Teaching Listening and Speaking Strategies in Japan - CALLA style

Jill Robbins’ Featured Speaker Workshop November 2, 2000 Shizuoka, Japan

This is the outline and handout of the presentation.  Click here for a complete article which appeared in the Teacher Education SIG  newsletter.

I. Overview of workshop - background
A. Foreign and Second Language education in 21st-century Japan
1. Working toward goal of learner autonomy
2. Major paradigm shift

a. Teacher as facilitators
b. Learners given freedom to choose learning goals, methods
3. Needs of autonomous learners
a. Knowledge about the learning process
b. Tools (strategies) to apply knowledge to independent learning
B. Synthesis of approaches to teaching second language learning strategies
1. Cognitive Academic Language Learning Approach (CALLA)
a. Research teams led by Chamot and O’Malley (1994)
b. Integrates content-based language instruction with metacognitive awareness of the learning process and explicit instruction in Language Learning strategies.
2. Strategies-Based Instruction (SBI) approach
a. Researchers led by Cohen (1998)
b. Integrates implicit and explicit instruction in strategies into the course content.
c. Distinguishes between language learning and language use strategies.
C. Experiential learning of how to teach learning strategies
1. Take part in a listening lesson
2. Create a speaking lesson
II. Cognitive Academic Language Learning Approach - Theory and Practice
A. CALLA "is an instructional model that integrates current educational trends in standards, content-based language instruction, learning strategies, and portfolio assessment" (Chamot, Barnhardt, El-Dinary & Robbins, 1999, p. 7).
B. Provides teachers with a task-based five phase instructional design that helps them combine language, content, and learning strategies in a carefully planned lesson. (handout p. 7)
1. Preparation - activate background knowledge of strategies
2. Presentation - teacher models the use of the new strategy for a particular task and explains how and when to use it
3. Practice - students practice the strategy in class activities
4. Evaluation - students evaluate their use of the strategy and its effectiveness for the task
5. Expansion - students extend the use of the strategy into new situations or tasks
C. Framework scaffolds instruction to increase learner autonomy (handout p. 8)
D. Proposes the Metacognitive Model of Strategic Learning
1. Separates a language task into four main processes: Planning, Monitoring, Problem-Solving and Evaluating. (handout p. 9)
2. Goal is metacognitive knowledge and control
3. Organizes strategies into a meaningful classification
III. Strategies-Based Instruction Approach
A. Distinction between language learning and language use strategies
1. Language Learning Strategies are "the conscious thoughts or behaviors used by learners with the explicit goal of improving their knowledge and understanding of a target language" (Cohen 1998, p. 68).
a. Memorizing & manipulating target language structures,
b. Metacognitive strategies for managing and supervising their strategy use
c. Affective strategies for gauging their emotional reactions to learning and to lower anxieties
d. Social strategies for enhancing learning through cooperation with others and seeking opportunities to interact with native speakers.
2. Language Use Strategies "help students utilize the language they have already learned to whatever degree" (Cohen 1998, p. 68).
a. Retrieval strategies - used to call up material from storage
b. Rehearsal strategies - practice target language structures
c. Cover strategies - to create the impression of control when it does not exist (compensatory or coping strategies)
d. Communication strategies - focused on getting across a message - include topic avoidance, paraphrase, interlanguage transfer, code switching.
B. Task-focused instruction model
1. Before, during and after task - how can strategies support the learner? ((handout p. 10)
2. Compare to CALLA’s Metacognitive Model (mountain climber story)
IV. Listening Lesson combining CALLA and SBI
A. Preparation phase
1. Ask students to think of how they approach a listening task by having small groups fill out a survey.
2. Have a representative from each group report strategies students already use in listening.
3. Point out variety of strategies available and the element of choice - a strategic learner can make an informed choice of strategy depending on the requirements of the task and his or her individual learning style.
B. Presentation phase
1. Model the focus strategy for similar task similar to that which the students will tackle in this lesson. Act out a situation while thinking aloud
2. Points to note in modeling
a. Strategy is named explicitly - best to write if a new term
b. Teacher’s thought processes become accessible
c. Students see teacher as a learner, and less than perfect
C. Practice Phase
1. Explain the task. Give out handout (p. 11) Be sure students understand what is expected of them.
2. Emphasize focus strategies for this lesson
a. Before: Predicting
b. During: Personalizing, Selective Listening.
c. After: Summarizing, Personalizing
3. Ask the students to form groups
4. Ask each group to listen for the weather in a specific city.
5. Remind students to selectively listen for the words they predicted.
6. Allow students time to create a summary and personalize the report.
D. Evaluation Phase
1. Ask each group to present the weather they heard for their city.
2. Ask if students felt predicting, selectively listening, and personalizing helped them. (this can be done on self-evaluation part of handout)
E. Expansion phase:
1. Ask students to give examples of other times and places when they selectively listen.
2. Suggest situations in school where the strategies practiced in this lesson can be helpful.
3. Assign an outside listening activity that requires use of one or more of the strategies
4. Keep a poster on the wall to remind students of the listening strategies.

