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World Language Classroom Teaching Ideas

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Vielleicht die wichtigste Entdeckung jemals ist das Zeitalter des Universums. Nur 380.000 Jahre nach dem Urknall, so berechnete Max Planck, stammt das erste Licht der Welt. Auf dieser Grundlage konnten wir feststellen, dass das Universum 13,8 Milliarden Jahre alt sei, plus oder minus 0,05 Milliarden Jahren.
Alter des Universums (Urknall) - etwa 13,8 milliarden Jahre her
Mikrowellenstrahlung aus der Zeit - etwa 380.000 Jahre nach dem Urknall
Entstehung von Leben auf Erde - 3,8 Milliarden Jahre her
Uranus Umlaufzeit 84,33 Jahre = 30.801 Tage = 1.848.060 Stunden = 110.883.600 Sekunden
0,38 Jahre = 138,8 Tage = 8.328 Stunden = 499.680 Sekunden
3,8 Jahre = 1.388 Tage = 83.280 Stunden = 4.996.800 Sekunden
38 Jahre = 13.880 Tage = 832.800 Stunden = 49.968.000 Sekunden
83,008 Jahre = 30.318 Tage

1 liter = 33,8 oz. (USA)
1 liter = 33,8 oz. (USA)
1,13 liter = 38 oz. (USA)
1.083 liter = 38,1 oz. (GB)
3,8 liter = 1,00 gallon
30,30 liter = 8,00 gallon
-18.33 grad Celsius = -1 grad Fahrenheit
1 grad Celsius = 33,8 grad Fahrenheit
3.33 grad Celsius = 38 grad Fahrenheit
38 grad Celsius = 100 grad Fahrenheit
Masse118 oz. (GB) = 113 oz. (USA)
108 gram = 3,8 oz. (GB)
1,38 kilo = 3,038 pfund
8,31 kilo = 18,3 pfund
38 kilo = 83,8 pfund
83 kilo = 183 pfund
Geschwindigkeit (max)83,138 M/St = 133,8 Km/St
Energie0,318 Kalorien (Lebensmittel) = 1.330 Joule
103,138 Kilowatt = 138,310 Pferdestärken (USA)

Fläche8,183 Quadratmeter = 88,081 Quadratfuß
MenschWährung1 Euro (NL) = 1,38 US Dollar (beste jemals)

3 miles/gallon = 13,89 km/liter
78,38 miles/gallon = 33 km/liter

Länge1 meter = 3.3 Fuß (feet)
33.833 meter = 111 Fuß
118.3 meter = 388.1 Fuß
3 centimeter = 1,18 Zoll (inches)
3,81 centimeter = 1,5 Zoll
8,081818... centimeter = 3,181818... Zoll

A clear link is establish between this chapter (Mastering ESL/EFL Methods, chapter I) and the last one (Strategies for teaching English learners, chapter 10) in this workshop, when the authors emphasize that "educators must be fully aware of the influence that a CLD student's biography, especially his or her culture, has on his or her preferred learning processes, language use, and performance potential in the classroom". Central to the book (it now turns out) stand the Prism Model with its four dimensions. After some extra reading I am starting to see how important this model has become for teacher who want to do right to CLD students by also minding the cognitive development in L1 of the child. I would now consider the cognitive dimension the more central one, while the other three are surrounding ones. Having this model as a thoroughly cognitive one now makes much more sense to me. The social and cultural processes cannot be central since cognitive development could happen regardless of which exact social and cultural processes. This latter term could better be called 'L1+L2 social and cultural development' since this development involves a specific adaptation to the new environment a CLD student operates (develops) in. I would like to hear what other students think of this proposed change to the model.

The chapter further neatly hammers out the facets of social acculturation, specified for schooling. It would furthermore be very interesting to relate these facets more clearly to stage of linguistic and academic development.

