Monday, March 5, 2012

Attending skills workshop at BC TEAL

Just got word that our proposal to do Attending Skills Training: Peer monitoring in conversation instruction at BC TEAL in May has been accepted. (I'm doing it w/Mike Burri, Nate Kielstra and Mitch Goertzen.)
Here is the summary:
Clipart: Ciker
Attending Skills are a set of techniques that are effective in creating a context where students of upper beginning level and above can work in small groups and (a) practice strategies maintaining conversations, (b) become better conversational listeners and (c) provide productive feedback to classmates on speaking performance.

Developed over 50 years ago by counseling psychologists, attending skills are standard practice in most “helping” disciplines and have been applied extensively in second language teaching (Acton and Cope, 1999.) In this workshop, participants will be introduced to a method for teaching “attending skills” in classes of any size, to learners from teenage to adult. Focus of small groups is primarily to identify the use of good conversational strategies by the “attender”, not the facilitating “talker”. They will then learn strategies for instructor mediation and whole class participation, and have the opportunity to participate in a small group. At the end of the workshop, participants will be provided with complete guidelines for adapting attending skills training to their classrooms.

Acton, W. and C. Cope. (1999). Cooperative attending skills training for ESL students, in JALT Applied Materials volume, Kluge, D. and S. McGuire (Eds.), Cooperative language teaching in Japan, pp. 50-66. (That chapter is also available now online from ERIC and a few other places.) Attending skills work or something very much like it is often essential in giving learners a productive, comfortable classroom setting in which to focus on integrating new sounds. If you are in the area, hope you can attend!

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