My Assumptions on Second Language Learning

As one of the final requirements in our subject ELT 501 Sociolinguistic and Psycholinguistic Foundations of Language Teaching taught by Prof. Alice Karaan at Philippine Normal University, I listed my assumptions on second language learning. So far, in my eight years of teaching, I have believed that these assumptions are true. These are also the bases of the activities and projects I designed for my classes. I wish to elaborate on these in more comprehensive posts.

 

Ms. Donna C. Regulto

ELT 501 (2:00-5:00 pm)

May 8, 2009

My Assumptions on Second Language Learning

  1. To make students participate actively, make them aware of the goals of each learning activity. I believe that if students understand why they do such activities, they will get involved very willingly.
  2. Teachers must adjust their wait time so that students could process the input well.
  3. Language learning activities must include real-life situations to create meaningful context and the language forms and skills would be more useful to students.
  4. Teachers need to design activities like games that encourage meaningful practice of the English patterns.
  5. In testing students’ language forms and skills, teachers can use performance-based test so that students could produce outputs in a communicative way.
  6. Teachers need to understand that learners, especially beginners, rely on their knowledge of their first language for the hypotheses about how English works so errors caused by the differences between L1 and L2 would be inevitable.
  7. Teachers need to respond carefully and appropriately to grammar errors that students commit when engaged in communication to avoid fossilization of these errors.
  8. In planning and preparing activities, teachers must assure that students can show and develop their different skills and interests.
  9. Teachers must encourage students and provide them opportunities that would help them develop their learning strategies so that learning will be easier, faster and more effective.
  10. Knowing their students’ style preferences will help teachers provide the needed instructions in various forms.
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CamSur visits Canda NHS – Senior High

Almost one hundred DepEd key officials, supervisors, and teachers from Division of Camarines Sur of Region V visited Canda National High School today. They looked on how Senior High School Program is implemented in our small school. They were curious on how a regular high school came up with enough courage to volunteer in modelling the proposed Senior High School Program. They also wanted to know the strengths and weaknesses of the program and most importantly, how the whole Senior High School struggled to continue despite the shortcomings and lacks in different aspects.

It was not the first time that teachers from other school bench-marked on the SHS Modelling Program in our school but it was the first time that a whole division from another region came to visit our remote high school. Thus, it took us a really huge preparation not only for the Senior High School Department but for the whole school as well.

The highlight of the visit was the presentation of the humble beginnings of the modelling and early implementation program. It was our pride to say that our school was the first regular public school in the whole Region IV-A CALABARZON to respond to the call of modelling the implementation. In Quezon Province, there are two other model schools but they are specialized high schools who are enjoined to implement early.

The proponent of the Senior High School Modelling Program was Mr. Jessie V. Vasquez, the former principal of the school. With a very positive outlook and a strong sense of being a risk taker, Sir Jessie accepted the challenge bravely. At his side in taking the very first steps toward the grant of permit to implement was Mrs. Marita Resurreccion, designated Senior High School Coordinator. The two of them successfully negotiated with the partner higher education institution and partner industries to sign the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on this academic cooperation.

Campaign through text, word by mouth, ‘bandilyo’, radio advertisement, and others were done. Everyone helped to disseminate the information to interested high school graduates and potential enrolees for the program. When it started in June 2013,  there were many students who enrolled but withdrew after some time. The remaining students were only 28. They were the first graduates in March 2015. We’re proud to say that they were all employed in different industries and one of them continued higher education at Computer Systems Technological College, Inc.

During the orientation program, I was the only instructor to present the best practices in teaching. I have taught Oral Communication and Research. I presented the photos of the activities conducted in these subjects and answered some inquiries. I feel elated sharing the strategies and methods I used during my teaching in consideration of the 21st Century Skills (—Digital Literacy, —Inventive Thinking, —Effective Communication, —High Productivity – NCREL & Metiri  Group, 2003) and the exits of the K to 12 Curriculum (Higher Education, —Middle Level Skills Development, —Entrepreneurship, —Employment -Department of Education).

Some of these are presented below:

Practices and Strategies in Teaching in Senior High School Model

Practices and Strategies in Teaching in Senior High School Model

Practices and Strategies in Teaching in Senior High School Model

Practices and Strategies in Teaching in Senior High School Model

Practices and Strategies in Teaching in Senior High School ModelPractices and Strategies in Teaching in Senior High School ModelPractices and Strategies in Teaching in Senior High School Model

I ended my presentation with this evaluative comment on the whole program:

“—Senior High School Modelling Program equipped high school graduates with work skills and positive attitudes to go on with life more productively. —As an instructor, I got the best opportunity to plow on a fertile land of aspiring students who want to change their lives and to become part of the labor force. —Despite of all the challenges we faced during the first two years of implementation, I still believe that SHSMP has marked a difference to the lives of the first batch of graduates.”

The CamSur visit was made possible through coordination with the Division Office of Quezon. We were glad that they mentioned positive comments after the visit according to Sir Don. This simply was a testament of the hard work and dedication of the people behind this program. 🙂

—

 

Being an English Teacher

I would like to share the transcript of the interview of my former student, Franzelle Alaine Empig, a freshman college student at Mapua. The interview happened last August 9, 2014, 5:00-7:00 pm at Greenwich, SM Manila.

