WRITTEN ASSIGNMENT 2: FOCUS ON THE LEARNER
The profile should consist of the following:
Learning background you should talk to your learner to find out about their educational
and language learning background. Write one paragraph on this and comment on how
you think your learner’s background affects their learning. For example, you could say
that because X studied only grammar at school they have little confidence speaking.
Learner style Observe your learner in class and note their reaction to different activities
(open class, pair work, group work etc.) and different lesson types (grammar, speaking
reading etc.). Decide what learning style your subject ...view middle of the document...
To help you collect more information, you can also ask your learner to write something
for you (some biographical information or a story from their childhood) and you could
also record your learner when you speak to her/him individually.
Materials Select an activity (or activities) that will help your learner by meeting some of
the language and/or skill needs identified in the section above. (NB It is highly unlikely
that you can find a piece of material that will meet all your learner’s needs, so you will
need to prioritise which are more urgent or critical and find appropriate material.) The
material should come from a course book at the same level as you are using in TP, but
not from the TP course book itself. Say why you think this material would help your
learner. Please attach a copy of the material.
Total of 1,000 words maximum
This assignment is focused on a young, Korean English language learner. From here onwards this learner shall be referred to as Student A. Her learning background includes time spent at a language academy in Korea. She also attended free English language classes in Korea. After this she travelled to a predominantly English speaking country (NZ) for an immersion experience.
Her background affects her learning in the following ways. Student A comes from a country where education is taking very seriously. To pass exams you need certain skills and in Korea grammar is prioritised. Pupils have few conversation sessions and learn rules by rote. They become good at textbook English but this sadly doesn’t always correspond to the language used by native speakers.
Byung-Eun Cho has examined these issues in depth and asserts, ‘Not only do they have difficulty in understanding and using individual words, idiomatic expressions, allusions and historical contexts, but they also find it hard to adjust to the different teaching methods’. Additional to rote learning other Korean teaching methods revolve around ‘listening, reading, observing and imitating’.
Student A has the aptitude to become a proficient English language user. She has a very positive approach to learning tasks. She also meets the following categories outlined by Naiman, ‘ego involvement …. high aspirations, goal orientation, and perseverance’. She meets a further criterion that Rubin and Thompson discuss. This is that a student with a strong aptitude to learning must be able to, ‘make their own opportunities for practice’. Student A does indeed do this.
Tony Wright argues that all the learners in a classroom can be placed in one of four different categories. Student A is of the ‘oracular’ category. That is, she is a student who ‘focuses on the teacher but is more orientated towards the satisfaction of personal goals’.
Using Keith Willing’s categorisation of learner styles, Student A can also be referred to as a ‘concrete learner’. That is she very much likes the social aspect...