Task 6.1 Learner Metaphors
T6.1.1 Rod Ellis (2001) has compiled from the SLA literature several metaphors to characterize learner roles. I have included seven of them in this chapter: learner as container, machine, negotiator, problem-solver, builder, investor, and struggler. Go back to the text and read the brief descriptions associated with each of these metaphors.
- · Learner as container: According to this metaphor, learners are seen as passive and restricted. Passive because they have things done to them rather than do things themselves. Restricted because they have limited capacities for learning, both in the sense of what they can notice and what they can remember;
- · Learner as machine: According to this metaphor, learners lack control over what they do to learn and how they do it. Researchers and teachers determine what goes into the machine (input), what comes out of it (output), and how to manipulate the two (what ecological conditions must prevail and be modiﬁed for the machine to work);
- · Learner as negotiator: According to this metaphor, learners undertake delicate negotiations with themselves and others to determine what is good for them. This metaphor puts the learners in a much more active and agentive role than the two previous ones;
- · Learner as problem-solver: According to this metaphor, learners act like a scientiﬁc investigator who forms, tests, and conﬁrms/rejects hypotheses. They are cognitively active in shaping what they learn and how they learn it. Ellis thinks that by using this common metaphor, “researchers are perhaps creating learners in their own image. Just as they seek to solve problems about learning so learners solve problems in order to learn” (Ibid.: 75, original emphasis);
- · Learner as builder: According to this metaphor, learners construct and restructure their interlanguages. Using all the “scaﬀolding” provided by teachers and textbooks, learners construct metalinguistic understanding of grammatical rules and other units of language as system;
- · Learner as investor: According to this metaphor, learners draw from their linguistic and cultural capital and make an aﬀective investment in order get the maximum gain out of their classroom enterprise;
- · Learner as struggler: According to this metaphor, learners ﬁnd their classrooms as sites of struggle. They must be prepared to show resistance to inequitable social, cultural and political forces that try to keep them from personal transformation.
T6.1.2 Recall your days as a learner. Which of the metaphors (there can be more than one) best describe you as a learner? Think about a few speciﬁc instances of your learner behavior that will ﬁt in with the metaphor(s) you self-selected.
- · When I was in high school, my learner role is sometimes just container or machine, and sometimes struggler and investor. Actually it depends on the teacher’s the way of teaching. For instance, if teacher gives importance to the learners, puts them on the center of the learning and lets them be active participants, the role of the learner can be negotiator or problem-solver. Therefore, I was a container and machine as a learner until the third year of the high school because of my teacher. On the contrary of the first years of high school, I was negotiator, problem-solver, builder, investor, and struggler as a learner in the second half of the high school because of and thanks to my teacher. I knew what I wanted and what my inadequacies and needs were. I could ask for further clarification without hesitation.
T6.1.3 To what extent do you think the metaphors associated with yourself shaped your and your teachers’ expectations of your classroom behaviour?
- · As I said before, I was just a machine and container in the first half of the high school because of my teacher. If this continued in the same way, I could not reach my goals. So I think learner metaphors have a huge effect on shaping behaviours.
T6.1.4 In your view, is it advantageous or disadvantageous to engage in metaphorical representations of learners? In what way?
- · Of course it is advantageous. Teachers should not just care about what they teach and how they teach without considering learners but they should also care about learners and their roles in the classroom because these metaphorical representations of learners have a crucial role on shaping learners.
Task 6.2 Teacher Metaphors
T6.2.1 Farrell (2011) has identiﬁed three major clusters of identities for teachers: teacher as manager, acculturator, and professional, with a number of subidentities under each. Go back to the text and read the brief descriptions associated with each of these metaphors.
- · Teacher as manager: attempts to manage and control everything that happens in the classroom. This cluster includes three frequently mentioned sub-identities: teacher as vendor, seen as a seller of institutional interests and also of a particular teaching method; teacher as entertainer, seen as a teller of jokes and stories; and teacher as communication controller, seen as one who controls classroom interaction dynamics (turn taking, turn giving, etc).
- · Teacher as acculturator: is about engaging in activities that help learners become accustomed to the cultural beliefs and practices of the target language community. This cluster includes the two most frequently occurring sub-identities: teacher as socializer, seen as one who gets involved in extracurricular, socializing activities with students; and teacher as social worker, seen as one who oﬀers advice to students just like a social worker does.
- · Teacher as professional: relates to carrying out duties with a sense of professionalism. This cluster includes the most frequently occurring sub-identity: teacher as collaborator who willingly and seriously works and shares professional knowledge with other teachers, and gives advice to other ESL teachers.
