Современные тенденции развития иноязычного образования в высшей школе

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Современные тенденции развития иноязычного образования в высшей школе



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Литература

  1. Тимофеев К.А. О транспозиции временных форм глагола в русском языке. История языка. - Новосибирск, 1999.

  2. Warren R.P. All the King’s Men. - M., 1979.

  3. http://lingslovar.ru/234/.

  4. http://dic.academic.ru/dic.nsf/mwc/28611/historical.

  5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_present.

  6. http://txstate.edu/slac/Writing/documentation/present_tense.htm.

  7. Бондарко А. В. Настоящее историческое в славянских языках с точки зрения глагольного вида. // Сб. Славянское языкознание. - М., 1959.

  8. http://ksana-k.narod.ru/Book/poet/23.html.

  9. Знаменская Т.А. Стилистика английского языка. - М., 2002.

  10. http://www.gumer.info/bibliotek_Buks/Linguist/esper/19.php.

  11. Brinton L. J. The historical present in Charlotte Bronte's nove.ls: Some discourse functions. - 1992. Style 26(2).

  12. Бенвенист, Э. Общая лингвистика.- М., 1974.

  13. Бондарко, А. В. Лингвистика текста в системе функциональной грамматики. // Текст. Структура и семантика. Т. 1. - М., 2001.


Belle- letter type as a way of thinking and transferring information on american novel

the adventures of tom sawyer” by m. twain


Казиева Г.С.

Евразийский национальный университет имени Л.Н.Гумилева (Казахстан)
В данной статье рассматриваются языковые средства передачи художественного образа главного героя в романе американского писателя М.Твена «Приключения Тома Сойера». Особое внимание уделяется описанию формам мышления и способам передачи информации.

In this article we consider means of language of transferring belle-letters type of the main character in American novel «The Adventures of Tom Sawyer» by M.Twain. the vital attention pays to the ways of thinking and transferring the information.
According to V.P.Kochanovsky, thought as a logical reality can’t be considered without language. Thought and language are interactive [2, 425]. The very fact that language can be made to take on new meanings shows that language and thought are not necessarily one and the same. So far as we know today, there is no one-to-one correspondence between language and thought. Any thought can be expressed in many ways. That is language is paraphrasable.

Furthermore, language also allows ambiguity, so that a word or a sentence can have more than one meaning. Words and meanings can change meaning according to their contexts.

As an object of our study we have taken into consideration «The Adventures of Tom Sawyer» by M. Twain. This novel provides a warm and humorous portrait of childhood and small-town life. Its mischievous hero, Tom Sawyer, is always involved in one scrape or another-to the amazement and consternation of his Aunt Polly and the rest of St.Petersburg’s adults. Mark Twain narrates Tom’s adventures with a sharp eye for the humor of each situation and also with a degree of nostalgia for the bygone days of his own boyhood. While we are absorbing into this novel we see that the most part of being sounded speech (loud and spoken) belongs to the central character Tom, so we may mark it as a «discourse». For instance, Tom’s mind was made up now. He was gloomy and desperate. He was a forsaken, friendless boy, he said; nobody loved him; when they found out what they had driven him to, perhaps they would be sorry; he had tried to do right and get along, but they would not let him; since nothing would do them but to be rid of him, let it be so; and let them blame him for consequences – why shouldn’t they? What right had the friendless to complain? Yes, they had forced him to it at last: he would lead a life of crime. There was no choice. In this context we follow Tom’s anxieties through his thoughts about ‘life’, more concrete Twain’s transforming into Tom’s attitude to adult life.

One can’t help giving heed to N.V.Hrapchenko’s work of Language personality that suggest us the following classification of four ‘elements’ of belle-letter type. They are a) reflection and traits of men’s reality, its focus on life; b) emotional attitude to the object of works; c) aesthetic perception; d) inner state upon reader’s observance; [1, 69]. According to this classification a reader deeply penetrates into the novel being allegedly Tom who involves himself in a series of famous episodes, including a local murder trial, a hunt for buried treasure, and, of course, the whitewashing of a fence - a tiresome chore that Tom transforms into a desirable occupation for various gullible assistants.

