Susan Turner

Susan Turner

Location Maastricht, The Netherlands

Achievements

Activity

  • Given that individual young learners develop at different rates and that ESL young learners may take more time to "internalise" new language before they actually produce it, it may be difficult to assess progress formally. But formal assessment is, sadly, a mandatory feature of most education systems. I imagine it would therefore perhaps be more beneficial to...

  • The link in the article about happiness and learning to the activity entitled "Save the last word for me" is very useful and I could see it being particularly relevant to older learners (particularly teenagers) in helping to promote discussion & conversation in a secure & organised environment. However, there would probably be a way of paring this activity...

  • Susan Turner made a comment

    The educator can perhaps treat the preparation time as another opportunity for learning language by involving the children in the setting up. Indeed, the ritual nature of doing this on a regular basis would be beneficial in reinforcing the language. (Of course, this might mean reducing the actual lesson/play time a little).

  • When doing my teaching practice (for ESL) I was told my biggest challenge was to know when to step back and let the pupils use the language. I was too eager to give, too keen to model everything I knew. I think "taking over" in this way is a big mistake because children risk becoming bored and demotivated. We (teachers/parents) need to recognise when we are...

  • As I child I was frequently told to "stop worrying and have more confidence", so I grew up thinking I had no confidence and therefore couldn't attempt a lot of things in life and that, because I was a worrier, I ought be more worried about things (James' idea about it being a self-fulfilling prophesy!). I believe it affected my ability to change for many,...

  • Very interesting and very useful advice about how to foster children's intrinsic motivation i.e. by not inadvertently predetermining / reinforcing negative characteristics through labelling

  • Lyubov, the children will no doubt be learning a lot more than you think, internalising a lot of what they hear. If they are not producing the language as much as you would like, could it perhaps be because your activities are too adult-led? Children will be more motivated to learn if they actually NEED the language so if you set up an activity and then let...

  • So Dana Suskind (the article about talking to babies) advocates quantity AND quality of language spoken by adults to babies - which I believe is true because it's all about exposure/immersion. Not so sure I agree with the parent who said "TV doesn't teach words in a way that stick", however. I Iive in the Netherlands and the Dutch generally speak very good...

  • Really interesting "Ted Talk" by Alison Gopnik. I love the notion that adult learning is limited because of our "spotlight" approach to things (focusing on specific things - which is to the detriment of our learning about other things) while children's learning is less limited because of their "lantern" approach (where the light is cast wider and they are more...

  • Interesting that she says sometimes very young children are not even really aware that they are being exposed to a new language and will respond and engage because they do not feel threatened by it. In other words, the environment is comfortable and secure and conducive to learning.

  • I recently obtained my MA in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). I have been working part-time as an EAP tutor (English for Academic Purposes). I have been working with university students and just thought I would like to broaden my understanding about English as a second language through learning a bit more about English in early...

  • Motivation is key. If a child needs or wants something, it will have a desire to communicate that need/want. So, if the child is playing, is interested in what it is doing, is interacting with others and has a reason to use the language, then it will learn more easily and more rapidly.

  • I am surprised at the "Listens with interest to the noises adults make when they read stories" stage being considered 22-26 months. I understood even newborns are curious about adult sounds?

  • My son started in a French-speaking school (we spoke English at home). For a while he spoke "gibberish" (nonsense) but the sounds he made had a French intonation. This was, I believe, his earliest effort to produce French as a second language. A little later he started using some swear words in French which he had picked up (we were not too pleased about...

  • Children's learning is both passive and active: passive when listening to others, active when participating themselves. Where language is concerned, active learning is best (imitating others, singing, playing - any forum where actively using the language is required)

  • Penelope - you're right, of course....it is about those things too but it's also about students learning something new as a result of the teacher's expertise in a subject - or at least surely it should be?

  • Most of today's English bears little resemblance to the English of the middle ages, for example. It has been altered, "morphed", through a myriad of influences over time. I think the global spread of English may mean another, great, "sea-change" in English. I think many elements from other languages will continue to be absorbed into the English of the future...

  • I really just meant there ought to be a benchmark ...... Doesn't really matter WHICH English.....

  • Susan Turner made a comment

    I wonder how much CLIL affects bilingual learning amongst young learners? I used to always be hearing that a child risked a state of "semi-lingualism" if he or she did not first master his mother tongue before begin introduced to another one... I wonder then at what stage it is "safe" to start using CLIL?

  • I am just curious Brian as to why some foreign words are more likely to creep into ESL users' English than others...why "handy" rather than "mobieltje" or "portable" for example. I know German speakers would be more likely to use "handy" but why then does an Italian use the same word? Is it because that word is easier to remember or is it because a particular...

  • I had no idea.

  • I hadnt appreciated that problems with organisational and time management skills are also part of the condition...Interesting. I'm a bit behind with the course but I'm looking forward to catching up and learning a lot more.

  • Constantine, I think the written word has managed to convey emotion from time immemorial - novels, letters, poems...if you want to, you can make the reader " feel " - it's all down to the choice of words

  • Susan Turner made a comment

    great course in that it's raised as many questions as it has answered! Made me think about a lot of things and change my approach to some issues. Made me realise too how much I enjoy the whole area of English language teaching and foreign language learning. Would really love to do the MA now!

