Using Dvd And Video In Your Esl Class Part One How To Choose An Online University Degree Program That Will Actually Help Your Career Reading Strategies For Struggling Readers

Have you ever wondered how to use movies in your ESL classes, without just sitting your students down in front of the screen, hitting ‘Play’ and sitting back to watch?

Here are a few ideas to get you started, using very short movie extracts to present and practise new language and develop communicative skills.

1 No picture

Choose a short extract (2 or 3 minutes) with plenty of sound effects. Play it with the screen covered or turned away from the students, and ask them to write down what they hear.

If two of the sound effects are birds singing and a baby crying, you could use the extract to present or practice any of these language points (and I’m sure you can think of more):

Some birds are singing / A baby is crying

Some birds were singing / A baby was crying

It must / might / can’t be birds singing or It must / might / can’t have been birds singing

I heard some birds singing / I heard a baby crying

After playing the extract, have students compare what they heard in pairs, and then elicit the language from them. Remember to show the extract with both picture and sound at the end of the activity to satisfy the students’ curiosity!

2 No sound

Here’s the opposite idea. Show a short extract (again, 2 or 3 minutes is enough) with a lot going on, or where the characters convey a lot of emotion in their expressions, but play it with the volume off. Students can then do one of the activities below without having to worry about understanding dialogue:

Describe what happened using narrative tenses

Describe the scene

Anticipate dialogue or reactions

Arrange a cut up dialogue which you have given them.

Finally, play the extract again with sound. Having done one of these tasks, your students will be able to fit what they hear into a context much more effectively than if they had viewed the extract initially with picture and sound.

3 Jigsaw viewing

You may have done jigsaw reading activities in your class, where students have half the information, and share what they have read with another student to recreate the whole story. You can also do this with short video sequences in a number of ways:

Half the class watches with no picture, then the other half with no sound (you’ll have to take half the students out of the class in each case). In pairs they then question each other to recreate the scene.

Half the class have picture and sound, the other half just have sound. You can do this by sitting students in two rows, back to back, so that only one row can see the screen. The half who only had sound then question the other half.

One student listens with headphones, while all the others view without sound. The student with headphones questions the others to recreate the scene.

4 Viewing on rewind

Choose a short sequence with a lot of action. For example, a woman enters an apartment, picks up the telephone, listens, looks terrified, runs out of her apartment and down the stairs, and runs off down the street. Movies are, of course, a great source for this sort of material. Play the scene backwards to the students (DVD gives more flexibility than video with the speed of playback) then have them reconstruct the story in chronological order, using narrative tenses, or future tenses, or whatever you want the linguistic focus to be. Finally, play the sequence normally so students can compare it with their version.

5 Pause / Freeze Frame

If you use pictures in your classroom for introducing new vocabulary, or for describing people and scenes, you can add a new dimension to this with the pause/freeze frame button of your video or DVD player. Hit pause when a character has an interesting expression on his or her face, is about to react to something or answer a question, or when there is a lot of colourful new vocabulary on the screen. Have students describe the character/scene, or anticipate what the character will say or do next. Release the pause button to allow students to compare their ideas with what actually happens.

Video is a motivating and effective way to bring variety to your ESL classes. Using short, sharp sequences with a clear linguistic focus, your students will go away from your class with much more than if you sit them down in front of the screen and hit ‘play’.

Undoubtedly, an online degree can further your career aspirations. However, choosing a program can be a confusing process. One way of identifying a suitable program is to list your goals and then go through the listed programs carefully to see which one meets your list best. It also helps to peruse the feedback from students who have successfully acquired their degree from institution to see how others have benefited from the listed programs.

There are many universities offering different programs. Doing some research of the official websites of the many universities, colleges, and schools offering online degree courses might be particularly helpful to see which institution and program suit your time and work schedule. It is also important to ensure that the university program and the university itself is accredited and recognized by the industry. You might want to consider the University of Phoenix since it is both trusted and accredited. In fact, an online education from the University of Phoenix qualifies for most employer reimbursement plans.

Accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, the University of Phoenix is trusted by students around the world to fulfill their career goals. The university has been able to meet the students’ expectations owing to:

1. Its policy to continually update courses to meet industry requirements and growth.

2. Its emphasis on courses simulating real-world scenarios.

3. Its emphasis on application of learning material with assignments that encourage use of newfound skills.

The University’s has a large faculty and all members hold a master’s or doctoral degree and work in the fields they teach. The University of Phoenix ensures that the student’s marketability increases with each program that he or she undertakes.

