Thursday, January 19, 2017

ESP Historical Debates

ESP Historical Debates

The field of EAP (English for Academic Purposes)
Jordan (1997)
The surveys cover a wide range of topics but do not deal with theory and ideas in detail.
The literature has tended to focus primarily on practical issues, a point noted by Dudley-Evans & St. John (1998): “It is interesting and significant that so much of the writing has concentrated on the procedures of ESP and on relating course design to learners, specific needs rather than on theoretical matters” (p.1)

ESP (English for Specific Purposes)

Dudley-Evans & St. John (1998)
Where there has been discussion of ideas in the literature, this discussión has mostly focused on which descriptions of language can best inform ESP.

Approaches to language description in ESP
One early approach was based on counting the frequency of linguistic forms in a given register. Barber (1962/1985) identified the frequency of a number of syntactic forms in written scientific prose by analysis of a corpus of texts from a mixture of scientific disciplines (electronics, biochemistry, and astronomy) and genres.

The approach was later critiqued for failing to identify the purposes for which the forms were used.

Subsequent analyses (for example Tarone, Dwyer, Gillette, and Icke’s 1981 study of passives in astrophysics) aimed to identify both linguistic  forms and the purposes for which they were used (Flowerdew and Peackock, 2001).
The history of ESP’s adoption of such approaches has been a recurrent focus of interest in the literature. It is reported in Robinson (1991). Dudley-Evans and St. John (1998), and Flowerdew and Peackock (2001).
Swales’ seminal work, Episodes in ESP (1985), reflects the preoccupation of ESP with practical aspects of course and materials design and with language descriptions.
Generally, ESP has not been much concerned with the debates and issues emerging in recent years in the field of second language acquisition (Dudley-Evans & St. John, 1998; Bloor, 1998). Published reports of research focusing on language acquisition in ESP have been limited. One exception is the study of interlanguage use in relation to discourse domains by Selinker and Douglas (1985). It has also been noted that few studies have set out to investigate the effectiveness of ESP courses (Dudley-Evans & St. John, 1998).

The objective of ESP teaching
In the early years of ESP, the objective was seen in terms of imparting linguistic knowledge with ESP functioning to reveal the facts about the linguistic features of subject-specific language (Swales, 1985)

Later it was seen in terms of training students in communicative repertoires characteristic of target situations (Munby, 1978)

More recently, proposals include the notion that ESP should teach students concepts from their discipline, as well as language, in order to develop their “underlying competence” (Hutchinson & Waters, 1985)
The role of ESP in society
Ideological worries are surfacing and calls are being made for critical ESP.
Master (1998) argues that inasmuch as English dominates today’s world and is the established lingua franca of science, technology, and business, ESP “holds a pivotal position in regard to the use or abuse of his power” (p. 716).

Adapted from the book Ideas and Options in English for Specific Purposes, by Helen Basturkmen, 2006.

