The self-styled ‘bad boy’ of language teaching, Thomas Farrell, dropped by my office to take about self reflection. What do we do in the classroom and, importantly, WHY do we do it? Who are YOU as a teacher and what do YOU bring into the classroom?
Start adding this reflective practice regularly to your professional life and you’ll be surprised at the difference it can make to your personal and professional development.
Also a good lesson about having a safety net. I recorded this with my fancy MICs but the recordings failed for some reason, so this is based on my phone back-up recording. Phew….
Plurals are easy, right? There’s one or there’s more than one… pretty straight forward. “All”, “every”, “All the” “each” – that’s pretty simple too, isn’t it? Well, hold on to something sturdy as Eytan Zweig gets you to think a little deeper about how we both form and understand language.
The literal meaning (semantics) and the meaning of the use (pragmatics) of the language is a vital part of how we communicate in real life. So, let’s a show like this is chomping at the bit to dig down into this topic.
Keywords: ESL, EFL, TESOL, TEFL, CELTA, DELTA, pragmatics, semantics, linguistics, language, second language, teaching, learning, English, Israeli, Hebrew, bilingual, mulitlingual, York, University of York, UK, England, cognition, Eytan Zweig,
This episode, we start with a little experiment and get more interactive. Let us know what country you thought the music originated in at @MOTcast with the hashtag #motesol . I’ll put up the results on www.mastersoftesol.com
Andrew Ewan MacFarlane is a lecturer at University of York in the Department of Language and Linguistic Science and a sociolinguist. We spent a while flipping back and forth between accents and dialects, reminiscing about Margaret Thatcher, thinking about unobtrusive kiwis and kangaroos, gettin’ daaaan wit da yoof o’ London innit, and playing “Name That [Country of Origin] Tune”.
This was one of my favourite interviews so far and hopefully inspires more than a few listeners to get deeper into the subject.
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Once again, I got lost in the labyrinthian corridors of the University of York Language & Linguistic Science department, this time to speak to Tamar Keren-Portnoy about first language acquisition. There’s a lot of similarities between how we learn our first language and how we acquire our second language, so it’s a useful topic for ESL / EFL / second language teachers.
She gives us insights into such things as how babies develop syntax/grammar norms, why they learn some words earlier than others, how babies are not simply mimicking their caretakers and, through her own research with Rory DePaolis & Marilyn Vihman, how babies learn through listening and the sounds they themselves make.
You may remember Marilyn Vihman from episode 9 of MOT.
Later in the year, I’ll release a mini-episode about the developmental stages of babies.
Key words: baby, babies, acquisition, teaching, learning, babbling, language, babbling, cooing,
This episode, I speak to University of York’s Heather Marsden about the controversial Critical Period hypothesis. This theory suggests that there is a limited age at which we can learn a second language, after which it grows increasingly difficult. Anecdotally, we assume this to be true – kids are sponges for language while older people struggle – but what does the research say about this?
This episode is simply a bite-sized introduction to a much larger topic, so I encourage you to search around for other perspectives on this subject.
Heather Marsden @ University of York
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L1 – first/native language
L2 – second language
input – any exposure to the L2
interference – where the L1 grammar, vocab or pronunciation affects or negatively influences L2 production
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I’m alive! Back after five months with a quickie that (hopefully) gives us a foundation for a deeper look at this topic later this year with a real expert.
We’re looking at TESTING & EVALUATION – The main priciples in this episode:
Lots of info comes from this excellent book:
As teachers, we need to be aware of how students are learning. Different brain systems need to work together in order to retain information and, most importantly, integrate it into existing systems. So, what is the best approach for teachers to give the best chance for students to improve? Stephen van Vlack slices open the brain (metaphorically) to show us how the different brain systems interact and the most effective ways for students to improve.
This is one of the more difficult subjects we’ve tackled on MOT, but Stephen breaks it down into an understandable view of how information and perception affects language learning and retention. Read the rest of this entry »
Here’s another 8 minutes from Stephen van Vlack on how the brain works when we learn – or perceive – new things, including how learning a second language affects the native language.
The whole “blue/black-white/gold” dress photo that’s been doing the rounds in the last week or so reminded me of a very interesting point about language and perception of color.
As the dress debate went global and multilingual, perhaps not all of the disagreement on the colours may be down to how an individual’s brain is interpreting light information from the eyes. For decades, linguists have gone back and forth over whether the names for colours affect how we perceive them.
Think about it: red wine, red hair, robin red breast – these are all colour-specific descriptions that are inaccurate at best. Or, at least, they’re inaccurate now. Just a few centuries ago, “orange” as a range on the colour spectrum was simply part of “red” without a named colour category of its own. White wine, black eye… there are many examples in everyday language where the description of colour clearly doesn’t match the reality.
In class, we point behind us to represent the past. Forward for the future. But, other than Total Physical Response, how else can we use gestures?