A reader can also regard the novel as a coming-of-age novel in which the episodes are linked by the growing maturity of the hero, culminating it in Tom’s ‘respectable’ advice to Huck Finn at the novel’s end. For instance, ‘Look here, Huck, being rich ain’t going to keep me back from turning robber.’ ‘No! oh, good licks, are you in real dead-wood earnest, Tom?’ ‘Just as dead earnest as I’m a sitting here. But, Huck, we can’t let you into the gang if you ain’t respectable, you know.’

One of the ways of peculiarities for Tom as the main character in this novel is to show himself as an open-hearted person to the people. For instance, Aunt Polly knelt down and prayed for Tom so touchingly, so appealingly, and with such measureless love in her words and her old trembling voice that he was weltering in tears again long before she was through. Or another example: ‘Oh, you don’t, don’t you? So all this row was because you thought you’d get to stay home from school and go fishing? Tom, Tom, I love you so, and you seem to try every way you can to break my old heart with your outrageousness’. Again we follow the close entangling the classification of belle-letter type mentioned above with the context of the central character’s inner pure deep emotions to the reality.

As for conclusion we may say that spiritual image of personality, its values, ideals, aspiration in the traits of character and in stereotypes, ways of thinking, socio-vital purposes and concrete ways for reaching them is to be a core of belle-letter type at all.
Литература


  1. Караулов Ю. Н. Русский язык и языковая личность. – Москва, 2007.

  2. Кохановский В.П. Философия. - Ростов-на-Дону, 2008.

  3. Chaika Е. Language. The Social Mirror. – London, 1982.

  4. Twain М. The Adventuries of Tom Sawyer. Penguin Books, 1994.


Efficiency of using presentation techniques in teaching foreign languages
Кармелюк А.В., Тулегенова А.М.

Евразийский национальный университет имени Л.Н.Гумилева (Казахстан)
В данной статье рассматривается проблема информатизации учебного процесса, в частности использование технологии презентации на занятиях иностранного языка. Цель сообщения - заострить внимание на тех ключевых правилах или моментах, которых должны придерживаться при презентации материала.

Берілген мақалада оқу процессінің ақпараттандыру мәселесі қарастырылады, әсіресе шетел тілдері сабағында презентация технологиясының қолдану. Материалды презентация технологиясы арқылы ұсыну кезінде сақтайтын негізгі ережелер мен нұсқауларға назар аудару баяндаманың мақсаты болып келеді.
The usage of information technologies in different spheres of human activities, including the process of education is becoming more and more actual. In native and foreign publications the informatization of the educational process is considered as one of the most actual factors in teaching either subject.

New information technologies increase the motivation to learning a foreign language and developing knowledge and culture of students, and in particular conditions can be effectively used in the process of teaching. In this article we will research such fact as using the presentation techniques to increase the motivation of students to learn a foreign language and how teacher can use these techniques to develop their communicative skills.

Teachers of English as a foreign language, who want to develop successful lessons faces different problems: lack of material, lack of technologies etc. Another challenge is student who does not have any motivation for lessons. According to Hammer, uncooperative and unmotivated students are a serious problem and can easily disrupt the instructional process [1, 10].

The core of the motivation’s lack is laid in the methods and techniques a teacher choose to perform the material. As Mary Finocchiaro said “Student growth depends to a large extent upon your own professional growth. In a dynamic field such as ours, no teacher can afford to remain at a standstill. We should keep up with new findings, with new materials, and with the report of teaching and learning experiences of our colleagues” [5, 199].

An important part of teaching foreign language is introducing new language features i.e. a new grammar structure or new vocabulary teachers use different methods. The way of introduction of these features is often called “presentation”. There are many different ways of presenting new language and it is important to use a variety of techniques and methods in your teaching to make your teaching process more grabbing, interesting, and effective.

Method is an overall plan for orderly presentation of language material, no part of which contradicts, and all of which is based upon the selected approach.

A technique is implementation – which actually takes place in a classroom. It is particular trick, stratagem, or contrivance used to accomplish an immediate objective. Techniques must be consistent with a method [6, 40].

Presentation techniques such as sound imitation; drawing; illustration etc. are primary methods of techniques used on lessons. 10 years ago laboratory tape-recorder, phonographs, radio, closed-circuit television were widely popular with teachers. Nowadays computers and their numerous appliances and program enjoy a great value in effectiveness of teaching a foreign language.

