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Messages - frankgiraldo

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Task-based language teaching is an approach whereby students do not study language as a goal in itself but [/color]use[/size][/color] language to get things done. Tasks are activities people do in real life through and with language (Ellis, 2003). For example, if you want to try a new recipe, you will need language to read the recipe: ingredients, procedures, timing, heating, seasoning, etc. Usually, a task is considered successful based on completion (in the classroom… maybe you finish your recipe and it tastes awful!). The point is, you mobilize your language knowledge to get something done. [/size]
[/color]Now on to writing. At the language institute where I work, the syllabus is based on topics. For example, in English Four (pre-intermediate), students learn about travelling abroad.[/size]
[/color]With this topic in mind, I think of situations and tasks (as defined above) that they can do through writing. I think of what you have to do, through writing in this case, so as to be able to travel abroad. For example:[/size]
[/color]Completing a VISA application, where needed. [/size][/color]Writing an email asking about accommodations in a hotel. [/size][/color]Personal web check-in at an airport. [/size][/color]Tagging your luggage with your name, address, emergency contact, etc. [/size][/color]Writing an email asking about touristic plans and fees in certain places. [/size][/color]Writing a short Twitter message or facebook status showing where you are travelling. [/size][/color]Completing forms online for train or plane tickets. [/size]
[/color]So, my main recommendation here is to think of task-based writing activities that you can see yourself and others doing and that, therefore, may actually be pretty useful for your students.[/size]
[/color]Reference[/size]Ellis, R. (2003). Task-based language learning and teaching.Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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Feedback--Peer Review / Using voice-based technology for giving feedback
« on: January 20, 2017, 09:51:18 PM »
Here are some ideas of novel (I hope) ways in which you or your students can provide feedback on writing.

[/size]If you have a conference, have your student record it.
[/size][/color]
[/size]As you are revising your students’ papers, record your feedback on your phone and then email the file. [/color]
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[/size]Video-record general key feedback points and send students the link so they can watch it at home or wherever they can. Video should be short and focused on take-away points.[/color]
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[/size]Set up a voice-based forum and engage (https://voicethread.com/) students in asking each other questions about the content (not the language) of a text. This technique is quite motivating!

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In order to counter-attack the pitfalls of peer feedback as highlighted by Ferris and Hedgcock (2014) on page 227, I use problem-based writing awareness in lessons. These three points are worth considering
[/color]Students sometimes focus too heavily on "surface concerns" (p. 9) or editing, neglecting larger revising issues.[/size][/color]Students can provide vague, unhelpful comments.[/size][/color]Students may be hostile, sarcastic, overly critical, or unkind in their criticisms of their classmates' writing.[/size]
[/color]What problem-based writing awareness means.[/size]
[/color]Students work on a text that has a (variety of) problem(s) and they need to figure out what the problem is and suggest ideas to solve it. [/size]
[/color]For example, you can give students a sample email requesting information from a hotel. The problematizing question is: [/size]
[/color]Procedures:[/size][/color]In pairs, go over this email and find out the reasons why the hotel clerk answered as follows:[/size][/color][/size]
[/color]Dear Mike, could you please tell us exactly what type of room you want and for how long you will stay? [/size]
[/color]Thanks,[/size]
[/color]Reception[/size]
[/color][/size][/color]After you have found the problematic areas, make a list of two things:[/size][/color]What the person did well in the email. It can be something simple. [/size][/color]A list of the problems you see with proposed solutions. [/size]
[/color]You can have your students focus on as many problems as you see fit. For example, they can be grammar-based, misused words, confusing spelling (quite for quiet), etc. The idea is to show them that a poorly written text in real life may lead to inconveniences.[/size]
[/color]Once you have had students do this task, you can elicit answers to the questions above and provide feedback to train them to give good feedback. For example, if they are being harsh, you can ask if they wrote two good things about the text. Or you can say or ask other classmates whether the suggestions they give to improve the text are clear. [/size]
[/color]What I have found particularly useful with this activity is that, because the writer is not a classmate, they are open to giving feedback, open to the feedback I give on the feedback (meta-feedback if you will!) and they are more prepared to give actual feedback to a real interlocutor. [/size]
[/color]Reference[/size][/color]Ferris, D. R., & Hedgcock, J. S. (2014). [/size][/color]Teaching L2 Composition: Purpose, Process, and Practice[/size][/color] (3rd ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.[/size]