Monday, January 16, 2017

The Internet Explosion: Recent History

On October 24, 1995, the FNC unanimously passed a resolution defining the term Internet. This definition was developed in consultation with members of the Internet and intellectual property rights communities. RESOLUTION: The Federal Networking Council (FNC) agrees that the following language reflects our definition of the term "Internet". "Internet" refers to the global information system that -- (i) is logically linked together by a globally unique address space based on the Internet Protocol (IP) or its subsequent extensions/follow-ons; (ii) is able to support communications using the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) suite or its subsequent extensions/follow-ons, and/or other IP-compatible protocols; and (iii) provides, uses or makes accessible, either publicly or privately, high level services layered on the communications and related infrastructure described herein.
Microsoft's full scale entry into the browser, server, and Internet Service Provider market completed the major shift over to a commercially based Internet. The release of Windows 98 in June 1998 with the Microsoft browser well integrated into the desktop shows Bill Gates' determination to capitalize on the enormous growth of the Internet. Microsoft's success over the past few years has brought court challenges to their dominance. We'll leave it up to you whether you think these battles should be played out in the courts or the marketplace.
During this period of enormous growth, businesses entering the Internet arena scrambled to find economic models that work. Free services supported by advertising shifted some of the direct costs away from the consumer--temporarily. Services such as Delphi offered free web pages, chat rooms, and message boards for community building. Online sales have grown rapidly for such products as books and music CDs and computers, but the profit margins are slim when price comparisons are so easy, and public trust in online security is still shaky. Business models that have worked well are portal sites, that try to provide everything for everybody, and live auctions. AOL's acquisition of Time-Warner was the largest merger in history when it took place and shows the enormous growth of Internet business! The stock market has had a rocky ride, swooping up and down as the new technology companies, the's encountered good news and bad. The decline in advertising income spelled doom for many dot.coms, and a major shakeout and search for better business models took place by the survivors.
Wireless has grown rapidly in the past few years, and travellers search for the wi-fi "hot spots" where they can connect while they are away from the home or office. Many airports, coffee bars, hotels and motels now routinely provide these services, some for a fee and some for free.
The next big growth area is the surge towards universal wireless access, where almost everywhere is a "hot spot". Municipal wi-fi or city-wide access, wiMAX offering broader ranges than wi-fi, Verizon's EV-DO, and other formats will joust for dominance in the USA in the months ahead. The battle is both economic and political.
Another trend that is beginning to affect web designers is the growth of smaller devices to connect to the Internet. Small tablets, pocket PCs, smart phones, game machines, and even GPS devices are now capable of tapping into the web on the go, and many web pages are not designed to work on that scale.
One should not conclude that the Internet has now finished changing. The Internet, although a network in name and geography, is a creature of the computer, not the traditional network of the telephone or television industry. It will, indeed it must, continue to change and evolve at the speed of the computer industry if it is to remain relevant. It is now changing to provide such new services as real time transport, in order to support, for example, audio and video streams. The availability of pervasive networking (i.e., the Internet) along with powerful affordable computing and communications in portable form (i.e., laptop computers, two-way pagers, PDAs, cellular phones), is making possible a new paradigm of nomadic computing and communications.
This evolution will bring us new applications - Internet telephone and, slightly further out, Internet television. It is evolving to permit more sophisticated forms of pricing and cost recovery, a perhaps painful requirement in this commercial world. It is changing to accommodate yet another generation of underlying network technologies with different characteristics and requirements, from broadband residential access to satellites. New modes of access and new forms of service will spawn new applications, which in turn will drive further evolution of the net itself.


Monday, January 9, 2017

Brief History of Cooperative Learning

History of Cooperative Learning

First Century A.D
Quintillion, Seneca (Qui Docet Discet)
Johann Amos Comenius of Moravia
Joseph Lancaster, Andrew Bell
Lancaster School Established in the United States
Early 1800s
Common School Movement in the United States
Late 1800s
Colonel Frances Parker
Early 1900s
John Dewey, Kurt Lewin, Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky
Books on Cooperation and Competition by Maller, Mead, May, and Dobb Liberty League and National Associoation of Manufacturers Promoted Competition
World War II, Office of Strategic Services, Military- Related Research
Morton Deutch, theory and Research on Cooperation and Competition
Applied Group Dynamics Movement, National Training Laboratories Deutsch Research on Trust, Individualistic Situations Naturalistic Studies
Stuart Cook (1969) Reseach on Cooperation
Madsen (Kagan) Research on Cooperation and Competition in Children
Inquiry (Discovery) Learning Movment: Bruner, Suchman, B:F: Skinner, Programmed Learning, Behaviour Modification
Morton Deutsch Nebraska Symposium, Cooperation and Trust, Conflict
Robert Blake and Jane Mouton, Research on Intergroup Competition
David Johnson, University of Minnesota, Began Training Teachers in Cooperative Learning
Roger Johnson Joined David Johnson at University of Minnesota
David W. Johnson, Social Psychology of Eduction
Robert Hamblin: Behavioral Research on Cooperation/ Competition
David DeVRies and Keith Edwards, Combined Instructional Games Approach with Intergroup Competition, Teams-Games. Tournament.
David and Roger Johnson Research Review on Cooperation/Competition, David and Roger Johnson, Learning Together and Alone
Mid 1970s
Annual Symposium at APA Began (David DeVries and Keith Edwards, David and Roger Johnson, Stuart Cook, Elliot Aronson, Elizabeth Cohen, Others)
Robert Slavin Began Development of Cooperative Curricula
Spencer Kagan Continued Research on Cooperation among Children
Shlomo and Yael Sharan, Small Group Teaching(Group Investigation)
Elliot Aronson, Jigsaw Classroom Journal of Research and Development in Education, Cooperation Issue Jeanne Gibbs, Tribes.
First IASCE Conference in Tel Aviv, Israel.
1981, 1983
David and Roger Johnson, Meta-Analyses of Research on Cooperation
Elizabeth Cohen, Designing Groupwork
Spencer Kagan Developed Structures Approach to Cooperative Learning
AERA and ASCD Special Interest Groups Founded
David and Roger Johnson, Cooperation and Competition: Theory and Research
Early 1990s
Cooperative Learning Gains Popularity among Educators
First Annual Cooperative Learning Leadership Conference, Minneapolis

Adapted from several sources, the principal one being Learning Together and Alone. Cooperative, Competitive, and Individualistic Learning. David W. Johnson and Roger T. Johnson, 1999.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Los deberes deben...