(If time is limited, these phases may be carried out during consecutive class sessions.)

V. Creating a Speaking Lesson combining CALLA and SBI
A. Decide the goal of the lesson; what are teaching objectives?

1. Possible activities and goals
a. Improving quality & reducing anxiety while delivering short individual speeches
b. Preparing for conversations with native speakers
c. Dramatic interaction in the target language
2. Choose strategies to be focused on at 3 points in the task: before, during, after
B. Preparation: Find out what strategies students already use for this task; raise awareness of strategic approach to similar tasks
C. Presentation: Model a similar task and think aloud while working through it. Present a strategy or two that students can use to complete the assigned task
D. Practice
1. Explain to students how to complete the task and support them in using strategies throughout their work.
2. Give written or oral reminders to use the focus strategies.
3. When constructing activities, remember the metacognitive model
a. Plan
b. Monitor
c. Problem-Solve
d. Evaluate
E. Evaluation
1. Explain to students that they will NOT GET AN EVALUATION FROM THE TEACHER for this task, rather they must evaluate themselves. Provide an activity or a written set of questions that will lead students to do this self-evaluation.
2. Possible means of facilitating self-evaluation
a. Videotape (or audiotape, if video is not available) performance of the task. In the following class session, set up the video player so students can watch it individually. Ask students to complete a handout after watching or listening to their speaking activity.
b. Assign peers to help each other evaluate their performance on the speaking task. Pairs or groups can be asked to observe fellow students and encourage self-evaluation
3. Remind students that evaluation is an important phase of strategy use because it gives us valuable information on whether the strategies we used worked well or not. With this knowledge we can make wiser choices in using strategies in the future.
4. After all students have evaluated themselves, conduct a class discussion, or summarize the comments students have made on worksheets to point out how students used the strategies effectively to reduce the stress of speaking tasks in the target language
F. Expansion
1. Ask students to come up with other situations in which they can use the strategies focused on in this lesson.
2. Remind students that part of being a strategic learner is knowing when it’s appropriate to apply a previously practiced strategy to a new learning task. Give them an image, such as a toolkit, to carry with them as they continue to pursue their goals in learning English.
3. Give an assignment to encourage transfer of the focus strategies to a new task.
VI. Conclusion
A. Findings of research specific to Japan: My research on how learning strategies are taught in Japan (Robbins, 1999) suggests that, while teachers are trying to create more learner-centered classes, and provide some strategic training, there remains a need for more encouragement of self-evaluation and monitoring. In creating the above lesson plans I aimed to provide an example of how students can practice these valuable strategies. I hope that this synthesis of approaches helps teachers to promote independent learning with strategic support.
B. Need for further research: There is a great need to find out more effective ways of giving learners the strategic support they need to become independent learners. I have provided a space on the next page for you to write the names of the people who share your interest in this topic. It would be great if you could carry out some action research to find out what works in your own classrooms. Please feel free to contact me if you want help with beginning such research.

Chamot, A. U., & J.M. O’Malley. (1994) The CALLA Handbook. White Plains, NY: Longman.
Chamot, A. U., S. Barnhardt, P.B. El-Dinary, J. Robbins. (1999). The Learning Strategies Handbook. White Plains, NY: Longman.
Cohen, A. (1998). Strategies in Learning and Using a Second Language. New York: Addison Wesley Longman.
Robbins, J. (1999). East meets West - Approaches to Learner Autonomy. In Proceedings of JALT 98, Japan Association for Language Teaching International Conference, Omiya, Japan, November 21-23, 1998.

