In the article “An A-Z of ELT, P is for Problematizing,” Scott Thornbury makes a case for problematizing a language item for ELL students. In other words, teachers are encouraged to deliberately induce an error so that English learners can make distinctions in the pragmatics of language.
After reading Thornbury’s article and Chapters 1 and 2 of your text, discuss the effects of problematizing. Do you feel that problematizing is an appropriate method for first language acquisition and/or second language acquisition? How can this method help ELL students communicate effectively while they realize the effect of context on language?
For this discussion, answer one of the following questions:
- How does Ellis' (2008) garden path approach, as discussed in Thorbury’s article (2011), aid language acquisition?
- Use the activity presented in Thornbury’s article from Uncovering Grammar (Thornbury, 2001) to suggest the problems an English language learner might encounter when given this activity. For example, how would an ELL student respond to the dilemma between A room with a glass on the floor versus A room with glass on the floor? More importantly, how would you help ELL students see these intricacies of language and effect learning?
- Select a second language learner you know that may have trouble with the activity presented in Thornbury’s article from Uncovering Grammar(Thornbury, 2001) and create a short video presentation where you present pairs of confusing phrases such as A room with a glass on the floorand A room with glass on the floor. Your video should demonstrate the student’s struggle with the phrases and your attempt to discriminate between the two phrases to help the student.
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