Monday 4 April 2016

Reflective Tasks #2

Reflective Tasks 

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.

Friday 11 March 2016

The Sapir-Whorf Hypothese

The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis 

      It is a controversial theory developed by linguist Edward Sapir and his student Benjamin Whorf. The hypothesis states that the way people think is strongly affected by their native languages. I mean the language we use determines how we experience the world and how we express that experience. So, this view can also be called as linguistic determinism. 
     This view can  be easily refuted because human brain can produce so many complicated ideas which cannot be expressed by language.The best known example used for explaining this view is Eskimoans. They have so many words for verbalizing "snow" but they have not any word for "camel". According to Saphir and Whorf, this is because of linguistic determinisim. On the contrary to this view, if we show Eskimoan people a camel, they can easily distinguish this animal. So accuracy of this theory is not certain.

Wednesday 9 March 2016

Observation Task #1

Task 2.1 The Professional

T2.1.1 Presented in this chapter are three types of knowledge: professional, procedural and personal. They are closely connected and they interact with each other. Based on your teaching experience and/or your “apprenticeship of observation” during your student days, think and talk about how a teacher’s practice of everyday teaching is actually the result of a concoction of the three types of knowledge brewed by the teacher him/herself.
  • Professional, procedural and personal knowledge is bound to each other so closely. I think, procedural knowledge consists of professional and personal knowledge because the knowledge that acquired from books, theories and via formal education and the knowledge that a person’s inner world and his/her values, ideas helps teacher  give a form to his/her teaching style. For example; how does the teacher see the teaching, unwilling or enthusiastic? Has she/he got enough knowledge to teach on his/her field?

 T2.1.2 Take any one specific feature of professional knowledge (it doesn’t matter whether your choice is from the segment on language, language learning or language teaching) and discuss how its classroom manifestation (i.e., how it is implemented by the teacher) might reveal traces of a professional, procedural, and personal knowledge base.
  • In the last lesson, the subject was tourism and tourist attractions. My mentor teacher mentioned about her travel to Egypt and Keops Pyramids. She tried to reflect his ideas about how this fantastic places affected his inner world. This relates to her knowledge of personal. Knowing how to pronounce the word “Keops” is about her professional knowledge and while telling her adventures about this fantastic places, ability to manage classroom and knowing how to transfer her knowledge in the best way to the students is about procedural knowledge.

T2.1.3 Professional knowledge has been described as something that experts produce. Under what circumstances do (or can) teachers produce professional knowledge? When does (or can) teachers’ personal knowledge get recognized as professional knowledge? If teacher knowing is more important than expert knowledge, why do you think experts’ professional knowledge has been privileged over teachers’ personal knowledge?
  • Teacher can produce professional knowledge on the grounds of his/her experiences on learning and teaching processes. Teacher can do an action research on his/her context and he/she can produce professional knowledge thorough scientific data. Theory and reality may not be corresponded so in this case teacher knowing is more important than expert knowledge. I think professional knowledge of experts and teachers’ personal knowledge are worthwhile and essential. Neither of them is superior to other one.

 Task 2.2 The Personal

T2.2.1 Personal knowledge signifies the teacher’s “thought processes sedimented through observations, experiences, and interpretations that span a long period before, during and after formal teacher education programs.” Focusing on any one period (before, during, or after) and selecting any one specific example, discuss how a particular feature of your personal knowledge is dependent on or free from the influence of the formal teacher education program that you are familiar with.
  • Personal knowledge covers the professional knowledge. Everything what we have experienced have  contribution on shaping our personal knowledge. So it cannot be considered separate the professional knowledge from personal knowledge.

T2.2.2 “Over time, teachers accumulate an unexplained and sometimes unexplainable awareness of what constitutes good teaching.” Why is it unexplained? Why is it unexplainable? If it is unexplained and unexplainable, how do (or can) teachers articulate the rationale, and justify the decision, governing their teaching acts?
  • The most essential part of education is students. It cannot be mentioned about education or teaching without learners. So the thing that constitutes good teaching is closely related to learner and individual differences. Every learner needs to a special learning program to herself/himself. So good teaching is unexplainable because of individual differences and needs.

T2.2.3 Teachers’ personal knowledge is deeply connected to the operating principles of particularity, practicality and possibility. Recall the characteristics of these principles from section 1.2 in Chapter 1. Think and talk about what kind of an impact each of the principles can potentially have in shaping teachers’ personal knowledge.
  • Operating principles provide the direction and support required to convert certain beliefs, values, and expectations into actionable plans and measurable outcomes. So they have so crucial role in shaping teachers’ personal knowledge.