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Motivation / Sustaining motivation for (extensive) reading
« on: January 20, 2017, 09:49:14 PM »
Ferris and Hedgcock (2009) claim that extensive reading is motivating, and this is one of the most convincing research findings in the field. In my experience, this is something I have seen happen whenever I use extensive reading because, not surprisingly, students get to choose what they want to read.
However, once I had a student who lost motivation. My solution: I asked him to read something else. Simple yet effective. Here’s the context.
I have asked students to choose a graded reader from the library of the university where I work. Then, I ask them to read the book they select and turn in a short paragraph every week of new things they have learned; whatever works: new concepts, new expressions, vocabulary, a new interesting fact about the world. However, once I noticed that a student of mine was losing motivation to keep on reading. He felt he had chose one that was way beyond his level.
Because extensive reading is for pleasure, I told him he could choose another book and just keep on reading as he felt comfortable. The reading report was a complete/incomplete grade, planned mostly to keep them on track.
The lesson is: Be flexible with your approach to teaching reading, or providing extensive reading opportunities.
ReferenceHedgcock, J.S., & Ferris, D.R. (2009). [/color]Teaching Readers of English: Students, Texts, and Contexts [/size][/color](3rd ed.).[/size]

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Reading Activites (during reading) / Developing strategic readers
« on: January 20, 2017, 09:48:05 PM »
One of the main recommendations that Grabe (2004) has for an approach second language reading is the development of the strategic reader. The technique below is meant to get students to really practice strategies as they are engaged in a written text. You can tailor this technique to fit the types of strategies your students have been focusing on and, of course, the type of reading skills you want them to develop.
Technique
Once you have selected a reading for your students to immerse in, and perhaps after the pre-reading stage, adapt a text so that after each paragraph, you get students to answer a question. Each question is meant to trigger a specific reading strategy, and each paragraph can have either one or two questions.
For example, students read the introduction of text. Once they get to the period at the end of the intro, they can see an arrow leading to a box and will see this question:
How do you think the reader will support his opinion? After you read the whole text, come back here and see if you were right.
Of course, such approach would require some training for students so they do not jump around their text. However, that can also mean they are being strategic. This text shows you an example of the strategy-based questioning technique.
Reference
Grabe, W. (2004). Research on teaching reading. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 2,44–69.

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Reading Activites (during reading) / Making intensive reading fun
« on: January 20, 2017, 09:47:17 PM »
Intensive reading, as Ferris and Hedgcock (2009) explain, is the predominant instructional approach to reading comprehension in a foreign/second language learning context. In the reading stage the authors propose you get to understand why it is called intensive --There is a lot going on: several readings, language work, examination of text structure and what not. The activity below is meant to make the while-reading stage more engaging and active.
Procedures:
Select a text that you feel appropriate for a lesson: given the topic, the flood of grammar, the vocabulary, the type, or any other criterion you see fit. Prepare either series of multiple-choice questions or true/false statements. Then, copy and paste them on separate sheets of paper. During class, get students to make groups. Plan a pre-reading activity; e.g. show them the title of the text and ask them what they think it will be about. Paste the questions on the board or any place you feel will be appropriate and with some distance away from students. Then, have one member of each team go to the question set you have pasted (multiple-choice) or statement (true-false), read the question/statement, and then go back to the group to share it. Then, in the group, everyone looks for the answer and the member who went to the question set has to go and choose the right option, based on the team’s effort.
You can also have students focus on vocabulary from the reading, specific expressions, anaphoric references, or whatever you need to have them practice through an intensive reading approach.
ReferenceHedgcock, J.S., & Ferris, D.R. (2009). Teaching Readers of English: Students, Texts, and Contexts (3rd ed.).

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Extensive Reading / The reading gallery (for extensive reading)
« on: January 20, 2017, 09:46:26 PM »
This is a simple technique that you can use with whatever reading course and level you are teaching. I have found it particularly motivating for students as I have used a variety of genres for them to be exposed to. Because of this variety, this technique works best for extensive reading in the classroom. I make this emphasis because in the list on page 207 of Ferris and Hedgcock (2009), after Day and Bamford (1998, pp. 7–8), one of the characteristics of extensive reading is that it is outside the classroom. However, I see no reason why it cannot be used in class.
Preliminary:
By the start of a course, you might want to ask your students the types of genres, topics, and materials they would like to read in your class. Since there is a lot of emphasis on getting students to choose in extensive reading, consider this the “wants assessment” for your group. With the information you collect, proceed to the procedures below:
Procedures
Print out one-page long readings of the topics and genres the students told you about in the preliminaryPaste the readings around the classroom. Ask students to go around the classroom and read as much as possible for one or two minutes. If preferred, you can give students a central question based on content that they can answer after reading each text -- this touches on to the intensive side of the spectrum, but it’s nice to have a product of the reading gallery. One question could be: Write one new thing you learned from this reading. After students have read extensively for [insert # of minutes], you can have them work in pairs so they share what they learned.
ReferenceHedgcock, J.S., & Ferris, D.R. (2009). [/color]Teaching Readers of English: Students, Texts, and Contexts [/size][/color](3rd ed.).[/size]

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