Speed Citations

The great thing about staff rooms is that they are excellent place to hear about a task and then use it in your class, so that’s what I am going to share with you today. A cool task on citations/ referencing.You can do this with your learners if you teach EAP or writing classes that require research and referencing. My colleague John, who works at the ELTC at Sheffield University, told me about this one, so shout out to him. I did change it a bit though.

Speed citations

I had already introduced citations and students were familiar with what they need to do when citing a source in their texts, but there was still a bit of uncertainty.  How does this task work? Students need to find the author and date of a publication as quickly as possible and write it down as they would do in in-text citations.

Procedure

  • Give your students one publication/source each. If you have 12 students, you need 12 sources. I used books, journal articles, and a newspaper (I told them that one of the sources could not be used in their academic writing projects and that’s why the newspaper was in it. My students are not journalists and the newspaper was the Metro paper which is a free paper).
  • Put students in a circle and tell them that they only need a piece of paper and a pen.
  • Each student has about 30 seconds to find the author and the date of the source and write it down as they would as part of their in-text citation.
  • After the 30 seconds, students give their source to the person next to them and move on to the next source. This is done clockwise.
  • At the end, give them a couple of minutes to check what they have written on their paper and make necessary corrections.
  • In order to check their answers, each student comes to the board and writes what they have written. One source per student.
Music Department

Sheffield University ( Department of Music)

My thoughts

Why is this a good task?
This was a follow up task, something like a revision which brought the element of ‘fun’ into my ‘dry’ academic writing classes. Students, especially Asian learners, struggle when it comes to identifying the difference between a first name and a family name. They also don’t know where to look for the date or which date they should put in their texts. Learners had a bit more fun cause this was like a game.
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So, there you have it folks. Speed citations. If you are looking for more fun ideas, you may want to have a look at the calling all EAP tutors post and specifically the comments section.

Getting adult learners involved in peer- feedback for writing

So, today’s post is about using peer- feedback in the classroom. This post was originally written for the TESOL Greece Newsletter (issue 127) and since I will be doing peer feedback with my learners on Monday as part of my academic writing class, I thought it would be a  good idea to share that article here as well. So, let’s talk about peer feedback.

Feedback is a way for teachers to make suggestions on students’ written work and help their learners improve (Harmer, 2013). An alternative way to give feedback for writing is to get the students to peer-review and offer feedback. Peer-assessment does not replace traditional assessment but it does enhance the learning process (Topping 1998, cited in Peng).  But before moving on, what exactly is peer-assessment? It is:

an arrangement in which individuals consider the amount, level, value, worth, quality, or success of the products or outcomes of learning of peers of similar status.

                                          (Topping, 1998, cited in Peng 2010)

This feedback method works well with all learners, but especially adults. Therefore, getting learners to provide peer-feedback in an EAP, Business or any other type of English lesson aimed at adults is very beneficial. This article discusses why peer-feedback for writing can play an integral part in the everyday classroom routine and makes suggestions regarding different tasks a teacher ca use in class in order to encourage peer-feedback.

Why Peer-feedback?

There are many reasons why a teacher should encourage adult learners to give peer-feedback. Firstly, it promotes active learning as learners have to think about another student’s work. It helps build trust among students and is also a way to get students to co-operate and collaborate.

Why not peer-feedback?

It may affect the ‘balance’ between the teacher and the learner                                    (Gardner, 2000) as traditionally it is the teacher who provides the feedback and not the learner. The learners may not feel comfortable or may even feel unwilling to mark other students’ work. They might also be too generous and do ‘friendly marking’ which means that they are more interested in the fact that they are marking their friends’ work and not so much in the actual feedback.

While all these are quite ‘valid’ reasons why a teacher might avoid peer-feedback in the classroom, surely with lots of training, good monitoring on behalf of the teacher, and a constant reminder of why peer-feedback is necessary and how helpful it can be, both the learners and the teacher can benefit a lot from using the alternative feedback method.

Tasks that promote peer-feedback

There are lots of tasks that can be used in the language classroom in order to get the students to peer-assess. As the purpose of the article is to promote peer-feedback among adults, the activities chosen, are more appropriate for mature learners.

Using rubrics/checklists

When a teacher first introduces the idea of peer-feedback, it is essential that this is done in a more controlled manner. The teacher can make a checklist or provide rubrics according to which the student gives feedback to his/her classmate’s work. If the group is quite weak, instead of providing feedback on grammar, learners could be asked to check if their classmate has a thesis statement or if there is a main idea in each paragraph and so on. Another good idea is to get learners in groups of four and form a feedback reading circle where each student gets feedback from the three other members of the group.

Reformulation

Reformulation is when the student hands in a piece of writing and the teacher reformulates the original with a better version. Instead of the teacher providing a better version, it can be the learners who are providing the improved version of their classmate’s work.

To conclude….

Peer-feedback involves ‘’students in their own destiny’’ and encourages autonomy as well as motivates them even more (Brown 2004, cited in Peng 2010). It can be a very useful feedback method for every teacher as long as it is monitored and planned well. It will probably never replace teacher feedback but it is a method that can be used to get adult learners more involved in their work.

How often do you use peer feedback in your adult classes? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

References

Gardner, D. (2000). ‘’Self–assessment for autonomous learners.’’ Links and letters: Hong Kong p.40-60.

Harmer, J. (2013). The Practice of English Language Teaching. China: Pearson.

Peng, J (2010). Selected Proceedings of the 2008 Second Language Research Forum, ed. Matthew T. Prior et al., 89-107. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project.

