Michael Carrier – Re-defining access to language learning: using handheld and mobile learning

I recently watched this British Council produced webinar given by Michael Carrier who spoke about extending language learning through the use of handheld mobile devices.

He believes that in-class reading and grammar activities are often unproductive; they are better carried out at home.  This is something I whole-heartedly agree with and is supported by a recent questionnaire I gave to my students.   Four questions were sent to the students in my group, 9 out of 12 students responded.  No student chose reading as a skill they would like to develop in class.

Reading tasks are best set as homework and then can be used for vocabulary work or developing speaking skills in class.  All of these students did however declare that they are thinking of doing the IELTS exam in the future so banning reading skills completely isn’t in their best interests.

I often set reading tasks as homework and then do vocabulary activities in class and move onto discussions relating to the text.  For grammar focused work I set the students the task of reading the grammar rules at home and trying some exercises at their own pace (more along the lines of a guided discovery approach).  When we meet in class we work on what the students have understood and try some controlled speaking practice followed by freer speaking activities.

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