Constructivism in TESOL Term Paper

  • Length: 17 pages
  • Sources: 15
  • Subject: Communication - Language
  • Type: Term Paper
  • Paper: #31439046

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Constructivism in TESOL-1


EFL - The term is the main topic on which the paper is based upon (English as a foreign language). It does not refer to the student learning English language which is not his or her native language nor is it being spoken in their native country English is totally a foreign language.

ESL -- This refers to English as a second language. Students who learn English as a second language intend to use it in places where English is a native language and it ain't their first or native language..

ELF - The term does stand for English as a lingua franca

EAL - Stands for English as an additional language. The term (EAL) is only applicable to certain countries where English is just an extra language.

EAP -- In this specific study means English for academic purposes

EIL - The abbreviation stands for English as an international language, and it put across by various authors whom identified English as a global or international language.

BE - Business English

ELL -- Means, English language learner. The term is only used in countries where teachers use English to teach other languages, such countries use English as their native language.

ELT - English language teaching, apply to regions the language of English is taught to students.

ESOL - does refer to English for speakers of other languages. Means the same thing as EFL and ESL, but it could be used in countries or situations where they don't these other terms.

ESP - English for special purposes or English for specific purposes this refers to English language being used in different field like scientific field, the medicine profession field, the technical field and even there is English for waiters.

EST - English for science and technology English language used in the field of science and technology.

Teaching abbreviations:

TEFL - stands for Teaching English as a foreign language. Used jointly with the term EFL

TYLE -- refers to Teaching Young Learners English.

TESL -- means Teaching English as a second language. Used jointly with the term ESL

TESOL -- means Teaching English to speakers of other languages, or Teaching English as a second or other language.

Table of content

1.0 Executive summary

2.0 Constructivist teaching

2.1 Constructivist teaching specific approaches

3.0 The case study of a Thailand's EFL classroom

4.0 English Language

4.1 Teaching English Language (in general)

'4.2 Reasons for learning English as a Second Language or as a foreign language

5.0 Using CALL as a tool for constructivism in TESOL

5.1 Conclusion

6.0 Previous Studies

6.1 Blake (2000)

6.2 Kitade (2000)

6.3 Alm (2008)

6.4 Son (2008)

6.5 Gobel (2009)

7.0 Conclusion




1.0 Executive summary

This present study is basically based on constructivism in teaching English to students of other languages and will discuss this from a global and Thailand perspective. The paper is divided in five distinct sections; the first part of the paper discusses constructivist teaching and it basically aims at introducing the reader to the topic of discussion. The second section introduces the case study from which the study will be conducted from, which is a Thailand's EFL classroom. The following section talks about the English language and other underlying issues from a general perspective. The fourth section of paper discusses using computer assisted language learning CALL as a tool for constructivism in TESOL classroom and lastly before concluding the study will present some previous studies that were conducted and related to the topic of discussion.

As an introduction; a study carried out on Students at the South East European University shows that students who have learnt communicating and writing in English have been aided by the use of computer technology as a tool or approach for constructivist learning. This technology has benefited such students because they can learn vocabulary language as well as grammar without encountering problems. Therefore the use of CALL programs offers numerous activities that draw the attention of students in language learning (Anderson, & Freebody, (pp 88-92). Furthermore the CALL technology widely integrated activities that students can easily use to the English language. Such activities also benefits teachers or tutors in solving the problems that affect students in learning English.

2.0 Constructivist teaching

According to Jonassen (1999, 34) constructivist teaching traces its origin back to the constructivist learning theory. This theory states that a student's learning process is build upon the knowledge that he/she already has, this knowledge already known by the student is termed as schema. Consequently, since the entire learning process is built upon the prior knowledge of the student, constructivists prescribe that the learning process is more effective when the learner actively participates in the learning process rather than when the learner is simply aiming at acquiring knowledge passively. For this reason scholars have in the past put across various learning methods that claim to be based on the theory of constructivist learning. These prescribed methods by the scholars are seemingly designed in such a manner so as to put the tutor in a position where he/she doesn't give direct instruction but he guides the learner trough activists and questions so as to explore, discuss and comprehend the new knowledge.

With reference to studies conducted by Vygotsky (1978, 88-91), he has stated that the primary aim of applying the constructivist learning theory in the learning process is to enable students know how to acquire knowledge by training them on how to take up initiatives for their own individual learning experiences. This form of learning strategy has the following evident characteristics that include; the teachers plays the role of facilitators in the learning process so as to encourage students to be autonomous and responsible for their own learning experience, and in their role as facilitators teachers perform the duty of scaffolding, coaching and modeling. Secondly, the learning experience under this strategy are basically student-centered and interactive; the environment is usually perceived to be democratic and most importantly learners are actively involved in the learning process.

Bain (2004, 14-19) pointed out the main difference between a traditional classroom and a constructivist classroom is that in a constructivist classroom students don't work in groups, their learning process is not accomplished through repetition but through the interaction of knowledge and the learning experience. Thirdly, in the constructivist classroom students' learning is not primarily guided and based on textbooks. Bain (2004, 21) also further stated some of the distinctive characteristics that take place in a constructivist classroom that are not commonly in a traditional classroom and they comprise of experiments whereby students undertake individual experiments and then discuss their findings in a group discussion. Secondly, a constructivist classroom usually undertakes research projects whereby students are assigned to research on various topics and then present their findings to the class. Other distinctive activities in a constructivist classroom are field trips and films that provide visual context and hence bring in another dimension into the learning experience.

It is also important to note that constructivist learning strategy is also applied in online learning. Tools such as blogs, wikis and discussion forums are integrated into the learning experience so as to enable students to actively construct knowledge.

2.1 Constructivist teaching specific approaches

Various scholars have prescribed some specific approaches to education or teaching that are based on the constructivist learning theory one of the most notable approach is known as the constructionism that was developed by two scholars namely Seymour Papert and Piaget. Papert's constructionism approach was developed as close resemblance of Piaget's constructionism, but it went further to assert that constructivist learning takes place effectively when learners are constructing a product or something that exist external to them such as a computer program, a machine or a sand castle. This approach is especially facilitated by the readily available construction application tools that are installed in personal computers. For this reason advocates of use of computer in the learning process are increasingly campaign for the need for learners to first develop skills in multimedia literacy so as to use these tools in constructivist learning.

It is important to note that by using a case study in this present paper, the researcher intends to critically look into how students of English as a foreign or second language in Thailand use computers in their constructivist classrooms.

The other specific approaches in constructivism teaching or education are; reciprocal learning whereby students tend to teach each other; procedural facilitations for writing; critical exploration; problem-based learning; inquiry-based learning; anchored instructions whereby problems and approaches are incorporated in a narrative environment and various methods that involve group work or collaboration of learners.

3.0 The case study of a Thailand's EFL classroom

In order to present a well researched paper on "constructivism in TESOL" it was important to investigate constructivism in an EFL classroom based in Thailand and consider how the class has applied or adopted the constructivism learning theory in their learning process so as to make it distinctively different from the traditional classroom as…

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