This number of device keeps proving its effectiveness in delivering lessons. Using techniques, for example pictures, in your presentations instead of words can double the chances of meeting your objectives. But according to Leonard Bloomfield “The various ‘methods and techniques’ which have been elaborated differ greatly in the mere exposition, but far less in actual classroom practice. The result depends very little upon the theoretical basis of presentation, and very much upon the conditions of teaching and on the competence of the teacher … ”.

The basic requirement to determine the success of the work is the teacher’s ability to show his technical competence in certain phases of linguistics. Even a well-planned and well-structured presentation can almost be ineffective because of bad presentation delivery. The delivery phase can make or ruin a presentation. We represent some key factors in the successful delivery of a presentation:



  1. Rehearse. Practice makes for perfect performance. Many experts say that

rehearsal is the biggest single thing that you can do to improve your performance. Perform your presentation out loud at least four times.

  1. Timing. Timing is of crucial importance. Do not ramble or talk needlessly.

Some people simply freeze, and some can not sit down when they got on their feet to talk. The amount of time required for a given presentation should be determined in advance. As a general guide, one slide needs 1 - 1.5 minutes. So, if your presentation very much and you may not succeed in conveying your message.

3. Personal Approach. Personal features of the speaker have a major impact on how the presentation is received. There are four aspects, i.e. gesture, voice, eye contact, and breathing.

Gesture can be used to highlight points or to make additional emphasis when needed. However, do not repeat the same gesture for more than twenty times in a single presentation.

Voice is critical. The speaker should use sufficient volume to be heard. Modulation is also important. It is the process of varying the pitch or level of the voice. Speaking in a monotone manner or at the same level might put the audience to sleep. Monotonous high level voice should also be avoided; it may be tiring to listen to.

Eye contact is the process of looking at the eyes of the audience as often as possible. You will gain trust, involvement and interest. It is also important to face the audience, and not look too frequently at the screen. The smaller the size of audience, the more eye contact is needed. 

Breathing is important to continue to talk in a loud voice. Breathing can also be used to generate a pause, and to emphasize an earlier discussed point.



4. Tell stories. The presentation is a type of theatre. To make reading easy and interesting you can illustrate main events on slide as well or prepare video on it. Tell stories and anecdotes to help illustrate points. It all helps to make your presentation more effective and memorable.

5. Use of Visual Aids. Visual aids help to make a presentation more effective, mainly because they crystallize ideas, and they assist in the retention of information. Visual aids also keep the speaker on track and generate interest.

Rules to observe when preparing visual aids:

- Keep it simple: There is an old adage that said – “No one ever complained of a presentation being too short.” Nothing kills a presentation more than going on too long. Remember to keep visual aids simple, so that the audience can easily understand the concepts. A complicated or vague visual aid is counter-productive.

- Minimize words: Keep the amount of text minimal, to avoid the audience spending time with reading the visual aid and not listening to you.

- Use large fonts: Make text and numbers large, so that the audience can read it easily.

- List key points: Make sure that the key points are shown clearly. This will help the audience to retain the information.

- Use exact phrasing: Since the ideas are summarized into key points, there is no margin for vague or imprecise

wording.


- Use color: The use of color can highlight key points.

- Prepare Handout: If you prepare handouts, along with visual aids, your audience can make notes on the handout. 

Preparing the presentation one is supposed to take into account the important elements: context, clarification of meaning, controlled practice, and picture presentation, whichever technique or method is followed. For preparing visual aids there are a great number of modern computer programs of Microsoft Office Program, as Power Point, Office Publisher, and Movie Maker with ready-made patterns.

We represent some steps which are more, or less important, to tail the presentation.



Step1: Situation analysis. It is essential to make the message to match the audience's expectations. First, be very clear about the type of presentation and its objective, i.e. whether it is persuasive or instructional. Second, assess the audience and the situation carefully. How big will it be, who will be present, what possible resistance is there, what is the level of knowledge, and, most important, how much time is available.

Step 2: Theme/title. The theme/title should be brief, direct, and meaningful. Do not develop a long winded theme, and assume that it will become obvious during the presentation. It may lead to distraction of the audience.