  • I dont think English will be either a killer language OR a sole survivor in the future. Its fate will be determined by the rising political and economic powers in the world. Money talks and people will use the language they need to use in order to make money, whether that's English, Spanish, Chinese or Arabic.

  • With English becoming increasingly more important in academia it would almost seem like we are taking a step back in history to the days when Latin was the language of the elite.

  • I think what matters most to students is that they dont become frustrated and therefore de-motivated trying to understand their teacher. I have had students telling me they prefer listening to a particular non-native speaker rather than a certain native speaker, simply because the NNS is easier to understand.

  • Teaching is about imparting knowledge. If you dont have the knowledge to start with, then you cannot pass it on. Whether the teacher is a native speaker or not doesnt really matter.

    I do think we sometimes "tone down" our use of English as English language teachers, simplifying it to suit the "audience". This is great when it comes to getting the message...

  • very thought-provoking poll

  • The level of competency is the important thing. This take of ELF reminds me of a job I had where my colleague was Portuguese and didnt speak any English but we both had a similar level of French. (so French was our lingua franca!)

  • I have come across all these cases in EFL (so some EFL characteristics must be inherent in ELF?). I am particularly interested in the origin of words (such as "handy") which become "adopted" - why these words in particular?

  • Language will evolve whatever happens but it's useful to have a benchmark for teaching purposes. So, from that perspective, I think the standard has to be English or American English - for the time being. Who knows, perhaps Chinese English will become the benchmark in the future?

  • Sorry to be cynical but our increasing understanding of a common language doesnt seem to be doing much to help our common understanding of each other.

  • When I first went abroad to live - in Belgium - it was obvious that I was going to need to speak French as that was the common language used in the office where I worked. When I moved to Switzerland a number of years later, it was the same story - it was a French-speaking environment and few of the locals spoke English - the exception being the international...

  • The interesting thing about English being the lingua franca is, I think, which VERSION of English will it be in the future?

  • Susan Turner made a comment

    I will find the time to read further (especially the links you provided to the articles and studies by Siemens and Salmon).

    The only question I would have would be "Is anything envisaged for the future in terms of incorporating practical assessments into online language teaching courses?" This would surely take "connectivist" learning to the next level?

  • I think the way in which connectivist learning is most helpful is though the fact that it is so immediate. When you are motivated to learn (when you are "on a roll") and in the middle of learning something and you have a question, the last thing you want is to have to go digging around in a dictionary to find an answer. It's just so much quicker and therefore...

  • Yep - I get it. I wouldnt have thought of e-tutoring as being composed of 3 such distinct areas but I can now see how the administrative skills and people management skills are very important too.

  • I think the social role is about engaging the students - making them feel part of the learning community and making them feel they want to take part and contribute to the discussion.

  • In considering the potential challenges faced in developing an online course, I can only speculate and draw on my own experiences of online learning. The major challenge for me, as a learner, was the technology. We started off being expected to use avatars. I understand of course why this was being done - to create a virtual student world where we could...

  • I think online courses are definitely the delivery-method of education of the future but I dont think they will necessarily be recognised as being the best form of learning for all subjects - language teaching being a case in point. Most public schools (ie non-private) require a qualification which includes an assessed, practical teaching block which online...

  • Yes. I was fascinated to hear about the study by Hirotani which indicates online learners actually produce MORE language than f2f students. I'd like to know more so will read further...
    PS on the technology front - I recently discovered a website which my intermediate students love because it gives dictation of short sentences, in 2 speeds (normal speech and...

  • I think a lot of online language learning tends to be rather passive learning. Real communication requires not only knowledge of vocabulary and grammar but also how to "read" people and "interpret" what they have said. It also requires much faster reaction times - you have to "think on your feet". I don't think online learning alone is in any way a substitute...

  • The main differences between f2f & online learning: 1) obviously no physical proximity to teacher/class members so social contact reduced, peer support reduced, immediate feedback reduced. Building upa rapport with other students can be v important in encouraging and motivating students - even just with something as basic as getting them to attend class. 2)...

  • I'm not so sure I agree Janice. I disliked maths myself at school but I loved languages so I would probably have been interested at least in the the language aspect of the lesson. So I think there is "something for everybody" in this type of learning.

  • Susan Turner made a comment

    what new language might students learn? Geography, history, maths-related and personal description-related vocabulary.
    do the students appear to struggle with using English? Just in terms of fluency perhaps..
    do students struggle with new content? No. There's a lot of background noise throughout the lesson - hopefully this is students supporting other...

  • Would I be right in saying that all of us who live abroad and struggle to learn and understand every day events in a foreign language are constantly experiencing CLIL?
    One particular example from my own experience : many years ago I attended a school in Brussels where I took Spanish lessons - given in French.

  • It might be interesting to "jumble up" the pictures and allow students the freedom to tell their own stories in whatever order they choose? This might add variety for higher level students...

    I work with adult learners and only really use story boards for beginners (of which there seem to be fewer and fewer these days I'm finding). I use written stories in...

