Assignment #1
DUE JANUARY 28, 2012

This “homework” is given to give you the opportunity to apply the Analytical Framework and the information on culture and sociocultural competence in your everyday work environment. Choose one of the two options described below, and complete it before the second training session. You should bring the notes or other materials collected in the process of doing this “homework,” and we will discuss it at the beginning of the second session.
Choice 1: Listen to a Learner: Interview a Student or Students
Purpose:
As we have discussed during the first day of training, the students in your classroom bring particular strengths and experiences to learning that may be unknown to you. This is an opportunity for you to learn from them.
Step 1:
o Ask a student or several students for their help, but be sure to emphasize that if they don’t want to participate, it is definitely OK with you. Explain to them that you have some “homework” from a class you are taking and that you need their help to do the homework. Explain that the purpose of the homework is for you to get information that will help you become a more effective teacher. Explain that you will ask them five or six questions and that you will take notes on their answers. Explain that what you need most are honest answers.
o If a student shows any hesitation or reluctance, find another student or students. There are lots of students who will enjoy the opportunity to “teach” their teacher, and there is no reason to make any student do anything he or she does not want to do.
o Sometimes students feel more comfortable doing this activity in pairs. It often depends on the particular students involved. Use your best judgmet.
Step 2:
Choose five or six questions from the list below. Choose questions that are appropriate for the age/grade of the student(s) being interviewed. Write the questions you select on another piece of paper, making sure to leave space between the questions to write notes


The goal of doing this in interviews is to understand your “informant’s” point of view. Therefore, the more your student explains his or her answers, the better. In a good interview, the person you interview does most of the talking. Remember, you are not the teacher now; you are the learner.
You can get your informant to give you more information or explain an answer better by asking a follow-up question before asking the next question. It is best if you use follow-up questions that do not have simple yes-or-no answers. Here are some examples of follow- up questions that require an informant to talk in more detail:
• Could you tell me more about that?

• Could you give me an example of that?

• Explain a little more about what you mean by that.

• If I were to go there, what would I see? (for some questions)

• Tell me what a typical is like. (for some questions)

Step 3:
Meet with your student or students in a quiet place. Make sure the interview doesn’t last more than 30 minutes. Take notes as best you can during the interview. After the student(s) leaves, elaborate on your notes, filling in any information you didn’t have time to write.

Be sure to thank the students for their time before they leave.

Step 4:

Write a brief response to the following questions. You will use your notes and responses to participate in the first activity on the next session. You will not pass in your responses.

• Did you learn anything that surprised you? What?

• What did you learn about the student(s) you interviewed?
• What did you learn about the school in the student’s country?

• What did you learn about the student’s experience in schools in this country?

Choose five or six questions from the list below. Choose questions that are appropriate for the age/grade of the student(s) being interviewed. Write the questions you select on another piece of paper, making sure to leave space between the questions to write notes.
The goal of doing this in interviews is to understand your “informant’s” point of view. Therefore, the more your student explains his or her answers, the better. In a good interview, the person you interview does most of the talking. Remember, you are not the teacher now; you are the learner.
You can get your informant to give you more information or explain an answer better by asking a follow-up question before asking the next question. It is best if you use follow-up questions that do not have simple yes-or-no answers. Here are some examples of follow- up questions that require an informant to talk in more detail:
• Could you tell me more about that?

• Could you give me an example of that?

• Explain a little more about what you mean by that.

• If I were to go there, what would I see? (for some questions)

• Tell me what a typical is like. (for some questions)
Meet with your student or students in a quiet place. Make sure the interview doesn’t last more than 30 minutes. Take notes as best you can during the interview. After the student(s) leaves, elaborate on your notes, filling in any information you didn’t have time to write.
Be sure to thank the students for their time before they leave.

Step 4:

The goal of doing this in interviews is to understand your “informant’s” point of view. Therefore, the more your student explains his or her answers, the better. In a good interview, the person you interview does most of the talking. Remember, you are not the teacher now; you are the learner.
You can get your informant to give you more information or explain an answer better by asking a follow-up question before asking the next question. It is best if you use follow-up questions that do not have simple yes-or-no answers.
Here are some examples of follow- up questions that require an informant to talk in more detail:
• Could you tell me more about that?