Step 3: Story line. Write a story line covering the major elements of the presentation. It involves breaking down the theme into major components. It should be logical and not be too long; fewer than 5 topics are generally manageable. Developing a storyboard is simply breaking down the story line into its major parts or ideas. Once you have developed the storyboard, you have the basic framework of your presentation. What is then needed is to put the storyboard into slides. The basic principle is "one slide for one idea".

Presentation techniques directed on developing of listening and reading skills:

For reading or listening presentation it needs to select or create a short text which contains the target language. As the text is being used for presentation purposes, rather than as a resource for skills development, it should not be too difficult for the students. It should not contain a lot of new vocabulary or structure. The stages of the presentation are similar to those for most presentations. There should be a lead-in, interest and context. This may include some vocabulary work, particularly if there are any words in the text which the teacher feels the students need to know. There is a focus on form and meaning and controlled practice. The teacher exploits the text following stages: establish context, pre-teach vocabulary; set gist questions; listening\reading text; checking in pairs etc.

For presentation listening material it can be used the following devices: tape-recorder, CD and MP3-players, Ipods, computer etc. to make sure the students understand the material here can be used demonstrative handouts in format of slide show, notes, pictures etc. The super-technologies of our century allow us to implement entertaining-direct appliances in teaching process, and this fact can cause extra attention from students. The access to presenting resources is enriched by World Wide Web, where one can easily get any licensed educational material from special sites, book, articles etc. For listening purposes one can visit portal as You Tube, where a great range of video of wide variety of topics. The material can be easily modified and adjusted to the aims of a lesson. The video education sites with feature video, documentaries, news coverage etc.

Except downloading records for reading material or listening, teacher can prepare his own records or make a video on the theme.

For presenting reading material with use of Power Point program which is base program for slide-shows, we can use next model of delivering material:

Activity 1

The objective is forming of reading/listening skills on the theme “Food” on material of the article “Attentive Waiter” [4, 25]

Lead-in phase: presentation of vocabulary. Put down the words on a slide and make students find relations between them and then let them reconstruct the chronicle of the events. If the words are simple you can present them in the format of pictures.

Activity 2

After reading material or listening text, comprehension questions can be prepared in the way of video conference it would be more productive if the questions are asked by different people, and video clips due to capacities of the program can be installed in the presented slide-show.



Activity 3

Another way to introduce a new language is to use a dialogue build. A dialogue is a conversation between two people and in this activity the teacher uses the conversation to show the students the language being used in a natural way. Dialogue build presentation is set on the material of the article. The students listen to the conversation and have a try to remember and rebuild the dialogue.

In conclusion, one may say that presentation technique is not innovation in teaching process. But ways to deliver them are revolutionizing. Right technique with exact presentation can help a teacher to invent a friendly, rich atmosphere for learning foreign language. Good presentation should include such stages as rehearse, timing, personal reproach and visual aids. Visual aids can be presented by Microsoft Office Programs including Power Point. Slide-show projection is one of the popular visual aids which is considered to be more effective way in production of drills directing on development of communicative skills of students. For making presentation slides 4 stages are taken into account. The stages are purpose of presentation, theme/title, story line, design. Other programs were recruited from entertainment in academic purposes are Internet programs, DVDs, Ipods etc. Any task programmed on developing 4 basic skills as listening, speaking, reading and writing can be delivered by the means and can boost interest of students. And motivation is the main impact on progress in meeting any goal.

The native and foreign experience shows that the using new information technologies provide:



  • Giving a student the tool of investigation, construction, formation of knowledge about object world and active component of objective world, instrument of measuring, reflecting and influence on object world;

  • Broadening the sphere of independent activity of students on the basis of organization different kinds of educational activity (experimental research, educational-playing, informational educational activity, also activity connected with processing information, such audiovisual information), including individual, group and collective work;

  • Individualization and differentiation of educational process by means of interactive dialogue, independent choice of regime of educational activity and organizational forms of studying;

  • Forming of information culture, components of individual culture, member of information society, by means of implementation of informational-educational activity;

  • Increasing of motivation by means of computer visualization of studied objects, phenomena, managing studied objects, situations, ability to choose independently the forms and methods of teaching and learning, including playing situations.

