Teaching activities

Activity 1: comparison of English-language teaching ideologies

This is an activity I conducted in my course on language attitudes. The course is for undergraduate students, majoring in English, at the University of Helsinki. The most current class consisted of 18 students from various backgrounds, including exchange students from Europe, South America and Asia. The students were highly engaged in the task, and as far as I could tell, there was no one in the class who found the assignment too demanding or out of reach.

The students prepared for the activity by signing up for one of four reading assignments. These assignments are linked here. The four reading assignments reflect the English-language teaching ideologies in four different locations: the UK, the USA, the EU, and, to represent the global perspective, a scientific article based on a study of international teachers of English as a Foreign Language (there is no doubt a more current study I could use for the latter option; I am open to suggestions).

For the EU document, I advised students to focus mostly on pages 12 through 24.

In class, the students discussed the reading assignments in groups of 3 to 5 students. Each student in a group had read a different document. The group was responsible for discussing and comparing the reading assignments and filling in the worksheet found here. This part of the activity took about 45 minutes. We then spent about 30 minutes discussing their main findings: which patterns seemed similar across the different settings, and how the ideologies relating to English and its especially its relationship to culture varied across settings. We had a good discussion about the relationship of policy to practice.

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