Process Learning in Language Teaching and Acquisition

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My first thoughts are to say that Process Teaching seems a more relaxed attitude to teaching. It is encouraging that with this teaching method, a material light approach is advocated. From my own point of view, I try to be a proficient teacher and have worksheets to help the students as well as use material to stimulate the students throughout a lesson. The materials-free approach goes against what is seen day in day out in the staff room (there is always a cue at the photocopier) and classrooms although the opportunities are there to create better learning.

The Process Teaching method of learning English, although being competent and wanting to do their best, teachers can feel more relaxed and appreciate more clearly that it is the students who are the ones who should be speaking and helping each other. The teacher acts as a facilitator. Thus, it makes teachers take a look at themselves; standing in front of the whiteboard, projecting grammar, and doing lots of writing (using handouts) albeit in their own way teaching proficiently. However, this being said, any teacher still can think that for two and half hours the students have got have a chance to freely talk and have an attitude that they are as much a part of the class as the teacher. I sometimes find that for some students, it is hard to get them to talk, especially where some foreign language systems of learning English do not facilitate the conversational aspect of learning such that Process Learning could fall short of achieving its aim.

As for my classroom performances, I try to put various processes into practice (helped by the Dogme teaching book). For example, one lesson was a Task-Based exercise where I tried to bring in elements of Process Learning where the students would ask me questions or sometimes just say one word during the task. I would try and use this as a building block for more language. I think teachers should provide the scaffolding for the students to build their language and even if they say one word it has to be remembered that any word has a thought behind it that can be expanded.

Referring more to my lesson, I set up the students with some pictures of people doing sports. I asked some focus questions for each sport. I got the students to write the questions on the whiteboard and elicited the answers. The students gave me the answers and showed they were capable of answering the questions. I then gave each group a set of seven pictures showing sports. There were two groups and I sat between them. I let them answer the questions for each of their sports. Now some students did not know the answers to the questions and as a helper/facilitator, I encouraged them to ask me questions and to use their language by any means possible. Thus, Process Learning was being used. As such the students seemed at ease to speak even if it was one or two words. As previously mentioned, I said before sometimes that one word was enough to get some students started. The whole group joined in, this was great as I felt they were trying to use their language.

Once they had answered every question about the sports, I then had a competition where one team explains a sport and the other has to guess what it is. Again, looking at Process Learning, the stage was set and they knew what to do. For myself, I sat in between them and just facilitated the process, encouraging them to open up. This exercise went on for more than an hour. I think the students enjoyed it.

To finish this reflection on Process Learning, I think this method has been beneficial and can be used in lessons even though using it completely would be a wide-ranging change that many students would need a bit of time to get used to.

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