I Need Help Finding Links to Resources and Research Material

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morris1978
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I Need Help Finding Links to Resources and Research Material

Post by morris1978 » Wed Sep 01, 2004 4:47 am

Hi all, I have just registered with the forums, so would first like to introduce myself.

I have been teaching here in Asia (Taiwan) for around 3 years, mostly kids, some adults all levels from beginner to IELTs classes. I have also done some curriculum, lesson materials, and training materials development. If anyone thinks I could help him or her in the future, feel free to PM me.

I have just moved to a position as a full time writer/editor and need some help fining resources that I need to do this job well. Coming from a purely teaching background I now want to familiarize myself with other important aspects of ESL e.g. pedagogical concerns, language acquisition theories etc. I realize I am not going to become an expert, especially with my deadlines, but I still want to be confident that the decisions I make with the work I produce have some scientific reasoning.

Any links you have on the following will help me greatly (to begin with at least)
The order of grammatical morphemes acquisition.
What to teach first, then what…? From experience and looking at other curriculums I have made an attempt at an ordered language progression, but I have read mention of Krashen’s “The Natural Order Hypothesis” being based upon and supported by research, but I cannot find anywhere, that details these findings. Help please.

Long/full/complete sentences Vs Short/natural ones.
The books here are split between which they use e.g.
What did you do yesterday?
a. I watched TV yesterday.
b. I watch TV.

What does your mother like to do?
a. My mother likes to play tennis.
b. She likes to play tennis.

Is it a big ball?
a. No, it is not a big ball.
b. No, it is not. It is a small ball.

I hope those examples are enough to illustrate the difference I am getting at.
Some people have argued that way a. helps students notice the patterns and formulas in the structures quickly and makes it simpler for learners. Others (including me) argue the way b. more naturally reflects English as used by speakers outside the classroom. That it creates faster dialogues where information is offered and exchanged rather than given only by request, and in some cases that way a. is “bad English”

Does only know of any research that looks at the effects of using these different ways upon students’ progress? Does anyone know of places where this issue is discussed, debated, argued?

Thanks for reading this long post, and for any help you can offer.

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Lorikeet
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Re: I Need Help Finding Links to Resources and Research Mate

Post by Lorikeet » Wed Sep 01, 2004 7:21 am

morris1978 wrote: What did you do yesterday?
a. I watched TV yesterday.
b. I watch TV.

What does your mother like to do?
a. My mother likes to play tennis.
b. She likes to play tennis.

Is it a big ball?
a. No, it is not a big ball.
b. No, it is not. It is a small ball.

I hope those examples are enough to illustrate the difference I am getting at.
Some people have argued that way a. helps students notice the patterns and formulas in the structures quickly and makes it simpler for learners. Others (including me) argue the way b. more naturally reflects English as used by speakers outside the classroom. That it creates faster dialogues where information is offered and exchanged rather than given only by request, and in some cases that way a. is “bad English”
Sorry I don't know any research. (I'm sure someone must.)

But how about:

What did you do yesterday?
c. Watched TV.

What does your mother like to do?
c. Play tennis.

Is it a big ball?
c. No.

I think we do our students a disservice if we don't explain that there are other shorter ways to answer questions in conversations. I've had students who thought "Is it a big ball?" "No." wasn't English because you needed "No, it isn't." I explain we do that (I do it too) to help students remember patterns, but I'd never say answering "No" wasn't English.

Lorikeet

morris1978
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Location: Taiwan

Post by morris1978 » Wed Sep 01, 2004 8:33 am

Lorikeet

I agree those are probably the /most/ natural responses to those questions in isolation, but a dialogue would go:

Bill: What did you do yesterday?
Ben: Watched TV.
Bill: What does your mother like to do?
Ben: Play tennis.
Bill: Is it a big ball?
Ben: No.

Which makes Ben sound rude and/or disinterested. The way we avoid this is with follow up questions, or by supplying additional information. How this could be developed into a curriculum and taught, I do not know. It would be very complicated for beginners.

Also while this form is common in speech, it would be very uncommon in written form.

Finally as you said, answering in fragments completely hides the underlying grammar.