  • My version of events: 1) Joe comes home from work one evening. 2)He finds a letter waiting for him on the dining table. 3) He opens the letter and reads it carefully. 4)He is delighted to learn that he has been successful in the first round of a job interview and he has been invited to attend the second round tomorrow morning. 5) He sings as he opens a...

  • Susan Turner made a comment

    I can really relate to the concepts of "pushed language learning" and "noticing" : I feel one reaches a series of "plateaux" in language learning and you have to suddenly feel the urge and need to know more in order to move up to the next level...I suppose it's the "survival instinct" kicking in !

  • I think a combination of systems works well. I think TBLT is a good way of reinforcing what has been learnt through PPP or, alternatively, as a way of introducing new material. I use role-play based on my own "mini dialogues" which I tailor-make for my students using vocabulary, etc which I know is relevant to them and then we look more closely at the...

  • Naturalistic learning provides a visual, tangible context for learning which aids memory. Learning "in situ" is often easier as problems are addressed on the spot as they occur.
    I think naturalistic learning is a good way to reinforce classroom-based learning.

  • As an adult learner myself, my classroom environment is pretty functional : individual desks and chairs for about 20 students, in a traditional U-shape, rolling whiteboard at front of class. As an adult I am not bothered about having walls decorated with visual stimuli in the way that children are. What matters to me is that I am seated comfortably, that I...

  • The dress code is formal (school uniforms) (except they are barefoot!). Classroom furniture is old-fashioned (British? benches). Classroom is of average size and traditional layout, classroom resources and decor are rudimentary, home-made but colourful and effective. The "set-up" is quite similar to that of schools in Northern Ireland (UK) in the 50 and 60s I...

  • I am currently learning Dutch in a class of about 15 other adults from all over the world. They are mostly refugees who are very motivated to learn in order to get a job and make a better life for themselves. They motivate each other and ask lots of questions as they are very keen "to get it right". The teacher's role is to present the new material,...

  • I have had numerous different experiences of classroom-based learning. Some I enjoyed, others I didn't. If I think about the ones I didn't enjoy - they were the ones where the teacher was very strict and pushed the grammar to the extent that I became bored, didn't concentrate, had no motivation to learn, didn't do my homework and then worried about the...

  • Susan Turner made a comment

    The course has reminded me just how multi-faceted language learning is and how good language teaching must take into account all of those elements.

  • I like the "practice makes perfect" adage. From what Roumyana says, I think it would be a useful exercise to ask students what they find particularly difficult and then to focus on these areas.

  • I think that people have different levels of ability but if they are SHOWN A PATTERN for language acquisition, then they are more likely to be able to use it with a 2nd or 3rd language, etc.

  • I wonder whether the better results achieved by the non-native speakers in the study is simply because they learned grammatical rules for their own language which they know to apply to other languages? I don't think English native speakers these days really learn much grammar - at least this seemed to be the case when I compare what my own (bilingual) kids...

  • I think the hypothesis is probably true of most types of learning - you reach a plateau with each stage and then you need to go through a phase of absorbing more information before being able to produce more.

  • Q: is that glass big enough? This sentence can be taken literally or, as is sometimes the case in some English-speaking regions), used in a sarcastic sense where the meaning is really "that's a huge glass"!

  • The "meaning" is all the CLUES we use to deduce what someone is talking about (or to produce language ourselves), including the choice of words, the order in which the words are used, the tense, the person and the context.

  • I agree that it's the ABILITY to learn a language which is genetic. The actual ACQUISITION of language results from the input or the extent to which one is exposed/immersed in the language, whether it's your mother tongue or a 2nd language. I also believe that the ability deteriorates with age!

    Knowledge of a particular language facilitates insight into...

  • I find this is very true, Charisse. I have enough French and Italian to help my learners on occasion and the fact that I am also currently learning Dutch and going through the same problems as they are gives us a common bond!

  • interesting that you found you were unable to speak English "naturally" in spite of your education. Just goes to show that no amount of classroom-based lessons can be a substitute for real-life immersion/interaction.

  • I grew up in Northern Ireland so English is my mother tongue. I studied French and Spanish at school so when I went to Brussels to work at the age of 20 I already had a good base in French. I spent the next 20 years living and working in Belgium and Switzerland so my French is pretty fluent. (I also picked up a bit of Italian). I am now living in the...

  • Yep. That makes sense..thanks. Although I dont really know what Eclipse is ! (Its probably all there in the course material somewhere but its all a bit muddled up for me at the mo...(getting old and things are not as easy to grasp as they once were, ha ha). But I like a challenge..and boy did I pick one!

  • I have 3 errors : - game area cannot be resolved or is not a field, ditto for score and also text.....and I also have a warning..
    I noticed that in some of the steps I was prompted to press OK to copy files across but I never got the prompt to confirm Yes to all?

  • Never mind. I found it. sorry.

  • so where is the Game Framework ? Ive forgotten!

  • you should be a tutor on the course!

  • OK. That worked. But now I go into src and I see uk.ac.reading.sis05kol.mooc but when I double click on that all I see underneath is Main Activity java?