ED 463: Teaching ESL: Developing a Teaching Practice

Summer 2004

Juniata College and the University of Otavalo, Ecuador

The intent of this course is to guide students through a process of exploring, shaping and theorizing about the classroom practice of teaching English to second language learners. The course includes daily lecture/discussion with a practical component in an EFL classroom. Students will discuss readings, observe students and teachers in the classroom setting, and begin to develop their own ESL teaching practices through supervised practical teaching experience, reflection, and understanding of theory and classroom concerns. The goal is to develop specific abilities to respond to the constantly changing and complex classroom contexts that characterize ESL teaching in U.S. public schools. Instructor Permission required. Corequisite:

ED 462 (4 credits)

Goals of Course

1. Create a self-awareness of beliefs and assumptions about teaching/learning and specifically language learning

2. Develop an understanding of communication in the second language classroom

3. Develop content knowledge of assessment, teaching language skills, teaching grammar

4. Understand the practice of “content-based” instruction and “sheltered” learning for second language learners (SLLs)

5. Compile materials and resources for future classroom use

6. Understand the unique role of identity, culture and first language for SLLs

7. Encourage an understanding of how theory and research can inform teaching practice

Required Texts:

1. Zamel, V. & Spack, R. (eds). (2002). Enriching ESL Pedagogy: Reading and Activities for Engagement, Reflection and Inquiry. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

2. Richard-Amato, P.A. (2003). Making it Happen: From Interactive to Participatory Language Teaching Theory and Practice, 3rd Edition. White Plains, NY: Longman.

Schedule and Format:

Due to the intensive nature of this course in an international setting, selected readings and some course projects will be completed before and after the actual class sessions. In Ecuador, over a three-week time period, the class will meet daily for two hours and 15 minutes of lecture/discussion and a two hour practicum each afternoon. A portfolio will be compiled to gather examples of learning accomplished throughout the course. The portfolio is not due until August, so that a literature review and final reflective narrative may be completed upon return to the U.S.

Course Assignments:

(Pre-course Projects)

Narrative Inquiry

(These assignments will be explained in person during the class sessions of ED 461).

First, complete assigned readings. Then, write a 2 to 3 page narrative summarizing what you noticed and found out for each task as outlined below. (You should write two separate narratives.) Use the questions below as prompts to stimulate your thinking.

1. Observing classrooms – Observe a classroom as an outside observer. (An ESL or language class is preferable, but it may be any classroom which is not your own.) Take notes in which you record and reflect on what you are noticing. Try to record as much as you can in order to get a sense of the “culture” of this classroom. If possible, tape-record the class you observe…this will help you to “re-see” the class. Collect any class handouts or assignments as “artifacts.” After you have compiled this information, examine and re-read it. Write a narrative describing the class. What interests, intrigues or puzzles you? Do you notice any patterns that you want to explore further? What do you notice about the teacher, or the students and how they interact?

2. Methods – Interview two different colleagues (teachers) about their experience using a particular method in the classroom. Some issues to consider: What is the method? Describe it. Why have these teachers adopted these methods? To what extent do they believe they work? What do they see are the benefits and what are the limitations? How did these methods become part of their teaching practice? How have they changed or adapted the method?

Class participation: You are expected to come prepared for each class (i.e., carefully read and complete all assignments) and to actively participate in class discussions and activities.

Reflective journal: You are required to keep a reflective journal based on your language, cultural and practice teaching experiences during the three-weeks in Ecuador. You will draw on your experiences in the practical component of this course as well as your interactions in the community and with your host families. Specific topics will be assigned on an alternating schedule with the “Understanding Language Acquisition” course.

Portfolio: In a portfolio, you will gather examples of lessons, teaching materials, your journal reflections on the readings and on your teaching, and your thoughts on the cultural experiences you are having. The portfolio is intended to not only accumulate evidence of your on-going development as an ESL teacher, but also to make explicit your understanding of teaching diverse students. To synthesize your learning in this course, you will develop a teaching task, teaching materials or classroom project (in groups or individually) to include in an ESL Teaching Practices collection and as part of your portfolio. This collection of teaching ideas will be reproduced for distribution to the group. The portfolio will include a post-field experience summary statement and, therefore, the portfolio is not due until August 20. The summary statement will outline what was learned in the teaching practice and will synthesize the goals for the practical experience, self-evaluation, peer feedback and supervisor comments.

Course components to be included and assessed in the portfolio are:

Narrative inquiry: 10%

Reflective journals: 10%

ESL Teaching practice project: 20%

Summary Statement 20%

Portfolio Total 60%

(Post-course Project)

Literature review: Choose a topic related to ESL classroom instruction that you would like to know more about and that will be useful to you in your teaching. Find three articles on the topic. Review each article critically, showing relationships between the articles and discuss the implications of the articles for classroom practice. This written project should not be more than ten pages. A draft of your written review will be read and discussed in class with your peers during the last weekend session in August. The final draft is due as part of your portfolio on August 20.

Assessment Criteria:

Class participation and attendance: 10%

Portfolio: 60%

Literature Review: 30%

Course Calendar (subject to change)


M June 28
Course introduction & teacher beliefs

T June 29
Learning styles and strategies

W June 30
Understanding classroom communication

H July 1
Identity, culture and classroom interaction

F July 2
Teaching listening & speaking

M July 5
Teaching writing & grammar

T July 6
Literacy development & skill integration

W July 7
Developing materials & cooperative learning

H July 8
Content-based & sheltered content instruction

F July 9
Physical involvement, chants, music & games

M July 12
Storytelling, role-play, drama

T July 13
Classroom-based assessment

W July 14
Language proficiency assessment

H July 15
Putting it all together: planning & tools for teaching

F July 16

Grading scale:

93-100 A 73-76.9 C

90-92.9 A- 70-72.9 C-

87-89.9 B+ 67-69.9 D+

83-86.9 B 63-66.9 D

80-82.9 B- 60-62.9 D-

77-79.9 C+ Below 60 F