................. 5

5. The issue of simplification of text ........................................................................... 6

6. The skills and the learning/practice of grammar ..................................................... 6

7. The opportunities for production (oral and written) ................................................. 6

8. The types of production required ........................................................................... 7

9. The variety (or otherwise) of the activity types ....................................................... 7

10. Which unit is the best? .......................................................................................... 7

11. Conclusions .......................................................................................................... 8

References ................................................................................................................... 9

2
Assignment - DLSC

1. The learning theories implicit in the units.

The unit from the Student's book Bachillerato Made Easy, by Richmond
Publishing, presents the majority of their exercises based upon a constructivist
conception. The central notion of this theory is that learners play an active role in
'constructing' their own meaning. Moreover, knowledge is not seen as fixed and existing
independently outside the learner. Rather, learning is a process of accommodation or
adaptation based on new experiences or ideas (Jenlick & Kinnucan-Welsch, 1999),
quoted by Le Courne & Peters (2005). That is evident when the exercises are developed
in an individual way, where the student must identify elements (reading and writing),
complete exercises (charts), answer questions (after reading), rephrase information or
find errors in sentences (grammar and error analysis), or listen to check their answers
(language section).
According to University College Dublin (n.d.), the main activity in a constructivist
classroom is solving problems. Students use inquiry methods to ask questions,
investigate a topic, and use a variety of resources to find solutions and answers. As
students explore the topic, they draw conclusions, and, as exploration continues, they
revisit those conclusions. Exploration of questions leads to more questions. Therefore,
activities are designed to be developed in an individual way; they are divided in four
different sections: reading, language, writing and wrap up, where the students use
resources such as dictionaries, texts, examples, and grammar explanations.
The unit ‘Botellón!’ from an English textbook published in the Basque Country
(2010) for teenagers is based on the socio constructivist theory, because it constitutes a
more relevant collaboration and interaction among students. In this way, learners can
participate in a group discussion and also transfer their thoughts and knowledge to the
rest of the class, creating a foundation for oral communication, which is one of the most
important aspects to consider at the time of learning a second language.
According to University College Dublin (n.d.), in social constructivist classrooms
collaborative learning is a process of peer interaction that is mediated and structured by
the teacher. Discussion can be promoted by the presentation of specific concepts,
problems or scenarios, and is guided by means of effectively directed questions, the
introduction and clarification of concepts and information, and references to previously
learned material. In this way, the activities are designed to be developed in a
collaborative way. The unit is divided in five parts (objectives, introduction, points of view,
discussion and final task). Such parts are carried out through activities, and each one
has a specific objective (Infer, defend specific points of view and express an opinion).

3
Assignment - DLSC

Group work is present when tasks are fulfilled in activities such as What is Botellon?
(brainstorming), Danger! Botellon Zone! (Answer questions with a partner), Agreeing or
disagreeing (negotiation of meaning), Watching a Debate (Identify main ideas) and Class
discussion: What can we do about Botellon? (Role for discussion, arguments and
proposals).

2. Integrated Skills

Bachillerato Made Easy


The Reading section takes into account the bottom-up strategy, which requires
to deal with unfamiliar words in the text by using a dictionary; simplification while reading
short extracts, easy phrases or sentences. Also different kinds of questions are used to
check comprehension such as truth assessment, WH questions and multiple choice
ones.
The Language section is larger than the others. In this part, the skills begin to be
integrated. It starts with a little grammar introduction about “Reported Speech;” with this
information, the exercise consists of reading, and then writing following instructions,
completing the chart (bottom up strategy), writing, and then checking the answers with
listening tracks, reading and writing a report, or reading and rewriting sentences
according to a model.
The Writing section begins with a Topic-based activity where students must give
their opinion about a good friend. Reading “Friendships: How they change” is used for
understanding text organization, identifying main ideas (skimming) and writing new texts
with previous information (Integrated reading and writing).
Finally, the Wrap up section contains listening and speaking activities; listening is
developed through pair dictation (integrated listening and writing), reception,
simplification by using chunks, comprehension through answering questions and
interpretation and speaking by means of group work.

