Date of issue: 4 July Description of the book "Discover English": A language-awareness workbook which highlights and explores selected areas of grammar and vocabulary. The exercises are designed to confront myths and preconceived ideas, and to explore common areas of difficulty, while commentaries offer support to all users, especially English teachers. Reviews of the Discover English Until now about the book we now have Discover English feedback people have not however left his or her report on the experience, or not make out the print yet. To put it differently, "freedom associated with speech" Most of us completely helped.
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Principles and procedures for self-access materials. Studies in Self-Access Learning Journal, 1 2 , Paginated PDF version Introduction Like all language learning materials, self-access materials need to be developed from principles driven by what is known about the needs and wants of the target users.
In my view, there should be a specification of universal principles, delivery specific principles, and local principles before deciding what self-access materials to develop and how to develop them.
Universal principles are principles of language acquisition and development Tomlinson, a which are applicable to all learners everywhere regardless of their age, level, objectives, and context of learning. Delivery specific principles are those which are peculiar to the means of delivering the materials i.
Local principles are those which are peculiar to the specified target learners. Universal Principles It is important to start the materials development process by developing universal principles. Otherwise, obvious local needs and wants dictate decisions and important learning principles are forgotten.
Ideally the universal principles should derive from the beliefs about language acquisition and development shared by the materials developers and agreement should be reached before the materials design process starts Tomlinson, a. The best way of doing this is for each developer to write down the basic beliefs they hold about how language is best acquired and developed. These beliefs are then converted into criteria which are used both to drive and to evaluate the materials which are subsequently produced.
For example: Statement: Learners need rich exposure to the language in use. Criterion: To what extent are the materials likely to provide rich exposure to English in use? Before continuing to the development of delivery specific criteria, it is useful to list for each universal criterion procedures for self-access materials that match the principle.
For example, extensive reading, extensive listening and extensive viewing are self-access procedure which match the principle of rich exposure to language in use see Principle of Language Acquisition 1 below.
Obviously the actual principles used will depend on the beliefs of the developers. Here is a sample of some of the universal principles which I have made use of in materials development and evaluation. Principle of Language Acquisition 1 A pre-requisite for language acquisition is that the learners are exposed to a rich, meaningful, and comprehensible input of language in use Krashen, ; Long, In order to acquire the ability to use the language effectively the learners need a lot of experience of the language being used in a variety of different ways for a variety of purposes.
They need to be able to understand enough of this input to gain positive access to it and it needs to be meaningful to them. Tomlinson, a, p. Provide extensive reading, extensive listening, and extensive viewing materials which provide experience of language being used in a variety of text types and genres in relation to topics, themes, events, locations, and so on, likely to be meaningful to the target learners. Copies of the texts could be made available for interested learners to take away and file in their Anthology of Interesting English.
Encourage the learners to experience the extensive materials holistically and enjoyably, but also provide opportunities to revisit the materials to discover more about how the language is used.
For ideas for creative follow up activities for extensive reading see Fenton-Smith forthcoming and for ideas for noticing activities after video clip viewing see Stillwell, McMillan, Gillies, and Waller forthcoming Make sure that the language the learners are exposed to in all their self-access materials is authentic in the sense that it represents how the language is typically used.
If many of their texts are inauthentic because they been written or reduced to exemplify a particular language feature then the learners are unlikely to acquire the ability to use the language typically or effectively. For discussion of the value of authentic materials see Day , Gilmore , and Mishan Principle of Language Acquisition 2 In order for the learners to maximise their exposure to language in use they need to be engaged both affectively and cognitively in the language experience Arnold, ; Tomlinson, a, c, forthcoming , forthcoming a.
If the learners do not think and feel whilst experiencing the language, they are unlikely to achieve language acquisition and development. Principles of Self-Access Materials Development 2 1.
Prioritise the potential for engagement by, for example, basing a unit of self-access materials on a text or a task which is likely to achieve affective and cognitive engagement rather than on a teaching point selected from a syllabus.
One way of doing this is to make use of controversial texts which are likely to provoke a reaction. Another way is to encourage learners who have read, listened to or viewed the same text to get together and discuss it. Yet another way is to set tasks for the learners to complete which have non-linguistic outcomes which can only be achieved through thinking about the task and developing strategies for its completion van den Branden, Problem solving tasks are particularly useful for stimulating engagement, especially if you get the learners to record their thinking process as well as their solution Mishan, forthcoming Make use of activities which get learners to think and feel before, during, and after using the target language for communication.
One way of getting learners to do this is to get them to record their views on a topic before, whilst, and after viewing a video clip which focuses on different attitudes towards this topic e. Develop materials in which the learners select or find their own text to use with a set of generic activities and materials which provide a choice of routes and activities for the learners to select from Maley, , forthcoming ; Tomlinson, b.
Principle of Language Acquisition 3 Language learners who achieve positive affect are much more likely to achieve communicative competence than those who do not Arnold, ; Tomlinson, c. Language learners need to be positive about the target language, their learning environment, and their learning materials.
