|ICELT-006|Assignment 4: Learners and learning

Hello Exam Seekers,

Some days ago I posted about the ICELT being discontinued, do you remember? If you don’t, please check this post out: What’s going on with the ICELT? However, as I mentioned there, there are some people who are starting the last ICELT course next August, so I’m taking the time to help these people. Moreover, this is a great opportunity to help more people with their writing assignments overall.

This post is about Assignment 4: Learners and learning. Why haven’t I started with assignment 1? It’s because when I took the ICELT this was the order my tutors decided to start. Which means that the content for this assignment was more aligned with the order of the course. If your tutors started differently, no worries, I’ll be posting the others soon.

Assignment 4: Learners and learning

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This is the guideline for assignment 4. As you can see, it’s much longer than what we’ve been used to with the CELTA assignments. The CELTA assignments required: 750–1,000 words, while the ICELT assignments require 1,000–1,500 words. It’s 500 words more to write.

You might say that we don’t really need to write 1,500 words. Well, this is true, you can write a minimum of 1,000 words, however, when you are writing, you are going to realize that 1,000 is not enough!!!

Another difference in relation to the CELTA assignments is the assessment criteria. For the CELTA, you just need to reach the criteria, for the ICELT you have different levels of criteria. If you do what is asked, you will get a PASS, while if you exceed the expectations, you might earn a PASS with MERIT or PASS with DISTINCTION.

At first, you will think that to be awarded a Distinction is pretty simple, however, I assure you that by the end of the course you’ll be pretty glad to be awarded a PASS.

The first thing about assignment 4 is the outline: With reference to a lesson you have taught, describe and evaluate differences in learner response and consider ways in which the quality of learning can be improved.

That means that one of your 4 lessons taught at the ICELT should already be completed so that you can write your assignment based on it.

The ICELT expects you to be teaching at your on regular groups – which means that you would have the flexibility to apply the lessons. However, if you don’t have a group which you can apply these lessons, the center might provide you a group.

Having the groups chosen and a lesson taught, you have to follow the guidelines:

1) Consider the different ways in which your learners responded to a lesson you have taught. Try to describe and account for any differences in how they responded and in what they achieved. Your comments should include reference to some (but not all) of the following: ability, personality, attitude, motivation, learning style, gender, age, level, level, social and cultural background, language and behaviour of the teacher. In this section you should try to link your specific comments about the lesson and your learners with ideas about learners and learning which you have met on the ICELT course and in the reading which you have done for this assignment.

So I decided to divide my part 1 into 2 parts: first an introduction to the group, and second my comments in relation to three of the topics mentioned above:

 

INTRODUCTION

In 2016, I started teaching an unusual group of adolescents: one boy and two girls from the same family aged 13, 14 and 15. As they had to move cities many times, the children had studied in several different schools.

This discontinuity affected their English learning. According to SPARKS(2016), “researcher David Kerbow found those who had changed schools four or more times by 6th grade were about a year behind their classmates”. Due to the amount of English input they had for the past years, the 15 year old should be at the level B2 of the CEFR, the other two at the B1 level, however, all of them are at the A2 level.

According to the CEFR “at the B2 level […]students are able to account for and sustain their opinions in discussion by providing relevant explanations, arguments and comments. […]They are able to correct mistakes if they have led to misunderstandings, […]and consciously monitor speech”(STGILES, 2017). “At level B1 students are able to maintain interaction and get across what they want to express in a range of contexts and follow the main points of extended discussion around them, provided that speech is clearly articulated in standard dialect”(IBID).

[…]

HOW LEARNERS RESPOND TO LESSON

Due to their performance improvement along 2016, I expected the students would be able to grasp more content from this listening activity( APPENDIX 2: act.7), than they actually did, especially because of the pre-listening activity (APPENDIX 1), which focused on vocabulary that would be in the recording. Even though they had several issues performing this lesson, it is possible to pinpoint the causes of their trouble.

Motivation: At the beginning of the lesson, the students understood the questions but spoke very little about the topics and mostly in their L1. It happened because this is not an attractive topic for them. […]

Attitude: During the prediction activity, they had to be reminded to use the L2, because they answered their predictions in Portuguese. […]

Level: Moreover, their lack of vocabulary in the L2 prevented them from developing the answers in English at all stages. […]

 

As you can see, I’ve just given you some hints on how to develop your writing with parts of my own text, but it was much longer than this.

