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CAELA: ESL Resources: Digests. The Language Experience Approach and Adult Learners Marcia Taylor, Job. Link 2. 00. 0June 1. The language experience approach (LEA) is a whole language approach that promotes reading and writing through the use of personal experiences and oral language. It can be used in tutorial or classroom settings with homogeneous or heterogeneous groups of learners. Beginning literacy learners relate their experiences to a teacher or aide, who transcribes them. These transcriptions are then used as the basis for other reading and writing activities.
The LEA, first developed for Maori- speaking (Ashton- Warner, 1. English- speaking children (Spache & Spache, 1. Stauffer, 1. 96. 5), has also been used successfully with learners of all ages.
Adult learners entering ESL programs may or may not have previous educational or literacy experiences; nonetheless, all come to class with a wealth of life experiences. This valuable resource for language and literacy development can be tapped by using the LEA. The approach develops literacy not only with the whole learner in mind, but also the whole language. Features of the Language Experience Approach. The LEA is as diverse in practice as its practitioners. Nonetheless, some characteristics remain consistent (Hall, 1. Materials are learner- generated.
All communication skills- -reading, writing, listening, and speaking- -are integrated. Difficulty of vocabulary and grammar are determined by the learners own language use. Learning and teaching are personalized, communicative, creative. LEA With ESL Learners.
Krashen and Terrell (1. ESL learners: The reading must be 1) at a comprehensible level of complexity and 2) interesting to the reader. Reading texts originating from learners' experiences meet these two criteria because 1) the degree of complexity is determined by the learner's own language, and 2) the texts relate to the learner's personal interests. Both criteria are of particular importance in adult beginning ESL classes, where the paucity of reading materials can be problematic.
Many books written in simplified English are either too juvenile or too uninteresting to be considered appropriate reading material for adults. Two Variations of LEAThe Personal Experience.
The most basic, and in fact the original, form of the LEA is the simple transcription of an individual learner's personal experience. The teacher or aide (or in a mixed- ability class, a more proficient learner) sits with the learner so that the learner can see what is being written. The session begins with a conversation, which might be prompted by a picture, a topic the learner is interested in, a reading text, or an event the learner has participated in. Once a topic evolves, the learner gives an oral account of a personal experience related to that topic.
The transcriber may help the learner expand or focus the account by asking questions. In most forms of the LEA, the experience is transcribed as the learner dictates it, without transcriber corrections to grammar or vocabulary. This technique keeps the focus on the content rather than the form of what is written and provides concrete evidence of the learner's language growth over time (Heald- Taylor, 1. Errors can be corrected later, during revising and editing stages of the writing process. The relationship between the transcriber and learner should be well established before attempting the LEA, and the transcriber should be supportive of what the learner has to say. The Group Experience.
Groups may also develop language experience stories together. An experience can be set up and carried out by the group, or stories can grow out of experiences and stimuli from any part of the learners' personal, work, or classroom lives. The following steps are often involved: 1.
Choosing the experience or stimulus. In collaboration with the learners, choose a prompt or activity that can be discussed and written up in some form. This might include pictures, movies, videotapes, songs, books or articles, class projects, field trips, holidays or celebrations, or an activity designed for this purpose. Organizing the activity. Develop a plan of action with the class. This might include what you will do and when, and what you will need. The plans can be written on the board to provide the first link between the activity itself and the written word.
Conducting the experience. The following activities might be done in the classroom or in the community. In the classroom In the community. Adults Health And Wellbeing Directorate Tower Hamlets. Preparing food (sandwich, French toast, salad, popcorn)Making cards (thank you notes, get well cards, holiday cards)Class projects (simulations, bulletin boards, skits) Taking field trips (to the bank, market, malls, library, city hall)Mapping the school or the neighborhood. If the experience takes place within the classroom, the teacher can narrate it as it unfolds, repeating key words and phrases. For more advanced learners, discussions, as well as actual experiences, can evolve into group- produced texts.