Mendive. Journal on Education, january-march 2022; 20(1): 105-122
Translated from the original in Spanish
Blended Learnings in the English Teachers Training
Aprendizajes híbridos en la formación de profesores de inglés
Aprendizagem híbrida na formação de professores de inglês
Osniel Pérez Morejón1 http://orcid.org/0000-0002-2043-2201
Yordanis Cabrera Leal1 http://orcid.org/0000-0003-2135-7415
Rodolfo Acosta Padrón1 http://orcid.org/0000-0002-7335-0699
1University of Pinar del Rio "Hermanos Saiz Montes de Oca". Cuba. firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Received: November 04th, 2021.
Accepted: January 4th, 2022.
This article reveals the results of an investigation carried out from 2020 to 2021, about distance education on its blended learning modality, in second year of English teacher training at the University of Pinar del Río. Distance education is essential for the new normality stage with face-to-face lessons due to the wide range of opportunities this offers through the modality of blended learning. In this social situation appears the scientific problem of what transformations would have to be done to the teaching of English to its adjustment and adaptation to the blended modality. As object, it was proposed to elaborate the transformations for the second year's integrated English practice blended and flipped classroom learning. Document revision, observation, experimentation, interview and group debate were the methods used. Digital scientific products were created, grown in a didactic material that constitute proposals of contents, strategies, texts and digitalized tasks for the distance learning. It was concluded that the distance education, in its modality of blended learning, turns the teaching of English in second year in a motivating, flexible, essential, interactive, reflective and cultural process that responds to the efficiency of the development of communicative, interactive and intercultural competences. It was proposed, as objective, to elaborate the transformations for the second year's integrated English practice blended and flipped classroom learning. Document revision, observation, experimentation, interview and group debate were the methods used. Digital scientific products were created, grown in a didactic material that constitute proposals of contents, strategies, texts and digitalized tasks for the distance learning. It was concluded that the distance education, in its modality of blended learning, turns the teaching of English in second year in a motivating, flexible, essential, interactive, reflective and cultural process that responds to the efficiency of the development of communicative, interactive and intercultural competences.
Keywords: blended learning; distance education; English teaching; flipped classroom.
Este artículo revela los resultados de una investigación realizada de 2020 a 2021 sobre la educación a distancia en su modalidad de aprendizajes híbridos, en segundo año de la formación de profesores de inglés en la Universidad de Pinar del Río "Hermanos Saíz Montes de Oca". La educación a distancia es esencial para la etapa de relativa normalidad con clases presenciales, debido a las amplias oportunidades que ofrece mediante la modalidad de aprendizajes híbridos. En esta situación social aparece el problema científico de qué transformaciones habría que realizar en la enseñanza del inglés para su ajuste y adaptación a la modalidad híbrida. Se planteó como objetivo elaborar las transformaciones para los aprendizajes híbridos y las clases invertidas de la Práctica Integral del Inglés de segundo año. Se utilizaron los métodos de revisión de la documentación, observación, experimentación, entrevista y debate grupal. Se crearon productos científicos digitales agrupados en un material didáctico que constituyen propuestas de contenidos, estrategias, textos y tareas digitalizadas para el aprendizaje a distancia. Se concluyó que la educación a distancia, en su modalidad de aprendizaje híbrido, convierte la enseñanza del inglés en segundo año en un proceso motivador, flexible, esencial, interactivo, reflexivo y cultural que tributa a la eficiencia del desarrollo de las competencias comunicativa, interactiva e intercultural.
Palabras clave: aprendizaje híbrido; educación a distancia; enseñanza del inglés; aula invertida.
Este artigo revela os resultados de uma investigação realizada de 2020 a 2021 sobre educação a distância em sua modalidade de aprendizagem híbrida, no segundo ano da formação de professores de inglês na Universidade de Pinar del Río "Hermanos Saíz Montes de Oca". A educação a distância é essencial para a etapa de relativa normalidade com as aulas presenciais, devido às amplas oportunidades que oferece por meio da modalidade de aprendizagem híbrida. Nessa situação social, surge o problema científico de quais transformações devem ser realizadas no ensino de inglês para sua adequação e adaptação à modalidade híbrida. O objetivo foi elaborar as transformações para a aprendizagem híbrida e aulas invertidas da Prática Compreensiva de Inglês para o segundo ano. Foram utilizados os métodos de revisão documental, observação, experimentação, entrevista e discussão em grupo. Foram criados produtos científicos digitais agrupados em um material didático que constituem propostas de conteúdos, estratégias, textos e tarefas digitalizadas para ensino a distância. Concluiu-se que a educação a distância, em sua modalidade de aprendizagem híbrida, torna o ensino de inglês no segundo ano um processo motivador, flexível, essencial, interativo, reflexivo e cultural que contribui para o desenvolvimento eficiente de competências comunicativas e interativas e interculturais.
