This week was more of the same: exploring online resources and posting on the course wiki http://pp104tesol2015.pbworks.com/w/page/96696558/Exercise_Makers.
Here is my post for the week:
I read the article “Modality of Input and Vocabulary Instruction” at http://llt.msu.edu/vol14num2/sydorenko.pdf.
The study reported in this article was interesting for me because, having studied a bit about how to accommodate students with a variety of preferred learning modalities, I always try to ensure that my lessons and materials appeal not only to visual and aural learners. I often use a lot of video, which was the focus of the study (the use of video with and without audio and with and without captions), I usually show the video in class – once without captions to allow student to focus on the imagery and the audio and a second (and often third) time with captions, especially for those students whose listening abilities are below others’ in the class.
The author of the article writes, “While existing research indicates that the presentation of a video with audio and captions is superior at least for written vocabulary learning, the concern of many teachers is that learners might not attend to audio when they also have captions, which would hinder their listening skills development,” and that describes me exactly! When using video, I always ask myself the purpose – is it to simply activate schema, to introduce new vocabulary, or to have students practice top-down and bottom-up listening skills. If the real purpose is listening skills practice, then I feel that captions make the task too easy and defeat the purpose because students whose reading skills do not match their listening abilities are not really honing their listening skills. Hope that makes sense.
However, for vocabulary learning, I think that video (and/or images) with audio and captions make good sense, as we are appealing to a great number of learning modalities. The next step is adding in some note-taking or active listening activity to make sure that learners are not passively watching but interacting with the video content (and thus appealing to learners with kinesthetic learning preferences).
Last, I would just mention that in the United States, we must provide captions for videos, as required by law, for students who may have disabilities (Americans with Disabilities Act). Adding captions to your own videos posted on YouTube is easy, but sometimes we find others' videos that we would like to use but that aren't captioned (or have inaccurate captions). A resource I would like to mention is Amara. It's free. You can caption others' YouTube videos as long as the videos stay posted on YouTube.
: Online pronunciation guides to 9 varieties of the English language and 9 other languages · Instant sound
(Mark Davies / Brigham Young University. "Easily search for a wide range of words and phrases of English")