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Messages - linzhou2

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1
Feedback--Peer Review / Peer Perception Worksheet
« on: April 03, 2014, 01:20:52 PM »
This is a peer perception worksheet for a Unit One assignment for graduate ESL students.
 

2
Creative Writing / Role of blogger in writing classes
« on: April 01, 2014, 01:13:26 PM »
How useful is it to use blogger/wikis/wordpress in writing classes?
One of the practices that many instructors have applied in creative writing classes is ask students to create their own bloggers/wikis/workpress.
This post suggest possible ways to improve the teaching outcomes of using blogger/wikis/wordpress in writing classes.
1. Choice of the platform
Students could have a say in the choice of the platform they want to use
2. Clear instructions of the task (expectations of the instructor)
What are they supposed to write? How many are they expected to write?
How often should they respond to their classmates' writings?
What kind of responses should they post?
3.The rubrics
What are the instructor looking for in these blogs?
How often will instructors read students' blogs?
One of the major concern of the blogging in writing classes is that teachers give students full autonomy of their writing, which lead students to ignore the accuracy aspect of the language. Therefore, my suggestion is that teachers should still be involved in the process and provide some feedback from time to time.

3
Postreading Activities / Debate as the postreading activities
« on: April 01, 2014, 01:05:57 PM »
A number of instructors have voiced their opinions commenting that debate is not an academic activity for more advanced students.
However, from my experience as an L2 speaker of English, debate is a very good way to combine reading and speaking in class.
This is especially helpful for intensive reading classes. If you ask students to read a short newspaper article which could lead students to two different opinions, it would be ideal to start a debate after the reading.
However, for debate activity, instructors could keep in mind that the rules should be easier if it is only a short activity.
If teachers want to see some writing after the debate, it is reasonable to ask students summarize their points in the debate.
To be more specific, the whole activity should include the following procedures:
reading (if you want to have a more prepared debate, reading could be done as pre-assigned task)
debate (this could be impromptu or prepared in which teachers assign the motion as well as proposition team and opposition team)
during the debate, students could be assigned different roles: members of each team, judge, host of the debate
final product: the final product could be a video recording of the debate
the writing which summarize their points in the debate
 

4
Feedback--Teacher / Text-Based Writing Rubrics
« on: March 20, 2014, 01:10:44 PM »
http://www.doe.k12.de.us/aab/English_Language_Arts/writing_rubrics.shtml
Writing teachers could use writing rubrics to supplement their writing feedback. For example, in this website, it provides feedback to students from different grades.
Students will be given feedback in terms of research, organization, development and language/convention.
One thing to take note for those teachers who want to use rubrics: not all students will fall into the categories of a rubric. If you have extra information you want to emphasize, for instance, phrasal verbs. You could point that out separately.
My understanding of rubrics is that it could constitute one of the major component of your feedback, but it should not be the only section of your feedback.  :notworthy :notworthy :notworthy
 

5
Postreading Activities / Post-reading Activity for our practice day
« on: March 13, 2014, 02:13:13 PM »
We did a reading lesson on how to be polite in English. Two articles on the topic of politeness will be provided to students: one of the article will be prescriptive expository of different phrases and sentences that people could use to be polite, and the other is a published article on New York times discussing whether Americans are direct and polite at the same time.


The lesson is structured into three parts: warm-up questions asking students to think about the issues of politeness in their own culture and politeness in America; during-reading activities where students highlight phrases and sentences and discuss with each other the similarities and differences between the two articles; and the post-reading activities where students express their understanding of politeness in English and share with each other their personal experience on this issue.


The post-reading activity, which is group discussion, could be easily turned into a process-oriented writing task. First of all, the oral discussion serves as the brainstorming stage. Then, students could use different techniques they felt comfortable with to start their writing, be it looping, outlining, summary and etc. One thing to note is that the target students are high-intermediate and advanced-level students.