Palavras-chave: aprendizagem híbrida; Educação a Distância; ensino de inglês; aula invertida.
The world is shaken by the numbers of deaths and infected by COVID-19, dramatically turned into a pandemic in a few months. Consequently, the life of human beings is changing rapidly. One of the spheres deeply affected by this disease is education, for which strategies and changes applicable to this situation have had to be devised.
In the teaching of foreign languages, as a result of the pandemic, terms such as digital technologies, distance education, autonomy in learning, creativity, hybrid learning, the flipped classroom, learning outside and inside the classroom and the actual use of the language, among others. In turn, the need and value of communicative methodology, problematic, reflective, interactive and sociocultural teaching is confirmed.
Distance education is defined as a form of teaching in which students do not need to physically attend the place of study or depend on the teacher; it is a teaching-learning system that is developed, partially or totally, through Information and Communication Technologies (ICT); it is the use of technology for educational purposes (Pérez, R; Mercado, P; Martínez, M; Mena, E and Partida, JA, 2018). It is a virtual modality training process that is characterized by a series of principles such as: autonomy, insofar as it allows the student self-management and self-control of their own learning process, while becoming responsible for their training ; flexibility, because it adapts to the needs, conditions, aspirations and interests of each student; essentiality, because the student learns the essentials he needs for life today and tomorrow; and personalization, since it facilitates the development of the reflective, decision-making, active and productive capacity of the student in accordance with their being and their real and individual environment (Juca Maldonado, FJ, 2016).
Strambi and Bouvet (2003) emphasize flexibility and interaction in distance education, in an environment that provides diverse mixed modes for the language learner. Two concepts are essential for them: language learning through technology; they also ensure that the different conceptions, beliefs and attitudes of students are an integral part of any student-centered approach and have to be considered.
Technology is a means of social communication by its function. Well used, it is an essential support for language education and learning in this century. Students have immense possibilities to learn in various scenarios through the Internet, web pages, emails, digitized courses, mobile devices and a variety of digital platforms. Currently, artistic programs and cultural events are carried out online through platforms such as Zoom, Google, Hangouts or Teams (Burgos, 2021). Fortunately, the strongest theory in this regard is the unity between learning in the classroom and learning outside the classroom.
It is worth using the opportunities offered by the Internet for the development of listening and reading comprehension, oral and written production within the universal, national and local culture, in addition to the opportunities for students to interact digitally, and reflect about the language system and its use in real communications, on real topics, with real people.
In the teaching of the English Language, as Harmer (2016) points out, "We have the option of going beyond the classroom without necessarily moving from our seats. To put it another way, we can blend the worlds of learning inside and outside the classroom in what is called hybrid learning" (p. 204). In this scenario, "class work is supported, or introduced, practiced, and reviewed online" (p. 204). The relationship in its two directions between the classroom and the external world in the face-to-face class is called "inverted class". The Flipped Learning Network (RAI) defines the flipped classroom as follows: it consists of assigning students' texts, videos or additional content to review outside of class. In the flipped classroom, the student focuses on their learning at home and not on the lesson itself, and it happens through interaction and active learning. For his part, Stracke (2007) focuses the student's vision on hybrid language learning in a teaching environment that combines face-to-face learning and computer-assisted learning.
Students work at home with recorded or filmed material to complete the tasks. It is a hybrid or blended learning modality. The "inverted classroom" offers the opportunity to make better use of face-to-face class time, as students have already worked at home with digitized materials. It's called "reversed" because the class is flipped and the agents take on new roles; the student becomes the protagonist of the learning process. Acquire an active, participatory, autonomous, communicative and collaborative role.
One month after the arrival of COVID-19 in Cuba, the "Hermanos Saíz Montes de Oca" Foreign Languages course at the University of Pinar del Río began the design and implementation of distance learning English, with face-to-face classes at intervals, when the epidemiological situation allowed it. Likewise, on May 15, 2021, the new annual course began under the same modality. This pedagogical practice of distance education, based on digital technology, hybrid learning and the flipped classroom, would show the immediate appearance of three limitations: there was no high and abundant technology, but at least more than 95% of students and teachers had cell phones and could use the Moodle platform for free; for many teachers and students the full management of technology continued to be a challenge, many teachers refuse educational technology because they do not want to learn to use it, and clarifies that modern technology must be incorporated into education, but without excluding those who do not have access to her; There were no basic teaching materials for distance education from existing technology.
