About Me

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I am a translator and interpreter for English, French and Spanish and an ESP/EFL teacher as well. I teach at the Social Communication School at the Central University of Venezuela. Currently, I am doing a master’s program in Teaching of English as a Foreign Language, which has been helping me to improve and complete my expertise on the teaching of second languages. I have taught English and French for eleven years now and I have worked with students of all different ages, meeting their needs on areas such as speaking, reading, listening and writing. I also teach private sessions for professionals who need to learn or improve their language level. Nowadays, most of my students are doctors and engineers who want to develop their skills to keep updated with their fields. I also translate a variety of texts for individuals and companies which require the service.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

13. Project

After a couple of years teaching communicative English in the Extension Division of the Faculty of Humanities (FUNDEIM) at the Central University of Venezuela (UCV), the biggest problem students face when taking these courses is the output, that is to say, the fact of producing their own ideas with the language proficiencies they have already acquired by having classes at least twice or three times a week, for a total of six academic hours.
Most of the students, who have already passed all the required levels to begin a conversational one, do not feel confident enough to start a conversational course even though their grades were over 15 in a scale of 20 points, which means that in theory, they are well-prepared to start the next level.
They usually get into the conversational levels very anxious or worried about the fact that in this kind of courses a text book is not used, which means that students should do their best, not only to pass the level, but especially to master their language knowledge to get their message across the class. Success mostly depends on students’ willingness and the class methodology is focused on developing comprehension skills and oral production.
Class are always held in a traditional classroom and it is obvious that students feel intimidated when talking, because everybody’s eyes stare at the person talking. Sometimes, people feel more confident when they feel certain privacy, like talking on the phone or having a simple conversation on Skipe.
In this regard, the intention of this research proposal is to find out how motivation influences students or not to improve their language abilities, what its impact and relevance in SLA is, specifically on conversational courses, and what other factors such as anxiety or self-esteem are related to the development of oral production. My research questions would be:

  1. Can motivation improve students’ oral production?

  2. Can the Web help learners to improve their oral production?

  3. Can virtual rooms or classrooms help learners to be less intimidated and more comfortable when producing and idea?

Final project artifact Speaking English is fun!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

12. E-assessment

During this session, Professor Izquierdo started establishing the difference between assessment and evaluation. The second is related to the process of correcting and assigning a mark after the complication of tests, tasks, homework or any other learning activity. On the other hand, assessment is a broader concept which encompasses “the gathering of evidence of student performance over a period of time to measure learning and understanding” (2009). Since this is an ICT class and the uses of ICTs in any class also require the process assessing and evaluation, it is imperative to know what e-assessment is all about.
In her opinion, e-assessment is also the gathering of data about students’ performance over a period of time, but through the use of information technologies and tools. This could vary from an on-screen test to the simple use of a computer application.
By doing a simple research on goggle about e-assessment, it is amazing how big corporations have based their internal assessment on e-tools because they are more accurate, less time consuming and simpler. Pedagogically speaking, I think that e-assessment is becoming more frequently used for the same reasons and the ESL teaching/learning process must keep up with the advances of the world to make it more accessible and entertaining.

However, we are still on the process of establishing such interesting tools in our institutions and nowadays disadvantages must be taken into consideration. According to McCormack and Jones (1998), some of these limitations are:

  1. the high cost for the implementation of systems,
  2. the need to set good objectives for tests, which requires certain computer skills,
  3. the establishment of a right protocol to monitor hardware and software,
  4. the need of training an important amount of assessors and invigilators in assessment design IT skills and examination management and
  5. the high level of organization across all parties involved in assessment (academics, support, staff, computer services, administrators).

In my opinion, all theses disadvantages can be easily overcome with time, but meanwhile we teachers must start using these incredible tools so future does not seem so far.