Botellon
Speaking is practiced through brainstorm and questions about “Botellon
phenomenon.” This part takes into account the background context or students’ previous
information. Speaking is integrated with writing when in the group work, students
negotiate meaning to write a text to the class.

4
Assignment - DLSC

Reading and writing are integrated in the activities, for example, inferring, reading
for specific information, checking comprehension and identifying main ideas and writing
them, or selecting information of reading and writing them in a chart-completion exercise.
Listening and writing are integrated when discussion begins, and the students
listen to opinions and write arguments.

3. The product-process aspects

According to White and Arndt, quoted by Harris and Ball (n.d. 87), writing is a
form of problem-solving which involves such processes as generating ideas, discovering
a ‘voice’ to write with, planning, goal-setting, monitoring and evaluating what is going to
be written as well as what has been written, and searching for suitable language to
express exact meanings. Following this explanation, both units will be analyzed.
In the Writing section of Bachillerato Made Easy, the first exercises begin with a
Topic based activity where the student must write his/her opinion in an essay about What
makes a good friend? To do this, in another section the student reads a text that serves
as a foundation to generate ideas, to reinforce the input. The section includes an essay
which is aimed to understand the text organization, writer’s style, words to connect and
identify main ideas and arguments. With the previous information, students must rewrite
their essay and use the different elements that they must keep in mind. All of this is
developed in stages to monitor and evaluate (generating ideas, getting organized and
finally, checking and revising). Therefore, writing is seen as a process rather than a
product, since it is not centered in linguistic accuracy.
In Botellon Unit, writing is an exercise that is more controlled and restricted,
because it is used to complete charts with previous information, identify main ideas or
arguments of the opinions and write them following a model. It includes a rubric of
evaluation. Therefore, it is more centered in a product where accuracy is important.

4. The ‘authentic/genuine’ aspects

According to Widdowson quoted by Harris and Ball (n.d: 7), authenticity is how the
reader responds to the text, and the non-adaptation of the text is related to genuineness.
In Bachillerato Made Easy, the reading “Making and keeping friends,” which is
used to do exercises, the report about what people said, and the essay “Friendships:
How they Change” are examples of genuineness; they are not adapted. Authenticity is

5
Assignment - DLSC

clear in the essay exercise, because it encourages the students to write about their
opinion.
In Botellon, genuineness is more relevant because reading is based on the opinion
of different kind of people; the expressions and points of view give to the students a real
input. Authenticity is less present, since the reader expresses the agreement or
disagreement with the opinions of other people but not with their own words.

5. The issue of simplification of text

The text used to develop activities in both units is not simplified. In Bachillerato
Made Easy, the exercise (while reading) before the text gives clues to understand the
main idea, and the text itself does not use a basic vocabulary. It gives the opportunity to
the students to identify more relevant advice to keep friends.
In Botellon, the reading is related directly to the opinion of several people, which
means that the discourse is not simplified. In fact, the student is encouraged to focus on
the arguments and main ideas that express agreement or disagreement.

6. The skills and the learning/practice of grammar

In Bachillerato Made Easy, the exercises corresponding to the different language


skills are related to the learning and practice of grammar. It can be seen through the
opportunities students have to write sentences when transforming statements from
Quoted Speech to Reported Speech. Also when expressing coincidence and non-
coincidence by the use of rejoinders (So am I, So do I, Neither can I), the students speak
and practice this grammatical aspect.
In Botellon, the grammar component is very contextualized; it is implicit in the
cases and situations given in the text. There is also an opportunity to practice grammar
from a communicative perspective.

7. The opportunities for production (oral and written)

In Bachillerato Made Easy, there are enough opportunities for both oral and written
production. According to Richards (2006), classroom activities in CLT are designed to
be carried out in small groups, which is found in Made Easy. When students are placed
in groups to discuss about hurtful situations, they have meaningful opportunities to

6
Assignment - DLSC

practice speaking. Concerning the written component, the essay constitutes a valuable
task aimed to develop an essay where our learners’ skill to give opinions, structure their
text and establish an argument.
Botellon also provides students with the opportunity to develop their oral production
by means of pair work, which is another feature in CLT (2006). Also through the opinion-
refuting exercise, students can practice their writing in a significant way.