Struggling readers are simply individuals who have not learned effective reading strategies. Don’t be too concerned if you aren’t familiar with the term, “reading strategies;” most good readers never had to learn them; instead, they just use them naturally. Struggling readers, on the other hand, have no idea how their friends can finish their work before they make it through the first paragraph. Why is it that their friends are reading “Lord of the Rings” and they are still reading “Magic Tree House” books? How do their friends manage to read those really long and unfamiliar words with ease?

Reading strategies can be organized into two distinct groups: decoding strategies and comprehension strategies.

Decoding Strategies

Without getting into a long debate over whether children should learn to read through phonics or whole language, the fact is that some students need to be taught explicitly phonemic awareness. Phonemic awareness is basically being able to pronounce the bits and pieces of words to turn them into words that the student knows or has heard. Even if the word is unfamiliar, students with good phonemic awareness can usually pronounce a reasonable representation of the word. Struggling readers need to be taught the sounds of the language–the phonemes–and to be given plenty of opportunity and coaching in their use.

Some indicators that a student needs explicit instruction in phonemic awareness include: skipping words while reading, “sounding out” words incorrectly, attempting a pronunciation that doesn’t make sense, and avoiding reading.

It is helpful if students are able to recognize and spell a number of simple words. Dolch vocabulary words are great for younger students. For older students, try to get a list of the 1000 most common words in the English language. Phonemic awareness starts with letter sounds. Students learn how to pronounce various combinations of letters, and they learn that letters are not always pronounced the way they should be. Consider a simple example: the word, “the,” is pronounced with a short u sound. Students compare unfamiliar words with words that they know; thus the necessity for a good repertoire of sight words.

A common decoding strategy that is taught to struggling readers is called chunking. If students have developed some proficiency with phonemes, they can begin chunking unfamiliar words. Using their finger, they cover all but a chunk of the unfamiliar word. They pronounce it then move onto the next chunk. Once the student has pronounced all of the chunks, they try to put the chunks together and make it sound like a word they know or have heard. This strategy, again, requires a significant amount of practice and coaching.

One school of thought considers the ability to decode words a precursor to reading comprehension. After all, if you can’t understand the individual words, how can you understand the whole sentence? Often, a struggling reader will cope with their abilities by getting answers from other students, answering the text explicit questions (e.g. “The girl’s red hair blew in the breeze.” What color was the girl’s hair?), or making excuses for not getting their work done–avoidance behaviors.

Comprehension Strategies

Good readers regularly re-read, predict, infer, conclude, question, compare, contrast; and the list goes on. Good readers don’t usually realize what they were doing while reading unless someone forces them to reflect on it. Struggling readers do few of the things that good readers do. They generally have only one goal in reading–to get it over with. Understanding what was read is called comprehension. Comprehension strategies are those things that a reader does to understand a text.

There is one main indicator that a student needs explicit instruction in comprehension strategies–they are good decoders, but they can’t answer higher level questions about the text. Higher level questions are ones that involve more than just extracting words from the text. For example, a higher level question related to the last paragraph is, “What goals do good readers have in reading?” A reasonable answer would involve contrasting the goal that struggling readers have in reading, using the information about what good readers regularly do, and using prior knowledge or experience.

There are many comprehension strategies that can be taught to struggling readers. Telling a struggling reader to just read it again won’t cut it. They need direct support, explicit instruction, a lot of practice and coaching and many opportunities to experience success. Searching the Internet for reading strategies should garner a description of at least a dozen different tried and true strategies. Following is a brief description of just a few of them.

Re-Reading – Not to be confused with “just read it again,” re-reading is a deliberate attempt to find information. With the question in mind, students attempt to find relevant sections of the text to re-read. Once they zero in on a relevant section, they usually read a few sentences or paragraphs before and a few sentences or paragraphs after. Sometimes, it is necessary to re-read the entire text to get the desired information.

Predicting – Using titles, pictures, or key words, students attempt to predict the content of a text. When the student reads the text, they make comparisons to what they predicted and what they read.

Re-Stating – This strategy encourages students to look at main ideas. They re-state what they read in a shorter version. Sometimes this strategy involves restricting how long the summary can be. For example, can you re-state the description of predicting in only two words?

The best support for struggling readers is individual and intensive. In my opinion, struggling readers make the most progress when they are given one-on-one support outside of the regular classroom. Individual support allows them to receive frequent and timely feedback on their efforts. Outside of the classroom means that the support is extra-curricular and does not interfere with their regular work. If you are a parent or a teacher of a struggling reader, find out what support is available at your school. Use the terms phonemic awareness and reading comprehension strategies to communicate what your child needs. If your school can’t offer the support, look for commercial services. Even though it might cost money, the benefits will be outstanding; spend the money.

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