As a consequence of the growing interest in digital technologies, a recent field of research has emerged, which investigates the use of recent technologies in language learning: Mobile Assisted Language Learning (MALL). Although research studies have demonstrated that mobile technology is an effective tool for improving different English language skills, the majority of MALL studies focus on vocabulary acquisition and speaking skills, whereas grammar learning and writing skills are underrepresented. As an English for Academic Purposes (EAP) instructor who seeks to engage her learners with the aid of MALL activities, especially given the current pandemic context, I was driven by the question: What is the potential of MALL in teaching English Language Learners (ELLs) academic writing? In light of the theoretical foundations of MALL (e.g., Continue Reading →
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The aim of this paper is to discuss choices available to language practitioners in connection to corrective feedback in second language (L2) writing. Using the results of some empirical studies and prominent second language acquisition (SLA) theories on corrective feedback (CF), we will address the benefits and limitations of implicit and explicit feedback types, peer feedback and self-correction, reactive and proactive feedback, and finally focused and unfocused feedback. In each section, some practical recommendations are made to help L2 teachers better deal with CF in language learning classrooms.
SLA theories underpinning CF
Two theories that are widely used in L2 research on CF are Cognitive Approach and Sociocultural Theory (SCT). Continue Reading →
Explicit instruction technique helps to facilitate genre-based pedagogy in tertiary level L2 writing courses. This paper will focus more on pedagogical experiences rather than research and assessment perspectives. In the case of L2 teaching, explicit and implicit instruction techniques are not ‘either-or’ options, instead ‘but-also’ techniques for developing writing skills in L2. However, the decision of the focus on either of the method depends on the course context and the level of the students. This article will elaborate on how direct instruction helped in-course planning and student’s L2 writing strategy building. This paper will also highlight how using models minimized students’ knowing-doing gap, and finally, how teacher mediation and scaffolding created an opportunity for dialogue through feedback. Continue Reading →
This Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS) funded adult ESL Literacy Project of the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board is in the midst of piloting a new delivery model of adult ESL Literacy instruction based on the 2016 ESL for Adult Literacy Learners (ESL for ALL) document. The Literacy Researcher guided four team members through intensive ESL Literacy training in the first year of the project. Now, these instructors are running specialized classes that target specific learning strategies ESL Literacy learners need in order to be successful participants in their classes, with PBLA and in their daily lives.
Our TESL Ontario Conference poster presented the learning strategy of highlighting specific information required to answer WH-questions. Continue Reading →
The objective of this research study was to analyze B.A. students’ writers’ identity based on their narratives. The theory for this research was based on the poststructuralist perspective of identity and on theoretical concepts for personal narratives. For the methodology, the Case Study approach was taken into account. Students argued that a writer creates stories and contexts. Hence, students see themselves as apprentices that like to write, but not as writers. For the participants, there is a difference between a teacher that writes and a writer, and also none of the participants mentioned academic texts as writing. For them, writing is related to tales, poetry, and fiction.
El objetivo de este estudio fue el de analizar la identidad como escritores de estudiantes de licenciatura en idiomas con base en sus narrativas. Continue Reading →
In this paper, I will demonstrate how the reciprocally-supported development of linguistic knowledge and writing expertise can be achieved in a college-level foreign-language classroom. To that end, I will address the theoretical interplay between systemic functional linguistic (SFL) concepts and task-based language teaching (TBLT) as a means to enrich the fields of teaching writing in a foreign language. To date, SFL approaches to second language (L2) pedagogies such as TBLT have been rather rare in second language acquisition (SLA) research. Due to the traditional boundaries between the disciplines of SLA and L2 writing (Ortega, 2012), language development (the writing-to-learn dimension) and writing development (the learning-to-write dimension) have been investigated separately (Manchón, 2011). This article therefore argues that for some of the core yet still insufficiently explored issues in the fields of SLA—the reciprocally-supported development of linguistic knowledge and writing expertise—linking the SFL theory to the idea of TBLT may help language teachers to develop a more realistic idea of how writing can be taught on the one hand, Continue Reading →
As a grade-one teacher in a Toronto inner city elementary school for over 30 years, I have had the privilege of teaching a wide range of second language learners with a variety of different L1s. Most of these young learners were in the emergent writing stage. Emergent writing is a developmental stage of writing that all young L1 and L2 writers pass through. Emergent writers are beginning to understand that print carries a message and they may be familiar with many concepts about print simply from living in a print rich environment (Clay, 1988). These writers may use pictures, single letters to represent words, and inventive spelling to communicate their messages. Literacy acquisition in an L2 is a highly complex process, Continue Reading →
The goal of this paper is to discuss the concept of a task as a pedagogical activity used in the second language (L2) classroom for the purpose of developing the communicative competence of L2 learners. The term task has been widely used in the field of applied linguistics (see e.g., Bygate, Skehan & Swain, 2001; Lightbown & Spada, 2010; Long, 2014; Nunan, 2004; Willis & Willis, 2007). The Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLBs), a document that represents a Canadian language standard for teaching and assessment of English as a Second Language (ESL) in Canada, lists task-based instruction as one of its guiding principles (Center for Canadian Language Benchmarks (CCLB), 2012, p. IX). In addition, Portfolio-Based Language Assessment (PBLA), a new type of assessment recently introduced in federally and provincially funded ESL classes in Canada, Continue Reading →
Within three years of immigrating to Canada, I was fortunate to be hired in a GTA community college teaching English for Academic Purposes (EAP). I enjoyed the camaraderie of my colleagues and students as I progressed in my new job, but I also began to experience uncomfortable incidents which propelled me on the journey towards Translingualism.
Having been born and bred in Singapore, the formal English variety I learned in school was Singapore English, which was essentially based on British English, and the informal variety I spoke at home was Singlish, a melange of English, Mandarin, Hokkien, Malay and Tamil. Therefore, I tend to pronounce words differently from Canadian English and rely heavily on the British lexicon. Continue Reading →
For decades, writing and writing instruction have often been viewed from a learning-to-write perspective; within this perspective, writing should be taught when students’ second language (L2) development is sufficiently settled. Recent research, however, shows that writing has a major role in promoting L2 development; from this writing-to-learn perspective, writing is seen as a tool for language learning (Manchón, 2011) that allows L2 learners to integrate new knowledge, test hypotheses, and automatize knowledge (Williams, 2012). Also, within this perspective corrective feedback (CF) provided by teachers facilitates language learning (Bitchener & Ferris, 2012).
Corrective feedback is defined as any indication to the learners that their use of the target language is incorrect (Lightbown & Spada, 2013). In writing, CF is concerned with incorrect grammatical or lexical use of the target language, Continue Reading →
“But I did everything you said and my grade is still low…” If you teach writing in an ESL or EAP class is quite likely that you routinely have a handful of students expressing their disappointment at the grades they receive. Teaching academic writing is of particular interest in my teaching setting, an EAP language program for international students who intend to pursue a masters in Education. While process writing is reinforced in my course, I often find that my students are feeling ineffective and frustrated with their writing progress. In order to help them develop their writing skills and nurture their confidence as writers I started using dynamic assessment (DA). In this article, I will try to define what dynamic assessment is and provide a model that could be easily adapted to any level. Continue Reading →