Appendix:
Article One
How to Be Polite in English
“Politeness is the art of choosing among your thoughts.”
Have you ever ordered at a restaurant in a foreign country only to get an ugly look from the waiter? Have you ever asked somebody to do you a favor, only then to have them refuse with an upset tone in their voice? Well, maybe your problem when speaking English comes down to a lack of politeness.
The English language is full of these little formalities which can definitely determine whether you’re going to make a good first impression on someone or not. We have this unspoken etiquette when asking for information, or even when we’re offering something and we have to take into consideration how we are offering it. Using please and thank you is necessary in most situations. In a lot of situations, people expect a sort of indirect way of speaking to each other, which in my opinion is a little silly. But hey, when in Rome do as the Romans do (follow the cultural rules wherever you are).
Making Requests/Asking For Something
One of the first things I noticed when I came to brazil was the way people order things here. Not long after my arrival in Brazil I discovered the most amazing savory treat I had ever tasted… The COXINHA!!  So, very eager to test my Portuguese, I went down to the local snack bar to order one. Using my Portuguese dictionary, I said to the man,“Com licenca, eu poderia ter uma coxinha por favor?” Although he understood, he handed me the coxinha with a very peculiar look on his face. I realized this must have been a strange way to order something when I heard the guy next to me say, “Ei, me dá uma coxinha ai broder.”
When ordering in English, we have a standard of politeness. The most common way to order in English would be using:
Can I/Could I – Could I have a coxina please? Can I have a coke please?  Could I order please? Can you lend me ten dollars?
May I (used in more formal situations) – May I attend the meeting next week? May I join you for lunch?
Asking for Permission
A good tip when travelling to another country is to always ask if you’re unsure about the politeness of something. Sometimes what may be normal in your culture might be considered a little rude in someone else’s culture. A good example would be how if here in Brazil I love to listen to Baile Funk music on my cell phone when taking the bus (without earphones obviously). So, if I was to do that in Australia, I would ask permission of the people around me first by using:
Do you mind if I listen to my funk music really loudly / Would it be a problem if I listened to my funk music really loudly / I was wondering if I could listen to my funk music.
These three expressions can be used in any situation when asking for permission. When asking this way we also have to use a softer tone of voice. The reason we do this is because we want the person to know that if it’s going to irritate them, they have the option of saying no without feeling uncomfortable. Sounds crazy right? We’re so worried about offending the other person. That’s English for you.
Not Understanding
In English, when we don’t understand what someone says, the first reaction would be to say “sorry?” (in a soft tone of voice). Not “sorry” like “desculpa” but sorry like “oi?” This is the most common way, and it is considered to be polite. In Portuguese, you guys use a different method: “UHHHHH?” Now that I have been living here for a while, I know that you are not being rude when you say this, but from a foreign perspective, especially when you’re not familiar with the language, this can be kind of troubling. My first impression when someone said this to me was “Damn, I’ve just offended this person in some way” or “My Portuguese is so bad that he or she is getting angry.” So try avoiding this one in English.
Instead, always use:
Sorry? – It’s polite and they will repeat, maybe even simplify what they just said.
Pardon (me)? – A more polite way of saying sorry. This is sometimes used in a a more formal situation.
Excuse me? – This is asking the person to repeat. Depending on the tone of your voice, it could express shock at what the person said, or maybe that you didn’t like the context of what they said.
Turning Down an Invitation/ Disagreeing
Last but not least, the awkwardness of having to say no to people. When travelling, or spending time in an English speaking country, we are always going to come across these situations.
Ladies (Or guy for that matter), have you ever had to turn a guy down but didn’t want to offend him? Or maybe you have had to disagree with someone, but you didn’t want to be sound defensive. In English, we use these softening tools to make what we say not so so direct.
Turning Down an InvitationI’m afraid I can’t…[/font]I’d love to but…[/font]That sounds great but…[/font]DisagreeingI see what you’re saying, but I think…[/font]You could be right, but don’t forget that…[/font]Yes that’s true, but I’m not sure that…[/font]“Hey dude, do you want to come to my sisters spelling bee?”  “Hey, I’d love to, but Josh is making spaghetti tonight.”
“Hey sexy! I would love to buy you a drink.” “Oh, I’m afraid I can’t, I have boyfriend.”
“Donkey Kong is the best game ever!” “I see what you’re saying, but I think Mortal Kombat is the best game ever.”
Sounding polite is obviously a personal choice everyone has to make on their own. There are some situations where we have to put our foot down, be demanding, and even rudeness could sometimes necessary from time to time.  So, my advice to you all would be to always try to use these polite expressions when in a foreign country, as you can never be too sure what is considered rude or polite in their culture.
- See more at: http://reallifebh.com/how-to-be-polite-in-english#sthash.1DsZobXu.dpuf

