Commentary on ECRIF reflection Task 1. Learning a language. (This will open in a new window.) Task 2 and 3.Making ECRIF statements Task 4. Reflecting on ECRIF
How much time does each stage take? Generally speaking, people encounter and clarify things very quickly. For example, you probably figured out that “bir erkek cocuk” means boy in just a few seconds. However, actually remembering that meaning and pronunciation took proportionally much more time. In the Rosetta Stone lesson, you may have begun to internalize the words and the meaning, but most likely that would take even more time as you associate the words with actual experiences seeing, hearing, and thinking about boys. Moving from internalization to fluent use usually takes even more time and repeated real-world opportunities to use the word to communicate with people.
What might happen if stages are skipped in a learning experience? -If students don't have a clear context, they may not notice the new knowledge or skill. Likewise, without a clear context they may not be able to clarify the meaning. -If students don't have opportunities to individually and actively clarify the knowledge or skill, they may walk away not understanding it. This idea relates to the comment sometimes overheard in the teachers' room: "But I taught them this last week." -If students don't have adequate time to remember/internalize and fluently use new content, they may be unable to produce it and feel frustrated and their inability to learn the material. This relates to some of the problems in language education around the world in which students study for many years but can't speak or use the language to communicate.
Imagine learning Turkish with some classmates. How roles can peers play in the ECRIF stages? Using pair work and group work is a common mode in a communicative classroom and one can see some the benefits of that interaction by examining it in terms of ECRIF. -If you were doing the Turkish lesson in a classroom setting, you might have the pictures in front of you. One activity a teacher might do is have you talk with your partner what you see. Because most students studying English are not complete beginners, they may know some of the vocabulary already and be able to help the other student encounter and clarify new words. Moreover, the act of peer teaching can help the student who knows the words, further internalize them. This follows the old wisdom that teaching something helps us learn it more deeply. -In the Rosetta Stone lesson, you were not asked to speak, but in a classroom setting, a logical follow-up activity might be to have students work in pairs saying and pointing to the pictures. For example, one students could say "Adam kitap okuyor" and the other student could point to the picture of the man reading a book. In this way, the students can work on remembering and internalizing the new vocabulary and grammar while actually producing the language, which can lead to fluent use. In addition, the act of producing the words could create need for further clarification leading the students to help each other or ask the teacher questions. -Pair work and group work activities can provide students a safe environment to go through the ECRIF stages. Rather than having a student perform in front the whole class, which can increase anxiety and affect students' ability to learn, students can work with less fear of mistakes. At the same time, the teacher can walk around during pair work activities and assess strengths and areas to work on among individual students, as well as answering clarification questions.
What can you say about the order in which you when through the stages? Learning is not a linear process. In general, people go through the stages as they learn, but usually people also bounce around a lot between them. For example, you might have encountered and clarified the meaning of “bir erkek cocuk” and started to remember it. Then, you might have noticed that "cocuk" is also used in the word for girl and wanted to clarify that meaning. Later, while clicking on pictures, you might have encountered and clarified an aspect of the pronunciation that you had not originally noticed and started to remember that by repeating it to yourself. Even if you actually started to fluently use the word to communicate with Turkish people, you might have noticed some other aspect of the form or use of the word. In this way, learning is not a neat set of steps that we go through and finish, but rather a variety of different activities we do, depending on our attention, need and purpose.
Do lessons alway start with Encountering and Clarifying? No. In many lessons, teacher may actually start with a fluency task. In this way, the teacher and students can see how well they already can do the task before instruction. For students, this can create need and motivation to learn while for the teachers it can provide an opportunity to assess students' ability before instruction. For example, a teacher might ask you to describe a picture to another student so they could draw it. In this way, the teacher could see how much vocabulary and grammar you already knew and teach to your needs. This approach is often called Test-Teach-Test.
What other generalizations can you make about the ECRIF stages? ECRIF is a tool for describing how learning actually happens rather than how teachers might think learning should happen. One thing that struck us is how important it is to have enough time to remember, internalize, and fluently use a relatively small amount of material. In contrast, in traditional lecture style classes, a great deal of time is devoted to encountering and clarifying a large amount of material while very little time is given to remembering, internalizing, and fluently using it. This might partially explain why people cram for exams and yet often don't remember much from those types of classes.
Next... Planning with ECRIF Here you will find a chart with teacher and student activities at each stage of ECRIF. Analyzing course books Here you can look at some samples of English language course books and see how you can use ECRIF to adapt and plan lessons. You will also see how ECRIF can work with high level vocabulary and grammar.