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Constructionist Experiential Learner-Enhanced Teaching in English for Academic Purposes

Dietmar Tatzl

This book offers a macrostrategy for teaching English as a foreign language to students in tertiary degree programmes. This teaching strategy has been developed from various methodological currents in higher education and language didactics. The volume provides inspiration, ideas and practical examples for ESP and EAP professionals anywhere in the world and hopes to motivate learners across disciplines. It takes subject-specific requirements into consideration and is a methodology handbook open to the diversity of EAP teaching contexts. It may serve as a textbook in applied linguistics, English studies and teacher education.
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7. Constructionist Experiential Learner-Enhanced Tasks

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The learning environment adopts a pivotal role in educational affairs. The tasks and activities presented in this chapter, therefore, constitute an attempt at “creating a context of learning that encourages students to engage with the subject matter” (Ramsden, 2003, p. 110). Such a context also requires the building of confidence, according to Dudley-Evans & St John (1998/2009) “a significant factor for many people in speaking a language” (p. 112), so that learners may develop fluency and a certain ease of spoken interaction. Dudley-Evans and St John (1998/2009) have further emphasised that “in addition to language-learning activities, the ESP classroom uses tasks and activities that reflect the learners’ specialist world” (p. 187). Anchoring CELET tasks in students’ academic fields, therefore, should create language learning environments tailored to the needs and interests of learner groups. Such anchored learning contexts, in turn, are assumed to yield language learning gains relevant to the respective content domains.

Collaborative tasks form a key element in CELET because they enable the creation of meaning through communication and cooperation. Working in groups sets the scene for purposeful interaction and problem-solving performance. Furthermore, group work facilitates communication for students who are reluctant to talk in front of a large audience, and it increases the speaking time per learner in class. This is particularly important if contact hours per week are limited and in-class sessions remain the only opportunity for learners to speak English. In addition, group work provides a forum for an exchange of ideas,...

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