The Foreign Languages degree in Cuban universities has the essential function of training English teachers for the various levels and types of schools. According to the program of the Integral Practice of the English Language discipline (Updated, 2016), by the authors O' Farrill, IE, Góngora, A. and Roda, JC (2016), the main objective of teaching English in The pedagogical training in the Foreign Languages career is the development of communicative competence in the English language, which implies the expression, interpretation and negotiation of meanings in the interaction between two or more people, or between a person and a written or oral text ( p. 4). It also points out that in order to carry out the English Teaching-Learning Process, it is necessary to develop the communication skills of teachers in training, which will allow them to use the language in their study activity, in their professional development and, fundamentally, to teach the new generations.
The second-year students are young people between 19 and 20 years old, pre-university graduates, from various municipalities in the province of Pinar del Río, who want to become English teachers, most of them due to the passion they profess for the tongue. Finishing the first year with a level of A2, they are able to communicate at an elementary level in oral and written form. However, they show insufficiencies in the development of communicative, interactive and cultural skills. Likewise, they do not take advantage of all the opportunities offered by digital technology, learning outside the classroom, culture to contextualize the language and culture of their learning. The idea that is defended is the incorporation of hybrid learning and the flipped classroom due to its power to enhance and accelerate language learning. In this sense, scientific research is needed to delve into the conceptualization and implementation of modalities, methodologies and approaches related to distance education, such as those mentioned above.
It is in this context that an investigation is undertaken with the aim of elaborating the transformations for distance education of the Comprehensive Practice of English in the second year, as a way to offer greater opportunities for learning the language to students who are trained as teachers of English. English in the Foreign Languages course at the University of Pinar del Río "Hermanos Saíz Montes de Oca". For this reason, transformation proposals are made for the change from traditional face-to-face education to technology-assisted distance education, hybrid learning and inverted classroom. This will facilitate better levels of development of communicative, interactive and intercultural competence, as well as the strengthening of the formation of values in the students of the year.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Webinar 1 and 2 events in December 2020 and February 2021 stimulated the systematization of pedagogical research in the Foreign Languages degree that had been carried out in the area of distance education and culture of learning English since 1917.
The following stages were carried out in the investigation: search for renewed bibliography about the problem; exploration diagnosis of the new conditions imposed by COVID-19; creation of digital products; experimentation to assess the efficiency of the products and the assembly of the course for the second year; and writing and dissemination of the results. The teaching contents in their expressions of tasks and texts were taken as the unit of study analysis. Likewise, the qualitative research methodology was used, accompanied by quantitative elements.
A series of theoretical-level research methods were used to process information, including: systematization, the systemic method, the logical-deductive method, and the modeling method. The latter was necessary for the construction of digital products, based on the preconceived idea of the qualities of the digital scientific product and the objectives for which they were created. The modeling method was essential for the development of digitized products, mounted on various platforms and placed in the hands of students through various storage resources (Vigil et al., 2020).
The creation of digital products was preceded by a process of reelection and reorganization of objectives, content, methods, means, resources and evaluation. Likewise, the forms of organization for its adaptation to distance education were focused. This process was nuanced by the principles of essentiality and flexibility of distance education, so that students really learn what they need in the present and future. This made it possible to broaden the vision of the objective beyond communication to interaction and interculturality, as well as reducing the fragmentation of content.
To the selection of teaching content, Nunan (1997) offers an essential role to stimulate autonomy in learning. It points out that the design and adaptation of materials according to the needs and interests of the students are essential for the development of autonomy and independence in language learning. On the other hand, Alan Maley and Nick Peachey (2017) offer an integration of global issues in an effort to create creative English Language classrooms, including: zero poverty, zero hunger, gender equality, quality education, good health, protection Environment, peace and justice, climate action, life on earth, among other topics. Likewise, they propose activities for digital learning.
Likewise, empirical methods were used to obtain information and the use of triangulation of the information provided by the applied methods. Documentary analysis of the programs of the Comprehensive Practice of the English Language III and IV subjects of the second year, the methodological orientations and the textbook. Likewise, Study Plan E and essential documents that govern distance education, the use of technologies in the teaching of foreign languages and the essential concepts of the flipped classroom and hybrid learning were analyzed. Valuable were the notes taken at the two international events of the APC ELI sponsored by the British Council: ConferenceWebinar1 (December 10 and 11) and Webinar 2 (February 25-27) held online, in which the authors of this article participated.
The interview with second-year teachers and students facilitated the exploration of the state of mind for learning English in the new conditions imposed by the pandemic, as well as their predisposition to engage in distance education, with the support of digital technology and communication. Inverted face-to-face English class. The information obtained about the existence of digital technology and the knowledge that students and teachers had about its use and willingness to learn it was essential. Likewise, the interview was used to confirm or refute information about the value of the digital products created and their impact on the students, once they were put into practice.