• Could you give me an example of that?

• Explain a little more about what you mean by that.

• If I were to go there, what would I see? (for some questions)

• Tell me what a typical is like. (for some questions)
Meet with your student or students in a quiet place. Make sure the interview doesn’t last more than 30 minutes. Take notes as best you can during the interview. After the student(s) leaves, elaborate on your notes, filling in any information you didn’t have time to write.
Be sure to thank the students for their time before they leave.
Write a brief response to the following questions. You will use your notes and responses to participate in the first activity on the next session. You will not pass in your responses.

• Did you learn anything that surprised you? What?
• What did you learn about the student(s) you interviewed?
• What did you learn about the school in the student’s country?
• What did you learn about the student’s experience in schools in this country?

Questions for the Student Interview – Choose five or six
General
o Can you tell me about the school you went to in your country before you came to the United States?
o What did you study in that school?

o Were there activities for students before or after school? If yes, did you participate?
If no, what did you usually do after school?

o In your old school, what did you do if you did not understand something in
one of your classes?

Elementary
o What is the most difficult thing about school in the U.S. for you? Why? What do you enjoy the most?
o What is the most difficult thing about learning English?
o What is the most difficult subject to understand in English? What is the easiest? o Are there any similarities between English and your native language?

o Did you have homework in your old school? Where did you do your homework?
Did someone help you with your homework or did you do it alone?

o What is the hardest thing for students from your native country to get used
to in U.S. schools?

o What language(s) do you speak at home with your parents? Siblings?
Other family members? Friends?

o Do you have a favorite story/book/movie/TV show/song? Do you know any fairytales,
songs, rhymes, or stories from your native country? Who taught them to you? o Do you have any special chores or responsibilities at home?

High School
o What did you do if a teacher gave you a grade that you did not think was fair?

o Where you come from, do students drop out of school? What do you think are the reasons? o In your old school, what do teachers think about students asking questions in class?
What do teachers think about students who never ask questions in class?

o In your former school, if you did not agree with what your teacher said, would you say some-
thing about it? What would a teacher think if you did say something? What would others think? o Have you ever been in a situation where you were learning from other students, not just from the teacher? If so, how did that happen? What was going on in the class to make it happen?
o Describe a classroom in which you felt safe and comfortable speaking up or asking questions when you didn’t understand something. What made it feel that way? When does it feel bad for a teacher to call on you in class? Why? How does it feel when a teacher singles you out for praise? For criticism? Why?
[Based on questions used in the following sources:

Cushman, K. and the students of What Kids Can Do. (2003). Fires in the bathroom: Advice for teachers from high school students. New York, NY: The New Press.

Vogel Zanger, V. (1993). Face to face: Communication, culture and collaboration.

(2nd ed.). Boston, MA: Heinle & Heinle Publishers.]
Participant’s Manual | Introduction to Second Language Learning and Teaching

Choice 2: Listen to Your Classroom: Tape and Listen
Purpose:
As we are planning a lesson, we all have a “videotape” running in our heads illustrating what

we intend to happen. However, as we immerse ourselves in delivering the lesson, it is close to impossible to be aware of everything that is happening in the classroom, including awareness of our own way of talking and acting. The purpose of this activity is to listen and reflect on one’s own classroom, including how teachers and students speak.
Step 1:
Get a tape recorder and a blank cassette tape (45 minutes) and give it to a student in the middle or back of the room. Ask him or her to turn it on when the class begins, turn it off when the tape runs out, and bring it to you at the end of the class.
Step 2:
On the way home in the car, or whenever you can get some time by yourself, listen to the tape, several times if you can. You may want to make a few notes while you are listening.
Step 3:
o Write brief responses to the following questions. You will use your notes and responses to participate in the first activity on the next session. You will not share or pass in your responses.
o Did you hear anything that surprised you? What?

o How can you describe the students’ ways of talking that you heard on the tape?
How many students were talking? About what?

o Did your way of talking sound as you expected?

o Using the Analytical Framework as reference, think about your classroom and
lesson as a situational factor. What was the resulting input and output in the class?