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promoting language learning and cultural exploration in esol education: a creative approach

  • 5 Pages
  • Published On: 03-10-2023

Introduction

My educational setting is ESOL (English to Second Language Speakers). I teach students from all walks of life with diverse backgrounds. The age range of my learners is from19-65 years. My role in the setting is of Facilitator. I teach, observe, assess and plan lessons. I’ve been in the role of an ESOL teacher for some years. In my role as an ESL teacher, I work with interest, passion and complete knowledge of my subject. The most important and very first lecture is to explain them to stay natural regarding their accents.

As, learners come from diverse backgrounds, to keep all on the same platform; I encourage them to be as much natural as possible. Teaching English to second language speakers at times becomes challenging because language proficiency and knowledge vary in learners. There are two main learning and teaching strategies in ESL i.e. Kinesthetic and Aural. These strategies helped me in my role to enhance the hidden confidence in my learners. To establish an active learning environment, I tend to introduce simple conversations, texts and easy vocabulary.

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I have chosen “My Favourite Food" theme for my creative practice assignment. I decided to use this theme because it is a practical and interesting topic. Adult learners deal with shopping and cooking every day in their lives and for their families. As some of my learners are fond of cooking and some work in the food industry, this topic not only talks about food but also lead to different skills in learning. Before moving to the sessions, let's have an idea over creativity and adult learning theories.

Definition of Creativity

I think creativity is a hidden shadow of oneself that gets light through practice and shines brightly when it is born through an experience and experience comes from practice and practice comes from creativity and inspiration. It is deeply crafted when recognised. In order words, it can be said that creativity is an art through which an individual can turn his or her new and imaginative ideas into reality.

Adult learning theories in ESOL

There are many adult learning theories associated with how adult seek and learn the knowledge, how they transform the knowledge learning lesson into their real life experience by the transition from one phase to another. I would like to present some of the important theories of adult learning which I have used in my whole creative classroom adult learning environment.

Andragogy Theory

This theory was more popular in 1968 Knowles (1968) it talks about the contrast of learning is an art of science when to combine with six elements in adult learning (Mezirow, 2016).

Adult Learning Concepts (Malcolm Knowles)

Malcolm theory is known as the foundation in the adult learning. The author stated that adult learning and child learning have some similarities, but the way of transforming the knowledge to learn in an adult is based on motivation factor.

Multiple Intelligences

Howard Gardner explored multiple intelligences and talked about more ways of finding out the intelligence in a person rather than choosing one way of doing it. Furthermore, the author stated that traditional way of teaching methods are more focused on testing the intelligence through verbal or logical mathematical way.

Experiential Learning Theory

David Kolb (1984), in his research, talks about experimental theory along with a learning style. The author acknowledges the factor that learning style should not be restricted to one form of learning in the adult. There should be more ways to find how to make the learning process more interesting. Furthermore, the author suggested that there is multiple intelligence to acknowledge in learning and the differences amongst individuals as they seek to construct an understanding of their internal and external environment (Brookfield, 1996).

Overall I have taken experimental theory into account for the adult learning knowledge transformation; it has more ways to engage the participant in the class. Moreover, I have used many of the exercises to make the learning exercise informative, fun and practical. Many of the adult in ESOL are from different background and to involve everyone, this theory helps a lot to design and measure the performance. Based on the discussion, the subsequent paragraphs describe all the four sessions conducted in this regards.

Session1

The Objectives of this session was to learn about different countries and their famous dishes and to learn about the place in a geographical manner. In session one, learners were introduced to the theme “My favourite food”. The group is pre- entry and consists of 5 students. I divided the activity into two tasks.

In the first task, students were asked to discuss their favourite food and the place it comes from, and in the second task, students' prepared a small presentation in which they showed pictures and talked about the place. This activity was interactive and creative. It gave a visual learning approach, and students want to show their potential through the learning process. Individually and then collective feedback was given. During the discussion, I was observing their interactions and communication skills to correct the structure of the sentence

The aim of the lesson was that student interacts and be able to speak in English confidently irrespective of the language errors. The presentation was the main point of the lesson and went well.

Session 2

The Objectives of this session was to create a simple recipe page for their food and to practice adjectives to describe the basic taste, that is, spicy, bitter, sweet and sour. In this, students were asked to design a recipe page to describe the taste.

Reflecting back to their presentations, my students and I decided to write a piece of instructional writing (recipe) and talk about their food taste too. Before they create a recipe, I incorporated an example of instructional writing (recipe), worksheet and a mini PowerPoint presentation to help them to know how to describe flavours and it happened to be useful.

Students worked in pairs to stimulate interaction and promote active differentiation in the learning process. Students were able to use adjectives correctly. Some words were new like sour and bitter for them. So, it was explained through power point presentation. They also discussed their recipe chart and flavours they like and don’t like.

As pre-entry, students have limited knowledge of the English language, so visual approach works best to make them understand, and it lights up the lesson. Students get motivated with the help of visual aids. I assessed the class through their written work and pair work. Individual and collective feedback was given.

Session3

The Objectives of this session was to understand dietary restrictions that influence food habits about their custom and creed. I give simple definitions to clarify the concept of main dietary restrictions. Although the topic was sensitive, I tried to keep it light by eliciting about their dietary restriction.

Students started by discussing the topic and were engaged enthusiastically when learning about different creeds and cultures. Some learners were new in the UK, so I devised a small chart of famous supermarkets in the UK and the information of the food they can get from there. Students’ ideas were well blended in the lesson, and they also shared ideas about the ingredients they used in their favourite food. The session was followed by worksheets where they have to tick the correct box according to their choice of food. The creative practice for this lesson was to engage learners actively in their learning process which resulted in establishing critical thinking approach and was informative at the same time.

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Session 4

The Objectives of this session was to review and consolidate concept of countable and uncountable nouns and to give student controlled/further practice in this area. In session 4, I ought to bring a grammar lesson to identify the concepts of quantifiers in their learning process. Students were making mistakes in the previous lessons when they were discussing the quantity of the ingredients for their food. The session helped to ensure students’ ability to use the correct form of quantifiers.

The session went well as students participated and felt confident to work independently. Teaching language arts can be daunting but rewarding; I was happy with the outcomes of the lesson. The part I was not happy with was an hour’s lesson was not enough to go through all the points. I would try to focus on the main points in future when it comes to grammar.

Conclusion

Overall, the theme was not only interactive, but it has also provided opportunities for creative development. Students learned to explore about different cultures and places through their project. It was students' choice to set up this project which was a creative idea to me as a facilitator. Students discovered their hidden potentials through the presentation, discussions and group work. Their thinking and analytical skills were developed and practiced. The theme established the congenial environment that led to the success of the project among students. Students shared and expressed opinions and ideas through their work, and the curiosity to learn the English language also played an important role in the project.

References

  • Brookfield, S. (1996) Understanding And Facilitating Adult Learning: A Comprehensive Analysis. London: open university press.
  • Mezirow, J. (2016) A Critical Theory of Adult Learning and Education. pp.39-56.

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