Article Two
Americans: the most polite yet direct people in the world         
By[/color]Harry Mount[/size][/url]Last updated: August 12th, 2010
[/color][/size][/url][/color][/size][/url]Larry David in Whatever Works (Photo: Film still)
I have just touched down in America for a week, and am immediately reminded about the extraordinary manners of the Americans. In the loos at Atlanta Airport, a man pulled at the door of an occupied stall, only to find it was locked. "Excuse me, sir," he immediately said.
A middle-aged blonde lady, also in Atlanta Airport, bumped into a young man, and said with a laugh, "Oh, I'm sorry, I was drifting off there."
That's not to say that all Americans are staggeringly polite; but, even when they're rude, they take the edge off their rudeness with polite words, directly and clearly delivered. So, on the way over here, on an eight-hour flight, I was repeatedly badgered by a middle-aged New York lady behind me not to recline my seat. I had a man in front of me who had reclined his, so there was no way I could raise my seat without being squashed. This didn't stop her going on at me, but, each time, she said, "Excuse me, you are going to have to compromise."
She was a pretty awful woman, really, but the combination of her directness and politeness meant there was none of the seething inner moaning that is the plight of the uncomplaining, mumbling Englishman. Even Larry David – the patron saint of rudeness in Curb Your Enthusiasm – always fills his complaints with "excuse me" and "please".
That directness and politeness is also an excellent way of responding to complaints. At the check-in desk, another young man said to a Delta assistant, "This is the worst customer service I have ever seen." The assistant said, clearly, directly, immediately, without any hurt or cringing, "I am very sorry you feel that way, sir." It wasn't passive-aggressive; just a neat way of getting across an apology while closing down the conversation.
We could learn a lot from our more polite neighbours across the Atlantic.

6
Step One:
Read for the first time: 
What is the key word of the article? How do you know?
This could be used as an activity for students to find the main topic of the article.

Step Two:
Read for the second time:

What is the main point of the article?
Highlight the mian point of the article and the main point of each body paragraph.
What are the ways that could be used to clean space junk?

7
Reading Activites (during reading) / Highlight the main point
« on: March 06, 2014, 01:30:31 PM »
Step One:
Read for the first time: 
What is the key word of the article? How do you know?
This could be used as an activity for students to find the main topic of the article.
Step Two:
Read for the second time:

What is the main point of the article?
Highlight the mian point of the article and the main point of each body paragraph.
What are the ways that could be used to clean space junk?

8
Asian students always have names with specific meanings, when parents give their children names, they always look at the meanings beneath the characters. However, the English names may not carry with them the equal meaning. Reading a chapter from Harry Porter could give students some exposure to different English names and prompt students to look into the English names. Instructors could initiate discussions to compare and contrast the two cultures in terms of names. This lesson could apply to both children and adults.

9
Feedback--Peer Review / Peer Review vs Peer Perceive
« on: February 18, 2014, 05:51:22 PM »
In the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champain, the ESL writing service courses promote the idea of peer perceiption instead of peer review as we believe that peer perception is a more practical way of getting more constructive feedback from peers. Peer perception is also cultural compatible in the sense that the feedback and comments were given in such a way that peers feel comfortable with. I, as one of the instructor in the ESL writing service courses, have created a worksheet which allows the students to peer perceive each other's work instead of peer reviewing the work. By reading the worksheet, you will be able to see that the questions that prompt students to do the peer perception does not ask students to do any kind of evaluation or judgement. The worksheet is provided in the attachment:

10
http://www.manythings.org/e/reading.html
http://www.manythings.org/voa/stories/
This is a website with American stories and mp3 files. It could be very good resources for students to engage both in reading and listening.
The following is a snapshot of the stories they have ont he website:(However, I have a mixed feeling about using audiobooks in reading classes. Audio books may not be a good resource for students to work on their reading speed. what do you think?)The Most Recent Addition
 The Stories Sorted by Author
 Bierce, Ambrose (1842-1914) Burroughs, Edgar Rice (1875-1950) Butler, Ellis Parker (1869-1937) Cather, Willa (1873-1947) Chopin, Kate (1850-1904) Crane, Stephen (1871-1900)

11
Using Literature / Using newspaper articles in ESL conversation class
« on: February 06, 2014, 03:18:29 PM »
As an English teacher in the EFL context, my experience of teaching informed me that English teaching should always be an endeavor that puts students close to the English culture. Seperating four skills into different courses could allow students to focus on each skill specifically once at a time. However, it does not mean that English reading should only be about reading, or speaking course should only involve speaking. I have tried to embed a number of reading activities and tasks in my conversation class. It was an intermediate class in which students were particularly interested in American culture and the norms to engage in different conversations. There was a time when we were discussing the issue of being polite in different cultures and different languages. We had a lot of interesting discussions about the perception of being polite in different cultures. Before the class, I thought that giving students the opportunity to look at how Americans and International people living in America think about the issue of politeness could broaden their horizon on this issue. So, I found the articles as shown in the attachments. In the class, we had the discussions and then read the articles together which led to further discussions. From my point of view, reading and listening are two activities that could generate the most speaking in the class. What do you think?
 