The experimental method, in its pre-experimental variant, includes an entire learning process from home or other scenarios outside the classroom, in which students solve communicative tasks individually (or in small groups), with the support of technological resources. . On the other hand, the pre-experiment occurred during two weeks of face-to-face classes invested in October 2020, at a time of return to normality. During the inverted face-to-face classes, it was possible to review and practice communicative content learned outside the classroom in previous stages, and sometimes new content was presented, which would be put into practice in communication at home.
Two group discussions (Group Dynamics, Phillips 66 Method) were held: one with teachers, and the other with teachers and students. The objective of the first debate, in the diagnostic stage of the investigation, was to collect information about the initial state of English teaching in the first stage of the Corona virus; while the objective of the second debate, in the stage of assessing the results of the experiment, was to collect information about the learning process and results under the distance learning variable (with face-to-face assistance) with a flipped classroom. This would allow the assessment of the transformations achieved in language learning at the end of the course. The concepts of communicative, interactive and intercultural competence were the starting points for the analysis and comparison of the process and the results.
Likewise, the reflection technique was used, in order to collect information from students and teachers on the implementation of distance education in its hybrid learning modality and inverted classrooms.
Tutoring is an essential resource in distance learning management, through digital communication on the WhatsApp and email platforms. It has been an essential resource to facilitate advice, monitor and evaluate the student's study activity, from wherever they are. It materializes through digital tutor-student communication, taking the study guide as a work mediator instrument. This is a resource that facilitates the guiding base of learning and the relationship between student and teacher.
In the construction of texts and tasks, the principles of distance education that appear in the introduction were considered, as well as the valuable contemporary trends in the teaching of internationally recognized foreign languages, such as: the communicative methodology of languages in its third stage of development, strategic learning, interculturality, the real use of English and social and emotional learning.
The methods used fulfilled their function; however, the limitations of the measures imposed by COVID-19, such as isolation and reduced transportation, reduced the opportunities for a closer approach to the learning process carried out by the student at home or in other settings.
The didactic materials developed were put into practice with the aim of achieving the inverted classroom as a support for distance education, supported by existing digital technology. To do this, a diagnosis was made that allowed assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the educational context affected by COVID-19. Finally, the materials were prepared using the modeling method and their implementation, controlled and monitored with the observation method and corroborated with the techniques of self-reflection and group discussion.
The proposal of the transformations and elaboration of materials for the hybrid learning modality combined with the inverted English classroom, expressed in the units of analysis of the study, that is, texts and tasks, were used with a group of second-year students, from April to October 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, from their homes. Subsequently, it was validated, experimentally, during a brief period of 10 face-to-face classes in October of the same year, at a time of reduction of the Corona virus. Currently, experimentation continues in the second year, which began on March 15, 2021, with a new group of students, with hybrid learning and inverted classrooms. At this time, students use various technological means to study the didactic materials of the subject uploaded to the Moodle platform, available to teachers and students, and expand knowledge through Google and other Internet platforms, according to the facilities of each one.
This section essentially contains the results of the diagnosis and the transformations made to the previous face-to-face education model to adjust it to distance education.
Results of the diagnostic stage
The diagnostic stage was carried out with the aim of knowing the situation of teaching English in the second year of the degree at the beginning of 2021, in times of pandemic. The methods used reveal that the students, at the beginning of the second year of the Foreign Languages degree, present the following academic situation:
a) They have a development of communicative competence in accordance with the A-2 level achieved in the first year.
b) They present a low level of English learning culture permeated by the bad methods used in previous years.
c) They show a marked enthusiasm for the beginning of the course. They are really looking forward to getting involved in something useful after a year and a few months of isolation and academic inactivity during the Corona virus.
d) Of the 20 students in the sample, 18 (99%) have a cell phone, although six do not reach 3G, five have access to computers, four to a laptop, and 12 to the Internet.
Thus, from this situation, the transformations required by distance education in the teaching of English in the second year have been assumed.
The pre-experimentation stage was carried out with the objective of evaluating the behavior of the proposal of didactic materials for distance education, elaborated from the Integral Practice discipline. The methods used reveal that, once the pre-experiment was finished, the students achieved the following results:
a) They feel that they have accelerated their learning due to the multiple opportunities for interaction and reflection offered by the distance education modality in its hybrid learning modality; 18 out of 20 for 90%.
b) They feel satisfied with the variety of learning modalities and the use of technology; 17 out of 20 for 85%.
c) They say that motivation levels have increased due to the new dynamics of the flipped classroom and digital learning at home; 16 of 20 for 80%.
d) They express their satisfaction with the texts and tasks carried out during distance education; 17 out of 20 for 85%.
e) Express approval of the learning strategies and teaching procedures used during distance education; 15 out of 20 for 75%.
e) Express concern for some students who do not have any digital technology to face distance learning; 6 of 66 for 11%.