Thus along with the development of the process of informatization and education the volume and content of educational material changes, programs of academic subjects are over structured, the integration of some themes or subjects is taking place, that leads to the change of structure and content of educational subjects, and consequently to the change of structure and content of education itself.

As well as these processes new solutions to the problem of students level of education, based on working out and using complex of computerized testing, diagnosing methods of control and evaluating of the assimilation level.


Literature

  1. Hammer J. The practice of English language teaching. 3rd ed. Harlow. - England: Longman, 2005.

  2. Edward A. “Approach, method and technique” 2nd ed. Washington, 1993. - P. 199-202.

  3. Bloomfield L. About foreign language teaching. 2nd ed. Washington, 1993. – Р. 40-49.


Mastering webquest: teaching language through technology
Керимкулова С.И.

Казахстанско-Британский технический университет (Казахстан)
Данная статья посвящена использованию стратегии WebQuest как одного из самых мощных средств, доступного для обучения и изучения английского языка на основе Интернет ресурсов. Разработанный в 1995 году профессорами Университета Сан Диего Берни Доджем и Томом Марчем Web Quest является проблемно-ориентированным заданием, и считается эффективным обучающим методом использования и организации Веб ресурсов и помощи обучающимся в получении новых знаний и развитии познавательных навыков через создание активной управляемой обучающей среды.

Бұл мақала интернет ресурстар негізінде ағылшын тілін оқыту мен үйретуде қол жетімді әрі ең қуатты құралдың бірі ретінде WebQuest- тің стратегиясын қолдану мәселесіне арналған. 1995 жылы университет профессорлары Сан Диего Берни Доджбен Том Марче әзірлеген Web Questке бағдарланған тапсырма болып табылуы және Веб ресурсты қолдану мен ұйымдастыру әдістемесін оқытуда және белсенді басқарудағы оқыту ортасын құру арқылы жаңа білім алуға танымдық қабілетін дамытуда тиімді болып саналады.

Introduction

The Internet has become one of the most powerful tools available for teaching virtually any subject. Especially great its potential for language teaching and learning. Some 85% of the world/s electronic information is said to be in English language [11, 50]. That makes it the potential goldmine that maу be of use for teachers for developing students’ knowledge and skills. One of the effective strategies that can help teachers to integrate the power of the Web with student learning is the WebQuest strategy. Originated by Bernie Dodge and Tom March in 1995 at San Diego University, the WebQuest has gained considerable attention from educators and has been integrated widely throughout the world into curricula in secondary schools and higher education as a way to make good use of the Internet while engaging their students in the kinds of thinking that the 21st century requires. This paper describes the Dodge’s model of a WebQuest, its design process as suggested by Tom March, provides the reasons for its use in teaching and learning process and suggests some excellent sites to explore with the aim of helping teachers to master this effective instructional tool.



What is a WebQuest?

A WebQuest is an instructional tool for inquiry- based learning in which learners interact with resources on the Internet, develop small group skills in collaborative learning and engage in higher level thinking. Most or all of the information used by learners is found from pre-selected websites [7, 1]. A WebQuest is designed to make the best use of a learner's time, to focus on using information rather than looking for it, and to support learners’ higher level thinking skills. In other words, students use the Internet in such a manner that they learn not only to research information but to use the Internet to critically think about important issues. The key idea that distinguishes WebQuests from other Web-based experiences is that they are built around an engaging and doable task that elicits higher order thinking of some kind. It's about doing something with information. The thinking can be creative or critical, and involve problem solving, judgment, analysis, or synthesis.



What are the essential parts of a WebQuest?

To achieve its efficacy and purpose, WebQuests should contain at least the following parts, which are outlined by Bernie Dodge as critical components in a WebQuest [7, 2].



