Effortless English Archives

Automatic English For The People

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Ideal Class Revisited

by AJ

Recent comments from Bee's students in Brazil.. plus great discussions in my classes this week (especially BAS)... plus my own experiences with Spanish/Thai... have led to a number of new ideas concerning my approach to teaching:

First, a comment from Jean:
Because all of the students will not read a book and will not see a movie every two weeks in a language that they only understand a bit...

In the beginning, I think that they will love your methods, but in the middle of the year, they will get more and more tired... Because this method is very similar of doing a blog, and this is what we were and are doing this year. In the beginning we were very keen on doing a blog but at the end of the year we just...were fed up having to post every week about what we have learn in English. Is not because we are lazy. but because we just can't support doing a same thing all year...

When we go on computer is to talk with our friends by msn, or is to play, listening to music. And this is the same thing for your students : when they turn on the TV, they want to see a film that they understand, they want to see something, with not a dictionary at their side to look for some definitions, some words that they have not understood....

Next, some quotes from a summary of the research regarding the power of free reading (FVR) or "silent sustained reading" (SSR), from Dr. Stephen Krashen:

*Students prefer SSR to regular instruction (Dupuy, McQuillan)
*Fewer discipline problems when SSR is done
*SSR works for L1 and L2
*SSR works for all ages studied so far
*SSR works with graded readers (Mason)
*Supplementation with correction/grammar doesn't help (Mason)
*Supplementation with writing doesn't help (Mason)
*Supplementation that makes reading more comprehensible, interesting can help (Shin, Manning) [Discussion, book clubs, etc.]
*More reading > better writing
*More reading > better TOEFL performance (Constantino, SY Lee, KS Cho; Gradman & Hanania)
*Direct encouragement > more reading (Shin; under certain conditions)
*No evidence supporting the use of lexiles (Krashen) [ie. dictionaries]
*Each day, not a lot once a week (distributed, not massed)
* comics ok
* magazines ok
* graded readers ok for FL, ESL
* "easy" books ok
* "hard" books ok

I see many interesting parallels between Jean's comments and the research implications cited by Krashen. Also, Jean's comments are similar to those made by several of my BAS students. And these, in turn, mirror some recent experiences Ive had while learning Spanish and Thai (especially Spanish).

See the previous posts above for the conclusions Ive reached.