Contact Information:
Jill Robbins: e-mail: Web Site: http://jillrobbins.com

For the CALLA Approach:

The National Capital Language Resource Center is one of nine US federally-funded language resource centers. The mission of the NCLRC is to serve as a resource to improve the teaching and learning of languages other than English. It fulfills this function by providing material resources and professional services that derive from its current activities and past projects. The NCLRC, located in Washington, D.C., is a collaboration between Georgetown University, Center for Applied Linguistics and The George Washington University. Anna Uhl Chamot is the director.

National Capital Language Resource Center
2600 Virginia Ave., NW Suite 105, Washington, DC 20037-1905 USA
Telephone: 1-202-739-0607 Fax: 1-202-739-0609
Web site: http://www.nclrc.org/
This website has a treasure trove of downloadable material, titled: THE LEARNING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTIONAL RESOURCE This contains samples of strategies questionnaires, posters, lesson plans, etc. and can be found at: http://www.nclrc.org/products/index.htm

For the SBI Approach:

University of Minnesota
Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition
333 Appleby Hall, 28 Pleasant St. S.E., Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA
Phone: 1-612-626-8600 Fax: 1-612-624-7514
Web site: http://carla.acad.umn.edu
A bibliography of research on learning strategies is on their web site: http://carla.acad.umn.edu/strategies-bib.html

People I met in this session:

The Tao of Language Learning

In an ideal world we would see that teachers and students have equal shares of:

But usually this has not been true. A return to the proper balance can be achieved

copyright 2000 Jill Robbins




Metacognitive Model of Strategic Learning

 What do I need or want to do?
 What have I learned before?
 What am I going to hear?
 What do I need to say?
 What are the key words?
 Am I understanding?
 Am I being understood?
 How might what I already know help me?
 Am I making a mental picture as I read or listen?
 "I can do it!"
 Am I helping my classmates and letting them help me?
 Can I make a guess?
 Can I say it another way?
 Do I ask when I don't understand?
 Did I achieve my goal?
 How well did I do?
 Did the strategy work well for me?'

Strategies-based instructions aims to give support to the learner at each step of the learning task

Examples of strategies used for these phases of a learning task:

Strategic Approach to a Listening Task
Before listening While listening After listening
Set a goal
Activate background knowledge
Selectively attend
Make inferences
Use imagery
Check goal

Strategic Approach to a Speaking Task
Before speaking While speaking After speaking
Set a goal
Use imagery
Use imagery
Problem-solve (self-correct)
Take risks
Check goal
Plan for improvement

Strategic Approach to Listening

(sample classroom handout)

1. Talk with your classmates. You will listen to a weather report in English. I’ll ask you to summarize it later. What will you think about or do at the following times?

(choose someone from your group to report your answers to the class.)
2. Which city will you listen for? (this is how you are personalizing the task)

What words do you expect to hear about that city today? (this is using the strategy, predicting)List the words here:

What can you do today in “your” city? (you are also personalizing when you relate information to yourself)

3. Listen to the weather report.

4. Did you hear the report for your city? How will the weather be today?

What can you do today?

5. Which of the strategies you practiced in this lesson was most helpful to you for this listening task?

How did it help you?

Speech Strategies & Self-Evaluation Worksheet

(sample classroom handout)

1. What will you say to yourself before you give your speech in our next class?

My self-talk: (remember to keep this positive)

2. Draw a picture of what you will imagine . . .

before and during your speech

3. (complete after delivering the speech) What did you think about during your speech?

Did you have a mental picture?
Did you do something special right before you began speaking?

4. What did you think after seeing or hearing your speech?

Any problems?
What will you do better next time?
5. Which of the strategies that we talked about was the most helpful to you?

Jill Robbins' Workshop Evaluation

1. What aspects of this workshop did you find particularly useful?

2. What aspects of this workshop did you not find useful?

3. What suggestions do you have for improving the workshop?

4. What additional professional support do you feel you need in order to teach strategies?

5. Rate your confidence (1=Not at all confident; 5=Completely confident) that you...

...understand what learning strategies are: 1 2 3 4 5
...know when to apply strategies to learning tasks: 1 2 3 4 5
...can teach strategies to your students: 1 2 3 4 5
...can do a think-aloud for your students: 1 2 3 4 5
...can provide practice in learning strategies: 1 2 3 4 5
...can help students evaluate their strategies use: 1 2 3 4 5

6. Other Comments

If you don't have time to complete this now, please send it to me or e-mail comments to me at: