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How to integrate Multimodality in the current language classroom practices

Let’s take a look at the concept

Multimodality refers to the use of different modes, tools, or communicative resources to create meaning. In this sense, modes of representation are understood as those tools that can be: written and oral language; visual, audio, tactile, gestural, and spatial representations.

Consequently, as a teacher, you must keep these modes in mind both when you create or choose a text for your students, as well as when they are creating texts. 

 

These are the elements that people use to communicate and understand the world around them. That is why, in today’s classrooms, educators must be prepared to work with different resources and use multimodality in their classes by presenting the information in multiple ways. In this way, it will also be possible to recognize the elements that students use to create texts, where they show their preferences and communicative interests.

Teaching tips

Here are some teaching ideas that you can include in your teaching practices and routines from a multimodal approach:

Practical exercise in class

  • Students will choose a person with whom they have close and continuous contact.
  • They will begin to observe and note their characteristics: the way they speak, the colors of their clothes, the accessories they use, their favorite music and food, the continuous movements of their body, the persistent gestures of their face and hands, most used words, and socio-cultural characteristics: like the people they live with, where, and what they do on a
    daily basis.
  • To collect the information students could use different data collection tools like: diary, organizing in charts the information, interviews, photos, observation, to name a few. (For this part of the process, the teacher must have explained in advance the characteristics of these tools and their application).
  • After having these characteristics, students will begin to write a short story (which includes images, sounds, textures, colors, and elements that capture the reader’s attention) where the main character will be the person they chose and analyzed.
  • This story must keep in mind its target audience (age and interests of the audience) and it must have a learning objective. That is, it must have a message, explanation, or new knowledge for the reader.
  • In addition, it must follow the main characteristics of a short story.
  • Then, students will share their stories with their classmates and in a reflective way, the teacher will open a space to talk about the process of observation, information gathering and the writing of the short story, according to what each student was able to do and experiment.
  • The teacher may end up explaining how a person becomes a text that can be read and understood. All the characteristics that make up a person create their text, and by being able to interrogate, analyze and understand these characteristics, we can say that a person is a text that can be read. When we understand texts beyond written letters and recognize that there
    are multiple modes and resources that can enrich them (color, movement, sound…) we open the perspective and understanding of what a text is.
  • In addition, broaden the students’ vision of the way they read and write based on multimodality.

Here there are some key ideas that you can consider when applying multimodality in your classes:

● Include always in your classes different kind of modes to explain or send a message to your students: Pictures, illustrations, audio, speech, writing and print, music, movement, gestures, facial expressions, and colors.
● Keep in mind the different learning styles of your students and allow them to be able to choose the modes of their textual creations.
● Allow learning to be dynamic and interactive, so that students can interact with the information and knowledge presented in class.

Well, and how can you help your students to read and write in a multimodal way?

Here are some links to continue learning about Multimodality that can be useful for you.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nt5wPIhhDDU&ab_channel=JeffBezemer
https://vimeo.com/88937627?embedded=true&source=video_title&owner=5137968
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUZ9Zu6Fb3g

For more information, you can also reference this LSLP Micropaper: 

Mejía-Vélez, M. C. & Salazar Patiño, T. (2014). Multimodality. LSLP Micro-Papers, 4. Available in http://www.literaciesinl2project.org/uploads/3/8/9/7/38976989/lslp-micro-paper-4-multimodality.pdf

 

This post is in alliance with a guest author from LSLP or Literacies in Second Languages Project.

Find out more about LSLP 

 

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Natalia Andrea

Ramírez

Author

 

 
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Exploring Creative Ways to Use ChatGPT in English Language Teaching

What is ChatGPT, and how can it help teachers in the English language classroom?

ChatGPT, short for “Chat Generative Pre-training Transformer,” is an extensive language model developed by OpenAI that can generate natural language text. There has been tons of buzz around this innovative tool since it came out last year, with mixed feelings about how it could be used in education or if it should be used. What’s my position? I’m all for it, it’s a tool we can use to support teaching and learning English. 

 

ChatGPT and its Benefits for English Language Learning

     ChatGPT can be an invaluable tool for teachers in the English language classroom. It can help students practice various language skills, including grammar, vocabulary, reading, writing, and even preparing for speaking. However, I’ve read many articles debating where ChatGPT should be used in teaching and learning since it could be just another way for students to get out of doing their homework. 

     As English teachers, you could tell if your students used a translator on a writing task; the same occurs with using ChatGPT. Although it can mimic a human, it will never quite get the exact style your students use of the language, their level of English, or their lexis. We can tell, so I don’t think it will impact our work negatively, but it could benefit our teacher activities and students’ learning process. 

     So, let’s explore how we can get the most out of ChatGPT in ELT. One of the ways that ChatGPT can be used in the classroom is through the use of prompts and questions. Teachers can prepare these for ChatGPT to either generate responses that help them plan a lesson or develop content that students can use to learn.

For Students

  • You can use the model as a starting point for class discussion. Ask the students to explain their understanding of the model’s response, and you can ask higher-order thinking skill questions to promote critical thinking. 
  • Using ChatGPT as a writing assistant, students can input a sentence or a paragraph in their own words, and the model will help them with grammar, vocabulary, or even spelling mistakes.
  • Students can then analyze the model’s responses and compare them to their own answers, leading to a better understanding of the language.
  • It can also be used as a self-study tool. Teachers can assign homework that involves interacting with the model, and students can share their findings with the class. This can be an excellent way for students to practice their language skills in a fun and engaging way.
  • Students can also use ChatGPT to learn or practice vocabulary. 

For teachers 

Now, as you can see, ChatGPT is a powerful tool that you can use in the English language classroom. But it can also help teachers to create interactive and engaging lessons. 

These are just a few examples of how ChatGPT can be used in the English language classroom. The possibilities are endless, and I encourage you to experiment with different ways to use ChatGPT in your teaching practice to save time and still offer personalized and differentiated content for your students. It’s a powerful tool that can help to make language learning more fun, interactive, and practical. Give it a try, and let your creativity flow!

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Tatiana

Gómez Ramírez
Blog 1__Header_My Journey to Becoming an ELT Teacher

My Journey to Becoming an ELT Teacher: A Storytelling Series

In this blog post, the author shares their personal journey to becoming an ELT (English language teaching) teacher in Colombia, including their experience as a teacher and their decision to start their own educational consulting company, ELT Think Tank. The author encourages readers to join them as they continue learning and growing as professionals.

1

An overview of teacher collaboration

Abstract

One of the most important roles in education is that of the teacher; that role that has not been easily removed from the field as it migrates into the self-pace / self-teaching world of technology. Hence, teachers are called to share experiences to improve their practices as these practices may vary in contexts and may account for greater growth for other peers. This endeavor is not to be taken lightly and without proper care since it requires some guidance to be deemed successful. This paper explores the importance of such information-sharing in aims of improving teachers’ practices and provides some guidelines to apply for teacher collaborative development to work properly.

Uno de los roles más importantes en la educación, es aquel del docente; ese rol que no ha podido ser removido fácilmente mientras el campo educativo migra a la auto enseñanza y el mundo de la tecnología. Así pues, los docentes están llamados a compartir sus experiencias en pro de la mejora de sus prácticas, las cuales varían de acuerdo con el contexto donde se aplican. Este trabajo no puede ser tomado a la ligera y sin el cuidado y guía que requiere para ser exitoso. Este artículo explora la importancia de compartir experiencias docentes; adicionalmente, provee algunas guías para compartir estas experiencias de manera exitosa.

Key words: Professional development, teacher collaboration, teacher skills.

 


 

Relevance of teacher professional development

Language learning, more than a process, is a full enterprise. There are many parties that foregather for the purpose of achieving a constant refinement of the learning process. One of the parties or stakeholders involved in the procedure, and one of the most meaningful for the whole operation, is the one of teachers. According to Hattie (2003 in Mora-Ruano et al. 2019) “teacher quality alone accounts for 30% of the variance in student performance.” (P.1) and thus, in the learning process outcome itself.

Accordingly, professional development has become an important topic of discussion in education and the continuous hunt for such development among teachers channeled the efforts towards strategies like teacher collaboration which, according to Mora-Ruano et al. (2019), is “acknowledged […] as a core element for the professional development of the school and its members” to the point where “many official policies and education reforms around the world plead for more collaborative practices among teachers.” (p.2)

The endeavor of improving teachers’ skills has led the community on to reflective strategies such as self-efficacy (Bandura 1982) or action research itself (Lewin, 1952) which, according to Grushka et al. (2005), “increased respect for teaching craft knowledge” (p.1); although, in many cases, the goodwill of these actions become fruitless when they turn into “token observations focused on minor technical aspects of their teaching.” (Ibid). Hence the importance of focusing on achieving effective professional development strategies for teachers instead of new ways of exerting control over their actions.