Likewise, it is revealed that students highly value the quality of the following aspects of distance education:
a) The leading role of the learner.
b) The breadth and variety of digital content sources.
c) The essentiality and functionality of the tasks and the learning texts.
d) The use of digital technology.
e) The flexibility and functionality of flipped classrooms.
f) The unity and relationship between communication, interaction and culture.
g) The value of learning to learn the language (culture of learning).
Self-reflections of teachers and students
The self-reflection technique revealed valuable information about the current situation of learning in times of COVID-19 and the novelties produced by distance learning and hybrid learning. Below is a sample, due to space limitations.
Teachers (before rehearsal):
"If COVID-19 imposes total isolation on us, there is no other option than distance education, but it is very difficult in the Cuban educational context to learn English from a distance due to the scarcity of technology and the lack of knowledge of its use by students and teachers". "The learning of a language requires socialization, communicative practice, social interaction; the same results would not be achieved at a distance, if it is not supported by face-to-face classes. Of course, the face-to-face class, supported by digital technology outside the classroom".
Students (before rehearsal):
"If it is not possible to receive classes, at least from home, at a distance, you learn something instead of nothing. But, as soon as there can be face-to-face classes, we would have to resume them, without abandoning electronic technology. "My base in English is not good; I am worried about learning from home without a teacher and without a group. It could be to advance something, but as soon as the population in Cuba is immunized, it would be necessary to resume face-to-face classes, supported by technology, of course." "My thing is to learn English with songs and movies, with friends and books, and I can do that from home, although help from the teachers is worth it".
Professor (after rehearsal)
"It has been difficult to teach English remotely, it has happened rather with the most responsible students, who really want to learn and who have technology." "Students need to learn to learn English, under the new conditions. If they knew, then everything would be better outside and inside the classroom, with and without a pandemic." "The group and social learning are essential for the comprehensive training of students, we achieved it for a few weeks when COVID allowed it, then we used individual learning at home, autonomously, and there was around 80% efficient incorporation into online distance learning".
Students (after rehearsal):
"Learning at home has been a beautiful experience due to the help I have received from my family. My father and mother know some English and have practically been my teachers." "I like all that stuff about hybrid learning, flipped classroom, distance learning, and technologizing English learning. I feel like all learning has been transformed compared to the way it was before when I was a freshman." "I have learned to learn English on my own; I swear I didn't know where to start at first."
Transformations in the English Teaching-Learning Process
The transformations that had to be carried out in the components of the Teaching-Learning Process of second year English to adjust it to distance education, assisted with technology and the flipped classroom are succinctly presented.
General objectives of the year
The general objective of communicative, interactive and intercultural competence was included instead of communicative competence of the face-to-face model, established in the Comprehensive Practice of the English Language program (2020). Students, in addition to learning to communicate, need to learn to interact socially, and learn a world view from the diversity of cultures, stories and thoughts. Intercultural competence avoids obstacles in communication and respects the personal and national identity of the other, as well as contributing to the appropriate understanding and production of the language.
The contents refer to knowledge, skills, values and attitudes. They find their concreteness in the teaching of foreign languages in linguistic and communicative skills, functions and interactions, the language system and its use, as well as the culture that contextualizes it. A good selection and organization of the contents is essential so that they satisfy the needs and interests of the students. The contents are organized in the form of tasks, which have a content component and a method component, thanks to the procedures and strategies that accompany them. Because it is the core of learning and reveals how it is learned and taught, it will be treated here within the category of method.
a) To select from the program and the textbook the essential contents that constitute variants of knowledge for the communication of students in their profession and personal life.
b) Reduce the levels of fragmentation of the language, considering the holistic and global approach for the sake of the communicative needs, present and future, of the students.
c) Clear the contents of superfluous and uninteresting texts for students, according to their opinions and those of their teachers.
d) Offer topics taken from real life that reflect facts and realities of universal and national culture that are pleasant for students, according to Acosta and Gómez (2017). Among them appear: music, art and literature, sport, technology, love, sexuality, science, culture and history.
e) Focus on texts that, due to the degree of linguistic and thematic complexity, are in the zone of proximal development of the students, offer linguistic richness and opportunities for the education of values in the students.
F) Offer understandable literary texts for students and that demonstrate human and literary values.
