Strategies for Development of Teaching Materials for FL
1. Strategies for development of teaching materials for foreign language
There are several strategies for teaching foreign language in the literature. However, there is no clear distinction in the literature that says such and such strategies are effective for teaching a foreign language to adult learners. For instance, there are some strategies that include card games to teach vocabulary, which are very enjoyable for young learners, but may be boring for adult learners. Therefore, while reviewing the literature, we considered the age group that this module is designed for, and selected two strategies thought to be very effective on adult learners’ foreign language learning were selected: The gradual release of responsibility model and Use of graphic novels as teaching materials.
The gradual release of responsibility model
The gradual release of responsibility model (Pearson and Gallagher, 1983) is thought to work for adult foreign language learners in the reading comprehension process, because by being a model and using several strategies, teacher supports students’ development as individual learners in this model, and the responsibility moves from teacher to students in time. There are three main stages of the gradual release of responsibility model:
First Stage – Giving Instructions and Being a Model: The teacher starts the lesson by explaining how she felt when she was not socializing for a long time by mentioning the Coronavirus outbreak that affected the whole world in the recent past. Then, the teacher asks the adult learners to explain how they felt during Coronavirus outbreak. The teacher mentions that the outbreak was a temporary process for everyone, it did not last too long, and everyone got back to their routine lives. Then, the teacher mentions there are some people, however, whose routine lives are not quite similar to ours. Then, shows the first image below, and says “They are the people with disabilities.” Then, the teacher models “thinking aloud” strategy by talking about the people in the image. Then, the teacher asks the adult learners to get in pairs and talk about the forms of disabilities by looking at the provided image.
After a few minutes, the teacher starts showing the image 2, image 3, and image 4 one by one, and wants the adult learners to guess and discuss what people with that specific form of disability are capable and incapable to do.While listening the adult learners, the teacher writes the words about disabilities on board and elicit and explain the vocabulary.
Then, by showing the image 5, the teacher reminds the adult learners that every single one of us are actually a candidate to become a person with disability.
Finally, the teacher gets back to the topic of social inclusion with a question: As stated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) (2020), around 15% of the global population experiences some form of disability. That means, in every 100 people we see around, 15 of them should have some form of disability. Do we really see that much people with disabilities around? If we do not see them, where are they? Then, the discussion begins about isolation and social inclusion.
Second Stage – Guided Practice: Teacher helps adult learners to apply the comprehension strategies in a guided collaborative practice, and provides additional modeling and demonstration if/when needed. In this stage, adult learners work in small groups and try to apply the strategies they learned in the first stage. Using short texts about the topic may be preferred. Teacher visits each group and provide additional modeling and demonstration to the specific groups if they need such information.
Third Stage – Independent Learning: In this stage, adult learners take the responsibility of using this strategy individually. In this stage, students apply their learning in independent readings and writings. They may choose a text among the more complex texts teacher offers to them, and work on it independently. The goal here is to teach students to independently use comprehension strategies for different purposes, and to critically analyze the texts they read or watch or (maybe) listen to. Students are expected to produce a text in any form (written text, digital text, or even a text performed on stage) as a final product.
Gradual Release of Responsibility Model may be effectively used with adult foreign language learners by selecting an engaging topic, about which an adult may have some sort of knowledge and talk in general. By keeping this in mind, Disabilities and Social Inclusion is selected as the topic of the practical activity of this strategy, and what teachers to do in the stages of this strategy are explained in detail below.
2. Use of Graphic novels as teaching materials
It is demonstrated in several studies (Cary, 2004; Chun, 2009; Liu, 2004) that using graphic novels offers several benefits to foreign language learners. For instance, authentic dialogues in graphic novels help foreign language learners better understand everyday conversations (Cary, 2004). Some popular graphic novels also help foreign language learners to make connections with history (Chun, 2009). Maus, for instance, deals with the traumatic history and enduring legacy of the Holocaust through multiple narratives of a father, mother, and son; and Persepolis is the poignant story of a young girl in Iran during the Islamic Revolution, and includes information about what people were expecting from the revolution and what actually happened. Besides the historical information, these graphic novels include cultural information as well. For the adult learners, making connections between these stories and their background knowledge about these historical events (if they do not have any background knowledge, they may just google the events) may help comprehension of the texts and development of the adult learners’ literacy abilities.
Graphic novels may also be used to improve the vocabulary knowledge of foreign language learners. Understanding the meaning of some content specific terms may be possible in graphic novels because of the rich visuals they include.
