TEACHING ENGLISH AND EFL METHODOLOGY TO KINDERGARTEN AND PRIMARY SCHOOL TEACHERS: A BLENDED MODEL
University of Urbino (ITALY)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN12 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Conference name: 4th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2012
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:The presentation examines the blended learning model implemented in the online Master degree course “LIM , lingua e didattica dell’inglese per maestri” in the Faculty of Modern Languages of the University of Urbino, Italy. This is an online course targeting kindergarten and primary school teachers planning to improve their proficiency in English. At the same time, the course provides pre- and in-service teachers with a solid theoretical and practical knowledge of young learner foreign language teaching methodology.
The assets and drawbacks of foreign language distance education are analyzed. Designing successful online foreign language courses implies adopting state-of-the-art foreign language acquisition methodology. While on one hand it is of paramount importance to promote the acquisition of communicative skills, on the other computer-mediated learning does not provide many opportunities to develop interactional, transactional, and socio-pragmatic foreign language skills. Within this conceptual framework, the blended learning model implemented at the University of Urbino is analyzed.
Online instruction consists of three main modules: two dealing with English as a Foreign Language (EFL) methodology and the third one - of six units - devoted to promote the acquisition of the basics of the English language. The language units are based on six formats, that is short stories, created to be used with kindergarten and primary school classes. Each narrative format consists of the script of the dramatized story - including stage directions together with mimicry, gestures and facial expressions -, the storybook with the pictures and the text of the story, the sound track and the lyrics of the musical based on the format. These materials are used to foster student teachers’ linguistic competence through different kinds of exercises and activities. On the other hand, face-to-face classroom instruction provides student teachers with theoretical and practical knowledge of the e-learning platform used to deliver the course and allows them to practice the Format approach learnt during the course.
Scheduled to be implemented in the 2012-2013 Academic Year, the new instructional design of the course is also introduced. Web 2.0 technology-enhanced tasks aimed to foster both user-generated contents and foreign language acquisition in collaborative social spaces are described. A switch from a course-centric Learning Management System (LMS) to learner- and net-centric Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) is implemented.
Keywords: Foreign language teaching, emerging technologies, ICT skills.