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Young EFL Learners

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Research in-progress: Home Room teachers teaching English in grade One ... enhanced at a young age (Johnstone, 1994; Marinova-Todd et al, 2000) ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Young EFL Learners


1
Young EFL Learners
  • Dr. Ofra Inbar
  • Beit Berl College Tel-Aviv University
  • Teacher Education and School Reform and
    Development
  • Sixth Israeli-German Symposium, October, 2005

2
The content of the talk
  • Language learning at a young age
  • The spread of English
  • Learning English as a Foreign Language (EFL) at a
    young age
  • Knowledge-Base for teaching EFL to young learners
  • Research in-progress Home Room teachers teaching
    English in grade One

3
Should a language be introduced at a young age?
  • Informal (home) environment
  • vs. formal school setting
  • Home (natural) environment
  • Caretakers fluency and comfort in the language
  • Recognition of the advantages of bilingualism
    contribution to complex cognitive skills
    (Baker,1998 Bialystock, 2002 Hornberger, 2003)

4
Formal Schooling 2 schools of thought
  • Against
  • Interference with L1
  • Research shows efficient learning takes place at
    older ages- ability to utilize and transfer
    skills from L1 (Cenzos, 2005 Mclaughlin, 1992
    Singleton, 2001)
  • Learning Fatigue
  • Early exposure and more teaching hours not
    enough to ensure success

5
For
  • Affective factors less inhibited greater
    motivation
  • Oral ability, particularly pronunciation enhanced
    at a young age (Johnstone, 1994 Marinova-Todd et
    al, 2000)
  • Confidence as a language speaker
  • Need to know language(s) Multilingualism is a
    key to success

6
But Beliefs regarding language learning at school
  • Depend on Purpose, setting, frequency, teacher,
    resources, language
  • Discussion Somewhat Passé
  • Especially with regard to English
  • Why?

7
English as a Lingua Franca
  • Emergence of English as a World Language due to
  • British colonialism
  • US power
  • Advent technology
  • About a billion people engaged in studying
    English as a Second (ESL) or Foreign (EFL)
    Language Only about 300,000 million L1 English
    speakers (British Council, 2004 Crystal, 2000)

8
The Spread of English 3 Circles (Kachru, 1982)
  • Inner Britain, USA, Canada, Australia, etc.
  • Outer Nigeria, Singapore, India (New Englishes)
  • Expanding Israel, Netherlands, Germany, etc.

EXPANDING
INNER
OUTER
EXPANDING
9
Currently Distinction Blurred
  • New Englishes in Outer Circles (Periphery)
    asserting their rights
  • Singlish in Singapore
  • Japanese English
  • Indian English
  • Expanding Circle countries (like Israel and
    Germany) embracing English as a semi-official
    language

10
Native and Non-Native English speakers
  • Who is a native speaker? Central or Periphery?
  • Who is the best English teacher
  • Native of standard (inner Circle) English or
    bilingual, non-native English speaker?
  • Criteria for material selection and for
    assessment Central? Local? English as a Lingua
    Franca?

11
Young Learners of English
  • Wide spread
  • Language prestige
  • Parental pressure social mobility
  • The younger the better regardless of research
    findings

12
How Young is Young?
  • Home environment birth
  • School
  • Foreign language teaching in the US- 12
  • Europe varies often 9-10 (or earlier)
  • Cambridge Young Learners test 7-12
  • Israel and other expanding countries
  • The younger the better move to lower age.
    Currently grade one
  • Sometimes kindergarten

13
What Knowledge-Base is required for teaching EFL
to young learners
  • Knowledge of the language
  • Knowledge about the language
  • Knowledge how to teach he language
  • Knowledge about teaching young children
  • Knowledge about teaching the language to young
    children

14
Home Room Teachers Teaching English
  • A common phenomenon in some European and Asian
    countries
  • In Israel Began 5 years ago in the town of
    Raanana
  • Reasons
  • Rooted in educational philosophical thought
  • Availability, convenience
  • Economically viable

15
Knowledge on how to teach English to young
learners
Who has the advantage
Till recently Lack of training in EFL teacher
education programs (Program component in Beit
Berl since 2001)
16
Programs for teaching EFL to young learners
Pertinent issues
  • Goals exposure, fun, or academic?
  • Listening/speaking or literate skills?
  • Use of target language (English) vs. local
    language (Hebrew German), and for what purpose?
  • Integration with in-going topics (taught in the
    local language)
  • Literacy?
  • Assessment?
  • Coordination with programs for the older
    learners?

17
Relevance to Israel
  • The Younger the better move to introduce English
    at younger ages
  • One of the flagships of the current Ministry of
    Education policy
  • Vast spread of first grade English initiatives

18
In-Progress ResearchHome Room teachers
teaching English in Grade OneHeaded by Prof.
Elana Shohamy, Tel-Aviv University Initiated
and Funded by the Israeli Ministry of Education
19
Pertinent Issues
Programs (3 programs are being examined) Teachers
Knowledge-Base (English teachers vs. home room
teachers) Attitudes of the public (high level
administrators, principals, parents) Students
achievements, attitudes, self-assessment
20
Research Tools
  • Large Sample
  • Teachers questionnaires (home room and English)
  • Principals questionnaire
  • Interviews (administrators, program developers)
  • Sample of 7 schools
  • Parents questionnaire
  • Classroom observations
  • Teacher interviews
  • Students research tools

21
Students Research Tools
  • Listening comprehension quiz (N250)
  • Individual oral interaction interviews (N54)
  • Attitude questionnaires (N250)
  • Self-Assessment questionnaires (N250)

22
Some initial observations
  • Teaching of English in grade 1 in Israel is
    extremely common
  • Both teaching models exist (home room and English
    teachers)
  • Programs different objectives and modes of
    implementation (one program home room teachers
    only)

23
Student Research Tools
  • Specific age appropriate and language level
    considerations
  • format (whether individual, group or class)
  • choice of item and task types
  • choice of contexualized, age-relevant stimuli

24
Comparative Research Study?
  • Similar phenomena in Germany?
  • Possibilities for joint and comparative research?
  • Contact Information
  • inbarofra_at_bezeqint.net
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