In my department we use graphic organizers to have students categorize their thinking and I welcome this handy overview to get more inspiration. I have seen how organizers help students make sense of material and build connections where they didn't see any before. As some have said here, the danger is that very soon organizers because too overwhelming if they aren't very straightforward. A danger of not offering several different organizers for students to pick from is that he teacher thinks that the person being taught is his/her handiwork: students are free, i.e. self-referential beings, until their independence at graduation or later. With that in mind I always give students the option of creating their own organizer instead of the one(s) I am providing. 

The human interaction organizer, for example, is not immediately clear to me, however it does depict the communication process itself as taking place independent of the persons. I believe this is correct, as in: communication always goes in unexpected directions, essentially following a logic inherent to communication itself, and especially in language classes, this could free students from a preoccupation with themselves. So only if there is enormous gain involved in understanding how an organizer works it is worth risking some initial confusion.

Presence of Media in Classrooms

On Monday I will hold a presentation on the benefits of having on-hand media for the language-learning high school student. On-hand, because they are not hidden any longer, as they were last year, usually in the form of smart phones. Now, they are visible and useful, but to what degree exactly?

To answer this broad question I suggest taking an approach that covers the most important aspects of our life: time, place and people. Time learning the target language is spent outside of the classroom, while classroom time might be spent on crunching a lot of work into sparse minutes. Classroom activities had been assisted by overhead and then projectors, but now are individualized since students use their own device on which they also check emails and do other personal stuff. The Chromebook takes over the place of learning to an unforeseen degree (an estimated 40% and over) of a student’s average class period attention. People are more often inside the Chromebook than surrounding a student physically. The sheer number of people inside the Chromebook makes it easy to discard the 20-some students physically present.

Let’s look a bit closer, though. What happens in the student’s head? What happens to his thoughts? Perhaps it is safe to say that students will either prioritize social life (parents, friends, he-said-she-said, sports, dates, parties, etc.) or stuff (games, sports, cars, house, degrees, money in general, etc.). There are those who prioritize storytelling but usually high-schoolers are too young to have developed a strong sense of this more ephemeral aspect.

Once a student reaches his or her senior year, it will be easier to reflect on what they have learned in high school so far. They will then discover that they have spent too much time on either thinking about social life, or about stuff. We call this reflection important, because it takes anyone toward the storytelling phase: what is my life going to look like, and more importantly, is the answer to that still fully under my control? From that point on the student will find amazement in any of the eight grand societal systems.

Wait, but how is this important for our initial question, does on-hand technology enhance learning for language learners in high school? Well, the answer can now be easily given: as long as a student is helped in his process of self-reflection, it will benefit him or her. I think it is entirely possible that students will start to reflect on their life/career purpose earlier on, and therefore can attain a deeper kind of reflection. If such reflection does not take place, and the hand-on device becomes the distraction everyone fears it will be, the results may be devastating. One thing is clear: if a student has to figure this out on his own, he will fail. He has to be guided.

For this reason I wrote the book 138: Shortcut To Beyond, which explains why such a guide is so important, and views the entrance of a different role of technology from an autobiographical (better: autoethographic) viewpoint. The book lays down a simple overview of society, carefully carves out its limits, and its freedom within those limits. That approach will go a lot longer way than the haphazard one, where single apps are shown to be beneficial for the opportunities they provide.

Case at hand: Flipgrid. Flipgrid has students respond to a prompt through video. Students and teacher can then provide feedback through video and writing. It can be said to create community instantly, since a single teacher prompt has students watch at least 10 other students’ entries and provide feedback to 2, while receiving feedback from at least 1 other student. It does not create new ways of expression although it certainly is new to students who don’t like their face in video. Exposure to target language is increased by viewing other students’ videos. However, other than the teacher speaking near-native in the prompt, there is no exposure to native or authentic language. It is also very laborious for a teacher to provide feedback to every student separately, depending on the limitations for student output built into the prompt (i.e. if the output is simple, it would be less laborious to listen to each student’s entry). The best thing is that student have fun adding funny accessories to their screen capture of the video. This fun is related to students being able to ‘dress up in drag’ and being provided with options for stylization, i.e. being someone else for a while. This part is important since any platform that revolves around profiles has largely been successful for this same option.