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Messages - KiChan Park

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The attached file is lesson plans for the unit for teaching how to write an email in English.
In this unit, lesson plans for instructions for audience and genre awareness as well as for a standard format of email are included.

This is an outline of a lesson in which “Education” is a topic of the day. This lesson can be a part of a reading class for college students.

1. The teacher asks the students about what they think of the education system of their country. The students will discuss the pros and cons of their system in groups first, then they will take part in a whole class discussion.

2. The teacher sends out a printed copy of this article. Then, the students are asked to read it in the classroom.

3. The teacher draws a table below on the blackboard. Then, he/she asks the students to draw this table on their notebook and to fill in the blanks of the table discussing with their group members.

Country                      Strengths              Weaknesses
South Korea
(Students' country)

4. Each group turns in the table they filled in to the teacher. The teacher selects one or two among the submitted tables and asks the groups who made these selected ones to present the result of their group discussion.

5. The teacher asks each group to develop an ideal education system for their country through a group discussion. Then, each group presents their idea to the class.

6. The students are asked to compare the different education systems that each group suggested. Then, they choose the best system through a discussion or discuss the pros and cons of each system.

Extensive Reading / Re: Extensive Reading Idea: Social Justice Unit
« on: May 06, 2015, 06:12:52 PM »
I have a thought about this unit using Michael Sandel’s book “Justice”.

The attached file is a discussion guide for a reading class in which the book "Justice" is used. This class will be appropriate for college ESL/EFL students. If you open the file, you will be able to see plenty of questions which teachers can use for classroom discussion after reading the book.

Of course, it would be neither efficient nor interesting if teachers depend solely on these questions during all of their class hours. These are my ideas about using this material.

1. The students are asked to read a chapter of “Justice” or watch one of these ten lectures.

2. A teacher makes groups of two or three. Then, each group is assigned to do research about a philosopher who would be addressed in each chapter of the book (or each unit of the lectures).

3. The group presents the results of their research in the classroom.

4. The other students ask questions about the group’s presentation.4. The teacher asks the students about the contents of the reading or one of Dr. Sandel’s lecture.

5. The teacher provides some of the questions in the attached file. Then, the students do a group discussion on the given questions and present the results of the discussion to the whole class.

6. It would be better if the teacher can find questions which are closely related to the students’ current life. These questions will be used efficiently complementing this material.

This is an idea about an English reading class for college students.
Some students are interested in going to a graduate college after their graduation from the college. Others may feel interest planning about their future. Thus, this lesson can be useful for these students. Also, this lesson can give a valuable chance for a kind of extensive reading and writing (based on an interesting topic) that may be helpful for all students.
<Selecting a university>
1. The teacher shows a picture of a university in a big city and of another in a small town. Then, he/she lets the students discuss the pros and cons of these two university. Through this activity, the students can be familiarized with the topic of the lesson.

2. The teacher gives an assignment of choosing two universities where the students want to enter based on the information they collected from the websites of the universities and the departments.

3. In the next lesson, the teacher pairs up the students. Then, the teacher gives a worksheet on which the things that should be considered when choosing a university are listed (such as cost of living, environment, financial assistance, and the strengths and weaknesses of the department). After that, one of each group is asked to ask questions to his/her partner in order to fill up the worksheet with the information his/her partner presents. Two of each group take turn for this activity.

4. All the students are requested to present what they identified through the group work (i.e., the information about the universities and departments to which their partners want to be admitted) to the whole class. Then, the whole class gives some advice for choosing one between two options based on what they figured out from the presentation.

<Applying for a university>
1. The teacher pairs up the students again and asks each student to know at which university and department his/her partner want to study. Then, the teacher gives an assignment in which the students are asked to collect the data about the application requirements and procedures of the department at which their partners want to study. In the class, the groups are gathered again, and each of the groups does a role of an expert of university application and provides information that his/her partner want to know about through giving answers to their partner’s questions.

2. After that, the teacher makes the students practice writing a resume. At first, the teacher presents what kinds of information should be included in a resume showing a sample resume. Then, the students are asked to write their own curricular vitae. They turn in this resume, and the teacher gives feedback on it.

3. The teacher passes out several Statement of Purpose (SOP) samples to the students. Then, he/she asks the students to choose the best one among many. After that, the teacher asks the students to identify what features of the SOP they chose made it better than the others. After that, the teacher explains the organization and rhetoric of a good SOP.

4. The teacher discusses the strategies and skills for writing a good SOP.

5. The teacher asks the students to write their own SOP. Then, the students submit it to the teacher, and the teacher gives brief feedback on it.

