How can college writing classes turn
into an active learning environment?
In my writing classes, I try to provide
my students with various opportunities to read, write, and receive
feedback. One challenge, however, is
when students are asked to write individually; they might not be motivated
enough to work on their own. On the
other hand, when assigning an activity to a group, there is often one student who
seems to be working on the activity while the other students don’t get as
involved as required.
I believe writing is a complicated topic
to teach and asking students to produce written work can be a challenging process.
To address these individual and group challenges, I have come up with a neat
strategy that I would love to share with the rest of the educators dealing with
Quilting and knitting circles have existed
for a long time for the purposes of pleasure and producing a useful final
product, but how did a handicraft project for a group of Master of Education
students turn into a feel-good, emotional learning journey? It was an
assignment for a research methodology course, but it was so much more than that.
It was also collaboration, self-discovery and an emotional roller coaster all
rolled into some highly memorable academic presentations. At least that was my
observation, if not quite my personal experience.
What are some ways you choose to provide feedback to students in higher education? How do you think students perceive and react to our feedback? How effective do you think written feedback comments can be? Nicole and Milligan (2006) have identified seven main principles that effective feedback should entail.
1. Effective feedback helps students identify
what good performance is and assists students in grasping a clear understanding
of the goals and standards set for their level. Research suggests that there is
often a gap between the expected standards set by educators and students’
perception of these standards. Unless students clearly understand the goals and
standards set for them, they cannot succeed in self-regulating their learning
Bringing the L1 into the
EFL classroom does not need to be an overhaul of current practice in the
classroom, nor does it need to be applied to each and every classroom activity.
It is something that can be applied strategically and with intent at the
teacher’s discretion. The point is not to create a new method, but to
understand that cross-linguistic awareness is one of many useful teaching/learning
techniques that are available to us as language teachers.
Infographics are a contemporary means of transmitting information on media platforms. They appear as printed or digital infographic displays at hospitals, airports, shopping malls and more, and deliver complex information in a visually concise format. The first infographics I remember were positioned in the corners of the USA Today newspaper. They drew my eyes towards them and informed me about trends, recent events or celebrities in many sections of the newspaper.
Despite the wealth of
research that purports the benefits of a cross-linguistic approach, many
learners and teachers are operating in an environment where the L1 is used with
trepidation and as a last resort if it is used at all. Why is it that teachers
and learners are hesitant to take cross-linguistic and multilingual approaches
on board, despite the value of these tools for language learning?
Last week, I read over my students’ poems and was reminded how much I love my job. As teachers, we need to savour these pleasures and summon them during the more tedious moments. My students, mostly from Asia, are in a year-long EAP foundation program at Ryerson University. I asked them to write a poem based on “Where I Am From,” by George Ella Lyon.
scholastic objective was to get my students to explore their identities, but my
personal objective was to learn more about
their families, their ambitions, their countries…their lives. In class, we went
through the author’s life, stanza by stanza. We examined the details, the
imagery, and the metaphors. Then my students went home and wrote their own
Why is it important for our higher education learners to receive positive reinforcement? Do adult learners have this need? In what ways can instructors provide their adult learners with positive reinforcement?
Sharp (2011) lays it down beautifully, explaining that as we grow up we receive incentives, prices, stickers, and encouragement for the most mundane actions such as making our beds. However, as we grow and become more self-motivated, the amount of positive reinforcement declines exponentially by the time we pursue higher education.
In a time where TESOL
teaching is turning away from prescriptive methods, and teachers may have the
increasing freedom and responsibility of adapting to their students’ needs, a
question that faces ongoing consideration is whether or not the first language
(L1) has a role in the EFL classroom. The good news for teachers who engage or
would like to engage L1 use in the classroom is that this approach is strongly
backed by theory and research-based evidence in the field of second language
acquisition. Here, in the first part of a three-part series on this topic, I
will outline this body of support for incorporating the L1.
Using visuals is an integral part of our daily teaching practice; however, often, our visual aids are rather mundane. For example, one of the primary and most popular visual aid has been PowerPoint. Despite the benefits of using this tool, it can easily turn a classroom into a passive learning environment.
Having said this, there are other tools available through which knowledge and information can be transferred to students. One of the alternatives available is Kahoot. Now, many of us might have heard of or used this tool in our classrooms. Kahoot is a game-based teaching tool that teachers usually use to test student knowledge after their teaching is completed. However, Kahoot can be used for purposes other than testing. This post introduces Kahoot as a tool that can replace PowerPoint presentations Continue reading →