So now we have ways:
a. clear form, but uncommon
b. some form, quite common
c. little form, very common in speech

They all have merits, and I would enjoy discussing them. (I'm not sure if that would cause they thread to be in the wrong forum, does it matter on these boards?) Teaching often involves compromises like this one; there are times when more than one approach can be taken. I admit I have definite opinions about what is the right approach, but I am not above changing after reading/discussing the alternatives. That is why I am here.

Duncan Powrie
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Post by Duncan Powrie » Mon Sep 13, 2004 2:54 pm

Hi Morris! I have also pondered long and hard about what forms are appropriate in the printed input that we give to students.

It makes sense to "enrich" the input and/or make it explicit and quite formal (especially for those students going onto academic careers using formal written English, needing ESP), but obviously the danger with using this standard all the time for teaching general English/"conversation" is that learners can end up with forms that are functionally inappropriate or inefficient (that being said, most non-native academic types that I know don't seem to have much of a problem in paring down their English to grunty levels, especially if they have lived in English-speaking countries or had to use English communicatively in their speech).

A solution would seem to be to make liberal but consistent use of brackets etc in your materials (to show what can be contracted or omitted with little loss in meaning); you are writing a conversation or general course after all, right? - and don't therefore need to represent English as it is actually "cleanly" written in "to be read, but not aloud" non-textbook text. This is such a simple idea, but I have never actually seen it used in teaching materials, it's like everything has to be "perfect" and "just so" in textbooks, even though they mostly deal with what should be ending up as spoken, rather than written, English.

Remember though that sometimes longer can be valuable and perhaps necessary at some point to learn. Off the top of my head, request functions are one example: "Can I take Saturday off?", versus "Umm [I know we're really busy (and that this is a bad time to ask), but] (W)ould it be okay if I took Saturday off?/I was just wondering if I could take Saturday off...".

What is conceivably "harder" or more advanced/native (e.g. modals, and past progressive for "distancing" or "remoteness") could be marked - perhaps with a :twisted: - and left for the student to come back to later in a review stage, after completing the whole course; that is, "advanced" items do not necessarily need to come later in the actual book, and could indeed be on the very same page as the "simpler" (it's just, they won't be the immediate focus on that page).

I think we need to be wary of making things too natural. Guys like Carter and McCarthy can be a bit too (data-)"driven" in presenting native speaker speech (from CANCODE) as a basis/model for learning (slavish emulation if not admiration by non-natives of natives?!), and there are some areas they bang on about (for example, "tails") that would not only be very difficult for learners to master, but which do not actually seem to serve an explicit or useful communicative function. That being said, teaching and materials always should be at least data-informed; the materials should reflect the proportions of useful forms as they are actually used (e.g. in answers to yes/no questions, it is far easier for natives to simply say yes or no, so why not students too, and students will get more than enough practice in pronouns and auxiliaries when they form sentences BEGINNING with those forms, for fulfilling OTHER, MORE NECESSARY, indeed indispensible functions that really NEED to use those forms - presuming that the materials contain a representative sample and proportion of such statements).

(There is a chapter in Jack Richards's excellent The Context of Language Teaching that examines the frequency of "full" answers to yes/no questions in real life vs. teaching materials, and which concludes learners are being made to do more work than is necessary for little discernible functional benefit).

Another point: is the input explicitly to be the output? There has always been a lot of debate about how much learners need to actually speak, and not just listen, to become fully competent, and if the input is linguistically deprived, there will obviously be less to build on (or rather, to trim down to functional proportions). I guess if you get too "bitty" the students just won't have enough to go on, no matter how good their noticing, inferring etc is (which brings me back to the idea of "collapsible" models/sentences, above, which present the full range of possibilities, the long and the short forms, together).

Came across this on my travels (not specifically what you're asking for, but connected to it): http://www.cels.bham.ac.uk/resources/essays/markk1.pdf

I don't know much about research or discussion on grammatical morpheme acquisition order studies, but there was a post with some links right here on Dave's recently (perhaps by Andrew Patterson! Who he? :wink: ), but yeah, there is so much more to take account of (that will help us get away from "lockstep", structural slot-and-filler approaches, or rather, methods), such as findings from Discourse Analysis (e.g. you mentioned follow-up questions), Genre Analysis (see McCarthy's Spoken Language and Applied Linguistics), Corpus Linguistics etc.

I seem to recall Widdowson criticizing SLA research in the opening chapters of his Aspects of Language Teaching. I can't remember exactly what he said, but I do recall thinking, "Yes! I was feeling as much myself!". I am guessing that he found it a bit simplistic or reductionist, and hardly enough to base a whole syllabus upon...but then again, Widdowson, for all his eloquence, can end up sounding just argumentative and ultimately a bit of a bore himself. :D

One last thing, have you had a look at Tomlinson's book (includes a chapter on "tails", see above)? http://titles.cambridge.org/catalogue.a ... 0521574188
Last edited by Duncan Powrie on Sun Sep 19, 2004 3:21 am, edited 5 times in total.

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Lorikeet
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Post by Lorikeet » Mon Sep 13, 2004 3:39 pm

:oops: Oops, just read your initial post again, and was surprised to see my response (heh--answered too fast.) I didn't mean to imply that I would only teach a short answer in the classroom, just that I would explain other possibilities and accept shorter answers as correct for conversation, although I sometimes ask for longer answers depending on what I'm practicing.

Duncan Powrie
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Post by Duncan Powrie » Fri Sep 17, 2004 2:00 am

morris1978 wrote: So now we have ways:
a. clear form, but uncommon
b. some form, quite common
c. little form, very common in speech

They all have merits, and I would enjoy discussing them. (I'm not sure if that would cause they thread to be in the wrong forum, does it matter on these boards?) Teaching often involves compromises like this one; there are times when more than one approach can be taken. I admit I have definite opinions about what is the right approach, but I am not above changing after reading/discussing the alternatives. That is why I am here.
Wow, this is quite a discussion we're having here, morris! :lol:

fluffyhamster
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Post by fluffyhamster » Tue Nov 29, 2005 6:54 am

I tracked down the list that Andrew Patterson posted, giving the (apparent) order of the acquisition of grammatical morphemes:
http://www.eslcafe.com/forums/teacher/v ... =7194#7194

If you do a search for 'morpheme' you can find a half-dozen or more threads, one of which clearly discusses Krashen's theories.

The main reason for looking at such a list would be to remind ourselves not to expect perfect accuracy from students regarding the more fiddly of the English morphemes...it could inform established syllabuses but would hardly need to override or replace them (most syllabuses have their own internal logic, that sometimes isn't that bad).

Superhal
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Post by Superhal » Tue Dec 27, 2005 3:47 am

"Orders of Acquisition" is the body of research started by Pinneman out of MIT and is part of his "Learnability Hypothesis." This is the theory that posits people learn language in specific orders, and the proof is extremely large and extensive. Afaik, Orders of Acquisition has been proven in every language and for many parts of language, from morphemes to relative clauses. It is one of the strongest findings in the entire field, and there is no research yet that credibly refutes it.

"The Natural Approach" is a pedagogical theory formed by Krashen. His methodological theory is called "The Input Hypothesis." Part of the Input Hypothesis is often discussed separately, which is "Monitor Theory." His theory has nothing to do with Orders of Acquisition.

There is no such thing as "the Natural Order Hypothesis."

fluffyhamster
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Post by fluffyhamster » Thu Dec 29, 2005 5:48 pm

Thanks for the info, Hal! Pinneman, the name rings a bell, but it's been years since I read much on (S)LA (it's interesting, but there are lots of words and constructions to teach beyond grammatical morphemes and structures). Hmm, I wonder if the OP has stopped by Dave's in a while...

fluffyhamster
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Post by fluffyhamster » Tue Jan 10, 2006 12:34 am

Pienemann. :D :wink:

Danielprice
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Post by Danielprice » Fri Aug 20, 2010 7:40 am

Go to some of the many online encyclopedias for information about your subject. From the encyclopedia's search page, enter keywords and phrases related to your subject.

Go to sites that specialize in Internet research, such as the Argus Clearinghouse. These sites offer links to research materials, and will sometimes do your research for you.

Rp
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Post by Rp » Thu Sep 02, 2010 1:17 pm

Hi Morris: This site may help with Krashen [ www2.vobs.at/ludescher/pdf%20files/Natural%20Approachppp.pdf ] Another area you might want to try is the NCTE [ National Council of Teachers of English ] they have many many forums which may help you. Also, TESLOntario has some helpful sites and locations.

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