12
Technology and Teaching Reading & Writing / Quickreader
« on: February 06, 2014, 03:02:38 PM »
How many of your students complain about reading because they are slow readers?
http://www.quickreader.net/
I used quickreader one summer when I was teaching a group of advanced-level ESL students. It is an APP for I-phones and Ipads where students need to purchase it for around five dollars. This app basically trains students to be faster with their reading speed. There are a lot of e-books available on Quickreader. Students could download any book they are insterested in. The steps for the training are as following:
1. Ask students to do the reading test. this test will give students a rough gauge of their reading speed.
2. Change settings. Then, ask students to change settings in which they set the reading speed a little faster than the test speed.
3. Read a chapter or even a page every day for a week.
4. Increase the speed a little for the coming week.
5. Follow this cycle of reading and increase speed.
6. The most important thing for this Quickreader training to work is persistency. Teachers could ask students to read the same thing and have regular discussions in class to motivate students to read.

13
https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/632/01/
 
 
This is an very interesting reading from Purdue Owl focusing on the writing of Business Documents.
It talks about some norms of Business Documents including headings, access, typology and space.
The readings are in the form of PPT slides, so it will be very easy for ESL students.
There is even the introduction of Z-pattern which emphasizes the placement of similar content.
It is not only limited to Business Documents, some slides on style and design could also provide some insights for students to organize their PPT slides.

14
Extensive Reading / collection of ebook urls
« on: February 04, 2014, 01:46:55 PM »
http://www.scan2read.us/index.php?p=1_7_extensive-reading-and-free-e-books
The site recommended 10 book recommendation engines:1. Goodreads
2. Shelfari
3. What Should I Read Next?
4. Small Demons
5. Whichbook
6. YourNextRead.com
7. The Staff Recommends
8. BOOKish
9. Slice Bookshelf
10. LibraryThing
It also offers resources for teaching reading:
Resources on Teaching Reading:
http://www.robwaring.org/videos.htm
Teaching videos on various EFL subjects: phonics, vocabulary, etc.
http://www.literacyaccessonline.com
Resources for readers and their helpers.
http://www.rong-chang.com/lsnplan.htm
Lesson plans from RongChang's extensive site.
http://www.englishraven.com
English Raven.com's Resources and materials for teachers of ESL/EFL to young learners.
Some sites on the Internet that will help you to READ..:
http://en.childrenslibrary.org
International digital library for children.
http://www.magickeys.com/books/index.html
Online illustrated story books for children of all ages.
http://tinyurl.com/2ctroat
KIDSPACE: kids reading zone – 50 resources.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/newsenglish
BBC: learning English content.
http://www.eslreading.org
Information and materials for young learners, free books and stories.
http://www.funtimenews.com
Easy stories, articles, and current news for EFL readers.
http://www.cc.kyoto-su.ac.jp/information/tesl-ej/ej13/int.html
Online ER for lower-level EFL readers.
http://www.sooksook.co.kr
Resources & purchase Korean extensive reading materials.
http://www.nypl.or
New York Public Library.org: Follow the links to Tumblebooks, free access - paid for by New York library: http://www.tumblebooks.com/library/asp/home_tumblebooks.asp
This is a great place to look for materials, however; teachers should also be aware that some of the sites are commercial ESL/EFL sites.

15
For those teachers who have the experience teaching reading courses, it must not be uncommon to find students not doing the required readings. For beginner-level classes, it is still possible for the teachers to read with the students in class. For intermediate and more advanced-level students, it is almost impossible. In order to motivate students to read the required readings before they come to class, a number of instructors proposed the idea of quiz. However, I think quizzes could be a potential source of stress for students and they may develop this psychological "abhorrence" towards reading. Here, I suggest the idea of quickwriting at the very beginning of the course where each student is asked to write a short paragraph for five minutes about what they were required to read. Then, each student is required to respond to another two posts within another five minutes. So, the instructor just need to create a forum and provide relevant prompt for students to write a paragraph. The instructor does not need to make it a formal evaluation, however; it could be easy for the instructor to see who has done the reading and who has not. For those students who did not do the reading, the instructor could contact the student individually. To make this even simpler, the instructor could create the prompt in such a way that students could not write without doing the reading.

16
Getting to Know You Activities / Interactive Self-Introduction
« on: February 02, 2014, 08:07:17 PM »
In reading and writing courses, the instructor could keep record of all types of writing students did throughout the semester. I tried to use the googleform to create a table for students to do a self-introduction. This is a record for the instructor to know students' basic information and the students could also know their classmates' names and basic information. I believe most instructors will realize that an oral self-introduction is not enough for students to remember their students' names. This interactive table is also a good opportunity for the instructor to have a grasp of students' grammatical level. I have found that quite a number of my students made grammatical errors in this first self-introduction. The information included in the table could be as following:

Name   L1   Home Country   Major   Your favorite book and why.   Use 3 sentences to describe yourself.
               
               
               
               
               
               
               


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