I have been thinking of English Literature courses for EFL students instead of that for students whose major is “English Literature”. In this course, choosing appropriate literary works that are related to students’ interest is really important. However, in fact, it’s a really difficult part of syllabus design especially if English teachers are not experts of English Literature. Thus, the link below will provides a useful guideline for selecting appropriate books. I think that, in a formal language courses that compose of lessons for 16 weeks, teachers can deal with two or three books. This list of “social issues in English literature” will offer a useful guideline for selecting appropriate book which deals with target students’ interest. Also, the published book illustrated in the list will provide helpful information for understanding the literary works that will be addressed in the course.
This is a general outline of the above-mentioned literature class.

1. Warm-up
   - Discussing topics or chapters of the book
   - Recalling related experience and presenting it in a group or in front of the class
   - Doing research about the author and the background of the story

2. Before reading
   - Teaching difficult words (not all but some that are necessary to know)
   - Predicting the story of a new chapter based on what they have read
   - Predicting the story of a new chapter after reading just several paragraphs of the beginning of the chapter

3. Doing reading: homework
   - Checking difficult vocabulary or what they do not understood

4. After reading
   - Answering comprehension questions that the teacher provides
   - Presenting what they understood to their partners
   - Discussing the connotations of a word
   - Discussing the plots, characters, settings and point of view
   - Criticizing the author’s perspective
   - Discussing their opinions on the issues dealt with in the book

5. Assessment
   - Several multiple choice questions about the overall contents of the book (for checking whether the students have read the book or not)
   - Writing a reflection paper after reading the book
   - Group presentation about what the author says in the book

In my home country (Korea), when language teachers make an achievement test for the courses they teach, they only use the reading passages from the textbooks or the materials which were read or addressed in the class. Thus, all the reading passages in a reading test are not new texts but the texts with which the students were already engaged before. For that reason, what is assessed in a test is how much the students remember well the teacher's comments on the reading passages in the textbooks and the teaching materials rather than their actual reading skill which is needed when they read a new text.

This phenomenon seems awkward, but I think that there are some reasons for doing this.
First of all, if a teacher lets his students read a new text in an achievement test for a reading course, the students' scores would probably be from their underlying reading competence rather than the teacher's instruction. (For example, even though a teacher teaches about skimming strategy in the class, students who have good command of English can find the main points of a text more easily than others who are not able to use skimming strategy skillfully due to their limited English proficiency.) Thus, the students might feel that they do not need to listen to the teachers' instruction carefully in the class because they can think that the instruction may not give significant influence to the scores they would get in the test.
Secondly, presenting new reading passages seems unfair for the students whose original proficiency is lower than the others. Actually, language learning is a really slow process, so it is hard to see learners' improvement in a short period of time (e.g., during a semester) in many cases. Therefore, if a teacher presents new reading passages in an achievement test, there is great possibility that the students whose original competence was good would get a high score in the test. In other words, it means that the students who did not have sufficient competence before the starting of the semester would have lower possibility to get a good grade in the course no matter how much hard they make an effort. (This is more problematic because many educational institutions in Korea are forcing English teachers to use norm-referenced test.)

Therefore, I think that the test scores do not reflect well the students' actual reading skill, and it is also not possible to check the improvement of the students' English reading skill during a semester. Also, I think that the achievement tests do not provide positive washbacks for developing the students' reading skill. (Usually, it makes the students memorize or focus on what was told by the teacher in the class rather than motivates them to improve their overall L2 reading skill.)

Nevertheless, it is not easy to use new passages in an achievement test in Korea due to the reasons mentioned above.

Thus, I wonder whether the contexts of other countries are similar to that of Korea or not. What are the sources of the reading passages of your reading test?
Also, I hope to hear your opinions about which one you think more desirable between using familiar texts and using new texts in an achievement test for L2 reading course.

One of the greatest dilemmas for me regarding assessing students' performance is whether a teacher should assess the contents of the students' work. Thus, my concerns on this problem have had me hesitate using direct and integrative assessments in the English courses that I taught.

I think that, sometimes, teachers need to give assignments which require the students' reflection. For example, a teacher can ask his students to write a reflection paper after reading a short story. (Hedgcock and Ferris (2009) claim that this type of assignment (reading journal) can be an alternative way for assessing reading.)
In that case, the students might write what they felt or learned after reading the story.  Then, the teacher need to give a grade or score for this assignment. In this situation, should the teacher give a grade based only on the quality of the students' work such as accuracy, organization or appropriate use of language, or should the teachers' evaluation on the contents of the students' products be included in the assessment?

Personally, I feel that it is neither possible nor desirable for teachers to totally disregard the contents of their students' writing or speaking because I think that teachers should value their students' efforts for deep thinking which they exerted conducting the assignment. However, the problem is that I'm not sure whether I am eligible to make a judgment on students' different ideas (i.e., the contents).

Thus, my questions are:
1) Should the contents of students' work also be evaluated together with the quality of their use of a target language in language courses?
2) How can we make a reasonable and reliable rubric for assessing contents? Is it possible to make it?