Calling all EAP techers

So, today I am feeling inspired cause well, I have been feeling a bit uninspired lately especially when it comes to EAP writing. So, today you, my readers/fellow teachers are going to share with me your top tips. How on earth do you make your academic writing classes interesting and fun when teaching in an EAP context and especially if it is an intense pre- sessional EAP class?cam building

My context: a group of post grad Asian students who are having sessions in order to be ready for their master’s degree in September. I have loads of academic ‘stuff’ to go through and not that much time. Sure I do my pair writing, my peer feedback, I try to integrate more skills and introduce a summary writing task based on a speaking task. I say a few jokes, I may even offer a chocolate or something for the best writing but that’s about it. I bore my students to death and I get bored myself ( there. I said it).

So, how do you do it? So, take off your fun EFL teacher hat and put on your EAP cap and tell me what you do. How do you make academic writing less boring? The comments section is all yours..

Thanks!!

Drawings in the EAP classroom (my Iatefl presentation)

Hi everyone,

Today’s post is a video. It is my Iatefl (Birmingham) presentation.Un fortunately, I was unable to go to Iatefl, so I thought I’d make a voiceover video.  My talk is about using drawings when teaching academic writing.

Before watching please keep in mind:

  • My presentaion was part of the forum on academic writing and it needed to be 15 mnutes long.
  • My abstract stated that I was going to also talk a bit about presentations and how to use drawings there, but I decided to only briefly touch upon that as this forum was about academic writing.
  • Even if you do not teach academic writing, you can still use some of these drawings in your classroom.
  • I was nervous!

So, I hope enjoy the video and feel free to leave a question, comment in the comments section below.

Thanks for watching.

Joanna

Iatefl here I come!

Hi everyone!

I just though I’d pop in and write a quick post about my Iatefl talk and maybe entice you to come by. So,

What’s my talk about?

The main focus is on academic writing, as my talk is part of the forum on academic writing (but my drawings can be adapted for any writing class).

I will talk about using drawings in the EAP classroom. In my classrooms both the teacher and the learner draw. There will be a bit of ‘research talk’ but most of the talk will be about practical  classroom stuff.

I will tell you why I draw and what I draw during my presessional EAP sessions.

I will ask you (yeap, you) to draw too.

When is my talk?

Thursday the 14th at 10:25  Session 2.1. Hall 10b

I hope I see you there or anywhere at the conference!! By the way, I will be blogging about Iatefl hopefully from Birmingahma as well, so stay tuned!!

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Nope, this is not my presentation, just a random pic 🙂

 

 

Thanks for stopping by.

Joanna

Fun lesson ideas for February 29th

Hi guys!!

So, I know you probably have planned your Monday already, but I thought I’d pop on for a minute or five and share with you an idea or more :).

Monday is February the 29th and since it’s a leap year, you can do something different!

Ideas

Articles to read and summarise as part of a research project, a speaking or writing activity.

The Telegraph just published an article with a video and loads of info. You can print it and share with your kids.

Wikipedia: Post about February 29 and a post about the meaning of a Leap Year.

Working on the 29th of February. Do you get paid? Interesting article for your BE/adult learner.

There are a lot of videos on Youtube about the 29th of February or explaining the leap year. I chose this one cause it is clear and quite easy to understand (B1+)

A video explaining the leap year

Apart from reading, talking or watching a video about the leap year or February 29th, you could also get your students to write an essay  or a letter to themselves (this does not require watching or reading anything about February 29th)

Ideas for writing

Write an essay about what you would like to have achieved/ done before  February 29 2020.

Write a letter to yourself telling him/her what you want your life to be like in 4 years from now. Or anything along those lines.

Tell your students you will be keeping this essay and making a poster out of it. When 2020 is here, you can have a look at the post again. You could also put the essays in a bottle and keep it somewhere in your class. You can also take a class photo and add it on the poster/ bottle.

Time Capsule

Turn this into a more creative class activity by making a February 29th time capsule. Tell your students to put things in this box and that future students will open it on February 29 2020. They can find newspaper clippings, they can make lists of popular songs/ games/ movies. Anything. They make the time capsule and it is stored somewhere in the class.

February 29th.jpg

So, sorry if this messes up your Monday plans, but I think it would be fun to do something different on a day that is here every four years!!

Do you have any other ideas? The comments section is all yours. Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog or follow me somewhere somehow on the different types of social media shared on my sidebar.

Till next time…….

 

I don’t have any goals miss…..

The last day of classes and since I am really into planning and micro-goal setting, I thought I’d ask my B2 level students (teenagers) to write an essay about their goals for 2016 and what they are going to do to make them happen. I thought it was a great idea. “Think of something you want to achieve and say how you are going to make it happen”. Ummmm. Nope. My students hated the idea, and me being a stubborn/bad teacher, I insisted. I said, ” You must want to achieve something! Even if it’s going to a higher level of LOL (League of Legends=video game). I want you to tell me how you will become better at playing your game!”. Their response, ” But that’s not a goal miss” Yay! There is hope. So I said, ” Write about anything! Have a little/big goal and tell me how you will make it happen”. Total distress!! Again ” but we don’t have any goals…..”

So, this made me wonder about my teaching and my kids. I mean, OK, maybe I shouldn’t have set this as homework. Maybe I could have done a bit more brainstorming. We did talk about my goals and various things someone may want to achieve in a year. Big goals vs. little goals, but maybe they neeeded more help. Maybe even, worst case scenario,my kids are not mature enough to have, say, big goals. But they must have some!! What kind of world is this where teenagers say, ” I don’t have any goals miss!”? It’s sad and scary. Actually, and this has occurred to me after publishing the post, the worst scenario is this one: It’s because they are Greek kids living in the days of recession where money is tight, there is a lot of depression, and the news are just bombarding us with everything that is not working. Do my kids have no hope, hence no goals? That’s even sadder and scarier.

Anyways, I set this as an Xmas essay. I will tell you what they came up with once I have their answers!!

Lousakies

Till next time…