Sunday, March 31, 2013

Week 10: Listening

This week we discussed listening and CALL.  I was surprised that a large part of the week was dedicated to podcasts and that there were so many podcasts specifically for ESL learners.  Since buying a smart phone a few months ago, I've only recently started listening to podcasts on my walks between buildings on campus.  I was also interested in students' responses to podcast use in online courses (discussed in Corbeil & Corbeil), especially in terms of how it made them feel about the professor-- some students said that it was nice to hear their professor's voice or that it let them know their professor cared about the course.

Another new thought from the week was that authenticity is not a dichotomous categorization.  Robin, for example, lists five types of authenticity: authentic, semi-authentic, authentic with scaffolding, non-authentic, and authentic materials with authentic support. I'm not a fan of defining semi-authentic materials as "feeling authentic" to native speakers.  What may feel authentic to one native speaker may not to another.  For example, at the TESOL convention I saw a presentation where a teacher filmed a non-scripted conversation for pedagogical purposes, yet to many people in the audience, the conversation still felt scripted.  I also think there may be a blurry line between authentic materials with scaffolding and authentic materials with authentic support.  A teacher may choose authentic support (e.g., captions) in order to scaffold an activity for pedagogical purposes.  Or, a teacher could provide students with several examples of authentic support and then allow students to choose the form of authentic support that works best for them.  This scaffolding could be a combination of authentic scaffolding and teacher-created scaffolding/sequencing.  Because the notion of authenticity is so important in language teaching and learning, I think these additional categorizations are important, but I also think the definitions could use more reflection and clarification.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Karen, your bring up several key points about the issue of authenticity. I definitely struggle with choosing "authentic" materials in listening/speaking, both in day-to-day teaching and for the assessment files (as these two should be closely linked).

    I know that this is a discussion of L/S materials, but how do you see authenticity issues playing into ENG 105?