  1. Question: Since when did you start teaching English? For how long have you been teaching?

Answer: I started teaching in English in June 2008. So I have been teaching for six years. I taught in Southern Luzon State University (SLSU) from June 2008 to July 2012. Then, I stopped for six months. In February 2013, I started teaching again.

  1. Question: What school are you working in right now? Where have you been staying?

Answer: I am presently teaching at Canda National High School, Sariaya, Quezon. I am currently staying at Sariaya, Quezon.

  1. Question: What characteristics do you possess for you to be good in English? Do you consider your abilities effective enough for your students? Please specify your abilities and skills when it comes to English language.

Answer: I am a voracious reader, meaning I read a lot. I read a lot of diverse reading materials like fiction, non-fiction, periodicals, online sources and even signage along the street. Second, I do write technical and creative write-ups or articles. I also write blogs and keep personal journals. I also practice my English in writing and in speaking through engaging in online and face-to-face conversation. In teaching, I speak English and try to be a role model for my students in utilizing the second language in their communication. To enhance my listening proficiency, I also listen to audio books. I also watch English movies without subtitles and Korean movies with English subtitles. Yes, I consider my abilities effective enough in encouraging my students to maximize their English language communication skills. “You cannot teach what you do not know”.

  1. Question: What is your daily routine when you are working? Do you always make lesson plans? Cite examples you do in your regular day.

Answers: Every Monday, we submit our weekly lesson plan. The lesson plan is actually flexible. It could be carried over by next week if there is an interruption on classes like typhoons, activities, etc. It is very important to make our weekly lesson plans. Metaphorically speaking, it is a crime to go to class without lesson plan. When I enter the class, the first thing to do is greet them. I encourage them to greet me and their classmates lively and in their most natural way. Afterwards, we say a prayer in English only if it is first period in the morning of the class. Then, we review the lesson from the previous sessions. Motivation is very important to activate the interest of the students. Then, the lesson proper comes next then activities. The activities must be learner-centered. These diverse activities could be conducted by groups. Then, of course, evaluation could be pen-and-paper or performance test like interpreting stories, role play, and group oral reporting. Outside the class room, these are the activities I always do: I read news online so that I can use them to bench mark on my lessons; I surf in the internet for some useful resources; and I am very much active in social media. Right now, I am trying to blog my students’ works and some effective strategies and activities that I do in teaching in English in my classes now and during the previous years. Definitely, my blog reaches not only my present students but also those who have been my students in SLSU.

  1. Question: Can you cite specific cases where you were able to accomplish something using your English skills. Does it make any changes to your life?

Answer: I passed my courses and comprehensive examinations in my graduate study, Master of Education Major in English language teaching at the Philippine Normal University (PNU). I also passed my job interviews and examinations related to teaching like the licensure examinations for teachers and qualifying examinations in Department of Education (DepEd). Of course, these brought changes in my life because I was able to teach in a prestigious university in Lucban, Quezon and to enter as a graduate student at PNU.

  1. Question: What things have pushed you to be extraordinarily well in English?

Answer: I was motivated to hone my English communication skills because, firstly, I want to read classical, contemporary and gothic novels when I was in high school. These books were not available in our public high school but I got a box of these from the boss of my aunt. Secondly, I was a math major before then I shifted in English because I felt I was inefficient in speaking in English. Thirdly, I am a campus journalist way back in high school but we wrote articles in Filipino. I want to write articles in English that is why I maximize my writing skills not only in technical writing but also in creative writing.

  1. Question: How can you say that your actions and your way of teaching stand out from the rest? Cite examples.

Answer: Most of those who have been my students remember me in my effective techniques in discussion and in teaching communication skills using theater, innovative strategies like Information and Communication and technology (ICT), differentiated instruction and procedural approach. I am guiding my students step by step so that they will not be burdened by the huge communication task or project that they will do.

  1. Question: Who is the person that inspired or influenced you to achieve your best possible English self? How did that person shape your life?

Answer: I had the best teacher in English when I was in third year high school. I was very vey fascinated by the way he talked to us and the activities that he gave us. He was also the one who coached me in campus journalism competitions and essay writing contests. Two years after high school, I met my teacher on my way to Lucban for the application for my college entrance exam. He told me to consider taking up Bachelor of Secondary Education instead of Communication Arts. I took his advice and never regret it up to now. Another person who influenced me was my college professor. He was very good at theater, literature and languages. He inspired me to become an English major because he was very effective in teaching Rizal subject and World Literature. I later joined the theater group he was advising and engaged in various cultural activities he directed.

10. Question: What lessons on importance of English proficiency have you gained from that person? Does that help you to be in where you are right now?

Answer: My teacher in high school always told our class to utilize English in order for us to keep abreast with the global demands in information and technology and the possibilities of working abroad. My college professor was always telling us that every teacher is a language teacher. That is why teachers have to be very proficient in oral and written communication skills. These reminders and lessons have helped me to be an effective English teacher in the public school.

2014-08-010

My date with Alaine at Greenwich, SM Manila.