The following were specified as invariants of knowledge, among others:
a) The system and use of language.
b) The unit system and use.
c) Communication strategies.
d) The learning strategies.
e) Technology management.
F) The domain of the culture of the peoples.
g) The formation of values.
Teaching and learning methods
The method is linked to the approach, which is why a distance education approach assisted by digital technology is proposed, with the use of hybrid learning, the inverted classroom and tutorials. This implies breaking with the traditional methodological structure that is still used for the presentation, practice and production of the language. This approach is openly aimed at the development of communicative, interactive and intercultural competence; uses digital information and connectivity, combines learning modalities inside and outside the classroom, conceives the development of communication and learning strategies, prioritizes the real use of English, and focuses on the personalization of the student, their needs and potentialities, based on the idea that everyone learns according to their abilities, needs and styles. Likewise, the use of factors that positively influence the student is considered, such as the psychology of success, the belief in language as a communication tool, and the role of the mother tongue and general culture in foreign language studies.
Likewise, teachers and students must enter the mastery of functional key rules to become excellent language learners, among them: listen to as much English as possible in order to speak it well; learn stories and anecdotes more than isolated sentences; and think about the function of every word and phrase.
Resources and means of teaching and learning
In the context of university education in Pinar del Río, there are basic conditions for the creative use of digital technology: Internet, computers, tablets, cell phones and USB memories, and particularly, the university intranet with its undergraduate Moodle platform. Likewise, all students can work free of charge with didactic materials of the subjects uploaded to the Moodle platform by the teachers. The didactic materials also include study guides, texts and learning tasks, portfolios, photos, digitized semantic maps in PowerPoint, films and recordings made by teachers for the study of English as part of the Comprehensive Practice of the English Language III and IV. The videos made at home in time of isolation due to COVID-19 are uploaded to Telegram, Facebook and WhatsApp groups.
Based on the available technological resources, interactive tasks were designed. Each task is accompanied by a study guide with a glossary of unknown vocabulary, questions and comments. The students will send the completed tasks to the teacher, who will review them and return them as feedback and new learning. Here are some sample tasks and interactive procedures:
a) Free English courses for the development of oral skills.
b) Selection of small parts of films, series, novels and documentaries, so that the students listen to them, analyze them in class and comment on them, under the direction of the teacher. Thus, it is assigned, for learning outside the classroom, to see the complete work and make oral and written comments.
c) Speeches by great personalities that carry an educational message of peace and progress, in English, understandable for the students; for example: Maryl Streep: You don't have to be famous! and Mark Suckerberg: Find your Purpose; www.goodreads.com.
d) LJ's didactic conversations. Hoge: A Typical Language School and Passion is important www.effortlessenglish.libsyn.com . After having worked with the study guide, the students make simple comments from their notes about the pedagogical message of the text, and they will send it digitally to the teacher.
Annabel Lee, by Edgar Allan Poe (1890-1849)
It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived, whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;
(Continue listening and reading the poem www.poeryfoundation.org/poems/44885/annabel-lee)
f) Songs. According to the study guide, students must listen to the song several times, analyze its meaning, structure and functions, sing it and answer questions about the main idea and meaning of the song, whose answers will be sent to the teacher via Moodle or WhatsApp for their review and subsequent feedback. For the audition of the song, the link: (youtube.com). Two classic Beatles songs are proposed, Hello Goodbye (1967) and Let It Be (1968); other songs that are proposed are: Hello (Lionel Richie); My Heart Will Go On (Theme from the movie Titanic), by Celine Dion; On the Radio, by Donna Summer; and A Private Dancer, by Tina Turner (YouTube).
g) Linguistic and fast reaction
Listen to the phrases recorded or said by the teacher and react linguistically at least five times. For example: "What's on your face?" Reactions: "Do you see anything on it?" "It is red". "I have some itches". "I have got spots". "I can't see it". "On my face?" "What's there in it?"? Don't forget to say each answer several times from slow to fast, improving the pronunciation each time, in search of fluency. The students do the exercise with other ideas taken from real sources, example: "It's raining outside" "Reading makes a country great!" "A plane hit the World Trade Center."
To get married
A friend of mine of about 20 years old told me she wanted to get married before 21 So, I asked her why and she gave me the following reasons:
______________, ________________, _______________, and _______________.
A friend of mine of about 20 years told me she didn't want to get married before 20 years old. So, I asked her why and she gave me the following reasons:
______________, ________________, ________________, and _______________.
i) Stories, movies and novels
Example: "Petunia and the Forest" (Story created by the authors)
Students listen to and read the story recorded by the teacher on the computer or cell phone, perform a comprehensive analysis of the text, including a digital semantic map, and tell the story. Other stories include "The Ugly Duckling," "Dick Willington and his Cat," and "Little Women," taken from www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/292282/little-women-by-louisa-may-alcott.htm.
