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12 December 2014 English Language Education Section,

Curriculum Development Institute, Education Bureau

Workshop on the Non‐Language Arts Modules : 

Learning English through Workplace Communication

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• a better understanding of the module ‘Learning English  through Workplace Communication’ in the Elective Part  of the three‐year senior secondary English Language 

curriculum;

• gained some ideas on how to plan the module, in  particular how it could be integrated with other  curriculum components (i.e. the Compulsory Part,  other elective modules and the SBA) to enhance 

students’ four language skills, grammar knowledge, 

vocabulary building strategies and awareness of text‐

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• learnt more about how to select and design 

learning activities/materials for the implementation  of the module;

• acquired some strategies for teaching the module  and the use of assignments, assessment and 

feedback for improving learning and teaching; and

• shared your experience in planning/implementing  the module or related learning and teaching 

activities with other participants.

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To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements?

1. The Workplace Communication module places emphasis on the teaching of vocational English.

2. It is not necessary for students to produce all sorts of workplace‐

related text‐types in the module.

3. Students’ achievements in the Workplace Communication module are measured by their performance in writing tasks.

4. The Workplace Communication module benefits mainly the less

Activity 1

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Activity 2a

In your group, 

a) write down all text‐types related  to workplace communication;

b) circle the text‐type that you hear; 

and

c) raise your hand when you have 

circled 4 text‐types in a row! 

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• The text‐types that I have circled above could be  used to help develop my students’ speaking and  listening skills.

• The text‐types that I have NOT circled above could  be used to help develop my students’ reading and  writing skills.

• To facilitate the development of all the four 

language skills, students should be exposed to a  balanced variety of written and spoken text‐types.

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Different text‐types provide meaningful contexts

for the learning and purposeful use of language

knowledge and skills. Conscious learning and

explicit, systematic teaching of different text‐types,

including the features they involve, enable learners

to become more proficient language users.

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You have asked your students to complete the  following task:

Read the draft reply written by a student. What do you think are the problems of the draft? How could the draft be improved?

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Activity 3

Task: You are a Customer Service Officer of Johnson Electronics Limited. Yesterday  you received a letter from a customer who complained about a repairman failing to  show up at the agreed time to fix a defective oven. Your supervisor has asked you  to write in response to the letter of complaint. 

 

Write the reply. 

 

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Understanding the Topic 

Purpose:

Role of the Writer:

Audience:

Format:

To explain and offer  solutions

Customer Service Officer of  Johnson Electronics Limited Customer of Johnson 

Electronics Limited A letter of reply to a  complaint

A complaint about poor 

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To enable students to comprehend and produce  a range of spoken and written text‐types related  to workplace communication, it is important to  familiarise students with:

• words/expressions for different language  functions

• the appropriate register (i.e. degree of  formality) for communicating politely

• the organisational framework

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Teaching organisational framework

Setting the scene: What is the context for writing? Why do I need to write?

Body: What is the writing for – to inform, persuade or explain?

Conclusion: What impact do I want to make on the reader(s) ultimately?

Describe the complaint being referred to

Respond to the relevant facts of the problem provided by the customer Propose option(s) to resolve the issue

Offer an apology and appeal to the customer for trust in the business A typical structure of a reply to a complaint

A generic organisational framework across text-types

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Minutes Leaflet Interview notes

Speech Statistics Survey report

Formal letter Note sheet Advertisements 

Memo Article Email

Webpage Presentation Discussion

Workplace‐related text‐types in the  HKDSE English Language Exams

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Activity 4

Skills to be focussed on: _____________________

Learning objectives: ________________________

Tasks to be completed:______________________

_________________________________________

_________________________________________

Read through the job advertisements and think of an 

activity that help to develop students language skills

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Possible Approaches to Implementing the  Elective Module

1. Arranging module‐specific lessons

‐ 2‐3 module‐specific lessons in each week/cycle  throughout a year

‐ module‐specific lessons in one or two blocks at different  times of a year 

2. Integrating into the school‐based curriculum

‐ The elective module coherently integrated with the 

Compulsory Part, one/several elective module(s) or the 

SBA component

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Meaningful use of

Reading/ Writing Listening/ Speaking

Vocabulary

Text-types Grammar Forms &

Communicative Functions

through exploration of themes in varied contexts by adopting 

The Compulsory Part

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SBA

Elective modules

Integrate: to combine two or more things in order to  become more effective 

(from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

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The Language Arts Modules

Learning English through Drama

Learning English through Popular Cultures

Learning English through Poems and Songs

Learning English through Short Stories

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Comic strips about the workplace:

• http://www.glasbergen.com/

• http://www.jantoo.com/

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Salient features of comic strips

Humour (e.g. jokes)

Irony (a satirical tone)

Word play (e.g. double meaning of words)

Use of thought / speech bubbles (i.e. informal/ 

conversational language and tone) 

Concise and to‐the‐point

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Songs about the workplace and worklife:

Hard Days Night (Beatles)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WUIEZ5hst_E

9 to 5 (Dolly Parton)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T‐gqMpZroy8

Minimum Wage (The Expendables)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGwE5exs1kw

The Employment Law Sing‐A‐Long Song 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMjz6WktOno

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Songs about the workplace and work life:

Jack of All Trades (Bruce Springsteen)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3OAl932TqhY

My Cubicle (Parody of James Blunt “I am Beautiful”)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxqsWHpznsg&list=RDuxqsW Hpznsg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Abt3xjaaig

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Themes: Work life

Language features/poetic techniques in the lyrics

Simile

Metaphor

Alliteration

Rhyming words (both end rhymes and internal rhyme)

Imagery

Colloquial language forms common in lyrics

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The Non‐Language Arts Modules

Learning English through Debating

Learning English through Social Issues

Learning English through Sports 

Communication

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Debating on workplace related motions: 

1. Should a legal limit be imposed on weekly working  hours?

2. Should the minimum wage in Hong Kong be raised to 

$40 per hour?

3. Should working fathers be entitled to paid paternity  leave?

4. Should social media be blocked in the workplace?

5. Should secondary school graduates take a gap year to  gain work experience before their tertiary education?

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Exploring workplace‐related social issues:

• Labour rights

• Corporate social responsibility

• Discrimination in the workplace (gender, race, age,  religion, sexual orientation, family status)

• Stress at work and work‐life balance

• Social welfares to encourage full employment (e.g. 

low‐income working family allowance, Work 

Incentive Transport Subsidy Scheme)

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Could you think of some activities to connect  students’ learning experience in the Workplace  Communication module with the following 

modules?

Learning English through Drama

Learning English through Short Stories

Learning English through Sports  Communication

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•Make a proposal to a company on ways to enhance the  corporate image through promoting care for the 

community and social responsibility Social Issues

• Make a presentation to persuade your colleagues to  support your proposal on setting up a daycare centre Debating

• Write a letter of appeal to local businesses to ask for  donations and sponsorships for a sports event

Sports

• Act out a scene in which a customer complains about  bad service

Drama

• Read/write an acrostic poem about a particular job Poems and Songs

• Write a story/diary entry about a horrible night at the  workplace

Short Stories

• Create a commercial to promote your company’s new  

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Reading  Non‐fiction books about: 

workplace etiquette

workplace attitudes

career planning

workplace skills

successful people

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Some Possible Titles: Non‐fiction

Women in Business (by David Evans) 

Seven  Habits of Highly Effective People (by Stephen R. Covey)

Creating a Career Mind: Steps For Your Success (by Judy Chin  and Laura Fink) 

How To Get a Job: The Ultimate Guide To Getting Your Dream  Job (by Andrew Adams)

Job Interview Success (by Oscar Goldman)

Etiquette in the Workplace (by Jane Carlson)

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Fiction books about:

• workplace romance

• balance between life and work

• sexual harassment in the  workplace

• Office boredom and tedium 

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Some Possible Titles: Fiction

The Devil Wears Prada (by Lauren Weisberger )

Personal Days (by Ed Park)

A Visit from the Goon Squad (by Jennifer Egan)

Flippin' the Script (by Aisha Ford) 

Then We Came to the End (by Joshua Ferris)

Slab Rat (By Ted Heller)

What Stays in Vegas (by Beth Labonte) 

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Films, TV series and documentaries about:

• Business ethics

• The work life of different occupations in  different fields and trades

• Office politics and business rivalry

• Relationships between employers and  employees

• Stories of successful businesses or leading  business people

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Possible Film Titles

The Devil Wears Prada (2006; David Frankel) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zicgut4gpwU

Up in the Air (2009; dir: Jason Reitman)

The Social Network (2010; dir: David Fincher)

Jobs (2013; dir: Joshua Michael Stern) 

Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001; dir: Sharon Maguire)

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Possible TV Series

The Office (2005‐2013)

Workaholics (2011‐now)

ER (1994‐2009)

Ugly Betty (2006‐2010)

Drop Dead Diva (2009‐now)

Ally McBeal (1997‐2002)

30 Rock (2006‐2013) 

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Integrating SBA with the Module

• As the executive committee members of the Careers Club, you  are preparing an exhibition, which is a part of the Careers Week,  on a leading business figure in the world. You have to:

Task 1 Research and read stories of successful business people

Fill out fact sheets about their biodata and achievements

Task 2 Discuss the following with other committee members based on the  information collected and the completed fact sheets:

 The factors and qualities leading to the success of the business  people you have read about

 The challenges and difficulties they have encountered in setting up  their business and how they tackle them

 Which leading business figure to feature in the exhibition and the  reasons why he/she is the most suitable to be introduced to students Task 3 Write the board display materials on the chosen business figure. Identify 

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• Language knowledge and skills in focus and  how the skills can be transferred

• Coverage of text‐types

• Selection of appropriate learning materials

• Activity design (e.g. meaningful job contexts,  connection between tasks)

• Assessment of students’ learning outcomes

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• Provides contexts for 

– meaningful and purposeful use of English for  communication

– integrated use of language skills

– application of knowledge in grammar and  vocabulary

• Uses a wide range of learning and teaching  materials and text‐types

• Promotes a learner‐centred approach 

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Purpose

Product

Hands‐on experience,  enquiry and problem‐

solving

Application of  knowledge and skills

Context

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You are a job seeker. You have enrolled for a course organised by a career coaching agency which prepares young people for job seeking. In the course, you will be trained on how to search for jobs from job ads, apply for jobs and prepare for job interviews.

The coach of the course requires you to complete the following tasks:

1. Searching for a job suitable for yourself 2. Writing a CV and a job application letter 3. Prepare for job interviews

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Context? Purpose?

Product?

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Task 1 – Job search Students have to:

•read sample job ads and learn about their features

•play matching games to understand job duties and requirements

•read job ads from own sources, choose a job that suits them and  explain their choice

Task 2 – Job application Students have to:

•listen to a presentation about CV writing

•study sample CVs and job application letters

•write a CV

•write a job application letter for the job they have chosen Task 3 – Job interview

Students have to:

•discuss the possible questions to be asked at job interviews

•prepare written responses to possible questions

•watch video clips on job interview etiquette and skills

What are the text‐types involved?

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Task 1 – Job search Students have to:

•read sample job ads and learn about their features

•play matching games to understand job duties and requirements

•read job ads from own sources, choose a job that suits them and  explain their choice

Task 2 – Job application Students have to:

•listen to presentation about CV writing

•study sample CVs and job application letters

•write a CV

•write a job application letter for the job they have chosen Task 3 – Job interview

Students have to:

•discuss the possible questions to be asked at job interviews

•prepare written responses to possible questions

•watch video clips on job interview etiquette and skills

•role‐play a job interview

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What are the language skills involved?

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Task 1 – Job search Students have to:

•read sample job ads and learn about their features

•play matching games to understand job duties and requirements

•read job ads from own sources, choose a job that suits them and  explain their choice

Task 2 – Job application Students have to:

•listen to a presentation about CV writing

•study sample CVs and job application letters

•write a CV

•write a job application letter for the job they have chosen

Task 3 – Job interview Students have to:

•discuss the possible questions to be asked at job interviews

•prepare written responses to possible questions

What is the language knowledge involved?

•Features of job ads

• Content, language and structure of CVs job 

application letters

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Activity 5

In your group, create a short workplace unit consisting of  at least two tasks that involve different text‐types and 

language skills.  

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Learning and Teaching Resources

• EDB websites

Resource packages by CDI

http://cd1.edb.hkedcity.net/cd/eng/030210EDB_Workplace/EDB_Workplace.html

NET Section ‐ Networking booklets

http://www.edb.gov.hk/en/curriculum‐development/resource‐support/net/workplace‐

communication.html

Language Learning Support Section

http://cd1.edb.hkedcity.net/cd/languagesupport/resource/r_l_sec.htm#ks4

One‐stop Portal

http://minisite.proj.hkedcity.net/edbosp‐eng/cht/home.html

• Examples of other resources on the Internet

BBC

British Council YouTube

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Thank you

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