Learning Outcome 6

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Demonstrated ability to describe the grammatical and phonological structures of English and analyze learners’ production to create appropriate/related learning activities.

Description

The Grammar Lesson Plan was created for TESL 515: Teaching English Grammar, taken in the Fall 2016 term with Dr. Nancy Ackles. This artifact presents a lesson on yes/no questions with can tailored to the specific needs of beginning level learners with a Spanish L1. The Pronunciation Needs Assessment was created for TESL 525: Teaching English Pronunciation, taking in the Spring 2019 term with Dr. Rich Robison. This document analyzes the English pronunciation of one individual learner and presents a pedagogical plan to address her specific needs.

Reflection

In TESL 515, I was challenged to “boil down” complex grammatical topics to manageable increments which can be effectively taught in one class session and built upon step by step in subsequent classes. Specifically, I began by wanting to create a lesson explaining question formation and continued working with the grammatical concept to reduce it down to yes/no questions, yes/no questions using modals, and finally, yes/no questions with can. I learned to minimize grammatical explanations in the presentation of a grammar lesson and maximize demonstration and practice time. In TESL 525, I learned that analysis of a learner’s L1 can help predict common pronunciation errors, but there are often unanticipated problems that can only be identified by analyzing learners’ actual pronunciation. The Pronunciation Needs Assessment project also highlighted the importance of teaching the relationship between sound and spelling (Gilbert, 2001, in Celce-Murcia, Brinton, & Goodwin, 2010), particularly for students who are more comfortable reading than speaking in English.

Application

I will implement Thornbury’s (1999) principle, “Learn a little, use a lot” when teaching grammar concepts. I will avoid lengthy explanations in favor of strategic demonstration and extensive practice of the structure. I will focus more class time on pronunciation than I have in the past, and will make decisions regarding which segments and features to address based on the functional load of the features in question (e.g. Brown 1991, in Celce-Murcia, Brinton, & Goodwin, 2010). I also plan to periodically devote class time to teaching spelling-pronunciation relationships, especially for vowel sounds.


Thornbury, S. (1999). How to teach grammar. Essex, England: Pearson Education Limited.

Celce-Murcia, M., Brinton, D. M., and Goodwin, J. M. (2010). Teaching pronunciation: A course book and reference guide. New York, NY: Cambridge.