I like Omid's idea. It would be really fun to talk about the movies about the space. Ss would be more motivated to read the article after they participate in this activity.

The teacher can ask their students present what they know about astronomy. For example, The teacher can ask the students present the information about planets they are familiar with. By doing this, the students could not only learn some vocabulary that may be required for the reading but also activate their schema before reading the article.

The attached file is a lesson plan for young kids (10~11 years old) using a fairy tale "The Three Little Pigs".

In this lesson, teachers can teach the concept of 'narrative mode' or 'point of view' using the "The Three Little Pigs Story" that was written from the wolf's perspective.

Postreading Activities / A lesson plan for an English Literature class
« on: February 07, 2015, 02:03:11 PM »
In the context of my home country, when many college students want to take English Literature courses, they expect to improve their English skills through taking the course rather than to learn about the literature. However, in the reality, in most English Literature courses, teachers/professors only focus on analyzing texts or teaching the contexts of literary works neglecting students’ needs as the way they were taught English Literature by their teachers/professors when they were young. I agree that teaching L2 literature is also necessary because it gives valuable insights on life and society to readers, but I believe that, at least, one of the aims of L2 literature courses should be improving the students’ English skills. Based on this philosophy, I designed a lesson in which colleges students in an EFL context are expected to have opportunities to improve their English reading, speaking, listening and writing skills while they are engaged with various types of tasks.

Topic of the unit: Love

Materials: Movie “Ever After” (a Cinderella story), and Alice Munro’s “How I Met My Husband”

Context: This is a lesson of Introduction to English Literature. Most of the students are college students whose major are not English Literature, but they chose this course to have chances to improve their English skills while taking this course.

<First lesson>

This is a lesson about “novel”. In the previous lesson, the students were asked to watch the movie “Ever After (a Cinderella story)” in their homes. (In other words, watching the movie was an assignment. Because one of the course objectives is to improve the four language skills, I think that there is no reason for teachers to not use media to provide aural input to the students.)

1. T asks Ss to discuss what they felt watching the movie or the morals of the movie in groups and then in a whole class discussion.

2. T asks Ss to make groups of four and requests each group to write down 10 beautiful and romantic English words. Then, T asks each group to write a beautiful love story collaboratively using those 10 words for 20 minutes. In this part, T asks Ss to mandatorily include the setting of a story, a protagonist’s crisis or a conflict between characters, and the ending. In order to make this task more communicative and collaborative, T asks group members to rotate the role of a typist or a writer whenever they write up a paragraph.

3. After writing a story, Ss present their stories and choose the most beautiful or impressive story among them.

4. T asks Ss to read the first two pages of Alice Munro’s “How I Met My Husband” and request them to predict what would happen in the next part.

5. T asks Ss to read the whole story at their homes as an assignment.

[<Second lesson>
1. T makes groups of four and asks students to discuss what they felt while reading the story in their groups. T also asks them to compare and contrast teenage heroines in Alice Munro's story and in the Cinderella story. Then, T requests them to compare and contrast the points of view of the teenage girls in Alice Munro's story and in the movie. After that, each group present the result of their group discussions to the class.

2. T asks Ss to think how they feel about the story of the movie after reading the short story. (Group and whole class discussions.)

3. T introduces the themes of Allice Munro’s other stories and analyze the meanings of several important sentences in the story.

Not like many other people, I have not read the Harry Potter series. Also, haven’t watched any of the Harry Potter movies. (Actually, I watched the first episode when it was released 15 years ago, but I do not remember the content at all.) Thus, my ideas from the perspective of a reader who do not know the Harry Potter story at all.
1. Drawing pictures
Because Harry Potter story is a novel, readers imagine the situations or the events which are described in the story by the author in their minds while they read it. Therefore, after reading a chapter or several chapters, a teacher can ask his/her students to draw a picture of a particular setting or character. For example, after reading chapter 1 of the first book of the Harry Potter series, a teacher can let his students draw Mr. and Mrs. Dursley’s house which is a setting of the chapter based on the description presented in the book. This activity can be a group work, then group members may need to interact each other while drawing a picture of it. Also, it would be fun to compare different groups’ pictures especially if the students didn’t watch the movie and it is made solely by their imagination.
2. Assuming the reasons of odd things and predicting the next events after the current chapter
If a student does not know the story at all, he may feel really curious about the reasons of the odd the settings or the events that are presented in the chapter 1 because he does not have the background knowledge. (And, the author might expected that readers would figure out the reasons of those things later reading the subsequent chapters.) Therefore, at this moment, a teacher can ask his student assume the reasons of the odd situations (i.e., Why people were wearing cloaks walking on the street? Why were the owls flying around the town during the day?) or predict the next events after the chapter 1.

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