1. An introduction. The purpose of the Introduction section of a WebQuest is two fold: first, it's to orient the learner as to what is coming. Secondly, it should raise some interest in the learner through a variety of means. It can do this by making the topic seem relevant to the learner's past experience; relevant to the learner's future goals; attractive, visually interesting; important because of its global implications; urgent, because of the need for a timely solution; fun, because the learner will be playing a role or making something. When projects are related to students’ interests, past experience, or future goals, they are inherently interesting and exciting. For the example of an Introduction visit the WebQuest Creative Problem Solving designed for ESL students at http://php.indiana.edu/~fpawan/creativestudent.html

2. A task is a formal description of what students will have accomplished by the end of the WebQuest. Developing this task - or the main research question -is the most difficult and creative aspect of creating a WebQuest. Students can be asked to publish their findings on a Web site, collaborate in an online research initiative with another site or institution, or create a multimedia presentation on a particular aspect of their research. A well designed task is doable, interesting and elicits thinking in learners that goes beyond rote comprehension. A good example of the Task is given in the Searching for China WebQuest at http://www.kn.pacbell.com/ wired/China/ChinaQuest.html#Task.

3. Information Sources. This block in a WebQuest is a list of web pages which the instructor has located that will help the learner accomplish the task. The Resources are pre-selected so that learners can focus their attention on the topic rather than surfing aimlessly. Information sources might include web documents, experts available via e-mail or real-time conferencing, searchable databases on the net, and books and other documents physically available in the learner's setting. It's important to remember that non-Web resources can also be used. Very often, it makes sense to divide the list of resources so that some are examined by everyone in the class, while others are read by subsets of learners who are playing a specific role or taking a particular perspective. This can ensure the interdependence of the group and give the learners an incentive to teach each other what they've learned. See an example in the WebQuest Creative Problem Solving at http://php.indiana.edu/ ~fpawan/creativestudent.html.

4. Description of the process. The Process block in a WebQuest where the teacher provides clearly suggested steps that learners should go through in completing the task. It may include strategies for dividing the task into subtasks, descriptions of roles to be played or perspectives to be taken by each learner. The instructor can also use this place to provide learning advice and interpersonal process advice, such as how to conduct a brainstorming session. For example, the WebQuest Pollution and Solutions at http://edweb.sdsu.edu/triton/ PollSol/ Week1. html.

5. Guidance provides guidance on how to organize information. This can take the form of guiding questions, or descriptions to complete organizational frameworks such as timelines, concept maps, or caused- effect diagrams.

6. Evaluation. The Evaluation block is a new addition to the WebQuest model. Each WebQuest needs a rubric for evaluating students' work. Evaluation rubrics would take a different form depending on the kind of task given to the learner. To help teachers to deal with evaluation Dodge has developed A Rubric for Evaluating WebQuests which can be found at http://webquest.sdsu.edu/webquestrubric.html.It allows teachers to assign a score to a given WebQuest and provides specific, formative feedback for the designer.

7. Conclusion. The Conclusion section of a WebQuest provides an opportunity to summarize the experience, to encourage reflection about the process, to extend and generalize what was learned, or some combination of these. It's not a critically important piece, but it rounds out the document and provides that reader with a sense of closure.

Why use WebQuests?

WebQuests are an inquiry-based, learner-centered, project-based approach to teaching, learning, and information inquiry that integrates the power of the Web with sound learning theory and instructional design methods, such as constructivist philosophy; critical and creative thinking questioning, understanding, and transformational learning; scaffolding; cooperative learning; motivation and authenticity [6, 1-2].



Constructivism is a theory of teaching and learning involves the process of questioning, exploring, and reflecting. This theory says that learners should construct their own understanding and knowledge of the world through varied experiences. By reflecting on these experiences, students assimilate useful information and create personal knowledge.

Creative thinking involves creating something new or original. It's the skills of flexibility, originality, fluency, elaboration, brainstorming, modification, imagery, associative thinking, metaphorical thinking, and forced relationships [1, 1].

Cooperative learning is an approach to teaching and learning where students work in small groups or teams to complete meaningful activities such as solving problems or creating products. Groups share their strengths and address their weaknesses as a team. Cooperative strategies are applied to necessitate each student's input. As students complete more WebQuests they will become aware that their individual work has a direct impact of the intelligence of their group's final product.

Student Motivation & Authenticity. Tom March points out to the following strategies that are used in WebQuests to increase student motivation. First, WebQuests use a central question that honestly needs answering. When students are asked to understand, hypothesize or problem-solve an issue that confronts the real world, they face an authentic task. The second feature that increases student motivation is that they are given real resources to work with. Rather than use a dated textbook with the Web students can directly access individual experts, searchable databases, current reporting, and even fringe groups to gather their insights.

