User:Mzuccardo

Return to: ETAP 623 Fall 2020 (Zhang) 
Begin the course here: Marissa Zuccardo's Mini Course

About Me

Marissa Zuccardo
Educational Background

My name is Marissa Zuccardo, and I am a recent graduate of the University at Albany, SUNY. As an undergraduate I received two degrees: B.A. in Linguistics, B.A. in East Asian Studies with a minor in Korean Studies. In May 2020 I finished my M.S. in TESOL Education (Non-Certification), and am currently enrolled in the CGS program in Online Teaching and Learning. My future career plans involve travelling to South Korea in the beginning of 2021 to begin gaining experience in international EFL education.

Personal Information

Some information about me personally are as follows:

I love languages, and am currently learning both Spanish and Korean. I would love to one day go to law school, I enjoy nail art and swimming, and I am an avid MMORPG gamer.

My Topic and Purpose

For English as a Second/Foreign Language learners (ESL/EFL), an instructor will come across three main challenges that are prevalent within the field of language education:

  1. Students who are learning ESL and face various challenges such as racial bias and discrimination, poor curriculum design for ESL learners, lack of support, etc.
  2. ESL and EFL learners who struggle to stay engaged with material and remain motivated to acquire the language.
  3. English Language Learners might have high grammatical and linguistic command of the language, but lack the ability to properly socialize in English.

The topic of this course will focus on the how to remedy the third issue on that list by focusing on the following:

  1. Strategies to better support ELLs in building pragmatic competence and socialization skills
  2. In the process, engage students and help them build motivation to actively learn and gain proficiency.

Learning Outcomes

Educators will learn about the benefits of both implicit and explicit pragmatics instruction, as well as methods to incorporate said instruction into their language curriculum. These methods are based on research and literature from experts in both ESL/ELL and other language fields.

By the end of this mini-course, instructors will be able to:

  • Understand pragmatic instruction types and develop ways to incorporate them into their curriculum
  • Be able to engage and motivate students in their classes to develop their socialization skills.
  • Gain valuable knowledge to help students gain pragmatic competence
  • Foster and scaffold ELLs' pragmatic competence by relating the new language to their native language
  • Know about resources to further educate themselves on pragmatic instruction in the future

Needs Assessment

The aim of English educators is to provide students with enough instruction, guidance, and input for them to be able to successfully communicate in the new language, and part of this is learning the socially appropriate utterances for each situation they encounter. The science behind this is known as “pragmatics.”

  • The academic definition of pragmatics is “the study of people's comprehension and production of linguistic action in context” (Kasper, 1993, as cited in Castillo, 2009). This definition infers the following; first, that people need to be able to understand something and “notice” that cue in order to produce a linguistic action in reaction to that; second, linguistic action must be in context and relevant to the situation at hand. Additionally, pragmatics is also defined as “the study of language from the point of view of the users, especially of the choices they make, the constraints they encounter in using language in social interaction, and the effects their use of language has on the other participants in an act of communication” (Crystal, 2008, as cited in Castillo, 2009).

Upon entering a language learning classroom, it is obvious that there is an immense amount of focus on vocabulary, first and foremost, and then grammatical rules. It is clear why emergent bilinguals need instruction on both-- vocabulary lessons provide the words in order to speak a language, and grammar informs the speaker of how and in what form to use these words. Unfortunately, the governing entity on context-specific word selection-- pragmatics, is frequently ignored in ENL and EFL lessons. If pragmatic instruction is not taught, there are a variety of consequences that can impact the ability of language learners to effectively communicate in the target language. These consequences can range anywhere from offending a speaking partner in conversation, having trouble conducting business deals reliant on socialization in the workplace, etc. What all of these situations have in common is this-- without high pragmatic competence, second language speakers will be unable to be properly proficient in the language. Grammatical and vocabulary instruction alone are not sufficient to gaining language mastery (Bardovi-Harlig, 1996).

So, it’s obvious that there is a clear need for pragmatic instruction, yet oftentimes it is ignored or overlooked-- but why? This is oftentimes due to language educators being unsure of how to incorporate pragmatics instruction in their curriculum, as well as what type of instructions and methods that they should use.

The solution to this problem is to:

  • Educate language instructors on why pragmatic instruction is needed
  • Describe the benefits of instruction and consequences of lack of instruction
  • Define and elaborate upon both implicit and explicit pragmatic instruction
    • Provide potential teaching strategies for both types of instruction
  • Encourage educators to motivate and engage their students within these strategies
  • Direct educators on how to further develop their craft in regards to pragmatic instruction and resources to learn more information in the future

Analysis of the Learner and Context

Learner Analysis

Learners will include language educators (especially English language educators) of all grade levels (K-12, Adult, Post-secondary, etc.). The learners must have prior/basic experience in course/curriculum development and language instruction. Learners also will have the knowledge and skill set to conduct further research in the future and remain up-to-date with best teaching practices for both pragmatics instruction and learner engagement.

