Testing the Movable Words Tool
Understanding that children learning a language need to be able to connect communicative skill with grammatical ability, CLIx English has developed ‘Moveable Object’, which allows moveable word blocks to be connected in a sequence to form sentences. Students must move the words until they form a correct sentence – thus sharpening their linguistic, comprehension, and vocabulary skills.
The English team developed a paper prototype of this tool to assess its usefulness in enabling students to engage critically with language production. We engaged with a theme (asking for directions) and chose sentences that would reflect relevant phrases and words such as “corner of the street”, “going over”, and “walking past”. While observing the activity, we focused on three crucial aspects: what errors students committed, and why; in what ways the instructor was able to guide the students; how the learners interacted with each other during the activity. We felt the answers to these questions would help us make the tool more responsive to student needs.
The trial was conducted on 2 June with 6 middle-school students from the Zilla Parishad School in Kharghar, Navi Mumbai. The students responded with enthusiasm, and arranged sentences using a range of methods – analysing punctuation, shifting capitalised words to the beginning, matching verbs with nouns by translating from Hindi to English. Our instructor elicited responses through careful, guided questions such as “Read the sentence again and tell us what you think” and “What is the meaning of this phrase?” The students were open about their own weaknesses and strengths, and relied on each other for help, clearly enjoying the teamwork.
In the end, we gained valuable insights into the cognitive processes of the learners. We hope to constantly improve our courseware design in order to provide more and more meaningful learning experiences.