Teacher models how to read the written text and the visuals in graphic novels while reading them to the classroom. Then, adult learners may first read the graphic novels individually, then get together in small groups to share what they understand from the visuals. Making meaning through visuals requires some time and experience. Reading individually and sharing and discussing in small groups may help adult learners to develop their visual literacy abilities in a short time. After reading the graphic novel, adult learners are expected to produce a collaborative reflective text in any form (written text, digital text, visual text, or even a text performed on stage) as a final product of their small group.
3. Theoretical Framework
There are two strategies offered in this module, one suggests reading a printed text and writing about it and in this strategy the responsibility moves from teacher to students in time, and the other one suggests reading visuals along with printed text in the meaning making process and producing a collaborative text in any form as a final product. Therefore, these two strategies adopt totally different theoretical concepts, which are briefly discussed below.
Reading Comprehension Concepts in the Gradual Release of Responsibility Model Gradual Release of Responsibility Model adopts the main reading comprehension concepts such as thinking aloud, predicting, and questioning (Tovani, 2000), which helps not only reading comprehension of foreign language learners but also their writing abilities. However, in the first stage, teacher uses these concepts by being a model to students, then in the second stage, s/he lets students collaboratively use these concepts in small groups, and in the final stage, students independently use these concepts while reading and writing a text. That means the responsibility moves from teacher to students in time. While implementing activities based on Gradual Release of Responsibility Model, sometimes referred as “I do it, we do it, you do it”, it will be appropriate to attach importance to these three stages emphasized by the model. Fisher (2008) states that the gradual release of responsibility model of instruction is an effective approach for improving writing achievement (Fisher & Frey, 2003), reading comprehension (Lloyd, 2004), and literacy outcomes for English language learners (Kong & Pearson, 2003).
Multimodality Concept in the Use of Graphic Novels
Today, it is possible to reach and share favorite stories across multiple media platforms: reading books, reading graphic novels, watching cartoons and movies, sharing about them on social media, etc. These complex interactions people engage in on different platforms changed what we understand from the term text. Historically, text has meant a piece of writing that we read and make meaning through. However, recent sociocultural research defines text as a broader term. Based on multimodality approach (Kress, 2011), a text can be any product in any form, through which we make meaning, that means a visual, a movie, a drawing, or a performance on stage can be considered as text. Thus, based on multimodal literacy approach, getting meaning from these different forms of texts is called reading, and giving meaning through these different forms of texts is called writing. The Use of Graphic Novels strategy adopts multimodality concept, because adult foreign language learners will be reading a graphic novel by getting meaning from visuals as well as printed text, and will be writing a text in any form as a final product (maybe digital storymap), and we call this activity multimodal literacy.
4. Practical Activities
Activity Based on the Gradual Release of Responsibility Model
Time: 45 + 45= 90 minutes
Topic: Disabilities and Social Inclusion
Language: Vocabulary related to disability and feelings
Material: A short movie named “The Present”
The teacher mentions that the outbreak was a temporary process for everyone, it did not last too long, and everyone got back to their routine lives. Then, the teacher mentions there are some people, however, whose routine lives are not quite similar to ours. Then, shows the first image below, and says “They are the people with disabilities.”
Then, the teacher models “thinking aloud” strategy by talking about the people in the image. Then, the teacher asks the adult learners to get in pairs and talk about the forms of disabilities by looking at the provided image.
After a few minutes, the teacher starts showing the image 2, image 3, and image 4 one by one, and wants the adult learners to guess and discuss what people with that specific form of disability are capable and incapable to do.
While listening the adult learners, the teacher writes the words about disabilities on board and elicit and explain the vocabulary.
Then, by showing the image 5, the teacher reminds the adult learners that every single one of us are actually a candidate to become a person with disability.
Finally, the teacher gets back to the topic of social inclusion with a question:
As stated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) (2020), around 15% of the global population experiences some form of disability. That means, in every 100 people we see around, 15 of them should have some form of disability. Do we really see that much people with disabilities around? If we do not see them, where are they? Then, the discussion begins about isolation and social inclusion.
Second Stage – Guided Practice: The teacher tells the adult learners they are going to watch a short movie. They watch the first part of the movie (00:00 – 02:10).
The teacher writes the following actions on board, and asks the adult learners to work in pairs to put the 8 actions into the order as they appear in the film.
The dog plays with the ball.
The boy likes the present.
His mother gives him a present.
The boy plays game.
The phone rings.
His mother comes home.
The mother goes upstairs.
The boy gets angry.
The teacher put the adult learners in groups and they watch the first part one more time. As they watch they should also try to identify the feelings of the character. The teacher stops the video and this time asks adult learners what they think of the character's behavior and wants them to discuss and try to predict in the group why the character behaves and feels that way. A spokesperson from each group shares the predictions with the class and the class hold a plenary discussion based on the question.