Context for Instruction

Participants will learn content within this mini-course online. A computer and reliable internet connection are required to participate.

Course Goals and Objectives

Course Goals

The goals of this course are:

  1. To provide educators with the background knowledge and methods they need in order to determine for themselves how they will teach pragmatics in their classroom
  2. Provide educators with ways to motivate and engage students in the process.
Course Objectives
  • The participant will choose to further educate themselves on pragmatic instruction in the future in order to better instruct their students.
  • The participant will demonstrate their understanding of pragmatic instruction and their ability to:
    • Develop pragmatic instruction activities
    • Motivate and engage students
    • Scaffold students’ competence

Task Analysis

Elaborate and analyze the objectives to identify more specific enabling and supporting objectives.

Performance Objectives

  • Qualitatively demonstrate their ability to a) develop pragmatic instruction activities, b) motivate and engage students, and c) scaffold students’ competence through mini lesson plan design assessments
  • Demonstrate their understanding of pragmatic instruction through self reflexive learning journals
  • Create a list of outside/additional resources that they can use in the future to further educate themselves/reference for lesson planning.
Unit 1: Introduction to Pragmatics In Language Education
  • Using the mini-lecture, the participant will discuss their preliminary understanding of pragmatic instruction and how it relates to their language education knowledge and experience through a K-W-L (know-want-learn) learning journal.
  • The participant will demonstrate their ability and motivation to further educate themselves on pragmatics instruction by navigating the internet to find outside resources and adding sources to a comprehensive final list.
Unit 2: Pragmatic Instruction (Implicit and Explicit): Studies and Teaching Examples
  • Using the mini-lecture, the participant will create a table of the benefits/cons of explicit and implicit pragmatic instruction using examples to demonstrate their knowledge of the unit.
  • The participant will discuss their currently preferred method of instruction based on the findings of the studies and connecting it with their own experience through a K-W-L learning journal.
  • The participant will demonstrate their ability and motivation to further educate themselves on pragmatics instruction by navigating the internet to find outside resources and adding sources to a comprehensive final list.
Unit 3: Developing Activities to Scaffold and Engage Students
  • Using the mini-lecture and other resources, the participant will begin to develop pragmatic instruction activities designed to:
    • Improve pragmatic competence
    • Motivate and engage students
    • Scaffold students by taking their L1s and cultural backgrounds into account.
  • The participant will discuss ideas for their final lesson plan based on knowledge acquired from the unit and prior language education knowledge and experience in a self-reflexive learning journal.
  • The participant will demonstrate their ability and motivation to further educate themselves on pragmatics instruction by navigating the internet to find outside resources and adding sources to a comprehensive final list.
Unit 4: Tying it All Together: Create a Lesson Plan
  • The participant will create a final lesson plan example focused on pragmatic instruction strategies of their choice.
  • The participant will demonstrate their understanding of pragmatic and how it relates to their language education knowledge and experience through a justification/explanation of their created lesson plan.
  • The participant will demonstrate their ability and motivation to further educate themselves on pragmatics instruction by navigating the internet to find outside resources and adding sources to a comprehensive final list.
Unit 5: Final Unit - Self Reflection and Conclusion
  • The participant will demonstrate through a K-W-L learning journal the following:
    • How their understanding of pragmatics instruction evolved
    • Activities and techniques they’ve learnt about and developed that they will use in the future courses.
    • Information they would like to learn in the future.

Essential Prerequisites

  • The participant will demonstrate the ability to navigate the internet by finding outside resources and supporting evidence.
  • The participant will demonstrate the ability to navigate an online Wiki course.
  • The participant will demonstrate their knowledge of language instruction in the mini-course activities and/or assessments.
  • The participant can create lesson plans and course curriculum content.

Supportive Prerequisites

  • The participant is motivated and passionate.
  • The participant is aware of differences and nuances of their students’ backgrounds, culture, and language.
  • The participant will desire to help their students improve pragmatic competency.
  • The participant will be interested in improving their knowledge of language education; particularly in the field of pragmatics.
  • The participant will have an interest in implementing the techniques and activities they have developed in the mini-course into their classrooms.

Curriculum Map

Map out the sequence of learning units and activities to achieve the defined objectives.

Mz curriculum map.jpg

References and Resources

  1. Bardovi-Harlig, K. (1996). Pragmatics and Language Teaching: Bringing Pragmatics and Pedagogy Together. Pragmatics and Language Learning,7, 21-39. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED400702.
  2. Crystal, D. (March, 2008). Two Thousand Million? English Today, Volume No .24 (Issue 1). Retrieved from http://ill.sit.edu/illiad/illiad.dll?SessionID=D141939695E&Action=10&Form=69&Value=9969
  3. Kasper, Gabriele (Editor). (1993). Interlanguage Pragmatics. Cary, NC: Oxford University Press, Incorporated. http://site.ebrary.com.reference.sit.edu:2048/lib/worldlearningsit/Doc?id=10086827&ppg=10
 Begin the course here: Marissa Zuccardo's Mini Course