In this sense, it is worthwhile the experiences of the authors, achieved with the Indian film, Gandhi, from which several communicative interactions of approximately two minutes were extracted to be analyzed in class, and later, the students watched the entire film outside the classroom for subsequent oral and written analysis.
i) Famous speeches
The famous speeches proposed are: "People can change", by Katy Perry; "It starts by helping one person" by Rihanna, "We are all History", by Viola Davis; and Elijah Muhammad's speeches showing Black English.
The didactic material elaborated by the authors contains the transformations that the teaching of English needs in the second year of the Foreign Languages career. Within the transformations, the elaborated digital scientific products appear which respond to the objectives of the object of study and cover all the essential components that facilitate distance education.
Digital resources lie at the heart of distance education. They provide a response to the 21st century skills established for students and teachers in pandemic and post-pandemic contexts, including the ability to work independently, critical thinking, collaboration and digital literacy. With technology, creativity is enhanced as a social product, social skills are developed and problems are solved, while student motivation levels and learning efficiency levels are increased.
The didactic materials produced are aimed at the objectives of communicative, interactive and intercultural competence through the development of listening and reading comprehension, oral and written expression, grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation, social interaction, learning culture of English, reflection on the language system and its use, as well as universal, regional and local culture as a mediating element that contextualizes language and communication.
On the other hand, the study guide is an essential resource for independent work outside and inside the classroom. It facilitates student learning, poses the problems to be solved and the tasks to be carried out, specifies the objectives and knowledge invariants, offers them the sources and guides them in the processing of information, its understanding and the construction of the knowledge. The guide challenges, engages students in their studies. It contains texts, tasks and strategies to put into action through digital technology, making semantic maps, text analysis, communicative interactions, and explanations of the language, functions, comprehensions and linguistic productions, among other learning actions.
The flexibility of the methodological stages for each didactic unit is attractive, as it ensures the movement from reflexive social interaction in understanding to interaction in the actual use of English, from oral skills to written skills, while strategically focuses on an adequate balance between the components of the language and communication skills.
Personalization, interaction, essentiality and flexibility are present in the rapid linguistic reaction exercises. The possibilities that the student has when carrying out the exercise are key: five reactions, but they can be any adjusted to the topic and within the range of what is appropriate; on the other hand, it is an essential content for communication today and in the future: to express ideas of different types and patterns; Likewise, each sentence assumes the personalization of the student, who chooses according to their potentialities and linguistic experience; interaction is revealed as the axis of the student's activity, who enters into a lively, intense and dynamic dialogue with the teacher and the other students, via Internet or face to face.
Comprehensiveness and integration appear to permeate all tasks, while students constantly relate the theoretical with the practical, the knowledge imbricate in communicative practice, while receiving strong emotions with openly humanistic and social texts and tasks, such as those contributed by the songs, the poems and the beautiful speeches of great personalities.
On the other hand, the integrative and global approach of skills and components used is worthwhile, without excluding essential elements of language and communication. Globalization is expressed in the interaction and functions of language, without atomizing it with the detailed study of its structural particles. Not an iota of meaning and use is neglected with the integral analysis of the text, even emphasizing the construction of the structure of the language with a functional grammar embedded in the text and real communication. The content draws the student's focus to what and how it was said. From there comes the inductive learning of functional and pedagogical grammar.
The role of stories is enriched in distance education assisted by digital technology, as it visualizes its contents and allows the student to interact through oral and written skills, enriches vocabulary and introduces new uses of grammar, to the time it is an efficient way for pronunciation. The three components of the language are best learned visualized and appropriately contextualized, according to Herrera et al. (2021).
The contribution of songs to language learning is significant, to the point that there are students who erroneously attribute their mastery of the language "only" to listening to songs. The proposal of songs for learning English in assisted distance education is worthwhile, thanks to the selection criteria: power of attraction for students, linguistic value and educational value.
The methodology described in the results, to be used in the distance modality assisted with digital technology and face-to-face classes, shows novelties for which teachers and students will be prepared. It is a methodology characterized by interaction and reflection, digitization, understanding and construction of messages, the use of real English, the learning of a "new" culture of how to learn the language in current times. It breaks with the old didactic pattern of presentation, practice and use, to delve into networks of knowledge, information processing and the construction of communicative products that are expressed in a different way, now through digitization. It focuses learning outside and inside the classroom, social in face-to-face classes and scenarios outside the classroom. Sources of knowledge and action scenarios are mixed, always searching, interacting and building knowledge.