8. The types of production required

In both Bachillerato Made Easy and Botellon, the type of production required is
oriented towards giving opinions. The essay task in Made Easy, for instance, as well as
the group work exercise, are aimed to develop our students’ skills in terms of expressing
what they think about a specific topic. In Botellon, for example, when arguing for and
against, critical thinking is fostered. Also students’ opinions lead the process to another
stage in their interaction: problem solving, in which students are asked to analyze a
situation or dilemma and come to a decision to resolve it (Harmer, 2007).

9. The variety (or otherwise) of the activity types

Made Bachillerato Easy is more oriented to the usage of language. Grammar is


present and is constantly review. The rules of grammar are practiced in specific
exercises and they are used in order to be applied in an essay.
Botellon is more centered in using the language; the presence of communicative
situations is very constant. For instance, inferring information or intentions through
choosing an opinion and reflecting the agreement and disagreement or the final task is
a discussion where the students show their ability to identify main ideas and debate with
arguments.

10. Which unit is the best?

It depends on the objectives you want to achieve. For example, if you are more
inclined to academic purposes, Bachillerato Made Easy is a better option, because it
deals with grammar, structures, and models of questions or sentences. Another reason
is that several activities are based on the bottom-up strategy, such as exercise 1 and 2
of reading, exercise 2 –chart- of language, exercise 1 of writing -structural text- and finally
the exercise of listening and speaking with the use of expressions to facilitate interaction.

7
Assignment - DLSC

According to this strategy, the students must find specific information or main ideas or
related phrases.
If you are more inclined to communicative purposes, the best option is Botellon,
because the activities are oriented and designed in a communicative way, through
discussion, debates or reading and listening sections, which foster opinions. Group work
is more present, to exchange experiences or information.

11. Conclusions

After analyzing the two units proposed, important aspects are found in terms of
the activities and exercises designed, and the way they are carried out. Both of the units
are clear with regards to the aims students need to reach, which is a must when selecting
the material we want to implement in our work. That provides the entire group with a
defined goal, and makes us be sure about the strategies to be used and followed in class.
In both units, referents have been established. This is evident, since the
organization of the activities and exercises reflects that there are interesting contents to
work on, communicative aspects that require committed work form learners. The tasks
proposed foster wide opportunities to develop listening and speaking skills, and cover
contemporary real-world topics which are relevant to students’ lives such as friendship.
High school students have background knowledge and experience with these topics,
which enables them to share information and opinions productively.
Of course, different opinions may emerge concerning such units. Some may say
that one unit is boring compared to the other one, whereas for some others, the same
unit may be more attractive than the other one. Harmer (2007) states that coursebooks
and units in them must be seen as proposals for action, rather than instructions for action.
The context in which we work will establish how appropriate some activities and
exercises will be to our students, and therefore, we will make the decision to do them.
Likewise, we will be able to omit the tasks, which are not quite relevant and pertinent to
our class framework.

8
Assignment - DLSC

References

Botellón! (2010) English textbook. Basque Country

Fidalgo A. Fontanillo A., Mayorga I. & Dague S.(2001) Bachillerato Made Easy 2.
Student’s Book. London:Richmont Publishing. Madrid:Grupo Santillana de Ediciones,
S.A., pp. 60-67.

Harmer, J. (2007) How to teach English. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.

Harris, T & Ball, P. (n.d) Developing language skills in the classroom. Chapter one:
Teaching reading. Funiber.

Harris, T & Ball, P. (n.d) Developing language skills in the classroom. Chapter four:
Teaching writing. Funiber.

Le Courne, R. & Peters, J. (2005) Towards constructivist classrooms: the role of


the reflective teacher. Journal of Educational Enquiry, Vol. 6, No. 1, 2005. Retrieved by:
https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/b544/6a8ac29b7d34e62c957df834133bb1c3c6ac.pdf

Richards, J. C. (2006) Communicative Language Teaching Today. Cambridge:


Cambridge University Press.

University College Dublin (n.d) Constructivism and Social Constructivism in the


Classroom. Retrieved by:
http://www.ucdoer.ie/index.php/Education_Theory/Constructivism_and_Social_Constru
ctivism_in_the_Classroom