Interaction in the English as a Foreign Language Classroom with a Focus on Different Tasks

Term Paper (Advanced seminar), 2015

12 Pages, Grade: 1,3


Table of Content

1. Personal Reflection on my Learning Process

2. Why is the use of games and movies in the foreign language classroom useful?

3. The method-notebook
3.1. The pre-while-post task
3.2. The future workshop
3.3. The fly swat game
3.4. The Think-Pair-Share method
3.5. The hungry shark

4. Bibliography

1. Personal Reflection on my Learning Process

In the first chapter of this seminar portfolio I want to give a personal reflection on my learning process during the seminar and my presentation during winter semester 2014/15 in Mrs. Z.’ course on “Interaction on the EFL Classroom – Focus on Tasks”. I will outline difficulties, interests and new perspectives that I got to know in the course. I attended the seminar, because I am very interested in interactive activities for students and the last didactics course that dealt with tasks, which I had visited in my first semester, has been Mrs. L.’s introduction course. I had noticed that I had forgotten very much, therefore I decided to refresh and enrich my knowledge about tasks again and chose to attend another seminar with that topic.

At first I have to point out that I felt very comfortable in the course, because I had the feeling that everyone was welcome and everyone could share his or her opinion, even if others did not agree. This is very important for me, because the atmosphere in the seminar or classroom is a decisive factor for my participation and as a consequence of that also for my learning process and my motivation. In some courses I am very shy and do not share many of my thoughts, but in this seminar I felt confident to discuss with everyone. In addition to that I want to point out that the course was very familiar and I am sure, that the small games in the beginning, for example when students had to remember names and facts about each other, were essential and a very good icebreaker.

My next point I want to reflect on, are the small presentations we had for the first couple of weeks and also the second presentation at the end of the seminar, which were very helpful. In university it is very challenging to practice practical training in schools and there are only a few chances to try out methods, tasks and exercises with students in reality. In the seminar we had the chance to do a theoretical and a practical part, which I think was very good and we received immediate feedback from our fellow students. I got to know a various range of exercises and methods of dealing with the four language skills speaking, writing, listening and reading. The discussions with the whole group afterwards were very enriching.

I was reminded of many methods that I had already forgotten and got to know new ones that I was not aware of until that time. As Mrs. Z. told us, it might be helpful for us in the future to have a little book for collecting all methods we learn in university and I started to use such a book every lesson and also in other didactics courses. I noticed that there is a huge variety of methods, and a collection of them offers me the chance to prepare more interesting and diversified exercises, if I have to deal with lesson planning for my students.

I also enjoyed my own group works, because our group work was very well and our topics were very interesting. For our first presentation we had to think of an exercise about speaking. Beforehand André had found an interesting activity on the internet, which was called “story in a bag” and we decided to present it, because it is very flexible, can be used in different grades and seemed to be interesting for the students, because it focuses on speech production and improvisation.

Our second presentation turned out to be good as well, even if we had technical problems. We prepared pre- tasks and a target-task embedded in the topic “geocaching”, which was new for us, but in my opinion geocaching is a very good activity for students and can be used in many different ways. I think it might be helpful to have some portable GPS devices for hiking days with students.

I was very nervous when I had to present our activity, but I was pleased with myself and very happy that our presentation turned out so well. I am not a confident speaker and it is often very challenging for me to stand in front of a large group, but I try to have presentations often, to become more self-confident in speaking.

For me it was very interesting to work with the concept of pre-tasks and target-tasks, which is similar in some aspects to the concept of pre-while-post-task, which I already got to know in Mrs. L. seminar and I am a big fan of this concept.

I also liked the session about internet-tasks very much, because in my tutoring classes I tend to use the computer more and more and therefore it will be very helpful for me in the future to have some more sources. I also think, that many students work with a computer at home for doing their homework and therefore it is a good idea to include internet tasks in the classroom.

Also the guest lecture by G. E. was very enriching for me and changed my view on the assessment of students. I also think that her games, for example the “fly swat game” or the “give me five game” are very good ideas for the classroom.

If I had to teach the course myself I wouldn’t change much. I would have been pleased, if Mrs. E. had had more time to present the other activities for younger students that were on her list, but nevertheless I was very pleased with the seminar and I would definitely recommend it to many other students that want to attend a didactics course. In my opinion the NASA game should be used with more courses before doing a group work, because it helped us to work in teams better and in my opinion it is very important to show, that working together is often more effective than working alone.

2. Why is the use of games and movies in the foreign language classroom useful?

In this chapter the question “Why is the use of games and movies in the foreign language classroom useful?” will be discussed. For future teachers it is essential to keep in mind that the use of different media in the classroom gives students the opportunity to learn foreign languages in various ways and in a meaningful context. Therefore the use of games, movies and other media is considered to be very important, because they are flexible and the students might show a higher interest in media that they already know. Students learn more easily with games, if they do not have the feeling to be learning actively. Furthermore they might already have heard of a movie or might have read the book and as a result the connection to the classroom will be more successful. The following text discusses aspects why using games and movies should be used more in the foreign language classroom.