Hybrid learning and the flipped classroom are achieved with tasks that present a problem to learn, a material with which to work and think, and a product waiting for the student to build it. Thus, the input and intake are ensured at home, while the output occurs in the face-to-face class through communicative practice with the use of real English. In both cases, the student's learning contexts are essential, such as needs, feelings and emotions, as well as resources at their disposal, among others. The process could be the other way around, that is, receive the input in the classroom and do the output at home.
On the other hand, the students are already capable of carrying out Comprehensive Analysis of Texts (AIT), since they have been trained since the first year following the paradigm of learning to learn (and teach), essential in the Cuban development model. The AIT is one of the advances in text linguistics, which starts from the idea that the situational context determines the interactions, functions, linguistic forms and registers of the language used.
Reflection is key to strategic thinking and learning; that is, how I create tools to continue learning. Language learning is an interactive, strategic, reflective and cultural process that requires the use of various cognitive and metacognitive resources to achieve it. This implies a learning process of strategies to learn to learn the foreign language. Likewise, a process of reflection and self-reflection of the students about their own learning is required, which leads them to the analysis of their strengths and weaknesses, orient themselves in the process, plan and evaluate themselves, which promotes self-regulated learning.
The learning-to-learn and teaching paradigm is present throughout the Distance Teaching-Learning Process with assisted technology. However, there are special moments prepared for the second year that focus on how to learn and how to teach, while developing students' oral and written skills. These moments occur with LJ Hoge's conversation series. They offer a unique opportunity to update the methodology of teaching the English language through the real use of English. The English used at the auditions is an excellent model of formal English with occasional elements of the informal register. The students hear and see the speaker speaking as if they were interacting with him. For his part, the teacher can digitally write the conversation so that the students can read it, once they have listened to it several times. This allows the integration of skills and a broader participation of the students, while incorporating those who have the greatest difficulties in understanding authentic oral discourses. To this is added the contribution offered by the talks to a new culture of language learning (Acosta and Gómez, 2017), the benefits that students receive learning with digital technologies, advanced methodological ideas about learning and teaching languages and the comments in English derived from it.
All these digital resources visualize the use of language and reality, using models of oral and written language, essential for the development of communication. Virtual worlds are created where students assume various roles.
Many second-year students have difficulty understanding a movie, a native speaker, or a user of the language when they say: You 're gonna see us or I wanna some more, or I'm a fucking mess. In addition, with real English, students are more motivated to read or listen to what people really say the emphasis on the real use of English (Acosta and Vigil, 2019).
The real use of English, marginalized in traditional language teaching, is essential in distance education. Students must learn the language that ordinary people use daily with their family, friends or colleagues at work or study. It is characterized by the use of slang, colloquial language, common informal phrases, contractions, abbreviations and acronyms, proverbs and reductions. They contribute to the real use of English: songs, poems, stories and speeches; rapid linguistic reaction tasks, semantic maps and comprehensive text analysis. It is also favored by speaking and listening, reading and writing about topics such as culture, music, literature, stories, sports, etc. Likewise, thanks to its novelty and focus, learning the informal register of English occupies an essential place, since it has been practically excluded historically from educational institutions in the world.
Nowadays it is essential if students want to improve their vision of the world, understand and respect different cultures and achieve constructive communication. Students must respect each other's culture in the dialogue they carry out at home and in class to learn English, in human relations with others, and they must educate their students in this regard. This is achieved in the transformations carried out with the inclusion and focus on the culture of other people, expressed in teaching procedures, with films that teach so much about how people live, think and feel. This is how classic films such as Casablanca, the Godfather, Gone with the Wind and Gandhi, among others, is proposed. Similarly, students need to know the role of blues, jazz and rock music in American culture, and that is why they are included in the content.
Social and emotional learning improves students' relationships with this world. In addition, students can talk about feelings and emotions presented through digital images. In this way, the social aspect is considered an essential factor and students have the freedom to choose what to say and how to say it. It is in social interaction that the student develops his ability to relate to others and be the owner of his own emotions. Positive emotions generate positive feelings; for this reason, the possibilities offered by the proposed texts and tasks for the formation of behaviors, feelings and lasting learning are immense. Students are moved, feel, reflect and engage with the images they can see of how many poor people in the world live (www.theconversation.com and www.theatlantic.com). These images are offered to you in Moodle, and those who can download them from the Internet if they wish. The students, from their observation of the images, describe the image or narrate an imagined story; In any case, it will be sent orally to the teacher or it will be reviewed in class.
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Conflict of interests:
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
The authors have participated in the writing of the work and analysis of the documents.
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Copyright (c) Osniel Pérez Morejón, Yordanis Cabrera Leal, Rodolfo Acosta Padrón