Reflective Tasks #1

Reflective Tasks

Task 1.1 Posing the Right Questions
T1.1.1 Think about the statement made by American educationists Marilyn Cochran-Smith and Kenneth Zeichner: “education and teacher education are social institutions that pose moral, ethical, social, philosophical, and ideological questions.” Do you agree or disagree that it is the responsibility of educational institutions to pose questions of such a nature? What are your reasons?
  • I agree with this statement. Educational institutions are the building blocks of the society. Every person acquire his/her personal and professional knowledge in a school and all the characteristics which converts a human being  to a person who can think, analyse and having moral, ethical and social values is acquired in an educational institution. So the responsibility of posing moral, ethical, social, philosophical and ideological questions belongs to the educational institutions. They are driven by sophisticated theoretical frameworks about the nature of good teaching and the nature of teachers’ learning.

T1.1.2 What kinds of moral, ethical, social, philosophical, or ideological questions do (or should) educational institutions pose?
  • I think educational institutions should pose questions about fundamental disaggrements such as who should be educated, for what aims and purposes, what should be taught, how it should be assessed, and who should decide.
T1.1.3 Recall your days at school and/or college. Provide an example of a moral or ethical or social question that your educational institute posed. How did you resolve the question? How did your classmates and/or your teacher(s) assist you in resolving the question? To what extent did the school/college prepare you to identify and resolve the issue?
  • I think, teacher preparation system in our country is enough in terms of acquiring professional knowledge in the related area of expertise. However this is not enough to prepare student teachers for the global context. Our current teachers should not be contented with what they have got. As well as they should be and enthusiastic about learning, they should adopt the idea of life-long learning. If and only if they can change their minds, our teacher preparation system and hence education system can be better.

Task 1.2 Facing the New Global Context
 T1.2.1 The report on Transforming Teacher Education asserts: “Notwithstanding their origins, commonalities and differences, all systems of teacher preparation have to rethink their core assumptions and processes in the new global context” (2008: 14). What do you think are the “assumptions and processes” that govern the system of teacher preparation that you are familiar with?
  • I think, the assumptions and processes that govern the system of teacher preparation in our country should be rethought and changed. Teachers are the most essential and important part of an education system. While they are preparing for servicing as a teacher, their education should be organised according to the global world and they should give up their old-fashioned ideas and keep up with the postmodern world.

T1.2.2 Does “the new global context” really warrant a “rethink” of the “assumptions and processes” that you have identified? If yes, why? If not, why not?
  • Yes, the assumptions and processes should be rethought because of the new global context. Nothing is permanent but change. So the new globalizing world requires change of everything including teacher preparation.

T1.2.3 If you were vested with necessary authority, what two fundamental changes would you make to the existing “systems of teacher preparation,” and why?
  • In the perspectives of language education, I try to change the sense of “learning grammar is learning language”, if I had necessary authority. Although in theory, this sense is adverse, in practice unfortunately this is reality.
  • And I try to provide all the pre-service teachers opportunity to utilize srudent exchange programs like ERASMUS. Actually, in all teacher education programs there must be 2+2 system (two years in Turkey, two years abroad). With the help of this system every teacher candidate would experience going abroad and using the language in order to keep up with the new world.

Friday 25 December 2015

Task 9



  • Teacher’s introduction to the explanation was short and capture pupil’s attention.
Main ideas within the explanation
  • Organisation of ideas in a logical and coherent sequence: YES
  • Easy to follow: YES
  • Links between the main ideas: YES
  • Summary at the end: SOMETIMES
Within the Explanation
  • Language clear and fluent: USES L1
  • New words explained: YES
  • Choice of words and level of language appropriate to age, interests and ability level: YES
  • Sentences clear, short: YES
  • Good and clear examples given to illustrate the topic: SHE DREW A LETTER AND POINTED THE SUPPOSED PLACE OF SENDER AND RECEIVER
  • Examples; are familiar to students’ own experience: YES
  • Repetition: YES
  • Pace of explanation OK for class: YES
  • Questions and other forms of feedback to find out if class is following/has understood: YES
  • Are contributions from class invited and used?: YES
  • Use of other materials to make points: SOMETIMES 
  • Varied in pitch: MOSTLY
  • Emphasis: YES
  • Pauses: YES
  • Gestures: RARELY USE
  • Movement: YES
  • How does teacher keep the attention of all students?: GENERALLY SPEAKING LOUDLY
Teacher’s Explaining and Instruction
  • Teacher explained the difference between “will” and “be going to”, and in what conditions we can use it.
  • Teacher asked to write back an e-mail. She said “ you need to say an excuse for not coming”.
  • She explained the meaning of the following structures by giving some examples;
         You know, …
         … is very important for me.
         I’m interested in …
         Let me know if …
         I hope …
  • Teacher explained why native speakers use the term “you know”, what the meaning of it is, and in what conditions we can use it.
  • While giving instruction, she said “ Read the text and answer the following questions about it. Don’t be afraid of when you see length of the text.”
  • She explained the diffrence between text message and message note.

Task 8

           I think, each teacher has own teaching style. Some of them do not change her/his teaching style according to different type of class. Some of them teaches the lesson according to the class, students or different grades. The latter is the ideal one. While teaching, a teacher must give importance to individual differences and class as a whole and must behave conditionally.

Class: 8/B                            Number of students: 26                                  Topic: Wh questions