- Let's go to wonderland
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- 외국어교육특수대학원 TESOL학과
- 이화여자대학교 외국어교육특수대학원
- Warren Euwon Chung
- Learning English has become essential for young learners in Korea. For this reason, English education is starting earlier and earlier with many starting to learn the language in kindergarten. Korean parents are passionate about helping their children become more fluent in English and many schools have “English only” policies to improve young learners’ English abilities. Parents, above all, want their children to improve their reading skills because when YLs read books, they can gain lots of vocabulary, improve writing skills by reading text, and can speak using words they learned through reading books. Also most Korean exams test reading. Yet despite parents’ efforts, many children are not fluent in reading considering how much money their parents invest in their children’s tuition. Also, young learners are required to study English at an academic level that is often inappropriate for their cognitive level. Thus, students need to read books that motivate them. Through reading, people can inspire, illuminate, and predict what’s happening (Bridges, 2014). That is, they should learn and read material that is appropriate for their level and interest.
This textbook will be used in an after school program in a public elementary school. Target students are four boys and eight girls who are 10 to 13 years old and whose L1 is Korean. They have learned English for 4 years since they went to kindergarten. According to WIDA, they are at Level 3 for listening, speaking, writing and reading. They can notice main ideas from conversation and content, ask simple questions based on content, describe things, and can compare texts based on information.
This textbook is based on two approaches:task based learning, and intensive reading.
In each unit, there will be a short story with a familiar topic to elicit interest from young learners. Before reading, young learners will do brainstorming and predict the stories using pictures. This will help students build their schema about the topic. Some units will draw young learners’ attention to the lesson by having them watch videos or listen to songs related to the topic. The teacher will also introduce new vocabulary. Since young learners don’t know many words, to learn vocabulary before reading, they will learn their meaning first. During reading, teachers will use reading strategies for reading comprehension, for example, scanning, skimming, guessing and finding the main idea (Brown, 2007). Also in this stage, young learners will be required to do activities related to intensive reading to focus on the text. After reading, task based learning activities will be given to students to foster their cooperation. Also each unit will involve peer feedback and include self -checks to give learners a chance to reflect upon their progress. And most tasks will be done in pairs or groups. More specifically, according to Nuttall (2005), intensive reading includes teacher’s control when students approach a text and needs task for students with focusing on the text. To adapt intensive reading, the teacher will tell the students what they should focus on and find. For example, during reading, they will answer multiple choice and comprehension check questions. In addition to these activities, there will be inference, true/false, and correct/incorrect questions. These activities for intensive reading will help students read in detail with specific learning aims and tasks. According to the theory of TBL, learning difficulty can be negotiated and modified for particular pedagogical tasks and conversation is the main focus of language (Nunan, 2004). To apply this theory, I will consider their background knowledge and their level. And like communicative language teaching, TBL puts importance on activities involving real communication, for example, comparing, opinion exchange tasks, jigsaw task, and problem solving (Nunan, 2004). Therefore, these activities will be done in pairs or groups. Also, students will engage in reflective writing based on their experiences.
Interesting topics and a variety of activities related to task based learning will help young learners realize that reading is not a difficult, tedious chore but an interesting, exciting pursuit. And through pair/group work, young learners will improve their collaborative skills. Using reading strategies for reading comprehension will help YLs become more fluent in reading. They will have confidence in reading after using this textbook. Also through peer-feedback and self-check, they will be able to reflect on their progress.
Young learners need some scaffolding for their work. They are not yet fluent in English, especially reading. In Korea, parents are ever passionate about improving their children’s reading skills to gain good scores on exams. To improve their students’ English reading abilities, teachers should consider their ages and overall cognitive development, and proficiency as well as motivational levels. Activities involving task based learning and intensive reading will help young learners’ improve their reading abilities.
- ☞ 이 논문은 저자가 원문공개에 동의하지 않은 논문으로, 도서관 내에서만 열람이 가능하며, 인쇄 및 저장은 불가합니다.
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