Los deberes, como el propio sistema educativo, se encuentran, desde mi punto de vista, anticuados. En gran medida, solo suponen actividades repetitivas del material teórico visto en clase, no suelen implicar demasiada reflexión o creatividad.

Sin embargo, igual que en muchos aspectos metodológicos, son los profesores los que marcan la diferencia, con su innovación y dedicación, son los que pueden originar un cambio en esa monótona tendencia. Aunque, muchas veces, no tienen libertad para ello, pues hay una programación, un centro y un sistema que les impide moverse con una libertad total.

Por eso, tanto para que se produzca un cambio en los deberes, como para que le acompañe el necesario cambio metodológico, es necesario un cambio de fondo, porque, sino, todo lo demás siguen siendo remiendos sobre una tela ya muy raída.

De todos modos, nunca se puede poner ese cambio de raíz como excusa, de ahí que todo lo que se haga es importante, repercutiendo, directamente en el presente y futuro de los estudiantes, que  se pueden beneficiar ya de los cambios, por pequeños que sean.

En este sentido, desde mi punto de vista, los deberes son importantes, necesarios e imprescindibles, pero necesitan un giro, modificaciones en su contenido e incluso en su forma, evolucionando hacia unos deberes más creativos e imaginativos. Un ejemplo de ello sería lo que se está haciendo en un pequeño colegio público de Australia, en el que se ha sustituido el término de homework por el de homelearning, un concepto en el que se toman en consideración las actividades que hace el alumno fuera del aula como parte de su aprendizaje, teniendo que justificar las mismas. Es decir, consideran que los deberes no emanan únicamente de la clase y de las asignaturas concretas. Creo que en el fondo de su filosofía  se encuentra el hecho de que el ser humano siempre está aprendiendo, en su vida, independientemente de las actividades que esté realizando. Y, por ello, consideran que muchas tareas realizadas fuera del aula también deben considerarse como “deberes” y ser valoradas.


Por lo tanto, deberes sí, pero con una evolución, que debería darse también en el sistema y en la metodología, pero, mientras esto no suceda, los profesores nos podemos ir adelantando, como siempre, preparando a los alumnos para el mundo real.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Homelearning: fuera del aula también se aprende

En una de mis clases, siempre dejo que los alumnos escojan entre tres vídeos, únicamente por sus títulos, y no sé por qué siempre escogen el mismo, What if students controlled their own learning, presentado por Peter Hutton (@Tempcol), director de Templestowe College. La verdad es que nunca me canso de verlo y siempre desde una nueva perspectiva. Sin duda alguna, la primera vez que lo ves, llama la atención que sea una escuela en la que los alumnos pueden escoger qué aprender y cuándo. Mirando un poco por Google, buscando el nombre del centro educativo, las noticias se multiplican alabando sus resultados y exponiendo la flexibilidad como centro de su metodología, un sistema en el que se pueden crear asignaturas nuevas cuando un alumno muestra interés por un tema en concreto. Quizás, un avance hacia la educación personalizada. Sin duda una metodología rompedora.


La semana pasada, en una clase, los alumnos volvieron a escoger su vídeo, como no podía ser de otro modo. Y de los quince minutos escasos de duración de la charla, me fijé en otro aspecto, cuando habla de homelearning para sustituir al homework de toda la vida. Es como un aprender en casa, en vez de trabajar en casa. El alumno escoge, tiene que justificar X horas de aprendizaje fuera del aula a la semana, pueden ser idiomas, deportes, mirar en internet un tema de clase en el que quiera profundizar o tareas de casa, entre infinitas posibilidades.


Y esto me ha hecho pensar en el debate actual de deberes sí o deberes no. Toda la vida hemos tenido deberes y no ha pasado nada. Como estudiante que he sido y como docente que soy, creo que los deberes no son malos, al contrario. Pero quizás lo que deberíamos variar es el contenido de los mismos y su concepción. Hagámoslo al estilo Templestowe: cuando trabajas en el negocio familiar, estás aprendiendo, cuando tienes un trabajo extra, estás aprendiendo, cuando vas al cine, estás aprendiendo, lo mismo si lees un libro, haces deporte o vas a clases. Como en Australia….

Ah claro, que esto no es Australia, estamos en la cuna de la picaresca, el país del Lazarillo…aquí muchas personas justificarían, sin preocuparse, las horas que pidiesen en el colegio. Se mentiría, se engañaría. Creo que hay que cambiar el concepto, pero ¿estamos preparados como sociedad para ese compromiso?

Sinceramente, creo que estamos en las Antípodas de ese cambio.
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