Developing Thinking Skills. One of the main features of any WebQuest is that student’s deal with questions that prompt higher level thinking. The question posed to students can not be answered simply by collecting and spitting back information. A WebQuest forces students to transform information into something else: a cluster that maps out the main issues, a comparison, a hypothesis, a solution, etc. In order to engage students in higher level cognition, WebQuests use scaffolding or prompting which has been shown to facilitate more advanced thinking. In other words, by breaking the task into meaningful "chunks" and asking students to undertake specific sub-tasks, a WebQuest can step them through the kind of thinking process that more expert learners would typically use.

Using WebQuests in our classrooms can help build a solid foundation that will prepare our students for the future by developing a number of skills that tomorrow’s workers will need. No one can ever learn everything, but everyone can better develop their skills and nurture the inquiring attitudes necessary to continue the generation and examination of knowledge throughout their lives. For modern education, the skills and the ability to continue learning should be the most important outcomes. And this is where WebQuest can help use to meet these needs.



The WebQuest Design Process

Writing a WebQuest is time-consuming and challenging, at least the first time. To make this process easier for teachers Tom March developed the WebQuest design process which consists of three phases that are presented below [8; 1]:



The WebQuest Design Process. Phase 1.

Choose and chunk the topic

It is necessary to identify a topic that is worth spending time on it and one that takes advantage of the Web and WebQuest format. The best use of the WebQuest format is for topics that invite creativity and problems with several possible solutions. They can address open-ended questions like:



  • How do other countries deal with learning English as a foreign language, and what, if anything, can Kazakhstan learn from them?

  • What is it like to live in a developing country such as Kazakhstan?

  • What would Mark Twain think about the lives that children live today?

Once you have some ideas for topics, chunk them out into sub-categories by clustering. You might look for things like relationships to other topics, controversial issues, multiple perspectives about the topic, etc. This clustering will help you when it comes time to uncover your main question and devise roles for learners.

Identify Learning Gaps

Good instructional activities attempt to address students' needs. Envision the optimal learning outcomes for a particular unit or activity. Then compare that to the actual outcomes. The learning gap is the difference between Optimals and Actuals.



Inventory Resources

When teachers inventory their learning resources they should collect all the raw materials that COULD go into their WebQuest. Later they will need to make choices that limit their options. In terms of finding good Web sites, the following sites that lead to a huge number of interesting and useful lessons, resources, and activities can be a good starting points for exploration:



  • Education World- http://www.education-world.com/

  • Language Arts- http://www.mcrel.org/lesson-plans/index.asp

  • Foreign Language - http://www.mcrel.org/lesson-plans/foreign/index.asp

Decision: Uncover the Question

The single most important aspect of a WebQuest is its Question. The Question / Task serves to focus your entire WebQuest and helps students engage in higher-order thinking. It makes students look beyond the facts to how things relate, what is the truth, how good or right something is. In writing Question / Task Statement, Tom March suggests to consider the following things that provide higher levels of thinking:



  • analyzing and classifying the main parts of a topic

  • using these main parts as criteria from which to evaluate examples of the topic

  • analyzing perspectives and opinions through comparison / contrast

  • using an understanding of people's opinions to make a persuasive argument

  • analyzing how things change through cause and effect and If/Then statements

  • using if/then statements to problem solving new situations [9, 1].

It is important to note that this last box in this phase isn't actually a box like

the other three. This section requires a teacher to make a decision. The decision is, "Do you have what it takes to make a WebQuest?" Answering the questions below questions will help a teacher to elicit a positive response:



  • Is the Topic worth the time and effort needed to build this WebQuest?

  • Is the level of potential student cognition worth the effort?

  • Is a WebQuest the right strategy?

  • Are you excited by the available resources (both online and local)?

  • Does the Web offer so much that its use is warranted?

  • Does the Question ask something that people in the real world find important?

  • Is the answer to the question open to interpretation / argument / hypothesis?

If you've answered “Yes” to all the questions above, you're on the way to creating a great WebQuest!
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