Now, the second part says:

2) Outline any ideas you have for ways in which you can improve the quality of learning achieved by your learners in future lessons. Where it is appropriate, you should include ideas which will help your learners to perform successfully in a forthcoming test or examination. In this section you should link your ideas for improvement with the discussion in Section 1.

IDEAS TO IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF LEARNING

For a better result to the next listening activities, there are some changes, which, made for the listening stages, would improve their performance.

Attitude: Firstly, to avoid reliance on L1, I would place sentences such as “How can I say ________in English,” “What does ______mean?”, “Sorry. Can you repeat, please?”, “I don’t understand” […]

Motivation: About the problems regarding motivation, the first thing to do is to find out students’ favorite subjects, interests, and needs. […]

Level: To make the material more suitable for students’ level, therefore improve their language level, first I would change the task. […]

Again I decided to just give you a sample of how I decided to develop the second part of the assignment. You should look at your own group and assess which part is more relevant you and your groups and analyze your group based on that decision.

Once you have done that, you should go to the next step:

3) Describe how you would know this improvement had taken place.

HOW TO KNOW THIS IMPROVEMENT HAS TAKEN PLACE

Some of the suggested changes would have an immediate result. Once exposed to classroom language, students would speak in the L2 or not, therefore it is easy to notice if improvement in this area has taken place. Additionally, it would be interesting to point out to students that using classroom language, would give them more confidence to broaden their repertoire, and slowly improve their speech, making them more aware of how they use English and aware that they are also responsible for their learning process. 

As for motivation, since there are only three students in this group, it is feasible to observe which activities they do better in and like more and use them. As OXFORD(1990:16) claims […]

As for the level issues, giving students time to read the tasks carefully and providing the necessary help, would make them feel more prepared for what they would listen. […]

Once you are done with that, you should provide a conclusion: 4) Give your rationale for the ideas you have put forward. That’s the easiest part, once you are finalizing your assignment, and again, very personal:

CONCLUSION

Because this is a small group, it is easy to identify problems and propose solutions. In a group that students have no connection to English and fragmented knowledge about the language, it is important to find out what works with them and use it for their benefit. […]

 

At first, when you see so much writing in the syllabus, you get worries, which is pretty normal. However, try and take part by part. By doing that, the assignment will seem much easier and light. You have always to aim for Distinction, but don’t worry if you get a PASS, getting a pass is a great achievement because these assignments are for sure not simple things to be done.

Remember to use real examples and place them in the assignments, use reference, be careful with the word count and everything should be just fine.

If you want some help with the reference, here is what I used:

REFERENCE

HARMER, Jeremy. (2005). The practice of English Language Teaching. 4. e. Pearson.

Oxford, R. (1990). Language Learning Styles and Strategies: An overview. Retrieve from: <http://web.ntpu.edu.tw/~language/workshop/read2.pdf&gt; on: Mar 11, 2017.

RUMBERGUER, R., & Larson, K. (1998). Student Mobility and the Increased Risk of High School Dropout. American Journal of Education, 107(1), 1-35. Retrieved from <https://www.researchgate.net/publication/249120659_Student_Mobility_and_the_Increased_Risk_of_High_School_Drop_Out&gt; on: Mar 11, 2017.

SCOTT, M. Virginia; DE LA FUENTES, Maria José. (2008). What’s the Problem? L2 Learners’ Use of the L1 During Consciousness-Raising, Form-Focused Tasks. The Modern Language Journal. Retrieved from: <http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/ download?doi=10.1.1.627.6955&rep=rep1&type=pdf> on: Mar 20, 2017.

SPARKS, Sarah D. (2016). Student Mobility: How It Affects Learning. Retrieved from: <https://www.edweek.org/ew/issues/student-mobility&gt; on: Mar 11, 2017.

STGILES INTERNATIONAL. (2017). English Language Level Descriptors. Retrieved from: <http://www.stgiles-international.com/student-services/level-descriptors&gt; on: Mar 20, 2017.

 

Well… I hope I have helped you with this assignment, or at least with some writing, because as I said, ICELT may be over, but Cambridge will always create something else and there is always new writings for you to do. So keep posted:

Share with people that might be interested in knowing about other courses and examinations, I’m sure it will be useful. By doing that you help me provide even more content for you and for everybody.

Have a great week,
Patty

 

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