Shaping collaboration

Dellicarpini (2014) defines collaboration as “activities where teachers work together in some way to achieve some end result with the goal of enhanced student Outcomes.” and describes it as a spectrum of possibilities that move between the “formal Collaboration” orchestrated by the administration and based on a fixed structure and the “informal Collaboration” defined as “teachers sharing information about students that they teach, the materials that they use, or strategies that have worked for them.” (p. 131)

The definition of collaboration has changed and teacher development has moved from the outdated view where they were “bombard[ed] with externally imposed methods and techniques through crash teacher training courses (Ostovar-Namaghi & Sheikhahmadi, 2016, P. 199) to a new method where teachers “now collaborate and learn from each other’s experience” (Ibid). However, for this strategy to work, it is necessary to consider several requirements pointed out by Friend and Cook (1992, in Dellicarpini 2014):

    1. It must be voluntary in nature.
    2. It includes parity or equal standing among the participants.
    3. It requires that participants share a goal.
    4. It requires that participants share responsibility for decisions and outcomes.
    5. It includes shared accountability.
    6. It requires participants to willingly share resources that include not only materials but time, expertise, commitment, support of colleagues, and other resources.
    7. It is emergent: As participants engage in successful collaborative contexts, their skills and positive beliefs are enhanced, therefore making their collaborative experiences more successful.

(Dellicarpini, 2014, p. 131)

According to Hargreaves (1998 in Forte & Flores, 2014) “collaboration may take different forms such as team teaching, collaborative planning, peer coaching, mentoring, professional dialogue and collaborative action research.” (p.92) Once the basic requirements are fulfilled, the next step would be to choose a strategy that meets the needs and goals of the collaboration according to the context. A good start could be the six types of co-teaching defined by Cook and Friend (1995 in Graziano & Navarrete, 2012, p.110) “one teaches, one observe”, “one teaches, one assists”, “station teaching”, “Parallel Teaching”, “alternative teaching” and “ team teaching”.

The aforementioned types of co-teaching allow for a greater diversity of collaboration practices; according to the level of experience, confidence, expectation, and enthusiasm of the participant teachers; however, still depending on the goodwill, persuasiveness, and commitment of the administrators in charge of the institutions who should create the right atmosphere for encouraging teachers to take a leap of faith and decide to become part of a professional development community.

Conclusion

Having reviewed the importance of teachers for education and for the learning process, it is fundamental to acknowledge the relevance of professional development not only for teachers as individuals but for a whole institution. It is not uncommon to find teacher training institutions encouraging teachers (especially those who are still under training) to carry out action research. Undoubtedly, this is one of the best ways for teachers to develop professionally;  collaboration and coteaching should be a great starting point for those who do not feel ready to jump into action research but desire to start the path of professional growth. Once again, it is advisable for administrators to ponder on the optimal conditions suggested in this paper, so they can successfully provide their teams with an environment that invites teachers to collaborate. 

Bibliography
Bandura, A. (1982). Self-efficacy mechanism in human agency. American Psychologist, 37(2), 122–147. https://doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.37.2.122
DelliCarpini, M. (2014). Modeling collaboration for ESL teacher candidates. The New Educator, 10(2), 129-144.
Forte, A. M., & Flores, M. A. (2014). Teacher collaboration and professional development in the workplace: A study of Portuguese teachers. European Journal of Teacher Education, 37(1), 91-105.
Graziano, K. J., & Navarrete, L. A. (2012). Co-teaching in a teacher education classroom: Collaboration, compromise, and creativity. Issues in Teacher Education, 21(1), 109-126.
Grushka, K., McLeod, J. H., & Reynolds, R. (2005). Reflecting upon reflection: Theory and practice in one Australian university teacher education program. Reflective Practice, 6(2), 239-246.
Lewin, K. (1951). Field Theory in Social Science, a publication of the Research Center for Group Dynamics, University of Michigan.
Mora-Ruano, J. G., Heine, J. H., & Gebhardt, M. (2019). Does teacher collaboration improve student achievement? analysis of the German PISA 2012 sample. In Frontiers in Education (Vol. 4, p. 85). Frontiers.
Ostovar-Nameghi, S. A., & Sheikhahmadi, M. (2016). From Teacher Isolation to Teacher Collaboration: Theoretical Perspectives and Empirical Findings. English Language Teaching, 9(5), 197-205.
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