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Messages - erichho2

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Feedback--Teacher / Tips for giving global feedback
« on: April 16, 2019, 11:09:50 PM »
Two common strategies of providing teacher feedback include the "in-text" feedback, where you give comments on a specific part of a students paper, and "global feedback", where you give overall impressions of the students paper. I find both to be very useful, but here are some guidelines that I find helpful for each type of feedback.

With in-text feedback, you want to be careful not to go overboard. Although it might be nice to have a lot of suggestions for students, be careful to not overwhelm with feedback. Also, be careful about the types of feedback you give, as they may contradict each other. For example, if you comment that a student's writing sounds "awkward" and ask them to reword it, and in another comment you comment that the content might not be so good, you may be giving contradictory advice. Should the student reword the sentence or revise it. Just be aware of the ways that your suggestions might interact with each other, and how your students will perceive them.

I find global feedback to be useful to give "bigger-picture" advice about the essay. I also find it helpful to give examples if I make a suggestion. So for example, if I made a comment about being more careful with paragraph organization, I could provide specific cases from the writing to support that. In one situation, I pointed out that the topic sentence could use some refining. Even when you give global comments, providing examples helps to make things less abstract for the students.

Quest is a program for creating interactive text adventures, or kind of "choose your own adventure" games. Typically, students would read a story and have to make decisions within the story by clicking on links or typing commands in the game. This kind of tool is very versatile, and can be used for students of varying levels because you get to design the games. I think it could be very useful for predictive activities; you could ask students to predict what will happen before making a choice in the game. There are very many possibilities, but it also depends on how good you are with making the games. It doesn't require a whole lot of technical skills to make basic text adventures, which is an advantage, although it may still take a few hours to prepare a suitable game for a class. An alternative, with higher level students, is to have them create their own text adventure games. This could potentially be a course project; students have to draw on many features of writing to create text games, such as thinking about the genre and style of their writing.

Motivation / Motivating learning with authentic materials
« on: April 16, 2019, 01:05:09 PM »
This kind of strategy I find works well with students that are professionally or academically motivated already. Sometimes though, it may be hard to focus on a activity if they are presented materials that don't seem relevant to their lives. In a graduate ESL writing class I had, I had many students that were motivated to write academically. I asked them to send me materials from the classes they were taking at the university, sometimes academic journals, to teach certain aspects of writing. This works for certain lessons that you don't really need to understand the topic. For example, I asked some students to send me abstracts from their field. Even though I didn't understand the terminology or information, I could ask them to deconstruct the parts of the abstract to raise awareness to the different components of abstract/summary writing. I could have just as easily provided a generic sample writing, but providing them with something that was familiar in their lives to teach a general concept seemed more interesting to them.

I've tried this activity in almost all the first day of classes I've had, and it helps to set a light tone for the class. Instead of introducing everyone individually, this activity is more communicative. I pair students up into groups of 3 or 4, and I typically ask them to find 3 things they have in common without mentioning a few things, e.g. country of origin, language, cultural aspects. This forces them to ask questions to each other and find shared things. I think finding things that students have in common also helps to bring different cultures together, and provides a friendlier learning environment. After they finish their list, I ask each person to share one thing that they found in common with all their group members.

These are some strategies that I learned during my time in the writer's workshop at UIUC. Previous research has shown that students tend to leave conferences with positive feelings when they feel their needs have been addressed. It's important to address both what the students feel they need in addition to what the teacher believes they need. In the beginning of the conference, I typically like to ask students how well they feel they did on the paper, rather than going straight into comments. Doing this helps you get a good idea about how the students think about their strengths and weaknesses in their writing. It's also helpful to have them point out places in the paper and provide examples for where they feel the issues are. At the end of the conference, I like to work with the students to make a plan for revision. I will typically type out some notes as we discuss what they will do next to revise. This helps them to remember and internalize what they need to work on, and more importantly, gives a clear series of steps. I feel that revision processes can be frustrating for students if they feel what they need to revise is too abstract, so having a written down plan helps.

General Writing Resources / Writing Correction Activity
« on: April 16, 2019, 12:45:57 PM »
I got this idea from a British Council lesson for writing error correction. This activity would involve peer feedback for students. First, you would want to teach a few grammar points to the students, issues that you find that are common in their writing, and maybe provide a list of examples. After the students have finished a writing assignment, you could have the students provide each other peer feedback, line-by-line, focusing on the grammatical issues. It would be a good idea to do this with a shorter writing sample, and don't provide too many grammar features to watch for; you don't want to discourage students with too many corrections. This would be a good activity to help raise students' awareness of important grammatical features. You could also have them explain to each other what the errors are after doing the corrections.

Extensive Reading / Graded Reading Activities
« on: April 16, 2019, 12:37:53 PM »
Graded readings would be a good idea for ESL learners. Some texts may be a little too challenging and discouraging for readers to read through fluently. The concept of graded readers would be to provide different levels of texts to students, depending on their language proficiency. This would work well too for classes that have mixed levels of students. You could give the same story for the whole class to read, distributing simpler or more complicated tasks as needed. One thing that students could do after reading activities would be to discuss the themes, or perhaps even act out the stories in class to demonstrate their level of comprehension.


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