The teacher tells the adult learners they are going to watch the second part of the movie. (02:10-03:22). After they watch, they compare their answers with the story of the movie.
The teacher asks the adult learners to discuss about social inclusion again in their groups and share their suggestions about what to do to socialize the people with disabilities. A spokesperson from each group shares their suggestions with the class and the suggestions listed as “Responsibilities of People” and “Responsibilities of Government” on the board.
Third Stage – Individual Learning: The teacher gives a short presentation about what a short movie script should include (Characters (and a narrator if needed), time, place, plot), and provides a few examples. Then, the teacher asks the adult learners to write a short movie script on socializing the people with disabilities. The movie should include a strong message either for people or for the government, or maybe for both.
Activity Based on the Use of Graphic Novels
Time: 45 + 45= 90 minutes
Topic: Learning History through Graphic Novels
Language: Vocabulary related to the historical event mentioned in the graphic novel
Material: Graphic novels such as “Maus” and “Persepolis”
Since the target group of this course is adult learners, it was thought that reading graphic novels on some historical events might be engaging for adult learners. They may already have some background knowledge on these events, which helps comprehending these texts. Besides history, these texts include authentic information about the culture of the communities the texts were written about.
Pre-Reading: The teacher gives the visuals of the first chapter of a graphic novel on a historical event such as Persepolis without the speech balloons, and asks adult learners in groups to put them into order according to the story line. It can be thought like a guessing game. The key event here is being able to read the visuals. The adult learners do not have to put the visuals into the correct order, they can create different combinations.
When they finish, the groups share their stories with the class.
While Reading: After the first part has been completed, the teacher redistributes the visuals with speech balloons this time and asks the adult learners to order them again by regarding the speech balloons. When the groups finish ordering, the teacher shares the correct version of the story line and groups check their works. In pre-reading and while reading stages, the teacher helps the adult learners to guess the meanings of some words by reading the visuals, and help them develop vocabulary knowledge.
Since adult learners will have an idea about the novel after they have read the first chapter of the story, the course can continue with the K-W-L chart activity. The novel is about the poignant story of a young girl in Iran during the Islamic Revolution, and includes information about what people were expecting from the revolution and what actually happened. So, a sample K-W-L chart can be prepared as follows:
Want to Know
K-W-L chart can be used both as a pre-reading activity and while reading activity because adult learners can complete this chart before reading each chapter (Basol, 2011).
Another while reading activity can be one that puts Say Something On strategy suggested by Beers (2003) into action. “This strategy helps adult learners make predictions, ask questions, monitor their comprehension, use fix-up strategies, clarify parts that are confusing, comment on their understanding and make connections” (Berry, 2013, p. 103). After reading a few pages, the teacher stops the adult learners to say something. The teacher can give them the following Sentence Starters in case that the adult learners have difficulty starting the sentences. The teacher requests the other group members or classmates to offer a response when a adult learner says something or asks a question. This class activity helps adult learners to learn how to read a graphic novel, what to focus on, and how to make meaning from the visuals. By sharing their ideas, making comments and hearing critics they learn from each other and make meaning together in a collaborative class environment.
|Make a Prediction
· I think that…
· I predict that
· I wonder if…
· I bet that…
· It makes me think that…
Ask a Question
· What would happen if…
· Who is…
· What do you think about…
· I don’t thing I get…
· I understand that…
· I think it means that…
· I agree with…
· I think this part is about…
Make a Comment
· This good because…
· This is confusing because…
· I don’t like it because,
· I think that…
· It is interesting that…
· My favorite part was…
Make a Connection
· This reminds me of…
· This part is just like…
· This character was very similar to (fill in name) character because…
· This character makes me think of…
· This is similar to…
· The difference in between this and (fill in name) is…
(Adopted from Basol, 2011)
Post-Reading: After reading the graphic novel, adult learners can produce a collaborative reflective text in any form (written text, digital text, visual text, or even a text performed on stage) as a final product of their small group.
- The adult learners can write (and draw) a different ending for their graphic novel according to their perspective and imagination.
They can create their own graphic novels on online websites as digital storymaps and share them with their classmates.
They can write a narrative version of the novel.
They can act out the story on stage.
5. Interactive exercises
1. Authentic dialogues in graphic novels help ELLs better understand everyday conversations.
2. It is important to build some background knowledge for ELLs in the modeling stage of gradual release of responsibility model.
3. In gradual release of responsibility model, responsibility moves from student to teacher in time.
4. The teacher can teach some basic vocabulary related to the topic during the Collaborative Learning stage of gradual release of responsibility model.
5. K-W-L chart for reading comprehension can be used both as a pre-reading and a while reading activity.
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