Image: Emma Cunningham
In another of various modes of preparation I am going through before heading back to classroom teaching next week, I have dug out another application of the English Raven Wizard English Grid which I quite often turn to.
This application involves using a simple grid to help capture, correct, analyze, extend and/or enhance the emergent language that comes out in general classroom discussion.
The screencast below shows how I apply this in some detail.
Jason demonstrates how he uses 'Wizard English Grids' to select emergent language from classroom discussions, then correct, explain and enhance it in small ongoing sections.
Interestingly, I noticed after doing the screencast (which was very much done on the fly, much the same way as I would handle emergent language in a real classroom setting) that I might actually approach and explain some of the examples a little differently (through the benefit of hindsight). For example, I would probably like to explain the difference between "I live in..." and "I am living in..." in terms of the latter being potentially a temporary situation, which could also be favourably compared to something like "I am staying in/at/with..."
That realisation is helpful in terms of identifying another aspect of dealing with unplanned emergent language "on the spot" in the classroom.
Reflection later in or after the actual class will often present new ideas about ways to explain or explore aspects of particular types of emergent language (not to mention our ability as teachers to hit upon the most relevant or accurate characteristics, relationships or issues in application to both learner language and target language norms). These realisations create excellent additional teaching opportunities for follow up classes, but also strengthen our capacity to approach and negotiate emergent language in future teaching situations in general.
In any case, the highlights (or key characteristics) of this approach are:
- Learners' own production is used as the basis for language development opportunities
- There is emphasis on going beyond simple corrections to explanations and extensions
- These explanations and extensions are relatively simple and brief
- There is some effort to highlight meaning and use, as well as form
- There is a natural blur between the notions of "grammar" and "vocabulary"
- It assumes it could be beneficial to handle aspects of language in relatively small amounts in an ongoing fashion rather than all at once according to a "full on" pre-prepared grammar syllabus
- Learners as a group can potentially benefit from sharing and thinking about the emergent language that individual learners produce in class
- Regular application allows for recycling and awareness/analysis of language and language patterns from a variety of different, connected or interrelated angles
- Teachers cannot always expect themselves to be able to explain in graphic detail everything and anything about language patterns and rules
- Teachers can always potentially add something relevant and useful to students' awareness about the language they are producing
- Regular application improves a teacher's awareness about emergent language as well as relevant patterns and rules across a wider (and often unpredictable) range of target language features
- Learners notice (and generally tend to appreciate) that their own language is taking centre stage and is being explored in ways that will be helpful to them personally
So, there's one of several ways I "deal with" emergent language in my classrooms on an ongoing basis.
Anyone else got some ideas of their own in terms of drawing on and working effectively with emergent language?
We're all ears...!