They also need to achieve positive self-esteem and to feel that they are achieving something worthwhile de Andres, Principles of Self-Access Materials Development 3 1. Then provide the learners with a means of recording their success e. Principle of Language Acquisition 4 Language learners can benefit from noticing salient features of the input.
They are also more likely to achieve readiness for acquisition Pienemann, Such noticing is most salient when a learner has been engaged in a text and then returns to it to make discoveries about its language use. This is likely to lead to the learner paying attention to similar uses in subsequent inputs and to increase the potential for eventual acquisition.
Principles of Self-Access Materials Development 4 1. Develop self-access materials which make use of a text-driven approach Tomlinson, b in which the learners are first of all provided with an experience which engages them holistically e. Learner access to these materials should be from their selection of a text to experience.
Develop experiential and analytic activities which focus on problematic features of the language e. Learner access to these materials should be from their selection of a problematic feature. Provide starter materials and a guide for research projects which involve the learners in a search for extra authentic materials to help them make discoveries about a specific feature of language use Tomlinson, b.
Principle of Language Acquisition 5 Learners need opportunities to use language to try to achieve communicative purposes. Communicating in the target language allows learners to gain feedback on the hypotheses they have developed and on their ability to make use of their hypotheses effectively. If they are interacting, they are also being pushed to clarify and elaborate Swain, and they are also likely to elicit meaningful and comprehensible input from their interlocutors. Principles of Self-Access Materials Development 5 1.
Provide many opportunities for the learners to produce language in order to achieve intended outcomes rather than to just practise specified features of the language. Make sure that the output activities are fully contextualised in that the learners are responding to an authentic stimulus e.
Provide as many opportunities as possible for real communication with real people e. Try to ensure that opportunities for feedback are built into output activities and that as much of this feedback as possible is real e.
For more detailed discussion of these and other language acquisition principles see Tomlinson a. Gardner and Miller advocate the use of authentic materials, providing a variety of types of materials to cater for different learning styles, guiding learners to contribute to the development of their own self-access materials, and making use of activities in self-access centres which promote learner enjoyment.
Mishan focuses on the importance of helping self-access learners respond to authentic texts and Cooker draws attention to the widening role that authentic materials, graded readers, and drama-based language learning materials can play in a self-access centre. Delivery Specific Principles Developers of self-access materials must be driven by universal language acquisition principles but must obviously also consider those principles which are specific to the delivery of materials to self-access learners.
The following are some principles which I consider to be important for all self-access materials. The materials should aim to offer learners more than they could get from a taught course or from unsupported immersion. The materials should offer more learning time, more experience of the language, more variety of experience of the language, more individual support, and more feedback.
Barker states that no university course in Japan can give students sufficient learning time for them to develop communicative competence. His suggestion is to encourage ULI unstructured learner interaction outside the classroom through, for example, social clubs in which the medium of interaction is always English.
His research demonstrates the value of such encouragement but even that is not enough. If we want our students to acquire more language and to develop their ability to use it effectively in a variety of contexts, modes, and genres Tomlinson, a , then we need to offer access to materials which offer them a lot more learning time.
Many learners doing language courses spend much of their time focusing on examples of the language and insufficient time experiencing language in use.
Self-access materials should not offer them even more examples of the language but should offer more experience of the language in use instead Tomlinson, b, forthcoming b. Self-access materials can and should provide more variety, support, and feedback, especially if they help learners to contribute to the development of materials likely to cater for their needs and wants Cooker, The materials should aim to help the students to become truly independent so that they can continue to learn the language forever by seeking further contact with it.
Ideally self-access materials should be training learners to become less and less dependent on self-access materials and more capable of gaining from any exposure to the language in use that they experience. One way of doing this is to add a final activity to self-access materials which encourages the learners to seek extra authentic texts and to try to make discoveries from them Tomlinson, b.
The materials should aim to be access-self and not just self-access materials. Access-self activities should: 1. Be self-access in the conventional sense of providing opportunities for learners to choose what to work on and to do so in their own time and at their own pace. Be open-ended in the sense that they do not have correct and incorrect answers but rather permit a variety of acceptable responses. Involve the learners as human beings rather than just as language learners.
Require a personal investment of energy and attention in order for learner discoveries to be made as recommended in Tomlinson, , b, and as exemplified in Bolitho and Tomlinson, For recommendations for humanizing language learning see Tomlinson c.
Feedback should be available on all activities and should be focused on acknowledging achievement and facilitating improvement. Often self-access materials provide answer keys. I would argue though that they need to provide a lot more. They need to acknowledge the achievements of the learners whilst at the same time providing information, references, suggestions, and further activities which will help them to improve even more.
See Cooker , p. The tasks offered to the students should be as realistic as possible. Many classroom activities are dissimilar to the authentic communication situations of real life especially in exam preparation classes. Ideally self-access materials should include tasks which are life-like and should even include tasks which are real e. The students need to know what is on offer to them.
Students need to know what is available to them, what it can offer them, and what it requires from them. This can be achieved through catalogues, poster promotion of materials, text messages, providing access to informants to answer questions, and students being encouraged to spread the word.
The students need easy and reliable access to the materials they want to use.
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