The use of movies is regarded a powerful pedagogical tool to strengthen the learner’s competence in the target language.1 In addition to that it offers a wide range of advantages, because it is flexible in terms of repeated viewing of a scene and also “can be used with different teaching approaches, such as explicit versus implicit or deductive versus inductive approaches.”2 Another positive aspect of using movies in the classroom is the fact that the use of this kind of media creates a higher interest. A reason for this is the additional audiovisual input and it also fosters the “awareness of how language forms are used appropriately in context.”3

Watching movies can also raise the cultural awareness. Movies like “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” or “The Last Samurai” can raise the learner’s cultural awareness and spot differences or stereotypes, in these cases of the Greek and Japanese culture, which is a very important aspect in classrooms nowadays. In her book “Intercultural Learning as Identity Negotiation” Susanne Weber points out, that multiculturalism can be very challenging and especial employees as well as managers in transnational enterprises “have to be able to cope with alien mentalities, working methods, communication styles, problem solving strategies, values and cultural orientations.”4 In the book “Intercultural Language Use and Language Learning” Martínez-Flor argues that movies “can be the vehicle to transport learners to other cultures and prepare them for successful communication in those new cultural settings.”5 In addition to that the author gives examples how to use films by using the deductive and inductive method, which will not be discussed further here, but some of his examples will be given.

One exercise could be that students have to write about how they would have reacted, if they were a certain character or they have to analyze the relationships in the movie, for example in terms of equality or gender roles.6 Students could also perform a role-play, which is very effective, because “drama is a powerful tool for developing language, because when we step into a drama we agree to suspend our ‘real’ context, the classroom, and the set of ‘real’ roles and relationships, which go with that context.”7 Drama and role-plays in general can be very effective methods, because “new contexts, new roles and new relationships”8 create other language demands than in the classroom and the speakers have to be more flexible and maybe also improvise. Besides, language is used in a meaningful context again. Another very interesting aspect is the changing of roles, which can make a huge difference in the learning process.

“Educational researchers have been aware for some time that the focal role of the teacher as the constant source of authority in classrooms leads pupils to become cut off from their own self-motivated desire to learn. Pupils tend to enter the instructional world of the teacher by accepting the frame of reference that is provided for them.”9

This means that games and role-plays are very important, because they enable the teacher to take a step back from the current classroom situation, to create new surroundings and let students develop a better language use, by supporting their self-motivation.

What is also very important when using movies, is that the flexibility goes even further and movies can be used to question social concepts and to compare role models, stereotypes and analyze different kinds of film making, which can say a lot about cultural values and differences. Especially fantasy movies are often about “the other” and this fact can be combined with a self-reflection and a critical view on social norms and moral ideals. Movies like Harry Potter often do not feel incomprehensible to the students, largely because they are fantasy works.10 It is much easier to get access to the students when using movies they feel familiar with. “Traditional humanities topics like identity, love and friendship naturally emerge from these fantasy [films].”11, besides these movies are easily accessible for a variety of audiences, which is very important in classrooms, because students bring in many different views about religion, politics, social norms and other aspects.

The next paragraphs will deal with the usefulness of games and again some examples will be given. In general one can point out that the usefulness of games depends on their purpose in the language classroom and there are various ways how they can be applied. Alice C. Omaggio is of the same opinion and therefore she divides four different categories for games in classrooms. The first category is the “Knowledge of Specific Facts about a Country or Its Culture”, the second category is the “Knowledge of Discrete Linguistic Features”, the third category is the “Knowledge of Vocabulary: Recall” and the last category is the “Knowledge of Isolated Syntactic Structures”.12 She points out that games are very important to improve language skills and the advantage of games is, that they can be simplified and integrated in nearly every grade.13 Language use in games is always meaningful and several skills are needed, which is another positive aspect.

In the following paragraphs some of Omaggio’s examples have been chosen and will be explained. To improve the Intercultural Communicative Competence, history and culture games can be helpful. The following game can be used in primary or secondary school according to its difficulty. Several cards depict historical events or cultural topics and informative texts (in the target language) are included, then the students have to explain their cards and swap them with the others until everyone has four similar cards. This can also be used with more specific topics, for example German philosophers, sports, famous sights in France and much more.14

Another small game from the category “Knowledge of Isolated Syntactic Structures” for practicing questions is called “keep them guessing”. An object is taken and the students have to guess its price in a foreign country, or the age of class members has to be guessed or the number of beans in a glass jar. This also improves the knowledge about numbers or prices and can be used very flexible.15 Omaggio put this game in the game collection for adult learners, but it would probably fit better in the group for younger learners in primary or secondary school, because it wouldn’t be very challenging for adults to guess fictional prices or numbers.


1 Cf Alcón Soler et al.: Intercultural Language Use and Language Learning, p. 274.

2 Cf cit. p. 274.

3 Cf cit. p. 274.

4 Cf Weber: Intercultural Learning as Identity Negotiation, p. 27.

5 Cf Weber: Intercultural Learning as Identity Negotiation, p. 276.

6 Cf Alcón Soler et al.: Intercultural Language Use and Language Learning, p. 275.

7 Cf Byron: Drama in the English Classroom, p. 117.

8 Cf cit. p. 117.

9 Byron: Drama in the English Classroom, p. 118.

10 Cf Dial-Driver: Fantasy Media in the Classroom, p. 138.

11 Cf. cit. p. 138.

12 Cf Omaggio: Games and Simulations in the Foreign Language Classroom, p. 1-25.

13 Cf cit. p. vi.

14 Cf cit. p. 3.

15 Cf cit. p. 23.

Excerpt out of 12 pages


Interaction in the English as a Foreign Language Classroom with a Focus on Different Tasks
University of Frankfurt (Main)
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
task interaction EFL classroom english focus
Quote paper
Nicky Jan (Author), 2015, Interaction in the English as a Foreign Language Classroom with a Focus on Different Tasks, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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