The Let’s Teach English video series offers free online training for English language educators worldwide. It is based on the Women Teaching Women English text for adult, beginning level learners. Voice of America and the University of Oregon are partners on this project. The course includes:
1. An introductory video which summarizes the main topics of second language teaching and shows classroom examples of the topics.
2. Ten 5-minute video episodes based on the units of Women Teaching Women English. Each of these episodes provides a model of communicative language teaching through simulated language classroom interaction. The course can be used by men and women.
3. English teaching materials from the course, Women Teaching Women English. The student book, teacher’s manual, and audio files can be accessed for each unit. This course is the result of a collaboration between the University of Oregon American English Institute and the U.S. Department of State.
Click on the image below for more details about the course and these teaching topics.
- Theory of Constructivism
- Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) Method
- Learner-Centered Practices and Active Learning
Tra Mi: You have been watching the videos. Your assignment was to choose a teaching topic, explain it in your own words, and give an example of where you see it in the video course. Can you tell me what you chose?
Rebecca Sui: I chose Constructivism.
Linh Dan: Mine is about the Communicative Language Teaching Method.
Laila Azimi: I looked for some Learner-Centered Practices, such as teaching students how to use learning strategies.
Tra Mi: Very good. Since Let’s Teach English is built on the theory of Constructivism, why don’t you start?
Rebecca Sui: Sounds good to me!
Rebecca Sui: When I think of building or “constructing” something, I see a house or a school. To me, constructivism means my students are taking in new ideas and new words, and building their own understanding of the world around them.
I found an example of this in Unit 4.
First, the teacher prepares students to read a story by talking about the content. She has her students bring in pictures of technology that they know about. In this way, students start with things they already know about. Then they can connect that to the new information in the story. The teacher gets her students interested in the story by previewing the title and images.
Rebecca Sui: The students know about technology and the internet. But, they do not know that someone could learn from the internet without having an internet connection. They read a story and learn about a mobile library called SolarSPELL, where information from the internet could be stored. Finally, her students make a picture to explain the SolarSPELL library in their own words.
Rebecca Sui: I think this is a good example. They knew something to start with, but they had to construct or build on their knowledge. They read about the Solar SPELL and then they told about it in their own words. They learned some new words in English and they also learned about a new place, Vanuatu.
Tra Mi: Okay, great start on constructivism. Who wants to talk next?
Linh Dan: I do! I decided to talk about the Communicative Language Teaching method.
Linh Dan: In Unit 5, the students do role-plays in groups, and each group has different information. That way, their role plays are all different. This is a great example of a real world task and Communicative Language Teaching. Students use their own words to shop, sell, and bargain in the marketplace.
Video clip of shopping role play
Linh Dan: The students were in a real-world situation in this unit. They were using English in a meaningful way to do the task. They had a clear purpose for communicating. And, just as important, the activity was learner-centered because they had choices in the language and actions that they used.
Tra Mi: Thank you, Linh Dan! Now, for Layla’s presentation.
Laila Azimi: I want to tell you what I learned about Learner-Centered Teaching and Active Learning for students. In Unit 9, the students practice an interview for a job. They each choose the job that they want to get. Then, they practice the learning strategy of “predicting” in two ways. They predict what kinds of questions can occur in their interviews. And, during the role-play, the listening group predicts what questions might come next.
Laila Azimi: We saw one student’s interview for the job she chose. We know that every student chose a different job, did research about that job, and wrote her own interview questions.
Tra Mi: What was the teacher’s role in this?
Laila Azimi: The teacher’s job was to support the learners in their choices and research. She also gave them more control over their learning by teaching them to apply strategies. In this case, they predicted hard questions for the interview. They can use these strategies later in other real-world situations.
Tra Mi: Thank you, all, for sharing these important topics of language teaching:
- Communicative Language Teaching
- Learner-Centered Practices and Active Learning
Tra Mi: So, let’s start with the first unit!
Laila Azimi, Linh Dan, and Rebecca Sui: Yes, let’s teach English together!
Comments and Questions
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