T6.2.2 If you are a practicing teacher, would you describe yourself as a manager, an acculturator, or a professional (you can be more than one)? If you are a student teacher, think about a few of your teachers and say how you would describe them.
- · For now, I am a student teacher but I go to a middle school for internship (teaching practice) this term so I can answer this question from a practicing teacher’s perspective. I can describe myself as manager and professional. I give importance to creating a comfortable and easy atmosphere in the classroom through the jokes and to classroom interaction dynamics. As a professional teachers, I try to collaborate my mentor and peer student teacher for better teaching and learning performance.
T6.2.3 To what extent do you think the metaphors associated with yourself (or your teachers) shaped your (or your teachers’) teaching behavior?
- · These metaphors help us recognize our role in the classroom as a teacher and our classroom management methods. These representations also will help us become more aware of our role identity and then decide if and how we may want to make changes to our roles. Besides, these representations may be treated as factors that could shape what work teachers do, and how they see their work.
T6.2.4 In your view, is it advantageous or disadvantageous to engage in metaphorical representations of teachers? In what way?
- · In my opinion, it is advantageous to engage in metaphorical representations of teachers because they help us decide which teacher role we adopt and may be make some changes on them.
Task 6.3 Seeing, What?
T6.3.1 In this chapter, we came across seeing-in, seeing-as, and seeing-that forms of observation. What do these forms mean to you personally?
- · As I have understood from the chapter, there are some slightly differences between these three seeing forms.
- · Seeing-in is simple seeing. When you look at something, your vision is limited to the physical look and characteristics of that thing. You do not internalize it, you do not know what you are observing, you are just looking at it. It is just an immediate sensory perception.
- · Seeing-as is much more than seeing-in. I liken it to assimilation (özümseme) in the Piaget’s theory. Seeing-as is try to understand what you see by making comparisons with your past experiences, images, and actions, and the new ones. Namely, it is ability to make unfamiliar things familiar.
- · Seeing-that is a deeper understanding of the relationship between seeing and knowing. It is more than what appears on the surface. If someone does not know the meaning of “writing”, he/she cannot recognize one person is writing. I think, seeing-that is ability to internalize what you see.
T6.3.2 Based on whatever classroom observation you may have done, how would you describe the form of observation you followed, or asked to follow?
- · In my observations, I do seeing-as and seeing-that forms of observation because I do not just look and write what I see, I am trying to internalize it. Sometimes I compare myself with my mentor, sometimes I can detect the method that my mentor uses by making comparisons with my past experiences. I know what I look for and I do my observation according to it.
T6.3.3 What form of observation did (does) the teacher education program you were (are) associated with focus on, and how do you know that?
- · My teacher education program focuses on seeing-that type of observation because we need to do our observations according to some tasks and some guiding questions. We do not just look and write what we see. We know what we look for. We have some criteria and different focus point. We have information about what we observe. For example; we observe learners’ autonomy level. We know what the autonomy is and autonomous behaviours.
T6.3.4 Do you agree that the seeing-that form of observation is the best form of observation? Why?
- · Seemingly, seeing-that form of observation is best form. But we can use seeing-as form of observation depending on the situation e.g self-reflection.
Task 6.4 Seeing, What For?
T6.4.1 One of the student teachers referred to in the chapter (by Orland-Barak and Leshem 2009) is reported to have said: “We have already spent 12 years in school and now when we go to school again we feel that everything is familiar and nothing is really being added …”Reﬂect on this remark.
T6.4.2 Did you have a similar or a diﬀerent experience when you were asked to observe lessons as a student teacher? Explain.
- · Yes, I feel like everything is familiar but there are some additions. Physically, there is no change in classroom – the same arrangement system, board and desks - . Unfourtunately, the way of teaching is similar to past in the school that I do observation despite of this global society. But in addition to the my past experience of school, technology is inside of our life –interactive boards, web 2.0 tools, augmented learning, tablets, mobile phones, application…- That’s reality. But to what extent current teachers use technology in classroom? – That’s unknown.
T6.4.3 When you were asked to observe lessons taught by your teacher educator, master teacher, or a co-operating teacher, what exactly was already “familiar” to you?
- · My master teacher use grammar-translation method, teacher-fronted system. Teacher present subject, students write it on their notebooks and pencil-paper assessment. Learners are unimportant and passive. This is so familiar to me.
T6.4.4 When you were asked to observe lessons taught by your teacher educator, master teacher or a co-operating teacher, did you add anything new to your initial knowledge-base? If so, what?
- · Actually, I have knowledge of so many different approaches and methods. But these are just in theory. In practice, situation is different. I learned behaving accordingly from my master teacher. For example; how can I cope with a very naughty student profile and their parents and administration or a technical problem.